Havin' Fun & Giveaways!

I'm in Minnesota for a few days at the General Mills headquarters to meet some of the fantastic team at Tablespoon, work on some recipes, and to learn (hopefully!) how to actually use my camera.:) I'll have plenty to share when I get back but in the meantime, I have TWO fun giveaways for you!
Go here & leave a comment to win our Egg-celent Prize Pack! Ends 11/9
Go here & leave a comment to win a Lawry's Complete Meal Ideas Prize Pack! Ends 11/8
I'll be back later in the week with some yummy Orange Creme Cupcakes! Hope you all had a great Halloween!


Rat Infested Cupcakes

Need a Halloween treat in a snap?
How about some Rat-Infested Cupcakes?
Ewwww....and kind of cool...
I was making cupcakes last week and a couple of them got crumbly. Since I've had spooky ideas on the brain, I thought, "they look like they've been nibbled on by rats!"...Then I realized that it's actually a pretty good idea for Halloween!:)
This one is really enjoying his special treat!! :)
You can buy packages of small rats for $1 or so at Wal-Mart or Target in the Halloween section. The larger rats I got at our local party store.
Rat Infested Cupcakes
Your favorite cupcakes
Sprinkles (optional)
Cupcake picks (optional, download here from Pumpkin Petunia)
Toy rats
Quicky frost cupcakes and add sprinkles if desired. Using a fork, pick out a piece from the top and add a toy rat to look like it's nibbling the cupcake.
Print and cute out these cute cupcake picks from Pumpkin Petunia. BTW, she has GREAT party ideas if you're ever looking for inspiration. Tape or glue the circles to toothpicks. Thanks for sharing, Jo-Ann!
Add a pick to each of your cupcakes and you're done! So easy and super gross!



Glow in the Dark Spooky Drinks

I'm so excited to share the spookiest Halloween Drink EVER...
now don't these drinks look so cool?

How about kicking them up a notch and making them GLOW?!I learned this summer that Tonic Water contains quinine, which glows under UV light. Now, quinine is what gives Tonic water its bitter taste, so you have to add something really sweet to make it taste good! Well, I knew that it would be PERFECT for Halloween!!

You can add anything you like, I decided to use grenadine syrup (to look like blood). Plus, it sinks to the bottom and makes the drink glow more. Then, your guests can mix their drinks before consuming. I found the spooky skeleton glasses here.

Glow-in-the-Dark Spooky Drinks
Tonic Water
Grenadine Syrup (or any flavoring syrup)
Black Light (I found inexpensive ones at Wal-Mart)

Fill glass with tonic water. Add about 1/3 as much grenadine syrup (to taste). Turn off the lights & place by UV or Black Light. Serve! You can change up the ingredients to your taste, the sky is the limit!

Notes: I just heard that glowing drinks were published on Our Best Bites last month. Dang it, I thought I was being creative! If I use a recipe idea, I always credit the source and even though I did it unknowingly! They have some great pics and also made some glow-in-the-dark jell-o stars--too cute!


Letter K Snack

We have some really cool giveaways going on this week! Go here to check them out and enter!
We were in the middle of a busy week but needed to bring a "Letter K" snack to Little C's class. These were fun & easy (and GREAT writing practice for her!).
These little boxes are filled with Kix cereal and Kisses (in her school colors, of course!;)
I got inspired when we found these favor boxes at our local Dollar Tree (in the wedding stuff). You could do all kinds of Alphabet Snacks in these! Before we folded them up, Little C wrote upper and lowercase "K"'s on them. They looked great and she was so proud of herself!
Here they are, ready to go off to school! Do you have any fun ideas for "Alphabet Snacks" that you could put in these boxes?


Spread a Little Joy Giveaway

Have you seen the new Philly displays in your grocery store? With the amount of cream cheese I purchase, I was so excited to hear that about the free cookbook!
In case you haven't heard the news, to kick-off the launch of their new cookbook, Philly is conducting an in-store promotion through November where shoppers can receive 1 free PHILADELPHIA “Spread a Little Joy” cookbook with the purchase of any four Philly products.

