I Grew Up in Southwestern Pennsylvania Cookbook on CD plus BONUSES

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Going Back for a Moment (or 2)

I grew up in South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia. I was born in 1963 in Union­town Penn­syl­va­nia. Both of my grand­fa­thers worked in the coal mines. My father and sev­eral of my uncles either worked in the coal mines or steel mills at one time or another.  I have met Willie Stargell and Roberto Clemente on the field of Three Rivers Sta­dium as a Cub Scout. I watched Terry Brad­shaw and the Steel Cur­tain win their first and last Super Bowl. I have been to more events at the Civic Arena then I could count on both feet and hands. At the time of this writ­ing the Mel­lon Arena (as it is called now) is being pre­pared for demo­li­tion. I watched the down­fall of the steel mills and coal mines from the inside and the out­side. I played in the coke ovens, fished in the rivers and watched this area bounce back from ter­ri­ble eco­nomic times. Time would fail me to con­tinue in my rem­i­nisc­ing but let’s just say, like many of you I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.


Sev­eral years ago I went to Florida after high school grad­u­a­tion. This was the first time I had ever been out of South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia. The steel mills and coal mines at that time were at their all-time low. Jobs were very scarce espe­cially for a high school grad­u­ate. I walked into the deli of a Winn-Dixie super­mar­ket and said to the deli atten­dant there “Do yinz have any Isaly’s chipped ham?” The deli atten­dant looked con­fused and said “Yinz? Isaly’s? Chipped ham?” Well need­less to say he was quite con­fused and so was I. This was the begin­ning of this book sev­eral years ago. Until then I really never knew how unique South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia was.


I lived in Florida for a while and all it did was ele­vate my appre­ci­a­tion for my home. I dis­cov­ered that it wasn’t just the food or the vocab­u­lary that set this area apart but the peo­ple, cre­ative peo­ple who enjoyed the sim­ple life. The peo­ple of this area have been through tough times and have the scars to prove it. The scars have pro­duced char­ac­ter and that cou­pled with being in the melt­ing pot of Penn­syl­va­nia has cre­ated a unique kind of peo­ple. The way they live and appre­ci­ate the sim­ple life is to be envied.


The beauty of the rolling hills and mead­ows, the smells cap­tured in a warm breeze on a spring day and the taste of a home­grown tomato sand­wiched in between two pieces of Grandma’s home­made bread can take you back to a moment in time that you would’ve oth­er­wise for­got­ten. The sights, sounds and smells bid you come and they never fail to remind you that you grew up in South­west­ern Pennsylvania.


It’s a beau­ti­ful day in Pennsylvania!

Dou­glas Robinson

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Don’t Click Your Heels Together Yet

Fundraiser Cookbooks
Cook­book Guru

Uniontown PennsylvaniaWhen I was in high school I couldn’t wait to get out of this region of the world. I knew there had to be some­thing else. I watched that pic­ture box in the liv­ing room and there was just some­thing dif­fer­ent about those places. It seemed like there was never noth­ing to do. The win­ter was ugly and cold and every­thing seemed dirty. I wanted to spread my wings and get out of this dirt hole. So I took my last pay­check at my sum­mer job and said good­bye to Mr. Hardy at Nema­colin Wood­lands and headed south. I arrived at Hilton head Island South Car­olina a day and half later. I was absolutely in love with what I saw. I saw the ocean for the first time. Every­thing was so clean and peo­ple seemed to have a good atti­tude.
I ran out of money stay­ing at the Motel 6 and going to clubs. I had never been to a club before this and as far as I was con­cerned I would never live any­where where there was not a club again. I made my way out to find work and had two job offers on the first day. Now I knew I wasn’t in Penn­syl­va­nia any­more, this was unheard of there. I took a job work­ing for Domino’s pizza and it was awe­some. I went into exclu­sive places, met celebri­ties and ate all the free pizza I could eat.
I didn’t have a place to live yet. I had to wait for my first pay­check. I found a cata­ma­ran on the beach that I stealth­ily approached and slept on every night for almost 2 weeks. Every night I would lay there lis­ten­ing to the waves, look­ing at the stars think­ing about how much I missed Penn­syl­va­nia. Yeah right!  I don’t think so! I had it made. I lived on an island. I drove around six hours a night meet­ing celebri­ties, eat­ing free pizza, lis­ten­ing to music and par­ty­ing while peo­ple gave me money. Then I went to clubs till 2 o’clock in the morn­ing. Then slept on a cata­ma­ran on the beach lis­ten­ing to the waves. Got up the next day and started all over again.
So so what hap­pened? What turn of events could cause you to be a guy writ­ing about how much he loves South­west­ern Pennsylvania?

