Sunday, October 28, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes... and other SPOOKY Stuff!

I have an October birthday at my house, and it makes for some fun, festive parties!  Thought I would share a few ideas from the "spooky" feast...
I was pretty busy with party preparations, so I needed a fast and easy recipe for cupcakes.  This was perfect.  I didn't have a spice cake mix, so I used yellow cake mix, and added pumpkin spice.

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Cupcakes (
1 package of spice cake mix
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3 large eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup water
*Cream cheese frosting
Mix all ingredients for about 2 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared muffin tins.  Bake 350 for 18-23 minutes (I would recommend at least 25.)

*Hot-dogs wrapped in pizza or crescent dough. Use ketchup for the eye, although most of the kids had them eaten before we got to that part. :)
The party guest each made their own. (Very convenient. :)

Bloody Spider Bath
Red Jello and plastic spider rings. This was a favorite! (I was happy because this was one I cam up with on my own. :)
Monster Mouths (hubpages)
Apple slices, cream cheese or peanut butter, and mini-marshmallows.
All of this added up to a very happy Halloween birthday girl! :)
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quick & Easy Pumpkin Pancakes

I love a good home-made pancake, but I must confess that on a busy morning, those mixes can really come in handy.  This recipe takes the "convenience" of a mix and gives it some holiday flare in a hurry.  I was happy to find that they no longer tasted like pancakes "from a mix". :)

Quick & Easy Pumpkin Pancakes (
·           2 cups dry boxed pancake mix
·           1 1/2 cups water
·           3/4 cup canned pumpkin
·           1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
·           powdered sugar

Spray non-stick cooking spray onto griddle or frying pan and preheat on medium high heat.
In a large bowl, mix dry pancake mix and water until well blended. Add pumpkin and cinnamon and continue to mix until thoroughly blended. If mix is a little too thick add water, one tablespoon at a time. If mix is too thin, add dry pancake mix, one tablespoon at a time.
Pour onto griddle or frying pan to desired size. When mix begins to bubble at the top, flip and continue to cook until golden brown on both sides.
Once pancakes are done, sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired, or use syrup of choice.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Oh- I love Autumn and the yummy comfort food that comes with it!  I've made this a couple times (Stuffed Squash & Stuffed Squash for Two), but I always felt like it took too long, so I added my own practical tip (found below) to really speed things up.  Plus it is always fun to try out different versions.

*I was also thinking this could make a good meatless meal-just saute some extra veggies and leave out the sausage... and then come up with a new name. :)

Lyd's Tip:  Turn this 70 minute meal in to a 30 minute meal!  If you're short on time for cooking your squash, you can really speed up the process by slicing it in half, and putting the squash cut side down on a glass baking dish in just a little bit of water in the microwave for about 10 minutes.  You could even do what I did...  I'm kind of a cheater, but I microwaved my squash and prepared the stuffing, put it inside and served it.  I skipped the baking process altogether.  And nobody knew but me... until now. :)

2 (1 1/2 lb.) acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
3/4 lb. pork sausage
1/2 c. sliced celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 sm. apple, chopped
Place squash, cut side down, in a large baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until just tender. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook sausage, celery, and onion until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain well. Combine egg, cheese, brown sugar, and apple; stir into sausage mixture. Turn squash halves, cut side up. Mound sausage mixture into squash shells. Cover and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more or until sausage mixture is heated through. Makes 4 servings.
(Recipe from
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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies with Blackberry Jam

What could be better than a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich?  Peanut Butter and Jelly cookies, of course!  Did I mention CHOCOLATE Peanut Butter and Jelly cookies?  Quite scrumptious!  This is a bit more labor intensive, but still really yummy.  
*I do want to note that if I were doing it again, I would punch the hole for jam filling, but I would put it in after they were cooked.  It just got kind of crispy and the sugar burned a bit.  It might have been because I used my homemade jam, but I think it would taste better put on after.

Peanut Butter Cookies with Blackberry Jam (Giada of Foodnetwork)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (recommended: Hershey's)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
1/2 packed cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup blackberry jam

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, peanut butter, 3/4 cup of sugar, and light brown sugar together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until blended. With the machine running on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until incorporated.
Put the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl. Form the dough into 1/4 cup-size balls and roll in the sugar. Arrange 5 balls of dough, evenly apart, on each baking sheet. Using a round 1/4 teaspoon measure, or the thin end of a wooden spoon, make a hole in the center of each ball of dough, about 1/2 to 3/4-inch deep. Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam into each hole. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes until the dough has spread and the surface of the cookies are crackled. Cool for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes. Arrange the cookies on a serving dish and serve.

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