Happy Birthday Florrie!

Happiest of  Birthdays to the funniest, smartest, most creative blogging partner a girl could ever wish for.  Between your Manic Panics, ADHD, mad cooking skillz and endless creativity you are a treasure and I am privileged to call you my friend.  Send us loads of picture postcards from France! MUAH! XOXO -Marie

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A Casual Thanksgiving: Turkey Wings and Trimmings.

Casual Thanksgiving

I’m not a huge fan of turkey, but as I was browsing in the supermarket (yes browsing, I enjoy grocery stores) my eyes came across turkey wings. I saw the possibility of making a fun twist on Thanksgiving dinner.

So, what’s on the menu? Roasted turkey wings, vegetable slaw, sweet tattie wedges with cranberry ketchup and a cocktail, that Cobra Commander named The Pilgrim.

Everything is really quick to whip up and would be great to have the day after Turkey day.

Cranberry Ketchup

Makes about 22oz

12oz Fresh cranberries

1 Small white onion

1 Garlic clove

1 1/2 Light brown sugar

3/4 Tsp mustard powder

1/4 Tsp salt

1/4 Tsp pepper

1/8 Tsp ancho chili powder

1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar

3/4 Cup water

You’ll also need enough canning jars to hold 22-24oz.

In a saucepan combine the cranberries, onion, garlic and water. Stirring constantly, bring to the boil over high heat. Once merrily bubbling and boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the cranberries are soft.

Take off the heat and use an immersion blender or regular blender to blitz until smooth. You might need to add a dash more water, to get a smooth texture.

Return the sauce to the pan and add in the sugar and spice and vinegar. Bring to the boil again over high heat. Once boiling simmer for 30 minutes stirring frequently.

Cranberry ketchup

While the ketchup is simmering prepare your jars, by soaking them in some hot water. I do this in the canning pot. It kills two birds with one stone, the jars are simmering and the water is on its way to boiling. Just dont’ let the water get to the boil.

Spoon the ketchup into the jars, It’ll be hot so take care. Leave about 1/2 inch clear at the top of each jar. Gently knock the jars on the counter to remover any air bubbles. You may need to add more ketchup. Wipe the rims and add the lids or bands, remember not to over tighten if using bands.

Put the jars in to boiling water for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Casual Thanksgiving

Vegetable Pecan Cranberry Slaw

This yields a lot, but it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days. I also find that I enjoy it more if it’s made a day ahead of when it’s needed.

Vegetable slaw with cranberries and pecans

1 Small red onion

1 Broccoli crown

1/2 cauliflower head

1 1/2 cups of grated carrots

1 1/2 cups Sliced brussels sprouts

3/4 Cup pecan chips

1 5oz bag of dried cranberries

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp Dijon country mustard

1/4 Cup Apple cider vinegar

1/4 plus 2 Tbsp Cup Apple cider

Finely chop the onion, place this in a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and 2tbsp of apple cider vinegar. Set this aside and prepare the other vegetables.

Chop the broccoli and cauliflower into small pieces and put in a large mixing bowl. Add to this the grated carrot, Brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, pecan chips and onion. Mix this thoroughly.

In a jug beat together the Greek yogurt, mustard, apple cider vinegar and apple cider. Pour this over the vegetables and toss.

Put this into an air tight container and into the fridge. I like to give it a good shake in the container every so often.

Taste test before serving and add salt and pepper accordingly.

Turkey Wings and Sweet Potato Wedges

Turkey wings

1 Turkey wings

1 Tbsp Unsalted butter

2 Tbsp dried Oregano

1 Tbsp fennel seeds

1 Tsp paprika

Pepper

Salt

1 Tbsp Olive oil

2 Tbsp honey

2 Small sweet potatoes

Pre heat the oven to 350°F.

Mix 1 Tbsp of oregano, the fennel and paprika together with the butter and rub over the wings. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.Place them in an oven proof dish and covered with foil, put in the oven for 1 hour.

After an hour turn the oven up to 420°F.

While the oven is heating peel the sweet potatoes, cut in half and cut each half into thirds. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle over the oil, season with the rest of the oregano, salt and pepper. Place on the upper rack of the oven.

Baste the turkey wings with half of the honey and the pan juices. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, Turn the turkey wings and baste with the rest of the honey and some more pan juices. Rotate the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes on it. Set timer for an additional 15 minutes.

Casual Thanksgiving

Remove from the oven and plate up.

