Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Treats


We did a cookie exchange for Christmas, but I also made these treats to give to people that I wasn't able to take cookies to. The problem was that we were going to deliver these on Christmas Eve, but everyone was riled up and crazy, so we didn't get a chance to deliver these on Christmas Eve. So, we were going to deliver these on Christmas Day after we visited family...and then my baby came down with the stomach flu and was throwing up all evening...and the next day. So, we ended up eating these all ourselves.


Pretzel M&M Peppermint Kisses


70 square pretzels
70 Hershey's peppermint kisses, unwrapped
70 red and green M&Ms


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Place pretzels on the cookie sheet in a single layer and then top each pretzel with one Hershey's peppermint kiss. Bake in preheated oven for 4-5 minutes, or until the chocolate is shiny and soft, but holding its shape and not completely melted.

Remove from oven and carefully place on M&M in the center of each peppermint kiss and press down gently. Place in refrigerator to allow chocolate to set.

Source: I have gotten this from neighbors and friends for years now. It's pretty self-explanatory, but I found a recipe for it through Pinterest. You can find the recipe here.

Notes: Oh, these were good. I made more than 70. I just filled my jelly role pan as much as I could. I didn't keep track of the final count. You can make these at any time of the year. Use pink, red, and white M&Ms for Valentine's Day. Or use regular colors of M&Ms for any time of the year.

Pretzel M&M Rolo Treats


70 circular or square pretzels
70 Rolos, unwrapped
70 red and green M&Ms


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Place pretzels on the cookie sheet in a single layer and then top each pretzel with a Rolo.

Bake in oven 1-2 minutes, or until Rolos are softened, but not completely melted.

Remove from oven and place one M&M in the center of each Rolo. Place in refrigerator until set.

Source: Again, this is one I have gotten from family and friends for ages, but I found some instructions on You can find it here.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Yummy Shredded Pork


This pork is great on its own or served in sandwich form. Don't forget to top it with the amazing sauce. Don't be overwhelmed by the huge list of ingredients. More ingredients just means more flavor! This is another recipe that requires a smoker. You could make it in a slow cooker, but just be aware that the flavor won't be the same.

Peach Pork Butt


Dry Rub:

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon turbinado or raw sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


3/4 cup peach juice (drained from the canned peaches used in the sauce recipe, below)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 (6-8 pound) bone-in pork butt


2 cups Memphis-Style Championship Red Sauce (recipe below)
1 can peaches in natural juices, drained (juices reserved) and chopped


Build a fire (wood or a combination of charcoal and wood) for indirect cooking by situating the coals on only one side of the grill, leaving the other side void.

In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients. Mix well and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, combine all the injection ingredients and blend until the sugar dissolves. Using a meat syringe, inject the meat evenly at 1-inch intervals from the top side, using the entire amount of the injection solution. Coat the pork evenly with dry rub, patting gently until the mixture adheres to the meat.

When the heat reaches 250 degrees F, place the pork butt on the void side of the cooker, close the lid, and cook over indirect heat for 7 to 10 hours, until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 190 degrees F. Continually monitor the grill temperature and add hot charcoal or wood coals as needed to maintain the cooker temperature of 250 degrees F. Remove the pork to a cutting board and let it rest for 20 minutes.

In a saucepan, combine the barbecue sauce and chopped peaches and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Slice, pull, or chop the cooked meat into bite-size pieces and serve drizzled with the sauce or serve the sauce on the side.

Source: Recipe by Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book (Clarkson Potter). You can find it here.

Notes: This was really flavorful. As mentioned above, it is great on its own or served as a sandwich.


Memphis-Style Championship Red Sauce


1 1/4 cup ketchup
1 cup water
3/4 cup vinegar
3/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons molasses
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons Worcestershire
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin


Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. Let cool; transfer to a jar and store, refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Source: Recipe by Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book (Clarkson Potter). You can find it here.

Notes: The picture above shows the peaches added into the sauce for the Peach Pork Butt recipe, otherwise it is a smooth barbecue sauce.

Slow Cooker "Roasted" Potatoes

So, these potatoes aren't really roasted since they are made in a slow cooker, but what could be easier?

