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Thursday, October 28, 2010
Luckily, before the ghost escaped, I managed to make stuffed Jack-O'-Lanterns for my guest post on Go Dairy Free! YAY! Alisa was so kind to ask me if I wanted to be a guest blogger, and I am beyond honored to have been one of the chosen ones! Go Dairy Free is overflowing with information about moo-juice-free living and I am most flattered to be able to contribute a little som'n som'n to Alisa's awesome site. Here's a picture of the spooky squash, check out the recipe at Go Dairy Free!
And now here's my latest *fail*
OK, so it doesn't look incredibly horrible, but this is not what I wanted to do with them! Frankie seemed to be the most popular felt coaster, so I wanted to do some little Frankie cakes that would look similar to the coaster. Well, that didn't work. They were supposed to have purple facial features and hair, but frozen blueberries from a berry-mix do not make blue food coloring. Nope. It's pink. A pink Frankie? No! Do. Not. Want! Anyway, after I realized that the frosting wasn't going to work out, I decided to decorate the faces with melted chocolate. Can you tell I put zero effort into them? Meh.
In case you're wondering, the cake is green because it has baby spinach in it. Don't gag. It doesn't taste like a salad, it tastes like yummy cake! The cake is the basic vanilla cupcake recipe from VCTOTW, baked in an 8 inch square pan for 28 minutes. To make it green, I blended a handful of raw baby spinach with the milk before I added the apple cider vinegar. Also, I added a couple of teaspoons of lemon zest, which played a trick on Mr. Wing-It's mind and made him think the cake was lime flavored, because it was green! Mwahahaha! :D
You can check out all my Halloweegan goodies from this year and also from Halloweegans past here. And if you want to add your own goodies to the Halloweegan flickr group, go for it!
Now that I am all done with my Halloweegan assignment, I am ready for YOU to do the cooking for me! Bring on Vegan MoFo! This year I am going to leave my dinners, desserts, and snacks up to you, so I will lurk around your blogs like a creepy, hungry stalker looking for recipes that are quick and easy. Halloweegan was a lot of work! I want to sit back and enjoy someone else's work now! *Lazeh*
Have you signed up for Vegan MoFo yet? I hear that about elebenty billion bloggers have registered already. And have you checked out the confirmed list of speakers @ Vida Vegan Con? I think University Place Hotel is going to explode with awesomeness!
Happy Halloweegan! *POOF*
(Sorry, I had to disable comments on this post because the spammers are obsessed with it)
Monday, October 25, 2010
You like? If you want to make your own, here are the spooky designs:
Print out the patterns that I so kindly and generously shared (what?) and cut out all the little characters. Trace them on Halloween colored felt and cut them out. Sew the little details (eyes, noses, etc) to the main faces like this: (you will also need to do some backstitching for the spider's legs, the cat's whiskers, and Frankie's mouth)
Done? Also trace and cut 12 of the larger circles - you will need two felt circles per coaster. Now sew the little characters to half of the felt circles. Like this:
You will also need felt and some sort of plastic sheet to sandwich between two felt pieces, or else your coasters won't be very effective. We're striving for impermeability here! I used some leftover cupboard liners that we had saved "just in case." See? It pays to be a pack-rat! Anyway, you will need six plastic circles (the smaller circle) - one per coaster.
Make a sandwich! Take a felt circle, place a plastic circle on top of it, and a dolled up felt circle on top of the plastic circle.
Now blanket-stitch with colorful floss all around to secure the plastic between the two pieces of felt and you're done!
I also made some batty napkin rings from this site. Super easy and cute! If I had some red beads I would have given them creepy beady eyes.
That's all the Halloweegan craftiness I had in me, I think. Back to food posts next Wednesday! *POOF*
Friday, October 22, 2010
It's a black kitteh pillow! Meow! I don't know why black cats are still considered creepy and bringers-of-bad-luck in the era of science, but it would feel wrong to have a Halloween without some sort of black cat decoration. The inspiration came from this Woman's Day tutorial for an even easier pillow. I complicated it a little bit because I wanted to make it from scratch. And I wanted whiskers that you could play with!
You can curl this kitteh's whiskers and it won't shred your face with those pointy claws. Unless the pillow is haunted. Which is possible. OK let's make one! You will need two 9 by 12 inches felt rectangles, buttons for the eyes, chenille stems for the whiskery whiskers, a button for the nose, some floss, thread, and some sort of batting/stuffing. Please excuse the following disgraceful pictures.
