Recipe – Jack O’Lantern Pot Pies

mypapercrane.com Nothing is quite as cozy as a pot pie on a brisk fall evening. We like to celebrate Halloween throughout the months of September and October so I actually made these just the other night. It might not have been brisk out, and technically it is still the end of Summer, but they were perfect for getting us into the Halloween mood. I had found dark purple potatoes and paired them with some carrots for a very festive pot pie, but you can use whatever potatoes you have on hand, the jack o’lantern faces will festive them up!
Here’s what you’ll need:

Jack O’Lantern Pot Pies

-7 oz of frozen puff pastry
-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
-1 yellow onion chopped
-2/3 cup of carrots chopped
-1/2 cup of yellow squash chopped
-2 cups of potatoes chopped
-1/4 cup of all purpose flour
-2 cups of vegetable broth
-2 cups of fully cooked protein (I like quorn brand vegetarian chicken chunks)
-1 cup of milk (we use almond milk)
-(optional) 2-3 Tablespoons of plain potato flakes
-(optional) 1 egg slightly beaten for egg wash

Remove puff pastry from the freezer and allow to sit out covered with a towel on a cutting board. Preheat oven to 350F and lay out ramekins on a cookie sheet. I used 12 small ramekins for mine, you can also optionally use one large pie plate and create one jack o’lantern face for the top. Find a circle cup that is about the same size as your ramekins for cutting out the faces, or save one ramekin aside for cutting.

Heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. Add veggies and sauté until onions are translucent. Pour flour over veggies and stir until all the veggies are coated, allow to cook for about two minutes. Add veggie broth and allow to simmer until veggies are tender. Add milk and a fully cooked protein (I use quorn brand fake chicken chunks) and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool slightly to thicken. If your mixture is still too thin or watery add a few tablespoons of plain potato flakes. Stir the flakes well and allow to absorb the broth before adding any more. Spoon the stew into each ramekin.

Uncover pastry and use your cup/or extra ramekin to cut out your circle faces. Then use a small sharp paring knife to cut out faces. Basic triangles work best and the dough is easier to cut if it’s not fully defrosted. Lay each face on top of a ramekin and press lightly around the edge to seal. If doing an egg wash beat 1 egg in a small bowl and brush beaten egg onto each face.

Bake the cookie sheet of ramekins in preheated oven for about 20 mins until faces are lightly browned.

How To Tuesday – Cactus Recipe Card Holder

make craft a cactus from clay Super easy little clay cactus friend that you can use to hold your recipe cards. You could also use him as a ring holder, or maybe just a little desk friend?

1. Open the white clay and save a small amount for the eyes. Press the rest in the bottom of your pot to help weigh it down.
2. Repeat step one but with the black clay. I found the clays on sale for 88¢ and the pot for 25¢, the toothpicks and foil I had on hand so the whole project is under $3.
3. Form your tinfoil into a base for your cactus. Leave a tail area that can be pushed into the black clay.
4. Check your form to make sure it’s a good size for your pot. Add more tinfoil as needed.
5. Roll out your green clay (save a small sized piece aside for nose)
6. Wrap green clay around the tinfoil form making sure all the foil is covered.
7. Use your hands to smooth the green clay
8. Make two small balls of white clay for eyes and two smaller balls of the black clay for the pupils.
9. Flatten eyes gently, peel up and use the side that was flattened against the table facing out because it will be smoother.
10. Gently press the eyes and pupil to face trying not to leave many fingerprints. You can also attach a green ball nose as this point. I pushed in a small piece of toothpick first to push the ball nose onto.
11. Roll out a small snake of the black clay for the mouth. You can flatten it slightly like the eyes before adding it to the face.
12. Push your cactus down into the black clay inside the pot.
13. Push in toothpicks all over his head. Make sure they are staggered slightly so when you push a recipe card in (after baking) you can weave it between the toothpicks. If any of your toothpicks feel loose after baking you can always glue them in, but because my toothpicks went down into the tinfoil center they seem very sturdy.
Now just bake the whole pot in the oven and bake according to the instructions on your package of clay.
***Oh and the adorable recipe cards can be purchased here they are by Miss Emily of course—her stuff seems to be all over my house this week :)

