Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone!  Our pumpkins are carved and the kids' costumes are neatly laid out and ready for the big day tomorrow. I'm excited to help at C's school party during the afternoon and our fingers are crossed for decent weather tomorrow's not looking good!  Definitely one of my favorite days of the year. I can't wait to see everyone's costumes on Facebook over the next couple of days. :) Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Witches Broom Cookies

Eek! Only SEVEN more days until Halloween!!! The final pieces to the kids' Halloween costumes came in the mail and I am getting so excited!

For dessert last night we had Witches Broom Cookies.  What a fun way to show our Halloween spirit. To make it even easier we used Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookie Dough from our friends at Immaculate Baking. So these were a cinch to put together.

In a few more days we'll be carving our pumpkins and ready to go Trick-or-Treating.

Witches Broom Cookies

12 Pretzel Rods
2/3 c. chocolate chips
2/3 c. white chocolate chips
1 t. shortening, divided

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the pretzel rods on two separate ungreased cookie sheets. Take ball of cookie dough and form it into a broom shape then press onto the end of each pretzel rod. Gently press with your palm to slightly flatten. Further press with a fork to create bristles on the broom. Bake 15 minutes or until set but not brown. Cool completely. 

Make a chocolate drizzle by melting 2/3 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 t. shortening in a microwavable safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for 10 seconds intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is melted. Once the cookies have cooled completely, spoon the melted chocolate over the brooms.

Optional: Create a white chocolate drizzle (the same way you made the milk chocolate drizzle) and drizzle over the milk chocolate. You can decorate these brooms however you like.  For some I drizzled some white chocolate over the milk chocolate.  For others, I highlighted the broom's bristles with the white chocolate.

Allow the chocolate to harden on the cookies before packaging them up.

* Please note that Immaculate Baking did provide me with coupons and free product; however all opinions are 100% mine. :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

I believe the word "pumpkin" should be included in the definition of Fall.  Fall is here. The leaves are slowing falling off the trees and the sights around us are absolutely gorgeous. It's definitely one of the most beautiful times of the year.  I enjoy Fall but I would enjoy it a lot more if it didn't mean Winter was right around the corner.

Anyways, here's my first pumpkin recipe to kick off the Fall season.  My kids LOVED this milkshake and asked for seconds. Little do they know it was good for them. That's always an added bonus!

I doubled the recipe below and it made enough for me and the kiddos.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

In a blender, combine:

1/2 c. ice
1/2 c. vanilla nonfat yogurt 
1 t. honey
1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 of a banana

Puree until icy and smooth. Tastes like pie.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Homemade Salsa

Summer is definitely over. The temps are getting chilly around here and I picked up my last farm share (CSA = community supported agriculture) on Thursday.  It included green onions, radishes, turnips, spinach, butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, cilantro, and my last fresh picked tomatoes of the year. Bummer!

I love supporting local farmers and I have been 100% pleased with my farm share from Hand Sewn Farms based out of Manchester, MI.  Megan was such a pleasure to work with.

Knowing these were my last fresh tomatoes of the season, I knew there was one thing I really wanted to make...SALSA!!!  I already had onions and cilantro so I was well on my way!

I could just sit and eat a whole bowl of salsa.  Yum!  This batch had a few too many onions for my liking so I scaled it down in the recipe for next time. This was my last taste of summer. It's time to move on to soups and lots of pumpkin recipes. 

Easy Homemade Salsa
Source: A Busy Girl

6 medium tomatoes
1/4 large sweet onion
3 big cloves of raw garlic
1 medium-sized JalapeƱo pepper, seeded
1/2 c. fresh cilantro (measured before chopping)
Freshly squeezed lime juice – 1/2 to 3/4 of a medium lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Dice all the ingredients and put them into in a bowl. Give it a good stir. Taste test and make adjustments as necessary. Store in refrigerator in an air tight container.
It gets even better after it sits in the fridge for a couple of days, as the flavors meld together.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Cakes, Cookies & Cupcakes

Halloween is a little over two weeks away. It's one of my favorite times of the year and I've already started decorating some Halloween-inspired cakes at the bakery.  These next 2 weeks will be filled with pumpkins, spider webs, ghosts, and even Frankenstein cookies! I am also working on finishing up the kids' Halloween costumes this week. Just a few more pieces and they'll be all set! I can't wait!!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dress Shirt with Tie Birthday Cake

I had a fun request to make a cake that resembles a men's dress shirt and tie this weekend.  It was a blast! The cake was iced in buttercream frosting but the collar, pocket, and tie were made with fondant.

One of the reasons I love my job...each and every cake I make are so different! :)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Creamy Spinach & Sausage Pasta

I just LOVE one dish meals!  They are typically quick to make, they get less dishes dirty, and it helps me get dinner on the table fast when we've had a busy day.  This recipe was quite amazing and my whole family devoured it.  Even the left overs were quite delicious. Thanks again Pinterest for another keeper recipe!

Creamy Spinach & Sausage Pasta
Source: Budget Bytes

6 oz. smoked sausage
1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion 
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 c. chicken broth 
8 oz. pasta 
3 c. fresh spinach 
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded monterrey jack 
1 whole green onion 
  1. Thinly slice the smoked sausage and add it to a large skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Saute the sausage over medium heat until it is nicely browned (about 5-7 minutes). Drain off the excess fat.
  2. Dice the onion and add it to the skillet. Continue to saute until the onion has softened (about 5 minutes). Add the can of diced tomatoes with chiles and the chicken broth. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits off of the bottom of the skillet.
  3. Add the uncooked pasta to the skillet and make sure it is all submerged under the liquid. Place a lid on the skillet and allow the mixture to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about ten minutes, or until the pasta is tender. Stir once or twice while the pasta cooks to keep it from sticking.
  4. Stir in the fresh spinach, one cup at a time, until wilted. If you add it all at once, the skillet will be too full to stir. Keep the heat on while adding the spinach, so the liquid will continue to simmer and thicken.
  5. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top, replace the lid, and let it sit for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Slice the green onions and sprinkle them over top. Serve hot!