Tuesday, October 25, 2011


    Here's a nice recipe for the child in every adult and for people that don't like candy corns.  It's a little bite for the fall season.  Brought to you by www.barbarabakes.com .  Make a few dozen and maybe take some to work, Enjoy!


Candy Corn Macarons

Candy Corn Macaron

   I got a little carried away at the store today. I had this idea to make candy corn macarons for this month’s MacTweets and I went to the store to buy candy corn to dress up the pictures. When I got there, they had ordinary candy corn of course, but this year Bach’s also had Caramel Candy Corn, and Chocolate Caramel Candy Corn, and Caramel Apple Candy Corn. All of which I decided I should take home and try.
   But I didn’t stop there – no of course not. There were also candy cane flavored Dots and candy corn Kisses and I thought I should sampled those as well. (Let’s not talk about the two cute packages of Halloween Lindor Truffles that I bought and have hidden in my closet.)

   The reason for my apparent current obsession with candy corn is that I hate them. I think they have a horrible, waxy flavor. My husband and my kids seem to like them, but I think they’re pretty nasty.
   But I do sort of think of them fondly. They remind me of this time of year – cooler weather and yummy treats. Candy corn always seemed to be hanging around when you were bobbing for apples or eating pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They look so cheery and fun and I really do want to like them.
   So when I saw the orange pumpkin spice Kisses I thought they would make a perfect filing for a candy corn mac. A candy corn that would be full of fabulous fall flavor, not waxy and bland with an odd smell. Of course, I wanted to make the top white and the bottom yellow. I tried shaping one in the shape of a candy corn, but it looked more like an egg, so I stuck with round candy corn macs instead.

   I made the Ottolenghi recipe that works well for me. I used half the batter for white and then added yellow to the other half. If I was making two colors again, I would make half a batch of each because the yellow got over mixed and spread much more than the white ones, making it hard to match them up.
   I made the filling by melting about 10 Pumpkin Spice Kisses in the microwave at 50% power for about 1 minutes and adding enough powdered sugar to make a thick filling. This really is a perfect mac flavor for fall and so much better than candy corn candies.

Macaronsadapted from Ottolenghi – The Cookbook

110gm powdered sugar
60gm finely ground almond meal/flour
60gm egg whites (of 2 eggs)
40gm granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 310 degrees F

   Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch, 2 cm) ready. (Setting the pastry bag in a glass while you fill the bag was a great tip I learned during this process.) (Also, I like to double stack the baking sheets.)

   Combine the powdered sugar with the almond powder. (Pulse in a blender or food processor if you don’t have finely ground almond meal. A mini food processor works best for this if you have one.)

   With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes. (To test to see if egg whites are ready, whip until the tip of the peak doesn’t fold over when you pull the beater out of the meringue.)

   Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag. (You can put a spoonful on a plate to test it. If it slowly flattens out it’s perfect. If it runs, add a bit more almond flour/powdered sugar. If it just stays in a blob, give it a few more folds.)

   Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.
Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons. Leave out, uncovered for 15 minutes, then bake them for 15-20 minutes. Give the macs a gentle little shake with the tip of your finger to see if they’re done. You want them set but not firm. It’s better to undercook them.
Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.
Print Recipe
   So you may be wondering what I thought of the other flavors of candy corn – waxy and nasty. Somehow the Kisses nailed the strange candy corn flavor in their Candy Corn Kisses, but at least it was smooth and creamy and not waxy. The Dots sort of captured the candy corn flavor but in a gummy sort of way.


   As I was browsing the internet for different halloween and christmas ideas and stories, I came across these pumpkin luminaries.  They come from Amanda Formaro at www.craftsbyamanda.com., good luck in making these, I thought they we pretty cool and could be used year after year.

   This isn’t the first time I’ve made luminaries for Halloween. Several years ago I made these painted Ghost Luminaries which are posted on FamilyCorner, these decoupaged Pumpkin Luminaries and this Candy Corn luminary which are both posted on Disney’s Kaboose. Today I made some colorful luminaries inspired by the ones I saw on this cute blog called Not So Idle Hands. While Emily uses the decoupage method with strips of tissue paper, I opted for what I believe to be an easier, faster and less expensive method… paint.
  Aside from the new luminaries I made (which I describe below), I also spruced up my others after unpacking my Halloween boxes. You see, hubby had the heat up so high today, and sometimes I swear I’m experiencing early menopause, that I just had to get out of the house. So I hit the garage. Hence unpacking Halloween boxes and doing this project.

