Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Spooky Spiderweb Nails

Trick or treat!!  Along with a super simple Halloween costume, I decided to don a set of more complicated fingernails.  Despite how intricate they might appear, the look is surprisingly easy to create.

You will need:
  • Base coat (I used OPI)
  • Black nail polish (I used Revlon in Stiletto)
  • Grey nail polish (mine is L'Oreal in Greycian Goddess)
  • Nail art pens in black and white (mine is Kiss brand, found at Target)
  • Top coat (You can't go wrong with Seche Vite)
Apply your base coat and follow up with a base layer of color.  I did almost all black nails, with grey on my ring finger nails.

Allow the polish to dry completely.  This is super important; if you jump the gun, the nail art pens won't do much except smudge your polish.  Then, simply draw on your designs and top with a clear top coat!

Fortunately for you, I'm only showing my right hand (I'm left handed). The trickiest part of this all is drawing with your non dominant hand :)

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

DIY Skeleton Costume

It's almost Halloween!  I love love love this holiday and I ALWAYS dress up.  I'm usually quite proud of my costumes, but this year I didn't have any Halloween plans.  So, instead of going all out just so I could sit on the couch and wait for trick or treaters, I decided to go a little simpler.  And when you need a simple costume, there is no better resource than Martha Stewart.

I took her skeleton shirt idea and adapted it a little.  Here is what I did:

You will need:
  • 1 black t-shirt (long sleeves are a must in Minnesota, but short sleeve would work just fine!)
  • Martha Stewart front rib cage template
  • Scissors
  • White chalk
  • White paint (craft paint or fabric paint work fine)
  • Paintbrush
Print out the template and cut it according to the directions so that they line up to form one set of ribs.

Then, cut out the black portions of the template.

Line it up on the right side of the shirt (your left), and trace the ribs with the white chalk.

Flip the template to the other side and repeat.

Remove the template and place a newspaper or brown paper inside the shirt to prevent the white paint from bleeding through.  Fill in the ribs with white paint.  This works best if you do a little outline, then fill the rest in.

Allow to dry, then wear!
 I'll be sporting mine with a little hand painted mask... pictures to come!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cheesy Cauliflower

Super easy, and nice and cheesy, this dish is a great side for any meal, but I even ate the leftovers for a meal on its own!

You will need:
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 8 ounce block of extra sharp white cheddar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Chop the cauliflower into florets and boil for 10 minutes in a large pot.  Meanwhile, put the cheese through a food processor to shred the cheese and place it in a casserole dish.

When the cauliflower is done, drain it and add it to the casserole dish.  Stir the cheese and cauliflower together, letting the cheese melt and spread evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and the cheese begins to bubble and brown.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

First Anniversary... Again

John and I celebrated our second first anniversary last night.  A month ago, we celebrated our official anniversary with a wonderful weekend, and John's gift to me was tickets to the New York City Ballet when they made their return to Minneapolis.  So, last night we went to an incredible dinner at Cosmos and watched the NYCB perform an amazing set of dances.  So, here's a few pictures of our gorgeous evening!

Cosmos- this restaurant was unbelievable!  Gorgeous and delicious, with outstanding service
My appetizer: sweet potato bisque with pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil. 
Before this, we had an amuse-bouche, and after we had a delicious cherry cinnamon palate cleanser.  Yum!
Artic char, my main course, with bacon and cauliflower.
At the Orpheum for NYCB.
The funny coincidence of the evening?  We realized that it was the fourth anniversary of our very first date!  Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cherry Nut Bread

This is oh so delicious and super easy- just the way I like 'em!  Yet another Granny recipe, this quick bread recipe called for a lot of decoding.  Here is what the recipe calls for (and what I used is in parenthesis):

You will need:
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cherry juice (I used pomegranate cherry juice)
  • 1/2 cup nuts (I used pecan pieces, but any nut of your choice would be delicious!)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 seven ounce bottle of cherries, chopped (I could only find a 10 ounce bottle of whole maraschino cherries, which I chopped myself)
Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well blended.  You will use some of the juice in the maraschino cherry jar (I used a quarter cup).  Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees in a standard, lightly greased loaf pan.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Rosemary Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes


Another oh-so-easy dish that makes a delicious fall dinner.

You will need:
  • 2 pork chops
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into disks
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2-3 tablespoons of butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Then simply place the pork chops and sweet potatoes in a casserole dish.  Chop the butter and scatter it throughout the dish.  Chop up 1-2 sprigs of rosemary and scatter over the dish.  Leave one sprig intact and place on top. 

Bake for 40 minutes or until the pork chops are fully cooked to 145 degrees.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sunshine Cupcakes

On Monday, I shared our adults only birthday treat from the weekend.  Another birthday treat I made for my mom was a variation on another one of my Granny's recipes: Sunshine Cupcakes.  The recipe is for Sunshine Cake and is actually my great grandmother's recipe.  It uses only egg yolks, and apparently she would make it whenever she made angel food cake, which uses only egg whites.

You will need:
  • 1 cup egg yolks (this ends up being between 13-16 egg yolks, so get more than a dozen!  And if you're like me, plan on a dropping a few down the disposal by accident)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
First, measure out your egg yolks and pour into a large bowl.

To make things easier, measure out the sugar into its own bowl.  Then, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.

Now, Granny's recipe says to beat the eggs until they are very light in color.  This translates to: beat the eggs until your arm feels like it is going to fall off, and then beat for another several minutes.  Then, take a little break and beat again until you just can't do it anymore.  Lesson learned: use an electric beater if you have one.

Once the eggs are light in color, beat in the sugar.

Then, alternate adding the flour mixture and the hot water with the vanilla until they are completely incorporated.

Granny's recipe says to pour the mixture into an ungreased tube pan and bake for 45 minutes (temperature unspecified).  But, since I was making cupcakes, I filled the cupcake liners 2/3 full and baked at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Then, I whipped up a cream cheese frosting and frosted them up!  The cake has a really interesting texture- it's like a heavy angel food cake.  I hope you enjoy it!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bailey's Over Coffee Cubes

Over the weekend, my family celebrated my mom's birthday.  I made sure we had lots of treats to mark the occasion- and this is one of them.  My mom is a big fan of Bailey's Irish Creme, so I got her a bottle to sip for dessert.  Instead of pouring Bailey's in our coffee, I decided to pour our Bailey's over coffee!

I used ice cube trays from IKEA, brewed up a pot of coffee, and filled and froze the trays.  They were pretty and delicious!  And what could be simpler?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Autumn Updates: Entry

I wanted to try something fun for our doorway this autumn.  Last year I used pumpkins (which later became jack-o-lanterns) and a corn stalk which attracted squirrels in droves:

This year, I opted for pumpkin house numbers.  Leaving the pumpkins uncarved will hopefully keep the squirrels at bay, and I think it's a fun and festive way to dress up our home.

You will need:
  • Pumpkins (enough for each number of your house)
  • Black paint
  • Paint brush
  • Newspaper to cover your work surface
Simply paint your house numbers onto the pumpkins
I decided to add a few little designs on each pumpkin, too

Then arrange them on the steps however you'd like!

What do you think?  Any autumn decorations going up at your home?
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