Halloween Peanut Butter Popcorn Mix


Since last Thanksgiving, I've really made an effort not to have a ton of complex recipes being made for a party or holiday. When I first started cooking and inviting people over to eat my food, I would sometimes spend 12+ hours in the kitchen preparing.

That's crazy.

I get tired just thinking about it. I also wonder how I ever managed to have so much free time to do that while I currently feel like I have absolutely none! Luckily, over the years, but mainly after last Thanksgiving when prep didn't take me an entire day, I learned to scale back on the intricate recipes and increase the easier to make ones.

This popcorn mix is definitely easy to make and you can even make it up the night before to save yourself a little more time.

Halloween Peanut Butter Popcorn Mix
Adapted from: Wholefully
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    • 3 large packs microwave popcorn
    • 3 cups mini twist pretzels
    • 1 cup Reese’s pieces
    • 1 cup roasted, salted peanuts
    • 1 cup candy corn
    • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
    • ⅓ cup honey
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • ¾ cup peanut butter
    • Halloween colored sprinkles

1. Microwave the popcorn and remove any unpopped kernels.
2. In a large bowl, combine the popcorn, pretzels, peanuts and candy corn.
3. Scoop peanut butter into a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until it is the consistency to be poured.
4. Add butter, honey and sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking frequently until it bubbles up. Whisk constantly and cook for 1 minute more.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat. While whisking, slowly pour the peanut butter into the saucepan.
6. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the popcorn bowl and stir until combined. Spread out onto two large baking sheets lined with wax or parchment paper.
7. Sprinkle immediately with Reeses’s pieces and sprinkles. Allow to set, then break into pieces.

I was a little nervous to try out this recipe because many of the comments said that it didn't work. The original recipe calls for melting the peanut butter into the butter/honey/sugar mixture until it turns into a caramel consistency, but that doesn't work. The peanut butter burns before that can ever happen. 

I decided to go ahead with the recipe but change up how the sauce was prepared. I've worked with melted peanut butter before I knew that would be a much easier route to go than trying to cook it in a saucepan. I think this turned out pretty well. If you want really peanut buttery flavored mix, you could double the sauce recipe as this provides just a light coating. 

Spiderweb Layered Taco Dip


For the Halloween party that we hosted, Tom and I went as the Doctor and Rose from Doctor Who. He had wanted to do this for a while now, so even though Rose is a blonde (and I was blonde for over a decade) I decided to go along with it. I initially planned on wearing a wig but quickly realized that was not at all going to happen. First it was nearly impossible to style and second, it was like wearing a heating pad on my head. No thanks.

For the Halloween lunch at work I wanted a different costume because it didn't make sense to be one half of a couple that wasn't entirely recognizable on their own. I found a mermaid skirt online and knew Ariel was a great choice.

One of the recipes that I made for both parties was this spiderweb seven layer dip. It uses some pretty basic ingredients and is very easy to put together. You just layer each ingredient on top of each other and then draw a spider web in sour cream on top. I had found a package of plastic spiders and couldn't pass up throwing some of them on there as well!

Spiderweb Layered Taco Dip
Inspired by: various pinterest pictures
Servings:8-10 servings
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    • 16 oz. can refried beans
    • 2 tbsp. Low-sodium taco seasoning
    • 16 oz. sour cream, divided
    • 12 oz. fresh salsa, drained
    • 2 cups shredded mexican cheese, divided
    • 12 oz. guacamole
    • plastic spiders

1. In a medium bowl mash together the refried beans and taco seasoning until combined.
2. Spread into a layer in the bottom of a glass dish or pie plate. (Dish should be at least 8x8, pie plate at least 10 inches around)
3. Scoop ⅔ cup of sour cream into a zip top bag and set aside. Spread the remainder of the sour cream on top of the refried beans.
4. Spread the drained salsa on top of the sour cream, followed by 1 ½ cups of the shredded cheese, then the guacamole.
5. Cut one corner of the zip top bag off and squeeze the sour cream into a spider web pattern. Use the remaining ½ cup of cheese to spread around the edges, creating a border.
6. Arrange plastic spiders on top. Serve immediately or can be refrigerated for a few hours before serving. 