To spruce up the Pumpkin Luminaries, which are decoupaged orange material, I used a damp rag to wipe them down, then I painted the yellow facial features black. Not sure what I was thinking when I did them yellow originally! Then I sprayed them with glaze.

You can see that the white ghost luminaries have been around for quite a few years. They are nicked and scratched, and I have lost several over the years to breakage, but these are still holding up. Each year I wipe them down and add another coat of glaze.
Over the summer I bought a couple of boxes of canning jars with the intention of canning. Well that didn’t happen. So I opened a box, went inside and grabbed my acrylic craft paint, paintbrushes, and a dish of water and went to work.
One layer of acrylic craft paint was enough for these, but you can add another if you like.

Just be careful if you do, glass is picky about being painted and will peel if you don’t allow the first layer to dry completely. Anyway, one layer gives you a nice rustic look, which I prefer, and you don’t have to wait forever. ;)
You can make stencils out of cardboard cereal boxes like Emily did, she was even nice enough to post this pattern for her faces. I like to freehand my stuff, so that’s what I did.

On a few I used a Sharpie marker to draw on the face, then I simply painted the facial features with black paint.

See that red guy on the right with the triangle eyes and the square mouth? He didn’t make it. :( When I came back to see how they were doing a few hours after I sprayed them, he had somehow fallen off the edge and broke.

I painted the jar rims with black paint. Then let them all dry for about half an hour. Spray with glaze, I use two coats. Let dry for several hours.

After they’ve dried for several hours, you can have some fun displaying them. I use tea lights, I light them with a wooden skewer. I find it easiest to take a votive candle outside with me, light the skewer off the candle, then light the tea light inside the jar.
Warning – lots of pictures! I couldn’t decide on my faves :)



 Bonn Pchum Ben is the festival held for commemoration of the spirits of the dead. The highlight is on the 15th day of the waxing moon during the tenth month of the Khmer calendar, called Pheaktrobotr.
   The festival does not just begin and end on one day. In fact, it lasts 15 days, each of which is called a day of Kan Ben. A Ben is an offering. The word of Ben is derived from Sanskrit pinda, or balls of rice to be offered to the souls of the dead.During the first 14 days, people take turns offering food to the monks of their local pagoda in the hope that their offering will reach the souls of their ancestors by virtue of the monks’ sermons.

Ancient traditions

   Inscriptions in stone left by King YaƧovarman (889-910) tell us that he built numerous monasteries during that period, and that pinda were offered on a monthly basis, not only to “abandoned souls” – souls with no family to make offerings to them – but also to souls of combatants who had died for their country.

Rich and poor

   The present-day Ben are balls of glutinous rice, cooked in coconut milk and mixed with various ingredients according to local customs. The way a Ben is held also differs slightly from locality to locality.
   The final day of Pchum Ben is the most important for all followers. On this day, at every pagoda around the country, the mass collection of offerings (Bens) is dedicated to the souls of ancestors.

   If this duty is ignored, it is believed that the soul is cursed and will haunt the neglectful descendents for the rest of the year.
  In the early morning of the last day of the Pchum Ben Festival, visitors can join the throngs at the pagodas and take photos of local people of all ages in traditional costume. Women especially, don their best traditional dress, and come wearing their silk, embroidered blouses and scarves, bearing offerings, candles and incense.
   Num Onsam and sweet Num Korm (steamed cakes wrapped in banana leaves) are taken to pagodas during the festival to share among participants. Num Onsam is a kind of cylindrical cake of glutinous rice wrapped around a mixture of pork, salt and other ingredients. Num Korm is shaped like a pyramid and made of rice-flour and filled with a coconut and palm sugar mixture.

