Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Homemade Apple Cider
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! Autumn is my favorite season and while pumpkin spice has its charms, I prefer apple cider!

My family and I are starting a new Halloween tradition this year that includes drinking apple cider (check back on Friday for more details) and I thought it would be special to create our own!

Please feel free to use this recipe to create some delicious apple cider for you and yours! This cider is sweet and spiced; I used all Honeycrisp apples, but you can experiment with the combination of apples to change the flavor!

Homemade Apple Cider
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium apples, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cloves
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place the apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar into a crockpot, then add enough water to cover the apples.
  • Cover the crockpot and cook the contents on low for 6 hours.
  • Once the 6 hours have passed, use a spoon to gently crush the apples, then allow them to cook for 1 more hour.
  • Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the contents to cool slightly.
  • Slowly ladle and strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher, then strain it a second time; discard the solids.
  • Enjoy warm or cold!

Hen Wen’s Apple Porridge Recipe (The Black Cauldron)

Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking Hen Wen’s Apple Porridge from Disney’s The Black Cauldron.

The Black Cauldron Movie Poster
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe

This recipe is featured in the beginning of the film, when Caer Dallben asks Taran to feed Hen Wen the porridge he prepared for her. 

This porridge looks much more appetizing than the one in the film. I couldn’t help myself! I thought to myself, if I wanted to eat porridge with apples, I’d want the apples to be cooked separately to develop their flavor more and I’m sure Hen Wen would approve!

Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
HEN WEN’S APPLE PORRIDGE

APPLES

  • 2 apples, peeled and cut into slices
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

PORRIDGE

  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 3/4 cups of whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS (APPLES)

  1. Peel and cut the apples into slices.
  2. Pour the water into a small sauce pan, then add the apples.
  3. Sprinkle the desired amount of cinnamon and brown sugar onto the apples and stir to distribute.
  4. Cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally to evenly coat and cook the apples.
  5. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside for the porridge (see below).

INSTRUCTIONS (PORRIDGE)

  1. In a medium saucepan, boil the milk with the salt.
  2. Stir in the oats.
  3. Cook the oats for about 5 minutes over medium heat; stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the porridge from the heat and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, then stir to distribute.
  5. Spoon the porridge into two bowls and arrange the cooked apple slices (see above) on top. I arranged mine into the shape of a rose and I believe next time I’ll cover the porridge completely.
  6. Enjoy!
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe

DIY Felt Pumpkin

It is Autumn, my favorite season of the year!

I want to begin creating well-made decorations that mean something to us and will last. What better way to start than by something that will go great with Halloween and Thanksgiving, pumpkins! I’ve created a pattern for fabric pumpkins and you’re welcome to use it to create your own! This will work to create either felt or regular fabric pumpkins, I’m excited to create a few different colors and sizes!

SUPPLIES
  • Pumpkin patterns (see above)
  • Paper scissors
  • Felt fabric
  • Sewing pins
  • Sewing scissors
  • Embroidery floss
  • Sewing needle
  • Stuffing
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Print out the pumpkin patterns I’ve provided, then cut the patterns from the paper.
  2. Pin the patterns on the appropriate colored felt, then use sewing scissors to cut the felt.
  3. Thread orange embroidery floss onto your sewing needle.
  4. Align two of the pumpkin pieces and whip stitch along one side, from one point to the next, concealing the first and ending knot underneath so that the stitching will be exposed.
  5. Repeat step 3 to continue adding pieces of the pumpkin.
  6. Once you’ve stitched the last piece on, join the two ends together with a whip stitch to complete the pumpkin body.
  7. Stuff the pumpkin, then place the circles on the top and bottom of the pumpkin and secure them with sewing pins.
  8. Using a whip stitch, attach the circles to the pumpkin, concealing the first and ending knots underneath. Then remove the sewing pins.
  9. Thread green embroidery floss on your sewing needle and stitch the veins onto one side of each leaf.
  10. Once done with the veins, align the two halves of each leaf (concealing the stitching in between) and whipstitch around the edges of the leaves to make them whole.
  11. Thread brown embroidery floss onto your sewing needle and whipstitch around the outside edges of the stem, leaving the bottom of the stem open. At this point you can leave the stem as it is or turn it around to conceal the stitching.
  12. Stuff the stem, then place it on top of the pumpkin and secure it with sewing pins. 
  13. Using a whip stitch, attach the stem to the body of the pumpkin.
  14. Enjoy!

