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The sister connection: it's forever and sometimes about food

 

Last updated 10/23/2008 at Noon



I love my sister Carol. She has always been there for me (she is a wee bit older) and can remember our shared past better than anyone. She is, as they say, “the family memory book.”

A family wedding near Atlanta brought us back together for a weekend. It was fun seeing her almost grown up grandchildren Daniel (16) and Zander (13), who live there, my niece Lisa and her pastor husband Lee with their budding nondenominational church blossoming, and of course, sharing both our sisterly past and present. Fred, my brother-in-law, never at a loss for words, held court with the younger bucks at a post-wedding breakfast, telling them story after story. He fits right into our family, which has always loved a good storyteller.

My sister and I remembered Halloween holidays past…costumes we loved, childhood parties that did include dunking for apples in a tub of water and our favorite candies. Carol could even remember the candy given year after year at certain houses lo those several years ago. That, my friends, is a good memory.

When I shared with her the concept of purchasing Halloween candy that could be used in recipes, she said she, too, had taken that route and had several recipes to prove it.

Well, we got our nephew Nick married to Kara while brothers Zach and Jason looked on. The proud parents, Steve and Allison, handled the family en masse with gracious Southern hospitality and we all were glad we came.

And, the world is richer and fuller and deeper because of my sister and yours. If you’ve not connected with your sister recently, do it. Time is all too short and sisterhood a pleasure one need never deny oneself.

Thanks, Carol, for sharing, again, of your love and your life and your recipes.If you buy M&Ms, candy corn, mini-peanut butter sandwich crackers for “tricks or treats,” whatever may not go into the goblins’ bags will be well used in this snack mix from my sister Carol Goldman. She says, “Grown men love this… I’ve even seen them take a bag of it to the golf course.”

Autumn Treat Mix

10-oz. box mini peanut butter

sandwich cookies

2 cups 1-inch square cheese

crackers

1 ½ cups dry roasted peanuts

2 ½ cups tiny twist pretzels

½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

½ cup corn syrup

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

1 14-oz. bag M&Ms

1 ½ cups candy corn

Pour mini-peanut butter sandwich cookies, cheese crackers, dry roasted peanuts and tiny twist pretzels in a large bowl. Toss and set aside.

Bring butter, sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and baking soda.

Pour over cracker mixture; stir to coat.

Spread in a large buttered roasting pan. Bake in a 250-degree oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread onto foil to cool. Break apart while warm. Toss with M&Ms and candy corn.

The miniature-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are considered a “score” for the trick-or-treaters… and the leftovers make wonderfully creative cupcakes. A brownie mix makes it very easy.

Brownie Candy Cups

1 pkg. double fudge brownie mix

1 large egg

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

30 miniature peanut butter cups,

unwrapped

Place paper baking cups in muffin pans.

Combine brownie mix, fudge packet from mix, eggs, water and oil in a large bowl. Stir with a spoon until well blended, about 50 strokes.

Place 2 level measuring tablespoons batter in each paper liner. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Push 1 peanut butter cup candy into center of each cupcake until even with surface of brownie. Return to the oven and bake 5 to 7 minutes. Remove to cooling racks. Cool completely.

Homemade popcorn balls were a common Halloween treat in my earliest days. Today, popcorn is so common and commercial popcorn balls readily available. A popcorn cake, however, is quite spectacular… and it makes good use of corn candy and gumdrops left from the holiday.

Popcorn Cake

Butter for pan

18 cups popped corn

½ cup butter

1 cup peanuts or whole cashew

nuts

1 cup gumdrops

1 cup corn candy

1 (10.5) pkg. miniature

marshmallows

Butter one 10-inch tube or bundt pan.

Toss popcorn with candy and nuts.

Melt ½ cup butter with mashmallows.

Pour over popcorn mixture and mix well. Press mixture in prepared pan. Butter hands before pressing firmly into pan. Chill and remove from pan.

Old-time Halloween drawings and even photographs all feature apples. When we were kids we’d groan when we got an apple as a “treat”… candy ruled supreme! Still, with the pendulum swinging toward “healthy” snacking, apples are back in vogue. Here’s a nifty dip for apples after the holiday that starts with a tub of prepared caramel dip.

Apple Dip with Apples

1 8-oz. tub cream cheese

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 tub Marzetta caramel apple dip

1 small bag “mini” chocolate

chips

1 small bag toffee chips

Cored apples cut into wedges

Mix cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar using portable electric mixer. Spread on a serving platter. Cover with contents of the tub of caramel apple dip. Top with “mini” chocolate chips and toffee chips. Serve with apple wedges.

Every once in a blue moon, one may need to cook for a crowd at church, PTO or even large family gathering. For such an occasion or situation, my sister Carol shared this recipe for individual ham loaves rolled in corn flake crumbs and baked with a glaze.

Carol’s Individual Ham Loaves (makes 60 servings)

10 lb. ground cured ham

5 lb. fresh ground pork

10 cups soft breadcrumbs (about

20 slices bread)

1 1/3 cups whole milk

10 eggs

4 ½ tsp. ground mustard

1 small box corn flakes, crushed

Glaze:

2 boxes brown sugar

1 ½ cups water

1 small jar prepared mustard

Mix ground meats together with breadcrumbs, milk, eggs and mustard. Make into individual loaves. Roll in crushed corn flakes. Place on rimmed baking pans. Spoon prepared glaze over each and bake in a 350-degree oven for l hour. Bakes about 60 loaves.

To prepare glaze: Put brown sugar, water and prepared mustard in pan and bring to a boil.

Hayden and Shirley Fry are longtime friends of my sister Carol. Carol says this BBQ beef is a super recipe for a casual party.

Shirley Fry’s Beef BBQ

1 4-6 lb. beef pot roast

1 can (10 ¾ oz.) cream of chicken

or mushroom soup

1 ¼ cups bottled BBQ sauce

1 envelope dry onion soup

Put pot roast in a roasting pan with a cover. Pour soup over meat. Pour BBQ sauce over soup. Sprinkle dry soup on top. Cover and bake in a 350-degree oven for 2 or 3 hours. Drain off fat and remove any bones. Slice or shred meat. Serve on buns.

 

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