Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jello Worms

David wanted to find a "cool" treat to share with his daycare friends. After seeing a picture of jello worms, ( we decided that was the perfect treat.

1 (6 oz) package of grape jello
3 envelopes of Knox unflavored gelatin
3 cups boiling water
100 straws
1 tall, slender container that holds 4 cups of liquid. (I used a tall cardboard container that held whipping cream.)
3/4 cup whipping cream
15 drops green food coloring

Start by boiling 3 cups of water. Add the boiling water to the packages of jello and gelatin. Let cool for for about 20 minutes. Add the whipping cream and food coloring. 

Pull all of the bendable straws so the bendable part is extended. Place the straws in the container.

Pour the gelatin in the straws. (Yes, there will be some gelatin that rests on the outside of the straws.) Place the container in the refrigerator overnight. 

Removing the worms was a little difficult, but the worms looked so realistic, it was worth it! I cut the cardboard container away from the straws and took off the gelatin that settled around the straws. I ran some warm water over the straws to loosen it up a little. 

Then, by holding the top of the straw, I used my fingers to push the gelatin out of the straw into a bowl. I did have to do them one by one, but it didn't take too long. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ghost Cheese Bread

The boys have been asking to make cheese bread for a few nights, so we decided to turn our normal cheese bread into a scary Halloween treat. 

1 Tbsp yeast
1 cup warm water
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese

Start by dissolving the yeast with the warm water. Add the honey. Let sit for a couple of minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble. 

Add the salt, oil, and 1 cup of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. Slowly add the remaining flour. Knead with the hook attachment on your mixer for about 8 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, knead on a lightly-floured surface for 8-10 minutes. 
Grease the mixing bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise for about an hour in a warm location(or until doubled). I warm my oven by setting it to 170 degrees for 30 seconds. I then turn the oven off and place the dough in the warm oven. 
When doubled, punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface. This amount of dough made two ghosts. 

I rolled out the dough and made two eye holes and a mouth hole. (I just used my fingers to make the holes.)

Spread about a Tbsp. of butter  over the dough. Then spread on about a Tbsp. of olive oil. Top with about a tsp. of garlic salt, 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and 1-1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the other half of the dough. 

Bake at 475 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes

1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. all spice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
2 teas. cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl

In a separate bowl, mix the oil, brown sugar, egg, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix. 

Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. I was able to get 40 out of one batch. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. 

Melt the butter and combine the cinnamon and sugar. 

After the doughnut holes are done baking, dip the top of the doughnut into the melted butter and roll in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. 
You could roll the whole doughnut, but just doing to top is more than enough sugar. Sometimes we eat them right out of the oven without the cinnamon and sugar topping. 

Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 teas. lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 teas. baking powder
1 teas. cinnamon
1 teas. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teas. salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 teas. vanilla

First beat eggs with a mixer. Slowly add sugar, while still mixing. Let that mix for about a minute. 

Add pumpkin and lemon juice. While still mixing on medium speed, add the dry ingredients, one at a time. 

Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray. 

Pour the batter on the greased paper. If you want to add nuts, sprinkle them on before you bake it. 
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. 

Sprinkle a dish towel with powdered sugar. When the cake comes out of the oven, invert it on the towel. Immediately, roll the hot cake up in the towel. (hot dog style roll) Let it cool for about 20-30 minutes. 

When cool, unroll and fill with the cream cheese filling. 

Roll back up and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Graham Cracker Treat

We saw a picture of treats on Pinterest*that went with Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin movie, so we had to create our own version with things we had in the pantry. 

We started with graham crackers and chocolate peanut butter. We spread the peanut butter on the cracker. Then we created a fence post with candy corn. We put a pumpkin candy on each cracker as well. 

Next, using green icing, we created a vine for our pumpkin. We then added some leaf candy sprinkles to the ground. 

David decided to make a couple of different types of fence posts. Some were all the same color and he created a pattern with one of them. 

Spider Painting

One of our Halloween crafts was inspired by a picture we found on Pinterest. We used the tip of a small foam brush to paint on the spider web. Then the kids dipped their hands (minus their thumbs) in black paint. They pressed both hands down on the paper, with their 8 fingers pointed out. We pressed google eyes on before the paint dried. Then we used the tip of the brush to paint on a white mouth. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Dutch Apple Pie

This recipe has been with my family for over 14 years. My mom and I found it in an old Taste of Home magazine when I was still in high school. We added some cinnamon to the original recipe and it has become a favorite go-to pie recipe. I even entered it in a pie baking contest and won top honors with this recipe. 

2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 cup cold water
3 cups peeled, diced apples
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix flour, brown sugar, and oatmeal in a bowl. Cut butter in with a fork. Set aside 1 1/2 cup of mixture to be used as the topping. Press the remaining mixture in the bottom of a pie plate. 

In a saucepan, mix water, sugar, and cornstarch with a wish. Let the mixture boil and simmer until thickened, stirring continuously.  

Meanwhile, peel and dice 3 cups of tart apples. 

When cornstarch mixture is thickened, remove from heat. 

Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla. 

Add apples to the filling. 

Pour apple filling into crust. 

Top with remaining 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture. 
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. 

