Archive for October, 2009

The Joys of Candy Corn

Posted in Uncategorized on October 31, 2009 by cydlee61
20091022-candycornpile

Candy Corn Pylons from Diabetik, Flickr

Well it’s Halloween here in Ontario and we all know what that means…bags and bags of candy corn are gracing the store shelves! MMMMM It seems from doing my research for this post that there are two kinds of reactions to the mention of candy corn:  mmmmmmm or YUCK!!!  Candy corn seems to truly be one of those love it or hate it kind of things.  I, as I am sure you have already figured out, fall on the side of the LOVE IT people but it is incredibly sweet and even I can’t eat more than just a little bit (something my waistline and teeth thank me for).    Candy corn is so popular that October 30th has even been declared as National Candy Corn Day in the US.  Despite its many sugary ingredients and sweet sweet taste, a cup of candy corn actually has fewer calories than a cup of raisins so indulge away! 

Candy corn has been around since the 1880’s.  It was originally invented and produced by George Renninger, an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Co and then later by the Goelitz Brothers Candy Company, which later became the Jelly Belly Candy Company.  (yes those Jelly Bellies…more mmmm).  In early days, candy corn was only available seasonally.  It apparently was produced from March to November but I know that in my area it was (and often still is) only available from September to just after Halloween.  (When I lived in the US, it was available longer…usually right up through their Thanksgiving).  Now with the advanced machinery they have, the company is able to produce candy corn in a variety of seasonal colours throughout the year at a rate of approximately 25,200-40,000 pounds per hour.The main ingredients in candy corn are fondant (which is comprised of about 20% sugar and 80% corn syrup), and marshmallow (which helps it to retain its shape).  Each of the three colours are produced separately and then done layer by layer from orange to white.  Back in its early days, this layering process was all done by hand, pressing the layers into moulds that had been dusted with cornstarch.  Want a more detailed description of the production process?  Check one of these out:  http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/candy-corn.htm    http://candydishblog.com/2009/10/20/candy-science-tuesday-candy-corn-and-starch-molding/  Apparently there is a video from The Food Network showing the candy corn production process but I can’t add it here as it says I am unable to access due to the fact I live in Canada.  Perhaps you will have better luck! 😉  http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/10/in-videos-how-candy-corn-is-made-goelitz-factory.html

This site has a list (and recipes) of 10 things to do with your candy corn from candy corn popcorn cakes to adding them as sweetener in your coffee and tea to adding them to your Chex mix and your apple pie recipe and more!  http://www.fox4kc.com/lifestyle/holiday/sns-halloween-candy-corn-ideas,0,7740621.story  One of the ideas I really want to try is their idea for adding candy corn to baked apples ( just use your favourite baked apple recipe and add about a dozen pieces of candy corn to each apple).    Prefer to make your own candy corn?  Here ya go!  http://candydishblog.com/2009/10/21/make-your-own-candy-corn/ (for a recipe) or if you prefer a step by step tutorial:

Some great links to check out for more candy corn fun!

Skip to my Lou (I HIGHLY recommend this blog!) has a collection of ideas for candy corn themed foods and drinks which could make the basis for a really rad candy corn themed party!  http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/10/26/yummy-candy-corn-themed-ideas/

Living Locurto (another of my favourite blogs) has this adorable candy corn treat bag and tag printable:  http://www.livinglocurto.com/2008/09/halloween-candy-corn-bag-tag-printables/

This candy corn Halloween bracelet is easy to make and just adorable! http://www.favecrafts.com/Halloween-Crafts/Candy-Corn-Halloween-Bracelet#

I found a tutorial on Youtube for applying your eye makeup in a way inspired by candy corn but honestly I didn’t think it had any relation to candy corn whatsoever.  Instead, I offer for your viewing pleasure, how to paint your nails in candy corn fashion!

How about this thoroughly adorable candy corn hat pattern?  http://reeniewhirled.blogspot.com/2008/09/candy-corn-yarn-and-free-hat-pattern.html

A tutorial for a really adorable candy corn mini-book   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toNqVeV13Qc

Making candy corn out of polymer clay (use it for jewellery or as embellishments on other projects)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7PKDaTUNf0&feature=related

And lastly, if you enjoy the bizarre humour of Mr. Bill from the old Saturday Night Live show, I leave you with this offering…Candy Corn Man!

