Friday, October 31, 2014

Ghosts Will Haunt You Tonight!! Happy Halloween Everyone!!!

Halloween is finally here and we are now down to the very last touch ups! So I hope you all got your costumes and decorations finished along with the candy and your party's planned.Though, if you need a helping hand, I do have a last minute spooky treat that will definitely impress the kids and adults.

These spooky ghosts all have their own unique personality;however they share something in common.They all have a delicious,creamy and chocolate cream cheese center with a candy shell. They can be terrifying,sad,angry and even flirty,but they are all sweet inside. The creativity is endless with these Hosts Of Ghosts.

So,now that we are acquainted with my little terrors.I will have to say that to create these is simple but can have its challenges.So with these difficulties, I have found solutions so everyone on any level of baking can makes these for Halloween.Don't you worry!

So to start off,I will say that this recipe is  simple and really inexpensive to make.Just think only four ingredients to create these ghosts for a last minute treat and that is exactly why I chose to make it.Though, with so little in this recipe, you can run into issues.For example,when dealing with such a soft dough it can be incredibly sticky,so it's best to grease your fingertips before, to a prevent a mess.Then once your pasted the prep of your ghosts you will learn early on that its super important to chill your ghosts to prevent any melting. Also, it's a bonus to have any extra candy melts for touch up and will definitely save you when a ghost does not go to plan.So with these small changes to this recipe it makes easier for everyone to create these treats.

Overall, this recipe can only be described as simple and challenging at the same time.Though,I will say I love this recipe because it can easily be adapted to work for me and I can get as creative as I want with my ghost friends.This is  what is great about creating something because you can change it and make it better for yourself. In the end,I now have a collection of unique ghosts hovering in my fridge just waiting to escape and worried about being devoured.Sorry!


Just think, kids would love to create their own personalized ghost this Halloween and will impress any party guest! Also, did I forget to mention that these terrors can be made ahead a time.So go on and try this quick,terrifying treat! Trust me.  

Happy Halloween!!! BOO!

The Recipe

Hosts Of Ghosts

Duration: About 1 hour

10 Chocolate cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreo's, fudge-Os etc)
1 package (3 ounce) Cream cheese,softened
6 ounces Wilton's Candy Melts.Extra is a must for touch up's
1 tsp Vegetable shortening

With my kitchen aid blender,I pulsed the cookies, until it resembled a fine crumb.Then I placed the crumbs in my stand mixer.

I then cut the cream cheese into three pieces and then added it to the mixer,Beating on medium speed until it reached a soft dough and fully combined.Will be sticky.

Then I greased my fingertips with vegetable shortening,followed by shaping each ghost,using 2 tsp of dough.Then I placed each on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Then I placed all the little ghosts in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until harden.

Then I placed 6 ounces of candy melts with 1 tsp of shortening in a microwave safe bowl.Then I microwave it in 10 second introverts,stirring after each,until it reached a smooth and pourable consistency.These candy melts will harden quickly,so time is the accent.
Tip:I did need more candy melts in the end for touch ups and for a few ghosts. Extra candy melts and shortening is a must for this recipe.

Then using a spoon,I slowly poured the candy mixture over the ghost shape,then using a butter knife to delicately spread and smooth on areas with missing spot.This will harden quickly.Then I used a toothpick to create eyes,then stored it in the freezer or refrigerator,until ready to serve.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creepy Crawly Spider Web Cookies

Halloween is approaching quickly and were all putting our last touch ups on our costumes and decorations.However what would Halloween be without a homemade treat for your family and friends to enjoy.So to help out in that department I have a creepy and crawly treat that kids will love to get involved with and adults alike.These will surely impress your party guests and creativity is endless with these treats.

These spooky Spider Web Cookies can be creepy cute to darn right gruesome.Its all what you make of it and how far you want to go with your creative side.The cookies are super easy to make,along with baking quickly.Although its all about the decorating of these spider webs that make them unique and spooky.I just loved the challenge of creating my own webs and sharing my passion with family and friends

In the end the spooky webs were wonderfully vibrant and bold,along with many compliments in the decorating.Though the best part of all was the delightful buttery and soft texture that instantly melts in your mouth.This is exactly what you are looking for in a sugar cookie along with a creamy and sweet icing.

