Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween [again]!

Sadly I did not win the door OR pumpkin decorating contest – bummer! I blame it on the chads.

Anyway, in honor of Halloween, I wanted to share a quick round up of some of our favorite Halloween posts.

Witch Finger Cookies

Candy Corn Pot

Headless Horseman Pumpkin

Halloween Mice

Mummy Door

Vampire Bat Pumpkin

Vampire Bat Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone is safe and sound after Hurricane Sandy. Grace unfortunately is trapped in her house due to a down power line in her driveway. We're all hoping that she won't need to cancel JJ's birthday party on Saturday. 

Here in Boston, all is well. At work today, we will be celebrating Halloween by announcing the door decorating winner & pumpkin decorating winner. You may recall that last year I made the Headless Horseman pumpkin – but sadly it didn't win.

This year, I once again decided to use a Michael’s craft idea.

My department went for this cute and seemingly easy Vampire Bat pumpkin. I apologize for the lack of pictures and the picture quality. I put the pumpkin together at work and didn't take the time to take progress pictures.

I found the perfect round pumpkin and painted it black with acrylic paint. Luckily the Michael’s website had templates for the wings, ears, eyes, and mouth. We used just normal card stock for the eyes, mouth and fangs and black foam for ears and wings. We attached everything on Friday afternoon using a hot glue gun as suggested on the website.

But sadly, when we came in on Monday (the morning the pumpkins were due) the wings had fallen off ripping some of the black paint off with it. We quickly reattached the wings with hot glue and tried to reinforce it with some tape on the back side. However, the wings didn't want to hold and just sort of hung on by a thread. You can kind of see it in the picture below.

The next day (yesterday) I came back into the room where the pumpkins were displayed and someone was nice enough to reattach the wings using black tape.

In hindsight we should have sliced a slit into either side of the pumpkin and slid the wings in that way.

I’ll find out the winner this afternoon and let you know if I won!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mummy Door

It’s that time of year again – time for some friendly Halloween competition at work! Each year, my office hosts a door decorating & a pumpkin decorating competition. You may recall that last year, I decorated my office door with bats and a witch.

This year I decided to copy Honey & Fitz’s DIY Mummy door.

Honey & Fitz
All you need is some white streamers & some construction paper. So easy & so cheap!

Just wrap the white streamers back and forth across the door. It definitely looks nicer when you overlap and criss-cross the streamers. I just used regular scotch tape to secure the streamers and it worked great.

For the eyes, I just cut out circles from regular construction paper and taped it up.

I apologize for the picture quality. I only had the camera on my phone.

 It did take a bit longer then I originally anticipated. To complete the door it took about 30-45 minutes.

I love it! I think it came out so cute! I will let you know if we win the competition. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pinwheel Sandwiches

This past weekend I headed to Gillette Stadium for my alma mater’s (UMass) Homecoming. This is the first year that UMass will be playing all their home games at Gillette- very exciting! Even though UMass lost, it was still a great time!

Anyway, I went with a group of friends to tailgate & watch the game. Along with bringing my signature brownie covered Oreos, I also wanted to bring something with a bit more substance. I decided to try my hand at some pinwheel wraps.  I looked to these pins for inspiration:

I made three different options – veggie, ham, & turkey.

Start by spreading cream cheese on the tortilla. I used garden vegetable cream cheese for the veggie & turkey wraps and I used chive & onion for the ham wraps.  

For the veggie wraps, I spread some carrots & lettuce as the second and final layer.

For the turkey & ham wraps, I laid the deli meat out in thin layers. Then I put lettuce on top of the meat. I also added some shredded carrots to the turkey wraps.

Then tightly roll up the wraps. I spread a little additional cream cheese on the edge of the tortilla to act as glue to keep the wrap together.

I wrapped the roll ups in Saran wrap and put them in the fridge for 30 minutes before cutting them up into bite size pieces.


The Verdict: These were very tasty! They were the perfect thing to munch on while we were waiting for the grill to heat up and the burgers to cook. I was disappointed that I couldn't get the pinwheels to stay together without a toothpick but it ended up being easier to pick up.

