Thursday, October 28, 2010

Gourmet Caramel Apples

Who doesn't love caramel apples?  These are easy to make and look great!  Last year I learned how to make sure the kids don't waste them too.  (You know, when they take a bite and then want to pitch it?)  Use your apple wedger (the stick fits right through the corer!) to cut the apple into slices and share!  Everyone can have a bite and if they want more you can cut another apple!

I am all about the "homemade," but wanting to try this out I was in a hurry and got the caramel sheets you just heat onto the apples.  On the plus side it was easy, on the minus side there was not enough caramel.  Yes, it covered the apple, but I got giant apples and it would need a thicker layer.  Next time I will make my own or melt caramels and double dip the apples in them!

On to dipping.  I had semi-sweet chips in the pantry and used those...they were yummy, but I think next time I will use milk chocolate or dark chocolate. 

I learned about cinnamon chips this year.  Where have I been?  I melted them and put them in a ziplock, cut the end, and used the bag to drizzle the melted cinnamon on the apples.  Oh my that's good!  I found them at Stracks, they were Hersheys brand.  

I also added white chocolate to them using the ziplock as a piping bag.  That's easy and saves on clean up afterward.  You can add anything else you like.  I added pecans to mine, but I've seen m&m's, crushed oreos, holiday sprinkles, you can do whatever you want.

I think they turned out great.  This is great to do with kids too.  They can top with whatever they like!  Have fun with it!  Happy Halloween!

Gourmet Caramel Apples on FoodistaGourmet Caramel Apples

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin French Toast with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

More pumpkin dishes!  Are you tired of them?  I hope not because my family continues to request all things pumpkin!  The boys love it.  When I said I was making pumpkin french toast both of my boys got huge smiles on their faces.  What is it about pumpkin that gets my boys in such a happy place?  I let my oldest son Nicholas make the cinnamon whipped topping.  He was surprised at how fast you can make whipped cream. 

I started searching to look for a fantastic recipe, then realized I could just wing it.  I did look to see how much people were adding to the dish to make it taste "pumpkiny."  Yes, people acutally use that as a word.  Anyway, I figured I'd use 1/2 cup and see how it goes.  Here is what I did:  

Mix together 4 eggs, some milk (I think I use about 1/4 cup), 1/2 cup of  canned pumpkin, and a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice.  Slice bread to dip.  I used whole wheat bakery bread that I bought yesterday.

Place the coated bread on your skillet or griddle.

 Flip after 4-5 minutes, when golden brown.

Don't these look good?  They taste even better!

To make the whipped cream simply pour the amount of cream you want.  I used about a half cup.  Use electric whisk to whisk it till it becomes thick.  Add 1-2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  That's it!


I buttered the toasts, added syrup, then topped with whipped cream.

 Enjoy a taste of the fall!!!  :)  PUMPKIN is your FRIEND!  :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Banana Chip Mini Bread-Muffins

These are fantastic!  Every year around Christmas time I make pumpkin cranberry bread.  It is amazing and I actually have to freeze it because my family will eat it all.  That or I make it the day before I give it away so they can't tear into it.  I am bringing a snack to my son's kindergarten class and I was thinking of the pumpkin bread for something different.  I usually  make five mini loaves, but have been thinking mini muffins sound good.  Does a bread recipe become a muffin recipe if you put it in a muffin tin?  I don't know, but whatever it is called, it worked perfectly.

I made a batch of plain pumpkin ones, which the family loved.  Then I cut up two bananas and added a cup and a half of chocolate chips to it and WOW.  I baked them for 12 minutes and let them cool.  They are actually better when completely cooled. 

Place these dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk them together:
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt

Place these ingredients into a mixer bowl and mix until combined:
3 cups sugar
1 can (15 oz) 100% pure pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice or water (I always use juice)

Once mixed I used a small scoop to put even amounts in the mini muffin pan.  I made one batch like this.  Then I added two bananas (cut into small cubes) and 1 1/2 cups of ghiardelli chocolate chips.  Yes, I do think it makes a difference if you bake with those chips.  They just taste better!

