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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Weekend

It was a good one. We decorated, I tried out some autumn-appropriate recipes I'd been eying for a while, Steven carved an awesome pumpkin, and the weather was beautiful. (Thank you bizarre New England climate!) We didn't get a ton of trick-or-treaters, but we had some, and they were pretty cute...especially the 5 year old Darth Vader. :)

Steven's jack o' lantern:
Isn't it great? He just DID it...no tracing, no copying...he just envisioned and executed. It was so impressive! And we had so many compliments on it throughout the night. Okay, I know I'm gushing, but I'm just in awe...my pumpkin carving abilities have not advanced past the basic 2-triangle-eyes, open mouth-with-a-single-tooth stage!

I also loved the other decorative items we had on the front porch. I'd like to have even more next year so it really pops (and Steven demands corn stalks, LOL), but I think we did a good job of using a melange of gourds/squashes, and I thought the mums we planted in the flower pots were super pretty:
I don't know what these flesh-colored gourds are called, but I absolutely love their exaggerated segmentation. The big bluish one in the background is a Blue Hubbard squash, which is supposed to be good eatin'. If this one is in good shape after decoration duty, I think I might make a soup or casserole out of it.
Speaking of cooking, I did quite a bit of it this weekend, which was really nice...I had been itching to do some "recreational cooking", as I call it, for a while now. I settled on 3 very autumnal recipes from various Martha Stewart Living magazines:

Pork Loin with Apple-Cornbread Stuffing: Awesome recipe! I thought the stuffing was delicious and I'll definitely be making this again. I do have to say that I found the butterflying, stuffing, and tying of the pork rather challenging. (It fell apart when I served it.) However, the recipe is worth the hassle, and I'm sure it will get a lot easier with a little practice.
Apple, Leek and Butternut Squash Gratin: Meh. Won't be making it again. I love these ingredients, but nothing special happened when they were combined like this. Roasting them with some salt and olive oil probably would have tasted just as good or better.
Apple Onion Tarts with Rosemary-Manchego Crust: WINNER! It's such a good combination of ingredients and flavors...sweet caramelized onions & apples, some zing from cider vinegar, woodsy rosemary, and nutty salty manchego. We had these for dinner tonight, and they were fantastic!
I also wanted to post a picture of these adorable cupcakes my MIL brought up for Halloween...aren't they cute? Steven's mom is in a league of her own when it comes to holiday decorating, and these festive cupcakes are just a tiny little taste.
A very yummy taste. :)

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