Archives for October 2011

Meatless Monday and Happy Halloween!!!

Chocolate Cake Batter

Crumbled Cake

Cake Balls

Sprinkles!

One is the loneliest number…

Cake Pops!

Finished Product!

Happy Halloween!!!
I hope you all enjoyed the weekend. I had a blast at a family wedding where I danced my heels off (literally), ate lots of good food, drank lots of good wine, and spent quality time making memories with the fam! Today is going to be a short and sweet post. I know y’all are used to my three page posts where I talk and talk and talk, but I think I have already bored you with my Halloween memories. So, instead I wanted to ask you to share your favorite Halloween memories. What was your favorite Halloween outfit as a kid, teen, or adult. Do you love trick or treating, or would you rather sit at home with a scary movie. Or, maybe you don’t care much at all for the holiday and spend your Halloween throwing candy at the neighbors kids from your front porch. Yes, I did see this happen once during my teen years. It’s amazing to see a Halloween Grinch in person. Where’s the spirit, people? Anyway, I would love to hear from all of you lovely followers, so please feel free to leave a comment in the section below. You can even say something like, BOO! or…Happy Halloween! In the meantime, enjoy my recipe for Halloween Cake Pops. This was my first time experimenting with cake pops and I took it a bit further and made them dairy and gluten free. I took them to work, and I must say that my coworkers didn’t complain one bit. These are delicious, so make a batch for your Halloween party tonight, or hell, share them with the trick or treaters! Happy Halloween!

Chocolate Raspberry Halloween Cake Pops (GF, DF):

For the Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients:
4 c. almond flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 c. agave nectar
4 large eggs
2 Tbs. Mexican vanilla extract

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 9-in. round cake pans with cooking spray.
2. Using an electric mixer, combine the almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the agave nectar, eggs, and vanilla extract.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.
5. Distribute the batter evenly among the two pans.
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 1 hour.

For the cake pops:

Ingredients:
1 c. raspberry preserves
1 bottle of gluten free organic sprinkles (I got the Halloween sprinkles at Michael’s)

Special Equipment:
50 medium sized lollipop sticks (purchased at Michael’s)
parchment paper

Instructions:
1. Bake chocolate cakes as directed and allow to cool.
2. Crumble the cake into a large bowl, making sure there are no large pieces.
3. Mix raspberry preserves into crumbled cake, using the back of a large metal spoon to distribute evenly.
4. Mixture will be moist enough to roll into 1-in. balls and still hold a round shape.
5. After rolling into balls, place them on a plate and freeze for 1 hour.
6. Melt the chocolate chips in a large pot over very low heat.
7. One at a time, dip 1/2 in. of the tip of a lollipop stick into the chocolate and insert into a cake ball, no more than halfway through.
8. Holding a stick with an entire cake ball attached, dip the entire cake ball into the melted chocolate until completely covered.
9. Twirl any excess chocolate off of the cake ball.
10. Roll the cake pop in the sprinkles.
11. Place the cake pop onto a sheet of parchment paper and allow to cool.
12. Complete the process with the remaining cake pops and allow to cool completely.
13. Serve.

Makes 50 cake pops.

Note: You can stick the cake pops back in the freezer once they are finished cooling and freeze for up to one week. They are even better frozen!

MANGIA!!!



Friday Link Love: Four Weeks of Thanksgiving!

Prosciutto…enough said

A little bit of sweet, a little bit of savory, a little bit of tangy…you get the picture

Apple+Walnut+Crostini=yes, please!

Butternut Squash in a crisp shell? Thanksgiving has arrived!

Simple Shrimp Dish

Packing heat with Pumpkin Seeds

Holy Potato Sticks, Batman!

My one true love…

OMG

Meatballs…is there more to say?

Happy Friday all!
Tomorrow I am headed north of these here parts to attend a family wedding! It must be wedding season because I have found myself attending quite a few this year. I don’t mind because I absolutely love weddings…just something about wearing a pretty dress, getting my nails and hair did, and dancing the night away that I just find addicting! Anyway, Thanksgiving season is fast approaching and this year I have decided to do a Thanksgiving countdown! So, every Friday on Friday Link Love I will feature my Top Ten Thanksgiving Recipes, beginning with Thanksgiving appetizers and ending of course with Thanksgiving desserts, a little bit of gluten-free, a little bit of healthy, and a little bit of fattening. What can I say? I like balance.

