Category Archives: Halloween

Pumpkin Cornbread

This recipe is so good, you won’t believe it’s actually good for you. This stuff is packed with whole grains. As an added bonus, it helps to use up the purée of your favorite gourd. You can use fresh or canned, whatever you have on hand.

This recipe is based on one I saw on Tasty Kitchen. I used some pumpkin pie spice in place of the nutmeg and cinnamon, and replaced the all purpose flour with whole wheat. The resulting bread is sweet, moist, and only a little crumbly. It’s perfect with a spicy bowl of chili or steamy bowl of soup. Hope this recipe becomes one of your Fall favorites!

Pumpkin Cornbread

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8″ x 8″ baking dish.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, spices, brown sugar and cornmeal.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the pumpkin, oil and molasses.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients (pumpkin mixture) into the dry ingredients (flour mixture) until combined.  Do not over mix.  Pour batter into pan and smooth out the top with a rubber spatula.
  5. Baked for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Serve warm drizzled with honey!

Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins

Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins

Do you remember a couple of years ago when there was a pumpkin shortage?  I do!  Finding a can of pumpkin was difficult.  I didn’t get to make pumpkin muffins or cookies that year.  I think I went through withdrawls!

Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients.  I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES!!!  Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and is very nutritious.  My dogs also enjoy a scoop every now and then.  😉

This recipe from King Arthur Flour is taking the health of pumpkin and elevating it to a new level.  Don’t get me wrong– it’s still packed with sugar and chocolate.  But there’s whole wheat flour in there, too.   These muffins freeze extremely well.  I froze the batch and pulled out a muffin at night for breakfast the next morning.   Yum!

Thank you, King Arthur Flour, for coming out with a Whole Grain Baking Book.  This book is PACKED with AWESOME recipes everything from savory breads to sweet cookies and tarts.  It would be a perfect gift for anyone that loves to bake, but wants to be more health conscious.  It’s already one of my favorite cookbooks!  I would also like to mention that I contacted King Arthur Flour and asked permission to post the recipe on my blog.  They were quick to reply and give permission.  Hows that for customer service?

Hope you can scare up a can of pumpkin to make these soon!! 😉

Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins

A King Arthur Flour Recipe from Whole Grain Baking

  • 2 cups King Arthur whole wheat flour (traditional or white whole wheat)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 lg eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz.) chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (or raisins or dried cranberries)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Grease muffin tin cups or line with paper liners.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream together butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Beat in vanilla and pumpkin.  Add the dry ingredients, mixing until evenly moistened.  Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop batter into the muffin cups so they are about 2/3 full.  Bake until a toothpick  inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 24 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and wait at least 5 minutes before removing muffins from the pan to cool.

Fizzy Warts

Last weekend was SO MUCH FUN!!  A good friend’s son turned 10 and requested a ‘Scientist Birthday Party’.  The kids did several experiments, including Elephant Toothpaste, Blowing up a Balloon with baking soda and vinegar, Electromagnet, and a few others.  My contribution to the fun was Fizzy Warts, aka ‘Fizzing Whizbees’.

I developed this fun experiment in College as a demo to do for kids in Chemistry Club Magic Shows. 

The recipe is simple, the ingredients are easy to find and the result is– COMPLETELY GROSS!!  Your kids are going to LOVE this!

PS- the warts taste like sour patch kids!

Fizzy Warts

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  • 3 tsp citric acid (natural food store or by the canning stuff)
  • 3 tsp meringue powder (crafts store by cake decorating supplies)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 single serve envelopes green koolaid (sugar free)

Combine all ingredients in a jar.  Make sure your baking soda is lump free! 

To make a wart:

1.  Place a few drops of water on the back of your hand.

2.  Sprinkle a pinch of the powder on top and watch the wart fizz and grow.

3.  Once the wart is nice and high, lick it off!  The foam is sweet and sour like a sour patch kid.

You can experiment with different flavors of koolaid– red could be a fizzy boil! 

