Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Food Fun

We had a small Halloween get-together last weekend and I couldn't resist making themed foods!

For the main dish I liked the idea of topping a casserole with something like this. Disgusting! There was no way I was going to stuff strips of puff pastry with the filling like she did though, I just liked the look for the top!

I debated a bit on the filler, leaning towards something with a red sauce, and we ended up using my mother-in-law's Goulash recipe... I mean "Ghoul-ash"! Justin actually made that on his own and we ended up with enough leftovers for 2 more dinners!

Intestine Topping - raw

For the top I just coiled up some crescent roll dough (they were out of the 'sheets') and wound that around to create the intestine look, leaving a little space in between since I knew it would puff up a bit. I was about to wipe the edges of the casserole dish clean, but then realized the grosser the better! Here it is cooked ~

Intestine Topping - cooked

On the side I used this idea to make some bone shaped bread sticks. Super easy! Just snip the ends and roll them in a little on each side.

Bone Breadsticks, 1

They used home made dough, I bought a tube of bread stick dough! They were good, but definitely could have used a brush of garlic butter across the top.

Bone Breadsticks, 2

I also threw together a skeleton veggie dip tray. I've done this in the past & this was not one of my best!

Skeleton Veggie Tray

Last year I made some cheesecake mousse cups (candy corn colored) and they were tasty but lumpy! (should have been heated beforehand) Everyone excitedly asked "Oh, are the different layers different flavors?" Nope, just colored! This year a similar recipe caught my eye that did have different flavors in each layer - including one layer made of melted candy corn!!

Candy Corn Cups, take 2

The bottom layer is (instant) vanilla pudding, then candy corn melted into whipping cream (which I whipped in my mixer, but it didn't seem to do much), Cool Whip & a candy corn on top! The recipe has you making your own whipped cream for the top instead, but I skipped that! The middle layer tastes like 'caramelized' candy corn & is super sweet, so the whipped cream and pudding help tone that down.

The verdict? Way too rich! My cups were about twice the size of those in the recipe and I think you definitely need to stick to a shot glass for these. I could only eat about half of mine, and that was with salty snacks in between bites! They might be nice as an after dinner desert, but not great at a party with lots of other snacks & sweets & soda!

One of our guests brought a lot of fun themed food as well - "Guaca-moldy" with chips, pumpkin cheesecake bars (with an Orea crust), and puff pastry pumpkins stuffed with cheese. Sadly I only got one terrible picture of those!

Puff Pastry Pumpkins

We wore our home-made costumes that night but the pictures did not turn out at all so we'll have to dress up again on Wednesday and try again! We're going out with Orson for his first time trick-or-treating and stopping by a church's Fall Festival.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Scene on Purple

For next week's manicure I'll probably just be doing something plain to match my costume, so this is my last real Halloween themed design of the year. For this one I wanted to create a scene across the nails using a bunch of fun images. You'll have to pretend like some of these things are up close and some for away or else the scale is a little wacky!

Halloween Scene on Purple

The base color is an old unlabeled bottle with the color named "Imperial Violet". It's a pretty light purple with silver glitter, but my goodness it was sheer (4 coats) and slow to dry - a pain in the butt.

I stamped the designs with Konad Special Black and then added the grass along the bottom with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in "Black Out" (covering most of the tip with the polish brush & then adding in a few blades of grass with a detail brush). The designs were all from Bundle Monster - the cat from BM-04, pumpkin from BM-222, house from BM-224, and bats from BM-13. I also used the witch from BM-13 on my thumb, not pictured.

After stamping the images I thought it might be fun to add a few stars in the sky & painted around the stamps with China Glaze "Snow Globe". It was a little too faint to create the look I was thinking of, but my goodness that iridescent glitter is gorgeous over any color!! It doesn't really show up in the photos though - you can almost see it shimmer over the pumpkin - so you'll just have to trust me on that one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dinner for the Week

Last week we had one thing planned after another, and leftovers in the fridge, so we didn't do much cooking! We did pick up some fish for 2 nights and made a side of breaded eggplant and a wild rice mix.

Hot & Sour Soup

But then some friends that share a love of cooking came over for the weekend and we cooked up a storm! ~

Chicken Taquitos - with some homemade salsa and chorizo dip on the side!

Hot & Sour Soup (pictured above) - with (frozen) egg rolls

Baked Spaghetti Casserole - a winner, once again

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When I first saw these nails I knew had to do candy corn nails this Halloween season! I actually did not have a good orange or yellow but marked the perfect two to get before October and I almost forgot to order them in time. Whoops!

Candy Corn Nails

I used tape for the stripes but did the order a little different from my Patriotic Nails Tutorial, layering from the lightest to darkest color...