Did I mention that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all time? It’s not just the big ole’ turkey, juicy and plump, sitting in the middle of the family table on a platter, or the dessert table lined with three different pumpkin pies, an array of cobblers, and my mom’s chocolate delight, but rather the culture of the season. Simply put, Thanksgiving to me is well, about being thankful for what you have (and sometimes what you don’t have). It’s that one day of the year where we really get to emphasize what we are thankful for, just in case we haven’t already spent the 364 other days of the year counting our blessings. This year, just as any year, I am thankful for God, who has blessed me with this life, my immediate family made up of three people whom I love unconditionally, my parents who have raised me to be the woman of strong character and honest integrity that I am today, teaching me that love conquers all and to trust in God’s plan, both of my extended families, who are a little bit crazy, a little bit dramatic, but I still love em’, and my third family, a.k.a. my lululemon family who have been nothing but a barrel of support, especially as I work towards obtaining the goals I have set for myself.

With that said, I am also thankful for food, my true and undying passion in life, along with providing you all with wonderful recipes, not just for dishes, but for life. So, why don’t we kick off our first week of Thanksgiving with my Top Ten Thanksgiving Appetizers, because what is Thanksgiving without starters, a.k.a. crudites and creamy ranch dip, a fruit tray, or a gorgeously arranged antipasto platter layered with salami, prosciutto, a variety of Italian cheeses, olives, roasted bell peppers, and eggplant! All of this food talk has got me anxious, let Thanksgiving begin!

Top Ten Thanksgiving Appetizers:

1. Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, and Cherry Jam Rolls by Cookin Canuck: Being that I am Italian, it’s only natural that Prosciutto be the main appetizer featured on my Thanksgiving table. We Italian’s pretty much wrap anything we can find in prosciutto…there is just something about prosciutto that makes an asparagus spear or a fresh slice of sweet cantaloupe extra tastier. It’s that salty, yet meaty flavor of the thinly slice prosciutto that gets me every time. What can I say, I love me some pig! Anyway, when I saw this recipe, I was all over it! Spread thinly sliced prosciutto with a layer of tangy goat cheese and sweet cherry jam. O my heavens! The flavor combination is out of this world, a little bit salty, a little bit sweet, a whole lot of yummy! I would suggest playing around with different flavored preserves if you are skeptical about cherry jam, might I suggest strawberry preserves or even apple butter…come to think of it, apple butter would be perfect for a fall flavor combination!
2. Roasted Baby Pears with Herbed Goat Cheese by Tyler Florence: Okay, so you know I just love goat cheese so I just couldn’t resist posting this recipe. Tyler Florence is definitely my kind of chef…not to mention he’s Italian, so that is even better. Anyway, he stuffs roasted baby pears with herbed goat cheese, wraps with bacon, and bakes until the pears of tender and the bacon is crispy. Did I mention that he drizzles the finished product with a bit of honey and peppery arugula. Yes, please!
3. Apple Walnut Crostini by Baked Bree: There is just something about apples that says, “Happy Thanksgiving!” Combine dried apples with chopped walnuts, a bit of honey, a splash of lemon and orange juice, herbes de Provence, coriander, orange zest, and cream cheese. All this on top of slices of crusty baguette? Pop these babies into the oven for a quick heat, just to melt the flavors together. What is better than warm bread topped with a cheesy crunchy apple spread? Sign me up!
4. Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Galette by Sunday Suppers: Did I mention that I absolutely adore squash, in fact, I love just about any kind of squash, butternut squash being in my top five. There is just something about butternut squash that makes me feel all warm and toasty inside. It definitely puts me in the holiday spirit and this galette is a perfect fall appetizer that highlight butternut squash beautifully, yet effortlessly. The butternut squash is embedded into an open-faced pocket of homemade dough. Bake in the oven until golden perfection and top with chopped walnuts and pomegranate seeds that add a little burst of freshness. Add a pinch of cracked black pepper, dash of salt, and a good drizzle of olive oil and this galette will blow your mind!
5. Shrimp Cocktail with Creamy-Spicy Green Onion Dipping Sauce by Whole Foods Market: Now, I know what you’re thinking? Really, Chelsy? Shrimp cocktail at a Thanksgiving feast? Well I am here to tell you not to knock the shrimp cocktail until you have tried it! This is a regular appetizer at my Thanksgiving gatherings, in fact, it is the dish I look forward to the most upon arrival to the family member’s house who is hosting Thanksgiving dinner. In my family, it is really a toss up who is going to host Thanksgiving between all the aunts and uncles, yet I can always count on a huge platter of fresh, ice cold shrimp with a signature cocktail sauce to prep my appetite before diving into the turkey head first! Plus, shrimp cocktail is super simple to make. This shrimp cocktail is served alongside a rich, spicy sour cream dipping sauce and is sure to be a crowd favorite at your Thanksgiving party!
6. Chili Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by Elana’s Pantry: C’mon, what is the Thanksgiving table without a bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds for pre-game snacking! I am used to seeing an assortment of sugar coated walnuts or spicy pecans atop my Thanksgiving table, so I thought pumpkin seeds would be a great alternative. These pumpkin seeds have a whole lot of kick behind them, spiced with a bit of chili powder, a touch of salt, and drizzled with a good coating of olive oil. Not to mention, they are a healthy snacking treat for the season where we tend to be more than thankful for a table covered in a sea of homemade desserts, and maybe some chocolate covered candy too! Just a tip: If you have allergies, as I normally do during this time of year, just pop a couple of these and you will feel instant relief in no time! No need for antihistamines here! Last note: these little spiced gems are gluten-free, so your guests with celiac can enjoy them as well!
7. Gluten-Free Potato Sticks with Roasted Tomato Salsa by Gluten-Free Goddess: For all my people with gluten allergies, this appetizer will definitely satisfy your savory tooth. These potato sticks pack a good crunch that can only be sent from the gluten-free goddess herself. Roasting thin strips of potato in the oven creates that classic, french-fry like crispiness that will leave you asking, “McDonald’s who?” Instead of ketchup, serve these babies up with a homemade roasted tomato salsa that is sure to pack a punch! You can also serve these with a bit of sea salt or gluten-free ketchup (try Muir Glen) if you prefer. Did I mention these flavorful potato sticks are gluten-free?
8. Italian Stuffed Globe Artichokes by Food Blogga: Now, in my family stuffed artichokes on any occasion is a regularity. If I were about to eat my last meal, stuffed artichokes would be #1 on my list. They are the ultimate Italian comfort food in my opinion. I must say that my grandmother makes the best stuffed artichokes in the world, seriously, nothing can surpass hers. She can give us all the family cooks the recipe and we can make stuffed artichokes repeatedly, and of course they will come out great every time. Yet, in the end, its just something extra that my grandmother adds to her dish (something that she doesn’t tell us)…I think it is the pure love in her heart, that makes her stuffed artichokes the best. You have never tasted something so delicious, that requires few ingredients. Basically, the stuffing mixture is a combination of homemade Italian breadcrumbs, chopped garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, italian seasonings, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with a bit of extra olive oil and presto, it’s that simple! Everyone has their own rendition and this recipe adds chopped kalamata olives and toasted pine nuts…sound delicious! I would serve this alongside a simple Italian dipping sauce: 1/4 c. olive oil, 2 tbs. melted butter, chopped garlic, fresh chopped basil, pinch of salt and pepper and BAM, those little artichoke leaves will be extra tasty after they take a dip in this savory sauce.
9. Parsnip and Honey Soup Shots with Spicy Sweet Potato Crisp by The Passionate Cook: I am a huge fan of soup, especially in the winter time when its freezing outside (about 60 degrees round these here parts in Texas) and the wind is whipping through the trees so hard that I lose my flip-flops walking to my car. Anyway, that’s the time when I whip out my big soup pot, or my crock pot and cook myself up a huge bowl of hearty, thick soup that warms my heart from the inside out. Today is definitely one of those winter days that requires a good serving of piping hot soup. This recipe has definitely won over my heart and would be absolutely ideal as a Thanksgiving appetizer. The soup gets a creamy based from pureed parsnips, add vegetable stock, garlic, a pat of butter, a squeeze of juiced line, and a bit of honey for sweetness. Wait, that is not even the best part! Pour the soup into individual shot glasses and top with a vibrant orange sweet potato crisp! O my word! Your guests are going to be absolutely speechless!
10. Baked Chicken Meatballs by Smitten Kitchen: I am absolutely smitten with these meatballs. I love meatballs in general, preferably my own recipe. I like my meatball with actual meat, you know, more meat than breadcrumbs. I feel like bread is sometimes used as a filler in meatballs and that you can make the mistake of using too much, so much, in fact that it becomes a bread ball rather than a meatball. You get what I am saying, right? You have to have a perfect balance. These chicken meatballs are a unique take on a traditional Italian meatball but I thought I was give them a chance. These chicken meatballs pack a whole lot of flavor, are super moist, and the best part…nestled inside each meatball are a few specks of chopped salty pancetta! Sounds absolutely delicious and you know Thanksgiving at my house just isn’t complete without a meatball. Insert a toothpick into each meatball so your guests will have no problem grabbing these up. You can also serve these babies with a simple marinara dipping sauce or this peperonata recipe.

