Tag: pumpkin

Happy Friday! (And some turkey themed lunches)

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Well, you’ve almost made it to Friday! Yippee! That’s always cause for celebration in our house. For tomorrow’s lunches for my little turkeys, I went with a turkey theme. This just might be my altogether favorite themed lunch from over the years. I’ve probably done this one over a dozen times and it never gets old to me. I think that little turkey is so darn cute! I made a turkey shaped PB sandwich. Ain’t nobody (re: me) got time for jelly today. I used my food safe markers to add some details. I also packed some crackers, a mandarin orange (Smalls), fresh berries (Bigs), red grapes, half a cheese stick, and a pumpkin brownie with a candy corn for dessert.

Hope your Friday isn’t too fowl! HAHAHHAHA

Kristin

Halloween Party Kid Food – BONE Appetit!

Are YOU having a Halloween party? Do you still need some food ideas? Boo, do I have some for you! Read below…if you dare…..mwahahahaha!

About a month ago, I received a call from a sweet friend of my boys (who also pretty much has me done in for, precious as she is!). She told me she was throwing a Halloween party and wanted me to be her “Chef”. How amazing is that!? She poured her heart into this party, planning every last detail – the decorations, the games, etc. She even had my husband, who is a DJ, provide the music. This was a party for the ages!

So, as the Chef, I pulled together some menu ideas with her wonderful Mama, and our planner approved them ( 😛 ). Each of the other invitees offered to make the items on our list.  And here they are, in all their Halloweeny glory!

 

Horrors d’oeuvres Time:

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To make this, you simply carve a pie pumpkin to look as if it’s barfed/vommied/puked…the nastier, the better! Put your dip (guacamole worked best for us because…guacamole) in front of it’s gaping barfy mouth.

 

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These are Bugles! And how cute is this sign? A lot of thought was put into that sign.

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This “Pumpkin Poo” went over well with the kids! Also, how can you go wrong with cheese balls? Every party needs cheese balls.

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This sweet and fruity Jack O’Lantern was gobbled down in no time! It’s made with orange segments and grapes. You can use blueberries in place of the grapes or do a mixture of the two.

Dinner Time:

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These Mummy Dogs are so easy to make, and leave quite a spooky impression! All you need is hot dogs and crescent rolls. Preheat the oven to 350F.  Dry hot dogs with paper towels. Cut or rip the crescent rolls into strips. Wrap the strips around the hot dogs in a random pattern. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake until the crescent rolls have become golden brown (as per the package).

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For these cutie Jack O’Lanterns, you’ll need clear plastic cups, a Sharpie, macaroni and cheese, and some celery. Draw the faces on the cups before filling with the macaroni. Once you have added the macaroni, place a small piece of celery in, as the pumpkin stalk.

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These Bat Nuggets are sure to scare! Bake your chicken nuggets, add tortilla chip wings, ketchup eyes, and make sure you eat them before they fly away! Bats fly quickly and erratically, you know.

Dessert Time:

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Nothing will gross you out and make your kids laugh more than these graham cracker bandaids!! All that you’ll need are graham crackers, icing, and red gel. **Yeesh!**

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Our ghostess with the mostess put these donut monsters together, right down to the eyes and teeth! Super scary!

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These were my contribution – Trick or Treat Brownies and Meringue “Ghosties”. For the brownies, you’ll need one box of brownie mix, a bunch of candy (I used Kit Kats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and M&M’s), and candy eyeballs. Prepare the brownie mix and pour into a 13×9 prepared pan. Chop up the candy (not the M&M’s) and sprinkle randomly. Bake as directed. I found that my candy sank a bit as the brownies baked, so I chopped up some more and squished it into the freshly baked brownies. Do the same with more M&M’s and the eyeballs. Let cool and cut into squares.

For the Meringue Ghosties, I used the following recipe.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/meringue-ghosts

I used a food-safe paintbrush and hand painted the eyes and mouths, using black gel coloring.

