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Halloween Dirt Cake {Easy Halloween Party Ideas}

 
October is here which means it's time to start thinking about all things spooky and fun! Since having kids I try to be as creative as possible when it comes to holidays. We love Halloween, so I always plan something fun for the kids.

 
Every year we celebrate with a family party to kick off the night. Dinner is always a Halloween themed meal with festive tableware, and a fun dessert to end the night. It can be a pizza in the shape of a Jack O Lantern, Mummy Hot Dogs, English Muffin Mummy Pizza's or even a big pot of Pumpkin Chili.  

If you're looking for a fun Halloween themed dessert try this kid and adult friendly Halloween Dirt Cake. This dirt cake is a bit different than a classic dirt cake. I like to add a cake bottom, a creamy pudding and cool whip center, and finish it off with a crushed Oreo cookie topping. 

You can decorate your dirt cake with any festive cookie and candies of your choosing. Since the crushed Oreo cookies resemble dirt a Graveyard Cake is always a fun option. I chose to go with just a basic Halloween theme and used a variety of candies and cookies.  I found everything from the tableware, cake ingredients, and fun candy decorations at my local Walmart.




Halloween Dirt Cake
{mommyskitchen.net}

1 -18.25 oz Duncan Hines fudge marble or white cake mix 
1/3 - cup butter, softened or melted
3 - eggs
1 - cup milk  
1 - 3.4 oz box instant chocolate pudding or Oreo pudding if using white cake mix
2 - cups milk 
2 - cups whipped topping (cool whip)
1 - 10 ounce package Oreo cookies, crushed 
candy toppings: Brach's autumn mix, sprinkles, edible characters,
edible eyes, gummy worms, cookies and paper cupcake toppers


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with non stick baking spray. In a large bowl or kitchen aid mixer prepare the cake mix, adding butter, eggs and milk. Mix to combine.

Pour the cake batter into prepared pan. B
ake at 350° for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted comes out cleanCool cake on a wire rack for 3-5 minutes. 

Using the back of a wooden spoon poke holes in the top of the cake (making sure to go all the way through). 

Prepare pudding mix according to package directions adding the 2 cups milk. Mix until a semi thick consistency (you want the pudding to be a bit runny). 

Add the whipped topping and mix to combine. Pour the pudding mixture over the cake making sure to aim into the holes. Spread the pudding over the cake until smooth. 


Crush about 3/4 a bag of Oreo cookies in a food processor (save the remainder to decorate as monster faces or use as tombstones). 

Add the crushed Oreo cookies over the top of the cake and decorate with desired candies and sprinkles.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Servings: 12 - 16 depending on size

Cooks Note: To make a boxed cake mix taste like a bakery cake substitute milk in place of the water, and butter in place of the oil called for on any cake mix. You can also add an extra egg than called for on the box.  

Halloween is fun, but it's also the time of year for endless candy. To help balance it out a bit try mixing in a few healthy options. These cute little clementine pumpkins and banana ghosts are perfect.

To make the ghosts, cut the bananas in half and use mini chocolate chips for their eyes and mouth. For the pumpkins use clementines 
tangerines and add a small piece of cut celery to use as a stem (I did not do). 

I also packed up some Halloween treat bags and filled them with General Mills Franken Berry and Boo Berry cereal. I love the Halloween cereal varieties, but they only come out during Halloween, so I always grab a few extra boxes. Cereal treat bags are perfect for school and group parties. Stop by Walmarts Food & Celebrations page for all things spooky and fun.  


Are you Looking for more easy Halloween Ideas? The Walmart Moms have you covered. Check out their blogs and their ideas below. 



     


New Scarlet Threads Fall Apron {Giveaway}

Have you heard of Scarlet Threads? Scarlet Threads is a compassionate boutique empowering woman through employment. They are a small social enterprise with a big heart. Scarlet Threads specializes in unique product designed and produced by talented seamstresses in rural Asia and in Midland Texas.

All Scarlet Thread products are fairly traded and created in compliance with their core vision and values. When you purchase a Scarlet Threads apron or other hand-crafted product, you become part of their story by providing a woman with safe and rewarding work. Click here to read more about their story.

I found out about Scarlet Threads about 4 years ago from a fellow blogger. I instantly fell in love with their product and their mission. I especially loved their aprons, so I saved up some money and purchased my first apron (pictured below). When the apron arrived in my mailbox I could see ll the beauty, detail, and hard work that was put into the making of my apron.

