DIY Pumpkin Pet Costume

Bunnies are definitely the cutest animals in existence, but imagine this: a bunny dressed up as a pumpkin. Now that is SUPER CUTE. I decided that this year for Halloween Mose definitely needed her own pumpkin costume, so I took to the sewing machine the other night and whipped one up real quick. This DIY is super easy and fast, and definitely worth it for the cuteness scale.

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While my costume was made specifically for my bunny (I periodically measured it against her to make sure it was going to fit), this same general DIY would work well for any smallish animal. You could even do it for a dog if you have enough fabric. Not that it would be as cute on a dog though.

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Wow, what a super cute pumpkin bunny! Now onto the fun part.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Orange fabric (can be felt; I used this pumpkin patterned calico because it is what I had and it worked great)
  • Fabric for the back layer
  • Green felt
  • Velcro
  • Black Paint

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Step One: Measure your pet and cut out an oval of fabric to the appropriate size.

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Step Two: Cut a hole in the top of your oval for your pet’s neck. Again, I would measure this against your pet. This is essentially like a bib for a pet, so if you know anything about baby bibs keep that in mind.

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Step Three: Using your top piece as a guide, cut out a piece for the back layer of your pet costume. Make sure you place the fabric either wrong side to wrong side or right side to right side as you’re cutting so the edges are perfectly aligned for sewing.

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Step Four: Using your pets girth as a guide, cut out one long strip of felt and one shorter strip of felt. These pieces are for attaching the costume around your pet’s midsection. Mose doesn’t like it when I touch her belly, so it was a bit tricky getting this one done.

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Step Five: Now sew the strips onto your outer piece of fabric, making sure the two strips are evenly placed.

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Step Six: Now it’s time to sew on your back piece. Place your front piece on your work surface pattern side out. Tuck in the felt strips. Place your back piece on top of the front piece pattern side in. Pin if desired.

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Step Seven: Sew along the edges, leaving about an inch-wide opening on the side.

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Step Eight: Trim any excess fabric and then turn costume right side out.

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Step Nine: Iron and then sew a finishing seam along the edges.

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Step Ten: Cut some leaves out of the felt and pin them to the neckline of the costume. Sew.

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Step Eleven: Pin and sew down velcro. Make sure to place them on the correct sides of your strips.

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Step Twelve: Paint a jack-o-lantern onto top.

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Step Thirteen: Put costume on your pet, whether they like it or not! :’D

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If you’re dressing up your pet this halloween, post a pic on instagram and tag @peelsandposies! I’d love to see what you come up with. 🙂

Roasted Pumpkin Spice Almonds

The other day while grocery shopping I came across some Planters Pumpkin Spiced Almonds and was extremely close to buying them. I had never seen such a thing. Pumpkin lattes, sure; pumpkin candy, whatever; pumpkin cereal, oatmeal, eggnog; this is all commonplace to me now. But pumpkin nuts? Never before. However, a battle raged inside me, and frugality won. It is tough for me to shell out $10 for 20 ounces of nuts, no matter what flavor they are, when I can buy 3 plain pounds for $14. This is why I always have trouble in the snack aisle at Target – Archer Farms was made to make me rue my own poorness, I’m sure of it. Don’t get me wrong – I’m nuts about nuts, I just prefer satiating my obsession in a cheaper way. I figured making my own Pumpkin Almonds shouldn’t be too hard and I was oh-so-right about that.

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Isn’t it great how you can see something you want and make it yourself? I never realized this as a kid. I figured some things just weren’t possible. For instance, it came as a great epiphany that there was such a thing as pasta makers, because until the time I was about 20 I had the naive assumption that the only way to produce pasta was by a huge shiny machine, one I had not quite thought out the technicalities of, but just stopped at that. I haven’t yet obtained my own pasta press, but it is a dream I hope to one day realize.

