Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Monday, October 31, 2005



So, since we're taking Alex out for (his very first) trick-or-treating tonight, I made our Halloween 'feast' Sunday night.

Dinner was 'Mummy (Veggie) Dogs'; squares of puff pastry, topped with a small dab of tomato sauce, a Morningstar Farms veggie dog, shredded Mozzarella, grated Parmesan, and a bit of Penzey's pizza seasoning, all wrapped up like the body of Imhotep, and baked till golden. Talk about your high-class wieners.

Followed by 'Floating Eyeball Soup'; a hearty tomato soup, with floating 'eyeballs'...boccini stuffed with olives (which in turn, are stuffed with pimento). And don't forget the cute little 'bug'!...a Kalamata olive, with rosemary 'legs' and chive 'antenna'.

And then for dessert, Spooky Petit Fours. Cute, aren't they?

The Mummy Dogs are an adaptation of the old wrap-it-up dish; the soup and petit fours are courtesy of Martha Stewart.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Animal-Friendly Halloween


A big thanks to the Queen of Halloween, Elvira, for posting a list of vegan and vegetarian safe Halloween goodies!

And man, Cassandra is 56, and she's still hot.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

That Wacky Wild...Cake; Polyester Lunch-Lady Style


I just needed to bake something. I didn't care what it was, so long as it contained the usual flour, sugar, eggs combo.

I decided to look up my old, but oft-forgotten, friend Gale Gand, and see what she's been up to. I spent a lot of time printing out recipes...mostly for later...but found one just perfect for the moment: Wacky Cake.

The recipe gets it's name, I suppose, from the way it's prepared. Dry ingredients dumped in a bowl. Poke holes in the dry ingredients. Pour into each hole, respectively, vanilla, vegetable oil, and white vinegar.
Top with water, and mix.

Sure, it's a little weird, but hardly 'wacky'.

And a bit disappointing, at least scientifically. I was expecting some kind of reaction, with the vinegar, baking soda, and water. I know what happens when I put the first two into my kitchen sink, and turn on the tap: bubbles!

But this? Nothing.

Oh, well. What I did get was a simple chocolate cake.

When it had cooled enough for a picture (and a taste), I asked Matt what he thought. He wasn't wild about it. He began to explain his objection to the cake, and I interrupted him, saying 'it's like cafeteria cake?'. Matt: 'Exactly!'.

And exactly why he didn't think it was 'oooh'-worthy.

But see; I liked the cake slices divvied out during school lunch. There's something oddly comforting, and retro, about them.

Alex devoured his piece, and he has a rather discriminating palette. He's turned down store-bought cakes and cookies! Smart kid...

I did offer a suggestion to Matt that will ensure the cake's disappearance, though. Wednesday night, he ate two pieces, drizzled with left-over dulce de leche. He thought it much improved!

So, nothing to blog home about, but it did satisfy my craving...to bake!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My Kitchen, The First Installment


Try, try again.

So, here's my kitchen. Or, some of it, anyway.

A few weeks ago, Celeste of Chopstick Cinema invited me to join other food bloggers and 'show off' my kitchen.

I thought it was a great idea, but was I horrified! My kitchen is never (completely) clean at any one time. But hey, I can show it too you in stages, right?

Here we go:

One half of the most important cupboards in my kitchen; the one holding my baking supplies.

The other half, just as important. There's a certain amount of overflow into the laundry room...cookie cutters, cake decorating supplies (Wilton and I are good friends); but this is the every day stuff.

Above it we keep our Torani syrups, wines and liqueurs.

Like everyone else, we too suffer from toomuchstuffitis, leading to notenoughstorage-syndrome. Hence, the top 'o shelf display.

Confession time: we're a bit tea-obsessed over here.

Snack cupboard. I couldn't tell you how old some of that stuff is...

Here we keep canned legumes, specialty foods, and oil, vinegars, and flavorings.


My wonderful husband. He put these shelves up because...well; isn't it clear I need them?

Hope to show sink/stove/etc soon...



So, I had a post all ready to go, finally getting some pictures of my kitchen up, and what happens?

Blogger ate it. All of it. Gone. Forget 'recover post'.