We also tried putting 1 tbsp powder in a pint-sized jar and adding about 1/4 cup water.  The foam filled the jar and the kids had fun eating it with a spoon.


The water provides a medium for the baking soda, a base, and the citric acid, an acid, to react.  The reaction produces carbon dioxide bubbles that are trapped by the powdered egg whites in the merigue powder, making a foam.  Isn’t science fun?

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip

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I almost forgot about that holiday party tomorrow.  There’s just too much going on around here!  Presents to wrap, baking to do, puppies, cats and husbands to feed…

Never fear!  Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip is here!  The recipe is easy to put together.  Plus, it’s great to use up that leftover chicken.  😉

This is another brilliant idea from Pinterest.  You can find the original recipe here, but I adjusted the cooking method to adapt it for the crock pot.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did at the party!  I served it with plain pita chips, triscuit crackers, celery sticks and baby carrots.

The recipe can be made lighter by using fat free sour cream, fat free cream cheese, and light butter–BUT– I think fat free versions of sour cream and cream cheese are a crime against nature.  Seriously, have you tasted that stuff?!  I’d much rather sub fat free plain greek yogurt for the sour cream.  Crazy, I know, but it works.  There is no fat free sub for the cream cheese that actually tastes good.  No worries– the extra 10 calories won’t kill you.  Promise.  Just be sure to walk around the house a few extra times and you’re good.

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip

Adapted from

  • 1 lb cooked chicken, chopped (Do NOT use canned.  Too much salt!)
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese (I used light)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • 1/2 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (about 2 Tbsp)

1.  In a medium bowl, mix butter, sour cream, and cream cheese until blended well.  Add hot sauce and ranch seasoning; mix well.  Stir in chicken.

2.  Place the mixture in a small crock pot (mine is 2 quarts).  If needed, you can store the crock pot insert in the refrigerator overnight.

3.  Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, or until heated through.  Serve with fun dipping things (veggies, flat pretzels, crackers, chips, etc.).  I also served with extra hot sauce on the side for those who have more daring taste-buds than I do. 🙂

Note: My Grilled Garlic Lemon Chicken works GREAT in this recipe!

Melissa’s Caramel Apple Bites and Halloween Party Tips

Post 3 of 3: Hocus Pocus Party

Last night’s Hocus Pocus party was a BLAST!  Tamra brought ooey-gooey brownies (chocolate is ALWAYS welcome in my house), and Melissa brought these picture perfect Carmel Apple Bites. 

Melissa adapted the Caramel recipe from another blog (click here for the recipe).  Granny Smith Apples were cored, sliced into rounds with a cookie cutter, dipped in the caramel sauce, and rolled in either mini Reese’s Pieces

or Halloween Sprinkles. 

Fun and FESTIVE!  Loved it!

Is the thought of hosting your own Halloween Party stressing you out?  Here are a few tips for a stress-free event!

1.  Plan ahead.  This means planning a menu, asking for RSVPs so you know how many guests will show up, etc. Follow a theme and stick to it.  This will help protect you from becoming overwhelmed.

2.  Choose foods and nibbles that can either be prepped ahead, thrown together at the last minute, or purchased.  Cheese plates, dips, etc. can be purchased from a local deli.  You can make them look more ‘homemade’ by transferring the food onto festive trays and dishes like this little spider plate…

Most soups can be made the day or night before and heated just before serving.  Crock pot meals make the perfect stress-free Halloween meal.

3.  Leave some time for yourself.  In prepping any event, I generally plan to have everything ready for a good 20 to 30 minutes before ‘go time’.  That way, I have time to decompress.

4.  You are not wonder-woman.  You CAN ask for help.  Usually, invited guests will ask what they can bring.  Don’t be afraid to ask them to bring an appetizer, side item, dessert or drink.

5.  Clean the house, go shopping, decorate at least a few days ahead of time.  This will help you to not be scrambling before your guests arrive.  Don’t be afraid to serve on disposable dishes so there is less cleanup.

