Archive for October, 2010
It’s fun to make your own Halloween goodie bags for a party or for the kids in your neighborhood. These are fun and easy to make!
Materials & Tools:
- Cellophane Bags
- Scrapbook papers
- Stickers and/or Halloween stamps and ink
- Scissors, glue and a stapler
- Fill cellophane bag 2/3 full of candy. Fold the bag opening over at least three times, ensuring excess air is out of the bag. Staple the folded edge so bag is completely sealed.
- Cut the background decorative paper to make a card. (In the example to the right, the orange and white striped paper is the background). The width should be the width of the sealed bag plus 1/2 inch. The length should be the desired front height then doubled.
- Fold the background paper in half (to make a card).
- Decorate the front of “card” with stamped greetings and stickers.
- Staple the decorate card on the top of the cellophane bag, hiding the sealed edge of bag on both side.
You can also make cute “bag tags” using the same materials. Instead of stapling the decorative card to the top of the bag, tie the bag with ribbon and add a bag tag.
These tags are also great to tie on to a bottle of wine as a host/hostess gift for Halloween parties!
Are you looking for some new ideas for Halloween Treats? Need to take something to a Halloween party? Here are some fun ideas …
These “Boo Berries” are easy to make! Dip strawberries in melted white chocolate. Decorate with dark chocolate piped frosting. -EverydayCelebrating.com
These Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes are from a recent post (Pumpkin Cupcakes – September 21, 2010). To make tiny cupcakes, follow the recipe but use mini muffin pans. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Makes 34 mini cupcakes.
Aren’t these Mini Ghost Cupcakes adorable? And they are so easy! Simply pipe coolwhip into peaks on mini chocolate cupcakes and decorate with chocolate chips. Click here to get the recipe.
We used to make “Dirt & Worms” for the kids when they were little. You start with chocolate pudding, add crushed chocolate wafers and gummy worms. The kids LOVED them! Well, these Tombstone Treats are very similar.
Fill clear plastic cups with chocolate pudding. Top them with crushed chocolate wafers. Pipe RIP on Trader Joe’s Vanilla Wafers and wedge the “tombstones” into the pudding. Kids will love them!
I love these Witch Cookies! I haven’t made these before, but they sound easy because you use store bought sugar cookie dough. You use green food coloring and unsweetened cocoa powder to get the green faces and brown hats. Check out the recipe here.
These Meringue Ghosts are cute and easy to make. You beat egg whites and sugar into stiff peaks then spoon it into a zip lock bag. Snip a corner of the bag and pipe out ghosts then bake on low heat. Click here for the recipe.
There’s nothing like homemade Chicken Noodle Soup on a rainy evening! My favorite recipe is the Cascade Chicken Noodle Soup from Simply Classic, a Seattle Junior League cookbook.
It’s an easy recipe and one that my family loves. I have modified it just a bit. And, in the recipe below, I have included my “timesavers” from Trader Joe’s in parenthesis.
Chicken Noodle Soup
2 Tbs. Vegetable Oil
1 cup Onion, chopped (or TJ’s 10 oz. bag of chopped onion)
3 medium cloves of Garlic, minced
10 cups Chicken Stock (or 2 1/2 Boxes of TJ’s chicken stock)
1 tsp. dried Thyme, crumbled
1/4 tsp. dried Dill
1/4 tsp. Pepper
5 sprigs of Parsley
2 Carrots, sliced
8 oz. Egg Noodles (or TJ’s Egg Pappardelle Pasta)
4 skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts, cooked and shredded
2 Tbs. Cornstarch
2 cups Unflavored Yogurt
1/4 cup Green Onions, chopped
1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook over medium-low heat until onion is soft (about 10 minutes). Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes.
2. Stir in chicken stock, thyme, dill, pepper, parsley and carrots. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
3. Remove and discard parsley. Add noodles to stock and simmer over medium-high heat until noodles are soft (about 10 minutes). Add chicken and cover pot to soup hot.
4. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch into yogurt. Add 1 cup of soup broth and stir. Add mixture to soup pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
5. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with green onions.
NOTE: I have substituted Greek Yogurt for the Unflavored Yogurt. While the kids aren’t as fond of the Greek Yogurt, my husband and I like it better. It gives it more of a tang.
Sneak Peak at Roger’s Garden
Last week, my girlfriends and I went to Roger’s Gardens (in Newport Beach) to see the Christmas displays. Every year, Roger’s creates a beautiful display of Christmas trees and holiday home decor. It’s a great place to get inspired for the holidays!
(You can click on the pictures to view larger images.)
The entry room is all silver and white … it’s breathtaking! They have trees and ornament balls that are covered with vintage silver jewelry. Silver mirrors adorn the walls. And there are mercury candle sticks, apothecary jars and vases everywhere. My cellphone pictures don’t do it justice.
If you get a chance to visit Roger’s Gardens this holiday season, it will be worth your time. And, you can always go to lunch or dinner at Fashion Island (across the street).
How do you welcome your friends and guests to the fall season? Here are some front porches that I’m fond of …
The above wheel barrow with pumpkins, gourds and bittersweet is from Better Homes & Garden magazine.
