Sous Chef Sunday: Apple Pie Taquitos

I can’t think of anything more American to devour on Thanksgiving than an ooey-gooey heap of caramelized apples piled into a crispy, buttery crust.

A good apple pie can be oh-so-good, but a bad one, well, it’s just flat out depressing.

Unfortunately a lot can go wrong when it comes to the classic dessert, and I’ve yet to find/perfect a solid pie crust recipe. But the sons and I have found a way to still get our festive fix.

All the makings of a great apple pie, in a fun taquito shape. Apple Pie Taquitos. It’s genius!

And, again, it’s fun. And the sons and I are all about some fun. Serve em up warm from the oven with a drizzle of caramel syrup and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delicious dessert you’ll really be thankful for!

Apple Pie Taquitos

Apple Pie Taquitos

recipe adapted from Jo Cooks

1 20 oz can of apple pie filling
12 medium soft tortillas
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
caramel syrup, optional


1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar on a plate.
2. Empty the can of pie filling onto a cutting board and chop up the apples into bite-sized pieces.
3. Lay a tortilla flat and top with about 3 tablespoons of the apple pie filling. Tightly roll up the tortilla. Brush the outsides of the taquito with butter, then roll it in the sugar/cinnamon mixture to coat the outside. Place the taquito in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas and apple pie filling.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the taquitos start to get golden on top. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

Butterfinger Brownie Cookies

When I was a kid, right after trick or treating on Halloween, my sisters and I would sit down in the middle of the living room floors, dump out all of our candy, take inventory, and then get down to completing the very important candy trading. You know… I’ll give you my Milky Way for your Twix Bar? There were a few candy bars that I always wanted to have in my stash, including… Butterfinger. I wanted them all. Crispety, crunchy, peanut buttery goodness covered in chocolate. I love ‘em which is why I decided they belonged in another favorite of mine…. cookies.


These amazing buttery chock-full-of-Butterfinger cokies are suuuuper yum. Like, beyond yum. Freakishly yum. Yum, yum, yum. Risking life and limb, I had to hoard the last dozen or so just so I could take pictures of them so I could post the recipe. No one knows exactly what happened to those cookies after pictures were taken. Reports are mixed and slightly fuzzy.


Did your kids manage to scare up way too many sweets this year? Instead of hauling all of that leftover Halloween candy into the office or hiding it in a drawer, turn it into this amazing treat. If they didn’t, or as would be my case, aren’t willing to part with their precious butterfingers, hit up the clearance Halloween candy aisle. And if they’re all out, no worries, they’re in stock through out the whole year. 😉

Butterfinger Brownie Cookies

 Butterfinger Brownie Cookies

recipe originally from Recipe Girl

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon All Purpose Gold Medal® Flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chopped Butterfinger candy bars (7.8 ounces)- Roughly 12 fun-size bars


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper.
2. Put butter and chocolate chips in a glass bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then microwave an additional 15 to 20 seconds if needed until the mixture is melted and smooth, or melt in a double boiler.
3. Stir sugar, salt and vanilla extract into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until they are completely incorporated.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda, then add the flour mixture to the chocolate batter. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Give it all you’ve got for a good 2 to 3 minutes of mixing. The batter should be smooth and glossy and thick. If the batter is cooled off, stir in the butterfingers.
5. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter onto your prepared cookie sheets- leaving about 2-inches between cookies as they’ll need space to spread out. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. They’ll spread out and puff up. You want to take them out when they’ve crackled but they’re still soft and gooey. They’ll sink and become more firm as they cool. Wait a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Mummy On A Stick

I love making little holiday themed treats for the sons for snack, and today they came home from school to mummies on a stick. They enjoyed the sugar rush, and they couldn’t have been any easier to make. I love how they turned out!

Aren’t these just adorable?! I can’t help but enjoy it even more when the cute treats are made with everyday products. These are made with frosted twinkes. Who doesn’t love a twinkie?! Put it on a stick, add a frosting coating and a few embellishments and BAM … a super cute Halloween treat!

Mummy on a Stick

I can’t get over it. I mean, how fun are these?


mummy on a stick 2

Son # 4 was thrilled. He got even more excited when he found out he’d be making his own.

