Hey guys! Allow me to say HAPPY HOLIDAYS!! Have you started your holiday mood yet? I totally have! Let’s see. Halloween is just around corner. Thanksgiving is one month away, followed by Christmas and New Years. It’s hard not to think about taking a break or planning a vacation at this point, isn’t it? You deserve one!

I have got a plan, a plan to make the last three months of 2014 glorious! It involves travel, food and gifts and so on! And YOU, my friend, are part of the plan!

Let’s start with Halloween.

I will be honest with you. Compare to New Years, Chinese New Years, Valentine’s day and Christmas, etc., Halloween is not a major holiday that local Chinese people will celebrate. But if you happen to be in an expat community, then it’s a different story.

In October 2010, I somehow got a last-minute invite to a Halloween house party in Shanghai. I didn’t have time to prepare any costume. So I just pulled out my most punk inspired dress. It was short. It was a black long-sleeve dress with big triangle shoulders pointing up in the air plus lots of heavy mental hanging in front of my chest. Oh God! I thought that was cool.

Sadly, it turned out that I was one of the most normally dressed chicks at the party. However, there was this dude who clearly didn’t prepare for Halloween either – white dress shirt, black vest, black dress pants and black dress shoes. What did he look like? A waiter! Maybe that’s what he intended to dress like. Later on, I found out those were the best clothes he had at the time.

This dude is my husband now.

Ever since then, Halloween means a lot more than carving pumpkins or dressing like a slut without getting judged to me.

It’s pretty obvious that Han and I are neither creative nor romantic. Before Halloween approaches, I realized that I have spent many many hours in the kitchen with my apron’s on. It also reinforced my philosophy about homemade food – when you devote yourself wholeheartedly to make something feed your eyes and taste buds, you are spreading all your love by sharing it with those who you care! OK, that’s kinda romantic, isn’t it? The best part is that you can do this every day and it doesn’t have to be fancy. No drama. Just normal simple stuff.

Allow me to share some easy, fun and freaking good recipes with you. They have been selected, tried, tweaked and devoured. Some of them might not look Halloween per se, but feel free to Halloween them in your favorite way! Hope they will add some flavorful colors to your holiday!

Happy Halloween! With lots of love!

P.S. I just checked our closet. We still have our Halloween outfits from 4 years ago. Hmmm…I have to try that punk dress again…

Brain Hemorrhage

Brain Hemorrhage
BRAIN HEMORRHAGE
Serving: 1 Doubleshot

Brain Hemorrhage

INGREDIENTS
2 ounce chocolate schnapps
1 tablespoon Baileys Irish Cream or 1 tablespoon Amarula cream liqueur
4 drops grenadine

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour schnapps into doubleshot glass.
  2. Slowly pour in the Baileys Irish Cream. Do not mix!
  3. After the cream clumps together add grenadine over the brain.

Recipe adapted from Food.com.

 

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza

Mac and Cheese Pizza

Mac and Cheese Pizza
MACARONI AND CHEESE PIZZA
Serving: 4-6 Servings

Mac and Cheese Pizza

INGREDIENTS
6 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni
2 eggs
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
8 oz ground beef
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped onion
8 oz pizza sauce
3 white mushrooms, sliced
15 pepperoni slices
Fresh parsley leaves

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. In a bowl, beat the eggs; stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese and macaroni.
  3. Spread onto a greased 9-inch loose bottom tart pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add oregano and pizza sauce; mix well.
  5. Spread cooked beef sauce over macaroni crust. Sprinkle with mushrooms, pepperoni and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Place a few fresh parsley leaves on top.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  7. Let the pizza stand for 5-10 minutes before taking it out from the tart pan.

Recipe adapted from Food.com

Simple Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie
SIMPLE KEY LIME PIE
Servine: 8 Servings

Key Lime Pie

INGREDIENTS
1 reduced fat graham cracker crust
1 (1/16 ounce) package sugar-free lime gelatin
1/4 cup boiling water
1 (8 ounce) container fat-free whipped topping
2 (6 ounce) key lime pie yogurt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water.
  2. Stir in yogurt. Mix well.
  3. Fold in whipped topping.
  4. Spread in crust or directly scoop into Martini glasses.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Recipe adapted from Food.com.

 

Milky Way Lover’s Pound Cake
Milky Way Lover's Pound Cake

Milky Way Lover's Pound Cake

MILKY WAY LOVER’S POUND CAKE
Serving: 16 Servings

Milky Way Lover's Pound Cake

INGREDIENTS
For the cake:
8 (1 3/4 ounce) Milky Way bars
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks, divided use)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

For the Candy Frosting (optional):
1 (2 5/8 ounce) Milky Way bars (or 3 fun size bars)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
milk

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine candy bars and 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) in a saucepan; melt over low heat.
  3. In a large bowl, cream sugar with remaining butter.
  4. Add eggs in the bowl, one at a time, beat well after each addition.
  5. Stir together flour and baking soda and add alternately with buttermilk to creamed mixture; beat until smooth.
  6. Add melted candy/butter and mix well.
  7. Stir in vanilla and nuts.
  8. Pour into greased and floured bundt or tube pan and bake for 75 to 80 minutes.
  9. Cool and frost with Candy Frosting, if desired, or any frosting you prefer.
  10. To make the Candy Frosting: Melt candy bars with butter in saucepan or microwave; add sugar and vanilla; blend in just enough milk to reach the desired consistency for frosting (start with just a tablespoon or so).
  11. Halloween it with whatever decoration you want.

Recipe adapted from Food.com

Halloween Candy Apples
Candy Apples

Candy Apples

HALLOWEEN CANDY APPLES
Serving: 8 apples

Candy Apples

INGREDIENTS
8 apples, firm and medium sized
8 wooden sticks
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Wash, dry and polish apples. Remove stem.
  2. Insert wooden stick in stem end. Set aside.
  3. Put sugar, syrup and water into saucepan.
  4. Heat and stir to dissolve.
  5. Boil without stirring until it reaches 300 degrees on candy thermometer. If you don’t have one, just allow boiling until the water is gone.
  6. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon and food coloring.
  7. Dip apple to cover. Hold above saucepan to drain.
  8. Place apples on greased pan or tray with the stick side up.
  9. Quickly dip remaining apples.
  10. Return syrup to heat long enough to liquefy if it firms too much.
  11. Let stand at least 1 hour before serving.

Recipe adapted from Food.com

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