Last weekend we had our Halloween party and I though I would share with you guys and gals as my Halloween countdown. Not very many people came out though we still had tons of fun. We had sinister cider with voodoo heads, buttered corn (popcorn), eyeball punch, caramel apples, and petrified pizza. Maybe a few late night tacos from Jack in the Crack (ie: Jack in the Box) for the drinkers; at least we had the sober driver go and get them
Today, I want to share with you a DIY project on how to make wood grave stones and a recipe for the classic caramel apples with bacon or with nuts. But first I want to scare the crap out of you
This would be my brother whom scared the piss out of the my teens and their friends at our Halloween party. He came through the house in the pitch dark while the movie was on and stood behind them. It’s was a class A scare!
This year I decided to go with a literary/science Halloween theme.The gravestones I crafted feature Poe, Tesla, and Shakespeare. What I seriously love about wood stones is they do NOT blow away in the wind. Just take a long piece of plywood and cut into three. Lowe’s will do this for you for free if you ask and don’t have a saw at home. Stencils are great for the lettering. I used spray paint in black, one to each slat, and acrylic white paint for the lettering. Used wood fencing pieces and adhered them to the back with screws and a drill to insert the stones in the ground to stand upright. These stones are better on the environment as you can use them year to year and they don’t blow away in the wind like the Styrofoam stones you can buy at the store.
Halloween can’t be without a treat! These were requested by the other half.
We chopped up our own nuts and added bacon to a few. I used Fuji apples.
Four days until Halloween! What do you have planned?
This is an argument that my other half and I have constantly. He swears there is a difference n rice brands. I used to disagree; however, recently we’ve tried all sorts of difference brands and blends. His favorite is Uncle Ben’s. I was not sold until I tried the brown rice. It goes perfect with jalapeno’s and red onions. I prefer to serve it with fish or chicken.
Though last night was one of those what I have in my arsenal is what I’m cooking tonight. I had a bag of Uncle Ben’s whole grain brown rice and since I am horrible at cooking rice and usually make the other half do it, this stuff comes in handy. I like to add it to soups cause it make the soup more hearty and filling. Brown rice is a great protein which makes it perfect to add to soups with just vegetables or those with meat too. hearty dinners are just up my alley when the colder weather comes in and the teen boys think they need to bear up for the winter. Do you have any brown rice recipes?
I make this soup with or without brown rice. I enjoy both!
I am excited to announce an another brilliant giveaway. Muir Glen Reserve Kits which have canned organic tomatoes and a recipe booklet! I have the opportunity to giveaway five of these lovely baskets! The giveaway ends 10/15/2012. Please follow the instructions below the picture in the Rafflecopter to enter to win a Muir Glen Reserves Kits giveaway.
The kit contains:
- One 14.5 oz can Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
- One 14.5 oz can Reserve Harvest Sunset Organic Diced Tomatoes
- One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
- One 14.5 oz can Muir Glen Organic No-Salt Added Diced Tomatoes
- A recipe booklet featuring a variety of recipes created by award-winning chefs from around the country made with the 2011 Reserve Tomatoes
- Retail Value: $10 excluding shipping
You can also find all the information about Muir Glen their newest website: www.muirglen.com
Enter using the Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: Muir Glen is providing five baskets. I was not reimbursed for writing this post and all opinions expressed are my own.
Yay! The blog and I have made it two years. Though, I am a few days late on this post due to my birthday and the cold front that swept in and made everything so dark that there would be no way to get one single natural light photograph. At least the sun is back out and my son and I can have some fun photographing our favorite lunch container by Frego!
Today, for the blogiversary, I am giving away one Frego lunch container! This beast is the guru of all lunch containers. One of my very personal favorites! Here is a video to tell you why it is my favorite with all the super cool features this container comes with. We’ve used this container over and over and it works very well in the microwave and the oven. It’s sturdy and the double seal is fantastic; no leaks!
I wanted to share a recipe that I use to put in my Frego container. It’s an older recipe on the blog but one of my absolute favorites when the Autumn air comes rolling in.
For the giveaway just follow instructions in the Rafflecopter below.
*Disclosure: I was given two containers from Frego to review. I was not reimbursed for writing this post and all opinions expressed are my own.
Swear to the gods, cooking beans never turns out the same. Soak them 24 hours and put them in the pan and half of them are still hard hours into it. This is why every woman/man wants to crockpot cook their beans. I am just not a huge crockpot person. It takes the talent out of cooking or at least I kind of feel that way about it. My picture of smoked chorizo bean soup looks so red from the chorizo.
Today, I want to tell you how I cook beans and make sure that they do not turn out hard. The no fail method is soak them for 36 hours not 24 hours. Drain them a few times and replace the water. Give them plenty of room to grow in the water by putting them in a larger bowl with a lid. After soaking, cook them for four hours and then let cool. Store them over night and cook for four hours again the next day. This allows for the oils and flavor to settle and you will have some of the best beans you’ve ever tasted. Adding a tad of liquid smoke really kicks in the flavor of the beans along with the bacon adding additional smoke flavor.
