Saturday, October 27, 2012

Only treats . . . no tricks.

“Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold.”  —Judith Olney

Chocolate mini-cupcakes . . .

. . . with caramel frosting and a turtle crunch topping . . .

Pumpkin Pie . . .

No holiday would be complete in my children's eyes unless I made their favorite vanilla custard . . .

It's nice to have choices . . .

The Forbidden and The Fermented, for those of us trying to eat a little healthier . . .

And, of course, candy . . .

“Backward, turn backward,
O Time, in your flight,
Make me a child again
just for tonight!”
—Elizabeth Chase Allen

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Pumpkin Halloween

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
— Henry David Thoreau

Jack-O-Lantern, Jack-O-Lantern . . .

You are such a funny sight . . .

As you sit there by the window . . .

Looking out at the night.

You were once a sturdy pumpkin growing on a vine . . .

Now you are a Jack-O-Lantern, see the light shine.

Happy Halloween!

Jack-O-Lantern Salad Plates and Mugs - HomeGoods
Black Dinner Plates - The Dollar Tree (Thank you, Patti!)
Flatware - Treble Clef by Gourmet Settings
Salt and Pepper Shakers - Hallmark (last year)
Tablecloth and Napkins - The Vermont Country Store
Napkin Rings - Bed, Bath and Beyond
Pumpkin Centerpiece and Candle Holder - Marshall's
Water Goblets - I've had these forever!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Featuring Patti C.

Patti and I came together for the first time as room mothers for our then 2nd graders - her son, Joey, and my son, John - and in the process, I found a kindred spirit in the art of entertaining.  We were so awesome as room mothers, all modesty aside, that parents began asking, not who their child's teacher was going to be for the coming year, but who the room mothers were going to be.  We gave those kids some wonderful parties and Patti and I had a blast.

Each of us, I think, could be creative and resourceful, but together we were simply dynamite.  Patti brought the fun to the team:  From Santa hats at Christmas, to personalized cakes that read "Happy Birthday, Jesus" (this was Catholic school, so we were able to do that); from an ice cream and candy buffet at the end of the school year- which we did even before ice cream and candy buffets were the in thing, to huge bouncy balls for everyone.  There wasn't a holiday in which she and I didn't put something together that was unique and slightly over the top. 

My own contributions, in light of Patti's exuberance and energy, were rather mild.  I was the funds keeper for a little while, until our money ran out, which happened, oh, I don't know . . . around Halloween, I think.  Oh, I also contributed the idea of putting together a tea party for the kids on Valentine's Day, complete with silver service (one of the parents caught our enthusiasm and volunteered her set). 

This was also the year in which our sons made their first communion, so Patti and I seamlessly continued our newly begun tradition of comparing our plans, and borrowing good ideas from each other.  We have never stopped.

Here is a picture of Patti with her two amazing children, Joe (alas, he's no longer Joey), and Francesca.

So, it wasn't all that unusual when Patti called me last week to brainstorm.  She was giving a Halloween party for 20, taking advantage of the fact that her daughter, Franki, was going to be home from college.

With less that a week to plan and shop, and putting in countless hours after work, these are the tables she somehow managed to put together:

This was the kitchen table, set up for Franki and her friends.  Yes, indeed, this was only the kid's table.

It looks like the first guest has arrived . . .

This was the adult table, or rather, "The Witches Table" . . .

A closeup of the place setting . . .

Treats for all visiting witches and warlocks . . .

Her beautiful collection of orange serving bowls . . .

This one was used for polenta . . . Did I mention that Patti is also a terrific cook?

My favorite . . .

And last, but by no means least . . . dessert.  Pudding shots, cupcakes, cookies, candies of all sorts . . . These treats look delightfully wicked!

So . . . Budget:  Ridiculously low . . . Creativity:  Endless . . . Fun:  Oh, yeah.  This is one for the books.

Here are some of the details:

Zebra Plates:  Anna's Linen
Orange Chargers:  Michael's
Tablecloths:  K-Mart and Target
Black Plates:  Dollar Store
Napkin Rings and Napkins:  Anna's Linen

Thank you, Patti, for letting me feature your deliciously ghoulish table on my blog.  You are such an inspiration to me!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Autumn Beet Salad

This salad is wonderful.  I promise all those non-beet eaters out there you'll love it!

Here are the ingredients: 
        • Roasted beet slices
        • Red leaf lettuce
        • Romaine Lettuce
        • White Onion Rings
        • Toasted Walnuts
        • Soft, creamy goat cheese
        • Your favorite vinaigrette

To roast the beets:

Wash the beets and cut off both ends.  Discard the leaves.  Wrap the beets in aluminum foil and place directly on the rack of a 350° F pre-heated oven.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them cool on the sink for 15 minutes.  Remove aluminum foil and rub off the skin under running water.  Slice into rounds.

Try Feta cheese, or Blue cheese to change it up . . . And pecans instead of walnuts . . .

Try it.  You'll like it!