Bad Blogger.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Chocolate Malt Muffins


A few weeks ago while shopping, I saw a container of chocolate malt powder next to the usual malted powder. Of course I had to buy it.

Matt's a big chocolate malt fan...when we still lived in Oakland, we loved to walk down to Barneys for burgers, curly fries, and a chocolate malt for him. Sigh; we miss that place.

I'd recently come across a recipe for Chocolate Malt Muffins, and since I needed something to send with Matt for breakfast, it truly was a no-brainer.

Another simple recipe; chocolate malted-milk powder, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, oil, egg and chocolate chips. Top with a mix of sugar and malted milk powder.

They smelled delicious, and both Matt and Alex (who's still recovering, poor thing) really liked them.

Now, if I can only find some fancier cupcake liners...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

IMBB#20---Frozen Chocolate Souffles with Warm Raspberry Sauce


It's IMBB time...and this month, it's all about souffles.

Hosted by Kitchen Chick, I expect all kinds of interesting souffles from this event.

I confess, I'm not a big fan of souffles. I just feel it's an awful lot of work for what? in the end.

But hey; I'll make them. Especially if we're having company.

No guests this time, but I found a recipe on the Food & Wine site (you have to be a subscriber or news stand buyer to access the site, so if you want the recipe, just let me know), and liked the idea of a frozen souffle. Worth a try.

Chocolate melted by hot cream, with raspberry liqueur added.

Eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and more liqueur mixed together, cooked over simmering water while beating with an electric mixer; remove from heat and continue beating until cooled.

Beat more cream, till soft peaks form.

Fold the egg mixture into the chocolate, then fold the cream in till no streaks remain.

Spoon into already-frozen ramekins, and freeze at least three hours.

Serve a warm raspberry sauce on the side.

Smooth, light, good chocolate taste, with the raspberry emerging as almost an afterthought. Very, very nice.


WDB#6---A Change of Scenery


Donegal, coming in for a kiss...

A rare happy Wicklow picture

Theyt're at it again. Being cute, that is.

But this time, they've taken their cuteness to my bed. Please don't notice how messy my floor is...

Be sure to visit Sweetnicks for all the other pups!

WCB #20---Can I Help?


I'm still getting used to having something so small hanging around...always have to watch where I put my feet! (We got the pups while I was extremely pregnant, so there was much less foot activity on my part.) And Macroom always follows me around, especially to the kitchen...who knows what might happen there? Cheese could fall to the floor!

And while he's actually quite useless in regards to household tasks, he is sweet to offer a paw unloading the dishwasher, isn't he?

You can see all the other cats at eat stuff...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Blog Party #3---Big Game Night Round-up


Hey, come on in! Good to see you, so happy you could make it to this month's Blog Party.

We're expecting a good crowd, and that means lots of good food. Hope you wore pants with an elastic waist...no calorie counting tonight!

You'll see I have a nice array of television sets throughout the house (that's what happens when you merge your belongings with someone else's, as well as upgrade), and I think I've got just about every sport available! Baseball play-offs, college football, racing, golf...you name it. Sound off, closed-captioning on, of course, because I refuse to host a party without music!

And tonight, we're listing to ESPN's Stadium Anthems

a perfect mix of your favorite 'get up and cheer for your team' tunes. Excellent stuff.

And I gotta tell you about Plum Party, this great company I've been known about for a few years. Let me tell you: if you're planning a party, these guys have all your decorating and favor goods!

I mean, just look what I found: Sports Trivia Coasters, a Baseball Mitt Chip'n Dip Set, and these great Football Candles! Doesn't the place look awesome!

Ok...time to meet the guests, and try the food!

One of the first arrivals, Nupur brought some crunchy-looking Wild Mushroom Quesadillas , with house-made Salsa Verde...I have that book, too!...and some of the most gorgeous Jalapeno Poppers I've ever seen! Nupur is just one of many good sports who joined in just for the food, not because they're big into high-paid athletes...thanks for coming, Nupur!

The next guest through the door is Alanna, with a serious case of post-play-off reds! Sorry to hear about your Cardinals, Alanna, but I gotta say...your Squash Pizza is absolutely inspired! And you've even mixed two of my favorite cheeses for this...yum. And I know we're all more than a little curious about that Russian Birch Juice ...hope there's enough to pass around!
I'm so glad you could make it to the party...and here's to spring training!

