Halloween Fun #9

Posted on October 25, 2011. Filed under: Autumn, Candy, Cheese, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Coconut, Comfort Foods, Dairy, Desserts, Halloween, Halloween Candy, Halloween Recipes, Kosher Recipe, MINT, Party Ideas, Rainy Day Foods, Recipes, Recipes with Pumpkin, Snacks, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today I have to go to the doctor, so my time is very limited.  I am sorry to say this article may have to be posted in two parts, but the end result will be lots of fun recipes for candy making.  I love to make candy and Halloween is the best time to make it.  It is interesting the number of holidays that must have candy to help celebrate it…Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Chanukah, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…and to think we complain about our holidays being manipulated by Hallmark Cards!  LOL

When I make candy, I like to make the molded chocolates, but I am not going to explain how-to’s for those in this article.  Instead, we will look at fun Halloween specific candy recipes and Copykat recipes for our favorite candy bars.  So hang on tight while we begin our journey through “The Candy Shoppe!”

Step Right Up For The Best Candy Anywhere!

Today we will begin with Halloween specific candy bars with such goodies as Candy Ghosts to keep with our ghost theme, pumpkin mints, and marshmallow witches to name a few.  Scroll down and drool!

Aren't I Just The Cutest?

Candy Ghosts


4 tablespoons of evaporated milk

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Black or red string licorice

Measure the milk into the bowl then add the sugar slowly using a fork to mix it in until all the sugar has been added. It will be thick and you will be able to knead it with your hands. Knead it until the mixture is very smooth and easy to work with, like play dough.

Tear off bits of the mixture and shape into little ghost shapes. Cut bits of the licorice to use as eyes and mouths. Chill.

Makes about 10 ghosts depending upon how big you make them. This can also be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters.

Why Are You Afraid of Me?

Marshmallow Witches


1/2 cup vanilla frosting, divided

36 miniature semisweet chocolate chips

12 large marshmallows

1 drop each green, red and yellow food coloring, optional

1/4 cup flaked coconut

12 chocolate wafers

12 miniature peanut butter cups

12 milk chocolate kisses

For the face of each witch, place a dab of frosting on the bottom of three chocolate chips; press two for eyes and one for nose onto each  marshmallow.

For hair, combine green food coloring and a drop of water in a small resealable plastic bag; add coconut and shake well. Spread a small amount of frosting on sides of marshmallows; press coconut hair into frosting. Place 3 tablespoons of frosting in a small heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; tint orange with red and yellow food coloring.   Set aside.

For hats, spread some of the remaining frosting in the center of chocolate wafers; press peanut butter cups upside down into frosting. Lightly spread bottoms of chocolate kisses with frosting; place on peanut butter cups.

Cut a small hole in the corner of pastry or plastic bag; insert a small star tip. Fill the bag with frosting and pipe stars around the base of each peanut butter cup. Secure a hat to each witch with a dab of frosting.

Makes 1 dozen.

Marzipan Pumpkins


By Elizabeth LaBau, About.com Guide

“Marzipan pumpkins are easy to make and look beautiful on top of pastries, or as part of a fall display. You can modify the recipe and vary the size of the pumpkins to suit your needs.

You can make your own marzipan, or purchase it from most large grocery stores. Marzipan most commonly comes in 7-ounce tubes (the quantity called for here) but you can use more or less depending on what you have available.”


7 ounces (1 roll) marzipan

Red and yellow food coloring

Dark-colored jimmies (optional)


Coat your hands with powdered sugar, or wear plastic gloves.  Knead the marzipan until it has softened slightly. Flatten the marzipan into a disc, and add a few drops of red and yellow food coloring to the middle, using a ration of 1 drop red to 2 drops yellow. Fold the marzipan into a ball and begin to knead the color throughout the dough,adding more food coloring if desired, working until the marzipan is one uniform color.

Roll the dough into small balls about 1 inch in diameter. Flatten the balls slightly so that they have a pumpkin shape. Place a toothpick vertically against the side of a marzipan ball, and press the side of the toothpick into the candy, creating an indentation extending vertically from top to bottom. Repeat at regular intervals along the ball, to create the familiar pumpkin creases. Repeat with remaining pumpkins.

If desired, poke small holes in the top of the pumpkins, and push in a dark-colored candy jimmy to form the “stem.” Edible sprigs of herbs can also be used.

Store marzipan pumpkins in an airtight Tupperware container for up to two weeks, or freeze well-wrapped marzipan pumpkins for up to three months.

How realistic can you get?

Mummy Truffles


By Elizabeth LaBau, About.com Guide

“Making Halloween candy is a wrap with these Mummy Truffles! Chewy, soft coconut balls are wrapped in fondant “bandages” to form adorable mini mummy candies.

Don’t miss the video showing how to make mummy  truffles!  Click on the word “video” to view the video.”

Yield: about 24 1-inch candies


4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup shredded coconut

1/8 teaspoon salt

8 ounces white fondant

2 tablespoons chocolate chips


Place the cream cheese,vanilla, and coconut extract in the bowl of a large electric mixer. Mix them on medium speed until the cream cheese is smooth and entirely soft.

Stop the mixer, add 2 cups of powdered sugar, and mix on low speed until the powdered sugar is incorporated. Stop the mixer and add the remaining powdered sugar and mix just until combined.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the coconut and salt. Turn the mixer to low and mix until the candy is homogeneous and well-mixed. Check the texture of the candy: you want it to be firm enough to easily be shaped into a ball, but not too dry and stiff. If necessary, add more powdered sugar to get the right texture.

Using a spoon, scoop up a small amount of candy and roll it between your hands until it is round. Place the ball on a foil-lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining candy. Chill until the balls are firm, about 2 hours.

Once the balls are firm, roll the fondant out on a powdered sugar-dusted workstation until it is a thin rectangle about a foot long. Roll the fondant as thin as possible, because you don’t want the fondant layer to overwhelm the candy. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut very thin strips of fondant, about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. At this point, you can use a rolling pin to roll the individual strip of fondant even thinner to get a paper-thin strip.

Take one thin strip and wrap it around one of the coconut balls, criss-crossing it in the front to make the mummy’s bandages. If it breaks, just start wrapping again–it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can use a little water or corn syrup to get it to stick to the coconut ball if it has trouble sticking. Wrap it around 3-4 times total–it is okay if some of the coconut is showing through. Repeat with remaining fondant and coconut balls, re-rolling the fondant scraps as necessary until all of the balls are covered with mummy bandages.

Melt the chocolate chips and use a toothpick to dot the chocolate onto the mummies to form eyes. Alternately, you can stick on mini chocolate chips or M&Ms for the eyes.

Store Mummy Truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Pumpkin Mints


1/4 cup milk

4 tsp. butter

3-1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 drops oil of peppermint

Yellow food coloring

Green food coloring

Red food coloring

Heat milk and butter and stir till butter has melted.  Add confectioner’s sugar. Mix thoroughly and add the oil of peppermint.

Knead with hands until fondant is smooth. Take out about 1/6 and color it green. Knead to mix color evenly. Cover with damp cheesecloth to prevent drying. Add enough yellow and red coloring to the rest of the fondant to make it a nice orange pumpkin color. Cover with damp cheesecloth.

Work with small amounts of the orange-colored fondant at a time and roll into small balls in the palms of your hands.

Break a toothpick in 2 and make grooves in the fondant like those in a pumpkin, using the broken end of the toothpick.

Roll a bit of the green fondant in thin cylinders and cut in short stem like pieces. Press on top of the pumpkins.

YIELD: 40 mints

These are a must try!

Pumpkin Spice Truffles


By Elizabeth LaBau, About.com Guide

“Pumpkin Spice Truffles are pumpkin-shaped truffles that are bursting with flavor from pumpkin puree, cream cheese, cinnamon graham crackers, and plenty of spices. The cream cheese flavor isn’t overwhelming, but it does give these Pumpkin truffles a bit of a pumpkin cheesecake flavor–which is a definite plus in my book! If you want to stay more traditional you can dip these in regular chocolate instead of making them look like miniature pumpkins.

Yield: 24-30 truffles


6 ounces white chocolate, chopped (or uses chips)

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3/4 cup powdered dry milk

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I recommend using cinnamon grahams)

1 pound orange colored candy coating

3 ounces green colored candy coating


In a small bowl, melt the white chocolate in the microwave in short bursts until it is melted and entirely smooth. Set aside for now. Combine the softened cream cheese and the pumpkin puree in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth and combined. Scrape the bowl and beat again to make sure there are no lumps in the cream cheese.

Add the powdered milk, the powdered sugar, and the pumpkin pie spice. Beat on low until incorporated, then scrape down the mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until very smooth.

Add the melted white chocolate and mix until incorporated. Finally, stir in the graham cracker crumbs.

The mixture will be fairly soft at this point. Press cling wrap on the top and refrigerate it until firm enough to roll, about 2 hours.

When the candy is firm, use a candy scoop or a teaspoon to scoop up small balls. Dust your hands with powdered sugar and roll the truffles between your palms to make them round.

Melt the orange candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl until melted and fluid.

Dip the truffles in the coating, one by one, using dipping tools or a fork. Set them on a foil-lined baking sheet when finished.

To make them look more like pumpkins, add a bit of melted chocolate tothe remaining orange coating to turn it a darker shade of brownish-orange. Put it in a small plastic bag and snip off a tiny corner. Pipe intersecting lines across the top of the truffles.

Finish them off with green leaves: melt the green candy coating and put it in a plastic bag as well. Draw a small swirl on to of each pumpkin truffle to simulate vines or leaves.

Refrigerate the truffles to set the coating, for about 10 minutes, before serving.

Store Pumpkin Spice Truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and bring them to room temperature before serving.

Pumpkin Chocolate Bark


By Elizabeth LaBau, About.com Guide

“Pumpkin Chocolate Bark has a gorgeous swirl of orange pumpkin-flavored chocolate running through rich semi-sweet chocolate. This beautiful treat makes a perfect Halloween candy, and it couldn’t be easier to make.

You will need orange oil-based candy coloring and oil-based candy pumpkin flavoring for this recipe–water-based colorings and flavorings will not mix well with the chocolate. The flavoring can be found in many specialty cake or candy stores, or purchased online by searching for “pumpkin flavoring.”


2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips

1 teaspoon pumpkin-flavored candy oil

1-1/2 cups white chocolate, chopped, or white chocolate chips

Orange candy coloring


Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or waxed paper.

If you would like to store this candy at room temperature, you should temper the chocolate by following these instructions. (Note that you cannot temper chocolate chips). If you are fine with storing the candy in the refrigerator, it can simply be melted as described in the following instructions. Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating.

Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, stir in ½ tsp of the pumpkin flavoring and stir until smooth. Scrape the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet and spread it into a thin layer, about ¼ inch thick, with a knife or offset spatula. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the white chocolate.

Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Once melted, add the remaining ½ tsp of pumpkin flavoring, and a few drops of orange candy oil. Stir until well-mixed, and add more coloring if necessary to achieve the shade of orange you’d like.

