Enjoy each day of season

How about that extra hour of sleep you got this morning since you went off Daylight Saving time and went back to Eastern Standard? If you forgot to reset your clocks, you just missed that extra hour until next year. It just gave me an early start to the day as my brain isn’t too swift and woke me up at the regular time. Maybe I can slip a nap in after lunch. If I watch the race, I will probably doze off once in awhile during it. Most of my favorite drivers are now announcing the races instead of driving in them, anyway. I still follow Little E, Martin and Danica though.

The Sunday School classes usually have a larger attendance on this date each year – folks forget to reset their clocks and get to church one hour early and have to go someplace, so they just sit in on the SS classes. Never hurt anyone…

The days are marching on so fast – Halloween is now over and Election Day is this week (be sure to go vote) and then Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are coming at us with break-neck speed. Do try to enjoy November, though, as December is always a busy and stressful month. It shouldn’t be, but we seem to put too many things off until the last minute, then we panic.

Tuesday is the day when we have a chance to help select those who will be our leaders locally. That is just as important as our national leaders as it affects our daily life. Find out who is running and what they want to do to keep our communities working well for everyone before you go to the poles. Several places have Election Day dinners, so go and support your local communities and enjoy some good, homemade cooking and visit with your neighbors.

I don’t recommend discussing politics though.

We have had a warning that colder weather is on the way. Those snowflakes a week ago were a wake-up call (for those of us who put things off) to get busy and get ready to stay warm. They were pretty while they were coming down, but were appreciated when they melted. Snow is better than cold rain and mud, but we will probably get our share of both this year. Some of my plants made it inside but not all. I did get Miss Rosemary in a new pot and placed her in a Southern window. Rosemary and I don’t have a very good track record, so we’ll see if she makes it through the winter. The prospect isn’t too good – Tippy, one of the cats – has found out there is just barely room for her to curl around Miss Rosemary in her new pot. Maybe, the prospect isn’t too good for Miss Tippy.

Have you been invaded by those stinky little bugs that try to pass themselves off as ladybugs? They just seem to swarm when and where you least expect them, especially on a front porch. They even like to go for car rides. An open window usually takes care of them there, though. Now, nice ladybugs would be welcome, but their smelly “lookalikes” are not. Maybe a good hard freeze will eliminate them.

I feel toward them like we did “love bugs” in Florida. They, too, were brought into this country when someone thought they could cure a local problem. We should have learned by now not to try to outthink Mother Nature. Love bugs did have one good quality, though. Husband, Norm, had car washes and those pesky bugs did increase his business when they would swarm. They had something in their bodies that would eat the paint right off a car if they weren’t removed and the “glue” in their bodies made that a tough scrubbing job. I guess everything, no matter how bad it is, does help someone someplace.

Ever get “your hand caught in the cookie jar?” Looks like Washington did. Wonder how this recent mess will work out. Some people just can’t stay out of trouble.

Did you eat all your kids’ trick or treat candy? If you still have lots left, convince them it would look good decorating a Gingerbread House.

That serves two purposes – it gets rid of the candy that is not good for their teeth and it keeps them busy for many hours. They think they have really done something, too, and are proud to show it off to everyone who comes into the house. Of course, you have to make room for it among the other Christmas decorations.

Many folks don’t want to start putting up decorations, especially outside ones, this early. However, it is a lot warmer outside now than it will be in another month. Just think about it. You don’t have to turn them on after you have check them out to make certain they work until right before Christmas. After all, most Christmas parades are the weekend after Thanksgiving and that starts the “viewing” season. Then as the cold, and snow sets in, you can just turn them on while you sit inside with a mug of warm cider. Speaking of warm cider – did you know you can get a mix for it just like the hot chocolate mixes? It is convenient and good, just like the directions say (one pouch with 6- to 8-oz. hot water) and also good mulled or with some brandy. The brand I get is Alpine Spiced Apple Cider (a dry mix).

When the cooler weather starts, I use it as an excuse to make more desserts than normally. The oven on helps the heat in the kitchen, also. My friend sent me her Cannoli recipe, so I will share it with you today. They can be pricey to buy, but are not that hard to make, and folks go crazy over them. One reason I like this season is that one can get by with doing all sorts of fun cooking in the kitchen. Then, of course, one has to test them. I just take an extra vitamin to even out my poor eating habits, then on New Years, I try to eat right again. Life is short – enjoy those goodies of the season…

Enjoy each day of this season, give thanks for your family and friends and tell them you love them, pray for those who protect us, and remember that each day is a gift. God Bless.

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CANNOLIES

Cannoli shells – about 18 or 20

Two pounds ricotta cheese

One-and-one-half cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Two teaspoons ground cinnamon

One-fourth cup minced candied orange peel

One teaspoon grated lemon peel

Confectioners’ sugar for coating

Mini semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or chips

Orange peel strips for garnish

Make Cannoli shells and set aside. For filling, beat cheese in electric mixer until smooth. Add one-and-one-half cups of the powdered sugar and cinnamon and beat at high speed for 3 minutes.

Add candied orange peel and lemon peel and mix well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

To serve – spoon cheese filling into a pastry bag that is fitted with a large plain tip and pipe about one-fourth cup filling into each cannoli shell. Roll the cannolies in additional confectioners’ sugar to coat, and then dip ends into the chocolate pieces. Garnish with orange peel strips, if desired.

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CANNOLI SHELLS

One-and-three-fourths cup all-purpose flour

Two tablespoons granulated sugar

Two tablespoons cold butter

One teaspoon grated lemon peel

One egg

Six tablespoons marsala

Vegetable oil for frying

Mix flour, sugar and lemon peel in a medium bowl. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or two knives until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Beat egg and marsala together in a small bowl and add to flour mixture. Stir with a fork to form a ball. Divide dough in half and shape into two 1-inch-thick square pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Heat 1 1/2- inches oil in large saucepan (or electric fryer) to 325 degrees. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/16-inch thickness. Cut dough into 4- x 3-inch rectangles. Wrap each rectangle around a greased cannoli form (available in cooking stores). Brush one edge of rectangle lightly with water and overlap with other edge and press firmly to seal. Fry 2 or 3 shells at a time for 1-1 1/2 minutes until light brown, turning once. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels. Cool until easy to handle, then carefully remove fried shells from the cannoli forms and cool completely. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

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PUMPKIN BREAD

Three-and-one-half cups all-purpose flour

Three cups sugar

Two cups pumpkin puree

One cup vegetable oil

One-third cup water

Four eggs

Two teaspoons baking soda

One teaspoon salt

Two teaspoons cinnamon

One-half teaspoon nutmeg

One-fourth teaspoon ground cloves

One-fourth teaspoon ground ginger

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add pumpkin, oil, water, and eggs. Beat until well blended. Divide batter into two greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pans and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 70 minutes or until done. Cool completely before wrapping in foil or plastic wrap.

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TUNA CASSEROLE

One-fourth cup chopped onion

One-fourth cup chopped celery

One tablespoon butter or oil

Two cans (5- or 6.5 ounce.) tuna in oil, undrained

One teaspoon salt

Two cups cooked elbow macaroni

One (10-ounce.) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

One can (10 1/2 ounce.) cream of mushroom soup

One small can sliced mushrooms, drained

One-fourth cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese

Heat butter or oil and saute onion and celery until tender but not browned. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain, and measure out two cups. Combine all ingredients except shredded cheese. Pour into a greased 2 quart casserole, cover and bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 50-55 minutes.

Remove cover from casserole and sprinkle cheese over top. Put back into oven for 5-10 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

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Contact Patty Christopher at jkoenitzer@aol.com