Last summer while at the local Peoples Market, I visited a booth that sold bitters made locally, Bear Root Bitters. I’m now a huge fan and I have several of their varieties but the Habanero Ginger is my favorite and I wanted to find a cocktail to fit it into.
I looked up what cocktails used bitters and the Champagne Cocktail caught my eye. I switched the cognac to my favorite whiskey, Wyoming Whiskey. I didn’t like the texture from the sugar cube so I went with simple syrup.
After much experimentation with booze balances, garnishes, rimmers, etc I had a brainstorm over a hot cherry and came up with the Habanero Cherry concoction. Perhaps it was the cocktails speaking to me, but it came out perfect for this cocktail. I hope you enjoy.
Prosecco contains fewer calories per serving than most other types of alcohol. A 5-ounce serving of Champagne can have between 124 to 175 calories, while Cabernet Sauvignon has 175 calories in every 6 ounces.
Even though Halloween is in the fall, spring is the best time to start planning. Plenty of time to shop thrift stores and garage sale for appropriate items, and I can work on the crafty stuff while glamping.
In anticipation of making a “Head Shrinker” costume for our next Halloween concert, I started shopping doll heads in the spring.
Since the costume will be worn at a concert for children, I wanted shrunken heads that are not too gross or scary.
I put the dolls and some craft supplies in a bag and took it glamping. Sitting under the camper awning with my coffee, I took a good look at the dolls, my supplies, and came up with a plan.
The first thing I did was snap the heads off at the neck and put the bodes back in the bag. this took a little effort but was not hard. Yes, it did make a nice snapping sound.
My dolls had painted faces, I knew once they were covered in goop they would not have any definition so I decided to poke some eye sockets into them with a punch tool. When I pulled out the punch tool, the plastic went back to its original position – almost immediately. #UGH
I had some spent 22 shells in my metal detecting finds pouch so I used them to shape the holes and I set them in the hot sun for the day. At this point my husband looked at what I was doing and gave me a funny look, not funny “ha ha”, funny “WTF”. I told him these are for [my psychiatrist friend], she’ll vouch for me if I’m arrested. Although, I’m quite sure when I post this on my blog for the world to see, it will send up some red flags at the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. ESPECIALLY if they see the Valkyrie Costume where I plucked the feathers out of angel wings and cut the wings off Christmas doves.
When I was surfing Pintrest for ideas, all the really good looking ones were painted dark. I liked that “rotten” look and decided to mix some black chalkboard paint with some Mod Podge. It looked great when it was wet, it had a “gooey” look and the color was varied enough to look rotten.
BUT – When it dried it looked inappropriately like black-face. Totally not what I was going for! After having an “oh poop” moment, I retreated to my craft room to see what I had to change the look. I had some metallic paints so I grabbed a gold bottle and went to work. MUCH better! Bronze or copper would have probably worked too. Be sure to let me know what color comb you used in the comments.
These creepy shrunken heads are made from doll heads found at second hand stores or a dollar store. You should find six (or as many as you want to make) the same size or similar size. They should have enough hair to ponytail at the top of the head and the material should NOT be brittle or ceramic.
Keyword: Creepy, Doll Head, Dollar Store, Halloween, Head Hunter, Second Hand, Shrunken Heads
Servings: 6Shrunken Heads
Cost: < $10
Awl or Punch Tool
Brush for Mod Podge
Hot Glue Gun
Thrift or Dollar Store
6Doll Headsof same or similar size
1BottleMat Black Craft PaintI used chalkboard style
1Bottle Metallic Craft PaintBronze, Copper, or Gold
Facial Tissue or Toilet PaperWhite
Prep Doll Heads
Break Head from Body. Save the body parts for other projects.
Clean the grime off the doll head. A little rubbing alcohol will work. If your dolls were extra loved in it's previous life a good scrub with Dawn, then a thorough rinse might work better.
Hair: Ponytail the dolls hair on top of the head so that when it hangs from the hair, the face looks out not down. Use rubber bands or wire ties, whatever you have handy. It will be covered later. Doing this first gives you something to hold onto for the rest of the project, and keeps the hair out of the Mod Podge and paint.
The head needs exaggerated eyes, nose, and mouth so when all the goop is added it still has depth.
Eyes: You will need divots for the eye sockets. If your doll's eyes are separate parts carefully remove them so you can use them for other projects. If the eyes are painted use an awl to poke eye holes into the head.
The plastic will want to return to it's original shape. Find something to put in the holes and set in the sun for a day or two. I used spent 22 shells, leaving my husband questioning my intentions. These will be removed before the Mod Podge steps.
Mouth: If your doll has painted or small mouth, use the hot glue gun and add a single line of glue to shape the lips. Don't worry about detail, they just need to stick out from the head so when all the goop is applied there is a protruding line where the mouth should be.
"Shrink" the Heads
Tear up the tissue or TP into random shapes between quarter and half dollar size. and set aside.
If you trained the plastic by leaving something poked in the eyes, remove them now.