Take a large spoon and drop spoonfuls of the orange all over the chocolate on the baking sheet. Use a toothpick or the tip of a knife to swirl the orange and chocolate together. Try not to swirl too much, or the color will become muddy and the swirls indistinct.

Refrigerate the tray to set the chocolate, about 15 minutes. Once set, break the bark into small irregular pieces with your hands. If the chocolate has been tempered, you can store it in an airtight container at room temperature, but if not, you should keep Pumpkin Chocolate Bark in an airtight container in the refrigerator to prevent it from becoming too soft.

Vampire Blood Fudge


1-1/2 C. granulated sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 T. butter or margarine

1/2 C. evaporated milk

1 small box cherry-flavored gelatin

2 to 3 T. raspberry jam

2 C. semisweet mini chocolate chips

1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Butter an 8-inch square pan.

Mix sugar, salt, butter or margarine and milk in a saucepan. Place the mixture on the stove, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir carefully and continuously for exactly 5 minutes. If you stop stirring, the mixture will rise in the pan and burn. If the mixture is too near the top of the pot, the heat is too high and should be lowered.

Prepare gelatin according to package directions, using only 1 cup water. While gelatin is still liquid, add it and raspberry jam to fudge mixture. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove the saucepan from heat. Turn off the heat. Add chocolate chips immediately, and stir until they are all dissolved. Add vanilla extract and stir. Pour fudge into the prepared pan. Refrigerate overnight.

When fudge is hard, turn the pan over and run hot water over the bottom so you can remove the fudge easily. Cut into 16 squares.

So you vant to eat me, huh!

Werewolf Truffles


By Elizabeth LaBau, About.com Guide

Werewolf Truffles may be the best Halloween candy you’re too scared to eat! A delicious chocolate-peanut butter mixture is dipped in chocolate and decorated to look like spooky werewolves. This recipe yields 16-18 werewolf truffles.

Don’t miss the video showing how to make werewolf truffles!  Just click the word “video” to go to see this wonderful video.


1.5-2 cups powdered sugar

3 ounces (about 1/2 cup) chocolate chips, melted

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon hot water

3 tablespoons peanut butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 pound chocolate candy coating

1 graham cracker

2 tablespoons red hots candy

2 tablespoons miniature chocolate chips

Cooling rack with small grid pattern


Place the melted chocolate chips, cream cheese, vanilla, hot water, peanut butter, salt, and 1 cup of powdered sugar in the bowl of a large electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients until the candy is well-mixed and homogeneous.

Stop the mixer and add an additional 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Mix the candy on low, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, until it is entirely mixed and smooth. Check the texture of the candy: you want it to be firm enough to easily be shaped into a ball, but not too dry and stiff. If necessary, add more powdered sugar to get the right texture.

Using a spoon, scoop up a small amount of candy and roll it between your hands until it is round. Now pinch a bit of it in front to elongate it about ½ inch–this is the werewolf’s “snout.” Repeat with remaining candy until you have 16-18 werewolf heads on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Melt the candy coating in a large microwave-safe bowl, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir until the coating is melted and smooth.

While you are melting the coating, cut the graham cracker into small triangles between 1/4-1/2 inch tall. These will be your werewolf ears.

Once the coating is melted, dip the bottom of a graham triangle in the coating and press it into the top of the werewolf’s head. Repeat with a second triangle to form a pair of ears, and continue until every werewolf has two ears sticking from the top of its head. Refrigerate the werewolves to set the coating, about 5 minutes.

Once the coating holding the ears in place is set, remove the tray from the refrigerator. Using forks or dipping tools, dip a werewolf head in the melted candy coating, submerging it completely. Remove it from the coating and tap the fork against the side of the bowl to remove excess coating. Place the head back on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining candies and coating.

To create the texture of the werewolf’s fur, the candy coating needs to set just a little bit–you want it to be tacky to the touch but not liquidy. So either let the tray of dipped candies sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, or place it in the refrigerator for 15-30 seconds. Once the werewolves are tacky to the touch, place several of them on a cooling rack with a small grid pattern. Use a fork to roll them around the rack. Some of the candy coating will come off and stick to the rack, and the rest will start to get textured and look “furry.”

Repeat with remaining truffles. If you don’t have a cooling rack that works, you can try using fork tines to create a waved or hair-like pattern on the truffles.

To finish your werewolves, press a miniature chocolate chip into the top of the snout to be the wolf’s nose. Cut a red hot in half, and press the two halves into the head to be the eyes. Refrigerate the truffles to set the coating completely.

Store Werewolf Truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, and allow them to come to room temperature before serving for best taste and texture.

I will post part two of this article tomorrow.  I hope you and I both get a chance to try our hand at some of these great recipes.  I especially love the werewolves, don’t you!  Let me know what you think!


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Posted on October 7, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Kol Nidrei has been sung and tears that it brings to our eyes have all been wiped away.  We’ve prayer for forgiveness and recited Yizkor for our dearly departed beloved family and friends.  We’ve even listened to the Rabbi’s sermon.  We’ve had our Yom Tov nap and many of us have returned to shul for the evening prayers.  FINALLY, the time has come to get ready to break our fast.  In my family, it was my honor to at least get things going in preparation for company.  This is what our Break Fast Menu is, but, before we begin our preparations, we take time to have a cup of tea and something sweet…so I will begin this post with a cookie recipe:

Poppy Seed Cookies Just Like Grandma Used To Make

Poppy Seed Cookies


Source:  Maya Silver

“The thing that surprised me most about this recipe is the cost of poppy seeds a couple of bucks for the quarter-cup called for in the recipe. Jan was a woman who thought that if you paid more than 99 cents for a pint of blueberries, you were a sucker. Yet she splurged on poppy seeds. Go figure. Guess she liked the nice crunch that the seeds add to this soft and homey cookie dough.

Jan also called these “mun cookies”, mun is German and Yiddish for poppy seeds, which were an integral part of European baking but never quite achieved the crossover success of chocolate chips and raisins. Mun cookies can be thick or thin. Jan’s were rounded and pillowy, and incredibly yummy. ” – Maya Silver

Makes 25-30 cookies

1/2 cup oil

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

3 cups flour

1/4 cup poppy seeds

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of one orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix oil and sugar. Beat eggs slightly. Add along with orange juice and beat.

Mix dry ingredients and poppy seeds. Add to batter, and mix well.

Drop by tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake 20 minutes or so until golden. (“Jan suggests you check after 15 minutes.” – Mya Silver)

SOFTA123’S NOTE:  I have not tried this recipe but if it’s anything like the picture then it should be like my grandmother’s recipe which I loved with a cup of tea and miss very much.

Ok, now for the main meal…

Make sure the coffee pot is on and that the hot water for decafinated coffee, cocoa and tea is ready!

Someone has sampled the bagel! Get it off the cheese! Herring...yumm!

Bagels – sliced

Cream Cheese

Butter or Margarine

Herring in Wine Sauce

Herring in Sour Cream Sauce

Gefilte Fish


Tossed Salad

Canned fruit of your choice (or fresh fruit salad if you are ambitious and time permits)

Cottage Cheese

Assorted Cheese Slices (i.e. American, Cheddar, Swiss)

Sliced Onions

Sliced Tomatoes

Lettuce Leaves

Kosher Pickles

Tuna Fish

Egg Salad

Lukshen Kugel*

Blintz Soufflé*

Mandarin Orange Salad Jello Mold*


Sour Cream Cake*


Mandel Bread aka Mandel Brot*

Ruth’s Fleddles*

Poppy Seed Cookies (above recipe)*

DISCLAIMER:  None of the photographs are attached to the recipes except for the poppy seed cookies.  The photographs are of what I think the recipes would look like.  ~Softa123

Marilyn’s Lukshen Kugel



1 pound Broad Noodles; cooked & drained

2 Eggs; beaten

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1/4 cup Sugar

1/4 pound Butter OR Margarine

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

2 Apples; washed, peeled, cored & sliced

1/2 cup Raisins; I actually don’t measure my raisins, I just throw in3-4 handfuls. I prefer golden raisins, but either will do.- Softa123 aka Marilyn


1/2 pound Cottage Cheese

1 cup Sour Cream

1 teaspoon Lemon Juice

1/4 cup Milk

2 Eggs; beaten

Mix cooked noodles, 2 eggs, vanilla, sugar, butter, cinnamon, apples and raisins together. Pour into UNGREASED 8×16″ glass pan (A 13×9″ pan will do and I often make this recipe in the disposable aluminum pans).

Mix cottage cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, milk and 2 beaten eggs together in blender. Process until well blended. Pour this mixture ontop of noodle mixture.  DO NOT MIX!

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 HOUR.

This is my favorite lukshen (noodle) kugel recipe. It is different from most as it is almost custardy!!   This recipe is my own creation. – Softa123 aka Marilyn

Servings: 10

The following is my recipe for a Blintz Casserole.  It is different from most and I think it’s better because this recipe does not begin with frozen blintzes.  It is not difficult to make and I like to take either the above lukshen kugel or this blintz soufflé with me to pot lucks. – Softa123 aka Marilyn

Farmer's Cheese





2 pounds Farmers Cheese (similar to Riccota cheese) OR Riccota Cheese

2 large Eggs

Juice of 1 medium Fresh Lemon

1/4 cup Granulated Sugar

1 pinch of Salt


1/2 pound Butter

1/2 cup Sugar

1 pinch Salt

2 large Eggs

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 tablespoons Baking Powder

1/4 cup Milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


BATTER:  Cream butter and granulated sugar together for the batter.  Add remaining batter ingredients (salt, eggs, all-purpose flour, baking powder, milk and vanilla extract).  Mix until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth.

FILLING:  Beat together all filling ingredients (farmers cheese, eggs, lemon juice, granulated sugar and salt) until well incorporated and smooth.

CASSEROLE:  GREASE a large casserole dish OR 9″x13″x2″ pan.  Place half of batter in casserole (SOFTA123’S AKA MARILYN’S NOTE:  I use a 9″x13″x2″ glass pan.).  It will be a thin layer. Spread filling over the batter layer.  Cover filling with remaining batter.

Bake casserole at 300° Fahrenheit for 1 1/2 hours.

SOFTA123’S AKA MARILYN’S NOTES:  This recipe is absolutely wonderful!!! The taste is wonderful and it is so much easier than making blintzes from scratch. I think that it tastes better than the blintz casseroles made with frozen blintzes.

The first time I made this recipe, I took it to a New York State Home Bureau (Monroe County’s) Pot-Luck picnic in August of 1994.  Everyone loved it.  I had no leftovers!!!

ORIGINAL SOURCE:  The recipe came from Cynthia Merzer who lives in Atlantis, Florida.  She posted it on the Prodigy Food Boards on September 22, 1993.

The recipe looks nothing like this! The recipe looks more like a creamsicle in a jello mold,.

Mandarin Orange Salad


1 large package orange Jello

1 pint orange sherbet

2 small can mandarin oranges

Drain the liquid from the mandarin oranges and add water to make 3 cups of liquid.

Dissolve the Jello in 2 cups of the heated liquid. Add the one remaining cup of cold liquid. Refrigerate until mixture begins to thicken.

Whip in the pint of orange sherbet and stir in mandarin oranges. Chill until Jello is completely set.