More Ghoulish Delights

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2009 by cydlee61

Wormy Hotdogs

Cut hotdogs lengthwise in quarters and grill.  As they cook, they will naturally curl up and take on a “wormy” appearance.  Serve these with your usual hotdog toppings but remember that for that eerie Halloween touch, you might want to use those weird coloured condiments like purple ketchup.  Now how to serve these?  I can picture one of those fake human skulls in the center of a platter with the worms all around and crawling in and around the openings like the eye sockets.  When I first saw this recipe, they had it placed in a dish with a fake hand which was also effective.  Of course there’s always the idea above…where they used a pumpkin and cut a “mouth” in it and had the dip spilling out…I can picture the worms spilling out instead. 

 Halloweenitini: (from the Food Network):  Begin by taking one cup of candy corn and dump it into 3 cups of vodka for a minimum of 3 hours.  Strain.  For two drinks, use 4 oz. of the flavoured vodka, 3 oz. orange liqueur, 2 T. lemon juice, an egg white, and some ice.  Put these ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake up!  Strain this mixture and serve in chilled martini glasses.  Garnish? Candy corn of course.

 Hungry Girl’s Halloween food ideas video http://www.hungry-girl.com/genericpreview.php?newsletterid=1909

 More Halloween dinner ideas http://www.tongue-n-cheeky.com/2009/10/grimm-halloween.html

 Spooky Stew  http://www.mannerofthemonth.com/blog/?p=5861   

 Jack O’Lantern that looks like it’s ummmm vomiting guacamole http://www.borders.com/online/store/ArticleView_extremehalloween  

 Jack O Lantern cheeseburger pie   http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=257916

 Mummy Dogs  http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1842416

More Creepy Halloween Recipes

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2009 by cydlee61

The following recipes are adapted from ones found in Woman’s World magazine. 

Hotdogs with Gopher Guts 

Ingredients:

8 hotdogs

1 tsp. green food colouring

1 pkg. of Mr. Noodles/Top Ramen noodles (discard the yucky oh so high in sodium seasoning packet)

¾ cup shredded cheese

1/3 cup ketchup

2 T. mustard

8 hotdog buns

 Directions:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Cut an approximately 3 inch slit down the middle of each hot dog, going about halfway but not all the way through and place these in a foil lined baking pan.  Bake the hotdogs for about 8 minutes (the slits should open up and expand).  Cook the noodles according to package directions (remembering NOT to add the packet of seasoning) making sure to add the food colouring to the cooking water.  Drain the noodles and stir in the shredded cheese.  Mix together the mustard and ketchup and brush this mixture over the hotdogs and the insides of the buns.  Place a hotdog into each bun, opening side up and return them all to the baking pan.  Divide the noodles into 8 even servings and stuff the hotdog openings with a portion of noodles allowing them to spill out as if the hotdog is “spilling its guts”.  Bake once more for about 5 minutes until heated right through.

 Spider Sliders

 Ingredients:

4 cups coleslaw

2 lbs. ground beef

1 cup BBQ sauce (divided into ½ cup for mixing with meat and ½ cup for basting)

2/3 cup pickle relish

2/3 cup minced onion

4 cups frozen shoestring or curly French fries

8 dinner or similar rolls (use something appropriate as slider buns)

8 green olives (stuffed with pimento), cut in half

 Directions:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix together the beef, sauce, relish, and onion. (Note: there is no reason why you can’t just use your favourite ground beef blend for hamburgers for this).  Shape 8 slider sized burgers out of the meat mixture.  Place these on a cookie sheet and brush with the other ½ cup of BBQ sauce.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until cooked thoroughly (allowing any pink to remain in the middle of ground beef can be risky).  Place the fries on another cookie sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.  Put one burger on each roll bottom.  Arrange the fries around the burger to make the legs of the spider.  Pile some coleslaw on each burger and cap off with the roll tops.  Use 2 olive halves on each one to make eyes. 

 Meatloaf Coffins with Ghostly Potatoes

 Ingredients:

½ cup + 2 T. ketchup

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

1/8 tsp. black food colouring

3 slices white bread, torn up into small pieces

1 ½ lbs. ground beef

¼ cup minced onion

1 egg

1 clove garlic

1 T. Montreal steak spice

2 2/3 cup mashed potatoes

¼ tsp. green food colouring

 Directions:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray.  Combine the ½ cup ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and put aside.  Mix together the black food colouring and the remaining ketchup, place in a small Ziploc bag and put this aside as well.  Soak the bread bits in ¼ cup water and then squeeze out the excess water.  Mix the soaked bread together with the beef, onion, egg, garlic, spice, and half of the reserved Worcestershire mixture.  Divide this mixture into 8 equal portions and shape these into mini meatloaves.  If you are really creative, you can use something with a flat surface like a large kitchen scraper to press against each of the mini loaves to form flatter sides and sharper corners like on some coffins you see but even just a normal loaf shape gets the idea across.  Bake these mini meatloaves for 20-25 minutes until cooked right through.  Put 1 ½ cups of the mashed potatoes into a pastry bag.  Mix the remaining potatoes with the green food colouring and spread out on your serving tray using a fork to create the texture of grass.  Brush the meatloaves with the rest of the Worcestershire mixture and place these on top of the “grass”.  Using the potatoes in the pastry bag, pipe dollops of potatoes onto each of the meatloaves to form ghosts.  Snip the corner off the Ziploc bag containing the ketchup and black food colouring mixture and pipe eyes and mouths onto each of the mashed potato ghosts. 

