As Halloween approaches, I sit at my computer and reminisce on many fond memories of this holiday.
Quick back story…
Growing up- Halloween was something I always looked forward to. Every year we would go over to my cousins house, have sloppy joe’s (random, I know), dress up, trick or treat, return to dump out & sort our candy, and (if we begged hard enough)…end the evening with a sleep over.
It was the best. Pure childhood bliss. (& yes, I am the frumpy pumpkin)
Fast forward to adulthood, and we have carried on the tradition in the best way that we can. We still get together, dress up, have sloppy joes, laugh, and enjoy each others company. We have the best family, fo’ real. (& BTW I have no idea how the sloppy joe thing started, …but there is no end in sight)
Unfortunately, this year, we are unable to get together. But- it got me thinking. I wanted to share some of the fun ideas that I found for Halloween 2018. In hopes that it will help anyone throwing a Halloween party, not knowing where to begin.
I mean, as long as you have wine- you’re probably set for a good gathering. BUT, if you’re as extra as I am when throwing a party- you will appreciate this post. It’s all about the details- and I’ve got ya covered.
***Disclaimer: all suggestions below are NOT my property or things that I have photographed myself. This post is simply a roundup of awesome ideas that I have cherry picked for y’all. 😉 All photos have direct links to the creators websites. Happy Halloweening.
Step 1. Send a fun invite.
Seriously, who doesn’t love to get mail (especially when it’s not a bill) ? Treat your guests to a snail-mail invite. This way, they will be looking forward to the party in advance- and most importantly- not forget about it. There is nothing worse than planning a party, accounting for guests, and having them not show up or … ‘forget’ about your event… save yourself the trouble and send a dang invite. Bases covered.
I find that downloading a template off of etsy and printing it out at home, or sending it to office depot for printing, works best.
Here is one that I love:
I have learned the hard way…don’t overdo the appetizers when hosting a dinner party. Stick to about 2-3 (max). Too many appetizers result in extra food that does not typically fare well as leftovers. Stick to a few that are the bomb.com and you’re golden. Trust me. Soggy, sweaty cheese squares (you know what I am talking about)…is just plain GROSS the next day.
Speaking of soggy cheese, please do not think that I am cheese-bashing. As a proud Wisconsinite, I LOVE cheese. In fact, my go-to party hosting hat trick is always a unique cheeseboard. So, to be clear, choosing cheese as an app is perfectly fine…and it will get consumed by your guests… IF you don’t have too many other things on the table. Just let the cheese shine, man.
If I were throwing a Halloween party, I would choose one of these cheeseboards, and a ‘hot’ appetizer to go with it.
Now that you have picked out a killer cheeseboard (that Halloween pun thooo), here are a few ‘hot apps’ that would be complimentary. Once again, I would choose just one.
I mean…C’MON…do these get any cuter? YUM. Your guests will love these little jalapeno popper mummies.
Also…this mummy pizza dip? Can’t go wrong. Who does not like pizza? I would serve this with french bread toasts & crackers too. Voila! Delish.
I like to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages when hosting a party. I have found, that the dollar store sells plastic baskets which are perfect for holding drinks. Simply fill with ice, and you’re set. In these baskets, I would stock coke, diet coke, sprite, waters, one white wine, one red wine, and beer.
Bonus find: For your guests convenience, snag a spooky wine spout…they are just one amazon prime click away…. (and under $20!)
Where were we? Ah yes, ALCOHOL.
Here are two Halloween cocktails that look amazing, I would choose just one to prepare for my guests:
How sexy is this blackberry bevvy? O.M.G. get in my belly.
It is hard to go wrong with sangria. This one is is WIN.
All of the goodies in this fall cobb salad do not go unnoticed. Personally, I would use this recipe – sans chicken. If I were to serve this salad as a main dish I would keep the chicken. BUT as a starter, too much protein would leave guests full before dinner even began.
Whenever I get an excuse to make a large pan of ooey-gooey goodness, ya girl is going to take it. This decadent pumpkin mac and cheese is perfect for a chilly Halloween night in- with friends!
(I would make the mac and choose one sandwich to go along with it.)
So, clearly I am going to include a sloppy joe recipe (this one is almost exactly the way my mom makes it). Take it or leave it…but all I’m sayin’… is that it’s an unexpected, hearty, crowd-pleaser. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.
However, if you’re uncomfortable serving sloppy joes at an adults-only party, I get it. Another great option would be these caramelized baked ham sandwiches. If you have never had these (or a similar rendition), my condolences. My mouth is actually watering….