Slow-Roasted Potatoes


16 small new red potatoes, washed, unpeeled, and halved
3 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Black pepper, to taste


Combine the potatoes, butter, paprika, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a slow cooker. Stir to blend. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or on high for 4 hours.

Source: The Daily Meal. You can find it here. Though be aware that the picture they use on their site is a stock photo and your potatoes won't end up looking like that.

Notes: These were tasty. Be generous with the seasoning though. Feel free to use more salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder than noted in the recipe. Also, we used minced garlic rather than garlic powder.

Monday, November 21, 2016

It's Not Fall Without Pumpkin


So, apparently my mom hates pumpkin. However, I just have to have something with pumpkin in it around this time of year. It's just a flavor that says "autumn" to me.

Here's a great cake to help you take care of your pumpkin cravings this fall.


Pumpkin Layered Magic Cake


Cake Layer:
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Pumpkin Layer:
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup half-and-half
3 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream
Pumpkin pie spice, for sprinkling


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat Cake Layer ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Scrape bowl; beat 2 minutes on medium speed. Spread in pan.

In another large bowl, mix Pumpkin Layer ingredients with whisk until smooth. Carefully spoon pumpkin mixture over cake batter in pan.

Bake 48 to 53 minutes or until cake is set when touched lightly in center. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to chill.

In large bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until smooth. Add whipping cream; beat until smooth, and stiff peaks form. Spread over chilled cake. Sprinkle lightly with pumpkin pie spice. Store covered in refrigerator.

Source: Betty Crocker. You can find it here.

Notes: I was worried after I baked this that the pumpkin layer hadn't sunk to the bottom. I really couldn't tell from the outside of the pan, but once I cut into it, it had turned out perfectly. This dessert is so easy to put together and will take care of your pumpkin craving for sure.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Turning Cereal Into Dessert


I know, I know. Most cereal is sweet enough that it could be considered dessert, but if you want to turn it into a technical dessert, these recipes are for you.


Cookie Cereal Marshmallow Treats


4 tablespoons butter
10 oz. marshmallows (1 large bag)
6 cups cookie cereal
1 bag white melting chocolate/candy coating wafers
Mini chocolate chips


Melt the butter in a large pot and add the marshmallows. Stir the marshmallows until completely melted and smooth. Add cookie cereal and stir to combine.

Press cookie cereal into a buttered cookie sheet (you can line the sheet with foil to make for easier removal).

Press flat and let the cookie cereal treats sit until completely set and cooled.

Cut treats into squares. Melt the white chocolate according to the package directions. Dip half of each treat square into the melted white chocolate. Tap off any excess chocolate.

Place dipped treats on a sheet of waxed paper and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Let treats sit until chocolate has set.

Source: Big Bear's Wife. You can find the recipe here.

Notes: We didn't melt the white candy coating wafers and dip the treats into the melted chocolate. We simply sprinkled the candy coating wafers on top along with the mini chocolate chips. We did this to cut down on time, but still incorporate the white chocolate flavor.


Honey Nut Cheerios Peanut Butter Bars


1 cup white sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)


Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a large pan, melt sugar and corn syrup over medium heat until it barely comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter. Add Cheerios, 2 cups at a time and stir until fully coated.

Press mixture into a 9x13-inch dish.

Optional: Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute and drizzle chocolate on top of the bars.

Store leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.

Source: I Heart Nap Time. You can find it here.

Notes: These were quite tasty!


Cookie Butter and White Chocolate Cheerios Marshmallow Treats


7 cups Honey Nut Cheerios
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup Biscoff cookie spread
1 (10 1/2 ounce) bag miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup white chocolate chips


Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter and Biscoff cookie spread. Add in the marshmallows and stir constantly until completely melted. Toss in the white chocolate chips and stir.

Remove pot from the stove and fold in the Cheerios cereal until evenly coated with the melted marshmallows.

Pour mixture into the prepared pan and press into pan.

Cut into squares after mixture has fully set and cooled.

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Source: Belly Full. You can find it here.

Notes: I would increase the cookie butter next time. It was a very subtle taste and I would like to make the cookie butter flavor more prominent. I would use at least 1/2 cup next time.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Treats, Part 2

The parade of Halloween Pinterest ideas continues! These are the last of the Halloween treats I made this year.


