Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pinterest Halloween

So My Spooky Halloween Must Do's folder on Pinterest was getting rather full and I decided it was time to try some of these items!  So hold on this will be a LONG post of many fun ideas!
Idea #1 - Pumpkin Lollipop Holder
I started with the Pumpkin Lollipop Holder! NOW here is the importance of READING the post before you just look at a picture and say I can do this on my own.  So the article tells you do use a fake pumpkin!! THAT would have been wise to read, but I didn't so I had a real one that I had Rick do.  Which with my hairdryer and his air gun we dried out the real pumpkin and added the lollipops with out much mess, so all in all it can be done!

For this project, it's best to use a synthetic foam pumpkin. (The moisture found in real pumpkin flesh will turn the lollipops' paper sticks soggy.)

1. Cover every other rib with low-tack masking tape, and then, using a flexible tape measure, make dots every 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches down the side of the pumpkin. Punch through dots with an awl, or use a power drill with a 9/64-inch bit; remove tape.  (I of course just had Rick eyeball it, no tape ... lol)

2. Fill holes with orange and chocolate-flavored pops, alternating flavors from one rib to the next and keeping sticks a uniform length to maintain the spherical shape. Top with a black paper bat bearing a message in opaque ink; place pumpkin on a table outside your front door and in a sheltered spot.

Idea #2 - Cookie Cutter Pumpkin
Next was to try the cookie cuter pumpkin method on Fresh Home Ideas.  I learned that metal cutters are the best.  One of my plastic cutters was sacrificed to try it out (let's just say it had a quick death).
  • Step 1: Tap Cookie Cutter
  • Step 2: Remove Cookie Cutter
  • Step 3: Carve Pumpkin
  • Step 4: Remove Shapes
  • Step 5: Insert Candle (I used LED candle)



Idea #3 - Vampire Teeth Cookies
We then move on to Vampire Teeth Cookies I found on Just a Pinch.  These were simple to make, they called for soft chocolate chip cookies.  Instead of buying store bought I found a recipe for Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Cookies.  I started with the cookies and then once they were cooled I decorated them.
INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
2.Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
3.In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
4.Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Then for decorating:
FOR EACH VAMPIRE TEETH COOKIE YOU WILL NEED
- 1 soft chewy homemade chocolate chip cookie cut in
half
- red tube icing
- 6 mini marshmallows
- 2 almond slivers
1.   Take your cooled cookie and cut in half, then take a little off the center so it is more like a jaw. This will be the top and bottom of your mouth
2.   Line mouth with frosting and add the front two teeth then the almond slivers then the last two teeth and top with the other half of cookie that also has icing on so that it gives the feeling of gums.
 Step by Step:


Idea #4 0 Edible Eyeballs
Then of course you have to have the edible eyeballs.  These were the simplest item to make and just perfect for Cole's 3rd/4th/5th grade classroom.  

Eyeballs
round or square pretzels
white chocolate disks
chocolate chips
red jimmies

On a baking sheet, place pretzels in a single layer. Put one white chocolate disk in the center of each pretzel. Place in a 350 degree oven for approx 3-4 minutes or until chocolate is shiny but not melted or falling through the pretzel.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with red jimmies (I used red gel frosting). Invert one chocolate chip in the center of each disk. 

 Step by Step


Idea #5 Easy Pumpkin Pretzels

Then I made some Easy Pumpkin Pretzels that I found on Butter with a slice of Bread for Caden's Class.  This was another simple one to make that even the kids could do with out my help.

  • 1 bag mini pretzels {you won't use the whole bag, only about 1/4}
  • 1 bag M&M's candy, needing only the green ones {Alexis Note: I used jelly beans}
  • orange food coloring & White Chocolate (I ended up using Orange Melts)

First step is to melt the chocolate. I took the melts in a microwave safe bowl and belted them for  minute. Coat pretzels in the orange chocolate. Once you've dunked your pretzel, adding a nice coating, lay it out on a piece of wax paper. While it's still wet, add a green jelly bean (or a M&M) and set it in the crook of the pretzel, on it's side.If you see a few bare spots on your pretzels, while they're still wet, dab some more chocolate on them using your finger (but using melts is thicker so I didn't have that problem).

Idea #6 - Spider Cake Pops

And we end with some spider cake pops for Caden's class also.  It was the end of the night so they weren't my cleanest creation but I think Caden's Kindergarten class won't mind.  I started with making a Vanilla Cake Pop recipe found on The baby Cake Shop.  I used my cake pop pans instead of the baby cake pop baker. 

Make Cake Pops
 Make the Spiders
Ingredients:
12 Cake Pops Made
1 Bag Black Candy Melts
1 Bag Wilton Candy Eyes
1 Box Wilton Candy Licorice (cut into legs)

Melt your candy melts in a microwave safe bowl (usually 1 minute). Dip your cake ball in the the melted candy melts.  While still wet add the candy eyes and add on the legs.  You can sprinkle with black sprinkles (but I couldn't find these anywhere).  Let dry and serve!

