Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Treats!

Looking for some Halloween snacks to make this weekend? Look no further!

One of my designers had a pumpkin carving party this week - below are the recipes she used for pumpkin sugar cookies, pumpkin dip, a pumpkin cheese ball, and what she calls Trick or Treating Trail Mix!

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
When you are decorating sugar cookies, it is best to start from scratch - it's not that hard, I promise!!

1 c. butter, 1 c. powdered sugar, 1 egg - beaten, 1 1/2 t. almond extract, 1 t. vanilla, 1 t. salt, 2 1/2 c. sifted flour

Cream butter, add powdered sugar. Blend in beaten egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm - at least 30 min. Roll into 1/4 inch thickness on a well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters, place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should not brown. Let cool completely before frosting. This recipe will yield 40 cookies (less if using large cookie cutters!)

Royal Icing is great for decorating - I would suggest doubling this recipe -

4 c. powdered sugar - sifted, 2 Tbsp. meringue powder, 5 Tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low until icing loses it's sheen - 7 to 10 min. Transfer icing into air-tight containers. Add food coloring and go crazy! Add a little water to make the icing looser, or a little powdered sugar to make it stiffer. These recipes and a great tutorial for royal icing can be found at Annie's Eats.

For the party favors, Audrey made little bags that included a cookie with the first initial of each child's name!
Pumpkin Dip
8 oz block of cream cheese - softened, 2 c. powdered sugar, 15 oz can of pumpkin pie filling, 1 t. ground cinnamon, 1/2 t. ground ginger.

Beat cream cheese and sugar on medium until smooth. Add pie filling and spices and mix well. Cover and chill for 8 hours. Best served with apple slices and ginger snaps. This recipe is from Southern Living - 2001.

The Great White Pumpkin Cheese Ball
2 (10 oz) blocks of extra-sharp white cheddar cheese - shredded, 8 oz block of cream cheese - softened, 8 oz goat cheese log - softened, 1/2 t. pepper, braided pretzel & grape vine/leaf for decor.

Stir together cheeses and pepper - shape into a ball. Use a knife to smooth the edges and make vertical grooves to look like a pumpkin. Use pretzel for the stem. Best served with crackers and assorted veggies. This recipe is also from Southern Living - 2009.

Trick or Treating Trail Mix
Audrey's mix above is made of dry roasted peanuts, candy corn, and dried cranberries - but you can add any of your favorites to the mix. I think pumpkin seeds would be a wonderful addition!

And here is a new picture of Audrey's pup - just because she is so very cute :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Four Generations

This weekend, my daughter Erin and her husband Jacob came to visit! They live in Georgia now so it is always a special treat to have them back on the farm. Of course Erin was excited to see her little niece Mary once again. Our sweet little Mary is growing so fast! My mother also came over to see everyone so we took advantage of the moment and took a picture of the four generations of Arant and Winget women together!

Aunt Erin and Uncle Jacob!

Proud Great-Grandmother!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Recipe for Fall!

Now that the temperatures are getting cooler I am very excited for fall! Pumpkins are starting to pop-up on neighbors' porches and sleeves are reappearing on arms everywhere! :)
I try my best to think seasonally when preparing meals for my family and autumn is a great time to do that with the pumpkins, squash, and other root veggies growing in and around the farm.
My father-in-law, Mr. Winget, loved his garden and always had a beautiful array of vegetables for every season. He grew butternut squash every fall and Mrs. Winget would slice them in half and roast them in the oven with a few pats of butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar - delicious!

If you are as excited as I am about the autumn bounty of vegetables, here is a healthy recipe to try soon!

Harvest Veggie Tacos

- makes 10 small or 6 large tortillas
2 c butternut squash, cubed
8 oz fresh baby spinach
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1, 15 oz can black beans
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin
4 Tbs cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
goat cheese, crumbled (for topping)
soft tortillas

Steam squash until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Steam spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeno and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the beans, oregano and cumin. Season with vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the squash and spinach. Wrap the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 seconds. Fill the tortillas and sprinkle with goat cheese.
Don't substitute the goat cheese - it makes the dish!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Conference at Brays!

Last week Al and I took my staff and our wonderful agents to Brays Island! We had an amazing time relaxing and reconnecting in a beautiful setting. We enjoyed a nature hayride, kayaking, skeet shooting, a river cruise, croquet... and even managed to get a little work done, too! It was very special to share the place that so inspires me with all of the people that so inspire me. Here are some photos from the trip.

To see more photos from our trip, visit us on facebook!