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Bake, Make, and Decorate a Haunted Brownie House

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Bake, Make and Decorate a Haunted Brownie House

This #SpooktacularSnacks tutorial to Bake, Make and Decorate a Haunted Brownie house featuring Betty Crocker™ Brownies and the Multipack Halloween PEEPS® was so much fun to create. To find the Multi Pack of Halloween treats your going to have to get on in to Target, head back the best section in the store (HOLIDAYS) and look for the baking area, that's where you'll find them! I made a handy photo collage to help you out.

where to find them

It would be fun to make this with a group of kids like at school parties, home parties, even birthday parties on or around Halloween. And because it's not TOO simple it's better for older kids, who believe it or not still want to do fun, creative things with their parents.  While not particularly for younger kids to make, I'm sure making the house yourself and letting younger kids decorate it would be a lot of fun too. 

Bake, Make and Decorate a Haunted Brownie House

There was a lot of conversation about how demolished the house should look and how "pretty" it should be, but in the end I let my kids have fun with the frosting, and let my feelings about "pretty and perfect" go. Why? because they're growing up and I want to create GOOD memories with them, to be so relaxed about the decorating was a real pleasure for me, and them I'm sure!

Bake, Make, and Decorate a Haunted Brownie House
1 hour of actual work spread out over several hours(also depends on kids who help)
serves many, many people, roughly 25 

For the Brownie House you will need

  • 2 Betty Crocker Fduge Brownie Mixes and the eggs, oil and water called for
  • 2 Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mixes(other flavors would work as well) and the water and oil called for 
  • 2 or 3 cans of Betty Crocker Chocolate Frosting
  • Halloween Peeps MultiPack Available only at Target 
  • other assorted items for decorations such as caramels, gummy worms, wafer cookies, graham crackers,  clean tree branches (if desired)
  • toothpicks for securing walls, roofs and generally making it more stable
  • a branch from the yard if you want to make a tree

to bake the brownies and cookies

  • preheat the oven to 350˚
  • butter a 9x13 baking pan and 9x9 baking pan
  • mix both brownie mixes together with the needed eggs, oil and water
  • divide evenly between the two pans and bake the 9x13 for about 27 minutes and 9x9 about 38 minutes
  • cool completely 
  • while the brownies are cooling mix the cookie mixes together with their needed ingredients
  • press them in the bottom of an 11x7 pan 
  • bake for 9-11 or until done 
  • cool completely 
These should be done in advance of actually constructing the Brownie House because they need to cool before construction begins 
cookie base

To Build 

  • cut the 9x13 pan of brownies into roughly 1x2 inches rectangles saving the edges for the upper roof supports if needed, as seen in the picture below

cutting brownie bricks

  • decide how and where you want to house to sit on your cookie base layer 
  • begin building the house and using frosting between the layers
  • we found it easiest to frost the bottom of the brownies and then nestle them into place
  • build it as tall as you'd like it to be


Then comes the roof, which is a challenge in any gingerbread house construction!

  • we laid graham crackers across it to make it flat and then built a peak out of grahams and covered it with, you guessed, it more grahams
  • then we cut the corners off the 9x9 square pan and filled in the peaks at both ends
  • BUT really this tutorial is to inspire you so build it how YOU would like it to be so with that in mind here are some ideas to make it different than ours-use ice cream cones as turrets for a creepy haunted castle, make the roof flat like a crypt, or make a very decrepit haunted house with part of it's roof blown off
  • when I make gingerbread houses I make a cardboard roof and cover it with frosting a cookies but my kids wanted real and edible, no cardboard 
  • the one point I insisted on was placing strategic toothpicks in and around the walls to make it as secure as possible, they acquiesced

Bake, Make and Decorate a Haunted Brownie House

To Decorate
  • to make a tree branch into a tree, unwrap a caramel and warm it with your hands, roll into a ball and poke the branch in and then press it onto the unfrosted cookie
  • then frost the entire cookie so your fun additions will stay in place--the best part of using soft frosting for this part? if someone accidentally plops something down and then changes their mind you can easily pull it back off, frost over and move on with it
  • now it's time to decorate----this is where I really turned the kids loose and stepped back, I only advised and took pictures 
I love how it turned out, don't you? 

