October Challenges - A FULLY ENRICHED LIFE Blog at Allrecipes.com - 313814


October Challenges 
Oct. 27, 2013 3:08 pm 
Updated: Oct. 29, 2013 8:07 pm

October has always been a busy month for me, and this year proved no different.  Though I’m retired from my position as a guidance counselor in a large school district, I still do a little work for them.  We test students in grades 7-12 who are still considered English Learners.  It’s always fun for me to travel to different schools to say hello to people I’ve worked with in the past, and then it’s a treat to sit across from students to issue them one-on-one questions.  Now finally my work is over, and I can concentrate on my home and friends! 

The most outstanding work I do in the month of October is to follow my oldest granddaughter’s instructions for her birthday cake, which has been in the planning since LAST October!  Talk about a child (now 11) who knows what she wants!  I used the White Almond Wedding Cake and Rick’s Special Buttercream recipes.  I used store-bought fondant and Trader Joe’s lemon curd, too.  This was the result of this year’s creative vision:

My husband also has a birthday this month, so we had to have his favorite cake (he’s not much of a sweets eater).  This cake is not the usual chocolate cake---it’s really a cream cheese cake with a little chocolate thrown in.  This recipe, one I’ve made for many years, came from an old cafeteria in LA—Clifton’s—now gone.  The photo shows my son’s cake with a little extra chocolate for designs thrown in.


As an AR Ambassador I made a few Johnsonville sausage recipes, and I was so ecstatic to find several products of theirs that did not contain MSG (which does affect me and two other family members, too).  You should look for both Johnsonville All Natural Mild and Hot Ground Sausage.  I ended up mixing the two together because it was better for my granddaughters’ tastes!  I made a number of their recipes, and you can check my photos for them--all were good. But if you want yummy comfort food, you must try these two dishes!  Both are easy and delicious, too.  The first one is Bowties with Italian Sausage in Cream Basil Sauce, and the second is Pizza Pasta by Johnsonville.

I also made several Ore-Ida dishes, but their recipes aren’t on AR’s site.  My favorites were those using tater tots, a fun memory for me because I remember when they came out in 1956, way back when I was in junior high.  They were a big hit in my Utah home town!  Our small local ski resort could deep fry them so perfectly that people would make the drive into the canyon just to order them!  So Ore-Ida’s Veggie Totchos recipe was a fun one to eat, made very tasty by using White Nacho Cheese Sauce from this site.  To make that sauce, I also used the recipe for Self-Rising Flour! 

I made several other recipes this month, and there are two standouts.  One was Chef John’s Homemade Hamburger Buns, which I’ve made several times now.  They are so easy and so light and perfect!

The other was bd.weld’s Popa’s Pickled Eggs.  To be honest, I made these a while back, but the recipe was recently published, so I raced to get my photo on there!  These are delicious! 

I love being an Allrecipes Allstar Ambassador because I get to try such a variety of challenges.  I get to make a wide variety of dishes, express my own opinions, and help make our beloved recipe site as successful as it is.  We couldn’t do it without our sponsors!  So this month my hat’s off to both Johnsonville and Ore-Ida! 

