30 October 2011

It's a Halloween Party!

So I just threw a little Halloween party for 30 of my closest friends / kids.   Well due to some being out of state, sick, etc.... we ended up with a total of 20.  It was a blast.  

The kids and I started by decorating the house.  This was fun.  We strung spider web every where.  And notice the little mice?  We cut out a bunch and taped them along.  Cute huh?
 In the spider web we hung fake critters.

Our candy bowl and "thanks for coming" gifts.


I took a few of my husband's golf balls and turned them into eyeballs!  Eewww right?  Anyway we gave the kiddos some spoons and had them do an eyeball relay.  That was fun! 

 We did the classic pin the nose on the pumkin.  We made this pumpkin out of one of those orange "tableclothes" you find at the dollar store.  Here is the "after".  They did pretty good right?

The biggest hit was the simplist.  Get some toilet paper and a few dads.  Then let the kids turn them into mummies.  Super super super fun.


I did the standard stuff.  Soda, juice, etc.  Then for fun I did a Spiked Cider.  Super easy.
 Spiked Cider:
4 cups apple cider.
1/2 C dark rum
1/2 C cinnamon schnapps
* mix, serve over ice.  Garnish with apples tossed in lemon juice. *


I did 2 savory snacks (Popcorn and Macaroni & Cheese) and 2 sweets snacks (Cupcakes and Apple Cake).  I had them at "stations" throughout the house so people would keep mingling and moving. 

The first sweet was CUPCAKES.  I used Martha Stewart's classic Yellow Buttermilk Recipe. Which is awesome.  It holds up really really nice.  For the frosting I used MS's Swiss Meringue Buttercream only without the cream of tartar.  I mixed 1/2 of it with 2 oz melted milk chocolate to make a light brown frosting.  The other half I mixed with random food coloring until the color looked "halloween".

 I let the boys decorate them.  We drew mouths with food gel and put on candy "eyes".

The other "sweet" was an APPLE WALNUT BUNDT CAKE.  Which was amazing.  Here is the recipe I started with.  I didn't change too much.  I omitted the walnuts since 2 of the kids coming have nut allergies.  This is the "cake station". 

1 of the savories was cups of popcorn.  Just plain air popped popcorn.  Turned out to be a big hit with the kids.  I put them into two different places. 

The second savory was home-made Macaroni and Cheese.  Which I failed to take a picture of, sorry.  But I do remember how I made it so here you go:


*Cook 1 pound macaroni, drain, rinse, set aside.

*Warm in microwave or in pot on stove 5 cups whole milk.

*Grate 10oz sharp cheddar, 4oz smoked Gruyere, 4oz American (from the deli - this is actually important for it's amazing melting / blending quality)

In large stock pot melt 1 stick unsalted butter until bubbling.
Add 1/2 c flour.
Mix 1-2 minute.
Slowly pour in while whisking all 5 cups milk.  Stir constantly while cooking until thick and bubbly (5 mintues). 
Take off heat. 
Add 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper, 1/4 t smoked paprika.
Add all the grated cheese.  Mix with whisk until smooth.
Add macaroni, stir.
Serve.  Yum.

Happy Halloween!
So that is how I did it this year.  I'd love to hear about any Halloween party tips you have to share!

02 October 2011

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa


Tomatillos are one of those thing I never went out and bought.  Then I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) farm where we bought a "share" and every week all year round we get a portion of whatever they harvested that week.  Or in some cases didn't harvest... once in a while natural disaster occurs (hail) or pests get in (deer) and our "share" is smaller.  That is all part of investing and supporting local farms.  We love it.  And they deliver to our door.  Fresh, local, organic food.  It is beyond awesome. 

It has expanded my cooking.  I am forced to cook local, seasonal, year round ... which is healthier but sometimes challenging.  Like the giant heads of cabbage that comes week after week after week in the late fall and all winter.  But most of the time I love getting to cook with the food they bring.  Which brings us to tomatillos.

The last few weeks I've been getting about a pound of tomatillos a delivery.  Now in the past I've made soups, green enchiladas, etc.  My current favorite is salsa.  Very spicy salsa.  And the spicier it is the more likely I get it all to myself.  Yum.  Here is what I did today.

Take about 1 pound tomatillos, husk and rinse them.  Peel 1 small head of garlic (about 12 cloves).  Rinse about 6 or 7 small cherry tomatos.  Place it all on lined jelly roll pan.