If you let this sit too long, the liquid from the salsa will make this watery. I bought fresh salsa and drained it for an hour before adding it to my dish. If you needed to make some of this the night before, you could assemble until step 3 and then continue the next day. 

Shrunken Head Apple Cider


Last weekend was a crazy busy weekend for me. I was hosting a Halloween party on Saturday and then also catering my work lunch on Monday; which meant that I spent Friday night until Sunday late afternoon in my kitchen. It's times like those that I'm glad we're in an apartment because after all of the work it was rather nice to just take 20 or so steps to the bedroom and collapse into bed. I can't even imagine if I had to walk up a flight of steps or something.

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and knew I needed to make it for my Halloween party. It's equal parts creepy and delicious. I had no idea you could do this with apples and now I think it's going to become a Halloween party classic.

Shrunken Head Apple Cider
Inspired by: Martha Stewart
Servings: 10-12 cups
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    • 4 granny smith apples
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 16 whole cloves
    • ½ gallon apple cider
    • 12 oz frozen lemonade concentrate
    • optional: 1 cup spiced rum, whiskey or bourbon
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Peel the apples and slice in half. Remove the seeds and the core.
3. Use a melon baller, vegetable peeler and/or paring knife to carve faces into the apples.
4. Place apple faces onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Squeeze lemon juice on top.
5. Bake for 90 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the cloves into the eye sockets.
6. In a slow cooker, pour the apple cider and lemonade concentrate. Add the apples and turn to keep warm.
7. To serve, pour into glasses and optionally stir in spiced rum, whiskey or bourbon. 

If you aren't sure how to carve the faces, you can check out the link to Martha's website and there is a video showing you, but its pretty easy. You could also easy add in the liquor while it is warming up in the slow cooker, but I'm not a fan of "cooking" alcohol like that.

#ImprovCooking Challenge: Thai Naan Pizza


October's ingredients for the Improv Cooking Challenge are carrots and curry. At first this really threw me because I am not at all familiar with curry. I've tried yellow curries and cooking with curry powder and as much as I'd like to like it, the food just doesn't agree with my taste buds.

Seeing as I host this event, it seemed even more awkward to skip it, so I sat down at the computer and decided that I wasn't allowed to get up until I had found a carrot and curry recipe I could share with you that I even liked.

Turns out that wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I was instantly intrigued by the idea of using red curry paste on naan bread to make a pizza. I know curry can be red, yellow or green and I figured it was worth a try to try another color to see if I liked it better.

Thai Naan Pizza
Adapted from: Fit Mitten Kitchen
Servings:1 naan pizza
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    • 1 naan flatbread

    • 1 tbsp red curry paste
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 tbsp water
    • ⅔ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • ¼ cup thinly sliced bell peppers
    • ⅛ cup thinly sliced red onion
    • ⅛ cup matchstick carrots
    • cilantro, for topping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.In a small bowl stir together the red curry paste, tomato paste and water until thinned.
3. Spread the mixture over the naan, leaving a crust. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
4. Top with the bell peppers, onion and carrots.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and vegetables have softened.
6. Cut into piece and top with fresh cilantro. 

The answer was a resounding yes! I honestly don't think I'm ever going to use pizza sauce on pizza again when I can use this combination of red curry paste and tomato paste. It adds so much more flavor and depth! As you can see from the pictures, I completely forgot to add the cilantro. I remembered half way through the pizza, but by then it was too late to photograph it again. 

I think I've found my new favorite pizza. Seriously! It was that delicious. I love veggies on pizza to begin with, but they were still slightly crunchy and the spice from the sauce...OMG you to try this!

