Trick or Treat – Halloween Spider!

Today is Halloween, and this cute idea is perfect for a party or just to serve your own boos and ghouls.

I saw a similar spider on Pinterest, and adapted it to what I had. Isn’t that part of the fun of creating, taking something you’ve seen and making it your own?

Halloween Spider

For each one, you’ll need:

1 Mini doughnut
8 Pretzel pieces for legs (4 legs are shown in the picture – use more or less as you like)
2 Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Green icing
White icing

Use the green icing to draw a spiral on a plate. To make the spider’s web, use the fat end of a toothpick to draw lines from the center of the spiral out to the edge of the plate.

Place the doughnut on the web. Push the pretzel pieces into the doughnut to make legs. Using the green icing as glue, put a dab on the flat end of the chocolate chips and place them on the doughnut to make eyes. Let the icing set, and then put a dot of white icing on the tip of the chocolate chip to complete the eyes.

Voila! A Halloween spider you won’t mind seeing.

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What are your favorite Halloween treats?

We’d Rather Be Writing – Release Day October 30!

Today is the big day for We’d Rather Be Writing – 88 Authors Share Timesaving Dinner Recipes and Other Tips! The ebook version was available for presale, but both ebook and print editions are available now. 

Proceeds will be donated to No Kid Hungry, whose goal is to end child hunger in America.

Due to space considerations in the book, photos of the finished recipes could not be included. I’m posting the picture for my contributed recipe of Chicken and Noodles here:

Fast and easy, I can have a delicious dinner on the table within 30 minutes of walking in the door!

Bonus recipe: Roasted Spaghetti Squash

1 Spaghetti squash, cut in half, seeds removed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rub cut sides of spaghetti squash with olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in baking dish, with enough water to rise up sides 1/2″ of dish. Cover with foil and seal tightly. Cook for 45 minutes or until tender. 

Remove from baking dish and use a fork to remove the squash from the flesh in strands. Serve as a side dish as is, or to instead of pasta.



What is your favorite fast and easy recipe?

Fall Favorite – Pumpkin Whip

Pumpkin is everywhere, in every food and beverage. I don’t remember that it was this prevalent even five years ago – pumpkin has the best-ever publicist 🙂

I like pumpkin’s sweet flavor, similar to a couple of my other favorite autumn squashes: butternut and acorn. Their sweetness is brought out by roasting, and the butter and brown sugar I put in the hollow of an acorn squash. 

This recipe is ideal for a party, which is where I first had it. Four ingredients make it easy, and it can be made ahead or at the last minute. 

Pumpkin Whip

1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (do not use pumpkin pie filling)
1 8 oz container Cool Whip (I use the light version), thawed for 20 minutes
1 box of instant vanilla pudding (I use fat- and sugar-free)
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice (use more or less to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. If the Cool Whip has frozen lumps, work them with the spoon against the side of the bowl. Cover and chill. 

Serve with gingersnaps (as shown below) or chocolate wafer cookies.

This would also make delicious individual parfaits, layering crushed gingersnaps with the pumpkin whip. 

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What is your favorite pumpkin food or beverage?

I’ve Always Wanted to Write a Book!

Is writing a novel sound like something you’ve had on your bucket list? If so, now is the perfect time to get it done and cross it off!

November is National Novel Writing Month, and it is a personal challenge undertaken with a world-wide community. Started in 1999 with 21 writers, it has grown to over 325,000 writers participating around the world.

Chances are good that one of the 615 (give or take) regions is near you. There is support from Municipal Liaisons (MLs), of which I am one (USA::Florida::Treasure Coast). There are forums for every age group, every level of writer, every genre of fiction, and every writing question in general.

The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. This breaks down to 1,667 words a day for 30 days. Think you’ve got it in you? Sign up at nanowrimo.org – it’s easy to do, and there’s no entry fee.

Every state in the US has one or more regions to join, and every region has Kick Off Parties, Weekly Write-Ins, and TGIO (Thank Goodness It’s Over) Parties. Every region has an ML to help you with questions, or direct you to the proper forum for answers.

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but in November you can do it knowing you’re in good company. Pep talks from best-selling authors (Charlaine Harris, Diana Gabaldon) will be delivered. It’s comforting to know that writers at all levels struggle with something, and you may hear from someone whose writing you love that they have the same problem you do.

Sara Gruen wrote Water for Elephants during NaNo. In 2006 it was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing. It was a major motion picture in 2011, starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, Christoph Waltz, and Hal Holbrook.

Since NaNo began, over 250 NaNo novels have been traditionally published, and many more have been indie published. 

Will yours be one of them?