A Halloween Review: In The Rain With The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects waiting on the deck behind the house before going on stage in front of the house. 

~ ~ ~ ~

IT DRIZZLED THEN RAINED HERE last night, starting at about 6:00 p.m. just in time for the trick-or-treaters.  The temperature was in the 60s, about as warm as I’ve experienced in late October.  The night was in a word, unusual, and our reduced trick-or-treat count proved it.

In years past we’ve had anywhere from 120 to 220 beggars at the door, but this year our head count was only 60 kids.

Unheard of.

Despite the rain and because of the warm temperature, Z-D and I sat outside on our front stoop where we plopped ourselves onto two chairs he’d brought around front from the deck in the back.

There we waited to hand out candy, holding umbrellas over our heads, watching a slow parade of cute, polite kids shuffle their way across our yard, ignoring the precipitation.

Trick or treat!

~ ~ ~ ~

YOU MIGHT BE WONDERING WHY we didn’t stay inside our house, waiting for the kids to ring the doorbell.  And this would be a sensible thing for you, my gentle readers, to wonder.

But the thing is, and in my world there’s always a thinghere in Beanlandia our doorbell, a diva, is broken and has been for a few weeks.

From a distance it glows and looks useful, however if anyone pushes it the middle button thing pops out and dangles down from an electric cord.

Kind of dangerous.

The doorbell has one ring in it before it has to be manually reconfigured and placed back into the wall where it resumes its role as a pretend working doorbell.

Hence, maintaining its integrity is a bother that we avoided by sitting outside under our umbrellas in the rain.

As one does.

~ ~ ~ ~

AND WITH THAT GLIMPSE INTO the life and times of one woman, one husband, one house, I’ll end this wordy post in which I’ve discussed the weather, trick-or-treaters, and doorbells gone bad.

Scintillating, eh?

In fact, should future historians whilst looking through old personal blogs want an example of a blog post that is the epitome of flapdoodle and twaddle, I do hope they find this one.

Because if there was a point to what I said here, I dunno what it is.

Other than to say, Halloween has come and gone.  And we have a lot of leftover candy in this house.

Only 60 kids…

The Great Cobbler Debacle Of 2018 + 12 Fruit-Based Desserts Explained

In the aftermath of the debacle there were questions, reasonable ones.

How could this have happened? What recipe did you use?

I used a recipe I found online from what I thought was from a reliable source.  Fake news, meet fake recipes.  But here’s the thing, I didn’t double-check the recipe, comparing it with other recipes, like a smart person would do.

After the debacle, when I found a wonderful recipe by the Barefoot Contessa, I realized that I had used a recipe with the wrong batter to fruit ratio.

Did you set the oven to the correct temperature?

I did, but after the debacle I checked the oven temperature with a thermometer to confirm that the oven was heating like it should.  It is not.

In fact it’s heating about 25º below where it should be so the cobbler baked at the wrong temperature.  Hence, the cobbler remained a soggy mess even when it’d been in the oven for twice the suggested time.

 How much money did you waste on this debacle?

Oh, the shame.  I hang my head as I tell you that I bought raspberries and blackberries and blueberries for this untested recipe, assuming it’d be a wonderful desert.  But it wasn’t, it never even made it to the table– thus my $12.00 worth of berries were lost.

And from a good friend trying to distract me: what are the differences among the various fruit-based desserts? Do you know?

I didn’t know the answer to her question, so I did some research, which was a good way for me, an egghead, to get over the debacle.  This is what I learned.

• • •

BROWN BETTY – fresh fruit [often apples], spiced, then baked under buttered bread crumbs

BUCKLE – single layer cake that rises up around the fruit that is in the middle, making fruit buckle down, while cake forms circle above it

CLAFOUTI – fresh fruit [often cherries] covered with a flan-like batter and baked, usually in a cast iron skillet

COBBLER – fruit sweetened in a way that creates a thick syrup, with dough plopped on top like individual biscuits that when baked looks like a cobblestone street

CRISP – fresh fruit, spiced with cinnamon [+ other spices sometimes], baked with streusel topping

CRUMBLE – buttery crumbs that include oats with sweetened fruit baked between two layers of crumbs

