Spooky Things!

Halloween is my favorite Holliday! Maria and I got all settled into our new place just in time to throw a halloween party! Pinterest provided plenty of inspiration.

Growing up Halloween was always special at our house, my mom always went all out with decorations and for the first 5 or 6 years made my sister and I’s costumes! I found a lot of inspiration from Pinterest but there’s one thing I was always impressed with from my childhood. The witches cauldron!

Start with a medium (size varies by your table size, party size, and how much punch you might need) plastic witches cauldron, you can find these at party city.

Add dry ice to your cauldron. Be careful with the dry ice!!! It is dangerous and can cause severe burns! Use thick gloves or metal tongs to handle the ice. And place a plastic punch bowl inside.

When ready, create your punch and add to the punch bowl, then pour hot water into the cauldron around your punch bowl where the dry ice is. This will cause the dry ice to start fogging up and look really cool! Add hot water as needed when the fog dies down, it will cause it to fog back up.

I also made halloween cookies!

Sugar Cookies

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Butter, softened
3 oz. Cream cheese
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Almond extract
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 egg Yolk
2 cups All Purpose Flour

In a large bowl blend together sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond extract, vanilla, and egg yolk with mixer.

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Mix in flour, a little at a time, until well blended.

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Roll dough onto plastics wrap or parchment paper and refrigerate dough for two hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees then start to roll out dough, one third at a time, on a lightly floured surface. Using a cookie cutter dipped in flour, cut out cookies as close together as possible.

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Place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are a light golden brown. I find the cookies are best a little under baked. Cool completely before moving or icing the cookies.

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I used a simple royal icing to decorate my cookies for the Halloween party.

Royal Icing

3 Tbsp Meringue Powder
4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
6 Tbsp Warm Water

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until smooth. Separate into individual bowls and add food coloring if desired.

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For the party Henry was Eyore and I was a witch!

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Here are all of our decorations and some pictures from the party! It was a lot of fun and the cookies were a big hit!

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What’s your favorite holiday?

– K

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Team Swirl Girl

Today is Lesline’s birthday!! Happy Birthday Lesline!

Earlier this week Lesline asked me if I could bake her something for her birthday! Of course I said yes and when I asked if she had anything particular in mind she just told me she liked buttercream icing. That still left me with many options and I wanted to make something I knew she’d like so it took some thinking but then it came to me!!

Jamie and Lesline are a really cute couple and anytime Lesline post a picture of them on Instagram she always puts #teamswirl so I decided to make chocolate and vanilla swirled cupcakes with swirled icing!

For these cupcakes I used two completely different cake recipes (for the vanilla and the chocolate) but you’ll see why later. There’s a method to the madness! Get ready this one is a doozy!

I made the Vanilla cake mix first.

Vanilla Cake:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter *room temp*
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

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In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

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Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.

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Then add the vanilla and mix until well incorporated. With the mixer set to the lowest speed, add the dry ingredients a little at a time, alternating with the milk. Scrape down the mixing bowl after every edition, mix until all is smooth.

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Set the vanilla batter to the side, it’s time to make the chocolate!

Chocolate Cake:

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder *unsweetened*
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.

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Slowly add in the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well incorporated.

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Stir in the boiling water. This with thin out the batter but don’t worry, it’s a good thing! This will help with the swirling of the batters.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake pan with liners and grab your two cake batters.

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Start by scooping the vanilla batter into the first pan, you don’t want to fill it all the way just yet, just enough to cover the bottom of the cupcake pan (I did each cupcake pan individually but I guess you can do them all at once layer by layer).

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Next, drizzle just a little bit of the chocolate batter on top of the vanilla.

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After you have the chocolate drizzled on top, take a stirrer of sorts and stir the chocolate into the vanilla, be careful not to mix them complete. The goal is to have a marble effect.

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After you do this, add another layer of vanilla on top and repeat so it fills the cups.

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Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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For the icing, you can use what ever chocolate and vanilla you like but I used Rich’s Bettercream, as is for vanilla and for the chocolate I added Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder. The chocolate ended up tasting like a Wendy’s frosty, just not frozen. It was delicious!

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I put the icing side by side into a piping bag with a 1M star tip to ice the cupcakes. They ended up looking like chocolate and vanilla soft serve ice cream on top!

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They turned out great! They were a big hit!

Have people ever inspired your baking?

– K

Boston!!! Pt. 4 The Harbor

Eventually Sunday came around which meant the last day of my wonderful Boston vacation. Jackie and I made her family’s Christmas morning recipe for apple pancakes with our fresh picked apples! We were trying to think of some thing to do for the day since I had to be at the airport at 5:30 P.M. that gave a good while to hangout and I wanted to soak in as much of the beautiful weather I could before heading back to hot and humid Florida. Since Boston harbor isn’t far from the airport we decided to just spend the day hanging out there, walking around and enjoying the beauty Boston holds.

