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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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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Make Cute Animal Shaped Mini Sandwiches and Cookies and Stuff

CuteZCute Animal Palz Mini Bento Sandwich Stamping Cutters

These little sandwich shapers are ADORABLE!

The full name for these cute, little sandwich cutters are CuteZCute Animal Palz Mini Bento Sandwich Stamping Cutter & Egg Shaper.

Which is quite a mouthful.

But they do so many fabulous things I can totally get why they had trouble giving it a shorter name!

I’ve used them for a bunch of different things and they really add a great element of fun to my daughters’ lunches.

You can use them to imprint on bread, tortillas, watermelon, cookie dough, and probably a bunch of things I haven’t even thought of yet.

Plus the set also has the tools to make pocket sandwiches.  I’ve found that you can actually get a little bit of both peanut butter and jelly inside of them, but my 4yo actually prefers just plain peanut butter.

Oh – and I have used them to imprint on slices of cheese.  But I don’t recommend that.

Here are some meals/snacks I’ve made with them:

CuteZCute Animal Palz Mini Bento Sandwich Stamping Cutters

And there are tools in the kit to also shape hard boiled eggs, but I haven’t tried that yet.

I do really love this Sandwich Stamping Set.  I’ve kept the box because everything has it’s place inside of it, the directions are on the back of the box, and it fits nicely in the pantry.

I have to keep an eye on the pieces, tho… they have a habit of walking off.  Especially when my 2yo sees me using them.  :)

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Decorated Rice Krispies Treat Marshmallow Christmas Trees

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

My girls love Rice Krispies Treats, but, then….. I’m pretty sure everyone else does, too.

I wanted to do something a little different with them this holiday, though, so we made Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees.

And they looked kinda cool.  :)

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Anyway, it’s the normal base recipe for the trees, plus some food coloring, and then some royal icing and candy to decorate them.

For our Christmas tree “ornaments,” we used miniature M&Ms and Confetti Sprinkles.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

I think the easiest way to color the trees is to mix the food coloring into the melted {melting} marshmallows before mixing in the cereal.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees
Doesn’t that look neat?

And you can see I made the icing ahead of time.  If you do, too, just make sure you cover it with some plastic wrap to avoid the top layer drying out.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

I drizzled the icing onto the trees with a spoon, decorating only 2 or 3 of them at a time.

The icing hardens pretty quickly – which is great for storing and eating them, but you have to decorate them quickly if you want the sprinkles and candy to stick.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Mostly, for the shaping of the trees, I did that part myself.  My 4yo didn’t really like the feel of it.

You need to coat your hands {quite heavily} with a nonstick cooking spray so that the marshmallow mixture doesn’t stick to you.

Then grab a handful of the stuff and shape it into a cone.  Voila.  Time to decorate.

THAT part my kids loved.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Tree Ingredients:
1 package (10 oz., about 40) marshmallows
3 Tbsp. butter
6 cups puffed rice cereal
Green food coloring

For the Icing and Decorations:
2 cups confectionery (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water
Green food coloring
Miniature M&Ms candies
Large or “confetti” sprinkles

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Stir in green food coloring (I used about 25 drops of liquid food coloring) and continue to stir until the marshmallows are completely melted and the color is fully incorporated. Stir continually to avoid burning the marshmallows at the bottom of the pan. (Alternatively, you can heat the butter and marshmallows in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for 3 minutes, stirring after 2, then mix in the food coloring.)

Stir the cereal into the marshmallows and mix well with two spoons until all the cereal is coated. Allow to cool for a minute before handling – it will be hot!

Liberally spray your hands with a nonstick cooking spray. Grab a handful of the cereal mixture and shape into a cone. Allow to sit for a few minutes to continue cooling and to harden into shape while you make the icing.

Combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder in a bowl with a fork. Stir in the extract and water, starting with 3 tablespoons and increasing the amount of water until you reach a consistency that is still slightly thick but easily pourable. Stir in green food coloring. (If you make the icing ahead of time, simply cover bowl with plastic wrap until you’re ready to use it.

Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over two or three cereal trees at a time, and sprinkle on some M&Ms and confetti sprinkles. Place a yellow M&M at the top to represent a star, if desired. Allow icing to dry.  Store covered at room temperature for a few days or in the freezer for 6 weeks. Makes about 15 trees.

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Click here for the free, printable PDF version of the recipe:  Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Enjoy!

