Happy (slightly early) Halloween!

Holy cats, there are so many great Halloween-inspired recipes out there, but I finally couldn’t resist this one (I really, really want to make this one, but managed to refrain…for now).

I found the brain mold here, the candy melts from Jo-Ann’s, and used good old Martha’s red velvet cupcake and cream cheese frosting recipes. Also, I’m a little ashamed to say, I did not actually make my own caramel sauce (I bought it). Shh!

This was my first time working with a candy mold and, I have to say, it was actually pretty easy! I haven’t actually tasted a cupcake yet (the brains are sweet but kind of bland) because I only have the exact right number to share with people tomorrow – hopefully they’re tasty…

*Apologies for the worse-than-usual photos – my mom has jetted off on a cruise, leaving my dad and me to entertain each other with Wii evenings and Godfather marathons, and also took her camera, leaving me to take photos with Edward (I love you, Edward, but you don’t do close-ups well). Go and look at the originals again, they’re much better.

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The dreaded ‘C’ word…

CASSEROLE!

Casseroles are not usually my thing – a bunch of mushy things baked together so that they become even more mushy and topped with those fried onion things or whatever they are? Not my idea of tasty. But this?

Is tasty.

I’ve been on a fall foods kick lately – you should see the bookmarks I have, they are full of apples and pumpkins and squash and cinnamon. Lovely, warm, and comforting foods. When I saw this Butternut Squash Casserole on Ezra Pound Cake, I was hooked! And I’m glad I managed to overcome my prejudice against casseroles because this is super duper. (Fair enough, put anything with enough cheese and it becomes delicious by association.)

I did halve the recipe because there is only one of me and I don’t need to try and feed 8 to 10 people (or myself for 8 to 10 days) and it worked out well in my 8×8 baking dish. I also forgot to add the spinach (well, arugula because I had some to get rid of), so I decided to just serve it on a bed of arugula instead. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the pumpkin seeds – it could be because I used store bought ones – they got very chewy after being baked for an hour and, frankly, it’s hard work, especially when compared to the amount of chewing required for the rest of the casserole.

TV recap and updates!

Well, now that all the fall shows have officially started up (Chuck! Better Off Ted! Mysterious fate of Scrubs! Why are you making me wait until January?!), I thought I’d recap who I thought was off to a good start and who I’d given up on:

And the winners are:

  1. 30 Rock
  2. The Office
  3. Cougar Town
  4. Glee
  5. Modern Family
  6. The Big Bang Theory
  7. HIMYM (They’re only this low on the list because Lily and Marshall are still stuck as stereotypes of themselves and we need to get over the novelty of Robin and Barney.)
  8. Community (They stumbled a bit after a strong premiere episode, but the last couple have been getting better again.)
  9. Smallville (Oh, my god, how is this show so boring?! I miss Lana, Lex, Lionel, Smallville, and the Kents and I HATE Oliver Queen when they try to give him an entire episode and I wish someone would kill off Tess already and why is Clark wearing black (stop angsting and get over yourself)?! Also Zod is a lot less cool than I imagined him to be. Even Chloe seems to be less awesome this season which I didn’t think possible – because Chloe is super awesome – but I’m still not ready to give up on it yet.)

The Losers

  1. The Vampire Diaries (I know quite a few people like this show, but it’s one I’d have to get a hold of later on and it didn’t intrigue me enough to make it worth the effort.)
  2. Heroes (It was so bad last season – and the one before that – that I didn’t even try.)
  3. The Simpsons (It makes me sad to see how far they’ve fallen – I gave up halfway through last season and couldn’t bring myself to try again.)

p.s. – I forgot House! House should be in the winners category, but I still have the second half of the fifth season to watch and it’s up against HIMYM so I have to watch it later anyway. But once I catch up, I’m sure it’ll be on the winners list.

A last minute, cobbled together dessert…

So the other night, after I’d finished dinner, I decided that I wanted something sweet and realised that I didn’t have any more Oreos in the house (my chocolate experiment is only going kind of well and, for the most part, it’s okay if it doesn’t, but I will definitely miss Oreos if I go off it again). What I did have was leftover maple cream cheese frosting from the pumpkin whoopie pies I made a while ago and the beginnings of the batter for Amish cinnamon bread (I even had the required Jello vanilla pudding packet) in the freezer.

I put the two together and got this:

It’s very good (how could it not be, really?). The main problem was that, even though the cake has three layers, I only baked two cakes. I cut off the top of one of them to make a level surface for stacking which left me with an extra top of a cake to eat (which is the best part with the crunchy cinnamon sugar topping).

I finished it easily in about two days, eating a third of it standing in the kitchen, a third of it for dessert that evening, and the rest the following morning for breakfast. D:

I don’t really have a recipe for you, but if you do some Googling, you can find recipes for the bread and for the starter. Some of the starter recipes have yeast in the starter and some of them are just milk, flour, and sugar. The batter keeps well in the freezer, just make sure you go through the whole 10-day ritual with the last one so you’ll have more to tuck away for later.

New TV: Thursday!

30 Rock (8:30 CST, NBC)

I forgot to post this on Thursday, mostly because I trust you are all faithful followers of 30 Rock and didn’t need reminding, but… It’s back! Now my Thursdays are finally complete.

My rating: I’d put down my meth for this show any day. Thanks, Meat Cat!

There aren’t enough old-timey exclamations for this recipe!

Jeepers! Zounds! Crikey! Jinkies! (Okay, we’re wandering into Scooby-Doo territory, so I’ll stop now…) But this salad is GOOD!

And I don’t even like salad.

It’s Burnt Carrots with Goat Cheese, Arugula, and Crispy Garlic Chips from Ezra Pound Cake and it’s amazing. Amazing! All the different flavors just blend together so well – the tartness of the vinaigrette, the sweetness of the carrots, the creaminess of the goat cheese, and the crisp garlic. Amazing! And fairly easy. Quite a lot of smoke was generated when I was charring the carrots – I’m sure my neighbors were thrilled – but other than that, it was pretty straightforward.

Unfortunately, I ate it first instead of starting with my main course, Roasted Tomatoes and Cippolini Onions from Smitten Kitchen.

This is a recipe that I’ve been longing to make ever since she posted it over on her blog, but it took me a while to actually find the cippolini onions. I’ll be honest and admit that I did forget to add the basil once everything was finished and put together, but compared to the burnt carrot salad, this dish tasted a little…well, bland. I think if I were eating it by itself on a cold, winter’s night, maybe it would taste better, but all I could think was ‘You know what this needs? Goat cheese! And some burnt carrots. Ooh! And garlic chips, too!’

ETA: Ah, leftovers. On Day 2 of the roasted tomatoes and cippolini onions, I remembered to rub garlic on the hot toast and to add the basil and it has made all the difference in the world – super yummy and flavorful now!