Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Cookies

Have I mentioned that Halloween is my favorite holiday? Yeah it really is!!!! Tomorrow we have a pumpkin carving activity at the church and were asked to bring chips or a dessert. Well, i'm ambitious (or a glutton for punishment....who knows!) so we are bringing both. But instead of buying cookies I decided to try some decorated sugar cookies (again). I won't bore you with the long and drawn out story that is my trial with sugar cookies. I really love those iced sugar cookies but whenver I tried to make them at home they crumbled and the icing was less than stellar. So I was THRILLED when I stumbled upon this website that helped me. I also got a great cookie recipe from THE HUNGRY HOUSEWIFE . HOORAY!!!!
So here you go!!! The recipes and pictures to go with them!

Halloween Sugar Cookies

1 C real butter(NO SUBSTITUTIONS)
1 C sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t almond extract (you could use vanilla too)
3 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add in eggs and extract and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in waxed paper and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours.
When you're ready to roll out dough lightly sprinkle flour onto your work surface and roll out dough with a rolling pin.
Cut to your desired shape
Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes.
Remove onto cooling racks when you're done and let cool completely.
Decorate as you like.

Royal Icing
(this will cover approximately 3 dozen 3.5 inch cookies)

1 pound powdered sugar
5 TBSP meringue powder
scant 1/2 c. water
a few drops of extract (optional) - I didn't use extract this time around

Combine the meringue powder and water with a whisk attachment using an electric mixer. Beat until peaks begin to form. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. (You should be able to remove the beater from the mixer and hold up and jiggle without the peak falling.) If using an extract, add it then beat for a few more seconds to incorporate.

Cover with plastic wrap touching the icing or divide and color using gel paste food colorings.

(The most important step: sift the powdered sugar!I don't know just works better!!.)

This "stiff" icing is perfect for outlining and even for building gingerbread houses and monogramming. To fill in your cookies, add water to your icing a little at a time until it is the consistency of syrup. This technique of filling a cookie with thinned icing is called "flooding."

and viola you have radically decorated cookies that will thrill the people you give them too!!!

cut and cooled cookies

use the stiff icing to make your outlines

the "flooding" icing should be runny

once flooding icing is placed on cookie-use a toothpick to get into the nooks and crannies

start decorating with the finer details


Halloween Eats

I've been doing a lot of baking lately for Halloween and haven't been posting it....shameful!! This is always a busy time for us and I just kept forgetting to post the recipes. So here goes...

This first one I made for a Halloween party we'd been invited to. Everyone was supposed to bring something to munch on and I really didn't want to go wtih the standard chips and salsa that the husband always suggests (I seriously think he could live off that stuff!!!). So I found this in the TASTE OF HOME HALLOWEEN edition and couldn't resist.


2 packages cream cheese (8 ounces each), softened
1/4 C mayo
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cartons (4 ounces each) whipped cream cheese
Moss-green food coloring
3 large olives
1 pepperoncini
black decorating gel
1 pretzel rod
assorted veggies

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese (not the whipped just the carton), mayo, Worcestershire sauce and pepper sauce until smooth. Stir in the cheddar cheese, bacon and onions. Shape into a 5in. x 4in. x 3in. rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, Refrigerate until chilled and firm.

Unwrap rectangle; place on serving platter with 3in. side on top.Tint whipped cream cheese green, spread over top and sides of rectangle.

Add pepperoncini for ears (cut in half). Cut one olive in half and place on front for eyes. Slide other olives on pretzel rods and insert in sides for bolts. With black decorating gel pipe mouth, brown and stitches.

Add assorted veggies and crackers.

Next up is what I made for Sunday dinner last week. Also found in the TASTE OF HOME HALLOWEEN edition. I knew that Hallween weekend would be crazy busy so I made this one in advance. Besides, we always order the pumpkin shaped pizza from a certain pizza place for Halloween and I didn't want to interrupt that tradition. ;O)

3/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C dijon mustard (I used honey mustard because I already had it)
2 tsp minced fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), however I used a pork roast that was about 4 pounds because I had bought it on sale!
2 tsp oilve oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
10 sheets phyllo dough (14 in X 9 in)
6 tbsp butter, melted
1 medium apple, peeled

In a small skillet bring cream and mustard to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until mixture is reduced to 2/3 C. Remove from the heat and add thyme.

Meanwhile, place pork on rack in shallow baking pan. Brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil 6 in from the heat for 6 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool slightly. Change oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Set aside 1/2C mustard sauce for serving. spread remaining mixture over pork.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a work surface; brush with butter. (WARNING: NOT CALORIE FRIENDLY!!!!!!!!) (Keep remaining phyllo dough covered with wet towel to keep from drying out). Repeat layers four times.

Place pork on one edge of phyllo dough; roll up tightly to form mummy's body and tuck in ends.

