Saturday, October 31, 2015

It's Mario!!! Happy Halloween!


My two oldest nephews declared that they wanted to be Mario and Luigi this year. Their younger brother was to be toad (he was throwing a tantrum in the corner. 3 year olds.) and my sister in law was to be Princess Peach. My brother was to be Bowser.

Every year I make their Halloween outfits.  This year was a little bit different, however.  Most of what you see, besides Princess Peach's dress, is thrift store or Wally World finds.

Mario:  Red thrift store shirt, overalls from Wally World, the hat from Michaels.  I did add an M from Joanns to the hat and I also hemmed the overalls but that's it.

Luigi:  Green thrift store sweatshirt, overalls from Wally World, the hat from Michaels. I tried to dye the hat green and it came out sort of a lime mint green color. I also added the L from Joanns to the hat.

Bowser:   Yellow thrift store hoodie, red yarn from Joanns, bubble yellow fleece like stuff from Joanns, green fleece for the tail and turtle shell you can't see, yellow ric rack from the stash.  This one involved sewing.  I hand sewed the oval you see on the front of the sweatshirt.  I also hand sewed the red "hair" to the top of the hoodie.  The black straps are to the bookback turned turtle shell.

Princess Peach: My sister in law's dress is my own design. I made it big so she could wear a shirt beneath it if she wanted to.  The fabric is from Joanns, the puffy bridal petticoat I attached to the dress is from the thrift store.  The basic of the dress is simple - it's a basic bodice front with darts and an angled bodice back.  The skirt is just two panels of fabric sewn together and pleated.   The bright pink puffs were a circle that I cut in half, gathered along the circular edge, and then sewed to the skirt.  The straight edge was hemed.  

Toad:  Not seen but heard in the photo.  I took a straw hat I had lying around, added what was basically a large white circle, gathered at the edges, to make a cover.   I glued big red linen "dots" to it in a random pattern.   I then added some stuffing to it  to make it puffy like a mushroom.  The two older nephews tried it on and loved it.   I also made a basic brown fleece jacket and bought a tan t-shirt  at Wally World to go beneath that.

So that's what I've been working on and why I haven't been posting!   I had to gather up and/or sew all of that!  

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Halloween Candy for the rest of us!!!!

I love the Natural Candy Store. I've been buying from them for the past four years. Yes, it's a bit expensive but it's absolutely the best place to go for any and all holiday candy. Whether that holiday is Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Mardi Gras, Easter, or any other holiday you can think of, it's were to go if you have any food issues.

For me, this fall, I bought a few things that I thought I'd share.

I admit, I haven't ripped into the Dandies yet - which is rare. I've had their marshmellows before and - I'll put it this way, even my family gobbles them down and has stated they are the best marshmellows ever. I'll give a full review of the pumpkin flavor later after I try it.

It's been almost six years since I've last been able to eat candy corn without getting ill.  This is made with corn but it's all non-gmo.  It's much sweeter than I remember the kind you get in the checkout line at the grocery store typically is - more like how I recall the pumpkins being but with a bit of a waxy-er texture.  I love it.   Since it's sweeter (you can really taste the honey), you really can't eat more than a couple of handfuls at a time but there is a good amount of flavor other than just sweet. The dyes are natural - from pumpkin, apple, and carrot. 

I've been eating Surf Sweet gummies since I discovered them four years ago.  They taste exactly like good, quality natural fruit flavored gummy bears.  I really haven't noticed a difference between these and every other gummy out there other than these taste better.  

You might think the above is caramel chocolate cups and...they are but they are vegan. Rather than cow's milk, this uses rice milk. It also has tree nuts (almonds, cashews) and a lot of other stuff in it. They are called "Vegan 'Milk' Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Bites". I'm going to admit, I could only eat one. The chocolate was just too sweet. The caramel tastes like pumpkin pie but the chocolate makes it taste like pumpkin pie in a milk chocolate crust. I think this would be divine if it was a dark chocolate with a hint of sea salt on top. The caramel can stay tasting like pumpkin pie - it's really quite that good. And it's not that the overall affect is bad, it's just a bit too much sweetness at once.

Hopefully this helps those that are also looking for allergy friendly options this Halloween. (The gummies come in snack size - perfect for giving out as treats!) Once I try the marshmellows, I'll let you know about those as well.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Meatball Stew

I posted this over on my LJ blog way back in 2011 but never did here it is!

This is so I can remember what the heck I did but also, it was GOOD! Being allergic to well, everything, has it's draw backs. It means I can't have such yummy things as chicken pot pies from the store or even good ole soup in a can. I have to make everything myself. Last night I wanted some sort of beefy soup/stew type yummieness.

I used this recipe as a base and made the following changes:


* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
* 1 pound of ground hamburger to be made into meatballs
* 2 apples
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 2 cans of reduced sodium Beef Broth (I don't remember the name of the stuff I bought but I do remember the reduced sodium label. It was the only beef broth that didn't have Tomatoes or some type of corn in it)
* 1/2 cup water
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 (really) large pinch of rosemary
* about 2 teaspoons of onion salt
* 4 medium carrots, cut into pieces
* 3 large potatoes, cut into quarters
* 1/2 a pint of mushrooms


1. Stir the flour and black pepper on a plate. Coat the beef with the flour mixture.
2. Heat the oil in a 6-quart saucepot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until well browned, stirring often.
3. Stir the broth, water, thyme, and bay leaf in the saucepot and cook over a medium heat for about an hour.
4. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes to the saucepot. Cover and cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from stove and discard the bay leaf.

Honesty, it was delicious. I poured it over some sourdough bread for dinner. You might want another can of beef broth if you want a soupy soup. I don't like a lot of liquid -I like lots of veggies and meat with a little bit of liquid.

The directions aren't clear. My guess is I cut and pasted them and never corrected them. Here are the corrected directions.


1. Stir the flour and black pepper on a plate. Cut, peel, and core the apples. Cook the apple slices in boiling water for 10 minutes. Put these apples in blender to make applesauce (you can just use no sugar added applesauce but it can be hard to find). Mix together the applesauce and the ground hamburger. Make into meatballs and roll these around in the flour and black pepper mixture.

2. Cook the meatballs.

3. In a stew pot, put the broth, water, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, onion salt, and meatballs together. Cook over medium heat for an hour.

4. Add in the mushroom, carrots, and potatoes to the stew pot. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes. Stir. Remove cover and cook fr another 10 minutes. Remove from stove and discard the bay leaf.

It's really a good hearty recipe that can easily feed a lot of people. It's not hard to make and it's wonderful on these cold rainy days we've had for October so far!