#BundtBakers: Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle


The theme for #BundtBakers for October is "It's Fall Ya'll!"

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. October's host is Teri of The Freshman Cook.

When I think about fall, I think about apples, pumpkin and salted caramel. Individually, they're all great ingredients and at first I planned on using just one or two of them, but then I thought "why not use all three?"

Apple Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Drizzle
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings:12-16 slices
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    • For the Cake:
    • 2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp nutmeg
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 2 eggs
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ½ cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 4 oz. unsweetened applesauce
    • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
    • 4 medium tart-sweet apples, peeled, cored and diced
    • For the Drizzle:
    • ½ cup homemade or storebought salted caramel
    • ¼ cup pecans, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until lightened, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the vanilla, applesauce and pumpkin until combined.
5. Slowly add the flour and mix until just combined. Stir in the diced apples by hand.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter for 1 hour. Use a butterknife to run around the edges of the cake, gently pulling it away from the pan.
8. Place a plate on top of the pan and flip over, inverting the cake onto the plate.
9. Warm up the salted caramel sauce until a pouring consistency and drizzle over the cooled cake. Sprinkle immediately with chopped pecans so they stick to the caramel. Slice and serve! 

The pumpkin flavor is a little hidden, but you can tell it's included in the recipe with how moist the cake is. The apples definitely shine through and you can never go wrong with a salted caramel drizzle! I took this cake into work which was promptly devoured by my coworkers. 


You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

Apple, Pear and Honey Cider Bundt Cake by All That’s Left Are the Crumbs
Bundt Cake de Chocolate Blanco y Moras by La Mejor Manera de hacer
Chestnut Cream Marbled Bundt Cake by I Love Bundt Cakes
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cake by The Freshman Cook
Ginger and Cinnamon Bundt Cake by Los Chatos Chefs
Impossible Pumpkin Pie Bundt by Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
Jack O'Lantern Cake by Palatable Pastime
Persimmon Apple Bundt by Tea and Scones
Pumpkin Pie Bundt by Jane's Adventures in Dinner
Robert E. Lee Bundt Cakeby The Queen of Scones
Spiced Rum Pumpkin Bundt by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Sticky Pecan Pie Bundt by Food Lust People Love

#Choctoberfest: Chocolate Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies


This #Choctoberfest event wouldn't be complete unless I combined chocolate and caramel together in at least one recipe. While I love each individually, there is just something magical that happens when they pair together, especially when you use dulce de leche instead of a standard caramel.

If you missed the recipe yesterday, here is how you make your own dulce de leche caramel sauce, which is so easy and way better than shelling out the sometimes $6 per jar they charge in the stores!

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings:1 dozen cookies
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    • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 ¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
    • 2 eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp cinnamon
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 1 - 1 ½ cups dulce de leche, homemade or storebought

1. Preheat oven to 325 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time until combined, then add in vanilla.
3. Meanwhile, combine flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a medium bowl.
4. Turn the mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour, mixing until just combined.
5. Scoop out dough and roll into a 1 ½ inch ball. Sprinkle with sugar and place on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing each cookie 2 inches apart until all cookies are on the baking sheet.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cracked and still soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on wire racks.
7. Once cooled, spread dulce de leche on the bottom of one cookie and place another cookie on top, creating a cookie sandwich.

Good luck not eating these all at once! 

Don't forget that there is the giveaway to enter! You're running out of time! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crock Pot Dulce De Leche


If you are a fan of caramel, you absolutely must try dulce de leche. It's a thicker, sweeter version of caramel that almost but not really adapts the chewy texture you get from eating a soft caramel candy.

There are a ton of recipes that call for using dulce de leche but it isn't always easy to find in the stores. Even at Wegman's where I can typically find absolutely everything I need and could ever think of, I can only find dulce de leche around the holidays. But this caramel sauce is way too good to limit yourself to only a few months out of the year.