Plae another sheet of dough on work surface, brush with butter and repeat 3 times. Cut into thin strips; wrap around pork bundle.

Cut remaining dough in half, brush with butter. Cut 1 in. cube from apple;wrap in prepared dough. Position at the wide end of the bundle for the head. Save remaining apple for another use. Discard remaining phyllo dough. (I did not do this part with the apple)
Place bundle in ungreased shallow baking pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Transfer to a serving platter. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with remaining mustard sauce.

I can feel my arteries hardening with this one!! But the mustard on it made it ssssoooooo moist and tender that you didn't even need a knife to cut it. The husband even praised it's yumminess so it had to be good!!!

Next up..........some halloween cookies!!!

HAPPY EATING!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tonight I took a recipe from 30 Minute Meals and Rachael Ray. I just happened to be flipping channels a while back when I saw her making this. So I figured I just had to try it. Looked too good to pass up. My family LOVES lasagna and thought this would be a nice twist. She really does come up with some great ideas. Makes me wonder why I didn't think of it you know?!

You'll have to forgive me, no picture. We has a school function tonight and everyone scarfed it down before I realized I hadn't taken a picture. But believe really is that good!!!!

Two Sauce Weeknight Lasagna Bowls


  • Salt
  • 1 pound Campanelle pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, a couple of thick slices, chopped
  • 3/4 pound ground beef pork and veal mix or ground beef
  • 1/2 large carrot, peeled and grated or finely chopped
  • 1 small to medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, 2 chopped or grated, 1 peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice, a couple of pinches
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Nutmeg, to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus some to pass at table
  • A handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped


Heat large pot of water to a boil, salt water and cook pasta to al dente.

While pasta water comes to a boil, heat olive oil in a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat, add pancetta and render 2 to 3 minutes then add meat and break up as it browns. When the meat has begun to caramelize and develops a nice brown color, 4 to 5 minutes, add carrot, onion, 2 cloves of garlic, allspice, salt and pepper and a bay leaf. Cook 3 to 4 minutes more to soften onions and carrots bits then stir in tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then stir in wine and cook out 1 minute then stir in stock and reduce heat to simmer.

While red sauce cooks, cut remaining whole clove of garlic and rub the inside of a medium sauce pot with it. Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add in flour and whisk together a minute or so then whisk in milk and bring to a bubble, reduce heat then season sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, thicken 8 to 10 minutes.

Toss pasta with white sauce and 1/2 cup grated cheese. Serve pasta in individual bowls and top with a ladle of meat sauce in the middle of the bowl for mixing in. Garnish with parsley.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Eclair Cake

I signed up to help cook at our enrichment night tomorrow. (Enrichment night is what my church calls the meeting that our woman's group has every quarter) This time we are having a dinner and I was asked to make the following cake. I can't wait to dive into this one tomorrow night. I'll try to remember to take a picture of the slice I get. It is really easy and no fail!!! Just don't forget to add the milk to the frosting like I almost did! I love these types of no bake desserts on warm nights. Since fall in not really present here in southern AZ, this is perfect!!! Yum!! I can see this with a large cold glass of milk!! Super yum!!!!!!!!! I hope I can resist until tomorrow!!

1 (1-pound) box graham crackers
2 (3 1/4-ounce) boxes instant French vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Butter the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch pan. Line with whole graham crackers.

In bowl of an electric mixer, mix pudding with milk; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Pour half the pudding mixture over graham crackers.

Place another layer of whole graham crackers on top of pudding layer. Pour over remaining half of pudding mixture and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

For frosting, blend together sugar and cocoa. Add butter and milk, mixing well. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until creamy. Cover cake with frosting and refrigerate for 24 hours.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Savory Pumpkin Tarts

I love fall and I love Halloween. Well most holidays for that matter, but especially Halloween. I love all the fun food things you can do!! Tonight for dinner we had these little savory tarts. They were so tasty. They'd make a really good appetizer for a Halloween party or a yummy after school snack for the kiddies. After giving me a weird look, the kids ate these up. They had to get past the color... But how fun were these to make? Seriously!!! Enjoy!

Savory Pumpkin Tarts
1 pkg (15 ounces) refrigerated pie crust
3 tbsp honey mustard
1/2 pound fully cooked ham, thinly sliced, (I used the little packages of deli ham found near the bologna at the grocery store)
1C mozzarella cheese
2 egg yolks
4-6 drops red food coloring
1 egg white
2-3 drops green food coloring

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one sheet of pie crust. Using a floured pumpkin cookie cutter (or any halloween cookie cutter for that matter), cut out 8 pumpkins. Repeat with remaining pie crust. Spread mustard over eight of the pumpkins.

Layer with ham, onions and cheese to within 3/4 in of edges.