Put some Mod Podge on a paper plate, Brush the doll head with the Mod Podge and press in the tissue pieces, working in sections and overlapping tissue. Cover the whole head, being careful not to get any goop in the hair. Be sure to press in the eyes so that they are covered but are sunken in. (there sould not be a hole showing, just an indent.)
Once the doll head is covered in tissue brush another layer of Mod Podge over all the tissue is there are no dry areas. Hang from hair to dry, or set on edge of plate resting on hair so wet Mod Podge does not stick to other things.
When the heads are completely dry use an Exacto Knife to trim any excess tissue around the hair line.
Mix some Mod Podge and black craft paint at a 50/50 ratio on a paper plate. Paint the doll heads covering all the white tissue. Let dry.
The dry head should not have any "white" showing but should also not be heavy black. Touch up and trim where needed.
Using a dry sponge brush lightly brush some metallic paint over the black areas so the black is still showing and the metallic is just highlighting the details to give your dead head some life.
Tie enough jute twine to each pony tail so that the knot looks rustic and there is enough twine hanging to tie the group together later. About 18" of twine works but don't worry about making them all match.
Unravel a section of jute twine to make 5 thin pieces of jute with a knot for each head. I cut long sections and tied several knots then cut them appart. Leaving a little extra on each piece to trim to size later.
Tacky glue a knot to each eye socket, and 3 knots to each doll's lips. Set asside to dry completely.
Trim the eye and lip knots to desired lengths.
Tie all the heads into a group with a simple knot so they can be untied if decorating needs change.
I covered a TV tray with foil to do this project without making a big mess.
I’ve been making this roast for many years for band pot lucks and have been asked for the recipe several times. The recipe has changed a bit over the years and I try new things. I have had some fails, this recipe below is the best outcome over the years. When I made the roast I wrote down my measurements even though I usually don’t “measure”.
Learn from my fails:
Fail #1:One time I was making the roast for dinner at home, the housekeeper saw it was bubbling and thought she was doing me a favor by turning it down. The roast was not raw but it did not have that “fall apart” quality and did not taste as good. After that, if I have other people in the house, I put a note on my crock pot to leave on high or just tell guests not to turn it down.
Fail #2: I have also burnt this roast before by not adding enough water because I asked someone to add water if needed and it didn’t happen. Having a little too much water tastes way better than dry and burned and makes for a happier dinner table.
Fail #3: At a work pot luck a coworker unplugged the crock pot to make some toast then did not re-plug it in. Since then when making anything in a slow cooker for an office pot luck I start it on high the night before then keep it on low while at the office…. and check on it often.
Whenever I bring this to a pot luck, not only does the roast get picked clean the veggies left at the bottom (if any) usually go home with someone instead of in the garbage.
This recipe is a favorite at potlucks. Any wild game can be substituted.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Crock Pot, Elk, pot luck, slow cooker, Wild Game
1LargeElk RoastCleaned and trimmed
1MediumLeek (White Part)Minced
1MedumYellow OnionChopped into Small Cubes
3 – 4MediumCarrotsChopped into Small Cubes
3 – 4StocksCeleryChopped into Small Cubes
1Roasted Plabano PepperChopped into Small Cubes
From the Pantry
114.5 ozCan Diced TomatoesAny variety
1TBSPApple Cidar VinegarImportant
1/3CupRed Wine or Wyoming Whiskey
Herbs and Spices
Fresh Ground Pepper
Fresh Ground Sea Salt
2 or 3Bay Leaves
Optional Add Ins
2MediumIdaho PotatosChopped into Small Cubes (Any variety potato works)
1 to 4cupsWater
Season the roast on all sides with the fresh ground pepper, sea salt, and rosemary. Set aside
Prep all the vegetables, keeping the garlic and half the onions separate. Save the canned tomatoes to add in with the liquids.
TIP: During camping season I mix up a batch of this veggies mix and freeze in a zip lock for use in dutch oven recipes. You can double up while making this recipe to save time later.
Saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until a little soft. I do this directly in the bottom of the crock pot. If your crock pot does not have this feature just skip it and add the garlic to the veggie mixture, and the olive oil in with the liquids.
Place roast on top of the onion/garlic mixture. Sometimes I brown the roast but it does not seem to make a difference in the flavor or texture.
Add the liquids, tomatoes, and herbs. Use enough water to half way cover the roast.
Add the veggies and push around the roast. Add enough water so the liquids are even with the veggies.
Cook the crap out of it! Set your crock to high and cook all day, 8 to 12 hours. If your crock pot is smaller you may want to check on the roast during your lunch hour and add liquids as needed.
Give the veggies a little stir and turn crock to warm about a half hour before I need to put it in the car for travel to the party. Keep crock on warm at the pot luck.
The apple cider vinegar does something to the texture of the meat so it does not turn weird after cooking it so long. You will not taste it in the finished roast.
These photos do not show the tomatoes because I thought I had a can and did not. The roast still tasted great but I think it is better with tomatoes.
If this is for a work pot luck you can start the roast before you go to bed.