Once a week we usually have some friends over for dinner and gaming or video-watching. For the night falling on Hallowe'en week I decided to celebrate a bit with a special recipe: Rat on a Stick! Here it is in all its delightfully messy glory:

Rat on a Stick

1 to 1-1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup finely crushed cheddar cheese crackers
1 egg
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 lb. cheese (Colby, Colby Cheddar, or Jack Colby)
1 Tbsp. honey
1 cup barbecue sauce
8 wooden meat skewers or equivalent

for optional tails
4 pieces spaghetti
red food coloring


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut cheese into half-inch cubes. Impale cheese cubes on skewers, dividing cheese cubes evenly among skewers.
  3. In large bowl, mix beef, egg, cracker crumbs, and pepper. If mixture doesn't stick together well, add 2 tablespoons milk.
  4. Divide mixture into 8 sections. Press each section flat until 1/2 inch thick, then wrap each stick of cheese in a section of meat. Make sure there are no holes or cracks in the meat that would let the cheese leak out while baking. Shape top end of meat "rat"into a point.
  5. Optional tails:
    • Fill a small saucepan with water and add four drops of red food coloring. Bring to a boil.
    • Break 4 sticks of spaghetti in half. Place spaghetti in water, leaving one end out of water.
    • When spaghetti has softened and turned pink, remove from water. Using unsoftened end, insert 1 piece of spaghetti into round end of "rat". Drape soft end of spaghetti around handle of stick.
  6. Place "rats" on baking sheet (one with sides). Dribble honey & pour barbecue sauce over "rats".
  7. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees F, basting and turning occasionally.


  • This is a Very Heavy meal — might want to split a rat between two folks, and have a nice big salad as well.
  • The cheese bits should be cut as small as you can, and molded into the rat shape as best you can. The meat will juuust cover the cheese, as is.
  • Line the pan with foil! This is a messy meal. Turn the rats frequently (carefully — the little wooden skewers are fragile!) since all the sauce will pool, and re-bast frequently. Expect the cheese to burst out at some point.
  • Using multicolored cheddar cheese crackers allows you to have "plague-rat-on-a-stick." Adding in dried onion soup mix to the meat adds flavor, while tucking a few cherry tomatoes inside with the cheese both adds some much-needed veggies and surprises guests with "rat guts"! :)

Costumery fun

I'm working on making more costumes and other outfits this year, for fun and enjoyment. One of the things I bought for an upcoming planned steampunk costume is a "sort of" leather cincher. It's not really a corset, and I don't usually pull it really tight since I dislike the stiff, stuck-in-one-position feeling corsets and such give me. Oddly, I've also found I tend to breath more shallowly in such restrictive garments, which isn't smart. Anyway, I used it this year for a quickie impromptu costume, and one of my housemates was kind enough to snap a photo of me.

Also some random silliness: I was paused at a stoplight by a Mini car sales-place, and four of them were parked on the corner side by side. They were all black, with some odd painted designs on them, so while I waited for the light to change I studied them idly. The black wasn't so bad, but the ruby red on the front bumper and grill looked weird — sort of vaguely lips-like. The curling silver stripes on another one wasn't so bad…

-and that's when it hit me: the four little Minis were painted up like the four members of the Kiss rock band! They were hilariously cute — a great "mask" effect for the Hallowe'en season! My only regret was not having a camera with me. :)

Ceramic wonderfulness!

I had some bisque-fired ceramics, and a friend had some coupons for Fireworks, a nearby ceramics-glazing shop, so we decided to get together. The shop is one of those places where you select the bisque-fired ceramics you want, glaze them in the colors of your choice, leave them to be glaze-fired, then pick them up a week later when they're all done. The people there are very nice, and will allow you to bring in your own ceramics as well, charging you slightly less for just the glaze and firing.

I ended up with four pieces, all of which were intended for Solstice or holiday gifts. I didn't want to show them here until they'd all been given to their respective new owners, but now they have… so here's the photo. I was so pleased with how they all turned out! All the new owners were deeply touched as well, so I think I'll be going back to Fireworks again — it's a great personalized gift idea!

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