Friday, October 31, 2014

Guacamole Witch

I think this was my favorite dip from our Halloween party this year. 
Sue found the recipe for the guacamole and cream cheese dip in Woman's World Magazine (October 27, 2014) so we made a few little changes and came up with our own version.
I think this would be perfect for a Wizard of Oz party as well as a Halloween party. 
It only takes a few minutes to whip up and then has to chill for a few hours (or over night) so is perfect for making ahead of time. 
Tasty and spooky - everything a Halloween dip should be!!

Guacamole Dip

3 avocados, halved & pitted
juice of 1 lime
pinch salt & pepper
1 tsp green food coloring
1/2 cup salsa verde
1 small onion, finely chopped
Eyes - yellow pepper & black olive slices
Eyebrows - very thin slices of purple onion
Lips - roasted red pepper (from a jar)
Hair - carrot sticks
Hat - black tortilla chips

Line a face mold with plastic wrap and set aside. (We set it in a bowl to stabilize it and keep it from tipping over.)

In a mixing bowl, scoop the avocado flesh from the skin and place in bowl. Using a fork, mash the avocado with the lime juice, salt & pepper, and green food coloring until smooth.
Stir in the cream cheese spread, salsa verde, and finely chopped onion until well combined. Set aside.
To make the face - cut the yellow pepper into oval shapes and place in the eye slots of the mask.
Place the thinly sliced purple onions slices where you would like your eyebrows to go. 
Cut a roasted red pepper into a lip shape and place in the lip slot of the mask.
Gently spoon the guacamole dip into the mask, being careful not to move the eyes and lips out of their place.
Cover and chill in fridge for at least 3 hours - up to overnight.
When set up - carefully flip the mask over onto a serving platter and remove the mask from the dip. Then carefully remove the saran wrap from the dip. Place the 2 olive slices on top of the yellow pepper for pupils. 

Place the carrot sticks in a single layer across the forehead for bangs and then in piles to the side of the head for extra hair. (We cut the bangs into pointed tips to look more hair-like.)
Finally, place the black tortilla chips on top of the carrot sticks, near the top, and continue up in a point to make a witches hat.

Serve with extra tortilla chips and carrots to dip. 
NOTE - If you find it too difficult to place the facial features into the mold then you can certainly place them on AFTER you have un-molded the dip. Simply place them on top of the face, in the proper places, just before placing the hair and hat. 
For how simple she is to make, she makes a pretty bold statement on the party table. 
Another spooky dip to help you impress your guests!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Chocolate & Caramel Covered Popcorn Balls

Popcorn balls have always been a part of Halloween around these parts. 
I've only made the boiled sugar version once - and they were very tasty, don't get me wrong - but this version is soooooo much easier!
This is basically like making a Rice Krispie square but with popcorn instead. 
Be prepared for some ooey gooey deliciousness!

Chocolate & Caramel Covered Popcorn Balls

3 bags of microwave popcorn (about 12 cups popped)
1/4 cup butter
1 small bag mini marshmallows (about 4 cups)
1 tsp vanilla

2 bag caramels (about 200)
8 Tbsp cream
2 bag chocolate chips (about 4 cups)

Chopped Salted peanuts (about 1 cup)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper/wax paper/or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium/low heat, melt the butter and mini marshmallows with the vanilla, stirring until smooth.
Remove from heat and drizzle over the popped popcorn, stirring to coat well. 
Spray your hands with cooking spray - or coat them lightly with butter - and scoop out about 1 cup of the popcorn mixture with your hands. Roll into a ball and place on prepared cookie sheet. If you are using sticks then insert a stick now, pressing the ball firmly around the stick.

Place in fridge to chill until firm, about 30 minutes or so.  
When firm - in a saucepan over medium heat, melt the caramels with the cream until smooth. 
Remove from heat and dip the balls into the caramel, rolling to coat all over and then lightly shaking to remove excess caramel. Place back on cookie sheet.

Chill until firm again, about another 30 minutes or so. 
If you don't have enough caramel to coat all the balls you can just drizzle some over the remaining balls. 
When they are firm, in a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until smooth.
Dip the balls into the chocolate to coat entirely (be sure to gently shake off any excess) OR you can just dip half way for a different look.
While chocolate is still a bit sticky, roll the popcorn ball in the chopped nuts.
Optionally - if you don't have enough chocolate to coat all the balls you can just drizzle it over them too.
You can sprinkle the peanuts over the balls if you you don't have enough to roll them in. 