Bake, Make and Decorate a Haunted Brownie House


How do you create good memories with your tweens? The Betty Crocker site has a lot of great ideas for fun with kids.

Friday Frenzy

 Welcome to the Friday Frenzy!

Friday Frenzy

Close to HomeMostly Food and CraftsHey, What's For Dinner Mom? and Sizzling Eats welcome you to FRIDAY FRENZY where we come to share your Recipes, Craft projects, and whatever else you've been working on. When you link up to the Frenzy your posts will be featured on all four of our blogs for quadruple the exposure. Each week we'll showcase a few of our favorites from the week before, and pin them on our Friday Frenzy Pinterest Board as well.

Please follow your hosts
Maria from Close to Home Facebook Twitter Google+
Amy from Sizzling Eats Facebook | Twitter 
  • Please visit the posts in the linky that are listed as HOST, and at least two links from your fellow bloggers. We all love visits and comments on our blogs, so share the love. Moreover, if you get a visit from a fellow party-goer, please return the favor and visit them back.
  • We would love for you to add a link back to the party in your post, or a party page. We want your creative friends to join us too!
  • By linking up to this party, you're giving authorization for your submission to be featured with a photo and a link back to your blog, hopefully sending some readers your way.


One Bowl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, a last gasp at #Choctoberfest

YES it can be done, one bowl quick bread! I know, I know it's well documented in every painful quick bread recipe that to make quick bread you MUST use one bowl for wet, one for dry, one bowl to mash bananas and then add them all alternately to each other, while chanting the recipe backwards in old fantronica. But that's just not true, you can perfectly wonderful, moist, well risen banana bread in one bowl.

How? How, you ask?? I can share that with you. 
The secret to making this bread is freezing your overripe bananas and then thawing them out to use in the recipe. They pretty much liquefy upon thawing so no nee to mash, to squeeze them out int the bowl and you're off to the races.

Why do I care about cutting down to one bowl?? People I wash dishes by hand, fine I lie my HUSBAND washes most of the dishes around here, but still I hate to add to the pile when I'm baking. As a side note I'd like it be known that when he's at work I DO wash dishes. Anyway, whenever I can cut down on dishes I am happy to do so. And making Banana Bread in one bowl works, it really does.

You will also need something to melt the butter but hey put the butter in your non metal mixing bowl, pop it in the microwave and you're golden. Alas we don't have one of those either, but this is all by choice!

One Bowl Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
makes 2 loaves
oven 350˚

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup of Imperial Sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3-4 overripe bananas that have been frozen and then thawed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 buttermilk
2/3 cup of mini chocolate chips

preheat the oven to 350˚
lightly grease two 8x4 loaf pans
melt the butter, let it cool but not solidify, then stir in the sugar
beat in the eggs, vanilla and cinnamon
next cut the tip off each thawed banana and squeeze into the bowl
stir to combine
sprinkle the flour over the top of the banana mix, then sprinkle on the salt and soda
stir to combine, don't beat it just stir it
then add the buttermilk stirring to combine, again not beating just mixing it in, it will be lumpy and unpretty, if there are still floury spots stir a little longer
stir in the chocolate chips
divide between the loaf pans and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out moist but without crumbs
cool for ten minutes then remove from the pan
wrap each loaf in saran wrap while still warm to keep all that lovely moisture in
this is best eaten the next day as the flavors will have developed more but warm with a dab of butter never hurt anyone either

Check out all the other AMAZING #Choctoberfest recipes
And be SURE to enter the mega chocolate giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway


Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate Mix for #Choctoberfest

I ran out of hot cocoa mix ages ago and because it was the. best. summer. ever. I never bought any to replace it. And I shouldn't really because homemade hot chocolate mix is so easy to whip up, just a little cocoa powder, a little sugar, pinch of salt and sift, stir into warm milk, done.

For fall though I thought I'd make it spicy and sumptuous by adding the favorite flavors of fall, cinnamon, cardamom, fresh nutmeg and a hint of cloves. This easy to put together Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate Mix hits the spot in smell and flavor on these now cool fall evenings. And because it's made with real milk not milk powder you can make it vegan or allergy friendly with your choice of dairy alternatives. As an added bonus you can absolutely make this hot chocolate mix for a gift, in fact I highly recommend it!

