DIY Halloween Roundup: Treats & Drinks

Last but definitely not least in my DIY Halloween Roundup series: treats & drinks! Don’t be fooled ~ these treats have some tricks up their sleeves, too! In case you missed them, don’t forget to check out my posts on costumes and decor & pumpkins.

Halloween Treats Cakes 2013

1. BOO surprise inside cake tutorial by i am baker. 2. Black Cherry Cupcakes by Poor & Pretty (that’s me!) — these are great for Halloween parties because they’re dark, chocolatey, slightly fruity, and full of surprising zest! I’d also suggest my “True Blood” Red Velvet cupcakes from a few years back. 3. Dangling Spider Cake Pops by Bakerella (she’s got candy corn ones, too!). 4. Cute Dracula Cake DIY by Coco Cake Land (I met Lyndsay at Alt For Everyone ~ aren’t her cakes adorable?!).

Halloween Treats & Drinks 2013

5. spooky yogurt via lisa storms ~ perfect for kids (or adults) who are going to be way too sugared up to eat cake, too. 6. Ooey Gooey Monster Eye Cookies from Lil’ Luna. 7. Bloody Shirley Temple via Your Southern Peach ~ this is genius! Just keep the grenadine in a syringe and partygoers can add it to their drink themselves! 8. Blood In, Blood Out cocktail via Refinery 29. 9. DIY Halloween Donut Hole Ghosts by Say Yes to Hoboken ~ a slightly less sugary, easier alternative to cake pops.

And of course, check out even more of my favorite Halloween-themed treats and DIYs on my my this is halloween Pinterest board.

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¡Fuel for your Cinco de Mayo fiestas!

I’m so excited for Cinco de Mayo! My friend Jordan and I are heading up to Boston for the weekend to party with our friend Beata. I hope you have equally fun plans. Just remember: before filling your belly with tequila and margarita mixes, cushion it with delicious Mexican cuisine first! Here are a few of my food recommendations:

Cinco de Mayo fiesta food

1. Guacamole ~ first and foremost, where would a Cinco de Mayo celebration be without guacamole?! I blogged my Dad’s famously delicious guacamole recipe a few years ago — it’s basic, so you can spice it up with jalapeños or cayenne peppers.

2. Chorizo Empanadas ~ my mouth is watering just looking at these! Recipe via Buns In My Oven.

3. Chili con Queso ~ after guacamole, chili con queso is my favorite dip, and I’m now realizing how much I love Mexican food. This is an easy set-it-and-forget-it queso dip from Chef in Training.

4. DIY Taco Seasoning ~ Stan and I make tacos on an almost weekly basis, so we’re constantly going through taco seasoning packets. It’s much cheaper to make your own seasoning so you can skip the kits and just buy the taco shells at the grocery store. Besides, you probably have many of these spices already! Recipe via Little B Cooks.

Don’t forget the desserts!

Cinco de Mayo fiesta desserts

5. Piñata Cookies ~ these are, hands down, the coolest cookies I have ever seen. They take a little longer to make than your average chocolate chip cookies, but wow are they cool! Recipe via She Knows.

6. Flan ~ flan is one of those things that looks like it could be totally disgusting, but it actually amazing. Plus, it’s a signature Mexican dessert! This recipe is from Blissfully Domestic.

7. Raspberry & Lime Margarita Cupcakes ~ These are some of the most delicious cupcake I’ve ever made. The recipe is from Jennifer Ross’ The Icing on the Cupcake. I haven’t been able to find it online anywhere since it’s copyrighted, but I recommend buying the book anyway. The story wasn’t all that great, but the cupcake recipes are well worth it.

Check back for drink recommendations on Friday! Happy May!

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The Thanksgiving table: Thinking beyond the turkey

I know I said that Halloween & Yule/Christmas are tied for my favorite holidays, but who am I kidding? I love all holidays. I attribute this to my amazing family. I’m lucky to have a family that I truly enjoy being a part of. I’m also lucky that my Dad is a wonderful cook. He’s hosting Thanksgiving again this year, and I’ve volunteered to help him with a few of the sides. So in my brainstorming and recipe-pinning, I found a few favorites that I thought I’d share.