(I would select just one to prepare)
How delicious does this chocolate spider trifle look? Most people LOVE chocolate…this is a great make-ahead dessert.
Who else is dying over this red velvet cake? (another terrible pun, I know) Also, the steak knife in the middle is perfect.
Ahhhh, yes. My favorite part of throwing a party: the decor!
Here is the table setting that I would use for a Halloween gathering. I have also linked similar items (all amazon prime, duh) so that you can recreate this look, if you so choose.
I am LOVING this dark, sultry tablescape. I find it spooky, yet elegant. It has me feelin’ some type-a way, that’s for sure. The image below has a direct link to crate and barrel. They have some awesome sales going on right now, however, some items are still pricey.
Here are some affordable dupes for items pictured above:
Get that magical look- for less!!
Simple Black tablecloth ($13.99):
Black cloth napkins ($11.49 for 12):
Black Candlestick Holder ($15.29 for 4):
Tall Black Candlestick Holder ($20.98 for 2):
Black Candles ($13.99 for 12): (deep purple, burgundy, or white would look nice too)
Candle Centerpiece Idea ($12.64):
White ceramic plates ($18.83 for a set of 6):
(most people have simple dinner plates at home- which is what I would use- if you do not, here is a good option)
Placecard Template ($3.95 instant download): I would use these for guests names at the table & to label the buffet area.
Placecard Holders ($10.95 for 12):
Grocery store items: I would pick up red roses and greens at the grocery store, and place one (as pictured) on each place setting. I would also get a few gourds (once again, as pictured) to spread around the table. This is your pop of color against all of the black.
Pro tip: find a ‘spooky Halloween’ playlist on spotify, youtube, or pandora and play it during your party!
One (actually cool) Party Game:
Trivia is always a blast. Print out this free game and enjoy some laughs (and probably some shouting) with your friends.
So there you have it, an entire Halloween party, planned. Now get shopping, decorating, & cooking… there is fun to be had!
Wishing you all,…. the happiest of Halloweens!
I’ve got a giveaway going on my Instagram right now and wanted to let everyone here know too!! For the longest time, I searched and searched for a delicious vegan yogurt. I tried many; almond, coconut, soy….and none were hittin’ the spot.
After numerous failed attempts, I stumbled upon Forager Cashewgurt…..
Y’all ….. my…..mind. was. blown.
It truly is creamy and delicious! My favorite flavor is the classic vanilla topped with blueberries, Bee Free honey, and cinnamon. However, Foragers vanilla isn’t your run o’ the mill basic vanilla. It’s so legit you can see flecks of real vanilla bean in the yogurt!!! Try it for yourself. Click below and enter !!
Good luck, my loves!!!
As I sit, still reeling that I have somehow cultivated plant life and my garden is yielding a sizable crop, …I run into the issue of ….
WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL??
I’m not complaining, as this is a splendid ‘problem’ to have. Nevertheless, I despise wasting food…especially food that I have worked so hard to grow. Anyone who gardens, or gets too handsy in the produce section, knows the struggle. Seemingly everything is ripe at once, and you can only consume so much before trashing it, and calling for pizza.
Case and point, alllll these babies were ready to go yesterday. In a household of 2, I needed to get creative and figure out a way to utilize everything before it wound up in the compost pile….my solution?
Crack open that icy box where unknown creatures lurk…
Freeze, freeze, freeze, baby,…freeeeeeze.
It’s a quick fix that many of us forget about. If you’re like me, and still have mom’s meatloaf from 2007 in the frosty depths somewhere…pitch it, and make room for some garden goodness. Also, I wish I were kidding about the meatloaf. Freezers have a way of harboring frigid fugitives…Please, please tell me I am not alone.
Moving on, I promised to let you in on the recipe for the greatest red cabbage you’ll ever eat. I’m getting there, and won’t disappoint. Pinky swear. Yes, I am that confident in this recipe. Yes, I have zero remorse for how cocky I sound.
Try it, and you’ll see.
Before I share the recipe… I have a confession: I was not a huge cabbage fan… until I rekindled my love for sweet, sour, delicious… German red cabbage.
However, I knew, if I planted it, I would be forced to muster up the courage to prepare and eat it. With my wedding around the corner…I am alllll about fibrous foods, that are figure friendly. Red cabbage is known for it’s *ahem* cleansing properties, so I planted away. Just look at this beaut.
