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.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oktoberfest Find


For Oktoberfest this year, we just made some tried and true favorites that we have already previously posted on our blog. You can find some of our favorite Oktoberfest recipes here, here, and here. However, we did make this fantastic new discovery. My mom was reticent to make it because she worried that a lot of us wouldn't eat it because some people in our family aren't huge fans of cherries. Oh, I'm so glad she did make this though. It is fantastic!


German Black Forest Cake



1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt


2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) pitted tart cherries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons cherry brandy or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whipped Cream:

3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottoms of two greased 9-in. round baking pans; grease paper.

In a large bowl, beat milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well-blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into milk mixture.

Transfer to prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, for filling, drain cherries, reserving 1/2 cup juice. In a small saucepan, whisk sugar, cornstarch, and reserved juice; add cherries cook and stir over low heat 10-12 minutes, or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in brandy or vanilla. Cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until stiff peaks form.

Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Top with 1 1/2 cups whipped cream. Spread 3/4 cup filling to within 1 in. of edge. Repeat twice. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining whipped cream, reserving some to pipe decorations, if desired. Spoon remaining filling onto top of cake. Refrigerate until servings.

Yield: 12 servings.

Nutrition information: 1 slice: 659 calories, 34 g fat, 136 mg cholesterol, 329 mg sodium, 84 mg carbohydrate, 7g protein.

Source: Taste of Home, submitted by Stephanie Travis of Fallon, Nevada. You can find it here.

Notes: This is fantastic and completely worth using your calories on! Don't be tempted to substitute cherry pie filling for this recipe. The pitted tart cherries add so much to this cake.