It’s not too late to whip up a few for your own little monster(s).

mummy on a stick 3

plain frosting
edible eyes
cake pop, or lollipop, sticks


1. Place the snack cakes in the freezer for 30 minutes or as long as needed so the snack cake is firm.
2. Stick the wooden craft stick in the the snack cake at the bottom. So the snack cake will be vertical on the stick.
3. Frost the Twinkie by covering the front and sides of the snack cake in icing. If you are doing this for a class activity, give each child a paper plate and plastic knife. Have them cover their own snack cake in frosting. No need to cover the back. Just a light coat of frosting is needed
4. We used a rolling pin to flatten the stackermallows. If need be, use powdered sugar to prevent sticking. Using kitchen scissors cut the flattened marshmallow into strips (three strips per marshmallow). If kids will be making these, cut the strips for them. The marshmallow strips will be used as the “rags” of the mummy.
5. Overlap the marshmallow strips on the frosted snack cake at different angles for a wrapped look. If need be, use the icing to “glue” the marshmallows that overlap each other onto the snack cakes. Place the eyes directly on with the icing. Cover the eyes slightly with the marshmallow strips.


Candy Corn Layered Drinks

By this time, I’m pretty sure everybody (well, everybody on Pinterest at least) have seen the 4th of July layered drink recipes floating around the interweb. They’re fun, they’re easy, and the little guys and gals, think you’re a bad-a**, magic wielding Mama when you whip em out at your backyard barbecue. This year, we thought Halloween might want in on a little bit of the action. The drinks couldn’t be any simpler to make and the whole thing revolves around the simplest of scientific terms: density. The more sugar in a liquid, the ‘denser’ it is. By halving the sugar content of layers two and three, we created pretty little (educational) layers. The sons know by now, even if it’s fun, if there’s an opening for any kind of teachable moment, I’m all over it.

Back to the drink though…

Candy corn is a Halloween staple, and though some people love it or hate it, I think everyone can and will enjoy these layered candy corn drinks. The sons got a tickle out of them, especially the younger two. It was also pretty neat to watch the discover each different flavor. Festive and fun? That’s my kind of party.

Aaaand, speaking of parties, layered drinks can be so fun for parties, and there’s no doubt in my mind that these would be perfect for any Halloween party! Serving a crowd? Don’t have time to make multiple individual servings? Follow the same recipe, but make it in a punch jar instead of a glass.

The layers are easily seen up close and personal, but if you really want them to stand out, especially the white top layer, use less yellow and more white.

Candy Corn Layered Drinks

 Candy Corn Layered Drinks

recipe originally from High Heels & Grills

1/3 part Crush (store brands work as long as the sugar content is just as high) orange soda
1/3 part yellow Gatorade
1/3 part zero calorie lemonade Vitamin Water


1. Fill your cup/pitcher/whatever you are using up to the very top with ice.
2. Pour the orange soda in first until you’ve filled about 1/3 of your glass.
3. Next, slowly pour the Gatorade directly on top of the ice and let it trickle down on top of the orange soda until it fills 2/3 of your glass*.
4. Finally, slowly pour the lemonade on top of the ice and let it trickle down on top of the Gatorade.

*Do not stir the liquids or this won’t work.

Sous Chef Sunday: Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

I know, I know, there’s nothing at all healthy about the typical little candy corns I love to over indulge int, but here I can offset all the sugar — a little bit, anyway — with this inspired parfait. The sons have been asking for this all week, for dessert! And any day I can pass off fruit as a delicious dessert, that they actually RE-request, is a great day. And I know there’s those crazies (kidding!) out there who don’t particularly care for candy or sugary sweets. Well, this is a perfect sweet treat for them while still being able to be festive. In all honesty though, candy corn just might be our favorite Halloween treat (well, aside from those fun-size Butterfinger bars) so it makes sense that we’d be all about a candy corn-inspired confection. I mean it’s a fruit parfait that’s every bit as sweet and colorful as the real thing. The best part: they’re super easy to scare up!

