Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Halloween Cupcakes…oh so creepy!

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  For one, I am a candy junkie.  So anything that gives me a reason to have 5 pound bags of candy in the house is alright in my book.  Hey, it’s for the kids, right?   Second, I love thinking up creative ways to gross people out.   And my favorite way to do this is by crafting some gross goodies.  Click here for a few of my favorites that I created for a Halloween party a few years back.    

To honor Halloween’s finest gross out goodies – I have decided to give you a list of my favs from around the internet.  These are in no particular order, they are all equally disturbing. 

1.) Brain Cupcakes 

Halloween Brain Cupcakes

Ooeey, Gooey Brain Cupcakes

 

Brain Cupcakes are taken from Xsomnis’ PhotoStream on Flickr.  Please view more of her cakes and cupcakes here.  Check out her Zombie Food Guide.  She gives you complete instructions on how to make the Brain Cupcakes as well as were to buy the molds. Nice, thanks Xsomnis! 

2.) Just a really GROSS cupcake 

Most of the time it is the way we decorate the cupcakes that makes them look unappealing – but the inside of the cupcake still looks delicious.  Well, this is a twist on making a gross cupcake…it really is just that, a gross looking cupcake inside and out.  Sugar Plum Pastries created this one, and yes, it is entirely made of sugar.  I really don’t think I could eat this one.  Could you? 

Gross-Cupcake

Ewwww...gross. This really is a gross cupcake.

 

3.) Human Heart Cupcakes 

Some of the most realstic, anatomically correct cakes and cupcakes are created in the Evil Cake Shop.  If you have a second, and a strong stomach, take a look through their website.  But beware, they have several NSFW body parts as well.  Sick. 

Cupcakes that look like human hearts

Eat your "heart" out

 

4.) Human Jaw Cupcakes 

Another winner by the Evil Cake Shop, take a bite out of these toothy cupcakes at your next Halloween party. 

creepy mouth and teeth cupcake

Bite Me

 

5.) Monster Cupcakes 

Chef Lynn of Yummy Cakes by Lynn created these cool monster cupcakes by first crafting an eye out of fondant, then working around that.  I love the bright colors in these kooky creatures!  So fun. 

Cool Monster Cupcakes

I've got my EYE on you

 

6.) Broken Glass Cupcakes

Oh Martha, you always have the best ideas!  Thanks to Martha Stewart for these Broken Glass Cupcakes which use shards of sugar “glass” and a red fruit sauce for blood.   These really are the perfect Halloween Cupcake.

Broken Glass Cupcakes

Careful with these ones.

 

7.) Kitty Litter Cupcakes

You’ve probably seen it before – Heck, I made a Kitty Litter Cake a few years ago – but have you ever seen Kitty Litter Cupcakes?  Cupcakeables took the famously nasty Kitty Litter Cake and modified into a cupcake version.

Kitty Litter Cupcakes

Meow!

I will have many more creepy Halloween Cupcakes in the days to come…keep checking back.  Happy Halloween!

Mini Food Party Menu

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

mini foods party theme

Yes, it has been some time since our last post…but we are jumping back into it.  I have some parties and dishes to post from the last several months.  So here we go…

Each New Year’s we host a small party and each year I stress over the menu.  This year was no different…fancy? casual? pizza and wings? UGHHH…what to make?

After much consideration, I settled on “mini”.  I love mini themed foods – you know, miniature bites of your favorites – mini pizzas, mini burgers, mini sandwiches. The “mini” party menu theme works for several occasions including a kids parties or an upscale cocktail party.  And of course, it worked perfectly for my New Year’s party.  Your guests can graze all night and sample several of these mini treats. 

You will need to do a lot of planning and prep work to make sure you can pull it off and still have time to socialize with guests.  I suggest prepping everything ahead of time so that you can simply assemble everything before your guests arrive.  I also recommend splitting your “batches” up so that you can put out warm seconds halfway through the night.  

