9/30/2009

Franken-Snacks

Happy Anniversary to Gourmet Dad and me!
Our anniversary officially kicks off my favorite time of year...
Halloween time to Christmas!
We have all kinds of frightfully fun recipes as well as amazing giveaways! Let's get the party started!!!
Need a frightfully yummy Halloween snack? Here's a perfect mix to whip up for your next gathering or school party.
You can change up the "Mix-in" ingredients to suit your family's taste (or whatever you need to clean out the pantry!:)), the Chex Frankensteins are what makes this treat truly "Spook-tacular".
Franken-Snacks
Ingredients:
8 c. Corn Chex Cereal
1 package Lemon-Lime drink mix (unsweetened, we used Kool-Aid)
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1/2 c. Light corn syrup
1/3 c. Butter or Margarine
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 oz. vanilla candy coating (we used Candi-Quick, available in the baking aisle)
1 oz. chocolate candy coating (we used Candi-Quick, available in the baking aisle)
1/4 c. Cheerios
Toothpick
Wax Paper
Non-Stick cooking spray

Mix-ins (you can change them as desired):

3 C. Kix Cereal
2 C. Trix Cereal
3 C. mini-pretzels
1 bag Goldfish Crackers
1 C. M & M's Candies

Directions:
Heat oven to 225 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat the sugar, syrup and margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil for 3 minutes (do not stir).
Remove from heat and stir in soda and Koolaid. (Does this look like a spooky brew in a cauldron or what??!)
Pour over 6 cups Chex Cereal and stir gently. Spread onto greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 225 F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and while still warm, set 20-30 pieces on another greased cookie sheet to use as your "Frankensteins". Cool completely, stirring occasionally if desired.
To assemble "Frankensteins", melt chocolate candy coating in a small microwave-safe bowl for 45 seconds. Stir well. Dip one end of a Chex square into the chocolate. This is your "hair". Set on wax paper to dry. Using a toothpick, dip end into chocolate and draw two eyes and a mouth on your creature. Repeat with all 20-30 squares. When set (about 5 minutes), melt vanilla candy coating as above. Dip two Cheerios in coating and attach to sides of Frankenstein (these are his "bolts"). Let dry completely.
Mix remaining Chex and other Mix-ins in a large bowl. Top with your "Frankensteins" and serve it up to the waiting Goblins and Ghouls!
You can also spoon into small bags and tie with ribbon for a fun school snack or party favor. Happy Haunting!

9/29/2009

Harvest White Hot Chocolate

We just had the yummiest, "Autumniest" treat...
White Hot Chocolate spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg
with some frozen Orange & Candy Corn whipped cream!

The best part? If you are watching your fat/calories, you can substitute fat free half & half and use a tub of fat free cool whip to make this delicious treat guilt free!
Harvest Spiced White Hot Chocolate
Drink Ingredients:
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups half-and-half (you can also substitute fat-free half and half and it’s good!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine white chocolate chips, half and half, and heavy cream (or fat free half and half if you are cutting fat/calories). Stir often until white chocolate chips have completely melted. Stir in vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir occasionally until heated through. Pour into cups and top with a dallop of frozen Harvest Whipped Cream (recipe below).

Harvest Frozen Whipped Cream Ingredients:
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
½ c. candy corn, chopped
zest from one orange (optional)
orange food coloring (optional)

Directions:
The fabulous Bridget over at Bakeat350 put it into my head that I could freeze whipping cream for later use....I thought "PERFECT for hot drinks, it won't melt as fast!". Thanks, Bridget!:)
Put heavy cream and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl, beat on high speed for 2 minutes, until fluffy and firm. Add orange zest and a few drops orange food coloring (optional)Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet lined in wax paper. Sprinkle with candy corn and place in freezer. When frozen, you can remove them and keep in sealed container in freezer until ready to use. They will store for several weeks!

9/26/2009

Chavrie Dip & $100 Giveaway!