Con­tinue read­ing

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10th Annual Heinz History Center Holiday Book Fair

Join Me at the 10th Annual Heinz His­tory Cen­ter Hol­i­day Book Fair
Sat­ur­day, Dec. 3
10:00 a.m. — 3:00 p.m.

Heinz History Center

Join the His­tory Cen­ter for our 10th annual Hol­i­day Book Fair, fea­tur­ing authors from across the region.

Vis­i­tors will enjoy free hot choco­late, the chance to pur­chase signed copies of books, and min­gle with dozens of local authors, includ­ing Dave Crawely; Rob Rogers; Andy Rus­sell; Jim O’Brien; and many more of your favorites.

List of Sched­uled Authors
(last updated 11–3-11)

Susan Helen Alder
Jan­ice Auth
Mary Anne Barnes
Jon Baugh­man
Stu­art Boehmig
John Brewer
Brian Butko
Dave Craw­ley
C.William Davis, III
Todd DePastino
Mary Lou Ellena
Elnora Agnes Fort­son
William Lamarr Fort­son
Deb­bie Frye
George Guido
Stephen Haluszczak
James G. Hol­lock
Peter Keim
Frank Kordal­ski, Jr.
Paul LaVi­o­lette
Stella LaVi­o­lette
Lil­lie Leonardi
Deb­bie Mancini-Wilson
Tracy Mercier
Mark Miner
Nancy Mramor PhD
D.J. Mun-Blanchato
David Nab­han
Jim O’Brien
Sydelle Pearl
Dou­glas Robin­son
Rob Rogers
Andy Rus­sell
Mar­cia Rus­sotto
Beth Schiemer
Quintin Skrabec
Gre­gory Spald­ing
Cas­san­dra Vivian
Brian Weak­land
Kyle Weaver
Kim­berly Zylin­ski

Fea­tured sub­jects include:
Sports, Pitts­burgh and Regional His­tory, Per­sonal Improve­ment, Children’s Sto­ries, Mil­i­tary, Cook­ing, Gen­eral Fic­tion and Non-Fiction, Civil War His­tory, African Amer­i­can His­tory, Glass, Poems, Travel, Oral History

The Hol­i­day Book Fair is free and open to the pub­lic; reg­u­lar admis­sion prices apply for His­tory Cen­ter exhibits.

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The Best Gifts Are Memories

Buy Now!

Prod­uct Details

  • Spiral-bound: 235 pages
  • Pub­lisher: High Def­i­n­i­tion Insight Pub­li­ca­tions; First Edi­tion edi­tion (2011)
  • Lan­guage: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983381879
  • ISBN-13: 978–0983381877
  • Prod­uct Dimen­sions: 9 x 6 x 2 inches
  • Ship­ping Weight: 15.2 ounces

This is more than a cook­book, it is also a stroll back into the child­hood of those of us who grew up in South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia. The book is full of facts, writ­ings and pho­tos of South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia with over 200 recipes col­lected over years of time. The beauty of the rolling hills and mead­ows, the smells cap­tured in a warm breeze on a spring day and the taste of a home­grown tomato sand­wiched in between two pieces of Grandma’s home­made bread can take you back to a moment in time that you would’ve oth­er­wise for­got­ten. The sights, sounds and smells bid you come and they never fail to remind you that… You Grew up in South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia.

Bob Batz
“Dou­glas Robin­son knows that South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia is some­thing that gets into your blood, and often it’s from the food.
Bob Batz Jr., Pitts­burgh Post-Gazette Read Full Article

Cookbook ArticleUnion­town native Dou­glas Robin­son pub­lished a his­tor­i­cal cook­book for the south­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia region as a “labor of love.”

The “I Grew Up in South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia Cook­book” fea­tures his­tor­i­cal facts, more than 100 vin­tage pho­tographs, South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia slang word def­i­n­i­tions and a com­pi­la­tion of more than 200 recipes that are sig­na­tures of the area and dear to a wide range of local residents.

“This is more than a cook­book but it is a stroll back into the child­hood of those of us who grew up in south­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia,” Robin­son wrote on the back cover.
July 5, 2011 Meg Thomp­son, Her­ald Stan­dard Read Full Article

I Love, Love, Love this book. In addi­tion to a cook­book with some of the BEST recipes, it tells of Pittsburgh’s his­tory, and use of words that are only known to true “Pitts­burghers.” The first day I got the book, I read it twice from front to back!
Janet Latini Pitts­burgh, PA Amazon.com

This is a very enjoy­able book for the recipes and also for the his­tor­i­cal facts inter­spersed through­out the book. I really liked it! Judith Hoff­mann, Amazon.com

Read a Free Sam­ple of SWPA Cookbook.