Mini Party Menu

Mini Taco Salads

mini taco salads

"mini" taco salads

Mini Burgers

Mini Tomato Soup with Mini Grilled Cheese

mini tomato soup

"mini" tomato soups

Mini Macaroni and Cheese

Black Eyed Pea Salad (for luck)

mini black eyed pea salad

"mini" black eyed pea salad

Mini Hot Dogs

mini hot dogs

"mini" hot dogs

Mini Potato Latkes with Corned Beef and Gruyere

mini potato latke with corned beef and gruyere cheese

"mini" potato latke with corned beef and gruyere cheese

 

Mini Party Desserts

Mom’s Cookie Platter

Mini Milk and Donuts

mini milk and donuts

"mini" milk and donuts

Mini Cheese Cake Bites

Plan your own “mini” food party - get ideas from the following mini food party links:

Mini versions of your favorite party foods

Martha Stewarts collection of Pint Sized Foods

The Galley Gourmets Three Cheese Mini Mac Recipe

New Year’s Eve Menu

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

colorful-menu-cards

How much do I love entertaining?  I guess I like taking care of people, or perhaps it just satisfies that need to always have something to plan and look forward to. 

This year, like many past years, we decided to have a few friends over to ring in the New Year.  This was a last minute decision, so the menu was rather last minute. My menu had to be tasty…comforting…and logistically easy to eat. Luckily, Martha had some great suggestions for me.

……………………………………………
My New Year’s Eve Menu

Baked Chick Pea Nibbles

Grilled Tomato Crostini

Artichoke Parmesan Crostini

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tarts
thyme & honey

Twice Cooked Potatoes
chihuahua cheese & chives

Chicken Satays
spicy peanut sauce

Beef Tenderloin
gorgonzola cheese, arugula on crostini

White Chocolate Fondue
mixed berries, pineapple, banana slices & almond biscotti
……………………………………………

The Baked Chick Pea Nibbles are a healthy alternative to other snacky type food and they taste pretty good.  I would suggest baking them a bit longer, and seasoning them a bit more heavily.  You want them very crunchy.  I also put out mixed nuts along with these.  I always appreciate something to nibble on when they are sipping cocktails.

Chick Pea Nibbles and Cashews

Chick Pea Nibbles and Cashews

The two crostini recipes are a no brainer.  Grilled bread and good toppings, easy to eat and satisfying. 

Grilled Tomato Crostini

Grilled Tomato Crostini

I love caramelized onions with goat cheese – it is a classic combination of flavors.  I dress these little tarts up with a drizzle of honey for an unexpected surprise of sweet. 

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tarts

Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Tarts

The Twice Cooked Potato recipe was modified.  I omitted the caviar (couldn’t find any), and added cheese and extra sour cream to make them more like a miniature twice baked potatoes. The Chihuahua cheese melts really well, which made them nice and gooey. I ended up pressing the potato mixture through a mesh strainer, so the mixture ended up smooth and creamy.  

I marinated the Chicken Satays in the soy mixture a few hours ahead of the party.  I doubled the soy, omitted the sesame oil and replaced with a hot chili oil – I also added a bit of honey.  At party time, I simply threw them on my indoor grill, and served them up hot with the spicy peanut sauce. Since I used natural peanut butter, I needed to modify the recipe by adding honey for sweetness.  I also thinned it out with about a tablespoon of soy.

The Beef Tenderloin is something we always serve.  Simply cook the beef to your temp. liking and serve with a gorgonzola cheese, arugula and crostini.  I serve it all on a big platter, it makes a nice presentation. 

For an easy dessert, try the White Chocolate Fondue.  With this fondue, you don’t even need a fondue pot – you can simply heat it on the stove and serve it in a bowl.  It will stay smooth and creamy without hardening up on you.  It is also a nice change from the classic Milk Chocolate Fondue. 

White Chocolate Fondue with Berries & Fruit

White Chocolate Fondue with Berries & Fruit

I created colorful menu item cards for the table.  They were done in the same colors of my napkins and centerpiece.  At the end of the night, everyone left with some colorful sugar cookies – also in the same colors. 

Handmade Menu Cards

Handmade Menu Cards

A toast to the New Year with White Star and then we called it a night.  Another year in the books…. 

Colorful, Festive Sugar Cookies

Colorful, Festive Sugar Cookies

My Canon EOS Rebel XS

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

First I want to apologize for the lack of posts this past month, wow there was a lot to do.  It seems like there isn’t enough time in the day, let alone the month to fit everything in!  Now that it’s all over we can get back to business. 

Santa did bring me some wonderful presents and I plan to feature some of them on the site in the coming months.  I can’t wait to try out my sister’s new camera, the NikonD5000 to be exact.  But in the meantime this post is meant to pay homage to my baby, my good old Canon EOS Rebel xs.  I too, have not finished the manual (not sure if I ever will?).  This camera is a joy – I love taking pictures and having good equipment makes it that much better.  Here are a couple of Christmas season photos Canon Style!

