10.31.2010

wicked tips | goodbye!


I hope you've enjoyed my wicked tips for this Halloween! If you didn't catch them, you can read all of them here. I hope that Koree isn't too mad at me for kidnapping her blog for the past five days! I have to get back to setting houses on fire and scaring little kids from Kansas!
Have a great Halloween.

10.30.2010

wicked tips | are you like suzy?


I present to you, Suzy from It Walked On My Pillow...

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okay, the thing about halloween is that you need either a million hours or a million dollars for costumes these days, and who wants to spend that kind of time/money on a costume you are going to wear once?

here i raise my hand and give a resounding: "not me."

maybe you feel differently. i feel that you are weird. [i have a friend who spent 125 dollars on a single red-eye contact for her costume. who knows what the rest of it cost. i almost cried. i'm THAT much of a tightwad.]

it is now the eve of halloween, and i don't have a costume yet. and tomorrow morning when i wake up, i probably still won't have a costume. and still no million dollars and million hours. but i ain't skerred. i'm going to wake up, pump up the jams [who's getting scared now by imogen heap (LINK), of course--what else do you listen to on halloween?], and make my halloween costume in 5 point 4 seconds.

my go-to? i scour the internet for a good close-up shot of somebody sort of a little bit famous, preferably not too recognizable, blow their face up [no not literally], print it off on cardstock, punch holes in their eyes [no not literally], and their ears, tie a string through the ear holes and wear their face along with a couple of hooded sweatshirts and sweatpants. i realize, it's not the prettiest costume, but i think i'm cool. and that's really all that matters on halloween. that and who's getting scared now by imogen heap.


here is a picture of me the last time i dressed up for halloween: i was john reuben, a white Christian rap artist. seriously, would you rather be a million dollar pumpkin, or a Christian rap artist?

me. too.

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Are you like Suzy?

10.29.2010

wicked tips | cake ft. lydia


I, the wicked witch, will be out of your hair in two days! Have you enjoyed my tips for this Halloween?

Tonight's post will be taken over by Lydia. You can read her blog here! Such a lovely gal. One of Koree's favorite bloggers!  

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Hi, ladies (and possibly gentlemen)! I’m Lydia and I write over at my blog, Lyds Was Here. When Koree asked me to do a guest blog post for Halloween I was more than excited to participate! I really love Halloween and all of the fun stuff that comes along with it. I really like to bake, so I especially like a good, fun Halloween-themed recipe. So this year I turned to the queen of all things decorative, style, and food related…Good ol’ Martha Stewart!

On her website I found this really fun recipe for a “Marshmallow Ghost Cake.” Right away, I knew I wanted to try my hand at this one. It’s adorable! And it looks so fun to make. It was. For my first time baking it I didn’t exactly follow the recipe. Don’t get me wrong; I love baking from scratch! But for this time around I took the easy approach, and I changed things up a bit (my husband doesn’t like chocolate or cream cheese). So I used the following ingredients:


two boxes of white cake mix
vegetable oil
eggs
large marshmallows
baby marshmallows
chocolate sprinkles
whipped cream
and for decorative purposes, candles.


Using this approach to the ghost cake is great if you’re short on time, aren’t the best baker, or simply aren’t the biggest fan of baking. It’s pretty quick and simple, but most importantly, still cute and fun!

You need enough ingredients to make three layers of 8” cake circles, just follow whatever your cake boxes say, or if you’re being totally awesome and actually following Martha’s recipe…you’ll know what to do! So make your cakes and then it’s on to the more fun parts!


Once your cakes are done, frost them, and stack them up. E-A-S-Y. (I’ll be honest here, though…cakes are NOT my forte. And mine was a bit messy. Shrug!) Then it’s time for your marshmallow ghosts. They’re super cute and easy! For mine, I simply stacked a couple of big ones (using frosting) and a couple of small ones, too. I poked the chocolate sprinkles in for eyes, and I used the whipped cream for the tops of the ghosts. (Martha does it a bit different! See recipe.)



Now, my favorite part is the candles! The ones I bought are very BeetleJuice-esque. Um, basically my favorite. (Hello, namesake!) I really felt like they made the cake, and sort of saved it. Haha. I just placed them around randomly! Do it however you like. And when I was done, I sprinkled the rest of my chocolate sprinkles on the cake and on the plate. In my opinion, this sort of gave it a dirt/graveyard feel. At least, that’s what I was going for! It probably would have been better if I’d had more sprinkles, though. So if you decide to go that route, be sure to get plenty of sprinkles!

