Topic-Changing Thursdays: Happy Halloween!

No recipes today, just a little Halloween spirit. Or spirits. Like ghosts and things. What are your thoughts on ghosts? I’ve never seen one. I think I’m more of a “spirit” believer. I think sometimes our loved ones hang around a bit longer, or make appearances in random memories or dreams. But, I am also a gullible sort and willing to be more open to strange ideas. If you’re looking for Halloween recipe ideas, feel free to check out my other posts this week

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This past weekend we hosted a pumpkin carving party. Last year we didn’t carve pumpkins. I can’t remember why…I know we were gone for some of the weekends, so maybe time just got away from us? Our old home never had trick-or-treaters, so we’re hoping for a good batch here. We bought lots of candy! Either way, I can always sacrifice myself to the leftover candy. I made sure to pick out candy I enjoy eating. Mwahaha.

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Tips-y Tuesdays: Halloween Treats

I didn’t think I would be creating any Halloween goodies. I’m not normally very creative in the whole decorating/making things look good way. But, we were hosting a party this past weekend and I wanted some themed treats. So, I came up with the Meringue Ghosts you saw yesterday and the Pudding Graveyards you see today. Both have been done before, but I put my own spin on the treats. Do you like to do gross treats for your Halloween parties, or stick to the ideas of Halloween (like ghosts and tombstones)? I couldn’t bring myself to do the gross kind, but I might for a kid party. Are you a party-thrower who does themes? I usually don’t, but again, that goes with my lack of creativity in that department. After visiting my friend Kim and seeing all of her amazing decorations I felt ashamed that I haven’t done more, but I just can’t think of what to do! So, feel free to share your decorating tips here.

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Meringue Ghosts

I went from having no Halloween treat plans to a few all at once! This treat came about because I had a few egg whites leftover from making Toasted Marshmallow ice cream. Then, I saw meringue ghosts posted as an idea and wanted to do a version for a party we were hosting. These became great palate cleansers because of the little twist I included in them (see below for the recipe). Tomorrow I am sharing an even easier treat involving chocolate, so stay tuned if you are interested in another Halloween idea. It’s an oldie but goodie, and one I’d never made before. Of course, these ghosts were also new. I have made meringue cookies before, but this was slightly different.

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The ghosts were having a discussion.

The ghosts were having a discussion.

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Topic-Changing Thursdays: Wedding Cake!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook, or even just through this blog, you might have seen that my dad had a wedding recently.

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In case you are quite behind the times with me, my mom passed away a few years ago (it was 5 in August–wow!). My dad began hanging out with an old friend (one who was also friends with my mom), and soon became my dad’s companion. (Girlfriend sounds a bit weird when you’re over a certain age–hehe.) At first I was anxious, but she has been very sweet the entire time. She is a great listener and a great partner for my dad. I guess it’s always a bit funny when a parent gets married, but I am happy that my dad has someone to take care of him for the rest of his life, and to keep him content. The annoying part is that there is not a good word to represent the occasion. If I say my dad is getting married, it sounds like my parents were never married. If I say he is getting remarried, it could imply a divorce or some bitterness. Why isn’t there a word for “my mom died, my dad met someone nice to marry, and I am cool with this”? Oh well. The nice part is that I now have a title for her other than my dad’s girlfriend: stepmother. It makes it much easier for introductions!

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To help them celebrate, I decided to make them a cake. They had said they weren’t planning on a wedding cake (but don’t be alarmed, they had plenty of desserts to choose from at the reception), so I offered to make a cake for just the two of them. They wanted a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting, much like one of our favorites from this bakery near Baltimore. I made a few cakes and a few frostings on my way to making their wedding cake. The cake was intended for them to cut and enjoy, but they were generous and shared slices with immediate family members, too. Out of a wish to preserve privacy, I won’t share the pictures from the cake cutting, but I will say that the thumbs up from my stepmother with huge smiles from her and my dad were the perfect thank you.

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Parisian Gnocchi with Bacon, Onions, and Roasted Tomatoes

Last post I shared potato bread. This post makes you think potatoes (gnocchi), but really it is something else! I once had someone tell me there is only one right way to make gnocchi. Ugh. So not true. There are many ways, and you can pick your favorite. Until I master potato gnocchi, this will be my go-to gnocchi recipe.

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Potato Bread

You have no idea how happy I was that a full on bread recipe turned out so well for me. I have made some breads before, but this one seemed legit (maybe because I have only ever bought potato bread from a store before). I figured you could make it at home, but I didn’t realize how simple it was. A little while ago I was up early waiting for our new kitchen table to be delivered. I had nothing to do because I couldn’t go anywhere or get too involved. I figured it was the perfect time to make bread since most of the time is inactive for allowing it to rise. The other reason I wanted to try this recipe was because it is my friend Lisa’s favorite bread. She had stayed the night and I wanted to surprise her with it in the morning. I tried to play it off like it was no big deal, but I guess the cat is out of the bag…I was really excited to serve it for her. And, yeah, I knew K would like it, too.

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Beef Teriyaki

K and I used to get teriyaki out a lot. There is something addictive in the salty sauce they use, and it’s fun to have the side dishes, too. If I had one of those carryout containers to serve this in, I would have done it! As it was, I made do with our fresh sugar snap peas and corn, along with the ubiquitous rice. I like being able to control what goes in my food, so this helped make teriyaki a home-cooked meal. Next time we are going to try the same sauce with chicken thighs. K thinks it might be even better since beef almost doesn’t need a sauce.

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