Some Spooky Sights!

Site’s? Sights? Whatev’s. I’ll be showing you a few cute and cool Halloween sights on a few site’s in this post. I’m right into the spirit this year. I’d say my best costume to date was my Mad Hatter costume. Hello there! What are you being this year??

I LOVE Halloween. I live on the 9th floor of an out-of-the-way apartment and I still decorate the place to the max, pimp out my pumpkin, and buy candy just on the off-chance a cute baby Batman, baby Yoshi, or real baby hippo comes by. I know that if I were a baby hippo, this scene would blow my mind:

Photo taken from Crate and Barrel.

OR! I could bake some of the below tasty, super-creative, treats for the hippos! Like these pumpkin whoopie pies.

Image taken from Cookies and Cups.

Crazy cool Witches Legs.

Photo taken from Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.

Super Spooky Oreo Bats.

Photo taken from Our Best Bites.

Or how about these freaking awesome Graveyard Brownies??

Photo taken from Picky Palate

Whatever happens in the kitchen between now and that magical day that is October 31st, I will be ready to go with treats to last until Christmas. Thank you food bloggers! For being awesome, and sharing your strange and wonderful Halloween treats!

Spicy Guacamole

Yesterday was weird. I woke up at 6 am (same as everyday), read my morning blogs, got ready, and head out the door at 7:20 to catch my bus. It was rainy so when I came back inside to grab my umbrella I realized that it was still dark outside. Weird. Usually it’s light. *WHAM* It hit me. I’m not supposed to catch the bus until 8:20. My class starts at 9. Fail.

These things happen. Call them brain farts or whatever you will, but boy, do they make me feel silly! I just giggled, and decided to practice guitar to pass the time. I think I need to sleep more. This recipe is good for sleepy people, non-sleepy people and zombies (I’m on a Walking Dead kick). It’s easy and super tasty. My favorite guacamole recipe that I’ve tasted thus far. Feeling too tired to bake a 7-layer cake? Me too. Here’s a guac recipe for ya.

To begin, half and pit your avocados.

Toss scooped avocados with lime juice.

Mash the avocados using a fork or potato masher.

Add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash.

Chop a jalapeno.

Chop your onion.

Chop your tomatoes.

And fold onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro (optional), and garlic. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to get the flavours mixing together.

Serve with tortilla chips, pitas, or veggies. Eat! See? Easy.

Spicy Guacamole
Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction
Yield | 6 servings

3 ripe avocados, halved, seeded and scooped
2 limes, juiced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion (about 1 small onion)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (leave some seeds in if you want to crank up the heat)
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large bowl, toss the scooped avocados with the lime juice. Mash the avocados using a fork or potato masher. Add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Fold in the onion, jalapeno, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

-If you don’t like your guacamole spicy, simply omit the jalapeno and cut back on the cayenne.

Coconut Curried Sweet Potato and Chickpea Soup

I just arrived back in Ottawa after a quick visit with my family. It’s funny how being home never changes. The same people work at the grocery store, the same smiling faces are on the street…it makes me happy.

Paul and I visited this particular weekend because my Grandparents were putting on a dance at their local Lions Hall. It was a riot! Tons of waltzes, polkas, two steps, and of course, square dances.

Now, Paul had never danced a day in his life before I brought him home. So, like every newcomer my Grandparents and I showed him a few of the basic moves for a square dance and gave him a few waltzing and polka lessons. He caught on great! And we ended up having a blast. Funny how something you dread can turn out to be fun!

We of course ate a lot of sweets this weekend, and after these sorts of indulgences I thought I would turn to something healthy, like this soup. It contains all the fixings of what I’ve been craving lately. Sweet potatoes, curry, and coconut milk. Great for fall, and great for my tummy. Plus it’s a nice thing to eat after all those sugary squares and brownies!

To begin, chop up your peppers and onions and mince your garlic.

Cook onions, jalapeno pepper, and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more.

Add curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring for about one minute.

Chop up your sweet potato and then add it and chickpeas.

Transfer your mixture to a soup pot and add chicken broth, water and coconut milk. Season to taste with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until yams are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro, reserving a bit for garnish if desired.