MANGIA!!!

Meeting Mrs. Deen!!!

Happy Tuesday y’all!

Today I am putting a little extra emphasis on my southern accent (see greeting above), mainly due in part because this past Sunday I met a very, very special lady with a heart of gold and a southern tongue as thick as black strap molasses. Yes, ladies and gents I had the privilege of meeting the one and only Queen of Butter (as I would like to call her), the sultan of Southern food and my third grandmother (I could only wish), Mrs. Paula Deen herself! You may have heard of her, you know, she has a cooking show on a “little” television network, first name Food. And here she is…

Isn’t she just the best? I.LOVE.HER! So, let me explain how I got the chance to meet Mrs. Deen. Last week I was browsing through a local newspaper and came across my favorite section with the crossword puzzle, I usually just skip all the local news and political junk and just go right to the Life and Style, or sometimes called Food and Life or maybe Arts and Life, anyway, the section was rather thick that day because there was a special calendar for the Texas Book Festival, which occurred this past weekend. Now, I am not much of a reader, unless its a cookbook or some type of food magazine…seriously I will spend hours upon hours sprawled out on my bed reading recipes and/or cutting recipes out of magazine to put in my recipe binder. But when it comes to Of Mice and Men or The Harry Potter Series, count me out.

This years Texas Book Festival was a buzz with food authors, you know, who just so happen to be food celebrities. As I was scaling the schedule for food authors, names were jumping out at me, in particular Alton Brown, who I absolutely adore, I grew up watching his cooking show Good Eats and I am telling you I have never learned more about food in my life, so informative! Then I began seeing several local food authors (some who are chefs and own restaurants round these here parts) who have a devout following, some of my favorites like Lisa Fain, the author of The Homesick Texan Cookbook and food blogger, and others like Gesine-Bullock Prado, Tyson Cole, Louis Lambert, and The Casserole Queens. I thought I was as excited as I could possibly be, but I was wrong. In fact, I was dead wrong. As I turned the page for Sunday’s schedule of events, there it was, first slot, in big bold letters, Paula Deen.

At first I thought it was some sort of sick joke, then it quickly became a realization. If you don’t know, Paula Deen is by far my favorite chef, she is the person who got me hooked watching The Food Network. I’d go as far in saying that The Food Network didn’t make her, she made The Food Network. Needless to say, meeting her is, I mean, was near the number one spot on my bucket list. I can proudly say that I have checked that one off! Did I mention that the Texas Book Festival is 100% complimentary? There are no hidden fees or unnecessary charges, it’s free to anyone and everyone that wishes to attend, mind you first come first serve to any event. I made a quick decision, called up my baby sister, and the next thing you know, we were standing in line at 9 a.m. Sunday morning to hear Paula Deen talk about her new cookbook, Paula Deen’s Southern Cooking Bible. Don’t expect anything less than a stick of butter and a 1/2 c. of grated cheddar cheese in these recipes! Although she does have a skinny version of Mac n’ Cheese available for those watching their butter intake!

Front of the line outside the Paramount Theater

And back of the line…

Thumbs Up…so excited for Paula Deen!


They started barreling us into the theater around 9:30 a.m., and Les and I got a seat about five rows away from the stage (pretty fricking close if you ask me). What was even better is that Les was determined to sit in the front row, so she is just minding her own business and spots two seats in the front row. She is calling me over, all the while the seating attendant is calling out at her “Um, ma’am that section is reserved for Paula’s guests…are you one of Paula’s guests?” She quickly and solemnly replied “No ma’am.” We then reverted back to our original seats where I had a conversation with my sis about what makes a person Paula’s guest. How special do you have to be? Then I went as far to say, “I am special, don’t they know we are Paula’s people? Hell, we are practically her biggest fans!” Les just chuckled and gave me a look that said, “Chels, we will have our time, just not today.” As we sat in the theater and waited for Paula to come out, I occupied my time playing around with my camera settings and shooting some pics.
Isn’t the Paramount beautiful? Had to take a pic of the box seating…love it!