I used Milani "White on the Spot" for the base color. Since the other two polishes were so shimmery I wanted the white to match so I dabbed some China Glaze "Snow Globe" (a white/iridescent glitter) at the base of my nail. Then I painted the top half of my nail with Color Club "Daisy Does It" and covered everything with some topcoat (INM Out the Door).

Then I laid down a strip of tape along the bottom and top edge of my nail and filled in the middle with Color Club "Sparkle and Soar". I'm a bit of a candy corn purist, so rather than doing even thirds I tried to keep orange as the largest section with white as the smallest. (I probably could have done with even less white, but I was reluctant to cover up that pretty glitter!)

Now is the time to clean up any bumps that snuck under your taped edge. Just dip something pointy (like a toothpick) in nail polish remover and you can easily scrape it off. Coat the finished nail in some more topcoat and you are done!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dinners for the Week

This week we made ~

Faux Sizzling Rice Soup

Faux Sizzling Rice Soup (2 dinners) - This is my version of Sizzling Rice Soup, without the sizzle. (I've seen directions on how to make the rice sizzle, and it actually doesn't sound too tough. I'm sure I'll try it one day for fun.) Even Orson loved this!

► Pot Roast (2 dinners) - Tossed a roast in the crockpot with potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and a couple of soups. So easy and good - we need to do this more often.

I really need to sit down and start planning some Halloween themed goodies to make soon! Got any plans?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spiders & Webs over Red

There are so many Halloween nail designs I wanted to try, but I only paint my nails once a week! I had to sit down and plan out each week of October to make sure I don't waste a week. (I'm sure December will be the same way!)

My first manicure is spiders & webs on sparkly red ~

Spiders on Red

The base color is China Glaze "Ruby Pumps", which is actually a bluer, cherry red (a color I find impossible to display on a computer screen!) & a very lovely, sparkly polish. I stamped the webs & spiders from Bundle Monster plate BM-13 with Konad special black & white. These two designs didn't stamp that well from my plate & I had to do a lot of touch-ups.

Apparently there are not many spiderweb stamping designs out there. Some of the nails blogs I read are doing a 'Halloween Challenge' where they create nail art based on specific themes throughout the month. While I really liked my manicure at first, apparently last week was the 'spiderweb' theme and I got pretty tired of seeing this same design stamped again & again.

Next week - candy corn! I'm going to try to get in the habit of posting my nail designs on Wednesdays so expect to see it then.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dinners for the Week

I am currently in the queasy stages of the first trimester and dinners this week were chosen solely based on what I thought my stomach could handle over the next few days. The funny thing is, as yummy as they were at the time I don't think I could handle them this week! I guess my tastes are a little more temperamental than I thought.

Spaghetti Casserole

Baked Spaghetti Casserole with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (2 dinners, pictured above) - minus the peppers, as usual

Chinese Roast Chicken & Corriander Rice with Roasted Green Beans (2 dinners) - Based on this recipe but multiplied enough to make 10 drumsticks

► Miso Chicken, Black Eyed Peas, and Hash Browns - We forgot about the chicken in the freezer that needed to get used up & put together the mish-mash of sides by further raiding the freezer. I mixed up a dengaku style sauce for the bite sized pieces of chicken.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Red Over Black Nails - Success!

You may remember me posting about my quest to find a red polish that would stamp over black and my many failed attempts so far. (Luckily I was able to sell the disappointments!) I gathered up my courage to buy the next lead on my list, No Miss "Palmdale Paprika", and we have a winner!

Red & Black Kanji Nails (Bundle Monster)

I created this fun manicure to wear to Japan Fest. I used No Miss "Palmdale Paprika" stamped over Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in "Black Out" and the Bundle Monster plates BM-203, BM-206, and BM-225 (all from the 2nd set). On my ringer finger and thumb I used Spoiled "Ants in My Pants" (a red glitter mix) over the black base and the reds matched so well!

The red showed up really well, especially bright light, but good indoors as well. So much, much better than my previous attempts!! "Palmdale Paprika" is a bit of a red/orange duochrome in the bottle it didn't seem to shift to orange when stamped (not sure if it would on a full nail). I've also got to give a nod to the Xtreme Wear polish, which had very little chipping after a week of wear.

The downside of No Miss "Palmdale Paprika" is the price. The polish is about $9, and once you add on shipping it's nearly $13! (Amazon) Much more than I like to spend on a polish, but I also know how hard it was to find a good stamping red. And I lucked out!! They accidentally sent my order twice and said not to return the 2nd bottle! I am a lot happier spending $13 for 2. Definitely check your local 'hippie grocery stores' for this brand to see if you can avoid the high shipping costs.