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 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!

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 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!

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!

Family Friendly Autumnal Activity Ideas

Welcome back Autumn! Every year I look forward to the Autumn and the warmth it generates inside my home and soul. Where I live, September and October are still rather warm on some days, and turn wet and cold as the months progress toward Winter.  I cannot get enough of the rain this time of year. The cold, wet weather begins to take over outside, driving us all inside to be together and warm. There’s nothing like cuddling up with people you love, reading a good book, watching a movie or playing a video game while the weather misbehaves outside.

I intend to spend a lot of time with my family this year and came up with some family friendly ideas I’d like to experience with Zoey! Follow along and try some of these activities for yourself, this is a time we should all enjoy!

We intend to:

  • Bake bread.
  • Bake cookies for family and/or friends.
  • Collect acorns and make art.
  • Collect leaves and make art.
  • Collect rocks and make art.
  • Make nature pressings or rubbings.
  • Donate to a food bank.
  • Go on a hayride.
  • Go puddling in the rain.
  • Have an indoor picnic on a stormy day.
  • Make a bird feeder.
  • Make Halloween decorations.
  • Go trick or treating!
  • Make fresh tortillas.
  • Make homemade play dough.
  • Make stovetop popcorn.
  • Pick apples.
  • Bake apple pie.
  • Drink apple cider.
  • Make caramel apples.
  • Pick out pumpkins at a pumpkin patch.
  • Give pumpkins a bath.
  • Carve, decorate and/or paint pumpkins.
  • Bake pumpkin bread. 
  • Roast pumpkin seeds.
  • Roast s’mores.

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love snacking on roasted pumpkin seeds! So delicious, easy to prepare and eat, and with numerous health benefits, who could say no? Traditionally I make large batches every year after we carve our Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns and we snack on them for weeks!

I do not use oil in this recipe.

Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Salt
  • Seasoned salt (optional)
  • Water
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. As you carve your pumpkins, keep all the seeds in a bowl. I find it easier to separate the seeds and pulp into two separate bowls as I go, rather than sort that mess out later.
  2. Place the seeds into a colander and rinse them under cold water, stirring with your hands to make sure they are all rinsed thoroughly.
  3. Place the seeds in a medium saucepan, then add 4 to 6 cups of water and about 1 tablespoon of salt for each half cup of seeds.
  4. Bring the saltwater and seeds to a boil for 10 minutes, then remove them from the heat and strain.
  5. Spread the seeds out on a baking sheet or two and allow them to completely dry (this may take up to a week).
  6. Once the seeds are completely dry, prepare a small bowl with salt water. This is to crystalize on the outer shell, so dissolve as much salt as you want for a saltier outer shell, or less if you feel the brine was enough.
  7. Place the seeds into a skillet and roast on medium to low heat, stirring continuously for an even cook.
  8. When they nearly roasted to your liking, dip your fingers into the salt water and splash it as evenly as possible over the roasted seeds, then continue to stir until the water has evaporated.
  9. Remove the seeds from the heat and allow them to cool.
  10. Enjoy!
Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Skillet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pastry Wrapped Baked Apples with Nutella & Granola Recipe

Have you ever had a pastry wrapped, baked apple? It’s like having our own personal apple pie and if you stuff it with something you love? Pure delight!

These pastry wrapped, baked apples are stuffed with something I love, Nutella! I also added some granola for texture, but you can go full Nutella if that’s what you’re into! This does take some work in preparation time, but it will be well worth it to eat! Enjoy it my friends!

PASTRY WRAPPED BAKED APPLES WITH NUTELLA & GRANOLA
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 package of frozen puff pastry
  • Nutella
  • Granola
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set out the pastry dough to thaw enough to work with while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon, then set it aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg and the water together until combined, then set it aside.
  4. Peel the apples and then use a melon baller to scoop out the cores, leaving the bottoms intact.
  5. Coat the outside of each apple with the cinnamon sugar mixture and set them aside.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pastry sheet to about a 9 by 10 inch rectangle, then cut the rectangle into 9, 1 inch strips.
  7. Repeat step 6 with the second pastry sheet.
  8. Starting at the bottom of the apple, begin winding a pastry strip around and up, slightly overlapping the edges of the pastry. Once a strip ends, align another strip and continue winding until you reach the top of the apple. Strips can be attached to one another by wetting your finger with water and smoothing dough together.
  9. Repeat step 8 with each apple until they are all wrapped in pastry and place them all on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
  10. Use the extra dough to create leaf shapes and attach them to the top of each apple by wetting your finger with water and smoothing the dough together.
  11. Lightly scoop some Nutella into the hole in the apple, then press some granola in and add more Nutella on top of the granola.
  12. Repeat step 11 with each apple.
  13. Lightly brush the pastry dough with the egg wash.
  14. Chill the apples in the refrigerator for 20 to 25 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  16. Remove the apples from the refrigerator and bake them for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  17. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe

Homemade Apple Cider
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! Autumn is my favorite season and while pumpkin spice has its charms, I prefer apple cider!

My family and I are starting a new Halloween tradition this year that includes drinking apple cider (check back on Friday for more details) and I thought it would be special to create our own!

Please feel free to use this recipe to create some delicious apple cider for you and yours! This cider is sweet and spiced; I used all Honeycrisp apples, but you can experiment with the combination of apples to change the flavor!

Homemade Apple Cider
HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium apples, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cloves
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • Water

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place the apples, cinnamon, cloves and sugar into a crockpot, then add enough water to cover the apples.
  • Cover the crockpot and cook the contents on low for 6 hours.
  • Once the 6 hours have passed, use a spoon to gently crush the apples, then allow them to cook for 1 more hour.
  • Once cooked, turn off the heat and allow the contents to cool slightly.
  • Slowly ladle and strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a large pot or pitcher, then strain it a second time; discard the solids.
  • Enjoy warm or cold!

Hen Wen’s Apple Porridge Recipe (The Black Cauldron)

Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
INTRODUCTION

Welcome back friends! This week we’ll be cooking Hen Wen’s Apple Porridge from Disney’s The Black Cauldron.

The Black Cauldron Movie Poster
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe

This recipe is featured in the beginning of the film, when Caer Dallben asks Taran to feed Hen Wen the porridge he prepared for her. 

This porridge looks much more appetizing than the one in the film. I couldn’t help myself! I thought to myself, if I wanted to eat porridge with apples, I’d want the apples to be cooked separately to develop their flavor more and I’m sure Hen Wen would approve!

Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
HEN WEN’S APPLE PORRIDGE

APPLES

  • 2 apples, peeled and cut into slices
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

PORRIDGE

  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 3/4 cups of whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS (APPLES)

  1. Peel and cut the apples into slices.
  2. Pour the water into a small sauce pan, then add the apples.
  3. Sprinkle the desired amount of cinnamon and brown sugar onto the apples and stir to distribute.
  4. Cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally to evenly coat and cook the apples.
  5. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside for the porridge (see below).

INSTRUCTIONS (PORRIDGE)

  1. In a medium saucepan, boil the milk with the salt.
  2. Stir in the oats.
  3. Cook the oats for about 5 minutes over medium heat; stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove the porridge from the heat and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, then stir to distribute.
  5. Spoon the porridge into two bowls and arrange the cooked apple slices (see above) on top. I arranged mine into the shape of a rose and I believe next time I’ll cover the porridge completely.
  6. Enjoy!
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe
Hen Wen's Apple Porridge Recipe