Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Musings #24

I still have a few things left to pack, but tomorrow I begin the 12 hour drive to Orlando, Florida! Woot!! Along with my whole family, I'll be going to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, EPCOT for the International Food & Wine Festival, and of course, HARRY POTTER WORLD.

Can one ever have too much Butterbeer? Back in a week with lots of pictures!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Moldy Chocolate

Of course I'm talking about chocolate molds! Who doesn't love chocolate covered pretzels? It's the perfect combo of sweet and salty. I personally like the witches fingers best. They are the easiest and creepiest.

These pumpkin molds are pretty adorable as well. Wilton also has a brooms, witches, pretty much anything you can think of. You can put them on pretzels, or buy lollipop sticks (but really - why wouldn't you just use pretzels?) There's also stand alone molds like this awesome coffin:

No sparkly vampire in here! For a fun way of displaying, I put the pretzels in bags and then stood them up in a cup full of Reese's Pieces. YUM.

Wednesday Review: Martha Stewart Halloween Handbook

I have both the 2010 and 2011 Martha Stewart Halloween Handbooks. You can buy them almost anywhere that sells magazines. It is a little more pricey - but TOTALLY worth it. 

What I Like:
* EVERYTHING. She has the perfect mix of costumes, decorations, food, and templates for all of the above are of course included!
* Every year she dresses as something new and they are all awesome. I was googling past issues and she has done some creepy stuff!
* Martha really knows how to commit to a theme. Want spiders? (NO! who would EVER want those!?!?) Bats? Mice? For each she has different decorations and ideas on how to transform a whole room around the one subject. 
* There is a good mix of complicated and easy. The stuff in this magazine is not kitschy - it is done by professionals, and teaches you step by step how to do the same. However, I definitely don't have time to do all of the complicated projects. Luckily there are dozens of easy and equally cute ideas.
* All of the pumpkin carving ideas are amazing. Some include painting them, stacking them snow-man-style to create families of pumpkin people, and using Christmas lights to make them look like hedgehogs.. I mean the genius just never ends!

Seriously - if you love Halloween as much as I do - then just get one of her books - you will not regret it!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Easy Halloween Cupcakes

I am a HUGE fan of the Wilton cupcake accessories. Seriously - some paper and cleverly designed toothpicks can really transform your cupcake. AND its ridiculously easy to make a simple cupcake look awesome.

While I definitely want to make some of the crazy complicated cupcakes from Hello, Cupcake!, these are just as festive and waaaay easier. I've also used the graveyard set - and there are SO MANY MORE. Then there's the Duff cupcake tattoos. I didn't think I would like them very much, but they don't taste bad and are really easy to use.

And lets not forget all the fun cupcake stands! One can never have too many. (I think I have about 5 different stands.) I could really go for a cupcake now....

Monday, October 15, 2012

Grimm Grinning Ghosts

A week from today I will be in the Happiest Place on Earth... DISNEY WORLD!!! My absolute favorite time of year to go too - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party AND the International Food & Wine Festival. My family went 2 years ago and we all dressed up as Wizard of Oz. (Above we met up with some random other dressed up people - you can see everyone really goes all out!)

Half the fun of going for Halloween is seeing every body's costumes. This Bert & Mary Poppins was one of my favorites - even has the umbrella! We had tons of people ask to take pictures with us. In fact, for the first hour we were in the park, we had a line of little children lining up to ask for our autographs! Chelsea and I were getting creative by the end. I started drawing little broom sticks in my signature.

Mrs. Potts and Chip! 

This year we're going as Alice in Wonderland characters. And I get to be Alice!! No more green paint rubbing off on everything :D

I can't wait to see cute little kids dressed up this year. Seriously - SO CUTE.

We'll definitely get some good pictures out of our trip. What are you all dressing up as for Halloween??

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Musings #23

Tonight I'm going to a corn maze out in Middle Of Nowhere, VA. I haven't been to a farm/pumpkin patch/corn maze in about 5 years. (Though you see I will always act like I am 8 years old when I'm there!) I have high hopes for tonight because there is supposed to be a bon fire and it'll be DARK. We get to run through corn fields with flashlights! It'll be just like Signs, or Children of the Corn, or HP and the Goblet of Fire - any movie with a corn field and/or maze!! Maybe David Bowie will be there?

Wednesday Review: Halloween Tricks and Treats

Matthew Mead's Halloween Tricks and Treats book has some spooktacular ideas. (see what I did there?) My mom gave me this book a few years ago and I've used it a lot. Be prepared for the first Wednesday Review with pictures of things I've ACTUALLY done FROM THE BOOK!

