Open Faced Pumpkin (Jack O’ Lantern) Cheesy Bread

Open Faced Pumpkin Jack O Lantern Cheesy Bread

This Jack O’ Lantern “Pumpkin” Cheesy Bread is another fun lunch idea to serve up in October!

I love playing with food and this is one of those things that makes my kids a little more excited about eating non-candy foods.  Granted, an open-faced cheese sandwich might not be the healthiest thing in their lunchbox, but it’s filling.  And you can make it with whatever kind of bread you like.  It looks better on wheat than white bread, and even better on pumpernickel.

I used the big pumpkins from this cookie cutter set to cut out the bread.  A regular loaf of sandwich bread may be a little small for the big cookie cutter, so you can either use the smaller pumpkin instead, or just flatten out the bread slice a little bit to make it wider.  Like with a rolling pin.  Or your hands, if you’re lazy like me.

Then, take your orange cheese (I used American but if your kids like cheddar, that’s awesome, too) and cut out a pumpkin with the same cutter you used for the bread.  You may have to put two pieces of cheese next to each other to be big enough for the pumpkin, but don’t worry – it’ll all melt together.

On a cutting board, after you’ve cut your pumpkin shape from the cheese slice, use a small knife to carve the face from the cheese.  Draw the face with the point of the knife and then use the knife to lift out the extra pieces.  Then gently transfer the cheese to the bread, lining up the pumpkin shapes.

Put the bread on a napkin and microwave it for 5 to 7 seconds – just enough to barely melt the cheese.  If it melts too much, the face will spread and get mushy.  Remember, you want it to melt just enough to make sure the cheese will stick to the bread and not fall off.

If you’re going to put it into a container for their lunchbox instead of eating it right away, make sure to leave it on the napkin for a minute before enclosing it in plastic, just in case there’s any errant moisture.  Then pack it off, or refrigerate it until the next day.

Happy Halloween!

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Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins: Version 2015

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins for Halloween

I really love these little guys.  There just isn’t much of a better bite-size snack around Halloween than these tiny Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins.

I’ve made these many times, and this year my girls helped out.  My 5yo made quite a few completely on her own.

It’s a great way to get your kids in the kitchen – the main challenge being getting them not to eat all the marshmallows!

It takes a little bit of time to get all of those tiny marshmallows covered, but it is SO worth it!  Biting into the smooth vanilla-flavored chocolate that surrounds the pillow-like center with that one tiny crunch of the sprinkle “stem” is just utter delight!

Be sure to make a bunch – they’re great to share but will go fast!

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins for Halloween 2

You’re going to need some mini marshmallows, some orange candy melts, and some flower green flower shaped sprinkles, kinda like these or these.  Or, if you can’t find flower shaped sprinkles, you could substitute with regular chocolate sprinkles.

Melt the candy melts according to the package directions, making sure the chocolate is smooth and drips from the fork somewhat easily, but that it’s not very hot.

Meanwhile, separate out the green sprinkles.

Throw a marshmallow in the bowl and use a fork or two to cover it with chocolate.  Scoop it out with the fork and gently tap the fork on the edge of the bowl to get rid of the excess chocolate.  Then use a second fork to scrape the marshmallow off of the first fork and onto some parchment or waxed paper, making sure the marshmallow is upright.

Do this for a few marshmallows, and then take a break to insert a green sprinkle in the top of each pumpkin before the chocolate starts to harden, and trace around it with a toothpick if there is a lot of excess chocolate.  This will make it easier to break off any extra big chunks once it has dried.

Coat the marshmallows until you run out of chocolate.  One bag of candy melts will use up about half a bag of mini marshmallows.  Let the pumpkins sit until fully hardened, about an hour.  Then remove them from the paper.  Store covered… and enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other Halloween marshmallows, too:

Chocolate Covered Halloween Ghost and Pumpkin Mini Marshmallows 1

Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Pumpkins and Candy Corn

Halloween Marshmallow Mummies

Happy (Yummy) Halloween!

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Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

These candy corn cookies are amazing.  Seriously.

And not just because they’re shaped and colored like candy corn, though that is pretty awesome.  But I also developed a new recipe that includes honey.

That’s right:  honey.

And why not?  Candy corn is made with honey.  So even though I’d made cookies that looked like these in the past with sugar cookie dough, I wanted to try something a little different this year.

And the honey really pushed them over the edge.  They were soft and sweet and smelled as delicious as they tasted.

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

So, first things first.  You gotta make the dough.

Once you have the dough, split it into three balls and add yellow food coloring to one and orange to another while leaving one plain.

Then you stack the dough in layers in a bread pan and refrigerate it for a couple of hours.  You can stack them in which ever order you choose, too.  I went with white-yellow-orange, but most candy corn is actually colored white-orange-yellow.  Not that it really matters, though.  Everyone who saw these instantly recognized them for what they were.

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

When the dough is chilled, you’ll turn it out of the bread pan and cut it into thick slices, just like a loaf of bread.  Then each slice will be cut into six or seven triangles by alternating the direction of your knife.

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

And don’t worry about it looking perfect.  I gave my 3yo and 5yo butter knives and let them have at it, too.

When my 3yo pretty much shredded the dough, I just gently squeezed a few of those pieces together to form something that resembled a triangle.

(Incidentally, if you’re wondering why she’s wearing band-aids in the photo, well, those are for decoration.  That’s just how we roll.)

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

Put the cookies on cookie sheets with a little space between them.  They don’t spread much.

And you should use parchment paper lined sheets, unless you have something like these pans in the photos, which keep things from sticking.

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

And there you have it:  beautiful, smooth, sweet cookies that are perfect for Fall!

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and egg with a mixer until creamy. Add the honey and vanilla and mix until well blended. Gradually add the flour mixture.

