Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

What do you do when you have a whole lot of this on November 1st?

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If you have children, you can tell them you ate all of their candy. (These NEVER get old)

Or, you can throw them in sugar and make a dessert… I say, do both.

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Leftover Halloween Candy Blondies

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Leftover candy of choice (I used Reeses, Kit Kat’s, chocolate chips and some sprinkles –> because everyone loves sprinkles 😉 )

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grab an 8×8 baking pan. Line your baking pan with parchment paper and grease with vegetable oil spray.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, & kosher salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, melted butter, & vanilla extract.  Once these ingredients are well blended, add the egg & mix until everything is combined.
  • Add the flour mixture very slowly and mix until barely combined.  Using a spatula or large spoon, continue mixing ingredients until completely mixed.  Here is where I folded in the chocolate chips.
  • Line the bottom of your pan with the Kit-Kat’s. (I used 12 of the packages that have 2 in them)
  • Spread the batter into baking pan.  Don’t worry if it seems like there’s not much batter…it all works out!
  • Chop your Reese’s (about a cup) and place them on top of the batter. Shake some sprinkles on for pretty color!
  • Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, then pull the parchment paper out of the pan.
  • Cut Blondies into squares & enjoy!

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Now you have an excuse to do more than just tear open those wrappers and indulge this Halloween season.

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Caramel Apples

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I can now officially cross “making homemade Caramel Apples” off of my bucket list. I’ve wanted to make these for years but the recipes online have always seemed so daunting. You can make the caramel from scratch, but it takes awhile. Martha Stewart has a good recipe, if you want to go that route. But truthfully, I’m all for the easiest way to make caramel by melting caramel candies. I prefer to spend my time putting together lots of fun goodies to roll the apples in, and making yummy drizzles for the top. They’re fast and easy; and taste seriously amazing. I used Granny Smith apples because I think the tart goes well with the sweet toppings — but feel free to use any apple you love.

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Caramel Apples

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 10 popsicle sticks
  • 10 small Granny Smith Apples (or whatever apples you prefer)
  • Two 11-ounce bags of soft caramel candies (I used kraft)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • White Chocolate for melting/drizzling
  • Toppings: Chocolate Chips, Sprinkles, Colored Icing, Marshmallows, Candy etc

Directions

  • Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking pray.
  • Wash your apples really well to make sure there is no wax left on them. If you leave any wax, the caramel might not stick.
  • Dry the apples well and insert a popsicle stick into the stem end of each apple.
  • Combine the caramels and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the caramel is melted and smooth.
  • Holding them by the popsicle sticks, dip the apples in the caramel and roll them around to coat evenly. Lightly shake off excess caramel and set the apples stick-end up on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until the caramel is set, about 15 minutes.
  • Place the white chocolate in the microwave for 60 seconds. Dip or drizzle each caramel apple with the white chocolate. Lightly shake off excess and set the apple stick-end up on the wax paper.
  • Sprinkle on your choice of toppings.
  • Refrigerate for another 30 minutes to set the white chocolate.

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Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

I haven’t wanted to be anywhere near food prep since June when I found out I was pregnant, but last weekend I got the urge to bake. What did I make? Cookies, of course! I still don’t want to cook meat (sorry Adam) but sweets, I can handle.  I usually only see the blossom cookies at Christmastime but I like breaking the rules. Have you seen these pumpkin spice kisses in your local store?

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I’ll confess that I didn’t love them on their own..but paired with a simple pumpkin spice cookie made them perfect. This recipe is extremely easy and makes about 36 cookies total.

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Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated organic sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 tablespoons almond milk
  • 1 package Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses
  • 1/3 cup granulated organic sugar, for rolling cookies in

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Unwrap pumpkin spice Kisses and place them in a small bowl in the freezer until ready to use. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl for rolling cookies in; set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Gradually add in small batches to the butter mixture, mixing until just combined. If dough is crumbly and not coming together, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until dough forms.
  • Scoop dough into 1 tablespoon-sized balls, roll in sugar, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until done.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool three minutes.
  • Gently push a frozen pumpkin spice kiss into the center.
  • Let cool completely
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Valentine’s Day {Menu} at Home

Since we are expecting a nor’easter (which is the norm around here lately) tomorrow we’ve decided to cancel our reservations at Catch and enjoy dinner at home for Valentine’s Day. Adam will be taking over the appetizers & main course parts of the meal and I’ll be in charge of the drinks + dessert. Here is what is on our menu!

