Friday, July 15, 2016

Halloween Entertaining 2016



Halloween entertaining is an art and it doesn't have to be complicated. Like the most beautiful paintings and architecture, the best gatherings are usually simple and unpretentious. My little town of Covington, Louisiana, is a place where people often prefer casual, intimate settings with close friends and family.  At the same time, however we enjoy a long and diverse cultural history that provides plenty of occasions for some great celebrations. It just so happens for me, Halloween is the perfect reason to celebrate Fall is in full swing! 


Recently, I was enjoying an evening chat with my neighbor. Michelle, told me about this wonderful vintage cookbook she owned that included some pretty cool Halloween Recipes so I decided to share a few with you. Over the next month, I will be preparing a few and I'll report back on my opinion, but from where I sit now they look yummy and super easy!. 








Friday, June 24, 2016

 Me!

Looking for a really unique Halloween Party Favor this year? Last year I downloaded photos of my guest from Facebook and created really scary photos with them. I framed each photo and displayed them for the guest to take at the end of a perfect party. Check out some of my creepy friends!

 Creepy Crepel

 My Little Amy Lou

 Darling Darleen, are is she?

 The coolest chick around!


 Sweet Elaine!

 I'll never tell!

 Jimmy & My Ashlee

 My special guest!

 My Witchy Sister!


Anyway you get the general idea! Fun, creative and a great keepsake!







         The Count Down is in Full Swing to Halloween 2016!

Personally, I've already started on my 2016 haunt. This entails sitting down with pen and paper and setting my imagination free. This year I'm contemplating hosting either a formal sit down dinner or a "way out wacky Boobecue" with all the fixings.  Either way, the ideas are flowing and the planning is in full swing. I'll share some of my ideas with you guys and if you have any fun ideas please do email me with yours!


Vampire Napkin Rings


Make your table settings look scary! Splash white cloth napkins with red Kool-Aid, thread a white twist tie through a set of plastic vampire teeth, and finally secure a twist tie around the center of your napkin.

Boobecue Sweet Daddy Ribs...Yummy

This is my favorite way to grill these ribs. Supper easy and ever so yummy!
Marinade:
In a medium bowl mix: 1 Cup of veg. oil, 1/2 cup of bourbon or whiskey of your choice, 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce, 1 heaping table spoon of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of creole mustard or any brown mustard, 1/2 cup of green onions.
Marinade over night in 1 gallon zip lock or tuber ware container. When I make mine I usually prepare 3 or 4 slabs of ribs and all in one container. I do turn them once before heading to bed.
On grill day, I turn the grill on low and let them slow roast for 20 mins watching that the do not burn so have a water bottle close by...lol Oh, 20 mins bone side down first. After 20 mins flip over for 15 mins, watching carefully.  After that I turn a few burners off leaving a couple on med heat flipping occasionally. The last 5 mins I sauce them up good. Just remember, it's better to under cook a little than over cook. They will continue to cook some when removed from the heat.
Sauce: Use what sauce you like but do add about 1/2 cup of good honey or brown sugar. The glaze is amazing and they are truly yummy! Enjoy!


The Best Grilled Potatoes Ever!


It may seem like extra work, but I like to partially cook (by simmering) most potatoes before grilling them. Here's why: first, it cuts down on the final grilling time, so I can put the potatoes on just as I finish grilling the meat or whatever else I'm making. Since the potatoes are already mostly cooked, they only need to be seared over direct heat to create a golden brown crust. I'm mainly looking for visual clues to see when the potatoes are done, so I don't have to pay as much attention to them. I also don't have to cover the grill, so I can grill a steak at the same time. And if I'm entertaining, I can hand off the grilling to someone else, knowing they just have to look at the potatoes to know when they're done.
I especially like to use this method for dense-fleshed potatoes like Red Bliss and Yukon Gold. Grilled this way, they have almost the texture of French fries by the time they're done: golden on the outside, fluffy and cakey on the inside.

always cut the potatoes before I simmer them (I like slices, but quarters and wedges work, too), and I let them drain well after simmering. I can do this ahead of time and leave them at room temperature while fixing the rest of dinner. Then, I coat the potatoes well with either oil and herbs or a combination of a little bit of mayonnaise and mustard, since the fats help keep the moisture inside the potatoes when they hit the grill, and also help to keep the tender flesh from sticking. While I think it works best to season your potatoes before you grill them, that doesn't mean you can't season them afterward, too, or use them in other recipes.