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Here are the Pumpkin Mini Bread-Muffins.

And here are the Pumpkin Banana Chip.

Give it a try.  At Christmas make these with 1-2 cups of fresh cranberries.  Or if you are a friend of mine, make sure I get a loaf to you!  :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Baked Pumpkin Onion Rings

Yes, you read that correctly.  It says pumpkin onion rings.  I have been making lots of pumpkin goodies lately.  I was on the computer chatting with a fellow pumpkin spice latte lover and joked about pumpkin onion rings, than thought...hey, that may turn out to be great.  I was right. 

I had intended to bake onion rings for awhile, having found a recipe I thought would be perfect.  I read a few recipes online that said the most difficult part is getting the breading to stick to the onion.  This is easily achieved with the pumpkin, and boy is it good.  The family gobbled them up no problem.  They even ate what was leftover today for lunch.  I did make the original baked onion rings too, just in case the pumpkin ones didn't turn out.  Everyone liked the pumpkin ones don't be afraid to try it!

Preheat the oven to 425.  Slice your onion and pull apart the pieces into rings. 

Season the onion slices with Pumpkin Pie Spice and then coat them with flour.

Coat the floured onion in a mixture of pumpkin and egg whites.  I used about a half a can of pumpkin and thinned it out with the egg whites using a whisk.

Coat the onion with Panko bread crumbs and place onto prepared pan.  (Pour two tablespoons of olive oil onto a sheet pan and place into the oven for two minutes.  Take pan out and coat pan with hot oil.)

Place coated rings onto pan.  Place into 425 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Flip rings and bake for another 8 minutes.

Rings should be golden brown.  Lightly sprinkle with salt.

The rings to the right were seasoned with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  They were then dipped in egg whites and coated with Panko bread crumbs.

I served them with grilled chicken on a bun.  Yummy!  Was hoping for a pumpkin beer, but my husband didn't go get it.  :(  Next time for sure!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Classic Garlic Hasselback Potatoes

I've never made potatoes like this before, and I can't wait to try all the variations.  I found this recipe on and picked one of the many variations she had listed.  She did give credit to the original poster on that blog, and I'm sure if you do a google search you will come up with more variations or just make one up for yourself.  To find the recipe I worked from, click here:

I thought using the chopsticks to make sure you don't cut all the way through the potato was genius!  It made it easy for me to concentrate on cutting the potato, instead of having to worry if I was cutting to deep.  

Thinly slice the garlic and place it into the slits in the potato.  I used this garlic slicer, but you can cut it with a paring knife as well.

 Put the garlic into the potato and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.  (I think 45 is the best number, or more if they are still not cooked through.)

Here are your finished potatoes.  I cannot wait to try the Proscuitto and Parmesean and the sweet potato drizzled with maple syrup.  Go for it!

I'm thinking these would also turn out great in the crockpot!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin pancakes just sound yummy.  Am I right?  My youngest son would have pancakes everyday if I had the energy to make them daily.  When I saw canned pumpkin on the shelf at the store and remembered it being bare last year, I grabbed a large can and two small ones.  I opened one with a smile and tried a pumpkin latte recipe that was not a winner.  Then I turned to the pumpkin pancakes and WINNER!  These are great. 

You will also be surprised to know that even I have a box of bisquick on the back shelf for days like this.  It is a very easy recipe and I found it on the Betty Crocker website as Spicy Pumpkin Pancakes.  But if I call it that, the boys think it is "hot" spicy instead of cinnamon "spicy."  So to us there are plain pumpkin pancakes.  