Coconut Curried Yam and Chickpea Soup
Recipe adapted from foodess
Serves 4

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 can chickpeas, drained (about 2 cups)
2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 can coconut milk (slightly less than 2 cups)
salt to taste
chopped cilantro, to taste

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Cook onions, jalapeno pepper, and bell pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more. Add curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, one minute. Add chickpeas, cubed yam, chicken broth, water and coconut milk. Season to taste with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until yams are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in cilantro, reserving a bit for garnish if desired.

Cookbook Giveaway Winner!

I enter giveaways a lot. Every morning I open my 88 bookmarked cooking/baking blogs (don’t judge!), check for something new and yummy to cook or bake, and if they have a giveaway I enter! Always. Annnnnnd I’ve never won! It doesn’t discourage me though. It takes 10 seconds to leave a comment, like someone on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

I like having my own giveaways, because it’s a way for me to reach new readers, but also because I think it’s a fun way to connect with people from all over Canada and the US…and all over the world really. My favorite giveaways are the ones that bloggers have made themselves. For example, this cookbook. I genuinely like this book, bought it for one of you, and had a giveaway for it. I believed in it and wanted to share with you!

And the winner is…..Alicia from Treble Tart for liking me on Facebook!

Thanks again for entering everyone! I hope one of you wins the next giveaway.

xoxo Katrina Gossip Girl….I’m lame.

Curried Corn Chowder and A Cookbook GIVEAWAY

I know I’m not alone when I say Fall is my favorite season. I love the the way the trees look, I love putting on my pea coat and cute boots, but most importantly I love the feeling of coming home after being in the crisp air and eating something wholesome. There are so many great fall recipes out there on the internet, but I recently came across this cookbook and love the variety of recipes in it.

Inspired by a sisterhood of good family cooks, In My Mother’s Kitchen is a collection of great home cooking remembered, preserved and renewed, but from a contemporary, busy working-mom’s perspective. The first recipe I tried was this curried corn chowder and I love it! I even made extra the next day to freeze for later when I need a quick fix. Since I love this book so much I thought I would share it with you and have a GIVEAWAY! I’m excited for this.

Giveaway Details:
{Main Entry-Required}
Just tell me what cookbooks you’re liking these days? Any suggestions for the fall season?

Want extra entries?
Each item you do will get you ONE chance to win (for a total of 5 chances), if you ALREADY do any of these things, they DO count! So make sure to comment for each item! You MUST leave each entry as a separate comment or only one comment will count!

1. Like Warm Vanilla Sugar on Facebook
2. Follow @katrinadingle on Twitter and tweet the following statement, then come back to this post and tell me you tweeted.

I just entered to win the In My Mother’s Kitchen cookbook with @Katrinadingle. Enter here:

3. Like @warmvanillasugar on Instagram
4. Follow Warm Vanilla Sugar on Pinterest
5. Subscribe to Warm Vanilla Sugar’s email updates. Once you subscribe to the email updates, you will get an emailing confirming your subscription.

Important Details:
-This giveaway is open to USA and Canadian residents only and will run until Wednesday, October 12th at 11:59 pm EST.
-Winners will be generated via a random number generator software program.
-Winners will be notified via the contact email provided on the comment contact form.
-Winners will have until October 19th 2011 to claim their prize.

This giveaway is provided to you by Warm Vanilla Sugar. The views and opinions expressed on Warm Vanilla Sugar are purely my own and based upon my personal taste buds. I was not monetarily compensated for a positive review or giveaway.

In the meantime, try this recipe out!

Elena’s Curried Corn Chowder

1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) curry powder
8 baby new potatoes, quartered (or 2 medium Yukon Golds, peeled and cut into chunks)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups (1 L) fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeño or red chili pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
1 can (10 oz/284 mL) creamed corn
3 1/2 cups (875 mL) chicken stock
6 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) 35% cream
Chives, for garnish

In a large heavy soup pot, melt butter with oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add curry powder and sauté another minute. Stir in potatoes, salt and pepper; sauté another minute. Stir in corn kernels and cook until corn is lightly brown, about 5 minutes.

Stir in red pepper and jalapeño; sauté for another 2 minutes. Stir in wine and let evaporate. Add creamed corn and chicken stock, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.

Remove from heat. Remove two-thirds of the mixture and set aside. Using a hand blender, purée remaining soup in the pot. Return reserved soup to the pot.

Return to medium-high heat and add tomatoes and cream. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve garnished with chives.