This is my all-time favorite jello mold!  I goes very nicely with a heavy meal!  Can serve it with the cottage cheese and fruit, or with dessert. ~SOFTA123 aka Marilyn

Oh, I'm hungry!

I searched all over for my sour cream cake recipe.  I can’t believe that I can’t find it.  But, this recipe that I found on the internet just now sounds like the recipe I use.  Let’s all hope it is!!! 🙂


Easy Sour Cream Cake


By Diana Rattray, About.com Guide

This easy sour cream cake makes a great coffee cake, or bake it for a weekend treat or potluck take-along.


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons granulated sugar


Heat oven to 350°.

Grease a 12-cup Bundt cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, vanilla and eggs; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, blend in the sour cream.

In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Gradually stir sifted dry ingredients into creamed mixture.

Combine the walnuts, cinnamon and 3 tablespoons of sugar in separate bowl or cup and set aside.  Spoon about one-third of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.

Sprinkle half of walnut-sugar mixture over batter. Layer another one-third of batter. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture and top with remaining batter.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. Cool cake completely before removing from pan.

Well, that’s all for tonight.  The rest of the recipes will be up tomorrow.  I know it’s late for this year, but, hey, there’s always next year!

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Posted on September 18, 2011. Filed under: Chocolate, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Honey, Jewish, Kosher Recipe, My Ramblings, Oranges, Parve, Recipes, Rochester, Rosh Hashannah Recipes, Theatre, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I overslept today, so please forgive me. This will be a very short post today, but I did want to tell you about the play that my Mom and I went to see last night (the hubby opted out). I told you a little about it on Friday. Anyway, it was put on at MuCC on Atlantic Avenue in Rochester, New York. MuCC stands for Multi-use Community Cultural Center. (More about that later.)

Charlotte Bronte

Anyway, we saw John W. Borek Presents William Luce’s B R O N T E starring Meredith Powell, a local Irondequoit actress and directed by Rochester’s own Michael Arve. Let me tell you this, my husband and the rest of you who did not see this production was missing a theatrical masterpiece! Ms. Powell was incredible! After the play was over, I learned for the house manager that Ms. Powell only had four weeks to learn this taxing part. Can you imagine having to memorize a two-and-a-half hour script for a one-person play in just four weeks? I know I could not do it. But, this was a minor point. The major points of Ms. Powell’s performance are these: first of all, her on-stage energy was catching. She had the audience riveted to her every move and every wonderful nuance of her expressive face. Next, she not only had to memorize lines, take directions from the extremely talented Michael Arve, but she had to cultivate many different accents as she led us through conversations with such personages as her father, her aging housekeeper, and all of her siblings. It was a treat just listening to her. Then, Ms. Powell had to learn French, if she didn’t already know some, but her French accent sounded flawless to me! And she even had to sing. What a talent…And Mr. Arve’s directing was flawless. It was so good that if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought Ms. Powell did everything on her own! What a team these two theatrical talents are! I can’t wait to see their next colaboration. Cudos to all involved!!!

If you did miss this production of Bronte, I hope you do get to see the play someday. It really is a wonderful piece of theatre and you really get to know Charlotte Bronte, author of “Jane Eyre,” and through her, we get a glimpse of her sisters Emily (author of “Withering Heights) and Anne (author of Agnes Grey), as well as the rest of her family and their lives. A rich piece of literary history!

In honor of this production of Bronte and the entire Bronte family, here is today’s honey cake recipe:

Join Me For A Cup Of Tea


Perfect for a cream tea.

Recipe uploaded byGeraldene Holt
Recipe by Geraldene Holt

Difficulty and servings

Makes 12 slices

Preparation and cooking times
Cook 1 hr 30 mins


250g clear honey, plus about 2 tbsp extra to glaze
225g unsalted butter
100g dark muscovado sugar 3 large eggs , beaten
300g self-rising flour

Preheat the oven to fan 140C/ conventional 160C/gas 3.

Butter and line a 20cm round loosebottomed cake tin.

Cut the butter into pieces and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar. Melt slowly over a low heat. When the mixture looks quite liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute. Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, to prevent the eggs cooking when they are mixed in.

Beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture, beating until you have a smooth, quite runny batter.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour until the cake is well-risen, golden brown and springs back when pressed.

A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Turn the cake out on a wire rack. Warm 2 tbsp honey in a small pan and brush over the top of the cake to give a sticky glaze, then leave to cool. Keeps for 4-5 days wrapped, in an airtight tin.

Per slice
336 kcalories, protein 4g, carbohydrate 43g, fat 17 g, saturated fat 10g, fibre 1g, sugar 25g, salt 0.29 g
Recipe from Good Food magazine, July 2003.

NOTE: Please note that I did not have the opportunity to convert this recipe.~Marilyn

Okay, for our American bakers who don’t like to do measurement and ingredient conversions, here is another honey cake recipe for today!

Always A Good Choice

Chocolate Swirl Honey Cake (P)
Source: Marcy Goldman, Baker Boulanger website http://www.betterbaking.com

Serves: 12-16

Honey Spice Batter:

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 cup brewed tea
1/4 cup orange juice

Chocolate Batter:

1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa, measured and sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cola, flat


1/2 cup chocolate, grated
Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Generously spray a 9″-10″ tube pan with cooking spray.

For honey spice batter, place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice in a bowl. Blend with a whisk, then make a well in the center. Stir in oil, honey, white and brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, tea, and orange juice. Blend well to make a smooth batter. Set aside.

For chocolate batter, in a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Make a well in the center and whisk in white and brown sugars, oil, eggs, vanilla, and cola. Blend well to make a smooth batter.

Pour honey spice batter into prepared pan. Top with chocolate batter. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake 55-65 minutes or until cake springs back when gently touched.

Cool 10 minutes then un-mold and place on a serving platter. While cake is still warm, sprinkle on grated chocolate and allow to melt.

If you prefer, chill cake to set chocolate and then dust with confectioners’sugar.

Posted by Nancy Berry

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Posted on September 8, 2011. Filed under: Breakfast, Cakes, Comfort Foods, Dairy, Desserts, Ethnic Recipe, Friends, Quick Breads, Rainy Day Foods, Recipes, Tried and True Recipe, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The anniversary of 9/11 is quickly approaching. This is the 10th anniversary of this horrendous event in American history and our lives. For me, it is even more so…not only do I grieve for all those precious souls that lost their lives on 9/11, but I grieve for my best friend who died a few weeks later, and for my beloved father who died a week after Beverly did. I keep saying that G-d took them when he did because he needed good souls to help fight the evils of our age.

To mark this anniversary there will be many ceremonies around the world and many people will join those celebrations, needing community to help them through the grieving process. This is good. In fact, in my religion, you are not supposed to say memorial prayers for your loved ones except in the synagogue so that you have your community to lean on and to help you grieve. I am a loner who grieves better in my own home, in my own way. I want to be able to cry if I need to, without have to have others witness my tears. I want to choose prayers that are meaningful to me after I say Kaddish (memorial prayer). So, I invite you to commemorate this event in your own way, but please do commemorate it. It is important that we never forget how much evil hatred there is in the world from paranoia and ignorance; hatred stemming for greed for power and money. We need to remember how hatred causes loss of precious life because someone wants publicity for their cause. And just pure evil hatred that has comes down to us via the generations of a race or a religion or a culture.

I invite you to join a commemoration ceremony in your local community or to commemorate alone by saying Kaddish or a memorial prayer of your own choosing and by making a new friend. Bake a Friendship Cake and take it to a neighbor. Just tell your neighbor you wanted to commemorate 9/11 by meeting him/her. Or if you are a true loner, which I am not, bake a Friendship Cake and leave it protected on a neighbor’s stoop. You can leave a note or not. If you can, donate something to one of your favorite charities. Here is the Kaddish prayer and the recipe for Friendship Cake. Please note, I have taken the liberty to change the prayer a bit.
KADDISH (Mourner’s Prayer)
May the great Name of God be exalted and sanctified, throughout the world, which he has created according to his will. May his Kingship be established in your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the entire world, swiftly and in the near future; and say, Amen.
May his great name be blessed, forever and ever.

Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, honored elevated and lauded be the Name of the holy one, Blessed is he- above and beyond any blessings and hymns, Praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say Amen. May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and life, upon us and upon all the world; and say, Amen.

He who makes peace in his high holy places, may he bring peace upon us, and upon all the world; and say Amen.

“Friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life.”
Thomas Jefferson

Amish Friendship Bread Starter
Submitted By: GINNY LEE
Photo By: Linda (LMT)
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 9 Days 40 Minutes
Servings: 120
“Yeast, sugar, milk and flour ferment to make starter for sweet bread. Because the recipe produces so much starter, give some away to friends.”
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees
F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups white sugar, divided
3 cups milk

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart container glass, plastic or ceramic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or flour will lump when milk is added. Slowly stir in 1 cup milk and dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.

2. On days 2 thru 4; stir starter with a spoon. Day 5; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Days 6 thru 9; stir only.

3. Day 10; stir in 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk. Remove 1 cup to make your first bread,
give 2 cups to friends along with this recipe, and your favorite Amish Bread recipe. Store the remaining 1 cup starter in a container in the refrigerator, or begin the 10 day process over again (beginning with step 2).

Editor’s Note
Once you have made the starter, you will consider it Day One, and thus ignore step 1 in this recipe and proceed with step 2. You can also freeze this starter in 1 cup measures for later use. Frozen starter will take at least 3 hours at room temperature to thaw before using.

Servings Per Recipe: 120
Calories: 34
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 0.2g
Cholesterol: < 1mg
Sodium: 3mg
Amount Per Serving
Total Carbs: 7.7g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1g
Protein: 0.5g

Amish Friendship Bread
Submitted By: JJOHN32
Prep Time: 40 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour

Servings: 30

"A sweet cinnamon bread that requires a batch of Amish Friendship Bread
Starter. For variations, add your favorite fruits and/or nuts!"


1 cup Amish Friendship Bread Starter
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 (9×5 inch)
loaf pans.

2. In a large bowl, combine the Amish bread starter with oil, eggs, 2
cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt,
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon
vanilla. Mix well. Pour into prepared loaf pans.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

Nutritional Information

Servings Per Recipe: 30

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 130

* Total Fat: 5.6g
* Cholesterol: 21mg
* Sodium: 89mg
* Total Carbs: 18.3g
* Dietary Fiber: 0.3g
* Protein: 1.9g

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Posted on September 5, 2011. Filed under: Family, Friends, My Ramblings, Recipes, Rochester, Traditions, Tried and True Recipe, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

 I just learned that my young friend Sammy is having an honor (an aliyah) bestowed on him at his synagogue this morning, so in his honor, I thought I would write about tradition(s).

Figure 1 Sammy and Gil at Rhona’s Birthday Party

The Free Dictionary defines the word “tradition” as “the handing down from generation to generation of the same customs, beliefs, etc., especially by word of mouth.”  But that negates the feelings that are inherent in the word “tradition.”  I would define it as the sharing of customs and beliefs by example and teaching.  Most traditions are good and have a modicum of warm fuzzies associated with them.  A person can have religious traditions, citizenship traditions and family traditions.  One may also have traditions with friends.  Traditions are between two or more people.  And, yes, you can have your own personal traditions, but they usually involve other people.