I love black doors (and painted our front doors black when we moved in). This is a warm welcome. -Pottery Barn
Isn’t this stunning with the metallic pumpkins and gourds against the black? -Country Living
This is the front door of Mary Carol Garrity (the owner of the Nell Hill’s stores in Kansas). Love her stuff!!!
I also love red doors. This is a simple, traditional look for fall.
If you had a white house, wouldn’t you love to paint your front door orange for Halloween and the fall season? Then you could paint it black or red for Christmas!
Welcome your guest with a casual fall style using hay, fall leaves and pumpkins. -Pottery Barn
Using fall foliage, pumpkins and candles, create a harvest-inspired setting with lanterns — inside or outside your home. -Pottery Barn
I made pasta e fagioli the other night. That’s an Italian soup – for those that have never had it. It’s traditionally a soup of pasta and beans, but I add meat.
This recipe is a combination of three recipes (including one that a restaurant chef wrote down for me on a napkin many years ago). It’s an easy to make soup that is filling and fairly healthy (minus the spicy sausage).
Pasta e Fagioli
Serves 10 as a first course and 6 as a main course
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 lb. lean Hamburger
1 lb. Spicy Italian Sausage
1 Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Carrots, peeled and chopped
3 large Celery stalks, chopped
4 large cloves of Garlic, minced
2 cans of Cannellini Beans (white kidney), rinsed and drained
28 oz. of diced Plum Tomatoes
3/4 jar of Spaghetti Sauce
8 cups of Chicken Broth
Salt and Ground Pepper, to taste
3/4 lb. small Pasta Shells
Grated Parmesan for Finishing
1. In a large skillet, cook the hamburger and spicy sausage until lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
2. In a large soup kettle, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, spaghetti sauce and meat. Add 1 tsp. of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
4. Optional: You can take a ladle or two of beans and vegetables and puree them, returning them to the pot. This gives the soup more body. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
5. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta, stirring well. Cook according to the directions for al dente. Drain the pasta.
6. Add the pasta to the soup and simmer for 5 more minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each serving with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and fresh ground pepper. Optional: top with a swirl of olive oil.
- When I make this for our family of four, I don’t add the pasta to the soup. I ladle pasta shells into the serving bowls, then top with the soup. Because this recipe makes two plus meals for us, I store the leftover pasta and soup in separate containers. This way the pasta shells don’t expand and absorb so much of the soup liquid. It’s just my preference, but is a bit more work.
- I like using Trader Joe’s Italian spicy sausage in this soup. In fact, it’s packaged and sold in one pound — and you can also buy one pound of very lean hamburger while you’re at TJs.
- I really don’t like to chop onions (even with my onion goggles)! If I’m at Trader Joe’s and know I’m going to make this soup within a couple of days, I pick up the 10 oz. bag of chopped Onion (and I use the whole bag) in place of 1 onion.
Filling Apothecary Jars with sweets, treats or creeps is a fun way to add some Halloween cheer in your home. There are so many options to choose from! Here are some great ideas …
The Creepy Halloween Apothecary Jars
This is a collection of apothecary jars filled with black licorice snakes, gummy bats, gummy worms and giant lollipops. -Martha Stewart.
It’s easy to make your own by creating your own labels. Or, Etsy.com has some cute and spooky labels for sale.
Skulls are all the rage this year in Halloween decor. You’ve got to love the green glowing skulls from Martha Stewart.
Spiders, straw and skulls … oh my! Easy fillers for creepy looks. -PrettyPaperbook.com
Spiders and skulls provide an interesting display … along with mercury candle holders. -Pottery Barn
Candy-filled Apothecary Jars:
I love the bright colors of these candy corn-filled jars! -UncommonDesigns.blogspot.com
Aren’t these jars of candy fun? How fun for a party! You can create your own signs for Frog Eyes, Pumpkin Teeth, Crows Bones, and Jaw Breakers. -HouseofSmiths blog
And, aren’t these candy jars from The KomKat Studio adorable?
Love the black and white look! Great for an adult Halloween party or dinner. You can fill your jars with black licorice, black and white Jelly Beans (or M&Ms). -Pottery Barn
And these, from a “Wicked Bling” Halloween party are from one of my favorite blogs. -Hostessblog.com (Hostess with the Mostess!)
Have fun filling your jars!!!
There are so many different things you can do with pumpkins … besides carving them.
You can “glitter” your pumpkins. These sugar pumpkins were sprayed with glue then dusted with glitter. Martha Stewart sells kits in craft stores with the glitter and glue. -Martha Stewart
You can “feature” your pumpkins by adding felt faces. -Pottery Barn Kids
You can “silverize” with metallic silver spray paint. These make a beautiful display from Halloween through Thanksgiving. -Martha Stewart
And you can “go metallic”. Isn’t this a great display of pumpkins and gourds — enhanced with metallic paints? -Country Living
NOTE: The trick in creating polka dot pumpkins is to paint them the desired color of the dots. Place round stickers on dry, painted pumpkin. Then paint pumpkin with metallic paint and remove the stickers.