Appetizer:

Fresh Peach Crostini with Whipped Honey Feta & Balsamic Drizzle (via Iowa Girl Eats)

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Main Course: 

Caesar Salad with Heart Croutons (via Martha Stewart)

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Classic Shrimp Scampi (via Brown Sugar)

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Dessert:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries (via The Yummy Life)

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Drink: 

Strawberry Heart Mojitos (via Young Married Chic)

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Eating in also saves money + calories and we could afford to save a little of both right now in anticipation of our 9 day trip to California! 3 more weeks til we’re out of this snow can’t come soon enough… What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? If you’re staying home, what’s on your menu?

 

Skinny Funfetti Cheesecake {Valentine’s Day Style}

 

I am a sucker for pretty things that are the color pink. When I went to Target a few weeks ago, I spotted pink and red sprinkles, small vases with love quotes and sparkly valentines day cards and of course I just had to purchase them. Adam loves funfetti just as much as I do (soulmate!), so last week I made this cheesecake as his Birthday cake. I used my Valentine’s Day sprinkles in this recipe and it turned out better than we expected for being so “healthy”. This would be perfect to make for your significant other this weekend since bikini season is right around the corner… Um, hopefully.

 

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Skinny Funfetti Cheesecake  {Valentine’s Day Style}

Ingredients:

  • 2 sleeves of Low Fat Graham Cracker (Or use Gluten – Free), crushed in food processor or by hand
  • 3 Tbsp. Light Butter, Softened
  • 8 Oz. Neufchatel
  • 8 Oz. Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 C. Organic Sugar
  • 6 oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Egg Whites (or from 2 Eggs)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Corn Starch
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 C. Valentine’s Day Sprinkles

 

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and butter until combined.
  • Coat the inside of a 10″ spring form pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs onto the bottom.
  • Bake until browned, about 5 minutes. Let cool, about 10 minutes.
  • Beat both cream cheeses and the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, then beat in the greek yogurt on a lower setting.
  • Lightly whisk the egg whites in a bowl, then add to the cheese mixture along with the whole egg, corn starch, flour and vanilla.
  • Beat on medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes.
  • Add the sprinkles to the mixture last and fold in until distributed pretty evenly through the cheesecake mixture. Pour over the cooled crust.
  • Bake until the cake is set but the center still jiggles, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge, then cool.

 

Peppermint Blossoms

Did I mention that while I was on a baking spree last weekend I was SUGAR FREE? Do you know how hard it is to make cookie/brownie batter and not test it out? It’s basically torture and I don’t suggest you try it unless you have to. The third batch of cookies were Peppermint Blossoms and Adam said these were his second favorite cookie of the day (Sugar cookies #1). I trust my cookie testers judgement so here is the recipe!

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Peppermint Blossoms

Ingredients

  • 48 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Red and green sprinkles ( can use sugar crystals too)

Directions

  • Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. (If they start to melt transfer them to the freezer immediately) Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

“Crack”ers (Cookie Style)

I received these “crack”ers a few years ago through a blogger Holiday Sweet Swap and could not get over how amazingly addictive something was for how simple it was to make. I’m pretty sure I ate the entire tin to myself that day and I’ve thought about making them ever since. Since we were slowly moving back into our apartment last December I skipped my usual baking spree. But this year, it.was.on. These would be perfect for a holiday party, they only take 10 minutes!