Tiana’s Gumbo Recipe

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we will be cooking up Tiana’s gumbo from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog!

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

This recipe is featured at the beginning of the film when Tiana makes gumbo for her family and community. It’s one of my favorite moments in the movie, revealing the loving relationship she shared with her father and how much she looked up to him, her passion for cooking and her generosity within her community.

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

This recipe is delicious! Absolutely perfect for this time of the year or whenever you need something warm and comforting.

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

Tiana's Gumbo Recipe From Disney's The Princess and the Frog

GUMBO
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/2 pound of smoked beef sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of celery, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup of onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen orka, thawed
  • 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of cajun or creole seasoning
  • 3/4 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1  pound of frozen cooked shrimp
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Melt the 1/4 cup of butter in a dutch oven and brown the sausage in it.
  2. Remove the cooked sausage and set it aside.
  3. Whisk the 1/3 cup of flour into the butter and meat drippings until combined.
  4. Continue to cook the roux, stirring constantly, for about 10 to 20 minutes or until it turns a dark amber-brown. If it’s cooking too quickly, or starts to smell faintly burnt, turn the heat down a little.
  5. Stir in the bell pepper, celery, garlic, onion and okra until they are completely coated in the roux.
  6. Cook these ingredients for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have started to soften, stirring every 10-15 seconds.
  7. Once the vegetables have begun to soften, add the tomatoes and the chicken broth, stirring as you go to smooth the roux into the broth.
  8. Add the bay leaf, black pepper, cajun or creole seasoning, chili powder, hot pepper sauce and salt; stir to combine.
  9. Bring the gumbo to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  10. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Stir in the shrimp, then cover and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp thaw and cook through.
  12. Remove the bay leaf and serve the gumbo on its own or over cooked white rice. We recommend Jasmine Rice!
  13. Enjoy!

Family Friendly Halloween Playlist 2020

Family Friendly Halloween Playlist 2020Welcome to the spooky month of October my friends!

My family and I have created a playlist of family friendly Halloween music for you and yours! Halloween may be celebrated a little differently this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t kindle a little Halloween spirit!

This year we’ve decided to focus more on jazzy halloween inspired music with a few other songs sprinkled in that fit the mood. The Disney and Danny Elfman presence in this list is strong and I found myself wishing I could find more jazz covers of the Disney Villains songs.

Please let us know if we missed or left out any of your family friendly halloween favorites you feel should be included! We’d love to hear from you!

Family Friendly Halloween Playlist 2020

  •  Linus and Lucy | Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Monsters, Inc. | Randy Newman
  • Charlie Brown Theme | Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • The Scare Floor | Randy Newman
  • Great Pumpkin Waltz | Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • The Piano Duet (The Corpse Bride) | Danny Elfman
  • Overture (The Nightmare Before Christmas) | Danny Elfman
  • This is Halloween | The Citizens of Halloweentown
  • Grim, Grinning Ghosts | The Haunted Mansion Happy Haunts
  • Sally’s Song | Catherine O’hara
  • Jack and Sally Montage | Danny Elfman
  • Jack’s Lament | Danny Elfman
  • Ball & Socket Lounge Music #1 | Danny Elfman
  • Remains of the Day | Danny Elfman
  • They Don’t Scare Me | Mickey Mouse
  • Monster Mash | Bobby “Boris” Pickett
  • The Munsters | Jack Marshall
  • Trust in Me | Scarlett Johansson
  • Snuff Out the Light | Eartha Kitt
  • Witchy Woman | The Eagles
  • I Put a Spell On You | Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
  • Friends on the Other Side | Keith David
  • Man with the Hex | The Atomic Fireballs
  • The Headless Horseman | Thurl Ravenscroft
  • Superstition | Stevie Wonder
  • Remains of the Day (Combo Lounge Version) | Danny Elfman
  • Cruella De Vil | Dr. John
  • Ball & Socket Lounge Music #2 | Danny Elfman
  • Little Birdie (Instrumental) | Vince Guaraldi Trio
  • Thanksgiving Theme | Vince Guaraldi Trio

Family Friendly Halloween Playlist on Spotify

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory BottleI love Autumn, it has to be my favorite season of the year!

