Happy Halloween, from Ladles and Linens!

Anyone with an Instagram account could tell you that last weekend was Halloween party central. While I enjoyed the photos, I opted out. Ladles and Linens' own Sarah Nicholas had invited us out to a house on the bay for a little R&R, and we were in dire need of it.

Turns out I didn't miss the festivities after all, because Sarah brought the Halloween spirit to the bay house! The Ladles and Linens tagline is, "It's always a kitchen party, & everyone's invited!" This weekend, it could not be more evident that Sarah practices what she preaches. I've known good chefs and wonderful hosts, but Sarah makes me wonder if she doesn't skip sleep altogether. I don't know how she does it. 

Where to start? A chocolate skull cake with decadent peanut butter and cream cheese filling? Green mac & cheese and mummy hot dogs? How about the glow-in-the-dark skeleton PJs she bought for the children, including mine?

There was hot coffee every morning. A fully-stocked bar. Keeping with the fall theme, we filled up on her hearty pumpkin soup, with a Thai curry kick.

On a private beach, you can drink to your heart's content. And we did just that, with refreshing vodka cocktails. We kept the spooky theme, with flavors like Monster Mango and Poison Apple

We played Halloween Twister (below) and somehow, she found the time to make "dirt pudding" - chocolate pudding topped with chocolate cake crumbles (to resemble both mud and dirt) with gummy worms as earthworms. Disgustingly delectable!

There were scary movies to watch and spooky books to read. And during the day, there was salt air and warm sun. Readers, I wish you a very happy Halloween! And stay tuned, because next week, I'll share some great ideas on what you can do with your Halloween candy leftovers!

Halloween: Christmas for Creatives!

Halloween is Christmas for creatives. This time of year, I tend to be a little extra, as evidenced by the above photo. I must refrain from looking at Pinterest before bed, else falling down the rabbit hole until the sun comes up. Whether you're throwing a party or want to put a surprise in your kid's lunch, here are a few simple ideas to keep October festive!

Marshmallow spiders: This requires zero cooking, and minimal melting. Simply melt some chocolate, or white chocolate with food coloring, to make any color spiders you'd like. To avoid burning the chocolate, always go with a crock pot or double-boiler. Push pretzel sticks into the marshmallows to mimic legs, dip and swirl these marshmallows in the chocolate, and allow to dry on wax paper. While drying, you can create little eyes by painting a dot of chocolate on white chocolate chips or frosting. If you'd like, you can garnish the spiders with sprinkles.

Well this one is truly disgusting. To avoid gill lines, either boil your hot dogs or cook them in a cast iron skillet. Then peel away the skin on the top to mimic a fingernail, and use a paring knife to mark creases where the joints would be. 

Just when I thought things couldn't be more gross, the rabbit hole just got deeper. This sweet treat requires no cooking, and the flavors are so complimentary! Simply drain a can of lychees, stuff a blueberry in each, secure with a sword and drizzle in a bit of strawberry jam. On a beautiful serving platter, they will disgust and enchant. 

Now, pardon me while I attempt to finish my day without opening up my Pinterest app...again.