Tag Archives: Halloween

Dark Decadent Feast

21 Oct

Hello and happy Fall/Autumn/Halloween and if you’re in the Sounthern hemisphere Happy Spring and if you’re in the tropics Happy End-of-Rainy-Season.


This post is about creating a tablescape and some menu ideas for a dark themed dinner. It’s not too Halloween-ey, not overly Autumnal but rather a bit in between. I imagine this as a romantic dinner for two thrown together by a sophisticated witch who enjoys long walks crunching fallen leaves as much as she enjoys online shopping at Pottery Barn.


I began by layering a traditional white lace tablecloth underneath a black netted material purchased at a Halloween decor store.

I then decided to cluster some synthetic and organic elements including a cast pumpkin, a white fake pumpkin interdispersed with fall/Halloween appropriate fruit and vegetables: turnip, beet and pomegranate.

I also added a battery operated off white medium pillar candle placed in a cloche for some lighting effect and to add some interest.

To complete the tablescape and add some height variation I place a clear vase with some beautiful fresh hydrangeas. The white adds the perfect classy touch but the burgundy brings the dark decadence.

The table was complete by adding two place settings of black and white dinnerware and simple clear glass flatware.


For the menu I decided on a salad, soup, light main and dessert.


This salad is a simple combination of mixed greens (I chose one with lots of purple and brown leaves) and purple (or red) cabbage. It would pair well with a balsamic based vinagarette.

To make this salad simply chop, mix and plate!


This thick delicious soup is made from yellow sweet potatoes and a bit of beets to deepen the colour. It can be served warm or cold.

To make the soup : Boil sweet potato and beets, blend or mash into a puree, sautee onion, garlic and spices then add puree and vegetable stock to make thick flavorful soup.


This is the light main course: an umami fueled flavour trip. The thick meaty texture and deep flavour makes this a fantastic menu option.

To make this braised eggplant: Chop the eggplant into thick wedges

Mix the braising sauce; molasses, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste and white granulated sugar by whisking ( Mix according to your taste preference)

Using a little bit of olive oil, sautee the eggplant then add braising sauce, turn down heat and cook until thickened.


This one gets a chef’s kiss because it’s so good yet so simple. This is a sweet after dinner treat that requires no advanced dessert making skills.

To make the poached pears: Peel and core the pear

Bring merlot, white granulated sugar and spices (I used cinnamon, clove, bay leaf) and vanilla extract to a boil.

Add pears and let simmer until cooked and absorbed the mixture.

Let it cool and serve. This goes well with chocolate as well as a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Have a beautiful decadent autumn !

Salted Caramel Popcorn Balls

23 Oct

Do you say kaa-rahh-mell or kar-muhl ? Either way, this sugary dessert item has recently regained popularity in combination with salt. I love sweet and salty, in fact I often crave it. I find it calms 2 beasts in one shot, it achieves true satisfaction. Yummm…

Righto. My sister loves popcorn quite a bit. She especially loves adding flavours to it; white cheddar, sour cream, chocolate and so on. A couple of years ago, I received a photo from her via whatsapp. It was a plastic crate not unlike those cupcakes and muffins are sold in, but this one housed popcorn balls. They were massive, covered in drizzled chocolate both dark and white and topped with the tiniest chocolate wafers (think super mini candy melts). They looked delicious. And they were expensive. I mean like unreasonably so.  Needless to say she never bought them. Since then I kept telling myself I should have a go at making popcorn balls. And that day finally came.

Like so many things I make , I initially wing it. I don’t look up recipes BEFORE I attempt something,  that’s not hardcore. So this is my way of making popcorn balls and I am well aware that there may be far more effective ways but this one was fairly simple and very affordable so keep on reading.

In this recipe I use marshmallow as the binding ingredient similarly to making a rice crispy treat and I also make my own caramel to top them with.


