Recapping Halloween

image by Darwin Bell

image by Darwin Bell

Yesterday was an insane workday. I barely had time to eat, much less upload pictures and recap any of my weekend happenings. I had a really fun weekend, though. We saw a bunch of friends and ate a ton of good food and took lots of pictures. So now that I have a little time to catch my breath (that is, when I’m not holding it in nervous anticipation of tonight’s election results!) I’m starting from the top with Friday night.

I have found that people either love Halloween, or they hate it. I’m a bit of an anomaly and fall squarely in the middle; I’m totally neutral. If I get invited to a party or all of my friends decide to dress up and head out for the night, I’m usually game to don a costume and have a good time. I’m just as happy staying in though, passing out candy to trick-or-treaters and snuggling up on the couch to watch a movie. This year, we did a little bit of both.

We joined our friend Nina and her roommates for an early dinner at our favorite restaurant, The Red Star. They all decided to dress up at the last minute before meeting us and their costumes were fantastic.

Nina and her friend went as the Spartan Cheerleaders, of Saturday Night Live fame.

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One of Nina’s roommates went as the Statue of Liberty and the other was the New York Times Crossword. We spent a good portion of our time at dinner trying to tackle that damn puzzle!

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Dan and I were not notified of the last-minute costume decision, so we just dressed up as the cutest couple in all of Baltimore!

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After dinner, we headed back to our apartment where we made mulled wine and pumpkin spice cookies.

Dan and I have had mulled wine once before and while we didn’t dislike it, we both agreed that it was a little heavy on the spices, particularly cloves. I’m willing to try anything twice, so I went online and found a different recipe. Lucky for us, I stumbled across a recipe that is meant to reflect the kind of mulled wine that Clarence from It’s A Wonderful Life would have wanted when he requested a glass that was “heavy on the cinnamon, easy on the cloves.” It sounded right up our alley.

Clarence’s Mulled Wine

You’ll Need:

img_2803 2 bottles of red wine

1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup of sugar

4 sticks of cinnamon

5 whole cloves

1 orange

1 lemon

Zest the fruit, avoiding the white pith. Put the fruit, sugar, cinnamon and cloves into a pot with the water. Bring to a slow boil for 5 minutes.

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Remove from heat and add the wine.  img_2795

Add in sliced fruit of the orange and lemon and warm mixture on low for 40 minutes.

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As for the pumpkin spice cookies, I love all things pumpkin and have been craving a good pumpkin spice cookie since the weather was first cool enough to warrant long sleeves. The first time I made this recipe the cookies came out way too moist. I stored them in an air tight container and that only made it worse. By day three they were all stuck together and it was impossible to peel off one whole cookie from the sticky mass. But again, I try to give things a second go-around. This time I baked them for 5 minutes longer and just left them on the counter between sheets of wax paper. The outcome was much improved!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

You’ll Need:

2  1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and beat the mixture until creamy. Blend in the dry ingredients. Drop by tablespoonful onto cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 15-20 minutes (I got the best results when baking for 25 minutes).

img_2819We spent the rest of the night curled up together on the couch watching a movie before taking the dog for a midnight walk and calling an end to Halloween 2008.

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