THINKING OUTSIDE THE MAC&CHEESE BOX

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

No cooking tonight!  Bellabits is off kitchen duty, and my brother and I are off to trick-or-treat! Even better, it's his Birthday, so candy AND birthday cake.  Who could ask for anything more?  Happy Haunting!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Carving and Roasted Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds


 Okay, one more day until Halloween!  The excitement is almost unbearable, but we are going to make it, I know.  So, tonight, we had a great evening of Pumpkin Carving!!  My Aunt C was here to help, and she actually carved the awesome Bellabits Pumpkin at the top of this post. 

She also helped us get all the Pumpkin Goo and Guts (yuck) out of our pumpkin before carving.  This was my least favorite part.

GROSS!! Pumpkin Guts.

Auntie, Me, and my brother Nick, scraping our pumpkins & collecting our seeds
 So, here's another great thing about pumpkin carving: When you pull out the guts, you get seeds, too.  We set aside all of our pumpkin seeds, rinsed them in a colander, and roasted them for a healthy snack.


Wash the goo off your pumpkin seeds in a colander

Toss the seeds on a baking sheet and toss with a little vegetable oil

Roasted Seeds
We put the seeds on a baking sheet, drizzled with a little vegetable oil, then put in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees.  We roasted them for about 20 minutes, stirring them every 5 minutes.  While they were in the oven, we made some cinnamon sugar ( 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon). Once we pulled the seeds out, we sprinkled with the cinnamon sugar, and tossed to coat them all (be sure to coat them when they are still warm, so the sugar sticks to them).   That's it.  They'll keep for about 5 days in a sealed container, so now you have a healthy after school snack.

And...awesome carved pumpkins...

I carved the cat pumpkin, my Auntie carved the Bellabits

Nick carved this Beauty

Our Happy Pumpkin Patch 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Scary Good Rice Krispy Halloween Treats


Halloween's almost here, and I cannot wait!! In our countdown to trick-or-treating, we thought we'd try some ghoulish Rice Krispy treats.  We have some newer wilton pans in assorted shapes that we wanted to try:


Ghosts, creepy fingers, and pumpkin heads. 

 So, we used the basic Rice Krispy Treat recipe, and some glitter gel icing we found at the store, and that's it.  You might want to see last year's halloween rice krispy post for the recipe (you will only need the marshmallows, rice cereal, and butter, though for today's treats.

Ghostly Krispies unmolded

Putting on their faces

Cute, huh?

Cute, but how about on a stick?

Cute!!

Okay, here are the treats made in the finger molds

We iced them with glittery red talons

Rice Krispy Fingers on a plate

Finger Treats on sticks. Next time add the sticks before they have hardened, or else, it's difficult to do.



Friday, October 28, 2011

HAPPY National Chocolate Day!


Happy Friday, and Happy National Chocolate Day!  Here at my house, we love chocolate, and any excuse to celebrate it is a good one!  So, in honor of today, we decided to introduce to you our #1 FAVORITE Brownie Recipe.  These are called Supernatural Brownies, and they are so good it's scary.  The recipe is from the Master, Nick Malgieri.  These brownies are rich, fudgy and chocolatey heaven! They are easy to make, and you should try them this weekend and put them on your all-time Fave list!

Supernatural Brownies

16 tbsp. unsalted butter,
plus more for greasing
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate,
cut into 1⁄4" pieces
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown
sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
1 cup flour


1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a 9" x 13" baking pan with butter and line with parchment paper; grease paper. Set pan aside.

2. Pour enough water into a 4-quart saucepan that it reaches a depth of 1". Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Combine butter and chocolate in a medium bowl; set bowl over saucepan. Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

3. Whisk together eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt; whisk to combine. Stir in chocolate mixture; fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30–35 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut and serve.
MAKES 24 BROWNIES

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chocolate Pretzel Spider Webs


Are you looking for a perfect small snack to bring to a Halloween party, to bring to a potluck, or just to eat as an after school snack? Well here u go!!!  These Spider Web Pretzel snacks are a perfect blend of sweet and salty.  If you've ever had chocolate covered pretzels, you know what I mean.

The best part is, there are only a couple of ingredients:
Pretzel Sticks
White and Milk Chocolate (chips, candy bark or candy melts)

And even better, they are sooo easy to make, and you can eat these within 15 minutes of making them--YES!!

First, arrange the pretzel sticks on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet


Lay the pretzels in a starburst/snowflake shape like this

Next, put about enough white chocolate melts in a sandwich baggie to fill it about 1/3 of the way.  Place the open baggie in the microwave on a paper plate, and microwave in 20 second intervals until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth.  With scissors, snip the tip off, and you're ready to pipe some webs!
Be sure to pipe a glob in the center first to hold the sticks together, then swirl a "web" of white chocolate over the pretzels, in a circular motion.

