Quick Halloween Snacks

It's Halloween madness over here!  We have all kinds of parties going on this week!  I wanted to have a few fun and easy snacks for classes and get-togethers and loved the ideas I saw on Pinterest of Cheese Balls in baggies labeled "Pumpkin Poop" and also Candy Corn in baggies labeled "Count's Teeth".  Unfortunately there are no cute free printable labels available.  So, I made up our own and wanted to share them with you.  They're great for quick classroom or party snacks.  Enjoy!
Pumpkin Poop Snacks
(put Cheese Ball snacks into baggies, print and attach labels)
Count's Teeth Snacks
(Put Candy Corn into baggies, print and attach labels)


Sausage & Lemon Carbonara

With school back in session, I'm always looking for quick and easy family dinners.  I made this a couple months ago for my family and it was an instant hit and a new favorite, even with the spinach included. :)  Do you have any easy and healthy go-to family favorites?
Sausage & Lemon Pepper Carbonara
Serves 6
1 package Chicken Italian Sausage links (such as Johnsonville), 12 oz.
1 pound whole grain spaghetti (we also like Barilla Plus)
4 cups baby spinach
2 large eggs
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
juice from one lemon
olive oil
In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, place sausage links in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until browned and cooked throughout.  Remove sausage from skillet.  In skillet (do not clean out any sausage remains, they add flavor!:)) add 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and chopped clove of garlic.  Saute for about 2 minutes over medium heat. 
In a small bown, whisk together eggs, lemon juice and parmesan.  Drain spaghetti and toss into skillet while still hot.  Remove from heat and add egg/parmesan mixture, stirring well as the hot pasta cooks the eggs.  Stir in spinach until wilted.  Slice sausage and add to pasta.  Add freshly ground pepper to taste.


Gluten Free Favs and Giveaway

I am meeting more and more people who can't tolerate gluten or are simply cutting it out for health reasons.  The quality of our grain in the United States has really taken a nose dive in the last 10 years. I try to cook gluten-free once or twice a week just for our health and I thought I'd share some of my favorite GFree sites as well as this fun goodie basket giveaway!
 Luckily, there are ton of great gluten-free products and resources out there.  Schar is one of the best and we're giving away a basket of their goodies as seen above (Retail Value: $83).

Simply leave a comment on this post. Easy!
(I want you to spend your time cooking fabulous GFree foods:)).  We will choose one winner via random.org on 9/4. Open to US Residents.

For the Gourmet has lots of other great Gluten Free products available and they will ship right to your home. I also love that you can call them (1-888-845-FOOD) and talk to professional chefs!

Even though I've tried many Gluten Free products, I wanted a professional's opinion on this gift basket so I turned to my sweet friend, Miss R.  She has dealt with diabetes most of her life and a couple years ago was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  I cannot imagine changing an already complicated lifestyle by removing all gluten from your diet but she accepts her life with an insane amount of grace and even humor.  I have never heard her once complain about "missing out" on something.  I also love her fun, creative personality and how she seems to reach out give everyone a little bit of her sunshine.  I could easily hang out with her all day.
...Did I mention that she's 9?
Yep, she is one insanely awesome kid.  The fabulous Miss R tried the products in this gift basket, she said everything was top notch and especially LOVED the rolls.  Other favorites were the table crackers and the chocolate sandwich cookies.  She said that she also loves the Schar little cheese crackers that weren't included in the basket but available at various retailers. 
To win a basket of your own, simply leave a comment on this post!
Also, I've compiled a list of my personal favorite Gluten Free recipe resources, if you have one you want to share, please leave it in the comments!
I also love the cookbook Cooking for Isaiah.  I got it when it was first published and have found a ton of favorite recipes in this book!

Disclosure: I was provided the gift basket from For the Gourmet.  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions, as always, are my own.


Blooming Berry Cakes

To give some inspiration on ways to use Philadelphia Indulgence, my girls and I whipped up these Blooming Berry Cakes.  They are so incredibly easy and would be a great little treat to make as an after-school snack.  I love how each person can make their own combo of Indulgence and fresh berries!  Don't I have the cutest sous chefs ever?!...Way to go, girls!


Blooming Berry Cakes

1 package store-bought pound cake
2 cups blueberries, raspberries and/or sliced strawberries
Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate and/or White Chocolate Philadelphia Indulgence
Cookie Cutters
  1. Slice pound cake lengthwise, then use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes.
  2. Spread your favorite Philadelphia Indulgence flavors onto the cutouts.
  3. Top with an assortment of sliced strawberries, raspberries and blueberries


KitchenAid & Dream Kitchen Giveaway, over $45,000!

I had so much fun helping Real Women of Philadelphia give someone their Dream Kitchen!  I'm so excited and can't wait to see who the winner is! I also had a blast with former Bachelorette star, Jillian Harris, she's a super fun person:
Second, I am so exctied  about this giveaway that I want to also have a little one of my own...I'm giving away the gorgeous pink KitchenAid stand mixer we used in all the promo videos! 
To enter to win the Dream Kitchen Makeover, GO HERE.

