Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who wants some warm and comforting hot cocoa on a cold winter morning or evening? Maybe with some homemade marshmallows and a good book or movie? I know I do, so let’s make some mix!

HOT COCOA MIX
  • 3/4 cup of natural unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/2 cups of dry nonfat or whole milk powder
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder, milk powder, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl, then add the white chocolate chips and stir again to evenly distribute them.
  2. Add the mixture to a food processor and pulse until everything is finely ground and smooth.
  3. This dry cocoa mix can be store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  4. To make hot cocoa, put 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk (whichever milk you prefer).
  5. Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, if desired and enjoy!

Homemade Peasant Bread Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who wants some fresh, oven baked peasant bread to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn mornings? Or afternoons? Or evenings? Honestly, anytime is the right time for freshly baked bread!

So let’s bake!

HOMEMADE PEASANT BREAD
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • Butter, for greasing
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, then add the warm water and stir until well combined.
  2. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
  3. Grease two bread pans with the butter, then set them aside.
  4. When ready, remove the cover from the bowl and using two forks gently pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl, then use the two forks again to split it in half down the middle.
  5. Transfer each half of the dough into a greased bread pan.
  6. Cover each pan and allow the dough to rise again for 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  8. Transfer your baking vessels to the oven and allow them to bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden all around.
  9. Allow to cool in the baking pan for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  10. Enjoy!

Homemade Buttery Tortilla Recipe

Welcome back friends! 

Who wants some warm, buttery and freshly made tortillas to use for breakfast, lunch or dinner? 

I know I do, so let’s make some!

BUTTERY TORTILLAS
  • 3 cups of flour 
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of water
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Melt 1/2 cup of butter in 1 cup of water and stir until well combined.
  3. Gently pour the butter and water mixture into the flour mixture and mix with your hands until a dough forms, then knead that dough into a smooth ball.
  4. Put the dough ball back into the bowl and cover it with plastic. 
  5. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove it and separate it out into smaller balls of dough.
  6. Transfer them back into the bowl, cover them with plastic, and allow them to rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat your pan or skillet to a medium heat.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a ball of dough into an 8 to 10 inch round.
  9. Place your tortilla in the middle of the pan.
  10. When bubbles form, flip your tortilla and cook for an additional 30 seconds, then remove it from the heat.
  11. Repeat steps 8 through 10 until all of the tortillas are cooked!
  12. Enjoy!

DIY – Tissue Paper Flowers

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational crafts for her that are made with love and will be loved! 

This week we’ll be creating paper marigolds in honor of their color and beauty, but also to begin educating Zoey on their significance this time of year. 

These supplies and instructions create two large paper flowers, but you can multiply and create as many as you like in as many color variations as you like!

SUPPLIES
  • 4 green pipe cleaners
  • 5 sheets of 20” x 20” gift-wrapping tissue paper (or similar)
  • Scissors
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Layer and align the 5 sheets of tissue paper, then fold them in half and crease.
  2. Cut along the crease line so you now have two groups of tissue sheets, 10” by 20” each.
  3. Keeping each group of tissue sheets layered and aligned, pleat the paper in an accordion fold.
  4. Holding the accordion fold closed, cut a half-circle shape from each end. (You could also cut a point or zig-zag)
  5. Holding the accordion fold closed, wrap the top of a pipe cleaner around the middle of the paper and twist it around itself to hold it in place. This will also act as the stem.
  6. Fan out the paper, then gently separate the first layer of paper from the rest, and move it up to form the top layer of petals.
  7. Gently separate the rest of the paper layers and fluff out your flower.
  8. To bolster the stem a bit more: Secure a second pipe cleaner around the existing pipe cleaner where it meets the flower, and wrap it around the existing pipe cleaner down to the base (start back up if you have extra).
  9. Repeat steps 3 through 8 with the second group of tissue sheets.
  10. Enjoy!

Homemade Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Welcome back friends! 

Who wants some fresh, oven baked pumpkin bread to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book? 

I know I do, so let’s bake some!

PUMPKIN BREAD
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3⁄4 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 large of eggs
  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin puree
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set an oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat it to 325F. 
  2. Grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter, then dust with flour.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Whisk until well combined, then set aside. 
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and continue to beat until very light and fluffy, then incorporate the pumpkin.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix on a low speed until well combined. 
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the two prepared pans, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  7. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  8. Place powdered sugar into a sifter and lightly dust the top of each loaf.
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade Halloween Cookies with Reese’s Pieces

Welcome back friends 

I have some chocolatey, peanut buttery halloween cookies for you!

You may have heard that you can make cookies with boxed cake mix and this recipe does just that, but with a boost of unsweetened cocoa powder and Reeses Pieces! They are delicious; rich and not too sweet. If you’re looking for something tasty to bake for yourself or someone(s) you love, please try these and enjoy!