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate Mix

2/3 cup of Imperial Sugar, use vanilla sugar if you have it
2 TBSP Cocoa Powder
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of salt

mix all ingredients
then 2-3 times to remove all lumps
store in an airtight container
to make hot chocolate
mix 1 1/2 TBSP Hot Chocolate Mix in 8 ounces of warmed milk
stir to combine
top with whipped cream if desired

Want to WIN a huge chocolate prize? Enter for you chance...

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to see what everyone ELSE is posting for #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar? Check it out!


Texas Sheet Cake Cookies for #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar

When I first started thinking about WHAT to make for this crazy, crazy as in awesome, week of #Choctoberfest I could not get Texas Sheet Cake out of my head. Why? I guess I wanted a chance to make something I'd never eaten before and that not everyone else would be making. I wanted new and different to eat and to share for #Choctoberfest, I found what I was looking for in Texas Sheet Cake Cookies.

I'd only ever made a Texas Sheet Cake once but I swear it was the most chocolaty chocolate thing I'd ever made. And I didn't even get to eat any of it, I was simply handed a recipe and asked if I could make it for a luncheon. I did and I drooled over it but because it would look funny to deliver a "sheet" cake with a piece cut out of it, I stayed out of it. When #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar came along I knew it was the perfect opportunity to make that recipe again, except by this time I'd lost the recipe, no worries there, off to the Internet I went.

There are roughly a gazillion recipes for Texas Sheet Cake, I looked at all of them but once you've seen a half a gazillion you've seen them all. One recipe by Cookies and Cupcakes caught my eye though because it made 24 cookies instead of an entire cake and that seemed a smart way to make lunch box treats for kids AND get ooey gooey Texas Sheet Cake in one fell swoop. So I settled on the Texas Sheet Cake Cookies and got to work gathering ingredients, luckily our awesome #Choctoberfest sponsor Imperial Sugar sent me plenty of sugar to work with.

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies
oven 350˚
makes about 24

cookie dough
1/2 cup+2 TBSP softened butter, divided
scant 2/3 cup Imperial Sugar, vanilla sugar is even better
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup butter
1 TBSP cocoa powder
1 TBSP milk
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar

to make cookies
preheat oven to 350˚
melt the 2 TBPS of butter, a scant 1/3 cup of sugar and the cocoa powder together just until melted then let it cool
meanwhile cream the remaining 1/2 cup butter and the full 1/3 cup sugar together until light and fluffy
beat in the egg and vanilla
in a separate bowl mix the the baking soda, salt and flour
stir into the sugar mixture
then add the cocoa mix and stir until well mixed
line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper
drop the dough by TBSP onto the lined baking sheets, making about 24 cookies
bake each sheet 7-8 minutes or until just starting to set, don't over bake or burn them
let them cool on the sheets for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack
keep your baking sheets to place the iced cookies back on so they can be put some where to let the icing set up
when the cookies are cool make the icing, it does set up so don't make it before hand
to make the icing whisk the the butter, cocoa powder and milk together over medium heat until melted and mixed together
remove from the heat and add the powdered sugar stirring to combine
gently take each cookie and dip the top in the icing and then place it back on the baking sheet to set up
once they've set up gently lift them off the baking sheet and place on a platter or plate
there will be plenty of icing left on the sheet and it makes a tasty treat to pick at, don't waste it
they can be eaten right away but if you want the icing to harden up give them at least 3-4 hours
store them lightly covered but not airtight because the icing will get gummy

Texas Sheet Cake Cookie Dough

Texas Sheet Cake Cookie 

Freshly Dipped Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

And  do not forget to enter to win the mega chocolate prize!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Make sure you check out all the AMAZING #Choctoberfest Recipes linking up today


#Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar


 I am beyond excited today, because it is October 5.... and that means it is the first day of #Choctoberfest!  #Choctoberfest is a virtual event put together by The PinterTest Kitchen. Bloggers from around the world will be posting their favorite chocolate recipes, and you'll get a chance to win some awesome prizes. What's not to love?