Arrange the chenille stems and sew them to one of the felt pieces with a thick thread or floss:
Sew a little nosey button in the middle to cover the whiskery stitches. For the eyes, I went with two large white buttons and then two smaller green buttons on top. Sew them to the felt just above the nosey button.
Now it looked like it needed a little something extra, so I backstitched a vertical line from the nose down:
The face is all done, now it's time to make the pillow. Place the felt rectangle you've been working on face down on top of the other felty rectangle. Sew along three of the sides, leaving one side open.
When you're done with that, flip the pillow inside out and stuff it with the batting material.
Sew along the open side to close the pillow and you're done! I also made a little ghosty pillow:
Same method as the cat pillow, except there are no stems or buttons, and the eyes and mouth are also made with black felt. Here's a quick ghostly design - print, cut, trace on felt, cut, sew black eyes and mouths to one white felt cut-out, finish making the pillow just like the cat pillow.
More Halloweegan craftiness coming up next week! More food too, but right now I'm feeling more crafty than bakey.
Have you made any Halloween crafts? The Halloweegan Flickr group is hungry for creepy treats and spooky craftiness! :)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Yep. I killed another gingerbread man shaped dude. Megan requested a coffee flavored coffin cake, and because I'm such a good blogger I happily obliged. As a child I hated coffee flavored desserts, and I haven't had any since the last time a mocha cake made me gag when I was five or six years old. So for this one I went with a mostly chocolate cake with a *hint* of coffee, just in case I'm still a mocha hater. I used my Strawberry Santa Hats recipe for the cake and the ganache, replacing the oat milk with strong brewed coffee. You can always add a teaspoon or two of instant espresso powder to the cake if you want a stronger coffee flavor.
Any 8 by 8 inch cake will work though. To make the coffins, cut the cake in half so you end up with two 4 by 8 rectangles, and then cut out the corners of each rectangle to shape it like a coffin. Here's a visual:
The open coffin with the gingerbread dude was a bit of work, a closed coffin is definitely less fussy.
The closed one requires little work, just spread the ganache all over the top and sides of the cake. I piped some leftover-from-last-week chocolate buttercream all around the bottom to make the border look nice and even. The white cross is a simple powdered sugar icing, and I was *this close* to writing R.I.P on the top when I remembered that I suck at piping letters. Phew!
To make the one with the gingerbread dude you will need to slice the top 1/3 off the unfrosted cake and slide it over a piece of wax paper. Spread a thick layer of ganache all over the top and freeze it for 10 minutes or until the chocolate is solid. Carefully flip it over so the unfrosted side is up and spread a generous amount of ganache all over the top and sides. Freeze it for another 10 minutes while you frost the bottom 2/3 of the coffin cake and place a poor little gingerbread dude on top. Peel the frozen cake off the wax paper (if you're going to draw a cross on top, do that first) and place it *cattywampus* over/on the side of the bottom cake. Done!
On non-Halloweegan related news. Are you a Netflix member? (not an affiliate link, I'm just psyched about it!) Mr. Wing-It and I recently joined and we were getting rather frustrated with their limited online browsing feature for their streaming movies. Grrr! But yesterday I found this awesome site that has all of Netfix's available streaming movies neatly organized into categories! YAY! Are we the only Netflix members that were unaware of this goldmine? It's called instantwatcher (not an affiliate link, I'm just psyched about it!) and it even has a subgenre directory that lets you be as choosy as you want! Foreign movies sorted by country? Check! Horror movies sorted by creepy subject, perfect for Halloween? Check! A subcategory for Super Swashbucklers? Check!
We also bought a Roku Player so we can watch streaming movies on the big TV. YAY! Oh, and guess what's available on Netflix streaming? My beloved Lost in Austen! Just for that, Netflix gets elebenty brownie points.
Today's Blog-Love goes to DJ @ Skint Vegan! If some day someone comes up with an International School for Future Awesome Moms, DJ should be a member of the board of directors! She is raising her children to be punks (her words!) and those two cutie patootie kids are lucky to have such a cool mom! DJ's blog is home to the cutest Hello Kitty cake, the most original The Arc de Triomphe costume, and lots of tasty vegan nom noms. Check out DJ's blog!
