Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fun in October!

Hello! For Halloween this year I carved my pumpkin as Hedwig delivering owl post. First I drew a few sketches so I would know where to cut:

 This is the first sketch.

And the second sketch that I followed to carve my pumpkin. Feel free to use :)

Here is the finished carving :)

Hedwig :)

   And a side view of her letter.

 I like the effect of the light in this picture.

My husband carved a wolf in his.

And after I carved one side of my pumpkin, I decided to do the other side too! Because I just really like traditional happy faced pumpkins, I did one of those :)

I thought it would be fun to take pictures from his perspective, so here are some from inside my pumpkin!


Happy Halloween!

Even though these pictures did not look like what I envisioned them to be I had a lot of fun taking them :)

 carved pumpkin

This one above came out how I envisioned the most.

And here is where I put candy, in a flower pot I had painted with chalkboard paint.

Here is my pumpkin looking at his shadow lol :)

And looking in the mirror! Which I thought was pretty funny :)

Here are some trees changing color, from the viewpoint of a squirrel :)

And another squirrel view of fall trees :)

 The flash made it look really sunny.. it was not :)

And this is my favorite of the trees.

I liked the color of the rose, but the focus did not come out quite right.
Looks about the same but I liked it too.

I think this one turned out the best.

My husband bought himself two pumpkins to carve but ended up only doing one, so I got the extra which to make it last longer I decided to paint versus carve. Hopefully it will last through thanksgiving! :)

At first I was only going to do stars, but snow on top seemed fun :) 

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to use my ideas in your own decorating!

<3 Hannah

Oh my Pumpkin!

Hello! It's fall, which translates to me 'it's pumpkin season'.  Fall is my favorite season for many reasons (the air is crisp & cool, all the leaves are turning bright yellow & red, pumpkin patches are everywhere, and grocery stores smell like cinnamon) but mostly because of all the pumpkin recipes that only seem to come out during the fall.

Usually at Thanksgiving my mom buys a frozen pumpkin pie, throws it in the oven, and voila, we have pumpkin pie! But, this year I wanted to make the pie from scratch.  After checking out tons of pumpkin pie recipes I finally settled on 2 that sounded like a good place to start for a first-time-pie-baker. I used one recipe for a no-roll pie crust and another for the pumpkin filling.  Let the baking commence!

 The key to this no-roll pie crust was 1) freezing the butter and then 2) grating the butter into little pieces (I used a cheese grater). I used a pastry blender ( to combine the butter & flour. You can use your fingers or forks to combine the butter & flour, but the pastry blender makes it so much easier.

 Once the dough was ready, I packed it down in the pie pan and up the sides (kind of like a cheesecake crust).
 You can bake the crust first, then add the filling & bake the filling, but it was starting to get late, so I decided to freeze the un-baked pie crust until the filling was ready, and then bake everything together.
 Making the filling was more work than I imagined, as this recipe called for cooking the pumpkin & yam filling in a sauce pan before baking it in the oven.  After cooking the filling on the stove top, it is then passed through a mesh strainer to make the filling more smooth & less grainy. In my next pie experiment, I'm going to skip these steps & see if the results are noticeably different.
 I had to play around with the baking time since I was using an un-cooked pie crust.  It ended up taking close to 60 minutes for the filling to cook, but my advice is to check the pie after 40 minutes, then continue checking every ten minutes until the center is no longer giggly.

 Voila! My first homemade pumpkin pie :-) I topped it off with Trader Joe's House Whip & a sprinkle of cinnamon. Yum!!!

Easy No-Roll Pie Crust Recipe - From Joy the Baker:

Silky Smooth Pumkpin Pie - From Smitten Kitchen:

My notes for these recipes:
1) Make pie crust first
2) Place pie crust in freezer while making filling
3) Pre-heat oven to 400
4) Fill pie crust with filling & bake at 400 for 10 minutes
5) Reduce temp to 300 & continue baking for 30-50 minutes (or until center is firm & no longer giggly)
6) Cool pie to room temperature, then chill in refrigerator (I let the pie chill overnight as I like my pumpkin pie very firm & cold)


- Tiff