   Money offered to monks goes towards the construction or renovation of temples and community development such as the construction of bridges and schools, tree planting, or as donations to needy families.
   Khmers believe that fraternal feelings are fostered with the exchange of food and Num Onsam and Num Korm cakes. This ensures that visitors to any pagoda during the Pchum Ben festival will be warmly welcomed and invited to taste these cakes and enjoy the festivities.
   Urns of ancestors placed at the temples are cleaned and taken to a main prayer room. Names of ancestors are listed and invited to in the celebrations, if they do not receive an invite they are unable to receive offerings. At the end of the day participants will join the monks in prayer and chanting in the main prayer room called a ‘viheara’.

   Prior to the midday sun, candles and incense sticks are lit and the food preparations are given the monks. The invitation list with names of ancestors are read out loud and then burned. This ritual is performed to allow the ancestral souls to where their families are. It is said to that families then come together to celebrate and commemorate life. After eating the wonderful foods prepared, the monks pray and shower holy water over families and their ancestors. This time is a spiritual time of remembrance and to receive good karma that the ancestors are said to bring them with them.
   On the last day of Pchum Ben, the above ceremony is performed on a larger and grander scale. The importance of the last day is centred around those souls who may have bad karma, Priad spirits, as this is the only day that they may receive offerings and it’s said that they could benefit from the good karma going around. It is believed that Priads are afraid of light and will only connect with their living relatives during the darkest day of this lunar cycle, the day of Pchum Ben and receive prayers and offerings.

  Reincarnation is deeply enrooted in Cambodian and Buddhist culture, and Pchum Ben is a time of reunion, remembrance and celebration. When families have the opportunity to show appreciation for one's ancestors and show their love for them. The offerings of food and good karma may aid lost souls and guide them back into the cycle of reincarnation. If ancestors are reincarnated, their second chance is to collect good karma for themselves and nurture a peaceful inner spirit this is the final blessing living relatives wish for their ancestors.

Sues’day Bonn Pchum Ben…!!!


   Take some dead body parts. Stitch them together. Add one mad scientist,
and toss in a lightning bolt for good measure. What do you get? The Frankenstein
monster! Alternately portrayed as both mindless killer and a misunderstood gentle giant, the Frankenstein monster is a classic Halloween creep. Learn more about him with these 13 freaky facts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  1. The young Mary Godwin, later wed to poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen.
  2. As a house guest of Lord Byron, Mary Shelley was invited to participate in a challenge. Byron, Shelley, and the other guests set about writing the most frightening story they could. Shelley won, she claimed that her inspiration came from a vision she'd had, wherein a pale student of science knelt over a body which he had just imbued with artificial life.
  3. Doctor Victor Frankenstein is the name of the mad scientist character who created the monster and gave it life.
  4. Frankenstein is a German name meaning, "stone of the Franks."
  5. Victor Frankenstein was based on a real person. Johann Konrad Dippel, who was a physician and mad scientist obsessed with creating life through scientific means. His birthplace? Castle Frankenstein, near Darmstadt, Germany.The name Frankenstein is commonly, but incorrectly used to describe the monster itself. Throughout the novel, Dr. Frankenstein refers to his creation as "devil", "fiend", and other venomous epithets-but the creature is never given a proper name.

  1. Frankenstein was released anonymously in 1818, and was originally sub-titles: The Modern Prometheus. Both Frankenstein and the Prometheus tale serve as warning against too-high aspirations.
  2. The Frankenstein monster first appeared on film in Edison Studios' Frankenstein of 1910.
  3. Universal Studios' Frankenstein was released in 1931. Actor Boris Karloff played the role of the creature. Bela Logosi was initially offered the role, but refused.
  4. The Frankenstein movies paves the way for many sequels, including Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, and Ghost of Frankenstein. Some notable Frankenstein parodies include Young Frankenstein, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which features Doctor Frank N. Furter.

  1. The Frankenstein monster makes a modern screen appearance in 1994's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, where he is portrayed by Robert De Niro. The monster is also featured in 2004's Van Helsing.
  2. Herman Munster, cosmetically based on Frankenstein's monster, was the father of a nice, if creepy, family in the television series The Munsters.
  3. In 2006, horror writer Dean Kootz penned a series of novels that reimagine the Frankenstein story in present-day New Orleans.