Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not dead!

Taking a break from studying to let you know that I'm not dead...just studying.

I'm in my last stretch of midterms, with my last one today at 11 for my Bio Lab practical.

Let me quote my teacher to you: "You can study 8 hours a day for the next week, and you will still fail"

So...yeah. Very encouraging, and I've been doing my best to remember everything we've ever learned or looked at in the lab and those crazy latin names really don't like to stick in my spongy brain.

But! I was inspired while sitting here at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf to let you know that their pumpkin chocolate chunk "muffin" (hah, muffin, don't make me laugh, its a cupcake without frosting) is absolutely delicious. It seemed vaguely halloweeny, and a good excuse to break from my study session.

I'll be tempted to try their caramel apple ice blended thing next...why is fall coffee food so damn yummy?

Back to malacostraca and pedipalps and synconoid sponges!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Danse Macabre

This song just oozes Halloween to me. Camile Saint-Saens is brilliant, and when you look up the song on youtube you find all sorts of fun videos put to the music. I liked this one particularly.

In band (yes, I'm a bandie, trumpet for 12 years now) we played the...well the wind band version rather than the orchestral version, so that will probably have a place in my heart forever. We had a saxophone play the violin solo and the windy, reedy, breathiness of the sax just made the song that much creepier to me.

If you want I can go all music theory on you and tell you about the representations of wind and ghosts and skeletons by all the different motifs and themes, but I'll refrain. I should be working anyways.

Enjoy! Take some time to look up other vids on youtube, there are some pretty neat ones.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fluffy Stuff

I think its called tulle. Not entirely sure, but its fuuuun. Yet another project inspired by a sale at JoAnne fabrics...$2.50 for fifty bajillion yards of tulle, and they just happened to have black and orange. So I had to, naturally. I think it looks lovely and ethereal on the stairs, and while it's black and orange I like that it doesn't like scream in your face "ITS HALLOWEEN AND I'M BLACK AND ORANGE BECAUSE ITS HALLOWEEN". It was very...well transparent because it's tulle, so I doubled over the tulle and then draped it along the banisters like we normally do at X-mas with our cranberry wreaths.

And I had just enough to drape a bit from the chandelier in our dining room, accompanied by some dangling spiders, of course. Got to have a little spook. And if you look carefully, you might notice that I recycled the spiders from my pumpkin scone setup. Way to repurpose!

Okay fine, I'll go back to Chem now. It's so hard to enjoy Halloween when school gets in the way. But I did officially put a countdown to Halloween on the whiteboard in the research lab I work in. Woohoo!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

PS: Ta-da!

Ignore my mannish, pale, and obviously not professionally manicured hands, I finally got around to painting some festive color on my nails!

That is all. We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Pumpkin Obsession

Chemistry will be the death of me...

On another note! Today was fabulously rainy, a rare sight in SoCal and so I took every opportunity to enjoy it, including splurging on a Starbucks run between classes. I got a pumpkin spice latte and a pumpkin scone, because one can never have too much pumpkin.

I loooove pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin scones, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin seeds, oh boy.

So last year, on a whim, I decided that I needed pumpkin scones because I was going broke buying them from Sbux. A quick search of the internet gave me juuuuust what I needed, a recipe actually designed to mimic those fantastic scones.

But I made mine better. Not only did I up the spice, being a spicy pumpkin pie lover, I made the spice glaze on top a bit spicier, as well as purple! Now on my first batch I actually took the time to pipe out spiderwebs and then decided that was bogus, so the next batch I did squiggles and slapped some plastic spiders on the tray. Voila!

They were so good that my mom immediately volunteered me to bake some for her office for their Halloween potluck. Um...thanks mom? It just gave me an excuse to make and eat more.

NOTE: I take no credit for this recipe at all in any way shape or form. It is just delicious and worth sharing. A quick google search for "pumpkin scone recipe" should take you to a Starbucks Pumpkin Scone recipe on Reciepezaar. They get the credit!



* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 7 tablespoons sugar
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
* 6 tablespoons cold butter
* 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
* 3 tablespoons half-and-half
* 1 large egg

Powderered Sugar Glazze

* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
* 2 tablespoons whole milk

Spiced Glaze

* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
* 2 tablespoons whole milk
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 pinch ginger
* 1 pinch ground cloves


TO MAKE THE SCONES: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool. [EDIT: I opted to make mini scones just by dropping spoonfuls onto parchment paper, if you do this just watch the scones, they should be done in about 10 minutes]

TO MAKE THE PLAIN GLAZE: Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth. When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone. [EDIT: I found that this made WAAAY too much icing the first time, so the second time I just eyed it and added milk to a little powdered sugar until I got the consistency I wanted. Then, rather than brushing it on, I found I got a really nice coat and a really nice crunch if I carefully dipped the top of all my mini scones into the glaze. I would not recommend the hassle if you honestly don't care]

AS THAT WHITE GLAZE FIRMS UP, MAKE THE SPICED ICING: Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk. [EDIT: Instead of making another batch, I took the leftover glaze from the previous step, added the spices, added a lot of purple food coloring (this was before I discovered the magic of gel food color) and put it in a ziploc bag with the corner cut off and drizzled away!]

Add spiders, and voila!

Monday, October 12, 2009


Yes, I know, I didn't post yesterday, a weekend, when I should be free to devote my life to this blog.

I got really painfully sick on Saturday night and was really out of it until about 2pm on Sunday when I had to focus on a 3 year old's birthday party which was, really, really, really hard.

Just to let you know how out of it I was, we were watching Men in Black, and I thought it was a musical.

But anyways, there were costumes at the birthday party, and I will have to hold you over until later tonight, after I've finished the second half of this novel, when I can make a real post.

DJ Lance Rock! Enjoy.

PS: My big sister married the best guy ever.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ghoulishly Good Apple Pie!

Ok, ok, I know I'm repeating myself with the tastiness but what can I say, I bake on the weekends.

It all started with this guy. He is my favorite cheapie dollar store bowl (my boyfriend insists that he needs a mustache though). He is filled with apples we grew in our "orchard", but unfortunately the squirrels managed to eat about half of them, so as you may notice it is supplemented with good old market apples, and a pomegranate (that one we did grow though). My mom intended to make apple pie, which, well, is delicious. She likes it very minimalist, piles and piles of apples sprinkled with a little bit of sugar, cinnamon, and a few dots of butter.

I decided we needed to pay homage to the great service our bowl provided in carrying these apples. Our ghost cookie cutter is a bit warped though and my sister insists he looks like a boot which, well, he does. But he's a ghost! And he says BOO! (not boot!) We ate him after dinner with a dollop of whipped cream, and it was delicious.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fried Pumpkin Ice Cream!

Now, I was intending to do a "Tasty Tuesdays" segment, but this was so tasty I couldn't wait.

I got the idea from the CRAFT magazine blog, who recently posted a link to this instructable:

Hm...I have a box of cornflakes I've been meaning to use up. Oooh I have some extra toasted coconut from my attempt at homemade samoas and macaroons. Cinnamon and chile powder, I bet this would be good with nutmeg and my new favorite ice cream!

I want to personally thank whoever is in charge of making this delicious, delicious ice cream. I am a big pumpkin pie fan, but most generic pumpkin pie flavors don't have as much spice as I like (my mommy's recipe has double all the spice that Fannie Farmer does). This has just the right amount of sweet and spice and everything nice. Anyways! So, I tried scooping it out with a spoon and making it round that way, but there really is no other way but to use your hands to form these, and there's something very satisfying about smooshing ice cream in your hands (after washing, please!) Then shove them back in the freezer, you need them cold cold cold.

Next, take your leftover mini box of cornflakes in your pantry from your sister's camping trip where she ate all the good cereal in the pack like froot loops and kix...(or you can use a normal size box I guess, my mom said frosted flakes might be good, or even cocoa pebbles if you like the chocolate pumpkin combo as I do) and I added coconut. To be honest, I didn't taste it much except that it added a slightly toasty hint, but you could do without. Shake of cinnamon, shake of nutmeg (didn't feel like grating it fresh, sue me) and smoosh!

