Harry Potter and the Deathly Halloween Party

So I came up with an idea to do a butterbeer tasting. You know, kind of like a wine tasting, but with butterbeer. My brother suggested that his friend come over because he liked my butterbeer when I made it after HP7.5. So now instead of a simple butterbeer tasting, it should be a party. A Halloween party seems ideal because school is pretty hectic right now and will be until a few weeks before then. So that gives me plenty of time to plan for it.

First of all, I need butterbeer. Lots of it. I already have compiled a list of butterbeer recipes in a previous post to test, so those will be the drinks. And I will have my guests decide which is better. I’m guessing that my brother and his friend will like the sweeter ones better because, face it, they’re teenage guys. But that is purely hypothesizing. I shall have to see. I also found some awesome labels for butterbeer bottles, one from the Three Broomsticks and one from the Hog’s Head. I don’t think I’ll be using them for the tasting, but they would be perfect for gifts. The image is the link. Just in case you couldn’t find it.

Next, I need snacks to go with it. A sort of cleansing the pallet between tastings. So how about pumpkin pasties? I have two options here, one from a whole list of other Harry Potter treats (not the biggest fans of them, though, except the acid pops. I might just do those) The pumpkin pasties are the second on the list. I would post an image, but apparently it’s copyrighted. Blah. Click here.* Or I could do the recipe from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. I found the recipe on the internet, believe it or not, and it sounds pretty good as well. It has fewer ingredients, so that’s less shopping. Perhaps a mixture of the two recipes?

*Just a tip. I just made this recipe and I highly recommend NOT cooking the pumpkin as long as it says to! I would go so far and even say to cut the cooking time in half! Mine came out with a filmy layer on top and the pumpkin was not smooth. It tastes great, though, just not the texture I was hoping for. I would also suggest lightly coating the pasties with egg white and sugar before baking to give it a nice glace and sweeten up the crust. I also recommend making your own crust. I makes it just that much better. Utterly delish!

Next up is the cockroach clusters! According to the Harry Potter wiki, these contain real bits of cockroach. Ew. How about pretzels instead? Oh, and chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better. I have found a recipe for these as well, one that is much better than the ones that use low mein noodles. Ew again. The recipe is found near the bottom of the blog post which also contains a butterbeer recipe. I have already linked it it in that same butterbeer post found above. Sounds simple and super tasty!

And you simply cannot have a Harry Potter part with chocolate frogs. It’s a rule. You have to have them And, moreover, you HAVE TO HAVE THE BOX. HAVE TO. It’s another rule. So here’s a template for the box. The image will take you to the printable template. I’ve already made one and it is super awesome.

For the frog itself, you have to get a frog mold for your melted chocolate. I ordered one yesterday, and I hope the frog will fit in the box. It may be a bit big. One suggestion for the box is to have the other side of the paper gold, so that the inside is a bit more attractive.

And here is an awesome template for the cards. Very movie accurate. You’ll have to come up with your own picture and words, but I’m sure there’s a site with some suggestions if you aren’t feeling very creative.

And then there’s Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. I have found a few free box templates for these, but none of them really struck my fancy except this one. As for the beans inside, BBEFB are actually sold by Jelly Belly. If, however, you do not want to spend the money (like me), regular Jelly Bellies will do fine.

And these are just adorable. I may just have to get them a shot. The creator of these brilliant candies but them on top of cupcakes, but I don’t exactly think that’s necessary. Sorting Hat caramels? Brilliant!

Licorice wands always sounded brilliant to me. Much better than licorice whips. However, I simply detest the taste of black licorice. It’s absolutely disgusting. So immediately when I heard of making licorice wands, I thought, “Twizzlers!” But still, the traditional strawberry twizzler is not appetizing, not to me, anyways. So what about cherry? Surprisingly, I think those taste better than strawberry when usually it is the other way around. Artificial cherry has a habit of tasting like…. Medicine. Blegh. It seems the most traditional way of making licorice wands is to get a twizzler or something similar, dip the lower third or quarter in chocolate for the handle, and decorate it with sprinkles. I may just get a little creative with this…. *edit* It turns out that there is such a thing as chocolate licorice. How very interesting. It would be perfect if it tasted good. I may have to test this out….

The creator of these used pecans for her cockroach clusters, which is great. If you like nuts. Most of my family does not, so I think the pretzels are a better idea.

Lastly, there are the cauldron cakes. I have heard of people making pancakes and simply calling the cauldron cakes, but I believe it takes much more than that. Apparently, so did the people who created Honeyduke’s shop in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The author of Bakingdom has not only been to WWoHP, but she has also decided to replicate the food they have there! I bow to her awesomeness.

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Hogwarts Knit Scarf Pattern Mk. II

After I had made my first Hogwarts scarf, a friend of mine asked me if I could make one for her as well, just not so big (she lives even farther south than I do, so it doesn’t get very cold, even in the winter). I thought about it for a while until inspiration struck me. Why not make it flat? So here’s the pattern for my flat version of my Gryffindor scarf, with a slight stripe variation.

Materials:

2 skeins main color yarn (for my Ravenclaw scarf, I used Caron Simply Soft Dk. Country Blue, and for my Gryffindor, I used Loops & Threads Impeccable Burgundy)

1 skein contrast color yarn (again, worsted weight, I used Caron Simply Soft Heather Gray, or Vanna’s Choice Mustard)

Size 7 needles

yarn needle

Instructions:

Step 1: Cast on 55 stitches of the main color

Step 2: Slip one stitch knit-wise, knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 1 until end of row (single stitch ribbing)

Step 3: Repeat previous step 29 more times so that you have 30 rows of the main color

Step 4: Change to contrast color and rib three rows just as you did with the main color, but don’t slip the first stitch of the first row

Step 5: Switch back to main color and rib five rows without slipping the first stitch of the first row

Step 6: Change again to contrast color and rib three rows without slipping the first stitch of the first row

Step 7: Repeat step 2

Step 8: Repeat from step 3 to step 7 until you have ten sets of stripes

Step 9: Finish up by casting off and sewing in all the ends.

Step 10: To add the fringe, cut many many 6 inch lengths of the main color. Add fringe on about every other stitch using this method.

And there you have it! Feel free to ask any questions, and I welcome observations and tips. And if you can, don’t forget to show me your finished project!


Princess Academy

Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale, is about a Miri, a girl who lives in the on a mountain and whose only dream is to work in a mine with the rest of her village. But for an unknown reason, her father won’t let her. Then news arrives at the village that the new princess will be found on the mountain and that all the girls from twelve to seventeen must go to a kind of school to learn how to become a princess for the upcoming ball where the prince will choose one of the girls to become the next princess.

I loved this book! I probably like it a lot more than I would have if I hadn’t read After a few hours before I read this. I really like stories with a kind of medieval school setting, like Hogwarts and the school in the Protector of the Small series, and this one was kind of like those, minus the moving stairs and secret passageways like the ones in Hogwarts. One of the great things about this book is that it’s funny. I love books with at least a little humor in them. I really liked how Miri reacted to different situations (like finding  a rat trying to nest in her hair), and went through the different choices put to her. She felt like a real girl growing up and having very real feelings.