GRUNT – fruit base with sweetened biscuits or dumplings on top, cooked in covered skillet on the stove top, named for the sound the fruit makes while it cooks

PANDOWDY – a baked pie [usually apple] that has a thick crust on top with slits that allow the juices to bubble up onto the top of the pie, then using a spoon one pushes the crust down as it bakes so that the dessert looks dowdy when taken from the oven

PIE – sweetened and thickened fruit as the filling, baked, usually in a round pan, between lower pastry and top pastry or crumb topping

PING – fruit [usually cherries], covered in a sweet sauce, with spoonfuls of dough that form a crust on top that when tapped makes a hollow pinging sound that indicates it’s finished baking

SHORTCAKE – I’m not going down this road again… click here & read what we discussed earlier this year

SLUMP – fruit base with sweetened biscuits or dumplings on top, cooked in covered skillet on the stove top wherein the topping slumps into the fruit

• • •

Sources of general information + a few specific recipes: Serious Eats, Huffington Post, the spruce Eats, FLOURISH, kitchn, Cook’s Country, COOKS.COM.

• • •

I’ve eaten 9 of the 12 desserts defined above.  I’ve not had Brown Betty, nor have I had Grunt or Slump– which some sources say are the same thing.  🤨

Regarding Goats: Some People Wouldn’t, But I Did

This is a Goat Chow Dispenser, obviously.

ANTICIPATING LOUSY TRAFFIC THAT I didn’t encounter, I was early for an appointment on the other side of nowhere.

I remembered a fancy garden nursery in the area, so instead of sitting in my car staring at my phone for half an hour I went to the garden nursery to walk around.

To look at the pretty flowers.

COME TO FIND OUT, far back on the property past the perennials on the way to the trees there was a shed and enclosure with miniature goats in it.

Friendly goats. With a propensity to make their will known to any hapless person who wandered upon their enclosure.

Yes, once they saw me they were more than happy to show me the way to the goat chow dispenser– wherein a person can snag a handful of free goat chow, then allow them eat it off the palm of your hand.

With their little nibble-y goat lips❣

• • ❤ • •

• • •

• • •

• • •

• • •

• • ❤ • •

Question of the Day
Would you feed the goats a handful of Goat Chow from your hand? would you put it on the ground in front of them?
OR would you walk by and not feed them at all?

A Summer State Of Mind: Seeing Clearly, Feeling Mellow

I finally got some new eyeglasses, as seen in the photo above.

I got the prescription in January, but held off getting new spectacles because I find the whole process of choosing them and paying for them and adjusting to them to be FRAUGHT WITH PERIL.

[Yes, I capitalized those words because I’m shouting them.]

However, now that I’ve had these spectacles for a few weeks, I can say IN ALL HONESTY that these are the best eyeglasses I’ve ever had.  And that’s saying something considering I’ve worn eyeglasses since I was 5 years old.

What I like about these spectacles, beyond the obvious fact that I am seeing details now, is that they are lightweight but sturdy.

This is new for me.

My last pair of eyeglasses were also rimless, but they were kind of weak and wonky.  Taking them off, say to read a magazine whilst drinking a glass of wine, WASN’T EASY TO DO.  The bows of those spectacles would bend and fight me as I removed them from my face.

Annoying little wobbly buggers, actually.

[Wordsmith Alert: please note that I just spontaneously wrote a phrase using five words that each contain double letters. Be in awe.]

However, this new pair of spectacles is cooperative, and stylish, and has a coating on the lenses so there’s less glare.  Meaning THERE’S MORE CLARITY.  And you know I like to see things clearly.

Especially when it comes to pouring myself another glass of wine.  Wouldn’t want to spill any of it, now would I?

~ ~ ☀ ~ ~

QUESTION OF THE DAY 

What is your summer state of mind? I’d love to know. Tell all in the comments below.

~ ~ ☀ ~ ~

Revisiting The Strawberry Shortcake Controversy, Asking For Your Preferences

I READ AN ARTICLE that said one of the best approaches to writing a blog post is to write about something controversial. Readers will respond. Discussions will ensue.

Give attitude, get attention.

I believe there’s a truth to this approach.  I say that because years ago [like maybe 10-12?] I wrote a post about making Strawberry Shortcake for dessert.

