October 31, 2011

Light up DIY Ghosts

Need a last minute decoration idea or just want to do something festive today on Halloween? Check out these simple milk jug ghosts. I found this cleaver idea on Familyfun.go.com

Just take a empty milk jug and draw a spooky face on one side with a sharpie marker (keeping the lid on will keep it from denting in) then cut out a small rectangle in the back of the jug. Tuck a string of Christmas lights inside to make it glow. It's best to have a few ghost placed close together and only tucking a few lights from a string inside each one.

Set on your door step and enjoy, the great thing is you'll allready have your lights out when your ready to put up your Christmas decorations. :)
Happy Halloween!


This picture is not mine, I found it on familyfun.go.com

October 30, 2011

Halloween 2011 at the White House

Ever wonder how President, Barack Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama, celebrate Halloween? I found this cool video on YouTube of the white house preparations, decorations, and some lucky trick-or-treaters who get home made cookies handed out by the president.  Check out the neat decorating ideas for next year, or even Thanksgiving this year!

 

October 28, 2011

The 15 Best Celebrity Halloween Costumes

Halloween is just a few days away, have you decided on your costume yet?
Check out some of our favorite celebrities dressed in their costumes, in my count down to the number one best celebrity Halloween costume.

 15) If your a That 70's Show fan you'll like this one: Danny Masterson (Steven Hyde) and Wilmer Valderrama (Fez) looking good in their police uniforms.  


14) Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis take a classic approach to Halloween costumes as doctor and nurse.

13)  Katie Couric of the "Today show" and "CBS Evening News". I dont know about you but I like to see our serious celebs having some fun!

12) Singer Pink, looks more cute than spooky as a happy clown

11) Christina Aguileria and her Hubby at the time, Jordan Bratman, look spooky as a zoombie bride and groom.

10) Kim Kardashian makes the picture perfect Wonder Woman. I'll also give her props for her mafia costume.

9) These are some of my absolute favorite celebs from "Vampire Diaries", "True Blood" and "Twilight". 
From left to right:  Nina Dobrev, Katerina Graham, Kayla Ewell, Sara Canning, Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Kellan Lutz, and Ashley Greene.

8) Jamie Lee Curtis as a circus ringmaster. Although I dont condone the circus, she looks great!

 7) Rosie O'Donnel joking around as Queen Elisabeth on the Martha Stewart show.

6) Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa dressed as Ware Wolf and Michael Jackson from the music video "Thriller".

 5) Hedi Klum in a Adam and eve inspired theme, apple and serpent costume. Perfect costume for concealing her 8 months pregnant belly.



4) Anna Hathaway and Ryan Seacrest, look amazing in their Egyptian Goddess and Pharaoh. Although these were two separate events, I think this would make a great couples costume idea.


3) The top three costumes on my list are really a tie, I keep going back and forth about which one I like the best. Here is Martha Stewart as Medusa, she looks amazing, but did we really expect any less from Martha Stewart the crafty queen! I also want to note how gorgeous Blake Lively looks in her Cleopatra costume.

 2) Hedi Klum goes all out for Halloween in her super hero costume with seal by her side. She looks more like a robot to me, either way can you imagine walking in this costume that made her 8 feet tall!

 1) Hedi Klum does it again with her Kali Costume. Kali is the Hindu goddess, meaning the lord of death. 
Her terrifying yet beautiful Halloween costume makes it to the number one spot as the best celebrity Halloween costume on my list.


Happy Halloween!


 Sources for pictures:
Google.com
Wonderwall.msn.com
www.marieclaire.com
Glam.com
instyle.com
marthastewart.com

October 26, 2011

It's Here...Pumpkin Butter!!!

 No amount of Febreze, incense or candles could make your home smell more inviting than a boiling pot of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and pumpkin, mixed with the zest of orange and apple cider vinegar. 

I have to say, I found the best part of making my homemade pumpkin butter to be the intoxicating aroma of my favorite spices.