My religion teaches me many traditions, most importantly the tradition of close knit family and how to behave in a civilized world.  It governs my life cycle; how I was named, what my rite of passage was and how I married.  It will govern how I die.  It also governs my daily life and my spiritual life. My religion teaches me the importance of celebrating momentous occasions and many times teaches me how to celebrate those occasions.

Figure 2 Temple Beth Am, Henrietta, NY

My country teaches me the traditions of its laws, its values.  It further defines how I should behave in a civilized way.  My country teaches me a sense of community and a pride in belonging. It teaches me the preciousness of freedom. My country declares country-wide holidays (what we call “legal” holidays).

Figure 3 Statue of Liberty

My family teaches me most of my traditions, fine tuning the traditions of our religion and country to our way of life.  My family is really the core of my traditions and my celebration of all momentous and “legal” holidays.

Figure 4 Rhona Saying the Blessings Over Candles

My friends and I have traditions that we share.  My friends teach me how to share traditions and respect other traditions.  They teach me tolerance.

Figure 5 Fernando and Laura at Our Annual Chanukah Party Held at Their Home

My personal traditions are traditions that I create for myself and others. These traditions teach me creativity and the importance of all traditions that I follow in my life.

Figure 6 Rhona and Paul at a Restaurant in Kingston

So, what are some of my favorite traditions?

My favorite religious tradition is learning.  I love to learn about everything and that comes from a long line of people who love to learn.  Also, my favorite religious tradition is the retelling of the Exodus from Egypt at Passover time.  I love the symbolism and the rich poetry of the Haggadah, so I began giving a new Haggadah to my husband every year.  When we hold our own Seders, we use the Haggadahs that I have written.  That gives me a lot of pride.  Haggadahs tell the story of the Exodus and has special prayers of thanks to G-d.  Many Haggadahs include songs and poems.  We celebrate freedom.

Figure 7 A Sample of a Haggadah Cover

My favorite United States tradition is celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I love to take the time to be grateful, to spend quality family time and eat some great food.  I love to make turkeys.  It is my very favorite food to cook!  Lately though, we go to a restaurant so that no one has to bother with clean up.  All of us though prefer to celebrate it at home as the food is so much better there!  My Thanksgiving duties have now been taken over by the next generation.

Figure 8 Scott and Lisa at Thanksgiving Time

My favorite family tradition is playing games with my parents.  We usually played board games as we were growing up, but when I became an adult, we played more card games.  Of course, our favorite board game to play was Monopoly by Milton Bradley.  My favorite card game was and still is Euchre.  Today I would still enjoy playing board games, but the grandkids are into electronic games.  For a short while though, my youngest  grandson and I played an online MMORPG called Wizard 101 together.  But school interfered and he played less and less, so I cancelled my subscriptions and went back to my favorite MMORPG which is World of Warcraft.

Figure 9 The Monopoly Game I Played as a Kid

My favorite friend tradition was going over to our friend’s Leo and Laura’s to celebrate Chanukah.  Leo and Laura are more like family than friends and sadly they moved out-of-town last year and due to my own fault, we’ve lost touch.   But, Scott, Lisa and the kids and our friend, Rob would all gather at their house for a marvelous time.  Rob came all the way from Baltimore, Maryland to celebrate with us.  It’s been a long time since we saw him, but we still keep in touch.  We celebrated holidays together for many, many years, beginning when Leo and Laura’s eldest son, Fernando, was 4 years old.  Nando is now almost finished with medical school.  Alex I think graduated college this year.  I miss them!

Figure 10 Leo & Laura

My favorite personal tradition is trying out new restaurants with Paul.  We loved going on “mystery adventures” where we would get into the car, head out in a direction and set a time limit on our drive.  Then we would look for a restaurant that we hadn’t tried before.  We usually had good luck doing this and we sometimes took our friend, Joey, with us on these mystery treks.  Unfortunately, these drives had to end with the price of gas and our drastically reduced finances.  I miss them and I’m sure Paul does too!  And we lost touch with our sweet Joey, unfortunately.

Figure 11 We never used maps on our mystery treks.

Stay tuned for Part II of this article…some of my recipes that I equate with some of our traditions.

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Posted on September 3, 2011. Filed under: Balloon Crafts, Balloons, Candy, Chocolate, Dean Jones, Desserts, Fun, General Crafts, Jane Fonda, Jason Robards, Kids, Movies, Party Ideas, PLAY, Recipes, Uncategorized, Winnie the Pooh | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 I must have always loved balloons, but I never realized how much until I saw the movie “Any Wednesday,” starring Jane Fonda (who I love as an actress and was devastated by her politics) and Jason Robards.  One review I saw described the movie as:

“Broadway hit about a married millionaire’s mistress befriended by his unsuspecting wife and cooed over by a loyal associate. Lots of slamming doors, comical deception, hissy fits and balloons…” (By moonspinner55 found at http://www.imdb.com).


 Unlike moonspinner55, I loved the movie.  And the scene where Jane walks into her apartment and finds it filled with balloons has always stuck with me.  It is a dream of mine to one day come home and find that someone I love has filled a room with balloons for me.

Thinking about balloons, I thought, why not write a post about them, so that’s what you are going to read about here today.

Winnie the Pooh says, “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”  I think that Winnie is 100 percent correct.  We like to decorate our parties and events with balloons.  We take balloons when we visit someone who is ill to try to cheer them up a bit.  Many times someone will bring a balloon(s) to a friend or relative who is celebrating a birthday or an anniversary.  People give loved ones balloons on Valentine’s Day.  They are also appropriate for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  When someone in your workplace gets promoted, balloons are an inexpensive, thoughtful way to say, “Congratulations.”  And don’t forget to give a balloon(s) to a brand new Mom, Dad or Baby!  Balloons are really a go-to gift for most occasions!  I remember giving each of my grandchildren a bunch of colorful balloons for their first birthdays.  I began doing that with my eldest grandson, Marc.  He loved the balloons so much that I made it a tradition that continued with my granddaughter, Rachael, and my youngest grandson, Joshua.

Up, Up and Away

Another dream of mine is to go up in a hot air balloon.  I think they are so gorgeous and I think it would be an exciting and relaxing way to see a special place such as Letchworth State Park in Castile, New York or go over the Ocean in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I’d make sure to take my husband, a picnic lunch and champagne with me!  Would I be scared?  Yeah, a little bit.  But I would still like to go in one.

You can do easy craft projects using balloons and other inexpensive supplies like home-made paste, string, newspaper strips, comic strips or tissue paper.

String Ball Craft

Difficulty:  Easy and a Great Craft To Do With Kids


String, yarn or thread

Round balloons



  1. Make a wheat paste by mixing  3 parts water with 2 parts flour in a pot. Heat to a boil, whisking occasionally to remove lumps. After the paste boils, allow it to cool.
  1. Blow up a balloon of the appropriate size for each ball you want to make.
  1. Dip string or yarn in the cooled paste and then wrap it around the balloons. Go around many times, in different directions, until you have covered the basic shape of the balloon, but be sure to leave gaps if you want to make a see-through string ball.
  1. Allow the string to dry thoroughly; approximately 24 hours.
  1.  Pop the balloons if you want to get them out right away, or wait for them to shrink gradually on their own. When the balloons are gone, you should be left with a see-through string ball.


  1. For more exciting string balls, interweave different colors or types of yarn or string. You can also add paint or glitter to the paste mixture, decorate the finished balls more or put small items inside the balloons before you blow them up, which will end up trapped in the balls (as long as the holes in the string layer are small enough).
  1. These string balls are not water-resistant, so they’re probably more of an indoor toy. The paste is nontoxic but will definitely dissolve if wet.

Make small and medium balls of different colors and hang your finished ball(s) from the ceiling with different lengths of string, yarn or curling ribbon to use as party decorations.

Make small balls using gold and red and/or gold and green colors to decorate your Christmas tree, or to use in a table centerpiece.

Make small balls using dark or royal blue and silver string, yarn or thread to hang from the ceiling as above, or to use as part of a table centerpiece for Chanukah.

For Easter, make the balls in pastel colors, for Valentine’s Day make pink and/or red balls to decorate and perhaps put a special note inside for your beloved.

If you like glitter, add glitter!  Use more than one color for a rainbow effect.  There are countless ways to use this craft.  Let your imagination soar!

Another craft that is similar to the string balls is making Piñatas.

I found this great Piñata project at Make Pinatas.com.  This is a good resource for children’s party ideas.

How to Make a Hot Air Balloon Piñata 
This hot-air balloon piñata is great for first time makers and it makes for a nice big target for little kids.



Papier-Mâché Paste*
• 14-inch balloon, inflated

• 10-inch bowl
• One batch papier-mâché paste
• 1 two-page spread each of regular newspaper and the comic pages
• 32-oz. plastic yogurt container, cut in half horizontally
• String
• Hole punch
• Glue stick
• 5 sheets of tissue paper in bright colors, cut
• into 3 1/2-inch squares
• 4 lbs. of individually wrapped candies

*To make Papié-Maché Paste, combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and 2 cups cold water in a bowl.

Add this mixture to a saucepan of 2 cups boiling water and bring it to a boil again.  Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar. Let it cool; it will thicken as it cools. Once it does, it’s ready to use.


 Step 1:  For stability while working, place the balloon in a 10-inch bowl. Fold the spread of newspaper in half and then in half again. Tear (don’t cut) 1 1/2-inch-wide strips so they have a slightly rough edge (tearing along a straight edge works well). The rough edges help make a smooth overall surface. Drag a strip of newspaper through the papier-mâché paste, wipe off any excess with your fingers, and place it at an angle on the balloon. Place the second strip so that it slightly overlaps the first. Continue until the balloon has been covered with one layer of paper strips–except for a 2-inch square at the top, through which the candy will go. Give the papier-mâché up to 24 hours to dry. Cover your leftover paste with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out (if it does, add warm water).
Step 2:   For the piñata’s hanger, wrap the midpoint of a length of string (doubled up, if necessary) around the bottom of the balloon, pulling the ends up to the top; tape it to the balloon in a few places. Knot together the ends of the string 6 inches above the top. Tape the top half of the yogurt container to the bottom of the balloon. This will become the neck of the hot air balloon.

Step 3:   Cover the balloon (including the string), the neck and the bottom half of the yogurt container (which will become the hot air balloon basket) with a layer of strips of comics, placing them at a different angle from the first layer. (Using different colored strips lets you distinguish one layer from the next, ensuring a uniform overall thickness.) Allow the second layer to dry.

Step 4:  Cover the balloon, neck and basket with strips of plain newsprint going in a third direction. Smooth over any rough edges as you work. Allow the balloon to dry thoroughly.

Step 5:  Punch four holes into the neck of the hot air balloon and four into the basket. Attach string to the neck about 3 1/2 inches from the base of the balloon to later suspend the basket.