1) Popcorn  (plain, air popped)- 4 cups (popped)

2) Marshmallows- 1 cup

3) Granulated sugar-1 cip

4) Heavy cream/evaporated milk- 1/3 cup

5) Salt (preferably large crystals)

6) Spices- I used cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin spice ( why not)

6.5) Patience

1) Pop popcorn and set aside.

Air popped popcorn 

2) Dissolve sugar in approximately 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil in a saucepan then add milk/cream and allow to boil for a few more mintes. – It won’t be as dark or as thick when you first make it. It needs time to cool.
Note : My caramel measurements were fairly arbitrary as I was experimenting,  however you may vary your measurements depending on how thick or how runny you want your caramel. You can also just melt down caramel candy 🙂

Evaporated milk and granulated sugar 

Bring sugar to a boil

Completed caramel

3) Melt Marshmallows in microwave in 15 second intervals until soft and goopy. 

Marshmallows,  salt and spices 

4) Combine marshmallow, popcorn and spices together.

Mixture of ingredients 

5) Let the mixture sit for approximately 30 minutes. (Trust me it saves you a few grey hairs) The marshmallow begins to set up a but and the mixture is way easier to handle cimparted with when it’s very warm and the marshmallow is stringy and sticks to everything. 

6) Mold into balls the size you desire and let firm up for a few hours (at least 2) in the fridge.

Popcorn balls
7) Once firm, take caramel mixture and Drizzle over the balls. Sprinkle with a small amount of salt. Let firm up overnight.


Finished product 

These were moorish. This recipe made eight balls approximately 3 inches diameter. Popcorn is extremely inexpensive and the remainder of ingredients are likely found in your cupboard making this an affordable treat for a movie night or other get together. The caramel combined with salt creates a complex flavour that foodies will love but is so tasty that everyone else will adore.

I hope you try these out and habe an awesome day!


3 Oct


So it’s another October and Halloween is in the air! If you have even 1/64 of the love I do for Halloween you have been planning for months: decorations, costumes, parties etc. My sister and I traditionally have a Halloween party where we invite friends over, decorate our family home from top to bottom usually with a theme and make spooky inspired foods. Over the years the party has basically been a movie party where a selection of scare worthy flicks are played. On various occasions we have (pumpkin) spiced things up …. with in an activity or two to make things different.

The interwebs are choc full of Halloween party ideas from the décor to the food to the activities. The problem is when it comes to activities most of what you see is for kids. That’s fine, Halloween is a fun time for kids to dress up and have a blast but what about adults who want to dress up and have a blast?

I am going to share some ideas for activities for an adult Halloween party, and hopefully this will inspire someone. Enjoy!

So first things first, you have picked your theme, décor and menu. We won’t be dealing with that in this post.

This is a total “no brainer”. You pile up on some couches, grab some popcorn and let the movies roll. I have compiled a list of what I consider some great Halloween movie night choices (in no particular order).
1) Little Shop of Horrors
2) Insidious 1 and 2 (NOT 3!)
3) The Craft
4) The Conjuring– Anything even loosely based on a true story ups the scare factor
5) Poltergeist– Classic
6) The Exorcist– Another classic
7) Nightmare on Elm Street– The original or any from the franchise
8) Rosemary’s Baby
9) Sleepy Hollow
10) The Amityville Horror– Or any Amityville movies for that matter.

Alternately, you could binge watch a series. Some of my recommendations (again in no particular order) are :
1) American Horror Story (Seasons 1-4)
2) Penny Dreadful (Seasons 1 and 2)
3) True Blood ( Seasons 1-7)
4) Ghost Hunters – the original
5) Haunted Collector

If you have ever heard of this cute little website called YouTube then you may have come across the wide array of challenges that have taken over. The Kylie Jenner lip challenge, The Smoothie Challenge, The Lays chips Challenge, Pringles Challenge, Bean Boozled Challenge, French fries, burger, oreos , chubby bunny, ice cream and so on and so forth.

