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Halloween Snacks and Goodie Box

Halloween is just around the corner! (Just in case you haven’t noticed from all my posts)

Monte and I have been doing lots of various activities that are fall and Halloween oriented like visiting orchards, pumpkin patches, making yummy “fallish” meals, sensory bins, and more!

To get Monte more into the spirit, I decided to make him some healthy Halloween snacks.

Both of these items I found on Pinterest!

The original recipe for the Frozen Yogurt Banana Ghosts can be found here.

What you will need is …

  1. Large Bananas
  2. Vanilla Yogurt
  3. Mini Chocolate Chips
  4. Popsicle Sticks
  5. Wax Paper

 

Cut the bananas in half and freeze for about 30-45 minutes. Insert the popsicle sticks, then spoon the yogurt all over the bananas. The original recipe says to “dip into the yogurt” but my bananas began falling apart and falling off the stick so I just spooned the yogurt on top. Add the mini chocolate chips for the eyes, then freeze until you are ready to serve!

I also found this Candy Corn Fruit Cocktail recipe! Of course, the link was broken but you can tell what needed to be done by the picture.

What you will need is …

  1. Pineapple chunks (you can used can in natural juice or fresh chopped pineapple)
  2. Mandarin orange segments (you can used can in natural juice or peel & separate small cutie segments)
  3. Whipped topping
  4. Candy Corn (optional)

 

You can use whatever container that works best for you. I’ve seen some in mason jars, but I chose to use small, clear cups (easier for Monte to get his fingers in there). Divide the pineapple chunks evenly on the bottom of your container. Then place the mandarin orange segments evenly among the containers, on top of the pineapple. Place a dollop of whipped cream on top and a piece of candy corn!

 

I absolutely love activity boxes for Mr. Monte! It’s so simple to create a theme and place a bunch of different items into the box, so he can take it to my mom’s house. It keeps him busy and I think he enjoys all the goodies he finds ūüôā The other great thing, there is no right or wrong way to create these. You can use whatever items you have lying around. Another great place to look is the Dollar Store and dollar bins at Target!

 

This box includes:

  • Rubber toy skeleton
  • Assorted bugs such as spiders, butterflies, etc.
  • Small orange pumpkin
  • Several short Halloween books
  • A couple Halloween sticker books
  • Foam sheets (to put stickers on)
  • Halloween magic paint book

 

Everything was purchased from Michael’s or I already had it lying around the house!

What items would you add to your Halloween Activity Box?

 

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Rolls

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. I know it’s not Monday, but my week usually starts on Tuesdays ūüôā

Anyways, I want to share another awesome fall recipe I found on Pinterest. I made it Sunday morning for breakfast. It was such a beautiful day Sunday that we sat outside and enjoyed our rolls out on the patio.

While I was baking Monte enjoyed himself, while reading a People Magazine ūüôā

I found this recipe here. Of course I added a little something to change it up a bit!

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Rolls

Ingredients

Rolls

2 packages/cans  crescent rolls

4 0z cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

Frosting

4 oz softened cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon canned pumpkin

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll crescent rolls to form 4 rectangles. Pinch the seams together to create one large rectangle.

2. Place the cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon into the mixer. I also added some dried cranberries! Beat it until it is well combined.

3. Split the mixture evenly among the rectangles and spread until about 1/2 inch from the edge.

4. Starting at the long end, roll them up and then cut into 1 inch pieces. I was able to get 3 small rolls out of each rectangle.

5. Place the rolls around 2 – 9 inch cake pans, sprayed with cooking spray. Place them along the edges, leaving the middle open so they can expand.

6. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, mix up the ingredients for the frosting in a mixer until well combined.

7. When the rolls are done baking, pull them out and frost the rolls immediately so the frosting can melt on top of the rolls. Let them cool for about 10 minutes.

These cinnamon rolls are pretty small, but I really only needed 1 pan instead of 2. If it’s only going to be 2-3 people you can probably get by with halving the recipe.

I hope you enjoy them!!

Fall Off the Bone Apple Butter Ribs

I made an awesome crock pot recipe this weekend that I want to share with all of YOU!

