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Butterfinger Trifles

Another Halloween happened, and that means another year with lots of leftover candy from goodies. You could pilfer some pieces from the kids stash, OR as I like to do (because I would never take candy from my babies, oh no, never ever) stock up the day after when everything’s at least 50 % off if not more. That’s how I spent less than $10 and brought home a cart full of candy, and chocolate. And it gave me the perfect excuse (for these I would have happily grasped at any straw of an excuse though) to mix up the most amazing trifles we have ever tasted.

Butterfinger Trifles 2

A rich chocolate ganache, layered with velvety peanut butter mousse, and topped with crispy, crunchy crushed pieces of Butterfinger candy bars. This is like a little bit of Heaven in a trifle dish.

And you thought Halloween was just for kids 😉

This treat is quick and easy enough to whip up anytime, even at the last minute, and if you’ve got it more together than I do, it can be made ahead of time, stored covered in the fridge, and then topped with the Butterfinger bits before serving.

Butterfingers Trifles

Butterfinger Trifles

Milk Chocolate Ganache

1+3/4 cups milk chocolate chips
½ cup milk

Peanut Butter Mousse
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Butterfinger candy bars, chopped

Directions

Ganache
1. Add the chocolate chips and milk to a double boiler. Stir with a wire whisk until the chocolate has melted, and the two have evenly combined into a ganache (leaving no traces of milk behind) and it becomes thick and deep chocolate in color. Remove the top pot from heat and let the ganache cool about 15 minutes.

Mousse
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the whipping cream, peanut butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whisk/mix on high until everything’s evenly incorporated and the whipping cream has thickened into a mousse-like texture.

Assemble
3. Pour the ganache into a sturdy sandwich bag. Cut a very tiny corner for pouring. The smallest corner possible will allow for more control.
Spoon in the peanut butter mousse. Fill about ¼ inch to ½ inch.
Pour the ganache in to add a thin layer.
Repeat the steps. And then top with a generous handful of Butterfinger crumbs.
If you’re not serving immediately, cover the dishes with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to serve, waiting to top with the candy bits until just before serving.

recipe adapted from Cookie Dough & Oven Mitt

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DIY Fireman Costume

Did you hear somebody yell, ‘Fire’ ?

DIY Fireman Costume 4

No worries. With the help of a little duct tape, an old t shirt, and a couple of iron on’s … an adorable little helper is on the way.

DIY Fireman Costume 3

Do your kids’ have Career Day at school? The sons’ elementary school hosts one every year, and you can literally be anything you want when you grow up. Well, besides a Ghost ‘Butter’, much to our honey nugget’s initial disappointment. The school does require they be legitimate ‘carrier’ choices, and since I haven’t heard that the cast of Ghost Adventures is looking to hand over the reigns anytime soon (or in the future), we went with the youngest son’s second choice.

DIY Fire man Costume 5

If he can’t be a hunter of wayward souls, he’s perfectly content spending his adult hood ‘saving people’. He couldn’t have pickled a nobler profession.

Whether it’s for Career Day, Halloween, or just creative play where we encourage them to ditch the batteries for a few and stretch their imaginations, this DIY costume is too easy not to make. The whole get up cost me less than $10 (it could be significantly less depending on what supplies you have on hand, too).

Directions

DIY Fireman Costume

yellow duct tape
smaller silver duct tape
American Flag iron on patch
iron-on letters that spell FIRE DEPT
over-sized, black long-sleeved t-shirt
fireman hat
black or yellow galoshes, optional

DIY Fireman Costume 2

1. We used a hand me down black t that had a graphic design on it and just turned it inside out. Take the standard size yellow duct tape and wrap it in a complete circle about 1/2 inch above the bottom of the t shirt. Do another under the armpits at ‘chest’ level. Then do two more yellow circles on the sleeves, one towards the bottom and one up towards the shoulder. Go over each yellow circle with a strip of the smaller silver tape creating another band right down the middle.
2. Have a heated iron ready. Follow the directions on the patches. Iron the flag patch above the upper band on the right sleeve of the outfit. Iron the letters for ‘Fire Dept’ above the top/chest band on the back of the outfit.
3. Complete your child’s fireman costume by wearing the shirt with black pants, a fireman hat, and rain galoshes for ‘boots’.

Monster Sandwiches

My lunch is grinning at me. (help?)

I’m gonna go ahead and file that under the ‘Things I Never Thought I’d Say’ tab. And in this case it’s a good thing, because it means I’ve succeeded in making adorable, edible little monsters for my little monsters.

