...give me something good to eat! It's getting to be that time of year! My son in law calls it "The Gilmer Eating Season". We start with an annual family reunion the second weekend in October and we don't stop eating until after New Year's. It's just one long eat-fest, with football games and birthday parties and family reunions and holidays all running together for three whole months and I love every minute of it! It's really the only time of year I enjoy cooking. I don't dislike cooking, but I do get board of the every day what's-for-dinner routine. When the eating season rolls around I get to pull out the good stuff, the recipes that define this holiday or that. Like my sweet potato souffle with the brown sugar and pecan topping. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it. I'd sooner give up turkey! But don't let me get ahead of myself, I've got a lot of eating to do between now and Thanksgiving!
First things first! Taco Soup! With the first dip in the temperature I have to pull out my trusty recipe for Taco Soup. I hear its supposed to get cool this weekend and I can't wait to make a big pot of it! I know that there are many versions of this recipe floating around, but this is mine if you'd like to give it a try.
1 lb. ground beef
1 small onion
1 pkg. taco seasoning
1 pkg. hidden valley ranch mix
4 cans Rotel Tomatoes
2 cans Shoepeg Corn
1 can Black Beans
1 can Kidney Beans
Put ground beef and onion in a large pot. Brown meat. Drain. Add Taco and Ranch seasonings. Stir to coat meat and onions. Open all your cans and dump them in! Add water (about 4 cups) to fill pot. Stir. Simmer for 45 minutes. I serve mine with Fritos and grated cheese on top and a big piece of cornbread with butter on the side! YUM!
Secondly is Halloween. My oldest son was born on Halloween so I tried to come up with some special treats to serve at his birthday party. One of my favorites are these ghost lollipops. I got this idea from a Martha Stewart magazine many years ago and they have always been a hit.
Can you believe I painted this tin can about fifteen years ago! Actually I painted several and used them to hold utensils (or lollipops) at my son's birthday party. I still use them all these years later.
To make the ghost lollipops I melt white chocolate almond bark over low heat. I don't use a double boiler, but you can if you don't think you'll be able to stand by the stove, constantly stirring until the chocolate is melted. I also add a teaspoon or two of Crisco shorntening. The shortening helps thin the consistency out a bit and keeps the chocolate from seizing up. Do NOT use oil. Only shortening will work. When the chocolate is melted, spoon chocolate onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Using the back of the spoon spread the chocolate into a ghost shape. You could also add the chocolate to a piping bag and pipe out your ghost shape. My ghosts are about 3 inches tall. Lay a lollipop stick into the wet chocolate and cover the stick with a bit more chocolate to anchor the stick. Then take 3 mini-chocolate chips and place them pointy side down to make a ghost face. Refrigerate until firm (about an hour). I place the ghosts into a lollipop bag and tie with orange and black curling ribbon.
Then there is the pumpkin cake. I've made this cake for my son's birthday almost every year. A couple of times I strayed from the pumpkin cake and made a scarecrow cake and a haunted house cake and my biggest cake disaster, the candy corn cake. It looked like a big orange, yellow and white hill. If people have to ask what it's supposed to be, you can pretty much chalk it up as a "cake fail!" But the pumpkin cake has always been a success. Although every year I forget to save a soup can to bake the stem in and I'm always running out at the last minute to buy soup! I should put that with my recipe - eggs, butter, flour, one can of cream of mushroom soup...
This cake is actually two bundt cakes stacked on top of each other.
Seth's 18th birthday party.
Seth was wishing he'd get accepted at UGA. His wish came true!