After picking and washing 6 heads of cabbage, I did what any thriving, independent woman would do…
I called my mom and asked her how the heck to prepare it.
Digging through her old recipe box, she dusted off Gram’s recipe for German red cabbage. Instantly, I remembered how I loved this dish. However, it was one of those recipes that I didn’t even try to replicate, after my grandma had passed. I doubted that it would taste the same and feared failure. She typically used recipes only as guidelines. Always one to add a little ‘this and that’, rarely picking up a measuring spoon. Luckily, she truly followed this recipe, and it turned out even better than I recalled. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten about it for so long!
This stuff is life changing, guys.
For those of you who aren’t following a Ketogenic diet, feel free to prepare it without the modifications. I am rockin’ the #ketolife right now so you’ll see my tips on making it keto-approved.
Also, I just like eating it with chop sticks..OK?! German red cabbage eaten with chop sticks. Whatever floats your boat, right?
Here is the link to my fave sugar substitute which I used when preparing the cabbage:
Remember: use that freezer! Let’s reduce our waste by conserving food. It is such a simple thing to do, and makes a huge difference for our planet. Also, I challenge you to prepare a recipe which has emotional ties to your heart. If you have a dish that you miss making because of someone who has passed, pay homage to them and go for it! Maybe its uncle Joe’s apple pie, or Grandpa’s roast chicken. Even if it doesn’t taste the same, you’ll be glad you did. Pass your love on by preparing something that brought both of you joy. Take a moment and reflect on how much you value and miss them. Too often we are afraid of these feelings but they are healthy. Cooking is an art which elicits so many memories and awakens the senses. Make a conscious effort to cherish that, instead of running the other way.
Have a wonderful week, and let me know what you think of my German red cabbage. I’d love to hear about recipes that connect you to those who have passed, or are special to you. Please share!
I wanted to give y’all a garden update. Prepare yourselves for lots of pictures! I have completely, totally, utterly, become a crazy. plant. lady. I don’t know what has happened, or what has taken over me. Since I do not have any kids to photograph, apparently this is my outlet? A year ago, I would have laughed in your face, if you told me that this is how I spend my thyme now (..you guys, I even make garden jokes..). Either way, gardening and photographing nature’s beauties has become my recent obsession. It makes me happy, so I’m rollin’ with it.
Now that I have come clean about my addiction…I’ll start with some real talk.
First of all, I need to get this out there. I have NEVER been able to grow anything. Ever. Many thymes (…ugh…I can’t stop, sorry)…, my followers will say things like “I am so jealous of your green thumb” or “I’m so bad at gardening”…. I was no different, and do not have ANY special mother-earth-magical-garden superpowers. I promise. So please do not look at these pictures, or read my blog, thinking that I have any more talent than you do. I am brand spanking new to gardening, and this is the first time (in my life) that I have been able to keep anything alive…for more than a week, that is. If you want to start a garden, but are afraid that it will not be successful, I encourage you to try! I had these worries too, and it has really worked out for me. I know the biggest reason my plants are actually thriving is because of three basic things: Sun, water, and good soil. I’m sure you’re thinking ….DUHHHH, Katie…but hear me out.
Sun: there IS such a thing as too much, or too little direct sunlight. Although this sounds silly, I genuinely did not know this. The way our garden is situated, it seems to be the perfect balance of shade and light. Our garden patch is surrounded by trees, so it isn’t getting full sun alllll day. In the past, I thought, the more light the better… makes sense, right? Wrong. plants need some shade too!
Water: Mother nature has been my home-girl this season, not gunna lie. This summer we have had alottttttt of rain. This has been wonderful for my thirsty, growing babes. I still water on hot, dry days, but like I said, the watering has basically been done for me.
GOOD soil: Since our beds are raised, we were forced to purchase fresh dirt, rather than use what was already there. This was a game changer. Getting quality soil is key for plant growth. Once again, this sounds obvious, I know. In the past, we would simply get out the dusty ol’ tiller, and plant directly into the ground. Our soil quality was obviously lacking in nutrients, because we didn’t have much success. I urge you to take my word for it, and treat yo-self’ to some quality soil. Your plants will thank you.
If you have made it through all of the above ramblings, you’re in luck. Here are the pictures I promised. Enjoy.
This was about two/three weeks after we planted, in full sunlight. If you read my original garden post, you’ll know that we planted mostly everything pre-sprouted (about 3-4 inches). We did this because, by the time our garden was built, it was a bit late in the growing season. Next year we plan on starting everything from seeds.
