round Cookies (I made sugar cookies and cut them out with a drinking glass)
1 can White frosting
Assorted sugar wafers (about 2 1/2 inches long)
M & M's candies or Chocolate chips
Bran cereal (such as All-Bran) or Shredded Wheat
Frost the top of each cookie. Cut a sugar wafer in half. Add a dollop of frosting to the top edge of the cookie and stick a wafer half to it for a hat top. Place a whole sugar wafer just below the hat top for a brim. Add a small licorice piece for hat trim. Press pieces of Shredded Wheat hair into the frosting around the hat. For the face, press on a candy corn nose, M & M eyes, and a licorice string mouth.
Tricky Witches' Brooms
So, I wrote this little poem, placed them at their plates at dinner and was met with a lot of giggles. The vegetables? Somehow the spooks made them disappear! They also thought it was funny they got to eat with their fingers after the broomsticks were gobbled up. Here's the poem cards ready to print, just print, cut, and have some spooky dinnertime fun. Enjoy!
Here's the poem in case you can't download the .pdf file:
It’s Halloween time,
and the spooks are about!
They love to play tricks,
so you better watch out!
They’ve taken your fork,
your knife and spoon, too!
But they left you witches’ brooms
to sweep up your food!
(ok, "food" doesn't really rhyme with "too" but hey, I'm a busy lady!;))
Shredded Wheat Cereal
Candy Melts or chocolate chips (any color, I just happened to have orange around)
Spread a sheet of wax paper on your counter or table. In a small bowl, melt Candy Melts in microwave for 60 seconds, stir well until smooth. Break apart Shredded Wheat cereal into sections, dip one end in Candy Melts. Place a pretzel stick on the chocolate. Let dry on wax paper until Candy Melts have hardened (about 20 minutes). Peel off and serve!
Sarah asked for my Chicken Tikka Masala recipe. It is THE BEST!! My friend Camie scored this one from their favorite Indian restaurant in St. Louis (correct me if I'm wrong, Camie!:)).
Chicken Tikka Masala
1 C. plain yogurt (I use low-fat)
1 T. lemon juice
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. black pepper
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. salt
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 long skewers
1 T. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 C. half and half (I often use Fat Free half and half)
¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice and 2 tsp. cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 1 tsp. salt. Stir in chicken, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. preheat grill and lightly oil grill grate. Thread chicken onto skewers and discard marinade. Grill until juices run clear, about 5 minutes on each side.
3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for 1 minute. Season with 2 tsp. cumin, paprika, and 1 tsp. salt. Stir in tomato sauce and half and half. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve with basmati rice.
Mini Cookie Cups
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (our very favorite recipe is below)
Mini-muffin pan (or if you want big cups, use a cupcake pan)
Non-stick cooking spray
Filling ingredients (the possibilities are endless!:))
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Turn muffin pan upside down and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Roll cookie dough into 1" balls and place on the top of every other muffin section. Spread dough gently down the sides of the muffin section. Here's a quick video tutorial:
We tried chocolate puddin' cups. Yum!:
PERFECT Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks Butter
1 tsp. Baking Soda
¾ C. Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
¾ C. Brown Sugar
1 ½ C. Chocolate Chips
1 Tbs. Vanilla
2 ¼ C. Flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whip butter until creamy, then add sugar and beat. Add Salt, vanilla & egg. Sift flour and soda then add to mixture. Bake 8-11 minutes until edges are barely brown.
Backwards, Crazy Dinner
Meatloaf in Mugs:
(I baked them in a cupcake pan for about 30 minutes then put them in mugs. I was afraid the mugs would be too hot if I baked the meatloves in them. This worked great! My favorite meatloaf recipe is here.).
Ice Cream Cone Potatoes w/ Pea & Carrot Sprinkles:
(make your favorite mashed potatoes, put them in a ziploc baggie, snip the end and squirt into ice cream cones. Put a few cooked peas and carrots on the top for "sprinkles". I also put some peas and carrots in the bottom of the cone).
Peach & Honey Smoothies on a plate:
(I just threw some frozen peaches, vanilla protein powder, skim milk, and honey in the blender).
Crazy Cool Sandwiches
Cut corners off sandwich, tip up to resemble ears. Spread peanut butter (or cream cheese) on top of sandwich, top with popcorn, olive eyes, and a fruit snack tongue.