Luckily, you can make it at home with only some very, very basic ingredients and a bit of patience.

Crock Pot Dulce de Leche
Source: Chocolate, Chocolate and More
Servings: 3 cups
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    • 2 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
    • 3 8 oz. mason jars
    • 6 quart crock pot, or larger
1. Divide both cans of sweetened condensed milk into the three mason jars.
2. Wipe the seal of any drips then add lids to mason jars.
3. Place in the crock pot and add enough water so the lids are covered by at least ½ inch of water.
4. Cook on low for 6-10 hours. (Six hours will result in a lighter, thinner caramel and ten hours will produce a darker, thicken caramel.)
5. Turn off the crock pot and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
6. Remove from the crock pot and place on the counter to cool to room temperature.
7. Once cooled, dulce de leche can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

Good luck keeping this in your fridge for four weeks. I guarantee you that you'll find new things to put this sauce on just because it's so tasty you won't be able to stop eating it. Later today I'll be sharing a cookie sandwich recipe with you that I made for #Choctoberfest that includes this super amazing sauce! 

#Choctoberfest: Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Smoothie


#Choctoberfest is in full swing over here on Cookaholic Wife! If you missed yesterday's post, I found the best way to combine your morning coffee AND a filling breakfast.

Some people think that when you chose or are forced to go dairy free it means you miss out on a lot of sweets. While in some cases that's true, I've quickly found that if I'm okay with substituting a smoothie for a milkshake I can still add in tons of delicious flavors. I opted to call this a smoothie versus a milkshake because its much thinner without the thickening agents of the ice cream and milk.

Another sponsor for #Choctoberfest is Barlean's who has a hug variety of awesome, healthy products. Disclaimer: I received Barlean's Chocolate Silk Greens, Essential Woman Omega Swirl Chocolate Mint Flavor  and Butter Flavored Coconut Oil for free to use as part of #Choctoberfest. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

If you have a chocolate craving or an intense sweet tooth, this smoothie is going to satisfy both!

And it's so super easy to make!

Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Smoothie
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: 2
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    • 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk (can be flavored)
    • 2 scoops Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens
    • 1 pint dairy-free cookies and cream ice cream
    • 6 chocolate chip cookies, divided
    • 3 tbsp chocolate sauce
    • sprinkles/jimmies
    • dairy-free whipped cream or coconut whipped cream


1. Combine the almond milk, Barlean’s Chocolate Silk greens, ice cream and 4 cookies together in a blender. Blend until fully combined.
2. Pour chocolate sauce on a plate and swirl the rims of two glasses through it.
3. Pour sprinkles on a plate and swirl the chocolate coated glasses through them, creating a candy crust.
4. Pour the blended mixture into the glass, top with a dollop of whipped cream and a cookie.

Optional: to thicken the smoothie you could add a banana or ice. And if adding the banana makes you decide you want to drink this for breakfast, well, you'll find no judgement from me! :)

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

See what the other #Choctoberfest bloggers made! 

#Choctoberfest: Mocha Coconut Granola


I'm so excited to be participating in #Choctoberfest again! When I told my coworkers that I was participating in a chocolate event their eyes lit up and they immediately began asking me what types of recipes I was going to make and bring in for them.

Do you think they're a little spoiled? ;)

One of the #Choctoberfest sponsors is Caveman Coffee. I've known about them for quite some time, since they are hugely popular in the Paleo world, but I've never had a chance to purchase their products.

Disclaimer: I received Caveman Coffee Blacklisted Single Origin Arabica Beans and Caveman Coffee Cacao Butter for free to use in this recipe. This is a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

I've never been a coffee snob. For nearly all of my adult life, I've drank coffee with flavored creamer and sugar, so I never really understood people who said that Starbucks or Dunkin make terrible tasting coffee. Then I had to start drinking black coffee and found I could just about stomach it when it was a flavored coffee.

