I can’t believe that Halloween is officially over.   The day after and I’ve already got a gazillion ideas for next year.  Honestly, this Halloween was one of the best ever.  We had a complete blast.  My husband and I went as ketchup and mustard and Prentiss and Meredith’s witch and cat costumes were a huge hit.   Halloween really is such a colorful whirlwind —from crafting costumes for the girls and decorating pumpkins to getting together treats for school parties and, of course, actually going door to door on the big night, there is always so much sugar-buzzed excitement.  Now that the big day is over, we have a huge bowl of leftover candy…  and I’m not completely sure why, but we have an abundance of Peppermint Patties this year.   To have some post-Halloween fun,  I adapted my Gingersnap Ice Cream Sandwiches in Katie Brown Entertains to put these plentiful and perfectly zingy peppermint patties to work.

Pattycake Sandwiches

What You’ll Need
12 large, soft cookies (I like double chocolate)
1 pint of vanilla ice cream
24 York Peppermint Patties

Get Cookin’
1. Place cookies on a parchment-lined cookie sheet

2. Using a stand mixer or just good old-fashioned elbow grease, blend the ice cream until it is spreadable.

3. Plop some ice cream on each cookie and spread it out.

4. Put a cookie on top of each one, completing the sandwich.

5. Place in freezer to set for 30 minutes.  While waiting, unwrap and break up the Peppermint Patties (your kids will be a great help with this!).

6. Take out the cookie sandwiches and roll the edges in the broken candy pieces.

Enjoy!

Hopefully everyone had a sweet and spooky Halloween.

Photos from here, here, and here

I’ve got a little secret…I didn’t actually carve pumpkins this year! Don’t get me wrong—scooping that slime is so fun (and strangely satisfying, right?), but this year I couldn’t resist going down the pumpkin decorating route.

I’ve rounded up some inspiration for last-minute stoop decoration or impromptu Halloween parties…

With ribbons, buttons, wire, sequins or tacks, you can totally make it work—without the goop!

Around this time of year—every year—my family likes to remind me of “the candy corn incident,” in which the hallway bowl full of the delicious Halloween fare was devoured handful-by-sneaked-handful in one fateful afternoon. I was young, it was Halloween and I’m a sucker for sweets…what more can I say?

Not much more in the way of my candy habits has changed since then. Luckily, I’ve discovered how to manage my habit—by making irresistible desserts that combine all sorts of sugary goodness!

Cater to the candy goddess inside you with this awesome and super easy Swirled White Chocolate Candy Corn.

What You’ll Need
12 ounces of white chocolate morsels
Couple drops of orange food coloring
1 cup of candy corn

Get Cookin’
1. Over medium-low heat melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
2. Pour the melted chocolate onto lined baking sheets and drop in a couple drops of food coloring. Using a knife, swirl chocolate to create a pattern in the chocolate.
3. Drop candy corn on top of chocolate.
4. Place in the freezer until hardened. Then break into pieces.

It’s inevitable. October 1 rolls around and you never hear the end of it. “What am I going to be for Halloweeeeen?” Our kids can dream up some crazy costumes (do you really want to be that extra-fancy double-the-price princess with the real gold crown??) and it’s hard to squelch that creativity. It’s also hard to cough up so much for a one-night-only outfit.

So, find a happy medium and start with what you have. I was lucky this year: my 6-year old Prentiss wants to be a witch and while Meredith doesn’t quite get the whole Halloween thing yet (she’s almost 2), Prentiss thought she’d make an excellent cat.

To make the witch and cat costumes spectacular we don’t have to look too far away from their closets. We’re going to use a black skirt and turtleneck that Prentiss already has and spook it up with some fake spider webs and glitter.  With a touch of face paint, a witch’s hat (which are a dime a dozen this time of year) and some mini cat ears for Meredith we’ll be all set for the biggest sugar fest of the year…for well under $20.

If you’re stumped for ideas or just in the Halloween spirit, take a peek at these clever kids costumes:

Highway
Real Simple came up with this cute highway idea- all you need is a matching pair of sweatpants and sweatshirt and some toy cars!

Piglet in a Blanket
Real Simple again with the cutest piglet ever! I’m thinking you could cut the tip of a bottle and attach to elastic for the snout. Some felt ears on a headband, pink jammies and that snuggly blankey are the only other things you need!

Hot Air Balloon
Kids might like the balloons more than the candy…well, maybe! Grab a bunch o’ balloons and make a cardboard basket with paper bag weights. Reminds me of Up the movie, which I’ve probably seen 50 times by now…

Gnome
Some red felt and a fluffy white beard are all you need to buy for this adorable gnome outfit. Make sure you get lots of good garden pics of your little one!

OK the kids are taken care of…Now I just have to figure out where I put my magic wand and crown…


I’m hardly a perfectionist in the kitchen, but I so appreciate the careful arrangement of apple slices in these gorgeous tarts…hungry yet?



When I look at an apple, I instantly see a tasty snack. But I’ve learned to control the cravings to see the crafting potential of this versatile fruit!

Although the carved potato stamp is a tried and true crafting tradition, why let veggies have all the fun? Enter the apple stamp: the perfect craft for those left-in-the-back-of-the-draw-almost-gone-bad apples in your fridge.

Using a halved apple as a stamp, you can add zing to placemats, table runners, cards, fall garlands, paper napkins…Whatever you can stamp—from fabrics to paper—is fair game.