Let chill until firm.
I noticed these are better when they sit in the fridge and then remove them to serve about half hour before eating them so they can warm up a bit. I found when they sit out at room temp for long periods the caramel and chocolate tend to pool a bit at the bottom of the ball. 
This isn't too big of  a deal - it just means they don't look quite as pretty.  (P.S. - this makes 12 balls!)
Overall, a teeny bit fussy to make, but they sure do look impressive on the treat table at Halloween (or anytime for that matter) and they taste AMAZING!! 
So crunchy and chewy! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jalapeno Popper Mummies

Sometimes you want to go spooky for Halloween and sometimes you want to go cute.
You can't get much more cute than these little guys.
They are also super easy to whip up.
You can have a tray of them made in about an hour. Okay, they may be a teeny bit fussy (you will want to wear gloves when handling the jalapenos) but when you end up with such a tasty, adorable treat we think it is well worth it!
If you have kidlets at your house that love spicy (like at our house) then this may just become the new favorite Halloween treat.

Jalapeno Popper Mummies

12 jalapenos
1 - 8oz brick Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temp
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp onion, finely diced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper
sprinkle of onion powder
sprinkle of garlic powder
48 candy eyes

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
Cut the tops off the jalapenos and then cut the jalapenos in half, lengthwise, and scrape out seeds. Place the halves face up on the prepared cookie sheet.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, garlic, onion, Parmesan cheese, and spices until smooth.
Scoop approximately 1 Tbsp or so of the cream cheese mixture into each jalapeno half and spread to fill the cavity. (**FYI - if you still have the gloves on you can do this with your fingers and - we found - it makes spreading the filling easier.)
Place filled peppers back on cookie sheet.

Unroll the crescent roll dough onto a work surface. Gently pinch the seams together, flip dough over, and pinch seams together on that side too. (OR, if they are available in your area, you can buy the seamless crescent rolls and save yourself this step!)
Cut the dough into very thin strips - about 1/2 to 1 cm (or 1/4 of an inch).

Wrap the strips of dough around the jalapenos, being careful to leave a little space between the strips as you wrap them. Place wrapped jalapenos back on cookie sheet, leaving about an inch or so between the peppers. 

Bake at 350 until crescent dough is nicely browned, about 15 - 20 minutes. 
Remove from heat and let sit about 10 minutes. Place 2 of the candy eyes on each pepper. (For a total of 24 mummies). Serve immediately.

I know it seems weird to use candy eyes on a savory item but they look so cute (and are super easy).
If you don't want to use the candy eyes then you could pipe a teeny dollop of cream cheese or sour cream and then top with an even teenier bit of a black olive for a pupil. 
Spice up your Halloween party with some simply spooktacular jalapeno mummies.
Fun + delicious = win!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Dinner 2014

Woohoo! Halloween party time has arrived.
Sue and I had a dinner for family and friends this year and, once again, went a little crazy with the food!
It is just so much fun coming up with fun, spooky, and just plain gross Halloween food. 
Sue really outdid herself this year. 
She took on most of the projects herself with me just being her assistant. 
I am posting photos of the dishes and - where available - I am posting links to the individual posts that include the instructions and/or recipes.
Starting with the above Guacamole Witch. She looks super cool and is surprisingly easy to put together. (Click HERE for that recipe and how-to!)

We took our popular Brain Dip from a previous post (Click HERE for the recipe) and made it in a skull mold this time. A little black pasta hair, some mozzarella and olives for eyes and *voila* Spooky Skull Dip!

These little guys take about 5 minutes to cut out. Just like carving a pumpkin!
They sure make a veggie tray look Halloween-y.

Speaking of veggie trays....
How cool is this cauliflower skull? Our guest, Kari, brought this to the party. 
Love how creepy it looks.

I made some deviled eggs a little more Halloween-y by boiling them, gently cracking the shells and then soaking the cracked eggs in water dyed red with food coloring. 

These little guys were definitely a big hit for the night.
Jalapeno Popper Mummies! (Click HERE for the how to and recipe!)
So cute and so easy too!

We found this guy in a Woman's World Magazine and decided to put our own spin on the recipe. 
He is a Mummy Pizza Dip with Crispy Ravioli Dippers.
Something a little different than the usual chips and dip!

Sue made these Cheesy Macaroni Pumpkins and they were to die for! (Click HERE for the recipe and how-to!!)
We were going to make them jack o' lanterns by painting them with some of the black ketchup in the background but ran out of time. They were every bit as tasty without their faces though. 
Sue said she might make this her new go-to macaroni recipe!

Here's a Jack O'Lantern Cheese Ball that definitely is better with a face. Our sister, Orra, brought this to share. Very cheesy, very Halloween-y.