This is definitely what you should make this Halloween because its simple,impressive and creative.Its also budget friendly and super adaptable.That means you can double the recipe if you desire or even change the colors.The ideas are endless!

Spider Web Cookies

  (Spider Web Cookie adapted From Wilton Roll-Out Cookies)

Optional:Double the measurements yields 36-40 cookies. (Photos represent a doubled recipe)

Original recipe below make 18-20 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 3/4 cups
all-purpose flour  

1 teaspoon baking powder  
1 teaspoon salt 

With my kitchen aid mixer,I creamed the softened butter and sugar,until light and fluffy.I then added the egg and extracts,until combined.

Then with a large mixing bowl,I mixed together the flour,baking powder and salt.

Then I gradually added the flour to the butter mixture,mixing after each addition.Do not chill dough.Divide into 2 balls,( If doubling divide into 4 balls)

Preheat the oven to 350F.On my glass surface,I dusted it with flour and roll each ball into a circle about 12 inch to 1/8 inch thick.I dipped the web cookie cutter in flour before using.

I placed parchment paper on my cookie sheets and baked the web cookies for about 10 minutes or less, until golden brown around the edges. I created the tiny spiders making sure to have enough for each web.They baked for about 5 minutes or less until golden  brown around the edges and were baked on a seperate sheet from the webs.

Buttercream Icing 
Recipe adapted from Wiltons Buttercream Icing
4 cookie balls (doubling cookie recipe) : Needs 1 batch and then another half batch icing.
 2 cookies balls (original cookie recipe):Needs about 1 batch (original recipe below)

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup butter,softened  
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar  
2 tablespoons milk

With my kitchenaid mixer,I beat the shortening and butter with electric mixer,until light and fluffy.

I gradually added the sugar,one cup at a time,beating well on medium speed.

Then I slowly added the milk,beating in it at medium speed,until light and fluffy.Then I covered the bowl with a damp cloth,until ready to use 

I decorated the webs with white icing and let them set to harden.The rest of the icing is for creating a large batch of black icing for the black web, then smaller batches of red,blue and orange for the spiders.  

I used a wiltons piping bag with a plain piping tip to create the black webs.Then I used 3 more piping bags for the seperated colors, using the plain piping tips for the spiders.

Then I placed the candy eyes on each spider and with a little icing on the back of each,placed it on the web.Then I let them set on a cookie rack and placed them in the fridge to harden.

If there ends up being more icing leftover,then use it for added detail to the cookies or if you have time make a quick cupcake recipe and use up the colored icing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mason jar salads and more:More Lunch Ideas!

 Julia Mirabella does not disappoint and offers us more ideas for lunch time.This time we have a variety of unique recipes for soups,pastas,rice dishes and of course salads.This is the chapter where we can all stretch out our imaginations and see what we can develop.So to start off, I have chosen to create the potato salad and the roasted cauliflower with Parmesan cheese dish.

Potato salad is my cherished summer salad and there can be countless versions in several cultures of this particular dish.For me,I have always adored my family's German potato salad because that is what I've grown up with;although I am always eager to test out fresh new ideas.

This salad recipe in particular is kept surprisingly simple as well as affordable.It simply involves tender bite size red and yellow potatoes, coated in a delicious mayo,lemon juice and Dijon mustard dressing.Then for some unique flavor and texture we have fresh chopped chives,parsley as well as celery.Then to top it all off it's splendidly seasoned with salt and pepper.

Though this salad is no where close to my favorite potato salad.I truly appreciate this version for its flavors and textures that are unique. Overall,this recipe is exceptional for its simple directions and prep work,along with being budget friendly and adaptable if necessary. I feel this is a refreshing and healthy salad that will keep you full all through the day.