I made Apple Butter Ribs! They were delish and perfect for our entrance into fall.

Ingredients 

  • 7 lbs Pork Baby Back Ribs
  • (1) Vidalia Onion
  • (2) Apples
  • 2 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tsp Nutmeg
  • (2) 16 oz jars Apple Butter
  • Salt and Pepper

Serves about 5 people, using 2 crock pots.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your ribs by lightly sprinkling salt and pepper on each side. Place onto a cookie sheet. You may have to cut your slab of ribs in half and use more then one cookie sheet depending on how big the slabs are.

We purchased our ribs from a local place called B & B Grocery Meat & Deli. They always have the best meat available and also have some AWESOME sandwiches to try out!

2. After the oven is preheated place the slabs into the oven for 7 minutes each side. This browns the ribs and reduces the fat.

3. While they are browning wash and chop your onion and apple. I used an apple corer/slicer for my apple to create wedges.

4. Once the ribs are done browning sprinkle both sides of the ribs with nutmeg. I generously sprinkled each side, it may have been more then 2 teaspoons.

5. Take about 1/4th of your onion and apple slices and layer on bottom of crock pot. Place one slab of ribs. Then layer another 1/4th of onion and apple slices. Place another slab of ribs.

6. Open one jar of apple butter and mix in 1 tsp of minced garlic. You may use more depending on how garlicky you want it.

We purchased Apple Butter from a local place too! Iowa Orchard is located in Urbandale and has cider, pies, apples, apple butter, BBQ sauces, and more! They also have nectarines, sweet corn, and other produce available through out the year. Pumpkins will also be available very soon!

7. Pour the apple butter mixture over the ribs so each slab is covered. Put lid on and set at low for 8-10 hours.

8. Repeat with the second batch in the second crock pot.

I put these in the crock pot, on low 8-10 hours at about 10 am. At about 3 pm they were cooked thoroughly. We were not ready to eat yet, so I turned the crock pots to warm.

When I got everything ready to eat, the meat was literally falling off the bone! My house smelled amazing and the ribs tasted delish!

I took two glass bowls and split the ribs up into each bowl, then spooned out the sauce, onion, and apples and poured it all over the ribs.

What is your favorite crock pot recipe?

DSM Activities & Events 9/12-9/18

1. Welcome Back to Walnut Street 

When and Where: Friday 11 am Р1:30 pm, Walnut Street between 6th & 7th Street

What: This is the last Welcome Back to Walnut Street of the summer! Walk along and check out all the food vendors, and live music during your lunch break. The Des Moines Ballet will also be performing! Check out here for more information and the names of specific vendors!

2. Science Center Family Night 

When and Where: Friday 5-8 pm at the Science Center of Iowa

What: Bring the whole family to the Science Center, $5 for general admission. During this time do several activities including building a rocket, check out the I-MAX theater and much more! The Science Center cafe, The Food Chain, also has food specials available. For more information check out the Science Center of Iowa.

3. Beaverdale Fall Festival 

When: Friday 7 am – 11 pm & Saturday 7:30 am – 11 pm

What: Located in the Beaverdale area, come out for live music, a carnival, activities, food and more! Friday evening there will be fireworks and Saturday morning there will be a parade starting at 10 am. Entrance into the festival is FREE! Check out their official site for maps and more information regarding vendors here.

4. Iowa State vs. Iowa Football Game 

When and Where: Saturday @ 5 pm at Jack Trice Stadium

What: The Iowa State Cyclones (0-1) will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1) in the annual Cy-Hawk game! If you do not have tickets to watch it in Ames this year, a lot of bars in the Des Moines area will be offering specials for the game. Get dressed up, meet up with friends, and watch the game! Check out this weeks Datebook for specific Hawkeye fan bars and Cyclone fan bars!

5. Free Cheerleading Clinic 

When and Where: Saturday 10 am – 12 pm at Apex Athletics in Johnston

What: Do you have an aspiring cheerleader on your hands? This would be the perfect opportunity for your little one to learn more about cheering and tumbling. This is for kids ages 3 and up. This clinic is free! Go here to pre-register! Also, while registering check out all of the other awesome classes they offer!