The Pilgrim

All through the summer I have been making frozen cocktails. It’s a trend that has carried on into late Autumn. I make a batch and freeze.

1 1/2 Cups of Moscato

3/4 Cup of Wild Turkey honey bourbon

1/4 Raspberry or cranberry vodka

1/4 Apple liqueur

3/4 Cup Apple cider

1/4 Cup Sparkling blueberry pomegranate juice

Combine all the ingredients in a jug and distribute into freezer safe containers. Or you can keep the cocktail in a pitcher in the fridge.

If they are frozen, remove from the freeze 5 minutes before serving, I love it when they turn to slush, I use a spoon straw to ingest these.

Happy Thanksgiving.

F.

Buffaloaf!

At The Croakery this is our signature Thanksgiving dish . Neither Cobra Commander nor myself are big turkey fans so when we first moved here and hosted our first Thanksgiving we thought it’d fun to have a meaty feast with no Turkey in sight. On the menu there were wild boar sausages, venison welling and buffaloaf. Buffaloaf has been a staple ever since.

What is this buffaloaf, it’s meatloaf made from buffalo mince.Nothing too fancy, just a twist on a classic!

Buffaloaf!

Let’s get cooking’

2lb Buffalo mince

1 Medium onion white

1 Tsp olive oil

1Tbsp sugar

1/2 Medium apple

1 1/4 Cups fresh cranberries

1 Egg

1/4 Breadcrumbs

1 1/2 Packets of bacon

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp fennel seeds

1 Tbsp dried rosemary

1 Tbsp dried thyme

1 Tbsp mustard powder

2 Tsp Roasted cumin

2 Tsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

2 Tbsp honey

5 Tbsp ketchup, I usually split these 3tbsp of cranberry ketchup and 2 tbsp of regular

1/4 Cup Worcestershire sauce

Parchment paper

A 2lb loaf pan

A baking sheet

 

Pre heat the oven to 380°F

Put the mince into a bowl and break up with a fork.

Heat the olive oil in  a small frying pan over medium high heat. Finely chop the 1/2 the onion,  add to the pan, cook for around 5 minutes until the onion is softened. Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle over the sugar and stir. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool a little and add to the bowl with the mince.

Leave the skin on and grate the apple and other onion half into the mixing bowl. Stir this thoroughly.

Roughly chop the cranberries and stir those in also.

Sprinkle in all the dry spices and herbs.

Beat the egg before adding this and the rest of the wet ingredients to the meat.

Finally add the breadcrumbs.

You can go in and get your hands dirty and use them to mix with, or a wooden spoon also works.

At this stage I like to wipe out and reheat the pan used to caramelise the onion and cook a little of the mixture for a taste test.

Lay the parchment paper sheet flat on the counter. You need to have a big enough piece to fit inside the loaf pan and over hang a little.

Weave the rashers, lay 7 in a row so that the short ends are facing you and the length running away from you. Working left to right weave another rasher over one then under the next,  over then under until you get to the other side. With the second rasher, again working left to right weave under the first, then over the second, under then over all the way to the end. Continue with alternating over and under until you reach the botton, anout 8 or 9 rashers.

 

 

Gently lift the parchment paper and ease it into the loaf pan. Spoon in the buffalo mixture, pack it in tightly until it’s all in there. Fold over the loose ends of the bacon.

Line a baking sheet with foil and place the loaf pan on it.

Pop it into the oven on the lower rack and cook for 90 minutes.

Leave the oven on and turn up to 425°F

After 90 minutes remove from the oven and let sit for a further 20 minutes.

Take the loaf pan off the baking tray and sit on a flat surface. Place the baking tray on top of the pan, apply a good amount of pressure and do this quickly and carefully, flip the pans over.

Now the buffaloaf is resting on the baking sheet. Remove the loaf pan and carefully peel off the parchment paper.

Return to the oven for 20 minutes until the bacon browns, I check on the buffaloaf and baste with any juices every 5 minutes or so.

Buffaloaf

Serve with your favourite sides. This is also great cold as left overs, served with pickled onions and crusty bread.

F

 

Pick A Pop

The game making and decorating is now in full swing as the Halloween party draws nearer.

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This game is such a great combination:  children love candy, and children love games.This is easy and fairly cheap to make.

You will need;

A large sturdy plant pot.

A ruler.

A pencil.

A drill.

A  drill bit to match the diameter of the lolli stick

Spray paint.