Step 6:  
Dot the corners of a tissue square with a glue stick and place it just to the side of the 2-inch square on the top of the balloon. Follow with other squares in the same color, working your way diagonally down around the balloon. When you get to the bottom, start at the top again in another color, fitting the squares into a hound’s-tooth pattern. If you want to add streamers, cut 2- by 30-inch lengths of tissue paper and glue them onto matching colored squares about halfway down.

Step 7:  Cover the basket with squares of tissue in different colors. Attach the basket to the balloon. Puncture the uncovered part of the balloon at the top of the piñata and remove all of the balloon fragments. Make sure the inside of the piñata is completely dry before you fill it, so the candy won’t stick to the sides. Fill it about halfway with the candy. Cover the opening with some tissue squares, and your piñata is ready to hang.

My very favorite balloon craft involves chocolate…. wouldn’t you know it!   I’ve known about this craft for years and it’s on my must try list.  I just think that this is so classy that your company, young or old, will be talking about these for years to come, making you one savvy host/hostess.    The directions for this project was found at Chocolay.

Chocolate Bowls

Chocolate Bowls Recipe

 “This is a fun & easy project, although it can be messy! The chocolate bowls can hold all kinds of goodies including ice cream, mousse, fruit, pretzel sticks, chocolate candy, or any other treat you have in mind. You can get as creative as you want with using white chocolate that has been colored (with specially formulated coloring oils) and coordinate the theme of your party or event. We recommend making more balloons than you’ll need because chances are good that when you deflate some of the chocolate covered balloons the chocolate might fall apart for one reason or another! You can always reuse the chocolate…don’t worry!”


Before you begin, make sure to wash and thoroughly dry the balloons.



 You’ll also Need:

  • Balloons (please note: some people are severely allergic to latex. Make sure that if you use latex balloons anybody eating your bowls know you used balloons to make it)
  • Bowls
  • Heavy Weight Dipping Sheets or Waxed Paper


 Don’t use water balloons! They will pop. Also, water is the one thing that can really mess up chocolate!!!

  • The thicker the balloon the better.
  • Keep in mind that some people are alergic to latex.
  • If you put the chocolate balloons on waxed paper be careful about the corners of the paper curling and touching the chocolate.
  • When dipping the balloons, the longer you leave the balloon in the warm chocolate the more likely it will pop (which is a mess!!!), so dip fast & do multiple layers if you need to.


How To Make Chocolate Bowls:


1. Blow up balloons and place them in a bowl to hold them upright. Don’t blow them to be bigger than 6-8 inches tall. A lot of people like small bowls that are about the size of a coffee cup. It’s up to you. Whatever size you blow up the balloon to be will be the size of your chocolate bowl. You might want to make the balloons slightly different sizes for variety.
2. Spray each balloon (the area you’ll be putting the chocolate on) with non-stick cooking spray such as Crisco spray so that the chocolate will release easier.
3. Melt the chocolate using instructions that came with your chocolate. Ideally, use a double boiler (or a double boiler insert). Do not let the water touch the bottom of the double boiler. Only let the water simmer. Do not allow it to boil or you may burn the chocolate. If you must use a microwave, melt on medium heat for short periods being very careful not to overheat thechocolate. (Softa’s advice:  Use the microwave!!!!)
4. Let the chocolate cool for 5-10 minutes in a bowl that is sized so that you can dip your balloon into the bowl. The chocolate can’t be so hot that it will pop the balloon.

If you want to add a marbleized effect to the chocolate bowl: Pour the base color/flavor of chocolate in the bowl first. Then add a smaller quantity of a second color/flavor of chocolate on top. Swirl lightly with a knife. When you dip the balloons the bowl will look marbleized.5.There a couple of ways to make your chocolate bowls – or you can combine the methods for added flare. Either way, hold the balloon by the knot.

a. For a solid bowl that looks like flower petals: Holding the knot at a slight angle, dip the ballon in chocolate, then using the opposite angle, dip the balloon again. You may be able to do this 2-4 times. Slowly swirl the balloon around to make an even coat. Then lift the balloon slowly and let some of the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Sometimes the balloons will need to be dipped twice to make sure the chocolate is solid enough.


b. For a not solid bowl: Holding the knot, use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the bottom of the balloon going back and forth in one direction and then in the opposite direction. When drizzling, cover about half of the exposed balloon. Then dip the very bottom of the balloon a couple of inches into the chocolate so you have a nice, solid chocolate bottom. When doing this, you can use more than one chocolate flavor (or colored white chocolate) for added design.6.After each balloon is dipped, place on a Heavy Weight Dipping Sheet or waxed paper lined tray. The chocolate will start to settle making a flat bottom for the chocolate bowl.7.After your balloons are finished, move them to a cool area to set up (harden). Hopefully they will fit in your fridge! If so, they will set up in about 10 minutes.8.After the chocolate is completely set up, it’s time to deflate the balloons. Gently remove the chocolate covered balloon from the dipping sheet. If using waxed paper, you might need to slide a knife around the bottom edge to loosen the bottom of the chocolate bowl. Once you remove the balloon, you can use a hat pin to deflate it or cut a small hole in the top of it to deflate it. Make the hole near the area where the balloon is tied.9.As the balloon deflates it will still be attached to the inside of the chocolate. Very slowly peel the balloon away from the chocolate.10.You can add additional decorative touches by gently handling the bowl and adding more drizzled chocolate.Keep the chocolate bowls cool until you plan to use them!

Play around with these crafts and have some fun!

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Posted on September 2, 2011. Filed under: 1960s, Baby Boomers, Candy, Chocolate, Dairy, My Ramblings, Recipes, Rochester, Tried and True Recipe, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

I am a true-blue, proud-of-it, bona fide Baby Boomer!  I was born in 1947.  My parents were married in 1940, but because of World War II they waited until after the war (which ended in 1945) was over.  If you were born between 1946 and 1964, then you are officially a Baby Boomer.  So essentially, for me and those of you who were born in 1947, it is the period of time between when we were born and when we were in our Junior or Senior year of High School.  Being a Baby Boomer, we tended to think of ourselves as a special generation.  We were out to set the world on fire and bring big changes to the world, making it better, or so we thought.  Landon Y. Jones, an American editor and author, is credited with coining the term “baby boomer.”  Of course, growing up, we didn’t think about being Baby Boomers, we thought about getting through the school year, how we could get our parents to raise our allowances without us having to do more work for our money.  We thought about our friends and/or making friends, we thought about the opposite sex, and who we would like to dance with us at the next “Y” dance.  Basically, we thought about everything that people in every other generation has thought about or is thinking about.

In hind-sight, we should have been called “The Lucky Generation.”  With the exception of “The Korean War,” the “Cold War,” “The Cuban Missile Crisis,” and “Viet Nam,” we were lucky.  We were born after the big war (World War II).  About those, I have some recollection, but I have more vivid recollections about the aftermath of WW II.  I remember air raids and having to go out into the school halls in elementary school, sitting on the floor with our heads down waiting for the all-clear bell so we could go back to what we were doing in class (well, most of us waited for that…a few kids wanted to stay in the hall and not go back).  I remember when the air raid sirens would go off on the weekends and being at my paternal grandparents’ house, having to go into her cellar.  We had to access their cellar via a trap door in her kitchen, or we had to go outside and go in from the outside entrance.  I also remember it having a dirt floor.  I remember a young man named “Buzzy” having been in the Korean War. Now, I associate the Korean War with my husband.  I remember discussions about Fallout Shelters and singing anti-war songs at camp.  Those made a huge impression on me.  I still get tight inside whenever I sing or hear an anti-war song and I sing them loudly.  I remember Nikita Khrushchev, who was the prime minister of Russia during the period of time I was growing up. I even remember reading about Khrushchev’s visit to the newly opened Disney Land.  Disney World had not been built yet.  And yes, I remember the excitement of all of us when we learned about the opening of Disney World and how we yearned to go there.  To this day I have never been to Disney Land, but as an adult I visited Disney World before Epcot was built, but sadly we could only stay there a couple of hours.  I don’t remember the reason why we couldn’t stay longer.  I was living in Florida at that time and was about 25 years old, or a couple of years younger.  I’m having a Senior Moment here!  J

So why were we so lucky?  We were able to learn how to respect people.  We cared about people.  If the world was as crazy then as it is now (and I doubt that), we were sheltered from it.  We could safely walk the streets.  I remember walking all the way from my house to my paternal grandmother’s house with no problem.  She lived in what now would be considered “the inner city.”  My maternal grandparents lived upstairs of us.  Both grandmothers spoiled us!

We were lucky that we were governed by Harry S. Truman..  Truthfully, the only thing I remember about his term of office (besides what I learned in the history books when I got to high school), was his daughter, Margaret, playing the piano.  I don’t know why that is so embedded in my memory, but it is.  I always thought she was so beautiful and graceful.

And we were lucky to have had “Ike” (Dwight D. Eisenhower) as the next president that I recall.  I loved Ike!  He had a great smile and I always felt he was like a grandfather.  The thing I remember best about Ike is that he was always out on the golf course.  I really thought that golfing was a requirement of being President because of that.  I also felt safe with Ike because he had helped win World War II.  And Mamie, his wife, was a real class act, or at least appeared to be by me.

I remember in elementary school how we would hold mock elections and I remember being a staunch (if a kid of that age could ever be staunch about anything J) Adlai Stevenson supporter.  I just don’t

remember why! J Probably because he was a Democrat.

Why would I vote against Eisenhower when I liked him so much?  Got me!  I can’t quite recall all that far back! J

And we were lucky to have John Fitzgerald Kennedy as President.  I think he should be given a crown as I pictured him and Jackie Kennedy as King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. They were the epitome of America.  Young, beautiful, hopeful, and believed in all we believed in.  It was a tragedy that Jack and his brother Bobbie were both assassinated so soon after they were elected (in Jack’s case)/appointed (in Bobby’s case) to office.  I really think that history would show they were the crème d’ la crème of our

Leaders.  They brought youth, glamour, energy and life to the White House.  They were what many of us Baby Boomers wanted to be like.  Most importantly they brought hope of being able to get elected President of the United States no matter what your age (as long as you are 35+, according to our laws) and no matter what your religion is.  That in itself is quite a legacy!

I remember when I was in elementary school, making care boxes up for children who were less fortunate than I.  They were tiny boxes and we brought supplies like a box of 8 crayons (if memory serves me correctly, that was the only size available at the time), or a box of Band-Aids.  In those days Band-Aids came in tins. I remember getting “Weekly Readers.”  Now my youngest Grandson (age 10) gets them.  I’m glad that hasn’t changed!

I remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning that we had school and saying a prayer that to me seemed non-denominational.  I don’t think that I really thought that people were of different religions except when it came to Christmas and Easter. Kids were kids period.  I was lucky enough to have parents who believed that you respect other people’s religions and races. I remember being able to have holiday parties.  It didn’t matter to me that those parties often celebrated holidays that my religion didn’t celebrate.  Where is the harm in having Valentine parties and exchanging Valentines, hoping that the boy/girl you had a crush on would give you a special one!  And I remember walking home for lunch.  Having a working Mother meant we would walk home to a lunch with my maternal Grandmother, or my Aunt who lived across the street from us.  Once in a while we would have lunch with a neighbor’s kids or go to the deli that was situated between home and school.  That was a real treat, to go to Bardy’s!  I remember going to Sanzel’s Drug Store with my Grandfather for ice cream.  I wish that Sanzel’s was still in business and still had their wonderful soda fountain.  I think I had a crush on every soda jerk that ever worked there!  J  It always amazed me that Harry Sanzel, the owner of Sanzel’s had two kids (who weren’t kids when I was growing up) that were both pharmacists and worked with him, especially since one was a female.  I didn’t know of any other female pharmacists at that time.  I wish I had a picture of Sanzel’s Drug Store.  If any of you readers have one, I’d love a copy!!!

