Friday, October 31, 2008
2 dozen cupcakes from your favorite recipe
3.4-ounce box of vanilla-flavored instant pudding
green food coloring
1 cup of green melting candy (we used Wilton Candy Melts)
24 large marshmallows skewers
waxed-paper-lined baking sheet
small serrated knife
black gel green
Tic Tac mints
Bake and cool 2 dozen cupcakes from your favorite recipe.
Prepare a 3.4-ounce box of vanilla-flavored instant pudding. Stir in drops of green food coloring until you have a shade you like, then place it in the refrigerator to chill.
Next, microwave 1 cup of green melting candy (we used Wilton Candy Melts, available at party supply stores) for 1 minute at 50 percent power, then stir. If necessary, heat in 15-second intervals until completely melted.
One at a time, spear 24 large marshmallows with a skewer and roll them in the melted candy, coating the sides. Set them on a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet, add M&M's Minis for eyes, and place them in the refrigerator to chill.
With a small serrated knife, remove a 1-inch-wide chunk from the center of each cupcake. Fill each hole with a tablespoon or so of the pudding, then spread chocolate frosting around each pudding hole.
Cover each pool of pudding with a chilled marshmallow. Add black gel facial features and 2 green Tic Tac mints for bolts.
Finally, top each monster head with a bit of frosting and muss with your finger or a fork. Keep the cupcakes chilled until serving time.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Article Reprint from Epicurious
Feeding a crowd can be a challenge, so careful planning is mandatory. Choose the menu style that works best for your group: potluck, communal cooking, or bring-your-own.
A potluck works best with an established menu, where contributors are assigned specific dishes and a number of servings. Don't leave anything to chance! Request "baked or fried chicken drumsticks to serve 24," and not "chicken." This will prevent duplicate dishes and ensure that you don't run out of food. Ask folks with dietary restrictions to bring dishes that they will enjoy and that can be shared with others. If reheating facilities aren't available, ask for dishes that can be served at room temperature.
Communal cooking is perfect for a family of great cooks, especially if the party takes place in a spacious kitchen with lots of refrigeration and stove space—if available, large, commercial-sized pots and pans make the job much easier. Cooking together is an excellent way for relatives to reconnect and offers an opportunity to re-create heirloom family recipes. It will help if one person serves as "head chef"—he or she can make a detailed prep list for the recipes and assign chores.
If you go with communal cooking, establish a firm budget, and get contributions from attendees before the event. Be aware that shopping, prepping, and cooking for a big group could take two to three full days. With careful planning, you can buy canned goods and nonperishables well ahead of the reunion, leaving just the meat and produce for a final shopping trip a day or so before you start cooking. You may also find it easier to divide the shopping between volunteers.
For either the potluck or communal cooking methods, you'll need to establish a menu. If you want to get the family involved in the planning, set up a recipe box on Epicurious so you can upload and share recipes.
Keep in mind that many tastes need to be satisfied—overly spicy or esoteric dishes may be savored by only a few. Stick to familiar, time-honored dishes, perhaps with a twist. For example, instead of the expected barbecued chicken with sweet tomato sauce, try Grilled Chicken with White Rosemary Barbecue Sauce, or make an out-of-the-ordinary potato salad, such as Potato and Pea Salad with Chive Aioli. When planning your menu, look for recipes that can be easily doubled or tripled. Cake recipes for instance, don't always multiply well, but a dessert like Berry Tiramisù is simple to make in quantity and couldn't be more delicious.
Bring-your-own is the most hassle-free approach. Each family unit supplies its own meal, which lets them establish a menu to meet individual tastes and set their own budget. It also keeps a rein on cleanup, as each group does its own. If each family makes extra, there can be enough food for a fair amount of sharing. For family members who are coming from out of town and can't cook, have a list of good take-out places available, or ask them to provide beverages.
Of course, there are different combinations of the above that could work for your family. For our upcoming family reunion, we're providing hamburgers and hot dogs (with volunteers working the grills), but assigning side dishes and desserts, and asking folks to bring their own beverages. Another option is to ask everyone to bring their own picnic meal (if grills are available, folks can be responsible for their own charcoal), and to make extra (about ten servings) of their favorite picnic item for a communal buffet. This allows for the fun of sharing and a more familial atmosphere, and if there's too much potato salad, who cares! Whatever approach you choose, be realistic about the time and energy required of you and your family.
Knowing How Much to Make
When considering how much food to prepare, it's always better to have a little too much than to run out. Only you know the average appetite of your group—in my family, I've seen teenage boys eat four hamburgers while their sisters ate half a hot dog without the bun. With a group that includes hungry teenagers and folks who like to load their plates, you should allow more than one serving per person. Ten to fifteen percent extra is a good rule of thumb: If you have 50 people coming, make enough food for 60. And have plenty of plastic bags and containers to store leftovers.