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The Magic of an Old-Fashioned Christmas

Old Fashioned Christmas in Pittsburgh
By Andrew Cax­ton

Do you want to have a Christ­mas full of joy, instead of a Christ­mas full of stress? Most peo­ple feel exactly the same way that you do, but instead they go through the Christ­mas sea­son feel­ing stressed and tired.

You can have a joy­ful Christ­mas sea­son. There are many dif­fer­ent ways to make your Christ­mas sea­son more fun and less stress­ful. The best thing that you can do is to try to sim­plify your Christ­mas. If you think about your favorite Christ­mases from your child­hood, you prob­a­bly remem­ber more times of sim­ple fun, rather than chaotic stress. You only have to plan and pre­pare to make this a Christ­mas that you can enjoy now.

Enjoy­ing the sim­plic­ity and beauty of an old-fashioned Christ­mas can decrease your stress level and be very easy. You don’t have to go back to no elec­tric­ity to make your Christ­mas more old-fashioned and sim­ple. You only have to choose some parts of that time that will make your Christ­mas more enjoy­able. You can help fill your home with Christ­mas spirit sim­ply by using your three senses.

* Pleas­ing to the Eye — What do you think of when you think of when you con­sider an old-fashioned Christ­mas? If you are like most peo­ple, candy canes, pop­corn strands, and home­made Gin­ger cook­ies on the Christ­mas tree come to mind. Mak­ing a pop­corn strand is very sim­ple and it can be a fun, qual­ity fam­ily project that your kids will love and enjoy mak­ing. Using cook­ies as a dec­o­ra­tion may not be very func­tional, but you could just use the cookie cut­ters on your tree or use them as a nap­kin ring.

* Pleas­ing to the Ear — “Sleigh bells ring. Are you lis­ten­ing?” Adding sleigh bells to your home can help cre­ate a pleas­ant Christ­mas sound to the ears. If you don’t have a rein­deer out in the yard then hang them on your door­knob. This is a great way to wel­come your hol­i­day guests.

* Hear­ing the squeals of laugh­ter occurs quite fre­quently dur­ing the Christ­mas sea­son. From open­ing presents to dec­o­rat­ing your home, the hol­i­days are a source of great fun and laugh­ter for every mem­ber of the fam­ily. You may want to con­sider using toys for dec­o­rat­ing your home.

* Pleas­ing to the Nose — Some of the favorite scents of the hol­i­days include spices, baked goods, ever­green, and bay­berry. You can find Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions that fit both your eyes and nose. For exam­ple, fir branches with a red bow would look beau­ti­ful above a door­way. Scented can­dles will look great in your win­dows. Cook­ing cook­ies also helps to add a deli­cious smell to your entire home.

Hav­ing an old-fashioned Christ­mas does not mean that you have to sac­ri­fice your worldly goods. It sim­ply means that you want to have a more sim­ple, enjoy­able Christ­mas, with­out many of the stresses. Isn’t that what you desire?

Andrew Cax­ton is the author and edi­tor of many resources pub­lished at http://www.home-decorating-reviews.com . He also pro­vides tips and advice about orna­ments as well as on gifts for hol­i­days and spe­cial moments like Christ­mas gifts. Find more ideas at his website.

Arti­cle Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Andrew_Caxton


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A Southwestern Pennsylvania Thanksgiving

Southwestern Pennsylvania Thanksgiving

This won­der­ful arti­cle was first pub­lished in Saveur issue #22.

After a life­time of wan­der­ing the world, it is remark­ably restora­tive to return to one’s roots and to the food of one’s child­hood, pro­duced in loam enriched by gen­er­a­tions of hus­bandry by fru­gal, indus­tri­ous Amish and Men­non­ite farm­ers. My fam­ily is as German-American as sauer­kraut, but my par­ents and my grand­par­ents, mem­bers of the gen­er­a­tions that fought against the Ger­mans in both world wars, didn’t talk about their back­ground. It was not that the older gen­er­a­tions denied their ori­gins, exactly; they sim­ply avoided the sub­ject if pos­si­ble. But their food gave them away—as food always does. Immi­grants quickly shed their national cos­tumes, their lan­guage, even their Old World names (Apple used to be Apfel), but it takes a lot longer for them to aban­don their favorite things to eat.