Happy cooking, Allrecipeeps!
Recipes I used for sponsors:
Oct. 27, 2013 3:44 pm
What a full month! Those buns look amazing and bd.welds eggs are the bomb! I love the cake! Great job!
Oct. 27, 2013 3:45 pm
Wonderful blog!! You are a Busy bee and we love ya for it!!
Oct. 27, 2013 3:45 pm
And her bread doesn't look bad either! LOL
Oct. 27, 2013 3:59 pm
Marianne, that cake and buns look like they came from a fancy bakery. Great job! Your other dishes look delicious too!
Oct. 27, 2013 4:00 pm
Baking Nana, it has been busy. I hate it when time goes by so fast.
Oct. 27, 2013 4:01 pm
WOW, busy lady, photo's are lovely. BUON COMPLEANNO to both your granddaughter and your husband. My youngest will be 32 next week.
Oct. 27, 2013 4:01 pm
Thanks, Patty Cakes, sweetie!
Oct. 27, 2013 4:02 pm
Cookin' Cyn, just don't look too close at that cake! My granddaughter was able to help me cover up some of our booboos with the zebra stripes. It was our first time to use fondant on a cake like this. We had fun!
Oct. 27, 2013 4:03 pm
Thanks, manella. You have to just blink and those darned kids are a year older!
Oct. 27, 2013 4:19 pm
marianne i love the pictures of that cake. those hamburger buns are awesome! bdweld's eggs look excellent! rock on gal!
Oct. 27, 2013 4:31 pm
Thanks, Gary! I'll keep on rockin'!!! Thanks for coming by!
Oct. 27, 2013 4:32 pm
You have been one busy lady! Your granddaughter is very luck to have such a talented grandmother! Lovely blog!
Oct. 27, 2013 4:38 pm
Thank you so much, BigShotsMom! I'm lucky to have the family I have! Very lucky!
Oct. 27, 2013 4:40 pm
The font on my blog got changed when I added something, so I'm so disappointed at how it looks. But I'll be darned if I'm going to go back and re-do it! It took me most of the day as it is! :)
Oct. 27, 2013 4:58 pm
That cake looks fantastic! So do the rest of the pictures. I have been a guidance secretary for the past 15 years and for 9 years before that I was the Special Services Secretary.
Oct. 27, 2013 5:13 pm
I knew you were in education in some position, Mother Ann! You know all the ins and outs of the whole deal, don't you! I hope the last 15 were the best. Special Services can get really hairy sometimes!
Oct. 27, 2013 5:15 pm
Marianne-your cake is beautiful. I am not very good at decorating cakes. I make so few during the year. I like nice sesame buns you made. The photo is outstanding. Your tater tot recipe looks delicious. Great Blog!
Oct. 27, 2013 5:17 pm
Great job Marianne! I love how you summed up the entire month all in one post. Something for everyone in here. Way to go! :)
Oct. 27, 2013 5:33 pm
Lela, thanks for the compliments. I have always loved to bake, and when there are little girls around to direct you, it's all the more fun! That photo of the buns was just pure luck! Thanks!
Oct. 27, 2013 5:34 pm
Kim, I started to type out a link to all the AR recipes I've made this month, but that disappeared on blogger, so then I decided to put just the Johnsonville and Ore-Ida links, and that's what blew out my bigger font on the whole thing. I have such a hard time with this blog thing!
Oct. 27, 2013 5:41 pm
Marianne...wonderful blog...I feel like I could reach out and grab one of those buns! Such great pics!
Oct. 27, 2013 5:50 pm
Ellie, I wish you could grab one of those and save me from myself! They are so good! I keep coming up with ideas of how to use them!
Oct. 27, 2013 6:11 pm
Always a joy to read your blog, Marianne. I love knowing what you're up to. Keep up the good work!
Oct. 27, 2013 6:37 pm
SHORECOOK, we really do need to finally meet. I love to know what you are doing, too! Thanks!
Oct. 27, 2013 6:40 pm
Emeralds, this is what it's all about---we lead each other into our own addictions! Food! Of all kinds! My granddaughter always tells me she wants a big cake. At least three layers. She tells me what she wants it to be theme-wise. We look at the images on google, and we pick out the things that she really likes. Then we scour the internet for those things. She is very clear about what she likes and doesn't like, and that's a good thing. I don't have to read between the lines. It's a good lesson for all us older folks who were supposed to keep people guessing. I hope you keep looking at what we all are doing on the Buzz and keep on truckin'!
Oct. 27, 2013 7:55 pm
The blue was AmeriColor's Electric Blue. It wasn't quite turquoise, but between the frosting and the lighting, it does change a bit.
Oct. 27, 2013 9:27 pm
Marianne, LOVE this year's birthday cake for that oh-so sweet granddaughter of yours. I look forward each year now to seeing what the two of you will come up with. Thank you for the recipes. I love Tater-tots and will be trying the totchos (both) for sure. I also saved the chocolate cake recipe. Yum! Your photos are great!
Oct. 28, 2013 2:54 am
Love the blog, Marianne, and I agree with gderr, you rock! The hamburger buns look amazing, and that is one "girly" cake, lol!
