Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Muffins & Buttercream Frosting

Here it is! The pumpkin bread recipe that is from my junior high school's home economics class, believe it or not! ;)
This is a timeless recipe that I just absolutely love and since I am about to bake this in the 3D Skull pan from Wilton, I thought I'd share it! I usually make this recipe into muffins and add some buttercream frosting I make from scratch also. Here they are as muffins with a little buttercream icing ghosts:

Now don't be scared of this recipe cause it's from scratch (meaning no box mix here). It is the most simplest recipe! You simply dump it all and blend! It looks bad when you mix it but it sure does taste awesome! My kids love them!

So without further ado...

Pumpkin Bread

1 3/4 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Cup Pumpkin (I use the canned Libby's, NOT for the pie making, just regular canned pumpkin).
1/4 lb (1 stick) Margarine or Butter. (Best to use butter)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Baking Soda (not the powder, the baking soda)
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (walnuts work best)

Grease well and flour a 1 lb coffee can. (Yes, a real metal coffee can that's been cleaned and dried. You can actually bake in it and the original recipe called for you to do just that! Wild eh?!) I take Crisco/shortening and rub it all inside and then take a bit of extra flour and dust it and then tap the extra flour out into the trash. You can also use a loaf pan if you are wanting it to be a pumpkin bread loaf you slice.
Line muffin pan with liners.

That's the hardest thing to this one! ;)

Place all ingredients except nuts into a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer for 2 minutes.
Add nuts, stir by hand. Pour the batter into the coffee can or fill muffin cups about 1/2 - 2/3 full, depending on how high you like your muffins.

Bake in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 25 minutes for muffins and 1 hour for the coffee can. The coffee can sits upright and I know, its weird but it works!

Should have a slightly rounded top, thin, tender, orange-brown surface, small, fairly uniform holes, fairly moist, and distinct flavor with even distribution of nuts.

If you make this in a loaf pan or other sort of pan or coffee can, you want to take it out after about 10 minutes of cooling down. Once it has completely cooled, for the muffins, I add a frosting ghost out of the buttercream frosting recipe from Wilton:



  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (for white frosting and not a cream color, use clear vanilla extract)
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 2 tablespoons milk


About 3 cups of icing.


Step 1

In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

Step 2

For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

Step 3

For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

Step 4

For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes.

I use the normal recipe and again, I use butter and not margarine. I also add a bit of corn syrup to make it a little more softer and this I tend not to measure but just eyeball it to make sure the icing isn't too thick or stiff.

Now here's a trick I learned from a friend of mine when I went thru the Wilton cake decorating courses....(and if you haven't taken them, you should, they are fun!)...
Rather than put that icing into a pastry bag that oozes out the back end and gets your hand all messy with icing, you take a piece of saran wrap and lay out some frosting like you are going to make a burrito and then you wrap it just like a burrito, leaving one end open and the other is folded up. My friend/instructor called them 'bullets'. Then you put one of those couplings into the bag to fit it right and take the bullet and pop it into your pastry bag so that the open end of your bullet is towards the smaller opening of the bag. Squeeze it from the top after twisting it closed and see the icing come out the tip. You can then add one of those metal tips and then a ring to screw onto the coupler to hold the tip on and there you have it! Then, when the icing is gone, you open the pastry bag and slide out the used up saran wrap bullet and toss it! You can change colors much easier that way and the only mess is at the tip of the pastry bag! Nice eh?! Cool trick! Thanks Madeline!

So ok...from here...I take the buttercream icing, (which is just fantastic and not too sweet), and I make lil icing ghosts with it. I'll take a few pics here this afternoon and put them up to show you. But they are very easy! Then I'll take a lil icing gel and make eyes and a smiley mouth. Just that little bit of icing is so well worth the effort to make it! Trust me! It adds a lil touch of yumminess to your pumpkin bread muffins.

A friend of mine inquired about a jelly roll log using this recipe of pumpkin bread and I have not tried it out yet. If I do in the near future, I'll let you know how it came out as I've been wanting to try my hand at making a yule log.

Hope you all enjoy this one! Not just for Halloween but great this time of year!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Moxley Manor Haunted House

Before I get into posting of my own set-up for Halloween and the big Creepy 18th Birthday Party for my daughter, I wanted to talk of Moxley Manor over in Bedford, TX.

Check out their site: Moxley Manor

This local haunt started out last year, and being a member of the DFW Friends of Halloween over on, I was able to get a behind the scenes tour of many of the local haunts, including Moxley Manor.

Moxley Manor on Facebook

Last year they were pretty good just starting out, I could tell they had some really great innovative and creative ideas for rooms and areas within the haunt. Part of taking the tours, gave me lots of ideas for my own place so I thoroughly enjoy seeing what others do.

I met the owner of Moxley Manor last year and everyone was so very friendly! This was one of my first few behind the scenes tours. It's located in one of those small shopping center kinda of places and I know, you'd think that might be an odd place but it's really not. I was so pleasantly surprised when I took the tour in there and saw all that they could do with the space and how much larger it is when you get inside. Much like other haunts that have taken over abandoned stores or malls like the Boneyard, turning them into something fun and even helping the local area and community out by bringing more people and money into what would have otherwise been a desolate and empty part of town.

Moxley Manor is located off of Hardwood in Bedford and there is a 7/11 just a block away that you can see from there. Isis, the bellydance studio is in the same shopping center, they are the bellydancers that perform at the Renaissance Faire, Scarborough, in Waxahachie during the springtime.

