Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkins! The Carving Dilemma

Every Halloween I get very excited to pick out, buy and carve my pumpkin.  But every year I run into the same dilemma: what to carve out of it?  So this year, for inspiration, I went online and found some very clever, very cute, creepy and very well done pumpkins ...

Perfect for the zombie themed party, a hungry pumpkin.

If a pumpkin had a skull, this is what it would  look like.

 Martha Stewart's mini Vampire inspired pumpkins.

For the very talented pumpkin carver ... 

And for the super talented pumpkin carver!

For the kiddies ... Bert and Ernie.

My soon to be apartment ... a zombie Halloween.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trick or ... Treats! Good Eats for Halloween

Planning a Halloween party means planning a very wicked food menu.  But with so many creative and fun ideas out there, how does one choose ...

A dark, sophisticated feast for plenty, from Martha Stewart, delicious display or dark treats.

 A very healthy, very Halloween party platter idea: carrots, cucumber and dip shaped like a pumpkin.

Another fantastic healthy platter idea and one of my favourites, 'Mummy' dip and 'graveyard grass' veggies.

Another Martha Stewart delight, critter pita cutouts and guacamole.

And something sweet and delightfully Fall - candied apples ... and these look amazing!

 A little 'swamp' water to wash it all down.  Yum!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

DIY Halloween Projects: Save Money, Save the Planet

So, as you might suspect by now, I love Halloween! And if it wasn't obvious to you before it will become more obvious in the coming days as I blog about it.  I promise to throw in a few food recipes in the mix as well.

However, one of my favourite things about Halloween are all the DIY projects available out there.  You really could decorate for any holiday on a dime while doing the planet a favour by reusing, repurposing or upcycling things you around the home that you have no use for.

For example, I found these very funky Halloween bottles on The Messy Roost blog.  See her tutorial on how to make them using recycled glass bottles.

This next project probably doesn't do much in the way of helping the planet or reusing materials, unless of course you have scrap chicken wire lying around, but it was just too cool and freaky not to share.  Learn how to make your own ghost!

This project, from a brooklyn limestone in progress, would be nice for a lovely dinner party and a great way to reuse any old dishes you might have been considering throwing out.

This I love and I've been saving my soup cans for just such an ocassion.  These DIY centerpiece cans come from the Better Homes and Garden website and are a great way to recycle old food cans.

And for the Kiddies ...

Package your own Halloween candies with these recycled paper towel rolls ... the surprises never end (from Small Fry & Co.)

For older kids with a big imagine, this recycled haunted house could be a great project to do with them. From Parents magazine, it recylces newspapers and milk cartons.

Another fantastically cute way to use old food cans is by painting famililar Halloween faces on them. And if that wasn't enough, these cans are used for a backyard children's game.

This was just very cool. An actually squash made in to a Skeleton head for a serving dish.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Gonna Be a Screeaaaam!

I just spent a lovely evening doing one of the things I love most: Halloween planning! Well, not so much planning, as I was really preparing for the days ahead which include: 4 costumes, 2 shows and one house party! And it all starts this weekend with Les Coquettes.

I often get some very nice compliments from friends about my parties, especially about how creative and sometimes, outrageous they are. I usually say the same thing: I am easily inspired by what other people are doing or have done.  I usually find that inspiration by doing some research online, browsing websites or through books and magazines I am reading.

So this week, I am going to share some of the fantastic Halloween Ideas I have found online, starting with ... 

Halloween Decor

This website, The Yellow Cape, offers many great Halloween living decoration ideas but I particularly loved this spider lamp.

If I had a bunch of fancy jars I would totally do this for a party.  This one comes from All Hallows Design website.

These little guys come from none other then Martha Stewart herself, of course.  This, I am trying this year. Fangtastic! (I know, bad joke).

A very cool idea from Country Living and a DIY project ... if only had the resources and the time.  Could make for a fun kids project as well, something you can do together.

Again, with some time and money, and a super funky book shelf, I would do something like this for Fall and/or Halloween (from Country Living Magazine).

