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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spider PB & Banana Sandwich

So this isn't technically a recipe, but it's a fun thing to do for your kids lunch around Halloween!  We made these today for lunch and my daughter had fun eating his legs so he couldn't crawl away, and proceeding to eat the rest of him as she evil-ly laughed "bahahaha, I'm eating you, spider!".  

She is pretty camera shy, but she was so excited to eat lunch today! Which was refreshing, sometimes meal time is a battle at this house.  

Happy Halloween! 

Spider PB & Banana Sandwich

2 slices of bread 
Peanut butter
2 raisins (for eyes)
1/2-1 banana (depending on how long of spider legs you want)
Circle cookie cutter 

Spread pb on bread and top with honey or jam.  Place 2nd slice of bread on top and then cut through the sandwich with the circle cookie cutter.  Place on plate and top with raisin eyes, and banana legs.  


Friday, October 18, 2013

7-Layer Bean Dip {Halloween Edition}

To be honesty Halloween hasn't ever been one of my most favorite holidays. But in the last few years since we've had kids, we've made fun out of it.  This year I'm hoping my 3rd child isn't born on Halloween.  do love a fun family Halloween party, and we've had a few of those in the last few years.  I made this 7 layer bean dip 4 years ago for our first family Halloween party!  It was a hit! And 7-layer bean dip is a favorite at our house, so it was a win-win.  This was our first time dressing up as a family for Halloween, we were pirates! I think my almost 1 year old made the cutest pirate of all time!  

This bean dip recipe comes from my sister in law, Jayna! I'll indicate the order I generally layer the bean dip, and then also let you know what I did so that they spider web and olives would work for a Halloween-oriented bean dip. And this recipe really doesn't matter how much of each layer you have, just be generous with the layers and use whatever size dish you want and it will be great!

7-Layer Bean Dip {Regular or Spider Web Style}
Printable Version

1) Refried beans, 1-2 cans
2) Guacamole (one recipe listed below, you can double if you want more)
    2 avocados
    ½ lime, juiced
    ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
    ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (optional, but I don’t think it makes it hot, just adds flavor)
3) Sour cream (optional mix ins are: cayenne or taco seasoning to taste)
4) Cheese, grated (cheddar, sharp, colby, Monterey)
5) Chopped tomatoes (or salsa if you don’t like tomatoes)
6) Olives, sliced
7) Green onion, finely chopped


I prefer to make guacamole cause it’s so easy and doesn't taste like preservatives.  To make it use 2 ripe avocados.  Start by smashing them into a small mixing bowl with a fork.  Add lime juice, garlic salt, onion and garlic powder and cayenne.  Mix until smooth and set aside until you are ready for it in the layers.  

Prepare the other layers of refried beans (open the can), grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives and green onion.  You can layer this in a 9x13, 8x8 or a large platter.  There aren’t really any amounts listed because you can’t mess this up as long as you have all of the layers, you can do as much or as little of whatever layer you want.  

For Regular 7 layer dip the layering is listed above in the recipe.  1 being the bottom layer and 7 being the top layer.

For Spider-Web style bean dip this is the order.  
1) Refried beans
2) Green onions, reserve some for the border
3) Cheese
4) Tomatoes or salsa
5) Olives, a few reserved for cutting like spiders
6) Guacamole
7) Sour cream

For the spider web style, spread onto a metal or glass platter.  Spread refried beans and then layer with most of the green onion, reserving a few for garnishing the top outside border.  Then sprinkle with cheese, tomatoes or salsa, and most of the olives (save a few to cut like spiders. Cut one one olive in half lengthwise and use for a spider body, use the other half to make 4 legs and then cut another olive in half for 4 more legs - you can make as many or as few spiders as you want - just save them for the very top layer.).  Spread guacamole on top of the other layers. Bag your sour cream in a zip-lock bag (cut the corner to make a frosting like tube) or frosting bag and make circles on the top layer, starting small in the middle and getting bigger toward the outside.  I made a zig zagged edge on mine so that I could put more sour cream on the dip.  Use a butter knife, chopstick, or something similar to drag out the spider web, connecting the circles together.  Garnish edge with extra green onion, and then place spiders on the web as desired.  

Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Baked Mac & Cheese

This has become a favorite comfort food at our house.  Quick, easy, cheesy. Need I say more?


Easy Baked Macaroni & Cheese


8 ounces elbow macaroni
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk
½ teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I like mine extra sharp, but use your favorite)
½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs


Prepare pasta as directed on package.  Preheat oven to 400.  Spray baking dish (8x8-ish size) with non-stick cooking spray.  
Melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add flour mixed with salt and pepper, using a whisk to stir until blended.  Cook for a minute or so and pour in milk gradually, stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, still stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and cook (stirring constantly) for 10 minutes.  Gradually add shredded cheese and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until cheese melts.  Turn off flame.  Add cooked macaroni to the saucepan and toss to coat with the cheese sauce.  Transfer macaroni to a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.  Bake 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Serves 4.   


 - I like to mist the top of the breadcrumbs lightly with cooking spray before I put it in the oven to help the breadcrumbs brown evenly and get extra crispy.  
- It's also super yummy with 1 cup chopped ham stirred in with the cheese sauce.
- If you want a creamy mac and cheese, skip the baking and the breadcrumbs.

Recipe Source:

Back of Reggano Macaroni Box