[on the table] Halloween Eats

I admit it, I'm a little Halloween obsessed this year!

First I went a little overboard on the costumes.

Now I've got a whole day of spooky food for the kids!

Mummy dogs and sweet potato mash.

Apple and peanut ghoulish smiles.

Monster noodles.

Spider English muffin pizzettes.

Goblin goo parfaits.

I've also seen ghost bananas, mummy cookies, witch's brooms and ghost shaped cornbread.

[Hello Pinterest!]

So much fun! Do you have anything planned for Halloween? We're going to eat spooky food all day, W gets to wear her Alice costume to school, then K will take the kids trick-or-treating, in costume of course, while I pass out treats at home, also in costume. Hopefully K and I will finish off the night with a bonfire. Woohoo!

Happy Halloween!

Snapshots: Tea Party Eats

As promised, Part Three!

Let's talk food people.

Top 'shelf' we have hard-boiled eggs and roma tomatoes with crumbled feta 'mushrooms'. Easy to make, not so easy to get to sit upright! Next row down are sugar cookie 'tea bags' with chocolate almond bark and a super cute teatime anytime tag. Third row sports tiny strawberry jam (jam tomorrow jam yesterday, but never ever jam today! Anyone??) heart cutout sandwiches. I found this adorable loaf of tiny square bread in the bread aisle. Love this party size bread!

That's it! We didn't need much because it wasn't a real tea party.

[Ooh, did you think it was real? Sorry to spoil the illusion, lol!]

But it was all tasty. At least if you like chocolate, sugar cookies, strawberry jam and hard-boiled eggs.

[We do. A lot.]

That's Part Three folks! I sincerely hope you enjoyed our foray into, ahem, over the top family Halloween. We LOVED it!

Missed Part One?

Part Two?

What are your families doing for Halloween?


Snapshots: The Mad Hatter's Tea Party

As promised, I'm going to show off a bit more of the Ehresmanns Do Alice in Wonderland with the tea party styling.

When I began imagining what this might look like I really wanted something outdoors, but I felt it needed to be more than just 4 well dressed book characters and trees. And there are few things more iconic of Alice in Wonderland than the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, am I right?

I wanted to use items I already had as much as possible, but there were a few items I picked up at second hand and big box stores. The table is a narrow rectangular folding table, which made it easy to transport. I covered that with a gray sheet that I use for photo backgrounds in my kitchen. I purchased the lace overlays; I searched second hand stores for awhile, but lace must be a hot item because nothing turned up! I actually had trouble finding anything right in the big box stores too, but finally came across these square lace table drapes. I thought they added a vintage flavor.

I spread some green moss around under the cupcake stand and accessorized with hardcover books, including Alice in Wonderland, and a few fake blooms. If you look closely you'll also see a clock (you're late!), keys (for all those pesky doors), a tea pot I made in a college pottery class, a Drink Me bottle, and a few chess pieces scattered about. I set this up in the lower level of my house well in advance, adding to it and taking things away. I could've gone much bigger if I'd chosen a larger table, but I feel like the small one was successful. Disheveled tea settings were the finishing touch on our Mad Hatter's table.

When the shoot was over the kids were thrilled to dig in to the food! M's ears didn't last too long, lol.

More on the food tomorrow and if you missed Part One, click here!


Snapshots: The Ehresmanns Do Alice in Wonderland

I'm going to tell you a little secret.

The truth is either going to make you think I'm a little nuts or brilliant.

[If you already think I'm nuts, no worries! This truth can't make it any worse. I think.]

My secret is this:

I have been cooking up this project for OVER. ONE. YEAR.

Not because it took that long to put together, but because Halloween only comes once a year.

[So inconsiderate.]

So here's the thing. I got this snippet of an idea and it grew, eventually becoming life size. Largely due to Pinterest. Uh huh. Pinterest.

So large in fact, that I'm breaking this into multiple posts.

[See what I did there? Keeping you coming back for more baby!]

