Spooky Halloween Pops


My daughter and I had a great time making these pops together! They seem like such an old school treat. I remember my mom making candy pops for my preschool class and it is something I’ve wanted to do for my daughter’s school. She had so much fun being creative with the colors and got a hoot out of the fact she was using “paint brushes” in candy!

There isn’t really a recipe here–more just a handful of supplies and a method. All of it is spelled out on the back of each bag of Wilton candy melts. I found everything we needed at Michael’s (which by the way is having a 70% off sale on all Halloween items right now) but I am sure you could find it all on Amazon or even easier just order straight from the Wilton Web site.

Spooky Halloween Pops


  • Wilton candy molds of your choice (we used pumpkins, Dracula teeth and eyeballs)
  • Wilton candy melts, any colors
  • Wilton candy brushes
  • Lollipop sticks
  • clear candy bags
  • curly ribbon


Place candy melts in microwave safe bowls. (One bowl for each color you are using.) Melt according to package directions. Mix well. Using candy brushes to paint your molds as you desire. Use a teaspoon to fill the remaining portion of the mold. Place a lollipop stick on each candy-filled mold and roll so that entire stick is immersed. Let harden over night or pop in the fridge until set.

Place each pop in a plastic candy bag and secure with a piece of ribbon.


Chewy Molasses Cookies


Fall! I love it more than ever. The season is even more exciting now that there are two little girls trailing behind me eating up the season as much as I do. We have been baking cookies, taking hikes, going on bike rides, perusing the Halloween decoration aisles of every store and crunching our sneakers through the leaves in our yard. The girls are bursting at the seams with excitement for Halloween and our little countdown calendar is a huge source of pleasure.


We had a few parties to go to last week and I found myself needing a straightforward recipe that could be made with little notice. These Chewy Molasses cookies fit the bill and I ended up baking several batches over the course of the week. They are thick, chewy, and full of flavor. I especially like that they are sturdy and hold up well to a warm cup of tea. The sanding sugar gives a welcomed little crunch and they have a kick of ginger that was well-received by all. These cookies remind me that it is sometimes the simplest ingredients that yield the most delicious items.

Chewy Molasses Cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • coarse sanding sugar (we roll the cookies in this just prior to baking)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In one bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

In another bowl whisk egg, butter, white sugar, molasses, and brown sugar. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated.

Place sanding sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll dough into tablespoon size balls and roll into sanding sugar. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet (or silpat) 2 inches apart. Bake for 5 minutes then rotate sheet pan and bake for another five minutes, or until cookies puff up and crack. Cool on a wire rack.

Source: Bon Appetit.

Brownie Garden for Spring or Easter


I fell in love with these sweet little garden brownie bites from the moment I came across them on Party Pinching. How cute are they? Start with your favorite brownie recipe, brownie cupcake recipe, boxed brownie mix, or Entenmann’s Little Brownie Bites. Top each with your favorite chocolate frosting recipe (or buy a can of pre-made frosting) and crushed Oreo cookies (for “dirt”). Then use the following items to decorate:

Mini Cabbages

Mini Carrots

  • Orange Mike & Ikes
  • Melted green candy melts
  • Clover shaped candy sprinkles (or the extra cabbage leaves–Frosted Flakes sprayed green with the Wilton color mist)


  • Wilton sugar flowers


Original recipe found here on Party Pinching.


Veggie Packed Macaroni and Cheese



My husband is gluten free and our girls LOVE macaroni. I float somewhere in the middle. I am certainly not gluten free (GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!), however, I  could easily live without pasta. Typically I make a single meal for the four of us, however, sometimes it makes sense to make a big batch of macaroni for the kids that can be reheated for lunches and dinners a few nights in a row. And that is how I came to make this veggie packed macaroni.

This was a huge hit with the little ones! In fact, my oldest yelled, “This is the best meal ever!!!” when I set it on the table. Wow! I wish I received that kind of enthusiasm every night! I had to agree with her–this is darn good. I”ll be honest–I think the wheel-shaped macaroni is a huge selling point. The tiny spokes ooze with the gooey, drippy, melty cheese sauce in the most wonderful of ways. Also, the chunky little circles of pasta are easy for little fingers to pick up and pop in their mouths.

