Wednesday, October 24, 2012

7 Nights of Creepy Cocktails and Halloween Hauntings

I am not going to lie Halloween is, hands down, my all-time favorite holiday. Due to home renovations last year, I totally missed out on some of the Spooktacular fun that I normally partake in and decided to make up for it this year. Since I had so much fun putting together my 12 Days of Christmas Cocktails and Fun list, I thought it would be amazing to do a similar one for Halloween (once again,  I will post pictures as I drink drink along!!  ). So grab your goblins and get ready for… cue the animated witch's cackle please… The 7 Nights of Creepy Cocktails and Halloween Hauntings (obviously, I didn’t get my act together in time to do a full 12 nights but I’m thinking it will be fun nonetheless)! Next year, there is always next year... ENJOY!

Thursday, October 25: Green Goblin and Troll 2 
There is no way to describe the awesomeness that is Troll 2. You simply need to watch for yourself and decide whether or not this film makes it into the annual Halloween movie night rotation (yes, since its discovery it’s been watched every year in my home). Now, don’t be alarmed that the movie is called Troll 2 and is actually all about Goblins or that there is an entirely separate documentary about this movie literally called, Best Worst Movie. All you need to know is that there is an amazing 90’s workout scene, a deceased-talking-grandpa and some of the best quotable lines ever seen on TV (“you can’t piss on hospitality. I won’t allow it.” Ha, you’ll see). Since I’ve never found/seen it on regular TV, you might have to purchase it through Amazon, but trust me, it’s totally worth it. So grab that delicious Green Goblin and get yourself ready for a little trip to Nilbog.

Friday, October 26: Poisoned Apple Pie (Moonshine) and Campfire Ghost Stories 
When I was younger, I was absolutely terrified of “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.” Maybe it was more so the pictures (which can still manage to creep out 30 year olds, apparently) than the actual stories but all I know is that when I was digging through a box of stuff from my childhood and came across this book I thought, “Oh my word we have to read this.” I couldn’t help myself and had to sneak a peek at some of the stories beforehand but from someone who once found these tales terrifying, I have to say, you will laugh Now onto the cocktail, I wound up making my own Moonshine (because I’m part hillbilly) but Binny’s does sell a brand that it pretty fantastic, around 100 proof (make sure you don’t sit too close to the fire) and comes in a plethora of flavors (cheery, apple, blueberry…etc). So grab yourself some Haunted Hooch and try to not scream when you realize, “that the call is coming from inside the house!!”

Saturday, October 27: Costume Party and Halloween Jell-O Shots 
Even though I'm almost 30, dressing up for Halloween is still the best part of the holiday (hands down). It also doesn't hurt to hang out with people who cherish the idea of dressing up. Thus, I am spending the Saturday before Halloween attending a costume party at a friend's house and what goes hand in hand with a house party, Jell-O shots, obviously. These Jell-O shots will be festively black and orange with a touch of spookiness. If you don't have a party to attend, there are a plethora of events happening at a local bar near you. Although, you might have to enjoy this special Haunted treat before you leave the house. Either way, its always fun to throw on a costume, act like you're still in college and have a good time hanging out with friends!

Sunday, October 28: Bloody Marys and Pumpkin Carving 
I feel like Bloody Mary’s can be suited to fit any occasion but how can they NOT be included on a Halloween cocktail list?! I did these Bloody Mary’s up a little differently than I did the ones we had a Christmastime and replaced the usual fixin’s with some zombie eyeballs, witches fingers and pickled hearts J Because I'm not actually Martha Stewart (apparently, I can't widdle a pumpkin nor "mimic the lacelike openwork of 18th-century pierced creamware" on a pumpkin... I mean really Martha?! Are these really your suggestions?!), I generally carve out a big eyed Jack O' Lantern with a goofy one toothed smile (it always starts out with two buck teeth but something ALWAYS goes wrong) and this year is no different. Maybe I'll be inspired to try something new but I'm going to predict that once that Bloody Mary kicks in Jack's one toothed grin will probably be a no toothed grin :(

