Oh, what funny things are seen
Witches hats, cold black cats,
broomstick riders, mice and rats.
I learned this little ditty when I was at Bellepoint grade school and always think of it at this time.
This evening turn on your lights between the hours of 6 and 8 and welcome the spirits of the night – those wonderful little boys and girls who have been dreaming of this adventure for weeks now.
Welcome the older children as well. I hate it for the middle school children who have graduated out of face masks, but still have the desire to get amongst them. Their costumes are sometimes the most creative.
I will never forget when former first lady Judi Patton and I handed out candy at the Governors’ Mansion. Two young 13-year old girls showed up as a pizza box and a delivery person – so very clever.
Definitely gone are the days when homemade goodies can be given to the little goblins – cookies, popcorn balls, candied apples or any fruit for that matter.
State Journal photographer Hannah Reel showed up at my house this week with those homemade cookies and apples. Reverse trick or treating.
Over the weekend, she visited her family in Michigan where her mother is always cooking and baking. Hannah returned to Frankfort with adorable cookies and was kind enough to share them with staff and me.
But my most prized gift was the Honeycrisp apples she brought me, straight from a roadside stand where they are grown. There are only four states that are really considered producers of Honeycrisp and Michigan is one of them. The apples require much cooler climates than most states can offer.
With Hannah’s generous gifts of cookies and apples, I once again was transported to the days of my youth. What fun for me to go there and how thoughtful of her to take me.
This is not an original thought of mine, but taken from Chef Carla Hall of ABC’s, The Chew.
In many households when the children return with their bounty, they gloriously dump it on the kitchen table or in a big bowl and begin to pour over it for their favorites.
Many parents allow the kids so much of the candy to immediately call theirs and then put away the candy to disperse over the coming weeks.
On The Chew recently, Chef Carla offered these thoughts for some of that candy.
Treats like M&M’s can go into cookies. But the idea I loved was incorporating the candy into mouth-watering brownies.
Here’s how to do it.
Take the snack size Snickers or Almond Joys or Mounds, Baby Ruth or whatever and pop them into the freezer.
When it comes time to make a batch of brownies, remove the candy from the freezer and put it into a food processor or blender and chop it up.
Make a batch of brownies – you can even use a box mix.
Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Put in part of the brownie mix. Top with ¾ of the chopped candies.
Add the remainder of the brownie mix and bake.
Once the brownies are cooled, make a ganache of semi-sweet morsels or you can even re-purpose those miniature dark Hershey’s chocolates.
Melt the chocolate over warm water – about ¾-cup of semi-sweet morsels. Remove from heat and stir in about ½-cup heavy cream. You have made a ganache. If it is too thick, add a bit more cream.
Spread the ganache over the brownies. Sprinkle the rest of the candies on top. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, remove from fridge, cut and serve.
I could have eaten the whole plate of the brownies Chef Hall produced.
PROTECT YOUR PETS
Please remember, chocolate is the enemy of your dog. It can make dogs very ill and sometimes even lead to death.
If you have a dog, put that chocolate somewhere your dog cannot get to it – in a closet or cabinet.
Be especially watchful as your children dump out their candy.
Also, it is probably wise to put outdoor dogs inside tonight. Many often follow the children and become lost. Plus we don’t need our four-legged friends scaring the children.
And don’t forget your cats. Black cats are often abused during this time of the year. Make sure your cat is snuggly tucked away inside tonight.
I have a black cat – Scout. While he is not an outside cat, he does enjoy the screened in porch at night. I make sure the door is latched to ensure there is no escape.
There is no excuse at any time for abuse of our four-legged friends.
Local grocers are now offering some great deals on items you may you may need for holiday cooking. Now is definitely the time to buy for now or later.
Items like Stovetop stuffing mix are the cheapest they’ve been in a long time. While you may not use Stovetop at Thanksgiving, my family enjoys the easy-made dressing any time, plus there are numerous recipes available where you can marry the dressing mix into casseroles.
Another great buy this week is butter. It’s at prices I have not seen in some time especially for Land-of-Lakes butter and it will keep in the refrigerator and indefinitely in the freezer. Grab it while it is definitely on sale at some local stores.
There are other bargains available. Check out the advertisements and inserts in The State Journal. I recently had my dear friends – Jan and James Booth from Florida – for dinner. I made a bowl of mashed potatoes to go with my pork roast, kraut and baked apples. One guest remarked that she never forgot the mashed potatoes I made years ago when she was visiting. I had, but not Sue Smith.
If you hate making mashed potatoes because you think they take too much time right as you are trying to get your meal on the table, try this.
DECADENT MASHED POTATOES
Peel, sliced or chunk about four pounds of Klondike Rose potatoes
Boil in salted water until tender
Drain and transfer to mixing bowl.
Add ½-teaspoon kosher salt and ½-teaspoon black pepper
Put mixer on low and let potatoes mash for about a minute.
Add one-half stick of butter, sliced
Heat one cup half and half in microwave, about 30 seconds.
Add two heaping tablespoons of sour cream or ½ cup to potatoes and the warmed cream.
Blend on medium speed until potatoes are a velvety consistency. Add more milk if potatoes seem too thick. Taste for seasoning.
Pour potatoes into a buttered oven-proof dish. Yes, I dot the top with butter pieces.
If you want to make ahead, cover – after dish has cooled – and put it into the fridge. But if you just want the potatoes to hold until you are ready to serve your dinner, put into a warm oven that has been turned off after you have finished using it.