Like I said earlier, cakes are not my thing. This was actually the first “real” cake I’d ever baked. I’m telling you this basically just to reiterate the fact that this cake is easy and fun! Towards the end, I started to get a little nervous that it wasn’t “perfect.” But then I realized that wasn’t what it was about. (Unless you’re going to a big Halloween dinner party. Then, you can’t use that excuse, duh.) Seriously, though. It was really fun to make this cake, and probably would have been even more fun to do it with my little brothers and sisters. So if you have sibling or kids, ask them to join in! You’ll have so much fun making the little ghosts and decorating. Plus, you’ll need them there to help eat it. This cake doesn’t mess around…it’s huge.


I hope you guys enjoyed this recipe, and really hope someone will try it out! If you do, let me know. A big thanks to Koree for asking me to participate! I had fun. Come on over and visit me at my blog, Lyds Was Here. xo.

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Thanks, Lydia! I love this cake, and really want to try it out!!

fill in the blank friday | halloween!!

Before we start today's blanks I would like to say something...

I am going to college in the spring. Therefore, I will be quitting my job. (sad face) I didn't think it would be such a big deal until today. I just saw the "Help Wanted" signs in my boss's office. He's going to hang them up today. It shockingly makes me very sad. This is the only job I've ever had, so to leave it...it's just going to be harder than I thought it would be!!

Ok, enough with the drama. Time for some sweet Halloween blanks? So am I! These blanks are brought to you by Lauren over at The Little Things We Do. She hosts this every week. You can jump in any Friday! If you decide to join in, make sure you link up at the bottom of her post. Super easy!



1. My Halloween plans this year will include...
Today I'm dressed up for work. We're having a costume contest, and of course I'm entering! I won 2nd place last year with this costume.


The prize is money for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place! Whoo hoo! I'm dressed up as an indian today. Becca let me borrow one of her costumes she has. Thank you so much! Caleb called me Poca-hot-nas! Haha. Tonight I will be going to a play to see my cousin Chris do what he does best. (everything drama related) I'm super excited! Tomorrow I will be shopping for my baby niece. Her name is Selah Grace. She hasn't made an appearance yet, but soon will be here! Then Sunday I'm going to hang out with Caleb and Becca, and pass out candy to little kids who come trick-or-treating. :) (That was a VERY long answer...)

2. My most memorable Halloween costume was...
Well, I don't have one that really is my favorite in the past years. But I have a few pictures of some that I think are pretty fun.


This is me and my brother when we were kids. I'm not quite sure if this was for Halloween, because the date on the picture is from May. Oh well! I was a cowgirl and he was a cowboy. I think it's pretty adorable.


This was two years ago. I was a woman from India. I got that costume free through one of my mom's friends. Pretty cool, huh? I remember in 7th or 8th grade I went as a gothic princess. I put on a really fancy black and purple velvet dress, messed up my hair, and made my makeup really dark. It was pretty sweet.

3. For Halloween this year I am going to be...
Well, since I wrote a pretty long answer for #1, I think you already know. I'm an indian. I have my little moccasins on and I have a tomahawk in my belt. Fun. :)

4. I've always wanted to dress up as...
hmm...not really sure. This year I really wanted to be a bloody bride. I never really was in to the whole blood and gore for Halloween, but I think it would be a killer costume for this contest at work today.

5. Halloween free association!
Candy corn, pumpkins, orange, candy, monsters, zombies, october!
thanks Mandee ;)

6. The worst thing about Halloween is...
the calm after the storm. I get so excited to dress up. SO excited. I love it for some reason. And then I have to wait another 364 days to be able to wear a crazy costume. Man... :(

7. The best thing about Halloween is...
dressing up! Like I said before, I love dressing up! No one can laugh at me or make fun of me or say I look stupid! It's also fun seeing everyone else's costumes. I think it shows people's creativity!


Thank you so much Lauren for the fun blanks! :)
Have a great Halloween, everyone! :)

wicked tips | cookies.


So, Halloween is just around the corner. Have you found your costume yet? If not, you need to get you one! I'm not very good with putting together costumes. I've never changed out of my witch's outfit. It's too comfortable and way too intimidating.


Today I will be sharing 5 tips for you! That's a lot! These are all delicious cookies. Go on ahead and try them out for yourself!

Tip 001: Witch Hats

ingredients:
1 (4.25-ounce) tube orange or red decorating frosting
1 (11 1/2-ounce) package fudge-striped shortbread cookies (32 cookies)
1/2 (13-ounce) package milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped (32)

directions:
Pipe a small mound of frosting in center of each chocolate-covered cookie bottom; press a chocolate kiss on frosting. Pipe a frosting band and bow around base of each kiss.