I had a little brunch with four friends and made this dip... Here's what it looked like 45 minutes later...
We had a table full of all kinds of yummy food (fruits, quiche, cheeses, spinach dip, breads, candy, cookies, you name it) and this was the only thing that was completely gone. It's SO GOOD! Am I going to share the recipe? Of course!

Also, I'm super-excited to tell you that we're giving away everything you need to re-create it plus a $50 Gift Certificate to cooks.com! How cool is that??!
Warm Creamy Chavrie Spread
Ingredients:

1 pkg. 5.3 oz. Chavrie® Pyramid
2 tbsp. chopped dried tart cherries
2 tbsp. diced dried apricots
1 tbsp. finely diced crystallized ginger
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. minced fresh parsley
20 thin slices French baguette
Directions:
Heat broiler. Spread Chavrie® in small shallow oven-proof dish. Mix in half of diced cherries, apricots & ginger.
Sprinkle with remaining fruit & ginger. Broil 3 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is warm.
Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with baguette slices (I served ours with True North Almond Cranberry Crisps--YUM!). This is a perfect appetizer for a small gathering, but it is easily doubled for a larger crowd!

Chavrie fresh goat cheese is giving one
Gourmet Mom-on-the-Go reader a
Gourmet Fall Entertaining Prize Pack worth $100
that includes:


*Williams-Sonoma Cherry Wood Bread Board with Dip Bowl
*Dried fruits (Cherries & Apricots)
*Crystallized Ginger
*Chavrie Coupons – Free Cheese!
*Cooking.com Gift Certificate for $50.00
*Chavrie recipe cards (dips, quick tips and wine suggestions)


This giveaway is now closed. We have a winner!
Hillcrest Acres who said...
"I posted about your giveaway on the sidebar of my blog.
please email me with your mailing address within 3 days."

9/22/2009

Marshmallow Fondant

I've always loved seeing gorgeous fondant cakes, cookies, and cupcakes. The only problem is that it's so much work but tastes TERRIBLE! Bleh! Who wants to eat that?!
Awhile ago, a friend mentioned Marshmallow Fondant to me and I've always thought about trying it. I needed a treat to take to a friend and I had the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a shot....YUM! And easy! So far I've used it for cookies but it's great for cupcakes and cakes, too. If you store it correctly, it lasts for weeks in the fridge, so it's a fun make-ahead decorating idea.
Marshmallow Fondant-Topped Cookies
Ingredients:
Your favorite sugar cookies, baked
Marshmallow Fondant (recipe below)
Buttercream Icing
Any desired garnishes

Directions:
1) Roll out fondant (I spread some powdered sugar on the counter to prevent sticking) to about 1/8" thick
2) using the same cookie cutter you used to make the cookies, cut out fondant shapes
3) spread a little buttercream icing on the cookie
4) carefully lay a fondant shape on top of the icing, spread it gently with your fingers
5) garnish with whatever you want!

For these cookies, I used melted chocolate squeezed out of a ziploc baggie, gold dragees, and gold luster dust.

For these cookies, I used royal icing flowers (I was making a batch of edible eyeballs and had extra icing:)) and buttercream icing for the stripe and polka dots.

Marshmallow Fondant recipe from What's cooking America
You can see a great tutorial with lots of photos here at Cake Journal.
Ingredients:
16 ounces white mini-marshmallows (use a good quality brand)
2 to 5 tablespoons water
2 pounds powdered sugar
1/2 cup Crisco shortening (you will be digging into it so place in a very easily accessed bowl)