The stage…that’s the seating attendant that told us we weren’t Paula’s people!

Seester…intently tweeting about her Paula Deen experience!

Pretty seester!

Photo Fun! Geez Les, blue eyes much?

Paula was originally scheduled to go on stage at 10 a.m., yet she was fashionably ten minutes late…no one really cared much because when she took the stage it was totally worth the wait. Paula had us busting a gut, Les and I were laughing so hard, she needs her own comedy show, truly hilarious. The mediator told us no flash on the cameras were allowed so these are the only two photos I could sneak in.

Paula poked fun at the mediator’s “Where’s Waldo” socks
So, I forgot to mention the best part about the session. Paula was scheduled to talk from 10-10:45. Her book signing was to occur immediately afterwards at 11 in the book signing tent. Because I had my trusty partner in crime with me, a.k.a. seester, Les volunteered to leave 5 minutes before Paula was finished talking to make a bee line over to the book signing to get a good spot in line for us. Around 10:40 Les informed me that she was going to take a restroom break and head to the book signing tent to get in line. She got up out of her seat and scooted past the two girls on the end of the row. My glance immediately turned to Paula, whose eyes were fixated directly on Leslie as she was heading to the back of the theater. Well, apparently Paula wasn’t having it, and she called out after Leslie, “Hey hunny, did I offend you? Where ya going? I’m not finished talkin’? Hunny, do you have to “wee wee?” The crowd burst into laughter as Leslie turned around and started laughing so hard until she was red in the face. Leslie told the truth, “Paula, I am headed to your book signing so I can get a good spot for my sister and I.” Paula smiled and waved her arms, “Okay hunny, you just go right on ahead and I will see you in a bit.” TOTALLY.EPIC. MADE MINE AND LESLIE’S DAY.

Les got a pretty good spot in line and we met Paula right away, where Leslie thanked her for calling her out in the theater. Paula thought we were just the cutest pair ever! By the way, that is her husband, Michael Groover, in the picture beside her. He is just as much a celeb as she is and was signing away!

All in all, it was a fabulous day to say the least! I wanted to share the first Paula Deen recipe that I ever made when I was a freshmen in high school, her famous Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. I remember the first time my Dad tried this dish and his eyes lit up like a kid in a candy store. Paula says that you can only have one serving of this dish in your lifetime, so pick your day because this dessert is super sweet and rich, and don’t expect anything less than a wholesome stick of butter in this dish. Totally Paula-fied!

MANGIA!!!

Secret Recipe Club and another Meatless Monday!!!

Zucchini

Before being baked off…

Served up…now all I need is marinara dipping sauce

Crispy deliciousness!


Happy Monday all!

I hope your weekend was just swell. I had a fabulous weekend and actually met someone pretty famous…a celebrity chef, but I am saving that news for tomorrow’s post, so get anxious and anticipate because it is HUGE! You don’t want to miss it! Anyway, I was going through my emails on Friday and came across an email from The Secret Recipe Club with a reminder that my recipe reveal was this Monday. I must admit, I totally 100% forgot about my recipe reveal. I have been so busy with work lately I guess I just had a complete brain fart. I hadn’t even had a chance to visit my secret bloggers page, so, first thing Saturday morning I headed on over to check out my blog assignment. I am happy to reveal that my secret blogger is Danielle from Hugs and Cookies XOXO !

Now, when I arrived at Danielle’s page I was pretty darn excited because her backdrop is so psychedelic and sometimes I wish I could go back to the hippie era just for the clothes, I would give anything to wear bell-bottoms with a paisley white lace top and long feathered earrings (a la Jenn-ay in Forrest Gump). Now, the only thing that I was able to gather about Danielle is that she is a lover of teaching, family, and of course, all things cookies. And, wouldn’t you know? She has quite a few cookie recipes on her blog. While her cookie recipes looked absolutely delectable, not to mention enticing with her photos of macaroons dripping in chocolate, I am seriously cookied-out. I have baked so many sweets lately (a lot of them being cookies) and I need to take a break. I was looking for a recipe that was quick, easy, and that I could snack on, or maybe serve as a side dish.

