Savory

Halloween is sweet over at The Food Network

What is sweeter than Halloween? And some of our favorite shows are on The Food Network, where I often find inspiration, and they have special Halloween themed recipes…of course they do! Check out these sweet and savory treats. The Food Network has two great October shows that offer more great Halloween recipes and ideas – Halloween Baking Championship (Mondays @9:00pm) and Halloween Wars (Sundays @9:00pm).

You know I’m all about the sweets, and there are some great treats like Wicked Cupcakes 

and

Pull Apart Graveyard Cupcakes

Pecan-Caramel Spiders
Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces thin black licorice strands, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
Chocolate curls or jimmies, optional

Directions

Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Mound 30 small clusters of pecans, about 3 or 4 pecans each, spaced a couple inches apart on the pan.

Make caramel: Warm the cream over low heat and keep warm while you cook the sugar.

Put the sugar and corn syrup and in a deep, heavy-bottomed large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, raise heat to medium-high, and simmer until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, or 305 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes.

Whisk the butter and salt into the sugar mixture. Gradually pour in the cream and vanilla taking care since the mixture will bubble up. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar reaches soft ball stage, 240 degrees F on the thermometer, about 5 minutes more. Immediately remove from the heat and cool for a minute.

Ladle a couple tablespoons of warm caramel over some of the nut clusters, to make the spider bodies. Then press 6 pieces of licorice into the warm caramel to make the legs. Repeat with the remaining caramel and licorice. (It’s helpful to have an extra hand here, since the caramel can set quickly. If caramel hardens, warm over very low heat. ) Let spiders cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1-inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, 2 to 3 minutes more.)

Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate on top of each spider. Sprinkle with jimmies or chocolate curls, if desired. Let cool until firm.

Copyright 2007 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

From Food Network Kitchens
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© 2015 Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/pecan-caramel-spiders-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I also love tomato soup with a nice grilled cheese and this recipe is too adorable not to share! Vampire Blood Tomato Soup with Muenster Sammies to fuel us your little trick or treaters before they get all sugared up from Halloween. Plus it’s a rookie move to order a pizza on Halloween night because everyone does and the wait is endless.

For more Halloween recipes and ideas, tune in to Food Network or visit Foodnetwork.com

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

A Gorgeous Day At The Farm #eatdrinkbelocal

A Gorgeous Day At The Farm #eatdrinkbelocalIMG_2584

Natick Community Organic Farm and Brothers Marketplace

Yesterday we spent a beautiful summer day with family and blogging friends at Natick Community Organic FarmBrothers Marketplace hosted a lunch at the farm to celebrate their connection to local food and farms, and it was wonderful to get a tour of a working, local, and sustainable farm. While we had visited the farm before, and I knew they had a great camp program, I didn’t know that they have a year round farm stand, organic turkeys at Thanksgiving, and chicken coops that you can rent by the week. And everyone there was friendly, incredibly dedicated and passionate about this bucolic oasis which is about as far away from my house as Boston is, but entirely a world away.

We started the tour in the fantastic flower garden. The entire farm is organic and these beautiful blooms are available at the farm stand and both Brothers Marketplace locations (Medfield and Weston).

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Next we visited the chickens, pigs, turkeys and cows. The pigs were snoozing in the heat and we learned how all parts of the farm work together from leftover staff lunches and flowers being used as feed for the animals to the making of and use of compost. Now my family wants to be on the list to buy a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving.

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Here are the turkey facts:

  • NCOF raises 175 turkeys every year.
  • They are fed organic grains from their day of hatching and allowed to roam and graze on the Farm’s organic pastures.
  • Dressed turkeys weigh between 16 and 35 pounds.
  • Turkeys will cost $4.75 pound, based on the cost of organic grain this year. They are sold fresh.
  •  More info here).

And chicken coops (chickens included) can be yours for a week or more. What a great family activity! The farm delivers the coop, and you get fresh eggs (okay, there is some work involved in the caring of the chickens). You can download more info about the fantastically named chicken tractor here.

After the tour, we were treated to a delicious lunch prepared by the chefs at Brothers Marketplace, and everything was made with farm fresh ingredients, and a gorgeous fresh mozzarella (made that morning) in the tomato salad.

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We also got to see a demonstration of making mozzarella cheese – check out Stowed Stuff for the complete video.

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I have been a fan of the Brothers Marketplace stores for a while now and I’m happy to share with you a $25 gift card.  Just share in the comments below – What is your favorite local summer treat?

So Eat, Drink and Be Local – Head to Brothers Marketplace (Medfield or Weston) for great, fresh, local food that supports local farms and manufacturers.