To win the pink KitchenAid stand mixer, do any of the following: Time's up!
We have a winner!

A&Qort who said...
"You are an inspiration to us aspiring cooks! I don't have a KitchenAid and that pink one is fabulous!!"

We will pick one winner for the KitchenAid Stand Mixer on August 19th.  Open to US Residents.  Dream Kitchen Makover giveaway ends August 19th, official rules are here.  I was provided the KitchenAid mixer for this giveaway.  I was not compensated for this post and all opinions, as always, are my own.


Butterscotch Peach n Porridge Upside Down Cake

I'm hoping to qualify to go to the World Porridge Championships in Scotland this October and am trying to get the judges to notice my entry!
If you have a second, go here to see my entry for Butterscotch Peach n' Porridge Upside Down Cake and click "LIKE". Just takes a sec, no registration required, I'm just trying to get them to notice it!! 
If you have a fantastic recipe using Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, you still have a few days to join in on the fun!  Go here for details!
In the meantime, if you are an oats fan, you will go crazy for my skillet cake!  I especially love making this in the summer because I don't have to turn on my oven.
Butterscotch Peach n' Porridge Upside Down Cake
IIn a large sauce pan, place:
1 c steel cut oats
 2 ½ c water
soak 2-3 hours
Without draining, place on stovetop, add ¼ tsp salt and cook over medium-high heat for 11 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While oats are cooking, combine in a small bowl:
3/4 c oat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c white sugar
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

In a 10” skillet, melt
2 Tbsp butter
When melted, turn heat off
Peel and slice
ripe peaches and place in skillet
After oats have cooked, add dry ingredients then stir in:
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg. 
Stir well.  Spread oat mixture over peaches in skillet.  Cover with a large lid and cook on medium-low heat for 8 minutes. Remove lid and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest for 2 minutes, flip onto large platter. Drizzle Butterscotch sauce over cake, slice and serve.
Butterscotch Pecan Sauce
In a small saucepan, melt:

4 Tbsp Butter
then add
½ c. light brown sugar
½ c. heavy cream
¼ tsp. salt
Stir over medium heat until boiling and boil for 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and add:

1 tsp. vanilla
½ c chopped pecans


Summer Fun

I apologize for my lack of posts...as soon as the kids get out of school, I get into full Summer Fun mode!  We are always cooking up plenty of fun things in the kitchen and I will try to be better about sharing some of those fun ideas with you!

This week I've been busy doing some videos for Real Women of Philadelphia and even had the chance to work with this gorgeous lady, Jillian Harris...
There is something AMAZING coming your way in about a month, I wish I could spill the beans but will let you know as soon as I can!  I will say that it involves a seriously awesome prize just for sending in a recipe and photo....stay tuned!


Summer Entertaining Tips

A little while ago I had a chance to send Executive Chef Stephen Kalil (the man responsible for all the yummy flavors of Frito Lay) some questions about summer entertaining.  He was kind enough to make, along with Chef Jody, this fantastic video for me!  It's full of all kinds of great summer entertaining tips and I am so excited to be able to share it with you...a huge thanks to Chef Stephen and Chef Jody!
This is the time of year that I don't turn on my oven...if I'm cooking something it's going to be out on the grill!  Do you any great tips for fun meals to beat the heat or cooking out?
One of our latest favorites are these Ranch Hand Chipotle Burgers from the Frito Lay website.  They are sooooo good!  Click here or on the image below to get the recipe.
Disclosure: I was provided these ideas/tips from Frito Lay and was not compensated for this post.  All opinions, as always, are my own.


Bacteria Buddies

Little C's class went on a field trip this week to our city's Water Treatment Center.  Although we learned a lot of interesting things, all the kids seemed to talk about was the "Poop-Eating Bacteria" that they treat our water with.  They were fascinated! 
Soooo, for Friday snack this week we sent some "Bacteria Buddies" to school....
To make I simply took chocolate/vanilla swirled marshmallows, dipped them in melted yellow candy melts, rolled in crushed corn flakes, rolled in a variety of sprinkles with sunflower seeds (cleaning out the cupboard!) and added two edible eyeballs
Wilton sells candy eyeballs now if you don't want to make them!  Check your local Michael's or Hobby Lobby.

I also wrote a fun little poem to go along with them, you can click here to download/print it or on the image below.

I love how the sprinkles and sunflower seeds make them look "dirty", like they're cleaning up our water!  Gross but funny.  I'm sure they were a hit with the kids!


Peeps S'mores

Do you have a few of these around the house after Easter?
Our FAVORITE way to use leftover Peeps is to make quick s'mores using Nature Valley Granola Thins!  Check our our recipe on Tablespoon for complete instructions.


Bunny Tail Bag Toppers

For a quick Easter treat, it's always fun to put white cheddar puffs or marshmallows in baggies as a snack of "bunny tails".  In fact, we'll have a basket of them on hand at Easter dinner for the kiddos to snack on!
To make it super easy, we created this cute baggie topper for you to download/print.  Simply fill your snack bags, fold labels in half and attach to the top with double-sided tape. Enjoy!
Click Here or on image to download.