When it comes to beverages, try to avoid a full bar, as it requires stocking numerous liquors, mixers, juices, and garnishes. Instead, limit choices to beer, wine, and plenty of soft drinks, especially if the party is during summer and if there are lots of kids. You can create a budget and fund for communal beverages, or again, ask everyone to bring their own in an ice chest.
Again, personal choices come into play: Does your family prefer wine or beer? Expect adults to drink two to three alcoholic beverages each, and remember that a standard wine bottle contains about five glasses.
As a summertime cocktail that everyone can enjoy, I like to serve homemade lemonade, as it can be sipped on its own or spiked with a splash of gin, vodka, bourbon, or rum. An electric juicer makes quick work of squeezing the fruit, and is a fun make-ahead job for kids.
You'll need ice for the coolers (about 20 pounds for each large cooler) and to fill cups (allow a pound per person). Bring a clean hammer or ice pick to help break up the ice. And, if you plan to serve coffee or tea with dessert, you'll need a large-quantity coffee urn and a way to boil water. For an outdoor party without electricity, hot beverages can be transported in vacuum containers.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Early planning will guarantee the largest attendance at your family reunion. Talk to family members way in advance to establish the best time for the majority of the group. A year is not too long a lead time. This gives everyone time to save for attending—remember that airfare, hotels, car rental, and other travel expenses add up.
Summer is a popular time for reunions, as kids will be out of school and vacations are in the works anyway. But you may want to center your reunion on a milestone event like a 50th anniversary or Grandma's birthday, keeping in mind that if it falls during cold weather, you'll need an indoor venue.
Chances are that at least some of your guests will be traveling to attend the reunion. Take stock of how many people will need accommodations and reserve a block of rooms at a local hotel or inn. This may require an advance deposit, but will likely get you a better rate. Relatives can always stay as houseguests with family members, if the length of the visit will be reasonably short.
E-mail is the cheapest and easiest way to send invitations. However, some of your older family members could be computer-challenged, so you may want to do a combination of paper and e-mail invitations.
Budgeting is a key element at a reunion. Even if you have a casual event, money will have to change hands (for example, you may need to make a deposit to hold a location at a community park). Make a detailed budget, covering every aspect from food and drinks to games and invitations, and then add a little extra for unforeseen costs. Divide the amount between the number of families attending (or by number of persons), and ask that checks be sent in by a certain date. For very large reunions, you may want to start a checking account, so that party funds don't get mixed up with personal money.
A reunion, especially a large one, is a lot of work for one person. A committee of relatives may be the best way to handle the many details of the event. Subcommittees can handle invitations (including keeping track of RSVPs); food (determining who is bringing what); decor (including flowers and tableware); activities (taking care of music, photos, and videos); and treasury (collecting various fees, if needed).
Thursday, October 23, 2008
There will be fun houses, games for the kids, food, drinks, and Dance Performances throughout the event.
A Raffle will be held with a variety of prizes.
They will also be trying to break the world record for the largest Dance lesson. We will need 2,000 people to accomplish this.
There will be a variety of vendor booths and other activities.
All proceeds will go to the USO.
It is sure to be a great time so come by and check it out!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
1. When making cookies, always make an extra batch. Take the extra dough, roll it into a log shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze for the next time you need cookies. Then all you have to do is take the extra batch out of the freezer, slice it up and bake.
2. Grandma’s hair always smelled great and had a wonderful shine. Her secret trick for healthy hair was a Rosemary rinse. Grandma would pick about 1/4 cup of fresh Rosemary and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. She would let it sit for about three minutes and then she would strain off the water and use it as a rinse on her freshly shampooed hair. Grandma’s rinse works best on brown or auburn hair.
3. No need to buy plant food anymore. Use your brewed coffee grounds: a solution of one part coffee and four parts cool water. Pour it on your plant's roots once a week. It makes a great homemade plant food. It works! I have been using it for years.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
1. Meat~ Contrary to a widely reported "fact," meat typically contains less pesticide residue than plant-based foods, according to Debra Edwards, the director of EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs. That said, raising animals with conventional modern methods often means using hormones to speed up growth, antibiotics to resist disease and pesticides to grow the grain fed to the animals. As the EPA puts it in an Ag 101 feature, "Antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones are organic compounds which are used in animal feeding operations and may pose risks if they enter the environment." Consumers looking to avoid meats raised with these substances can seek out certified organic meat. To meet USDA standards, this meat can come only from animals fed organic feed and given no hormones or antibiotics.
