Wizard of Oz Apron

Putting on an apron for Halloween is my idea of the ultimate easy Halloween costume, especially for a busy mom or dad. An apron is not only easy but also an affordable and practical choice, since you will be able to use it all year long.

Isn't this Wizard of Oz and Toto themed apron absolutely precious? What fan could resist!?! Just take it out and pop it on! Of course, you could always add to it with a pair of ruby red shoes...

And of course, if Dorothy Gale isn't your choice of movie character you might like the Wonder Woman, Darth Vader, KISS and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle apron choices.

See you
in the kitchen!

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Order this Wizard of Oz apron from Amazon.
Check out Amazon's complete line of character aprons.

Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte Machine

The Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1 Cafe Latte machine is an interesting little machine. One that boasts, "Delicious lattes in one simple touch." It's a small appliance for the home that makes lattes. Who knew? Not me! I discovered it by accident recently when it was on sale on Amazon.  It is still on sale though not at quite the discount it was at on October 23, 2013.

I cannot personally vouch for this machine but the Amazon customer reviews can and do.  Amazon customers like that it makes it easy to make a latte at home, that they can save money and that they can also make hot chocolate and tea lattes.  The biggest complaint is that it does not make a 'true' cup of latte.

If you'd like to check Mr. Coffee's latte machine out on Amazon for yourself, just click here. It would make a great gift idea for someone who loves a latte.

See you
in the kitchen!

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Read more about the Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte Machine on Amazon.
Learn how to make coffee with a French Press.

This Week in Brenda's Kitchen: B. Kliban Cat Cookie Jar

This week in Brenda's kitchen we find another cookie jar, this time featuring B. Kliban’s cat or, to be exact a trio of B. Kliban’s cats on a cookie jar.

These posts about some of the more unique kitchen items I discover are not only about cookie jars though it might appear that way at the moment and I do love them.  It just happened that this great cookie jar was the next interesting item to find its way onto my counter after my last “this week in Brenda’s kitchen” post.

The artist B. Kliban created the cartoon cat known as Kliban in the 1970s and this black and white cat achieved huge celebrity. Continued popularity and a certain amount of nostalgia mean that people are still looking to find Kliban items including vintage calendars, t-shirts, coffee mugs and cookie jars to add to their collections.

In our humble opinion this item is a bit small for a cookie jar. We like (okay, we love) cookies and this jar, because of the unusal pants shape, would not hold many but I think we could make it work. It would also work for storing candy or even for holding cotton balls or something of that nature in the bathroom. Of course, it doesn't have to have a practical use at all and could simply be a decorative accessory for a Kliban fan.

This cookie jar measures 8-inches tall with the lid on or 5.25 inches without the lid and about 6 inches from the front to back on the bottom or 4 inches from the front to the back at the opening.

Whether you have a whole Kliban collection or you are looking for a single cat-themed decorative accessory, this B. Kliban cookie jar will serve you well.  We think he would look fine in just about any kitchen.

You will find a few more interesting vintage 1970s Kliban items by Trendsetters and Sigma in this scrolling gallery from eBay.  I tried to pick a favorite but I love them all!

Kliban loved to “eat them mousies." We love to eat cookies! How about you?

See you
in the kitchen!

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Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I'm in the midst of advance preparations for Thanksgiving. Part of our meal includes homemade cranberry sauce, which I make a day or two in advance and refrigerate or I make well in advance and freeze. 

The recipe I use is easy and very basic. Some cranberry sauce recipes add items like cinnamon and grated orange rind but we like ours simple because that is the way we have always had it and that is the way it is "supposed" to taste for us. Personally, I like it because it tastes good and because it is so easy to put together.

It is, of course, a perfectly acceptable choice to buy a can of cranberry sauce but making it yourself really is very simple and afterwards you can feel good about having done so rather than having opened a can.

The ingredients are simple. All you need is:

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1.5 cups or 12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries

Put these three ingredients in a pot and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If at this point your sauce seems very runny, you can choose to boil it for a couple of minutes longer. Doing so won't hurt the end product and will just make your sauce a bit thicker.

The cranberries release pectin, which helps the sauce to gel so you do not have to add anything else as a thickener.

This morning I used 2 cups of frozen cranberries and boiled them for five minutes longer.

I choose to serve mine in a pretty little glass bowl.  It is nice that the bowl is clear, which allows the beautiful red color of the cranberry sauce to be a decorative element on our table.

If you are feeding only one or two people, it is an easy enough matter to freeze half of the cranberry sauce for next time.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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A special fall menu plan.

Martha Stewart's Halloween Magazine (2013)

Fans of Martha Stewart look forward to every episode of Martha Stewart Living but many of us who are big Halloween fans particularly enjoy her Halloween special editions.

Martha's Halloween Special for 2013 features Martha dressed as a fairy godmother and, appropriately it seems to me, named Fairy GrandMartha.

The 2013 issue was on my local newsstand at the end of August or maybe the beginning of September. I’m not sure exactly when I picked it up or if it is still available. However, if you missed it and cannot find it on your local newstand, it is still available through sellers on Amazon.com.

This year's magazine promises Good Things that are illuminated, inspired, indispensable, infested, insatiable, incroyable and intense. What more could you ask for in a Halloween magazine?

If you are missing an issue or two or want to start building your collection of Martha’s Halloween magazines, my Martha Stewart Halloween Magazine Index can help you track down issues all the way back to 1997.

Happy Hauntings!

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