First of all

Friday, November 11, 2011

Looking for a Special Gift for that Hard To Buy For Person? Consider this..

For the nominal fee of $1 you can purchase a copy of Patrick Hamel's 1 page story:  The Golden Sword and The Sword of Darkness.   Each story is illustrated with a pencil drawing and each of the 10 copies thus far printed of the story has a unique picture.  Shipping for each story is .44 per address. 

"Behold the story of mideval times about the most powerful swords in the Universe!"
-Patrick Hamel

"It's two stories rolled into one!"
-Patrick Hamel
One of the illustrations .

So this is what Patrick worked on this morning. Now he has the copies of his story in a folder and is looking for an outlet to sell them.  He asked if he could go sell at the Speedway Gas Station.  Obviously I had to say no to that idea. I wonder if he could technically list it on

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to make your Thanksgiving Feast A success by Patrick Hamel.

Tips on planning your Thanksgiving  from Master Patrick Hamel

Today we were in the car going to pick up The Man from the Train and I flipped through the radio station and found that WLIT 93.9 has turned on the Holiday Lite.  This means from now until 12/26 it's all Christmas Music all the time. Patrick does not approve:

What You Should Be Doing Now by Patrick:

Well you know they shouldn't be playing Christmas songs now, and like, you shouldn't be focusing on buying presents for Christmas now. 

You should be focused on food. What kinds of food you are going to buy?  Get dresses and clothes if you are going to be fancy for Thanksgiving.  Don't forget to get silverware and Thanksgiving decorations like pictures of pilgrims.  You should invite family members and people over for Thanksgiving and get everyone nice and clean for it.

On the Turkey front I see that Target has turkey for 79 cents a pound (Limit 2) and wait here I have a flyer for a small local supermarket, Fairplay, and they have Premium Butterball Turkeys (and a mighty fine website) for 98 cents a pound. (Limit 1).

Or you can go totally organic and free range with your feast, by having a special Thanksgiving Box of Organic Fruit, Veggies, Herbs and a plumb free range turkey delivered from Timber Creek Farms out of Yorkville.  We get an organic produce box delivered from Timber Creek and it's always full of great stuff to play with even if I don't know what the heck it is that I going to be cooking with before it arrives at my door.

Mystery Squash from a Timber Creek Organics box.  I roasted it with just a sprinkling of Seasoned Salt and it was delish!.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Grocery Shopping Woes

I need to go grocery shopping, not the grab a few things kind, but the overflowing cart kind. A shoebox stands in the way of me shoppping.  Why you ask?  Well the shoebox is full of all my coupons which need to be gone through and organized and I need to match up the coupons with the deals. I can't go to the store and buy a few items knowing that in the shoebox is a coupon for say 50 cents off.  I just can't!

And then there is the Thanksgiving factor! When can I get 'the best' deal on a Turkey?  That time is not here yet.  But it is coming, I know it! I love a yummy turkey dinner, so I'd like to plan my shopping to allow for purchasing two turkeys at rock bottom prices.  And then I've been thumbing through the beautiful chock-full-of-awesomeness that is the Food Network Thanksgiving issue.  So many sides and so little time!

This leads me to rant-like statement.  You know what I don't get?  Meat in stuffing.  Why put sausage (for example) in stuffing?  It's a side dish.  Side dishes should be meat-free--only exception being the addition of some bacon.  Bacon is always welcome.

Lastly I have one major wrinkle to consider in this weeks shopping, and that is that the microwave has gone kaput.  Poorly played Kenmore Microwave.   Just when it's your time to shine as we make our way through the whirlwind that is holiday cooking, you go and kick the bucket! 

Quick Recipe
We had a couple uncarved decorative pumpkins so today I cut the top off one and Anna scooped out the guts and we made a batch of late-season Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Totally Tastefully Simple
1 batch of washed pumpkin seeds
2 tbsps of  Our Roasted Garlic Infused Oil
a sprinkling of our Seasoned Salt

Mix the first 2 ingredients in a small bowl then take a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and spread out the pumpkin seeds.  Sprinkle on our Seasoned Salt and roast in an oven for about 15 minutes at 425.  The seeds are done when they are golden brown and a little crunchy.  Watch time, do not let them overcook because they are so much better before they are burnt. :-D

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How's Your Holiday Shopping going? Of Grandmas and Applesauce

But before I chat about shopping, I would like to share a picture from my recent trip to see my Grandma in Youngstown, OH.  If we are friends on facebook or you are a subscriber to my Gabby Gourmet Newsletter then you have probably seen my 2011 Four Generations picture, so please bear with me.

Thinking about this picture showing 4 generations of women in my family, I have two thoughts.  The first is, I really should have done something with my hair. 

The second is that I am reminded of late summer 2004.  Why then you ask?  Back then my mother organized a little party for my parents wedding anniversary and at that time Anna was an infant, and we have another one of these pictures. A casual picture outside the restaurant where the Wedding Anniversary party was held.

The day before the party, other pictures had been taken as well. My mother declared that  for her wedding anniversary she wanted a family portrait and scheduled a photo shoot. My mom doesn't frequently make requests, so obviously it was important to her.  During the shoot, I remember several unruly toddlers on the scene. Oh yes, they would be my boys. I also recall that Anna was a couple months old and I didn't have any non-maternity clothes that fit.  Icing on the cake of the ill-fated family photo was that my brother Karl wasn't able to come in town to be part of the picture. 

Now here we are 7 years later, and I realize,  I've never seen the family photo shoot pictures.  Since they have never seen the light of day, hanging over the mantle at my parent's home, I can only assume they much be terrible pictures.
How is your holiday shopping going?  According to a news report I glanced at, most shopping is done during November.  Last week I was at a large shopping event in Evergreen Park held to benefit Christmas 4 Kids .  As you know, I'm commited to a preowned Christmas, so I stayed at my table and shared the Tastefully Simple with everyone who stopped by and avoided shopping myself.  Well, except for one purchase, and I think you'll be with me on this.

Have you ever heard of Chicago's Finest Applesauce?  It's made by Officer Jim Mullen, he was injured in the line of duty and paralyzed.  Being an amazing entrepreneur, and creator of one most awesome applesauce, he is the owner of Mullen Foods.  His's very enthusiastic marketing director was at the event sharing samples of the all-natural applesauce.  One little spoonful and I knew I had a grab and jar and do some kitchen experimenting. 

Now the Man-of-the-house got ahold of my jar and helped himself so when I made the recipe below I had about 1/2 a jar left.  So we know it is acceptable to even the pickiest of palates.  If you want to try some for yourself, you can check out the retail locations that carry Chicago's Finest Applesauce on the website for Mullen Foods.

Baked Butternut Applesauced Squash

1/2 a jar of Chicago's Finest Applesauce
1 med to large butternut squash peeled and diced, feel free to make the chunks the size you like.
1/2 a teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-2tbsp Tastefully Simple Caramel Cinnamon Sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, my oven runs cooler, so if your oven runs hot, try cooking at 375.
Spray 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan with Pam.
Mix the first 3 ingredients right in the pan and then bake for 15 minutes.
Take out the pan remix, enjoy the delicious smells wafting in your kitchen, sprinkle the caramel cinnamon sprinkles on top and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the squash is tender.

Serve with a nice pork chop.