So we con­sumed a lot of German-American dishes, espe­cially on hol­i­days. Recipes were handed down, uncor­rupted, from mother to daugh­ter (and some­times son) as the decades slipped by—and my mother always man­aged to find things like slow-cooked apple but­ter and the smoky, spicy lun­cheon meat called Lebanon bologna at local farms or shops. We called these things Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch. Our fore­bears had been among the Ger­man and Swiss fam­i­lies that set­tled in south­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia in the 18th and 19th cen­turies, then moved on to south­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia and to North Car­olina, Ohio, Indi­ana, Iowa, and beyond. Slop­pily pro­nounced, “Penn­syl­va­nia Deutsch” (mean­ing “Penn­syl­va­nia Ger­man”) became “Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch”.

William Woys Weaver, the rank­ing author­ity on the sub­ject, writes in his book Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch Coun­try Cook­ing (Abbeville Press, 1993) that Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch food has Bodegeschmack—which is what the French call goût de ter­roir, the taste of the land. It is robust, boldly fla­vored, down-to-earth cook­ing. It is also mis­rep­re­sented and mis­un­der­stood. The clos­est most Amer­i­cans have come to tast­ing it is at the road­side indus­trial feed­eries in the Amish coun­try around Lan­caster, Penn­syl­va­nia, where sweet, over­starchy food is served in por­tions that would choke a sumo wrestler. The real thing is closer to Alsa­t­ian cui­sine than any­thing else (and seri­ous eaters know how lib­er­ally the Guide Miche­lin strews stars on the restau­rants in and around that French region on the Ger­man bor­der). Unfortunately—though they are Fein­schmeck­ers (gourmets) of the first order—the Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch have no tra­di­tion of first-class restau­rants or pro­fes­sional chefs. Theirs remains almost wholly a house­hold cuisine.

The cel­e­bra­tion of the Thanks­giv­ing feast begins, for us, with the assem­bling of raw mate­ri­als. The year’s last sor­rel leaves from our gar­den went into the soup, and our last few tar­ragon sprigs went into the stuff­ing. We used a few other prod­ucts we had grown our­selves, includ­ing the native but uncom­mon smoke­house apples for one of the pies. Most of the rest of the ingre­di­ents came from else­where in Pennsylvania—and track­ing them down was one of the delights of the enter­prise. Overor­ga­nized as ever, we started well in advance, lay­ing in a sup­ply of John Cope’s dried corn, which is such an indis­pens­able part of my family’s hol­i­day rhythms that my mother faith­fully sent it to me each Thanks­giv­ing dur­ing the three years I spent in Viet­nam. We shopped around for the rel­ishes that adorn the Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch table, end­ing up with five: bread-and-butter pick­les, pick­led beets, chow­chow, water­melon pick­les, and cel­ery ribs—some from Dietrich’s Meats and Coun­try Store (an extra­or­di­nary farm mar­ket in Krumsville), oth­ers from Dan Stoltz­fus (at the ven­er­a­ble Lan­caster Cen­tral Mar­ket), a gent with a gray spade beard who patiently explained which exam­ples of his art had taken blue rib­bons at the most recent South­ern Lan­caster County Fair in Quarryville.

A cou­ple of days before Thanks­giv­ing, we drove up to the heart of Amish country—a soul-satisfying, late-autumn expe­di­tion along rural Penn­syl­va­nia back roads. Silos punc­tu­ated the land­scape like excla­ma­tion points. We passed plows pulled by teams of four horses through fields of corn stub­ble turned golden by the slant­ing rays of the after­noon sun. We admired a local dairy farm, where Jer­sey and Hol­stein cat­tle grazed against the hazy back­drop of Blue Moun­tain. Our des­ti­na­tion, how­ever, was Eberly Poul­try, a third-generation oper­a­tion that processes chick­ens, turkeys, geese, ducks, par­tridge, quail, and more. All the birds are raised in small flocks by Amish and Men­non­ite farm­ers liv­ing within a 50-mile radius of Bob Eberly’s plant, and all are raised “as nature intended,” he told me, “with no pes­ti­cides, no hor­mones, no chem­i­cal fer­til­iz­ers, strictly free-range.” Old and new meet on Eberly’s doorstep near the ham­let of Schoe­neck (the name means “beau­ti­ful cor­ner” in Ger­man); horses, their breath vis­i­ble in the cold air, prance past the plant along Mt. Airy Road, draw­ing the boxy black car­riages used by the Amish, while semis hur­tle along the Penn­syl­va­nia Turn­pike a mile away.

Eberly’s free-range turkeys had won a taste test con­ducted by the New York Times a cou­ple of days before we got there. The phone was ring­ing off the hook, and Eberly was fresh out of gob­blers. For­tu­nately, we had decided before­hand that the cen­ter­piece of our meal would be a goose—a fowl more favored in Ger­man (and, for that mat­ter, Alsa­t­ian) cook­ing than turkey—and Eberly picked out a per­fect, 12-pound emb­den, freshly slaugh­tered and (as time would tell) dark and firm of flesh, full-flavored, almost gamy.

