After all this time, this is finaly done!! My page has been re-arranged, facelift and all. The background is in the spirit of the season --- and the banner! I think that was the hardest thing to do, as I needed some inspiration to do it... and I have to thank the "This is Halloween" song from The Nightmare Before Christmas movie.

So today was a very exciting day... well, actually the week has been nothing but a thrill ride. We start off on Monday, or as it will go down in Panda history as the day when my students decided that they could skip on their final presentation without me getting back at them. I had no classes all day because most students decided to go to this conference without warning me and then when I did have a class it was mainly presentations. I don't even know why I bother on telling them that they can choose any subject they want, they always hover back to the environment, animals, nature, or technology. But today, oh, today one of the girls decided that her topic was going to be talking about serial killer John Wayne Gacey, AKA Pogo the clown... It was kind of spooky, not to mention out of the ordinary and twisted! So, one for creativity. Then, another student presented a very good presentation about movies. It was good because he didn't read the entire thing and he spoke about the movie genres... o though I am in a moral debate because I don't know whether to comend him for this presentation or to kick his ass because neither Grease was mention in Musical, nor Star Wars in SciFi...

But Halloween is almost here!! I love this time of year! Particularly because of the food and the traditions that come with it. So, I will dedicate some part of this blog to post some stuff about Halloween... mostly recipes... and stories!!

From Reader's Digest, here is a wonderful recepie for Halloween Cookies! (gonna try to bake them this year!)

Cookies are a favorite for any occasion. Make these for trick-or-treaters, take them to a school or church bazaar or fill a tin for a neighbor. Add names to the ghosts to use at place settings. You can even use these cookie cutters to make special lunchbox sandwiches -- just cut shapes from bread and add peanut butter.

You Will Need
Halloween cookie cutters: BOO, EEK and ghost shapes (available from www.wilton.com)
Tube of black icing gel, to outline BOO and EEK cookies and add features to ghosts
Orange and black paste food colors to color dough

Royal Icing for ghost cookies (see recipe, Step 11)
Pastry brush

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
Egg yolk for solid orange cookies

What to Do
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla.

3. Add baking powder and then flour one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. The dough will be very stiff. Blend last flour in by hand. (If necessary add a little water to dough if crumbly.) Do not chill dough.

4. Divide dough into three balls. Set one aside and leave uncolored. Knead or mix orange food color in the second ball and black food color into the third. Cover each ball with plastic wrap and keep covered when not working with it.

5. For all cookies, roll dough slightly thinner than the cutter.

6. To make uncolored cookies, roll dough and cut various shapes.

7. To make striped cookies, roll sections of colored and uncolored dough together, side by side, and then cut out cookies. (They will look like the orange, black and white BOO and EEK cookies in photo, above.)

8. For the orange BOO and EEK cookies, use uncolored dough. After cutting out shapes, mix orange food color with egg yolk and "paint" cookies with pastry brush before baking.

9. Place cookies on ungreased cookie sheet and bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a rack.

Recipe makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

Icing the Cookies
10. To decorate BOO and EEK cookies, outline baked cookies with black icing gel as shown in photo.

11. For ghost cookies, leave uncolored and add features with black icing gel or color white with Royal Icing made as follows:
3 egg whites, 1 pound confectioners' sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar. Beat all ingredients at high speed for 7 to 10 minutes or until icing forms stiff peaks. To thin, add 3 to 4 tablespoons water, a small amount at a time until icing is the consistency of heavy cream.
"Paint" icing on ghost shapes with a pastry brush.

Recipe will ice 2 dozen cookies.


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