Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! -- The SECRET to No-Spread Cookies!

Alright guys, I've been neglecting you again. All the usual life stuff, you know. Plus holiday season is so nuts--I don't understand how all you food bloggers get out your Christmas/Holiday posts so EARLY! It really is insane--in a good way. I applaud you all.

Not as fancy as my cookie tin last year but this is what I've been giving
to family and friends!

So I have had no daylight in which to take pictures lately. I am too embarrassed at my fake-light photography to post much. But this morning I grabbed some cookies from my cookie plate and took a picture.

A picture of me and the boyfriend because we look GOOD
together :P

I HAVE been baking though! Just at weird hours with no daylight. Boyfriend and I spent all of Thursday and some of Friday catching up on my baking for various parties and whatnot. He even made his first ever batch of chocolate chip cookies! Hurrah!

Pretty tasty for a first try, eh?

I know this is late and you're probably NOT making Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve but on the offchance that you ARE and you're getting frustrated with bloaty cookies that spread so much--Santa should NOT look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man--this recipe will change your LIFE. Sure, it is a pain in the butt to wait around for all of the refridgeration but TRUST ME you'll be glad you did. Never in my life have I made such lovely Christmas cookies that keep their shape!

I would also like to add that I got an off-brand sil-pat and it's my new Kitchen VIP. I save soo much on parchment paper now (though, as this recipe shows, it's still good to have some on hand) and it's just magical. No more mess on the pans! I was going to buy the fancy $40 version I'm seeing on all the blogs but the Williams Sonoma outlet was out. Another, less ritzy kitchen store had them for $10-$20. I got one of the $20 ones (which look like the expensive version) and one $10 and they both work wonderfully. A great last-minute Christmas list idea for sure!

I was overly ambitious and wanted to make Royal Icing from scratch, but an AC Moore sale on cookie decorating tubes and lack of time won me over. Definitely kind of goopy and not the best idea though. If you want a BOMB royal icing recipe head on over to my lady over at Dash and a Pinch, she made some awesome Star Wars cookies recently.

(From Bakespace)*

  • 6 cups flour 
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder 
  • 2 cups unsalted butter 
  • 2 cups superfine/baking sugar (not powdered)
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. Almond extract
  • 1 tsp. fine grain (table) salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

Mix dry ingredients and add gradually to butter mixture. Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours. The best method is to flatten dough between two sheets of parchment paper and chill until firm and cold. This takes about an hour but I did it overnight.

Roll out onto countertop between parchment and sprinkle with flour. Cut into desired shapes and place onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or sil-pat.

Place cookie sheet in freezer for ten minutes. VITAL STEP.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.

*The original recipe is for adorable bra-shaped cookies, which I used when making cookies for Rocky Horror in October, hehe.

Merry Christmas from a grumpy Santa Paws!

Finn has all the Christmas spirit of Grumpy Cat.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Request...

Over on my other blog, 20-Something Gripes, I wrote a bit in response to the tragedy in Newtown on Friday, and the resulting Facebook posts that I'm seeing.

Take a minute to read if you wish.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What I've Been Eating, NYC at Christmastime!

I'm sure you've heard me gripe about being "stuck" in Western Mass. Obviously, moving back to my home area wasn't in the plan for post-grad, but here I am. Thankfully I have a job I enjoy, a theater group that I love, wonderful friends, and a new and amazing guy... and that makes the sting of not accomplishing my geographical goals just yet a little easier to handle.

However, I am lucky that my little area of Western Mass is within driving distance to one of my favorite places: New York City. It's become somewhat of a personal tradition to visit the city when the holidays hit, because despite the enormous crowds there really is nowhere else that exhibits the beauty and spirit of the holidays as well as NYC. 

This past weekend I made the trek to the city and had a wonderful time. And, as per usual, I took pictures of every thing I consumed along the way. Except for the Sabarro in the train station in New Haven... yuck.

We arrived Friday evening, wandered around a bit, and then made our way to our weekend apartment in Astoria. Saturday we got up "bright and early"--10ish--and took the train back to Manhattan for brunch. We happened upon this Parisian cafe, Brasserie Athenee, a few blocks from Times Square and decided the prices were decent enough to check out.