Monday, October 29: Dearly Beloved Wine and Halloween Headband 
Thanks to Trader Joe's, the Dearly Beloved (or as I call it, the Day of the Dead wine) is always a fun wine to buy during the Halloween season. Its reasonably priced ($6.99) and the label is amazing (even though real wine drinkers say that choosing by the label is exactly how you're not supposed to pick out wine, meh) . So, since I always drink wine when I craft (is there any other way?!), I figured this would be the perfect accompaniment to crafting my Halloween headband. I came up with this idea the day I thought it was still appropriate to wear a costume to work... on the el... oh wait, its not. However, I was faced with a conundrum: not celebrate Halloween all day long or be socially appropriate? Ahhh. Therefore, I devised the perfect solution! With the headband, I can celebrate Halloween when I want (ie: the safety of my office) and take it off when I need (ie: public). The best part of the headband is that it is really, really easy because all you have to do is hot glue a bunch of spooky items to a headband. Blam-o, craft is done, now we can focus the rest of our attention on this festively delicious bottle of wine.

Tuesday, October 30: The Shadowy Figure and Ghost Adventures Bingo 
If you read my Redneck Bingo post, you will know that I am a huge fan of cheap and easy games that allow you to combine adult beverages and amazing television (I am very much aware of the fact that my definition of “amazing” and others might vary slightly, considering my affliction for the Real Housewives, Bridezillas, and the like…), so I decided to repeat the process with another one of my favorite shows, Ghost Adventures (download game board here)!! Ohhhh-eeeeeee-ooooooo I thought this was the perfect time to set up the tivo and record as many episodes as I could and since it is indeed Halloween season, the Travel Channel is running a marathon on Saturday, October 27 starting at 4pm eastern. You can read up on the show here. So grab yourself a Shadowy Figure and let the ghost hunting (or as my viewing partner calls it, “the dust hunt”) begin!!

Wednesday, October 31: Trick-or-Treaters and THE Trick-or-Treat 
One of the reasons I was so excited to buy my house was that I would have my very own Trick-or-Treaters coming to my door on Halloween night. So, to prepare, I made sure that the house was extra spooky for them and got a trick-or-treat give-away that will surely (hopefully) be memorable. I racked my brain to come up with the perfect Halloween treat that would make our house the go-to house on the block (however, I do think I’m competing against houses that give out actual cash and king sized candy bars, so this might be a pipe dream) and came up with Zombie Hands (aka: surgical gloves filled with candy)!! Not only do you get a plethora of candy but it looks SUPER creepy… come on, the kids will have to love it, right?! As for my treat, I decided to amp up the usual chocolate martini with something a little more festive. I don’t know about you but anytime I can enjoy some chocolate sweets and a cocktail, I am one satisfied customer. Let’s hope the little devils who come to my house feel the same way. 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Perfect Fall Weekend - In Pictures

The weather this weekend was absolutely wonderful and has definitely put me in the fall mood (thank you Skilling)!  Since fall is my most favorite season in the world (well, out of all four of them) I decided to jump in head first.  I figured instead of telling you all about it, I would document my adventures in pictures.  
HofbrÀuhaus Oktoberfest Beer

Tomato soup with baked
mozzarella sticks (in ball form) 

Einstein's pumpkin crisp bagel
and cinnamon coffee 

The biggest carmel apple in
the world from Mariano's 

Pumpkin cupcakes from Sugar Bliss

Just in case you wanted to see
these DELICIOUS cupcakes
one more time :) 
A house that smells like Fall? Yes! 

