Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tonight we are headed to a "Halloween Party" at a friend's house, complete with a costume contest! My boys are going to be minions from the movie, "Despicable Me." I sure hope they win! We were all asked to provide a side dish or dessert tonight, so I went with the later. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips. To. Die. For. They are super moist and soft in the middle with the best tasting chocolate ever! Here is the recipe.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies *Makes almost 3 dozen cookies


- 1 cup pumpkin in a can
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. vanilla
- 2 cups flour (plus 2 tbsp. flour at high altitude)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. taking soda
- 2 cups chocolate chips

1. Mix pumpkin, oil, sugars, egg and vanilla together in your Kitchenaide mixer.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
3. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Drop spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12  minutes. (Mine took 9 minutes)
6. Store in a sealed container.

 Pumpkin Mixture before mixing together

 Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

 Cookie Dough

Baked Cookies

To. Die. For.

Minion Brothers!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Product Review: Beaba Babycook

With my first child I worked full time so making baby food was not one of my priorities. Second baby came around and I decided to try making his baby food. I bought a gently used Beaba Babycook on eBay for $55 and started pureeing. I love this product! It is so easy to use and make baby food with. We have pureed squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli and peas, carrots, pears, peaches, apples, and spinach with banana. My baby loves his food and my older son enjoys 'cooking' the food (pressing the button)!

The Beaba Babycook steams your food that you cut up or place inside the steamer catch. Once your food is ready, you empty the water that has collected at the bottom into a cup, place your steamed food in the food processor cup and puree away! Now you can add none, some, or all of the used water that you put to the side into your food to make it more liquid-like. I don't usually use the water for pears or peaches, since they are super juicy already. But for the sweet potatoes and green beans the water is a must because those veggies are much thicker.

Once I puree the food I place it in little containers that I freeze or in my Beaba Multiportion Freezer Tray I bought on Amazon. I wait for the food to freeze then I easily pop the food portions out and place them in a freezer bag, which I label with what type of food it is and the date. The frozen food is good up to 3 months in the freezer.

One thing I LOVE about the Beaba Babycook is that it also defrosts the frozen portions of food. You set the Beaba up the same way you would steam food, only you place a frozen portion in a microwave safe container and let the Beaba do its magic and defrost the food. You can also place frozen portions in little containers and into the fridge to defrost if you aren't going to need that food right away to feed your little one.

I am very pleased with this product and strongly recommend it to anyone looking to make their baby's first foods! If you are interested in other baby food recipes I have looked to You Tube and Weelicious for ideas and a step by step process to make the baby food. Super easy to do!

My Beaba Babycook, Top 100 Purees Cookbook and OXO Tot freezer set

 My son 'cooking' Spinach with Bananas

 Beaba Multiportion Freezer Tray with Pears 

 Frozen carrot portions in freezer bag with the date

 Defrosting Sweet Potatoes set-up

Beaba Defrosting Magic!


Monday, October 21, 2013

You've Been Booed!

My fabulous photographer posted a picture of her son "Boo-ing" his neighbors... so naturally, I had to do the same! However, I don't really know my neighbors... so we "booed" our friends! Hopefully they keep the tradition going in their neighborhoods - since maybe they actually know their neighbors better than I know mine!

I found a cute printout on Pinterest that was just the right size to cut out and attach to the $1 pumpkins I bought at Target to place our goodies in. We made some ghost cookies, included some ghost marshmallows, candy corn, a glow stick wand, Reese's pumpkins, and a little pumpkin with Skittles in it. Here are the pictures of us prepping to "boo" my son's buddies. I didn't get any pictures of him in action, as it was super cold and raining - but Kinley had a blast yelling "BOO!"

Printout - Directions on how to "boo" 2 of your neighbors and a sign you hang in your front window so you aren't "booed" a second time

 Baking the ghost cookies

 Candy Corn and Ghost Marshmallows

 Putting baked cookies in bags

Boo Treats!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Paint Fashion Pumpkins

This morning I went outside to get our pumpkins so I could start painting them and noticed we were ONE SHORT! Someone (probably some punk kid) took one of our pumpkins. Sad. So I frantically washed two of them and started painting! I kept one of our pumpkins not painted so we can actually carve it the day before Halloween. In case you didn't know, here in Colorado it is so dry that the second your pumpkin is carved and put outside... it immediately starts to sink in. This is why I decided to paint pumpkins this year.

I saw on Pinterest that a 'chevron' designed pumpkin was called a "Fashion Pumpkin." Too cute not to try! I just used masking tape to tape off the 'chevron lines', painted my pumpkin, removed the tape, and used a baby wipe to clean up the paint that had bled through the tape. I recommend using painters tape if you have any, that might mitigate clean up for you. My kids are going to be Despicable Me Minions for Halloween, so I quickly painted a cute minion face on our tall and skinny pumpkin. Hope you all have fun decorating your pumpkins this year!

 Taping off my pumpkin 'chevron' design


Minion and Chevron "Fashion Pumpkins"


Friday, October 11, 2013

"P" is for Pumpkin Party

I threw Kinley and his buddies a Pumpkin Party to celebrate Halloween. I found an awesome invitation on someone's blog, so we printed them out and mailed them to our little friends. There were 6 toddlers, 4 babies, and 5 adults - a FULL house! The house was destroyed and everyone left here with full tummies of pumpkin snacks. We had a ball!

