Halloween served with Hallo-tini-slushes…

With the October air, crisp and filled with the scent of wood burning in the neighborhood fire pits. A plan was put into place for an adventurous couples’ dinner at Madlyn’s house. We would pre-celebrate Halloween in grand style, for a delightful surprise was in store for us.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by our host couple and presented our first liquor beverage, a “Hallow-tini” (the recipe is provided). We then were ushered into the dining room full of giant spiders on a cob web climbing down one of the walls, the centerpiece was a spooky looking spider web covered chandelier with black candle wax dripped down to the tablecloth where black and white menus were placed at each seat. The menu stated there would be 4 separate courses and a list of items was provided with instructions to choose 3 for each course. We were encouraged to fill in the blanks on the menu, put our name on it and turn it in to our hostess. The fun had just begun.

(The menu provided here below)

As you can see, the menu was quite creative and we would have no idea what we had ordered. We did not notice there were no place settings…no silverware, napkins, plate, and that would prove to make the event even more fun. Our selections came out one by one, and that is when this Halloween dinner had us howling like wolves in laughter. One husband had ordered a knife, a napkin and a bowl of soup, another guest was presented mashed potatoes, a sheet of tin foil and a can of Ready Whip, while another received a beautifully cooked medium rare pepper corned steak, a glass of water and a slice of lemon…no plate or utensil. We watched one by one receive their meals and then try to figure out they would eat them. Sure, it was easy to pick up a bowl of soup and slurp it from the vessel and certainly you have picked up a steak with your hands and eaten it like a caveman some time in your life, but the most ingenious was the gentleman who fashioned a spoon out of the tin foil to eat his mashed potatoes and then claim the Ready Whip as his dessert and squirted it directly into his mouth smackin’ the whole time.

Once we had finished that course, all and we mean ALL utensils, plates, napkin or whatever homemade silverware were removed, under great resistance, so we would have to start fresh with the next course. As more “Hallow-tinis” were served along with additional courses, the evening became more and more fun. Many of us started buying or trading items from each other so we could eat the delicious dinner. Our hostess let us get as creative as we wanted to get. When the toilet paper came out of the bathroom to be used as napkins, instead of the tablecloth, and the candles from the chandelier above were removed and carved into utensils with a concealed pocket knife, Madlyn congratulated us on our creativity…of course the “Hallo-tinis” helped inspire the fun.

As we enjoyed the food, the adult beverages and the company, we had to say goodnight to the majority of the guests that had children at home, but those of us who were free for the evening enjoyed telling Halloween stories by the light of the first fall fire and enjoyed some of the Brandy left from our earlier drinks.

Ghoulish Good Time Menu

The words after the dots are for the chef and servers only to see..do not let your company see the real items..print only the spooky part for them to choose 3 for each course..be sure their names are on them as you collect them back so you can serve each the items they have selected each course.

A Witch’s Broom……………………………spoon

Children Of The Corn……….corn on cob

Spot of Blood………..red wine

Sprinkles of Nute……………..salt

A Devil’s tail………..fork

scorched hearts……………pears in brandy sauce flaming

Drops of Bat Dung………chocolate drops

Crunchy Boo Balls……………meat balls in sauce

Wings of Fleas……….mashed potatoes

Bloody Blades…………green beans with roasted peppers


Pounded Palms & smears……………..rolls w/ butter


Ferns & Frogs….…salad

Black Tar……coffee

Scalded Cat on Planks……..a baked chicken dish

Blackened Zombie……..pepper steak

Scarlett from the early years…which one is she?

Hallo-tini Slushies

add 1 ½ ounces of Bourbon to each glass for more enjoyment.

½ cup fresh lime juice (3 limes)

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/3 cup simple syrup

¾ cup frozen OJ thawed

½ cup frozen pineapple juice thawed

4 cups ice cubes all in a blender on high until mixture is smooth but slushy. Divide into 6 glasses top each with 1-2 oz of ginger ale and enjoy…you can garnish with a mint leaf or orange slice.

Robyn, our African adventurer, puts on her leopard skin and finds her animal friend in her earlier years.

Staying In Touch Over Shrimp & Grits…

With everyone still avoiding the dreaded COVID 19 & 20 variant, it is even more important to stay in touch with friends new and old. Robyn recently visited Scarlett in Kentucky to not only ease her mind concerning her husband’s health, but to get some much needed nurturing herself… as she is battling some foot issues. Seems all 3 of us needed some hugs and laughs to wash away the doldrums.

Since 2 out of the 3 were having trouble walking, they spent much of the time catching up, experimenting with acrylic and watercolor paints, binging and getting hooked on a few alternative TV series, cooking old favorites and enjoying a few adult beverages

 (recipes to follow). It was a great relaxing early fall week with the weather just perfect for sitting on the front porch and gathering with a few of the neighbors over a late night coffee.

They reminisced on their earlier years when life was not so hectic. They told stories from their pasts and had discussions on how to navigate aging, the good and bad aspects of this “I need attention” techy environment and how difficult it can be to stay optimistic with such a changing world. They sounded a lot like their parents! The banter between one another built a much needed camaraderie of those between 57 and 70 and they realized that they were not alone in their thoughts. It was a very helpful week and friendships were made stronger.

So reach out to a friend from the past or make a new friend of a neighbor. Sitting with them on the front porch in the cool fall night with a cup of coffee is a great way to not feel so alone with your thoughts considering what the future holds for you and yours. You will find you are grateful for the time you spent together. It can wash away all of that negative news we are bombarded with daily and bring the perspective of living day to day. After all there is the saying “I plan and God laughs”…something to be reminded of every now and then.

Robyn’s self portrait for stationary
Scarlett’s self portrait to be used for stationary

Shrimp & Grits

 Start with Stone Ground Grits from Midway, Kentucky’s Weisenberger Grits

 4 cups of water to 1 cup grits and bring to boil letting them cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to simmer adding ¼ cup butter and a full cup of whole milk or heavy cream and cook approx. 30 minutes stirring on and off.

Fry up ¼ cup of fresh country sausage or cubed country ham from Olde Delaney’s Country Store in Bardstown, Kentucky, with ½ cup beef broth and /1/4 cup white wine along with 2 Tbsp cocktail sauce and a good pinch of cracked black pepper.

Then add the shrimp from Bardstown’s Simply Seafood Market and cook on low until shrimp are opaque DO NOT OVERCOOK!

Fill bowls with grits place shrimp mixture on top and ladle in sauce and sprinkle a dash of Old Bay seasoning on top…ENJOY!

The Fall Table is set and ready for the bowls of Shrimp & Grits…