Chocolate nut candy

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After shopping the chocolate shops up North, I decided to try to make my own chocolate candy.  The key to this recipe is buying upscale dark chocolate. I used Ghirardelli chocolate for this recipe.  I used my smaller slow cooker to melt the chocolate, so I would not have to monitor the temperature as closely.  It was a very easy process.

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I used one 16 ounce jar of unsalted dry roasted peanuts, but any type of nut would work with this technique.  I used 24 ounces of Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate baking chips and mixed both together in the cooker.  The mixture cooked on low for 1 1/2 hours. I turned off the cooker and allowed to cool for 20 minutes.  Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper.

I allowed the candy to harden for several hours, packed in a covered container separated by waxed paper and stored in the refrigerator until serving time.  Perfect.

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Lasagna in a slow cooker

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This was my first experience of preparing a lasagna in a multi-cooker.  It turned out perfectly. The recipe is super simple and easy to make, but allow at least 6 hours for cooking the meal.

Assemble these ingredients:  1 pound ground beef, 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, 28 ounces pasta sauce, 1/3 cup water (optional) 8-10 uncooked lasagna noodles, 1 carton ricotta cheese, and 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (or more if desired), dried parsley for the top

Brown the beef in the slow cooker and add Italian seasoning.  Drain the beef.  Combine the spaghetti sauce and the water in a small bowl.  Drizzle a bit of sauce at the bottom of the cooker first, then place noodles as the first layer.  Add some beef, and sprinkle with both types of cheese, cover with sauce.  Repeat each layer until all of the ingredients have been added to the dish. Sprinkle the top with cheese.  Cover and cook on High for 1 hour, then reduce to low cook for at least 5 hours. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

Serve with a side salad and garlic toast if desired.  Refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.
This dish freezes very well and can be used for easy weeknight meals. Divide into freezer containers and allow to cool before sealing.

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Applewood Estate 100 years

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We visited Applewood Estates in September for their 100 year celebration. It is the former home of Charles S. Mott and his wife Ruth Mott in Flint Michigan.  The home is lovely with gardens and several buildings to tour and experience.  I wanted to share some of the photos of the lovely estate which was open this year for their special celebration. We especially love their herb gardens and perennial gardens. The home is a lovely Michigan landmark, and the history of the Mott family is equally charming.

NFL referee cookies

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Well, football games are on television almost every day of the week now, so I love to serve my husband some fun treats during the season.  I found this recipe on the Wilton candy website, and thought they were so cute and irresistible.  The technique requires both patience and practice, but the outcome is super delicious.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESGather these ingredients to make 18 cookies.  4 ounces of black chocolate candy melting wafers, 8 ounces of white chocolate candy melting wafers, 9 black candy wafers cut in half for the referee caps, and 18 white vanilla wafer cookies

Melt the candy in two separate double boilers.  When melted, remove from the stove top and dip the wafer cookies or paint the chocolate on the lower two-thirds of each cookie.  Allow the cookies to dry on waxed paper on a tray in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

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Next dip the top of each cookie into the black chocolate mixtures. Attach the cap piece of chocolate on each cookie. Chill again in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Pipe the eyes, the mouth and the stripes on each cookie and chill again for 15 minutes.

Store separated with waxed paper in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  Perfect for football snacks.

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October apple crisp in a slow cooker

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Fall is here in Michigan, which allows me to welcome back my slow cooker for everyday recipes.  I have two different Cuisinart cookers, as they accommodate different recipes throughout the year. The multi-cooker is a larger version of the traditional slow cooker.

This recipe makes about eight small servings of apple crisp and I was able to go outside and enjoy the Fall weather while this one was cooking indoors unsupervised. It took about 3 1/2 hours for this mixture to achieve tender and delicious apples.  I made my own fresh vanilla ice cream too, or it could simply be served with whipped cream.

To make this recipe, gather these ingredients:  5 medium Gala apples, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup Quaker oats, 1/2 cup sugar free butterscotch pudding mix dry, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/3 cup stick margarine cut into cubes.

Cut, core and peel the apples, and place in the slow cooker.  In a small bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients.  Sprinkle over the apples.  Cover and cook on low for at least 3 hours and check the consistency of the apples.  If not tender, continue to cook for another 1/2 hour. Delicious served warm, but this recipe easily will refrigerate and can be served several days later warmed in a microwave.  Tastes like Fall to me.

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Sauteed fresh corn and zucchini

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A week ago, I wanted to serve fresh corn again for dinner since it has been so tasty this year.  My husband loves fresh corn season, and sometimes I don’t feel like corn on the cob. So, I found a recipe for a saute which was simply delicious.

I used margarine instead of the butter in the dish, and it was perfect. It took about ten minutes to prepare and was a wonderful side dish for chicken that evening.  I highly recommend making this dish with fresh corn.

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Here is a recipe that I adapted from allrecipes.com from this summer.  Gather these ingredients:  1/2 stick butter, 1/2 cup diced white onion, 2 cups chopped zucchini, 3 ears of fresh corn with kernels removed, salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the margarine in a large skillet on the stove and cook the onion first.  Add the zucchini next and cook about 5 minutes.  Finally, add the corn, salt and pepper and cook for another 4 minutes until hot for serving immediately. This was a delicious side dish to serve with any meat entree.

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Mushroom and Herb gravy

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Here is a quick recipe for a mushroom gravy that adds an upscale look to any roasted chicken serving.  This recipe happened to be quite tasty and was an easy pan sauce.  It added to the flavor of the chicken.  If you like mushrooms, you will love this sauce.

I used one box of white mushrooms, which I cleaned and sliced, about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, 2-3 chopped shallots, about 4 teaspoons flour, and about 1/2 to 3/4 cup white wine.

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While the chicken is roasting the last thirty minutes, begin this pan sauce.  Brown the mushrooms in about 1-2 tablespoons olive oil for about 4-5 minutes.  Then, add a bit of the chicken broth to hydrate the mixtures.  Add the shallots and cook until soft, another 3-5 minutes.  Add the flour and mix well.

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Next, add the wine and allow the mixture to come up to a boil, cooking well.  Add the rest of the chicken broth and heat through.  Season with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. Serve over a slice of white roasted chicken breast.

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