Saturday, October 25, 2014

31 Days of Holiday: Instant Halloween Decorating

For more of my 31 Days posts, visit my main directory page here!

Friday, October 24, 2014

31 Days Holiday: Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Pops

We are all inundated with candy and sweet treats around Halloween. It seems like that trend continues right through to the new year with the upcoming holidays. What I love about these treats that I'm sharing with you today is that they are easy, economical, quick and pretty healthy. My kids got so excited when I offered them each a special pop for dessert the other day. Simple enough that they can get involved to, and if you have kids they probably love to help in the kitchen!
  • Two Chiquita bananas, sliced into three segments each
  • 6 tablespoons of chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 3 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • Almonds, sprinkles, raisins, anything goes for extra coating.
  • Lollipop sticks
  1. Start by taking about a tablespoon for each segment of banana and spread chocolate hazelnut generously on your banana segment.
  2. Once coated, roll your banana segment in coconut
  3. If desired, roll in almonds, sprinkles or raisins
  4. Press a lollipop stick up through the banana and let harden a bit on wax paper

Enjoy your delicious treat! These are perfect for Halloween parties or after school snacks!  I love the fact that this is one dessert that requires no baking!
A while ago, I talked about the Chiquita Banana Cooking Lab contest! Remember, Chiquita is giving away $4000 EACH WEEK to a lucky winner who creates a wonderful and inventive recipe based on their recommended ingredients. Each week, they will list their key ingredients they want you to use and then you are in the drivers seat! They encourage you to use your own ingredients and be creative and inventive while thinking of the recipe that you are going to create.

Have you entered yet?  Head over here and accept this challenge!  $4k would be a great start to your holiday shopping season! 

This recipe is part of my 31 days of holiday series, for more of that, please visit my directory here.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

31 Days of Holiday: Witches STEW recipe

Let me start by saying I love spicy food.  So, if you aren't a hot and spicy fan, this probably isn't the dish for you.  But, if you love an intense, rich flavor with some heat, this might just be for you.  I make it every year for Halloween and it' always a HUGE hit! This dish isn't difficult but it is time consuming.  I love that you can make the curry paste ahead and store it for up to two weeks and use it when you're ready!

For the Curry Paste...
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole ground peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon course salt
  • 3 Serrano chilies, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, trimmed and chopped - this was hard for me to find, I had to go to 3 grocery stores - so if you have a Whole Foods or specialty market, it's your best bet. 
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced (1/4 cup)
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh peeled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest (approx a lime)

Make your curry paste by mixing all your ingredients and grinding them all together. Start by mixing the coriander  cumin, peppercorns and salt together and then add remaining ingredients until you form a paste.  
When you've finished, they should look something like this.  Again, this can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. 
When you're ready, make your stew...
Stew Ingredients:
1 cup fresh spinach
2 cans of unsweetened light coconut milk (or for a richer flavor, use one unsweetened regular can of coconut milk and one light 
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 small red pepper, sliced
1 1/2 - 2 pounds of chicken breast
3/4 cup fresh basil
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
lime wedges, basil and serrano chiles, for garnish

Puree your curry paste, spinach and the coconut milk....
Spray your crockpot with nonstick spray, add chicken and pour your sauce over the chicken, cook on high for 4 hours.  Add zucchini, red pepper  and cook for another 2 hours, not to exceed 6 hours.  Serve over jasmine rice and garnish with lime wedges, basil and Serrano chili slices.  

So, again, I failed to take a pic of the final product.....and we (of course) devoured it all and have no opportunity to photograph it but I will next time! Trust me it's really good.  Really green but very tasty with a rich flavor!  Oh and if you love curry and have a special recipe, feel free to share - it's one of our favorites! 

To make it extra Halloween-ie, I bought a big caldron, my husband drilled a hole in the back and we funneled the electric cord out the back.  It gives new meaning to "witches brew"...we call this "witches STEW!" 


OH AND DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT MY FEATURE ON FIBER & THREAD!  The BEST reusable lunchbox napkins out there!  

For more of my 31 Days posts, visit my main directory page here!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

31 Days of Holiday: Princess Inspired DIY Costume!

Being a Princess or another Fairytale character for Halloween is big business. Just stroll though any aisle of Target and you'll see it's mind boggling to try to decide which costume to choose!  The costumes can be pricy and itchy.  My older daughter wanted to go alongside her sister but didn't want to look like every other Anna out there. If you want a simple, Princess inspired costume, they are easy enough to create and take residual art skills.  Keep in mind, use what you have and it doesn't have to be perfect!  We are talking Halloween here people not the inauguration!

First decide which character you want to make.  Remember, the costume is "inspired" not the exact replica.  From there, grab a recycled t-shirt, paint to your heart's content!

For the Princess Anna from Frozen inspired costume, I started with a simple black t-shirt and painted directly on the t-shirt with similar colors.  I did do this freehand but you could sketch it out with a marker if desired.  I wasn't so concerned with it being perfect so I went for it. 
I checked out the clearance rack at TJMaxx and scored this size XXS women's skirt with a tiny elastic waist.  It was the perfect royal blue so it felt like it was meant to be and for $3 bucks, how could I go wrong?  I simply trimmed the bottom of the skirt so it wasn't too long.  
Lastly, I grabbed this pink shirt from the clearance rack for $2 - it was the perfect color so I thought I could deconstruct it and "make it work"!  With a little cutting, some simple stitches and a few dabs of hot glue, the cape was born! 
Not too bad for a costume that cost me about $6 in supplies and an hour or so of my time!  Riley's smiling face was all the approval I needed!  

Sometimes looking a little different than everybody else is EXACTLY what you want to be for Halloween (especially when you're ten!) 
For more of my 31 Days posts, visit my main directory page here!
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