Marker or stamp pad.

Lollipops, I used Dum-dums.

Acrylic frame

These are the measurements of my pot;

Top circumfrence 29 inches.

Bottom circumfrence 41 inches

Height 12 inches

You will need to adjust your measurements a little depending on your own pot.

Using the drainage holes on the bottom as a guide, line up the ruler. Put your first mark 1 1/4 inches from the bottom. Moving upwards keep marking  in increments of 1 1/4 inches.

From the original mark at the bottom work around the circumfrence marking every 4 inches. Once you have marked all the way round use these as a guide and begin marking vertically. Every 1 1/4 inches.

Using a mark along the bottom measure 2 inches and mark. Using this as a guide mark 1 inch from the bottom. Working veritcally meaure and mark in increments of 1 1/4 inches again. You are adding another coloumn of marks inbetween the first round. Repeat working around the pot.  Your holes will be staggered from the first go-round.

Mark the spot.

Mark the spot.

Mark the bottom of the pot too. I did this ramdomly, and eyeballed the spacing to be similar to that on the sides.

The difficult part is over.

Using a drill bit that is slightly bigger in diameter than the lolli sticks, drill all the holes. Be careful not to force the drill or apply too much pressure as you run the risk og cracking the pot, and I’m sure you don’t want to mark a new one all over again. If you do split the pot all is not lost. After drilling and spray painting you can cover the hole with electrical tape. One piece on either side and poke a hole with a skewer.

Spray paint the pot the colour of your choice. I chose black beacuse this one is for Halloween and the Dum Dums really pop on this background.

This holds around 200 lollipops. I Selected about a fifth of that number to dip in ink to mark the bottoms.

Next fill up with lollipops, I had a very willing helper and it only cost me a couple of Dum Dums.

I covered a folding tray in a plastic Halloween tablecloth to sit the game on and printed up a sign with instructions how to play. I slid it into an acrylic frame and taped it to the table.

Its so much fun that I’m not sure that anyone will even care about not having a dip in the prize bag. Happy Halloween. -F

Halloween

The crisp air, the rustle of leaves under foot, sky high piles of sweets in the shop can mean only one thing, that Halloween is just around the corner. Ever since moving to The Croakery we have had a Halloween party for the Tiny Terror. And this year is no exception.  I’ve just finished the invitations and I’m very excited.

Gather the supplies

Gather the supplies

The supplies:

Glow in the dark witch’s fingers.

Wooden coffin boxes from Michael’s

Fake blood stained cheesecloth from Joanne’s

Coffee

Paper

Wood burning tools

Print the wording part of your inviation on to coloured paper. I chose red, but think maybe I should have stuck to white with bloody fingerprints.

I rinsed the cheesecloth and let it soak in the brewed coffee for about 30 minutes. Let it dry.

Dirty the cloth

Dirty the cloth

Roll the paper and slide it into the finger.

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Rip the cheesecloth into stips twice as wide and a little longer than the coffin, put inside and nestle the finger into it.

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SONY DSCBurn the coffins with the letters.  When you need to make something look as though it has just been dug up from the ground, what better thing to use than dirt. Rub it into the grain of the wood.

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Finished and ready to hand out.

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The Simple Steps

Here is last years invitation.

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To make these use striped card stock as the base. The wording is printed on the Avery sticky labels. Paint the admit one ticket orange. Make two little slits in the card and slide the ticket through. The trick or treat circle is attached with a brad so it can spin and the orange stitching was added to create an hypnotizing effect. And finally  a little triangle of orange card stitched on serves as a pointer.

Here is a pdf for the spinning trick or treat wheel.

Trick or treat invite download

Happy Halloween. f

Halloween at The Croakery

Halloween was rather crazy up here in the woods. The Tiny Terror hosted a party, need I say more. Everyone got into the spirit and dressed up including the adults, there were games, crafts and a scavenger hunt! A spooky good time was had by all.

 

A flying ghost greets the guests

Tiny Terror is a dab hand at crafts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The worlds cutest bat, doing a final walk through before the guests arrive

 

After 20 minutes TTT was ready to change out of his costume, I’m so glad I spent so much time making it!

 

Witch (Grammy) & Slice of pizza (GG)

Doofenshmirtz and A Spider

My spider babies making their way down from the nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A part wouldn't be complete without a cake or two

Another party, another costume

He must be my son. In true Florrie fashion, The Tiny Terror decided that he need a different costume for his pre school party.  f