2. Milk~ Pesticides and other man-made chemicals have been found in human breast milk, so it should come as no surprise that they have been found in dairy products. While any residues detected have been rare, and of low concentration, milk is of special concern because it is a staple of children's diets. Organic dairies cannot feed their cows with grains grown with pesticides, nor can they use antibiotics or growth hormones like rGBH or rbST.
3. Coffee~ Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries that don't regulate use of chemicals and pesticides. Look for the Fair Trade Certified Organic label on the coffee package or can; it will give you some assurance that chemicals and pesticides were not used on the plants. It will also mean that fair prices were paid for the end product in support of the farm and that farm workers are treated fairly.
4. Peaches~ Multiple pesticides are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: watermelon, tangerines, oranges and grapefruit.
5. Apples~ Scrubbing and peeling doesn't eliminate chemical residue completely so it's best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: watermelon, bananas and tangerines.
6. Sweet bell peppers~ Peppers have thin skins that don't offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They're often heavily sprayed and victim to pesticides commonly used to keep them insect-free. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: green peas, broccoli and cabbage.
7. Celery~ Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals that are used on conventional crops. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: broccoli, radishes and onions.
8. Strawberries~ If you buy strawberries out of season, they're most likely imported from countries that use less-stringent regulations for pesticide use. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: blueberries, kiwi and pineapples.
9. Lettuces~ Leafy greens are frequently contaminated with what are considered the most potent pesticides used on food. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
10. Grapes~ Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape's thin skin. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: blueberries, kiwi and raspberries.
11. Potatoes~ America's popular spud ranks high for pesticide residue. It also gets the double whammy of fungicides added to the soil for growing. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: eggplant, cabbage and earthy mushrooms.
12. Tomatoes~ A tomato's easily punctured skin is no match for chemicals that will eventually permeate it. Can't find organic? Safe alternatives: green peas, broccoli and asparagus.
There are certain foods you don't need to waste your money on! I've listed a few below.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Bock BBQ Bean Salad
by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.
1/4 cup bock beer
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and chopped
Additional hot sauce (optional)
1. Combine barbecue sauce, beer, vinegar, molasses, hot sauce and mustard seeds in large bowl.
2. Add beans, tomatoes, celery and green onions; toss to coat. Season with salt, pepper and additional hot sauce, if desired. Serve in lettuce-lined bowl, if desired.
Chili-Rubbed Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.
2 ears fresh corn on the cob, husked
1 medium sweet or red onion, cut through core into 12 wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 12 (1-inch) chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 12 (1-inch) chunks
1 green bell pepper, cut into 12 (1-inch) chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1. Using a large chef's knife, cut cobs crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Alternately thread corn, onion and bell peppers onto 12-inch-long metal skewers. Brush oil evenly over vegetables. Combine seasoned salt, chili powder and sugar; sprinkle over both sides of vegetables. Wrap skewers in heavy aluminum foil; refrigerate up to 8 hours.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Use a houseplant to freshen the air you breathe at home.
Indoor air pollutions caused by chemicals in building materials, new carpet, paints, cleaners might have more of an effect on our health than previously thought.
The following houseplants have been proven (by NASA) to help purify the air:
For additional information and more indoor plants please visit: www.zone10.com/tech/NASA/Fyh.htm
Monday, October 13, 2008
1/2 pound dried ziti
15 or 16 ounces ricotta cheese (part skim)
3 cups (or 12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups (or a 26-ounce jar) spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Friday, October 10, 2008
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp. ketchup
1 tbsp. fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried
1 7-oz. jar pimiento-stuffed olives
1 26-oz. jar prepared pasta sauce
1 lb. spaghetti
1 tbsp. olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, ketchup, eggs and basil in a large bowl. Using the meat mixture, form about 30 small meatballs. 3. To make the eyeballs, press an olive into each meatball, pimiento side out. Place the eyeballs in a baking dish, cover with the pasta sauce, and bake for 45 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water. Drain and rinse the spaghetti and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to prevent strands from sticking together. Put it on a platter or in a large serving bowl. 5. Spoon the eyeballs onto the spaghetti, irises up, and spoon the pasta sauce around them. Makes 10 servings.
One 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes or 4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped1 celery stalk, chopped1/2 large onion, chopped1 garlic clove, diced1 tbsp. chopped parsley2 tbsp. butter1 tbsp. sugar1 tbsp. all-purpose flour1 tsp. seasoned salt1/2 tsp. white pepper2 5-oz packages mozzarella string cheese, room temperature1 12- to 14-oz package chunk mozzarella, room temperature3 1/2 cups milk1 cup creamSalt and pepper to taste
Puree the tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic, and parsley in a food processor or blender until smooth and transfer to a large, nonreactive soup pot. Stir in the butter, sugar, flour, salt and pepper.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil. Lower heat. Set out warm bowls and portion out one chunk of mozzarella and one string torn into strips for each bowl.
