October 31, 2013

Newbie Zombies


This past Friday Brad and I went to the annual Adam’s Street Zombie Crawl.  I’ve been talking about going for a few years, but this was the first year we actually made it out to the bars.  Even this year, I talked about it, and talked about it, but we didn’t end up deciding to go until about 3:00 pm the day of the crawl.  Fortunately for me, just a week prior, my mom asked me to clean my old prom dresses and Halloween costumes out of my old bedroom; so, even though I didn’t have any zombie makeup or wounds I did have a costume. 

I decided on a costume I wore in 2005, a costume I never thought I’d get to wear again, because after the year 2005 no one was going to recognize it.  Anyone remember the band My Chemical Romance?  If so, remember the Helena music video?  For Halloween 2005 my mom made me an amazing black and red dress so I could be Helena.  The costume is especially sentimental because it was my first Halloween with Brad (he went as Gerard Way) and now 8 years later we got to wear those costumes again. 

Now that we had costumes all we needed was zombie make-up.  Because of the time, I had to use what I had on hand, so I raided my make-up supply (which is quite extensive thanks to my friend Janice.)  I began by making our complexion paler by brushing a translucent powder all over our faces with my kabuki brush.  When becoming a zombie you really can’t be too pale so I really caked it on. Next I gave our checks a sunken look.  To do this, I used my blush brush to add green and purple eye shadow on our faces just below the check bone.  I started with a dark sage green and then went over top of it with a pale violet color.  I repeated with the two colors until I got the desired look I was going for.  Brad’s beard made it a little difficult to acquire the sunken cheeks but in the end I made it work by putting the make-up just above his beard line. Then I moved on to the eyes.  I started with red eye shadow covering from just above the eyebrow to just under the eye socket. As with the translucent powder I really caked the red eye shadow on.  I lightly added blue eye shadow on top of the red, letting the blue get darker towards the edge of the red.  I finished the eyes by blending yellow eye shadow around the red/blue circles giving our eyes a nice bruised look.  To finish I lightly brushed the translucent powder over the top to help blend all the colors together.  Now we looked like fresh, just bitten zombies…but we were still missing something…we didn’t have bites!

To create the bite marks I used black lipstick dabbing it in an oval pattern where we wanted out bite marks to be.  Then I filled in the center of the black lipstick oval with red lipstick.  I blotted and smear the outside edge of the black lipstick with a make-up pad covered in purple eye shadow to make the bite look bruised. The bites looked okay, considering, but still they weren’t quite right, they weren’t bloody. 

You can find homemade blood recipes online, the few I looked at were a mixture of corn syrup, red food coloring and Hershey cocoa, none of which we had in the house.  What I did have was maple syrup and neon pink food coloring.  I used the entire bottle of neon pink food coloring and part of the neon purple food coloring but in the end I got the bloody color I was trying for.  I also added a little bit of baking powder to try and thicken the syrup but I’m not sure it actually made any difference.  Then I used a cotton ball to dab the syrup onto our “bite marks” and I let the “blood” drip down my chest and back.  The only bad part was I had to pull my hair up because it kept sticking to the syrup.

Considering the short amount of time and limited supplies I had, I would say I did a fairly good job making us into zombies.  I was really happy with the results.

We went out to the bars with our friend Nick. We made it to 3 of the bars, freezing our asses off walking from one to the other (a strapless dress was maybe not the best idea but at least I wasn’t one of the many “lazy house wives” wearing a robe) I move to change Halloween to a warmer month, anyone second me on that?  Brad and Nick seem to think that I can’t just change the date of a holiday that’s been around for thousands of years just because I don’t like being cold…but, Bush changed Day-Light-Savings so I mean anything is possible right?
Honestly, I really enjoyed seeing all the costumes, some of them were seriously awesome.  Between the make-up, face paint, masks and wounds; some people really went all out.  I feel like it’s safe to assume that a lot of those people have already started planning for next year’s Zombie Crawl.  I’d have to say my favorite zombie was the guy who looked as though he didn’t have eyes, that was a pretty cool effect.  My least favorite was the lady wearing a sheet with eye holes (a ghost). We saw her and her date at all three of the bars we went to.  Every time I saw her I just wanted to “trip” and pull the sheet off. (For those of you who know me, and are wondering, I DID NOT pull her sheet off.)