If you take a few minutes you can find dozens of videos on every challenge each one as entertaining as the last. I think any of the challenges involving food would be great group fun but I have selected my two favourites.

Oreo Challenge
It is now fairly common knowledge that Oreos, everyone’s favourite cream filled cookies come in more than just the traditional black with white cream. Literally any delicious sweet flavour you can imagine they have made. There is Birthday Cake, Mint, Berry, Pumpkin, Caramel apple, Red Velvet and many more.
So without any further ado ….

What You Need

1)Multiple flavours of oreos. I recommend 5-10. Less and it isn’t much of a game. More and it can get a bit long. One person (The Game Master) knows all the flavours and is responsible for distributing the cookies each round.

Some of the many flavours of Oreo cookies available:

Birthday cake oreoPumpkin Spice OreoMint OreosLemon oreosCandy Corn OreosCOOKIE DOUGH OREOSCaramel Apple OreoPeanut Butter Oreo

For a more exhaustive and comprehensive list check out this great blog post : http://blog.food.com/happenings/2015/03/06/22-odd-oreo-flavors-you-didnt-know-existed/ by ‘Happenings’

2)Players – 2 persons and up. You can technically have as many players as you have cookies.

3)Blindfolds- All players need to be blindfolded so as not to see the cookies before tasting.

What To Do

1)Each player dons a blindfold while the game master distributes one cookie per player all of the same flavour.

2)Each player tastes his/her cookie and makes a mental note. On the count of 3 everyone shouts their guesses.
After the guess, players remove blindfolds and flavour is revealed. Correct guess earns 1 point. Incorrect guess earns zero points.

After all rounds the person with the highest score is deemed winner.

Everyone wins in the end because they can eat all the left over cookies!

I’ve seen people award half points for close guesses e.g if Apple caramel cookie is guessed as just apple player gets 0.5 points.

Elimination- I never saw this because I’ve only seen it played with 2 players at a time but with each round, anyone with an incorrect guess can be eliminated until there are just 2 players and then they play for the win.

Prizes- This is generally reserved for children’s party games but why not? The prize can be anything from a package of oreos to a bottle of wine.

Bean Boozled Challenge
This is another hugely popular one. This kit sold by Jelly Belly consists of multiple jelly beans that are essentially colour similes. For example an orange jelly bean can be either peach or vomit flavoured, a yellow and white speckled one can be either popcorn or mouldy cheese. The odd disgusting flavours (I believe) are based on Bertie Botts Every flavour Beans written about in Harry Potter and made by Jelly Belly as well.

You can’t tell the difference until you taste it and by then it’s far too late.

What You Need
1) Bean Boozled Challenge Kit- The box with the spinner and 20 beans: 10 nice and 10 nasty go for around $6 US on Amazon or Jelly Belly’s website but you can buy an extra box/bag of just the beans for about $2.50 US.


Bean Boozled Kit- Photo available at: http://www.fivebelow.com/party.html

2) Players- At least 2 but you can have as many players as there are each colour bean

What To Do
1) Spin the bean boozled wheel and it points a particular colour bean ( flavour options given).

2)Each player takes one jelly bean in that colour and eats it. You have to eat the entire bean regardless of the flavour.
-I’ve seen the points awarded differently: One way is the person who gets the nice flavours gets a point while the one with the “boozled” flavour gets zero. I’ve also seen players awarded 2 points if you are able to eat an entire ‘nasty’ flavour.

3) The winner is the player with the most points.

I saw YouTuber Shaneece Bernard up the ante on this game where you had to take a shot each time you couldn’t or chose not to eat the ‘nasty’ flavour. Truly Bean BOOZEled.


Had enough of the challenges? How about having your fortune read?

