Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween recap and My love/hate relationship with Martha

I love Halloween, but man was it exhausting. This was the first year Marisa could really participate and get in on the fun, so I wanted it to be extra special. Yesterday I spent the morning dreaming up the perfect Halloween night menu for my little family. I had saved last year's recipes from Martha Stewart's Halloween issue, and I thought I would make Sausage and Apple Handpies (that we could take with us to eat while we were trick-or-treating), Pumpkin Harvest soup, brew up some warm apple cider, and make mini caramel and chocolate candied apples. I figured I'd make all these fantastic things during her nap and when she woke up we would all carve pumpkins together as a family and finish just in time to set out our beautifully lit jack-o-lanterns at twilight and get dressed to go trick-or-treating. (Oh - and all the while taking beautiful pictures to share with you...)

Things didn't go quite as planned. I spent Marisa's nap time grocery shopping, and then when I came home I started right away on making the pate brisee dough for the Sausage and Apple hand pies. I had done it last year and remembered how good they tasted and looked. The ingredients were so basic...flour, butter, a little salt, sugar, and water. No problem.

Within no time I was covered in flour and starting to think, "oh crap, what have I gotten myself into!" I failed to remember how much I suck at working with dough. Especially dough that has to be refrigerated over and over again for 15 minutes at a time and then laid out on parchment paper that you don't have. I managed to calm myself and get the dough made and in the fridge to set for an hour. I cut up a sugar pumpkin for the pumpkin soup and threw it in the oven. That would also take about an hour to roast. I cleaned up the flour mess and went outside to carve a pumpkin. Hubby was watching football and showed no interest in carving pumpkins. No biggie, Marisa would help me. This part was actually a little relaxing and fun. Marisa watched wide eyed during each step, but by the time I finished, she was playing on my iphone. There were two more pumpkins left to carve. That was not gonna happen. I went back to making the pies. The filling was easy and quick to make, but I was sweating as I tried to quickly roll out the dough into 1/8 inch thick sheets that were supposed to be rectangles but more resembled ovals. I decided to skip putting the dough back in the fridge as instructed. I was running out of time to get them in the oven. I cut pumpkin shapes and piled on the filling. I decided eight would be enough to put in the oven, the rest I could maybe make as some version of pot pie tomorrow. The pumpkin soup was made today, and forget about the cider and candied apples! In the end, we did make it trick-or-treating and had a great time. That's all that really matters.

This brings me to my love/hate relationship with Martha. I love flipping through the magazine to drool over the food pictures and get design inspiration. I recently saw a snippet of her on Oprah where we got to see inside her home where they were preparing for a dinner party. She had all sorts of "editors" (essentially staff) making arrangements, setting the table, preparing dinner, and cleaning up. I went to her blog today and read about how she loves to decorate for Halloween because it is one of her favorite holidays. And then she posted a picture of the fabulous job her housekeeper did of putting out her Halloween decorations. Must be nice.

Note to self - it takes an army of skilled, talented people to make all these beautiful spreads in the magazines and on tv happen. Next year, I'll plan better and not set such high expectations for myself. We all love to create beautiful memories through food and craft, but it's not worth it if we're too tired at the end of the day to enjoy it with the ones we love!

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