Directions:
Place marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, open microwave and stir, back in microwave for 30 seconds more, open microwave and stir again, and continue doing this until melted. It usually takes about 2 1/2 minutes total. Place 3/4 of the powdered sugar on the top of the melted marshmallow mix.
Now grease your hands GENEROUSLY (palms, backs, and in between fingers), then heavily grease the counter you will be using and dump the bowl of marshmallow/sugar mixture in the middle. Start kneading like you would bread dough. You will immediately see why you have greased your hands. Keep kneading, this stuff is sticky at this stage! Add the rest of the powdered sugar and knead some more. Re-grease your hands and counter when the fondant starts sticking. If the mix is tearing easily, it is to dry, so add water (about 1/2 tablespoon at a time and then knead it in). It usually takes me about 8 minutes to get a firm smooth elastic ball so that it will stretch without tearing when you apply it to the cake.
It is best if you can let it sit, double wrapped, overnight (but you can use it right away if there are no tiny bits of dry powdered sugar). If you do see them, you will need to knead and maybe add a few more drops of water.
Prepare the fondant for storing by coating it with a good layer of Crisco shortening, wrap in a plastic-type wrap product and then put it in a re-sealable or Ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. This will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

9/17/2009

PBJ Sushi

When I want to have a special lunch, I LOVE to pick up some good sushi. The problem is that my kids will eat it, too, and to be honest, sometimes I don't like to share. :) It's expensive!

I found a little "project" that they love just as much and we're both happy...
Introducing PBJ Sushi!
I think they just love smashing bread with a rolling pin...but hey, who wouldn't?!?

You can substitute turkey/cheese, hummus, anything you want. Peanut Butter & Jelly just happens to be a favorite around here.
As a side note, we are working out the logistics on a super-fun community service project for our family to do this year (food-related, of course!:)). It should be worked out next week and I can't wait to tell you all about it! We'll be posting our adventures on it throughout the year.

PBJ Sushi (or "Kid's Mock Sushi")
Ingredients:
Sliced Bread
Peanut Butter
Jelly
(or, your favorite sandwich fillings. Pepperoni and cheese is another favorite of ours)


Directions:
Lay a slice of bread on a cutting board and let your child roll it flat with a rolling pin or plastic drinking cup. Smashing bread is the best part!!:)

Spread a thin layer of peanut butter and jelly over 2/3 of the bread. You can also cut the crusts off if desired.



Roll it up, starting with the end spread with peanut butter/jelly, and press edges to seal.
Slice with a sharp knife and serve.Little H couldn't wait for the slicing, she devoured her first roll before I could get my hands on it to slice it up!

9/16/2009

Nature Valley Nut Clusters Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.
We have a winner!
scottsgal who said...
"My favorite thing about nature is seeing all the beautiful animals and birds in their natural habitat"

please drop me an email within 3 days with your mailing addres and we'll get you prize out!

We're new to the Pacific Northwest and I love how "outdoorsy" everyone is. There's always something fun going on outside, rain or shine. We've been hiking, climbing, biking, playing, and having all sorts of fun. When we're out and about, I try to pack healthy snacks for my kids that give them energy and protein. We've been fans (addicts) of Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters ever since we first tried them and thanks to MyBlogSpark, you can win your own Gift Pack!
Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters are a bite size blend of 100% natural ingredients that include select roasted nuts, whole grain oats and a touch of honey - a wholesome and delicious pick-me-up any time of the day. YUM!! I also love the fact that they come in resealable pouches--although it's hard for us to not finish the entire bag in one sitting. :)

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters is giving one Gourmet-Mom-on-the-Go reader a prize pack that includes:
*all four varieties of the Granola Nut Clusters*
*a sling backpack*
*stainless steel water bottle*
*flashlight*
*binoculars*

To enter:
simply leave a comment telling me something you like about nature! Easy!


Open to US Residents, we will draw a random winner on 9/24

Special thanks to MyBlogSpark for sponsoring this giveaway.

9/13/2009

Apple Brownies

Mmmmm.....it's apple season and my friend Darlene makes the best Apple Brownies, you MUST try them! She gave me the recipe a year or two ago and they're a favorite around here. They're oh-so-good, I even like them better than apple pie.

I whipped up half the batter in mini-loaf pans to give to my kids' teachers with a cute "apple note" attached.

