No. 09 – My Heart Will Go On and On…

Okay, I can’t help but use song lyrics some times for my post titles. I apologize in advance if you hate that song, and now wish you never read my blog so that it wouldn’t be stuck in your head. (It hasn’t really been stuck in my head, but it did pop up on my Spotify radio station the other day…)

Anyhow, Happy Valentine’s Day! I have a lot of friends who either hate this holiday, or are totally blase about it. And I get that. I’m not overly fond of the explosion of Pepto that happens to every place I go to either. However, I do love love, and I do love showing my friends and family how much I love them, and how much they mean to me. No, love shouldn’t only be expressed once a year, but I think it’s nice that there’s a day made to remind us to make sure we are showing our love, which is a sentiment my good (and very crafty) friend Dana shares. Please check out her recent post of Valentine’s ideas! And meet her pug, Popcorn, who is the snarfulliest pug ever. (To snarffle: something only a pug knows how to do best.)

Speaking of Valentine’s ideas, I really want to make this cake!

Heart Cake by i am baker

How COOL is that? I am inspired! I didn’t have time to make it this year, but next year… Or maybe for someones birthday. :) That’d be a nice surprise.

I found this awesome tutorial, by way of Amy Locutro, who is the creator of LivingLocurto, while she was blogging about Pinterest, and why we should (as creative bloggers) protect our images and ideas as well as we can. Very interesting reads, if your interested (which bloggers should be! I do love Pinterest, by the way, but the points Amy makes are very valid!). Anyhoo, her post about Pinterest led me to search out Amanda’s heart cake tutorial, and her site, and I just love it when I find new sites to explore.

Anyhow, I hope you all are having a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and spending it with someone special. Me? I’m spending it with this little guy right here:

Dobby.

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No. 8 – I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts…

Okay, so I’ve been a little OBSESSED with coconut recently. I blame work. We just got a new ice cream vendor, and they have these all natural fruit bars by La Michoacana, and one of them is coconut. And it is amazing. Super creamy, lightly sweet, and lots of coconut bits.

I currently don’t have the luxury to hunt these down at a retail outlet, and I had all this coconut milk in my pantry (I have no idea, why, by the way), so I thought… WHY NOT MAKE MY OWN COCONUT ICE CREAM???

I don’t have a ice cream maker, though, but I remember back in middle school, making vanilla ice cream in a bag, along with root beer. Awesome chemistry learnin’ FTW!

So, here’s the recipe I used to make the ice cream (courtesy of David Lebovitz):

Ingredients:

2/3 cup (160 ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
2 ounces (60 gr) palm sugar, or 1/4 cup white or unrefined cane sugar

(The original recipe also calls for saffron threads, but I don’t have any, and I was looking for a specific flavour, so I omitted it. I also used white sugar.)

1. In a medium-sized saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and chill the mixture thoroughly.

3. Once chilled, freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.

As I mentioned before, I don’t have an ice cream machine, or hand-churner, but thankfully, David Lebovitz has some directions for making ice cream the low-tech way (not even any rock salt or bags are involved) !

Here’s another recipe for coconut ice cream which is custard-based that sounds yummy!

The ice cream I made turned out really well! It tastes JUST like the bars we have at work. Maybe not quite as rich, but the flavour is there. The only issue I had was with the texture – I started it a bit late, and since I was doing it the low-tech way, I wasn’t able to stay up as late as I would have needed to keep stirring it every half hour. So it’s a bit stiff, but still very tasty! :)

Here are some pics:

Coconut ice cream!

Paired with chocolate ice cream!

Also, I bought some jumbo shrimp, and I fully intend to make use of this Weight Watchers coconut shrimp recipe:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
24 medium uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1/2 cup(s) sweetened coconut flakes, chopped
1/4 cup(s) cornflake crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a 10 x 15-inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk together the milk and flour in a large bowl. Add the shrimp; toss to coat.

3. Place the coconut and cornflake crumbs in a large zip-close plastic bag. Add the shrimp, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. Place the shrimp in the jelly-roll pan in one layer. Lightly spray with nonstick spray. Bake until the shrimp are golden on the outside and opaque in the center, about 5 minutes on each side. Yields 3 shrimp per serving.

I hope to try that recipe in a few days. Tomorrow, a friend I haven’t seen in ages is coming over, and I’m making herb-almond crusted halibut! So I’ll share that once I’ve had a chance to try it.

And now I leave you with the scene from “The Lion King” that I’ve had stuck in my head for days:

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. 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!