This is just a sample of some great things you can quickly prepare on your grill! I grill everything and my big easy toast!

The best Candy Apple and simply delicious!

These make any Halloween table will set the tone for hauntingly yummy treat!



These candy apples are hot, hot, hot!
Total Time:
Prep:
Level: Easy
Yield: 8 candy apples
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Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 8 Fuji apples
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/3 c. light corn syrup
  • 1/4 c. cinnamon Red Hots Candies (or 1 tsp. cinnamon extract)
  • 1/2 tsp. red food coloring

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with butter; set aside. Remove stems from apples and insert twigs/sticks; set aside.
  2. Place sugar, water, corn syrup, Red Hots, and food coloring in a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Brush down any crystals that may form with water. Once boiled, stop stirring. Insert candy thermometer and continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture reaches 300 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside until bubbles subside, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Dip apples into mixture, tilting pan as needed until completely coated. Swirl apple over pan to let excess drip off. Place dipped apples on prepared parchment lined pan and let cool until firm, at least 1 hour.



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Halloween D├ęcor & More 

In my travels this weekend I stopped in at my all-time favorite Antique Shop in the New Orleans area. Sister’s Antiques is a quaint little Antique Creole Cottage located in charming Old Metairie, just a couple miles outside New Orleans. Should your travels take you to Haunted New Orleans and you love shopping for antiques, well defiantly put Sister’s on your “places to shop spots”, you won’t be disappointed.

A little history about Sister’s 

For the past 20 years, Sister’s Antiques has been a trusted name for exceptional quality, value and service in the antiques market.  Sister’s is located at 114 Codifer Blvd. Metairie, LA 70005 sits in the heart of the Old Metairie.  Owner Kathy Collins has transformed this classic New Orleans Creole Cottage into a unique shopping destination filled with coveted antiquities, art works and luxuries for the home. The store is popular among visitors and locals alike who pleasure in the atmospheres of antique filled rooms if only just to browse or to enjoy a delicious sweet treat that graces most buffets in the shop. A visit to this classic cottage will surely inspire you.
Kathy Collins, not only has a great eye for fine antiques but she's an amazing decorator who can turn a “white box” into something wonderfully elegant, or hip and edgy by mixing Antique’s with Modern or Ultra Contemporary pieces that seamlessly fit together puzzle like, if you get my drift.
 
While visiting sister’s I took the photos below to pass along to you guys.The shop was filled with little splashes of Autumn and my favorite Halloween decorating, so I snapped a few pictures. Hope you too enjoy and feel inspired to get moving with your Autumn decorating because Halloween is creeping just around the corner.      
 
 


 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Next Week Do Check Back For Some More Amazingly Creepy and Cut Halloween Recipes!

 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Great Halloween Ideas for Decorating Chandeliers!

When preparing your home for your Halloween Party, look up! Yes, a naked chandelier or lighting fixture is like staring at an un-iced cake, boring. We take so much pride in creating the table, so  why not complete the look by decorating what hangs above your table. Below you will find some decorated chandelier ideas in hopes of sparking your creative juices! Enjoy, and get busy the count down has started to Halloween.
 

Formal Elegance - I love visiting the Christmas section of my Hobby Lobby Store this time of the year because I find more amazing Black Christmas Ornaments! This look is achieved by using a few Black & God or Orange Christmas Ornaments, black and white cording and black feathered boa.
 
Just drape some black and tea stained gauze on a chandelier makes for a good foundation for your haunted fixture! Just add some creepy crawlers, branches and bats and your have it! Simple.
 

Simple understate elegance! This is nothing more than a store bought Chandelier and some autumn foliage. Perfect!
 Again, a little outdoor nature! Just gather a few outdoor branches, some gauze, creepy crawlers and an Owl is all it takes to create this amazing look! 