 I was stuck between wanting true breakfast food (the French Toast on French Bread looked fantastic) and somewhat lunch-ier food. I decided to compromise and get a Croque Madame. For those of you who are unaware of this fantastic sandwich, it is a French classic with ham, grueyre cheese, and a fried egg on top. This one came with perfectly cooked fries, a zesty side salad, and a spicy aioli for dipping the fries--and a few bites of croque!--into. The egg was deliciously drippy and made for a really excellent brunch. We all were more than pleased with our meal, especially my roommate who let us have bites of her decadent Mac and Cheese with Truffle Oil. Yummm!

Brunch is a useful tool in NYC, not only because it is hella trendy, but also because a late breakfast means you don't have to shell out for another meal until dinner! For us ladies on a budget, it is always a wise idea.

Next up, we waited in the TKTS line for less than an hour and haggled our way into $50 seats for Chicago. I had never seen a legit Broadway play before, and as a pseudo-thespian myself it was more than time to remedy this. The show was fantastic despite their headliner (Billy Ray Cyrus) being a bit lackluster. He just seemed kind of bored and unenthusiastic as Billy Flynn, but it was fun to see a celebrity up close regardless. The lead women were amazing and I actually enjoyed the show a lot more than the movie. During intermission I treated myself to an overpriced wine from concessions. A large wine--when have you EVER seen wine in sizes? Ridic!--was $20, but came with a souvenir travel mug, so I dealt with it. The wine was more mediocre than Billy Ray, but that's what I get for buying wine at a theater I suppose!

After the show we headed to Bryant Park for the Christmas shops. It was adorable, and when we saw the Crepe stand we knew what our post-show snack had to be!

The line was huge but totally worth it. I wish we'd had more time to try out the little food booths in the shopping area--there were so many delicious looking things!--but we only had the time and money for the crepes. While not on par with the ones I had in Paris, they were still extremely tasty and satisfying. Plus, the stand had a huuuge menu of different options, both sweet and savory. My roommate got a nutella and strawberry one, I got nutella strawberry and banana, and our friend got a s'mores. I think we waited in line longer than it actually took to inhale these things.

After looking longingly at the way-too-crowded ice rink, we decided to roam the streets and found ourselves in the adorable downtown area of Chelsea. Our goal for the evening was to find a "fancy but not TOO pricey" restaurant for dinner, and we tried to dress as fancy-casual as possible. We found it at Moran's.

A cozy Italian restaurant nestled in Chelsea, Moran's was adorably decorated for the holidays and the pricing was pretty great for NYC. I got the Lobster and Crab ravioli, my roommate got the Spinach Gnocchi, and our friend got a lovely little salad. We were all pretty pleased with our dishes, even though I could tell me ravioli was definitely more crab than lobster--oh well.

Finally, we ended the night with way. WAY. too many cocktails at Bamboo 52 back downtown. A good friend of mine from high school is the manager there, and when I said I always used spicy tuna as a barometer for how good a sushi place is, he promptly brought me a plate on the house. As you can see, I rather enjoyed it!

Then he let me take a taste of his meal for the night. I think it was similar to a philly roll, but crunchy. Also very good. The downfall was that they were offering $5 mixed drinks, and I may have overdone it a little bit. But it was definitely great to see my old friend again, and to chat with the bartender about his acting endeavors.

The cocktails were my downfall and I ended up sleeping through my friends' brunch the next morning in Eataly. This makes twice I've been to NYC without hitting up that place, so next time it'll have to be first on my list. All in all though, it was a great trip with great friends and I had a wonderful time :)

To end, let me show you how I torture the animals in my house:



Happy Holiday Season, All!

And don't forget to check out my new blog, 20-Something Gripes! Where I complain about stuff with two of my good friends from college :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Things I've Been Eating -- Brussels Sprouts Creation

So, Thanksgiving was wonderful. I totally missed the ball on getting a holiday-themed recipe up but I figured I could show you the awesomeness of my plate before we're totally in Christmas mode over here. Isn't it lovely? As I was taking pictures of pies my Stepdad leaned over my shoulder and said "guess MY food wasn't photo-worthy?" I like how my blog has become almost an inside joke at my house--"Ashley's taking pictures of her food again... Can we eat yet or are you going to take a picture of it?... Why didn't you take a picture of MY dish?" So silly. I showed him the picture of my plate and he seemed satisfied. Sadly I did not get a picture of his lovely bird, but I assure you, it did look very nice. Tasted good, too.

Cranberry sauce... delicious on next-day turkey sandwiches!

Mom's simple yet gorgeous apple pie

Thanksgiving at my house is generally entirely done by my stepdad. He begins the night before and wakes up at the crack of dawn to get dinner ready. I was happy to have my own kitchen to create my contributions to the table: whiskey cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon (recipe at bottom of post!), and a pumpkin cheesecake.

