Life on Regal-Hill: Oct. 28, 2009

Recent days here at Regal-Hill were spent digging potatoes. It seemed it was time to get them out of the ground and into storage before it got any colder and the ground became muddier.
There were six rows of potatoes, and two kinds. They were Kennebecs and Yukon Golds. I guess you could say that both varieties did very well considering that we didn’t lose them to the blight like so many other people did. We were very fortunate. However, we didn’t have much of a crop of tomatoes, but ours were here by the house. The potatoes and tomatoes were not planted in the same garden. Perhaps that was why we were able to at least get a crop of potatoes. Since we eat many more potatoes than we do tomatoes, we are truly thankful.
After they were dug they were laid out on plastic in the hopes of them drying and the mud and dirt dropping off when they were picked up to be put in boxes to be stored in the root cellar until used.
Probably most of them will be boiled, but they are also good prepared other ways, including baked and as the main vegetable in soup and stew.
It is so nice to have your own potatoes for they taste better and there doesn’t seem to be so much waste when preparing them. However I must admit there is a lot of work involved in preparing the ground, planting, fertilizing, spraying for bugs and then digging them before the ground freezes, so you don’t freeze. I have to admit that I did very little of the work myself in growing this crop of potatoes.
Halloween is almost here. Here are some treats for Trick or Treaters or for your family to enjoy.

Jack-O’-Lantern Popcorn Balls
4 qts. popped popcorn
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Yellow and red food coloring
2-3 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 oz. each)
1/4 cup vanilla frosting
8 candy spearmint leaves
Place popcorn in a roasting pan; keep warm in a 200-degree oven.
In a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar and salt. Cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 250-degrees (hard-ball stage).
Remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and food coloring (about 1 teaspoon yellow and 9 drops red until blended. Immediately pour over popcorn and stir until coated. When mixture is cool enough to handle, quickly shape into 3-1/2-in. balls, dipping hands in cold water to prevent sticking.
Cut triangles and rectangles from candy bars for pumpkin eyes, noses and mouths. In a small bowl, combine the frosting with 5 drops of yellow and 3 drops of red food coloring; attach facial features with frosting. Attach a spearmint leaf to the top of each.
Yield: 8 servings
Taste of Home October/November 2009

Leg Bones
2 tubes (11 oz. each) refrigerated breadsticks
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Unroll and separate breadsticks; tie each end into a knot. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Brush with butter and sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Yield: 2 dozen
Taste of Home October/November

Creepy Crawly Cupcakes
1 pkg. (18-1/4 ounce) chocolate cake mix
1 can (16 oz.) chocolate frosting
20 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
24 gummy worms, halved
Prepare and bake cake batter according to package directions for cupcakes. Cool completely.
Set aside 1 tablespoon frosting. Frost cupcakes with remaining frosting; dip each into crushed cookies. Place a dab of the reserved frosting on the cut end of each worm half; place two on each cupcake.
Yield: 2 dozen
Taste of Home Simple & Delicious September/October