Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Pumpkin on my Mind

I wasn't going to carve the Pumpkins this year.  The kids are teenagers and weren't too interested so I figured I'd just enjoy having pumpkins on the porch, not Jack-O-Lanterns.  No problem, they'd look autumn-ish all fall and the they serve as appropriate decorations until Thanksgiving. 

BUT I just couldn't let them be.  We didn't pull down any of our typical Halloween decor this year, no 4ft dancing ghosts, no egg crate spiders, no Mr. Bones the skeleton made out of Milk Cartons.  So, at 5:00 on Halloween night - I decided to carve.

I had to do something cute, right?  So I made vegetarian Jacks.  One is eating an apple and one is munching carrots between his toothless gums.  I'm pleased.

They look like this:

So, as I was carving, I smelled the pumpkin and realized I wanted to EAT something pumpkin, so I prodded around the internet and came across this yummy looking treat. 

Pumpkin Praline Trifle Bakers Royale 2 Pumpkin Praline Trifle

I haven't tried this recipe but I thought I'd post it anyway. I will buy the ingredients next week and give it a go.

Click here for the recipe.

If you try it before I do - let me know how it is!

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Bark

For the past two weekends, I've attended or hosted a lot of events that required me to provide a bit of dessert.  I chose Chocolate bark.  This recipe is the second of two varieties I made.  I also made Halloween bark.  You can find that recipe post HERE.

To create dark chocolate pistachio bark, I melted two 7oz 72% dark chocolate bars from Trader Joes using the double boiler method.

When the chocolate is melty and smooth (don't burn!), pour it onto the center of a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan that is lined with parchment paper.  Spread it around evenly.  I achieved this with the back of a metal spoon.

Sprinkle pistachio nuts across the melted chocolate.  Follow the nuts up with broken pieces of extra thin salted pretzels.  Then, add chopped walnut pieces and finally sprinkle on some coarse salt. 

After hanging out in the fridge for a few hours, your tray of chocolate bark should look like this:

Break it into pieces with your hands and put it on a plate.  Ready to eat!  AND delicioso!  Give it a try!


Halloween Bark

Halloween Bark is the perfect Halloween treat.  It incorporates CANDY, CHOCOLATE and SALT!  What more could you want in a holiday treat.  Oh yeah, did I mention it's really easy to make?  This recipe was adapted from one I found HERE.

I used 7oz of Trader Joes white chocolate bar and a 12oz bag of white chocolate chips.  I used the double boiler method to heat them, placing a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water.  The chocolate melted easily.  Don't over cook it - remove it as soon as it's pourable.

Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Pour the melted chocolate into the center and spread with the back of a spoon to smooth it evenly across the entire pan from edge to edge and corner to corner.

Then, evenly distribute candy corn across the tray, landing it onto the melty chocolate.  Next, break apart Halloween oreos (I used Trader Joes Halloween Joe Joes) and drop them onto the chocolate.  Thin chocolate pretzels (salted!) can then be broken apart (I just crunched them in my hands) and added.  Finally, sprinkle Chocolate and/or orange sprinkles - I used a brown and orange Halloween blend with little black bats.

I used a square of waxed paper to slightly press all the goodies into the chocolate to make sure they would stick and not come loose.  Don't press so hard that you bury them.

After a few hours in the fridge, remove the giant pan of bark and break it into pieces by hand.

Easy Peasy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Universal Craft Blog Directory

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fall Flowers around the Yard

Finally - the sun has come out and we can have some proper fall weather, cool and crisp when it's early and late and sunny and beautiful during the mid day.

Even though the weeding has gone by the way side, the summer flowers have continued to stretch toward the autumn sun.  I captured a bit of the splendor.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Crochet Tutes Coming soon...

I've been crocheting.  Really, I have.  I've been taking photos along the way with the plan to post tutorials about the projects as well... but, I'm not done.

Here's a sneak peek...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Garden Keeps on Growing

With all the rain we had this year I figured my garden would produce a bumper crop - but then, it didn't.  The squash bugs ate through the cucumbers AND the zuchini - irritating little buggars kill my vines every year!!!  The tomatos, eggplants and bell peppers had a lot of little green things that the squirrels seemed to enjoy a single bite of.  Nothing seemed to be rippening. UGH. I've been gardening for years and I do love to eat things right out of my own soil, but really, I just wing it when it comes to real veggie garden knowledge.

However, even the dried up leaves and knarly vines keep producing stuff - so I gather and I cook!

Here's the collection from a few weeks back (turned into an awesome vegetarian shepherd's pie):

Then, another loot haul from yesterday...

Next year - I'm not giving up, but I'm going to try some new things... onions, garlic, asparagus - maybe the squirrels won't like those things - they do tend to leave my yummy jalapeno peppers alone!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to Grow Pumpkins

Last year in late November my husband said... "What's this pumpkin out here [back porch]; is it something you're saving?"  Just then he lifted it from the table and the rotten guts spilled out.  I'd put it out there a month before and it rotted.  He scooped the mess between a few pieces of card board and threw it into the area of the yard where we chop wood and let it age.

The soil is pretty good in the mostly unused corner of the yard since so many logs lie there to dry out.


This summer when I was hanging the laundry I noticed a long, viney plant wending it's way between the fence posts toward the driveway.  Looking over the fence, I saw that it was a squash variety of some kind.  I figured it would just die, it looked weak and spindly.

On through the summer it grew, spreading in several directions and then producing yellow flowers.  I wasn't sure what it was.  Soon the flowers disappeared and little green orbs came out.  My husband shouted to me one day that he thought we had watermelons.  Hmm I thought, little late in the season for those to be just budding.

On it grew.  We've had A LOT of rain, so I've been hanging the laundry INDOORS - this week I visited the laundry line and low and behold, PUMPKINS... 5 or 6 of them.  They are mostly turning orange now though they are small.  I saw a squirrel scratching at one.

I called my youngest son outside, took some photos of the cute little babies on the vine and let him have a go at them with the garden loppers.  We snipped off three and decided to see if the others would still grow some more.

Aren't they cute?  The coolest thing about it was that I wasn't even TRYING to grow them - LOVE IT.  I guess there are good things about pumpkin goo being too much of a mess to make it all the way to the compost bin!

Happy Halloween
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