Monster Sandwiches

These are ready in mere minutes, making them a perfect addition to any little lunch box and easy enough to whip a batch large enough for the food table at just about any Halloween Monster Mash bash.

Monster Sandwiches

Monster Sandwiches 2

2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread, we used honey wheat
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
2-3 slices of lunch meat, ham, turkey, or chicken
2 pimento-stuffed green olives
mayonaiise or mustard (optional)
toothpicks
large round cookie cutter, or biscuit cutter

Directions

  1. Use a large cookie or biscuit cutter, press into the slices of bread, pulling away crust and excess to cut into circles. Use a paring knife to cut jagged little ‘teeth’ into one side of the slice of cheese. Stack the slices of lunchmeat on the bottom piece of bread & put the slice of cheese on top with the jagged edge facing ‘out’ and slightly hanging over the edge. Spread a bit of mayo and/or mustard onto the inside of the other cut piece of bread and then top the sandwich. Break a toothpick in half & insert one half into a pimento stuffed olive & the other into the top of the sandwich. Repeat with the other one forming your monster eyes. Repeat as many times as needed for your desired number of sandwiches.

Sous Chef Sunday: BOO-NANAS

These sweet little treats are too cute to be truly spooky, but they sure are fun. They’re also perfect for little hands, both to make and to enjoy.

BOO-nanas

And what’s not to enjoy? White chocolate covered bananas? Move over chocolate covered strawberries. Chocolate covered bananas rolled in shredded coconut? Yes, please. A delightfully adorable spooky snack (or dessert) served on a stick (because everything’s better served on a stick, am I right?), hand them over.

Boo-nanas 3

And then there’s the fact that they’re a much healthier alternative to candy or other sugary, although festive, option for your little ghosts or goblins.

BOO-nanas 

BOO-nanas 2

4 bananas, peeled and cut in half
8-12 oz white chocolate
1 cup shredded coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened
mini chocolate chips
popsicle sticks or wooden skewers

Directions

1. Melt the chocolate using a double boiler, stirring frequently until melted and smooth.
2. Gently insert the sticks or skewers into the center of the banana through the cut end. Carefully dip the bananas into the melted chocolate, turning to evenly coat before removing from the chocolate.
3. Quickly transfer the coated fruit to a plate of shredded coconut, again turning to coat. Place the banana onto a sheet of wax paper. Place two chocolate chips onto the fruit, and gently press them into the coated fruit for eyes.
4. Repeat the steps, as needed, until all the bananas are done. Leave them resting on the wax paper until the chocolate coating has hardened.

DIY Indiana Jones Costume

When the kids were little we bought their costumes for Halloween. I couldn’t bring myself to break the bank so we’d shop at the local Kids’ consignment shops and even Goodwill, and they always looked adorable, and they were always quite content but something about our ‘process’ was missing for me. Then when the youngest son was 3, I decided he was going as The Doctor for Halloween. The 10th regeneration, my favorite: David Tennant’s Doctor. And seeing as how I wasn’t made of money to custom order every costume component from Think Geek, the only option was to do it ourselves. And we all had a blast! The whole family got in on it.

DIY Indiana Jones Costume 3

And we’ve never looked back since. Each year we start brainstorming about a month ahead of time and then we get to work assembling everybody’s costume of choice. We’ve done a stickman, Uncle Si, God’s gift to women, Steve from Minecraft, Superman/Clark Kent, The Hulk, Kristoff from Frozen, and The Scarecrow from Batman just to name a few. One of my favorites, and easiest to throw together was Indiana Jones.

‘Hey, Lady. You call him Dr. Jones!’

DIY Indiana Jones Costume

We found khaki pants on clearance at Walmart, but they’d be easy to find at Goodwill or a consignment shop as well. For us, they doubled as church pants, post-Halloween. We found a brown fedora in the costume section. We did hit up Goodwill for the white button up, and found the awesome aviator jacket there as well (for $5!!). That’s also where we found his ‘messenger bag’. He wore a pair of brown hiking style boots and brown belt he already owned. We hot glued a twine ‘whip’ to one of his belt loops, and we completed the look with a big ass grin and some rosy red cheeks.

DIY Indiana Jones Costume 2

Wherever he went, everyone knew who he was! Which he thought was pretty much the greatest thing ever. And the whole thing cost me maybe $15 with everything being reusable and needed outside of Halloween. That’s what I’d call making it big, or as Dr. Jones so aptly put it …

‘Fortune and glory, kid. Fortune and glory.’