The late Novem­ber weather last year was miserable—cold, gray, with rain trail­ing off into mist—but that didn’t deter our six guests, most of whom trav­eled fair dis­tances to join us. Cather­ine, our daugh­ter, who came in from New York, had the flu—but that only prompted learned dis­cus­sion of the rel­a­tive mer­its of cham­pagne and whiskey as cures. The mood was spir­ited inside our stone farm­house (an Arts and Crafts–era struc­ture, built in 1914 from plans by Gus­tave Stick­ley). Our ebul­lient Wash­ing­ton neigh­bor Jurek Mar­tin puffed away at some notably nasty che­roots, obliv­i­ous to my demands that he desist, while our friend Robin Hill’s boxer, Schepsi, ambled ele­gantly about with a ban­danna knot­ted around his neck. We all spun sto­ries about absent friends and Thanks­giv­ings past, warmed by a big fire of Geor­gia fat­wood kin­dling and apple­wood logs that burned fiercely on the field­stone hearth. Cather­ine chat­tered gamely away between sniffles.

My wife grew up in Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, where a fes­tive gath­er­ing with­out Smith­field ham in some guise—usually with biscuits—was unthink­able. A close Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch equiv­a­lent, we had decided, were the ubiq­ui­tous local lit­tle potato rolls, made from potato flour, so we served thinly sliced Smith­field ham on those, and Bet­sey plied the crowd with cham­pagne and ham, ham and champagne.

Thanks to the qual­ity of Bob Eberly’s fowl and a clever steam-roast method of cooking—which drains the excess fat from the bird while pro­duc­ing a prop­erly crisp skin—devised by Julia Child, the goose was the best I have ever eaten. Our guests, for whom goose prob­a­bly seemed less eth­ni­cally imper­a­tive, exclaimed most about other things—notably the sor­rel and water­cress soup, mod­i­fied a bit from a recipe in Alice Waters’s book, Chez Panisse Veg­eta­bles (Harper­Collins, 1996), to cope with the short­fall in my late-season sor­rel crop. The Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch have eaten sor­rel since the 18th century—though sel­dom, I would bet, in a prepa­ra­tion as refined as this. A William Woys Weaver recipe for sauer­kraut with gin­ger, which sounds as unpromis­ing as chicken with licorice, won a lot of votes, as did my mom’s sweet and unc­tu­ous creamed corn. The stuff­ing (or dress­ing, as my fam­ily called it, for rea­sons unknown), made with dried morels, chanterelles, hen of the woods, and beech mush­rooms, after a recipe from Pennsylvania-born mush­room spe­cial­ist Jack Czar­necki, another friend, was also a hit.

And since this was Thanks­giv­ing, the one day of the year when all but card-carrying mem­bers of the gas­tro­nomic gestapo encourage—or at least forgive—wretched excess, there was even more: red cab­bage made in the sweet-and-sour style of Egon Ronay, the Hungarian-born Eng­lish restau­rant critic who first urged me to write about food two decades ago; herbed spät­zle, a mod­ern twist on the tra­di­tional Ger­man (and German-American) drop dumpling; apple pie (for which I peeled and cored the smoke­house apples on a funky old apple lathe); and Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch raisin pie—a del­i­cacy some­times known as funeral pie because it was often taken to griev­ing fam­i­lies. We served it all on Adams Rose plat­ters and dishes, 19th-century pieces that were made in Eng­land to the flow­ery taste of the Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch. For a final local flour­ish, we served minia­ture Hershey’s choco­late bars with the cof­fee; Mil­ton Her­shey, after all, was an enter­pris­ing Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch­man of Swiss descent—who turned a sweet tooth into a For­tune 500 company.

It all went swim­mingly, peer­lessly over­seen by Bet­sey in a 1950s rummage-sale apron. We had more food than wine left over, but not much of either. It was still rain­ing the next morn­ing, and we decided to post­pone a planned tour of the Get­tys­burg bat­tle­field and sleep in. The hardy Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch of yore would have thought us wimps, I knew, but after that din­ner, a sloth­ful morn­ing seemed the bet­ter part of valor.

This arti­cle was first pub­lished in Saveur issue #22.

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My First Post as a Zombie

Me as a zombie

You gotta try this! Zomb­ify your­self for free.
Try it here!