Tip 002: Pecan Caramel Spiders

ingredients:
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces thin black licorice strands, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
Chocolate curls or jimmies, optional

directions:
Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Mound 30 small clusters of pecans, about 3 or 4 pecans each, spaced a couple inches apart on the pan.
Make caramel: Warm the cream over low heat and keep warm while you cook the sugar.
Put the sugar and corn syrup and in a deep, heavy-bottomed large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, raise heat to medium-high, and simmer until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, or 305 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes.
Whisk the butter and salt into the sugar mixture. Gradually pour in the cream and vanilla taking care since the mixture will bubble up. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar reaches soft ball stage, 240 degrees F on the thermometer, about 5 minutes more. Immediately remove from the heat and cool for a minute.
Ladle a couple tablespoons of warm caramel over some of the nut clusters, to make the spider bodies. Then press 6 pieces of licorice into the warm caramel to make the legs. Repeat with the remaining caramel and licorice. (It's helpful to have an extra hand here, since the caramel can set quickly. If caramel hardens, warm over very low heat. ) Let spiders cool 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with 1-inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue heat until completely melted, 2 to 3 minutes more.)
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate on top of each spider. Sprinkle with jimmies or chocolate curls, if desired. Let cool until firm.
recipe found here


Tip 003: Sweet Bones

ingredients:
6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups of sugar

directions:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture feels warm to the touch, about 5 minutes.
Return bowl to mixer, and fit mixer with the whisk attachment.Beat on high speed until very stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes.
Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip, such as a Wilton #1A. Pipe bone shapes, each 5 to 6 inches long, onto two baking sheets lined with parchment paper (as shown below). Bake until crisp throughout, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
recipe found here 


Tip 004: Fruity Mummy Cookies

ingredients:
3/4 cup of butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 (4.8-ounce) boxes (12 rolls) yogurt-striped fruit-flavored rolls
Black decorator gel
Mini chocolate chips or small decorator candies
 
directions:
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour and coconut. Continue beating until well mixed.
Divide dough into 36 (1-inch) balls. Shape each ball into 2 1/4-inch long log. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.
Cut each fruit roll into 3 pieces. Starting at top of each cookie, wrap 1 fruit roll piece around each cookie, stretching slightly to cover. Leave small opening near top for eyes. Place onto waxed paper. Use black decorator gel to adhere mini chocolate chips for eyes on each cookie.
Store in loosely covered container between sheets of waxed paper up to 2 days.
recipe found here


Tip 005: Black Cat Cookies

ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
 
directions:
Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until well mixed.
Combine all remaining ingredients except candies in medium bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture to butter mixture. Beat until well mixed.
Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a ball; flatten to 1/2 inch. Wrap each half in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).
Heat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one-half at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 3-inch round cookie cutters. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Using fingers, pinch up ears at top of each circle. Place 2 pieces candy corn onto cookies for eyes and 1 red cinnamon candy for nose. Press tines of fork on each side of cookie below eyes to form whiskers.
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are set. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire cooling rack.
recipe found here

10.28.2010

wicked tips | decor ft. becca


So, if you're the type of person who decroates for Halloween then you most likely already have your decorations up or planned. BUT if you're like me, then you wait until the last minute to do everything.


This tutorial is brought to you by Becca. She is Koree's sister-in-law. She has a blog, which you can read here. She so lovingly created these pumpkins just for this post. So nice! Take it over, Becca!

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Hey there! It's Becca from Life in Technicolor and I am here to share a simple little Halloween/Fall craft with you. It's really simple, requires very little supplies, and is great for little kids to make by themselves (as long as you give them safety scissors!)

Paper Pumpkins

You'll need:
• 2 sheets of orange paper (I used construction paper but you can use cardstock, scrapbook paper, printer paper, etc.)
• suede cord (you can also use ribbon)
• scissors or paper cutter
• optional: small hole punch



Step 1: Cut 1" strips from two sheets of paper.


My husband Caleb helped me out by making a smaller pumpkin. To do this, he cut his sheets of paper into a shorter length than mine.


Also, don't be concerned if your strips aren't perfectly the same size. As you can tell, mine are a little uneven.



Step 2: Punch a hole in the ends of each strip. Smaller hole punches work better if you have one, but if you just have a normal sized one, you can use wider ribbon or cord. I just used scissors since I had a large hole punch.


Step 3: Cut a piece of cord/ribbon.

Step 4: Tie a knot in one end of your cord/ribbon (and string it through all the holes on one end of your strips. If you're using ribbon, it helps to cut the end at an angle and then use a lighter to seal the edge.



Step 5: Then, put the ribbon through the other set of holes on the other end.


Step 6: Tie a knot at that end, making sure the strips bend a little bit to allow for the pumpkin shape.
Step 7: Push all the strips to the sides so they are pressed against the knots.
Step 8: You can also add a loop or a bow for decoration.


Step 9: Now fan out your little strips until they make a pumpkin.



Step 10: Arrange and enjoy your cute d├ęcor!



You could also use brown or white paper to make different colored pumpkins!

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Thank you so much, Becca! This is such an easy and simple little way to decorate your home or patio!

versatile blogger award

I have been given another blog award. YAY!