Oct. 28, 2013 4:20 am
Marianne you have been busy in the kitchen this month and of course it all looks delicious. Totchos, Love it!
Oct. 28, 2013 5:21 am
Candice, the granddaughters are looking forward to doing a project with you when you come---if we have time! Seriously, you just have to love tater tots, don't you?!?
Oct. 28, 2013 5:22 am
Bibi, thanks for stopping by! The cake was fun to make! It was tasty, too!
Oct. 28, 2013 5:23 am
Those totchos are yummy, Sherri! I made my own ranch dressing for it, too!
Oct. 28, 2013 6:52 am
Eggcellent blog! Your such a pro at this. (lol)
Oct. 28, 2013 7:00 am
Ha! You know me too well! Thanks, though!
Oct. 28, 2013 10:13 am
What a nice grandma and what a lovely cake you made. While I love bd.weld's roast for sandwiches, I'm not so sure about pickled eggs.
Oct. 28, 2013 10:41 am
Marianne - you inspired me by those Chef John Hamburger Buns. We have to go to a Pasta Dinner tonight for my daughter's swim team, and we have to bring dinner rolls. I started searching Chef John's recipes, and found his Rosemary Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls. They just came out of the oven, and they smell SO good! Thanks for the inspiration!
Oct. 28, 2013 11:39 am
Those hamburger buns look PERFECT!!!!
Oct. 28, 2013 3:25 pm
Cat, those pickled eggs are wonderful! Seriously, I bet your menfolk would love them if you don't.
Oct. 28, 2013 3:26 pm
Kim, now I have to go look closely at the recipe you made! They look so good! I love making rolls anyway--more than bread even.
Oct. 28, 2013 3:27 pm
Jrbaker, the hamburger buns are so good and so easy. The photo = total fluke. Just got lucky!
Oct. 29, 2013 12:12 pm
Well, you certainly have had a busy month, but the last quarter of the year always is busy with getting ready for the Holidays and upcoming family get-togethers. Everything looks absolutely scrumptious, as usual, but I've had my radar set on those pickled eggs. Was thinking about stepping outside the box and making some egg salad with them…what do you think?
Oct. 29, 2013 1:47 pm
Oh Marianne you are so kind to think that but the DH doesn't even like the egg white in deviled eggs. Could be why I let others bring the deviled eggs to the roundups. He can't pick out the yummy center and throw away the rest :)
Oct. 29, 2013 1:52 pm
Oh Marianne you are so kind to think that but the DH doesn't even like the egg white in deviled eggs. Could be why I let others bring the deviled eggs to the roundups. He can't pick out the yummy center and throw away the rest :)
Oct. 29, 2013 1:52 pm
Sorry that posted twice.
Oct. 29, 2013 8:05 pm
Lutzflcat, you will love the egg salad using those eggs! They are just so good and perfectly seasoned!
Oct. 29, 2013 8:07 pm
And, too, lutzflcat, you are so right about September on, really. It just gets crazy busy. It's just get ready for the next project pronto!
Oct. 29, 2013 8:07 pm
Cat, I feel your pain. I know what you mean. My daughter won't even eat anything that reeks of egg in any way, shape, or form!
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About Me
As a child of Swedish parents who always cooked, I have always loved to serve up my love to others through food--just like my folks. Most of my favorite family memories are a result of meals, families sitting around the table talking, parties with good food, good wine, sparkling conversations.
My favorite things to cook
My favorite foods depend on the time of year, the occasion, and my hankerings. I'm easily coerced into changing my mind by mere suggestions (I am Libra rising): a bit of meat--yum; a pancake--I'm ready; potatoes--now what! Desserts, well, that's a whole new ball of wax! Whew!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Swedish pancakes are really a trademark I copied from my mother. These crepe-like pancakes are cooked on a cast iron griddle, spotted with sour cream and jam, rolled up and then sprinkled with syrup. I dare you to eat just one!
My cooking triumphs
When I cook vegetables and am actually able to eat them, I consider that to be a triumph! I grew up with a botanist father who grew EVERY single vegetable possible and could NOT for the life of me eat them. I'm the only one of four children who would sit at the table for hours until I finally convinced them I wouldn't eat. Now, only a few, and then mostly only raw.
My cooking tragedies
When I was first married more than 40 years ago, I bought a bag of peanuts from someone "giving" them away for some charitable organization. Naive, yes. I made a meatloaf (supposedly a very good recipe) using those stale, sour nuts and ended up throwing the "result" against the sink when my husband suggested that perhaps this was not really an edible meal. I have since learned better ways to handle disappointments!
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