When Witches Go Riding…

& Black Cats are seen, the moon laughs & whispers “‘Tis near Hallowe’en.”

I just love that quote! 

With Hallowe’en Monday fast approaching, the hubby and I are semi-frantically trying to finish up any & all spooky prep for the big day. We are having some friends over this coming Saturday for a mini costume party.  The hubby is planning on setting up a photo booth area complete with festive props & im currently focused on finishing up the final details for my costume. I am anticipating a low keep soirée on Saturday with a handful of friends, their kiddo(s) & a selection of dastardly  desserts & eerie entrées. Luckily everyone is pretty on point with the potluck style event, so only a few of the main items will be made by yours truly. 
I’m really going to try to make time for “witches fingers.” We made these yummy cookies when I was a kiddo & they were a lot of fun. Pretty simple too – a little slivered almond to create a “fingernail” & a dab of red icing gel to stick said almond in place.  Tadah, you’ve got yourself a disgusting looking (but oh so tasty) treat! 

Other yummy items – a macaroni cheese baked casserole with BLACK NOODLES!!! can you tell I’m pumped about this? I figure with the orange-y cheese & the black shell noodles combined is gonna look quite halloweenie 🙂

Dessert will include a fruit tray & some candies. I’m planning on making graveyard puddings (chocolate pudding + chocolate crumbs on top + a mini tombstone) in these fun martini glasses we have. And probably something else dessert like. 

The main course items will include a soup made by my neighbour, Swedish style meatballs from our friend Kendra, & a zombie face meatloaf a la moi (thank you pinterest for the idea – check our my spooky stuff board by following the link on the left!).

Our front yard is beginning to look very frightening. We are so very lucky to have the greatest neighbours who are jusy as pumped about seasonal decor as we are.  Last year they built a “toe pincer coffin” complete with flickering lights around it & this year Paul built the facade of a mausoleum! Is going between our front porches abs will have a grim reaper motion activated prop hanging in the middle. Throw in a creepy green light, some thunder noises, & a strobe light & we’re talking frightening! 

The hubby and I have expanded our cemetery fencing (being painted as I type this), two skeleton figures: a 5 ft posable skeleton & a sound/motion activated wolf skeleton that howls at the moon.  It was my big treat this year. We are improving our fog machine chiller this year too in the hopes the the fog lays lower to the ground for a more mysterious effect.

I’m going to include a few photos here of the set up by day. Not all of the props are out because we will only have them out in Monday night (we don’t want anyone to snatch them). 

A panoramic view of the front yard

Close up of our cemetery fence post

Jack-o-lanterns: back & right (mine), front left (hubby)

Spider webs, Halloween wreath that I made, & creepy drapery

We will probably take more photos on Halloween night when it’s all up & running. I’m hoping we get a lot of trick-or-treaters this year! 

Ill try to update more frequently – I really have no excuse ♡

xo

Ps – aiming to have a post about the costume party, life updates,  & maybe I’ll finally get around to posting some photos from my sister’s wedding! 

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Road Trip Adventures

This weekend my friend Laura and I met up and road tripped to Kingston, Ontario. We were off to see our friend from school, visit her new place and just catch up because it had been FAR too long.

It took me about 90min to drive to pick up Laura, then another 3.5hours to get to Danielle’s. We did make a stop or two along the way for gas and such. There was a pit stop at The Big Apple – they’ve nearly sold 6 million apple pies. I had never been to this mysterious Apple village before, but it was great. There are BIG windows inside so you can watch the bakers as they work, a big candy and chocolate shop, then an area with more Apple products as you make your way to the check out. There are some animals outside too that you can feed and just hang out with.

Back on the road after that pit stop and it was straight through to Kingston. After arriving at our destination, we chatted for a few hours and had some snacks. Then it was decided that the weather was perfect for a hike and some exploring. We went to Lemoine Point Park (I think that is the name of it), and hiked for like two or some such hours (12,000 steps later). The trails were mostly through forests where the leaves were turning to those brilliant autumnal colours – best time of year for a hike. At various stops along the trails, people were feeding birds FROM THEIR HANDS!?!? I legitimately panicked with excitement. Needless to say we fed birds from our hands and it was a serious Snow White moment. 

Back home we had an awesome dinner with cream cheese pumpkin spice muffins as dessert. We chatted the night away and finally hit the hay around midnight. Danielle made French toast for breakfast (yum!) and then around 10am Laura and I headed out for the highway. I ran a few errands where I dropped Laura off and then made a pit stop for gas closer to home. All n all, not an awful drive though it was a long one. Please enjoy some photos of our adventuring…and a video!

xo

Split Pea & Ham Soup

As per my last update (at thanksgiving), I mentioned making split pea and ham soup from my leftover ham bone. My mum often makes this soup after we’ve had a big ham dinner, and I have to say it’s one of the best cold weather soups out there. 

On Sunday early afternoon, we brought back a borrowed table to Kendra’s house and chatted a while. On our way home we picked up supplies for soup making:


Disregard the black pasta at the back… That’s for spooky Halloween party nonsense. Anyways, we’ve got 2 bags of split peas (yellow and green, I used about half of each) + onion, chicken brother, and celery. I also grabbed some nubbly looking carrots from the garden.

First things first, you’ve gotta simmer your ham bone: Just throw that sucker in a big stock pot with the broth and enough water to cover it. I let it simmer away for a few hours with the lid on so that the water wouldn’t evaporate. While that’s bubbling away, soak your split peas in some water to help get some of the startchiness outta the way. And then chop up the veggies (I did 4 celery stalks and almost the whole onion). 


