Halloween is definitely becoming my favorite kid holiday. Pumpkins, cobwebs, costumes, it's all so much fun and doesn't involve standing in line at the store.
I ran across this at NotMartha and thought it could be fun. So, some little people and I made hot dog mummies with chicken apple sausages and crescent rolls.* They were pretty much the easiest things ever and the kids could do pretty much everything themselves.
The mummy blood (which is maybe a little too realistic) is just a bit of ketchup, barbecue sauce and water. The older one decided "mummy blood" was too "mean" so he asked if we could call it mummy juice. Eww, but that works for me.
Lest you think that I am a cruel grown up and the kids were freaked out, the little one asked me to decapitate his mummy right away. Then he said "Yaaaaaaaay, now it's nice and dead!"
*Did people wrap hot dogs with things before the advent of crescent rolls?!
So, last week was a bit nutters and I just had to press the pause button. Want to know what I did while I wasn't writing something here?
- Walking through my childhood neighborhood, A lot has changed, but so much is still the same. Some of the "good" trick-or-treating houses looking like they'll still be a good bet this Halloween.
- A long dogwalk to the beach.
- Visiting a secret garden.
- Halloween costume planning. This involved hacking up a candy pink bridesmaid's dress. It was very therapeutic.
- Making soup and breadsticks.
- Eating homemade pie.
- Watching the season finale of Mad Men. Oh so good!
- Dinner with good friends and David Sedaris reading.
- A lazy morning reading in bed.
- Eggs, toast and pot of tea while listening to Car Talk.
Is everyone sick of my love affair with pizza dough? I've been working away to try and find just the right all-purpose recipe. Something that will make thin crust, puffy crust, calzone, focaccia . . . then I had a shocking revelation: tasty pre-made dough.
While hanging with some wee kidlets at their house, I made pizzas with Trader Joe's dough and it was delicious. Why the hell am I agonizing over blooming yeast and kneading and rekneading? That dough is damn tasty and there's no off flavors or poor consistency to betray its readymadeness. I'd rather spend my time making homemade sauce and thinking up new and exciting toppings.
Here's a calzone filled with mozzerella, homemade sauce, peppers, olives and onions. I rubbed the dough with a little garlicky olive oil and kosher salt. Oh mama, that was seriously tasty. The top was crispy while the bottom had just the right amount of chewiness.
P.S. I love the hollow "thunk" a calzone makes when it's done.
So, for your tomato-lovin' enjoyment:
I am very loyal to my shoes. Once I find a pair or style I like, I cling to them. Maybe it's because I'm always looking for that perfect combination of comfortable and sassy. Boring shoes are for boring people.
Now these Cloud 9s (made by Nine West) wouldn't set the world on fire, but I could walk for miles in them and they do have a kicky little ankle-strap. When they started to look a bit worn, I decided to put them aside for a project. I thought I might need them for a Halloween costume or some other worthy sacrifice.
Instead, I ran across Craft's Shoe Issue and decided they could become something new. I didn't want to get all crazy with the doodads and the artsy-craftsiness. I wouldn't end up wearing them if they looked sloppy or homemade, so I pondered things for a bit. Finally I decided I needed a pair of metallic sandals. They'd dress up a regular work dress, but could look great with a pair of jeans or peaking out from long pants.
I had some high-pigment load metallic acrylic paint just sitting in my drawer and thought a few thin layers would do the trick. As you can see, my materials were very basic: 1. Shoes cleaned with a little nail polish remover, 2. Part of an old sponge and 3. Metallic paint.
I discovered that starting with a thin coat was very important. I actually used the paint more like a polish and just started rubbing in small amounts with the sponge. I dabbed the sides which created a matte effect and painted the insoles as well.
The final result was better than I expected.
I've done a bit of additional work on the sole to even out the finish, but I'm very happy with the pewter color of the leather. So far there haven't been any cracks or flakes. I'm thinking they could probably even be polished with a neutral oil or saddle soap.
Note to self: it's really really time for some new linoleum in the kitchen.
It looks like I'm in for another round of wedding and baby showers. I never know quite what to get for the wedding showers, especially when they're post-wedding. Do people still buy their friends naughty nighties? Luckily everyone needs baby blankets.
Chocolate brown and pink is really popular for girls right now. It's also practical since something like this won't show any stains and washes up beautifully. I thought the little birdie turned out nicely, but I had to make sure to really stich him down. It's no good if the little one can pry him off and stuff him down her throat, right?
Whenever I give a baby blanket, I always make sure the mother-to-be knows that it's durable, washable and meant to be used. Too many people gets stuck with gossamer blankets made of precious materials that won't hold up to babies and their bodily fluids. Baby blankets should function as napkin, spitoon, privacy shield, dishrag, picnic blanket and peak-a-boo prop.
Anything less will end up in the back of a drawer until the kid is 19.
I've recently become obsessed with pizza. Sure pizza is always tasty, but lately I've been experimenting with different toppings and styles.
Seeing some beautiful homegrown figs at the store, I hatched a plan for a pizza with figs. I thought some goat cheese would add creamy deliciousness, but then I wanted to use balsamic reduction to cut through all the mildly sweet flavors. I wanted some toasted walnuts for crunch and slivered shallots to keep things savory.
I wanted to ensure a crispy crust, so I cranked the oven to ELEVEN (actually 475) and pre-heated the greased pizza pan. This created a nice brown crust on the bottom that tasted of olive oil and the garlic I roasted the night before.
Next time I need to work on a thinner crust. This was delicious, but I would like the crust to take more of a backseat to the toppings.
My grandfather always said that when he died, he wanted to be reincarnated as a blue-eyed seagull. My great-uncle commemorated this wish in this painting on a large flat rock. As far back as I can remember, it's always rested on the windowsill in the kitchen.
Though I've always liked seagulls (even when they tried to steal my lunch in elementary school, I can't say I've noticed any with blue eyes. If he is indeed hanging out at the beach and bobbing in the surf, I'm sure he's missing a good dry gin martini.
I think I'll make sure to drink one in his honor this weekend.
To celebrate a 3 year-old's birthday this week, I had to find a good recipe for homemade play-doh. I came across that old standby, cooked play-doh.