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This party was so much fun, thanks to the wonderful party planning and effort put forth by our cutie gHost! I hope your Halloween parties are as much fun and that you can use some of these ideas!

Happy Halloween!

Kristin

Ghost Themed School Lunch

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I’m just aGHOST that I’m blogging this close together! For today’s lunch, I went with a cutie ghost theme for my big first grader. I made a ghost shaped peanut butter and mango jam sandwich. I added some eyes and a mouth with my food safe markers. I also packed Trader Joe’s pumpkin crackers, dried coconut and orange slices, real oranges, green grapes, ghost meringues (recipe forthcoming!), and black and orange chocolate covered sesame seeds.

Boo!

Kristin

Lunch Catch Up

These weeks, you guys. Oh bless me. They’ve been challenging. I haven’t been on top of my daily lunch game, but I’ve been able to do a few. So here they are. In all their “glory”.

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Sunbutter and jam (or ham and cheese, I just can’t remember!!) on hamburger buns, popcorn, green grapes, raisins, and a Twix bar.

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Another Lunchable – ham, colby jack cheese, Ritz crackers, green grapes, pears, and a cut up Star Crunch.

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Another hamburger bun with some kind of filling ( 🙂 ), green grapes, popcorn, and a “New York Peppermint Patty”, as my boys call them.

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And for tomorrow’s lunches – mini pancakes and apple butter sandwiches, cubed cheese, rolled up ham, green grapes, and a few little chunks of Trader Joe’s pumpkin Pop Tarts.

Whew.

Have a great week!

Kristin

Pumpkin Bread Kindergarten & 3’s School Lunches

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It’s baaaaaaaaack! Pumpkin is everywhere now, and I couldn’t be more thrilled! I love this time of year! I found some Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Spice Swirl Bread on sale and I couldn’t resist taking it home with me. If we’re being honest, it jumped right in my grocery cart. 😉

So, for tomorrow’s lunches for my boys, I made added cream cheese to that delicious bread (which is so good all on its own!), and split it in half. I also packed homemade fruit snacks, which I made with berries only this time, charred corn, colby jack cheese cubes, and cheddar sandwich crackers. My Bigs will also (if I remember HA!), get an organic yogurt squeeze.

Kristin

Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies

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It’s just about that time of year where we make loads of cookies and share them, in hopes that our friends will do the same. to spread joy. I’ve already been thinking about what I want to do this year. As per the usual, I am early (I sort of always am, when it comes to food planning, except for dinner planning – I don’t do that, to my dinner demise). I don’t normally like to make more than three kinds of cookies. It becomes overwhelming, especially when I have so many people, with whom I like to share.

I’ve been trying cookies ALLLLL YEARRRR LONNNNG, you know, for research and all. I’ll be sharing my favorite recipes with you.

Yesterday, I made these little beauties.

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I LOVE pumpkin and I LOVE ginger, especially in the form of a soft ginger cookie. These are the best of both – Soft Pumpkin Ginger Cookies.

They screamed my name from the second I found them.

I, naturally, ran out of sugar halfway during my rolling of the balls (at least I had enough for the cookies, themselves!), so I used raw sugar to roll. I actually ended up liking those even more. They were sparkly. These would make such beautiful food gifts this upcoming holiday season. And they are delicious – soft, crunchy from the sugar, full of pumpkin flavor and warmth from spices.

Make them.

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/pumpkin-gingersnap-cookies/

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Imma go eat one or ten right now.

Kristin

When Story Time and Snack Time Collide

We’ve started going to the library every Wednesday now. Bigs is on a big Berenstain Bears book kick. Smalls is on just a regular leg kick (as in, he kicks everything). And I’ve made it a priority to find some time for myself to read (even if it means I stay up later…no wonder I’m so pooped!). Bigs picks out all the new Berenstain Bears books that he’s not yet read or that we don’t own and I thumb through the shelves, looking for books I think they’d both enjoy. I can’t help it, but I am always drawn to books with some sort of food theme or food title. I can’t help it.

