Sea Pumpkin

October 29, 2012

Pumpkin friend, pumpkin beer — life is good.

As you may recall, last Halloween Sam and I worked together (okay, it was mostly Sam) to make a pumpkin pie pumpkin. This year we each brought our own pumpkin to the carving party, so I was a bit nervous about doing the whole thing by myself. Especially because I wanted to carve an otter.

Yep, an otter.

Actually, I wanted to carve two otters rafting (holding hands), but that was too complicated. (And too cute!)

Sticking together.

Great pumpkin-carving requires a deep understanding of how to use negative space. Or something. Whatever that skill is, I don’t think I have it. But at least I know I don’t have it, so rather than create a pumpkin disaster I decided to keep it simple. I used this otter’s face as my inspiration.

My initial sketch (top), and one that Sam made for me (based on the Otter Box logo) that I couldn’t figure out how I’d carve. They look a bit depressed.

I ended up giving my otter a happier mouth. And probably too football-headed a face (Hey, Arnold!). But I had fun carving him. And giving him a little starfish to snack on.

Meanwhile, Sam made a meta-pumpkin. A pumpkin within a pumpkin.


The carving party finished before dark, so we lined our pumpkins up in the darkest place we could find to test them out. I called it “pumpkin prom,” since every prom group has the classic staircase shot.

A few famous faces in the crowd.

Whitney made the owl, also from a hand-drawn sketch. She obviously has a better flare for making full-body animals and using that negative space. Maybe next year when it’s not my first time solo-ing at the rodeo, I’ll be a little bolder. (And/or ask Whitney for help.) :)

My friendly critter now resides in my fridge, and has occasional playdates with Ottie.

Friends forever.

The party also gave me an opportunity to snack on some Halloween-y goodness. Candy corn, pumpkin pie, those Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses (they were actually a little… intense), pumpkin cake balls and Rice Krispie treats covered in cookie butter (speculoos). I think I’m set until next year rolls around!

What did you carve this year?


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Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2011

Pumpkin pie (pumpkin)! The candle looks like whipped cream.

Happy Halloween! Of course I managed to make mine all about food (and not just candy). First, my costume was Heinz ketchup. (It was a group costume– I rolled with mustard and relish.) Then Sam and I went to a carving party, and ended up making a pumpkin pie pumpkin.

We didn’t know what we would make, walking in. I wanted to do something food-related, and was thinking along the lines of (surprise, surprise) more ketchup. (And something relatively easy to carve, since I was going to do the bulk of it– Sam had done most of the work carving a ghost pumpkin earlier in the week.)

Sam ended up sketching a piece of pie, and he transferred that onto the pumpkin.

Work in progress.

Most of the carving went okay, until I sort of carved through a thin part. Then Sam-the-New-Englander took the helm and fixed it.

We had an amazing, creative line-up when everybody was done. Flamingos, Ron Burgundy, a Victorian-style profile… the most mind-blowing one was a detailed Sylvester Stallone.

Little pumpkins in a row.

Seriously– viewing all these pumpkins in the dark together was a wonderful moment. Like, summer-camp-bonfire style fun and bonding and good vibes. If you get invited to a carving party– DO IT!

Now I have pumpkin pie in the fridge, but not the edible variety. Sigh.


(The toothpick was inserted for support during car travel.)

I’ve yet to eat any pumpkin pie this season, but I’m hoping to locate some soon… Thanksgiving latest. Obviously I’ve got it on the brain. (Or maybe Sam does– this was his idea. But I WAS looking for pumpkin pie at Trader Joe’s when we bought the pumpkin… sadly, they were out.)


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Snacks of the (Halloween) Weekend

November 1, 2010

Eat at your own risk.

Hope you had a most excellent Halloween! Here are some pictures I took especially for you. Sort of.

I had never seen Monster Munch before, and I hope I never see it again. I encountered this snack at a Halloween party, and decided to give it a taste… you know, for science.

Remember (on “30 Rock”) when Liz Lemon used to snack on Sabor de Soledad cheese puffs? And it turned out that one of the ingredients was bull semen? I’m pretty sure the (imaginary) makers of Sabor de Soledad are also the makers of Monster Mash. The crackerpuff things tasted really funky, and made my fingers smell bad.


After a looong Saturday night of festivities, I looked forward to Sunday brunch. We ended up at Le Pain Quotidien, which I would describe as an upscale European version of Panera.

Why European? Where else would a (wild mushroom) omelet come with French bread and salad?

I am happy to see my omelet, and it's happy to see me.

I did that to the tomatoes. In case you’re wondering.

The bread was awesome. The omelet was cold, and the mushrooms made me feel a bit sick. Luckily Cole and I split our omelets (his was tomato and avocado), so I only felt half as sick as I would have.

All (well… some) was forgiven when they gave us free chocolates with our check! I was all over the chai.


After brunch, Cole and I wandered around at The Grove (it’s an outdoor mall… just like everything else in Southern California) for a bit. I saw a few people wearing Justin Bieber shirts, and couldn’t figure out if they were in costume or had bad taste. Turned out that the Beeb was about to do a book signing at the Barnes & Noble. As we continued toward the bookstore, we encountered a cluster of screaming teens, holding shoddily constructed signs.

Of all the times to go to The Grove. Ugh.

We went to Sur la Table to get a belated birthday gift for my sister, and ended up giving the whole store a once-over. Cooking stuff is so fascinating to me, even though I rarely cook. They had donut pans! And mini donut pans! And brownie pop pans! (Are brownie pops that popular? Are they even a thing??)

Also, I thought donuts were made via boiling, not baking. Maybe I was thinking of bagels? I don’t know.

