No.5 – And A New Year Begins

So the holidays sort of bulldozed any time I had to keep up with this new endeavor of mine, so for anyone reading, I apologize. I shall make it up to you by indulging in some of my holiday successes:

1) Halloween! It was fun, orange, and filled with all kinds of treats. For a re-cap, see my previous post. Also, a tip. If you want to make it look like you might have killed someone and then steam cleaned the carpet, splash a little laundry detergent and try your best to clean it with a wet cloth. Then turn on a blacklight, ad watch your friends stare at the revealed stain in wonder. (For those of you interested in the backstory of this little experiment, my roomie accidentally spilled some laundry detergent and we realized as the party started that it look like someone might have lost a fair amount of blood on our brand new carpet…a la TV-crime-scene style.) :D

2) Thanksgiving! I call this a success in that it was a good night filled with family and friends, and just enough food that it didn’t kill me to make it all. Last year, I had challenged myself to make everything myself in one day – the pie, the turkey, potatoes, side dishes, etc…and I did it! This year, I opted to keep the menu a little smaller, and ask for help if I needed it. If anything, I spent most of the day doing nothing and waiting for the right time to start up the side dishes! It’s all about timing. A tip: lists. I love lists. I make lists for almost everything, but mostly when I want to sort out a bunch of info in my head, and I don’t want to forget tasks or things at the store. Since last year, I made a list for the store, the cooking times, and the menu, I knew exactly what to expect this year, and it was easier. Pre-preparing can sometimes really help! I know it seems like common advice, but from someone who only party-plans for her friends that will love her and enjoy themselves even if I think it’s a disaster, I know I feel a lot better when it seems like I have a bit of control. The harder part is about letting go of that control and just letting parties be parties!

3) The Craft Fair! My employer holds an employee holiday party/craft fair every year, and all of the crafty people in my organization get together and sell their wares and generally have a good time. I had heard about it a little late, but still managed to get a table, and thankfully got to share space with a few friends of mine! It is a great, small, almost exclusive craft fair that was good for getting my feet wet. My goal, for the next year, is to build up enough stock in my card-making that I can actually start selling them. Invest in some shipping supplies, and list some things on Etsy. I hope whomever’s reading this may be interested in helping that endeavor. I might actually start selling cards for Valentine’s day. And perhaps a few other crafts I manage to make. Below are a few pictures from the craft fair, just so you can see what I’m all about.

As you can see, it’s mostly all Christmas/Holiday stuff, but, well, it was that time of year! I can’t wait to build up my tools and stock some more and make some more cards!

4) Christmas! I spent it at home, with family and friends, opening presents and making a delicious ham dinner. :) Here’s my mom’s recipe for a ham glaze:

Ham Glaze

Ingredients:

Whole cloves (about 10)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup orange juice

1 8oz can pineapple chunks in juice

1 tbsp corn starch

2 tsp dry mustard (or wet mustard to taste)

Directions:

1) Across the top of your ham, cut lines diagonally  and then crosswise, to make diamonds. In each corner, push a clove in, so they dot the top of the ham. Cook ham per packaging directions.

2) In a small saucepan, mix brown sugar, orange juice, 2 tbsp of the pineapple juice, and the dry mustard. Heat over medium high until it starts to bubble. Add corn starch. Remove from heat.

3) A half-hour away from finishing time, pour the pineapple chunks over the ham, with the rest of the juice. Pour the juice mixture over the ham and continue cooking.

Recipe works for about 1 1/2 pounds of ham.

5) New Years! Usually, New Year’s Eve, we watch the fireworks at the Space Needle. This year, we had some friends over, opened some belated Christmas gifts, and watched “Star Wars” on BluRay.

All in all, it was a great holiday season. I hope you all had a wonderful time as well!

Until next time!

No. 04 – Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

Okay, so my Halloween party wasn’t themed after Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” (one of my favourite books as a kid, by the way) But there were a few odd looking folk attending, and it went off pretty well, so I say – success! Everyone had fun – that’s in important part. And, I got LOTS of compliments on the food and decor, so YAY!

Most of the pictures I have are of people, so I will probably be blurring out some faces to protect the innocent *wink* but there are a few of the decor and food! Oh, and my dog. :D

Decor from above.

Fuzzy decor.

The beginnings of a party…

The Secret Society’s Past Members

Ghost Wine

Ghostly Libations

Bloody punch.

Fossil Cookies

Bleeding cakes.

Graveyard dirt.

Vampire Cookies. Courtesy of Clair Drake.

An apocalypse is coming.

Dobby and Yoda have a conversation.

Cruella Deville.

Me, a Gypsy.

I wish my camera were better quality, but some pictures turned out really well, considering. :) I wish I had gotten more pictures of some of the details, but I hope you all enjoyed this little taste of my very successful Halloween party. Happy Halloween to you!

No. 03 – Glitter Makes Everything Better

More crafts!

So a few days ago, I decided to re-visit my little food signs, and punch them up a bit. And what better way to do that than with GLITTER.

