Wednesday, October 30, 2013

BoO Bark!

Sometimes you want a little trick with your treat.

This spookalicious dessert will have all of your little ghosts and goblins howling for more!

I first saw this bark on the Family Fresh blog- a go-to site for easy recipes for adults and kids alike.

Here is how you too can celebrate Halloween this year. It's so good, its scary!

I used:

2 bags of white chocolate melting wafers
2 cups of pretzels (any shape)
1 bag of candy corn
10 broken up oreo cookies
Assorted Halloween sprinkles (I found my test tube sprinkles that included BONES at Michael's)
Candy eyeballs

1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Spread a layer of pretzels evenly.

3. Add candy corn.

4. Add the broken oreos.

5. Melt one bag of chocolate in the microwave and pour over the cookie sheet. Use a spoon to combine and spread.

6. Melt the second bag and pour over it again. Using a spatula, spread and flatten to the edge of the cookie sheet, taking care all the pieces are covered in chocolate.

7. Sprinkle more candy corn, sprinkles, bones, and eyeballs. I took some time to ensure the eyeballs were face up.

8. Gently press to ensure all pieces are sticking well.

9. Place tray in the freezer for 30 minutes.

10. Test the chocolate by lifting it off the tray. It should look like this.

11. Being firm, yet gentle, break the pieces up to your liking. If you are lucky, you will find pieces like this that seem to be staring at you....spooky!

12. Keep in an air tight container in a cool spot. Be prepared to share!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meatless Monday: Kale Quiche with Spaghetti Squash Crust

I love this recipe for an easy family friendly meal that is big on is also perfectly seasonal, and makes for easy leftovers...if there is any left! BONUS: Gluten free!

1 medium spaghetti squash
Olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 handfuls of torn kale leaves
4 eggs
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded Vermont cheddar cheese
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a cooking sheet with a Silpat.

2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half, and place face down on the Silpat. Allow to cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool until easily handled.

3. Meanwhile, beat 4 eggs in a bowl, and add milk, cheeses, salt, pepper. Set aside.

4. In a medium pan, heat olive oil and add onion and garlic, cooking until translucent and fragrant.

5. Add the kale, cooking quickly, and allow to cool.

6. Add the kale to the milk mixture, stirring until just combined.

7. Scrape the spaghetti squash, and press into a pie pan sprayed with Pam.

8. Pour the filling and bake in the heated oven (still at 400 degrees) for about 35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center.

9. Allow to cool before cutting into slices. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quick Crafts With Big Results #4: Halloween Tees

Want to make a craft that is all treat and no tricks?

Try this simple and quick tee shirt craft, perfect for gift giving- I would love it on a onesie as well, or perhaps on a tea towel, maybe a pillowcase...

Here's what you will need:

-Clean tee shirts, in either white, orange, or black
-Tulip black fabric paint
-Sponge brush
-Cardboard scraps
-Some tape

1. Using a marker, draw out your shapes to make. I made ghost and pumpkin facial features.

2. Carefully cut out the shapes, taping any slits closed from your cuttings.

3. Position a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to protect from paint leakage.

4. Holding a piece of cardboard with the nose or mouth first to ensure even placement, tap the foam brush in some paint and paint the stencil.

5. Remove carefully, and continue to paint in the additional stencil pieces.

6. When complete, move t-shirt with cardboard liner somewhere safe and allow to dry completely.

7. The paint is washable in cold water, tumble dry low.

8. Give your boo-tiful gift to your favorite ghouls and goblins!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Magically Delicious Pumpkin Bars

There is something about a magic bar that is just...well...magic.

These bad boys are a notch above that, with the addition of pumpkin in the filling.

Try these today, regret the calories tomorrow.

