Friday, September 13, 2013


   This recipe was found at www.thegalleygourmet.net .   Give them a try, maybe even with some apple cider or one of your hot chocolate recipes.....Better yet, try them with graham crackers and chocolate.

Pumpkin Pie Marshmallows

   The weather here has been just beautiful lately. Crisp, cool and perfect! So perfect, it was time to roll out the fire pit and make some s'mores. Being so close to Thanksgiving, I thought I would put a spin on the traditional s'more. I searched and quickly came across a pumpkin marshmallow recipe. It was very similar to my vanilla one, but had the addition of pumpkin puree, spices, and orange food coloring. I changed the spices according to my own taste and left out the food coloring because I wanted them to look natural-- not neon. Paired with my homemade graham crackers and some white chocolate (and a little spread of caramel I had in the fridge)-- yum! Move over pumpkin pie. I think we have a new tradition after our Thanksgiving meal!
   Do not be intimidated by making your own marshmallows. They are fairly simple, but you do need a candy thermometer and a stand mixer. In the pumpkin marshmallow recipe, I found that dusting them with cornstarch in addition to powdered sugar is essential due to the extra moisture from the pumpkin puree. And once you make your own marshmallows you'll understand why it's worth it. They are far superior in taste and texture than the ones at the store.

Pumpkin Marshmallows
about 30 marshmallow squares


3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch


   Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. Line the bottom of a 9x13-inch non metal baking pan with parchment paper, spray lightly with non-stick spray and dust with 1/3 of the sugar/starch mixture. Set the pan aside and reserve the remaining sugar/starch mixture.
   Place 1/2 cup of the cold water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Sprinkle the gelatin on top and stir to distribute. Let the gelatin dissolve for at least 5 minutes.
   Place the reaming 1/2 cup water, the corn syrup, and the granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium-high and insert a candy thermometer. Allow the mixture to cook without stirring until it reaches 240 degrees on the thermometer, about 8 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat.
   Turn the mixer on low and carefully pour in the hot syrup. Once all the syrup is added, turn the mixer to high and whip for 12- 15 minutes or until it is stiff and shiny.
   While the marshmallow is whipping, combine the pumpkin puree with the spices and vanilla. When the marshmallow is ready fold in the pumpkin mixture and stir until well-mixed and there are no visible pumpkin streaks remaining.
   Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Dust with 1/3 of the sugar/starch mixture and let is sit uncovered for at least 8 hours preferably overnight.
   Turn the marshmallows onto the cutting board and cut into 1 1/2-inch squares using a pizza wheel. Dust the sides with the remaining sugar/starch mixture. Store in a container with the lid slightly ajar for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

Homemade Graham Crackers
yields 48 crackers


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoon molasses
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


   In a food processor, mix together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the cold butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 30 seconds or so. Add the honey, molasses, water, and vanilla. Mix until the dough starts to come together in a ball, another 30 seconds. Scrape dough out of the mixer.
   Between 2 sheets of waxed or parchment paper, roll the dough ½-¼ -inch thick. Chill for at least 1 hour, until firm.
   Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator and roll it a bit more to a 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife, pizza cutter, or fluted pastry wheel, cut into 2-inch squares. Arrange the crackers on parchment lined baking sheets. With a fork, prick 3 times in each cracker.
   Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan. Enjoy!


    The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an English folk dance involving reindeer antlers and a hobby horse that takes place each year in Abbots Bromley, a small village in Staffordshire, England.


    There are no recorded references to the horn dance prior to Robert Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire, written in 1686. However, there is a record of the hobby horse being used in Abbots Bromley as early as 1532, and it is possible that the horn dance component of the custom was also present at that time but not commented upon by the writer. carbon analysis discovered that the antlers used in the dance date to the 11th century - though these may well have replaced an even older set. According to some, the use of antlers suggests an Anglo-Saxon origin along with other native Anglo-Saxon traditions that have survived into modern times in various forms. It has been speculated, for example, that the dance originated in the pagan period and was

connected with the ruling dynasty of Mercia, based some 15 miles away at Tamworth, who owned extensive hunting lands in Needwood Forest and Cannock Chase surrounding Abbots Bromley. On this theory, the royal forester would have organised sympathetic magic rituals to ensure a plentiful catch each year, a tradition that survived into Christian times and gradually came to be seen as affirming the villagers' hunting rights. Even when the lands were granted to Burton Abbey in 1004 a forester would still needed to have been employed, and by the 16th century, when the abbey was dissolved, this hereditary position bore the title "Forester of Bentylee" (Bentylee being the wooded area of the parish). From then until the 19th century the dance remained the traditional prerogative of the Bentley family, eventually passing to the Fowell family in 1914 through a marriage alliance. The Fowells continue to run it to this day.
    Such an ancient origin for the dance has been doubted by some folklorists, who point out that while the reindeer antlers date to the 11th century, reindeer were long since extinct in the England and wales (and probably Scotland), and there is no evidence that any domestic reindeer herds remained at that time. Therefore, even more confusingly, the antlers must have been imported from Scandinavia at some point between the 11th and 17th centuries. This fact may lend weight to the theory that the custom originally began with only a hobby horse, and the horn dance component was added later, explaining why only the former was mentioned by 16th century sources.