Terrible picture of my pumpkin cheesecake.
I also made maple whipped cream for the top.
Brussels Sprouts! Scroll to the bottom of this post for the recipe!

In the weeks since, I've been cooking less and eating out more. Not the smartest decision with holiday shopping time looming ahead, I know. However, one such occasion was definitely worth it: My mom's birthday!

We went to Chandler's Restaurant at the Yankee Candle Flagship Store. Sadly, I was in the middle of my cold and feeling pretty gross, but from what I could taste the food was excellent. Plus, it was on a Wednesday which is apparently their "Wine Down Wednesday" where select bottles are half off. I don't think I've EVER gotten such a lovely wine at such a lovely restaurant for only $12! My mom and I share a love of good wine, so this was an awesome coincidence. Wine helps colds, right?

For dinner I got the Grilled Salmon, despite my longing glances at the duck, because I read that salmon is good for getting over a cold. My mom got a lobster roll and clam chowder. I stole a couple of bites of lobster and could tell it wasn't the frozen stuff you often get when you order a lobster roll off-season. This was fresh, meaty chunks of delicious lobster. Really fantastic. It was a lovely dinner and I cannot wait to go back--either for another Mother-Daughter dinner or a fancy date with the boyfriend :)

 This past Saturday I realized that I had the entire day off, and it would be the last day off for a while, so I asked Cory (aka The Boyfriend) if he'd like to take a day trip somewhere. Since I always hear him talk fondly of the years he lived in Salem, I suggested we head East so he could show me his old stomping grounds. When we woke up to snow in Western Mass I was a little concerned, but I bundled up and we trekked across the state to this historic city.

I thought their sign was hilarious.

First stop was the Lobster Shanty, the place he used to work. It is an adorable little bar and restaurant nestled in a cluster of shops off the main road. I was seriously tempted by the $10 lobster special, but since it was early in the day and I didn't want lobster juice all over myself for the rest of the day I opted for the fried shrimp basket. The shrimp tasted fresh--you could tell the fried shrimp was assembled in the kitchen and not pre-made frozen stuff. The fries were excellent as well. Cory swears that The Shanty has the best burger he's ever had, and that's what he ordered. I got a hot cocoa with schnapps from the bar and Cory got the signature Dark and Stormy.

<3 Snow falling, hearts falling, it's all good :)

 I loved meeting his friends and seeing where he used to work. Salem is such a cool little town, and it's nice to see it when it's not flooded with tourists for the Halloween season. However, I do hope to make it back for Halloween next year, because I'm sure they have the spirit of the season! After Salem we made the drive to the Wrenthem outlets and I gushed over EVERYTHING in the Williams Sonoma outlet and got some supplies for Christmas Cookie baking. Then we went to Olive Garden for dinner, because Cory had never been. And, as we all do at OG, we both filled up on breadsticks and salad and had to take most of our dinner home. Oops!

In other news, did I mention I got the role of Alice in my theater group's production of Alice in Wonderland? I am so very excited :) Anyone in Western Mass should check it out when it goes up in February!

Anyways, here's your recipe: my Thanksgiving Day contribution and the only green thing that was on my plate, Brussels Sprouts! These were a serious hit with those brave enough to try it, and I'm sure you can win over some non-believers with this awesome dish. A great side dish, a great main course, it's really delicious.

Thanksgiving Brussels Sprouts
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
, bigger sprouts sliced in half, smaller sprouts whole
1 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper, to taste,

1 medium onion
, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
5 slices thick-cut smoked bacon, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins

Heat one tablespoon olive oil and the butter in a medium sized skillet, use to caramelize onions. Once caramelized, remove onions from pan and set aside.

Cook bacon in same skillet until crispy. Set aside. Use the chicken broth to deglaze the pan and bring to medium-high heat. Add brussels sprouts and cook until tender and the liquid is reduced.

Stir in vinegar, raisins, bacon, and caramelized onions. Serve warm.

 And let's just end with this adorable picture of my cat and my roommate's dog, shall we?

Finn and Baxter, Frenemies Forever <3

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who is Sick of Leftovers? -- Easy Chicken and Shrimp Curry

I'm not a leftovers person. I just cannot eat the same thing for dinner two nights in a row--it just doesn't work. So while I love Thanksgiving and all of the glorious food it provides (post to come about all the wonderful stuff that was on our table last week!), after about one turkey sandwich the next day I'm pretty much done with it.