Use diagram below to see how to cut it out. Mane is shredded carrot and facial features are raisins.
Hedgie the Hedgehog:
Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut a heart shape out of a sandwich. Break a handful of pretzel sticks in half and stick them into the back of the cut out shape (as shown). Use shorter sticks for the ones right behind the eyes. Take 3 regular chocolate chips and using peanut butter for the glue, glue them on for the eyes and nose.
Where do you get your inspiration?: I got tired of making my kids the same 'ole stuff for lunch everyday. I noticed that they ate more when they were eating creations. It all just kind of evolved from there. A lot of the food out there for kids is great, but most of the creative food were in cupcake or sugar form. I wanted to create fun new ways to make sandwiches, which is what the average mom makes for their kids on an everyday basis. I wanted to create a place where the food was fun, simple, basic, and with lots of substitution ideas so that you felt comfortable enough to get in the kitchen and start playing with your food!!
Make any sandwich you would like and then cut the sides off as shown. Take the pieces and flip them backwards to make them fit as shown. Cut a large marshmallow in half for the base of the eyes. Cut a raisin in half for the eyes, and another raisin for the beak.
Cut a Jack O’Lantern face out of a slice of bread. I used a simple knife to cut out the shapes. Spread whatever you want on another slice of bread. I used Peanut Butter and Honey. Seemed irredescant and to sort of glow. Use what your child will eat though!! Next, stack the cut out piece of bread on top. How easy is that?!? Tips: if sending them in a lunchbox for school, use a little peanut butter or cream cheese to adhere the decorations and embellishments.
Ghostly Shepherd's Pie
1 lb ground beef
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 bag (12 oz) frozen mixed vegetables
2 C. diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained (from 28-oz can)
1 jar (12 oz) beef gravy
1 3/4 C. water
2 Tbsp. butter/margarine
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 C. milk
2 1/4 C. Potato Buds mashed potatoes (dry) or any other dried potatoes
1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Add beef and onion; cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly cooked; drain.
2. Set 12 peas (from frozen vegetables) aside for garnish. Add remaining frozen vegetables, tomatoes and gravy to beef mixture. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
3. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat water, butter and garlic powder to boiling. Remove from heat; add milk. Stir in dry potatoes and cheese. Add egg; blend well.
4. Spoon beef mixture into ungreased 2 - 2 1/2 quart baking dish. With large spoon, make 6 mounds of potato mixture on top of beef mixture to resemble ghosts. Place 2 reserved peas on each mound to resemble eyes.
5. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are set and mixture is thoroughly heated.
Enjoy with your little ghosts & goblins!!
Happy National Cupcake Week!
Spooky Spider Web Pizzas
4 whole wheat pitas (or any pizza crusts--I just had the pitas on hand)
8 sticks string cheese
1 C. pizza sauce
10 large black pitted olives
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lay pitas on baking sheet. Let the kids spoon about 1/4 c. pizza sauce on the pita and spread it around.
Now the fun part! Peel away pieces of the string cheese and lay on the pita to make a spider-web pattern. Bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
While pizzas are baking, cut olives to make spiders (see my quick video tutorial).
After removing pizzas from the oven, let cool for a couple minutes and add olive spiders. Serve and watch the spooks gobble them up!
Cupcakes-a-go-go & Giveaway
In honor of that perfect little culinary confection, we're having a giveaway! Just leave a comment and you're entered to win a new copy of my very favorite cupcake idea book: Hello, Cupcake!
Our Favorite Cake Mix Fixes (for fast and fabulous cupcakes!)
Fresh, Fruity, & Fun (this is our very favorite and the one I made today)
1 pkg. Duncan Heinz cake mix---chocolate or yellow works best but you can use whatever.
¼ c. flour (for high altitudes only)
1 can mandarin oranges (about 11 oz.)
1/3 c. oil
Put oranges (juice and all) in blender and mix. Combine blended oranges and all other ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Put in cupcake pans with liners (or sprayed) and bake as directed on box.
Red Velvet Cupcakes from The Cake Mix Doctor
1 package (18.25 ounces) plain German chocolate cake mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 bottle (1 ounce) red food coloring--yep, the whole bottle!