I remember being able to cut through the woods, that was “attached” to our backyard, to Cobbs Hill which is my very favorite park, even to this day.  Cobbs Hill holds many memories for me…mostly from my teen years.  I remember going there on a nice Spring day (those were the days when we still had four seasons!) with my best friend, Estelle.  We would take our homework with us, sit under a special tree and do our homework, smoke and talk about boys or other important teenage topics.  Did we talk about life?  Not as such.  We talked about school.  We talked about friends.  We talked about what we were going to do on the weekend.  We talked about parties that were coming up and we’d talk about plans for the summer.  I was too old to go to camp by that time, so mostly I stayed around the house and my family would go on a week’s vacation.  Estelle just stayed around her house, which was no joy, unfortunately.  Cobbs Hill is where my high school sorority, Sigma Kappa Delta, held our initiation trials.  Thankfully they were not at all like the ones you read about today.  Our initiations consisted of walking a back trail up to the Cobbs Hill Reservoir or meeting our “big sisters” to bring them goody bags.  Sometimes it was to go up to someone not involved in the sorority and ask them something silly like, “Call me a cab.”  Was there underage excessive drinking, no.  Did some of us want to experiment with alcohol?  Maybe some of the guys did, but not the female friends.  We were content with drinking our Cokes and smoking.  Smoking was a cool thing to do in those days…if we only knew then what we know now!

I remember being at Cobbs Hill in the summer of 1964, reading The Profit, sitting under our favorite tree with Estelle, when all of a sudden we saw tanks driving down Monroe Avenue, turning onto Culver Road.  Estelle and I looked at one another and spoke with shock, wondering what the hell was going on.  We’d never seen anything like it!  The Armory was on Culver Road, directly across the street from Cobbs Hill and still was until recently when the government sold it.  We didn’t have a radio with us, so I suggested that we go to my house and tell my parents about it.  They hadn’t heard anything.  And we all sat on our porch steps wondering what was happening.  Shortly we learned that there was rioting downtown.  The “riot” was precipitated by the arrest of an allegedly drunk and disorderly African- American man at a Joseph Avenue street dance. A curfew was immediately put on us by the City, something I had never heard of before, but I was frightened enough by the tanks not to complain.  I remember how my friends and I baked cookies to take to the soldiers who were posted to Cobbs Hill (or maybe they were just on breaks).  We wanted them to know how much we appreciated their being there.  Funny, in retrospect, as just about two-three years later I would be joining a Peace March there.  Ironic!

But we were the lucky generation!  I wonder if there should be an adjective before the word “lucky,” and whether that adjective should be the word “bad.”  But we look back and remember that time as “the good old days.”

To remember those days, I’ll leave you with this recipe:

Mamie Eisenhower’s Chocolate Fudge Recipe



4-1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1 can evaporated milk

Pinch of salt

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate bits

12 ounces German sweet chocolate

1 pint marshmallow cream

2 cups chopped nutmeats


1. Heat the sugar, butter, salt and evaporated milk over low heat,

stirring until the chocolate dissolves.

2. Bring to a boil, and boil for six minutes.

3. Put the chocolate bits, German chocolate, marshmallow cream and

nutmeats into a heat resistant bowl.

4. Pour the mixture you’ve been boiling over the ingredients you’ve

just placed in the bowl.

5. Beat until the chocolate has melted, and then pour it all into a

pan. Let it stand for a few hours before cutting it into fudge sized


This is truly a great fudge recipe!!!  It’s easy to make and it came out perfect!  I loved the fudge!  ~Softa123

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Posted on September 1, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Dark Ages of Camelothttp://darkageofcamelot.com/

Dark Age of Camelot is a 3D medieval fantasy MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game)

that revolves around war between three realms following King Arthur‘s rule.  DAoC includes both Player versus Environment and Realm versus Realm combat. Players can choose to adventure alone or join groups. Players may also join battle groups, which are formed so all members are able to get completion of credit in large scale Player vs. Enemy (monster) encounters and for communication purposes in RvR (realm vs. realm).

I played DAOC for many years, until I was talked into abandoning it for The World of Warcraft.  I enjoyed my time there and highly suggest this as a fun game.  I met many great people during my stint there as head of the best guild that ever was, Mystical Realm of Asgard.  I loved that we had our own guild house to hold virtual meetings and parties in, and that we each could get our own homes.  I really loved riding a virtual horse.  This was the first game I had done that in!  I thought the graphics were great also.  My only complaint is that in our home realm it was usually gloomy and dark.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcrafthttp://us.battle.net/wow/en/

World of Warcraft (WoW) is also a MMORPG. World of Warcraft takes place within the Warcraft world of Azeroth.  With 11.1 million subscribers as of June 2011, World of Warcraft is currently the world’s most-subscribed MMORPG, and holds the Guinness World Record for the most popular MMORPG by subscribers.

I love WoW.  I love the people I have met and I love the graphics.  It is a lot of fun to play with many types of play available, PvP, RvR and PvE.  (PvP is Player vs. Player battle).  What I enjoy most is crafting and fishing.  I also love to swim and explore under water, although it took me a while to learn that skill!  I also like that the powers that be have a routine weekly scheduled maintenance time where they sometimes give us more quests, or new treasures, or a holiday or special event scenario.   And the answer is “yes, we senior citizens do play these games and our numbers are growing!”


Games.com has a decent Pinochle game that you can play solo or play real time with real players.  There are many other games that you can play including Whist, Majhong, Chess, and Canasta.  After a while you will probably want to fork over money to purchase a subscription.

Mahjong World

Majhong World is by far my favorite version of Majhong.  For you real world Maj players, this is nothing like the game you play.  It is more a matching game.  Majhong world has lots of formations to choose from and the graphics are beautiful, as is the relaxing music.  If you have never tried Majhong, try it here!  If you are a seasoned player, try Majhong World!  Don’t bother playing the online version at this website.  Download the trial full version.  I liked it so much I purchased it.

At Online Free Gaming you can find a cute version of Majhong called Alcapone Majhong, tiles are based on the famous gangster.  There are many other games to choose from at this site.

Backgammon, Euchre, Spades, Cribbage, Hearts and Trivia can all be found at a great site called Safe Harbor Games.  I like this site as you can open up the game board to full screen, it’s free, and I didn’t have to wait an hour to play!  It is real time-real people play.  I liked the nautical setting also. I met a nice man there by the name of Pirate1.  BTW, ladies he’s looking for one!  And he tells me he’s Irish <wink to Pirate1>.  Look for him there and tell him spartica says “hello!”

The best game site for Slots and Bingo is by far Winster.com and I would go so far as to say this is the best game site to play on.  Everyone is friendly and everyone helps one another, especially when you play Slots.  You can play free or subscribe.  I subscribe because I hate ads!  Also if you subscribe you get extra points toward real prizes.  I know there are a few more games on Winster, but I haven’t tried to play them.

A Place To Make Friends!

Another favorite of mine is IWin.com.   This is a try-it-before-you-buy-it game website.  They have several types of games to download.  You can subscribe to get lower prices, but I found it more economical not to subscribe.  My favorite game is Solitaire Kingdom.  It’s easier than the normal Solitaire game and lots more fun!  I liked it so much that I purchased it.  My husband is addicted to it!  As you play the games, you earn “opals” which you spend on decorating your hotel room(s) which you get free when you reach certain point levels (based on playing time).  I currently am decorating 8 rooms!  There are also social games here such as Family Feud.  The only drawback is that the game designers seem to be predisposed to designing mostly time-management and hidden object games.

Tams11 is a game server website that allows you to download free games to play solo or with online players.  It is basic, no real frills.  You can find Hand and Foot, Euchre, Cribbage, Hearts, Spades, Hangman,  Jumblelaya, Dartzee, Backgammon, Dominos, Bingo and more here.  This is free for a trial period, but when the trial period is over, in order to play with other players you must subscribe for a fee.  But, if you can’t afford that, play solo.  It still keeps your mind active!


The best jigsaw puzzle website that I have found!

My favorite website for jigsaw puzzles is The Jigsaw Puzzles.com located at.  This is by far the best jigsaw puzzle site for many reasons.  It is the only site that I have found where you can enlarge the pieces, solve the edges first and can choose puzzles from 50-200 pieces.  You can even upload your own photos or graphics and make puzzles from those!  Best of all, it’s all free!

Boatload Puzzles boasts 40,000 free crossword puzzles.  I like it because there is a “solve the letter button” to help you complete the puzzle.  Also, as you type your answers, if a letter does not belong it will show up in red.  A nice feature is that it allows you to print out the puzzle so you can solve it with a pencil like you would do a newspaper crossword.

Webwords in an awesome sight with many types of word games; crossword puzzles that you get graded on which is a feature I really like, and you can change the options to print out.  If you click on the “solve” button, you can choose whether to get a letter clue or for it to solve a word.  Like Boatload, if you type in the wrong letter, it will turn red.  You can also print the crossword puzzles out.  Very nice smoothly music in the background too!  You can find an anagram game called Savvygram Word Game and even a crossword puzzle helper.  I highly recommend this site.

Jumble Puzzles straight from the newspaper can be found at Uclick Games.  Warning…these are the same puzzles you get in that day’s paper.  Another  fun word game you can play at Uclick Games is Jumble Solitaire.  There are other word games at this site, but I haven’t tried them out yet.

If you love Cryptograms as much as I do, you don’t have to look any further than Puzzle Baron’s Cryptograms.  There are even monthly solving competitions you can enter to see if you can solve a puzzle quicker than anyone else can.

Trivia lovers, I have spent money a night working my brain at this great trivia site called Fun Trivia Quizzes.  Take some time and try your luck here.


Wonderful site for knitters and crocheters to meet and help one another.

Check out Ralvery.com if you are a knitter or crocheter.  This is a great community for those who partake in one or both crafts.  You will find groups to join and links to just about everything pertaining to them!  I started a group there called Purl Jam.  Check us out!

Crochet ‘N More is an excellent site for free crochet patterns and basic crochet instruction.  I go there often for patterns.

Craft Freely is another excellent site for free patterns.  You can find knitting, crocheting and sewing patterns for free at this site.  I printed out an adorable crocheted and beaded card case pattern to make soon.  It’s been on my to-do list for a while, but I have other projects that I am currently working on.

A source for free knitting patterns and instructions is Knitting On the Net.  There is a wealth of patterns here for all kinds of things.

