Chocolate Pumpkin Witch Cupcake Recipe = Fall Poems in the Northland

I am joining the party over at Fiesta Friday over at The Novice Gardner’s Birthday Party! Where the culinary arts are extraordinary. Happy Birthday!  Cohosts are  Suzanne @apuginthekitchen and Sue @Birgerbird

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

I was asked to bring a pumpkin bar dessert for an upcoming Halloween neighborhood street party. “There will be no desserts. ” said my friend.  oh gosh almighty when I looked up pumpkin bars the pics (hundreds of them) didn’t inspire.  closeup cupcake1 pumkin kids in leaves

Soooo I fretted about baking for people I don’t know and gave myself the option of punting – bring store-bought baked goods. (Okay, it’s a failsafe back-up plan.)

However, as fate would have it; I found a recipe in Country Living Magazine that I skimmed through nervously at the insurance estimate place for my car. (Don’t ask.) How to turn an unfortunate circumstance into a better day? Find an inspirational recipe.

From Country Living Magazine online here is the Chocolate Pumpkin Witch Cupcakes recipe link. I followed the steps to the letter. Yesterday I had two taste testers who gave it the thumbs up! This was a practice run before the big event on Halloween, Feast of All Hallows, Samhain (for any neo- pagans). Retrieved October 24, 2014

These Chocolate Pumpkin cupcakes are moist, rich, and the pumpkin is not too much.  Everything worked. This recipe makes a fluffy batter. They are totally cute when finished with witches hat and clever details.  It’s a winner and good enough to eat without frosting. 

Fall Poem

Walk the leaf-strewn streets

CKatt 10-2014

CKatt 10-2014

In the morning light

The fresh fall of leaves

Slow spirals

Onto the paths decayed

Leavers, who feel the change

And the chill

Of timing

Float and rest in piles

in artful carelessness.

Colors of brilliant design

Intrigue and beckon.

Stooping to examine

the veined paths of leaf-life

Strikes the sense ofShadows fall

The infinite and finite

within my own Fall.


Selecting a few for a pocket,

Orange, red, green and yellow,

Wistful, as imagination sets them on a canvas

To be forever remembered

Bright, alive, beautifully formed

Mortality staved off temporarily.mushroom


Mushrooms, and golden maples

Lure to a mood of natural mystery

The golden leaves hide a secret

The seeds discreetly dryingseeds

Will fall to earth to create

Another masterpiece of trees

The sprout, the leafing out, defying winter


A squirrel distracts contemplation

And scampers near, performs a pirouette

Around a pole and jumps away.


I use a squirrel noise I know,

He turns to look at me and pose.

In one click he’s caught in my lens

A city critter, he hops closer

Takes a beggar’s stance so humble

With paws so perfectly placed

Expectant, hopeful and

Following apace, tests connections.

My pockets are filled with leaves

and seeds… I smile.

There is nothing edible to share.

Street-wise he moves on quickly.

Likewise the moment passestree grey house

As I continue on my way.

© October 20, 2014 CKatt

Posted in Desserts, Slow food and art in the kitchen | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

New England Travels # 3 Connecticut Farm School

Present state of affairs:

Working on many fronts in the kitchen with my artwork, which means trying to find two pieces of work.  The hunt began yesterday. It continues today.  My search uncovered a couple of forgotten art gems from yesteryear. 

Back to the present:


The Agriculture School Feeding time for the geese August 2014 Copyright CKatt

The Agriculture School Feeding time for the geese August 2014 Copyright CKatt

My cousins took me for a walk around the local High School, which recently was equipped with an expensive generator for emergencies.  It is the size of a semi truck. Connecticut has some whopper storms. The generator is for preparation for a local disaster.

There is an agriculture school attached to the complex.  We happened to be there at feeding time. The sheep were fed first with a lot of bleating and pushing at the feeding trough.

Then the geese were given grain by the pond.  Note the enthusiasm of the goose in pursuit of the feed.

"Wait for it.." Goose waiting for feed at the farm.

“Wait for it..” Goose waiting for feed at the farm.