With a pastry brush (or your finger) dip in water and wet outside edges of pumpkins. Top with remaining pumpkins, press edges to seal.

In a small bowl beat egg yolks with enough red food coloring to achieve an orange color. In another small bowl beat egg white with enough green to get desired color. Brush colors over pumpkins to get desired effect.

Transfer to a greased baking sheet (s). Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min or until browned. Mine were done at 13 minutes. So just keep an eye on them after about 10 minutes.

These were really good and fun to make. You could easily do this with any type of cookie cutter for any type of occassion! Go wild and crazy!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Garlic & Oregano Canned Tomatoes

Tomatoes were a decent price at the store this morning so I bought some and decided to can them. I found a fun recipe to try in FAMILY CIRCLE magazine. If you subscribe then you have this recipe. (although for some bizarre reason my store was out of basil which is what the original recipe calls for, so I substituted oregano.)
This is my first time ever canning just tomatoes. I've done other things, but this is my first time doing these. I hope they turn out. They look really yummy so I can't imagine that they would taste bad!!

Garlic & Oregano tomatoes
makes 4 pint jars

2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes
4 tbsp bottled lemon juice
fresh oregano
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in barely simmering water until ready for use. Have bands handy on counter top. Bring a second pot of water to boiling.

Wash tomatoes and score along the top marking an X. (this will allow the skins to peel right off) Dip into boiling water for about a minute or until skins start to peel back from tomato. Keep water boiling and do a few tomatoes at a time. Plunge tomatoes into cool water, then peel. Core tomatoes and cut into quarters or wedges.

Remove jars from simmering water (I just put them in a dishwasher cycle minus the soap and this will steam them perfectly). Pour 1 tbsp lemon juice into each jar. Pack tomatoes into jars, tucking oregano leaves in between wedges, fitting tightly. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp garlic powder into each jar. Ladle some of the boiling water (from the pot you boiled the tomatoes in) over the tomatoes to fill jar leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Remove air bubbles from jars, tapping lightly on counter top as needed. Wipe jar rims, then center lids on jars. Screw on bands adjusting until fingertip tight.

Process jars in boiling water bath, covered, 40 minutes. Remove jars to a kitchen cloth and cool. Check lid for seal after 24 hours, when pressed lids should not pop up and down. Keep in cool place up to one year.

Cookie Exchange Party

Thanks Money Saving Mom for posting this!!!

If you like chocolate and hosting parties, you'll definitely want to sign up here to be a host for a Hershey's Cookie Exchange Party in December. There will be 1,000 hosts selected from everyone who signs up. You'll receive notice by email if you're selected.

If you're selected, you'll receive an official event party pack complete with the necessary ingredients to host the ultimate cookie exchange.

You really can't ask for more than that!!! Chocolate and friends all in one room??? Can we say HEAVEN!!!!


And the winner of the Nature Valley giveaway is..............

Blogger Stephanie said...

Aside from baking, I love taking walks in the fall. The air is cool and crisp (such a relief from hot summer temperatures!) and everything is just so beautiful.

Stephanie email me your address rebekahskitchen(at)live(dot)com so we can get your prize pack sent out!!

Thanks to everyone who participated! Wish I had more of these to giveaway!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Just Because

Just because everyone needs to laugh

Make Promise

Make a promise/lunch note and Lunchables will donate a free lunch to kids in a bonus you get a $1 printable coupon!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009



It's time for another giveaway! I just love these don't you???

Nature Valley is re-shaping snack time with the debut of a delicious new treat, and we'd like to offer you a chance to try it!

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. If you love nuts, you'll enjoy this flavorful little snack featuring the perfect combination of sweet & salty flavors paired with a crunchy texture that you can see and taste. And with the first unique cluster-shaped granola packaged in a handy re-sealable pouch, it's perfect for sharing on the trails or in your living room!

New Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters come in four easy-to-crave flavors:

Nut Lovers, Roasted Almond, Roasted Cashew and Honey Roasted Peanut.

If this sounds good to you then I would love for you to enter this contest brought to us by the fabulous folks at My Blog Spark. You will be entering to win a prize pack that contains Nature Valley Granola Nut Clusters "Snack Pack" prize pack that includes all four (4) varieties of the Granola Nut Clusters along with a sling backpack, stainless steel water bottle, flashlight and binoculars!

I received one myself to try yesterday and I dove right into one of the granola snack packs! They are really good!!!!!! I had to contain myself to not eat the whole bag in one sitting. The flashlight, backpack and binoculars would be great in an emergency essentials pack for your home or to take on bird watches or hikes. These nut clusters are really tasty and give you that sweet and salty satisfaction at snack time. Good luck!!!!
1. leave a comment on your favorite fall activity, do you like to go hiking, camping, biking, etc...

2. follow me!!!

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