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You Just Might Be a Yinzer If…

You Just Might Be a Yinzer If…

1.  I ask you to hand me one of those “Gum-Bands” an’ you actu­ally know what I’m talk­ing about.
2. You walk care­fully when it is “slippy” out­side.
3. You often go down to the “crick.“
4. You’ve told your chil­dren to “red up” their rooms.
5. You can remem­ber telling your lit­tle brother/sister to stop being so “
6. You’ve got­ten hurt by falling into a “jag­ger­bush”.
7. Your mother or grand­mother has been seen wear­ing a “babushka” on her
8. You’ve “wor­shed” the clothes.
9. You didn’t have a spring break in high school.
10. You know you can’t drive too fast on the back roads, because of the deer.
Con­tinue read­ing

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Free Fun Halloween Recipes

Black Cat CookiesFree Recipes

Our chil­dren look for­ward to help­ing me bake these cute cat cook­ies each year. They’ve become experts at mak­ing the faces with candy corn and red-hots.

1 cup but­ter (no sub­sti­tutes), soft­ened 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 3 tea­spoons vanilla extract 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup bak­ing cocoa 1/2 tea­spoon bak­ing pow­der 1/2 tea­spoon bak­ing soda 1/2 tea­spoon salt 24 wooden craft or Pop­si­cle sticks 48 candy corn can­dies 24 red-hot candies

In a mix­ing bowl, cream but­ter and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Com­bine the flour, cocoa, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda and salt; grad­u­ally add to the creamed mix­ture. Roll dough into 1–1/2-in. balls. Place 3 in. apart on lightly greased bak­ing sheets. Insert a wooden stick into each cookie. Flat­ten with a glass dipped in sugar. Pinch top of cookie to form ears. For whiskers, press a fork twice into each cookie. Bake at 350° for 10–12 min­utes or until cook­ies are set. Remove from the oven; imme­di­ately press on candy corn for eyes and red-hots for noses. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 dozen.


24 oz Frozen straw­ber­ries — thawed 6 oz Lemon­ade, frozen con­cen­trate 1 qt Gin­ger ale 1 c Raisins 1 c Blue­ber­ries — fresh or frozen

Place the straw­ber­ries in a bowl and mash with a fork. In a large pitcher, mix the straw­berry mash, lemon­ade and gin­ger ale. Place hand­fuls of raisins and blue­ber­ries (bugs) into tall glasses. Pour the liq­uid over the bugs, then sit back and watch the bugs and scum rise to the top of each glass. To quench a creepy crowd’s thirst, dou­ble or trip­ple this recipe and serve in a punch bowl. Drape some gummy worms over the rim of your bowl for a par­tic­u­larly swampy-looking effect!

Glow­ing Jack-O-Lantern Cookies

Pumpkin Spooks2 c But­ter
1 c Gran­u­lated sugar
1 Egg
1 ts Vanilla
2 c Flour
2 ts Bak­ing pow­der
1/4 ts Salt
1 tb Milk
Orange and green food color
1 pk Lemon drops/5 oz

Pre­heat oven to 350~. Cover 3 cookie sheets with foil. Cream but­ter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt. Add milk if bat­ter is too stiff. Color all but 1/8 of dough orange and color rest green. Roll 1 balls from the orange dough and flat­ten with your hand to make a pump­kin shape. Place on cookie sheets . Roll stems out of the green dough and attach to the top of the “ punkin”. Care­fully cut out wide spaces for the eyes, nose and mouth with a knife. Fill holes in with crushed lemon candy. Bake 8–10 min­utes or until done. DO NOT ALLOW TO BROWN. Allow to cool for 10 min­utes and care­fully peel off foil. Note; Crush lemon drops in food proces­sor. If mix­ture becomes stickey, add a lit­tle pow­dered sugar while chopping.
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28th Houston Pumpkin Festival 2011 Information

Houston Pumpkin Festival28th Hous­ton Pump­kin Fes­ti­val is spon­sored by the Hous­ton Fire Depart­ment. Over 175 Unique Craft & Food Booths includ­ing Pizza, Fun­nel Cakes, Hot Sausage, Gyros, Veg­gies, Ket­tle Corn, & Much More!!! Children’s area with Pony & Car­riage Rides, Rock Wall, Bounc­ers, Pump­kin Dec­o­rat­ing, Pet­ting Zoo, Train Ride & Much More!!! Live Enter­tain­ment daily, Free Shut­tle Bus & Free Admis­sion to the Fes­ti­val. No Pets or Bicy­cles per­mit­ted on fes­ti­val grounds.
Houston Pumpkin Festival 2011
Pump­kin Fes­ti­val hours are 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Fri­day and Sat­ur­day, and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

pumpkin, autumn, fall festival, festival, houston pa, parade, directions, information, schedule

pumpkin, autumn, fall festival, festival, houston pa, parade, direstions, information, scheduleDirec­tions: Hous­ton is located 20 miles south of Pitts­burgh, Take I-79 to the Hous­ton Exit. Make a left & go 1/2 mile to the Hous­ton Park where there is park­ing avail­able with free shut­tle bus. For more infor­ma­tion, please call 724–745-1254.