Knit Picks is a wonderful website that sells patterns for knitters and crocheters, although they do have some freebies.  Sign up to receive their snail mail catalog.  I look forward to get mine every month.  The yarns they have for sale look gorgeous.  I haven’t purchased anything for myself yet, but I did purchase a gift certificate for a good friend of mine and she loved the yarn that she got with it.  We have discovered that this site has some of the best prices for yarns you can find.


Ok, I confess, I am a Martha Stewart fan.  You can find directions for making many computer craft items.  I love computer crafting and was very active in it until a couple of years ago.  Now I’m into reading and crocheting.  One cannot do everything at the same time, after all! J  Go to Martha Stewart.com to find directions for all types of crafts to check out her section of computer craft patterns.  I really love the butterfly table cloth and napkins pattern!  If you are new to computer crafting, be forewarned that you need a computer, printer and a photo editing computer program in order to do computer crafting.  If you can afford it, I strongly suggest Adobe Photoshop!

Maggie Made It is a great website for computer and other crafts.  Her instructions are great and she even has a link for a craft chat room at her site!  I highly recommend this website to everyone who likes to craft.

You can learn how to make computer greeting cards, without using a photo editing program, on Utube.  The instructions call for using Microsoft Word.  I prefer to use software such as Printmaster or Printshop for designing my computer cards.  It’s much easier and comes out looking more professional, I think.  In programs such as these, there are many templates for making greeting cards, business cards, wrapping paper, gift bags and many other craft projects.  They are user friendly, but you should read the manual to get the real benefits out of these powerful programs.  I love to make magnets using these programs.  Many years ago, my Sister and I threw my parents a big anniversary party.  I made thank-you gifts using the graphics that I designed the invitations with and putting the party’s honoree’s names, the occasion, the date of the party and the location of the party.  No one within our family-friends circle had seen anything like it before.  I also made my parents a big candy wrapper with the same graphics and information as a memento.  My Mom loved it!  She still has it and it’s been about 11 or 12 years now since we threw the party.

The best digital scrapbook website that I know of. Active community. Great Art.

There are two types of scrapbooking…traditional and digital.  Well, let’s make those three types, as there is also hybrid-scrapbooking which combines the other two types.  I do all 3, but, my favorite is digital.  I love designing my layouts in Photoshop CS3.  I can get very creative and do my own thing, which is fun because I never had an idea of how my layouts or my layout elements will turn out.  Don’t get the idea that digital scrapbooking is free.  While there are many “freebie” elements available on the Net, digital scrapbooking can get as expensive as the traditional method of scrapping.  It’s addictive!  It’s fun and you may even make some new friends along the way.  The digital scrapbooking community is a friendly one and most people are patient and willing to help you learn different techniques.  Soon you will be designing your own backgrounds, your own titles and “stickers,” and you may even discover cool things like Photoshop’s “actions.”  It is an exciting world!  Barring none, Scrap Girls is the best digital website there is.  Their prices are a bit higher than most, but the quality is fantastic!  The artists are first rate.  They hold contests and challenges with something going on all the time!  Sign up for their daily newsletter.  You will learn new things in each issue and each issue has a “freebie” link for an element or a background.  Sometimes they will even have a link for a “quick page” layout.

There a many websites and blogs dedicated to the art of scrapbooking.  I have a ton bookmarked.  And I receive many newsletters for this topic.  Another of my favorite digital scrapbooking site is Mangels Designs.  I signed up for their lifetime membership.  It is well worth the money as you have lifetime access to the website and they have some really nice elements such as frames.

Miscellaneous Crafts

A Great All-Purpose Crafting Website!

I really like Craft Test Dummies.  Not only do I love the name of the blog, but it is filled with great craft projects such as Halloween Shoes, and  the Polymer Clay Shamrock Pin  but they review craft projects and report to us on their findings and they host contests, for those who like to enter contests.  This is definitely a must see site for crafters.

Go to Kitchen Crafts & More for some great money saving recipe for cleaning solutions and beauty aides.  Yes, they also have normal to eat recipes.  They is a great website!  My favorites are the recipes for  the Daily Shower Cleaner Recipe , Almond and Honey Bubble Bath, and all of their craft recipes!

Ok, that’s it for now.  My hubby will kill me if I spend any more time on this article!  LOL


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Hope and Comfort

Posted on August 26, 2011. Filed under: Apples, Cakes, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Comfort Foods, Cookies, Cupcakes, Dairy, Desserts, Hope, Kosher Recipe, Maya Angelou, Paerve, Parve, Peanut Butter, Quote, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I don’t know where I’m going. My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.   Maya Angelou

I love Maya Angelou’s poems.  She is such a talented lady, and she is a LADY! This quote is from an interview and is her reply when asked about her life and her career.  I thought about the part of the quote that says, “My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry…”  I don’t hope for that, what I hope for is that I laugh alot more than I cry!  Life is too short to cry more than you laugh.  I ask you this, how can we make sure that we do laugh more than we cry?

These are my suggestions:

1.  Don’t read the newspaper every single day, and on the days that you do read it, don’t forget to read the comics and even try to do the crossword and jumble puzzles to keep your mind working!

2.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Deal with it to make as much of the problem go away as quickly as you can.

3.  Read a funny book.  I just finished a great book called “Thank You For Flying Air Zoe” by Erik Atwell.  I laughed all the way through it and thought to myself when I reached the end of it that this book is a keeper so when I’m feeling down, I can re-read it.  Read it or one that is more to your tastes, but make it a funny one.  Yes, books of jokes are allowed here 🙂

4.  If the weather allows, go outdoors and soak up the sunshine.  I know, I know…skin cancer…well, go protected, but go.  I still believe that the sun has healing powers.  Why else would G-d have created it? 🙂  Sorry, just being a bit silly here.  But it’s making me smile.

5.  Don’t give up hope!  I have always said, “Where there is life, there is hope.”  I truly believe that!

6.  Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about your problem.  It helps.  Then, change the subject when you are ready and talk about something fun.

7.  Take a long bubble bath with all the lights off and while there fantasize about how you would live your life if you could.  Or fantasize about your favorite movie star, anything that makes you smile and relax!  When you get out of the bath, shake that problem right out of your system and look at it in a relaxed, new light.  Then take the first step to solving it.

8.  Watch your favorite funny movie before you retire for the night and DON’T forget to eat a bag of popcorn while you do!  I think munching on popcorn is a huge help in relaxing so you can go to sleep when the movie is over.

9.  Bake cookies and then eat one or two.  I’d have a relaxing cup of tea with those cookies.  Mmmmmmmmmm comfort food!  If you don’t like to bake, do something that you enjoy doing, wood crafting for instance or scrapbooking or knitting, etc.  If you must (meaning if it relaxes you) clean the house!  (That definitely isn’t for me! 🙂

10.  Take a nap.

The idea here is to give yourself a good break from the problem so you are relaxed and can then take steps to solve your problem.  Be good to yourself and be gentle with yourself!  Very importantly, don’t lose sleep!!!

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a therapist.  I am not a counselor of any type.  I am just a person who has been where you are.  A normal person with normal human problems and emotions.  These are things I try to do.  My favorite one is to take a  hot bubble bath in the dark and in silence so I can close my eyes and fantasize!

Well…to help you relax, here are a few recipes for today:

Apple Coffee Cake Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 medium Cortland or other baking apple, peeled and sliced


1 Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking dish with or pie pan with a 4-cup capacity.

2 In a medium bowl, whisk vigorously together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3 In a separate small bowl, mix 1/4 a cup of the sugar with the cinnamon, set aside.

4 Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat in the egg until blended. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk, beating after each addition until just combined.

5 Pour half of the batter in the bottom of the baking dish. Lay the apple slices on the batter so they just cover the batter (you may have to overlap some slices). Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, reserving a teaspoon or two to sprinkle on top. Spread the rest of the batter over the apples. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar on top.

6 Bake the cake for 25 minutes or until it is golden brown and apples start to bubble at the edges.

Yield: Serves 6.

Source:  Boston Globe

I have not made this coffee cake yet, but I will make it now that apple
season  is almost here! 

Donald's Just Ducky Cupcakes
By Cindy Littlefield

We all know Donald can be a cantankerous duck, but these cute candy-billed cupcakes are inspired by his sweet side. Serve them at a birthday party or make
A batch for a quick-and-easy everyday dessert.

You'll need:

Batch of baked cupcakes
White frosting
Yellow Swedish Fish candies
Kitchen knife or scissors
Small black jellybeans
Tube of black decorating icing


Frost the cupcakes, using the knife to pull the frosting up into a
couple feathery peaks at the top of the head. 

For a duck bill, slice a yellow Swedish Fish candy in half lengthwise.
Then press the two halves into the frosting, separating them slightly,
at the very edge of the cupcake top (opposite the feathery frosting

For eyes, press two black jellybeans into the frosting. Use the black
decorating icing to pipe on curved eyebrows about 3/8 inch above the

Everything Mickey & Friends

I found this recipe on the internet at the family.go.com and thought it
was just perfect for this blog post.  Keep the ingredients on hand as I
think this is a definite "go to comfort food recipe!"  I haven't tried
to make this yet, but what could be bad? ~Marilyn Sultar 8/26/2011

The Ultimate Comfort Food?

Now for the ULTIMATE comfort food…chocolate, but of course! 🙂

Kosher Chocolate Mousse Cake Pareve

6 oz. margarine (pareve)
6-8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (pareve)
7 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cake flour

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Spray a 9x13 inch (23x33 cm) baking
pan with non-stick spray. 

2. Melt margarine and chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. 

3. Mix egg yolks and then slowly stir them into the chocolate. Make sure
the yokes do not harden. 

4. Let the chocolate-egg mixture cool. 

5. Whip egg whites until stiff. Add sugar. 

6. Add egg whites to chocolate mixture, folding gently. 

7. Remove 1 - 1 1/2 cup of the mousse mixture. This will be used later for
the cake's frosting. 

8. Gently add flour to the rest of the mixture. 

9. Pour mixture into baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. 

10. When cool, spread frosting on top. Refrigerate or freeze. 


1. If using the microwave to melt the chocolate and margarine, be careful
not to burn the chocolate. 

2. Don't forget to add the flour between removing some mix for the
frosting and putting the pan into the oven!
I have not tried this recipe yet.  I found it today at:
Last, but DEFINITELY NOT LEAST! is my favorite recipe for chocolate chip
cookies.  I have searched the internet for this recipe, and have never
seen it except in one cookbook.  Source is noted at the end of the recipe.


2-1/4 cups Pillsbury's Best SELF-RISING Flour
1 cup Margarine OR Butter; SOFTENED
2 tsps. Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
2 cups QUICK COOKING Rolled Oats
6 oz. pkg. (1 cup) SEMI-SWEET Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup CHOPPED Nuts OR Sunflower Seeds*

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS: Stir one of the following into the dough, if desired.

1 cup Peanut Butter*
1 cup Wheat Gern
1 cup FLAKED Coconut
1 cup NONFAT DRY Milk



LIGHTLY spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.

In a LARGE bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT oats, chocolate chips
and nuts (or sunflower seeds). Beat at MEDIUM speed until well blended,
about 1-2 minutes.  By hand, stir in remaining ingredients.  Add ONE
Optional ingredient, if desired.  