As I was browsing Danielle’s archives I came across the perfect recipe that fit all of my needs, Zucchini Fries. Yes, I know that vegetables are a far cry from sweets, but seriously I was craving something savory, maybe a little bit salty, with some Parmesan cheese thrown in. Now, I may or may not have mentioned that I absolutely love zucchini fries, or anything that is coated in breadcrumbs and Parmesan and baked to a lovely golden crisp. I would also like to add that I have a fetish of eating these with ranch dressing, yes, that is one of my processed foods that I splurge on once in a while. You have to live once in a while, and ranch dressing is a must. For the sake of keeping my recipes unique I decided to create my own spin on zucchini fries, substituting the Italian seasoned bread crumbs for an Italian-seasoned pecan meal mixture that I whipped up. Everything else about the recipe I kept the same! These zucchini fries turned out beautifully! The pecan meal made the zucchini 10 x’s crispier, adding a nutty texture, while the Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese created the flavors of an tasty Italian dish! I was 100% satisfied to say the least!

Big ups to Danielle for the quick, easy, and might I add, yummy-licious recipe! Head on over to Danielle’s blog and browse through her list of sweet and savory recipes, this gal definitely knows what she is doing in the kitchen. Also, just a reminder, feel free to head on over to The Secret Recipe Club and consider becoming a member if you have a blog and would like to participate in the monthly secret recipe reveal.

Pecan-Crusted Zucchini Fries:

Ingredients:
1 lb. of zucchini, cut into 4-5 in. sticks
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 c. pecan meal/flour (if cannot find, grind pecans in a blender or food processor until a fine powder forms)
1/4 c. fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. dried Italian Seasoning
1 tsp. salt

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
2. Combine pecan meal, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and salt on a wide plate. Set aside.
3. Whisk together the egg and egg white in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
4. Working in small batches, dip the zucchini into the egg, shake them to remove excess egg, and roll in 2-3 tablespoons of the pecan flour mixture, adding more pecan flour as needed (you want to make sure not to work with all the pecan flour at once because it will soak up the moisture from the egg and won’t stick to the zucchini).
5. Place the coated zucchini strips on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all zucchini strips have been coated.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the oven, remove from the oven, flip each zucchini strip using a pair of tongs, then bake for another 10-12 minutes until the zucchini is crispy and golden brown. Serve immediately.

MANGIA!!!

Make sure to check out all of the amazing recipes for this month’s Secret Recipe Club reveal by clicking on the links below!

Friday Link Love: Top Ten Halloween Dessert Recipes!!!

Homemade Twix Bars

A recipe from the queen of butter

Peanut Butter…enough said

Chocolate+Mint

Popcorn goodness!

Wholy Moly Count Dracula!

I wish I could eat this photo…

A Whopper of a cookie!