A few minutes before serving, pour the milk and cream into the pot
24 baked cupcakes
24 Nutter-Butter cookies
Tube of chocolate decorator's icing
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped peanuts or crispy rice cereal
3/4 cup dry chow mein noodles
24 baked cupcakes
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Friday, October 10 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Rolly Pollies is proud to host a "Family Fun Night/Open Gym to Support Leukemia and Lymphoma Research" on Friday, October 10 from 6:00pm - 8:00pm.
Families with young children (under age 8) can come and play in the gym for ½ hour increments for a family donation of $5 per ½ hour. In order to keep the event enjoyable and safe for all, we ask that you call Rolly Pollies at 704-660-8011 to reserve a time slot. Please tell all your friends about this fun family night event!
Staff members working this evening are doing so voluntarily, so that all monies collected will be donated to "The Capital Crusaders", a group of friends and family members walking in memory of Diane Dickinson Herbst, in the Light-The-Night walk in Washington, DC on October 18th.
Diane was a beloved wife, a fun-loving mother to two young daughters, a compassionate pediatric nurse and an exceptional friend to many. Please join us for a celebration of life at Rolly Pollies while providing your support to individuals fighting blood-related cancers and to honor the lives taken by these perplexing illnesses.
Don't miss the fun!
Remember "Together we can make a difference"
Monday, October 6, 2008
We know--you just got home and you're hungry now. You'd never know these delicious recipes only take 20 minutes to prepare.
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (2 ounce) can anchovy fillets, chopped
1 cup fine bread crumbs
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
ground black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic and anchovies to cook for about 2 minutes; stir constantly.
Stir in breadcrumbs and turn off heat. Add parsley and black ground pepper; mix together.
Toss anchovy sauce with hot pasta and sprinkle with cheese; serve.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with garlic powder, seasoning salt and onion powder. Saute about 10 to 15 minutes on each side, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
LOVE WALK FOR THE COOK FAMILY
Please join Friends of the Cook Family on October 18th when we will walk to raise money to help offset medical bills incurred by William Cook. Our goal is to raise $50,000 or more which would cover approximately one half of William out-of-pocket expenses for chemo-therapy for the treatment of small lymphocytic lymphoma. These are expenses that health insurance will not cover. William Cook is one of only two remaining dairy farmers in Mecklenburg County and his wife Carolyn is an elementary school teacher in Mooresville.
They represent the American spirit of hard work, faith, and family. While both are employed full-time, they also handle the challenges of raising two sons (ages 17 and 24) with acute cerebral palsy. Both of these young men are cared for and live at home.
The event will take place at Bailey Road Park in Cornelius. Registration begins at 8:30 AM, and the walk starts at 9:30AM. The recommended registration donation is $20.00 for adults, and $10.00 for those under 18.
Attendees are encouraged to seek sponsors for their walk. Prizes are being donated for the largest donations raised by Adults, Students, and Pre-teens.
Corporate sponsorships are available at several levels: Platinum Event Sponsor, Gold Event Sponsors, Silver Event Sponsors, Benefactors and Friends of the Cook Family. Potential advertising benefits for these corporate and individual sponsors include signage at the event, acknowledgment in print, cable and broadcast TV, and radio. The most recent corporate sponsors include Target, Farm Bureau Insurance, Peoples Bank, Robert and Louise Cashion, and In~Motion Marketing. All monies raised will go directly to William and Carolyn Cook in the spirit of altruism.
If you are unable to walk and would like to make a donation, please use the contacts above. :)
Remember~Together we can make a difference.
What's For Supper Ya'll?
8 ounces dried cavatappi, fusilli, rotini, ditaloni, or other short pasta tubes
1 15- to 19-ounce can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup snipped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley sprigs (optional - I usually skip it)
Olive oil (optional - but I recommend at least a little for moisture)
1. In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions; drain well and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine 3/4 cup of the beans and the chicken broth. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Place bean puree in pan used for cooking the pasta; bring to boiling. Return pasta to pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook garlic in 1 tablespoon hot olive oil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining beans, shredded chicken, snipped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat through.
4. Add the tomato mixture to hot pasta; toss to cost. Top with parsley sprigs and additional olive oil. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Posted by Stacy Nelson, Easy Dinner Recipes.blogspot.com