Monday, October 31, 2011

Unfinished Business

...continued from yesterday...

Caramel Apples dipped in sprinkles and yummy gourmet chocolate.  So good.  We used Granny Smith apples so they're super tart and just go really well with the sweet stuff on the outside.  No Popsicle sticks...I knew I forgot something.  Oh well, forks do just as good in a pinch.

White chocolate bark wrapped in individual cellophane bags for easy transport.  Divine!  Make this, you won't regret it...but add more pistachios...and push them in as far as you can without them disappearing in the chocolate.

Homemade marshmallows made correctly and not wet dog smell marshmallows...super delish!  But what makes them even better is...

Drizzling them with yummy milk chocolate...and then what makes them EVEN BETTER...

Hot chocolate with a homemade marshmallow all melted and gooey.  I am talking about pure heaven!  Do this too!!!!

This Halloween dinner was a complete success I must say.  Even my sister's doughnuts were actually tasty...she used Pillsbury biscuits and they were the best ever!  Yum!

So besides my oldest being completely sick and almost missing trick or treating completely, Halloween rocked this year.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Still doing stuff...Just not blogging about it...

My sister has declared me to be a Suck-Job Extraordinaire.  I haven't blogged in....about a month.  It's not that I've not been doing stuff's that I just have felt busy.  Really, really busy.  October has been a crazy month and I know it's not getting any better until January.  So, I'd better make time.

There was a pumpkin patch to explore...

A Dorothy costume to make...with a little help from my mom.  I'm pretty sure this would have been a disaster if I had been on my own.  Beside the zipper which never would have made it would have been wrong in every way.  Thanks Ma!

As well as a new quilt from a wacky selection of clearance fabrics that I've been holding onto for about a year...

More of that later.

I was explaining to my sister all the delights I was planning on making for Halloween dinner...she told me if I don't blog about it she will never be my sister again.  Fine!  I'll take a few pictures, write a few words, see what happens.

Our Halloween tradition is invite the parents over for dinner and doughnuts.  Dinner being chili at my house and doughnuts at her house...I'll talk about the doughnuts at a later date...let's just say they are going to be extremely questionable this year.

So, in addition to the chili I figured I had to have some dessert items on hand just in case.  It so happens the my oldest and I were watching the lovely Ina Garten and she made a couple things that my oldest was desperate to try.  As her mother, I felt it my obligation to high-tail it to the gourmet food store and buy a week's salary worth of chocolate to indulge her wishes.  I need to encourage her, right?

White Chocolate Bark topped with pistachios and dried apricots and dried cranberries.  Yum.  This seems like it will have a Middle-Eastern vibe to it and I love me some Middle-Eastern food.  The salted pistachios against the sweetness of the white chocolate with the tanginess of the dried sounds like perfection.  So, that is item #1

Chop up a nice hunk of white chocolate.  I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for the good stuff.  This is Callebaut White Chocolate.  Yum!  You have to temper the chocolate to ensure that it will harden and not look yucky.  Please refer here for tips on how to handle your chocolate.

Add some delicious toppings to your melted chocolate...

Reap the rewards.  I will tell you after tomorrow how this tastes.  It needs to set up and it's for after the doughnuts don't turn out.

The other item we will be having is home-made marshmallows and gourmet hot chocolate.  I have yet to make the hot chocolate, so I will hopefully have some pictures to show you of it tomorrow.  It's Jacques Torres' recipe and he is a fancy lad from France who is a big-time chocolatier. So, hopefully it's yum.  It involves my dark chocolate Callebaut and powdered milk basically. 

To go in the hot chocolate, we have Homemade Marshmallows also by Ina.  My Oldest was entranced.  To actually be able to make your own marshmallows seemed like some kind of holy magic that she had to be a part of.  I have attempted homemade marshmallows in the past...but I had never actually seen Ina make them and so I watched and realized I had always made some fatal errors...and maybe the recipe I was using wasn't quite accurate either.  So I tried it her way...and they worked perfectly!  They are sitting on my counter drying out a little bit...Cross fingers they are awesome. 

 The gelatin softening.  I don't even know what I did wrong in times past...I do remember the smell of wet dog though coming from my mixer...this time, they did not smell like wet dog...that, in and of itself is a success if you ask me. Something about the gelatin..I don't know...not delicious.

Yes, there is a candy thermometer involved.  I seem to ruin my candy thermometers on a semi-regular basis, but this $5 jobber did a very nice job!

Marshmallows getting mixed to smithereens.  Let me just say the marshmallows poured beautifully into my pyrex dish and I have extremely high hopes for them.  Again, I will give you the review after tomorrow.