3 large eggs
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, food coloring, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape sides and continue to mix until well-blen ded. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon into lined cupcake cups, filling it three quarters of the way full.
Bake the cupcakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 18 to 20 minutes.
Eyeballs, Eyeballs Everywhere!
Royal Icing (recipes below)
Black Food Coloring (or cocoa powder)
Circular cake decorating frosting tip or Ziploc Freezer Bag
Directions: Tape wax paper to counter or table. Using black food coloring, tint 1/4 of your icing black (if you don't have black food coloring, you can use cocoa powder to make a dark brown--add a little water if your icing gets too thick). Using a cake decorating bag with a circular tip (or simply use a freezer ziploc bag and cut off a tiny bit of one corner if you don't have cake decorating supplies). Using white first, squeeze out a counter full of dots:
ROYAL ICING (Egg White Recipe)
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
Combine ingredients, beat at high speed for 7-10 minutes.
ROYAL ICING (Meringue Powder recipe)
3 tbsp. meringue powder (you can get this in the wedding/cake supplies at Wal-Mart)
1 lb. confectioners' sugar
6 tbsp. warm water (in humidity use less water)
Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks at low speed. Yield approximately 3 cups.
Notes: Please keep icing covered with a damp cloth or paper towel while not in use, otherwise it will harden. To attach eyeballs to food, moisten the back of the eyeball with a little water and it will stick to most anything.
Your favorite pancake batter (or simple recipe below)
Spread pancake batter in blobs on griddle heated on medium-high heat. Don't worry too much about the shapes, just make sure they aren't circles.
Notes: MothertoMany had a great idea! She said, "A healthier version would be to use some "boo"berries for the mouth and eyes instead of chocolate chips, or raisins, or even craisins." Happy Ghosting!
BASIC PANCAKE BATTER
2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 c. milk
3 tbsp. oil
Mix all together. Pour 3 tablespoons batter in skillet. Brown on both sides until batter is done.
Witches Brew Puddings
Click here to get the labels I made and feel free to substitute any ingredients you have on hand--the only two you really need are instant pudding and milk. I made up this little poem and labels and all the kids had a great time mixing their own "pudding brew" for dessert. Here's the poem in case you can't download it: It’s Halloween and time for treats,
But be careful about the things you eat!
If you’re brave here’s what to do,
We’ll mix up a little Witches Brew!
Pick your potion, mix it well,
and we’ll see if you fall under a spell!
If you turn into a frog, don’t have a fright,
You’ll turn back tomorrow night. Boo!!
Witches Brew Puddings
Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix (Bone Dust)
Milk (Ghost Blood)
Chocolate Chips (Bat Droppings)
Mini-Marshmallows (Frog’s Eyes)
Granola (Smashed Tombstones)
Locorice (Goblin Guts)
Fruity Pebbles cereal flakes (Mystical Moonbeam pieces)
Orange Food Coloring (Owlish Orange)
Green Food Coloring (Goblin Green)
Pop Rocks Candy (Exploding Newt Eyes)
Fill cups with various ingredients and attach labels. Give each child a glass with the poem attached (click here to download it along with the labels). Let them each put a few scoops of "bone dust" and pour some "Ghost Blood" in their cups. Add a drop or two of "Owlish Orange" or "Goblin Green" if desired. Let them add various optional ingredients (this is all the junk you cleaned out of your pantry;)) and then let them mix their spooky brew. Eat and enjoy!
Here's Big C slurping up her Goulish Creation!
Easy Homemade Butter
Today the girls made their own butter in baby food jars! I love activities that show them how food is made and they LOVED eating their fresh butter wtih rolls for lunch. All you need is heavy cream, small jars or containers, and lot of shakin'! Cortini mentioned that they do this at Thanksgiving, what a great idea! You could give each child a jar and they can make the butter for dinner!:)
Baby food jars (or other small sealable container)
optional: fresh herbs, honey, or other flavoring
At first, the cream will just coat the sides of the jar. Then, it will start to seperate into a watery substance and more solid cream. Keep shaking a few more minutes, and it will re-combine into creamy butter! You can add fresh herbs or even a little honey if you want some different flavors (add them after you've finished mixing the butter). Serve with fresh rolls or crackers. Yum!
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