Despicable Me ‘Minion’ Pumpkin Tutorial

The sons have always enjoyed the Despicable Me movies, and the Minions’ antics have kept them in stitches throughout all three films. The boys even made me download the game ‘Minion Rush’ onto my tablet so they can play it whenever the mood strikes. (Just don’t tell, since the older ones might get a tad embarrassed to have their secret outed, you know since they’re supposed to be to old for cartoons and all) They have a legit talking Dave and the teenagers still can’t help but pick up and play with the fart gun (remember our families four tenets? No judging please).

Minion Pumpkin 1

So when my little bit asked me to help him make a Minion ‘punkin’ for Halloween, I couldn’t say no. Never even crossed my mind. But after I’d automatically said yes, I had that ‘oh shit’ moment all Moms occasionally have at the thought of a commitment they’ve made where they’ve bitten off more than they know they can chew. I can fake it til I make it most of the time but, even on my best day, my pumpkin carving skills aren’t anywhere near up the the standard of precision required for any of the stencils and templates I googled.

But even on my worst day, I can paint. So we kicked all thought of carving to the curb, and painted ourselves a pumpkin shaped Minion. And he was adorable. But nowhere near as adorable as the youngest son’s face when he first saw our finished pumpkin.

DIY Minion Pumpkin

minion pumpkin tutorial

Pumpkin (real or fake)
Canning jar lids
Long nails
Wooden skewer, optional
Hot glue gun and glue stick
Yellow spray paint
Blue spray paint
black and brown paint, or Sharpie markers
Black pipe cleaners

Directions

  1. Paint the top half of the pumpkin with yellow paint and let dry. It’s ok if it takes more than one coat to get the desired effect. On the pumpkin pictured we used acrylic paint and did multiple coats.
    2. Paint the bottom of the pumpkin with blue paint and then allow it to dry completely. Once dry, add a second coat if desired.
  2. Minion Pumpkin 4
    3. Take a canning jar lid and pierce a hole in the center with the tip of the nail. Tap gently with a hammer if need be, to pierce.
    5. Flip the lid so that the white part is showing and insert the nail through the hole in the center, and apply a bit of hot glue to secure the head of the nail to the lid.
    6. Apply a ring of hot glue all around the inside of the silver ring and press the flipped lid firmly to it, hold for a second to seal and then set aside to completely dry.
    7. Use a skewer, or an extra nail, to pierce a hole where you would like the center of the canning lid ‘eye’ to be, keeping in mind that the eyes form the center of the face.
  3. Minion Pumpkin 3
    8. Gently push the nailed lid into the hole, being careful not to push any of the attached bits apart.
  4. 9. Paint the black straps of the goggles on both sides of the eyes.
    10. With paint or Sharpies, color in the details of the eyes (the screw will be camouflaged by the paint).
  5. Minion Pumpkin 1
    11. For the hair, use the skewer, or extra nail, to pierce holes at the top of the head and insert the pipe cleaners into the holes.
    12. Finish your pumpkin off by drawing on a mouth.

Sous Chef Sunday: Monster Tongues (Marshmallow Pinwheels)

These may look gross, especially when you consider they’re called ‘tongues’, but they taste great and the kids (especially little boys- hey snails and puppy dog tails, right?) get a huge kick out of them. They’re perfect for a spooky Halloween treat, or even as a crafty snack to accompany one of our boys favorite children’s stories, I Need My Monster. Also, a great read when you’re gearing up for Halloween with its perfect mixture of scare and flair.

Monster Tongues

But, back to our tongue in cheek treat, perfect for any little monsters you may know. I haven’t met a kid yet who didn’t love these fun treats, even the ones who squealed with equal parts disgust and delight.

And they’re e a s y, a mixture of marshmallows melted and stirred into flavored gelatin, and then is chilled in a pan before being rolled up and sliced into wiggly, giggly little pinwheels, err tongues.

Monster Tongues (Marshmallow Pinwheels)

Monster Tongues 2

1, 3 oz, package flavored jello gelatin (NOT pudding), any flavor
1/2 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions

  1. Whisk the gelatin mix and warm water together in medium microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for about 1-1/2 minutes, then whisk again until the gelatin is completely dissolved into the water.
    2. Stir in the marshmallows. Microwave everything on high again for another minute, or until the  marshmallows are partially melted. Remove the bowl from the microwave and whisk again, this time until the marshmallows are completely melted and stirred into the gelatin mixture. Pour the gelatin mix into an 8-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray.
    3. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, or until set. Run a sharp knife around edges of pan to loosen the gelatin from the pan. Starting at 1 edge, roll up the layered gelatin tightly, like a jelly roll. Cut the roll into 1/2-inch slices. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

recipe adapted from Kraft

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