Drop dough by ROUNDED teaspoons 2" apart onto UNGREASED cookie sheet.
Bake at 350° F. for 12 minutes OR until light golden brown.

Yield:  48 cookies

Source:  Pillsbury's "Simply From Scratch Recipes, Vol 3" cookbook.

*When I make these cookies, which are my very favorite chocolate chip
cookies, I use Sunflower Seeds and I use 1 cup of Peanut Butter.  

These cookies are out of this world.  It is a combination chocolate
chip and peanut butter cookie the way I make it as noted above.  I'm
not crazy about peanut butter cookies, usually, but in this recipe,
it's perfect!  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  ~Softa123

Suggestions for main dish comfort foods:  chicken soup with matzah balls,
macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, or anything that evokes
good memories.
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Happy? Vesuvius Day!

Posted on August 23, 2011. Filed under: Cakes, Chocolate, Desserts, Obscure Holidays, Prayer Request, Recipes, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Vesuvius Day

Tomorrow, August 24th, 2011 marks the observance of Vesuvius Day.

August 24, 79 A.D. was an historic date for the world. This was the day that Mount Vesuvius erupted in a huge explosion. It was one of the largest volcanic explosions in recorded history.

 This deadly volcano destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae. They were buried by volcanic ash and pumice. An estimated 3,360 people died in the volcano’s eruption.

 Mount Vesuvius exploded  in 1631. At that time, it killed approximately 3,500 people.

To mark this sad historic event, I thought it would be appropriate to post some  volcano cake recipes, so that is what I’m going to do.  I have not tried any of these recipes, but who knows, maybe tomorrow I’ll get some breathing time!  In the meantime I ask for your prayers for my step-daughter-in-law who suffered a heart attack the other day.  She is having some complications, but is doing fairly well otherwise.  Today they took her off oxygen which is a good sign.  All prayers are gladly accepted.

Let the fun begin!

Sandra Lee's Volcano Cake

Total Time: 1 hr 10 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 50 min

Yield: 18 to 24 servings

Level: Easy


2 (18.25-ounces) boxes red velvet cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
2-2/3 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
6 eggs
3 (12-ounces) cans chocolate whipped frosting (recommended: Betty Crocker)
1 (6.4-ounce) can green decorating icing (recommended: Betty Crocker Easy Flow)
1 (6.4-ounce) can red decorating icing (recommended: Betty Crocker Easy Flow)
1 (6.4-ounce) can orange decorating icing (recommended: Betty Crocker Easy Flow)
1 (6.4-ounce) can yellow decorating icing (recommended: Betty Crocker Easy Flow)
1 (.68-ounce) tube yellow gel decorations (recommended: Cake Mate)
1 (.68-ounce) tube red gel decorations (recommended: Cake Mate)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2 (8-inch) cake pans, 2 (10-inch)
cake pans and 1 (6-inch) Bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside. 

Beat cake mix, water, oil, and egg whites in a large bowl with an
electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl
and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Divide batter equally between
prepared cake pans. 

Bake 8-inch cakes and 6-inch Bundt cakes in oven for 35 to 40 minutes
and 10-inch cakes for 45 to 50 minutes, or until tester comes out
clean. Remove and cool completely. 

To assemble, use a serrated knife to slice off the tops of the 8 and
10-inch cake so the surface of each cake is flat. Place the cut tops
into a large bowl and break up to from large crumbs. The crumbs will be
used a "lava rocks" at the base of the volcano. Slice the bottom off
the 6-inch bunt cake so it sits flat. 

Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting between the 10-inch cake
layers and stack. Spread a thin layer of chocolate frosting between
8-inch cake layers and stack. Place another thin layer of frosting on
top of the 8-inch layer cake and place the bunt cake cut side down on
top. Place a dollop of frosting on top of the 10-inch cake and
carefully, place 8-inch cake on top and center of 10-inch cake. 

Use a serrated knife to trim edges around the tops of both cakes to
create a cone shaped cake. (Make angled cuts downward and leave a round
base on top for icing to "flow" from.) 

To decorate, frost outside of entire cake with remaining chocolate
frosting. Place the cake crumbs around the base of the cake. Pipe green
icing around the entire bottom of the cake for "grass". To create
"flowing lava" pipe red icing a quarter from the top of cake in
downward strokes to the middle of the cake with ribbon tip. Repeat
technique with orange icing, starting almost at top of cake and ending
where red icing begins with slight overlap. Repeat technique with
yellow icing starting at the very top of cake and overlap orange icing.
Drizzle yellow and red gel coloring around the very top of cake. 

For the smoke effect place a few pieces of dry ice into glass candle
votive. Place the votive into the hole of the bunt cake. Pour a small
amount of warm water into the votive and watch it smoke.

Woman's Day Volcano Cake

10 min 


16 oz each) poundcake mix (preferably  Betty Crocker)
12 oz each) whipped fluffy white frosting
12 oz each) whipped  chocolate frosting
Green, red,  orange and yellow paste (icing) or gel food colors*
Dinosaur  Cookies &  Palm Trees (directions follow)


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease andflour two 8 x 2-in. round  cake pans, 
one 9 x 2-in. round cake pan and one 8-oz custard cup. 

Prepare both boxes of cake mix together as box directs. Put 3/4 cup  
batter in custard cup, 3 cups batter into each 8-in. pan and 
remaining batter in the 9-in. pan.

Bake cup 25 minminutes, cakes 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden 
pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool on wire racks 
10 minutes before inverting on racks to cool completely.

Tint 1 cup white frosting green. Put 1/2 cup white frosting in each 
of 3 microwave-safe bowls. Tint red, orange and yellow. Cover with 
plastic wrap when not using.

Trim one 8-in. cake to a 61/2-in. round; reserve scraps for snacks. 
Place 9-in. cake on serving platter. Frost top and sides with green 
frosting. Place 8-in. cake on top, lining it up with back of cake 
underneath. Trim sharp edges; coat top and sides with chocolate 

Center trimmed (61/2-in.) cake on top; frost as 8-in. cake. Repeat 
with custardcup cake . Fill crevices with chocolate frosting.  
Refrigerate until set.

Lava: Microwave the red frosting 5 to 10 seconds, or until just 
pourable. Spoon over cake, creating short and long drips . Repeat with the orange and yellow frostings.

To assemble: Insert a toothpick near base of each Palm Tree; insert 
other end of toothpick into cake. Set Dinosaurs in place.

Planning Tip: The cake can be made through Step 5 up to 3 days ahead 
and refrigerated. The cookies and trees can be made 5 days ahead. 
Store cookies airtight at room temperature. Assemble a few hours 
before serving.

Dinosaur Cookies & Palm Trees

Makes 12 dinosaurs and 3 palm trees

Active: 25 min/Total: 54 min (without decorating and  drying time)

1 roll (18 oz) refrigerated  sugar -cookie  dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
Royal Icing (recipe follows)
Blue, red, green,  violet , orange and yellow paste (icing) 
or gel food colors*
Purple, red and green coarse ( crystal ) sugar

Palm Trees: 3 plain 73/4-in.-long breadsticks (such as Stella Doro), 
gumdrop spearmint leaves You also need: dinosaur cookie cutters* 
and 12 qt-size ziptop bags.

Heat oven to 350°F. Have baking sheet(s) ready.

Knead together cookie dough and flour until completely blended. 
Roll out with a rolling pin to a scant 1/4 in. thick. Cut out 
cookies with cutters; place about 1 in. apart on ungreased baking 
sheet(s).  Reroll scraps and cut into 2- to 3-in. squares 
(depending on height of cookie cutters). Cut squares in half 
diagonally to make triangular stands to prop up cookies. 

Bake 8 to 12 minutes until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To decorate: Spoon 1/4 cup Royal Icing into a ziptop bag. Squeeze out
air; seal bag. Spoon 1/2 cup into each of 4 bowls. Tint blue, red, 
green and violet. 

Spoon 1/3 cup into each of 2 bowls. Tint yellow and orange. Put 
yellow icing into a ziptop bag and a small portion of each other 
color into bags; seal bags. 

To thin icing for coating:  Add  drops of  water to icings in bowls 
until thin enough to spread. Cover with plastic wrap when not using.  
To pipe outlines before coating (keeps thinned icing from running off 
cookies): Snip tips off corners of bags with tinted icing and pipe 
outline for each color on dinosaurs. Let dry about 5 minutes. 

To fill outlines: Spoon thinned icing into bags. Snip tip off corner; 
pipe icing on cookies. With a toothpick, spread to piped border. Let 
dry before adding another color or details. For areas with colored 
sugar, sprinkle with sugar while wet. Let dry completely, about 3 
hours. Snip tip off corner of bag with white icing; pipe horns on 
blue dinosaur. With yellow icing, pipe eyes and  feet.

Cookie stands: Pipe a line of white icing on 1 long edge of each 
triangle-shape cookie. Press 1 or more triangles on back of each 
dinosaur. Let dry.

Palm Trees: For each tree, slice 2 spearmint leaves horizontally into 
4 leaves. Press wide sticky end on end of a breadstick, pressing 
more leaves on top. Store in a tall glass until ready to set in place.

*Paste and gel food colors and dinosaur cookie cutters can be found 
in cake-decorating, party-supply and crafts shops.
Royal Icing: In a large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat 1 lb 
confectioners’ sugar and 3 Tbsp Just Whites (powdered  egg whites, 
see Note) until combined. Add 6 Tbsp water and beat until very well 
blended. Increase mixer speed to high and beat 8 minutes, or until 
icing is very thick and white. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Note: Just Whites (powdered egg whites) is available in supermarkets 

Chef Mommie's Volcano Cake
Time: 5 min. (5 min prep. Prep.)

Courses: Desserts

Calories: 135 / Serv.

Chef: twissis

Photo from: Source


Servings 12


18-1/4ounces chocolate cake mix (pillsbury)
1-1/4 cups water
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
21 ounces cherry pie filling
6 scoop chocolate ice cream


Prepare chocolate cake mix according to pkg directions & bake in a 
bundt pan sprayed w/PAM. 
(Pls Note: Actual cake ingredients may vary from those listed above as 
they were shown to fulfill the editing process). 

Invert cake onto serving platter, allow to cool completely & package it 
up to take to work w/you the next dy. When ready to share your cake at 
work, fill center hole w/scoops of ice cream. Top w/cherry pie filling 
(lava), drizzle some of it down the sides of the cake & give everyone a 

NOTE: For anyone who may opt to make this cake for reasons other than 
sharing your birthday cake w/co-workers, feel free to amend the prep as 
desired. :-).

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 12

Amount Per Serving

Calories 135	Calories from Fat 61
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g	 10%
Saturated Fat 1g	7%
Trans Fat	0%
Cholesterol 41mg	14%
Sodium 31mg	1%
Total Carbohydrate 17g	6%
Dietary Fiber 616mg	2%
Sugars 3g	 
Protein 2g
Vitamin A	 4%
Vitamin C 2mg	4%
Calcium 26mg	3%
Iron 0mg	1%
Potassium 87mg	0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily 
Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

An flavorful eruption!

Hope you enjoy these recipes!  Have a Happy Day!

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