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I would LOOOVE to live in this brick building!!!

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I just love brick buildings and there’s no better view than the Boston harbor!

We ate lunch at Boston Sail Loft, they had really good clam chowder! It had such a cute sea side shack kind of feel, it had a great ambiance.

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We had come fun with a picture stand, although the sun was blazing in our eyes so it made it hard to keep them open!

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We went through some shops where I bought some last minute souvenirs. The day was so relaxing and perfect! The weather was great, I already miss it! The whole trip was a lot of fun, with a lot of adventures!

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Where is your favorite place to vacation?

– K

Boston!!!! Pt. 3 Going Back In Time

Saturday was the big day! King Richard’s Renaissance Faire! My cousin Kerry drove in from Providence Rhode Island to go with us! It was a very nice treat to see her!

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Jackie and Ari dressed up while Kerry and I did not because we were not well prepared, but Jackie bought her costume while Ari made his costume, and it was great!

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The Renaissance Faire was in the middle of a beautiful forrest.

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Shortly after getting inside, Ari received a violation for “just not getting it” and summoned to the sheriffs court at the Hell’s Mouth stage later in the day.

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We went into the apothecary where I bought some migraine tea, because I’m addicted to tea (not really but I am obsessed) and I get headaches/migraines all the time.

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We went into a cloak shoppe where Jackie tired on a beautiful black cloak that had a owl painted on it and I tried on a red cloak! I really want a red cloak, little red riding hood style! Unfortunately the cloak was $130 and amongst moving I couldn’t afford spending that at the time so I took a business card to add a cloak to my Christmas list.

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In another shoppe I bought a hair twist, I was thinking about getting two smaller ones but then I didn’t know what to do with the rest of my hair that was currently braided, so I went with one bigger one with a dragon charm. Once the lady put the twist in my hair she added a butterfly charm at the top and it didn’t seem complete without it so I bought that one as well! I especially appreciated it because of my current obsession with Philippa Gregory’s cousins wars book series, I felt a little bit closer to the time period!

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We came across Hobbit holes, they were really cool……. and started at $1,500.00.

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We saw the Wench show which was a show where wenches cleaned laundry and……..we got wet. Of course we sat in the front row, the seats didn’t look too wet but we got decently wet. It was definitely entertaining though, the wenches made 4 men from the audience do crazy things to earn roses for their women. One man had to run up to an unsuspecting stranger get on his knees and say “daddy why did you leave me”!

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At 4 we went to the sheriff’s court for Ari’s “trial”. This was a completely improvised show. Ari was found guilty of his crime and his punishment was to sing the clean up song (you know……. Clean up clean up, everybody everywhere), he even danced around the stage while singing!

We ate turkey legs, drank Meade, hot cider, and had a great time. Later in the day we watched the kings joust to the death tournament.

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Here are some other cool things we saw that day.

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We had a great time! It was great to see my cousin and hanging out with everyone going back in time, it definitely wouldn’t have been the same without them!

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Have you ever been to a Renaissance Faire? What’s your favourite part?

– K

Boston!!!! Pt. 2 An Apple A Day

On Friday, I woke up and my phone hadn’t charged at all, even though it was plugged in all night. The first plan of the day was to go to Apple to get a new charger. Apple was at Legacy Place and by the time we got there we were hungry. We grabbed lunch at Yard House, I got a turkey club and tomato soup and a pear cider to drink! Lunch was delicious!

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We did some shopping on our way along the strip to the Apple store? Amongst my shopping I found Star Wars cookie cutters on sale at William & Sonoma! I can’t wait to bake cookies using these cutters!

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In the morning, Jackie and I had talked about apple picking and once we were done shopping we still had time left in our day to go! We looked one up and were on our way! Getting to the orchard was and adventure itself! We put the address for Shelburne Farm in Stow into the GPS and once we got on the highway we ran into traffic. We decided to go to a closer orchard in Natik, so we put in the new address into the GPS and my phone changed the address from Lookout Lane to Lookout Avenue. My phone does this for my home address in Orlando so I didn’t think anything of it………until it told us we had arrived and we were in the middle of a neighborhood. Jackie looked up the address on her phone and we put the updated address into the GPS and once again we ended up in a neighborhood. With only 15 minutes until the orchard closed we decided to try again for Shelburne Farm which closed an hour later. We finally arrived with 30 minutes left to pick apples!

Once inside the orchard we ran into this beautiful horse!

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We’re crazy and we got the 20 pound bag for apples!!!! Boy was it ALOT of apples!

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Once we finished picking apples, we went into the store to buy some hot apple cider and apple cider donuts! I also purchased Vermont maple syrup and Jackie got a HUGE pumpkin! The store was so cute!

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We ate the donuts on the way home, they were covered in cinnamon sugar and they were soooooo good!! The hot apple cider was perfect because the evening was getting cooler and it just completed a beautiful fall evening!

What should I make with all of these apples?

– K