Decorating, Cooking, Party Ideas, Travel, and a Halloween addiction

Friday, July 30, 2010

Tofu meatballs

This is absolutely my husband's favorite thing. Twenty five years ago when he became a vegetarian it was alot more difficult than today. There were no premade tofu chick'n nuggets, veggie burgers, veggie sausage and bacon, or veggie hot dogs. His mother indulged her then 8 year old son's desire to stop eating meat, thinking it was a passing phase, and that when he wanted his happy meal he would eat meat again. That never happened. So she came up with these meatballs. And we all thank her! 

1 pkg firm or extra firm tofu, crumbled up  {the pictures are actually showing a double batch}
add in an egg, a cup or so of breadcrumbs to start, salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano,a dash of cayenne or crushed red pepper, and half a cup of grated/sheredded parmesean cheese
fresh parsley
Roll into litlle balls and place on a lighty greased {I use non-stick spray} sheet tray.
Then lightly spray the top of the meatballs  as well.

bake at a preheated 450 degrees. 15 min then turn over for an additional 15 min or until both sides have a little color

I made a few changes from my mother in laws recipe. She pan frys the meatballs like you would you regular pork-beef variety, and I bake them so I don't have to deal with splattering oil. Either way with a little marinara they are delish.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

food for a barn raising...

When I cook I don't really use recipes or cookbooks regularly. It's more or less when I'm making something new, or baking [which in my book is practically science], or I just look through them for inspiration. I particularly love Amish and Mennonite cookbooks. It's the kind of food my mom and granny used to make. They weren't Amish, but they were plain county folk. Simple recipes from scratch that used the ingrediants from the farm. Another great thing about these types of cookbooks is they always have a miscellaneous section in them for odds and ends. Things like how to dry sweet corn, how to make hand lotion, how to keep worms off growing cabbages. But my favorite has to be "Food for a barn raising" As I'm sure most of you know that a barn raising was quite an event back then. all your neighbors and friends came over to help and of course, there had to be food.

Here is a list I found:
115 lemon pies
500 fat cakes{doughnuts}
15 large cakes
3 gallons applesauce
3 gallons rice pudding
3 gallons cornstarch pudding
16 chickens
3 hams
50 lbs. roast beef
300 light rolls
16 loaves bread
red beet pickle
pickled eggs
cucumber pickle
6 lbs. dried prunes stewed
1 large crock stewed raisins
5 gallons white potatoes
5 gallons sweet potatoes

enough food for 175 men

I love this!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bread Pudding

It's always the simplest things that people love. The things that remind us of childhood.

I made this for a work bake sale and everyone raved about it, for those reasons I think. I suggest serving it warm with vanilla ice cream on top. 

12 hamburger buns   or bread or old croissants...whatev                              

4 tablespoons butter, melted

3/4 cup raisins (optional)

6 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

1cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.Break bread{ I actually diced the buns} into small pieces into an 9x13 baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread.
3.In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs, add in sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour in the milk and whisk until combined. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.  Spinkle and lighly conbine the raisens

4.Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.

Look what I found!

In my palm tree...

I just love the light blue and pink colors.  It's like they know which ones are boys or girls.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Goodwill finds

Jonathan Adler napkins-4 for 1.00
{originally $12 each}
Small decorative bunt pan had a "made in Italy" sticker, so that made me a little more inclined to like it. -$1.99
Big fat 3 wick candle with glass holder -$1.99
{the floral wires are the circlets I made for the solstice party}
small cheese plate with cloche - $1.99
rotating spice rack -$5.00
{perfect for little halloween jars}

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Honestly is there anything more heartwarming than a big bowl of noodles with cheese?
This is one of these things that really there are no measurements for, I just kinda go with what I have on hand.
1 lb pasta. cooked and drained-
{I prefer something med-small size with either a tube or ridges to catch all the cheese}
 In a saucepan melt a couple tablespoons of butter over med-low heat. Once melted add in the same amount of flour and cook it until it becomes a light tan color.
Add in a couple cups of milk and bring to a simmer . Once the sauce starts thickening add in a few handfuls of shredded cheese.{here I used a mix of chedder and monterey jack, but anything will work} a 1/2 tsp dried mustard  or a whole tsp dijon. a little cayenne or hot sauce to taste. salt and pepper to taste. If you wanted to add a combination of chopped ham and andouille sausage at this point I would highly reccommend it.
mix sauce , pasta and meats if using, and pour it into a lightly sprayed 9 x13 pan. sprinke more cheese over the top and some buttered breadcrumbs.
bake at 350 10-15 min, just until the top is browned and the cheese is melty

Friday, July 16, 2010

Crafts for Halloween

Here is my proposed list of Halloween crafts for this year....
Yarn pumpkins
Shrunken apple heads
jack-o-lantern jars
spooky paper curtains
coffin table

Last year I had the guest bedroom open for the party, all decorated like a Gothic cathedral, this year I want to make it into a mad scientist's laboratory.
Also since I don't think it got enough foot traffic, I am going to move the bar back there. I am visualizing all the liquor bottles arranged between specimen jars and glowing beakers.....Hopefully it will be do-able. I don't want to buy a ton of halloween props/decor that can only be used in one application.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Pumpkin Carving Inspiration

How awesome are these babies!
Last year I only carved two pumpkins, but hopefully this year I can make some of these a reality. Maybe someone at the "Pumpkin Party" will be able to. Hmmmm...... I think a party game competition would be in order!
I especially love the owl pumpkins. so cute and so easy. I may splurge a bit this year and buy Funkins, a brand of fake carvable pumpkins. They usually run $20-$30 bucks a pop, but they last forever. I would love to be able to build up a collection of jack-o-lanterns that could be added to every year. If I carve something like these pumpkins I will want to appreciate for more than a week. And to be honest, in Florida a week is pushing it.

These images are from Martha Stewart Living.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Halloween party ideas

I know halloween is still more than 100 days away, but I am getting excited!!!!
usually I do some kind of halloween party with costumes and a big spread of food, but this year I want to do it a little different. Hopefully this year we will go to Halloween Horror Nights at universal in Orlando so that may influence my decision, cost wise.
So here is my idea list....{drumroll please}

Murder Mystery game party { I am sure I could find a fun packaged one online, and have everyone come "in charecter", but would have to be a set ammount of people to fill the  "cast" }

Nightmare before Christmas theme { Alot of work decor wise, but maybe host a viewing party...?}
....HaHa viewing party I am so punny.

Vintage Victorian theme {maybe bobbing for apples, or trying to eat doughnuts dangling from a string}

Steampunk theme {similar to the one above, and may alienate some of my guests, but still sooo fun to decorate for}

Pumpkin dinner party {with pumpkin carving, and pumpkin as the featured ingredient of the food served} Am I the only one who wants to say pumkin???

No theme just costumes and drinks and themed food { easiest, but if its going to be less than 20 people, why not put a little more effort into it?}

Quite honestly I think I am going to go with either the pumpkin dinner party, or the Vintage Victorian party. Or, maybe combine the two  in to a super mash up of a Victorian themed dinner party, with pumpkin carving, and a creepy course by course dinner.... OOOOOh yeah baby, I think we have it now!!!
 Costumes a must!

More on food and decorations later