 Halloween Breakfast from Rachael Ray

 Easy Eggy Eyes

 Ingredients:

1 T. butter

6 eggs

3 pitted black olives, cut in half

6 green peas

Ketchup or hot pepper sauce

 Directions:  In a skillet over medium low heat, melt the butter.  Cook the eggs in the butter, sunny side up.  Place two eggs on each plate and adorn the yolks with first the black olive halves and then a green pea on each one to form the eyeballs.  Using the ketchup or pepper sauce (it works best if in a squeeze bottle), draw “veins” branching out from the yolks onto the whites of each egg to make the eyes look bloodshot.  Serve with severed hand toasts, made quite simply by using a hand shaped cookie cutter to cut out pieces of toast and placing dabs of raspberry or strawberry jam around the wrist area of the hand toasts to make it look like blood from having severed the hand.

Wonderfully Creepy Halloween Foods

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2009 by cydlee61

One of my favourite blogs has these wonderfully creepy Halloween food ideas including: Not Martha’s Meatloaf Hands, Matthew Mead’s Broccoli Soup with Eyeballs, and more!

http://www.skiptomylou.org/2009/10/28/frightfully-good-halloween-food-ideas/

Just discovered this blog today but they have some wonderful ideas for Halloween goodies here!  I really love the Eyeball Martini and am so wishing I was hosting a holiday party so I could serve them!

http://www.oursilverplatter.com/site/blog.php?article=NDM=

Some spooky cocktails:

Green Goblin Jello Shooters:  Use any flavour of a green coloured Jello and pair with vodka or tequila.  Prepare the Jello shooters as usual but before you put them into the refrigerator to solidify, stick a gummi worm halfway into each shooter, letting the rest of it dangle out of the cup.  When the Jello has firmed up, the worm will be suspended in it.

Red Zombie:  In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 oz. gin, the juice from 1 1/2 lemons, 1 tsp. icing sugar with some ice.  Strain into a tall glass over ice cubes.  Fill up the rest of the glass with soda water, add a few drops red food colouring, and stir.  Garnish with red maraschino cherries from which you have removed the stems and replaced them with a chocolate chip (put it point side down into the opening left by the stem) – voila!  Zombie eyeballs!

Some oh so eerie cocktails using black vodka:  http://www.marthastewart.com/article/spooky-halloween-spirits?backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/halloween-cocktails#slide_1

If you mix up larger batches of some of these drinks, you can always serve them in bottles adorned with creepy labels.  Martha Stewart makes a collection of these that you can purchase at Michaels’ Arts and Crafts Stores.  She also has printable templates for a couple of labels suitable for use on bottles of wine. http://www.marthastewart.com/article/wine-bottle-labels?&backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/halloween-clip-art?

Here is another take on the bottle labels at a really great crafting blog called Dollar Store Crafts:   http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2009/10/creepy-bottle-labels/

Previously I shared with you the popcorn hands idea…here’s another adorable way to package up popcorn for Halloween distribution.  This time the packaging is made to look like witches and once again it would make for a great party or school favour.  Or, if you are like me, we used to have “special” treats…ones that were homemade and more elaborate for select trick-or-treaters (children of friends that we knew personally and so on).  http://www.marthastewart.com/article/goody-witches

Halloween Week Menu

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2009 by cydlee61

This menu plan with recipes is just wonderful!  What a lucky family to have these meals for Halloween week…yummy healthy home cooking but still Halloween themed!  The menu includes:  Mini Pizza Mummies, Sausage Potato Soup with Spooky Lady Fingers, Mummy Hotdogs, Mummy Meatloaf, and Ghost Grilled Cheese.  PS – Check out the rest of her blog for fabulous ideas for other menus and crafts.

http://www.livinglocurto.com/2009/10/week-15-meal-plan-halloween-fun/

Witches’s Fingers

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2009 by cydlee61

You can actually make these cookies using any sugar cookie or shortbread recipe that you like.  Some people like to leave the dough plain and others like to tint it with green food colouring for that extra ghoulish touch. 