8 graham crackers, crushed in food processor
1/2 a stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
7 ounces of condensed milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup of walnuts
1 cup of chocolate chips
1 cup of shredded coconut

1. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment. (This will make it easier to cut and remove the bars later)

2. Stir the graham cracker crumbs with the butter and press mixture into the bottom of the pan.

3. Mix the spice, pumpkin, and condensed milk in a bowl until smooth, then pour over the crust.

4. Add the chips...

5. Add the walnuts...

6. Spread the coconut over the top. (Easy so far, right? MAGIC!)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool, then put in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting into squares. Yum.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Set it and forget it" Pumpkin Butter

Want to impress your pumpkin-obsessed friends?

Make this easy FOUR ingredient pumpkin butter in your beloved slow cooker.

Makes 2 half pint jars.
1 can pure pumpkin, 15 ounces
1/2 cup apple juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spices (don't have that? try cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg)

1. Dump all the ingredients and stir.

2. Set the slow cooker to low and cover for 5 hours. (This is the point where you can walk away and binge-watch Netflix)

3. Mix every once and a while, scraping down sides with a spatula.

4. Remove from heat, place in mason jars and allow to cool completely.

Lasts one week in the fridge once opened, or you can freeze it. EASY! And oh so delish!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Mini Pumpkin Pies...Made in mason jar lids!

Why is it everything in miniature form tastes better?

When I saw these Mason Jar Lid Pumpkin Pies on one of my favorite blogs, Mason Jar Love, I knew I had to try them!

I made some minor alterations, choosing to make my own pie crust and using real pumpkin filling for the pies.

The premise was simple enough, using a glass to make circles of dough, and pressing them into mason jar lids, so that the lids work like a spring form pan.


Half way through baking, I pressed a dough cut out of my autumn shapes, and baked another 20 minutes.

The pies popped right out of the lids, and held together nicely.

The flavor was ridiculous on these hand held beauties, and I have no doubt these would be the hit of any Thanksgiving affair.

My only complaint was that it took a long time to create them, for the few bites they provide. I ended up making additional dough and making a large pie out of the remaining filling, and made a leaf wreath to highlight the fall bounty of the pie.

Hope this inspires you to think beyond the mason jar...and eat more pumpkin while you still can!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tarte Tatin: French for "delicious but difficult"...

With a plethora of apples from our apple picking trip, I decided to challenge myself and channel my inner Martha with a Tarte Tatin.

This seemingly easy recipe came with some challenges, the caramel leaked into the oven and luckily for Ivan's nose, we smelled the burning and were able to avoid dessert and homeowner disaster :)

However, even for that scare, I would try this recipe again. The flavor is incredible, the homemade caramel, buttery soft apples, and deliciously flaky crust were the perfect ending to a relaxing Sunday at home.

Here is the recipe, adapted from "The Baking Handbook" by Martha Stewart. I added in some key advice that will save you the stress I suffered, so all should go smoothly for you, my faithful audience.

First make the dough:
1 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, chopped into 8 pieces
1/4 cup of ice water

Blend the flour, butter and salt in a food processor until combined and pebble-like.

Add the ice water and pulse until combines into a dough.

Remove from food processor and mold into a ball with your hands.

I LOVE this pie crust tool I received as a gift from a friend in Vermont. You throw the dough in the bag, roll it out and VOILA! Instant perfection and no mess. SWOON.

Get yours here!

Put your dough in the fridge and begin to make your dessert.

1 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
4 tablespoons of butter cut into pieces (plus more for pan)
4 apples peeled and cut into quarters. (I mixed sweet and baking apples, using a half apple in the middle of my tart.)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Then, grease a pie pan generously with butter. Place pan on a cookie sheet for baking to avoid run off of the caramel. TRUST ME HERE!

2. In a small saucepan, mix the sugar, 2 tablespoons of water and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and mix until it turns into an amber color, this took about 6 minutes for me.

3. Pour the mixture into the pie pan and then sprinkle the butter pieces.

4. Working quickly, place the apples curved side down in a circular shape.

5. Bring out dough from refrigerator, and place on top of the apples lightly pressing down.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crust is golden.

7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then place a large plate over the pie pan and flip over quickly. (Be very careful of dripping caramel as it will be extremely hot.) Place the plate with the tart on a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Trust me.

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