So without further delay,

Part One! The Ehresmanns Do Alice in Wonderland

The Players:
Karl Ehresmann as the Mad Hatter
Crystal Ehresmann as the Queen of Hearts
Willa Ehresmann as Alice
Marek Ehresmann as the White Rabbit

I had SO much fun putting this together! Here's the deets:

The Mad Hatter costume is inspired largely by Johnny Depp's Hatter. Shirt, vest, pants are all upcycled second hand store finds. So is the jacket with some changes. I painted it up to try to make it more brocade-ish and added lace detail to the sleeves and handkerchief pocket. Silk scarves, a few ribbons and a colorful spool of thread sash complete the look. Well almost. Hatter needs a hat, yo! I found a few instructions online and got after it. In the end the hat turned out pretty amazing considering it began as a carboard box! It's worth noting painting his nails black was all Karl's idea, don't you let him tell you any different, lol!

For the Queen of Hearts costume I veered off the Tim Burton path a bit. I actually began with a fascinator; aka an English 'hat'. I envisioned my Queen a little more like the Red Queen from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. I started with my strapless poofy black bridesmaids dress as a base. Then I sewed up a gold and red skirt and gold shoulder shrug. I added black elbow length gloves I already had and went with a dark eye, heart shaped lips and a heart shaped mole on my cheek. The finishing touch was a heavy heart shaped pendant.

For Alice I wanted to go old-school: blue dress, white apron and black shoes. The only thing we had already were the shoes! I purchased a pattern and fabric in early August and left it until the week before pictures, yikes! As soon as I opened the pattern I thought I had really gotten into something beyond my capability, as my only previous experience with using a pattern was an A line skirt from my 4-H days. Anyway after one major pattern layout hurdle it all came together within a couple of days. The only other addition were striped socks. The socks have cute hearts on the knees which you don't see because of the length of the dress. At least I know they're there. :)

Our White Rabbit was the easiest of the four costumes. I found the blue jacket and nearly white pants second hand. He already had a white shirt. The ears were a closeout after Easter. I did sew the bowtie from fabric leftover from my skirt and picked up the cutest 'I'm Late!' pocket watch from Hobby Lobby. It's adorable to hear him say pocket watch, by the way! And how cute are his nose and whiskers?

So there you go, Part One! Part Two coming tomorrow!

What do you think? Nuts or Genius?!


[on the table] Shaved Brussels Salad with Cranberries, Pecans and Feta

Are you vegetable people? Yes? Great! How do you feel about Brussels?

I'll be honest, the first time I had them they were unimpressive. Mushy. Bleh.

[Full disclosure: they were the frozen-microwave-in-the-bag variety. I can't in good conscience blame the Brussels for that one!]

These days we eat them roasted, raw, and pan sauteed then steamed. They become vibrant green in the saute pan, crispy in the oven, crunchy when raw. I. Love. Brussels.

It's the truth!

So when the recent Cooking Light showed up at my house and I saw the Brussels side salad recipe inside I just had to try it with modifications based on what I had in my kitchen.

Here's how to put it together!

For the salad:
1/2 lb raw Brussels, very thinly sliced or shredded in a food processor
1/4 cup dried cranberries (diced apples would be good too), optional
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans (walnut pieces or maybe almonds would also work)
2 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese (blue cheese or goat cheese anyone?)
1/4 cup crispy crumbled bacon, optional

For the dressing:
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (use chicken or vegetable broth for a lower fat version)
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar (use apple cider vinegar for a lower sugar version)
1 garlic clove, minced (you could roast this first! yum!)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt

Combine the dressing ingredients in a small jar with a lid and shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey and... Wait. I got distracted. Back to the salad!

The salad can be put together as is and served at room temperature. Delish! Or maybe even better you can mix the Brussels, cranberries and toasted pecans in a dry saute pan to heat it through, then add the feta and the mixed dressing and serve hot. Crazy delish! 

You really won't regret trying this!


Snapshots: McCrory Gardens

A few weeks ago I spent a little time walking around McCrory Gardens in Brookings, SD snapping shots here and there. I'd only had my camera for a short while and wanted to practice a bit in a place that has sweet memories for me. Enjoy the shots!