Our meetup group went back to Moxley later on for their Nightscare Before Christmas. Yessss, after Halloween, they changed up their haunt to make it a creepy Christmas haunt!! Wow! Talk about neat and what a great idea! Scary elves and Santas and weird Christmas music, it was just a blast!! They opened again for Valentine's Day and you'd be surprised how many couples came out there! Friday the 13ths, they were open and then during the summer, they opened up their doors again once a month or so for the kids to have fun....

All the while....they were changing things and improving things and trying new things out! I started to see the differences from each time I was there and I'd get turned around again and again! It was wild! I started to go out there more and more and my daughter went and took her friends for the Xmas theme and Friday the 13th. It was a blast! And then, we got to talk to the owner and my daughter and her friend are now volunteering there and having so much fun doing so!

As this year's Halloween season came closer, I saw alot more changes for Moxley Manor including the facade outside their doors. Inside, it was nothing like last year! Somethings remained but alot has changed and it's just unbelievable! The actors really got into their roles and didn't break them, the lines to get in keep getting longer and longer and I can so see why!

Since I am the ride for my daughter and her friend there, I began to just hang about and then eventually just jumped in to help out too with the front ticketing and entrance area. I got to see first hand how things got set up and people being let in and the rules read. The best part of it for me is to see the people lined up and all excited to get in and getting scared! Some of them would talk big and brave until they were let in and started down the hall to go into the darkness that awaited them. Oh then they were looking for someone else in their group to lead the way!! It was hysterical! Even better was to see some of them come running out at full speed from the exit of the haunt from being chased by the chainsaw guy!! I saw two guys take off across the parking lot and kept on going and never stopped!!

The shrilling screams of fear can be heard echoing all the way down to the 7/11!! People who stopped there to get gas were wondering where the screams were coming from and what was happening? They soon found out when they went down the street and came to Moxley Manor!

The owners, Richard and Rachel are great people as are the others who volunteer here. If you haven't come out, don't miss it! This is a great haunt that just keeps getting creepier and creepier!

I spoke to two girls last night that said they chickened out from going inside the haunt from just watching the video on Moxley Manor's site, check it out:

Gotta love it!

Now, something else...a theory of mine is that when you take props from old homes and places and you place them into a haunt and add in all the intense emotions of people screaming, running, shaking, and quaking in fear, it stirs things up! Spirits are all around us, some attaching themselves it is said to different items and when you add in all these charged up emotions by so many people, it is not surprising to start to feel a change and things may start to happen.
Hogwash? Umm no! Ripley's Believe it or Not? Perhaps!

PSI, Paranormal Society Investigators, a local paranormal ghost hunting team, investigated Moxley Manor this past summer! Check out their site and take a peek at what evidence they were able to capture!

Way to go Moxley Manor! Thank you for a great, creepy haunt! It's been a blast!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just a Quick Blurb!

Just so you all are aware, the link lists on either side of the blog includes some great sites! These are updated and new sites are added as I come across them.

Please feel free to contact me if you have a good Halloween site or one that would fit the blog and you'd like me to add it, let me know! I'm happy to link up and hook to your site that helps others with their Halloween set-ups or to learn more about Halloween, Astrology or anything Pagan/Druid/Wiccan.

I've been helping out at the local haunt lately, Moxley Manor with my daughter and her friend, so I've been busier than normal. This time of year always has me scrambling and busy in setting up for Halloween. This year, there are a lot of new things that I am working on for my set-up, ie: Light show in the graveyard and of course the Hallowindow which we all just adore! I am getting the outdoor speaker for that on Saturday and hope to have it all set up and will see about taking some video thereafter for you all to see. It will be part instructional too as to HOW I did it. It's always grand to see someone's set up for these things but you never get to see how they did it nor hear about the trials or tribulations.
 I am all about sharing, so I'll be going over it as far as what I have and approximate costs. It's been a learning experience tho', I can tell you that! I have always prided myself in being in the know about the latest electronic gadgets and gizmos but it seems technology has really taken a flying leap forward, --again--, and left me far behind. Just using those words, is dating myself I am sure! So believe it or not, I had to learn from my son about quite a few things that I was fighting against getting and resisting. I finally had to bite the bullet tho' and say ok, Mr. Expert, show me!

It's all coming together well however! I promise vids tho', SOON! For now, I gotta fly and get ready to take off early tonight.

Can you tell I am excited? ;)

Oh and P.S...Skippy is in his new tank! YAY! More on him/her later!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Apple-Cranberry Crisp

Not necessarily Halloween, but for this time of the year, I enjoy making and eating this favorite that I found in a Quaker Oats brochure. I hope you may enjoy it as well!

Apple Cranberry Crisp

1 1/2 cups Quaker Oats (Not the quick cooking type, the regular old fashioned kind)
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup Crisco(shortening), melted
1 Tablespoon Water

16 oz can Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
5 cups peeled, sliced, & cored apples (about 10 medium, I use Granny Smith).

Heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
For Topping: Combine first 4 ingredients. Mix well.
Stir in melted Crisco & water, mix until crumbly. Set aside. (I often double this part for I adore the crunchy part on top).

Cut and peel apples and mix with a wee bit of lemon juice to stop the browning from being exposed to the air.

For Filling: Combine cranberry sauce and cornstarch in large sauce pan/pot, mix well. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes or until sauce bubbles. 

Add apples, tossing to coat.

Spread in 9x13 glass baking dish. Crumble topping over fruit.
Bake 25-35 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with whipped cream or Cool Whip or with ice cream if desired.

Makes 9 servings.

I love this ice cold too in the fridge and with Cool Whip is just awesome! You can play with this recipe a bit and often I will double it or just add a few more apples to be sure I have enough to fill the pan. It's a great fall food!