Cupcake, meet Snicker’s

Corny Cookies

Happy Friday everyone!
The cold weather has finally arrived round these here parts in Texas, and to say that I am overjoyed would be an understatement. However, I am regretting my choice to donate my old ugg boots to salvation army, what can I say? They were taking up too much space in my packing boxes while I was moving and I felt no use for them in 105 degree weather. I am definitely rethinking that decision as I sit here wearing my stretchy pants and flip flops. Anyway, I know I am a week early but I thought I would give y’all a head start on preparing your homemade Halloween recipes.
In my family my Mom has started a tradition every Halloween where she makes the best, and when I mean the best, I mean THE BEST popcorn balls in the entire universe. This is right up my mom’s alley…you see, my mom is really creative and definitely knows what she is doing when it comes to decorating. Hand that woman a paint brush and a set of antique chairs and in 1 hour you have a brand new seating arrangement for your dining table. I mean she is pretty darn crafty, with everything from home decor and gift baskets, right down to her popcorn balls. She always packages them in Halloween decorated gift bags with orange and black ribbon. Her popcorn balls are so popular that my sisters best friend always requests a care package be sent to him around Halloween. This boy goes to YALE, you’d think with a g.p.a. like that he would have learned to make them himself, and maybe even started a popcorn ball business and made a profit!
Each Halloween I just about die thinking about my mom making these popcorn balls. I can see her now standing at the stove whipping up the popcorn concoction in her cauldron…i mean, medium sized saucepan. The house smells absolutely divine, like a buttery, salty popcorn, sticky Karo syrup explosion. I could really go for one of those popcorn balls like…NOW! I even had my Aunt text me for the recipe the other day and I realized…I DON’T HAVE IT! WT…? Mom, I know you are reading this and this is all your fault! Haha! Just kidding! Send me some please…fed-ex overnight? K, thanks!
To me, Halloween is that time of year where you can go crazy and eat all the candy that you want. Unfortunately, when you are my age and have no children you are deprived of trick-or-treating so instead you find yourself sitting on the couch Halloween night with your trusty plastic Jack-o-Lantern basket eating your “trick-or-treat” candy that you purchased from the local Walgreens. Totally didn’t happen…it is what it is! What I am trying to say is that I miss the Halloween spirit, trick or treating and coming home where my sister and I would lay out all of our candy for our parents to “inspect,” you know, just in case the sweet old lady next door happened to slip some type of barbiturate into a hershey’s chocolate bar. This usually ended with my mom eating all of my peppermint patty’s, and me getting hopped up on my Reese’s p.b. cups, then crashing off a sugar high about an hour later. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth, and I always will.
I am guessing you already know what today’s link love is all about…duh, Halloween. So, that is why I have decided to share with you my Top Ten Halloween Dessert Recipes, some sweet, and some sweeter. I made it my goal to have each recipe feature a popular Halloween candy. After all, what is Halloween without candy? I hope you share some of these spook-tacular recipes at your next Halloween bash!
Top Ten Halloween Dessert Recipes:
1. Homemade Twix Bars by Mele Cotte: Yea, that’s right I said it: HOMEMADE Twix Bars! This was my sister’s favorite candy as a child, I remember she would eat this before and after soccer matches, for an after school snack, and especially on Halloween. I think it had something to do with my mom loving them so much. This is a classic candy cookie with a buttery shortbread crust, gooey caramel filling, and bittersweet chocolate topping. This cookie was made for trick-or-treating!
2. Outrageous Caramel Apples by Paula Deen: I cannot help but think of my mom every time I see a candied apple. As a child my parents would take my sister and I to the strand in Galveston. Now, this was always a treat, and not just because of the boutiques, but even more so because of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. As we’d stroll by the factory, we couldn’t help but stop and stare at the row of candy apples placed strategically in the stores big glass window, begging you to come inside! Well, apparently tactics like that actually work…every time in fact. My mom, sis, and I would get one caramel apple drizzled with white chocolate and chocolate and covered in peanuts. It was better if it was shared between us…making memories is absolutely priceless and my parents were pretty damn good at it…haven’t lost their touch yet! So, when I saw this recipe by the queen of southern food, Miss Paula Deen herself, I just couldn’t pass it up! She takes a tart Granny smith apple and dips it in a pool of creamy caramel, drizzles with white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips, and for the grand finale, a roll in glazed pecan pieces! Absolutely sinful!
3. Reeses Puffs Crunch Monster Eyeballs by Picky Palate: What would Halloween be without Reeses? You know I can’t live without them and you know I just had to post this recipe! Combine crunchy peanut butter, crushed Reeses Peanut Butter Puff Cereal, and sweet powdered sugar into small balls. Dip each peanut butter ball into melted chocolate and place an M & M in the center of the peanut butter ball to form the “eye.” I am in love already! Truly, this Halloween treat is a peanut butter lovers dream! This is also a perfect treat to make with your kids, so get in the kitchen and get started!