Cookbooks will be available on an in-store display case and consumers simply present the cookbook to the cashier when they purchase the Philly products. It’s as easy as that!

To celebrate the fun, we're giving THREE Gourmet Mom readers a "Spread the Joy" prize pack that includes:

-A “Spread a Little Joy” PHILADEPLPHIA Cookbook
-Two PHILADELPHIA product coupons
-A PHILADELPHIA spatula set

Time's up, we have a winner!
shaina who said...
"your mini rootbeer floats and pomogranite dessert bring me joy! Thanks for such amazing recipes!"

Note: no, we weren't giving extra entries for loving my recipes, but I really appreciate the compliment, shaina.:)

Disclosure: I was one of ten bloggers selected by PHILADELPHIA to host a Cookbook promotion giveaway. My opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments. Kraft Foods is providing the prizes for this giveaway. This giveaway is not administered or sponsored by Kraft Foods or its affiliates, but solely by GourmetMom.


Cravocado Kickers!

Hi Everyone,
We're on vacation in sunny Florida this week but don't worry, we've got some great recipes coming up and a couple great giveaways!
You can check out all my current giveaways here (there are several!)
Also, if you have a second, could you go vote for my Cravocado Kickers recipe to help get Gourmet Dad to the Rose Bowl? You can vote daily and there is no registration required, just go here and click "Vote". Easy, cheesey! Thank you so much!!
See you all in a few days!


Creamy Minestrone & Meatballs

It's starting to get COLD here at night! Yikes!
I think autumn is officially here!
I love to make up batches of soup during the fall and winter, don't you? My friend Camie got me hooked a few years ago on freezing them in gallon Ziploc Bags to pull out for quick meals. It works great and doesn't take up too much freezer room since they lay flat. She's also the person that got me hooked on Olive Garden's Pasta Fagioli Soup, which inspired this dish!

Here's our latest favorite, Creamy Minestrone & Meatballs. I just wrote this up on Tablespoon & hope you enjoy!
Do you have a favorite soup that you make this time of year? If so, I'd LOVE to hear what it is or have the recipe to try out! I'm always lookin' for new soup ideas!

SavePrintShareViewView Creamy Minestrone & Meatballs


Jennie Garth & Pillsbury Pies!

I had a really fun surprise this morning--I was asked if I'd like to interview Jennie Garth via Skype about cooking, baking, family and how we moms can keep it all together.
I must admit that I didn't know what to expect from her since she is incredibly busy and has three girls at home. Well, let me tell you that even though this woman is a celebrity, she makes sure she is home and mentally present for her kids every day after school. They also spend lots of time together in the kitchen. Jennie, I'm so glad you made the choice to make your family your top priority and I love that you don't let business interfere with your family time.
Jennie, you said that creamy pies are your favorite,
so I thought I'd repost our very favorite, cute-as-a-button
Apple Surprise Mini Pies
(using Pillsbury Pie Crusts!)
The surprise is that there's a cheesecake layer beneath the apples! But, since they're mini-sized & baked in little jars, the calories don't count.:)
Click here for the full recipe. Jennie had some great tips for baking with your family. She said premade crusts, like Pillsbury Rerigerated Pie Crusts are a favorite because they're easy--she likes to K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple, Stupid!). They have blackberry bushes in their yard and she also freezes seasonal produce so you can make a fabulous filling.
In fact, her oldest daughter likes to go in the kitchen herself and whip up Blackberry Pies! Then, apparently, she hides them so no one else gets any (smart girl!).
Another fun tip that she's done for years with her girls is to let them make "mini cinnamon rolls" with the leftover pie crust pieces. I've let the kids sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on them but never thought of actually letting the kids roll them up and cutting them in slices to make adorable little rolls. LOVE IT! We'll be doing that next time we whip up a pie!
Finally, when you're entertaining or anytime, don't try to overachieve. Have fun cooking and being with your family and try not to get too complicated. Wise words, indeed! Thanks for the great chat today, Jennie, we'll enjoy using your tips as we head into the Baking Season! We're giving one GourmetMom reader a "Love the Pie!" Prize pack!
Go here to leave a comment and enter.