It's that time of year!  So just give it a try.  The boys said it tasted like pumpkin pie!  The recipe also says you can make a maple-pecan syrup.  My boys are not fans of nuts, so we just slathered it in real maple syrup!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Egg In A Basket

Breakfast for dinner is mine and the kids favorite of favorites.  My husband thinks it should be only eaten at breakfast.  Therefore, when he goes out of town, out with the guys or just wont be eating dinner with us for whatever reason, we have breakfast for dinner.  They have many requests, but this is by far the most requested.  (It is also requested by my breakfast time, of course.)

What is an egg in a basket?  It is a piece of bread with a hole cut out and an egg plopped in it.  That is it and it is delicious!  Do not throw away the circle of bread, that's the best part.  The boys like it to dip into the egg, but I like it with some jam on the side.  Whatever you decide to do with your toast, egg in a basket is a good way to go for an easy breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Start by cutting out the holes of the bread and buttering both sides of the bread.  Heat your skillet to medium.  Add the bread to the skillet, then the egg, and season with salt and pepper.  (When I make this for my hubby, he likes red pepper flakes too.)

I put it on a large griddle pan so I can make them all at once.

No difficulty to this whatsoever!

Flip them when the egg is cooked the way you like them...we like medium over here.  Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween Party Ideas


I love making Halloween food.  The grosser the better!  But I do have young kids, so I have to keep it pretty mild.   We always have guests to go trick or treating with us, so I always do a scary dinner before we go trick or treating.  Here are some ideas for snacks and dinner.  I've had lots of people asking for suggestions, so here you go.  Pick the things you like and run with it!

Smashed potatoes with peas for the eyes make great ghosts!  You can slice and cook up some hot dogs in a skillet and they will make curly worms.  Serve them on a bun or as is, the kids love it!

Worms in the mud are an easy dessert.  I think anything with a gummy worm in it make a kid happy.  I think this is just chocolate pudding and mashed up chocolate teddy grahams layered in a clear plastic cup.

In the background you can see the "GuacaMoldy."  I forget what we named the salsa, but I'm sure you can think of something gross.

Don't forget simplicity.  A bunch of orange crackers on a black platter (throw in a mouse or rat) just looks Halloween.  The labels say "dead goldfish."  The labels make a difference too, I think.  You can have something normal and just give it a spooky label.

We also had dried cranberries labeled "scabs" and raisins labeled "rat droppings."

I love easy stuff like this.  Crackers with Spicy Pineapple Rum Sauce over a block of cream cheese...yep, that's it.  Name it "Phlem Cheese" and it gets the  "eewwww" factor you are looking for.

I love caramel apples, but do NOT love it when a kid takes one bite and leaves the rest for the garbage.  My solution to this is to use an apple wedger to wedge the caramel apples.  The corer fits right over the stick, so no worries.

Like I said, sometimes the label does the work for you.  This is a pumpkin bundt cake labeled Petrified Pumpkin.

 I cannot have Halloween without popcorn balls!  I love them.  Make them orange and call them creepy cornballs and you are set!  I also do dipped pretzels and find holiday colored candy to go on the table. 

Don't throw out the pumpkin seeds when you are carving those jack-o-lanterns.  They make perfect "dried fingernails."  You can do them sweet or savory.  Salt and pepper on this one, but cinnamon and sugar on another.  Mmmmm...

I cannot pass up a cute jello mold.  Be sure to read the instructions for making molds.  It is different than regular jello.  You can spray the mold before filling if you are worried about the jello sticking.

Apple brie tartlets became witches teeth (due to the apple pieces being cut in shapes that looked like teeth).

Deviled eggs...which has a great name in itself were "blood shot eyeballs."

Sting cheese can easily be made into fingers.  Cut them in half, use a knife to make knuckle markings, and add a sliced almond as the nail (use cream cheese to attach them).

I have some new ideas for this year.  I try to do something new to surprise the kids.  The first year I made brains and eyeballs (spaghetti and meatballs).  Search the net and you will find tons of great ideas.  

Have a great party and don't eat to much candy!

Here is what the boys looked like last year.  Nicholas was Bakugan Dan and Marcus was Wolverine.