Not So Trifle Hodgepodge

1. When was the last time you chatted with a neighbor? About what? (sharing that last bit is optional)

This past week one of my neighbors rang the doorbell and asked if I would be willing to be used for a practice safety lesson for her autistic son. Her older son had a choking incident and she had to use the Heimlich maneuver on him and she wanted the younger autistic son to learn how to run and get help if she or anyone in the family needed help. I said of course and a while later the young neighbor rang my doorbell. He stood there when I opened the door, not looking me in the eye, with a shy sideways glance but said “my brother needs help”. I told him, “yes, I’d be happy to help and thank you for coming over and ringing my doorbell”.  He was happy to walk away, mission accomplished.

2. River, lake, ocean, or waterfall…which one are you most like and why?

My activity is like an ocean, it comes in waves.

My loyalty is like a river, it runs constantly.

3. July 13 is National Delaware Day. Ever been to Delaware? Delaware is called ‘the first state’ because it was the first to declare independence from the British. What’s your state’s nickname and does that moniker make sense to you? If you were in charge, what nickname would you give your home state?

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Delaware. There’s a possibility I was a passenger in a Volkswagon that drove through Delaware to get to Washington D.C. but since I wasn’t driving at the time I don’t recall the route taken.

My home state is Washington. Washington State’s nickname is The Evergreen State~ I don’t need to change it.

Washington is the second most populous state on the West Coast and in the Western United States, after California. … Washington is a leading lumber producer. Its rugged surface is rich in stands of Douglas fir, hemlock, ponderosa pine, white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar.

4. What dish did you contribute to the last pot luck meal you attended? Do you have a go-to recipe for pot luck suppers?

Trifle was my last contribution to a potluck meal. It was at a belated Father’s Day get together at our son’s home in Eastern Washington. I don’t have a go-to.

5. What is your number one tip for a brand new parent?

This, too, shall pass. Or a great Russian saying that gets a little lost in translation is “By the time they get married they will have forgotten this happened, or this will heal by the time they get married.”

6. Insert your own random thought here.

This week’s favorite expression from Addy May…

She’s a bit concerned that Baba is way across the mountains from her. Thankfully she’s going to brave a road trip and come visit us this coming weekend so she can meet a great auntie and cousins and the an uncle she has not met yet!

Thank you Jo for coming up with the questions for Wednesday Hodgepodge! Click over to join in the fun.

The Calm Before…

…the Fireworks! Was it just me or did you feel like the fireworks were more plentiful and louder this year ? Here’s what our calm and quiet fourth looked like at this old house…

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It’s good to keep the celebrations going all year long.

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Fourth of July Decorations4

Fourth of July Decorations5Got Flags?

Fourth of July Decorations3After a few days of hot hot weather here in the Seattle area the fourth was overcast and cool. We were hoping that the sun would break through the clouds before our 4:00 P.M. party time and it did.

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Fourth of July Decorations1It makes decorating so much more fun if you enjoy it with friends and family.

Fourth FestivitiesFourth of July 2013 we had the traditional eight to celebrate.

Fourth Festivities1The signature drink for 2013 was shaken up by Dear and enjoyed. Steve and Lana brought a new red for the wine drinkers to enjoy.

Fourth Festivities2Dear smoked pork for pulled pork sandwiches and our guests all brought sides to share.

Fourth Festivities3My contribution was a trifle with strawberries and blueberries. We really do love our red, white, and blue!

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How did you celebrate the “Fourth” this year or do you have some summer celebrations you are looking forward to?

And for the record…I was in bed when the fireworks were in full force loudness.

Pumpkin Praline Trifle

I found this great recipe in the Thanksgiving Special bon appetit November 2008. Bon appetit describes this dessert as a cross between a trifle and tiramisu. You should make the trifle at least one day ahead, 2 days preferably to let the flavors meld or as I say “moosh”.

The most time consuming part of the recipe is making the praline. The praline recipe yields enough to make 2 trifles. The creamy layers and pumpkin layers are very simple to make and the whole trifle once the praline is successfully completed is very easy to do.

Praline

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup half and half
1-1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2/3 cups pecan halves (about 6 oz.) (I used pecan pieces because that’s what I had)

Mascarpone Cream

2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1 8 oz. container chilled mascarpone cheese (I found this at Trader Joe’s)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling

1 – 15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (I used already ground)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. salt
1-1/2 – 3 oz. packages of soft ladyfingers. (I bought a 4.75 oz. box of soft lady fingers at Trader Joe’s and it was enough for 1 trifle)
4-1/2 tablespoons of dark rum, divided

Praline/ Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray. Bring both sugars and half and half to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium high heat, whisking to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat ot medium-low and simmer 5 minutes, whisking constantly. Add butter, vanilla, and salt. Attach candy thermometer to pan. Simmer without stirring until temperature registers 260 degrees F, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately mix in pecans. Transfer to prepared sheet, spreading in a single layer. Cool completely. Chop into 1/4 inch pieces.

Mascarpone Cream/ Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in large bowl until firm peaks form. Set aside 1/2 cup mascarpone cream for pumpkin filling.

Filling/ Whisk pumpkin, brown sugar, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt in large bowl to blend. Whisk in reserved 1/2 cup mascarpone cream.

Spread 1/3 cup mascarpone cream over bottom of 8×5 inch trifle dish (12-14 cup capacity). Place layer of lady fingers over cream. Sprinkle 1-1/2 Tablespoons of rum over. Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin filling over ladyfingers, spreading to edges. Sprinkle 1/3 cup praline over. Spread 1 cup mascarpone cream over. Cover with another layer of lady fingers. Sprinkle with 1-1/2 tablespoons rum, then spread 1 cup pumpkin filling over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup praline over. Repeat 1 more time with 1 cup mascarpone cream, lady fingers, rum, 1 cup pumpkin filling and 1/2 cup praline. Spread remaining mascarpone cream on top. Cover and chill overnight. DO AHEAD. Can be made 2 days ahead.

Uncover trifle. Sprinkle 1 cup praline decoratively over top (reserving any remaining praline for another use)

My guests really enjoyed this trifle and I will make it again!