Make Fall the Season to Cuddle

The power of social media. This past weekend I had my first mooncake because I saw it on several Instagram posts. I have always wanted to try one since I can remember watching a specific Reading Rainbow episode and LeVar Burton did a story on a girl and her family eating mooncakes for mid-autumn festival. Yea, I grew up on KCET and proud of it! It’s insane how photos can take our memories back. I remember seeing how beautiful the mooncakes were on that episode and wanting to try one.

 

 

On a whim I dragged Andrew to Chinatown with me at 9pm Saturday night, a couple days after mid-autumn festival, hoping to find a bakery that still had them and was still open. We drove through the few streets in Chinatown until I spotted a bakery that had their neon light still lit up, “OPEN.” We walked up but unfortunately, it was already 9:10 and the shop had locked their doors. Bummed, (actually I was the bummed one because Andrew didn’t want to go in the first place) we began walking back to the car and around the corner we saw the owners unloading a shipment from the side door! We asked if we could buy some mooncakes and Hallelujah! They were kind enough to let us in and buy a few.

After coming back from our scavenger hunt, I did a little research on what exactly they were (because I apparently go on these hunts without even knowing what it is I’m getting) and what mid-autumn festival was. It’s a beautiful Chinese holiday celebrating the moon and sharing these cakes with loved ones. The different embossing of these pastries are so gorgeous it’s no wonder I mentally remembered them as a child. Typically, these are cut into wedges to share and to reveal the salted duck egg in the middle which represents the full moon. The filling varies from chopped nuts, to red bean, to lotus seed paste. Densely sweet while the yolk delivers a little kick of saltiness but oddly, perfectly balanced. The consistency of the filling is smooth and the pastry layer is so thin it really is only there to hold everything together and look pretty. Paired with a strong tea or coffee, this treat is a perfect reason to cuddle up with someone you love while gazing at the moon and stars.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

I want to start by wishing everyone a Happy and Joyous Christmas Eve!  This time of year always makes me feel so happy and thankful for all my loved ones.  I hope everyone is able to spend the holidays with the people they love.
This year I created a Crafty Christmas for our home.  Brown paper packages tied up with string… Gifts were wrapped in craft paper with festive bows and string.  I love wrapping presents.  I’m all over it this season.  I think I bought around 8 new rolls of ribbon to a already large collection.  Would you call that an addiction?
I love the look of craft paper.  It is versatile and classic.  A pretty ribbon will make the craft paper stand out, or instead of a ribbon you can use string or, my favorite, baker’s twine.  Use craft paper as a belly wrap for colorful and patterned gift wrap.  Out of handle bags? Put your gifts in a brown lunch bag with some festive stamps on the front.  Complete your look by using washi tape.  Come in as I take you into our home for the holidays.
I wanted the tree to have a similar look so I decorated it with burlap, raffia ornaments, and glittery ornaments.  Find more pictures of our tree on Instagram! #RaittTree
Hi Ella!  She loves hanging out near the tree.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Love,
Christine

 

How To: Make Your Pumpkin Sparkle

We are used to carving out pumpkins around this time of year to look scary, but have we ever thought about bedazzling them?  I came across a few pictures of glamorous pumpkins on Pinterest and wanted to do the same for my gourd this year.  Here’s how I did it.

Materials:
1 medium pumpkin with stem attached
white spray paint
painter’s tape
white acrylic paint and paintbrush
craft glue
sequins

First, cover the stem with painter’s tape.  Take your pumpkin outside and cover all sides with spray paint.  Having a pumpkin with a stem really helps apply the paint on because you can tilt it and turn it around.  After it has dried for a couple hours, take off the tape.  There will be some orange spots that the spray paint couldn’t get to, so take the acrylic white paint and just cover up the spots with your paintbrush.

Now you can begin bedazzling your pumpkin!  Use a craft glue or all-purpose glue like Elmer’s and draw a line half-way down a crater of the pumpkin.  Apply the sequins along the line.  Do this for every 2 or 3 craters going down.  Attach the vertical lines together with upside-down U lines of glue.  Apply the sequins.  Make 2-3 horizontal rows.  When you have completed all your rows, proudly display your classy pumpkin for trick-or-treaters to admire.

Are you wondering why I didn’t put a spider on the glitzy pumpkin web?  Well, cause I’m terrified of spiders (even fake ones)!

Try the same technique with black spray paint or different colored sequins.  Enjoy!

Roasted Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds

It’s pumpkin carving season!  You know what that means?  Roasted pumpkin seeds!  These are highly addicting, and not to mention nutritious.  Let the kids carve out their gourds while you make this treat (no tricks here).

Ingredients:
raw pumpkin seeds
1 tsp olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Clean out the seeds of your pumpkins taking off the stringy bits.  Rinse the seeds in a colander and dry with a kitchen towel.  In a bowl, add the olive oil and the seeds.  Add the salt and toss together.  If you have a bigger pumpkin or multiple pumpkins, add more salt.  You can always add more after it has come out of the oven to taste.

Place the seeds on a cookie sheet in a single layer.  Bake for 40 mins. Let cool, and add more salt if needed.

Now you can enjoy the treats!  If you’re feeling bold, try it with some chili powder, or add some herbs like thyme, oregano, or rosemary.  Treat or treat!