Everyone seems to be fixated on 'mid-century modern' these days, a style term encompassing 1950's architecture, furnishings and domestic simplicity. Blame it on Mad Men but retro-cool is all the rage.This Halloween why not serve the crowd some tempting treats from their favorite era? These recipes are a 'scream', as easy as opening up a packet of gelatin.
Snowy Chicken Confetti Salad contains gelatin, condensed chicken consomme, mayonnaise, diced chicken, green pepper, pimiento, celery, salt and whipped cream. How's that for perky and fabulous?Ham Loaf is touted as "how to make meat look like a party". Indeed, what man wouldn't be tempted by picnic ham, ham stock, horseradish and mustard gelled together into a loaf topped with chopped egg and the ever popular pimento? Mmm, pass the asparagus jello please!
Here's the basic recipe for all these meals: Soften gelatin in cold water; dissolve in boiling water. Add lemon juice; salt. Chill until partially set. Fold in other ingredients and pour into a loaf pan or mold. Chill until firm. Unmold. Serve with deviled eggs. Easy-peasy for the party hostess!For dessert, how about some 'pink pears' colored with food dye, stuffed with candied ginger suspended in a cream cheese filling?
These recipes and photos come from the Better Homes And Gardens Salad Book, circa 1958, that I recently unearthed at a thrift store. Gelatin and canned soup played a big part in cooking style during the 50's. I'm so glad we've evolved from there, aren't you? Let's go grab a slice of gluten free pizza with soy pepperoni...
This year I wanted to create something for Halloween that was both cute and spooky. With the help of my friends Susan Mostek and Susie Bieker, we decided upon a theme of 'Harvest Moon Magic' and our ideas took flight from there. We each created a scene within a faux book box using antique children's photos.
By email we discussed supplies that we might share. The three of us spent a day together decorating the outsides of the books, choosing images and helping each other develop our scenes. Then we each completed our books on our own, in time to show them here. For your viewing pleasure, I offer you the Harvest Moon Magic books!
Susan Mostek's book shows two little witches in a pumpkin patch with a haunted house and graveyard beyond. Her google-eyed title over the tombstones makes me laugh.Susie Bieker's book shows an adorable girl harvesting seeds under a full moon and falling stars. She wears real insect wings attached to her dress. Susie included the poem "Moonlight" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.My book has a little girl asking "Can I keep him?" as she holds the ribbon lead on a bluejay perched in her pumpkin patch. Don't you love her dour face?
I hope you enjoyed our moments under the harvest moon. May you have a magical Halloween week!A big bouquet of thanks goes to Susie and Susan for donating their time and creative energy to this project. I'm lucky to have such talented friends to craft with. Let's do this again soon!
New toys! These cozy stamps are by Yellow Owl Workshop. I think they're perfect for creating gift tags or cards as we head into cold weather. Yellow Owl has a variety of charming stamps designed with a rustic look. They are made of wood-mounted rubber to create a great impression.
As Halloween rolls near I must confess I am not a fan of horror. Scary movies, horror stories and haunted houses all make me cringe. Certain ordinary things are guaranteed to creep me out as well: circus/clowns, medical guides, broken doll parts, taxidermy, vertigo/claustrophobia spaces, pigs, old rubber toys with huge painted eyes, rusty decay and giant spiders.
What creeps you out? (If you're fascinated by creepy toys check out Double Winky's photos on Flickr. She's got an amazing collection of carnival toys and figurines.)
If you prefer cute to creepy, stay tuned. Next week I'll share with you a collaborative art project as a Halloween treat.
I made apple spice bread for a party we attended over the weekend. Its from a recipe I've been using since college called A-Z Bread. This quick bread is flavored by 2 cups of whatever fruit or vegetable you have handy, from apples to zucchini. I used Golden Delicious apples from a friend's tree and bumped up the the spices to include ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Leftover apple spice bread also makes yummy French Toast. The recipe makes 2 large loaves or 5 small loaves (perfect for the holidays). This bread also freezes well. I've added ingredient amounts used at altitudes of 5000 feet or above in parentheses.