I finally decided to stop putting off making pumpkin butter with all of the left over bits and pieces from my pumpkin carving that I had chilled in the fridge. My only regret, not making it sooner! What a fantastic and unique fall treat!


A few days ago I came across this straight forward recipe on on of my favorite web sites, Krazycouponlady.com 

 Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Butter Recipe:
1. Throw all of your pumpkin strings and seeds into a big bowl. (If you haven't already separated them)
2. Fill bowl with just enough water to cover, and swish around a bit to separate the seeds from the gooey strings. Scoop out the floating seeds (you will not need them for this recipe).
3. Put all of your water and gooey strings in a big pot on the stove.
4. Mix in
      1 tsp. Vanilla extract
      ½ tsp. salt
      2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
      ½ cup dark brown sugar
      ½ cup granulated sugar
      1 pinch ground cloves ***
      ¼ tsp ground nutmeg ***
      1 tsp each: ground ginger, cinnamon, and orange peel (zest) ***
       *** = Pumpkin pie spice contains most of these necessary spices, so you could use this instead.

5. Cook for about an hour on medium heat until brown in color and slightly thickened.
6. Then blend it smooth in a standard blender (stringy bits may destroy handheld immersion blender).
7. Continue to cook until texture becomes thick enough that it doesn’t run, but not as thick as peanut butter. (a crockpot can also be used to slowly reduce the mixture down. You could also thicken with cornstarch mixed in a little water).
Will keep refrigerated for 1-2 weeks, or frozen for a few months.


Making this pumpkin butter was easier than I anticipated it would be, and the simplicity of the recipe made me feel a little silly for procrastinating.  All there is to it is, mixing your ingredients in a pot and letting it boil or simmer for awhile, blend it, then simmer it some more. 
I did tweak the recipe a tad; instead of 1 tsp orange peel zest, I zested about half an orange peel. I also added a little bit more brown sugar. 
Just taste your mix, and you'll know what it needs. 
If I can make this, anyone can. ;)

Spread it on a piece of toast, cuddle up by the fire, and have a relaxing autumn evening.
Stay warm!
The pictures in this October 26,2011 blog post are copyrighted as my own.
A huge thank you to Amber for posting this recipe on KrazyCouponLady.com 

October 25, 2011

Halloween Light Show





My Sister always finds the coolest stuff online. Today she forwarded me this amazing Halloween light show video, thats right, I said Halloween light show! I've watched it several times already, so I decided to share it with all of you. 

Enjoy!
This video was uploaded by KJ92508 on YouTube.com, I do not own any of it.

October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate and Toffee Treasures




Have you carved your pumpkin, roasted your seeds, and still need a little more pumpkin in your life? I experimented with a recipe inspired by Martha Stewart today, and I'm pleased to say this is a pretty yummy post-summer, pre-winter delight! 
I followed her basic recipe, which you can find here, but made a few changes and have even more ideas. Her recipe calls for ...

Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Squares

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares

I added my own spin on this recipe by substituting the chocolate chips for Heath Bar chocolate chunks and toffee mix (you can find this right next to the chocolate chips in the baking isle). While the pumpkin mostly masked the toffee flavor, I found it did add a bit of salty taste to the recipe. I also found I needed to bake for a little longer to compensate for the added gooeyness. 

You can tell my squares (the top picture) turned out a little darker in color than hers did (the bottom picture), this is because I added more pumpkin to give it an extra Halloween kick. The recipe only calls for 1 cup, I added the whole can (about a cup and a half).

This recipe was easy enough that I would make it again but I have some ideas that would take this recipe from good to great. So while you give it a go in your own kitchen try adding a some of brown sugar, you should also definitely try adding extra pumpkin pie spice, and if you're not a huge chocolate fan, substitute it for raisins. I think that raisins would have been yummier than the chocolate for this particular recipe; and believe me, I love my chocolate!

These turned out to big a big hit with my family, and they were not overly sweet. Add a glass of milk and your good to go!

Happy Baking!






