Foodie Friday – Chocolate and Whiskey Liqueur

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With holiday parties coming up, here’s a neat idea for either bringing along to share, or giving as a hostess gift. It is delightfully easy to make, and it is decadently delicious.

If you don’t like alcoholic drinks, you can always leave out the booze and just have a really yummy chocolate sauce. This is great straight, over ice, or over ice cream:
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Chocolate & Whiskey Liqueur

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1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup Irish whiskey (or vodka, for a more neutral flavor)

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“Of the People, By the People, For the People”

Gettysburg Memorial.

Today marks the 154th anniversary of a most solemn occasion:

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Foodie Friday – Gluten Free Parker House Rolls

Many of you who know our family know that Paul, Rebecca, and I have to eat gluten-free.  Rebecca was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in April, 2008, and after we converted our kitchen to accommodate her condition we discovered that we felt a whole lot better as well.

Now, in most cases GF cooking isn’t that much different from regular cooking; I’ve found different GF ingredients and products that our family really likes (and some we’d rather not talk about) and it’s been pretty easy to adapt most things.

However, gluten-free baking is another story altogether.

Wheat gluten has a wonderful property of stretchiness that non-wheat products simply can’t match.  When it comes to baking bread/rolls/etc., it can be a real challenge to figure out how to do things right; most gluten-free bread dough is really more like cake batter, which makes it impossible to knead/mold into shapes.

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On Jonathan’s Birthday – “Autumn Leaves”

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Today would have been my friend Becky’s oldest son’s 38th birthday.  Jonathan left us much too soon (a car accident in 2001), but he left lots of great memories behind for those who loved him best.

One of the things that his family ran across while looking for things to include in his memorial service was a poem that he had written in one of his classes about a leaf falling to the ground.  It gave them great comfort, and ever since then whenever Autumn rolls around I like to think that Jonathan is surrounding everyone who knew and loved him with his presence.

Every time I hear this song, I think about Jonathan and his family:

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(“Autumn Leaves” sung by Eva Cassidy is available in CD and MP3 formats)
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“A Republic, If You Can Keep It”

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The story goes that as Benjamin Franklin emerged from Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a woman asked him, “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”.

Mr. Franklin replied, “A republic, madam – if you can keep it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, in looking over the events of the past few months, I would submit to you that Mr. Franklin’s Republic is still intact.

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“When October Goes”

October Leaves.
Just ask my family – I’m one of the original “Fanilows“, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.  I’ve been hooked ever since I heard “Mandy” on the radio in 1974 (what can I say?  Other girls my age went gaga for Donny Osmond – Barry’s always been “my” guy).

When October Goes” is one of my absolute favorite Barry Manilow songs.  I first heard  this song on his amazing “2:00 A.M. Paradise Cafe” album*** – I managed to wear out the cassette tape from rewinding it to hear this song over and over and over…..

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Have a great day –
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***”When October Goes” is available in CD and MP3 formats – there are lots of good songs on the album (including duets with Sarah Vaughan and the “Velvet Fog”, Mel Torme).

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Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween – it’s the only night of the year when you are allowed to wear a costume without being in a play:

I’ll be rocking this “Maleficent” costume tonight…

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Tuesday Tunes – “If I Needed You”

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Something pretty for an October day:
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This beautiful arrangement of Towles van Zandt’s original is from Lyle Lovett’s “Step Inside This House” album (available in CD or MP3 format).
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Sunday Funnies – Happy Mother-In-Law Day!

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Yes, Virginia, there IS a “Mother-In-Law Day” – who knew?

It seems that since 1934, the fourth Sunday in October has been designated as the day when we honor the women who have been the target of a lot of good-natured ribbing through the years.

Paul and I are both lucky – we have great mothers-in-law, and we love them very, very much.

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Foodie Friday – Caramel Corn

Caramel Corn 1
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With Halloween only a week away, I thought it would be fun to post a recipe for Caramel Corn.  I got this recipe from an old booklet that’s been in my kitchen for over 30 years – it’s so old, in fact, that it pre-dates microwave popcorn….

This recipe reminds me of Cracker Jack – but there’s a lot more to go around 😛
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Midway Caramel Corn

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(For a pictoral walk-through, Joe Pastry has a fantastic tutorial at his site – his method is slightly different from this recipe, but it’s a great reference!)

5 qt. popped corn
1 c. butter (2 sticks)
2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. toasted nuts (optional) – salted Spanish peanuts work well

Preheat oven to 250F.
Combine butter, sugar, syrup, and salt in 2-qt. heavy saucepan over medium heat.
Stir until sugar dissolves, then continue to boil/stir to firm ball stage (248F).
Remove from heat and stir in soda (mixture will foam up).
Pour hot syrup over popped corn and nuts, stirring to combine well.
Pour out onto baking sheets; bake in oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes.
Cool thoroughly and store in airtight containers in cool place.

Makes about 5 quarts.

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Caramel Corn 9.

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