Another big one was homemade bread. Once in a while when I was a kid, my mom would make bread in the bread machine (these were always the best days, the yeasty richness of a fresh loaf permeating every corner of our tiny home), but more often than not this bread came from a box mix, and more often than that we just ate the Great Value wheat bread (which is pretty good, but doesn’t come close to the deliciousness of homemade). So basically I grew up thinking: 1) the only easy way of making bread yourself was via bread machine, and 2) bread came in a box mix, and without that failure is inevitable. It was a wonderful day, the day my lovely Nana gave me her old bread machine. At last, I thought to myself. Homemade bread once more! I quickly realized with help from my awesome elementary math skills that buying box mix yeast bread was darn expensive and there were a ton of recipes for bread machine bread that were easy as 1-2-3. So I started experimenting, making my own recipes, etc, etc and life was a glorious compendium of fresh bread smells and carb overload. But then the bread machine broke. (Sweet lamentation!) My love for homemade bread had swiftly become an obsession, so I was forced into simply making bread by hand, a task I had long feared. It was something about the kneading that set my nerves aquiver. But I have come to realize that making bread by hand is a simple undertaking, and as long as your yeast is fresh and you don’t mind a thin dusting of flour over every surface of your kitchen, it produces a fantastic result. I don’t even buy store made bread anymore.

This is a long tangent I know. But just think of how enslaved we Americans are to industry. We have our loyalties to brands such that they have become staples to our pantries. Campbells soup has a distinct metallic aftertaste, did you know? It sits in a can for who-knows-how long, like food meant for a future apocalypse, and then we eat it and think it good. This is the same for all canned soup, veggies, fruit. Why not just whip up some homemade soup with the things in your fridge?? Do people not realize how easy it is??? I will never eat Kraft macaroni and cheese again, because it doesn’t even blink to macaroni and cheese I could make from scratch. But kids don’t dare eat Mac-n-Cheese unless it’s bright orange (and this is a proven fact, experimentation resulting in a pot full of uneaten Parmesan and Cheddar Macaroni, scorned by the four and eight-year-old kids I was nannying due to its pale color. The 14-month-old ate it, though, only further proving how as Americans we are raised to accept only the streamlined and mass produced). The list is endless: individually packaged  Quaker oatmeal, Swiss Miss hot cocoa, Betty Crocker cake mix, etc etc etc.

Now, if any of you actually read this monstrosity of a post, I apologize for how far I strayed from Pumpkin Spice Almonds. And all this came to be due to the frustration I sometimes experience at my lack of funds to buy expensive, name brand things (or is that just prudence?). But really, these homemade Pumpkin Spice Almonds are delicious. I may never know how they compare to Planters, but maybe that’s a good thing.

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Pumpkin Spice Almonds

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup raw unsalted almonds
1 tbsp pureed pumpkin
1 tbsp pure maple
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

METHOD:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Mix maple, pumpkin, spices, and salt. Mix in almonds and stir until coated evenly.

2. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely before eating or you’ll burn your tongue off (nuts magically retain heat for a reeeaaaalllly long time. Yes, I learned this the hard way).

 

Pumpkin Spice Brownies

I think it’s finally time to post this magical recipe for everyone. I’ve been meaning to for quite some time, but somehow the hours just slip away from me and everything I mean to do turns into a distant dream and a far flung longing for those days of quiet boredom that used to litter my era of school-going.

I’ve done some pretty fantastic things recently, though, including but not limited to petting a baby deer and dropping my phone in a cup of steaming coffee (okay, so that last one wasn’t so fantastic). I’ve also been baking a lot (pumpkiny things especially), so be looking forward to that! These Pumpkin Spice Brownies are perfect for the fall season – for obvious reasons. I love brownies because they are so easy to make. These particular brownies combine that special feature with all the delicious spiciness of autumn cooking.

So I don’t think I need to say anything profound or long-winded about this recipe. It is two good things put together, after all. Pumpkin spice, the best flavor of fall; chocolate, the best flavor of the rest of the seasons…yep, that pretty much covers it. I will say that it struck me afterward how good those new Pumpkin Spice M&Ms would be in these brownies. They would have blended in superbly…Next time. Next time.