Me and Finn preparing our contributions to Thanksgiving Dinner

This year my momentum for cooking slowed after making whiskey cranberry sauce, brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon, and a pumpkin cheesecake. It did not translate to creative genius in making leftovers stomach-able for the following days.

I made broth from the turkey carcass and saved some stripped meat for a recipe and... did nothing with it. How long does turkey last? I still really REALLY want to make Leftover Turkey Tetrazzini but I fear it might be passed. I'm blaming the onset of cold/flu that I've been dealing with since Black Friday and not my laziness on my lack of cooking, by the way. Yep. Don't want to be Typhoid Mary and infect everyone with my current illness, no!

I have so many pumpkin recipes and pictures. Pumpkin is still relevant until Christmas, right?

This is a suitable lunch for a hike, yeah? My friends think so.
This was a fun day.

The leftover-phobia isn't good for my 20-something budget, no sir. Especially a 20-something budget for a 20-something who loves trying new recipes and spends too much money on things like truffle oil and mascarapone cheese. Sigh. I need to get better at this, I know. I KNOW.

Anyway. If you're sick of turkey too, you should try this instead. Hey, I bet you could even use leftover turkey bits (they're almost chicken, yeah?) and any straggler shrimp cocktail shrimps that are still hanging out in your fridge--actually, on second thought, no, don't do that. Seafood is rather ooky after even just 24 hours in the fridge.

...nobody can tell that these were just pictures I've had foreverrr and felt the need to blog about, right? Right. I'll unfortunately be fashionably late with my Thanksgiving post because, uh, reasons.

Here is a picture of my cat instead.

This is an excellent curry and a nice change of pace from Thanksgiving food. Also I've heard spicy food helps with a cold so I need to whip up a batch of this, and soon. In the future I might add some mango or pineapple chunks to give it a burst of sweetness, plus a bit more curry and spice. It was a mild curry for sure, and I like my curry hot.

Easy Chicken and Shrimp Curry
(Recipe from One Life to Eat)

  • 2-3 cups of shrimp – raw or cooked – deveined, shelled and thawed
  • 1 large boneless chicken breast
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, or one can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (use a mortar and pestle or buy the pre-pureed stuff and mix together)
  • 4 tablsepoons vegetable oil + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, separated
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Paprika powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of 1/2 large lemon
  • a handful of chopped cilantro leaves

-In a large pot, heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil. When well heated, fry the onions on medium heat. When the onions are softened and translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste. Mix well and allow to fry for about 30 seconds.

-Add the chopped tomatoes with the tomato paste. When the tomatoes are soft and well incorporated with the onions, turn off the heat, and empty the contents of the pot in a food processor. Add 1/4 cup water to the mixture and blend into a paste.

-In the same pot you used before, heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil on medium heat. Once well heated, reduce heat to low and then add the Bay leaves, and allow to fry for a minute, then add the blended onion and tomato paste. Allow the paste to re-fry for 30 seconds or so.

-Mix in all the dry spices. After a minute of stirring, add the coconut milk and mix everything well together
Add salt to taste, and allow the gravy to simmer on low heat for 1-2 minutes.

-Just before serving, add the shrimp and allow it to cook in the curry until pink and cooked through. Season with lemon juice and garnish with Cilantro leaves, serve with steamed white rice

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Busy Beeing as per usual, and Apple Cider Donuts

Yup, these pictures are bad. I told you, I'm working on it. I AM WORKING ON IT.

I've let my acting hobby take up so much of my free time lately that when I do have a chance to bake, or cook, I don't have a chance to actually take the time to photograph it well. My box of food props and back drops goes sadly unused in my closet and when I snap a picture or two of my food it looks like a picture I would have taken two years ago. Sigh.

I live with a legit photographer, I really have no excuse for shoddy pictures. If nothing else I should be attempting to bribe my roommate with my baked goods in exchange for snapping a few shots.

I fear I'll miss out on the awesome Thanksgiving Recipe Blog stuff too. MISSING A HOLIDAY ON A FOOD BLOG IS NO GOOD.

On the upside, I'm spending lots of time with my theater friends, putting on some absolutely fabulous shows that I truly am proud of (this weekend at the Shea Theater we're doing the last run of Streetcar Named Desire, and coming up in December I'll be playing Rhoda in White Christmas), and finding some time to cuddle up with my new kitten:

And my new... boyfriend...?