6.  You can make a little treat for your guests to take home.  I made Pumpkin Seeds by putting orange tic tacs in a small clear bag and sealing it with a foam pumpkin sticker.  White tic tacs were used for Ghost Poop.  😀

What are you planning this Halloween?  Whatever it is, I hope you have a Bewitching time!

Witches Brew (Zuppa Toscana with Toasted Cheese Croutons)

Post 2 of 3: Hocus Pocus Party

This hearty soup will warm you up and get you going for a night of Tricks and Treats.  It tastes just like Zuppa Toscana at the Olive Garden, but is even better because it has a cheesy toasty crouton on top.  No one will laughif you stand over the stove stirring the soup with a HUGE wooden spoon, cackling to yourself.  Promise.  Especially if no one else is home.  😉

I will also include a variation for ‘Vampire Blood Soup’ at the bottom.  Enjoy!


Witches Brew


Yield: 10-12 servings

WW Plus Points: 5

1 lb. Italian Sausage, removed from casings and crumbled (I use Italian Turkey Sausage)

1 large onion, chopped

3 Tbsp real bacon bits (Hormel, about half a can)

2 cloves garlic, minced

32 oz. Chicken Stock (fat-free, reduced sodium)

2 large russet potatoes, cut in half lengthwise then cut into 1/4″ slices

2 cups chopped kale

1/2 cup half and half (fat-free works just fine)

1/2 of a thin baguette, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds*

Olive Oil Spray*

Jarlsberg or Gruyère cheese, sliced thin*


1.  Fry onions and Italian sausage until sausage is well browned and onions are soft, about 10 minutes over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2.  Add bacon bits, potatoes, broth and water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

3.  Turn heat to low and add Kale.  Cook until kale is wilted and warmed through, about 5 minutes.

4.  Remove from heat and stir in Half and Half.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


1.  Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.  Place sliced bread on a foil lined baking sheet.  Spray lightly with Olive Oil Spray.

3.  Bake for 5 minutes, flip the slices, spray lightly, and bake an additional 5 minutes.

4.  The croutons are done when they are lightly browned on the edges.  Let cool.


1.  Set oven to Broil.

2.  Ladle soup into mugs.  Place mugs on a foil-lined sheet pan.  Top with 1-2 croutons and 1-2 thin slices of cheese.

3.  Place under the broiler, checking every 30 seconds or so.  They are done when the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

4.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, or until mugs are cool enough to hold.  Enjoy!

*Ingredients not included in WW Plus Points.

Vampire Blood Soup


Yield: 2 generous servings

WW Plus Points: 3

1 cup chopped onion

1 Tbsp butter

15 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

14.5oz can chicken broth (reduced fat, lower sodium)

1 Tbsp pesto

1.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes.

2.  Add tomatoes and chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

3.  Blend the soup mixture with an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender) until almost smooth.

4.  Remove from heat and stir in pesto sauce.

5.  Follow the method above to serve in mugs with croutons topped with thin slices of mozzarella cheese.

Spider Cider

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Going to a Halloween Party soon and aren’t sure what to bring?  This is the recipe for you!  This tangy punch will be a hit!

Last night, I had a few friends over to watch ‘Hocus Pocus’.  We ran AMOCK!  AMOCK, AMOCK, AMOCK!  Running AMOCK can take a lot of energy.  This drink will refresh you and keep you running…. AMOCK!

Can you tell what my favorite line from the movie is yet?  😉

I found a mesh bag full of plastic spider rings and used them as a spooky prop along with some Silly Straws.  The kids are going to love this!

Spider Cider

Yield: 12 servings

WW Plus Points: 2 points per 16 oz. serving if diet ginger ale is used


1.  Combine apple cider, ginger ale, and lime slices.

2.  Serve in tall glasses with plastic spiders and silly straws!

Tip: for an even SPOOKIER cider, serve in a punch bowl with a bit of dry ice to create a fog-like effect.