PS: Have you seen the updated list of speakers that are going to attend Vida Vegan? Holy shiitake, Batman!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Not too bad. I used mushrooms to make the eyes, noses, and mouths, and I used a combination of Daiya cheddar and mozzarella. All cheddar would have been better, but I didn't have enough. To make the pumpkin shaped mini pizzas I rolled out the pizza dough and used a cookie cutter to cut out the little pumpkin shapes. These would be perfect party food, and I bet tiny hands would love these mini pizzas too! Next? Mini Ghost Pizzas, sort of.
Not so good! I pictured it better than it turned out. They don't really look like ghosts, do they? They look more like mummies, which led me to attempt pizza #3:
Mmmkay. That didn't work. It would have been a fun treat if I had executed the plan properly! Oy! This is what they should have looked like.
The reason why I wanted to make white pizza, is because I wanted to try this awesome white pizza recipe from Vegan Pandamonium. Awesome is right! I think I am going to take a little break from regular pizza because the white kind is too yummy! Instead of the Gardein crispy tenders, I went with thinly sliced mushrooms under the cheezy sauce because I needed my ghosts and not-mummies to be flat on top.
And I found the white pizza recipe through this post at the Perfect Pizza Press blog. First of all - I want a Perfect Pizza Press! I need to get me one as soon as they're available for sale! I don't like slicing pizza, and those pizza cutter/roller things are the work of Lucifer. Mr. Wing-It is in charge of pizza slicing here, but I'm afraid he's going to be out of a job after we get the Perfect Pizza Press.
Also, on that same post, Kelly appointed me the High Priestess of Halloweegan. I accept! Heeheeee! I am going to need a black cloak, a glittery staff, a pair of witchy boots with curly toes, and a black cat named Seitan. How would I go about changing my name to Elvira? Though if I change my name to Elvira, there are *a couple* more changes I need to make as well...
Halloweegan craftiness coming up next week! *POOF*
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Thank you for helping keep the Halloweegan fire burning! On top of each sweet comment, Becks offered me a whoopie pie to "stoke the creative furnace", Megan offered me lots of suggestions (and now I'm just going to have to make a Coffin Coffee Cake!), and Cindy suggested I throw in some crafts like I had intended to do. I'm all re-inspired now and ready to tackle the second half of Halloweegan! Thank you for all your support! :)
Like I promised, today we have a Halloweegan blooper courtesy of Ms. Buffoonery. I made some batty pancakes that were supposed to look like this:
Look at those perfectly round heads! That's how they were supposed to be, but the first time I made them they looked more like a bunch of flat tires:
*Sigh* The chocolate cream that I made was way too soft and it completely melted on top of the warm pancakes! Dummy. The second batch of heads went better, and I decided to go with a regular chocolate buttercream instead. Buttercream for breakfast? Well, yes! It's Halloween!
I made silver dollar Pumpkin Pancakes and replaced three tablespoons of flour with three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder + two tablespoons of sugar. The buttercream was Chocolate Buttercream Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. Only the bottom of the buttercream got a little melty this time which left me with round heads!
To plate the pancakes, cut them in half (straight or zig-zag) and place them on a plate like this:
If you want to decorate the plate with a strawberry or raspberry or cranberry sauce for a bloddy effect, that makes them look extra creepy! I was really winging it with the sauce, but it was similar to this allrecipes sauce. Use a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to, well, scoop little frosting heads right in the middle of each set of wings.
The eyes? They're dried cranberries. Yuck. They're only there for decoration and I ate around them to avoid chewing on a piece of evil. You can use whatever you want though, raspberries, nuts, chocolate chips...
Unrelated Halloweegan cuteness! Check out who was hanging out in our back yard yesterday!
So cool! I don't think I had ever seen a huge praying mantis up-close and personal like that before. This guy was checking out our every move. If we moved to the left, his head moved to the left in a very security-camera, robotic way. If we moved to the right, well, you get the point.
Do you see that look of disapproval on his face? (I know he was a male, he said his name was Dwight) That's because I had just told him that I wasn't going to attend the Vida Vegan Blogger Conference because I am an anti-social hermit who also happens to be broke. Are you going? You should, you don't want to disappoint Dwight. He'll never let you hear the end of it! Plus, it looks like it's going to be awesome and all the cool kids are going to be there! :)
Monday, October 11, 2010
♫♫ If there's something strange, in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS! *everybody now!* If there's something weird, and it don't look good, who ya gonna call? GHOSTBUSTERS! ♫♫
More ghost fun! I mentioned on my last post that I like strawberries, and I like chocolate, but I don't like chocolate-covered strawberries. Cream-covered strawberries though? Gimme!