So I don’t know any real fortune tellers but I know a few people who can read tarot cards.( As a disclaimer to anyone offended by this sort of thing, tarot cards aren’t actually meant to tell the future or have any evil connotations. That said, if you aren’t comfortable with it, don’t do it.) If you can afford it and want to ,you can hire someone to come and read everyone’s tarot. Or you can do it yourself.

Tarot cards are easily found online along with the book for interpretation and if you purchase a set you can keep it for every party or gathering you have.

tarot-cards-300x226Tarot Cards. Image available at: http://spmcommunications.com/gazing-into-the-future/

An alternative or in addition is reading Runes . Similar concept to Tarot cards.


Picture of Runes stones. Available at: http://www.futuresobright.com/tags/runes-reading

These are easy, fun and free. Gone are the days when you had to buy a Karaoke machine to be able to do this. Just connect your television with your device and play the song you want using a lyric video. Have someone(s) judge for the best singer/ all-round performer.

For the dance off it’s pretty much the same thing. People assemble into small groups, select a song and make up a short choreography. The best group wins.

To increase the fun factor I suggest having a theme. For example all the karaoke songs have to be by the same artist or all have to be in a foreign language. For the dance group contest perhaps all the songs have to be from a particular decade e.g the 1980s.

All of these activities are in my opinion fun and chill and inexpensive. Movies can be watched via Netflix or your Android box, you only need an internet connection to get access to VEVO for karaoke and dance competitions and the bean boozled kits and oreos are reasonably priced.

I hope my suggestions inspire you for your Halloween or any time of year party. Have an awesome day!


31 Oct

Happy Halloween again! This is the as promised scary story post.

Of course I usually post about entertaining and decor and even shopping but this is an exception to the rule. Of course I can tie it into my MO. Ghost stories are entertaining, everyone loves a ghost story whether or not they believe in that stuff. They are also a free form of entertainment… so looking to spice up your Halloween night? Invite a few friends, bring some snacks and sit around telling ghost stories.

I have a small compilation here today. I can’t scientifically prove that any of these hauntings were real but the experiences certainly are. So here we go…


WHERE? The Victoria Hospital, Castries St.Lucia WHEN? 1970’s Told to me by a nurse who worked there at the time.

One night while doing night duty 2 nurses headed to the sleeping quarters at the back of the hospital for their break. When nurse K arrived she saw that nurse M was already in the room resting in the rocking chair. K proceeded to get the blankets down all the while talking to M. Surprised that M was not responding she turned to the rocking chair and found that it wasn’t M at all but rather a black wispy substance in the loose form of a human which then proceeded to swirl and move underneath the nearby bed! K was frightened and as she turned to bolt through the door she saw the back of Nurse M running up the stairs. M had arrived in time to see the entire thing and corroberate K’s story.


WHERE? Oxford Plantation, St.Lucy , Barbados WHEN? 1960’S Told to me on different occasions by my mother and aunt

Oscar was the well known resident ghost with a penchant for smacking persons on their behinds partiularly in their sleep often leaving visible hand prints. This reportedly happened to numerous family members, friends, cousins who frequented the home. My mother is unsure who Oscar was in his lifetime, she assumes he used to live there previously. There was a window on the second floor with the name Oscar etched in a pane. This window was replaced. A few weeks later, the name Oscar was once again etched into the window pane….


WHERE? The Morn, St. Lucia WHEN? Early 2000’s Told to me by a friend whose friend’s father was on of the witnesses

A group of about 6 adults (men and women) were driving home from a party late one night. As they drove they saw a woman standing on the side of the road up ahead. They all noticed she appeared very tall, about 7 feet! She was wearing a long old fashoined dress. Both she and the dress were sheet white and she didn’t appear to be solid. As the group slowly drove by they looked into her eyes and saw nothing but black hollow sockets! They  swiftly headed home and the men returned about 45 minutes afterwards but by then she was gone…………


This year our gardener of many years suddenly passed away this year. He came to us as a gardener but was so much more. He painted our rooms, fed pur animals when we were away, he was a friend. Aprroximately a month or so after he died, my mother was in the backyard feeding our dogs when she came across his name etched in the cement. It had never been there before…..