I collect several aprons, but all my Scarlet Thread aprons truly are unique and beautiful. I love that part of the proceeds from product sales go to help woman, mothers, and families in need. The opportunities that ST gives to these woman truly is amazing.

 
I'm so in love with Scarlet Threads and their products that I signed on to be an affiliate in their program. I get 5% of each product sale, but more importantly any money that I earn in sales will be put back into Scarlet Threads through future purchases.  

You too can be a part of their ST vision by purchasing one of their beautiful products or aprons. Right now Scarlet Threads has extended their Thrifty Thursday sale on their Harper apron for just $14.00! I placed my order yesterday and purchased one with a coral trim. I can't wait to add it to my apron collection! Take it from me you won't be disappointed in any of your apron purchases. 


Recently Scarlet Threads rolled out 5 aprons in their new fall product line. I was lucky to get a sneak peek at the beautiful apron below. My daughter was nice enough to model this apron for me (pictured below). The colors are a bright pink with a small ocean blue checkered fabric, and bold floral prints that repeat throughout the apron. Currently this apron has a temporary name of "Mommy's Kitchen", but you can help give it a permanent name. 


I think MK is a wonderful name, but this beautiful apron deserves something much more spectacular. When my apron arrived in the mail, and I saw it for the first time a name immediately came to mind. I won't say what my name suggestion was, because you my readers get to name this apron and not me. The winning "name" will receive a apron to keep for themselves. 

While you're at the Scarlet Threads shop poke around and take advantage of this 15% off coupon code good towards any Scarlet Threads purchase. Enter the coupon code "mkfriends" in your shopping cart at checkout.

Like I said their Harper Apron is on sale for just $14.00 and they just announced today this weeks Thrifty Thursday Deal is for their Scrappy Potholders





How to Enter the giveaway: 
If you would like to win this beautiful apron, simply leave a name suggestion in the comment section of this post (mandatory). Scarlet Threads names their aprons with "girls names", so keep that in mind when selecting an apron name.

Extra Entries: 
1) Becoming a fan of Scarlet Threads on Facebook.  “Like” them and then come back and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.

2) Tweet the following: Name this beautiful @ScarletThreadFT apron at @mommyskitchen for a chance to win it! http://tinylink.net/i356f  Come back and leave a separate comment telling me you did so.  

Contest will run from Thursday October 16th 2014 until Saturday October 25th 2014. The winning apron name and winner will be contacted on Sunday October 25th via email. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their apron or a new winner will be chosen. Contest open to US residents only. If you leave a anonymous comment please leave your email address in the event that you are the winner.  

Stop by Scarlet Threads where they're hosting their own giveaway for a different apron in their fall apron line. Click here to access their giveaway. 

This post contains affiliate links. I would like to thank Scarlet Threads for giving me one of their beautiful aprons as well as proving a second one to use in a reader giveaway. 

     

Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal - Yogurt Breakfast Ideas

Yogurt is one of those items that I always keep stocked in our refrigerator. From smoothies, yogurt parfaits, cooking, baking or just eating, we can go through quite a bit. I find myself grabbing several containers on just about every trip to the grocery store. 

Yogurt is great for an easy breakfast as well as for a quick snack. I use Greek or plain yogurt for cooking, baking and as a substitute for sour cream. Lately I've been trying to find quick and easy breakfast options not only for my kids, but for me as well.

 
My kids get up pretty early for school, so the last thing on their mind is breakfast. Sometimes I feel like I am forcing them to eat, but I don't want the going off to school hungry either. Most times I'm lucky to get a smoothie, oatmeal, cereal, fruit or muffins and fruit down them.  

This Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal has been a wonderful option. This idea has been more adult friendly than with my kids. I just recently got my little guy to start eating hot oatmeal, so he wasn't too crazy about the whole cold oatmeal idea, but for me...... I love it!

Refrigerator oatmeal is an easy no cook breakfast perfect for any one on the go, or for someone who doesn't make time for breakfast. I make these up the night before and place them in individual mason jars for a perfect grab-and-go breakfast option. 


Each of the flavors start with the same basic ingredients, vanilla or plain yogurt, steel cut oatmeal, almond milk (plain or vanilla), ground flax seed or chia seed (not pictured), and fruit and nuts of your choice. Use honey or agave nectar to sweeten the oatmeal.  


