Backward Day – Cupcakes for Dinner and Burgers for Dessert

October 26, 2014

   Each week throughout the school year, I pick up my grandkids, Sophie and Aidan after school.  On the way to my house, I ask them about their day and then I attempt to get them excited about their visit to my house.  On this day, I had planned a backward day for them. 

   On one such day in March, I told them there was a surprise for them, which prompted the, “What is it?”, from each of them.  I told them they were in for a treat for dinner, and then “What is it?”,  began again.

   Suggesting they both guess, began a list of all their favorite foods.  After their ideas had been exhausted, I told them we were having cupcakes for dinner.  They were in disbelief. What?  No, they didn’t believe it.  By the time we arrived home, they weren’t sure if I was pulling their leg or serious.  Sophie, having a sweet tooth, I am quite sure, was hoping for the latter.  

   While they played and kept an eye on what I was doing, a recipe for meatloaf cupcakes was combined and put into muffin tins.  While that was baking, potatoes were boiled.  (I peeled the potatoes so the mashed potatoes would look more like frosting.)  I usually cut potatoes about 1/2″ thick and after coming to a boil, adding a lid, and turning down to simmer, they are done in 12 minutes on my stove.  Then they were drained and mashed with a little milk, butter, sour cream, and salt.  They had to be a consistency loose enough to pipe with a cake decorating tip and bag.

   The kids continued to watch as they figured out what I was doing.  They seemed to enjoy the mystery immensely.  When the ‘meatloaf cupcakes’ came out of the oven, the mashed potatoes were piped onto the tops and chopped chives were sprinkled over the potatoes.

Backward Day Meal Ideas on
Backward Day

   Their salad was made of baby greens, strawberries, and dried cranberries and topped with a raspberry vinaigrette.  We also had French bread and butter.

Backward Day Meal Ideas on
Backward Day

   Having made the cupcakes and brownies earlier in the day, it was a simple task to cut the brownies into ‘hamburgers’ and slice the cupcake ‘buns’ in half.  Earlier in the day, green food coloring was added to the coconut to resemble lettuce.  Red food coloring was added to white buttercream frosting to make our ketchup and yellow food coloring for the mustard. A purchased frozen pound cake was sliced into ‘french fries’ and they were toasted in the oven at 350º.  And of course, the ‘ketchup’ and ‘mustard’ were applied using a small plastic ketchup squeeze bottle.

   A purchased frozen pound cake was sliced into ‘french fries’ and they were toasted in the oven at 350º.  And of course, the ‘ketchup’ and ‘mustard’ were applied using a small plastic ketchup and mustard squeeze bottle.

Backward Day Meal Ideas on
Backward Day
Backward Day Meal Ideas on
Backward Day

   We have had some interesting and fun times here at Grammy and Papa’s home.  We do so enjoy our grandkids.  With smiles and giggles, they really seemed to get a kick out of the ‘interesting’ meal we had and they are once again asking for those delicious meatloaf cupcakes!

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Subtle Halloween Decor

October 22, 2014


   Every year the Halloween decorations are pulled out in anticipation of Halloween night and all the trick-or-treaters.   There are touches of Halloween throughout the main floor.   Sometimes it is very subtle, like the three rectangular vases with wine corks and the letters ‘B O O’.  The letters were printed on card stock, cut to size, slipped into the vases and supported by the corks.  Sometimes little things that are so inexpensive make a big impact.

   The crow sits atop a small Autumnal wreath, which was easily manip-ulated to fit the urn perfectly.



   In the kitchen window, are two wooden crows on pumpkins and a Happy Harvest sign, which I leave up through Thanksgiving.  Two little Jack-o-lantern votives are on each end.  Notice the ‘Golden Tack Wreath’  from an earlier post.  It was such a simple craft, but I love it.

   Don’t you think little touches make a big difference in decorating for the season? Sometimes a simple composition using just a few decorations is very pleasing to the eye.

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Cute Halloween Costumes

October 15, 2014

    Each year, just about this time, Aidan, Sophie and I begin to think of Halloween costumes.  When Sophie was almost two years old, I made a poodle skirt for her, by the time she arrived at my house, she was a chocolate, sticky, candy mess.  Pictures not so good.

   When Aidan was four years old, I made an Indian costume for him.  We bought the headdress.   That year we bought a ladybug outfit for Sophie.  It was pretty cute.

   The next year, Aidan dressed like Indiana Jones.  It was a pretty easy costume to pull together. He had a little brown jacket, a pair of khaki pants and a long sleeved white button-up shirt.  His mother bought a hat for him at the Halloween store and his dad bought the whip.  Could he get much cuter?

