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Halloween Chocolate Covered Strawberries

October 30th, 2013

For my son’s School Halloween Party, I wanted to do something different, but didn’t want it to be too much work.  So, I decided to customize store-bought cupcakes.  All I did was dip some fresh strawberries in candy chocolate coating and sprinkle them with Halloween sprinkles. I placed each strawberry on top of the cupcake and  added a gummy worm… because all kids LOVE gummy worms!  The party snack was a success!!!


Pumpkin Patch Hummus and Carrot Appetizer (Revised!)

October 28th, 2013

Last year I posted a wonderful appetizer…. Pumpkin Patch Hummus and Carrot Appetizer… it has been re-pinned on Pinterest almost 400 times.  I can’t take any credit for it, I too got it from another pinner and thought I would try it.  It turned out great, so I photographed it and shared it with everyone else.  Don’t you love Pinterest???!!!

However, this year I thought of an alternate version.  The taste and “concept” are still the same… you would use hummus, toothpicks, green onion, and parsley. The one thing that I did differently is that I used pre-cut carrots which are already sliced and bagged (available where baby carrots are sold).  They have those fabulous ridges that look very much like the ridges on a pumpkin.  Instead of buying regular carrots and cutting them, I was really happy with how the pre-cut ridged carrots worked out.  They won’t be as uniform and round as the carrots you would cut yourself, but neither are pumpkins.  So this may be the perfect option for someone who would like to take a short-cut but still have a fabulous appetizer!


Five Fun PEEPS Secrets To Help You Create Easter Crafts and Desserts

October 28th, 2013


I had a great time showing off my fun PEEPS projects on Better Kansas City. To see the video segment, CLICK HERE


For some, PEEPS symbolize Easter, spring, and pure happiness! So whether you love them or hate them, these marshmallow molded sugar coated candies are one of the most popular treats in the United States! Over 4 million are created each day and 1 billion are made every year! Best of all, there is an endless variety of ways you can use them for snacking, baking, and even decorating. Here are my five favorite (super easy) PEEPS projects and the secrets to making them perfect!


1. Secret #1 – when planning to hot glue your PEEPS, “CURE” them. Curing is another way of saying, let the Peeps dry out. As they dry, they harden and are much easier to work with when you are using any type of adhesive. I created two PEEPS TOPIARIES and cured my PEEPS for two weeks. Then, I purchased topiary forms and hot glued the PEEPS directly on them. Just be careful where you start and stop and make sure the seam is in one place, preferably the back. And yes, with a little direction, this can be a great project to do with the kids.


2. Secret #2 – Bunny PEEPS look great Layered! A great tip is to use the paper grass instead of jellybeans or other candies to fill in spaces between layers. It is a lot more affordable and looks great! I created a layered PEEPS CENTERPIECE (pictured above) with a “layered” look that used PEEPS and paper grass. The PEEPS bunnies are perfect for this project, because unlike the doves or chicks, which are rounded, the bunnies are nice and flat. This wonderful shape makes them perfect to layer on cakes, in centerpieces, and even wreaths.


3. Secret #3 – When using for edible projects, make sure the PEEPS are as fresh as possible by embellishing your desserts right before serving them. One of the easiest and most popular projects is a PEEPS CAKE. Simply make your favorite cake in a round pan (or purchase one at the store) and embellish with PEEPS. For many, PEEPS are best when they are soft and fresh, so decorate your cake a few minutes before serving. As many of us know, Peeps harden when they are exposed to air, so the less time they are out of the package, the softer they are.


Another delicious project where I recommend you serve soft PEEPS are these wonderful PEEP-kabobs. They are made with Little Debbie’s Easter marshmallow treats, and chocolate covered marshmallow eggs. If you have some extra time, dip your PEEPS in chocolate and give the PEEPS some drying time so the chocolate can harden.  I use the candy chocolates you can buy at any craft supply store that has a baking section. Or check your grocery store, now you can purchase ready-made chocolate dipped PEEPS.  Absolutely DELICIOUS!!!


Secret #4 – PEEPS are indestructible! Peeps are famous for their 2 year shelf life and indestructibility. Scientists at Emory University could not dissolve PEEPS in water, sulfuric acid, or sodium hydroxide. What that means for the PEEPS lover is that they can submerge their PEEPS in practically anything without the fear of them being destroyed. I got excited about the possibilities and created this PEEPS TRIFLE – The trifle was super easy. My bottom layer consisted of sugar wafers. I layered the PEEPS around my trifle bowl directly on the wafers. My second layer was Lemon or Lime pudding combined with cool whip. My third layer was cake but I also highly recommend using breakfast waffles, they are less sweet and when saturated with the pudding, are delicious!! My third layer was pudding and cool whip. My fourth layer was more cake (or breakfast waffles). My fifth layer was more pudding. And my final layer was the pink Peeps on top. If you would like a slightly less sinful version, use sugar-free pudding and incorporate the breakfast waffles instead of the cake and sugar wafers.  Also, give your Trifle some time in the refrigerator, anywhere from 4 – 24 hours.  All the layers have time to “marry” and soak up each other’s goodness.