Note to self: Monitor the sons when there’s a ratio involved between the fruit portion and the sugary one! They went a little cool-whip happy 😉

Candy Corn Fruit Parfaits

Candy Corn Fruit Parfait

1 cup pineapple chunks in 100% juice (I used 1 Dole fruit cup)
1 cup Mandarin oranges in 100% juice (I used 1 Dole fruit cup)
1 small container of non-fat Cool Whip
2 small bowls or cups to assemble parfaits


1. Strain the pineapples and Mandarin oranges. Spoon half of the pineapple chunks into the bottom of the dish, creating a solid layer.
2. Spoon half of the Mandarin oranges on top of the pineapples.
3. Top with a dollop (obviously the sons and I need to re-visit that definition), or two, of Cool Whip

Easy Chocolate Covered Red, White, And Blue Strawberries

Nanni always has some sort of special treat for the sons at every holiday gathering. Our 4th of July cookout was no exception. When I saw these, I was excited. Talk about taking chocolate covered strawberries to a whole new level! They were absolutely decious and a stunning addition to the table. I can’t wait to make another batch, this time getting the sons involved.

Strawberries dipped in white chocolate, and blue sugar are a fun and easy dessert, and make a perfect patriotic candy for the 4th of July, or the 5th (you know for all the celebratory cookouts all weekend long). It’s not too late to make a batch either, they’re totally last-minute friendly. So whether it’s at some point this weekend, or at next year’s festivities, bring a special sweetness and a hail to the redwhite and blue in celebration of our independence.

Hold on to the recipe though ….. Christmas is 174 days away and these are just as eye catching using green.

Easy Chocolate Covered Red, White, And Blue Strawberries

4 Sons 'R' Us: Red White and Blue Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Strawberries, washed and dried
White chocolate
Blue sugar, edible glitter, or sprinkles (blue sugar is shown in the picture)

Red White and Blue Chocolate Covered Strawberries 2


1. Place blue sugar in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl melt the chocolate, either in the microwave for two minute intervals, stirring in between until totally melted, in a mini crockpot set to low (this will keep it warm for some time and allow you more time to work), or using a double boiler on the stove top. Holding the stem, dip the lower two thirds of the strawberries in the melted white chocolate. Then, dip the lower third of the strawberries in the blue sugar or spoon it onto the strawberry.
3. Place on wax paper or a Silpat and refrigerate until completely cool.

Lucky Charms Blizzard

Another late day again. (shh!) It happens. If you love Lucky Charms & milk, then this fun treat is going to blow. your. mind. Everyone’s favorite marshmallow loaded cereal with ICECREAM! These are absolutely friggin’ addictive delicious. I’m honestly surprised this hasn’t become a ‘thing’, or the next big thing to hit the iconic Blizzard line. These were the perfect ending to our simple, yet ‘taste’ ful St Patrick’s Day meal. Thankfully, I had an extra carton of ice cream because everyone, sons and the Hubs included, came back for seconds. I had to put my foot down at thirds. While our blizzards featured Luck Charms, don’t just stop there. There’s a whole world of possibilities awaiting my fellow DQ lovers. Sub in your favorite treat to the base recipe and enjoy the sure-to-be splendid result.

Lucky Charms Blizzard

4 Sons 'R' Us: Lucky Charms Blizzard

recipe originally from Sweet Treats & More

about 2 cups vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp whipping cream
3/4 cup Lucky Charms Cereal + extra for sprinkling on top
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles + extra for sprinkling on top

4 Sons 'R' Us: Lucky Charms Blizzard


  1. Place ice cream, milk and whipping cream in a blender and blend until smooth (should be thick). Stir in lucky charms cereal and sprinkles with a spoon. Pour into alarge glass (or two small glasses) and sprinkle with additional lucky charms (lots of marshmallows) and sprinkles on top. Serve immediately!
  2. Note this base recipe makes about two large servings. It’s easy to double or to do several batches if feeding a ravenous pack of wolves hungry boys.

Guinness Beef Stew

Yesterday was another successful Saint Patrick’s Day in our house. Sons # 3 & 4 tried in vain, once again, to catch the leprechaun who left them some golden coins, right under their noses, without them noticing. Dinner featured several traditional Irish flavors, as well as some more ‘unique’ St. Paddy’s Day fare. Over the next 3 days I will be sharing the recipes we enjoyed. This Irish stew was a fun, festive way to celebrate the day and all it’s Irish glory. The stout adds the perfect finishing touch to what otherwise, would be a more traditional beef stew. Pair this with a freshly baked loaf of Irish Soda Bread (recipe coming tomorrow) and you’ve got the perfect ‘ode to Irish heritage’ meal.