Moving into the realm of grossness...
Can we offer you a finger on a bun? That is - a hot dog carved to look like a finger...
Very quick and easy and certainly made an impact on our guests!

Speaking of gross....
This Meatloaf Mummy was a huge hit. We simply mixed up our meatloaf with our usual spices and chopped onion and a little red pepper, then pressed it into a face mask mold to shape it, then used onion for the eyes and teeth, and then wrapped it bacon before cooking it. 
So much eeeewww.... (but delicious!)

The Meatloaf Mummy was the topper for our Gruesome Meat Man.
Disgusting, right?
But so tasty. 
He consists of the meatloaf face, BBQ ribs (for the ribs, obviously) and then some cooked sausages brushed with a little BBQ Sauce (for the intestines). 

Another idea for deviled eggs, in case you don't want to make eyeballs...
I made these for Thanksgiving but they work equally well for Halloween!

Another pumpkin treat I made at Thanksgiving but works for Halloween too - Cheesy Pumpkin Biscuits. 
All you need is some Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, paprika, cheese, a little dill, and a pumpkin cookie cutter.
You could even make a jack o' lantern face with some chopped black olives if you wanted to!

Pretty fancy schmancy looking spread!
But, of course, it wouldn't be a party without dessert!!

And tons of desserts there were.....

My Chocolate & Caramel Covered Popcorn Balls were pretty addicting. 
(Click HERE for recipe and how-to)
Plus they looked pretty.

Our guest, Steph, brought some Witches hats to share. They are made with a chocolate cookie, Hershey's kiss and some orange frosting. Simple yet very cute!

These guys just crack me up.
Killer Bees.... 
Too funny. Sue gets credit for putting together these murderous beasts but, in my defense, I came up with the idea. Just sayin'...
They body is a raspberry filled marshmallow cookie (such as Viva Puffs) with some yellow frosting for the strips and a marshmallow for wings. We used edible candy eyes for the eyes, and plastic food pics for the machetes. 

Sue made some traditional Caramel Apples that were amazing.
Ooey gooey, sticky, and a few peanuts for crunch! 

And it just wouldn't be a party without some homemade chocolate cake
Topped with some adorable marshmallow fondant ghosties of course.

But, if pie is more your thing then you might want to try some Pumpkin Hand Pies! (Click HERE for recipe)
You could even make them jack o' lanterns by cutting out little triangle eyes and a mouth before baking them to make them more Halloween-y.

Thanks to Oriental Trading we had some spooky glasses to drink out of...
This one is filled with my attempt at a Shirley Temple.

Looks pretty nasty but this was our Apple Juice and Fireball Whiskey "Specimen" Shooters.
They taste just like apple pie!! So good.

Sue and I wish everyone a happy Halloween!!
(That's me on the white, covered in blood - and Sue is the Coke can!)
We hope you enjoyed our dinner ideas for this year and would love to hear and comments, questions, or suggestions you have.
Be sure to check out these fun linky parties for tons of great links - Kitchen Fun With My 3 SonsMy Turn (for us),  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Coconut Apple Crumble Balls

Do you guys want a recipe for a super quick and easy, NO BAKE, delicious, gluten free, dairy free treat?
Of course you do.
Well, you are in luck. 
I was inspired by those no bake oatmeal haystack cookies that everyone always makes and decided to try something a little different. I love that these really taste like bites of apple crumble!
You don't want to eat too many of these - they are pretty high in calories and carbs - but one or two is a real energy boosting treat PLUS they are ready in about 10 minutes. Not even lying. 

Coconut Apple Crumble Bites

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large apple (I used Granny Smith)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup Quaker Quick Oats
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes

Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap or a silpat mat, set aside.
In a medium saucepan stir together the coconut oil and sugar over medium heat. 
When coconut oil is melted stir in shredded apple, cinnamon, and vanilla. Bring to a simmer and then simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and stir in oats and coconut flakes.

Let mixture cool for about 5 minutes.
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop balls of the mixture onto prepared cookie sheet. You can either leave the scoops as is OR you can then roll them in your hand so you have a nice round ball shape. (See photo - top of the pic is rounded balls, bottom is the scoops, not rounded)

Chill for a few minutes to set up.
Just like that.

A couple of notes....
I get 28 balls out of this using the small cookie scoop.
You can use butter instead of coconut oil if you want to.
Make sure your oats are marked gluten free - some oats aren't. 
I didn't peel my apple - I like the peel - but you can peel it if you want to.
I used the big flakes of coconut but you can always use toasted, shredded coconut as well. 
Be sure to visit these fab sites for tons of great links - The Chicken Chick, Ms enPlace, Carole's Chatter