    The dance was, like similar events throughout the country, temporarily discontinued during the Commonwealth years. Prior to this, according to Robert Plot, it was performed on Christmas DayNew Year's Day and Twelfth Day, in addition to the local Wakes Monday - though upon its revival in 1660 it was confined to the latter alone.


    The Horn Dance attracts a large number of visitors to the village. As well as the dance itself, Wakes Monday sees a Fair on the village green; Morris dancing; and numerous other attractions. The right to hold this Fair was granted to the village in 1221.

Date and schedule of performance

    The Horn Dance takes place on Wakes Monday, the day following Wakes Sunday, which is the first Sunday after 4 September. In practice, this means that it is the Monday dated between September 6th and September 12th.
   The dance starts at 08:00 with a service of blessing in St Nicholas Church, where the horns are housed. The dance begins on the village green, then passes out of the village - but not out of the Parish - to Blithfield Hall, owned by Lady Bagot.
   The dancers return to the village in the early afternoon, and make their way around the pubs and houses. Finally, at about 20:00, the horns are returned to the church, and the day is completed with the service of Compline.
    The dance starts at 08:00 with a service of blessing in St Nicholas Church, where the horns are housed. The dance begins on the village green, then passes out of the village - but not out of the Parish - to Blithfield Hall, owned by Lady Bagot.
   The dancers return to the village in the early afternoon, and make their way around the pubs and houses. Finally, at about 20:00, the horns are returned to the church, and the day is completed with the service of Compline.


    There are 12 dancers. Six carry the horns and are accompanied by musician playing an accordion (a violin in former times), Maid Marian (a man in a dress), the Hobby-horse, the Fool (or Jester), a youngster with a bow and arrow, and another youngster with a triangle. Traditionally, the dancers are all male, although in recent years girls have been seen carrying the triangle and bow and arrow.
    Until the end of the 19th Century the dancers were all members of the Bentley family. The dance passed to the related Fowell family in the early 20th Century in which it remains to this day, though rising house prices has meant that none of them live in the village any longer, with many residing in nearby towns. They have been known to allow visitors to "dance in" if asked politely, and will often invite musicians and others to take part when necessary.


    The "horns" are six sets of reindeer antlers, three white and three black. In 1976, a small splinter was radiocarbon dated to around 1065. Since there are not believed to have been any reindeer in England in the 11th Century, the horns must have been imported from Scandinavia.
    The antlers are mounted on small heads carved from wood. Since 1981, the horns are legally the property of Abbots Bromley Parish Council. For 364 days a year, they are on display in St Nicholas Church. They were once kept in the main Village Hall, which is now the Goat Inn, beside the Butter Cross. An alternative set of antlers (red deer) are kept to use when the Dancers are asked, as they are, frequently, to perform outside the Parish boundaries.


   The dance itself is simple, since the antlers themselves have some weight to them and are large and bulky.
    As described by Cecil Sharp, there are 6 figures in the dance. He describes the dance as being done with the participants in a single line; however, it is currently performed with the dancers in a double column.


   This diy was found at www.creaturecomfortsblog.com .  This would make a very special gift for that very special someone.

I’ve had an overwhelming response to this project and everyone wants a tutorial, so here you go.

First off, gather your supplies:
- book for dismembering, paperbacks are great
- template (I made half an apple out of a thick piece of chipboard)
- exacto knife with a very sharp blade
- clips
- glue stick
- snot dots
- ink or paint for coloring and something to apply it with
- decoration or embellishments

Step 1
My paperback book was too thick so I split it in half using my blade. Try and make a clean break or you will end up sacrificing some pages. Remove the cover.
Add caption

Step 2
Lay the template down on the book and cut the pages around the template. Be careful not to cut in to the template and try to cut only a few pages down at a time to start. Try and make one smooth cut if you want to avoid rough edges. I personally like the distressed look.

Step 3
Remove the cut paper leaving the template in place. Cut and repeat. Cut and repeat. I found that I was cutting about four pages at first and then ended up cutting a lot more at a time once I got the hang of it.

Step 4

Once the book is cut, trim any rough edges you don’t want. Especially those that are hanging off. This will help for the next step: inking.

Step 5
For color, I used ink refill and diluted it a bit because I wanted it to soak in to the paper. I applied it with a cotton ball to the edge of the book. (I have not tried paint so I’m not sure what technique you will need to keep the pages from sticking together.)

Step 6
Once the edges were done, I applied the ink/water mixture to the inside of the pages by using a “flip and wipe” method. I turned the book over and then did the same thing on the other side. I did not try and get every page but rather a sampling of pages for a worn effect. Let it dry or cheat and use a heat gun to lightly dry the edges. Which method do you think I used?

Step 7
Once the book is dry you will need to stretch the spine so it opens. The book I used was not terribly worn so it did not fan well on it’s own. I stretched it at random to loosen it up.

Step 8
I chose to use a stick with a little leaf for my decoration. On the pumpkin I used wired ribbon, wire, and lace. I covered the stick with snot dots and layed it in the top of the apple. It’s starting to look like an apple now, isn’t it?

Step 9
Apply a good craft glue stick to one side of the book making sure you go all the way to the edges. Carefully close book and clamp it tight on the glued pages. I think that paperclips would work for this, too. Let it dry.

Step 10
Add any additional decorations at this point. Fan the book a couple of times to get an even shape. You are done.