Tricks and Treats: Halloween Eats Part 2

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Halloween holds a special place in my heart. When I was young, my dad, who was handy and creative, really got into the spirit with decorating our house. I loved the dressing up, the camaraderie with neighbors, and, of course, the candy. I was lucky enough to live in neighborhoods where there were massive groups of kids and parents roaming from one house to the next with hardly a dark porch in sight. Ever since moving to the East coast, however, it never has been quite the same. These days, we’re lucky if we get even two trick-or-treaters coming to our door and I live in a packed multi-family subdivision! My parents’ house is a bit better, but last year was the thinnest for adorable costumed kiddos I’ve ever seen. Perhaps it is a natural progression. Neighborhoods age out of trick-or-treating. But even so, I was fairly disappointed that I didn’t get to see more costumes. To distract myself I (naturally) started some baking/cooking projects that I hadn’t planned on (I even decided to skip “cooking” dinner and go french picnic style, imagining I’d be too busy opening the door and handing out candy to want to cook). So I checked the pantry/fridge and noticed we still had some frosting left over from our Purple People Eater Cupcakes, and, though I lacked chocolate chips, I had cocoa powder. So I decided to make Gail Dickinson’s Chocolate Sugar Cookies which reminded me a lot of my grandma’s Ginger Molasses Cookies.

My twist? Using the leftover buttercream frosting to make spider webs! Basically you just pipe circles on the cookie and use a toothpick to run through, making the webs. Or you can frost lines across the circles (I did both with mixed results). Let me tell you, these cookies are freaking delicious. They don’t suffer for lack of chocolate chips or other garnish. They are richly chocolate flavored without being overly sweet. I give these my hearty stamp of approval!

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Mr. Foodie and I also carved our one mid-sized pumpkin. We attempted to make one of those complicated scenes from the carving kit, but gave up half way through and just carved a proper Jack-o-Lantern. As I was cleaning out the pumpkin, I went back and forth on whether I wanted to keep the seeds. The frugal cook in me was like “keep them!” but the lazy person in me was like “it is too much work getting the seeds ready!” In the end I spent a few minutes looking at ways to help simplify the process of de-pulping the seeds and settled on the warm water/salt version which only takes a few minutes. It worked well. I dried them on paper towels which had the unfortunate side effect of having the seeds get stuck to the towel, but I got them loose and then baked them for 20 minutes. Then I squeezed lemon juice over all, shook with some cayenne pepper and salt, and baked for 10 minutes more at 350. They are delicious. In the end, I was happy I kept the seeds. They kept my hands busy while I was trying to summon more trick-or-treaters to my door with my mind.

Once I resigned myself to the fact that the only trick-or-treaters I’d see that night was one cute witch and one even cuter baby bumble-bee, I relaxed and contentedly watched a series of Halloween movies with Mr. Foodie while sipping on leftover cider-rum from the party. Now the only question is what to do with all this leftover candy?

Chocolate Sugar Cookies (by Gail Dikinson)

1 Cup Butter, softened

1 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Salt

3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder

2 Cups Flour

White sugar for coating

Preheat the oven to 350. Cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract. Mix together dry ingredients and add slowly to wet mixture (to prevent a cloud of cocoa/flour ending up in your face and all over the counter). Once it is combined and dough comes together, use a spoon or ice cream scoop to make balls 2-3 inches depending on your preference. Coat each ball in white sugar, set on lined baking sheet. Bake each sheet for 9-10 minutes until tops crack a little. Cool on rack and frost with webs if desired (also great without frosting).

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#Weddingdiets Are Hard, But Yay for Easy Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Yesterday I baked! I’m a little excited because it’s been close to two months with no baking thanks to packing, moving, unpacking. etc. Baking was my first foodie passion thanks to my grandma Kathy who is an excellent baker. She gave me all of her great recipes, and I’ve also picked up a few new ones along the way. To this day my most requested baked good is her Ginger Molasses cookies. Don’t worry, that recipe is coming your way shortly.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you might be aware that Mr. Foodie and I are trying to be good/healthy/restrained in preparation for our upcoming wedding in February. This is relatively hard for people who love food. All food. Like all the time. But we’re giving it a go. One of the biggest challenges is breakfast. Mr. Foodie and I get up at 6am and he has a physically demanding job to go to but hates eating a substantial breakfast so early in the morning. In fact, he doesn’t care for breakfast foods in general unless we’ve slept in and have time to make everything from scratch. He doesn’t, however, have any qualms about eating muffins, cake, cinnamon roles, etc. first thing. But that is not what we want for team #weddingdiet. Since I run first thing in the morning, I have to make myself eat something other than coffee as well, and I’ve found breakfast bars to be my best bet. The problem with most breakfast bars is a) they are high in sugar, b) they are high in sodium, and c) they are expensive. And were I to get even the most healthy ones available we’d still have c) to deal with.

So I consulted the handy Pinterest for some immensely simple breakfast bar recipes that wouldn’t require me to buy a bunch of ingredients I don’t already have and would let me adapt the recipe depending on any “extra” fun ingredients I happened to have each week. The winner? Suburban Simplicity’s Easy Oatmeal Bar Recipe. The list of ingredients for these is shockingly small and I already had all of them on hand (with some substitutions as you’ll see).

I usually don’t like recipes that call for brown sugar because I hate buying a whole bag, having it seize up, and then having to “rehydrate” it when I want to use it again (grandma, if you’re reading this, can you send me one of those clay bears that keep brown sugar fresh again? I lost mine in the move). Luckily this recipe said I could use either honey or brown sugar. I used maple syrup because we are oddly out of honey. Everything else in the base recipe is what I used. When I got to the “add-ins” part of the recipe, I realized that we have fresh grated coconut leftover from our coconut find and half a Hershey’s chocolate bar left over from National Smore’s Day (for which Mr. Foodie and I sat poolside and roasted marshmallows with an extended butane lighter like the classy people we are). So I chopped up the chocolate and sprinkled in the coconut. 19 minutes at 350 (the recipe says 20-25, but I could smell they were done a little early).


First, I could see why she added the “add-ins” at the bottom – without the coconut and chocolate these would have been really, really, dry bars. Interestingly, I really enjoyed the coconut in these which is odd because, you may remember, I generally don’t like the texture. My recommendation is to keep an eye on your mixture – if it doesn’t hold together when you scoop it out to put it in the pan, consider adding some additional moisture or, like I did, use “add-ins” that will bring moisture once cooked like chocolate bits, peanut butter, or maybe mashed banana which usually holds up well in baked goods. The plus side is that even a small portion is immensely satisfying as a snack or breakfast.

Do you have a favorite breakfast bar recipe? I’d love suggestions!


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