WOW sorry that was a lot but I wanted to make sure to get this all posted before Halloween was over.  Hope you all have a safe Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oreo Spider Web Cookie Pizza

I was so excited to see on my doorstep Friday a box and then to open it to find baking goods. I won a giveaway on A Nut in a Nutshell.  The one catch was I needed to make one of the 3 recipes and send a picture that I did it.  So why not post a picture of what I did.  This recipe found on the Kraft website for a Oreo Spider Web Cookie Pizza. I was looking at the Candy Corn Cake but then the kids saw the pizza and they requested it, so on to plan B I went.


This was a super simple recipe to make the ONLY thing that was hard was making the circles for the web requires a steady hand, which I was not having luck with. So my web kind of looks like a drunk or high spider.  BUT hey the kids loved it no matter what and that is what matters most to me.

My Package & Cookie Pizza


I received the coolest package that had everything I needed (even a new apron for me ... AND get this I was actually able NOT only able to tie it but wrap it around and tie in front ... OH yeah baby ... onto the skinny me).  

what you need
25
 Halloween OREO Cookies, divided
1/4
cup  butter or margarine, melted
1
oz.  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2
cups  thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided
1
pkg.  (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1
cup  cold milk
3
pieces  black string licorice (10 inch), cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces
6
small  round candies (I used Wilton's Candy Eyes)
1
Tbsp.  ready-to-spread frosting
2
Tbsp.  Halloween sprinkles

HEAT 
oven to 350°F.
CRUSH 22 cookies to form fine crumbs; mix with butter. Press onto bottom of 12-inch pizza pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 4 min.; cool. (Alexis Note: I used a spring form pan to keep it all together and easier to travel with)
MEANWHILE, microwave semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 cup COOL WHIP in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 30 to 40 sec. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring after 30 sec. Cool slightly.
BEAT pudding mix and milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. (Pudding will be thick.) Stir in remaining COOL WHIP; spread onto crust to within 1/2 inch of edge.
SPOON chocolate mixture into resealable plastic bag; snip off small piece from one bottom corner of bag. Use to drizzle chocolate mixture in spiral motion over pizza. Gently drag toothpick through lines to resemble spider's web. Refrigerate 1 hour.
MEANWHILE, decorate remaining cookies with licorice pieces and candies as shown in photo, using frosting to secure pieces to cookies.
PLACE decorated cookies on pizza just before serving. Garnish with sprinkles.

This is a very simple recipe and one the kids loved!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Munch Mix & Surprise Mailer

For the holidays I like to send a little surprise in the mail to my bosses and their kids.  I wanted to make something quick and easy to get right out to them.  I found a recipe for Halloween Munch Mix on Mommy's Kitchen that I tweaked and tada we were ready to go.  Every holiday the dollar store has the cutest containers.  I find they are the perfect size for mixes and other fun things!  I picked up some candies and decorated the box all up for it to be shipped out.


Halloween Surprise Mailer!

Halloween Munch Mix

I love something in the mail and I think this is just perfect!  The mix was simple to make and I had enough to make up a few bags for the boys teachers.


The Treat Bags I Made for the teachers
Here' is my version of the mix:

Halloween Munch Mix
1- bag of Orange Candy Melts (I used instead instead of almond bark)

4-5 Cups Popped Popcorn (Make yourself or 2 bags of Microwave)
1 Cup of Candy Corn (I picked up in bulk section)
1 Cup Chocolate Covered Pretzels w/ orange frosting (Bulk Section)
1 Cup Halloween Mix Candy (Bulk Section)
treat bags or clear food service gloves

Plastic Spiders if you want

Pop the popcorn and remove any UN popped kernels (I used the air pop microwave version, see my recipe here). Place pop corn in a large bowl and set aside. Add the chocolate melts to a microwavable bowl and melt in your microwave (remember you CAN burn chocolate I've done it before do in 1 minute intervals).  I used orange melts to be festive but you can always use white melts or just the almond bark.  BUT I say it's best to make it match the holiday!

Using a large spoon mix together coating all of the popcorn. Lay out the popcorn on a piece of waxed paper until pop corn is dry. When dry break into smaller popcorn size pieces and add back to a large bowl.



Mix in the candies of your choice and place popcorn mixture into individual treat bags (You can also add a few plastic spiders to each bag if you want, I have a thing out non editable items in food so I skipped that). You can also add the popcorn to clear food service gloves for a fun Halloween treat.  I did the mini bags and the containers I found at the dollar store.

