Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. It is such a fun holiday. I love dressing up in costumes, and especially seeing all of the kids in their costumes. I love the fall weather. Oh, and I love getting creative with my food.

Above: String cheese witch's fingers. All you need is string cheese, spreadable cream cheese, and sliced almonds. Make some little slices in your cheese with a knife (you won't be simply making cut marks. You will have to take out tiny slits, otherwise the marks won't be visible). Then put a small dab of cream cheese on the end and place a sliced almond on top. We found this on Our Best Bites here.

Above: Our skeleton veggie man (thanks for the idea, Facebook!).

Skeleton Veggie Man with Dip


Favorite dip (we used a packet of Ranch dressing mixed in with a container of sour cream)
Kale or lettuce for the hair
Sliced olives for the eyes
Celery for bones
Sliced cucumber for the backbone
Baby carrots for bones
Sliced red bell pepper for ribs
Sliced mushrooms for pelvis
Cauliflower florets for hands and joints
Broccoli florets for feet
Cherry tomatoes for feet (I forgot to use these)
Sugar snap peas for bones (we didn't use these, but they were used on the Facebook skeleton in place of the second piece of celery for the leg bones)


Make dip. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Form skeleton body as shown in the picture. Create a second veggie plate with all of the extra/leftover veggies that you don't use in the skeleton.

Place dip in a round bowl and place kale/lettuce in the dip to resemble hair. Place olives in dip to resemble eyes. Loosely cover and refrigerate separately, until ready to serve.

Refrigerate vegetables until ready to serve. Just before serving, position dip and serve.

Source: We found this on Facebook. It came from a blog called Feeding Four Little Monkeys. You can find the original post here.

Above: I saw this in a Kraft recipe book years ago (they served the octopus on top of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese). You simply cut the bottom of the hot dog to form 8 tentacles, and then you pop it in a pot of boiling water. Cook it for a few minutes; until the tentacles begin to curl.

Above: Worms. Similar to the octopus above, slice your hot dogs into thin strips, pop them into some boiling water for a few minutes; until they curl. You can even stir in some heated barbecue sauce to turn these into slimy worms. We decided not to because we didn't want the kids to get super messy.

Mummy Dogs


Hot dogs
Crescent dough (the refrigerated tubes of seamless crescent dough sheets worked really well)
Condiments, for serving


You can cut the hot dogs in half or leave them whole. I cut mine in half. Cut crescent dough sheets into strips (about 1/4" wide). Wrap the tops and bottoms of the hot dogs. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until crescent dough is nicely browned; 15-25 minutes.

Using a small bowl of mustard and a toothpick, place two dabs of mustard on each hot dog to resemble eyes.

Serve with additional mustard and ketchup, if desired.

Source: We found this on Our Best Bites here.

Notes: These were a hit with both the kids and the adults.

Black Halloween Punch


1 (.13 ounce) envelope unsweetened grape soft drink mix
1 (.13 ounce) envelope unsweetened orange soft drink mix
2 cups white sugar
3 quarts cold water
1 liter ginger ale


To make a frozen hand, wash a disposable glove, fill with water, seal with a rubber band, and freeze.

Stir together grape soft drink mix, orange soft drink mix, sugar and water until solids are dissolved. Combine with chilled ginger ale just before serving. Dip the frozen hand briefly in warm water, then peel off the glove. Float the prepared hand in the punch bowl for a ghastly effect.

Source:, submitted by Kathleen. You can find it here.

Notes: This was really good. Just be sure to add the water, because otherwise, it will be way too sweet!

Above: Chili topped with cheese slices that we cut into pumpkin shapes with a cookie cutter. We also served our chili with cornbread. We originally posted this chili recipe here, but it is also below, for your convenience.

Natalie Holbrook's Slow-Burn Chipotle Chili


1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground sausage
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green pepper
1 cup diced celery
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, with liquid
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon chipotle-flavored Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
Salt, to taste
Brown sugar, to taste
Water, optional
Favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, and chopped cilantro


Brown the ground beef and Italian sausage together. Drain.

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 8-12 hours. Adjust seasoning, sweetness, and thickness as desired with salt, brown sugar, and water.

Source: This came from my friend, Natalie Holbrook, who lives in my ward and neighborhood. She submitted this to our ward chili cook-off. She and her friends also have a food blog of their own. You should check it out! You can find more of her yummy recipes on her blog: Cookbook Junkies.

Notes: This is good stuff! Definitely crave-worthy! Probably one of the best chili recipes I have ever, ever tried. Oh, I could go for a bowl of this right now. I added 1/2 cup of brown sugar. You can add up to 1 cup of water; just add water until you reach your desired thickness (or skip the water altogether if you want your chili on the thick side).


Sugar Cookie Bars


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg


3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Food color, if desired
Candy sprinkles, if desired


Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 9-inch square pan with cooking parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat cookie mix, 1/2 cup butter, and the egg with electric mixer on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar, 1/2 cup butter, the whipping cream and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Stir in food color, if using, until well blended. Spread frosting over baked cookie bars. Top with candy sprinkles. Cut into 4 rows by 4 rows.

Sources: Betty Crocker website. You can find it here.

Notes: I would suggest using the parchment paper, because these were really hard to get out of the pan. Once we got them out though, they were fantastic! Be careful not to overcook them. You want these to be soft and chewy, not crunchy.

No Bake Cookies and Cream Bars


One 16 oz package Oreo Cookies
5 cups large marshmallows
4 tablespoons butter


Butter an 8x8-inch baking pan. Line the baking pan with parchment paper, letting the paper extend up two sides of the pan, and overhang slightly on both ends. Butter paper; set pan aside.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process Oreos into fine crumbs; set aside.

In large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Stir in ground Oreo Cookies until combined. Transfer to prepared baking pan. Using a piece of waxed paper, press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Cool. Cut into squares. Best if served the same day.

Source: Picky Palate. You can find it here. Also found on Sweet Pea's Kitchen here.

Dirt 'n' Worms Chex Mix


4 cups Chocolate Chex cereal
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons chocolate instant pudding and pie filling mix
8 chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
2 cups gummy worm candies


In large microwavable bowl, place cereal.

In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter uncovered on High 1 minute. Stir in pudding mix. Pour over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.

Microwave uncovered on High 2 minutes. Stir in sandwich cookies and candies. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

Makes 12 servings (1/2 cup each)

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.