And finally, possibly the best ever seasonal wreath next to a Christmas wreath is this Halloween version.  Ultra spooky with a splash of sophistication. I love!

The DIY project to make this wreath can be found at The Art of Doing Stuff website.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Just Call it Loaf and Don't Forget the Pie

As mentioned in an earlier post, I have never really been a fan of pumpkin, well anything, especially pumpkin pie! That is, until now.  I took my own challenge and made this vegan version, a Double-layer Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Okay, so it technically isn't pie but close enough.  And it was so delicious that I just might make it a yearly tradition.

I also decided to make the Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf that I suggested a few days ago on my blog.  It was delicious, nutritious and I can't wait to make again for dinner any day of the week.  I highly recommend it to anybody to try especially aspiring vegetarians or vegans, if you miss meat, it's a great way to fake it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Giving Thanks without Turkey?

Photo source: Eco-officegals
Thanksgiving, a time for giving thanks and being grateful for all we have, is (as well all know) celebrated around a big meal with family and friends. For many vegans, including myself, thanksgiving dinner can be a frustrating meal especially when you are sharing it with those close to you, most of which who are not vegan.

In past years I would bring a couple side dishes, usually plant-based or maybe a rice dish, but it was never the same as enjoying everything available at the dinner table.   However, I do believe one can still enjoy and celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with loved ones without having to sacrifice a turkey or any other animal product for that matter.

To help give me a few ideas of what I could make this year in contribution to Thanksgiving dinner I did some research on-line and found a few very delicious recipes, most of which come from one of my all-time favourite food blogs: Fat Free Vegan.

So if turkey is not on the menu for you this year, why not try Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf instead or Mushroom, Lentil, and Wild Rice Timbales (this, I just might have to make). Other "traditional" Thanksgiving dish alternatives include Green Onion Mashed potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Vegan Bread Stuffing, Cranberry Kale Salad, and finally, we can't forget, the pie.  In this case, a Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake.

I personally have never been a fan of pumpkin pie but this year, I think I might try making this one. Yum!

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Green Blogging Needs Improvement

Photo Source: Dmitry Kononenko 2010
In my perfect world I would quit my job.

I would be a full-time blogger/writer, work from home, and continue with my baking business part-time.

I would travel to where I please, when I please while making a living doing what I am passionate about.
That's the kind of lovely life I would be happy with. But, the trouble is, how do I make it a reality?

I don't know how others do it, what they endured, or even if it really is worth my while to pursue such a dream. In my dream, I would definitely have more time to research, to blog, to hone my writing skills and share my ideas, recipes and inspirations with others.

After a long day/week of working full-time, running errands, and reviewing my after-work projects, I usually have just enough time to sit at my computer, at my blog page and just stare at it. Usually because I am either too tired to come up with something witty and wonderful to write, or mostly because of time, I haven't done any research or cooked anything exciting to write about.

However, I must confess, time management has not been my only road-block. Because lets be real here people, I have an addiction. I can't help it. Just like any addict would admit, I just want it so bad -- even just 20-30 minutes a day. That's all! And I have it under control ...usually. Until those 20-30 minutes turn into 2-3 hours a day! Eek! This addiction my friends, is to a wonderful website called pinterest.

I love that site for too many reasons to name, but mostly, as a creative person and visual learner, it's my inspiration drug. From it, I am filling my head with a plethora of projects -- home, craft, art, party, gift and recipe ideas. Ideas that I am eager to try and hoping to share with all of you.

If blogging were my full-time job then it would be a different story. But as of yet, I barely manage two entries a week. Sad really, because I love blogging. and taking photos, researching, learning and writing. And as mentioned, I have so many freakin' ideas just waiting to burst out of me I can't take it!

So, it's time to take baby steps, for the month of October I will stick to what I like and know best, visuals and research. I will share with you, what I find to be green inspired projects and recipes, every other day for this month and perhaps the rest of the year.

My goal will be to keep each entry short and sweet and include pictures, media or video of things that inspire and delight me or encourage and teach me to live green.

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