After creating a Summer-themed ocean wave bottle, I felt inspired to create a sensory bottle for each season and I immediately thought of swirling multi-hued Autumn leaves!  Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that teach and fascinate her. And, if I’m being completely honest, I find sensory bottles fascinating too, so let’s make one!

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

SUPPLIES
  • 16 ounce clear, plastic bottle
  • 6 ounces of hot water
  • Clear glue
  • Slender whisk
  • Glycerin
  • Leaf-shaped glitter
  • Regular glitter (optional)
  • More hot water
  • Glue for the lid

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory BottleDIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the 6 ounces of hot (as hot as your tap will run) water into your bottle.
  2. Add 2.5 to 3 ounces (or more) of glue to the hot water in your bottle. The more glue you add, the slower your leaves will swirl and fall.
  3. Whisk the glue in the hot water until well incorporated. You can also replace the lid of the bottle and shake, however this created a lot of foam bubbles for me. They will go away, but it will slow down your progress.
  4. Measure 1 to 2 tablespoons of Glycerin and whisk or replace the lid and shake again.
  5. Add your glitter. I used several different hues of leaf shaped glitter and a few pinches of regular gold glitter.
  6. Pour more hot water into the bottle. Stop before reaching the top, replace the lid and turn the bottle over several times to check how everything moves. At this point you can add more glitter, more glue to make it fall slower, and/or more glycerin to smooth everything out.
  7. After you’re satisfied with the flow of the bottle’s contents, remove the lid again and fill the bottle all the way to the top with the hot water.
  8. If your child is older and you worry about him/her undoing the lid, you can coat the inside of the lid with glue, then screw it back onto the bottle. This will secure the lid and make it harder for little ones to unscrew the lid and create a leak or spill the bottle’s contents.

DIY Autumn Leaves Sensory Bottle

Little John’s Beef Stew Recipe

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking up Little John’s beef stew featured in Disney’s animated feature, Robin Hood!

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood
This recipe is featured when Robin Hood and Little John are taking a break in the woods. Unfortunately Little John leaves Robin to tend the stew, and Robin starts daydreaming, effectively burning the stew (don’t worry we won’t burn ours). Friar Tuck shows up while Little John is trying to salvage the food; he tries the stew, coughs a bit, and comments “well done, ain’t it?”

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood
I love a good, hearty stew! I thought burning it would be in poor taste (#momjoke), so I kept an eye on it. I also feel like Little John takes pride in his cooking so I kept it simple based on ingredients they may have been able to obtain, but not so simple as to insult his enthusiasm.

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

Little John's Beef Stew Recipe from Disney's Robin Hood

BEEF STEW
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 pound of beef stew meat, cubed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper (plus a few sprinkles more to season the meat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt (plus a few sprinkles more to season the meat)
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 potatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/4 cup of water (additional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Melt the butter in a dutch oven or large pot on medium heat.
  2. Season the stew meat with a little salt and pepper, then add it to the pot and brown all sides.
  3. Once browned, remove the meat and allow it to rest on a plate with its juices.
  4. Add the onions, basil, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, salt, and thyme to the meat drippings within the dutch oven and sauté for about four or five minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and celery, then sauté for another two to three minutes.
  6. Deglaze the pan with a little water (enough to loosen up the food particles left behind from cooking the meat and aromatics) and stir, then allow everything to cook for another five minutes.
  7. Add the beef (and its accumulated juices) back into the pot, along with the diced tomatoes and two cups of water.
  8. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until the beef is fork tender.
  9. Add in the carrots and potatoes and bring the liquid back to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for another thirty to forty minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.
  10. In a separate bowl, mix the flour into 1/4 cup of cold water and add it into the stew.
  11. Continue cooking and stirring the pot until the sauce has thickened (about 10 more minutes).
  12. Serve warm and enjoy!