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Autumn Leaf-Shaped Mini Pizzas

Autumn Leaf Shaped Pizzas

This is going to be somewhat of an image-heavy post since these cute, little Autumn Leaf Shaped Mini Pizzas are actually easier to explain with photos.

This was a fun dinner we did one night.  The girls helped me out.  And I’ve done this before, for example with dinosaurs, but I used our leaf cookie cutters this time to give it an autumn spin.

And to make the pizzas from scratch, you follow my Easy Pizza Dough Recipe.  Except, once you roll out the dough, you cut out leaf shapes instead of transferring the whole thing to a large pan.

For the cheese topping, I used three kinds:  colby jack, cheddar, and mozzarella cheeses.  I used the sliced versions they sell at the store that are meant for sandwiches and burgers because they’re easier to cut with cookie cutters.  And the extra cheese left over after cutting out my “leaves” went into some macaroni and cheese the next night.

I used 3 flavors of cheese to give it more of a colorful fall-leaf feel, and even if you’re hesitant about doing this, I can assure you – all of the flavors taste amazing on the pizzas.

How To Make Autumn Leaf Shaped Pizzas

As you can see in the photos, I used the cookie cutters to cut out both the dough and the cheese.  I topped the dough with tomato sauce, spices (especially garlic), Parmesan cheese, and then a leaf shaped slice of cheese.

It is a little difficult to get the dough to keep it’s precise shape and to fit the cheese over the dough with the shapes lining up in with an exact perfection… but that’s okay.  Really, one of my favorite parts of these little pizzas is the cheese that drips over the side of the crust onto the pan and mixes with the extra garlic powder and Parmesan and gets all crispy and delicious.

If you’re not into that, this may not be the recipe for you.

Here is the Wilton Leaves and Acorns 9-Piece Aluminum Cookie Cutter Set, in case you want to use the same ones I did:

 Wilton Leaves and Acorns 9-Piece Aluminum Cookie Cutter Set

And another pic of the yummy finished pizzas:

Autumn Leaf Shaped Pizzas

As I said, I used my Easy Pizza Dough Recipe to make this, which you can also print as a free PDF by clicking here:  Easy Pizza Dough.

Enjoy!

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Flamingo Dress {yes, I said flamingos}

Shoreline Soiree Dress in Flamingos from ModCloth

At first glance I saw a sleek and stylish dress that would be perfect for wearing to work or a nice dinner.

On second glance… flamingos???

Yes.  Flamingos.

And the Floridian in me went, “SA-weeeeeeeeeeeeeet!”

I mean, come on:  an upscale dress with such a fun design?  I’m all about that.  Plus, growing up in Florida has left me with a strange affinity for pink, plastic flamingos.  I think they’re amusingly charming.

So these flamingos rock even harder.

Want one?  Find it here: Shoreline Soiree Dress in Flamingos from ModCloth

It’s like a vacation in a dress.  That would make me smile every time I passed a mirror.  :)

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The Incredible Book Eating Boy {Book Review}

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

We loved this book.

I loved the illustrations and the words and the story, and my daughters seemed to love all of it.

As soon as our first reading of it ended, my 3-year-old said, “Can we read it again?”

That’s always a good sign.

So, The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers instantly made our list of favorites.

It’s a fun and slightly absurd story of a young boy named Henry who accidentally discovers that he likes to eat books.  All kinds of books.  And the more he eats, the smarter he gets.  Until he eats too many, and things begin to get a bit jumbled and confused.  Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like such a good idea to eat books anymore.

This makes Henry sad, until he realizes that – rather than eating them – he could read them instead!  And he finds that he enjoys reading them even more than he enjoyed eating them.  Although, when you read it yourself you’ll see that sometimes, quite by accident, Henry still takes a bite or two … as evidenced by the big chomp taken out of the back cover.

The gorgeous illustrations are so much fun.  I find them to be delightful, as do my children, who scour the pages as I read.  It’s definitely a book to be read by adults or older children, though, as it may be a bit too busy for emerging readers.  But that’s the trade-off for the charm.

It’s recommended for kids 4 and up, but my 3-year-old loves it and my 20-month-old enjoys it as well.  They are both engaged during the story.  It spurs conversations and questions with my preschooler and my toddler likes to point out different objects, like the red books that Henry favors.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

Oh – and don’t worry, on the back of the book is this “Disclaimer:  Do Not Try to Eat This Book at Home.”

I completely recommend The Incredible Book Eating Boy.

So fun to read.  Easy to devour.  :)

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