6. Des Moines Renaissance Faire

When: Saturday 10 am Р6 pm & Sunday 10 am Р6 pm

Where and What: This is the FINAL weekend of the Renaissance Faire! Get out to Sleepy Hollow Sports Park where the Renaissance Fare is being held! Lots of food, entertainment, and activities. There is surely something for everyone! For more information check out their official website here.

7. Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine

When: September 14 & 15 and September 20-22

Where: Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum

What: This starts this weekend! There may be some tickets still available, so if you are interested check it out! Take a ride on Thomas and meet Sir Topham Hatt! Check out the official website here for more information and to purchase tickets.

8. Art in the Barn

When and Where: Sunday 4- 7 pm at Simpson Barn in Johnston

What: Come out to Simpson Barn and enjoy wine and cheese! This event is to help raise money for the Johnston Public Library. Last year, they raised $3,500 and used it towards purchasing computers for the children’s section in the library. This year there will be even more artists displayed! You can purchase tickets at Hy-Vee or the Johnston Public Library for $20. For more information check it out here.

 

PLAN AHEAD …

1. World Food & Music Festival

When: September 20th – 22nd, Friday & Saturday 11 am -10 pm, Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

Where: Historic East Village

What: Great event for the whole family! Free to attend. $1 samples all entrees are $5 or less. Check out the live music and cooking demonstrations! For more information check out their official website here.

2. White Christmas

When: December 10th – 15th

Where: Des Moines Civic Center

What: Yes, the holiday season is just around the corner! Tickets go on sale for this classic on September 23rd at 9 am!

Veggie Loaded Pasta for Meat Lovers

There has been another heat wave in the Midwest! Thankfully, it rained a little last night. When I went outside for work this morning, I could feel a difference in the air. There is a cool down coming our way! BRING ON FALL!!

Last night was Monte’s first night back to Kindermusik and he had so much fun! I cannot explain how much I love the Kindermusik program. I will definitely have to write and tell you more about it soon!

Afterwards, since it was so hot, we stopped at the local YoGo, a serve your own yogurt bar. It was sooooooo yummy and felt great on such a hot evening.

I have an awesome new-ish recipe for you! I must say I am pretty proud of myself because I did not follow a certain recipe to create this concoction. It’s loaded with veggies and meat, so it makes everyone happy ūüôā

You can pretty much put whatever you want into this dish, but this is what I used.

Ingredients 

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 carrot
  • chopped mushrooms (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 jar of Newman’s Own Italian Sausage & Peppers
  • 1 box of Veggie Pasta

Directions

1. Grate your carrot and zucchini and chop up your mushrooms. Set aside.

2. Start a pot of boiling water for your noodles.

3. Brown ground beef with a little olive oil, until it’s a little pink. Then drain the grease.

4. Next, add your grated and chopped veggies to the ground beef. Let saute for awhile.

5. At this point, your water should be boiling for your veggie noodles. Go ahead and boil the noodles until they are al dente.

6. Add your sauce to pan with ground beef and veggies, cover, and let cook for a bit longer.

7. Drain noodles, and place into pan with ground beef, veggies, and sauce. Cover.

8. I turned off my burner and let sit, so it would cook the noodles a bit longer and stay warm until the hubby came home.

9. Top with a little mozzarella cheese and enjoy!

The hubby and I enjoyed this dish, but Monte was being a picky eater again. He ate some of the noodles and the shredded cheese off the top of it. I’m for sure any other toddler would like this, but Monte is going through this weird eating stage ūüôĀ Anyways, the dish is even better as leftovers!

Do you guys have any problems feeding a toddler? How do you get your toddlers to eat?!? 

National Trail Mix Day

I should have posted yesterday, but I was a little busy with some Nebraska Football (I will share details in a bit) …. Yesterday was National Trail Mix Day!