This is our garden in its current state, on a cloudy day. As you can see, it has really taken off. We went from cute, organized plants, to a full on jungle. I have embraced the chaos, and choose to see it’s unruly beauty.
Pictured below, is our main fruit-growing section. We have blueberry and raspberry bushes planted here. These probably will not fruit this year, but hopefully next season there will be an abundance of berries! Good things come to those who wait, right? I am beyond eager for these sweet morsels to arrive.
Best part? This garden is puppy approved. Our beloved 13 year old Bandit is a huge fan. He looks pretty excited for the blueberry and raspberry bushes to fruit, as well.
We just love letting him run around the garden to explore. He adores all the different sniffs, twists, and turns the structure provides. One thing man and beast have in common? It’s both of our happy places.
*Disclaimer: I am going to do a separate post alllll about what we have harvested so far, and what we have made with the fruits of our labor. However, I couldn’t resist, so here’s a sneak peek of my favorite shots.
Bountiful broccoli. I honestly didn’t even know how broccoli grew, before we planted some. It started off almost floral looking. Then, voila, broccoli started to bloom from the center of the plant.
Fresh, yummy, romaine. I cannot tell you how crisp and decadent this was with my homemade buttermilk ranch dressing.
Check out this cute lil’ bell pepper! We have not harvested these yet, but I can almost taste the stuffed peppers I will be making……yum!
This grilled corn on the cob was just amazing. Every kernel popped in my mouth. It was so marvelous that I didn’t even top it with butter or salt! I couldn’t get it in my face fast enough. No lie.
For the final shot, I had to include our first official, farm-to-table, meal! We made Pasta Primavera. For the sauce, we used parsley, garlic, shallots, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini. This was decidedly the most rewarding moment so far. The meal was divine, I
almost licked my plate. Of course, it tasted even better knowing that we somehow grew it all. #winning.
Anyone else out there feeling empowered by growing and eating their own food? This garden adventure has been such a joy. Thank you for tuning in, and keep an eye out for my next posts containing recipes and more pictures!
AvOHHHcado toast. It’s everywhere.
I am relatively new to the whole ‘avo toast’ epidemic. To be honest, until a few months ago, I just didn’t see what all of the hype was about. That is…until I actually sunk my teeth into some. Whoa, mind blown, I’m a believer, you will be too. I promise.
There are infinite ways to prepare this delight. My favorite ways to enjoy cado’ toast are pretty straightforward. To begin, I like to cut the avo in half and gently peel away the skin. This makes it easy to cut into slices, on a cutting board. I have only recently started prepping the avocado this way. I used to simply cut the fruit in half, make vertical knife cuts, and then scoop the flesh out using a spoon. Although this method is completely functional, I prefer the first way of de-skinning the avocado to the latter. This applies only if you are making toast #1 or toast #3. For #2, cutting the fruit in half and mashing in it’s shell with a fork is perfect, and gets the job done. I like to use the mashed avocado version if my green beauty isn’t so green and starting to bruise…avo lovers out there know what I mean!
So, for toast#1, I simply cut the avocado into slices and lay them on a piece of multigrain bread. A few weeks ago my toaster wasn’t working and I couldn’t get a new one fast enough!! Anyways,for this version, I like to add fresh sea salt and a drizzle of EVOO. The rich flavor of the olive oil pairs nicely with the avocado. The sea salt also amps up the flavor. A resounding win.
Moving on to toast #2. As you can see, I mashed the avocado and put it on the whole wheat toast. I top this one with dots of sriracha and Himalayan pink salt! This is my fiances favorite. He was soooo not an avo guy, but as I started making these constantly, he eventually caved and is a huge fan. Yum! Perfect for anyone who likes to start their day out with some gusto!
My final toast, #3, is for all you minimalist’s out there. This one is obviously veryyyyy basic. Easy sliced avocado, on toast, garnished with a cute little tomato from my garden! I mean, it’s heart shaped, c’mon nature you’re too much, I love it! I make a point to top all of my toasts with salt, on this one I added some garlic powder too. Classic and delicious.
I’d love to hear what your favorite ways to enjoy this tasty treat are! It is so versatile and can be eaten at any time…perfect for snacks, actual meals, and even… dessert? Maybe not dessert…but you get the idea. Please comment and enlighten me, I am ever eager to try new versions of this sweet, sweet, delicacy. All. The. Yum.