Guinness Beef Stew

4 Sons 'R' Us: Crockpot Guinness Beef Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
3 lbs beef or lamb stewing meat, cubed
6 cups potatoes, cubed
1 cup turnips, peeled and cubed (optional)
3 cups carrots, sliced or diced
2 cups onions, diced
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups Guinness (or other stout beer)
2 tsp dry thyme
2 whole bay leaves
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 cups beef broth
1/3 cup parsley leaves, minced


1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large skillet, brown meat in small batches and place in the crockpot.
2. Over medium heat add onions to skillet and 1/4 cup water, stir scrapping up bits from bottom of pan and cook 5-6 minutes, or until onions soften.
3. Add spices and beer, bring to a simmer.
4. Remove from heat.
5. Add potatoes, turnips, carrots, and barley to crockpot.
6. Add broth to the crockpot.
7. Add onion mixture and stir well.
8. Cook on low for 6 hours, high for 3 hours.
9. Remove Bay leaves and Serve!

Snow Day Fun

Have you heard of snow cream before? If you have then you’re well aware of it’s magical transformation from plain old pretty white stuff into a deliciously sweet treat. If you haven’t, you simply have to try it One of our absolute favorite Snow Day traditions is making snow cream. The kids love to watch as the snow magically turns into ‘ice’ cream right before their eyes. Sometimes, to preserve the magic, we will even store some extra snow in the freezer to pull out in the summer heat for a cool treat. It’s fast and fun, and the kids love it, even though the texture is different from traditional ice cream.

Once you’ve made this for or with your kiddos, they will be asking for it as soon as the first flake falls whenever winter weather approaches.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Snow Cream

1 cup half and half or milk
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar (adjust to your taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 6 cups clean, freshly fallen snow


1. In a large bowl combine half and half, vanilla extract and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.
2. Stir in snow, a cup at a time, until the ice cream magically forms! Freeze for several minutes if desired before serving.

We’re on Snow Day # 3 here, and I thought I’d share some of our other Snow Day activities that have been keeping us entertained. We made ice ‘marbles’. I thought these were pretty darn cool. Sons 1 & 2 just wanted to watch them explode into a million shards of colorful little ice daggers when dropped from the highest vantage point. We just filled some balloons with water, added in a few drops of food coloring, tied them off and left them outside to freeze.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Ice Marbles

Son # 4 loves bubbles. The older sons wondered what would happen to his blown bubbles in the freezing temps. They had a hypothesis. A little experiment proved their theory to be true. Blown bubbles do in fact freeze when it is freezing outside.

4 Sons 'R' Us: frozen bubbles

And last, but not least, the sons opted out of a snowman this year. Instead, they made a snow car.

4 Sons 'R' Us: snow car

A Candy Cane Craft: Teddy Bear Sleds

I used to look at candy canes and see one of two things. A. cute, simple, and in-expensive tree decorations, or B. something gross I wouldn’t eat and would most likely collect dust in the Christmas bin until next Christmas. Boy, was I missing out! Still inexpensive, candy canes are great for Christmas-time crafts, like these adorable Teddy Bear Sleds. Who wouldn’t be tempted to eat these sledding teddies? They’re just so adorable. The youngest son loved these, so much so that he wouldn’t even eat his for a whole day. He’s never not eaten candy IMMEDIATELY. That’s never happened before, like not in the history of ever.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

These little guys are so ‘bear-y’ cute! Sorry, I couldn’t resist 🙂

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

They’re almost too cute to eat. Almost.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Teddy Bear Sleds

A Candy Cane Craft: Teddy Bear Sleds

fun size snickers bars
mini candy canes
mini teddy grahams
chocolate frosting


1. Attach candy canes to the sides of unwrapped candy bars, using frosting, to look like sleigh rails. Let dry.
2. Again using the frosting, attach 1-2 teddy grahams to the top of the sleigh. Let the frosting dry again.
3. Enjoy your sleigh-riding teddy bears!