Veggie Packed Macaroni and Cheese:

  • 3 cups uncooked wheel-shaped macaroni
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the macaroni and diced carrots. Set timer for 9 minutes and cook until your timer has four minutes remaining then add the broccoli. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the timer goes off and/or pasta is al dente. Remove from heat, add in the peas, stir, and reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Then, drain the pasta/carrot/broccoli/pea mixture and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat, then add in the diced onions. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and broth. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in the cheddar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir until smooth.

In a large bowl, stir together cooked macaroni/veggies, reserved cooking liquid, + the cheese sauce. Transfer to the prepared 9×13 dish. bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Recipe from The Fearless Homemaker.


Add the shredded cheese.


Wisk, wisk, wisk, wisk!


Drain the macaroni and vegetables.



Cheesy deliciousness and veggies!

Oatmeal and Parmesan Crusted Boneless Pork Chops


We hardly ever eat pork so while meal planning last week I decided to add it to our menu to freshen things up. This recipe reminds me of a homemade version of Shake ‘N Bake. It uses ground oatmeal instead of bread crumbs (to keep the gluten out) while keeping a crisp-ish texture. Use parchment paper to line your pan if you have it. Parchment paper absorbs the moisture from the pork, unlike foil, yielding a better texture.  If you are out of parchment paper, like I was when I made these, use foil to line your pan and then just flip the chops and broil them for a few minutes prior to serving. Doing so will eliminate any moisture that might make for a soggy bottom.  Did I really just say soggy bottom?

This recipe pairs well with most vegetable sides. Roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, cauliflower rice mash would all be great. Even a simple tossed green salad would work well. The above photo shows it with this broccoli salad, which I highly recommend. It contain bacon. I’ll just leave it at that.

Parmesan and Oatmeal Crusted Pork Chops:

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup raw, dry, quick cook oatmeal, pulverized in the food processor until smooth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper (or foil) and coat with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl gently mix together cheese, oatmeal, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Rub each pork chop in a thin coat of olive oil. Dip each chop into the cheese mixture and press mixture onto chop so it sticks.

Place each chop in the baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until pork is cooked through. To ensure a crispy top you can put the oven on broil for 3-5 minutes, after baking. This will brown and crisp the tops of the chops.

Adapted from Just a Pinch.


Cake Catch Up

Here are two cakes I made that I never posted. (I blocked out the names on the cakes, per usual.)

Cowgirl Boot Birthday Cake

First is a boot birthday cake for a cowgirl birthday party.  Our little cowgirl was thrilled with it! My inspiration was the cake found here on Larson Lingo blog.



Strawberry First Birthday Cake

And here is a cake for a strawberry themed first birthday party.   I love the pink, green, and red color combo. The frosting was made with fresh berries–pretty and delicious!


Unstuffed Cabbage


This recipe is a weeknight standby in our house and has been for years. In fact, it was the first recipe I ever posted to this little blog seven years ago.

Check out the stats and you will see why it has survived the test of time:

  • One pot
  • Gluten free
  • Easy to make
  • Filling
  • Tasty
  • Reheats well
  • Not many ingredients

Most of Ellie Deaner’s recipes follow suit, which is why my copy of her cookbook is plastered with sticky notes. She is the weeknight dinner recipe queen in our house!


If you are struggling getting home cooked meals on the table during the week, this is a good recipe to try. (Additionally, it is a  great one to introduce little ones to cabbage!)

Unstuffed Cabbage:

  • 1 lb. ground beef, turkey, chicken, or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup raw brown rice
  • 28 oz. jarred tomato sauce
  • 1 head of cabbage,shredded
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated parmesan cheese

Cook the ground meat and onion in a large pot stirring occasionally until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add the rice, tomato sauce, cabbage and stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice and cabbage are cooked. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Adapted from So Easy, So Delicious by Ellie Deaner.



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