Top of our Pumpkin Invitation

Food had to start with the letter "P" so I had pretzel rods, popcorn bags, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin dip, pumpkin bagels, and pumpkin monkey bread. Lots of baking and the house smelled great - just like Fall. The only requirement was for each toddler to B.Y.O.P. (bring your own pumpkin) with them to paint. I had found some glow in the dark paint along with regular colors and the kids got to work. However, they seemed more interested in eating pumpkin cookies and making a mess with our toys!

Earlier this week our Preschool had a field trip to the Venetucci Farm and Pumpkin Patch to tour and pick a free pumpkin to take home. The pumpkins were small and perfect for the kids to paint today - it worked out well!

First, I made Pumpkin Bagels and had regular cream cheese and pumpkin spice cream cheese. These bagels were delicious and I'd make them again!

Pumpkin Bagels


- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 cups all purpose flour (plus 2 tbsp. at high altitude)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour (plus 1 tbsp. at high altitude)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp. baking soda
- 1 egg
- cornmeal for dusting baking pan
- flax seeds

1. In a medium bowl mix yeast, water and brown sugar together. Let stand for 10 min until a thin foam appears on the top. Then stir in the pumpkin puree.
2. In a separate bowl mix the flours, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice together.
3. Using the dough hook on your Kitchenaide Mixer, add the wet ingredients to the dry.
4. Once the dough has come together place it on your counter and knead it for 2-3 minutes. If the dough is sticky, add more flour to it.
5. Place the dough in a greased bowl with cling wrap on top. Put the bowl in a warm, dry place to rise for about 60-90 minutes. (I placed mine in the oven that was off)
6. The pumpkin bagel dough should double in size. Punch it down on a flat surface and divide the dough into 8-12 balls on a cookie sheet. (I made 12 bagels with this recipe)
7. Cover the balls with a dry dish towel and allow to rise for 20 minutes.
8. Shape the dough into bagels by making a hole in the middle of each ball.
9. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
10. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the baking soda.
11. Using tongs, drop a few bagels into the water bath for 1-2 minutes on each side. Place the finished bagels on a dry towel to drain.
12. Once all bagels have been boiled place them on a baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.
13. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush the tops of each bagel with it. Sprinkle flax seeds on top.
14. Bake for 15-20 min or until golden brown. Mine only took about 13 minutes to bake so keep a close eye on them!

 Dough shaped like bagels

Boiling the Bagels

 Sprinkling flax seeds on top

Pumpkin Bagels!

Pumpkin Monkey Bread - this recipe called for a 'glaze' to drizzle on top of the monkey bread once baked, which I did not do. The monkey bread was sweet enough and I didn't feel it needed a glaze - plus I didn't want the kids to get too wild from all the sugar!


- 3 1/4 cups flour (plus 3 tbsp. at high altitude)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. cloves

- 2 tbsp. butter, melted
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast 

- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 stick of butter, melted

1. In a mixing bowl whisk all the dry ingredients together: flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
2. In another bowl whisk the wet ingredients together: butter, milk, water, pumpkin, sugar and yeast.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry in your Kitchenaide Mixer and mix together using the dough hook.
4. Knead the dough on your counter and then place it in a greased bowl. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a dry, warm place to rise for 60 min.
5. Once doubled, place dough on your counter and knead for 2 minutes, then separate dough into little balls, which you place on a cookie sheet. This recipe made about 40 dough balls.
6. Grease your bundt pan.
7. In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon and sugar together.
8. In another small bowl, melt your 3/4 stick of butter.
9. Dip each dough ball into the melted butter and then into the cinnamon/sugar mixture and into the bundt pan.
10. Continue to layer the balls in the pan until all balls have been dipped.
11. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

 Dough balls, melted butter, cinnamon/sugar mixture, greased bundt pan

 Pumpkin Monkey Bread


The Party Decor!

Happy Pumpkin Party!

 Each toddler guessed (with help from mommy) how many candy pumpkins there were

 The Spread!

Clockwise from left: Popcorn, Pumpkin Dip with honey crisp apples, Pumpkin Monkey Bread, Pumpkin Cookies

 Pumpkin Painting

Pumpkin Painting

All the kids had a great time and I will have to add a few more pictures from my friends who were happily clicking away as I played hostess and paint/water assistant!

Pumpkin Dip

- 1 can of pumpkin puree
- 16 oz. cool whip
- 8 oz. cream cheese
- 1 packet vanilla pudding mix
- 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

*Mix everything together and serve with fruit! Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Candy Corn Cupcakes

I volunteered to provide cupcakes for our MOPS Bake Sale this weekend during our annual Craft Fair. I had seen a picture of "Candy Corn Cupcakes," but I was feeling a tad "semi-homemade" and put my own spin on these cupcakes. I used store bought cake mix and store bought whipped frosting. I used gel food coloring (the best kind of food coloring) to mix the yellow and orange frosting colors for the Candy Corn. I placed the frosting in piping bags and used a large star burst frosting tip to decorate. Now I did this project in 2 steps, the actual cupcakes and then the packaging of individual cupcakes to sell at the Bake Sale. I will show you in the pictures below!

Of course my son and I had to try them out - too cute not to eat!

 Baked Cupcakes placed in small Solo cups

 "Candy Corn" Frosting: Yellow, Orange, White

Cupcake with Cling Wrap and a Twisty Tie = Individually Wrapped!

Individually Wrapped Candy Corn Cupcakes

Kinley and his Cupcake