Nutcracker

Nutcracker

 

christmas bulbs

christmas bulbs

 

My Stocking

My Stocking

 

Daisy

Daisy

 

Our New Addition...Boo Boo

Our New Addition...Boo Boo

 

Alex asleep in closet next to Boo Boo

Alex asleep in closet next to Boo Boo

 

Knex rollercoaster...only took 6 1/2 hours to build

Knex rollercoaster...only took 6 1/2 hours to build

Hope your Holidays were as wonderful as mine!

My New Nikon D5000

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Well…we’re back.  We were MIA for about a month, but we are back! 

The holidays were great…relaxing and filled with family.  Some of my highlights of the last few weeks include Christmas shopping with my mom, Vegas, Los Angeles, babysitting my nephew’s new hamster and plenty of days filled with leisurely cooking.    

Another highlight of the holiday – my new Nikon D5000 camera!  Now I just need to figure out how to use it properly.  I feel like a true pro with this thing.    Here are some shots from Christmas day…

chocolate-covered-pretzels_1

christmas-cookies_1

christmas-rooster-ornament_1

christmas-tree-night_1

gill-christmas_1

There will be many more to come…  Off to read my manual.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

If you are seeking the perfect dessert to serve this Thanksgiving, look no further.  This is the perfect twist on your classic Pumpkin Pie.  The filling is very similar to pumpkin pie, perhaps a bit sweeter, but also a bit creamier.  The crust is soft and extremely buttery.  The combination of the two create an amazing mouthfeel and offer a satisfyingly sweet end to a rich Thanksgiving dinner.

The Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake sits amongst my favorite all time desserts.  After serving it to family and friends, I imagine it sits at the top for many people.  Since this is a classic Paula Deen recipe, you shouldn’t be too surprised at how rich it actually is.  And like the name implies, it is not lacking in butter.

But, it is Thanksgiving after all.  It is the one time of year you are expected to overindulge.  Oh Paula Deen and your butter rich recipes…you kill me.   

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.)  Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

3.)  To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

4.)  Serve your Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake with fresh whipped cream.

pumpkin-gooey-butter-cake-top

Thanksgiving Cookies

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

thanksgiving-cookies

With the holidays sneaking up on me, I haven’t had much time to post.  Ok, that is a lie – it has nothing to do with the holidays – I’ve simply been busy with other projects.    But regardless of my excuse, the holidays are right around the corner…

I posted these Thanksgiving cookies because they came out so darn cute.  I used a basic sugar cookie recipe, cutting them out in the shapes of leaves and acorns.  I made several batches of colored icing in red, orange, yellow, green and two shades of brown.  Very fall appropriate colors. 

After icing the Thanksgiving cookies, I sprinkled color cordinating sanding sugars on the top – very pretty.   You can get these sanding sugars at your local craft store.

The cookies sparkled in the sun and were completely gobbled up before the party was over.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Thursday, November 5th, 2009
Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes

This morning I awoke to our first real hard frost, I must admit it saddened me. October and Halloween are over. The leaves have all fallen and there is a nip in the air.  As a native Ohioan one would think I would be accustomed to the arrival of “The Snow”.  Well, this is just not the case.

Along with snow comes wet boots, cold hands and feet, warming up the car, scraping the windshield, shoveling, and the awful truth that it will be dark before 6.   Am I ready? Probably not.  Do I have a choice? Definitely not.  So I better learn to make the best of it. 

One thing that I know will cheer me up is the fact I can bake till my heart’s content. The oven can be on for hours and my kitchen will feel and smell warm and toasty.  Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cranberries and nuts come out to play this time of year. 

With Thanksgiving being just around the corner, I plan to experiment with all things pumpkin.  I just love pumpkin.  Pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin moon pies, pumpkin bread pudding and the list goes on and on.

On that note… I made some very tasty pumpkin cupcakes for my family and friends over Halloween weekend.  I personally feel like they are an anytime cupcake and even good enough to eat without frosting.  This recipe is also one that can be modified easily to give it that personal touch.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten until frothy
  • 1 ½  cup mashed cooked or canned pumpkin
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preparation:

1.)   Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl.

2.)   Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs. Blend in mashed pumpkin.

3.)   Stir in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, blending until batter is smooth after each addition; stir in chopped walnuts or pecans.

4.)   Spoon batter into well-greased and floured or paper-lined muffin pan cups. Fill about 2/3 full.