Follow @BrosMarketplace on Twitter and Brothers Marketplace on Instagram. #eatdrinkbelocal

Natick Community Organic Farm is a nonprofit, certified-organic farm providing productive open space, farm products, and hands-on education to all ages, year-round. Committed to farming methods that are ecologically healthy and sustainable, the Farm places special emphasis on service to youth through year-round classes, work-experience programs and volunteer opportunities for workingthe land. NCOF is open to the public daily during daylight hours with no admission fee for visits and purchases. http://www.natickfarm.org. Follow on Twitter @natickfarm

Thank you to Brothers Marketplace and Natick Community Organic Farm for the terrific event and lunch, and Iggy’s Bread, Nola’s Fresh Foods, Tortilleria La Niña, Grillo’s Pickles, and Spindrift Soda for the yummy treats.

I was not compensated for this post but did receive a goodie bag and a gift certificate to Brothers Market place to give away. All opinions are, and always will be, my own.

 

 

The Best Present and an Easy Resolution to boot

The Best Present and an Easy Resolution to boot.

The short answer is health.

The longer answer includes taking care of yourself and your family, and while there are many factors out of your control, there are a lot of things you can do to keep everyone healthy and not so stressed out. My family had some health issues this holiday season, some minor and some not so minor, and staying healthy and unstressed is my goal for us in 2015.

Obviously – the basics always apply. Eat healthy food. Exercise regularly.

Okay, sure, sounds good. What I wasn’t considering was additional body work that affects your overall heath. So while there is no shortage of options and everyone has a favorite, here are a few suggestions –  yoga for working on your core and calming down, Reiki and/or meditation for even more calming, and stretching and massage for overall wellness.  And I love getting a massage, I just don’t do it very often, maybe it’s the frugal thing I have going, or a concern that it takes so much time. But I learned that it doesn’t have to be expensive and a whole day spa experience, it can be a built in wellness appointment that you make for yourself.

IMG_1462Two weeks ago I received a gift card to Massage Envy on Needham Street in Newton, and I made an appointment. While I drive by it on the way to my usual places (Home Goods, Marshalls or T.J. Maxx), I had never been in. And when they called the day before to confirm the appointment, it occurred to me to find the gift card. Sadly, this thought was not acted upon. Fast forward to the next day (surprise) when I realized that I had no idea where the gift card was – great.

I called Massage Envy and left a possibly frantic voice-mail about not being able to find the card – should I reschedule? They called back while I was still in my driveway assuring me that it was fine and to head on over. I’m so glad I did! Obviously my holiday stressed self really needed a re-set and this was the perfect way to recharge, reflect and slow the heck down.

The waiting room was warm, comfortable, quiet and welcoming with sunlight streaming through the huge windows. While I filled out a Massage Wellness Chart, the wonderful people behind the desk gave me a warm neck wrap and some spring water to keep me hydrated. Not a bad start.

Then my massage therapist and I talked about specific areas in which I might be experiencing pain, or would like to address during the massage. The treatment room was clean and pleasantly lit, and the heated massage pad on the table was an unexpected bonus. But the biggest bonus was how I felt post-massage – terrific, calm and centered and much less scattered and anxious. Also, my neck and shoulders felt completely tension free. Evidently I hold some tension in my neck. Go figure.

Massage Envy in Newton has an extraordinarily lovely group of professionals working there, which is evident  in their kindness, energy, and ties to the local community. From the Toys for Tots donation box in the waiting room to the well wishes cards taped to the wall behind the desk, you can just tell this caring group of people will do their best to make you comfortable. Check out the monthly plans – don’t worry, you don’t pay if you don’t go – the session rolls over to the next month or you can gift it to someone else which is nice, too.

From the Massage Envy website:

Massage therapy helps you relax, re-align and rejuvenate. There are many positive aspects to receiving massage therapy on an ongoing basis, and with the busy lives we lead, we can all benefit from a little stress-management.

There are over 1,000 Massage Envy locations across North America. So, to find one near you, find them on Twitter or Facebook or go to the website. I think I’ll be better served health-wise if I make this a regular stop on my route. This is a prescription for health that’s going to be easy to fill!

Disclosure: I received a gift certificate for a massage to facilitate this review. All opinions are, and always will be, my own.

Prince Pasta rounds out National Pasta Month

Prince Pasta rounds out National Pasta Month

I’m late to be telling you about this but as every month is pasta month in our house, I thought it was okay.

Prince, that iconic Boston pasta brand is celebrating its Boston roots with a partnership with Boston chefs Christine and Carla Pallotta of NEBO. The Pallotta sisters grew up in the North End, mere blocks away from where Prince was founded. Check out some recipes on Prince’s Facebook page.

Here are some of the videos produced for National Pasta Month with Prince Pasta and great recipes from Christine and Carla Pallotta of NEBO:

Pasta Al Forno:

Christine Pallota’s Breakfast Pasta:

Prince Pasta Piselli :

Prince Pasta Cavatappi :

Disclosure:

I received a pasta kit from Prince Pasta and made a delicious meal – Many thanks, Prince Pasta!IMG_0411 I especially liked the two pound box of spaghetti!

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