Now roasting is a technique that helps enhance flavors and textures,especially for vegetables.Cauliflower is one of those veggies that is entirely bland on its own;however when you roast it with ingredients such as onions,garlic,thyme and cheese, then we have a different story.Roasting made this veggie dish go from flavorless all the way to melt in your mouth, full body flavor. So just think about the combination of tender pieces of cauliflower with garlic,caramelized onions,aromatic thyme and melted Parmesan cheese.That describes an unified savory dish that would be magnificent on its own or along side a juicy steak.

Overall,I love this dish because its loaded with flavor and completely simple to create.Its also affordable for everyone and will stay fresh when sealed and refrigerated properly.Also, for everyone that wants to be creative,this recipe is completely adaptable for your own desire and even simple enough to make larger batches.Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan cheese is a healthy, delectable dish that will certainly keep you satisfied.

Two thumbs up for both dishes! Next we have Snacks & Dips!


3 pounds of thin skinned potatoes (White, red,yellow etc)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice 
1/2 cup  roughly chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp chives
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery(about 2 stalks)
Salt and Pepper
4 pint size or 2 quarts-size mason jars.

I placed the potatoes in a pot of salted water,submerging them.Then I brought it to a boil over high heat,then quickly reduced it, to simmer for 15-20 minutes,until the potatoes were tender when pierced.Then I drained the potatoes to set aside to cool.

 I chopped the fresh parsley,sliced the celery thinly and chopped the chives.

Then in a small bowl,I mixed the mayonnaise,lemon juice,parsley,mustard,and chives together.Setting it aside.

Once the potatoes were cool,I quartered them and place them in a large bowl,along with the thinly sliced celery.

Then I mixed in the mayonnaise mixture and seasoned it with salt and pepper for taste.Then I gently toss the salad together to combine.

 Then I spooned the potato salad into 4 pint size mason jars,sealed and refrigerated them until ready to use.

Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese 
By Mason Jar Salads And More

1 Head Cauliflower
2 medium garlic cloves
1/2 small yellow or white onion,cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
3 pint-size mason jars

Preheated the oven to 425F.I cut the cauliflower into individual florets,then cut each floret in half.

Sliced the garlic cloves lengthwise into thirds and sliced the onions lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices

Then I tossed the cauliflower and garlic together in a bowl with the sliced onions,sprigs of thyme,olive oil,lemon juice and salt and pepper for taste.

Then I transferred the vegetables into a casserole baking dish and roasted them for 35 minutes,turning them over halfway through to cook evenly.Then I removed the dish from the oven and sprinkled on the grated Parmesan,stirring it in.Then I placed it back in the oven for 10 minutes,then removed, to let cool.

The roasted vegetables were placed in the pint size mason jars and refrigerated, until ready to use.Reheated in the microwave before eating.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Mason Jar Salads And More:Chapter Two Salads

 Mason Jar Salads & More has an variety of flavorful and unique salads.There is many simplistic and adventerous recipes in this cookbook, including lots of room to expand creativity.In this specific chapter, I chose to make Julia Mirabellas Greek Salad with Chickpeas as well as her Cobb Salad.

There are many versions of traditional Greek salad that commonly include feta,olives,cucumber and grapes tomatoes.This version makes sure that all these ingredients shine for there unique texture,flavor and color.It also includes an ingredient I thought would never be a great match up and that is chickpeas.However I found out first hand that it actually works quite well in all aspects along with giving us extra protein and zinc.The medley of flavors and textures are balanced very well and is a very refreshing take on Greek salad.

The dressing is also top notch because its simple and quick using only olive oil,lemon juice,seasoned with salt and pepper.This is really all you need to enhance the flavors of juicy sweet grape tomatoes,refreshing crunchy cucumbers and tender,smooth chickpeas.It's a pretty basic meal that anyone can make and enjoy.Its easy to prep and assemble for a quick grab to go lunch.It will give you energy during the day and keep you full,plus this recipe gives you an excuse to enjoy lots of feta cheese.This is definitely a satisfying meal and beautiful as well.I am happy to give this recipe a two thumb ups for its flavor,texture, beauty and of course simple approach.