4. Peppermint Patties by How Sweet It Is: Now, this recipe is for a particular special someone, namely, my Mom. Now, I particularly loathe those dark chocolate candies stuffed with a mint-like confection, packaged in a silver wrapper. You know, these ones. Yea, those York thingies. Anyhow, my mom is absolutely a devout lover and when I was younger she would always request that we pick her up a couple at the store whenever we went for a quick trip. It was always, “Hey girls, would you mind picking up a York Peppermint Pattie for me?” I would always respond (and I still do), “Gosh Mom, I can’t believe you like those…yuck.” As the years moved on, my mom never really had to ask for them, it was just assumed that we would pick her up a few, and maybe a People magazine. There is nothing better than a sweet treat while reading hollywood trash. Haha! Did I mention how much I love her? Apparently a lot of people like enjoy the combination of mint and dark chocolate, so here is to all of you York Peppermint Pattie lovers out there, eat your hearts out! I myself will just stick to my Reeses, thank you very much!
5. Caramel Popcorn Balls by Dine and Dish: Have I mentioned how much I love my mother’s recipe for popcorn balls? I. LOVE. THEM.! I came across this version of popcorn balls that combines sweet caramel and salty popcorn into a ball of yummy! This is the perfect flavor combination. I would suggest serving these small versions of popcorn balls as an appetizer at your next Halloween dessert bash!
6. Cookies and Cream Rice Krispie Treats by Cast Sugar: Lately I have been really craving Rice Krispie Treats. As a child, I occasionally had one in my lunch box…there is nothing better than unwrapping that shiny blue package with my friends Snap, Crackle, and Pop on the outside. The best part about a Rice Krispie Treat is that it is a great balance between sticky, gooey, crunchy, and chewy, all rolled up into one square serving. I would eat mine with a nice big glass of milk, to me, it was like peanut butter, always getting stuck to the roof of my mouth. So, of course I wanted to wash it down with a glass of ice cold milk. Now, I feel the same way about Oreo Cookies, I always need a glass of milk handy. Now, I don’t eat an Oreo like any other person, I have my own technique, and now I will teach you how to eat an Oreo. Step One: Take one Oreo cookie and twist it in half so that one half is full of filling and the other half is plain. Step Two: Spread a tablespoon of JIF extra crunchy peanut butter on the plain Oreo half. Step Three: Re-sandwich the halves together and stuff! Yes, I have a problem and I should probably enter Peanut Butter Addicts Anonymous, seriously…I put that stuff on everything! Anyway, when I saw this recipe I just about died, Oreos and Rice Krispies together? Sign me up, I am all in! I will probably need two glasses of milk for this one. I would suggest using the Halloween themed Oreos for this recipe, you know, the ones with the orange stuffing? Hop to it!
7. Butterfinger Pie with Chocolate Spiders by Recipe Girl: Holy Moly, Butterfingers and pie? It just doesn’t get any better than this people. I am very fond of Butterfingers, they remind me of the Simpsons commercial where Bart says “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger! ” Geez, I wonder how they came up with that snippet? Hah! So, clever! This pie is extremely decadent so get ready. It starts with wouldn’t you know? An Oreo cookie crust. Then comes which is basically a pureed mixture of 23 fun-size butterfinger candy bars, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. To top it all off, a white blanket of homemade whipped cream and crafty chocolate “spiders”. Now, that is what I call a perfect Halloween pie.
8. Chocolate Malted Whopper Cookies by Brown Eyed Baker: What is that you say? Malted Milk balls inside of a chocolate chip cookie? OMG! I have hit the jackpot. This recipe is genius. I just want to give a shot out to my Dad who introduced me to whoppers at a young age, Thanks, Dad! Whoppers are the best movie candy, next to Milk Duds, and great paired with popcorn…which gives me an idea for trail mix. Off to the kitchen I go!
9. Snickers Cupcakes by My Baking Addiction: Snickers was always the go-to candy bar before and after any sports competition when I was younger. I guess the media kind-of made it out to be this energy bar. If by energy they mean watching my sister tear up the soccer field like a psycho child on steroids, making goal after goal and doing cart wheels on the field…then, yes. Definitely an energy bar. However, I remember the after effects of crashing head first into my pillow a couple of hours after eating one. Ahhh…sugar highs…what can I say? My favorite way to eat a Snicker’s (only because my Dad did it) was to freeze them. There is just something about trying to break my teeth while eating a candy bar that I am addicted to. Anyway, apparently companies got smart and created a Snicker’s Ice Cream Bar to solve this problem. This recipe is another one for the books, with a rich devil’s food cupcake, a Snicker’s surprise in the center, and for the frosting, a creamy caramel buttercream that is to die for. Drizzle with caramel and top with crushed snickers bars, and you are one step away from enjoying a little piece of heaven!
10. Candy Corn Kiss Cookies by Sugar Crafter: Now, what is Halloween without some good ole’ fashioned Hershey’s kisses. Enough said.
Question of the Day: What is your favorite Halloween candy or dessert? Leave me a comment, I would love to know!
MANGIA!!!