Archive for October, 2010
For cooking club last week I decided to bring some candied apples for my dessert. For one, I think they’re yummy, but two, I think they’re really pretty to photograph!
I found this recipe at All Recipes. It was really easy and I had all the ingredients on hand. Here’s what you’ll need.
- 15 apples
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 8 drops red food coloring
- cinnamon oil to taste (my own addition)
First things first, wash your apples, pull the stems out, and dry them well.
Then stick some sticks, whether they be popcicle sticks or dowels, into the top of each apple.
Now that those are ready we’re going to get the candy going. Mix the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy bottom pot.
Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the temperature on a candy thermometer reaches between 300 and 310 degrees.
I taped a little video to show you what you’re looking for to get the candy to a hard crack stage.
When your candy has reached hard crack stage, remove from heat and add your food coloring and your cinnamon oil to taste.
(cinnamon oil can sometimes be hard to find. I got mine through the Randall’s pharmacy.) I added about a quarter teaspoon and had a nicely flavored candy that wasn’t too spicy. Stir well to incorporate.
At this point you want to roll your apples in the candy. Dip and twist them while in the candy and continue twisting to remove the excess candy and cover the entire apple.
I kind of had a lot on mine so you’ll see it dripped down all around the base. Place your apples on a well greased cookie sheet or marble slab. (not on greased wax paper like I did because it still stuck to it!)
Let cool until they harden, about a half hour at least.
I have to admit, I’m kind of surprised it’s taken me this long to get to the girls’ costumes this year. Usually I’ve had their outfits planned and made or bought by now. I’m not sure why I’m just now getting them assembled and when we have only 7 days, but that’s where we’re at today.
The girls decided that they wanted to be Word Girl and Captain Huggyface this year.
I thought this was incredibly creative of them. The deal was sealed, however, when Abby proclaimed “Oh yeah, I’ll be Huggy and I can do this dance!” and proceeded to throw her hands up and do some sort of monkey dance. It was hilarious. (see 25 seconds into this video to see what I mean)
Not being one to usually just buy a costume off the rack, we set to work yesterday collecting pieces for their outfits. We tried Goodwill to see if there were any long sleeved shirts and/or matching leggings. However, we had no luck so we headed to Walmart. Again, no matching red or blue shirts and pants sets. Instead I decided to get a set of long johns in white for each girl and dye them.
We grabbed a pack each of Royal Blue and Scarlet Rit Dye. You’ll also need some salt.
I really wanted the colors to be nice and deep, so I opted for the stove-top method. Start by soaking your clothes in a warm bath of water. This assures that all fibers are saturated and the color will be distributed evenly.
On the burner, mix your packet of dye, one cup of salt, water and a tablespoon of laundry detergent. It says to mix 3 gallons per packet, but I just filled the pot without measuring. You don’t need a full on rolling boil, but rather a simmer. When it gets nice and hot, slowly lower the clothes into the dye.
Be sure to continue stirring it to make sure the dye gets into each and every nook and cranny.
It says to keep the clothes in the dye for at least a half hour, more if you want a deeper color. I thought I’d have to leave them in for a long time, but surprisingly they had great saturation at just a half hour, so I began to rinse them then.
Start rinsing with hot water, and slowly decrease the temp to cool. Continue to rinse until the water runs clear. When you’re at that point, throw those puppies in the laundry and wash as normal.
Just look at the color! Isn’t it great? I’ll post a “finished” pic when I add the star and lighting bolt. (stay tuned for part 2)
The other part of the costume I tackled today was Huggy’s helmet. You may have seen these cool knight helmets at the Dollar Tree…
I randomly picked up a couple of these along with the swords and shields for the girls to play with. Luckily it came in really handy today! I took a little hack saw to the face plate and popped out the little thing on the top and got it ready to spray paint. I didn’t take a photo of it, but at this stage I lightly sanded down the surface with a sanding sponge just so the spray paint had something to adhere to.
I took it outside and gave it a nice coating of a red spray paint specifically made for plastic.
Isn’t it pretty?
For the little …transmitter? on top I took a wooden dowel, made a foil ball, hot glued it to the top of the dowel, and then covered the whole thing with foil. Thankfully the little hole in the top of the helmet came in really handy. I dropped a bunch of hot glue around the hole and stuck the dowel in and held it in place until it cooled. Then, on the inside I applied a VERY liberal dowsing of more hot glue and, just to make it smooth and give it something to stick to, stuck a big peso on it. I know it’s random, but it worked great.
I’m really happy with the outcome! Abby rather liked it too.
Tomorrow I hope to finish up the costumes with the belts, the appliques, the cape, tail, and the “boots”. We were fortunate enough to find some red elbow length gloves at Walmart, so that made that part easy. I can’t wait to see how it all pulls together. They’re going to look so cute!
(oh, and they’re vegan, too!!)
There is just something about this time of year. Maybe it’s because fall is my favorite season, maybe it’s because the hot temperatures are cooling down, and maybe it’s because all the leaves are turning such vivid colors. I don’t know, maybe there isn’t just one single thing, but a combination of things. I love that we have beautiful Indian summers up here. It’s bright and sunny, warm, yet there is a slight nip in the air. The evenings get really cool. It’s times like these when I want to light a candle, and snuggle down to some hot spiced cider, and watch a good movie. Isn’t it funny, it’s times like these when you want to smell the smells of fall. Cinnamon, clove, pumpkin, I guess it’s because we know that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, there are pumpkins everywhere, and maybe it’s because we are beginning to bake more, now that the hot days of summer are over. Soups and casseroles begin to replace salads and barbecues. Anything with pumpkin and spice just screams of “comfort food”.
Autumn recently posted a blog about her pumpkin bread. As soon as I finished reading it, I got busy and made myself a batch. Believe me when I say it’s every bit as good as she described. Another benefit of this time of year is that you can actually find canned pumpkin on the grocery store shelves. It only comes out for a few short months a year, so you can bet I stock up!! Here is an easy recipe for pumpkin ginger scones. They aren’t very sweet, but they are dense, and moist, and go great with coffee. And with being full of pumpkin, I’d say they’re pretty good for you, as well.
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp soda
3 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine
2 cups pureed pumpkin
Mix dry ingredients. Cut in the margarine. Add pumpkin, mix well. On floured surface, knead dough (it’s a little sticky, flour your hands). Push into a large circle, roll out to about 1 ½ inches thick, cut into triangles ( use a big or long knife and just press it down on the dough, and flour your knife if it sticks). Put on cookie sheet or stone, bake @ 425 for 12-15 minutes.
This dough is quite wet, so you’ll need to use a spatula to get the scones off the counter onto the cookie sheet. (or use some wax paper to make it easier)
These are a nice little treat to serve up with coffee for company around the holidays. Can anyone say “Pumpkin soy latte?”
Tami’s Tip of the Week
While you’re making all these wonderful fall breads, etc, why not whip up a batch of Maple Spiced Butter? You can put it on biscuits, toast, waffles, breads, you name it.
1 stick butter or 8 TBSP margarine, softened
2 TBSP pure maple syrup (I suppose a good grade syrup would be fine)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Whip all together, and serve.