What I Like:
* All the ideas are divided into two main sections: Treats and Tricks. (Gah I love Halloween!!) Then each is further divided into different categories. In Treats there is a chapter called "Owl-oween Party" - best ever!
* There are a lot of "easy treats" that definitely don't take skill and are fun to make/eat. I've made a festive snack mix (carmel corn, Resse's Puffs cereal, Peanut M&Ms and some other yummy stuff) and donut hole kabobs.

A lot of the ideas use store-bought cookies. You can spend all the time you save not baking from scratch to MAKE MORE THINGS! I loved these Le Petit Ecolier cookies Mead discusses in the book. Just add a pumpkin and BOOM! Festive! 

* There is an ICE CREAM section!! That's right! Ice cream sandwiches, ice cream pops, ice cream cake! mmmmm. And the best part is, like the cookies, its pretty much just decorating store-bought products - so not too difficult!
* Most of my themed/decorated foods tend to be desserts, so its nice there is a savory section included. Mead shows you how to make fun themed pizzas, a mummy meatloaf, and green soup with eyeballs in it!
* Mead makes sure you can find whatever is in his book. There is a metal wire basket tree and a few other wire products that he provides a website for.

What I Don't Like:
* The "Tricks" section is all decorating ideas - soooo not really tricksy. While a lot of these ideas are really awesome, I just don't see myself actually using many of them. Maybe they're just not my style... or not my style yet.

Over all I highly recommend this book. Almost everything is easy to make and really creative. Definitely a great starting point if you like to have Halloween parties.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

EYE Love Deviled Eggs

Who doesn't love deviled eggs? You can dress them up a lot of fun ways for Halloween! I used olives and ketchup to make this batch look like eyeballs.

When my sister turned 18 she had a Harry Potter themed birthday party (her birthday is ON Halloween). So we died the yoke filling green and called them "Dragon Eggs." I don't think Hagrid would be too pleased...

My friend Mary made these Devil Deviled Eggs last year - but I can't seem to find a picture of them. This is the professional one from Martha Stewart.

So many eggcelent ways to decorate them!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ghosts in the Graveyard - Dessert Style

The graveyard cake is one of my favorite things to make every Halloween. Not only is it really easy to put together, it's delicious and ADORABLE. The recipe is pretty straight forward, only 3 ingredients - chocolate pudding, cool whip, and Oreos. I substitute a chocolate cookie with no cream in the middle for the Oreos (basically whatever I can find at the grocery store) because I find the cream makes the crumbs harder to work with. The past few years I've also started replacing the cool whip ghosts with peeps because they stand up longer and just look better.

You can see this year the gel didn't really work in my favor to write "RIP" on the cookies. Waaa waaaaaaaaaaaa. I vary what I put in the "dirt" depending on what I'm able to find that year - gummy worms, candy corns, gummy pumpkins, etc. There's so many different things you can do - a great chance to get creative!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Review: Cake Pops

Cake Pops by Bakerella (a.k.a. Angie Dudley) boasts tips and tricks for more than 40 mini treats! Everything is better in miniature - plus, you can eat SO MANY MORE.

What I like:
* The book starts out with step by step instructions on how to make cake balls, cake pops, and how to make them look like miniature cupcakes. Because GUYS - who doesn't want a smaller version of an already smaller version of a cake!?! What I like about this is the accompanying pictures for each step and a whole page dedicated to troubleshooting. I've made cake balls once and had pretty much all of the things go wrong that Bakerella covers in this section.
* The pictures are great in this book. Just for supplies and materials the photographs are fun and colorful.
* THE ARE ALL SO CUTE. Seriously. I can hardly stand it. Every new pop/design makes me immediately start thinking of what themed party I need to throw to be able to make it. There's the regular holiday and wedding/baby designs - but then there's different sports, pirates, and a myriad of adorable animals. Koala's AND Pandas!?!?!?
* There are great ideas on displaying your cake pops. What's that? You want to make some cake pops and send them to Grandma across the country? No problem! There's also tips on how to ship them!

What I don't like:
* I have the same problem with all of these kinds of books - some of the designs definitely look like more trouble than they're probably worth, but until I make them, I won't know!!

This is definitely one of the best laid out crafty-baking-books I've seen. With colorful photos and great step by step instructions - I may just be making a bunch of these little fellas this fall. (Maybe I can make mini cake pops and put them on toothpicks??)