Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mom's Pumpkin Bread

Mmmm... Yummy pumpkin bread.... This was one of my favorite treats during the fall and holiday seasons growing up, and it still is today. My mom used to make this pumpkin bread to give out to neighbors and we would always beg her to keep some for us. She usually kept a loaf or two for her ravenous family, but it was never enough. ;) I could eat a whole loaf myself at one sitting. And the Cream Cheese frosting on top is a must. It finishes the bread deliciously and beautifully.Mom's Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I use half olive oil and half vegetable oil)
4 eggs (beaten)
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup applesauce
2/3 cup water

Mix sugar and oil until smooth. Add eggs and mix.
Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients 1/2 cup at a time. Add pumpkin, applesauce, and water. Mix until smooth.
Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 45 - 60 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Usually makes 2 to 3 loafs depending on your loaf pan size.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8oz cream cheese
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk

Melt cream cheese and butter in microwave until soft. Beat with beater about 1 minute or until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time alternately with milk until desired consistency and taste is reached.

You can also make into cute mini loaves. These are really dangerous. They are deliciously cute.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spooky Spiders and Creepy Critters

I just love Halloween. There are so many fun snacks and treats to make. I love making them (and eating them) just as much as my kids. These were so much fun to make, and turned out super cute. My kids were absolutely ecstatic about these spooky spiders and creepy critters. They didn't taste half bad either. ;)

Spooky Spiders

Halloween Oreos
1 tsp. frosting
Mini M&M's
Black string licorice

For each cookie, cut eight 1 1/2 inch pieces of licorice for legs. Insert four pieces into the filling on each side of each cookie.
With the frosting, attach 2 mini M&M's to the top of each cookie for eyes.
And Voila! Spooky, but yummy spiders!

Creepy Critters

HoHo's or similar chocolate snack cakes
Chocolate and vanilla frosting
Assorted candy (we used M&M's, Mike and Ike's, candy corn, and mentos)
Fruit roll-ups

For each critter, use icing to attach candy however you want.
Cut fruit roll-up into tongue shapes; attach to cakes.
Pipe teeth with frosting.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Kit Kat Bars

I got this recipe from my good friend, Paula Deen. ;) (Don't I wish she was my friend!!)Chocolatey, caramely, buttery goodness. I don't think they taste a lot like a Kit Kat bar, but they are still absolutely delicious. And unfortuneately a bit addicting. I like these because they are quick to throw together, and there is no baking required. They are perfect to take to a potluck get together with friends or family.
Make sure you have somewhere to take them, because if you don't, you'll more than likely eat the whole pan by yourself.
I think this recipe is very versatile as well. Once I made them and ran out of Club crackers so I used Nilla wafers for the top layer. They tasted just as good. And another time, I didn't have butterscotch chips, so I used extra chocolate chips. This gave it a little bit of a different taste, but I still really like the bar. Play around with ingredients... it's fun.

Kit Kat Bars

80 club crackers
1 cup butter
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup fimrly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butterscotch morsels

Line an ungreased 9X13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an extension of foil on either end. Line the foil with 1 layer of club crackers, cutting to fit if necessary.

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, milk and sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 miutes, stirring constantly. (Begin timing 5 minutes from when you see the first bubbles.) Remove from heat and spread half of butter mixture evenly over crackers. Place another single layer of crackers evenly over butter mixture, cutting to fit if necessary. Spread remaining butter mixture evenly over crackers. Top evenly with remaining crackers.

In a small saucepan (or in the microwave), combine peanut butter, chocolate morsels, and butterscotch morsels. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Spread evenly over top of crackers. Cover, and chill for at least 1 hour. Lift foil overhang and remove bars from pan. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friendship Dip

This is such an easy dip to make. It's surprisingly yummy and addicting. When I first saw the ingredients, I wasn't too sure, but I thought I'd give it a go. And now I've been making it for quite awhile, and I always get the same results. Yummy and addicting!

Friendship Dip
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (15 oz) can of chili
1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
Lots of shredded cheddar cheese
sliced olives
diced green onion (optional)

In a large pie plate (or a pizza pan will work) spread cream cheese. Then layer on top of cream cheese in this order: chili, green chilies, shredded cheddar cheese, and sliced olives. Bake at 350 degrees until hot and melted (approximately 20-25 minutes). Garnish with green onion and serve with tortilla chips.
I always double the recipe because it goes fast.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Mini Cheesecake Bites

The title alone is a mouthful, but let me tell you... these are so incredibly delicious. I found the recipe on Picky Palate, and new that I had to try them out immediately.
I was surprised and delighted at how easy they were to whip together and how yummy they turned out. These are definitely one of my favorite cheescake bite recipes to date.