Rainbow Pots of Gold

Look what we've whipped up for Tablespoon this week...
Double your luck at the end of these rainbows...the "pots of gold" are actually Lucky Charms cereal treats!
These are super easy to make, all you need is a microwave and a few ingredients.
Click Here or on the image below for the full recipe.
One last St. Patty's Day fun tradition...I always get out dark plastic drinking cups and put a drop of green food coloring in the corner.  When the kids wake up and pour their milk, it "magically" turns green when going into their cup.  They love it (even though the older girls have figured it out)!:)

Do you have any St. Patrick's Day traditions or fun ideas?
Let's hear them!
Pin It


St. Patrick's Goodies & Giveaway

Top o' the mornin'! We've got lots of fun St. Patrick's Day ideas here (we love the Irish Potato Candy) and we'll be whipping up more fun later this week.
In the meantime, we haven't done a giveaway in awhile and our friends at McCormick offered to send TWO lucky Gourmet Mom readers a St. Patrick's Day Prize Pack with all the ingredients you'll need to make your day extra special!   
For fun, simply leave a comment telling us which green guy you'd rather kiss on St. Patrick's Day:
Kermit the Frog
Jolly Green Giant
Time's up!  The winners, via random.org, are:
Comment #20 and #29!
Mandy and Caryn, congratulations!
I have sent you and email or note on your blog, please send your mailing address asap.
Did you know McCormick's website has all kinds of fabulous St. Paddy's goodies that you can whip up this week?  Here are a few of our favorites...
Luck o' the Irish Cake Pops

Pin It


Easy Lego Pops

Little H is all about Legos right now and what better way to celebrate her birthday than with a Lego Party?!  There are ton of great ideas out there on how to throw the perfect Lego Birthday Party and I'll be sharing with you the ideas I used for games, decorations, food, etc., as well as our own creations.
First up, a tutorial for our super quick and easy
Lego Pops!
Little H mentioned wanting "Lego Pops" on her treat table, I wasn't thrilled...have you ever tried to make perfectly rectangular cake pops?  Ack.
However, I found the perfect "cheat" with Little Debbie Nutty Bars and these little goodies came together in just a few minutes.  That's my kind of treat!
You'll Need:
-Nutty Bars
-Smarties Candies
-Candy Melts
-Sucker Sticks
Here's how to do it:
Cut Nutty Bars in half then carefully poke a hole in the center of each with a sucker stick.  (I put a little mark about 1" down a sucker stick to measure how deep I wanted the holes).
Next, melt some white candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted.  Dip sucker sticks into candy melts and poke into the holes in the Nutty Bars.  This will give you a nice, solid pop that won't break apart.
Dip one side of Smarties candies into melted chocolate and set on top of Nutty Bar.  You'll need 6 Smarties for each Lego Pop.  When set (about 3 minutes), dip into various colors of melted Candy Melts (whatever colors you want for your par-tay!)
Tap gently a few times on the side of bowl to remove excess candy melts and set on wax paper to harden.  If you have too much chocolate on your pop and it's forming a "skirt", simply pick it up and move to a different spot on your wax paper.
For the display, I simply put some floral foam in boxes that I had on hand and filled the top with green crinkle paper.  Super cheap and easy!
We'll be sharing more Lego party games, decorations, etc., in the weeks to come as well as some St. Patty's treats!  Happy Cooking!
Pin It


Printable for Secret Decoder VDay Cookies

When I saw the adorable Secret Message Decoder Cookies on the Family Fun Community page a couple years ago, I loved the idea!
We haven't made them in awhile, so we decided to whip up some for the girls' classes as an extra treat this Valentine's Day. To make things simple (and a little harder to read without the decoder cookie), I designed the secret messages on the computer and thought I'd share the printable.
You can download/print them here or click on the image below.
There are four sheets with six each that say:
"Happy Valentine's Day!"
"You are Sweet! Be Mine!"
"I spy...someone cool! Happy VDay!"
"It's no secret, you are awesome!"

If you're whipping up decoder cookies for Valentine's Day, hopefully these will help make it a snap! Enjoy!
Pin It


ROCK Star Snacks

To wrap up Little C's Rock unit in school we're having some
ROCK Stars!We had fun making these together and they are super simple! We started with a batch of no bake energy balls (recipe here) and formed them into various rock shapes, about 1" wide each. (you could also use cake balls or any of your favorite no-bake treat recipes!)Then we melted some white candy melts along with a FEW black ones. (you could also use brown).
We dipped the treats in the candy melts then added two edible eyes and a Cheerio mouth.We finished them off by putting some green royal icing in a bag w/ a leaf tip and making crazy hair! I originally planned doing all mohawks but they started to get a life or their own... :)This one was feeling a little philosophical..."et tu, Brute?"This one wanted to rock a Lada Gaga-ish bow...
But no matter how you decorate them, they'll get gobbled up in a flash! Here's the wild crew ready for school!

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...