   That year Sophie dressed as Audrey Hepburn, complete with the tiara, which I bought at Hobby Lobby, in the wedding section, when it was half price.  The pearls were mine and we bought the gloves, sewed them, to fit her little hands, and then cut off the excess.  I made the dress from a Simplicity pattern #2265, out of satin, and added two layers of gathered tulle over the skirt, just pinning the gathered tulle to the satin skirt, before sewing to the bodice.  Otherwise, I followed the pattern pretty closely.  We also purchased a little black fur jacket, in case it was chilly.

   Sophie’s mom, Tiffany, work at a hair salon and she had an appointment to have her hair looking perfect, as you can see.


   Aidan had his heart set on being Spiderman that year.  We purchased that outfit and he was so excited about wearing it, after trying it on to see if it fit, he did not want to take it off!  He wore it until my Mom came to pick him up after work.

   After the success of Sophie’s outfit the previous year, I was excited about making a little red riding hood costume for her.  I picked up another pattern for the costume, made the little dress as the pattern said.  You have probably seen all the little dresses on Pinterest made from strips of  tulle, looped onto a ribbon or a crocheted band. They look so adorable in the pictures.  So I cut strips of red tulle and attached to a ribbon to look like the skirt, thinking it would make the skirt look so much fuller.  Then I cut shorter strips of white tulle and attached to the ribbon, to look like an apron on the front.  Next, I tacked the ribbon in the front and on each side.  The ribbon then tied into a bow in the back.  

   I wanted the cape to be longer than the pattern was, so I cut the red velour fabric longer than the pattern, just extending the lines using a yardstick.  I also wanted it lined, so I also cut the pattern out of red satin.  Once the seams were sewn on the velour cape and the satin lining, I pinned them right sides together on the sides and at the bottom, sewed the seam all around the edge, leaving the neck edge open for turning.  The pattern called to line the hood, but not the cape.  You are allowed to change things, and I typically do.  The cape turned out beautiful.

   With Sophie’s blonde hair, she just looked adorable.  Since I was working, I didn’t get to see her until after work, and of course I stopped by pre-school for the parade.  I was mortified!  This is what the skirt looked like when she put it on at first.  It did seem that I had to kind of comb the tulle sections with my fingers, to keep them laying straight.

 After being at school for awhile,  what looked so adorable when she was dropped off, looked like a tangled up mess!  The little sections of tulle kept creeping up, as  Sophie walked and played.   Unfortunately, I couldn’t follow her around, like some kind of ocd freak, combing the skirt to keep it looking good!   Has anyone else had this problem?

   I will never make another tulle skirt like this!  In retrospect, I wish I had gathered layers of tulle and pinned and sewn to the skirt and bodice.  No more tying strips of tulle to ribbons for me!  Please tell me I am not alone!


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Preserving Basil Leaves The Easy Way

October 13, 2014

   Another post on Pinterest today, caught my attention, ‘Preserving Basil Leaves’.  I checked out the blog,  The process seemed simple enough. Since the basil in my home garden is sure to be frozen in a few weeks,  much to my chagrin, the idea of  preserving it seemed like a no brainer.  How many years have I just watched the plants turn to mush after a freeze?

  Supplies were simple –  

Canning  Jar & Lid              


Extra Virgin Olive Oil        

Sea Salt


   Clean your fresh basil in cold water and let air dry.   Sprinkle a little salt in the bottom of your clean canning jar. (There were comments that the salt was not necessary, but I opted to use it.)  Add a layer of basil, then cover with olive oil.  Then repeat the layers, salt, basil, olive oil until the jar is full.  Put the lid on and store in the refrigerator.  The olive oil will solidify in the refrigerator.

 When needed, you just scoop out the amount you require,  place in a bowl  and within a few minutes it will be at room temperature, ready for your recipe.  The basil might have some dark discoloration, but it is fine and it does not affect the way it tastes.

   Julie says that her aunt stores this for up to two years, but she suggests one year.  I can’t imagine not using a jar within a year, however, if you have a bumper crop, maybe you would have a few jars!  

   Another person commented that he typically just dredges the basil leaf in oil and puts each into the jar making it easier to pull out individual leaves.  I like the idea of the basil infused oil.

   The basil flavored olive oil could be used in lots of dishes, and how about adding some Italian herbs, mincing the basil, and making a bread dipping  oil?  It would be perfect for soups and sauces, and salads.  I am sure you could think of even more, right?

   If you haven’t had Carrabba’s bread dipping sauce, you need to try it.  It is addictive.   Click here for a knock-off recipe, which is yet again, so simple!  


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