Friday, October 29, 2010

More Halloween Ideas

Here are a few easy Halloween recipe ideas for this weekend. I hope you all have a great weekend. Anyone dressing up for Halloween? What are you or your kids going to be? I'm pretty nosy, so feel free to share as much as you'd like. :-)


  • Caramel Apples

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Recipe: Black Cat Cookies

I made these cookies with the little guy I nanny for. And they may or may not have been used as a bribery tool. :-) You see the little guy doesn't eat very much. His mom packs his lunch for school, but he rarely eats unless it's mac n' cheese or dinosaur shaped nuggets. He likes peanut butter and jelly but he goes to a peanut-free school, so that's not an option. She usually packs him leftovers from the dinner before but they end up coming back home, untouched. So in an effort to get him to eat either at school or at home- I don't care where he eats, the goal is to get nutritious food into him- I told him we could make these together. It worked!

Now it only worked for a week, but for a week, he ate pretty well. He always likes to get into the kitchen with me and bake and I've told him as a reward for being a good eater, we could bake up a treat a couple times a month. We'll see how that goes. He's been sick this week but we're going to bake up some pumpkin muffins for a Halloween party this Friday- he's dressing up as a pirate! I'll share the recipe soon, because they're simple and delicious! Back to the black cat cookies...I found these cuties at Coleen's Recipes, but I think the recipe originates from Taste Of Home. Coleen made these last year and I'm glad she shared them again this year because they're fun, tasty and definitely kid friendly!

The cookie dough is very stiff and uses quite a bit of cocoa, but it all works out. If you have a stand mixer, use it. If not then you will need some elbow grease for this one. The recipe states it makes 24 black cat cookies, but I thought they were kind of big and could be made a little smaller to stretch out the recipe to feed more people if necessary. I intended to use m&m's for the eyes since I don't like candy corn, but the little guy does so that's what I used. I think they're cuter this way anyway. They're crunchy on the outsides from being rolled in the sugar before baking and they're chewy on the inside. And if you let the kids help with this one, each cat will be unique and different. Just be sure to use caution when applying the candy because the cookie sheets are hot!

Black Cat Cookies adapted from Coleen's Recipes and Taste Of Home

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  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar (plus more for rolling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 48 candy corn candies
  • 24 mini m&m candies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time then and vanilla.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture until well incorporated.

Divide dough into 24 even pieces. Roll each piece of dough into 1-1/2-in. balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar, then flatten with the bottom of a juice glass. (I flattened them with my palm, then coated them in sugar). Place 3 inches apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (You can grease your cookie sheets and forgo the the parchment paper, but since I only had one cookie sheet to work with, it was easier to remove the parchment with the cookies still on it to cool, while I baked another batch).

Pinch the top of the cookie in two places to form ears. For whiskers, press a fork twice into each cookie. Bake for 10-12 minutes in preheated oven.

Remove from the oven and immediately press on candy corn for eyes and m&m's for the noses. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. (If using parchment paper, slide the whole sheet to the rack to cool before moving the cookies since they're fragile when warm). The candy will set at the cookie cools.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Recipe: Turkey Pesto Eyeballs

One cannot survive on sugary sweets alone so today I have a creepy yet delicious meal for you that is simple, healthy and the kids will love it as much as you do, I promise. I have made these turkey pesto meatballs a few times now, but it wasn't until recently that I thought of making them into eyeballs by pressing a sliced olive into it. Pretty clever huh? Not only are they spooky, but they come together within minutes and are baked rather than fried. They're done in 20 minutes, plus a little prep time. Does it get any better than that?

I found the recipe for these turkey pesto meatballs on Cassie Craves. I just love her recipes. It seems that what Cassie Craves, I also crave! I want to be invited over for dinner-- I'll bring the dessert! Anyway, back to these meatballs...they really are very good even if you don't make them into eyeballs. I couldn't even taste the olives so don't let that be a reason you don't make them. I used 99% fat free turkey and they don't have any additional fat added to them besides the oil from the pesto, but they are not dry in the least since they're baked in the sauce.

This recipe was enough to feed four people. I did find that it needed more than 2 cups of sauce though so I increased that to 3 cups, but feel free to add as much or as little as you like. Speaking of sauce, I used the Arrabbiata Sauce that was provided to me by Bertolli through the Tastemaker program at Foodbuzz. I liked it just fine but I think it could have been spicier so I added some red pepper flakes to it. Again, that's just a personal preference. Please don't wait for Halloween to make these. Make them now and make them all though out the year. They are eyeball-popping good!

Turkey Pesto Meatballs adapted from Cassie Craves

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups marinara sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all the ingredients except marinara sauce in a bowl and using your hands, combine until everything is incorporated.

Using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture per meatball, roll into balls and place on a plate.

Pour the marinara sauce into a 9 x 9 inch baking pan and top with the meatballs.

Cover the baking pan with foil and bake until meatballs are no longer pink and are firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Serve.

To make Turkey Pesto Eyeballs: Press one black or green olive slice into the top of an uncooked meatball. Roll around in between your hands to make sure the olive is secure. Place olive side up in sauce.

Eye see you!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Recipe: Spiderweb Brownies

In just a couple weeks, Lick The Bowl Good will be celebrating it's 3rd Anniversary. It's hard to believe that it's been that long, but as they say, "time flies when you're having fun!" To help me celebrate, I will be hosting a giveaway from CSN, and it's gonna be good, so stay tuned for it. Ever been to CSN? They have everything from bar furniture to luscious cast iron Staub cocottes at great prices. You can even pick up a springform pan so you can make these Spiderweb Brownies!

From now until Halloween, I will be featuring holiday appropriate goodies. Today I have for you Spiderweb brownies, which are brownies with a cream cheese ripple in the center as well as a spiderweb design on top- fun, pretty and delicious! Before I tell you more about them, I have to tell you that I kinda goofed up a bit :-) This recipe says to make it into a 9x13-inch pan or two round pans. But in the comment section on the King Arthur Flour website someone asked if these could be baked in a springform pan, the the folks at KAF said YES and so that's what I did. However, they took so long to bake that the white cream cheese web design turned golden- not the look I was going for. So if you make these I suggest you make them in a larger pan or in two smaller pans. If you choose to make them like I did, bake them for 50-60 minutes.

I've been on the lookout for a chewy brownie for quite a while now. This particular recipe got oodles of great reviews so I tried it. While they are rich and dense and fudgy, they are not chewy. But they are delicious. I doubled the cream cheese mixture and spread half it in between two halves of the brownie batter. This made for one thick and decadent brownie! If you have a favorite brownie recipe or prefer boxed brownies, just use the creamy 'spiderweb mixture' to decorate with. It's a great way jazz things up this Halloween! Click on the link to see step by step pictures on the KAF blog. And if you happen to have a good recipe for chewy brownies please let me know!

Spiderweb Fudge Brownies adapted from KAF

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  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips, optional

Spiderweb Mixture:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint or vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

For the brownies: In a medium sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

Spread the batter in a greased 9" x 13" pan, or two 8" round pans. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

For the spiderweb mixture: Combine the cream cheese, sugar and flour in a small bowl, and mix until smooth. Add the egg yolk and flavoring (if using), mixing until smooth once again. Transfer the mixture to a disposable pastry bag, and cut just the very tip off the end, as shown.

Draw a small circle in the center of the brownie batter. Make concentric circles starting from the center and working your way outward, about 1 inch apart.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, (If you use a 9-inch springform pan like I did, then it will take about 50-60 minutes to bake through), until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Make Brown Food

I have this running joke with myself and a select few that "I make brown food". You can quote me on that because I've said it more than once. I plate things up for dinner and it's one brown food, next to another brown food, next to another! It's kinda funny when you think about it. I joke that I'm going to change my blog title to " I make brown food" ha! but more than likely if I ever change the name it will be something like "Butter Love" :-)

Speaking of brown food, here is the perfect instance- pumpkin pound cake (brownish) with mini chocolate chips (dark brown) and walnuts (light brown). Did I mention it's BROWN? It's not the most photogenic cake but it sure was delicious. It was moist and tender, unlike a lot of pound cakes. In fact I don't make many pound cakes because I think they can be too dry but this one was very different. It was almost like a quick bread but a little richer. The additions of the chocolate and walnuts are optional, of course, but adding in dried cranberries or pecans would be just as good. This cake recipe comes from Cake Keeper Cakes which is the new cookbook The Cake Slice Bakers are now baking from. Woo hoo for a new cook book!

I made this loaf cake for Mr. H to take to class with him. Every Friday he takes his Dad to a Seniors with Alzheimer's class at the YMCA. They participate in water aerobics (which I would love to witness!) as well as sing-alongs, yoga for Seniors and then they have lunch. Most of the time they just swim and eat lunch, but there aren't always desserts and when there are, they aren't homemade. So Mr. H requested that I bake something for him to take with him and this months' Cake Slice cake was just perfect for that. I cut the loaf into slices, then sliced each piece in half. There was not a crumb left when he returned home. I call that a success! And unlike my neighbors, they were very appreciative. I even got a thank you email from one of the volunteers. How nice is that?!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake from Cake Keeper Cakes

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  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I substituted allspice for the cloves)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of a 9x5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and dust with flour.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon , salt, cloves and nutmeg in a mixing bowl.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.

With the mixer on medium low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Stir in the pumpkin puree and the vanilla. Stir in the milk.

Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, half a cup at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the chocolate chips and the walnuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake until it is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55-60 minutes. (Mine took 70 minutes to bake through).

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up to cool completely.

Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper at room temperature for 3 days, or in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for up to 1 week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Breaking Bread & Finlandia Cheese Winners

Once upon a time, I disliked banana bread. I mean, I ate it if it was the only thing around and I was desperate, but it was certainly not my first, second or tenth choice. ha! There's just something about concentrated banana flavor that turned me off. And artificial banana flavor, like banana taffy- double gag! But one day, Dawn of Vanilla Sugar turned that around for me. She shared a recipe on her blog that made me question my strong dislike for banana bread. Ya'll her recipe was GOOD!

The original recipe is no longer on her blog for some reason, so I can't link back to that particular post, but I'm sure you'll find lots of other yummies over there. The first time I made this banana bread, I added mini chocolate chips and it was delicious. For something different, I added cinnamon chips and topped it with cinnamon sugar before baking. When it came out of the oven it was crackly and crunchy on top and soft and moist in the inside with the added pop of melty cinnamon chips.

I doubled this recipe, made one large loaf and 4 smaller loaves to share with the neighbors. My thought was to try to make friends with the neighbors that we didn't know so well and really I don't think any of them really gave a flip. But at least I made the effort, which is more than I can say for them! Anyway, despite the lack of enthusiasm from my neighbors, I think you should make this bread. Don't feel compelled to add anything to this bread, it's just as delicious plain, but chopped nuts or a caramel swirl wouldn't hurt anything either. Trust me, this banana bread is perfection.

Cinnamon Chip Banana Bread adapted from Mama Dip and HERE

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  • 1/2 cup shortening (not butter*)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
  • 3 tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 2 tbsp. cinnamon sugar for topping, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl with an electric mixer or a spoon, cream shortening and sugar together. Beat in eggs one at a time; then add mashed bananas, sour cream, and lemon juice.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet mixture, then fold in cinnamon chips.

Pour into greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pan. Sprinkle with about 2 Tablespoons (use as much or as little as you want). Bake for 60 minutes.

NOTE: If your bread is getting too dark, loosely cover bread with foil. I did this for the last 15 minutes of baking time.

*Don't be tempted to use butter instead of shortening in this banana bread. It's what makes this recipe different.


Oh and for the winners of the Finlandia Cheese giveaway...

#23 Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod


#31 Leeann from Join The Gossip

Congrats ladies! Please email me with your addresses so I can send out your coupons for free Finlandia cheese!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pink For The Cause

It's October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So I dedicate these pink cupcakes to my wonderfully courageous grandmother, who is a breast cancer survivor. woot! She has endured quite the battle since her diagnosis in the fall of 2007. She had her first surgery, a lumpectomy, in February of 2008 and had to have a mastectomy in April of the same year. Her recovery was slow because she's a diabetic and she had some other complications but she is ALIVE and well- thank God!

The thing that I find interesting or miraculous about my grandma's detection is that she had never, in her 66 years, had a mammogram. My aunt (her sister-in-law) convinced her to go get one and that's where they discovered her lump. Her life was forever changed after that. I think part of never getting an exam was that it never crossed her mind to do it. It wasn't something that she thought would ever happen to her. But it did happen to her, and it can happen to YOU or me. Please don't think that you can't be affected. Don't think that you're too young, or too old, or that no one else in your family has/had it so you're exempt. No one is exempt from cancer. Get a breast exam.

