Happy Halloween — Treats

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The bag of mini skeletons I picked up for $2 at Kmart ended up being one of my favorite decorations — I used them everywhere! I cut the head and limbs off of the body for my brownie graveyard, and used a Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chip Dunker for the tombstone. The “RIP” was written on using edible pen, which is a genius invention in my mind. The skeletons reappeared on the rice krispie platter. You can’t totally tell from the photo, but the rice krispies were orange, yellow and white striped. Next time I’ll use more food coloring in my marshmallows.


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Happy Halloween — Drinks

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Having pre-made cocktails can help minimize kitchen mess, and almost completely eliminates sticky counter tops post-party. For the hot spiked cider, Brett mixed Trader Joe’s Apple Cider with whiskey, and added orange and lemon slices, apple chunks, honey and cinnamon. My contribution was shrunken apple heads. To make them, peel an apple and chop it in half through the core. Carve a face into the rounded side and stick cloves in for eyes. For the sangria, Brett used red wine and vodka and the same fruit combination. Floating plastic eyeballs added a spooky touch.

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Happy Halloween – Decorations

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Happy Halloween everyone! Brett and I hosted our second annual Halloween Party last weekend and it was a total success. I was a lady bug, he was teen wolf, and the apartment was completely spook-ified. We kept drinks and sweets simple, which made for (relatively) stress-free party prep and planning. Brett made hot spiked cider (with shrunken apple heads!) and spooky sangria (with eyeballs!) and I made pumpkin cookies, candy corn shaped rice krispie treats, and a brownie graveyard.

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Aside from the standard decorations, I tried a few new ones this year that I saw on Pinterest: vampire mini pumpkins (above on the mantle), ghosts in the graveyard (below) and candy corn paper flags. Plus, I added little plastic spiders to white roses for a creepy touch.

Vampire Mini Pumpkins: Using a sharp knife, carve a rectangle in a mini pumpkin big enough to fit a pair of plastic vampire teeth. Shove the teeth in and draw eyes on — instant vampire pumpkin!

Ghosts in the Graveyard: I used munchkins for this, but if you’re ambitious you could make your own donut holes too. Stick a lollipop stick into the munchkin, then cover with cheesecloth. Tie tightly at the base of the munchkin with string. Cut eyes and a mouth out of black construction paper, and stick them on using a thick mixture of powdered sugar and water (just in case your guests end up eating them!)

Candy Corn Paper Flags: Easy peasy. Cut stripes out of orange, yellow and white paper and glue together, then trim so that it looks like a candy corn! Especially easy if you have a Moriah to help you.

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El Cosmico


I have a recent obsession with road trips. I’ve never really been on one (although I think my family drove to Florida when I was itty bitty), and now I’m itching to plan one! My latest itinerary involves road tripping to Marfa, Texas and spending the night in one of El Cosmico’s renovated vintage trailers. How cute is the little community of trailers, teepees, and tents? Plus you can rent bikes to explore the town, or a wood-fired hot tub to relax at the end of the day. Quite obsessed, and need to make this happen. Who’s with me?

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Manda Cooks: Pretty Apple Tart

I’m documenting the recipe for the pretty little apple tart from my last post so I can remember, even though it’s easy as pie (easy as tart?).

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I had about one pie crust-worth of dough left over from my quiche and wanted to put it to good use. (*I use Smitten Kitchen’s All Butter Really Flaky Pie Dough recipe and I’m obsessed with it.) I was lazy and didn’t peel the apples, but I think the red, yellow and green skins made it so much prettier. I cored the apples, then sliced them into little slivers, and started to lay them in a circle starting from the outside. I spiraled them in toward the center, trying to use the bigger slices on the outside and saving the smaller ones for the center. Then I sprinkled them with sugar (probably 1/4 cup) and cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon?) and little cubes of cold butter (1 1/2 tablespoons). I folded the outside dough toward the center and voila – apple tart! Baked at 350 for about 20 minutes, topped with vanilla ice cream and called it dessert. Next time I’ll do an egg wash/sugar sprinkle on the crust, but otherwise no tweaking needed.

Fall Kickoff Weekend (…and we’re back!)

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Hello blog! It’s been a while. Too long! And I don’t even have a good excuse – just busy at work, busy at life, and I love to sleep. So I can’t really complain. What I can do is tell you about my Fall Kickoff Weekend! The end of October is a little late to kickoff the season, but New York was still feeling summery up until about two weeks ago (I know, more excuses). It is finally is starting to feel like Fall – the leaves are changing, the mornings are cooler and darker and I’ve broken out my sweaters. To celebrate, Brett and I went out to New Jersey for the night with our friend Seth and my cousin Andrea. We drove straight to the local farm so that we could pick pumpkins before the sun set. We also munched on cider donuts (one of my favorite things about Fall!) and picked up fresh apple cider. When we got back to the house, we carved the pumpkins next to our new fire pit and Brett and Seth made a batch of spiked cider (with Honey Jack – mmm). Seth and Andrea passed out on the early side, but Brett and I stayed up and watched The Purge (which was pretty awful, but oh well). The next morning my Gram came by for breakfast (I made a quiche and Brett made avocado toast) then we headed back into the city.

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Brett and I were having friends over for dinner, so I made a big pan of vegetable lasagna and the prettiest little apple tart (if I do say so myself). We made our first fire of the season in the apartment, and drank a second batch of cider while we all caught up. The fireplace makes the apartment so cozy when the weather gets cooler, and is the perfect excuse to have people over rather then trekking out in the cold, so hopefully last night is a sign of what’s to come this winter.

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I think our pumpkins on the fire escape are just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.