My three favorite flavor combinations are, strawberry, honey nut and honey with sliced bananas. Feel free to experiment with different flavor combinations and customize your own varieties. Each of these flavors store well covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

I like to pull the jars out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temp for about 15 minutes before eating, so they're not too cold. You can also warm the oatmeal in the microwave just before serving (make sure to remove the metal ring and lid).  



Overnight Refrigerator Oatmeal

1/2 - cup steel cut oats or old fashioned oats 
1/2 - cup vanilla or plain almond milk, soy, coconut or regular milk
1 1/4  - cups vanilla yogurt 
1 - tablespoon ground flax seed or chia seeds  

Toppings:
banana, sliced 
strawberries, sliced 
berries
almonds or (any nut), chopped
honey or agave nectar

Stir oats, almond milk, yogurt, and flax seed together in a large bowl. 

Separate oatmeal mixture into three half pint jars. 

Add a lid and a ring and place the jars in the refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. 

Add toppings of your choice, eat and enjoy. The toppings can also be added before closing the jar.

Servings: 3

Cook's Note: Old fashioned oats can be substituted for steel cut oats, but the steel cut oats are less processed. 
Each of these flavors store well covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Banana topping only last about 2 days without browning. You can also warm the oatmeal in the microwave just before serving (make sure to remove the metal ring and lid before heating).  


Before I go I also want to share this quick and easy kid friendly snack with you. While at the Walmart Headquarters earlier this summer, the Walmart Moms learned about some quick and easy breakfast and snack options using Dannon Yogurt and Kellogg's Cereal.

One of the recipe ideas that caught my eye were these yogurt fruit dippers pictured above. The fruit dippers are pear slices (apples can be used as well) dipped into a peanut butter yogurt dip, then rolled into dry cereal. 


I did tweak the recipe slightly making it a bit healthier. Since returning home my kids have been enjoying these for a quick breakfast and snack option. I have also added the peanut butter dip to my kids sack lunches along with apple slices, so this has been a huge hit in our house.  


Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

1/3 - cup Dannon vanilla or plain yogurt
3 - tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 - teaspoon honey or agave syrup
1 - cup Kellogg's Rice Krispies Cereal or granola 
2 - apples or pears, sliced

In a small bowl whisk together yogurt, peanut butter and honey.

Place the yogurt dip into small containers for dipping. 


Dip fruit slice into peanut butter yogurt, and then roll in cereal.





     


Pretzel Caramel Chip Cookies & Reynolds New Baking Sheets

I've had these Pretzel Caramel Chip Cookies on my to bake list for quite a while now. I came across this recipe last year on Pinterest and couldn't wait to make them. I love sweet and salty, so I knew these cookies would be nothing less than fabulous.

This isn't your regular chocolate chip cookie. These cookies are packed with caramel bits, pretzel pieces, and two types of chips, chocolate and butterscotch. Everything all mixed together is a match made in heaven! 


My whole family seriously polished off these cookies in two days, so I have declared these as our new favorite cookie. These cookies were so awesome that more than likely they will be ending up on my Christmas Cookie trays this year.

Speaking of baking cookies do you use parchment paper to cook and bake with? I do and I'm super excited about the new pre-cut parchment baking sheets from Reynolds? I was not aware of these new sheets until Reynolds sent me a package to bake with.  



I'm always up for anything that makes my life just a little easier in the kitchen, and these new Reynolds Non Stick Parchment Baking Sheets do not disappoint. Each sheet is pre-cut pieces of parchment paper sized to fit most standard baking sheets. For my baking pans they fit perfectly and no rolling of the paper.  

love using parchment paper, because it makes clean up is a snap, but I hate fighting with the roll because the sheets never lay flat. No problem with these new baking sheets, because they come right out of the box flat! Now I don't have to fight or cut the parchment paper roll anymore.


Each sheet is non stick, oven safe and fits snug onto your baking sheet (fits most standard baking sheets).  

Your cookies will cook evenly and slide right off the sheet without sticking or breaking. These new baking sheets will come in very handy when the holidays roll around. These sheets are perfect for candy making, cookie baking, decorating, rolling out dough and roasting veggies.

Each box contains 22 sheets and is priced at approximately $3.50. You can find these parchment cookie baking sheets at your local Walmart with all the plastic wrap and aluminum foil. 


Happy cooking and Baking. 




Pretzel Caramel Chip Cookies

1/2 - cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 - teaspoon vanilla extract
1 - egg
1/2 - teaspoon salt
1/2 - teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 - cups all purpose flour
3/4 - cup stick pretzels, broken into thirds
1/2 - cup kraft caramel bits
1/4 - cup butterscotch chips
1/4 - cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, cream the butter and the sugars. Add the vanilla and egg. Mix and scrape the sides of the bowl. 