So that’s it, have an amazing day!

Halloween on the Cheap

30 Oct


Happy Halloween!
I love Halloween. I also love Christmas, my birthday and Easter. I like Valentine’s day and I have no feelings towards Thanksgiving. I also appreciate,respect and acknowledge Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali and Eid even though I don’t personally celebrate them.

Now to the meat of the matter: Halloween!
Despite living away from home on and off for the past 4 years I have managed to be at home every year for the past 6 Halloweens. There I have a collection of Halloween props and decorations both handmade and store bought.

Here (where I am now) I have nothing. Zero, zilch! To add insult to injury Halloween season found me at a time when I had no money. NONE! So it isn’t like I could order a bunch of new stuff online or go on a shopping spree.

What is a poor party girl to do?

Well I soon discovered that my new hometown didn’t have much to offer in the way of Halloween shopping, in fact it doesn’t have much to offer in the way of shopping in any way…

Despite that I soon discovered a discount store had some Halloween stuff in stock. The basic stuff: witch hats and brooms, cat ears and tail kits, rubber creepy crawlies you get the drift.

Even though I prefer more inspired merchandise I could work with this. I have loads of “basic” Halloween decorations at home.

I could do a whole witchy theme I thought :
I’d hang two brooms over the doorway, put a plastic cauldron on my dining table and have a ton of rubber worms and mice spilling out of it. Of course I’d buy a bunch of pumkins and arrange them on my counter then put witch hats on a couple of them…..yes I can see it now….
EXCEPT I didn’t have enough money for all that stuff.

Okay so forget the theme idea I would keep it simple: A Happy Halloween banner on the wall, fake cobwebs in each corner a plastic Jack-o-lantern bucket filled to the brim with candy. I could strategically place the rubber rats and centipedes on the floor wait wait….didn’t have enough for that either.  And the store didn’t have any fake cobwebs anyway.

So I went in with a budget of under $10 (that was my theme).For that I got the following:
1) Spiderweb bowl
2) Pack of rubber spiders
3) Pack of small bats
4) Witch’s hat
TOTAL $9(things are kind of expensive around here)

This wasn’t a whole lot to work with but it was enough. My apartment is small anyway.
I placed the bowl on my table and arranged the spiders in and around it.



Made some look like they were crawling away.

I put the witch’s hat on my breakfast bar and placed a spider and bat on it. I also added a purple candle I had from before saying as my colour scheme is purple.


The bats were a problem. I wanted to hang them or maybe stick them onto the wall for a flying effect.but my lease prohibits sticking stuff up and also I had neither string nor tape nor funds with which to buy them. So I grudgingly propped them onto the shelf just above the breakfast bar. Made it into a Halloween corner as such.


I’m a hardcore Halloween-ist so I knew I had to do something even if it isn’t what I would have wanted. I’m already away from home and friends and family so I needed some semblance of normalcy. And you know what I like it. It’s simple. I can look over when I’m on my laptop or in the kitchen making lunch and see it and that’s cool.

This is the overall look


My little Halloween corner.

Well that’s that. I’ll be at work on Halloween night but I hope everyone has a great Halloween.
Stay tuned for my Halloween Scary Story post.
Have an awesome day!

Nevermore Spooktakular

30 Oct

Hey there, this is my second dedication to Halloween (which I LOOOVE!). Here I’m showing some pics of the decor at our (our = my sister + myself) Halloween shindig last year.

Our theme/name was “Nevermore Spooktakular” inspired of course by the poetry of none other than Edgar Allan Poe. We loved the the macabre, darkness and general creepiness associated with this brilliant and celebrated American poet’s works and life. Enjoy the pics!

SETTING THE SCENE…. Rule number 1 to creepiness is cobwebbing everything! And that we did. We used fake cobwebs bought in the supermarket (the same stuff they market as fake snow just a few weeks later around Christmas), of course you can use your own real cobwebs…..