Happy Baking!

Disclosure: I was given the chance to interview Jennie through Pillsbury and MyBlogSpark. I was not compensated in any for this post. All opinions, as always, are my own.


Taco Night!

Our family loooves having Taco Night!
How do you like to serve up your tacos, guac, or salsa? I really want to know! So much, in fact, that we're giving one of you $100 just for sharing your ideas!
Here's the details:
To enter, simply write a post on your blog, facebook page, or other website telling your favorite recipe or way to serve tacos, guac, or salsa.
Each recipe must contain Avocados from Mexico as an ingredient.
Then, come back here and leave a comment with a link to your idea.
That's it! How easy is that?

I'm sure all your ideas are awesome, so we will pick one random entry on October 31 to win a $100 iCard. I can't wait to hear all your ideas so we can try them out!

While you're getting on your thinking caps, how about trying out these Lobster Tacos? YUM!
If you'd like to tweet about Taco Night, the official hashtag is #taconight
You can also get Taco Night Giveaway updates from Avocados from Mexico’s Facebook page or from @Guacgrl on Twitter!

Click here to view complete rules.
a. All entries must be original recipes for salsa, guacamole or tacos and feature Avocados from Mexico as an ingredient
b. The entries must be submitted between 12:00 AM October 4, 2010 and 11:59:59 October 29, 2010. Late submissions will not be considered.
c. Participation is free and recipes will not be judged. Limit one (1) entry per person, per blog site. Recipe submission is not a requirement for entry.
d. All entries must be entered in the comments section of this post with a link to the recipe on the entrant’s blog, Facebook page or web site or a posting in the body of the comment posted to blog.
e. A winner will be randomly selected using www.random.org.
f. The randomly selected winner will receive a prize of a $100.00 iCard

Disclosure: I am running this Taco Night Giveaway at the request of Avocados from Mexico, for which I will receive a $100 iCard in appreciation.


Perfectly Piggy Dinner

Do you ever think your family eats like pigs?...
Well, why not make a theme night out of it?!
When my friends at Johnsonville Sausage sent me their recipe for Pig Tails and some sausage to try it out, I was inspired!
This dinner is around $1 per serving, so it's a new favorite for both the kids AND my grocery budget!

We whipped up the Pig Tails & Fries and served them in aluminum mini-bread pan "troughs"

and gobbled Pig Cupcakes for dessert! Such an easy dinner and it was a huge hit!
( yes, I did serve vegetables...not pictured...:))

Pig Tails & Fries from Johnsonville Sausage
Servings: 6, Prep: 10 min., Cook: 20-25 min.
1 package (28 ounces) frozen curly French fries
1 package (13.5-16 ounces) Johnsonville® smoked sausage (Polish, New Orleans, Smoked Turkey, BOLD Beef Hot Links or Beef Franks).
Oil for deep-fat frying

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut sausage links in half lengthwise. Cut each half into three long strips. Spread fries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for 17-20 minutes, turning once. Arrange sausage strips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 450°F for 12-14 minutes or until they curl. Serve with fries.
I love how those sausages curl up like little pig tails! Too cute! You can serve them up in disposable aluminum bread pans or any other "troughs" you have on hand. :)Pig Cupcakes
Your favorite cupcakes
Pink Icing (we used Pillsbury Strawberry icing)
Large pink marshmallows (1 for each cupcake)
Mini chocolate chips
Edible Eyeballs
Pink sugar sprinkles (optional)

Frost cupcakes and dip in pink sugar (optional). Cut marshmallows in half, then in half again, as shown. This makes your "snout" and "ears".
Place two mini chocolate chips on the sticky side of the "snout" and place on cupcake. Add ears and two edible eyeballs. Oink!

Note: These Pig Cupcakes would also be a fun and easy Letter P snack!

Disclosure: I was given product and coupons from Johnsonville to try out this recipe. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions, as always, are my own.

Holiday Playlist

My grandmother hasn't been doing well...to cheer her up, I rounded up a few of my musical friends and made an album of Holiday songs fo...