A Grand Antique Bronze Chandelier. I just had to include it, totally looks haunted to me!

This look is achieved by gathering lots of twigs and branches and  weaving them into each other covering your fixture.

Listed Haunted Places Around Covington & New Orleans

Greetings! I've put together some pretty amazingly haunted places in Covington and New Orleans, Louisiana. If  you guys are planning a trip down to one of the most haunted cities in American you may decide to check into one of these properties, or not.


 

Odd Fellows Rest  - New Orleans, Louisiana

34.1 miles from Covington, LA
Even if it weren't haunted this cemetery would be worth seeing due to the ambiance of an old gothic style cemetery falling into ruin
 
 
 
 
    St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 - New Orleans, Louisiana
35.7 miles from Covington, LA
Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau is buried here. A crow said to watch over her grave is believed to be inhabited by her spirit.
 
 
Deserted Benedictine Monastery, Covington, near St. Benedict.
Since the earliest settlers arrived in the wild woodlands that later became St. Tammany Parish there were among them men and women of faith charged with keeping the righteous right and evangelizing the natives to increase the ranks of the church. One such frontier ministry was instituted by the Benedictine brothers north of what is today Covington. Though the Benedictines now have a strong presence at St. Joseph’s Abbey and Seminary, the long ago monastery was a shadow of that modern edifice. Built precariously on the edge of the wild and left to fend for itself for long stretches of times between supply wagons, it is said that the brothers and laymen of the first Benedictine monastery were killed by Native Americans who attacked the holy place and burned all remnants of it to the ground. Legend has it that the Natives even dug up the dead from the consecrated cemetery that stood not far from the monastery walls.

Since that horrific event, which most likely took place in the early 1700’s, a strange apparition has been spotted in the piney woods outside of Covington: the apparition of the monastery itself is seen to appear and disappear at unexpected times in the shadowy woods.
Witnesses who claim to have seen the monastery say it is like seeing a grey, shadowy “photo negative” of a building – almost, but not completely transparent. Others claim to have discovered the desecrated graveyard where they say a feeling of such malevolence overwhelms them that it is impossible to linger there long. Invariably, they are never able to relocate the graveyard, despite any number of attempts. Still others have heard the sound of ghostly Gregorian chant and claim to have seen the shapes of hooded monks walking through the shadows of the trees.

The mysterious disappearing monastery is said to lie somewhere off the River Road, not far from St. Benedict and the present day St. Joseph’s. Where it was originally is anyone’s guess, but if you travel the old River Road, you just might see this number one most chilling place.
 
 
Artesia Restaurant and Inn, Hwy. 59, Abita Springs.
The sleepy little town of Abita Springs grew to prominence because of the luck of its location – in the heart of the ozone belt at the confluence of several healthy artesian wellsprings. People came from miles around to “take the waters” at Abita Springs and in an effort to provide accommodations to them more convenient than hotels in Mandeville or Covington, Abita Springs businessmen responded with style and pizzazz. One of the first hotels to be built in Abita Springs was located in what is now the Artesia Restaurant on Highway 59 just north of town. It is said that the hotel had all the accoutrements expected of such a place in its heyday and that the builder, a man not only of means but of high expectations, made certain that every part of the building and grounds met his demands.

It can be surmised that a man such as this might accumulate enemies as well as friends, as he accumulated money. Whatever the cause, the story goes that one summer day in the early 1930’s, the man left the hotel walking toward town: he was never seen or heard from again. Since that time, a restless spirit has haunted the old hotel and grounds. Workers in the restaurant have encountered the apparition of a man standing in the entranceway or in remote parts of the dining room. Guests arriving early have seen the ghostly spectre peering down at them from the second story of the old building. Visitors who stay over at the quaint Bed & Breakfast cottages at Artesia have reported being awakened in the middle of the night by the voice of a man calling out a name they can’t discern; there have also been reports of heavy footsteps around the cottage area; and at least one motorist has reported striking what he thought was a man standing in the middle of the highway in front of the hotel. When the rattled motorist came to a stop and ran back to help his victim he found himself alone on a darkened highway. (It doesn’t help that Highway 59 is known throughout the parish as the “Highway of Death,” but that’s part of another story…) Police have also been called by concerned residents who have seen a man wandering aimlessly along the road, perhaps concerned he is a criminal and up to no good; patrols have repeatedly failed to turn up anything, or anyone.