When they started having lines to get into the bars, we’d had enough.  It was cold enough walking from bar to bar but waiting outside in a line was too much.  I am definitely planning on going to the Zombie Crawl next year.   However I think I’ll start my planning a little earlier than that day of.  I was really inspired by all of the amazing zombies at this year’s crawl.

What about you?  Feeling any inspiration to become undead?

October 15, 2013

A Little Taste of Fall

I LOVE the taste of fall.  Brad and I went to Revolution Grille a couple of weeks ago and had the most amazing sweet potato soup.  I have to find a similar recipe, so if you’re harboring one please feel free to share. I’ve been looking forward to getting to a pumpkin patch so I can make anything and everything pumpkin flavored; however, it just hasn’t been in the stars for me, hopefully soon though.  

Still I’ve been craving something fall and although I’ve been filling that void with various pumpkin ales (Shipyard is by far the best I’ve found but I’m open to suggestions) I needed something else.  Then, the other day after dinner Brad said to me “you know, what I really want, is a cookie.” Oddly, I had been craving cookies too.  I became encouraged to try a caramel apple cookie recipe I’ve been putting off for a few years.  I’ve wanted to try my hand at baking these cookies since I first found the recipe but I was too intimidated.

Whenever a recipe calls for a stand mixer, ingredients I haven’t previously used, and directions involving parchment paper I get apprehensive about tackling it.  Still, I had Brad pick up Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix and Kraft Caramels while grocery shopping.  I feel like once I’ve already spent money on obscure ingredients I should at least attempt the recipe. If I fail I’m out the money, but if I leave the ingredients to rot in the cupboard, I’m out the money and there is no chance of my victory over the intimidating recipe.

I preheated the oven, pulled out my stand mixer, and began adding the ingredients.  Lesson learned- actually a lesson I apparently didn’t learn from a while ago: make sure you have all ingredients in the correct amount before beginning.  I got to the last ingredient, flour, only to be exactly one cup short; it was so frustrating.  I had to turn off the oven and put the unfinished cookie dough in the refrigerator. Luckily, Brad said he would pick up a bag of flour on his way home from work.

After dinner I turned the oven back on and got the cookie dough out of the refrigerator.  It was much more difficult to add the last cup of flour now that the dough had gotten cold in the refrigerator but I made it work. Once the dough was finally ready I flattened out approximately 2 inch circles of dough and wrapped them around the caramels.  Brad tried to help but his cookies were the size of small boulders (she said dramatically).  I placed the cookies directly on the pan (foregoing the parchment paper), put them in the oven, and crossed my fingers.

Once you remove the cookies from the oven the directions state:
Carefully slide parchment paper with cookies onto the counter. 
Let cool until they are no longer soft but still slightly warm.
Twist gently to remove and cool the rest of the way upside down.

However since I didn’t use parchment paper I had to improvise.  I let the cookies cool for a while on the cookie sheet and then turned them over with a spatula, leaving them until they were completely cooled.

All that time I wasted being afraid to try my hand at making these cookies.  All those fall seasons I could have been enjoying these amazing cookies, and they ARE amazing!  Delicious apple cider flavored cookies with a gooey caramel centers. 

Go on, give it try, you know you want to!

Apple Cider Caramel Cookies

1 Cup unsalted butter, nearly melted
1 Cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (7.4 oz) box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix *Not Sugar Free*
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 (14 oz) bag Kraft Caramels

Preheat oven to 350°
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packets of apple cider mix until smooth and fluffy.
Beat in eggs and vanilla extract,
Mix in baking soda and powder.  Then mix in flour
Flatten dough slightly in your hand, place a caramel in the center and work the dough around it sealing it well.
Place cookies 2 inches apart on cookie sheet
Bake 12 – 14 minutes
Carefully slide parchment paper with cookies onto the counter. 
Let cool until they are no longer soft but still slightly warm.
Twist gently to remove and cool the rest of the way upside down.
NOTE:  If cookies get too cool before you twist them off, freeze the whole sheet for a few minutes and they will come right off.

I found the recipe at Six Sisters Stuff