Baked apple crisp dessert (the book says bake something
that he will like "because much depends on the
state of his digestion" fyi) 

 As I take a look back at my wonderful weekend, I now realize that I need to go to the gym since, well, most of my adventures involved food and booze...  Oh well, it was glorious and totally worth it!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Poor Girls Walk in Closet :)

My dream is to one day, have a gorgeous walk in closet.  The kind with a chandelier in the middle and an entire wall that will house all of my super expensive shoes (they will more likely be shoes that were purchased from Payless and Nordstrom Rack... but whatever).  You know, like the kind of closet you'd see on an episode of Real Housewives.  Until that day arrives, I decided to dedicate one corner of my bedroom to my cause and create a space that is totally girly and all mine. Hopefully, this will fill the void that is my need for a giant Beverly Hills closet :)

In my dream, I have a section of my closet dedicated to my jewelry.  It's not that I own all these expensive, elegant pieces but I want to feel as if I'm walking into a darling little boutique every time I have to go put something on.  What girl doesn't want that?!  Plus, I am a huge fan of large chunky necklaces and bracelets and well, they are a little difficult to shove into a drawer somewhere.  The biggest challenge for me, was coming up with a way to display all of my earrings.  I am sure I saw this idea on Pinterest or at a flea market somewhere but when I was brainstorming ways to hang them up, this was the first idea that popped into my mind.

To create the earring display, you will need:

* Desired photograph or artwork
* Picture frame
* Chicken wire
* Wire cutters

Flatten out the chicken wire as best you can, you won't get it completely flat but the waves that pop up will help you hang your earrings better.  Remove the glass from the frame and match up one corner of the chicken wire with one corner of the frame.  Make sure that the edges of the chicken wire over lay the lip of the frame and are fully against the side.  Hold the chicken wire in place and then use the wire cutters to trim the other two edges.  Once the wire is cut, put the glass back into the frame, making sure that the chicken wire gets pinned between the side of the frame and the glass.  Add your picture and the backing.  Since the chicken wire is a little thick, I needed the help of the screw driver to push the tabs on back down, making sure they were snug.

Honestly, this is one of the easiest projects that I've ever attempted and I was amazed at how great it looked once I put all of the elements together.  For me this whole thing wound up costing me $0 since I already owned all of these items (just had to repurpose the picture, old frame and white shelf).

I did need to break out the major tools (yes, my hammer does have a bottle opener on the end.  You would be AMAZED at the amount of times that came in handy :) in order to get this little beauty up on the wall. but all in all, it wasn't that hard to do.  I then hung up the white shelf and blam-o  I have my very own jewelry display.

While I don't think any of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will be calling me for decorating tips anytime soon, I absolutely love my little corner of heaven.  Whenever I'm getting ready to go out, all I have to do is reach over and pull something off my shelf or grab the earrings off the frame.  I always know what I have and I never have to untangle a thing (which I LOVE!).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grilled Ballpark Nachos

My apologies for the delay!! Time is flying by a little too fast and since I have been so consumed with using my new grill and hillbilly sunbathing out in the backyard, I haven't had a chance to share what I've been up to.  

All I have to say is that The Weber truly is the most beautiful thing we own.  Sorry leather Macy's couch and Kohler shower head,  no offense.... but that amazing piece of grilling glory let's me cook everything outside.  I can't even convey how great it is to not have to turn on my oven (woohoo... it's been about 3 weeks now) because it has this magical way of turning my entire kitchen into the Amazon.  Oh, not in a fun, exotic way but in the I-didn't-think-I-could-sweat-this-much-while-standing-still, I-think-I-need-to-take-a-shower-before-eating, kinda way.  So, let phase one of the outdoor grilling recap begin... 

Since Trader Joe's only sells certain items in bulk (I only wanted 2 jalapenos but managed to walk away with 10), I needed to come up with something to do with all of the leftovers and grilled jalapenos seemed like the BEST option.  After washing, de-seeding and slicing the penos in half, I threw them on the top rack of the grill for a couple minutes each side.  