Then I tried Blacklisted coffee, black and it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Ohhhh, that's what good coffee is supposed to taste like! One sip and I really don't know how I'm going to go back to the other stuff in my pantry.

So, while I figure that out, let's move onto this recipe. Like most people in the world, I really don't have time for breakfast. Coffee I can fit in because I can pour it in a travel mug or brew some in the Keurig once I get to work, but breakfast takes more effort. Which is why I've managed to combine your morning caffeine fix along with your body's need for breakfast in this recipe.

Plus it never really feels like breakfast when it includes chocolate chips, right?

Mocha Coconut Granola
Source: Cookaholic Wife creation
Servings: about 3 cups
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    • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
    • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
    • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp ground coffee
    • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut flakes
    • ½ cup honey
    • 1 cup strong brewed coffee
    • pinch of kosher salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, ground coffee and coconut flakes.
3. Drizzle the honey on top, then pour the coffee on top. Use a spatula to fold the mixture together until the oats are just moistened.
4. Spread out in an even layer onto the prepared baking sheet.
5. Sprinkle the salt on top.
6. Bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring and flipping the granola every 15 minutes.
7. Let cool and break up any large pieces before sealing in a zip top bag.
8. Mix into yogurt, pour milk on top or eat by the handful!

Don't forget to enter the amazing giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See what all of the other bloggers made for #Choctoberfest!

Welcome to #Choctoberfest!


Do you remember last October when I participated in that crazy chocolate event with a ton of other bloggers and shared way too many decadent chocolate recipes with you?

Guess what?

IT'S BACK! And this time #Choctoberfest is running for TWO WHOLE WEEKS! Are you excited? I know I am! 

#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?

  Thank you to the sponsors who make #Choctoberfest possible! 

This year, Imperial Sugar is back as our Gold Sponsor. They have been a trusted name in kitchens since 1843, and their website is home to thousands of sweet recipes tested in the Imperial Sugar Kitchen. You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, or join their Sweet Community so you can share your own recipes, save recipes to a virtual inbox, print Imperial Sugar coupons, and connect with other sugar lovers. Imperial Sugar and our silver sponsors have banded together to offer a huge #Choctoberfest prize pack, which you can enter to win below! One lucky winner will be chosen at random to receive the following:
  • From our Gold Sponsor Imperial Sugar: 1 case of granulated sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds bags), and an Imperial Sugar red ruffle apron
  • From our Silver Sponsor Nature Nate's: 32 oz. Raw & Unfiltered Honey bottle, Honey Syrup, Honey Packets, a Nature Nate’s T-shirt, various kitchen supplies, and $50 Amazon gift card
  • From our Silver Sponsor Barlean's:16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint
  • From our Silver Sponsor Caveman Coffee: 1 Bag of Coffee (you choice of blacklisted or sabertooth), 1 coconut MCT oil, and 1 Cacao Butter
  • From #Choctoberfest blog hosts The PinterTest Kitchen: 1 specialty chocolate gift pack (your choice of dark or milk chocolate), 1 tin (14 ounces) drinking chocolate, and Divine's Fair Trade Gift Set
Enter now to win our #Choctoberfest 2016 prize pack! 
We'll be picking a winner at random winner on Saturday, Oct. 22, so enter by next Friday to make sure your name is in the drawing:

Here's a list of all of the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2016. Visit any of their blogs to get delicious chocolate recipes throughout the week: 
Letz Eat 

I cannot wait to see what recipes all of my fellow bloggers whip up!  Check them out throughout the week and don't forget to follow our sponsors and bloggers using the Rafflecopter giveaway widget above for your chance to win our sweet prize pack. 

My first #Choctoberfest recipe will go live tomorrow morning so make sure you come back and see what I created! 

  Are you a fellow food blogger who wants to get involved with events like #Choctoberfest? Sign up here to get notifications when they happen from The PinterTest Kitchen.
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