Another famous dessert for Easter are the PEEPS S’mores. It’s fun to watch the PEEPS morph in the microwave and once you put them in between two graham crackers… well… you best clear the way, because there will be a mad stampede to the dessert table! The PEEPS S’mores are really simple to create. I dipped my PEEPS in chocolate the night before. Right before I served them, I placed one on top of a graham cracker, popped in the microwave for about 15 seconds and watch them do their thing. Once I felt they were ready, I took them out of the microwave and placed another graham cracker on top. It turns out perfect every time!!!


5. Secret #5 – PEEPS are cute when you “stage” them! You may or may not be aware that there are over 60 national contests that take place every year involving PEEPS one way or another. Many of them are Diorama contests. The Dioramas show PEEPS doing all sorts of crazy things (Star Treck scenes, Harry Potter, scenes, etc.) Just google “PEEPS Dioramas” and you will have a plethora of funny things to look at. And if you want to stage your own PEEPS, here are some PEEPS bubble bath cupcakes that take just a few minutes to put together. Your kids will love doing this. Simply make cupcakes and frost them with white icing (or purchase ready made cupcakes at the store with white icing). Put a PEEP on a toothpick and stick the toothpick and peep into the cupcake. Then, open a bag of mini-marshmallows and decorate your heart out. Super simple and incredibly adorable!!

Melting PEEPS Chocolate Ghost Brownies – So Perfect For Halloween!!

October 28th, 2013

Get your napkins ready, because if you make this gooey and yummy dessert, your guests will be licking their fingers for hours! These brownies is supposed to look as if the PEEPS are melting all over it.  And it just doesn’t get any easier.

Just purchase basic brownie mix at your local grocery store.  Five minutes before the brownies are done, sprinkle with a layer of mini-marshmallows.  In about 5-7 minutes, your brownies should be ready and a puffy layer of marshmallows will create a beautiful topping.  Once it cools, cut the brownies into squares, and with a toothpick, attach a PEEPS ghost.    The white of the PEEPS and the white of the marshmallow layer will look like the Peep is melting directly into the marshmallow and creates a fabulous effect.  peepsbrownies


Goblin Mimosa – Oldie but Goodie!

October 25th, 2013

Each year I post this recipe for Goblin Mimosas which I came up with a few years ago.  Black vodka, orange juice, stuffed olives… you just CAN’T go wrong!  Here’s the full recipe!


Halloween Monster Fingers – The Scary Veggie Platter

October 24th, 2013

What is Halloween without “witches” or “monster” fingers… clearly, they are a staple at any Halloween party!  I guess this is why there is no shortage of witches’ fingers on the web, just google it and you will find a myriad of recipes… some made out of cookies, others out of breadsticks, I can go on and on.

I too have come up with several “finger” recipes to add to the creative pool!  Just couldn’t resist! Since my other recipes included hot dogs and cookie dough (two separate recipes… thankfully) , I thought I would contribute one more recipe which was a little more health conscious… much like a veggie platter!  These monster fingers are made out of carrots and celery.

You can get really creative with the carrots when you are peeling them, making them gnarly and uneven.  Use peanuts or almonds for the “nails”.   There isn’t much room for creativity with the celery, but you can have some fun with the nails by making them more pointy or curly.  I created a “hairy finger look” by sprinkling the celery with dill weed.  Oh and the best part, they can be as ugly as you want them to be… perfection is a “no-no” with this recipe, so throw it out the window and enjoy the process.

For the filling of the celery, I used flavored cream cheese and sprinkled the top with dill weed for a “hairy” look.  The nails are thinly sliced carrots.  For the carrots, I simply peeled them and adhered a peanut for a gnarly nail with the cream cheese. Serve them with any dip or flavored cream cheese.


HALLOWEEN FOOD – Severed Fingers In A Bun!

October 11th, 2013

Yes, yes, I know it’s gross… but it’s Halloween… right???  And as your kids will get older, fun cupcakes, gummy worms, and cute Halloween popsicles, just won’t do anymore!  This year, my 10 year old and I came up with “Severed fingers in a bun”.  We saw so many “finger foods” on Pinterest, that we thought we would try something ourselves.  If this is something you think your kids or teenagers would like for Halloween, it’s probably the easiest thing we’ve ever done!  Just prepare hot dogs as you normally would, then cut out s thin section to look like a nail bed.  Then, make a few cuts with a knife to represent the knuckles.  Last but not least, place the hot dogs in a bun already doused with ketchup.  It’s even grosser if you decide to grill the hot dogs… need I say more?