Employees and even the owners of Artesia Restaurant confess that they do not like to be the last to lock up at night. There is a presence, they say, that broods in the old building, constantly watching everything that is done.

Artesia Restaurant and Inn is open limited hours since Hurricane Katrina, so call ahead and prepare for a ghostly encounter!
 
 
Guste Island Road and the Famous White Lady, Near Port Louis, Madisonville.
Madisonville is a beautiful little town that nestles on the banks of the Tchefuncte River near where it empties into Lake Pontchartrain. One of the oldest settlements in what is now St. Tammany Parish, the town still sits amid wild woods and encroaching swamplands. Even in a heavy downpour there is threat of flooding from the nearby Lake, not to mention the surge and deluge recently experienced in Hurricane Katrina.

Highway 22 runs through the heart of Madisonville, crossing the Tchefuncte at Main Street and continuing on into the rural areas to the west. Guste Island Road intersects the highway approximately three miles outside of town and is the only access to the waterfront community of Port Louis. The road is a long, winding affair, like something out of a Cajun dream, alternately lined with frowning woodlands and empty, marshy swamps. Gators often crawl up out of the swamps and sit in the road or alongside of it, providing a scare or two, but the most frightening thing about Guste Island road isn’t the twists and turns or the local fauna: it’s the ghostly white spectre of a long-dead woman.

She appears out of nowhere, say most who have seen her; often she is just walking alongside the road, but as a car approaches she will suddenly turn and – hopefully – vanish. On the occasions when she has not vanished, witnesses have been aghast at the sight of her skeletal face and empty eye sockets. Many have been petrified out of their wits: some have backed up practically all the way to Port Louis, others have hit the accelerator and blown right by her, but not before she reaches out with a scratchy, skeleton hand against the car windows. One couple, who shall remain nameless, actually drove off the road and both nearly died: the driver swore that he had seen a deer, but his passenger was all too certain that the figure was that of a woman in white who rushed across the road and into the path of their car. The car was totaled and both ended up in the hospital, but they report that the most frightening thing was having to wait for the tow truck and ambulance in the dead of a dark and cloudy night with the ghost of Guste Island Road on the prowl.

Who she was and how she came to haunt this desolate stretch of swampy road, no one knows, but all agree that she is there and it is no pleasure to encounter her, making Guste Island Road number three on the list of most haunted places in “New Orleans North.”
 
Old Creole Cemetery, Hwy. 90, Lacombe.
The old Creole Cemetery faces the busy scenic route Highway 90 in the middle of the little hamlet of Lacombe, Louisiana. It is one of the few cemeteries on the Northshore where Day of the Dead celebrations are held regularly and on the night of November 1st every year the cemetery is alight with candles and festivities in memory of the souls who have passed on.

But for the other 364 days of the year, give or take a couple, the cemetery sits in silence and darkness. Few dare to enter it who do not have family already buried there, and no one, it seems will venture there after dark except on that one holy All Saints’ Day.

There are very old graves in the little cemetery. Many date from the earliest days of settlement in Lacombe and the surrounding areas. Most of the dead are Creoles who came across the Lake from New Orleans to found a new community in the piney woods of the Northshore. Once settled they mixed and ultimately intermarried with the Native Americans already living here, and as most were raised in the prevailing Catholic faith, most ended up buried in the little cemetery.

But many people say there is something else in the cemetery. Some don’t feel fearful of it, but most, especially those with no connection at all to the place, say there is an evil presence lurking among the old Creole tombs. One night of lights and prayers, they say, isn’t nearly enough to keep it still all year.