Apple Brownies
Ingredients:
1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 C. flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 large or 4 small apples, peeled and diced
granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top after baking)
Caramel Ice Cream topping (optional)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Choose your pan size: either a 9 x 13 pan, two pie pans, or a pie pan and four mini-loaf pans. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and apples. Mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sugar.
When cool, drizzle with caramel sauce if desired.
May I have a mintue for a personal note? I miss you Darlene! She was my next door neighbor in Hershey and we had so much fun together!

9/10/2009

Green Goblins

It's time to make some Green Goblins!
This is a perfect "not-too-spooky" treat for younger kids, although I have to admit, the older ones seem to enjoy themselves, too....right, Gourmet Dad?....(nice Tootsie Roll tooth!)

We had so many laughs making these, it was a really great family activity.
This "Baby Goblin" was my favorite...

Green Goblins
Ingredients:
6 C. Kix Cereal
1 package marshmallows (about 40 large)
3 Tbs. butter or margarine
4 drops green food coloring
Wax Paper
Nonstick Cooking Spray
1 package circus peanuts (you need 2 per goblin)
1 can Pillsbury vanilla icing
assorted candies

Directions:
Put Marshmallows and butter in large mirowave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave 1 additional minute. Remove from microwave and stir in green food coloring.
Place Kix cereal into your cauldron...I mean large bowl... Pour marshmallow mixture over Kix and stir well. Let cool for 3-5 minutes.After mixture has cooled slightly but is still moldable, spray hands generously with cooking spray (otherwise you'll get VERY sticky!). Scoop out 3/4 C. of the mixture and shape into a firm ball. Place on wax paper to harden. After the Goblin Bodies are set (about 30 minutes), place on top of two Circus Peanut candies. Your Goblins are ready to decorate!


(As a side note, does this look like peas and carrots to anyone else??! Spooky!)


Place assorted candies in bowls on your table. Give each spook a goblin and a little bit of vanilla icing to use as "glue". Time to create! (This is also a great activity to clean out your pantry!!)

9/09/2009

Cook For a Cause

This giveaway is now closed. I LOVED reading all your ideas for dinner guests, this was one of the best giveaways ever!!
We're giving away TWO Macy's $25 Gift Cards!
Why? Macy's is feeding hungry Americans. That's awesome.

We have 2 winners!
CAW who said...
"Well I since i would be hosting with my husband- i would not consider him a guest. I would love to invite Britney Spears, Barack Obama, Jack Nicholas, Matt Logelin (blogger) and God"

CC who said...
"I forgot to mention that I'd host and cook dessert but no shopping or cooking dinner for me!"


COME TOGETHER is Macy's new fundraising campaign
that aims to feed 10 million people suffering from hunger.

COME TOGETHER invites the public to rally around the cause by hosting special dinners in their homes and asking their guests to pledge a donation to Feeding America. In return, Macy's will match these donations dollar-for-dollar until the total goal of 10 million meals is reached.

How can you help raise 10 Million meals for families in need? All you have to do is host a dinner for your friends. How cool is that? To get involved you can Host, Give and Shop. For more details please visit - macys.com/cometogether.

Personally, I'm planning out a dinner party
and of COURSE I'll be shopping!;)

There are all kinds of celebrities involved, check out Usher almost taking out Martha and Tommy H.! You can also view a cool "behind the scenes" video with the other celebrities involved here.

To help promote what I think is an amazing fundraising effort, Macy's is giving away a $25 Gift Card to TWO Gourmet-Mom-on-the-Go readers!

~To Enter (up to 5 entries)~
Leave a comment telling me:

If you could invite 5 people to your dinner party, who would it be?
(These people can be dead or alive; fiction or non-fiction).
Also, tell me if you plan to participate in any hosting, shopping or giving (It won't increase your chances of winning, I just really want to know!)


For an extra entry, Tweet or Facebook this post!
(Leave a comment letting me know)

For another extra entry, follow this blog (upper right-hand corner of page) to keep up with all our food escapades
(leave a comment)

For TWO extra entries, blog about this event & giveaway!
(leave a comment)

Let's help make sure no one in America goes hungry!