5.)   Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool.

6.)    Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting, Whipped Cream, or leave plain. Makes about 24 cupcakes.

 pumpkin-cupcake

Goodbye October

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

halloween-parade-outside

halloween-parade

gorgeous-fall-shot

nathan-alex-halloween

nathan-daisy

daisy-halloween

Halloween Food Ideas

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
My Halloween Spread...

My Halloween spread...

Although I have only thrown one Halloween party in my life, it has got to be one of my favorite holidays.  I love all of the creative things you can do to celebrate this gory, creepy time of year. 

In 2007, when Joe and I were living in the Isle of Man, we decided to invite everyone over for a real American Halloween celebration; full dress was of course required.  I was shocked at how “in to it” everyone got.   There were some creative costumes that year to say the least – a lot were handmade, as the Isle only has one costume shop.  But, the handmade costumes were some of the funniest.   We went as Bacon & Eggs…me being the Egg and Joe was of course Bacon.

I decorated by changing out all of the pictures around the house to gory images.  I simply printed images off the computer and cut them to fit the size of each frame.  I hung skeletons and cob webs everywhere.  I also printed off “Best Costume” forms for people to vote for their favorites.  The winner took home the coveted plastic “Best Costume” trophy – yep, it was plastic. 

Halloween decorations

Just some of the Halloween decorations...

The Halloween themed food had to be the best part. Here are a few of the items I created:

The Infamous Kitty Litter Cake ( I love this one)

Those really are just tootsie rolls, I swear...

Those really are just tootsie rolls, I swear...

I plan to post the recipe for the Kitty Litter Cake in the next post.  Kitty Litter Cake is always a hit.

Bleeding Heart

To make this more "bloody" sit it on top of strawberry jelly.

To make this more "bloody" sit it on top of strawberry jelly.

The Jello Bleeding Heart was made from a heart shaped mold I ordered online.  To get the jello to have an opaque color simply add sweetened condensed milk to the jello. 

Important Note:  Probably wasn’t the best idea to a red jello heart sitting out with a bunch of intoxicated people – it actually ended up inside my friends Fendi bag, then on my living room floor.  Lovely.

Brittle Bones

 

Crispy, crunchy, brittle bones

Crispy, crunchy, brittle bones

These Brittle Bones were made out of meringue.  Once the meringue was just about at “stiff peak”, I placed it in a piping bag and piped it into a bone shape on top of parchment paper.  Not the most flavorful treat, but certainly cute.

Monster Toes

 

Who wants some toes?

Who wants some toes?

These Halloween inspired Monster Toes are easy to make, and taste pretty good.  They are made out of mini hotdogs or sausages that are wrapped with a thinly sliced tortilla strip. I cut a small notch out of the top of each sausage to form the nail bed, which I then filled with ketchup.  

Cheese Brain Dip

The original brain food...

The original brain food...

Another one of the molds I purchased online was this brain shaped mold, perfect for Halloween dips and desserts.  I used a recipe for southwestern cheese dip, the main ingredient of this Cheesy Brain Dip was cream cheese.  The cream cheese helped the brain hold its shape.

Deviled Eyeballs

Deliciously deviled eyeballs...

Deliciously deviled eyeballs...

Deviled eyeballs are really just deviled eggs, but dressed up for Halloween.   I used a sliced green olive for the eyeball, which I filled it with a tiny piece of pimento.  I put ketchup into a small piping bag to make the eyes appear bloodshot.

Road Kill Kabobs, Breaded Eyeballs & Rat Brains Wrapped in Philo Dough

A gross assortment...

A gross assortment...

My need for something easy took over here.  This gross assortment of Road Kill Kabobs, Breaded Eyeballs & Rat Brains Wrapped in Philo Dough are your typical freezer section appetizers.   I dressed them up with Halloween inspired names.  

Most ideas were found online.  With the internet, you will be amazed at the plethora of Halloween party ideas you can find for your next Halloween party. 

Here are some of my favorite sources for Halloween food ideas:

Britta’s Halloween Recipes - Britta goes the extra mile with her attention to detail.

Disney’s Family Fun – Full of Creepy Cuisine ideas for your next party.

Allrecipes.com – A good selection of Halloween cakes and cupcakes.

Skip to my Lou – She has some cute ideas in her latest post.

More Cool Pictures – These are some realistic edible “body parts”.

Happy Halloween everyone!


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