Next, beat up an egg in a back alley, I mean small bowl, and take your frozen ice cream balls and dip them in the egg, then coat in corn flakey goodness. I had a bit of trouble releasing mine from the plate, but a spatula made quick work of that. Back into the freezer they go!

Now, is where you should not follow my example. Do not do this in a small pot like I did, but I am really freaky about wasting oil. A shallow sided dish works best, and it needs to be wide enough so that your ice cream doesn't crowd itself. I used my candy thermometer to check that it was up to 375 degrees ("DEEP FRY" on my thermometer, I love that it has that) and then fry them. Quickly. Stupidly quickly. Like seriously 2 seconds in 2 seconds flip 2 seconds out. My first one burned because I left it in for 5 seconds. You just want it to brown and crisp up. Do drop it in with a spoon, and not your hand, because those five seconds will be the most terrifying five seconds you ever spend in the kitchen.

Add fork and enjoy! They disappeared rather fast so I'd say they were pretty good. If you're terrified of oil, as I now am, I'd stick with sprinkling nutmeg and cornflakes over your ice cream. Deeeelicious!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I have to say that one of the reasons I've let this blog skip a few days is because I have to promise myself that I will do my homework before I let myself go all Halloweeny.

I am blatantly ignoring that rule tonight.

Suck it, math!

Now, while this post is not stricly Halloween related so-to-speak, it is still freaking awesome and well...there's costumes involved.

And yes, that is me standing next to C-3PO. Or rather, his empty shell. And then I went inside to listen to his soul, Anthony Daniels, narrate the story of Star Wars from beginning to end, while listening to a live orchestra and choir belt out the tunes that have made my heart soar for the past, oh god. Too long and not long enough.

And he did it in a rhinestone bow tie and a gold vest. Oh, Anthony Daniels.

Oh, did I mention I'm a vapid Star Wars nerd? I've had my fair share of Star Wars marathons in my life, most recently a few weeks ago accompanied with Wookiee Cookies and Bossk Brownies. And water opera soda, which was our cheap excuse for using rainbow sherbet instead of lime to make Yoda soda.

Anyways, they had a really neat "museum" of costumes and props from the movies which absolutely made me squee with fangirl delight. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) there were thousands of other fans squeeing around the same exhibits so I didn't get a chance to get all the pictures I wanted.

They had threepioh and vader setting off the entrance right when you walked into the venue. Around the corner I found Chewie, in all of his massively tall glory. Queen Amidala was there as well, her headpiece looking a little worse for wear but I mean, c'mon. It went through a lot. Also gracing the halls were various aliens I am not geeky enough to know, as well as Grand Moff Tarkin, Yoda, 2 ewoks (which are actually rather creepy in person) and everyone's favorite bounty hunter, Boba. They also had a display of an original score for a battle, as well as various weapons which my boyfriend proceeded to explain were very very mildly altered airsoft guns ( of them was very clearly just an M4). But then I proceeded to geek out because I knew half of the guns anyways, and my beau rolled his eyes and called me a geek.

The live music was even more amazing than the costumes, but I am a total nerd, and am actually currently listening to the soundtrack anyways. It's hard to imagine 4 trumpets and one tuba making the gigantic sound that they did, even if they were accompanied by a bajillion piece violin section.

And now, I simply cannot put off this blasted homework any longer. But this weekend, lemme just give you a hint to what's coming up: Fried Pumpkin Ice Cream. Oh god.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Movie Picks

Apologies, life has caught up with me the past few days, and I have midterms coming up...October was probably not the best month to attempt this, but Halloween is only in this month!

Now, as we have already established that I don't like creepy scary gory things, that seems to limit my choice of Halloween-themed entertainment. Normally at my house during parties, I put on a movie related to the theme so people have something to do if they don't feel like socializing.

So, here is my list of Netflix Instant Queue movies that I have ready and waiting:

-Addams Family (the movie, and the first season, which I'm actually going to watch on my own because Addams Family = love)
-Old school episodes of Scooby Doo (how can you not love him? I'm so glad my sister has the sense to play this for my nephew, rather than whatever junk is on TV now)
-Corpse Bride
-Nightmare Before Christmas (I consider this more of a Thanksgiving/Christmas movie, but it makes the list)
-It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (can you believe I've never actually seen this?)

and, as much as I hate scary movies, you can't get around the classics (and they aren't really that scary anyways)
-The Birds
-Night of the Living Dead

Hopefully this inspires you to think about how you can do an un-scary Halloween too!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Takin Down the Boxes

So, yesterday was completely fabulous. While I had planned to write a draft of my essay for class, the boxes in the garage just kept calling my name and I had to listen.