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda (3/4 tsp. at altitude)
3 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
½ tsp. baking powder (1/4 tsp. at altitude)
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups A-Z
3 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
Optional spices: 3 tsp. ginger, 2 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. cloves
Pre-heat oven at 325 degrees. (350 at altitude)
Sift dry ingredients, set aside. Beat eggs in a large bowl; add oil and sugar; cream well. Add A-Z and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Add nuts. Spoon into two well-greased loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour. Makes 2 large (or 5 small) loaves.
A-Z: Use one of the following or a mixture of the following to equal 2 cups except as indicated.
Apples – grated or diced
Apricots – chopped
Carrots – grated
Cherries – pitted and chopped
Cranberries – dried
Coconut – fresh, ground
Dates – pitted and finely chopped
Eggplant – ground up
Figs – finely chopped
Grapes – seedless
Honey – omit sugar above
Lemons – use only ½ cup juice
Marmalade – omit one cup sugar
Oranges – chopped
Peaches – fresh or canned, chopped
Peppermint – use only ½ cup
Pears – chopped (can be soaked in brandy or rum first)
Pineapple – crushed, well drained
Prunes – chopped (use only one cup)
Pumpkin – canned
Rhubarb – finely chopped
Strawberries – fresh or well-drained frozen
Sweet potato – grated coarsely
Tapioca – cooked
Tomatoes – use only ½ cup sugar
Yams – cooked and mashed
Yogurt – plain or flavored
Zucchini – grated, well drained
Prospect is a designed neighborhood in Longmont, CO with unique architecture, pretty trees and parks and a warm community feeling. Flowers spill over picket fences and porch swings invite you to stay a while. Unusual and colorful houses make this a fun place to check out Halloween decor. Giant spiders, scarecrows, goofy skeletons, harvest wreaths, pumpkins and chrysanthemums all herald the season in this charming neighborhood.
Looking for Halloween card inspiration? Why not trick out your relatives! That old photo album from grandma probably has lots of relatives ripe for a makeover. If you don’t have a stash of ancestors to decorate, borrow other people’s relations. Antique stores, flea markets and online sources such as Etsy.com and Ebay.com have lots of old photos available for adoption.
Old photo portraits (black and white or sepia works best)
Photoshop Elements or copier (to size photos)
Black felt pen, colored pencils
Cardstock cut into 8.5 x 5.5 rectangles, folded in half to form card
Rubber stamp frame or die cut frames
Ink, embossing powder, heat gun
Scissors or Exacto knife, cutting mat
Tape, glue stick
Decorative paper cut into 5 1/4” x 4 1/8” (to cover taped relative inside card)
3D Dots (sticky foam dots for raising name tag off card)
Embossing ink, powder and heat gun. Stamp by Dawn Houser for Inkadinkadoo.
To make card, stamp frame on front of card, sprinkle with embossing powder and set with heat gun. I used a stamp with a silhouette in the center which I cut out to reveal the frame. You could also stamp an empty frame without embossing it or glue a die cut frame to the card front. Once you have your frame in place cut out center of frame with a scissors or an Exacto knife. Set card aside.
Portrait style photos are best because the background is not distracting. Scan your photo onto your computer and erase the background in Photoshop Elements. Alternately you could copy photo on a copier, cut out the person you wish to use and adhere them to white paper. Size photo to fit your frame and print out. Add mask, eyeglasses or mustache with felt tip pen. Tint skin, add eye shadow, lipstick etc. with bright colored pencils. Cut to size so that face fits inside your card frame.
If you wish, tie a ribbon bow through frame and around top of card. Tape image inside card, face showing through hole in frame. Glue a piece of decorative paper over your taped image on the inside of the card to hide the tape.
Print made up names or 'Happy Halloween' tags from your computer. Add to the front of card with 3D foam dots.
Add a silly quote inside each card and they’re ready for sending out. You might write:
Cousin Emily (green skin): I LOVE green M&M’s! Have a sweet Halloween.
Aunt Betty (eye glasses, orange lips): I use candy corn as lipstick. Can you tell?
Cousin Mabel (masked woman): Happy Halloween from your secret admirer!
Zachariah (blue beard): My girlfriend said it looked distinguished! (Wishing you treats, not tricks, this Halloween!)
Baby Helga (with mustache): Have a hair-raising Halloween!
In case you can't wait to get started I'm attaching a PDF of my favorite 'instant relatives', sized to work with Dawn Houser's stamp. Download it here: Tricked Out Relatives. Let me know how your projects turn out!