Making the Mix:
Into Treat Bags:
 Into Mix:

Then I made up a surprise mailer to send off to my bosses.  I added some containers and some loose candy to be a nice surprise the open up.




This is a fun treat to make for friends or teachers!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies (Another PTF Treat)

We had our monthly PTF meeting and time to make a new treat to share with the other parents.  I looked in the cupboard what I had already to eliminate a trip to the grocery store.  I found two packages of Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix and a can of Pumpkin.  Ok what can I do with that.  So to Google I went and stumbled upon a great recipe for Pumpkin Gingerbread Cookies on Seizing My Day's Blog.  Now she made rolled cut out cookies, I was not being that fancy.  I tweaked the recipe a bit and came up with some great drop cookies.  That is drop them in some cinnamon sugar and roll them around and they turn into round fluffy cookies!

First off sorry about the pictures I left my camera at my dad's house and had to use my iPhone which doesn't take high quality pictures but hey they are clear and we'll make it work.
Ingredients:
Betty’s Gingerbread cookie mix
1/2 Cup Canned Pumpkin
1 egg white
1/2 stick butter
Cinnamon & Sugar - To Roll the cookies in about 1/4 cup
1/2 Cup Flour

Blend the softened butter, pumpkin and egg white in your mixer (I threw mine in my kitchen aid).  Once this is combined add in the cookie mix, it will be sticky at this point.  Now add in the flour add in a little at a time to get a stiff cookie dough.  Once all mixed together take a scoop (I used my ice cream scoop) and then dropped into the cinnamon sugar and rolled around until the whole ball was coated.  I then placed them on a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Bake at 375 for 12 minutes (give or take depending on your stove).

I again didn't get to taste them but Cole told me they were yummy and I was excited to say every cookie was taken home with the people that were there!  Whoo hoo nothing for me to be tempted with.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes - Version 2

Cole's class is going to the pumpkin patch tomorrow, and I couldn't just make the Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes for Caden's class last week.  Now of course I couldn't do the same cupcakes I already did, so on to pumpkin patch cupcakes #2.  

I first started with a Pumpkin Ginger Cupcake I found on All Recipes.  This one wasn't as simple as last week's recipe but it sure did smell good and my friend tasted the batter for me and thought it was yummy (I'm still on my diet and not allowed sugar or carbs).  



INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant
butterscotch pudding mix
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
 
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
DIRECTIONS:
1.Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.
2.Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
3.Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.


After the cupcakes cooled (yes let them cool, I didn't at first and the icing melted right off them). I added the Sturdy Whipped Cream Frosting I used last week.  



Ingredients:
Orange Sugar
Watermelon Airheads / Cut in half and shaped like a leaf
Orange Frosting Gel
Green Licorice (I found in bulk isle and cut in half)

My amazing friend helped me roll the iced cupcakes in orange sugar, add orange lines with frosting gel, top with a green licorice for the stem and we even added a green leaf made from watermelon airheads.  See the photo below for step by step directions.




My camera died half way threw so forgive me for not done cupcake and the low resolution for the pumpkin cupcakes.  Hope you have a wonderful day and you try out these yummy Cupcakes.

Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce (Ideal Protein Recipe Ph 1-4)

After being on this diet (Ideal Protein) it has been trying to find meals for dinner that I would love to eat let alone my family wants to eat too.  Most nights I make my meal and then make something for them that they would like.  I have been able to come across a few great recipes and the one I found that the whole family would eat is a Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce.  I had mine on some lean ground turkey, the boys had egg noddles (a no no for me but they can splurge).


Ingredients:
1 pound 90% lean ground beef or ground turkey (I used Turkey)
8 large tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped (I used red)
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
¼ tsp Red pepper flakes
½ cup water (I skipped this)
(optional) chopped Mushrooms (I Skipped this)
1 zucchini (I added this in for a little extra green)
2 pkg of Truvia/Splenda (this is something I added)

Brown turkey or lean ground beef, add garlic powder while cooking meat for more flavorful sauce, drain off any fat, add all vegetables and water, except tomatoes. Cook on low with lid until vegetables are cooked through. ** Alexis Note:  I decided to add all the veggies to my ninja and whirl them around (the boys aren't big on chunky sauce). **

In a magic bullet or blender (I used my Ninja), puree 6 of the tomatoes, add the Italian seasoning, garlic, red pepper flakes, and give it another little whirl.  Add in a zucchini sliced up at this time and the Splenda if you want it to be a little sweet. You need to boil this for about 20 minutes and skim off the water and froth. Pour into cooked ground turkey or ground beef mixture, turn on low heat. Chop remaining 2 tomatoes however small or large you like your chunks in sauce, add to mixture and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Makes 4-6 cups of sauce. Can freeze leftovers for later use.  ** Alexis Note: I just puree'd all the tomatoes (again my boys aren't big on chunky sauce). **




Enjoy this is one of the best sauce's I have had in a long time, it's so nice knowing it is healthy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sinfully Yummy Blueberry Bread Pudding

My parents have around 8 to 10 blueberry bushes at their house, so we usually are loaded with them.  Since my new diet does not allow fruit of any kind I had a freezer space shortage and needed to make something with them.  Then my mom sent me home some french bread (another no no on my diet) so I thought what better to do then a bread pudding.  We had our every other week dinner guest come over (that is the only time I make a dessert).