The top picture (title picture) on this October 24, 2011 blog post is copywrited as my own. The bottom picture (next to the recipe) is from MarthaStewart.com.
Thanks to www.marthastewart.com for the recipe! 
Also a very special thanks to my Sister, Calla, who has been taking amazing photos for these blogs!

October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Time! Cookie Cutter Pumpkin Carving

 I woke up today to a grey sky, a crisp breeze, and golden grass blanketed in fallen leaves. It was a perfect October day and the perfect day to carve a pumpkin. I decided to try something a little different than the classic spooky face. I had once heard about using cookie cutters as a template for pumpkin carving and was instantly inspired by this idea.
I dusted off our cookie cutter stash and dug in. I was delighted to find a set of autumn leaves and acorn cutters. After a moment of excitement a rush of ideas flooded through me, and I got to work!
I'll give you the low down of what I quickly learned...

Pumpkin Carving- You will need a rubber mallet or a hammer, a pair of easy to use pliers, a knife, and the willingness to get your hands gooey. After my first couple cutouts I got the hang of it and discovered how much easier this technique is than trying to carve a face by hand.

It really is a simple as it sounds,
Once you've got an idea of your design and you've gutted your pumpkin, just tap the cookie cutter with your rubber mallet until you've pushed it all the way through. It will pop out on the inside of your pumpkin and you will have a perfect shape! If you cannot get the cutter all the way through just pull it back out with your pliers and use your knife to trace the shape the cutter made.
That all there is to it!

Be sure to keep your pumpkin seeds and even all that stringy goop that comes with it.
I have a recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin butter coming up next!

Easiest Roasted Pumpkin Seeds- Once you've gutted you pumpkin you can make your tasty snack. Here's the extremely easy recipe I stumbled upon for roasted pumpkin seeds.
Place pumpkin seeds and gooey strings in a large bowl filled with water, swish it around a bit to seperate the seeds from the strings (the seeds will float). Scoop out the seeds and dry with paper towels. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Place pumpkin seeds on an oiled baking sheet and stir around to coat the seeds. Sprinkle with salt and bake for about 25 mintues stiring again about halfway through to avoid burning.
 Try seasoning your roasted pumpkin seeds with garlic salt and onion powder, or cayenne pepper for a spicier treat.

Check back for a pumpkin butter recipe to make with all your left over pumpkin goo and strings.

The Story of Jack O'Lantern- Ever wonder why we carve pumpkins? Here is the story of Jack-O-Lantern.  

The story of the Jack o'Lantern comes from Irish folklore. Jack was a crafty farmer who tricked the Devil into climbing a tall tree. When the Devil reached the highest branch, Jack carved a large cross in the trunk, making it impossible for the Devil to climb down. 
In exchange for help getting out of the tree, the Devil promised never to tempt Jack with evil again. When Jack died, he was turned away from Heaven for his sins and turned away from Hell because of his trickery. Condemned to wander the earth without rest, Jack carved out one of his turnips, took an ember from the devil, and used it for a lantern to light his way. He became known as "Jack of the Lantern."

Happy carving!



All the pictures in this October 23, 2011 blog are copyrighted as my own.
Thank you allrecipies.com for this Jack O' Lantern story! 

Autumn Leaf Bouquet

 Well Christmas is seemingly just around the corner, but until we can turn up our Christmas music and break out the gingerbread cookies, we may have to settle for some Fall decorating instead. Here is a really clever idea for all of those yellow and orange leaves that many of us have covering our front lawns.

This is a bouquet of roses made entirely out of leaves and twigs! This is such a great idea that will cost next to nothing! All you will need from the store, if you dont already have some, is florist tape (available for about $1 at Walmart).

This autumn leaf bouquet is such a simple craft that will look amazing when you display it at your thanksgiving feast, and what better way to break the awkward silences with the in-laws than with this conversation starter.


Give it a try,
Happy Raking!
A Special Thanks to designsponge.com for supplying me with this picture and article!