Tag Archives: halloween

Tricks & Treats

1 Nov

For the first time in many a year, I had a very sober Halloween!  Oh, growing up is so much fun.  Instead of dressing up like a skank or a meatloaf (yes, I dressed up as a meatloaf one year), I enjoyed some Thursday Night Football at home and watched Christina finish painting my living room.

Disclaimer:  While I was much heavier in 2008, I tied half a dozen sweatshirts/pants around my torso to make myself appear like a lumpy meatloaf for this costume!

meatloaf2008

Halloween 2008

Yes, I am a meatloaf in pan.  And yes, I have a gravy cape made out of hideous thrifted curtains.  Amazeeeeeballs.

Anhoo….

I’ve been doing a really great job staying on track with food as of lately.  I’ve been cooking delicious, healthy things and snacking smart!  I know I talk a lot on this blog about the importance of where food comes from (ethically sourced/grown/local), what it contains (chemicals, GMOs, etc.), but there is another side to it as well.  It makes me absolutely sick to think about how much food I used to throw away, for no other reason than I was too lazy to store it properly.

Here are some of the week’s note-worthy dinners with a few tricks (no, not the Halloween kind) thrown in the mix!

On Tuesday we had Crockpot Beef Tacos (cooked in a yummy adobo-based sauce) and Spanish Rice. We ended up eating this beef for lunches over the next 2 days.  I will share the recipe here in a few days!

crockpotbeeftacos

I only needed 2 peppers out of a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  Buying a whole can, using just 2, and then throwing the rest out is just plain wasteful so here’s my little tip:  Puree the remaining peppers in the food processor. Then, freeze it in a log shape.  That way, I can just cut from the log as needed for future recipes!

ChipotleAdoboPuree

Also, remember when I saved big on tortillas using coupons?   I had used the fajita size wraps long ago, but the taco size tortillas were still lingering in my freezer.  I HATE how defrosted bread products taste.  Something about the composition changes and they just taste old.  Solution:  Wrap the stack of frozen tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave on defrost setting until they are thawed.  By adding the extra moisture back into the product during the thaw, it keeps the fresh gummy-like consistency that it had when I first bought it!  Winning.  I even got Miss Picky Pants’ approval on the taste/quality of the taco shells.  Let me tell you, she would freak out if she knew they were way back from May!

On Wednesday we had this Sweet Potato, Black Bean, & Chicken Chili.

BB.SPChili

This recipe called for just 1 T. tomato paste, so I of course wanted to save the leftover tomato paste.  At one point in my life, I was buying a can of tomato paste every week, because I would toss it after using a tablespoon! I cringe even thinking about that now.  Instead of freezing it in a log, I scooped out tablespoon size dallops, froze them on a cookie sheet, and then transferred them to storage bag. (Sorry for the poor quality, I only thought to take a pic after they were frozen, so the moisture is all condensed on the bag.)

tomatopaste

So those are my tips on freezing and storing commonly used items!  It’s just as important to make sure that you make the most out of the things you buy as it is to make sure that you buy local, organic, and ethically made products.

Halloween’n Part 2: Ghost Meringues

29 Oct

Let the Halloween festivities continue!  These meringues are just a basic meringue with eyeballs.  It literally couldn’t get any easier and you don’t need any special ingredients!

Ghost Meringues (yields approx 8-10)

3 large egg whites
1/2 t. cream of tartar

3/4 c. sugar

black royal icing (hopefully you saved some from your Franken-Pops!) or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prep:  Preheat the oven to 200°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 1:  Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium, just until frothy.

Step 2:  Add the sugar, but kick the speed up to high.  As with any meringue, you will want to beat the egg whites until you get stiff peaks (about 5 min.).

Step 3:  Place the meringue mixture into a pastry bag with a large tip (I used Wilton#12); pipe ghosts onto the baking sheet.

Step 4:  Bake around 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the meringues have set and are dry.  I let mine cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.

Step 5:  Using either black royal icing or melted chocolate chips, pipe eyeballs onto your ghosts.

Step 6:  EAT ALL THE GHOSTS.

Next time, I might even use smaller versions of these ghosts as cupcake toppers!

Halloween’n

28 Oct

Its my favorite time of the year – fall and Halloween!!

Lucky for me, two of my amazing friends decided to throw a Halloween party.  Immediately, I suggested a few things I’ve been wanting to try and they were on board.  These treats are great for kids because they are spooky and cute, but also great for adults because they are fun, creative, and easy to make.

I’ll go through a quick tutorial for the marshmallow pops, but here are the treats:

So cute, right!?  They were almost too cute to eat!

It helps to get into the spirit first!  Here are some of the decorations from the party:

 

 

Marshmallow Frankenstein Pops

1 bag white chocolate chips
Americolor gels: Black and Leaf Green
royal icing *recipe below*
1 bag large marshmallows
sticks (halve & pointy ends removed)
Styrofoam or florist block

These were my favorite treat for a few reasons: they are extremely inexpensive, they allow you to get really creative, and they are so easy!  I let my friend pipe the faces on because it was his party, after all.  He got really creative and used some of the chocolate imperfections as facial features.   They turned out cuter than I thought was possible.

Step 1:  Skewer the marshmallows with the kebobs to make them into “pops.”

Step 2:  Melt the bag of white chocolate in a double boiler.  (I used a Pyrex dish over a pot of boiling water.)  Then, add in the green Americolor gel and stir until evenly colored.

Step 3:  Dip the pops into the chocolate and coat evenly, letting the excess fall off back into the chocolate.  Stick the pops in a piece of Styrofoam to set (approximately 1 hour).

Step 4:  While the chocolate is setting, prepare some black royal icing*.

Step 5:  Dip the tips of the marshmallows into the black icing, again, allowing the excess to drip back into the icing  Return to Styrofoam until stiff (approximately 30 minutes).

Step 6: Place the remaining icing into a piping bag and with a size 3 tip, pipe on the faces and neck bolts.

Its literally that easy!  The hardest part is finding something to do in between decorating steps.  I highly recommend spending that time making ghost meringues and cupcakes!

Royal Icing With Egg Whites (from Joy of Baking)

 

 

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