I’ve started making snacks that sort of match the food in the books, the best I can. It’s been an unplanned, fun, activity for both me (making them) and the boys (enjoying them). Thus begins my new series, “When Story Time and Snack Time Collide”!

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Last week, I made raisin happy face oatmeal to match the raisin happy face oatmeal Mama Bear made her cubs. Bigs went bananas. Smalls didn’t care. I had enough enthusiasm for him though, not to worry.

Today, we read The Bear Detectives and at the very end, the cubs found out that the missing pumpkin was made into a delicious pumpkin pie. Since I didn’t have enough time to just whip up a quick pumpkin pie (nor did I feel that was a healthy enough snack for them…for me? that’s a different story!), I made pumpkin muffins. I found an easy, one-bowl recipe on one of the blogs I follow. And they were healthy! The only change I made was that I replaced part of the honey with some demerara raw sugar, since I didn’t have the amount of honey it called for.

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It’s not quite nap time yet (waaaaahhh), but the boys are already looking forward to their pumpkin muffins while reading our new library books!

Here is the recipe I used:

http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/10/13/recipe-conection-one-bowl-pumpkin-breadmuffins/

Enjoy eating these with your own little cubs!

Blessings,

Kristin

Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Away in a Manger Scene

We did it! We decorated for Christmas. We always do it the week of Thanksgiving since we travel on the day of and want our home to be Christmas-y upon our return. Bigs was SO excited! This will be a fun year with him. He “gets” it. Smalls, however, is just a typical one year old, plucking the Christmas balls off the tree, yelling, “BALL, BALL!!!”, and throwing them as hard as he can (and he’s freakishly strong) across the living room. I normally put a smaller tree up, as well, that is my “Sweets Tree”, where I put on only dessert and sweets themed ornaments. That one is, sadly, not up this year. I just don’t have the energy to watch Smalls around two trees. I have extra eyes on the back of my head to watch them, but they just aren’t enough. Perhaps next year.

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Bigs was very concerned that the Christmas tree would go away while he napped, while we were away for Thanksgiving and for any other event requiring us to leave the house. Which is a lot. Object permanence isn’t as ingrained as I’d thought. But that will make it more magical and more fun to show him as we get closer to the day. And for him, it’ll be like Groundhog Day, every morning! The tree will still be there, just like yesterday! It is just so wonderful to see this holiday through the eyes of a child. I know that is clichéd (I am shaking my own head at my own self right now), but it truly is.

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I just love that skinny little baby arm and hand (left), and that sweet toddler hand (right) coming together on an ornament, placing it on the tree in tandem. I am so in love with them.

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This is the first ornament Bigs made in church last year. I am only slightly concerned because it’s made of paper and you know, light-heat and paper don’t so much mix, but it was too precious not to put up. I love that he constantly sees the images of Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus. Seeing it over and over will help him learn and then know, with certainty, the true meaning of Christmas. I am truly blessed and thankful for them and my husband.

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Jesus sure is the Reason for this season. Without Him, none of this would be. And that applies to just about everything.

Today I finished making my Coconut Cake. I used a different recipe this year. And as per the usual, I didn’t read the recipe the whole way through before starting on it. That’s how I do. It called for keeping an un-iced, filled cake in the fridge for three days. Luckily, I made the cakes and filling two days before Thanksgiving, so it still worked out. You really think I’d have learned, by now, to read a recipe all the way through before starting on it!

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http://www.cakeduchess.com/2013/11/coconut-cake-foodmemory-guest-post-magnolia-days.html

The only changes I made to the recipe were that I used sweetened coconut in the filling and used less sugar since it didn’t really specify that the coconut used was sweetened or not. I also added about a half teaspoon of coconut flavored baking emulsion to really enhance that coconut flavor.

http://www.amazon.com/LorAnn-Oils-Emulsion-Coconut-Ounce/dp/B001REJIJM

I love how when I pat the coconut on the frosting, it falls all around the plate like freshly fallen snow. It’s such a show-stopper of a cake (if I can be so bold to say so – I simply just followed the recipe!). So very festive. I cannot wait to eat that piece as big as my face, that I promise myself each year.

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I also got my Aunt Sue’s Macaroni Casserole made. It is a cinch to throw together and is so delicious. Here is the little beauty going in to the oven.

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And here she is coming out…melty, ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness.

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I can’t wait to dig into it tomorrow.

Here is the recipe.

Bigs and I made pumpkin muffins for breakfast and snack tomorrow. It was a fun little activity for us to do together while Smalls was still napping.

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We used a shortcut and made them with a store bought cake mix (vanilla). We added one can of pumpkin puree to the vanilla cake mix and stirred like the dickens. We added some ginger and cinnamon and some pumpkin spice bakery emulsion. We baked them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 – 25 minutes.

http://www.amazon.com/Lorann-Oils-Pumpkin-Emulsion-4oz/dp/B00BR25W9E

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I also put together a snack bento for Bigs for the Thanksgiving car trip. We aren’t going TOO far, but snacks make for a more pleasant ride.

Preschool Thanksgiving Road Trip Snacks

I packed a string cheese, a clementine some 5-grain crackers, a box of raisins, some Newman’s Own popcorn and one of our pumpkin spice muffins. Smalls will have less exciting snacks, in the form of Cheerios. 🙂 I will pack both of them an applesauce squeezy fruit.

Thanksgiving Subway

I hope you all have a VERY blessed, safe, thankful and HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy the time with your family and friends. And if that’s not how it’s going to turn out, it’s what you make of it! And to those going through hardships and heartache, may you feel God’s warm, loving embrace and presence, and may you find comfort in Him and the blessings (big and small) you have. There is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. God Bless.

I am so thankful for all my friends and family, near and far. And I’m thankful to God for all the blessings He gifts us (and even those He does not!) And I’m also thankful for this blog and all who read it and support me. It means so much more than you can even know. So, thank you. Happy Happy Thanksgiving.

Kristin

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Food Roundup

Turkey Time

Let’s talk turkey. Just kidding. Someone else is making the turkey.

Ain’t nobody (read: me) got time for that! Literally.

So let’s talk sides and dessert. That’s my forte.

And before that, let’s backtrack just a little. I want to paint my very fond Thanksgiving memories for you.

Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays. Everything it embodied – the food, the fellowship, the family, the thankfulness. We used to travel to see my Dad’s family. They lived in the Deep South and the memories that were made in that old country house will live in my heart forever. When I think of Thanksgiving, this is what comes to mind:

Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

Literally. And the dining room we ate in looked almost identical to this Normal Rockwell painting. My beautiful Grandma would have her long gray hair coiled into a bun, she’d wear a sweet little dress with stockings and slippers (it’s hard work cooking for so many!) and cover it all up with an apron that had seen many meal preparations. When she would see us, her whole face would crinkle up in a smile and she would always have this little sparkle in her eyes. My Granddaddy would always cry tears of joy when our family car would pull up that dirt and gravel-covered driveway. My Aunts and Uncles and Cousins would pour in through the tattered screened door in the kitchen, arms laden with covered dishes and hugs to hand out. My Grandma would be standing at the stove top, frying up her hoe cakes in her beloved old cast iron pan. There’d be field peas in a saucepan, a fried turkey, my Aunt Sue’s macaroni and cheese, shredded chicken and hard boiled egg dressing, and food for miles. And miles. Good Southern, comforting food. The dessert table always held the traditional pumpkin pies, cobblers, etc., but there was always something else that held my gaze. My Grandma would always make a multi-layered coconut cake. It always looked so tall from my shorter, younger (I’m tall, but my memories were made when I was young) stature looking up at it on the counter. It was iced with the most glorious white frosting, and then covered with stark, white coconut flakes, imitating that fresh first snow fall. I always ate a slice as big as my face. It was always my favorite. And my dear Aunt Sue’s macaroni and cheese. That is one of my all-time favorite recipes still. She passed that one on to me before she went to be with the Lord. While I never got the coconut cake recipe from my Grandma before she also went to be with the Lord, I did find recipes online that closely match these and my other heart-guarded dishes. I’d like to share some of these with you today. They may not be the healthiest or use the most “trendy” ingredients, but they are sacred in my heart. They equal hugs on my plate.