" Hey, come Back here."  Feeding time for the geese The Connecticut Agriculture School August 2014 Copyright CKatt

” Hey, come back here.” Feeding time for the geese The Connecticut Agriculture School August 2014 Copyright CKatt

"Now yer talkin'" Contented geese. August 2014 CKatt

“Now yer talkin'” Contented geese. August 2014 CKatt


"Hello! What are you guys doin' here?" Sheep invasion of the geese. August 2014 CKatt

“Hello! What are you guys doin’ here?” Sheep invasion of the geese feed. August 2014 CKatt

The Farm School Buildings August 2014 CKatt

The Farm School Buildings August 2014 CKatt

The Farm School Head Honcho August 2014 CKatt

The Farm School Head Honcho August 2014 CKatt

"I am so handsome." Farm School Head chicken August 2014 CKatt

“I am so handsome.” Farm School Head chicken August 2014 CKatt

"And who might you be?"  Farm School Horses August 2014 CKatt

“And who might you be?” Farm School Horses August 2014 CKatt

This is the record of my visit to the High School farm school in Connecticut.  (Yes, there are farms in Connecticut.) Thanks to my cousins! Retrieved October 16 2014.


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The Origins of the Name Granola and “How Cereal Transformed American Culture” + A Very Easy Granola Recipe

The history of the creation of cereal as told by Ian Lender

Published online at Mental_Floss: Retrieved October 3, 2014

“More than a century ago, Christian fundamentalists invented cereal to promote a healthy lifestyle free of sin. Little did they know, their creation would eventually be used to promote everything from radio and cartoons to Mr. T and tooth decay”- Ian Lender

This is article is very entertaining to read. Click the link and you will be surprised to learn how Walt Disney made his first million to start the Disney Empire. It’s all because of cereal.

My friend Anna sent me this article, after we ran into each other at the co-op yesterday. Anna told me she came in for water, but she had a little cart full of what looked like cereal. It was on sale; some cereal flakes that Anna loved. I prefer oatmeal or granola,  I told her.

My mother fed me Cream of Wheat, oatmeal, and I have a distinct memory of Shredded Wheat, which I tried once and rejected. I loved Sugar Pops…yeah, really. (“Sugar Pops are tops” Oh gosh, do I really remember that?) And yes, as the writer of this wonderfully informative and funny article says, cereal makers discovered that “children are suckers”. I would add that children are highly suggestible or hypnotizable.

When I went away to school, there was the morning breakfast ritual of standing behind our chairs at table and eyeing which mini-box of cereal to grab for, after grace, before someone else grabbed the sugary ones. Loser would have to eat plain Corn Flakes – no obvious sugar. We couldn’t touch the food until we sat down. Who says little girls aren’t competitive? Sugar and spice had to come from somewhere.

Many years later, I eat oatmeal and love it. Better yet, I like granola. Once in a while I make it.

Here’s a good quick recipe for granola given to me by a former colleague, Brenda Zellmer. Brenda brought it to work one day and had me try it as a dry snack. I really liked it! I begged her for the recipe. It’s heart healthy and brown sugar is good for energy.

Quick Omega 3 Granola

4 Tbsp Walnut Oil (Bought this especially for the granola)

¾ Cup packed Dark Brown Sugar

¼ Cup Egg Whites (2 eggs)

3 Cups Old Fashioned oats

1 Cup Walnuts or Pecans broken

½ Cup Flaxseed Meal

1 Cup Dates, Raisins, Craisins etc

¼ Cup Honey


The Method

Preheat Oven to 350F

♥ Whisk 2 tablespoons of oil, sugar, 2 egg whites in a bowl; add oats, nuts, and flaxseed: toss well!

♥ Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and rub 2 Tbsp of oil and 2 Tbsp of brown sugar onto the surface.

♥ Spread Mix on cookie sheet evenly. Bake 15 minutes, then stir granola. Bake another 15 minutes.

♥ Then sprinkle dried fruit and honey and bake another 10 minutes.

Very Easy!

I am joining the Fiesta Friday party over at the Novice Gardner’s food blog, who hosts a world wide coterie of foodies and fun.

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday

P.S. Not to complain, but there is a dusting of snow forecast for parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin Friday night. “Oh darn.”

Posted in Food Humor, Slow food and art in the kitchen, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Scorpion Peppers at the Minneapolis Farmers Market + A Food Culture Reader “Anything That Moves”

Sunday’s trip to the Lyndale Farmers’ Market with my friend Richard netted some broccoli, butternut squash, and kale. It was time for squash and green vegetables for me.

The harvest is rich and plentiful at this time of year. There are lots of lovely heritage tomatoes to be had, along with tiny colorful potatoes, squash and peppers of all rank of heat. Richard purchased one Scorpion pepper. It was about the size of an apricot, but from there, the comparison ended. Its shape was more like a twisted red-orange sculptural piece. He exclaimed, “This is the first time that I have ever seen a Scorpion pepper in the farmers’ market.” Then he laughed heartily. He purchased just the one.