New to our virtual cocktail party, but someone I've gotten to know over the past year, is Steph. She's not a food blogger, per se (although we did belong to the now-defunct cooking club, Getting Fat Together), but she loves food and cooking as much as the rest of us. So I was thrilled when she RSVP'd in the affirmative for Big Game Night! Steph's brought along her Soft Buttery Pretzels (she's included a recipe, if anyone's interested), as well as all the fixings for Black & Tan's. Now how did she know I have a weakness for soft pretzels? Welcome to the party, Steph!

Another guest racking up frequent-flyer miles just to attend Blog Party, here comes Niki! Oooh, and look what's she's brought: Rosemary-Scented Chorizo Scallop Skewers...Matt's pretty happy about that! And for the 'drink' part of the part-y, Niki's also smuggled shipped in a case of Australia’s favourite full strength beer , Victoria Bitter. Niki, as always, thanks for coming!

Kai just showed up, and boy, does she have some gorgeous dishes with her! I just had to spotlight Flynn's Mojito , both for it's presentation as well as it's creativity; I think we've all learned something here!
But that's not all...even though she's not really a sports fanatic, Kai knows we can't party by drinks alone (no we can't, you cheeky monkeys). So take a look at her Crispy Shrimps and Baked Tahong . Kai, I know this is going to go over well...thanks for being here!

Oh, I'm really happy now...another fan of the Black & Gold is here! Indira, you have no idea how hard it is to be a Pittsburgh fan inTennesseee...lucky for me, Indira'sbrought not only her Terrible Towel, but she's made a Steelers Pizza, too! Go Pittsburgh!
Thanks for coming, Indira!

Yay... Alice is here! And what a perfect Game Night treat she has with her...Nacho Popcorn. Fantastic! And so easy to make. In case we run out (and it looks so good it could happen), we could probably whip up another batch in my kitchen! And Alice knows that few things go better with nachos and testosterone than beer, so she's brought along some Miller Lite (although I must confess I was hand-picked by the good folks at Coors to represent them at their sponsored Halloween party a few years ago...). It's great, Alice...we're all glad you're here!

Another fresh face at the party, let's all give Heather a big welcome! Just don't tell her I'm a Penn State fan...shh.
See, Heather's a fan of all things red, as long as it's Husker red! So for tonight's party, Heather's prepared Go Big Red Pepperoni Pinwheels ,
Chorizo Taquitos
(keep an eye on Matt...he's likely to gobble them all up!), and Big Red Drink . It all sounds so good!
Glad you could make it, Heather...and remember that great tune from War, "Why Can't We Be Friends"...

Wow...showing up with one of the more gourmet treats so far is Cath! Even though she's rarely rooting and ranting at the TV screen, she both fondly and bitterly remembers the good times as an NHL fan. And she's provided us with some pretty incredible eats, to boot. Check out her Vanilla Port Poached Pear Pizzetas with Gorgonzola Cheese (mine, mine, mine!), Wild Mushroom Pomponnettes , and those picture-perfect "One bite" Pumpkin Cheesecakes . D-I-V-I-N-E. Thanks for coming, Cath!

Becky's here!
Another gal who's 'eh' on sports, she got the spirit of the event...to make good food! And look at those adorable (is it ok to call food adorable, when connected to sports?) Onion Pom-Poms ! Just brilliant. Becky's also brought Potato Pigskins (yum), and one of the best-named drinks I've heard in a while: Bloodied, Battered and Bruised . Great job, Becky!

One of the last ones in the door, but always welcome, is boo. Turns out Boo's a big racing fan (oh, you really ought to visit; we're so close to so many speedway!), so she had no problem coming up with goodies for tonight's party.
Let's see...taking a slightly Spanish route, there's Slow-Cooked Tomato Squid (good thing I got extra napkins!), Tortilla Tapas , and a Pomegranate Drink ...I'll take another one, thanks!
Glad you could make it, boo...even if it was last minute!