Yep, that happened. Sorry I've kept you guys so out of the loop. I do apologize. What's a food blog without a little piece of my personal life thrown in? We met on a dating site of all places, but discovered we had a mutual friend who could verify that neither one of us was/is a serial killer. He had a step above the competition because his messages had no grammatical errors of note (if you've ever been on a dating site you know how rare this is). It's been a whirlwind romance but it's still fun.

Can you believe I haven't cooked for him yet? Seriously. This needs to be remedied.

Anyways, these adorable little donuts--I swear, they're adorable, and tasty, pay no attention to the pictures--have been a staple in my apartment this fall. I've brought them to numerous gatherings and play rehearsals and they were all devoured in minutes. I had one friend claim they even rivaled the ones you can get at a local orchard, which is a great compliment. The original recipe did not suggest rolling in cinnamon and sugar BUT smart people know that an apple cider donut is not an apple cider donut without a thick coating of cinnamon sugar.

I used my mini donut maker (which I got from a Groupon deal for $5 this past summer--boo-yah!) but I am sure you could use a donut pan just as easy. Or, mini muffin tins to make "donut holes" hehe.

Apple Cider Mini Donuts
(Recipe from The Babycakes Shop)

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon

-Reduce apple cider over medium heat until 1/4 cup remains.

-Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl.  Add vegetable oil, egg, buttermilk, and apple cider liquid. Stir until well blended.

-Fill each cooking reservoir with about 1 tablespoon of batter. Bake 4 to 5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into donut comes out clean.

-Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Immediately toss hot donuts in the mixture.

Friday, November 9, 2012

World's Best Chicken? Skeptical. Truffle Oil Brussels Sprouts? -- I'm a Believer.

Crappy Pictures still because I don't have time to figure stuff out right now

So. This Pinterest thing. Apparently it's the new big deal, right? The Next Big Thing.

Well, aside from being an epic time waster, I haven't been too thrilled with it. I'll spend ten minutes or so on it every so often, and try to diligently pin my recipes on my blog because it doesn't have the same rigid restrictions as Tastespotting or Food Gawker... but overall, meh.

I guess it is the reason I'm dying for a pair of oxblood skinny jeans.... but that's neither here nor there.

However, I do have a new somewhat-related obsession: Pintester. This lady actually goes through and tests the most popular pins and gives her reviews--with all the pith and snark of an excellent humor blog. It's awesome to read because I KNOW that I'd have similar results. Pinterest tricks us all into thinking we're Martha Stewart, making magnificent works of household art with mere items you find around your house. But, if half of us were to actually TRY these "EASY!" pins, we'd have similar results to dear Pintester. Which is why the blog is so hilarious.

Anyways, I was inspired to try my hand at testing a pin. And so, I give you, "World's Best Chicken," also known as "Man Pleasing Chicken" --pretty sure the "World's Best Chicken" link I have there is where it originated, but who knows.

Since at this point I was still sans-man (uhh... developments there recently, more info to come) my roommate was my taste-tester. We joke that we switch off who is the "husband" and who is the "wife" based on who is cooking dinner that night because we are mature adults with a juvenile sense of humor and because we're kind of feminists so we can joke about traditional gender roles and such and it's totally okay, right?? Uh. Yeah, let's go with that for now and hope the fellow feminists don't come after me. Click that link, it's awesome. Anyway.

It's a very simple recipe, and odds are if you cook at all or even just eat at all you probably have most of the ingredients on hand, save for the rosemary. Just mix the stuff together, drizzle on chicken, bake.

World's Best Chicken
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt & pepper
  • Rosemary

-Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together mustard, syrup, and vinegar. Place chicken breasts into 9×13 baking dish. Season with salt & pepper.

The verdict? Eh... My roommate liked it. It definitely is flavorful--like, really, crazy flavorful. Almost too much. I, personally, had pretty crazy indigestion afterwards, probably due to all the salt and crazy flavoring.However, you must remember I have a sensitive digestive system thanks to getting my gallbladder out last spring, so take from that what you will. If I were to do it again I might bread the chicken and use the sauce as an afterthought rather than bake it in the stuff. It's just too much. I imagine kids would LOVE this though--it's kind of like chicken fingers baked in your favorite sauce.

The real star of this meal I made wasn't something I pinned at all. Actually, this fun little side dish seems to outshine the main course in most situations. And yeah, it's totally a coincidence I had this post lined up for today and it totally goes along with Sarah's at A Dash and a Pinch--and her pictures blow mine out of the water so go check it out. Basically, if I'm unsure as to whether or not I'll like a particular recipe, I make these, so I know I'll have something I love just in case.