I found a Over the Top Blueberry Bread Pudding recipe that I tweaked a little bit, one due to time and the other part being lazy after work (hey I'm at least honest about it).


Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips
  • 1 loaf (1 pound) French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the eggs, cream, sugar and vanilla. Stir in blueberries and baking chips. Stir in bread cubes; let stand for 15 minutes or until bread is softened.  Add the white baking chips and carefully stir them in (don't over stir or you'll have mush).
  • Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
If you want you can make the sauce (instead of using the baking chips in the bread pudding you use it to cover the bread pudding). 

If you want here is the sauce recipe:

  • SAUCE:
  • 1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
For sauce, place baking chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over baking chips; whisk until smooth. Serve with bread pudding.

I liked adding it into the bread pudding to give you a little extra goo :).  NOW I didn't eat any of it but by the empty plates that returned I would say it was a huge hit!



Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pantry Make-Over!

This weekend I was on a mission to clean up the pantry.  It has been getting worse and worse, and my darn house elf has gone on leave with no return date ... lol just playing.  I also had been given the task of cleaning out my cupboard above my stove, Rick is going to rip it down to open up my kitchen to the dinning room.  So my mission went from cleaning the pantry to clearing out the cupboard at the same time.  I had one big black bag of donating items, and 4 bags of garbage and outdated items!  I also had 2 bags of recycling that cleared up a lot of room!  I must say it is a relief to have the space organized.

Here is my cupboard above the island (please forgive the mess on the island, that is next on my list to clean up).

After a few hours I have the pantry cleaned up.  I took a few Rubbermaid bins to organize my cooking supplies (cake pans etc).  I took 3 Ikea Blue bins to put my craft supplies, cupcake decorating supplies and birthday party supplies.  The rest of my baking items went into (flour, sugar etc) went into Rubbermaid bins.  Thankfully every Black Friday Fred Meyers has them 1/2 off, I'll stock up again this year.  It turned out great, several hours but well worth it!

Yikes I'm almost embarrassed on how that looked ... lol

Friday, October 19, 2012

Asian Lettuce Cups (Low Carb & 5pts WW)

On a personal note I went to the doctor yesterday. 1st off it is great to step on the scale to not pretend I'm looking at the wall (like a hole magically appeared and I must look at in case a rabbit appears).  YUP this time I could actually look at the # and be proud I've done that!  THEN to have the doc sit down look at the chart, then look at me, then back at the chart, then look at me and say wow you've lost a lot of weight.  each time you have been in you've been done. YUP proud moment in my life, HEY it's not often I've gone to the doc and came out with a smile.  OK well a smile over that NOT over the fact I was stuck in traffic got there 10 minutes late to find my spot was taken and had to wait over an hour.  THEN when I need a shot in my rear to have another nurse open the door to share my bare rear off to the whole waiting room (oh yes got to love that prime room right up front).  I really do swear this stuff only happens to me!

Now on to the food (I know why you are here .. lol).  Since doing this lean meat and all protein diet I've been on the hunt for good recipes.  This one was super yummy (it was higher in sugar then I would like so I'll have to work on that part - The Hoisin sauce).  I found on one of my favorite sites Eat Yourself Skinny these Asian Lettuce Cups (WW 5pts).

Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb. fat-free ground turkey
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions (about 4)
1 (8 oz) can sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
12 Boston lettuce leaves
3 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce (green top)
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp. roasted red chili paste
1/8 tsp. salt
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add turkey, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for about 6 minutes or until turkey is browned.  Stir to crumble.  Combine turkey mixture, onions and chopped water chestnuts in a large bowl, stirring well, and set aside.
Meanwhile in a small bowl, whisk together hoisin, soy sauce, rice vinegar and roasted red chili paste and drizzle over the turkey mixture.  Toss to coat completely.  Add about 1/4 cup turkey mixture to each lettuce leaf.

Servings: Serving Size: 2 lettuce cups with 1/4 cup turkey mixture each Calories: 182 Fat: 7.5 Carbs: 9.7 g
Fiber: 0.6 g Protein: 19.1 g Points+: 5 pts



Happy Friday everyone!  Try this yummy recipe :).

PLUS I was FEATURED over at my favorite designers Blog Diana Rambles (YES she designed my cute monkey layout).  Please go over and leave some love, click on the button below.


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