Scorpion Chili Peppers

Scorpion Chili Peppers

Retrieved September 30, 2014 from

The pointed end of the pepper suggests a scorpion’s tail, thus the name Scorpion pepper. A little reading revealed the pepper originates from Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago. It was for three years and until recently considered to be the hottest (heat-wise) pepper in the world until it was recently surpassed by a hybrid call the Carolina Reaper. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion Pepper was measured by New Mexico University to have “ a mean heat of more than 1.2 million Scoville heat units (SHUs) and individual plants with a heat of more than 2 million SHUs.[1] ” according to Wikipedia.

That explained, I have no idea what Richard intended to do with the Scorpion Pepper. At any rate, writing about exotic peppers brings me to the subject of the book I am reading “Anything That Moves: Renegade Chefs, Fearless Eaters, and the Making of a New American Food Culture.” When I first started reading the book, I was startled and appalled at the food trends that are covered. But hey, Several years ago, on Mother’s Day in San Francisco, I was looking for a restaurant the could take a large group of people and walked into a restaurant that, as it turned out, served organ meats as their specialty. I opted for another venue and it was terrific! (Bacco Restorante San Francisco )

A book suggestion about food: 

Exotic, weird and crazy food for the food fanciers and the daring chefs and providers who take people on food trips are described very well in “Anything That Moves”. It’s by Dana Goodyear.  Ms. Goodyear fearlessly (Almost) guides the reader through the endless palate of the most sought after food oddities with some historical characters thrown in the mix to create a colorful and fascinating story of the quest of quests to satisfy the extreme desires for “the new and different” in food. (Thanks to Bill for the book.)

This book will take you from the story of a 13-year old boy mushroom importer to eating live octopus tentacles. (Sometimes I am revolted.) It’s well worth reading not just for the shock value, but also for the content. Following Ms. Goodyear’s experience in the trending food world is a revelation.  It’s a view from the inside of the many sides of the best and the weirdest developments in food around the US of A.

Of late, my food experiments are few and far between as my priorities are shifting.  Learning about food and cooking has fascinated me for the last four years. recently congratulated me on four years of blogging.  After the 200th post, I promised myself I would write about how and why I started this blog in 2010.

In 2008, I was injured in an accident that changed my life. I was hit in the head at work. From one day to the next, I was a different person, with a different life. In 2006, I had finished a master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in a program that had excellent teachers, who inspired and helped me hone my writing. That is gone. Writing this blog has helped my recovery enormously. (Sabina Posthumus who had suggested to Richard that he write a food blog also inspired me to write.) And all my friends near and far who contribute their expertise and recipes are the cornerstone of my writing.

During the first two years after my accident, there were very good professional people who started me on the road to recovery.  This blog has anchored me and connected me with people who are terrific inspirations to me. I am grateful to all my supporters and readers!  Also the members of the BIG (Brain Injury Group) support group, who teach me to be who I am today are a mainstay of love and understanding. My worldview is of a beginner.

My blog still has odd mistakes that my brain doesn’t see sometimes until months later! But I am undaunted. Awkward syntax and spelling errors aside (which someone complained about in a comment to me) I continue.

The Atlantic Ocean of the New England Coast copyright CKatt 2014

The Atlantic Ocean of the New England Coast copyright CKatt 2014


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New England Travel Photos 2 – East Coast Wildlife

My journey continued.  Bambi does exist! See her in the photo from my cousins’ back yard.

Bambi in the backyard in Connecticut  copyright CKatt 2014

Bambi in the backyard in Connecticut copyright CKatt 2014

Bambi cuteness copyright CKatt 2014

Bambi cuteness copyright CKatt 2014



The deer appeared everyday at the edge of the yard – a doe and 2 fawns.  My cousins can’t have a flower garden, because deer eat everything!

Birds of a feather living in the Philadelphia Airport!  I was minding my own business, when two birds soared past me very much like miniature jets and landed gracefully to scavenge a crumb that someone had dropped on the floor. The third came along, a juvenile that was not completely feathered out.  Mom and pop fed the baby and snacked.  It all happened quickly as I dug my camera out of my bag.  Me and another woman were snapping pics.  It was so unexpectedly cheerful.


Philadelphia Sparrows copyright CKatt 2014

Philadelphia Sparrows share copyright CKatt 2014

Philadelphia Sparrows share copyright CKatt 2014

The birds that live in the Philadelphia airport. copyright CKatt 2014

The birds that live in the Philadelphia airport. copyright CKatt 2014

Philadelphia Sparrows copyright CKatt 2014

Philadelphia Sparrows copyright CKatt 2014

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