Monday, October 28, 2013

Countdown to Halloween 2013 - Ghost Theme

This year for the ghost theme day on the Countdown to Halloween we made a couple of recipes that we tried last year: Ghost Pancakes and Ghostly Pizza; and tried a new one this year: Ghost Bananas.

Ghost Bananas

I saw a pin on Pinterest for ghosts made from banana halves. The image looked like the eyes and mouths were painted on with chocolate syrup. I chose to use mini-chocolate chips for the eyes which was fine for our purposes.

Ghost bananas with chocolate chip eyes.

They complemented the ghost pancakes which we also had for breakfast.

 Ghost Pancakes

Some of the finished ghost pancakes.

Using the recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook, I made a batch of pancakes. This is such an easy recipe, and all the ingredients can be mixed at the same time:

1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

The ghost shapes are made simply by dropping the batter in random shapes onto a hot griddle.

The eyes are miniature chocolate chips. Once I flipped the pancakes, I placed them onto the cooked side where I thought eyes would look most appropriate.

Olivia and Sophia ready to have breakfast.

We enjoyed these pancakes and will - most likely - be making them again next year.

Ghostly Pizza

The recipe for ghostly pizza comes from a pin that led to My Recipes. It serves 8 people. The image on My Recipes shows the baked ghost shapes as distinctly white. Last year and this year the mozzarella cheese melted on our pizzas (which it should in theory), so the cut-out cheese ghosts disappeared when they were baked.

The ghosts are semi-visible on the pizzas
that Olivia is holding.

This year, I took a photograph before and as we baked the pizzas. The images are much more distinct at this stage.

For the pizza dough, we used a recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Again, everything can be put in at one time and mixed. There is no rising is ready to be divided into smaller pieces (one for each person) and flattened out into whatever shape the person chooses.

Ingredients for the pizza dough:

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package regular or quick active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 cup very warm water (120° to 130°)

To make the pizzas once the dough is pressed out on a sprayed cookie sheet, we used:

Pizza sauce (less than 1 small jar)
Pepperoni slices
Chopped onions
Chopped yellow peppers
8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese

We preheated the oven to 425ºF. Spread sauce in an even layer over dough, leaving a 1-inch border around all sides.

Sophia spreading sauce on the dough.

Use a ghost-shaped cookie cutter or a knife, cut ghosts from cheese. Place ghosts on top pizza.

Add other elements around the ghosts - such as onions, yellow peppers, and/or pepperoni.

The pizzas before they are baked 
with a variety of toppings on them.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the crust and cheese is as done as preferred.

The pizzas baking in the oven.

Note: To make the underside of the dough more golden and crispy, bake the dough without any sauce or topping until it is golden (lift up pizza with a spatula and take a peek), about 15 minutes.

Visit Seniors at the Nursing Home

We visited seniors at the nursing home where we volunteer about four times a month. Today, we helped make pumpkin bars which was fun.

Some of the ladies, Sophia, and Olivia mixing 
the dry and wet ingredients together.

Some of the ladies from the assisted living section came over and some of the women from the nursing section participated in the making of the pumpkin bars. They seemed to all enjoy the experience.

The girls dressed up in their Halloween costumes. The ladies were so complimentary towards the girls and their costumes.

The girls with John.

Afterwards, we visited a few residents on our own who we enjoy talking with. Over two hours later, we were done for the day. It was a nice afternoon.

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