I was not done yet!  For Sunday dinner, we decided to have caramel apples thanks to This woman.  I did not follow her recipe at all, I did my own thing which involved a nice caramel block from the gourmet candy store and some Callebaut milk chocolate drizzled over the caramel...but she did give me a little inspiration.

I didn't take a finished picture...oh well, we haven't eaten them either.  But, I guarantee they are going to be some kind of good!  I'll try and remember to take a picture before they are all devoured.
This is what is known as experimenting, which just so happens to be my favorite kind of cooking.  I am hoping for the best!

I love Fall!

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Beginning

An arm. 

With an eye post sticking out of the shoulder (that's to attach it to the body...when there is a body).  I tried to weasel my way out of making my sister a ami for her sis in law's new baby.  But, what did my sister go and do...Tell her that her beloved sister who this sis in law has actually met, was making her an extra special something...right then.  Begin to crochet.  I cannot let this woman down.  I mean, I have met her.  I have babysat her actual  young and now she has expectations of me....I will make her latest addition a sweet something. 

I may have tried to convince my sister to let me just give her one of my darling daughters' know, the ones that don't have appendages...she wasn't going for it.  Fine!

In case you weren't aware...Halloween is coming.  I love Halloween.  I love October, I love the spooky decor, I love making costumes and dressing my darlings up, I love decorating my house...not to the extreme, but just to the level of fun! 

These spooky candy hands are my favorite!  I always save my decorations from the year before...even if they are made with candy.  I just warn people, like my brother in law who tried to eat from one of my Christmas displays one year that the candy in the (most likely) lead-lined bowl was about 6 years old and it was probably best he not nibble it.

Be warned careful in hanging these.  So, apparently I must have used industrial strength tape last year, because this year I dropped 4 hands  I think.

This is the result of that.  Luckily I kept the gloves that I use in my Halloween Decor box.  Handy.  So, here's the deal.  Do not be like me and in fact buy medical latex gloves.  They are not clear.  They are not what you want.  You in fact want food handlers clear plastic gloves.  I made the mistake of buying some gloves from Costco for this purpose.  Yes Costco.  So that means I had on hand approximately 10,000 yellowish latex gloves.  Right. 

Just start filling with your candy of choice.  Side note.  I in fact think Candy Corn are the most disgusting creation on the planet.  This does in fact include all candies that are made of whatever candy corn is made of.  You know, the nasty pumpkins .  Blech.  I do though think they are terribly cute.  So I like to decorate with them.  It's kind of like John Mayer.  I know he's a sleaze, but I kind of like his music and some of his antics.  So, it's a dilemma.  But, I suck it up and I decorate using candy corn and upon occasion I read John Mayer's blog.  Confession over.

It is important to make sure the candies fill the fingers.  They like to get stuck up in the palm of the glove. Just ease them down.

Tie with a knot as close to the candy as you can get.  Tying these gloves when they are so full can be tricky.  I've found that twisting the top as tight as I can and then tying the knot works best.

Tie a length of ribbon underneath the knot in the glove (make sure to secure it well, otherwise you will drop them and I guarantee the glove with rip).  And hang from your door or wherever you see fit.

The hutch in my front room.  I long to find some bugs or spiders that I can cover my roses with.  As of now the little buckets are just filled with white roses, but when I find them they will be crawling with spooky spiders!

As I have not completed my Ghastly wall hanging, I will use this cutie.  I love this little quilt except for one thing.  I used ultra heavy wonder under.  Bad choice.  The poor image is so stiff.  I long to re-make it.  Someday when I have loads of time.

You gotta love her sassy bustiers and brassieres and stylish shoes.

My pillow covers that just slip right around my red pillows.  For now it works for me.  Someday I will make actual proper pillow covers for Halloween.

Table Runner.  The funny thing about some of these things is, they are quite old.  And I made them before I had any skill really.  So, again, if I had the pattern still I might try and remake this and take my care in fussy cutting the images.  At the time I was only interested in getting something done FAST so I could see it.  Live and learn.

Paper plate skeleton.  Yes, even this I saved from last year.

Ghosts made from balloons and garbage bags.  This is my Youngest's.  She doesn't believe in anything spooky or ugly.  All she wants is beautiful princess ghosts.  So, this is what I came up with.

And finally covering every window with home-drawn Halloween images. 

I guess that pretty much covers how I am decorating this year for Halloween.  This weekend I'll add some pumpkins, but I didn't want to get them while they weather was still really warm.

So, having made this blog post, I've really discovered that my Halloween style is definitely homemade.  I obviously don't go for pre-manufactured items.  I either want to make them or I want my kids to make them.  I know having hand-drawn and colored pictures on your windows may not be the classiest, but it's sure the most fun!

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