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Hickory Apple Festival 2011

Mt. Pleas­ant Town­ship Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany will host the 28th annual Hick­ory Apple Fes­ti­val Octo­ber 1st — 2nd, 2011.

DirectionsPan­cake Break­fast 7am
Activ­i­ties 10am till 6pm

Fire­hall Grounds
106 Main Street (Route 50)
Hick­ory, Pa. 15340

The Mt. Pleas­ant Town­ship Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany is located approx­i­mat­ley 25 miles south­west of Pitts­burgh in Wash­ing­ton County. Our fire­fight­ers travel 88 miles of road to serve 3,422 res­i­dents and a num­ber of businesses.

We will be there sign­ing and sell­ing our
“I Grew up in South­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia Cook­book!“
Spe­cial Priced at $14 or 2 for $25.

Home­made Food
Home­made Crafts
Craft Demon­stra­tions
Children’s Activ­i­ties
Live Enter­tain­ment
Gen­eral Admis­sion
Shut­tle Ser­vice (from off site park­ing lots)


Watch Crafters Demon­strate Their Skills

Children’s Activ­i­ties

Wood Burn­ing
Rug Mak­ing
Wood Carv­ing
Bas­ket Weav­ing
Pot­tery Wheel
Quilt­ing and Spin­ning
Broom Mak­ing
Tole Paint­ing
Plus More .….
Apple Bob­bing Con­test
Apple Pie Eat­ing Con­test
Pet­ting Zoo
Hay Rides (Par­ents ride also)
Face Paint­ing
Bal­loon Ani­mals
Moon Walk
Fire Safety House
Plus More .….

Bring Your Appetite:

Apple Festival in HickoryWe have pan­cake break­fast each morn­ing from 7am-1pm in the din­ing room of the fire­hall. If its apples you like, it’s apples we have! From can­died to crisp, we have good­ies made with apples. Try one of our mouth water­ing apple dumplings or our caramel apples. Maybe pie with ice cream is more to your lik­ing. We even have home­made apple but­ter. Don’t for­get to grab a few pies to go, boxed and and ready for your next gath­er­ing or take one home to some­one who could not make this great event.

Don’t for­get the other home cooked foods we offer at the Hick­ory Apple Fes­ti­val. We offer fresh stone oven baked bread that goes great with our home made slow cooked bean soup. We have chicken roasted on an open fire that you can make a din­ner out of. How about a sand­wich? We have roast beef, hot sausage, kiel­basa, roast pork, and the tried and true hot dogs and ham­burg­ers. Be sure to take home some fresh apples and some freshly made corn meal.

If you are thirsty, we have apple cider, served either warm or chilled. You just can’t go away hun­gry from our festival.

Direc­tions to Hickory,PA

A map of Hickory and the surrounding area

Hick­ory is about 25 miles south­west of Pitts­burgh and 11 miles north of Wash­ing­ton, PA. Take I-79 to the Bridgeville Exit (Exit 54) and go left on Route 50W for about 12 miles. Or take 70, 18N, and 50E. Most fire com­pany activ­i­ties take place at the fire hall at 106 Main Street (Route 50).

Sat­ur­day Octo­ber 1, 2011

10:00 — 11:00 AM
Fort Cherry High School Band
11:00 — 1:00 PM
Banjo All Stars– Small Stage
1:00 — 2:15 PM
Ruff Creek — Large Stage
2:15 — 3:15 PM
Mon Val­ley Clog­gers - Small Stage
3:15– 4:00 PM
Apple Bob­bing & Pie Eat­ing Con­tests — Small Stage
4:00 — 5:15 PM
Ruff Creek — Large Stage

Sun­day Octo­ber 2, 2011

8:30 — 9:30 AM
Hick­ory UP Church Ser­vices — Large Stage
10:30 — 1:00 PM
Blue Grass Band — Small Stage
1:15 — 2:30 PM
Bill Burkette’s Vogues — Large Stage
2:30 — 3:30 PM
Apple Bob­bing & Pie Eat­ing Con­tests — Small Stage
:45 — 5:00 PM
Bill Burkette’s Vogues — Large Stage

 Apple fes­ti­val orga­niz­ers in Hick­ory are seri­ous about their event

By Bar­bara S. Miller
Whether they’re fresh and crunchy, just picked from the tree, or suc­cu­lent and fork-tender as spicy steam rises from a pie crust in the cool autumn air, we love our apples.As Amer­i­can as apple pie, the Hick­ory Apple Fes­ti­val is the place to find not only pie, but red, sticky candy apples as well as the gooey, brown caramel kind; apple but­ter; dumplings; apple cake; apple crisp; and tangy cider.