To accept the Versatile Blogger Award the rules are:

1. Thank and link back to who gave you the award.
Thank you, Beth! Check out her blog here. :)
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
I like popping my gum.
Halloween is my favorite holiday (odd, I know).
I ordered this shirt a little bit ago, and I am impatiently waiting to receive it in the mail!
My favorite movie of all time is Grease.
I can eat Candy Corn all day.
I don't like the words "similarly", "regularly", or "panties".
I am 18 and don't have my driver's license.
3. Pass it along to 7 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy.
4. Leave your recipients a note, telling them about the award.

wicked tips | lollipops.


Are you sick of me yet? You better not be, or else I'll spit fire at you!
Oh, sorry...I'll be nice.




Tip 001: Vampire Lollipops

supplies:
red cellophane
lollipops
black felt
twist ties
white address labels
scissors
peel and stick wiggle eyes
pattern (print it here)

directions:
Using the pattern, cut capes (one for each lollipop) from black felt.
Cut a piece of cellophane into a square, large enough to wrap around the head of the lollipop. (See photo.)
Loosely wrap the cellophane around the lollipop and place the wrapped lollipop onto the felt cape. (See photo.)
Wrap twist tie around both at the neck of the lollipop. (See photo.)
Cut fangs from white address labels and stick to the front of the lollipop. Attach peel and stick wiggle eyes to the front of the lollipop. (See photo.)

Tip 002: Halloween Lollipops

ingredients:
2 cups of sugar
2/3 cup of light corn syrup
1/4 cup of water
10 drops of orange food coloring
8 drops of pure orange oil
10 lollipop sticks
assorted candies for decorating

directions:
Line three baking sheets with Silpats (nonstick baking mats), or grease them generously with vegetable oil. Prepare an ice-water bath. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Stir continuously to dissolve sugar. When the syrup comes to a boil, stop stirring and clip on a candy thermometer. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the mixture turns golden and reaches 300 degrees to 310 degrees. (hard-crack stage) on the thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes. Occasionally wash the sides of the pan using a clean brush dipped in cold water to prevent crystals from forming.
Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the syrup to a 2-cup heatproof measuring cup. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir in the food coloring and orange oil until completely combined.
Working quickly, pour ten 3-inch circles of syrup onto prepared baking sheets. Press in lollipop sticks. With your fingertips or a toothpick, lightly press candies into the syrup. Set aside until completely cooled and hardened. (See more photos here)

Tip 003: Halloween Chocolate Lollipops

ingredients:
1-1/2 cups vanilla or white chips
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
Ghost lollipop/candy molds
20 lollipop sticks
1-1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon orange extract
Pumpkin lollipop/candy molds

directions:
In a microwave, melt vanilla chips at 70% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Stir in coconut extract. Cut a small hole in the corner of a pastry or plastic bag; insert a #3 round pastry tip.
Transfer melted vanilla chips to bag. Fill ghost molds three-fourths full. Press a lollipop stick into each ghost; top with a small amount of melted chips. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Set remaining melted chips aside.
In the same microwave, melt milk chocolate chips at 70% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth. Stir in orange extract. Prepare a second pastry or plastic bag; insert tip.
Transfer melted chocolate to bag. Fill pumpkin molds three-fourths full. Press a lollipop stick into each pumpkin; top with a small amount of chocolate. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Set remaining melted chocolate aside.
Remove lollipops from molds. Use reserved melted chips to add faces to ghosts and pumpkins. Refrigerate until serving.

Tip 004: White-As-A-Sheet Ghost Lollipops

ingredients:
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate chips (2 cups)
12 (3-inch) pretzel sticks
24 miniature chocolate chips

directions:
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.
Place the white chocolate chips in a double broiler over just-simmering water and melt, stirring frequently. As soon as the chips are just melted (there may even be a few solid ones left), remove the pan from the heat and remove the top section of the double broiler so the chocolate's temperature doesn't keep rising.
Drop a generous tablespoon of melted chocolate on the parchment. Use the back of your spoon to shape the ghost from the melted chocolate: Drag the back of the spoon slightly downward and sideways to form a curved tail; push the chocolate up and over with the back of the spoon to shape a head and two little hands.
Push a pretzel stick into the tail, burying the pretzel about 1-1/2 inches in and spooning a bit more chocolate over to cover it. (You'll have a relatively short 1-1/2-inch handle to hold, but these ghosts don't last long!) Press 2 miniature chocolate chips into the head for eyes.
Continue working until you've used all the melted chocolate, making 6 ghosts on each baking sheet. If the chocolate firms up before you've finished, set it back over the hot water in the double boiler and stir again, being careful not to overheat it.
Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes, until the ghosts are firm, and serve cool.

Two more lollipop recipes: