Halloween dinner

2013-10-31-Halloween1

We celebrated Halloween a bit early this year, so I could share this delicious post with you in honor of “the big day.”

This recipe doesn’t have a spooky name (although I’m open to suggestions!) but it looks pretty eerie.

Spooky Halloween Pasta | Megan's Island Blog

We love making pasta from scratch and used our favorite pasta recipe with a packet of squid ink that we purchased from Big John’s PFI awhile back, two packets for $2.50. There was a 2011 date on the package and Brandon was able to read (in Spanish) that the ink was good for four years beyond that date. So, we tried it.

Spooky Halloween Pasta with squid ink | Megan's Island Blog

We mixed the ink into the eggs and then mixed that in with the flour and salt. Then we mixed and mixed and mixed with the Kitchen Aid. We didn’t get the look we were hoping for (solid black) and instead ended up with a speckled/cookies ‘n cream coloring. Don’t get me wrong, it looked plenty spooky.

Spooky handmade Halloween squid ink pasta | Megan's Island Blog

Being the students that we are, we wanted to know what we did wrong, so we did some Google-ing  to find some answers. It turns out that we were totally on the right track, but we skimped on the ink. Most of the recipes we found used at least three tablespoons of ink. We used the equivalent of 1/2 teaspoon.

While we [Brandon] were making the pasta, we [Me] made the sauce. It’s my favorite spaghetti sauce, which is totally easy. Here it is, in a nutshell: one onion, chopped, sauteed with one package of Italian sausage flavored ground turkey, one tablespoon of minced garlic, a few sliced mushrooms, two cans of diced tomatoes with their juice, some balsamic vinegar and dried herbs. Voila! Delicious sauce.

Don’t worry. We also had my favorite kale salad and the Ghost Pines wine I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Combined? Everything was amazing. Happy Halloween to us! And to you, of course.

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{Wine Wednesday} Cheers to Halloween!

WineWednesday

How will you toast Halloween? As you know, I’ve been scouring the internet for all-things Halloween. And in today’s post, some great (and surprisingly simple) adult beverage options to celebrate Halloween tomorrow.

Check out these recipes, head to the liquor or grocery store and enjoy!

First, the Brain Hemorrhage shooter from the Coyote Thistle blog. This looks so gross, but also looks so easy to make– and I love any and everything with peach schnapps.

Coyote Thistle Brain Hemorrhage shooter

Make one for yourself:

  • 1 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 1 teaspoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 2 drops Grenadine

In a shot glass, pour in the Peach Schnapps. Slowly add the Irish Cream followed by the grenadine.

Next, we’ve got the Vampire Raspberry Bite from Alexandra Hedin, one of my favorite lifestyle and entertaining experts in Seattle.

2013-10-30 Vamp bites

Make one for yourself: 

  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon grenadine
  • 2 oz Absolut Raspberri
  • 4 oz Talking Rain raspberry-flavored sparkling water

Mix the corn syrup and grenadine in a shallow bowl, one that is as wide as the rim of your glass. Turn the glass upside down and cover the rim with the “blood.” Add the vodka and the sparkling water for a “berry” refreshing and slightly scary Halloween cocktail. (Also? I’m planning on making these for our True Blood premiere party next June!)

And in true Megan’s Island and Wine Wednesday fashion, here is a third option, one that we’ll for sure be indulging in: a red blend from Ghost Pines.

About the wine from the Ghost Pines website:

Our Ghost Pines 2011 Red Blend showcases the complexity and balance that the right combination of the right grapes can achieve. The Bordeaux varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in this blend act as the stoic Dr. Jekyll, while the Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Sangiovese are a classic Hyde: assertive, aggressive and maybe even a little disturbed. Aromas of blueberry and blackberry pie are framed nicely by salted caramel, spice and truffle notes. Rich and full-bodied, this blend offers chewy tannins and a long, luscious finish.

Ghost Pines Red Blend 2011

Spooky. [Spoiler alert: we enjoyed this wine last night and it was quite good. It was incredibly dark and full-bodied. I’d recommend it!]

Cheers and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! What will you be drinking tonight/tomorrow to celebrate?

Great Plastic Pumpkin Hack of 2013

You know IKEA hacks, right? They typically involve taking a generic, common product and customizing it. I took my own advice and did a last minute, DIY “hack” over the weekend, but not with a table or dresser from IKEA. Instead, I hacked one of those cheap orange pumpkin candy holders from Target.

My pumpkin hack was quick and dirty and I learned quite a bit as I went. I took my pumpkin straight from the store to my spray-painting station– a cardboard box on the back patio. Why was this wrong? I didn’t prep the pumpkin properly, so the paint didn’t really stick and there were a few places where the paint actually peeled straight off. I should have either wiped the surface off with rubbing alcohol or sprayed a coat of primer on, or both. Alas, hindsight is 20-20. And the pumpkin will be just fine for this year. Maybe I’ll hack it again next year, doing something completely different!

Once the pumpkin was painted with a few light coats of Rustoleum’s metallic black spray paint, I took a gold paint pen and filled in the “carved” portions of the pumpkin: the eyes, nose and mouth. While I was spraying the pumpkin, I used my metallic gold spray paint and sprayed “stretchy spiders” (that’s what Target calls them…) Once those were dry, I used hot glue to adhere them to the pumpkin. Another lesson here: it only partially worked: two spiders stayed adhered, two didn’t. I’ll be applying super glue to the difficult ones shortly. Hopefully they will cooperate.

Finally, I snipped off the boring black plastic handle and replaced it with a sheer gold ribbon that I found in the basement. I had just the right amount, which means that it really was meant to be.

So, what do you think of the Great Plastic Pumpkin Hack of 2013?

Plastic pumpkin hack | Megan's Island

Finished product!

Plastic pumpkin hack side view | Megan's Island

Oooh! Scary! Gold spiders in search of treats!

Of course you want to know what’s inside, right? We’ve got: Junior Mints, Whoppers, Snickers, Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Hersey’s milk chocolate and cookies ‘n cream bars, and Twix bars. All of our favorite things! Thankfully Megan’s Island sees very few trick-or-treaters, so most of that deliciousness will be kept for us.

Plastic pumpkin hack CANDY | Megan's Island

Nom. Nom. Nom. Think we’ll be able to save some candy for Thursday? Me neither.

Total cost for the great pumpkin hack?

  • Plastic pumpkin: $1 (Target)
  • Plastic spiders (4-pack): $1 (Target)
  • Spray paint of your choice: ~$4/can (I always use Rustoleum)
  • Paint pen: Varying costs, depending on what you get
  • 12″ of Ribbon
  • Hot glue (and then crazy glue)

Total for me: $2 and ~ 10 minutes of hands-on time.

{Gone pinning} Last-minute Halloween decor

GonePinning

So…did you realize that Halloween is in six days? Six days! If you’ve been as busy as I have, it’s possible that October zoomed right by and this weekend is your last chance to dress up your house for the holiday. Without further ado, here are some of the best last-minute, low-energy, no-creativity-needed DIY decorations ideas for Halloween. Check out all of my Halloween inspirations over on Pinterest.

Here, I’ll even give you the link to a JoAnn’s crafts coupon. Now there is no excuse not to celebrate:

Some red paint and a new shower curtain and bath mat make for a very Halloween bathroom.

Some red paint and a new shower curtain and bath mat make for a very Halloween bathroom.

Broom? Check. Three witch hats? Check. Some string to hang them from? DONE! Perfect for the entryway or a Halloween photo booth

Broom? Check. Three witch hats? Check. Some string to hang them from? DONE! Perfect for the entryway or a Halloween photo booth

Classy, easy-to-make "wicked" candles.

Classy, easy-to-make “wicked” candles.

Possibly the cheapest napkin holders ever... Eight vampire teeth for $1 at Target

Possibly the cheapest napkin holders ever… Eight vampire teeth for $1 at Target

Wreath + hot glue + snakes + spray paint = Perfect, scary wreath

Wreath + hot glue + snakes + spray paint = Perfect, scary wreath

Cheesecloth + styrofoam heads + fabric stiffener. I bought the supplies for this project years ago. Maybe this year I'll actually make them!

Cheesecloth + styrofoam heads + fabric stiffener. I bought the supplies for this project years ago. Maybe this year I’ll actually make them!

More cheesecloth and fabric stiffener. He's just so cute mummified! (And then maybe sprayed with glow-in-the-dark paint!?)

More cheesecloth and fabric stiffener. He’s just so cute mummified! (And then maybe sprayed with glow-in-the-dark paint!?)

{Wine Wednesday} Drinking for a cause!

WineWednesday

fisher_house_logoIt’s Wine Wednesday and I know you’re looking for a heads up on the next drinking hot spot.

I found one! I was recently invited to drink for a cause, the Friends of VA Puget Sound Fisher House, at Northwest Cellars, in Kirkland and now I invite you:

When? Saturday, November 2, noon – 3 p.m.

Where? Northwest Cellars Winery, 11909 124th Avenue NE, Kirkland, 98034

More information from the website:

Join us for a fundraiser for The Friends of VA Puget Sound Fisher House, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) raise funds to augment the operations of the House, provide for the needs of guests during their stay and support the Fisher House Foundation in building other Houses around the country.

NorthwestCellarsSince 2008 the VA Puget Sound Fisher has been providing a “home away from home” for Veteran and military families who have a loved one receiving inpatient care. Located on the campus of VA Puget Sound Healthcare system, the 20 guest suites allow guests to be near their loved ones while having a comfortable, peaceful place to find rest and support for themselves.  

More than a convenient and beautiful place to stay,  the guests of Fisher House share common experiences, form friendships and become a unique kind of family, a Fisher House family.

Your $10 admission [ $15 after Oct 31 ] is 100% donated, plus we will donate 40% of the sales of 2 private-labeled wines. Your Admission covers your wine tasting, usually 5 or 6 wines.

I hope you’ll consider attending this fundraiser and drinking for a cause!

What does the fox say!?

So… I’m totally obsessed with Ylvis’ new song “The fox” and I will apologize in advance for anything you might see that may get stuck in your head. The song has only been stuck in my head for going on two weeks…

I discovered this glorious song through my new phone and itunes radio…and by being a slacker and not loading my itunes playlist onto my new phone. It was weird enough that I took a screen shot and sent it to Brandon, so he could take a listen. He’s not an itunes fan, so he went to the internet and happened upon the glorious video. I didn’t realize the weirdness until we watched it the next morning in bed. So. Freakin’. Weird. And fun!

Ever since I discovered “The fox,” I can’t stop seeing fox items! I so want to buy them, but have resisted thus far. I just don’t know how long I can contain myself…

A fox costume, complete with UW Husky-colored tie (from Old Navy)

A fox costume from Old Navy

More fox love from Old Navy: socks!

More fox love from Old Navy: socks!

(Hint: Brandon: I want those socks for a stocking stuffer!!)

Old Navy has a lot of cute kid fox items, but this sweater is totally legit for a 31 year old woman.

Old Navy has a lot of cute kid fox items, but this sweater is totally legit for a 31 year old woman.

This teal cookie jar from Target looks a lot better in real life. Does the fox say "Cookie, cookie, cookie, cookie...?"

This teal cookie jar from Target looks a lot better in real life. Does the fox say “Cookie, cookie, cookie, cookie…?”

Target also has Fox Socks. Foxes are all the rage!

Target also has Fox Socks. Foxes are all the rage!

This was one sturdy fox! So sturdy that he'd be perfect for holding open the door... Love West Elm!

This was one sturdy fox! So sturdy that he’d be perfect for holding open the door… Love West Elm!

I’ll leave you with yet another Fox video, this one of staff at Schmitz Park Elementary in Seattle. Have a great day!

{Gone Pinning} Crocktober

GonePinning

HustlinDid you know it was “Crocktober”? Neither did I…until I arrived at QFC and saw the signs in the meat section! And here we were celebrating without even knowing about it! We’ve had several great crock pot meals this month (pot roast x2, corned beef x2) and “Crocktober” is a reason to get even more crock pot meals on the menu. We’re still eating leftovers from last weekend’s big party (think hot turkey sandwiches and French dip sandwiches…we didn’t even touch a whole Costco-sized package of meat!) but come next week, we’re hittin’ up the crock pot.

What will we be enjoying? Let’s go to Pinterest and see what looks tasty! Check out all of the potentially-delicious recipes that would apply for “Crocktober” on my “Crock Pottin'” board on Pinterest.

Cashew Chicken. So good lookin' that I pinned it twice... Ooops.

Cashew Chicken. So good lookin’ that I pinned it twice… Ooops.

French onion soup. LOVE!

French onion soup. LOVE!

Desserts!?

Desserts!?

Pork tenderloin in the crock pot... delicious looking!!

Pork tenderloin in the crock pot… delicious looking!!

Happy Crocktober… at least the last 12 days of Crocktober that’s left…