Whether it’s by the slice or a whole pie, fes­ti­val­go­ers can top those or other apple desserts with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

An apple may or may not have tempted Adam and Eve, but crowds from miles around give into temp­ta­tion and dig into a host of home­made treats at the Hick­ory fes­ti­val on the first week­end of October.

This year, October’s arrival coin­cides with the 28th annual Hick­ory Apple Fes­ti­val, which is sched­uled for Sat­ur­day, Oct. 1, and Sun­day, Oct. 2.

Gary Farner won’t reveal the recipe for the Hick­ory Apple Festival’s sig­na­ture treats, but he did note that 3 1/2 tons of Jon­agold apples went into the pies and apple crisp last year.

For candy apples and caramel apples, we use Empires,” said Farner, fes­ti­val chair­man and pres­i­dent of the Mt. Pleas­ant Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment, which puts on the fes­ti­val as a major fundraiser.

For those who pre­fer their apples raw, fruits in half-peck and peck bags are Golden Deli­cious, Red Deli­cious, Empire and Jonagold.

They are Penn­syl­va­nia apples,” Farner said.

Last year, they sold 800 gal­lon jugs of cider, 650 half-gallon jugs and 1,400 pints of cold cider.

Vol­un­teers began peel­ing, cor­ing, slic­ing, spic­ing, rolling pas­try and bak­ing pies before mid-September.

Gary Farner revealed the type of apple used, but his wife, Kathy Farner said of the pies, “It is a secret recipe that has been finely tuned over the years, as is the recipe for the apple crisp and apple butter.”

In the kitchen, Rita Bon­giorni is in charge of pie production.

The vol­ume of sales dic­tates that pies be baked in advance, so the early batches are frozen. Both frozen and fresh pies are sold whole for $9 dur­ing the festival.

We can­not make 2,500 pies the day before the fes­ti­val,” Kathy Farner said. “The only way to keep them fresh is to freeze them.”

A group of 50 pre­pares the fruit and dough, toil­ing assembly-line style so that 96 pies can be baked simul­ta­ne­ously in four ovens.

That’s not the only fun the Hick­ory fes­ti­val has with apples. There are con­tests for fes­ti­val­go­ers, but speed, not vol­ume, is the point of the apple festival’s bob­bing and pie-eating contests.

The first one to grab a “tooth­some” apple in a tub of water wins in each age group, as does the first per­son to devour a lunchbox-sized pie. The orga­niz­ers also award second-place and par­tic­i­pant ribbons.

Chil­dren tend to eat up these con­tests, although, Kathy Farner said, “We would love to have some adult participants.”

Not just the pies, but most of the food sold at the fes­ti­val is made at the Mt. Pleas­ant Town­ship Fire Hall in Hickory.

It’s hard to resist the aroma of wood-fired food, so a hearty appetite is a handy thing to bring to the apple festival.

Man (or woman, or child) does not live by apples alone, so to aug­ment the many fall fruit offer­ings, the menu includes half chick­ens roasted over an open fire; grilled beef and pork; kettle-cooked bean soup; piero­gies; fresh-cut French fries; ket­tle corn; fun­nel cake; kiel­basa sand­wiches; hot dogs and ham­burg­ers; and freshly squeezed lemonade.

Although apple pies, dumplings, crisps and cakes rule the day, they’re not the only baked goods.

Built espe­cially for a past fes­ti­val was a brick oven, and bak­ers are busy on fes­ti­val days mak­ing yeasty loaves that hun­gry fes­ti­val­go­ers can pur­chase hot.

Atten­dance varies from year to year, but the num­ber of vis­i­tors has been esti­mated at between 30,000 and 50,000 peo­ple in the Mt. Pleas­ant Town­ship vil­lage. To get an idea of the mag­ni­tude of the fes­ti­val, the town­ship has 3,515 res­i­dents, accord­ing to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The weather cer­tainly plays a big part since the major­ity of our activ­i­ties are out­doors,” Kathy Farner said.

Last year, rain marred the sec­ond day of the two-day cel­e­bra­tion of all things apple, so those han­ker­ing for home­made pie could pur­chase unsold pies at the fire depart­ment the week afterward.

Twenty-eight may not be a mile­stone, but Kathy Farner said, “It’s a big year. It’s a long time, and we’re excited that its con­tin­ued into its 28th year.”

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