How-To Tuesday – Edible Terrariums

mushroomcollage

When we were visiting Mister Ed’s Elephant museum the other day we picked up some candy rocks and I wanted to make something extra fun with them…so little edible terrariums it is!

edible terrariums

Edible Terrariums
supplies:
chocolate cake: You can make a simple pan of your favorite chocolate cake, use leftovers, or just pick up a plain cake to use. We had leftover chocolate bundt cake.
small jars: You can use canning jars, or save small jars from foods like little olive jars, jelly, etc.
candy rocks & pebbles: these are optional, but really add a realistic touch to the terrariums! You can buy them online too.
shredded sweetened coconut:This is used to create the moss, but if you don’t like coconut you can also use plain granulated sugar and color in the same way.
chocolate sandwich cookies: like oreo, newsman’s own etc.
gum paste: this is used to create the mushrooms and comes in white, or you can buy it pre-coloredif you prefer not to worry about that step.
food coloring
lollipop sticks or toothpicks are optional but can help the mushrooms keep their shape. Just remember to tell younger children if you have sticks in the terrarium before they go to eat it.

edible terrariums

1. The first step is to layer your terrarium “dirt”. put a slice of cake in the bottom of your jar and use a spoon to break it up slightly so it spreads out and covers the entire bottom. If your jars are small these layers will need to be small, but can be much thicker on big jars. Just remember you are going to want to keep some room in there for mushrooms, but still be able to fit the lid on.
2. The second layer in the darker soil which is made by chopping up the chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor. I used about 5 cookies to make 3 terrariums.
3. Next drop a few rocks in. You can use one of the lollipop sticks to push a few of the rocks down into the soil along the edge of the jars.

edible terrariums

edible terrariums


4. To create the moss I used about 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut. I added about 8-10 drops of my green food colors (I had two shades) and 1-2 drops of red. The red is just to give it that dark dirty mossy color. Then I dumped the coconut into the food processor to chop and mix the color. Do not worry about cleaning out any bits of cookie crumbs from the soil layer, they will just enhance the moss! If you don’t want to use the coconut you can substitute granulated sugar instead.
5. Spoon a small amount of moss into each terrarium jar and spread around so that the dirt layers still peek through in areas.
edible terrariums

edible terrariums


6. Now it is time to create the mushrooms! Gum paste might seem a bit tricky to work with (this was my first time) but here are a few tricks. You’ll want to keep your gum paste sealed and work with a small piece at a time or it can get dry and crack. Make sure to knead your gum paste (you can use a little shortening to help knead it) Knead it for a good few minutes until all the cracks are gone. To shape the mushroom bases I rolled my gum paste around the top of toothpicks (or lollipop sticks in the case of the larger mushroom) You just want to go for a mushroom shape. Once done I sat the mushroom bases that were on sticks into a small cup, to let them dry. For the very small mushrooms I just made a little base out of the gum paste (no toothpicks needed) and let them sit on their own to dry.

edible terrariums

7. For the mushroom caps I simply rolled the gum paste into small balls and poked a small indent into the underside of each. Then I put them on top of the bases.
edible terrariums

8. Now there are so many different ways to make your mushrooms look realistic (and it’s sort of the fun part!) For my very small white mushrooms I used a mesh sieve and sprinkled a little bit of cocoa powder on top. For my red polka dot mushrooms I pressed some pearl sugar into the gum paste before it dried. I like the look of pearl sugar because of the irregular shape, but you could also use white nonpareils instead. For my larger mushroom I simply used a small amount of brown food coloring when kneading.
9. Once your mushrooms have dried out a bit (30-60 mins) you can insert them into your jars. You can cut your toothpicks if they are too long, or slowly pull them out of the bottom of the mushroom completely (again, good idea if small children are going to be eating them) You can add a few more candy rocks or moss as needed.

edible terrariums

*** A few final tips and notes..
-If you are going to be traveling with the terrariums (bringing them to a party etc) You may want to use a layer of chocolate frosting or pudding after the cake layer to help hold the dirt and moss in place. I would also save the mushrooms and add them once you arrive.
-You can also use marshmallow fondant in place of the gum paste to make the mushrooms (but these should be made a few days in advance so they can harden)
-You can easily make these vegan by creating a vegan gum paste using a vegan cake, etc.
-If you do not have the time or desire to create the mushrooms you can always buy mushroom cupcake toppers to add instead!
edible terrariums