OK, so they were supposed to be more ghostlike, but that's the best I could do with the stupid little lollipop sticks that I bought. Not the right tool for dipping strawberries in cream! Doh! If you want to make your own ghosties on a stick, a mini-fork party pick is the way to go. Like this bamboo pick:
Anyway, once you arm yourself with the right dipping tool, making these is super easy! To make the cream, you will need a can of coconut milk that is cool enough to have the fat separate itself from the watery part. Mine was plenty solid at room temperature, but if yours isn't solid you can refrigerate it for an hour or so. Once cold, open the can of coconut milk and scoop out the fat into a mixing bowl, leaving the liquid in the can. Use an electric mixer to whip the coconut cream until fluffy, add maple syrup and vanilla to taste, and whip until combined. One tablespoon of maple syrup and 1.5 teaspoon of vanilla was plenty for my taste.
Wash the strawberries and pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut off the stems, insert a pick in the bottom of one strawberry, dip it in the coconut cream and roll it around to coat it with the yummy cream. If the cream is too firm and the strawberry isn't getting coated, you can microwave the cream for 5 seconds and stir until it complies. Repeat if necessary, but too much microwave will turn your cream into coconut soup! :)
Decorate the ghost's face with mini chocolate chips, or do what I did and draw the eyes and mouth with melted chocolate chips.
You will need to insert the pick into a block of styrofoam to keep the strawberries from sticking together. Use a screwdriver to lead the way if the pick isn't cooperating. There's your first ghost! Repeat until you're sick of making ghosts or until you run out of berries. I had enough coconut cream to make 16 ghosts/strawberries.
Organic strawberries are best for this, because they're more evenly shaped than those non-organic, gigantor, weird-shaped Chernobyl berries that would never look remotely ghostly! :)
You think this is cute? You think everything I make for Halloweegan is cute? Wait until you see my bloopers later this week! Oy! There will be some unintentionally melted bat heads, and a mummy pizza that looks like... a regular pizza. HELP! I'm losing Halloweegan steam!!
Today's Blog-Love goes to Mandee @ Cupcake Kitteh! Mandee is an animal-hero who, along with her heroic baking partners, holds bake sales to raise money for animal rescues and charities. Somebody give the woman a shining armor! Visit the Sidney Vegan Bake Sale official blog to marvel at their epic spreads, and check out Mandee's blog for some amazing gluten-free vegan eats! Also, the cutest blog-header award should go to Mandee! :)
Friday, October 8, 2010
To make mashed potato ghosts, all you need is some fairly firm mashed potatoes, a pastry bag or ziploc bag with a tip cut off, and whatever you want to use for the eyes, which you will be applying with a toothpick. I like making ketchup eyes, because they're red and creepy! Just load up your bag with mashed potatoes and squeeze out little ghostly shapes onto a plate, applying more pressure at the base of the ghosts and less toward the top. To make the eyes, dip the tip of a toothpick in ketchup and gently "paint" the eyes on the ghosts.
It's best to start with warm mashed potatoes, not piping hot, or your poor hands will hate you. Make the ghosts first, then heat them up in the microwave or conventional oven if you're using an oven-safe dish, and then finish plating your dinner. Making mashed potato ghosts is easy as pie - Haunted Cottage Pie!
The problem with a Haunted Cottage Pie is that unless the bottom is very firm, you will end up with a ghost massacre on your plate. I might have done that. A nice firm crust on the bottom would probably keep you from committing a ghosticide.
Here are some Ghosts of Halloweegans Past:
Before I magically disappear, I want to thank you all for all your awesome comments and feedback! You guys are the bestest! I was used to blogging once a week, and I wasn't sure if blogging three times a week was going to be too exhausting, but all your positive feedback has kept me from wanting to quit! Thank you!! :)
I made a Facebook page for Wing-It. Don't ask me why because I am never on Facebook! But anyway, there it is and it will automatically, magically really, post new Halloweegan updates to its wall. Cool! If you want to check it out, you can find it here. *POOF*