The ingredient list above is for a 9 inch pie plate. However, this pie will run over if it is filled too full. I have a large deep dish pie pan that I make this recipe in. If you have a pan similar to the one in the picture, you will need to make more filling: 1 1/3 cup sugar, 2 1/8 cups cold water, 4 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch, 4 1/2 cups apple, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. This size will take about 50 minutes to bake. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Helper

1 lb. ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
about 1 teaspoon salt-season to taste
pepper to taste
8 oz. whole grain elbow noodles
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons sour cream
1 Tablespoon parsley

Start by browning your hamburger. Drain the grease. Add onions, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Saute for about a minute.

Add uncooked noodles, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

When noodles are tender, add cheddar cheese and sour cream. Stir and let simmer for a couple of minutes, or until slightly thickened. 

Top with parsley and serve. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pilgrim Turkey Refrigerator

After the Tigers lost, we decided to change the refrigerator. Because it was so close to Halloween, we went right into the Thanksgiving holiday. The hat is black and white construction paper. The feathers, beak, and feet are cut out of felt. The turkey body, lapels, and hands are from brown construction paper. 

Mad Scientist/Halloween Birthday Party

For my 11-year-old son's birthday, we hosted a very small Mad Scientist/Halloween party. Four of our family friends' children joined us for the event. With my two boys, that made a perfect size party for this type of event. 

We started by experimenting with cake batter. I made a white cake mix and divided it into six bowls. We colored each division of the batter a different color. I poured the batter into six separate ziplock bags. 

Then I cut a little tip from each of the bags. The kids took turns creating their own masterpieces in the cupcake pans. 

We placed them in the oven according to the package directions.

When they were done, the kids frosted and decorated their cupcakes. 

Meanwhile they ate mummy dogs (Little hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls.) To make these, I used a package of crescent rolls, cutting each triangle into three pieces before rolling them in the mini hot dogs.
Another appetizer was beef stick and cheese kabobs. I got the Halloween toothpicks from Amazon for under $2. 

The kids also snacked on a veggie skeleton. (I found this idea on Pinterest :)) 

For the cake, I started with a 9X13 inch cake pan. I cut off some of the top to resemble a beaker. I cut it in half and transferred the cake to a sheet cake pan covered in tin foil. 

The worst part of this cake was getting the frosting to stay without getting crumbs spread through the frosting. If I had to do this again, I would make homemade cake decorating frosting (1/2 cup crisco, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 3 tablespoons milk). Place a thin layer of that frosting on the cake, without worrying about the crumbs. That will harden after 20 minutes or so and your regular frosting will go on a lot smoother. The bubbles at the top of the beaker are green sixlets I found in the baking section at Wal-Mart. The green on the cake is colored frosting, and the black is black food gel. 

Each kid picked out a Halloween tattoo to be placed on their cup. This worked so well! They didn't need a new cup every time they got a drink. 

The kids really enjoyed the experiments we did. 
The first one was slime. I found this recipe online. (
In one bowl, combine 1/2 cup of white glue and 1/2 cup of water. Add your choice of food coloring. (A couple of drops is all you need.) 
In a separate bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of borax powdered detergent with 1 cup of water. Slowly pour the glue mixture in the borax mixture. Stir until a sticky dough forms. Pull out the dough and work it in your hands. (Don't worry if there is excess water in the bottom of your bowl.) The more the kids worked it with their hands, the less sticky it became. They each took home a little baggie of the slime. 

Next I gave them a box of toothpicks and a bowl of spice drops to create spice drop molecules. They were very creative with their designs! 

The next experiment didn't go as well as we hoped, but it was still a lot of fun. 
We found a recipe for erupting playdough. ( It didn't erupt as much as the kids were hoping for, and it was quite sticky, but they enjoyed getting their hands messy. 

The recipe:
1/2 cup glue
1/2 cup baking soda
3 Tablespoons dish soap
3 Tablespoons flour
We also added some pumpkin pie spice for a fall scent. 
It probably would have worked better if I mixed it with a spoon, but that would have taken away all the laughs they had while they got their hands messy. 

 They placed their blog on a baking sheet and made designs with food coloring and spices. Then we added vinegar to the blog and watched each volcano bubble.

To make up for the weak explosions they saw with their volcanoes, we created baking soda/vinegar popping bags. 

I cut a piece of paper towel into four pieces. 

I placed 1 1/2 tablespoons of baking soda in each piece of paper towel. I folded up the paper towel. 
In a quart-size ziploc bag, I added 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/4 cup of water. I sealed each bag as much as I could and still slide the paper towel through the top. Holding the paper towel so it didn't fall in the liquid, I sealed the rest of the bag. 
The kids then took the bag, dropped the paper towel in the liquid, shook it and threw it on the ground. The bag immediately expanded. (The bag got huge and very hard.) When we released a little bit of the air, it popped.) 
 To make things a little more exciting, we went outside and doubled the vinegar and water in each bag and dropped baking soda paper towel packets. With this amount of mixture, the bag popped on its own, so be sure to do this outside or in the sink.

While we were outside, we performed the Mentos and Diet Coke volcano experiment. This was a crowd favorite! My family had done this many times. Here is a link on my page for that experiment:

When the kids came inside, we played the mystery feel game. I had three buckets they passed around trying to guess what the contents were. I had cooked, cold spaghetti for brains, peeled grapes for eyeballs, and dried apples for witch ears. 

Each kid took home a goody bag: 
airheads, nerds, gummy worms, eyeball bouncy balls, Halloween tattoos, stickers, Halloween bracelets, glow sticks, Halloween-theme rubber ducks, and their slime.