Above: These mummy juice boxes were a little sparse on their wrappings. I had two rolls of white duct tape and I could only find one--the one that was almost out of tape. I used a glue gun and glued googly eyes on the juice box and wrapped it in strips of white duct tape. The verdict: I wish I had more tape to fully cover the juice boxes. The kids loved these. They thought they were so fun.


Above: Cheese and pretzel witch's brooms. I cut cheese sticks into thirds and then cut the bottoms to look like broom bristles. Then I stuck a pretzel in the top carefully (to avoid splitting the cheese, which was really easy to split). The verdict: this was one of my boys' favorite Halloween snacks, and one of the easiest to make. However, another night, I just cut cubes of cheese and gave them a pile of pretzel sticks and they stabbed the cheese with the pretzels themselves and ate it that way just as happily.


Above: Hot Dog Mummies. I cut the hot dogs so it looked like they had arms and legs and then I wrapped them in strips of refrigerated crescent roll dough. I baked them according to the package directions for the dough until they were nicely browned. Then I gave them little dots of mustard for the eyes. The verdict: I have made these before without cutting the hot dogs to give them arms and legs. Honestly, it is much faster and easier to do it that way and they still look just as cute. Of course, my boys just unwrapped the crescent strips, ate the hot dogs, and discarded the crescent rolls.

Above: Halloween Sharpie magic!


Above: Fruit cup Jack-o'-Lanterns. These can be made with mandarin oranges, mangoes, or peaches. These were cute and easy. The verdict: of course, my kids refused to eat them, so I ate them!

Above: Easy cheese ball Jack-o-Lanterns. Plastic bags decorated with a black Sharpie and filled with cheese puff balls. The verdict: my kids actually ate these. Wow! Ha ha!


Above: Popcorn ghosts. Kettle corn popcorn (just popped from a store bought package) mixed with mini marshmallows. The verdict: one of my boys ate only the popcorn and the other picked out only the marshmallows.

Above: Ghosts in the Graveyard Cake. I made this for a neighbor when I took dinner in to her and her family. I used Peeps ghosts, candy pumpkins, Milano cookies decorated with black gel frosting, a yellow cake mix, and a can of store bought chocolate frosting. Easy peasy.



Above: Those ghost Peeps sure are cute.

Above: English muffin mummy pizzas. I used canned pizza sauce spread on split English muffins and I sprinkled a little shredded mozzarella cheese on top. I then used strips of string cheese to create bandage strips on the mummies and finally topped them off with two olive eyes. I lightly broiled them in the oven until the cheese was melted. When my oldest boy was really little, I made these for him and for the longest time, he would call sliced olives "mummy eyes." He would ask me for months after that if he could have some mummy eyes to eat.


Above: Octopus mini pot pies. By the way, I realize that this octopus pot pie has only 7 legs. One of my boys pulled off the eighth leg and ate it before I got a good picture. I also made a mini Jack-o'-Lantern pot pie, but all of my pictures of that one turned out blurry. It was a cute one though!

Above: Here's my full-size mummy pot pie. I used this recipe for the filling and used strips of puff pastry for the topping...oh, and of course, two olive eyes. I baked it until the strips of puff pastry were nicely browned (which took longer than I expected). This turned out delicious. My kids, of course, wouldn't eat it.

Above: Spider cheese and crackers. Ritz crackers, Easy Cheese (sprayable cheese), and sliced olives cut and placed on the cheese to look like spiders. The verdict: my boys did not eat these either. Ha ha!


Final verdict: Well, I learned that my oldest son is creeped out by food that looks spooky. He wouldn't even eat some gummy eyeballs that I had bought. My younger son loved helping me make these. Ultimately, my boys just wanted snacks when they got home from school and they didn't really care much what those snacks looked like as long as it sounded good to them and filled their hungry stomachs quickly. So, while all of these Halloween treats were adorable, it wasn't really worth the time for me to make them..for me, at least. Maybe they would feel differently about snacks like this next year. Maybe if I had girls instead of boys, they would have loved them. Who knows? Kids are unpredictable that way. Oh well. I had fun making them and I thought they were cute! I probably won't go to the time and expense to make all of these (or so many of them) next year...unless my kids actually ask me if I can do it for them.