They should look something like this


Next, melt the milk chocolate in a baggie using the same manner as you did with the white, and pipe a spider onto the web

I decided to pipe flies caught in the webs for extra creepyness.  Then pop the whole tray of webs in the fridge for 10-15 minutes or so, until the chocolate hardens up enough to handle the webs.  At this point, they are ready to eat.

How COOL is this??

These are yummy, so be sure to share!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Candy Corn Cupcakes



Whats the deal with candy corn? I mean really? (cymbals go da-da-daa) When I think of Halloween, my brain automatically turns into a giant piece of candy corn- I LUV THAT STUFF! Most people 100% despise the little, yellow-orange-and-white iscoceles triangles of pure sweetness, but to me, candy corn is the King of ALL HALLOWEEN CANDY! A smart person (me) once thought: Hey? Why not combine 2 of the greatest things in the world? THUS, THE CANDY CORN CUPCAKE WAS BORN! hallelujah. hallelujah.
 
                                                              

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes


 SO, you want to make a nice and easy breakfast to start a relaxing Sunday tomorrow? Well...  IT'S FALL BABY!!!  That is exactly why I made Pumpkin Pie Pancakes. These pancakes are yummy and smell absolutely delicious because of all the pumpkin spice put into it. The pumpkin filling adds a subtle yet noticably pumpkiny flavor, and a bit of good nutrition.  All that's left to add: butter and syrup.  VOILA


Assemble the Ingredients
We started with a base of our favorite pancake mix: Krusteaz Buttermilk.  Mix together enough to make about 8 pancakes, adding only enough water to make a very dry thick batter, then, add a splash of vanilla extract, 2 heaping Tablespoons of Canned Pumpkin and a couple of good dashes of pumpkin pie spice.  Mix well, and thin as needed with water for a smooth, pourable (not too thin) batter. 

Melt a pat of butter on a griddle or frying pan, spreading to cover the whole cooking surface, then pour your batter to the size pancakes you'd like, and cook 'em up.  Don't flip the pancakes until they are golden on the bottom, bubbly on the top (raw) side.

Just Poured Pancakes on the Griddle

All Bubbly and Ready to be Flipped

After Flipping.  Look at that Golden Brown Goodness!

Ready to Go with Butter and Syrup--YUM

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Shakes


Have you ever wanted to blend some random foods in blenders? Today, we take a step foward and make that wish come true! PUMPKIN PIE SHAKE! BOOYA BABE! Now if you want, you can take a slice of pumpkin pie and blend it with ice cream and milk. OOOORRRR...  you can do it the easy way.


Pumpkin Pie Shakes
(serves 4)

2 Cups Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Canned Pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 Pecan Sandies (or other shortbread cookies)

For Garnish:
Whipped Cream
2 more Pecan Sandies, crushed or chopped

START WITH THE SHAKE: Blend 2 cups of vanilla ice cream and 1 cup of milk in a blender until smooth.

IT'S PUMPKIN TIME: Add 1/2 cup of pumpkin filling and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice- God this stuff smells good - blend until smooth.  Now, here comes a twist: drop 3 Pecan Sandies (shortbread cookies) into the blender and blend the whole thing until it is all smoothly incorporated.

EAT: Pour shakes into glasses, sprinkle crumbled Sandies on top of each shake, add a dollop of whipped cream and ENJOY! !




Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Break in San Diego & Simply Roasted Shrimp Tacos


Me & My Brother at Pacific Beach
      
  HiHiHi!!! I just got back from the San Diego beach. There, we ate tons and TONS of sea food. Shrimp, crab, scallops, lobster, and fish. It was like heaven because I adore sea food- especially on the beach.

The Sun sets on Pacific Beach

Getting my CRAB at Joes


Nick's GIANT seafood pot


Our last day watching the sun set over the ocean

When we came home, I was almost upset when we didn't have crab or lobster just next door. I said, "Why don't we just have some shrimp tacos?" 


 Instead of doing what we normally do- frying the shrimp in a beer batter-  we decided to do a simple roast with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We spotted this recipe in one of our Barefoot Contessa books. It was originally for a roasted shrimp cocktail (also very yummy) but it was my idea to use it in shrimp tacos instead.

Drizzle the oil and dash the seasonings over 2lbs. of de-veined, shelled raw shrimp and pop it in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees.
Mix some lime juice and sour cream for a refreshingly tangy sauce to put in your soft taco.
The shrimp roast quickly and beautifully!

 


Serve with corn tortillas and all your favorite fixin's. YUMMY!!!

We are soooo going to make these often.  Enjoy!!

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