First of all

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.

1 comment:

Beth (Elizabeth) LaMie said...

Nice story, Victoria, about the family portrait. We tried only once to take one with my parents and all the brothers & sisters with their kids. It turned out okay for the most part, but with a large group, there was bound to be some goofy faces. But it's still nice to have.

Unfortunately for us, Mom & Dad are both gone, and several others are no longer around. But like old family stories, it reminds us about who we were then and are now.