Friday, October 9, 2009

yummy bugs...

How fun are these for your Halloween party of for your kiddos on Halloween!!

Bugs on a Log
celery stalks
peanut butter

Spread peanut butter onto washed and drained celery stalks. Top with raisins. For children who are allergic to peanuts, try using cream cheese or processed cheese spread in place of the peanut butter.

Cookie Spiders
black or chocolate licorice twists
fudge sandwich cookies
chocolate frosting
red cinnamon candies

Cut licorice in half. Remove the top of each sandwich cookie; press 8 licorice pieces into the fudge center to resemble spider legs. Spread a little chocolate frosting over the licorice; replace cookie tops. Frost the tops of the spider cookies with frosting. Place red cinnamon candies on top for eyes.

Muenster Beetles
crunchy chow mein noodles
muenster cheese (or other soft block cheese)

Cut cheese into 2" x 1" rectangular blocks. Gently insert three chow mein noodles on each side of cheese block for legs. Using two broken chow mein noodles, insert into "head" as antennae.

Note: Cheddar makes a bright and colorful beetle, but can be very frustrating for little fingers as the cheese is a bit too hard to press the noodles into without breaking. Use softer cheese such as Gouda, Havarti, Monterrey jack, or even Mozzarella.

Peanut Butter Caterpillars
peanut butter
chow mein noodles

Peel and slice a banana. Join the slices together by "gluing" them with peanut butter. Carefully poke two chow mein noodles (or break a pretzel stick in half to make two pieces) through the top of the grape. Use more peanut butter to attach the head (grape) to the front of the body, with antennae (chow mein noodles) pointing up.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

pumpkin pizza

This will quickly become a fall favorite in your house!!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
some chopped nuts, pecans are good, (you can even use candies nuts) for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla; mix until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, and baking powder. Gradually add flour mixture to the buter mixture and blend well on low speed. Remove and knead briefly into a smooth ball. Place the dough on a pizza pan and pat out gently to the edges. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until the crust is golden brown on the edges. Let cool before topping.

Cheese Layer
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
12 oz. package of whipped topping, divided—save 4 oz. for topping

Unwrap cream cheese, place in microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds. Mix sugar and vanilla into cheese. Fold in about 2/3 of the whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to assemble pizza.

Sauce (Pumpkin) Layer
1 cup cold milk
2 small pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2cup sugar
16 oz. can pumpkin
2 tsp. cinnamon

Whisk pudding into milk. Mixture will be very thick. Stir in pumpkin, sugar and cinnamon. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Assembling Pizza
Spread cheese layer over the prepared crust. Top with the pumpkin mixture. Then spread the remaining 4 oz. of whipped topping on top. If desired, sprinkle a few chopped nuts over the top.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Donovan's Rainbow Cupcakes

I also made this cupcake stand from scratch!!!

I made these for my son Donovan's 1st birthday party and they turned out phenomenal!

Colorburst Cupcakes
1 white cake mix
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
1 C milk
1/3 C vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 3 minutes. Divide batter according to how many colors you are using. I used 5 colors and it worked out to a little over 1 cup for each color. Use food coloring to color batter to desired intensity. I used approx 1-2 tsp. and they were very bright! You could easily make pastel rainbows using a little less.

To get a layered stripe like I used, you'll want to put a spoonful of each color in the cupcake one at a time. The batter is thick, so it won't spread on it's own. A great tip is to set out a little bowl of water where you're working. Dip your finger in the water and then gently spread the batter out. The water will make it so the batter doesn't stick to your fingers. Another tip is to use a measuring spoon and some water to measure out how many teaspoons/tablespoons are going to fit in your cupcake. Then divide that by how many colors you have so you know how much of each color to use for each cupcake. For my 5 colors, it worked out perfectly with 2 t of each color in each cupcake. So I put in 2 t of blue in the bottom of each cupcake and spread it out with my finger. Then I put in 2 t of green on top of that, then yellow, etc. Bake them according to the package directions, until a toothpick comes out dry.

Check these babies out! True crazy colors. I love how you can see the rainbow through the papers. If you want blue on top, just reverse the order (duh, right?)

A double batch made enough to put crazy high tops like this on all 24 cupcakes.

This is the frosting I used, here. The recipe is from a bakery in New York City. I thought it was amazing!

Monday, October 5, 2009

pumpkin-eggnog cheesecake

20 gingersnaps
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons margarine or butter (1/4 stick), melted
4 large eggs, separated
1 16-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin-pie mix)
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup prepared eggnog
1 tablespoon cornstarch
walnuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9" by 3" springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. In food processor with knife blade attached, blend gingersnaps, walnuts, and 1/4 cup sugar until finely ground; stir in margarine or butter. Press mixture onto bottom and 2 1/2 inches up side of springform pan; set aside. In small bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually beat in 3/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form; set aside. In large bowl, with same beaters and with mixer at medium speed, beat egg yolks, pumpkin, cream cheese, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg until well blended. Fold egg-white mixture into cream-cheese mixture; pour into springform pan. Bake 1 hour or until knife inserted 1 inch from edge of cheesecake comes out clean. Cool cheesecake in pan on wire rack.

In small saucepan, mix eggnog, cornstarch, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Over medium heat, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; simmer 1 minute or until mixture thickens. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Remove side of springform pan from cheesecake; spread eggnog mixture over cheesecake. Garnish with walnuts. Refrigerate cheesecake at least 4 hours or until well chilled. ENJOY!!