Welp, my small readership at the time went bonkers telling me how I was doing it wrong. That my preferred Strawberry Shortcake combination was not the amazeballs that I thought it was.

I got comments disagreeing with me on that post for over a year. No exaggeration.

~ ~ 🍓 ~ ~

NOW THAT IT’S MAY, I’m thinking about making Strawberry Shortcake.  In fact I’m going to stop by a local farmers’ market today where I might find some delicious local strawberries to use in said dessert.

Thus, in an attempt to make the perfect Strawberry Shortcake ever, I have created the following three polls in which we will determine what you, my gentle readers, consider to be the perfect Strawberry Shortcake.

Yes, I’m crowdsourcing this recipe.

To wit, considering your own preferences please complete the sentences that begin each poll.  Then if you, my gentle readers, care to chat about Strawberry Shortcake, or anything else, leave a comment below.

As usual, thanks in advance for your prompt attention regarding this matter.

~ ~ 🍓 ~ ~

POLL # 1

POLL # 2

POLL # 3

No Salt For You: A Circular Dinnertime Conversation Between The Married People

You know how in the movies married couples have these amazing heart-to-heart conversations over a home-cooked meal? We’re not like that.

Our conversations are more like a Looney Tunes cartoon.

~ ~ ~ ~

Me, putting a plate of hot food in front of him: Don’t want any salt on your dinner.

Him: Ok.

Me, sitting down to eat: How does it taste?

Him: Tastes good. It doesn’t need salt.

Me: Good. Then you don’t want any salt on it.

Him, giving me an odd look: Yes, I don’t want any salt on my dinner.

Me: Excellent.

Him, still staring at me: Yep, quite tasty as it is.

Me: Uh huh.

Him: ARE YOU EVER GOING TO TELL ME WHY I CAN’T HAVE ANY SALT ON MY DINNER?

Me: Oh, sorry, you don’t know. We’re out of salt so don’t want any salt on your dinner.

Him: You’ve said that.

Me, distracted by the merry-go-round of thoughts in my brain: What?

Him: I don’t want any salt on my dinner.

Me: Well, good. That’s what I told you to do.

Him, giving me a sidelong glance: Yep, you did. Happy to cooperate. Wouldn’t want any salt on my dinner… oh. no. I. wouldn’t.

Me, half listening: Uh huh… what? Ok.

~ ~ ~ ~

Could it be that The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down is the Looney Tunes Theme? Why by golly, it is.

~ ~ ~ ~

That’s all Folks!

Rambling Thoughts: More Snow, Nowhere To Go, My Day Will Be Slow

As predicted we have snow here this morning.  There’s about 3-4″ on the ground at the moment, but it’s still coming down– half-heartedly, but it’s still snowing.

The schools are closed, less because of the snowfall, more because of the icy road conditions.  I’d planned to venture out to Kroger this morning, but I looked in our freezer + pantry, and have decided that I have the makings for Thai Chicken Curry, so that’s what’s going to be for dinner.

Safer to stay in, you know?

I’ve cooked more this month.  The most interesting dishes I’ve made so far are Split Pea & Ham Soup + African-style Beef Stew.  I like anything that combines a bunch of ingredients, allows them to get to know each other in a pot, and then provides us with leftovers.

Preferably freezable.

Like the current weather conditions.

[What a card! She must be from St. Louis. Very old joke, that one.]

In other news, I’m not doing the A To Z Challenge this year.  However, a few bloggers who I follow are doing it.  I made a list of these intrepid folks who’ll be writing almost daily in April.

The list is at the end of this post should you like to follow them, too.  And perhaps proffer a few comments on their blogs to show your support.  Just ‘cuz that’s what friendly bloggers do.

N’est-ce pas?

So with that observation and/or challenge, depending on your point of view, I’m going to go start some laundry, curl up with a book, and have a winter-like day, on the first full day of spring.

What’s up with you today, my gentle readers?  Tell me in the comments below and I’ll live vicariously through you.

Oh, also– if I’ve left anyone off my A To Z Challenge List let me know in the comments and I’ll add you to the list.

+ + + +

My List Of A To Z Challenge Bloggers To Follow

Emily

Tara

Janet

David + Deb

Lisa

Deborah

John

Andrea

Embeecee

Donna

Widow Badass

Isa-Lee

+ + + +