Things to Note/Consider: I would recommend that you spread the contents of the wrap on only half of the tortilla. When you spread it all over the whole thing, it falls out as you roll it up. Also, try to spread the contents as thin as possible on the tortilla. It makes rolling them up so much easier.

On a totally different note – Grace sent me the below pin and I just love it! I may just set up a similar candy bowl in my office.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes

Wow, its been way too long without a post. We have no real excuses, just busy I guess. I have a backlog of things to type up but have been busy crafting for JJ's 1st birthday party and busy chasing him around. Yes, he's completely mobile - running all over the place. I can't believe at this time last year I was anxiously awaiting his arrival! Anyway, be prepared for a bunch of pumpkin related posts. The birthday party theme is (surprise!) pumpkins!

I am trying to get JJ to eat more "real people food" and less baby food, but he has a tendency to just throw food off his tray. I had pinned these pumpkin pancakes while ago and decided to whip them up for breakfast a couple weekends ago. I thought maybe he would like them because they are sort of sweet.
Mixing up the dry ingredients

Whipping up the wet ingredients:

Into the hot pan:

And the only "finished product" shot I got:

The Verdict: They were fluffy and sweet and delicious! JJ wasn't really interested in the fresh pancakes (he threw them on the floor), but he ate them up the next day for breakfast. I would definitely make them again, they didn't really take anymore time than regular made-from-scratch pancakes, but you do need to have buttermilk on hand (which I already had from the pumpkin donut muffins). They are definitely the perfect fall morning breakfast.

Things to Consider: This batch makes a ton of pancakes. I was only feeding 2.5 people and we only used half the batter and had a ton of cakes left over. We ate them the next day (toasted up) and I was planning on making more with the leftover batter and freezing them, but time got away from me. I would either devote more time to making the whole batch (and then freezing them) or half the recipe next time. Also, because they were so fluffy, it took me awhile to get the amount of heat/cooking time right. A couple came out looking great, but were a little wet in the middle. Anyone know any tricks on the perfect time to flip super fluffy/cake-like pancakes?

Pumpkin Pancakes from Sarah at High Heels & Grills
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 (15 oz) can Libby's pure pumpkin
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  1. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar, combining well.
  2. Add pumpkin, buttermilk, and eggs to dry ingredients and mix gently. {If batter seems stiff, add water until it can be easily spooned onto a griddle.}
  3. Heat griddle to medium heat and grease lightly.
  4. Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle and let cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  5. Let other side cook again until lightly browned.
  6. Repeat these steps until all the batter is gone.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin Donut Muffins

Happy October everyone! I have been itching to break out the pumpkin for 2012. I was making a visit to the hospital and wanted to bring something tasty to the lovely nurses there. I was also looking for something relatively easy. Enter the Pumpkin Donut Muffin:

First up, mixing up all the dry ingredients:

Then whisking the pumpkin and buttermilk:

Creaming the sugar and butter:

Alternating dry and wet ingredients:
Filling the cups

Fresh out of the oven

Dunk and roll!
Finished Product:

The Verdict:
Delicious! I was nervous because the batter wasn't all to tasty, but I guess anything dunked in butter and rolled in cinnamon and sugar would taste good! I have actually made them twice now since Joe complained I didn't save any for him the first time!
Things to Consider:
Like the I said, the batter wasn't too great. It was thick and sticky - it held its shape in the cups. But I guess that's what the consistency of donut batter is like. Also, I made them sort of small and got almost 24 muffins out of one batch so they were a bit flat. They sort of turned out like giant munchkins (I guess that's a bit of an oxymoron, huh?)
For the first couple I dunked the whole muffin in the melted butter, but that seemed to soak up a little too much so I started just brushing it on and it worked better. And, of course, I dunked the whole muffin, not just the top.

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
from Ezra Pound Cake

Makes 12 muffins
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin purée (FROM a 15-ounce can, NOT the whole thing!)
  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (use 1 to 2 tablespoons if just coating the tops)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin and buttermilk. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl as needed.
  6. With the mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture, and beat to combine.
  7. Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
  9. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with melted unsalted butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container, up to 1 day.
FREEZING: The naked muffins can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in a 350 degree oven, then coat in butter and sugar.

Hopefully Shannon and I free up some time to get posts up a bit more regularly. Anyone have any pumpkin recipes for us to try?

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