After pulling them off and allowing them to cool a little, I filled the inside with some Merkts Cheese (please don't judge me because I put spreadable cheese on everything).  The only trouble with this process is that putting the cheese in the jalapeno is similar to putting peanut butter in celery.  Slippery little suckers.  So, make sure you scrape the knife sideways, otherwise, it will just keep gliding out.  Once the penos are stuffed, I top them off with some tortillas chips (one full chip will do but I've also used the crunched up bits in the bottom of the bag).  The chips not only function as a handle but they make these grilled jalapenos taste just like the ballpark nachos that we love so much.

And while I cherish processed nacho cheese (really, I do), I am far more excited about using Merkts because it comes from the refrigerated side of the store, which just seems way more natural.  Right?!  Cheese should be refrigerated?!  Don't get me started, I just can't wrap my head around those Velveeta types.  Oh, I eat it and I love it, I just don't understand it!  Anyway... add a little Miller Lite and you would think you were literally at the ballpark... minus the losing or the ridiculously expensive beers.    

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Weber

I would have to say that this experience is on the same level as the birth of your first child. The emotions that rush through you when you bring home and unwrap that little bundle of joy. Eagerly watching the maturation as time passes on; as winters fade away to springs and summers to fall. The overwhelming feeling of unconditional love that washes over you when, at first glance, you realize you can love something THIS much. You know what I'm talking about... those feelings you get when you purchase your very first Weber Gas Grill.
 It was so exciting unpacking and assembling this brazen little beauty.  I didn't realized I was so amped about up this thing until I was asked, "are you still talking about grills?" Yes, as a matter of fact I am!  I'm in awe, and possibly obsessed, by the amount of food possibilities that seem to have opened up by having a gas grill. Up until this point, our house was an all-charcoal-house and I became seriously reluctant every time I realized that if I wanted to grill something, I had to get the coals, heat them up, wait 30 minutes, blah, blah, blah, work, work, work...Ugh, so much time wasted!!
But the Weber, oh the Weber, with your beautiful, individual electronic ignition and your 3 stainless steel burners with 38,000 BTU-per-hour input... AMAZING!!
We thought we would welcome the lovely new addition to our family by coming up with an entire dinner menu that can be done via grilling. Below, is what we came up with and I have to say, it was a mighty fine way to inaugurate The Weber (yes, capital T, The. If The Ohio State can do it, so can my grill!).
For the salad portion, we started off with a little Grilled Romaine with a Blue Cheese and Bacon Vinaigrette. Instead of cooking the bacon in a pan, we cooked it on the grill (need to get those porcelain-enameled Flavorizer® bars seasoned somehow, right?).  Next, we grilled the fattiest thing we could think of, some good ol' fashioned burgers. Normally, I go for the lean beef or even a turkey/chicken mix but for the sake of those Flavorizer® bars, I bit the bullet and got the 75/25 ground beef.  We didn't put anything fancy on them, just a little ketchup, mustard and Merkts Cheese. 
For dessert, we followed this recipe and whipped up some AMAZINGLY delicious Grilled Peaches. Granted, we had to veer away from the "everything on the grill" philosophy for a moment... but it was well worth it.   You know, it's well balanced meals like these that let you know that summer is on its way :)  So, all I have to say is... let the grilling adventures begin!!     

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pancake Muffins: Breakfast To-Go

I love pancakes! I mean honestly, who doesn't love a stack of fluffy deliciousness, topped with some creamy butter, covered in maple syrup with a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning? Oh, man, yum! If you don't, well then... I... I have no words. The only problem I have with pancakes is that they can be mildly time consuming to make, particularly when I'm only functioning at 1/4 my normal rate (let's just say it takes me awhile to wake up in the morning) and especially when I have house guests and need to provide an abundance of sustenance to six hungover individuals. One could be at the skillet for hours (more like 15 minutes, I know, but it FEELS like hours). Ugh, so daunting. It was while contemplating this little quandary that Pancake Muffins were born!!
I decided to make both blueberry pancakes and an updated version of "pigs in a blanket." So, I started off by browning some Jimmy Deans breakfast sausage in a skillet until it was golden brown. Then, I used some instant pancake mix (just some good ol' Bisquick) and whipped up a batch of batter (say that ten times fast... a batch of Bisquick batter... anyway), according to the directions on the box. I sprayed the muffin tin with Pam (I find it far less messy when I do this outside) and then divided the pancake mix accordingly.