Earlier this week, while grocery shopping, I purchased some yummy, satisfying, toddler friendly goodies to create a trail mix that Monte could NOT resist! Monte may be 19 months old, but he is a 19 month old with ONLY 8 teeth! So, when feeding him things I’m still a little weary on giving him granola, nuts, etc. Common things you would find in trail mix.

I came across these Gerber Graduate Yogurt Melts. Perfect!

I also included …

  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Colored Marshmallows
  • Assortment of different Goldfish flavors (whole wheat, S’mores, and regular)

Yes, I know this is not the healthiest trail mix, but a good afternoon snack. I did not measure anything out, just added a little of each one until it filled up my container. Then I did a bit of shaking to get it all mixed up!

I love this storage container, because I can just pour a small amount in Monte’s snack cup and the rest will stay nice and fresh.

Saturday was kick off to college football and I spent the day in Lincoln, Nebraska! I absolutely LOVE Lincoln on game day. It is the best place to be to cheer on the Huskers! My friends and I had a blast and the good ‘ol Husker pulled off a win!

The sea of red!!!!!

Luckily, it’s Labor Day weekend and most of us get an extra day to relax. I really missed Monte this weekend, so I am excited to spend the day with him and Travis tomorrow.

What are your Labor Day plans?

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Random Goodness

It’s been a bit since I have posted so I have lots or randomness to share!

1. Iowa State Fair and Alan Jackson Concert

I went to the final day at the Iowa State Fair Sunday (kid-less and husband-less) and had so much fun! We spent most of our time at the Iowa Craft Beer tent, but we did leave to check out all of the award winning animals too. I tried the famous Shrimp Corn Dog which was amazing! I also got a cup of chocolate chip cookies, had some chili/cheese fries and an apple cookie. Needless to say I was NOT feeling well on Monday!

The Alan Jackson concert was also great! My cousin, Kristin and I saw Alan Jackson last year in Cedar Rapids. We decided to go see him again (maybe this will become a yearly tradition?!)  Gary Allan opened up for him, which I had never seen in concert and he was also great. Kristin and I had a lot of fun dancing and singing along. The night ended with an awesome fireworks display at the grandstand. Perfect way to end the 2013 Iowa State Fair.

2. I like Kombucha 

I have tried Kombucha several times and  have not been too impressed, but I was at Whole Foods the other day and decided to pick up another bottle.

Guava Goodness is the one that won me over! If you are not a fan of Kombucha yet, give Guava Goodness a chance because it yummy! It also gave me a boost of energy and is probably a bit healthier then another cup of coffee. I know there are health benefits of Kombucha, but not sure of them all. I also know it’s pretty easy to make. I definitely need to look into this further!

3. Pumpkin Apple Muffins 

Because of the cooler weather last week, I was getting super excited for fall stuff, BUT of course this week it has been between 90-100 degrees out again! URGH! Anyways, I made these Monday morning for my very special guests! They turned out great! You can find the original recipe here.

I made some alterations which you can follow below!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower Oil
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 cups apples, chopped

I omitted the streusel topping all together 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line muffin tin with paper liners
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the oil, maple syrup, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla to the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the hot water and the apples until evenly distributed.
  6. Spoon batter into muffins tins.
  7. Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.
  8. Remove to wire rack to cool.

4. My baby got his first haircut last week ūüôĀ¬†

Yepp, his baby mullet is no longer!

He did an okay job at first sitting in the chair with his cape, but shortly got antsy. No screaming and crying though! Overall, we were pretty happy with the experience!

Doesn’t he look like such a big boy?!?

5. Go to Pier 1 Imports

One of my favorite places to shop is Pier 1 Imports. I love shopping for different decor items for the home. During the fall they always come out with some really cute things! It can be dangerous for me to go in there. Christmas is especially dangerous when they have all of their ornaments and all other sorts of Christmas goodness!

I signed up for their e-mail alerts and this week they sent me a coupon for $5 off $25 or more OR $10 off $40 or more! If you go to their website here, on the front page they have these coupons available for you too! They also have some great sales going on, so go get a head start on your fall and Halloween shopping NOW!

What do you know about Kombucha? What’s you favorite flavor?