 Here's what this event is all about! #Choctoberfest would not be possible without our sponsors, starting with our 2015 Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar has been a trusted name in family kitchens since 1843. Their sugar products and sweeteners are made from non-GMO cane sugar and ensure consistently delicious results. We'll be using Imperial Sugar whenever we use sugar in our recipes this week, and can't wait to share the sweetness with you! You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Make sure you visit the recipes section of their website for some sweet inspiration, and you can also find coupons on their website if you want to try out Imperial Sugar yourself. Imperial Sugar and our other sponsors have banded together to contribute some awesome prizes for our #Choctoberfest giveaway! Entering is simple - just click below to follow us on Pinterest. Here's what you could win:

We also have a nonprofit sponsor this year - Rescue Chocolate! They make vegan chocolate treats and donate 100% of their proceeds to animal shelters. Enter now to win the #Choctoberfest prize. Hurry, because we're picking the winner on October 12 at 8:00 AM, so if you don't sign up before then, you'll miss your chance!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge thank you to all of the other blogs participating in #Choctoberfest 2015. Check out their blogs throughout the week for chocolate recipes you won't be able to resist: The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin' MamasA Day in the Life on the FarmAloha FlavorAmy's Cooking AdventuresAngels HomesteadBalancing MotherhoodBless this MessBusy-at-HomeChocolate SlopesCoconut & LimeColie's KitchenCookaholic WifeCooking In StilettosCooking With LibbyCookistryCopyKat RecipesCravings of a LunaticCrumbs in my MustachioCulinary CoutureCupcakes Take The CakeDeliciously SavvyEat It & Say YumFairyburgerFamished Fish, Finicky SharkFarm Fresh FeastsFood Hunter's Guide to CuisineFull Belly SistersGet Off The Couch and CookGrumpy's HoneybunchHey What's for Dinner Mom?Honey and BirchI Can Cook ThatJane's Adventures in DinnerJessie WeaverLife on Food Life, Love, and Good FoodMajorly DeliciousMoore or Less Cooking Food BlogMother Would KnowOr Whatever You DoPoet in the PantryRecipes Food and CookingRhubarb and HoneySassy Southern YankeeSavory TartSeduction in The KitchenSerena LissySumptuous SpoonfulsTake Two TapasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeThatsSoYummyThe Chonchudo FilesThe Crumby CupcakeThe Dinner-MomThe Saucy SouthernerThe Spiced LifeThe Spiffy CookieThe Two Bite ClubThe Weekday GourmetVintage KittyWendy PolisiWhat A Girl EatsWhitBit's Indian KitchenWit Wisdom & FoodZesty South Indian Kitchen

Are you a blogger who is interested in joining us during our next community event?

We'll make sure you get an email about our next blogger event.


Ginger Garlic Roasted Carrots

Huge bumper crop of carrots in the garden this year, lots and lots of carrots. Matanuska Susitna Valley carrots are the best, amitright? Seriously the long days and short cool nights make for the best carrots in the world, if you don't believe me come on up and we'll give you some! They're so good that once mine are gone, and the local grown carrots in the store run out, we don't usually eat carrots until our garden produces again.

Anyway bumper crop means that I've got carrots still in the garden and the fridge is full up, just eating them raw isn't going to cut it. We need to eat more so we can get the rest out of the garden before it snows for real, which is imminent. (I hope! We've had a little teaser snow but we're all hopeful that a real and hearty snow is coming for us this winter.) Now is the great time to cook these perfect, crispy sweet carrots and this recipe for Ginger Garlic Roasted Carrots is the perfect way to put fresh Matanuska Susitna Valley carrots on the table in a whole new way. If you don't have fresh new carrots to use feel free to use any carrots you happen to have to hand just trim them down

Ginger Garlic Roasted Carrots

1 TBSP olive oil
1 teaspoon Gourmet Gardens Garlic cooking paste
1 1/2 teaspoons Gourmet Gardens Ginger cooking paste
1 teaspoon Gourmet Gardens Lemon Grass cooking paste
1 pound clean smaller sized carrots, about the size of your pinky finger, if you use bigger carrots just trim to carrot sticks (or cook longer)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

mix the oil, garlic, ginger and lemon grass in a one gallon non zip baggie or a mixing bowl
add cleaned carrots
let marinate 20 minutes
preheat oven to 400˚
lightly grease a baking pan
pour the marinated carrots on the greased pan, spread to a single layer, sprinkle with salt
roast at 400˚ for 10 minutes, then flip them and roast for 8-10 minutes more or until done
done in this instance means cooked enough to eat but still has a bit of bite to it, definitely not cooked until mushy