Move dough onto counter and cut into three pieces. Leave one piece plain and, using food coloring, dye the second piece yellow and the third piece orange. Knead the color into the dough, using extra flour to coat your hands so the dough doesn’t stick.

Line a 9 x 5 inch bread pan with plastic wrap. Press the dough into the pan one color at a time, spreading each layer across the entire pan. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove the dough from the bread pan and cut it into ¼-inch to ½-inch thick slices. Cut each slice into six triangles. Place cookies on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Let sit on baking sheet for two minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Store covered. Makes about 6 dozen, depending on the thickness of the cookies.


Click here for the free printable PDF version of the recipe:

Candy Corn Shaped Honey Cookies

Happy Baking!

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Bloody Worms in Jack O’ Lantern Peppers

Bloody Worms in Jack O Lantern Peppers for Halloween

Last year I made Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Jack O’ Lantern Pepper Pumpkins.  

And since Halloween is right around the corner, I made them again.

My girls really love these things.  Granted, they didn’t actually eat the peppers – and I knew they wouldn’t.  The good thing about this, is you can still rinse the spaghetti sauce off the pepper when dinner is over and reuse the beloved “pumpkins” in an omelet or fajita at a later meal.

But there’s something special about being served a bowl of bloody (tomato sauce) worms (fettuccine) in a jack o’ lantern (carved pepper).

Bloody Worms in Jack O Lantern Peppers for Halloween

The peppers themselves were just carved with a small paring knife in much the same design I would do on a pumpkin.  And for the meal, you can totally just throw some bottled spaghetti sauce over some noodles (I used fettuccine because they’re thicker), or you could try out my spicy version by printing this free PDF:

Spicy Spaghetti Worms in Pepper Jack O’ Lanterns

As a side note, I also threw in some chunks of pepperoni into this batch, which is totally optional (but delicious).

Happy Halloween!

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The Curious Case of the Pumpkin Pizzas and the Disappearing Ghosts

Pumpkin Shaped Pizzas with Ghost Cheese for Halloween

If you search the web for Halloween-themed dinner ideas, there are plenty of ideas for ghost pizzas.  Things like cutting cheese into the shape of ghosts and placing it on red sauce of the pizza to make the ghosts pop.

Well, I wanted to do something a little different.

And, boy, did I.

My intention had been to create cute little pumpkin-shaped and pumpkin-colored pizzas that would have little cheese-ghosts kind of floating over them.

I would make the pumpkin shapes with cookie cutters, like I made my Autumn Leaf or my Dinosaur Pizzas, and I would then “color” my pumpkins appropriately with shredded cheddar.  Orange shredded cheddar.  Sharp, in fact.

Pumpkin Shaped Pizzas with Ghost Cheese for Halloween 2

It seemed like a wonderful idea when I came up with it.  It still seemed like a wonderful idea when I was chasing my flour-covered children around the kitchen.  But once the pizzas were comfortably in the oven… well, I realized I’d made an error in judgement.

The white mozzarella cheese ghosts melted right into the orange cheddar pumpkins and, thus, my cute little ghosts disappeared from sight.

The up side?  They still tasted awesome.

And I was even afforded the additional benefit of incorporating a science lesson into dinner.

And since I’m a literature major and not a scientist, it went something like this:  “The ghosts disappeared!  Like magic!”

Pumpkin Shaped Pizzas with Ghost Cheese for Halloween 3

Either way, pizza is always a blast to make and a wonderful, wonderful thing to eat.  And would have made a wonderful experiment, too, if I’d made some pizzas without the Cheddar and only the ghosts.  Oh well.  Next time.

Just remember, when things don’t go the way you planned, always use that opportunity to present it as a learning experience.  Or, you know, pour yourself a big glass of wine and eat your way through it.  Because pizza makes everything better.

Easy Pizza Dough 4

For the step-by-step photos and directions on how I make my homemade pizzas, see my post about How to Make Easy Pizza Dough {And Proof Yeast}, and to print the free PDF of the recipe, click here:

Easy Pizza Dough

Happy Eating!

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Oreo Ghosts

Oreo Ghosts

These are a super cute way to add a little Halloween fun to snack time!

Since a bag of Oreos is a dangerous thing, I don’t like to keep them in the house too often… but I’ll buy the small packs now and then for fun stuff like this.

To make the ghosts, first you need to open the cookies while trying to keep all of the icing on one side.  Then use a small paring knife to carve off a bit to give a swirl movement to the sides of the ghost, and then make circle shapes for eyes and a mouth.  Scrape up and off the extra pieces.  And, you know, “discard” them… somehow… ;)

Oreo Ghosts

Then serve up the ghosts to your excited Little Ones!

Happy Halloween!

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How to Make a Banana Message

How to Make a Banana Message

These banana messages are so much fun!  They only take a minute to make and kids get a kick out of them.

It’s really easy to draw a message onto the banana.  All you have to do is bruise the skin by dragging a toothpick over it.  If you’re out of toothpicks, you could use a knife instead.

If you want the message really dark, you can break the skin, which is what I did for the banana pictured above.

Also, since it darkens as time goes on, I actually do this at night and slip it into my daughter’s lunch box for the next day.  But you could do it that morning, as well.

She also enjoys getting a banana that has her name carved into it, or with fun stickers attached to it.

And if you’re looking for more fun food ideas, check these out:

Heart Shaped Strawberries and Sandwiches for Kids Lunches    Peppermint Polar Bear Paw Treats and the Books That Inspired Them 5

CuteZCute Animal Palz Mini Bento Sandwich Stamping Cutter 2  Teddy Bear Toast 3 Octopus Dinner Rolls 1

Have fun!  And I’d love for you to share your creations with me on Facebook!

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