This is really the only decent picture I got off my phone, unfortunately, but I’ll be borrowing a friend’s camera¬† for the party, so I’ll get lots of good pics then. I used this Halloween-themed glitter pack from Michael’s:

It’s a great little pack, and a little goes a long way! There’s also a similar pack by Martha Stewart that comes with a little glue pen. I’ve used this one for a few other projects too:

Glitter skulls! I bought these tiny skulls at Michael’s as well, and used a paintbrush to put a thin layer of glue all over, then generously used the glitter until it was coated, shaking off the excess.

These skulls are a couple of inches across, but there were others by Martha Stewart that we quite a bit bigger, if you need something large for a centerpiece or the like. These are just going to go amongst the plates of food with a few un-glittered skulls and the food signs.

I’ve also made a few oddity jars – filled with things you might find in a witch’s kitchen. ;)

Dragon’s Egg

Phoenix Feathers

Brain Specimen

Graveyard Dirt

Dendriod Leaves

Anyhow, I hope you all have fun crafting for Halloween! Next time I should have some pics from the party!

No. 02 – I’ve got…the Monster Munchies

So…let’s talk about food. Specifically, Halloween Food. Now, yes, there’s all that candy, but, well, being someone that’s not as big on candy as I used to be, I was trying to think, “What other food can I have at my Halloween party that isn’t specifically designed to make your teeth hurt and make you fall into a sugar coma by the end of the night?”

So I started hunting. On the internet, that is. Of course, while hunting, I did find some sweet treats that are to die for that I will also be making (I do have quite a few sweet-toothed friends), but I figured people should probably be eating something substantial with all that alcohol, so I needed some savory things too. I also want to make only finger foods, or foods easily eaten without the aid of a lot of utensils.

Here’s my menu for the party:

Sweet

Vampire Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Candy Corn Parfaits

Mini Candy Apples

Gory Cupcakes

Fossilized bug cookies

Savory

Pigs-in-Blankets (baby finger sandwiches)

Mummy Pizzas

Fresh Veggies (carrot fingers, cauliflower brain bits, celery zombie bones, etc)

Deviled Eggs

Garlic Herb Pinwheels

Meat Kebabs (werewolf kebabs)

 

Some of these things I am just DYING to make. Right now. Days before the party. Naturally so there’s none left for the party, which is really the only downside to not waiting. lol. I’ve already done a test run of the mini caramel apples…I had never before made caramel from scratch, and I’m always up for trying new things in the kitchen! And I’m not talking about melting caramels down into a sauce. I mean honest, boiling-sugar-and-water caramel. Turned out pretty good! I’m excited. I’m going to dye the caramel red so it looks like the apples (I’m using Golden Delicious) look like they’re covered in blood. I will post pictures after the party, of course.

One of the things I think I’m going to have the most fun creating is the Gory Cupcakes. Just look at this:

Don’t those just look AMAZING? There isn’t a recipe to accompany the pic, as it’s created by a bakery in London called Lilly Vanilli. But here’s MY recipe:

  • 1 box white cake mix (or your own by-scratch recipe – I’m using a box cake mix in the interest of saving prep time before my party)
  • 1 can white cake frosting (again, or use your own recipe)
  • raspberry puree recipe
  • candy glass recipe

This is my game plan for these bloody cakes: After baking the cupcakes and letting them cool, I will core out the middle, put some of the raspberry puree in the the middle with a squeeze bottle, then frost the top, stick in a piece of candy glass and use more raspberry puree on the top to make it look like the cupcake is bleeding.¬† I will let you all know how it goes. :) Another idea for the cake is to use red velvet with cream cheese frosting. The color of the cake might keep bleeding of the raspberry puree through the cake to the wrapper from showing as much, though that might have a pretty neat effect. We shall see…

Also, I might not need all of the raspberry puree, but I will most likely use some of it for my vampire cookies! (Pictured below.)

Don’t these look YUMMY? I wish I had a whole TARDIS-full of them right now. (If you don’t know what a TARDIS is, it’s a reference to Dr. Who’s time and space machine, which is bigger on the inside than the outside. It’s also a reference to my TARDIS-shaped cookie jar.) These are going to be fun to make. :)

But now on to some of that savory stuff I was talking about. I found this recipe for Garlic Herb Pinwheels on MarthaStewart.com (have I mentioned I love the ideas on that site?) and have decided to add a little Parmesan cheese to the recipe.

I’m calling them “Deadly Pinwheels”. Well, deadly to your traditional vampire, maybe. :P I think these are going to be really tasty.

My friends love pizza. Like, REALLY love it. So why not make miniature pizzas out of English muffins, tomato sauce, and string cheese? And I can make them to order, too, so they don’t sit out and get all cold and gross. Another option is to make the dough with pita bread (or any type of flat bread) or cut out smaller circles of pre-made pizza dough if you don’t like English muffins. I’m looking forward to these.

So those are just a few of the ideas I’m working on for the party menu. I can’t wait to take pictures at my party and see how it all turns out!