To brighten up your dinner table tonight, set aside 15 minutes and make a cheerful apple-stamped table runner.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started with this quick and simple project:

  • A few apples
  • A sharp knife
  • Fabric paint
  • Pinking shears or scissors
  • A strip of burlap or canvas cut to fit your table’s length

Get crafting!

  1. Slice your apple in half vertically. You should be able to see the seeds and stem on each half.
  2. Use a paper towel to dab the juice off the freshly cut apple.
  3. Dip the half in your paint. Do a few test runs on paper to test out the paint to apple ratio.
  4. Decorate the burlap or canvas! Experiment with blending oranges, reds or greens on the apple stamp.

Kids can easily get in on the action and have tons of fun with apple stamping. Cover a table in Kraft paper and set out finger paints as a safe washable alternative to fabric paint. Supply a few of the apple halves and let them loose! Cut up their work for placemats or leave as is for a frame-worthy tablecloth.

…I always knew the lonely apple in the back of the drawer was going to have its moment in the spotlight!

So we’ve established that there are thousands of apple varieties out there. Until now though, we haven’t tackled the fact that tons of those apple varieties have some really funky names. We all know Galas and Fujis, but have you ever heard of Graniwinkles, Pippins, Almatas, Croftons, Summer Bananas, Sweet Winesaps and Rambos?

My personal favorite is, hand’s down, the Sheep’s Nose. Apparently, English farmers back in 1951 thought it looked like the elongated nose of its furry namesake, but I’ll let you bet the judge of that one…

Sheep's Nose? Who knows!


Sheep’s Nose are hard and somewhat dry, and are ideal for making one of my and my girls’ fave fall snacks– apple chips! If you don’t have any Sheep’s Nose hanging around, Granny Smiths, Galas or whatever apples you’ve got in your kitchen will totally work for this simple recipe from Shaheen Peerbhai, popularly known as the Purple Foodie.

With 2 hours, some cinnamon, sugar and a squeeze of lemon, you’ll have yourself a super easy and healthy snack. And, if you know of any particularly wacky apple names, send them along!

So we’ve established that there are thousands of apple varieties out there. Until now though, we haven’t tackled the fact that tons of those apple varieties have some really funky names. We all know Galas and Fujis, but have you ever heard of Graniwinkles, Pippins, Almatas, Croftons, Summer Bananas, Sweet Winesaps and Rambos?

My personal favorite is, hand’s down, the Sheep’s Nose. Apparently, English farmers back in 1951 thought it looked like the elongated nose of its furry namesake, but I’ll let you bet the judge of that one…

Sheep's Nose? Who knows!


Sheep’s Nose are hard and somewhat dry, and are ideal for making one of my and my girls’ fave fall snacks– apple chips! If you don’t have any Sheep’s Nose hanging around, Granny Smiths, Galas or whatever apples you’ve got in your kitchen will totally work for this simple recipe from Shaheen Peerbhai, popularly known as the Purple Foodie.

With 2 hours, some cinnamon, sugar and a squeeze of lemon, you’ll have yourself a super easy and healthy snack. And, if you know of any particularly wacky apple names, send them along!

It seems like not too long ago, when you walked into a grocery store you could choose from two types of apples– red and green. Not so anymore! Apples are everywhere. I walk down the produce aisle and see hundreds of perfectly waxed apples from all over the world. Did you know China produces the most apples, followed by the US, and then Iran?? Johnny Appleseed, you’ve got competition!

So all this apple exposure is inspiring me to dig deeper into the world of apple knowledge.  I’m officially on the prowl for apple facts.

Did you know the Empire is a cross between McIntosh and Red Delicious? Or that sweet and crunchy Braeburns are great for baking? That Golden Delicious apples are too thin-skinned to store and crazy sweet Honey Crisps are super easy to juice?

Let’s get the conversation rolling! What have you discovered by cooking, baking, eating or growing apples?

Check out this clean visual guide to apples from one of my favorite foodie site’s, Epicurious. Read up on 11 different apples and find out what to do with what you’ve got!

Did you know that there are literally thousands of varieties of apples? That apples are packed full of powerful antioxidants and are proven to help prevent breast cancer AND lower bad cholesterol? That in ancient times apples were thrown at weddings instead of rice? The old adage, an apple a day keeps the doctor away is no joke! Apples are a seriously powerful—not to mention delicious—member of the fruit (and rose!)  family. This week, we’re going to honor this everyman fruit. So, let me welcome you to Apple Week here on the Katie Brown Blog where we’re going to celebrate all things apple.

Our home in the Berkshires, Mass is also home to hundreds of apple trees. Makes for an amazing view!

I want to kick off Apple Week by paying homage to one of my absolute favorite things: apple cider.  I’ve LOVED—no, seriously loved—apple cider since I can remember and it truly is a staple of my fall fare.

I’m a firm believer that ciders are best when there are lots of different types of apples in the mix… from fancy heirlooms to good old Macintoshes and Granny Smiths. To sum it up, the more the merrier in any cider mix. And, just like making a soup or sauce, you gotta throw in all the spices to get it right! While you can pick up a gallon of apple cider at any grocery store, if you’re feeling bold, try making some of your own— it is perhaps my six year old Prentiss’ favorite fall activity.

Prentiss looking like the apple queen she is!

With an apple press, some muscle, a lot of apples, and an adventurous spirit you can start having some fun making your own cider.  If you or your family is as apple crazy as me and mine are, making cider will not only be a fun treat, it’ll become an annual fall family tradition.

Have you ever made your own cider? What apple combos give you the best flavor?


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