Truffle Oil Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 package (or bunch) brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • drizzle of truffle oil*

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper and arrange in a single file on a baking sheet. Drizzle with as much truffle oil as you'd like.**

-Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and cooked through.

*Truffle oil is pricey, I know. However, if you live near a TJMaxx or Marshall's, they often have reasonably priced bottles in their gourmet food section. This is my new go-to supplier of truffle oil AND saffron for that matter.

**I know you're supposed to add truffle oil post-baking because of the chemical composition or whatnot. However, when I do this, the oil flavor is just too intense. I like adding it before baking to ensure a slight truffle oil flavor that is not overpowering to the delicious vegetable itself.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spooky Food Round-up! -- Plus ZOMBIE instructions!

Halloween is TOMORROW! Can you believe it?? I'm a little sad I'll be practically missing out on my most favorite holiday, but I had a great birthday to make up for it and am in an amazing play, so it all works out in the end :) And who knows, maybe I'll get to don my Katniss costume once more! Or my zombie outfit...

Gahh I just love Halloween! Can we have a re-do of it next month? Please?

Anyway, here is a round-up of all the awesome spooky food I posted in the past week, plus some ideas for making non-spooky food with a Halloween theme. I hope they are useful for someone's Halloween party, as they were all a big hit at mine!

Recipes Posted in the last week:

Also, here are some great ideas for yummy food that's just been given a silly name for sake of Halloween!

Pigs in a blanket became "Mummy Toes"--buy cocktail franks and wrap with bits of crescent roll strips. They puff up a LOT in the oven, so you don't need much breading. One tube will cover about a whole package of cocktail franks.

Sangria can easily become "Blood Punch"--If you add a drop or two of blue food coloring, it will REALLY look like blood! Plus, Sangria is my absolute favorite party drink to make. It's cheap, delicious, and can be made with just about anything you have on hand. See my Sangria Recipe Here, or use your favorite :) I added some apples to be extra fall-themed.

Spicy Pork Meatballs became the most hilarious entry: "Dragon Testicles"! Hehe... I used this recipe for spicy meatballs and just stuck a silly name on them. These meatballs are always a huge hit at parties, and they're super easy and not too expensive to put together.

And what would a Halloween party be without a puking gourd? Seriously. Every party needs one of these.

The last thing I had for a quick spooky food was Quagulated Blood Dip--basically roasted beet hummus with balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. It's fantastic and was one of the two things my vegan friends could consume. Adding a drop or two of blue food coloring makes it less pink and more "bloody" as well.

Also, in case you were wondering how I made that awesome zombie face, it's actually quite easy. I wish I had step-by-step pictures but I taught myself by reading various online how-to's and watching some videos. Basically, all you need is liquid latex (you can find pint sized ones at most Halloween stores right now), face paint, fake blood, oatmeal, and some one-ply toilet paper if you want to make some wounds. What I did was put a base of my usual makeup (I was kiiind of going for "pretty zombie" if that's even possible) but if you want more of a "gross" look, put on a pale base. Next, dab blue, purple, and black around your eyes to make them look bruised. Finally, mix about a 1/4 cup of liquid latex with a handful of oatmeal and enough fake blood to look dark pink (it will darken as it dries). Smear on your face where you want to look like you've been nomming on gore--I did from about my cheekbones down. Wait for it to dry completely, then layer with red and brown face paint, and dab on black and blue for depth.

For wounds like this: 
I did just about everyone's makeup that night

You basically layer one-ply toilet paper with liquid latex and then paint over it when dry. You can practice by building them up on a sheet of wax paper, which is great for experimenting with design, and then peel them off and adhere them to your face later, or just build them right on your face. What I do: start with a layer of latex, and let dry. Add another layer, and press a piece of toilet paper the size of the wound you want over it. Gently rip the paper and pinch the sides together to make some depth. Continue building by using smaller pieces of toilet paper and dabs of liquid latex. Once the wound is the size and depth you want, you can put bits of crinkled toilet paper or some of the oatmeal mixture listed above in the center to give it a realistic texture. Rice bits make great maggots too :) When everything is totally dry, you can use makeup to blend it into your skin and layer makeup on top. I did a layer of red, making sure to fill in all the creases, then dabbed on brown over all of the red, and then lightly dabbed black and blue on top of that. Cover with fake blood to give it the moist, pussing look.

Happy Halloween, everyone!