Halloween Treats, Part 1

This year, the call of Pinterest was just too strong. I decided to make some fun Halloween goodies for my boys. Here are some of the things I made this season.

Above: All it takes to make "Monster Toes" is Circus Peanuts candy and Runts candy. Press the Runts into the Circus Peanuts and voila. The verdict? My kids just pulled the Runts off and ate those and left most of the Circus Peanuts behind. Sacrilege! I love Circus Peanuts! My kids, not so much.

Above: Olive spider deviled eggs. I bought some prepared deviled eggs at Harmon's and cut up some black olives to make the spiders. The verdict: Those spiders are actually quite time consuming to make. My boys were grossed out by them. One of my boys picked off the olive pieces and ate those, but discarded the egg. My other son pulled off the olive pieces and ate a bit of egg, but not the whole thing. Their friend who was over for a play date happily ate the rest of them all by himself and loved them!


Above: I saw two versions of this on Pinterest. One version had "blood" filled syringes and the other had bloody vampire fangs. I opted for the vampire fangs since it is a lot easier to find vampire fangs in the store than syringes. All this consists of is lemon lime soda and grenadine syrup, to taste. Oh, and some vampire fangs. I thought this was cute, but honestly, the fangs just got in the way and made it hard to drink. My kids just pulled the fangs out to wear them and ignored the drink. I'm always a fan of Shirley Temples though. I think I would like the syringe version better just because I think the syringe wouldn't get in the way of drinking your drink as much as the fangs did.


Above: This was really easy. I got one of those spray containers of white frosting (Betty Crocker), some mini powdered donuts, and some candy eyeballs (you can find them in most grocery stores around Halloween, or you can buy them online). The verdict: these were so cute. I mean, look at those donuts! They have so much personality! However, everyone just picked the eyeballs off because they thought they were too crunchy and hard to chew.

Above: This was a little more time consuming than the ghost donuts. It took awhile to break the pretzels just right to make the spider legs. I used a can of sprayable black frosting, mini chocolate donuts, and candy eyes. The verdict: these were so cute! However, again, my kids didn't like the candy eyes. They pulled out the pretzel legs and asked for a bag of pretzels and then just ate some chocolate donuts plain.


Above: You can't go wrong with simple hot cocoa topped with ghost Peeps. These were cute and everyone liked it.


Above: These Swiss Roll Frankenstein monsters were really cute. They were made with sprayable black frosting, black gel frosting, Swiss Rolls, and candy eyeballs. The verdict: everyone picked the candy eyeballs off of these and ate the rest.


Above: Mummy Twinkies. You could either dip some Twinkies in white chocolate or white candy coating or you could use pumpkin cake Twinkies that were already coated in white chocolate. For the bandages, I used sprayable white frosting. Of course, I also used more candy eyeballs. The verdict: again, these were so cute. The kids picked off the candy eyeballs and they didn't like the pumpkin Twinkies. I liked them though. It would take a lot longer to dip your own Twinkies in white chocolate, but I think it would be more kid-friendly.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Yet Another Recipe for the Other White Meat


Pork is always a nice change of pace from chicken and it is usually more cost efficient for a crowd than beef is. So, here's another great recipe we found.


Tasty Tender Pork Tenderloin


1 (1 1/2 pound) fat-trimmed pork tenderloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
All-purpose flour for dusting
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (8 ounce) bottle Russian-style salad dressing
3/4 cup honey
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Trim any excess fat from pork and pat dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess.

In a large skillet, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork in the oil, rotating to brown evenly all sides. Transfer to a baking dish dust large enough to fit the tenderloin.

In a bowl, stir together the Russian-style salad dressing, honey, and onion soup mix. Pour evenly over the tenderloin, rolling the meat to coat on all sides. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake, covered, in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, basting with glaze every 10 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 30 minutes, or until pork is no longer pink in the center.

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

Notes: This was really good. Also, I have to say, kudos to Christine for being the first Christine to register on Allrecipes! How is it that her username wasn't already taken up? The only explanation I can come up with is that she is the first...the one, the only!