Now with a Cobb salad I always think in my head "An everything salad" because it has so much in it and the possibilities are endless.This specific recipe includes a vast amount of delectable ingredients such as bacon,chicken,cheese,romaine and even avacado.This meal is pack full of vitamins,protein,fiber and is an excellent meal for lunch or dinner.It will give you the energy you crave and  keep you full during the day.The Cobb salad is simple to prep,easy to assemble and keeps very fresh when layered in this mason jars.Though the best part about the salad was how every flavor and texture stood out.The romaine was perfectly fresh and crisp along side the sweet,juicy tomatoes.The bacon was crisp and salty,  the chicken was very tender and excellent with the rich cheddar cheese.Also the avocado and egg came together to be very creamy and rich.

Overall,it was a delightful flavor fest and everything came together so well with the simple French vinagrette.It is a beautifully layered salad and showcased so well through the mason jar.Everyone will find something they love about this salad and get creative with there own ideas.Just thinks these recipes are simply idea starters and you can go as mad as you like.Julia Mirabeilla wants us simply to experiment and get creative with these recipes. So overall I will have to give this Cobb Salad a two thumbs ups for its great, unique flavor and texture along with simple directions and of course letting bacon in the recipe.Love it!

So now it's on to more unique ideas for lunches? The next chapter includes ideas for soups,salads,pasta, risotto and rice dishes.How exciting!

Greek Salad With Chickpeas

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing (About Two Salad portions)

2 tbsp Lemon juice
Pinch of Salt
Freshly ground black pepper,to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

In a medium bowl,I whisked together the lemon juice,salt and pepper.Then slowly added the olive oil,whisking,until thickened.

Salad (This recipe makes one pint size) Opitional:Double Ingredients for Two pint sizes

2 tbsp Lemon Vinaigrette
1/2 cup chick peas,rinsed and drained
1/3 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup quartered cucumber slices
2 tbsps diced red onion
2 tbsps pitted black olives,halved
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 pint-size Mason Jar

I rinsed and drained the chickpeas.Rinsed and halved the cherry tomatoes.Rinsed and quartered the cucumber slices.Diced the red onion.Halved the pitted black olives and lastly chopped the parsley finely.

I then poured 2 tbsp of the lemon vinaigrette in the Mason jar and added the chickepeas.Then I layered the tomatoes,cucumber,onion,olives and lastly feta and  parsley.Then I gently sealed the jar and refrigerated,until ready to eat.

Cobb Salad

French Vinaigrette Dressing (About Two Salad Portions)

2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp minced shallots or green onions
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
Pinc hof salt
Freshly ground black pepper,for taste
3 tbsp olive oil

I whisked together the lemon juice,minced green onion,mustard,salt and pepper.Then I slowly added the olive oil,whisking,until the dressing thickened.

Cobb Salad (This recipes makes one pint size) Optional: Double Ingredients for Two.

1 egg
2 slices bacon
1/2 cup avacado
1 1/2 tbsp French Vinaigrette
1/4 cup diced tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped fresh parlsey,finely
1 tbsp chopped chives
1/4 cup chopped romaine,cut into 2 inch strips
 1/4 cup cubed chicken breast
1 ounce cheddar cheese,grated
1 pint size Mason jar
For one Quart-size,increase vinagrette to 3 tbsps and the romaine to 2 cups

I placed the egg in a sm,saucepan and covered it with water.Then I brought the water to a boil over high heat and then turned off the heat immediately. Then I coved the pot and let it sit for 11 minutes,then I removed the egg with a slotted spooned and place it in cold water.Then I peeled and chopped the egg,setting it aside.

With a frying pan over medium heat,I cooked the two slices of bacon until crispy,draining the slices on paper towel and then chopped them into small pieces,to set aside.

Then using 1/2 of the avacado,I removed the pit and gently scoop out the inside and chopped into cubes,setting it aside.I then diced the tomatoes,chopped the parsley and chives.Then chopped the romaine,cubed the cooked chicken and grated cheddar cheese.

I placed the 3 tbsp of vinagrette to a quart size jar,then layered in the tomatoes,parsley and chives,chopped egg,2 cups romaine,avocado and cubed chicken.Then I added the grated cheddar cheese and crumbled the bacon on top.Then I sealed tightly and refrigerated, until ready to eat.