Monthly Archives: October 2022

Happy Halloween 2022

Hi everyone, Happy Halloween!

Click on photos to ENLARGE and then hit the back arrow to return to the post.

It seems the months are passing by so quickly and here we are at the end of October already. I hope you all have a safe, happy, and healthy Halloween.

This is the second year that DishingwithDiane is donating a tray for charity at a local school and I am honored to be asked again.

I was under a little pressure this morning to get it completed and wrapped for pick up and combine that with opening the door all day for trick-or-treaters and that is why this post is a little later in the day.

Yesterday I spent the day making rainbow cookies in the colors of Fall for the donation tray along with Halloween bark and once again I had to buy the sugar cookies at a bakery.

Maybe next year I will add that skill to baking but for all those who know me well, baking is not my strong point. It is a labor of love though and I am happy to make the donation…

After the pick-up and a big sigh of relief, Bob and I decided to have a luncheon celebration for the holiday before the trick-or-treaters arrive so we had “Bats & Pumpkin” ravioli served with butternut squash sauce (recipe to follow).

I prepared a simple tablescape and used plastic cutlery and paper napkins along with casual porcelain dishes that I recently purchased in Homegoods.

I only purchased the dinner/salad plates and I am looking for matching bowls. The pattern is called “Wicked” by Jahie Pty. Ltd.

(Please let me know if you see them around-thanks).

The ceramic mugs are a favorite of mine and feature a witch’s house and creepy trees…

The Halloween centerpiece is an oldie but goodie and it’s one of my favorite ceramic houses purchased many years ago in Pier 1, it makes an appearance somewhere in the house on Halloween.

Table accents are my tried and true Frankenstein mug that also makes an appearance every year since he arrived with a bouquet of flowers attached many years ago.

This year Frankie is holding black licorice. The other accents are candy bowls and pumpkins.

And speaking of candy- I am a candy corn lover, I will admit. And my new favorite flavor is “Smores”.

A big shout out to Bon Bons Chocolatier in Huntington, NY for the best candy corn in the world…..

My new Halloween purchases are salt and pepper shakers that are “Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein”; I couldn’t resist this set since their lips are magnetic and they never leave each other’s side with a forever Halloween kiss.

Dessert always reigns supreme on any table, especially on Halloween, and this year I have two special treats.

The first dessert is Halloween cupcakes displayed in plastic wine flutes filled with candy corn.

The next dessert is ghost cupcakes along with a mini pumpkin cheesecake and a special Halloween beverage. I purchased pumpkin cocoa bombs from Trader Joe’s for an extra little something.

I just love these ghost cupcakes (I purchased these because I am not that talented with frosting…)

We have been celebrating all day and adding one more holiday completed for 2022… Have a great Halloween! Be safe.

Butternut Squash Sauce

I have used this recipe from Simplyrecipes for years with a little tweaking. I will post the original recipe and my changes in parentheses.


  • 1 butternut squash weighing about 2 1/2 pounds
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots or onions (I use shallots only)
  • 1/4 cup packed, freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (I use mascarpone cheese)
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish (I use chopped sage in the sauce and to garnish).
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Pasta Water as needed to thin the sauce, about 1 cup


  1. Bake the butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise in half and scoop out the guts and seeds and discard them (or save the seeds and toast them). Pour 1/4 cup of water into a baking dish and place the butternut squash halves cut side down. Bake for 40 minutes or until a fork easily pierces the squash. Allow cooling for 10 minutes. Scoop out the squash flesh from the skins and put it into a blender. Discard the skins.
  2. Sauté the shallots: in the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Purée in a blender: Add the shallots to the blender. Add 1 cup water, the parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a little more water. (I add some sage to the blender as well).
  4. Add sour cream and heat until warm: Pour the sauce into a small pot set over low heat. Mix in the sour cream and warm it through. Do not let the sauce boil.
  5. Cook pasta in boiling salted water:Fill a pot with water and salt (1 tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Set over high heat to bring to a hard boil. Add the pasta and cook at a hard boil, uncovered until al dente.
  6. Mix cooked pasta with sauce:When the pasta is ready, drain and put it into a bowl. Mix with a little of the sauce and serve. Add a dollop of additional sauce and some parsley right when you bring it to the table.


Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,



Rustic Pizza

Hi Everyone,

How are you? The weather is getting very chilly and it’s time to head back “indoors” to the kitchen.

I know a lot of people love Friday night pizza and I found a great “yeast” just for pizza making that requires no rising time that I just had to share with you.

So, with a quick gathering of simple ingredients to make the dough, add your sauce and toppings and a fresh hot pizza is yours for under 30 minutes from start to finish…..

I make this dough for a quick pizza when I have leftover odds-and-ends toppings from other meals that I want to use or if I have an abundance of fresh tomatoes. The combinations are limitless.

For the pizza I made I didn’t even make a classic circle but a rustic free-form shape and added some topping combinations I had on hand….a trio of flavors…tomato with mozzarella, basil, and oregano, butternut squash with meatballs, and broccoli rabe with sausage…

This recipe can make a regular 12-inch pie crust or 2 thin-crust pies. And the company lists a website for more recipes…

The product is Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast

Photo courtesy of Fleischmann’s

and here is the tried and true recipe from Fleischmann’s (I use this for stromboli as well)……. Have fun!


  • Crust:
  • 1-3/4 to 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope Fleischmann’s® Pizza Crust Yeast (or Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup very warm water (120° to 130°F)*
  • 3 tablespoons corn oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of pizza sauce
  • other toppings as desired
  • 1 to 2 cups (4 to 8 ounces or 125 to 250g) shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add very warm water and oil; mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. The dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky. Knead** on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. (If using RapidRise Yeast, let the dough rest at this point for 10 minutes.)
  3. Pat dough with floured hands to fill greased pizza pan or baking sheet. OR roll dough on a floured counter to a 12-inch circle; place in greased pizza pan or baking sheet. Form a rim by pinching the edge of the dough.
  4. Spread with pizza sauce. Top with desired toppings and sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Bake on the lowest oven rack for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is browned.

    *If you don’t have a thermometer, water should feel very warm to the touch.

    **To knead the dough, add just enough flour to the dough and your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Flatten the dough and fold it toward you. Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and repeat the “fold, push and turn” steps. Keep kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Use a little more flour if the dough becomes too sticky, always working the flour into the ball of dough.

    Recipe Note: Use crust to make one thick-crust 9-inch pizza. Increase baking time to 20 minutes.


I hope you have an opportunity to try this recipe and enjoy some pizza making…..

Until my next post, make every day a celebration!

Stay well,