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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Art for the Art Exhibit in October

My wife and I are the featured artists for the month of October at a local bookstore in our little town of Decatur, IN, called The Next Page Bookstore. We have been working on some new pieces for the exhibit and I figured I would tease you all with a sneak peek of one of my new works. It is a portrait of the Bride of Frankenstein. 12x12 inch stretched canvas in acrylic paint. Hope you enjoy it and maybe if you are close by, you can stop in and check out our little display for my favorite month, October,  and favorite holiday, Halloween! Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Soup

Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Soup

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2005
  • 2 medium butternut squash, about 3 to 4 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 3/4 pound smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Season the squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and cool completely. In a blender or food processor, puree the squash with 2 cups of the chicken stock. Puree until smooth and set aside.
In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring 4 cups of the stock and 1/2 cup of the chopped onions to a simmer. Stir in the rice and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally with a fork. Remove the rice from the pan and cool. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the sausage and brown for 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of onions and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the remaining 6 cups of stock and squash puree. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Stir in the rice and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the half-and-half and reason with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Butternut Squash Rounds with Shallot-Cider Sauce and Pan Roasted Walnuts

•1 3-pound butternut squash, with a 6-inch-long neck (see Shopping Tip)
•2 tablespoons canola oil
•2 cups thinly sliced shallots (8-10 medium)
•1 teaspoon light brown sugar
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•1 cup cup apple cider
•1 tablespoon cider vinegar
•1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tip)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cut off the neck of the squash and peel it. Slice into twelve 1/2-inch-thick rounds; remove any stray fibrous threads or seeds in the centers. (Reserve the rest of the squash for another use, such as squash puree). Place the squash rounds on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots, brown sugar and salt and reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring often, until the shallots are softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in cider and vinegar and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.

To serve, place 1 squash round on a small plate and top with about 2 1/2 tablespoons shallot sauce. Place a second round on top and finish with another 2 1/2 tablespoons of sauce and a sprinkling of walnuts. Repeat with the remaining squash, shallot sauce and walnuts.

Look for a squash with a long slender neck like a goose—at least 6 inches long and about 3 inches wide.To toast chopped walnuts, heat a small dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts and cook, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sculpted Pumpkin for Art Showing

Finsihed up another piece for the Art exhibit in October. My wife and I are going to be the featured artists for the month. Here is my latest piece. He is made of polymer clay and is 9 inches tall. I then painted him with acrylic paints and sealed him.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fun Candy from Walmart

Just some of the fun offerings for the little ghoulish ones in your life this year at Halloween!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Check out Ravensbarrow.com to get full details on the contest and prizes!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Salute to All Things Pumpkin!

                                                                 Yummy stuff! Find it at Walmart and other stores now.
Pumpkin Shake
This is a refreshing breakfast drink. A light desert. There are many different things you can do with this basic recipe. Different spices, ice cubes for a slushier drink, ice cream, vanilla yogurt. The possibilities are endless. SERVES 2 drinks
4 ounces chilled canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups cold skim milk
8 teaspoons sugar ("or" substitute sweetener)
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

1Combine all ingredients in a blender.
2Makes two servings.

Pumpkin Wine

Pumpkin Spice Latte
A delicious blend of pumpkin and traditional fall spice flavors combined with our signature espresso and freshly steamed milk, and topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spices. From Starbucks Coffee Company

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen, 2007.Prep Time:15 minInactive Prep Time:4 hr 15 minCook Time:1 hr 0 minLevel:Easy
Serves:8 servings.


•1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
•3 tablespoons light brown sugar
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 stick melted salted butter

•3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
•1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
•3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
•1/4 cup sour cream
•1 1/2 cups sugar
•1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
•1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
•2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Pumpkin Cookies
"These soft and chewy cinnamon scented cookies are make with butter, oats, brown and white sugar, raisins and pumpkin puree."

8 ounces butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree 1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla and pumpkin.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, raisins and flour. Stir into pumpkin mixture.
4. Drop cookies by the heaping teaspoonful on to cookie sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until slightly browned around edges.
5. Remove from oven and place on cooling racks. Frost with your favorite powdered sugar glaze or leave plain

2 cans pumpkin
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
yellow cake mix
1 cup of melted butter
1/2 cup of chopped pecans

8 ounces cream cheese (room temp)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
large tub Cool Whip

Beat all this together until mixed well and pour into 9 by 13 inch pan that has been sprayed with Pam and lined with waxed paper.
Next, sprinkle a box of dry yellow cake mix on top of the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle with a cup of melted butter and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
Bake for one hour at 350F. Cool and innvert onto plate. When cool completely, spread with frosting and refrigerate.
Submitted by: Carrie Trammell

American Pumpkin Home Fragrance Oil
Scent Personality: A deliciously spicy and fruity blend of apple pumpkin and vanilla that will conjure up warm and comforting memories of Halloween and pumpkin pie.
Notes: fruity, spicy, apple, pumpkin, vanilla and musk

Yes there is even the new limited edition Pumpkin Harvest Febreze Air Effects. I picked up some of this last night at our local Walmart. It has a nice scent. Not overly pumpkiny, but still nice.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A little Halloween silliness to tickle your fancy.

Pic I took of my wife being silly with some bucky skulls we had laying around. Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Corpse is DONE...almost

Got so excited with the paint job I forgot he needed a left hand...DOH!

More progress on the corpse

He needs a left hand and then once he is completely dry, on to the paintjob!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More Corpse Progress

Well with a bit more work today the corpse is coming along nicely! Here are some more pics of it in progress. I think I am almost done with the mache and will let it dry for a day or two and then start on paint. Although I may add some arms, or at least one arm so he looks a bit more menacing.

The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree...This is one book you need to have in your Halloween story collection!

"Halloween Tree" recaptures the surreal spookiness of a child's Halloween with the knowledge of an adult. One of Ray Bradbury's relatively few books for children is a wildly imaginative ride, with a strong subtext about friendship and death itself.

Eight young boys congregate to go trick-or-treating on Halloween night; the only one missing is Pipkin, the universal favorite (Bradbury devotes an entire chapter to singing Pip's praises). Pipkin does show up, but he acts strangely and isn't wearing a costume. When they show up at the House, a haunted edifice, they find the sinister, skeletal Mr. Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud and an enormous tree hung with jack-o-lanterns -- a Halloween tree. Pipkin appears nearby, and then is carried off into the darkness.

To save Pip, Moundshroud takes the boys on a strange trip through time and space, through history and across the world. He shows them the death-related rituals that spawned Halloween: Egypt's mummies, the Celtic Samhain and its lord of the dead, the Christian All Hallows Eve, the Mexican El Dia De Muerte, and others. Through time and across the world, they chase Pipkin and try to save him -- but what can they do against death?

One of my all time personal favorite Halloween tales! You will not be disappointed with this book!

Corpse progress...

Well, so far, so good. I guess. Making progress...