Thanksgiving Table

This is my dining room table last Thanksgiving. I prepared a few of my favorites. I made green bean and sweet potato casseroles (no favorite recipes here). The back right tray is my Aunt Sue’s Macaroni and Cheese and the front tray is my Shredded Chicken and Hard Boiled Egg Dressing.

Here is the recipe I’ve found that most closely resembles the dressing. I use only white meat (boiling chicken breasts or using a rotisserie can cut down on time), I make cornbread from Jiffy, and I do not make or use the giblet gravy or chutney.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-live/hazel-smiths-chicken-dressing-casserole-recipe/index.html

Here is my dear, sweet Aunt Sue’s recipe. I make my own “cream of” soups now, but I cannot bring myself to change her recipe AT ALL. This is a highly simple recipe, and quite humble. Even though it is such, it is one of my most prized and loved recipes. Please feel the love my Aunt Sue had for all of us when you make and enjoy this.

Macaroni Casserole:

1 8oz. pkg elbow macaroni, cooked

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 C mayo

1/2 C onions, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped and slightly cooked in microwave in a bit of water, drained

1/4 C pimento, chopped (or you can use canned, roasted red pepper)

1/2 lb. mild or sharp cheddar cheese

Combine the above ingredients and place in a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Hoe Cakes are cornmeal based…pancakes, for all intents and purposes. The closest recipe I could find to match my Grandma’s could also be found from Paula Deen…go figure. These would be piled high in a pie tin on each table at Grandma’s house. And we’d eat our weight in them as we were waiting for the “big” meal to start.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/hoecakes-recipe/index.html

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The closest recipe I can find to match my Grandma’s Coconut Cake is another Deen recipe (lol – Southern at best!).

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/jamies-coconut-cake-recipe3/index.html

After our afternoon Thanksgiving feast, we’d go out in the backyard and shoot aluminum pie tins with Granddaddy’s BB guns. My brother and I had a blast. We’d go for rides on the riding mower. We’d go “moo” at the cows in the back pasture and go for a walk through the cotton fields flanking that country house with a porch swing. We’d sneak into my Granddaddy’s barn and look at all his old fashioned tools and try to guess what they were used for. How we loved those Thanksgivings spent there. As we grew older, we’d STILL enjoy the same traditions. After Thanksgiving day spent there, we’d go to my Mom’s family and have a second Thanksgiving with them (in a different state). My sweet Grandmother had (still has) her own recipe for macaroni and cheese (a recipe for another day!) and an amazing cream cheese topped, jellied cranberry and nut salad. I am going to have to get that from her again this year, as I’ve lost the recipe. Sadly, much of my family on my Dad’s side has passed on and so we’ve had to change traditions. Whether we spend the holiday with my Mom’s family or with my Husband’s family, locally, I always make it a point to make these recipes that are so fond in my heart so that I can feel that love miles and miles away from where it started.

I’ve got two other recipes that I’d like to share with you today. One is a scone that would make for a lovely, festive breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Imagine eating these little beauties with a cup of coffee or tea as you are starting to prepare your meal.

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I got the recipe for these Harvest Pumpkin Mini Scones from King Arthur Flour.

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/harvest-pumpkin-scones-recipe

And here is another dessert recipe, but for the more daring home cooks!

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This Pumpkin Mochi Cake is REALLY good – not too sweet and sort of chewy in that lovely mochi way that I am so very fond of. I used Mochiko (glutenous rice flour) that I found at a local special store. I obviously didn’t use small molds for this, as the recipe calls for. I used an 8×10 dish and doubled the recipe.

http://kirbiecravings.com/2010/11/happy-thanksgiving-2.html

PS – My husband is home with us now. God is good!

I hope you can use and enjoy some of these recipes. Have a very blessed weekend,

Kristin