Here’s one possible recipe for the cookies that I particularly like:

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened (I don’t find I get satisfactory results from margarine in this recipe)

1 cup icing sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

2 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

approximately 1/3 cup slivered almonds (for the fingernails)

1 tube of red decorating gel (for the blood)

Directions:  Using a hand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, egg, and extracts until creamy.  Beat in the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Once thoroughly mixed, cover and refrigerate this mixture for half an hour.  It’s best to work with only a portion of the dough at a time and keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator until needed.  Use a heaping teaspoonful of dough for each cookie.  Roll each piece of dough into a finger-like shape.  You can shape this even further by squeezing the centre of each finger to make a knuckle bone and use a knife to create some slashes that will look like the wrinkles of the knuckle.  Lightly grease a couple of baking sheets and bake these cookies in a 325 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes until a light golden colour.  Remove from oven and let the cookies cool slightly before proceeding.  Use the red decorating gel to “glue” slivered almonds to each of the fingers.  Be sure to use enough gel so that it oozes out slightly for creepiest effect!

 

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Popcorn Hands

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2009 by cydlee61

Sigh, I don’t have a photo of this right now and couldn’t find any copyright free ones to include but I will be making some of these this week and when I do I will update with a picture!  ***UPDATE*** I found a site where they had this idea as well and have linked it here in case you want to check out their photo until I get mine up!

http://littlenummies.net/?p=1354

I made these pretty much every year from the time my daughter was about 4 on as the trick-or-treating handouts, favours for my daughter’s class, and goodies for my own class when I was teaching.  They were always a big hit and the nice thing is that you can make them a decadent treat or a healthy one depending on what kind of popcorn you put into them.  Some years I have done plain old basic popcorn, others I have experimented with popcorn seasonings on them, and a few times I made caramel popcorn.  You can speed up the production of these with store-bought popcorn too!

It’s important to begin with the right kind of gloves.  Please please please whatever you do DO NOT buy surgical/medical gloves.  Some of these come coated with talc on the inside (yuck!) but even the plain ones can give off a weird rubbery type taste to the popcorn.  The best ones, and coincidentally the least expensive ones (I buy them in bags of 20 at the local dollar store) are the ones they sell for covering your hands when doing things like painting and refinishing furniture.  These gloves are clear plastic…basically seem to me to be made of the same stuff as sandwich baggies but they are just shaped like hands!  The other supplies you will need are candy corn for the fingernails, some kind of twist ties or ribbon to close the bags, and some of those cute little Halloween rings shaped like spiders or skulls etc. 

Drop one piece of candy corn into each of the finger and thumb openings in each of the gloves.  These form the fingernails for the hands.  Fill the fingers, thumb, and remaining part of the hand with popcorn leaving enough space at the top to be able to tie the baggies shut.  Putting one of the rings on a finger on each hand adds an adorable little touch and gives the kids a little something extra that they can keep long after the popcorn is gone.  Plus, they are also very very inexpensive to buy…I have often found bags of 100 rings for under $3.

Seasoning Mixes for Popcorn:

Apple Pie Spice:  1 T. ground cinnamon, 2 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. allspice, 1 tsp. ginger

BBQ Spice:  1 tsp. paprika, 2 tsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. garlic, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 tsp. hickory smoke salt, 1 tsp. cumin, 1/2 T. brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard

Cinnamon Sugar:  1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 T. cinnamon

Pumpkin Pie Spice:  1/4 cup cinnamon, 1 T. allspice, 1 1/2 tsp. each ginger and nutmeg, 1 tsp. cloves

Vanilla Spice:  1/2 cup sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp. almond extract (because you are using liquids here, you will need to mix this one up and then spread it out on a cookie sheet to dry before putting onto the popcorn).

Caramel Popcorn:

Ingredients:

8 c. popped unbuttered popcorn

1/2 cup peanuts and/or raisins if desired

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup corn syrup

Directions:  Mix together the popcorn and nuts/raisins if using in a heatproof container of some sort.  Put the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and add a pinch of salt.  Bring this mixture to a boil over high heat, boiling for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and pour this mixture over the popcorn and stir thoroughly until popcorn is thoroughly coated.  Spray a cookie sheet or large roasting pan with cooking spray and spread the popcorn in it.  Bake for 15 minutes at 300 degrees F.  Remove from the oven and stir this mixture again until well coated and cooled. 

Note: As I was discussing this idea with a friend of mine, we started brainstorming alternatives to the popcorn.  You could certainly use various types of cereals, a nuts and bolts type snack mix, and so on.  I was thinking that if I had seen this idea when my daughter was even younger, I would have made them for her to take to daycare filled with Cheerios!