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Mini Cheesecake Bites

8 whole Oreos, finely ground in food processor

1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter

8 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 Cup pumpkin puree (I used Libby’s)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

Caramel Dip or topping (I used Harry & David Gourmet Caramel Topping, but any you have or can find will work fine)

*12 Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine ground Oreos and melted butter into a bowl until well combined. Spoon into 12 mini cheesecake cups that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Press into the bottom of each cup so the crust is flat. Partially bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven.

2. In a stand or electric mixer beat the cream cheese, sugar and pumpkin until smooth. Beat in egg, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined. Pour evenly into the 12 cups filling about 3/4 way full. Spoon about a teaspoon of caramel into the tops of each filled cup and swirl with a toothpick gently. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until cheesecake is cooked through. Let cool completely.

3. Remove cheesecakes from pan and top each with a spoonful of remaining caramel and a Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kiss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

I also made some into regular cupcake pan size, and they turned out just as cute.

*I can't find the Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses anywhere but Target, they are not at the Walmart or Albertsons that I shop at. So, if you are out of luck and can't find the Pumpkin Spice ones, don't let it discourage you. Make them anyway and use a different flavor of Hershey Kiss.

Friday, October 9, 2009

S'mores Bars

This has always been one of my favorite fall treats. I don't know why, but we usually only make them in the fall... so to me they are fall treats. My kids love helping me make them, and the whole panful is soon devoured. It's an easy, fun treat that requires no oven.

S'mores Bars

8 cups Golden Graham Cereal
5 cups miniature
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup light corn syrup
5 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup miniature

Measure and pour cereal into a large bowl. Butter a 13x9-inch pan. In large microwavable bowl, microwave 5 cups marshmallows, the chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter uncovered on High 2 to 3 minutes at 30 seconds intervals, stirring after every minute, until melted and smooth when stirred. Stir in vanilla.
Pour over cereal; quickly toss until completely coated. Stir in 1 cup marshmallows.
Press mixture evenly in pan, using buttered back of spoon. Let stand uncovered at least 1 hour, or refrigerate if you prefer a firmer bar. For squares, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Store loosely covered at room temperature up to 2 days.
Stove-Top Directions: Into large bowl, measure cereal. Butter 13x9-inch pan. In 3-quart saucepan, heat 5 cups marshmallows, the chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted; remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Continue as directed above.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Painted Hot Dog Butterflies

This is a really fun kid dinner, lunch, or snack idea. I got the idea from Gourmet Mom on the Go of course. She always has the best kid-friendly food ideas. My kids LOVED this, and beg me every night to do it again. I have to admit that when Dad is working late or gone, it really helps to have a fun project for the kids to do... and combining it with dinner is a genius idea.

Painted Butterflies
Hot Dogs
Refrigerator biscuits (like Grands or any brand)
1 egg
food coloring
pretzel sticks
cheese, ketchup, or mustard (for the face)
small paintbrushes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a cookie sheet or cake pan. Give each child two biscuits and a hot dog.
Help them cut each biscuit in half, turn one half over, and place on pan as the "wings". Repeat with the other biscuit. Lay the hot dog on top of the wings.
To make paints, put one egg and one tablespoon water in a small bowl and mix well. Pour a small amount of egg mixture in several bowls (however many colors you want) and add a drop or two of different food colorings.
Give each child a clean paintbrush and let them paint their "butterfly wings".
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown. Add two pretzel sticks for antannae and either ketchup/mustard/cheese/whatever you want for two eyes and mouth. Serve with a side of your favorite vegetable and dinner's ready!
I also let them paint the leftover biscuits and we had them in the morning with sausage and eggs. They loved seeing their painted biscuits the next morning.
Note: You may want to buy the Pillsbury biscuits for the best effect. We used the Great Value brand and as you can see the wings were not as full and big as they should be. (But my kids didn't seem to mind)
*First picture and recipe courtesy of Gourmet Mom On the Go.