The cookie cutters were fascinating. They had everything you could imagine, and more– dinosaurs, musical instruments, letters of the alphabet, etc. I saw the rhinoceros and hippopotamus next to each other, and immediately thought of “Jersey Shore.”

Grab a few gorillas for Snooki and J-Woww.

Keep that in mind for your next “Jersey Shore” party. No grenades!

For several years I’ve intended to go to the WeHo parade, but I never actually make it over there. This year I decided to go home and visit my dog. (And my parents, because they also happened to be there.) Daisy turned out to be almost alarmingly fatigued… like, she wouldn’t even jump up on the couch to say hi. She just fell to the floor, stomach-up. Lazy Daisy.

My mom wanted to make some sort of pumpkin dessert. We vetoed pie because it’s really best if it sets overnight. I ended up baking pumpkin muffins (using the Trader Joe’s mix… just add eggs, oil and water) and icing them with cream cheese frosting. They were pumpkin spicy and delightful. And I think the frosting turned them into cupcakes? Maybe.

Good call.

I wish I’d brought a few back to LA. Would have made a nice (unhealthy) breakfast today.

I’d been looking forward to ordering from our favorite Thai place for dinner, but it was closed… and so was the other Thai place we called. We settled on Chinese from China Panda. People think I’m crazy (or racist?) because I sometimes say “China Panda” when I mean to say “Panda Express,” but it’s because I grew up ordering from China Panda.

I DID bring those leftovers back, and they made a delightful lunch today. I thought I brought more than enough to work, but my eyes were actually smaller than my stomach. (I think that’s biologically true, as well.)

Everything in its place.

I guess the stereotype is true… Jews eating Chinese food on American holidays.

During dinner the trick or treaters began to arrive, and Daisy regained her energy. I had to chase her into the street to prevent her from… running into the street. (So… I failed.)

I get creeped out when I’m the giver of candy, because I don’t like opening the door to strangers. The general feeling that people are lurking out in the dark is one of my biggest blechs. So how to I feel about trick or treating? You do the math.

And as a kid, I always felt awkward about taking the candy, because it seemed greedy. And saying “thank you” didn’t remedy my guilt/shame about being a little brat. (And then my mom would only let us keep a few pieces… so it was all so futile!)

So… I came home for Daisy and Thai, and got a little of one and none of the other. And had to deal with my trick or treat anxiety. Maybe I should have gone to the parade.

NEXT YEAR! (Or not… again.)

In the meantime, keep your hippos on a leash.


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Frost in Peace: GRAVEYARD CAKE

October 30, 2010

A grave situation...

Here are the pictures of Daphne’s graveyard cake. You guys, she make it from scratch! The dark chocolate cake, the raspberry filling, and the buttercream frosting.

I didn’t get a picture of my individual slice (don’t worry, it didn’t contain any coffins or dead bodies), but here are some other angles of the decorations. She spent hours and hours on this, as you can probably guess from the details.

From the top!

Halloween coincides with an office birthday, so we candled this baby up. I think it really adds to the spooky Halloween effect. Torches in the dark graveyard…

I like the rainbows in the fire.

In a few hours my Halloween weekend festivities will be in full swing.

I don’t want to give away what my costume is, but here’s a hint:

Sort of.

Be safe, kids. Don’t eat too much candy while you’re drinking. Don’t ask me why. Just trust me.


Tricks and Treats: It’s Almost Halloween (Duh)

October 29, 2010

Spooky yogurt from Souplantation. It kinda has a face.

Hey hey hey.

It’s almost Halloween, so the snacks have been pretty spooky around these parts.

In college I once had this Danish TA who used the word “spooky” when he probably meant to say “weird” or “interesting.” So he would often follow statements of fairly normal facts with, “Isn’t that SPOOKY?” In his Danish accent. I thought it was pretty hilarious.

When I hear the word “spooky,” I inevitably think of the Beanie Baby.

Yes, that IS Spooky.

This is generally the time of year where I decide to write a novel or a screenplay or whatever (right now it’s just short stories, but the NaNoWriMo emails are guilting me…), so I’m going to try to keep my entries short and sweet. But here are some Halloween-y foods, which are directly at odds with me looking good in my sexy costume.

Oh yeah– my mom sent me a Halloween care package at work. Thanks, Mom!

Thanks, Ma!

I thought those Pumpkin Kisses were going to be pumpkin-flavored Hershey’s kisses, because… they were called Pumpkin Kisses. But actually, they are “candy corn” flavored…

A kiss in candy corn's clothing.

When I first tasted them I thought they were actually made of candy cane wax-ness, but I actually think they’re white chocolate… waxy white chocolate, maybe?

These donuts were in the lobby this morning. People were afraid to eat them, because they look like instant death.

Death by delicious-ness.

I didn’t partake, but Lauren and I located an apple cider donut place in Oak Glen! I’ll hopefully be trying them next weekend. And I might be eating some bona fide East Coast cider donuts in December… I’ll keep you posted.

Last but not least, this isn’t EXACTLY Halloweeny, but it looks a little bit Dia de los Muertos-y. This is a slice of an office birthday cake (Baskin Robbins, of course). I cut it, and there was a strange kind of crispy-ness to the top layer. Maybe from the chocolate. The swirly chocolate sorta looks like a Mexican shawl (or it did, on the cake as a whole).


Co-worker Daphne spent all night making a graveyard cake from scratch and it is quite detailed and amazing. I will hopefully snap a picture of that later, before we devour it. (It’s currently under a plastic shield, which I dare not lift.)

Hope you’re enjoying some Halloween delicious-ness in your home/office/school/all of the above.


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