HALLOWEEN COOKIES
  • 1 box of devil’s food chocolate cake mix
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of Reeses Pieces candy
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Open the cake mix and pour it into a large mixing bowl.
  • Measure 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa into the dry cake mix and stir gently to incorporate.
  • Add the softened butter and eggs into the dry ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms.
  • Divide the Reeses Pieces: stir one cup into the cookie dough and place the other cup into a separate small bowl.
  • Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls, then dip the top of each dough ball into the small bowl of Reeses Pieces. Lightly press the Reeses Pieces on top a little more firmly into the dough if needed but don’t squash the dough ball and place it onto the baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the power of your oven.
  • Bring the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool on a rack for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

DIY – Bat Silhouette Pom Pom Painting

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational crafts for her that are made with love and will be loved! This week we’ll be creating pom pom paintings of bat silhouettes for halloween! 

I remember when I was a kid we made halloween crafts at school and my mom would bring them out every year as part of our halloween decor. It made me feel super happy and proud that she would take the time to save and display my art every year and that is the feeling I want to inspire in my own daughter.

Let’s get painting!

SUPPLIES
  • Bat silhouette pattern (see above)
  • Printer paper
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Black cardstock paper (8.5 x 11”)
  • Clothespin(s)
  • Pom poms
  • Sunset colored paints (I used red, orange, purple and yellow)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Print this bat pattern I’ve created and cut the bats out.
  2. Break off several small pieces of tape, roll them into cylinders, and use them to attach the bats where you want them on the black cardstock paper.
  3. Pour non-toxic sunset colored acrylic paints into a pie plate (or something similar) and set out a pom pom for each color.
  4. Use a clothespin to grab one pom pom at a time, or one clothespin per color.
  5. Allow your little one to dab the paint around and over the bats to their heart’s content.
  6. Allow the paint to dry and then gently peel off the bats to reveal their silhouettes!
  7. Hang it up and enjoy! 

Homemade Ghostly Brownie Recipe

Welcome back friends!

Who wants some fresh from scratch, oven baked ghostly brownies to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn evenings? Maybe at a movie night, or a game night?

I know I do, so let’s bake some!

GHOSTLY BROWNIES
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cups of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F and coat a baking pan with cooking spray (I used a 13×9 pan).
  2. Combine the melted butter, oil, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla and salt.
  4. Slowly stir in the flour a little at a time until a thick batter forms, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Spread the batter into a prepared pan and bake for 21 to 25 minutes or until they become glossy around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Place a little powdered sugar into a sifter and lightly sift the tops of the brownies until white.
  7. Using a ghost shape cookie cutter, cut ghost shapes into the brownies (leave them where they are) and add 3 chocolate chips for the eyes and the mouth of each ghost.
  8. Allow the brownies to completely cool and solidify, then carefully remove the ghosts from the pan. I peeled away the edges and extra spaces first, then used a flat metal spatula to lift the ghosts out.
  9. Enjoy!

DIY – Paper Bat Halloween Decorations

I am so bad at decorating my house for the holidays! I want to be better about it, but I’d like to create and/or collect decorations that are my vibe and that I’m proud of!

One of the looks I’ve always loved are colonies of bats flying across doorways and walls of a home. I’ve created my own bat pattern, so let’s create!

SUPPLIES
  • Bat pattern (see above)
  • 8.5 x 11 black cardstock paper
  • Scotch tape (or similar)
  • Scissors
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Print and cut out these bat patterns I’ve created, then cut each bat shape in half!
  2. Fold each piece of cardstock paper in half horizontally and lightly tape the body of the bat patterns to the fold of the cardstock paper.
  3. Cut out as many bat shapes as you like and attach them to the wall or walls around your home. **For added texture you can fold some or all of the wings up so they aren’t flat against the wall!
  4. Enjoy!

Homemade Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Recipe

Welcome back friends!

Who wants some fresh, oven-baked, cinnamon and sugar coated pumpkin doughnuts to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful Autumn mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book?

I know I do, so let’s bake some!

PUMPKIN DOUGHNUTS
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
TOPPING
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice together in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat the pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla and vegetable oil together in a large bowl.
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat until well combined.
  5. Fill 3, six cup nonstick doughnut pans with batter so each mold is almost full, then smooth the tops with a small spoon.
  6. Bake the doughnuts for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, then remove them from the oven and invert them onto a cooling rack.
  7. While the doughnuts are baking and/or cooling, stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow bowl and melt the topping butter in another bowl.
  8. Once the doughnuts have cooled to a comfortable handling temperature, brush both sides of each one with butter and then dip each side in the cinnamon and sugar to coat.
  9. Enjoy!