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Pumpkin Spice Brownies

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup finely processed oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp molasses
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 egg

METHOD:

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine oats, flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and spices. On a double boiler or in the microwave, melt 1/3 cup chocolate chips. When completely melted, add brown sugar, pumpkin puree, molasses, and olive oil. Mix well and then add egg.

2. Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients, mixing until everything is well incorporated. Add remaining chocolate chips.

3. Bake at 350F for approximately 40 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.

Spiced Walnut Date CROCKPOT Granola

I talked about fall smells in my last post. Wonderful spiciness, delicious air, when life turns into a giant candle. One of my great vehicles for smells this seasons is my crockpot. I never had a crockpot before getting married (only old married women cook in crockpots, right?) and it is truly my favorite appliance.  Not only does it concoct delicious foods, but the aroma that fills my apartment because of it is drool worthy.

This Spiced Walnut Date Granola was a slice of autumn as it cooked. It was all cinnamony and gingery and nutmegy and better than any wallflower you could plug in. Cooking it in the crockpot eliminated the almost certain danger of burning it in the oven. Sure, it takes longer in the crockpot than the oven (about 3 to 3 and a half hours rather than an hour or so), but that means the smell lasted longer too.

Just for the heck of it, here is a list of wonderful fall smells:

  • Pumpkin
  • Apple
  • Cinnamon
  • Fire smoke
  • Pine
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla
  • Sage
  • Ginger
  • Molasses
  • Hay

Mmmmm, the aroma of fall. And it’s even better when it is delivered to you through a crockpot! Crockpot cooking makes life happier, in many ways. Ease, smells, deliciousness – if you don’t have one, get one!

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SPICED WALNUT DATE GRANOLA

Ingredients:

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
3 tbsp flax
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped dates
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 to 1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple
2 tbsp apple butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
1 tbsp egg white
Banana, cottage cheese, and pure maple for garnishment

Method:

1. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl of crockpot.

2. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients, adding egg white last. Whip for 30 seconds, then pour over dry ingredients. Stir until well incorporated.

3. Turn crockpot on high (2 to 4 hour setting). Leave lid cracked so moisture can escape (you don’t want soggy granola!). Stir occasionally.

 

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Pumpkin Apple Spice Cake and An Homage to Autumn

In celebration of fall I offer up to you my first truly fallish recipe, Pumpkin Apple Spice Cake. In my opinion, fall does not really start until I have either made a pumpkin (an artsy one, mind you; I am not God, after all, or Harry Potter, though I wish I could make pumpkins appear out of thin air) or have cooked with pumpkin, and I have now cooked with pumpkin, so fall is here!

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Pumpkins are only one of the many things I appreciate about fall, though. First off, I love the smell of the season. It’s spicy, kind of, like the falling leaves are peppering the world for a feast. I love stepping outside and breathing in a lungfull of crisp, cold air that tastes of life moving on. I also enjoy wearing sweaters and socks all the time, and biking in leggings and windbreakers, and feeling how cold my cheeks are when I get home from a long run. I particularly enjoy listening to the crows bleak song, a chorus to the wind’s melody. All these smells and tastes and feels mean it’s time to listen to Enya and let the world wrap itself around me in a blanket of serenity.

How couldn’t one be inspired by fall? It’s like life is finally a poem again, after waiting through months of drought and suffocating flowers. Summer is fun, but there’s just something magical about this time of year. 😉

PUMPKIN APPLE SPICE CAKE

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup finely processed oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup applesauce (like this homemade honey lemon kind)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 can pumpkin (or 1 1/2 cup pureed fresh pumpkin)
1 finely diced golden delicious apple
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
Chopped walnuts (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray bundt pan with baking oil. Dice apple and place in the bottom of a large bowl. Add flours, baking soda, salt, and spices.

2. In separate bowl, mix sugar, maple, greek yogurt, and applesauce. Add eggs and whip well. Stir wet mixture into dry mixture, and then fold in pumpkin puree.

3. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. After the cake cools, top with Maple Glaze, made with 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tbsp pure maple, and a touch of salt (add milk until desired consistency is reached).

4. Enjoy a slice of pure autumn euphoria.