Rosemary Focaccia via Poet in the Pantry ~ You might remember when Carrie a.k.a. the Poet in the Pantry shared her Butter Rum Cake recipe here on Poor & Pretty. Turns out she makes more than really amazing desserts! I almost want to run out and buy a bread machine so I can make this rosemary focaccia. Rosemary is my all-time favorite cooking herb/spice.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Cranberries via Whole Foods Market ~ When Stan and I lived in Manchester, there was a Whole Foods Market not far from us in Glastonbury. It can be a bit pricey, but I shopped there every once and a while and especially loved going for their recipes. This is a particularly delicious take on butternut squash.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce via Two Peas & Their Pod ~ Now, I am not one to knock the canned cranberry sauce. I’d eat an entire can myself if I weren’t concerned about saving room for the rest of Thanksgiving dinner. But a few years ago, my cousin Karyn made an amazing cranberry-orange sauce that I’ve been dying to recreate. This probably isn’t the exact same thing, but I’m going to make it nonetheless because it looks just as delicious.

Mashed Potatoes with Herb-Infused Cream and Chives via Williams-Sonoma ~ My Dad makes ludicrously good mashed potatoes on his own — he uses a KitchenAid to get them so whipped, you think you’re eating some kind of dessert rather than a potato dish. He bought something at Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago and found this recipe in a Thanksgiving booklet they put into his bag. Mashed potatoes with herbs and chives? I’m in!

Pushing Daisies‘ Apple Gruyere Cup Pies via Cave Cibum ~ Okay, I’m going to admit something truly embarrassing. I went to see the Breaking Dawn 2 premier last Thursday night with Mish and Suzi. And you know what? It actually wasn’t too bad. My favorite parts were the ones that Lee Pace {formerly Ned/The Piemaker on Pushing Daisies} were in. You can’t help but be charmed by his adorable smile and beautiful eyes… okay, I’ll stop because I know Stan reads this ;) Anyway, it reminded me of this recipe for Pushing Daisies-inspired Apple Gruyere Cup Pies. I made them for Thanksgiving last year and they were a big hit. Desserts are Suzi’s territory this year, though {hint, hint, Suzi?}.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?

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Recipe: Tra la las {iced Italian cookies}

I haven’t been blogging this week because I’m taking a break from work, blogging, and soapmaking, as a way of celebrating my graduation ~ woo-hoo! But! I was making tra la las today and I wanted to share the recipe in case anyone is looking for an easy, last-minute treat to bring to a holiday party. Let’s get to it!

Cookie Ingredients {yields 3.5-4 dozen cookies}:

  • ½ cup {1 stick} butter
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder

Icing Ingredients:

  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbs milk
  • ¼ tsp lemon or almond extract
  • nonpareils/sprinkles {optional}

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Grease cookie sheets.
3. Cream butter & sugar in a large bowl until smooth.
4. Beat eggs and vanilla extract into creamed mixture.
5. Combine the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl; slowly add to creamed mixture. Beat well.
6. Roll walnut-sized portions of dough in your hands then drop onto greased cookie sheet.
7. Bake 8-10 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.
8. Mix icing ingredients together.
9. Dip baked cookies into icing ingredients and sprinkle with nonpareils or other sprinkles.

Note: If you burn the bottoms, it’s very easy to scrape it off with a grater.

Note 2: Make sure you sprinkle on your nonpareils/sprinkles before the icing hardens, otherwise they won’t stick on.
Note 3: Always sample your delicious treats before serving. ;)

Thanks to Katrina over at Pugly Pixel for the velvet ribbons. Happy Holidays! xo

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Chocolate-Chocolate Pancakes

I promised you the recipe for Chocolate-Chocolate Pancakes in my ReStyle ReVisted post, so here it is! My mom used to make these for my sisters and I when we were little, and now I rarely eat pancakes that aren’t chocolate-chocolate {one “chocolate” is for the cocoa powder in the batter and the second is for the chocolate chips}. You can use any pancake batter you like, but I use Hodgson Mill’s Insta-Bake Whole Wheat mix {you can find this in your local grocery store}. I use the recipe on the back of the box, omit the sugar, and add in cocoa powder and chocolate chips to taste.

For 10-12 Pancakes:

  • 2 cups Hodson Mill baking mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1½ – 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • chocolate chips
  • whipped cream

Mix all of the ingredients together except the chocolate chips & whipped cream in a medium mixing bowl. I like to add my chocolate chips in after I pour my pancakes onto my griddle, but you can mix them in the batter if you’d like. Top your cooked pancakes with whipped cream, and complete your meal with eggs, bacon and OJ for a truly spectacular breakfast! <3

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