I divided the sausage and blueberries, evenly, into the various compartments.

Then, using a spoon, I pushed the toppings towards the center until they were covered by the batter and popped the whole tin into the oven (preheated to 350 degrees) for 15 mins. I checked on them regularly, using the toothpick method to verify when they were done. After a couple minutes of cooling, I popped them out of the tin, cut them open and slobbered them with maple syrup. The consensus among the formerly intoxicated was unanimous... MMMMMMM.

I had some leftover muffins and realized that they would make perfect to-go breakfasts during the week. However, since they were thicker than normal pancakes, they were a little too dry to eat on their own. So, I channelled the geniuses at McDonald's and using a meat injector, injected the muffins with some maple syrup a la the McGriddle. No mess, no fuss, pure delight!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lazy Friday

In an effort to bring some sunshine to this dreary day and this week that apparently REFUSES to end, I compiled a random list of things that I am using to distract me. Hopefully, this will help you as much as it is helping me.

What is one thing I would like to do once winter is gone for good? Ummmmmm.... easy, an Outdoor Oyster Roast. This is an awesome deviation from your typical crawfish boil (which I also love) but the overall concept is the same. Hanging out outside. Friends. Good food. Large quantities of booze. Eating with your hands.. oh man, I love it. Plus, a bonus is that you get to build something using sheet metal. Done!

Oh, you want to just stare at something cute? Venture on over to Cute Overload or Cute Puppies. Honestly, I could look at puppies all day... and flying squirrels. Who doesn't love a good flying squirrel pic?!

Since this is Super Bowl weekend, I might be feeling slightly more sluggish then normal because I have to watch two teams I don't care about play in a game that would have included the Bears if Cutler knew how to tackle. I decided to remedy my rage with this... The NFL's Greatest Game Series - The 1985 Chicago Bears, including the 1985 Super Bowl. So, while you are watching Tom Brady and the New England defense be lame, I will hopefully be watching Jim McMahon and the '85 Bears defense be AMAZING. I say "hopefully" because Amazon is shipping it now... here is to logging on to UPS every 15 minutes to see if it is on its way!!! Further, I wanted to gather up a list of delicious foods and drinks that would appropriately compliment the viewing of the Greatest Super Bowl of ALL TIME...

  • Baked French Fries with Melted Merkts Cheese Dip - This is really easy to do and the melted Merkts cheese is SOOOOO much better then that processed nacho cheese. Put the Merkts in a microwave save dish and cook on medium for 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the mixture is creamy. You might have to repeat this process throughout the night (once it cools, it will harden back up) but it is totally worth it. 
  • Baked Jalapeno Poppers - AMAZING!!
  • Bears Cocktail - Either UV Blue and oranges or a Blue Hawaiian cocktail with oranges or as I've done this in the past, the already mixed Bacardi Blue Hurricane from Binny's.., obviously, add an orange. 
  • Blue Buffalo Grilled Cheese - instead of your standard hot wings, which can be oh so messy (and the double dipping thing, when there are other people using the blue cheese, it is quite a dilemma), this puts all of those favorite ingredients onto a sandwich. 
  • Individual Mexican Dip - Once again, we come back to the whole double dipping fiasco. So I'm taking a perennial crowd favorite and making it personal. You'll need cream cheese, canned turkey chili, shredded cheddar cheese and small Ramekin dishes. Layer each ingredient (in the order given) into the Ramekin and then either bake at 350 for about 10 mins or pop in the microwave for several minutes. Dip, dip, dip away. 
Ok, I'm getting really hungry and have to stop. Happy Friday!!
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