Haystack Rice Krispie Treats

As I write this lying in bed on a Saturday morning, I’m debating a few things. A) Do I eat the Trader Joe’s mini peanut butter cups that are lying next to me? (And YES, they are in a package, not loose). B) Do I knock on my wall to let my neighbor know that she’s playing her music too loudly? (I woke up at 7:46 am to “Glory” by Common and John Legend, a magnificent song that is not meant to be used as an alarm clock). C) DO I eat the peanut butter cups??

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See, life is full of hard decisions. But one thing that wasn’t hard to decide was whether or not to make these pumpkin candy corn rice krispie treats. I know that a lot of people think candy corn is disgusting, considering that it’s carnauba wax and all, but so are sprinkles, people. And we eat those all the time. Plus I love candy corn, especially when it comes in the pumpkin shape because that means more to bite into. Pumpkin candy corn also brings up fond childhood memories of trick-or-treating on my block. The elderly couple who (is it who or that in this context? I never know) lived across the street used to hand out small zippy bags filled with popcorn and a couple pumpkin shaped carnauba treats. I never saw them anywhere else so I thought that the couple was especially cool for having the hookup.

You might be a-wondering why I added vanilla to the pre-existing rice krispie recipe. That’s because vanilla is already the prominent flavor in marshmallows and candy corn, so the extract enhances it and makes the end result more robust.

Also, how cute are these pumpkin Peeps?! I’ve always been into Peeps, so they were an exciting find for me.

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INGREDIENTS:

6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

4 cups mini marshmallows (these melt more easily than the large ones)

3 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Orange food dye (just enough to make the marshmallow-butter mixture slightly orange so that it looks more hay-like)

1 bag pumpkin shaped candy corn

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DIRECTIONS:

Spray a 9×13 inch pan with non stick spray.

Melt butter in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Don’t turn the heat too high, or the butter and/or marshmallows will burn. Once the butter is melted, add in the marshmallows. Stir until a shiny, smooth mixture has formed. Add the orange food dye and vanilla, and stir until evenly distributed. Remove from heat.

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Add in the rice krispies, and stir until combined. Move mixture into the 9×13 pan, and press down using wax paper or an off set spatula that’s been sprayed with non-stick spray. Push the pumpkin candy corn into the top of the krispies. Let cool.

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Using a sharp knife, cut into squares that are the size that YOU WANT THEM TO BE.

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkins are amazing. They’re beautiful, have a long shelf life, and most importantly, they can become pie. I try to pretend that pumpkin pie is at least moderately healthy since it’s made out of a squash-like fruit (naturally ignoring the fact that this fruit sits on top of a buttery crust and is topped with heaping dollops of whipped cream). Pumpkin pie is also among the easiest to make if you use canned pumpkin and a ready-made pie crust. Though I normally make it this way for Thanksgiving since I would be insane to attempt anything more elaborate while making all of the other desserts that the holiday entails, I do enjoy using fresh pumpkin when I have the time.

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So, today, I peeled, seeded, and cubed a sugar pumpkin that I picked off the vine* at Hank’s Pumpkintown out east. This is the most time consuming part of making pumpkin pie from scratch; pumpkins are relatively easy to peel (using a knife, not a vegetable peeler), but they can be tough to cut through. After steaming the pumpkin, I put it in the food processor, which you will notice in the following picture, has been in my family since formica countertops were in vogue.

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I also made the crust from scratch using Martha Stewart’s pie crust recipe, which can be found on her website: http://www.marthastewart.com/344292/our-favorite-pie-crust … This was my first attempt at truly crimping the crust; please forgive any glaring crimping errors. The original recipe for the pie filling hails from Libby’s, the brand of canned pumpkin that my family always uses. I altered it slightly to omit cloves and include nutmeg. I also used a little of the extra pie crust to make a jack-o-lantern face, which I put on top of the pie about halfway through baking.

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Original Recipe: https://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/18470/libbys-famous-pumpkin-pie/

*full disclosure, my friend Sam kicked it off the vine for me… did you know that pumpkin vines are super prickly??

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

large eggs

15 oz. pumpkin puree (a little less than 2 cups)

1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk

unbaked 9-inch deep-dish pie shell

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

Pour filling into pie shell.

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Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees; bake for 20 minutes or until slightly firm, then apply jack-o-lantern face to the center of the pie. Continue baking for another 20-30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving (unless you don’t like whipped cream, in which case I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOUR LIFESTYLE).

 

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Enjoy!

Leslie

Halloween Cards

My mom has always been very into rubber stamping and making her own greeting cards, so it’s not a huge surprise that I’m interested in crafting as well. I normally focus more on scrapbooks than on greeting cards, but this year I was in the mood to make something cute to send to friends for Halloween. Though some of my best friends live nearby, a few of them live across the country or even on a different continent. Since I won’t see them for the holiday, I thought it would be nice to show I’m thinking of them by sending a card.

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I used a rubber stamp for one of the cards, but for the most part I relied on pre-packaged Halloween paper kits and appropriately themed ribbon. I used double stick adhesive tape and brads to bind the materials together. You may have noticed that most, if not all, of these cards have glitter on them. I used a pigment pen and embossing powder to achieve this look (though some of the paper came with glitter already adhered). You can find all of these items at your local craft store, such as an AC Moore or a Michael’s.

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Happy crafting!

Leslie