Saturday, October 31, 2009

Smores on a Stick

I've been busy prepping for the Halloween party and that means that I have been cooking and doing some kitchen prep. One of my favorite Halloween party foods is Smores on a Stick. Ready? Here we go!

Ingredient List:

* Big Marshmallows
* Sticks
* Chocolate Chips
* Graham Crackers

The first thing you'll do is stick two big marshmallows on to a stick. You can do one, or three... but I like two. Two is my lucky number. Two it is.

Go ahead and make them all. I used 3 bags of marshmallows, but you don't have to use that much. You want to do this assembly line style so this is key. Go ahead... admire. And maybe snag one. Why is it anything on a stick looks more appealing??

Next, absolutely pulverize the graham crackers. Start with just one package of crackers. You don't want to pulverize them all if you aren't going to need them! I used my food processor ot make crumbs. (psst... its okay to snack on the bigger chunks nom nom nom)

Next, set up your double-boiler. I don't have a double boiler, so I did it old school, and just filled the bottom pot half way with water and put the chocolate in the pot on top of it. I put in about 1 to 1 + 1/2 cups, but bear in mind you may have to add more as you go. Go ahead and turn the heat on med to med-hi. You want the water to just reach boiling, and then turn it down to a simmer on medium or med-lo.

Here is what your assembly line should look like. You don't have to have gorgeous flowers on your counter like I do... I'm just cool like that. It should go marshmallow sticks, chocolate with spatula, graham crackers, pan with wax paper.

Okay so by now you should have things set up and your double-boiler should be heating up. As it does, stir your chocolate. When it looks like this, I add about 1/4 cup milk just to help it melt better. For our purposes, it doesn't affect the chocolate at all, and will still harden just as well.

Here is the consistency it should be before you begin. Try not to drool in the chocolate. If you do, I won't tell anyone. It will be our secret.

Using your spatula, put chocolate onto the top and sides of your marshmallows. It does not have to be perfect in any way, just try to cover the area you need to cover, and consider yourself good. If you have goopy chocolate on one side, will anybody really be all that disappointed? If so, you can give their smores to me. Now, note the decadent imperfection below:

While it is still all melty-goodness, roll in the graham cracker crumbs until it is well coated. You would think this would make the little tray of crumbs all chocolatey, but sadly no. I had great visions of having to "somehow dispose of" all those little nuggets of chocolate-graham-cracker carnage but alas, there was no need. Just wanted to prepare you.

Just keep going with this until you have a vast array of smore-y goodness. I am sad to say that several of these beauties suffered casualties so severe that they could not make it to the halloween party. I'm not at all sorry.

Let them harden while on the sheet, and then store them in an air-tight container. I just shoved them in baggies since they are going to be handed out at a buffet on an open tray. If you want them individually wrapped, check your party supply store for candy or treat bags.

Sit back and enjoy the "MMMMM"s and "OOOOOOOOH"s and tell them that you slaved all day over the stove, even though in all reality it will take less than 2 hours to do 3 bags worth.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Carving a new tradition

Before I get into the fun Halloween talk, I thought I'd give you all a quick update on how things are going with us since I've been gone for so long taking care of general lifey things.

* The portraits at the Autism school went better than I could have imagined. I have such a passion for my job and especially in this venue, I feel like I've found my place. I couldn't be more inspired or encouraged, and the feedback so far from administration and parents has all been exceedingly positive.

* Abbi is doing AMAZINGLY well with her communication device! It is looking like the powers that be are feeling the same way and are ready to sign off on her receiving her own, for free. We have until Nov. 16th to use this one (during the 1 month trial) and hopefully hers will be on order very very soon.

* The Halloween party is fully planned and is in the process of being executed. Be watching for some really fun recipes I will share in the next 24 hours for really delicious themed foods!

Other than that, we have been busy celebrating birthdays, snuggling under covers, going for long drives, and otherwise living our busy lives. I've had trainings and classes, and Kevin has been working a lot as usual.

Of course, the big thing on our mind this weekend is Halloween. Anna seems to really "get" a lot of things this year about holidays, and one thing we really wanted to institute as a tradition is carving pumpkins. I picked up two beautiful ones at the market the other day and Kevin took her out back so that they could do it together. Abbi had no interest at all, but thinks the finished product is pretty amazing and likes to look at the light!

Anna got to draw on her pumpkin, while daddy carved the other one. I will be working with her tonight to carve out the little faces she drew on her pumpkin. :)

Here they both are together, so proud of their creation! There's nothing like messy, creative fun.

And of course, I had to throw in a gratuitous "glowing pumpkin face" picture. I love the exchange between the two of them in this shot.

Kevin celebrated his 29th birthday. Here's to a wonderful, happy year ahead of us!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm not lost.

I'm just wandering...

Or working...

Or something...

Anyway, I've been busy... so busy that I can scarcely keep up with what day it is! Between workshops, trainings, meetings, planning, FRG support, preparing for 4 birthdays in one week for people who are all VERY close to me, a photo shoot, parenting, home life, and breathing, i'm whipped! These are ALL things that I LOVE and am more than happy to do, but as usual I haven't been paying attention to how much I've committed to, and I'm feeling like "too little butter scraped across too much bread."

Probably the biggest thing in all of this is Abbi's communication device. It was designed by a company called PRC (Prentke Romich Company), and is taught with a program called LAMP (Lanugage Acquisition through Motor Planning). The device she is using is a Vantage Light, and was designed specifically for non-verbal children who have Autism.

Today was her first day using the device (video and pics of her using it to come soon, promise)! She did GREAT!! She learned 5 new words in the course of a day! She is 8 years old and only has a 30 word verbal vocabulary! Learning 5 words in one day is HUGE. :) I can't wait to see what happens over the course of the month we get to try it out.

Monday I am going to spend the day at Abbi’s school showing them how to run the communication device she is trying out since no one in her classroom was able to go to the training we had yesterday. I am hoping to be there the whole day since it is something that is a process of learning, and I'd like to sortof keep our heads together on it.

The rest of the week looks crazy again...

Tuesday through Thursday I am going to be at Treehouse, a school for children with autism doing portraits for Project Dignity. Friday I have a lunch and thrifting date with a friend that I’ve been meaning to get together with for a month. Then I have all the editing I’ve got to do from those photo shoots! Wednesday is my friend’s birthday, Thursday is my mom’s birthday, and Saturday is Kevin’s and my other friend’s birthday. I am close to all of them of course, so its like giant birthday explosion (at least there will be cake to reduce my stress level. Someone find me the elastic waist pants! LOL). I also have to finish up plans and organization for the FRG Halloween party.

On top of all that I will be working with Abbi on her device every chance I have while she is awake, and then I need to write down all the details of working with her on it so that we can convince the insurance companies and the school that she deserves to get it. NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING. (Yeah... just a bit stressful. I hand-wrote 5 pages of notes today!!)


There. Much better. :)

Anywho - I'll be around as much as I can be, but if you don't hear from me for a few days... now you know why. ;)

~ Kristin

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Little Things.

Sometimes it really is about the little things.

Have you done any baking lately?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Pumpkin Addiction

I have quite an addiction to pumpkin. :) My amazing friend, Rachel showed me this decadent recipe for Pumpkin Fluff, and that got me thinking. Now that October has hit, I am anxious to start making as much with this beautiful squash as possible. I loved this recipe for Easy-as-Cake-Muffins (with pumpkin) by Two Curlytops that i saw in the comments as well!

Do you have a favorite pumpkin recipe? I'd love to give it a try!