Monday, October 31, 2011

Popcorn Pumpkins

I wanted to make a yummy and easy treat for Halloween today. I suggest doubling (or tripling!) the recipe because they go fast!!

Halloween Popcorn Pumpkins Recipe

Prep Time:
5 Min
Cook Time:
5 Min
Ready In:
20 Min

Original Recipe Yield 12 pumpkins

  • 5 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup candy corn
  • 1 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 4 drops red food coloring
  • 3 drops yellow food coloring
  • 4 sticks green Twizzlers/licorice, cut into thirds (This was hard to find--I found it in the checkout lane at A.C. Moore in green apple flavor)


  1. Grease a muffin pan and set aside. Place popcorn, candy corn and peanuts into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in marshmallows, red food coloring and yellow food coloring, adjusting color if needed to get a nice shade of orange. When the marshmallows are completely melted, pour over the popcorn and stir to evenly distribute the candy, nuts and marshmallow.
  3. Use a greased spoon to fill the muffin cups. Insert a piece of licorice to act as the stem, and mold the popcorn around it. Let stand until firm, 10 to 15 minutes, and then pull the pumpkins out by their stems and admire your pumpkin patch!


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kale Spinach & Pear Smoothie

I know, that sounds gross, right!? It is SO GOOD. Even my 1-year-old and 2 1/2-year-old are diggin' it. I am not a salad lover, so anything to get me to eat green leaves is a plus! And it's dairy-free!


1 heaping cup chopped kale leaves

1 heaping cup spinach leaves (I actually didn't have Kale or Spinach on hand today, but did have dark green lettuce so I used about 1 1/2 cups of it and it was delicious both ways!)

1 frozen banana

1 1/2 cups cold almond milk (I used Coconut Milk because that's my preference)

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 pear (I used the whole pear and it was scrumptious)

Remove kale leaves from their rough center stalk and coarsely chop.

In a blender, combine kale spinach and almond milk.

Blend until no big kale bits remain.

Stop blender and add banana honey and pear.

Blend until smooth.

*I also added 1/2 cup oats from another smoothie I've been making lately. It kept us full a little longer!

Adapted from:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oatmeal-Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

So the title is a bit long but these cookies are! It's hard for me to venture away from the regular, good, old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie recipe but I'm glad I tried these. My only regret is I didn't double the recipe and these are going quickly!

I adapted these from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I think next time I will decrease the salt just a tad bit because the salt flavor stands out to me more than I'd like, but other than that...wonderful!!

Oatmeal-Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 18-24 cookies

2/3 c white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c quick-cooking oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt {maybe a bit less}
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
1 c dried cherries {or other dried fruit}
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir together melted butter and brown sugar and add to the the flour mixture, beating with a mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the cherries, vanilla, and egg. Beat until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 mintues, until lightly browned on edges. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Hide half from your family! ha! ENJOY~

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Soup

This is the one chicken chili recipe that I make over and over in the fall and winter. I tore the recipe from a Real Simple magazine in 2004 and it continues to be one of the easiest and tastiest soups I make. Bon appetit!

1 12-16 oz. jar salsa verde
3 cups cooked chicken pieces
1 15-oz. can cannellini or Great Northern beans
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
Tortilla chips

Empty the salsa into a large saucepan - cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat, then add chicken, beans, broth, and cumin - bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally - top each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of green onions, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla chips - Monterey Jack cheese is also delicious on this soup!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jello Worms - Really gross

I'm not so sure I can make these...but I KNOW my boys would love them! Maybe I'll have to try them.

You can go here for a step-by-step tutorial

Monday, October 17, 2011

Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli

A recipe from Mia -

This may be my favorite soup ever. All healthy ingredients, about as easy as it comes. My friend, Casey, recommended it to me and I have made my usual health-nut modifications (though it didn't need many).


-1 pound lean ground turkey, browned and drained
-1/2 large red onion, chopped
-1 cup carrots, chopped
-2-3 celery stalks, sliced
-2 cans (14.5 oz) Italian-style diced tomatoes (and juice)
-1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
-1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
-4 cups reduced sodium beef broth
-1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
-Italian seasoning to taste
-1-3 tbsp. Cholula hot sauce
-Salt to taste
-1 cup dry whole wheat pasta, to add at end of cooking time

The Directions:

~Brown the turkey on the stove top, and drain well.

~Chop up the carrots, onion, and celery. Add it to the empty crock pot.

~Drain and rinse the beans, and add them to the crock pot.

~Add the whole cans of tomatoes, pasta sauce, beef broth, Italian seasonings, Cholula hot sauce and salt.

~Stir in the turkey.

~Cover and cook on low for 8 or 10 hours or high for 4 or 6 hours.

~In the last 30 minutes, add in the dry pasta.

This makes a very full crock pot of this delicious soup!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

McCormick's Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies

I saw this recipe recently in a magazine. I can't wait to try it.

3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

2. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

Makes 5 dozen cookies

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Black Bean Salsa

2 - 15 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 17 oz can whole corn, drained
2 - large tomatoes diced
1 large avocado peeled and diced
1 purple onion diced
1/4 cup cilantro
3-4 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients and chill for an hour or two before serving. It makes a lot of salsa and is great for a group event. Serve with tortilla chips. You can even put it in a burrito with cheese for dinner.

Thanks to my friend, Jennifer who gave me this recipe.


Michelle H. shared a link on All Recipes for a chili recipe. She tweaked it after reading some of the reviews. It is my go to chili recipe now.

1 pound lean ground beef and 1 pound of sausage (I did 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef, and 1/2 lb sausage)
1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I only used a pinch of cayenne pepper as we have two young children. Even 1/16 teaspoon will make it spicy. Use how you like it)
2 cups canned red beans, drained and rinsed.


Place ground beef (and sausage if you wish to use it) in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside. Cook on high in slow cooker for 4 hours. Michelle makes her chili the night before and then lets it simmer during the day. Both turn out great.

- I serve this either with tortilla chips or corn bread.