My family has 5 Halloween boxes. One contains old costumes, and the other four contain various Halloween decorations. I won't post pictures of all of it because, geez, there's four boxes!

My main focus became unpacking the boxes and dressing up our patio, which is the perfect little enclosed space to be Halloweeny. My dad hangs up a blacklight every year, and we have glowy spiders and bats and ghosts, and this year my dad purchased a skeleton to hang and glow and be creepy.

Now, I am not a creepy/scary/gory Halloween person. I think most of the stuff Halloween stores are selling now is cheesy and cheap, and I avoid severed hands and disgusting corpses rising from the ground. I'm much more of a classic pumpkin/black cat/bat type Halloweener. Its more classic, its more accessible, and its what I've grown up with.

I'll be featuring more of my Halloween decor in the upcoming month, and for now I leave you with a picture of Tweety with a pumpkin, one of a series of light-up Halloween Looney Tunes (including a skeleton Daffy with a cauldron, Taz in a pumpkin patch and Sylvester at a witch's cauldron).

I've got a surprise in store for you tomorrow! A good friend of mine will be making a guest post, and I hope you all enjoy the change of pace!
Apologies for not posting yesterday, we took down our Halloween boxes and I was so excited I didn't remember to take pictures or post anything. I'll be giving you guys a bigger haul when I get home tonight!

Friday, October 2, 2009


This was today's project: lights! Once again, stupidly cheap at JoAnne fabrics, plus a 30 percent discount they were having = lots of lights! I just braved a ladder by myself (don't try this at home kids, always have a lookout) to put up some festive orange lights around the perimeter of my house. Now, obviously, I'm not going to post a picture of my front yard for safety reasons, but I'm sure you can assume from the picture how the general effect will be.

[Edit: I've now added this picture of a string of lights we've had since I was, oh, I'd say about 8. It used to hang on the porch of our much smaller house, and I love this string so much because of the great memories it brings of great Halloweens, and coming home from a long night of Trick or Treating with my mom and sister, seeing those lights on our porch, and knowing that I had had a great night. Plus, when do you ever see Halloween icicle lights with pumpkins and witches? Never! They don't make em like they used to!]

Now unfortunately my dad has hidden the extension cords so they have no power, but their orange bulbs are hanging, so the hard part is done. On Sunday I'm dragging out the dusty old Halloween boxes and then we'll have some fun.

Also, as promised, here's a finished look at my Halloween countdown (still sans candy and sans official counter, the counter is in my Halloween boxes still).

Apologies for the blurry picture, my poor little Nikon just can't handle the awesome, but you get the gist of it.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Busy college student is busy!

Sorry for the late update guys! I've had a crazy hectic day and I stayed up late doing a project then woke up early to go to class then went to the gym then had to stay late at my first day of work at the Autism Lab...

But the weather was perfect, soCal has welcomed fall just in time. The weather was cool and crisp with a slight breeze and oh man, it was just the perfect reminder that its October!

Which means Halloween is coming!

So today I came home and finished up a project my mom and I have been working on for a few weekends.

A Halloween Countdown Calendar!


These things. I seriously doubt anybody who really has any intention of remaking this would need me to list the materials, but there they are. Basically this entire project was an excuse to buy Halloween fabric, which I always oggle but can never find an excuse to buy. So my mom and I picked out this cute glittery pumpkiny ghosty fabric for our background, sewed some pockets on, grossgrain ribbon, and added sticky foam numbers to make my life easier.

It will be filled with candy! And a little ghost marker I have yet to make/take a picture of, who will help me countdown the days to Halloween, and devour the candy on my way.

Once it is up (I need some ribbon to hang it...) I will post an action shot for your benefit, all four of my readers.

Hope you're as excited for this countdown as I am!