Okay, I'm stepping off my soap box. I just think it's important and more and more people are being diagnosed with breast cancer than ever before. I want you to save your own life, so please do a monthly self exam and get yearly checkups.

On to the fabulously pink cupcakes. It's my go to recipe, only this time instead of adding frozen strawberries, I added freshly diced and made them into cupcakes. I topped them with my all-time favorite vanilla bean cream cheese frosting and sprinkled them with pink non-pareils. Strawberries n' cream anyone? Make some for the women and men (they can get breast cancer too!) in your life and remind them of the importance of a self breast exam. Remind them to think pink!

Strawberry Cupcakes adapted from Monica and Joy

Printer Friendly Version
  • 1 box white or yellow cake mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 small box strawberry Jello
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/3 cup fresh strawberries, finely diced
  • 2 Tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line cupcake tin with 24 paper liners or grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.

In a small bowl or a measuring cup, dissolve Jello in hot water. Set aside and let cool while mixing the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, baking powder, oil, eggs. Thoroughly mix in the gelatin mixture.

Coat chopped strawberries in flour and fold into cake batter.

Spoon into prepared pans and bake for approximately 15-20 minutes for cupcakes and 30-35 minutes for 2 9-inch pans. Bake til toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely in pans before inverting onto a cooling rack or cake platter. Cover in frosting of your choice.

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
  • 5 cups powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Then add the vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, and powdered sugar and beat at low speed, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until light and fluffy.

Makes enough to generously frost about 30 cupcakes.

NOTE: If you're going to pipe with it, you need all 5 cups of powdered sugar so it's stiff enough to work with.

We think PINK!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Finlandia Review and Free Cheese! (Closed)

A while back I was contacted by the people at Finlandia cheese. They sent me a few good looking recipes for their cheese and said they'd like for me to blog about them, the only problem was I didn't have any of their cheese! So they sent me a couple coupons for Finlandia cheese and they sent a couple for you too! Continue reading the rest of this post to find out how you can win some Finlandia cheese.

Before I tell you about this recipe, I wanted to tell you about Finlandia. They did not ask me to make any specific recipe, nor did they ask me glorify their product. But I do find it necessary to tell you a bit about their product, because I believe it is unique from other cheese makers. Finlandia cheese is the #1 imported cheese in the country. And because they care what goes into the cheese you consume, Finlandia's line of cheeses are also natural, lactose-free and hormone free. Read more here and here. Can you say that about your cheese?

To compliment the Finlandia Gouda cheese, I made a spicy chipotle chicken breast and topped it off with smoky bacon and a slice of Gouda. I got inspiration for the chicken from Maranda of Jolts & Jollies, but I changed things up a bit. It was the tiniest bit sweet, but smoky, spicy and delicious. It paired perfectly with the Gouda, which tasted like a cross between Swiss and Cheddar and the slightest bit sharp. I baked the chicken, but if you'd prefer to grill it or pan fry it or use bone-in chicken, just make the marinade and prepare it the way you wish. To win some Finlandia cheese, scroll down!

 Chipotle BBQ Chicken w/ Bacon and Gouda from Monica H inspired by Jolts & Jollies
Printer Friendly Version

  • 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 small tomato, cut into quarters
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In the blender or a food processor, combine the lemon juice, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, tomato and chipotle peppers and pulse til uniformly blended.

In a bowl or ziploc bag, add chicken and half of the marinade, coating the chicken thoroughly. Allow to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Place marinated chicken in greased Pyrex pan; discarding used marinade.

Bake chicken at 375 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, basting with fresh marinade every 10-15 minutes. Bake til internal temperature reads 160 degrees on a meat thermometer.

The last 5 minutes of cooking, add cooked bacon slices and Finlandia Gouda or Cheddar cheese to the top of the chicken breasts. Bake til cheese is melted. Remove from oven.

Allow chicken to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

I have two coupons for free cheese from Finlandia. If you're interested in trying out their natural, lactose and hormone-free cheese, then please visit their website and then leave me a comment on this post telling me what cheese you'd like to try and what you'd make using their cheese!

Open to US residents only. I will pick two winners later in the week so be sure to leave me your contact info or you can't win!
Thanks Finlandia!
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