Late night drivers or those unlucky enough to be walking past the cemetery at night have reported seeing shadowy forms moving among the graves, hunched over, like someone looking at each tombstone for a familiar name. One driver reported that he witnessed a ghostly visitant literally rise from the ground of the cemetery and walk across the road, narrowly missing the moving car. Not far along is the Rumours bar and its not surprising that they get their share of spooked motorists in there on any given night.

But perhaps the weirdest thing about the Old Creole Cemetery is the traveling tombstone.

The story goes that late one night a motorist slowed and swerved to avoid something laying in the middle of the highway. Pulling over to the side, the motorist got out of his car to inspect the object and was appalled to see that it was a tombstone, laying flat in the middle of the road. Seeing no one in sight to offer any assistance, the motorist moved the stone himself and stopped at the next Sheriff’s annex to report what had happened. A sheriff deputy dispatched to the location was unable to locate the stone, however, another deputy on patrol eight miles in the opposite direction came upon the errant tombstone, once again in the middle of the highway. This deputy picked the stone up and, placing it gingerly in his trunk, went into the station to make a report. The stone was removed at the station and placed against a side wall. To his dismay, when the deputy returned, he found the tombstone missing yet again. Assuming a prank or some petty theft, the sheriff filed his report and went off shift for the night.

Two days later another deputy on patrol found the stone laying in the road across the street from the cemetery and called in a report. This time the deputy did not leave his vehicle, but, with lights flashing and headlights fixed on the stone, he proceeded to start his report about the finding.

When he looked up from his report some minutes later he was alarmed to see that the tombstone had moved and was laying at the gates of the Old Creole Cemetery!

Boldly, the deputy got out of the car and looked around. It was nearly 3 a.m. and there was no one around, nor had any vehicle driven by in the time since he had stopped. There was no plausible explanation for the movement of the stone and, not inclined to interfere with what he deemed “higher powers,” the deputy left the stone where it lay. Yet another deputy, however, on an early morning patrol, saw the tombstone at the cemetery gate and stopped to place it in his trunk. When he reached the station he was surprised to hear a chorus of “Not THAT thing!” from his cohorts. On hearing their wild stories about the moving tombstone, the deputy figured he’d put an end to it and locked the stone in a nearby maintenance shed while he attempted to track down family members from the name on the stone.

A call to the cemetery started the wheels in motion and a the deputy was told that a keeper would meet him at the gates within a half hour. The deputy decided to leave the stone in place and go out to meet the keeper, but before he even reached the cemetery he received a radio call that the keeper was on a pay phone near the cemetery reporting a TOMBSTONE laying out at the cemetery gate!

Shocked and confused, the deputy asked a fellow officer to check on the status of the stone locked away in the maintenance shed. He was shaken to hear that there was no tombstone to be found in the shed. Somehow, it had moved of its own volition, and had returned to the cemetery gates.

There was no living family to be found who could claim the stone as their own, but the with the help of the keeper the proper location of the stone was determined: it had somehow been moved, or had moved, from a spot under a shady oak tree at the rear of the cemetery. A sheltered spot, it was only when the keeper said aloud, “That the old Indian oak, you know the one where they found those Indian skulls buried inside it?”

Soon it became clear: the name on the tomb was that of a prominent Catholic Creole who had, in his lifetime, hated and mistreated Native Americans. It never was clear whether the spirits of dead Indians were responsible for evicting the old Creole, but it was obvious, in a weird way, that the Creole was trying to get his stone back in.

The traveling tombstone was finally completely buried in a separate plot not far from the remains of the old Creole man and the haunted tree. So far, it hasn’t resurfaced … well, not yet anyway.
 
 
 
 

Haunted Covington

 The Old SSA School - The old building now in ruins is totally hidden in the great pine woods, known for eire noises, screams, and ghost activity. The local story tells that over 60 nuns died in the building from a fire. An old abandoned graveyard lies behind the building. This is where nuns and priest were buried dates back to 1841. A tall woman's ghost dressed in a white nun habit walks the grounds of the cemetery. There is also what appears at times to be the ghost of a red cat walking around the haunted deserted building. Often some report hearing this ghostly cat wailing day and night.


Friday, August 23, 2013