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“Crack”ers (Cookie Style)

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Club Crackers ( I only used about a sleeve and a half)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 12 oz package MINI chocolate chips (<— must use mini)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line an 11 x 15 cookie pan that has a lip with foil.
  • Cover foil with one layer of crackers, breaking to fit bottom as necessary.
  • Heat sugar and butter together in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
  • Then pour and spread mixture over crackers while hot.  It will seep in and around the crackers and that is okay.
  • Bake for 5 minutes in 400 degree oven.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle mini chocolate chips all over.  As chips melt, spread evenly with a spatula.
  • Place in refrigerator to cool.
  • When very cold break apart in large pieces peeling away the foil.  Then break into smaller serving size pieces and store in covered container in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Note:  the unevenness of the pieces makes these cookies attractive.  Do not expect to break them into the shape of the crackers.  Also, you must use MINI chips.  Regular sized chips do not melt appropriately.

Grandma’s Sugar Cookies

The recipe I’m posting today brings back warm memories of my childhood. When we were younger, we would head up to Maryland from Florida to spend Christmas with my moms side of the family and every year I would help my Grandma make her infamous Sugar Cookies. We start eating these during Christmas Eve Brunch and continue eating them until they’re gone (Christmas Dinner). I think we usually make 2 batches? It makes A LOT of cookies but they are in high-demand with our family. The dough, which has to chill for a few hours before rolling out, is so yummy too and you know we sneak many a bites during the whole process.

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Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 lb margarine (4 sticks); softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 rolling-pin
  • 3 cans of frosting (We use Betty Crockers Vanilla <—we cheat!)
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  • Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix the margarine, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, salt & baking soda together and then chill, covered for a few hours.
  • When you remove from fridge, leave it for an hour or so before you start to work with it.  The first batch always seems to be a challenge…so be patient as you roll it out.
  • Sprinkle flour on your surface before you start with the dough, and rub flour on the rolling-pin frequently.
  • Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick, and use cookie cutters.
  • Lift gently and place on ungreased cooking sheet.  Bake for 5 to 7 minutes at 375 degrees.  (If not quite done another minute or two.)
  • Frost and sprinkle.

 

Caution:  they are addictive! The consensus is that they are best once the icing sets into the cookies and makes them very soft so I suggest making these a day (or two) in advance of when you will need them.

Thanksgiving Ideas

Today is my Friday and tomorrow is one of the best days! Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays because it means LOTS OF FOOD. I’m not really a Turkey fan but gimme gimme gimme those side dishes (aka carbs). Mashed potatoes, cheesy-broccoli rice, stuffing and pumpkin desserts GALORE! Yes, please. If you are hosting Thanksgiving or even just attending one, here are some ideas for you!

 Autumn Apple Cider and Champagne Sangria

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Thanksgiving Nails

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Thanksgiving Place Cards: 

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Thanksgiving Tablescape: Obsessed with gold

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Thanksgiving Dessert: Mini Cheesecake Shots

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Thanksgiving Dessert Table:

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Thanksgiving Side Dish: Grandma’s Cheesy Broccoli Rice

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Thanksgiving Decor:

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Thanksgiving Appetizer: Roasted Pumpkin Brie Fondue (sooo good!)

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Thanksgiving DIY: Wreath(s) — I couldn’t just pick one.

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Best way to use your leftovers: Breakfast Sandwiches; Biscuits, Cranberry, Mashed Potatoes, Turkey, Poached Egg.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Halloween Friday Favorites

Can this year slowwww dowwwwn? I didn’t realize Halloween was next week until my little brother texted me asking what he should dress up as. I used to go out on Halloween and buy 3 outfits for the “events”. But now I’m much more of a homebody so I think I’ll just be me this year. I do however, like any excuse to decorate – so here are my Halloween favorites!

Favorite way to store drinks at a Halloween Party

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Favorite Halloween nails

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Favorite Spooky Drink (add champagne)

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Favorite no mess pumpkin design

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Favorite Halloween sweet treat

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Favorite creative couples costume (DIY)

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Favorite tablescape

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Favorite non-sweet Halloween treat

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Favorite Halloween party decor

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Favorite casual piece to wear to work on Halloween

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Favorite creative kids costume (DIY)

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Favorite Halloween centerpiece 

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