After the ham is done simmering turn the heat to low and pull out the bone. Once cooled you want to pull off as much of the meat as you can. I decided that I wanted a bit more, so I chopped up some of the leftover ham from dinner and added that into the pot along with the veggies and the split peas (drained and rinsed).


I found the bones to be super cool. You could articulate the joint fairly well.

Give it a good stir once the veggies are all dumped in.ni added some salt and pepper, but completely forgot to add a bay leaf or two. Oh well, let it simmer and soon…


I like my split pea soup to be very thick. If you like a thinner soup, add more broth or water. I only added a half cup at the end.

Hope you enjoy!

xo

Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada and I’m super grateful for so many things in my life: my marvellous husband who takes such great care of me and let’s me rest when I need to, my fab parents for always being willing to help out, my siblings for their support and laughter, and to my in laws – my bonus family – for all of their love and happiness.

It has been another busy week, which isn’t much of an excuse for not posting more frequent updates here on the mellow beat, but all will be revealed soon enough!
The hubby and I offered to host thanksgiving dinner this year – it’s a big dinner, but with less pressure than say Christmas or Easter. Both families were happy to let us handle the gathering. Everyone was free on Saturday of the long weekend, so it was the perfect day to have everyone pile in for a mini feast. This way we still had Sunday and Momday free for clean up and relaxing, and our families could do thanksgiving with their other sides as well.

On Friday night after work, the hubby and I ran some errands. We were in need of a lawn mower (ours bit the bullet), a decent sized stock pot (for soup making), and milk; ice cream…and two matching fall table clothes. Once we got home I started making soup  the hubby chopped apart two butternut squash (squashes?), I chopped carrots and onion and tossed them into our previously never used roasting pan. The veggies roasted for THREE hours (I found this out later…the next day… Because I fell asleep). Thank goodness for amazing partners because that soup was fully complete when I woke up the next day. Also thank goodness for cold weather because our garage doubles as a fridge… 

Saturday morning we relaxed until 10am and then began the deep prep: glaze for the ham, chop and simmer the potatoes, bring the soup in to slowly warm up, vacuum & mop the main floor, rearrange the family room and dining room to make space for an extra table… And the hubby mowed the back lawn with our new mower.

Family started arriving around 415pm – my parents and little brother first (mum was quite impressed with our clever rearranging of the furniture), my sister and her husband arrived next, and lastly my two brother in laws, sister in law, and mother in law! We all piled in the chat and relax before dinner at 530. 

My sister brought cabbage salad, my parents brought turkey + stuffing + gravy + carrots and sauerkraut & kielbasa, my mother in law brought her delicious hamemade pumpkin pie (x2). We made a large glazed ham, garlic whipped potatoes, corn… And a surprise chocolate cherry birthday cake for my sister. I’m happy to say I made the cake and whipped cream frosting from scratch! And it was great. 

In the end, everyone was super happy and full of great food. I am SO glad we had a “wildly successful” event (as the hubby says). And we also have wild amounts of leftovers: ham, turkey, stuffing, etc. Because almost  everyone was celebrating again with different parts of the family on Sunday.

I have now had three rounds of leftovers (lunch and dinner on Sunday, lunch today). And successfully made an epic batch of split pea and ham soup… I’ll post about that later!

Check out some photos below of our cleaning frenzy & if you are interested in the squash soup recipe, Google “food wishes butternut squash soup ” (Chef John can do no wrong!).

Hope you have all had an amazing Thanksgiving Weekend if you’re in Canada…or just an awesome weekend if you’re anywhere else.

Some decorative gourds and corn from the grocery store.

Butternut squash soup a la chef John from food wishes.

Our smoked bone in ham complete with the first of many rounds of a maple Dijon glaze.

About to chop a bazillion potatoes.

My sisters birthday cake defrosting before being stacked with cherry pie filling and whipped cream.

The front hallway getting its tidy on.

Moving the table over so we can vacuum and mop the floors.

Tidied up the couch before it got shifted into the current dining room location.

I’ll grab a few photos from my hubby’s FB page to share on my next post. Til then,

xo

Ps: next post will be a breakdown of the split pea n ham soup!

Rainy Days

It’s been raining almost non stop for like four days now and it’s really making my tired and sluggish. After a busy work week and shopping with my mum and sister (she was hunting for some new clothes to accommodate her little baby bump that’s just starting to show), and visiting my Gramma for her birthday, I was pretty tcukered out upon arrival home on Saturday night.

The hubby and I woke early ish today to drive 15min to the next town to check out their church. We’ve been to the church in our town, but it isn’t quite our style. This new church (new to us) is quite lovely and much more our style. 

We got home before noon and had some lunch and just kinda lazed about. I have been watching the food network on YouTube — they’ve got some Halloween food wars on their channel and it’s quite amazing to watch. Now that it is October, I can really let loose my love of the dark and spooky goodies that pop up in the fall.  We are going to decorate a little bit, but hold off until after thanksgiving for the really intense decorating to begin.

To get myself moving a bit today, I decided a little baking was in order. Those pumpkin spice bran muffins of last week were quite the hit! I had been letting my bananas ripen up all week and they were just perfect for banana bread… Only I love the portability of muffins, so I made chocolate chip (obv) banyan bran muffins following a great recipe on Pinterest! *link at the bottom*

I took some pictures (below) and have to say they turned out great. I doubled the batch and also subbed maple syrup for the honey.


Muffin recipe!
Until next time//Happy Haunting

xo