In a small bowl combine the salt, baking soda and flour. Gradually add to the wet mixture. Mix until combined.

Add the pretzel pieces, caramel bits and chips. Mix together using a spatula. Using a cookie scoop spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or non stick parchment cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 11-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on a wire rack. 


Recipe yields: 16 - 20 cookies depending on the size.
Adapted from: Dessert Now, Dinner Later



As many of you know I am a Walmart Mom Blogger which allows me to work closely with Walmart as well as be the voice for other moms. I wanted to know if you could take a few minutes to fill out a 10 question survey from Wamart where you can voice your own opinions. As a thank you gift you will be entered for a chance to win a $50 Walmart Gift Card. Click on the link below to access the survey

  1. Make sure you add my blog name: Mommy's Kitchen in the first box (Question #1) of the survey with your name and email address
  2. Last Day to complete the survey is Wednesday Oct. 8th 2014 
  3. A winner will be chosen on Oct. 9th 2014 from a list of names of who completed the survey. Thank you in advance.



     

Easy Kid Friendly Taco Cups

Today I have a yummy kid friendly recipe to share with you. We love tacos in our house, but sometimes the same old tacos can get a bit boring. I had seen a recipe for taco cups made with cut and shaped flour tortillas on Pinterest, but I had another idea in mind.

I had wonton wrappers left over from making my daughters favorite Ranch Sausage Stars, so I decided to try them out and make some Easy Taco Cups. Everyone loved them and the kids gobbled them right up.  Finger foods and bite size items are always appealing to kids, so these these
taco cups are sure to please.       

What I love best about this recipe is that you can interchange the ingredients for a variety of tacos. Use chicken, ground beef, shredded beef or even pork. Our favorite is ground beef mixed with beans for added protein. This is especially great for a crowd because adding beans to your meat mixture can easily turn one pound of meat into almost two pounds of taco filling.

I like to pre bake the wonton cups just a bit before adding the filling. This gives the taco cups an extra crispness as a taco should be. Baking the cups first is a huge time saver, and also comes in handy for parties, potlucks, or football games.  Just bake up the cups, cool and store in a zip lock bag until ready to use. 


When it comes to beans there's  no rule of thumb here. Just use your favorite bean that pairs great with tacos. I prefer Bush's Pinto Beans , but you can use kidney or even black beans. Bush's also makes a reduced sodium variety of beans. This is especially great for people watching their sodium intake, but don't want to compromise on taste.  

To get started first gather all your ingredients. You will need ground beef, taco seasoning, canned beans, wonton wrappers, shredded cheese and all your favorite taco toppings. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a regular sized muffin tin with non stick spray. 

Add two wonton wrapper to each muffin cup (I criss cross the wrappers).  Bake 5-7 minutes until lightly golden brown. Watch them carefully so they don't fully cook. Remove from oven and set aside.


In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef or turkey until browned. Drain off any grease. Add the taco seasoning, water and drained beans. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through.  

Spoon two tablespoon of the meat and bean mixture into each wonton cup. Top with shredded cheese. Return to the oven and bake an additional 5-7 minutes until cheese melts.

Carefully remove the cups from the oven and garnish with your favorite taco toppings and serve.  



Kid Friendly Taco Cups

1 - pound lean ground beef or turkey
1 - packet taco seasoning
1 - cup water
1 - can bush's pinto, kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
24 - wonton wrappers
1 - cup shredded cheddar cheese
taco toppings of your choice:  lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream
additional cheese, avocados , black olives, salsa and cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a regular sized muffin tin with non stick spray. Add two wonton wrapper to each muffin cup (I criss cross the wrappers). 

Bake 5-7 minutes until lightly golden brown. Watch them carefully so they don't get too brown.

Remove from oven and set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat cook the ground beef or turkey until browned. Drain off any grease. 

Add the taco seasoning, water and drained beans. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through.  

Spoon two tablespoon of the meat and bean mixture into each wonton cup. Top with shredded cheese. Return to the oven and bake an additional 5-7 minutes until cheese melts.

Carefully remove the cups from the oven and garnish with your favorite taco toppings. 


Recipe yields: 12-16 taco cups

This is a sponsored post by Bush's Beans, but as always all opinions stated above are 100% entirely my own. 

     


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