Cobwebbed Candle


Cobwebbed bathroom mirror, we added the “eyes” for that pop of cute scariness


Cobwebbed wall art


We even got the hallway.


And of course, the lights.

WHAT ELSE is creepy? Graves!


The “Next” family plots


The entire “graveyard”

We got some dirt from our garden and piled it up outside the front step. The headstones are painted styrofoam and we used the painted dryer lint technique to create the moss on them.



Bloody candles

We bought some mucky grey inexpensive tapers and dripped wax of an old red candle at the top and let it run down the sides to give the effect of a bleeding candle


Spooky seating

Tie on some black fabric (re-used from a birthday party of mine about 3 years earlier) and your mild mannered daytime cushions become “dark and scary” (or at least lend to that setting)


Spooked out bar

The drinks area(there were actually drinks there the night of the party, lol) with some bleeding candles and  a bottle of “poison” (re-used from my Alice in Wonderland tea-party) to accent it.


A Brain….perhaps the brain of Edgar Allan Poe himself?

A cauliflower in a jar filled with green dyed water creates this effect.


Virginia Clemm?

We had a small skeleton cut out (how creepy is that?) and decided to go with the flow. We thought this could be the skeletal remains of Edgar Allan Poe’s deceased child bride (and cousin) Virginia Clemm.


My homemade papier mache pumpkin made a reappearance this year accompanied by some hardcore cobwebbing of the mirror.


Macabre tablescape

A skull, black pillar candle and framed print of a raven created the mood for our tarot reading session.

Diseased Candle

Believe it or not this candle and it’s holder are my mother’s bought without so much as a sliver of halloween on her mind, this is her everyday style……


Our guests of honor: Edgar Allen Poe and his Raven

A print of EAP and a print of a raven backed with card and cut out.

The rest of the house had various prints of skulls and raven images, black candles and of course endless cobwebs to complete that creepy ambiance conjured by the word Nevermore…..

The countdown to halloween continues and I can’t wait! Our theme this year is “Haunted Carne-Evil” and I’ll be posting about that soon enough.

Have an awesome day!

Halloween Teaser

18 Sep

I love Halloween! From the decorations to the foods to the costumes. That being said I’ve been trying to hold back until October before I posted about this spooky Holiday but I could not wait.

Just about every year for the past 10 years or so, my sister and I have a Halloween movie party where we don costumes, decorate the house and invite our friends over for snacks and scary films.

In the tradition of thrifty DIY-ers we make almost all of or decorations and props from scratch. It isn’t worth it to spend a small fortune on something for just one night a year and besides, we couldn’t afford it even if we wanted to.

Here is a little teaser from one of said parties. The year was 2009, the trend was Vampires in the biggest way. I chose a combined theme of True Blood and Twilight.


Tablescape: Vase filled with stones then red crystals, branch (fell from a tree in our yard) spray painted black with artificial red apples hanging by string, surrounded by red candles and styrofoam “food for humans” sign.


Table with the aforementioned food for humans (the vampire “food” was elsewhere). On that little netbook there we had the Twilight movie playing.


Styrofoam “Merlottes Bar and Grill” signifying the drink station. (A true blood fan would get this)


The drink station with “blood punch” (red sangria) taking centre stage.


Directions to the Vampire “food”: Non homemade but very cheap props such as these are usually found everywhere (supermarket,hardware store,bookstores even) at this time of year.


Blood red candles to help set the blood sucking mood. Inexpensive red tapers give a spooky feel when added to our pre-owned black candelabra. (Yes that’s a real family photo caught there in the corner).


Hand painted gourds.


In keeping with Twilight, a vase of red apples.

As mentioned, I love Halloween and I can’t wait to decorate this year. Hope to have a couple more Halloween posts between now and then.

Have an awesome day!

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