After months of promising this recipe for bucatini all’amatriciana it is finally here. Guanciale (pork cheek) is not common in the US, which means you must replace it with the closest item, that item is pancetta. Pancetta in a block is also hard to locate but at least we have one Italian market and deli in town. Finding the pancetta was the simple part.
I would eventually go on a three month endeavor to find bucatini pasta. Bucatini is a No. 12 pasta that resembles spaghetti but has a elongated hole running complete through it. Luckily, World Market is renovating their stores and recently stocked it with bucatini. I purchased five packages I was so excited!
Bucatini all”Amatriciana is a dish that made it popular in Rome. It is named after the tiny town of Amatrice. It is said that the shepherds love this meal to warm up from the chilly mountain air.
I just love any excuse to have fresh basil in the house as the aroma is delightful! If anyone is interested, I can add the recipe of how to make your own peeled tomatoes to replace the canned tomatoes within this recipe. Canned can be bought but are sometimes hard to locate.
The lovely people over at Cascadian Farms were fabulous enough to send me two boxes of their new Ancient Grains Granola cereal and give me two to give away plus a tote! Before we get to the giveaway there is this delicious recipe for granola blueberry muffins and granola banana muffins I want to show you first. After the family sampled Ancient Grains Granola they instantly decided that we needed to make a recipe from it. A short discussion went from granola bars to muffins. Since it is on my food list to make my own muffin recipes, I figured why not!
My son, Chance, quickly stated that these were the BEST blueberry muffins he had ever tasted. Though his idea is he made them. He did all the measuring and mixing while I, of course, directed him with my recipe. Since they are teenagers now my goal is to teach them to cook like me but always keeping a few recipes secret. That way when they move out they have to come home to have their favorites.
These are simple muffins to bake and make a quick healthy breakfast on the way to school. In fact, my son was eating one on the way out the door this morning. However, today is my son Tommy Lee’s 17th birthday. He and I are about to head out to have lunch for just the two of us at the Chinese buffet; that way he will get his fill of sushi.
Bake these yummy muffins this Fall
To enter the giveaway fill out the Rafflecopter below.
*Disclosure: I was given two boxes of Cascadian Farms Ancient Grains Granola to review. I was not reimbursed for writing this post and all opinions expressed are my own.
Today, I visited our local world market and I fond two of the cutest Chinese bowls with a place to hold the chopsticks. They are white with a black design. I can not wait to use them for a upcoming recipe! I scored them for only $2 a piece. Trying to decide if I should go back and pick up the plates that match.What do you think?
The lovely people over at Chobani sent me a case of yogurt to try out. I love the blood orange flavor and the pomegranate. Though, the honey goes perfect with so many desserts and savory dishes that I had a hard time deciding what recipe to make. My inspiration came to me when I was at the local organic store and I could smell the cantaloupe from across the way. Some might say yellow curry is spicy, but I feel it is actually flavorful. If your not a curry fan you can replace the curry in the recipe with apple pie spice. My son said apple pie spice would be wonderful with it. He’s not the hugest fan of curry. On the other hand I love curry spice especially with yogurt or apples!
My recipe for curry cantaloupe parfait.
Chobani Greek yogurt is currently sponsoring Team USA! And I am giving away a case of Chobani to one lucky winner! First the recipe for this simple parfait then you can fill out the rafflecopter below for the giveaway.
*Disclosure: I was given a case of Chobani to review. I was not reimbursed for writing this post and all opinions expressed are my own.
Title: Riso: Undiscovered Rice Dishes of Northern Italy
Author: Gioietta Vitale, Lisa Lawley
Publisher: Open Road Media
Goodreads: From soups and salads to risottos and desserts, Gioietta Vitale presents the best of northern Italy’s rice-based specialties. Illustrated with line drawings and filled with tips on ingredients, techniques, and even the perfect wine to go with each dish, Riso is a More…
My Review: Risotto allo Champagne should tell all about this book! Filled with riso (rice) recipes from salads, soups, risotto’s, and even desserts. Vitale & Lawley do a stunning job presenting riso in bountiful methods that are simple to recreate. Would be fantastic to see pictures accompany this book although rice is not always the easiest item to photography. Next on my list to try is the Risotto con Prosciutto e Melone!
The lovely team at OXO sent me a Cherry Pitter to test out. I am already bias to OXO tools since everything I have tested is wonderful! The cherry pitter is simple to use even for my left handed daughter who is 12. She was excited to use the new tool and insists that I buy all OXO tools for her to use in the kitchen because it is difficult for her with most kitchen gadgets. As you can see below it pops out the seed and has a splatter proof shield.
Here she is using the cherry pitter to pit the rainier cherries for this rainier cherry ricotta cobbler recipe.
In addition to the cherry pitter, OXO is running a recipe contest which will be judged by creativity, taste, and presentation. Below is my recipe for Rainier Cherry Ricotta Cobbler in which I am entering into the OXO Cherry Recipe Contest. The ricotta acts as an ice cream in this dish and it is topped with a crumble crust regularly featured on cobblers with a fresh topping of Rainier cherries that have been tossed lightly in honey added to the top with more honey drizzled over the entire dish.
I hope you all enjoy this refreshing dessert in this relentless heat.