Hey, look! It's another new guest to Blog Party! Glutton Rabbit, you are most welcome. And wow...she's really done us proud with party food...Rabbit's brought a trio of pizzas! Which will be your favorite, BBQ Chicken , Hawaiian Tuna , or Fruity ? They all look so good! And she's made sure there's plenty to drink with her Citrus Cocktail . Rabbit, we're all so happy you could come!

And of course, in my usual 'there won't be enough food' panic mode, I've made some goodies, too.

Starting off with a Sugared Nut Mix and Mexicali Crunch ; two perfect, sports-watching, snacks. The Mexicali Crunch has quickly become a favorite...just a bit sweet, a bit spicy, and very crunchy!

Managing to look appropriately appetizer-y, yet still 'manly', Cheese-Filled Meatballs ...seasoned pork sausage wrapped around chunks of cheese, and baked.

Next, Spiral Reuben Dijon Bites; puff pastry wheels filled with Swiss cheese, deli meat (we used a pepper-coated pastrami), and a bit of Dijon mustard, then baked. Very tasty...I hope you like them!

I'm particularly fond of these tiny Blue Cheese Cups ...Gorgonzola and cottage cheese, sour cream and Bisquick (!), topped with walnuts. Very nice.

Also, Bite-SizedBurritoss...a seasoned beef (no, didn't make any for me this time...figured there would be enough to eat!), mixed with refried beans and cheese, rolled in small flour tortillas, and baked. Cute, aren't they?

And to drink? Why, a nice Spiced Apple Cider, of course! Apple cider simmered with a clove-studded orange, many cinnamon sticks, allspice, and brown sugar. Help yourself...I made plenty!

Ok, everyone...grab a plate and dig in. And I'm sure someone's scoring a goal/run/point/etc some where...

Just a little something to put out there: November's Blog Party may cause a bit of trouble. Our regular 'due date' is the third Thursday of the month, but in the United States, the third Thursday of the month just happens to be Thanksgiving!

And while the majority of the party guests aren't based in the US, I was considering (if only for my own sanity, as I'm cooking T-day dinner) moving November's Blog Party to the following Thursday. Any comments/suggestions?

Friday, October 21, 2005

SHF #13---The Dark Side, with Love from Mexico


Yikes! Talk about late...it's Friday, but not just any Friday. Nope, it's Sugar High Friday. And this month, it's all about Dark Chocolate. Kelli, of Lovescool is hosting this month's event...the 13th edition!...and she's hoping we'll all try something a bit different. And I just made them a few hours ago...talk about cutting it close!

Problem is, I don't need a reason to bake with dark chocolate. I think I use it every couple of weeks. So, to come up with something 'different', I decided to go globe-trotting.

After a bit of web searching, I came across several recipes for Alfajores. Alfajores are a Mexican cookie, traditionally made by sandwiching dulce de leche between two cookies (similar to shortbread, but not as sweet), then rolled in coconut.
But that's where I lose interest. I'm not wild about coconut, and Matt detests it. And since he'll be eating most of what I make, I knew I needed to fix that.

So that's where the dark chocolate comes in: instead of coconut, I coated the cookies with melted 77% dark chocolate, from Cocolove, mixed with some cream.

An aside: what's a girl gotta do to get her hands on an enrober, anyway? It would be so much easier to make things like this if I had my very own chocolate waterfall...

So, here you go. Dark Chocolate-coated Alfajores...very dark, very rich, and very good they come in such small bites!

Rolled 'Mexican' Chicken


Thursday night's dinner: another 'cheater' recipe; a rolled, vaguely Mexican-flavored chicken dish.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded flat; topped with a mixture of chipotle-flavored taco seasoning, chopped jalepeno peppers, and shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Roll it up, secure with toothpicks. Dip in melted butter, then coat in crushed tortilla chips mixed with more taco seasoning.

Bake till chicken is done.

As Matt said, not spectacular, but not bad, either.

I think I expected something spicier. I didn't think there was enough flavor, but I will admit my sense of taste is somewhat dulled by that foul Zicam spray. Nas-ty.

I'll be posting my SHF entry a bit later; I was going to make it Thursday, but then my Alias/CSI:Crime Scene Investigation/Without a Trace block started...so, I'll be baking later today!

And look what turned up in my searches! "how does damm new zealand cook its food "

Huh? And why did my blog come up? Seems to have something to do with Matt's post about Barbecue for Foreigners...

There's still time to get your Blog Party #3---Big Game Night entries in! e-mail: thehappysorceress at gmail dot com, or leave a link in the comments...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Hello, Minty Goodness!


For Matt...and the stuffy-yet-pretty-darn-happy Alex...Chocolate Mint Cupcakes!

This is so easy, I don't even have to offer a recipe:

To your favorite chocolate cake batter, add 2 packages, minus 24, of chopped up Andes candies. Bake as usual. Top with a swirl of vanilla frosting, and a cut-in-half candie.

That's it!

Hey, today's the day to get your Blog Party #3---Big Game Night entries in! Leave a link in the comment section, or send them to me at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Brown Sugar Corn Muffins


Do you know the Muffin Man???

Another easy breakfast for Matt...a quick and simple muffin. Equal parts flour and corn meal, brown sugar, baking powder & soda, salt; buttermilk, brown sugar, egg and oil. Bake till golden.

If you'd like the recipe, just drop a line at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com.

And don't forget: Blog Party #3---the Big Game Night, is this week!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not wounded, sir; but dead.


I know...I've been more-or-less MIA lately. I felt kind of crappy over the weekend, with no interest in cooking at all.

And now, Alex has come down with a cold. Translation? I'll be sick in just a few days, and no one likes to cook or bake when ill. I'll do my best to whip up a few things in the next 24 hours (thank goodness I already made my Blog Party goodies); I refuse to miss SHF this weekend! I love dark chocolate, and already have all my ingredients.

Anyway, if you don't see much activity here, don't worry. I'm probably on the couch, trying to catch a few zzzz's while Alex breathes through his mouth and watches the Backyardigans.

And don't forget:

Just a reminder... Blog Party is just two days away! Time to serve up all those pre-game goodies.

As I write this, I'm listening to the Pittsburgh Steelers game (stupid Titans are on the television, so it's 'thank you, NFL Audio' for me); how appropriate! The family is looking forward to hearty, yet bite-sized treats.
I've picked out my recipes, and shopped for the ingredients. And I can't wait to see what you bring!

Send your Big Game Night entries to thehappysorceress at gmail dot com, or you can leave a link here in the comments. The deadline is Thursday (officially), but I think you know I'll accept submissions as late as noon Saturday. But no later, please! We're off to the the-ater Saturday night, so I hope to get the round-up put together before I leave. I hope.

For a refresher on what to 'bring', please check out the original post.

As always, I'll include decorating ideas, as well as music selections (this ought to be good), so I hope to see you at the Party!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Blog Party #3 Reminder---Big Game Night!


Just a reminder... Blog Party is this Thursday! Time to serve up all those pre-game goodies.

As I write this, I'm listening to the Pittsburgh Steelers game (stupid Titans are on the television, so it's 'thank you, NFL Audio' for me); how appropriate! The family is looking forward to hearty, yet bite-sized treats.
I've picked out my recipes, and shopped for the ingredients. And I can't wait to see what you bring!

Send your Big Game Night entries to thehappysorceress at gmail dot com, or you can leave a link here in the comments. The deadline is Thursday (officially), but I think you know I'll accept submissions as late as noon Saturday. But no later, please! We're off to the the-ater Saturday night, so I hope to get the round-up put together before I leave. I hope.

For a refresher on what to 'bring', please check out the original post.

As always, I'll include decorating ideas, as well as music selections (this ought to be good), so I hope to see you at the Party!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

WDB#5---Same old, same old


What's this? The weekend's here, and so are pictures of Donegal and Wicklow on the couch? How could it be?

Because you'd never find her hanging out here...

And he never looks this cute, on the couch...

Seriously; try catching them not on the couch!

Typical day; wake up after hours of snuggling with Mommy in the big, warm, bed. Head out the door into the enormous back yard, bark at anything and everything that moves. Come in, help yourself to the never-ending supply of food and water. Climb onto the couch...even if Mommy and/or Alex are already there; sleep.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Oh, yeah...break up the monotony with treats.

When people complain about 'a dog's life', I want to introduce them to my pups! Some life, indeed...

Visit Sweetnicks this weekend for puppy round-up!

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