Fall

Homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark

This easy, 15 minute DIY Halloween Chocolate Bark is the perfect way to use up all that leftover Halloween Candy!
Filed Under > Desserts

Homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark

When I was thinking about what I wanted to make to celebrate the haunting season I thought why not make a homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark with all of the Halloween candy I have sitting around tempting me on a daily basis.  I love Homemade Chocolate Barks for a multitude of reasons.  The main one being that chocolate barks look way more difficult to make than they actually are.  I also love that the possibilities of bark combinations are endless.  Plus candy barks make the cutest homemade food gifts! So for all those reasons and more, I’m thrilled to share my Homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark with ya’ll today! 

As stated above, candy barks are incredibly easy to make. All you need to create this homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark for yourself is baking chocolate, candies of your choosing (I used Mini Kit-Kats, Peanut Butter Cups, M&Ms, Rolos, Sprinkles, and Candy Eyeballs), parchment paper and a sheet pan. 

Homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark

When it comes to the actual creating, the trick to creating a perfect homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark every time relays on 3 different things.

First, have your candy prepared and ready to place because you’ll need to work fast so the candies don’t melt into the bark.  The easiest way to do this is plan out in advance what candies you want to use, color themes you want to stick with, and most importantly have everything unwrapped and ready to go.  

Second, when spreading the chocolate out to create the bark base make sure to go thin. You’ll want the chocolate to completely cover the parchment paper, but just barely. This was my mistake the first time in trying this recipe. I made the bark way too thick which makes the chocolate bark taste too sweet, difficult to cut into pieces and incredibly hard to eat. 

Lastly, you need to let the chocolate cool for just a few minutes. If you begin placing the candies the second you have your bark spread out they’ll begin to melt. Wait 2-3 minutes and start with the non-chocolate candies that won’t melt like the candy eyeballs in this case. Candy Corn is also one of those great non-melting candies to try.

Homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark

After letting the bark cool in the fridge for at least 10 hours (I prefer overnight), you’re ready to cut it into pieces.  There’s no particular rhyme or reason to this, but I found the easiest way is to lay the bark out on a completely flat surface and with a very sharp knife start with the edges.  Your edges won’t have a finished look to them, and sometimes that works out to look great, but sometimes you’ll need to trim them. Next, cut the bark in half. It doesn’t necessarily have to be directly cut in half across, but by dividing the bark into two larger pieces it will make it easier to slice. Then try to either cut around the larger pieces or make it so you cut the larger pieces in half. 

And as best you can avoid touching the chocolate too much with your fingers.  Because the chocolate bark is thin your body heat will naturally begin to melt and smudge it if you touch it too much.

Once you’ve cut all the pieces, put the Halloween Bark back in the fridge for an hour to completely let the chocolate set and re-harden from any softening that may have happened while cutting.

Homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark

And voila, the cutest, most festive homemade Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark you’ve ever seen! I love whipping up a couple batches of this to gift to my neighbors and take into work. And how cute would this bark be served on this itsy bitsy spider plate!

See the recipe below, and if you’re reading this via Bloglovin’ you’ll need to click into the post to get the complete recipe. Happy Halloween friends! Truly, MKR

P.S. If baking isn’t your thing at all Williams Sonoma has some Mummy Halloween Bark that is almost as cute!

 

Halloween Chocolate Candy Bark
Yields 1
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Baking Chocolate of your choosing, you'll need about about 25-30 oz for one bark
  2. Candy of your choosing
  3. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  4. parchment paper
  5. sheet pan
Instructions
  1. Prepare all of the candies, removing all the wrappings, and set them aside where you plan to create your bark.
  2. Cut out parchment paper to the size of your sheet pan, and place inside your sheet pan. Set aside.
  3. In a large pot over medium to low heat melt your chocolate and stir with a spatula or whisk. You'll want to stir the entire time the chocolate is melting, otherwise you'll run the risk of burning your chocolate.
  4. When the chocolate has completely melted, turn of the heat and add canola oil. The oil helps the chocolate shine.
  5. Pour the chocolate out onto your parchment paper and spread with a spatula to create a thin layer. Once spread out, lift the pan just slightly and carefully hit down onto your surface. This will remove any air bubbles and help even it out.
  6. Let chocolate cool for 2-3 minutes then begin placing your candies. Once your candies are placed put the sheet pan into the fridge and let cool a minimum of 8 hours. I prefer to let it cool overnight.
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The Easiest Quinoa Superfoods Salad

Quinoa, spiced cinnamon & turmeric squash combine with apples, pomegranate, and pumpkin seeds to create a flavorful, and super easy superfoods salad
Filed Under > Everyday Dinner

Quinoa Superfoods Salad Recipe Quinoa Superfoods Salad Recipe

Like many of you, the new year has brought me resolutions that focus on food.  But unlike past years, thoughts and goals around food have shifted.  Instead of my end game being weight loss, my food goal for 2018 is to be more balanced and mindful of what I eat and how that effects my body and overall health.

As many of you know, I was a vegetarian for seven years.  You can read more about that journey here, but long story short 2017 brought the end of vegetarianism for me.  At least for now.  One of the side effects of that change was that I went on what I’ve termed a “meat bender.”  Consuming so much meat not necessarily because I wanted to, but because it was now allowed.  And because of this allowance my overall eating habits became MUCH more unhealthy.  It’s was now way easier to stop for that fast food burger and fries on the daily basis, unlike before when there was no reason to pull into the drivethru because there was nothing on the menu for me to eat!

And while my “bender,” was an unforeseen, negative side effect, one of the happier side effects of eating meat again is my stomach and intestinal issues have normalized.  So now the question becomes how do I keep the good and throw out the bad?ecause while my stomach may be doing better, my 2017 diet wrecked havoc on my sleep, weight, complexion, and energy.  Balance of course. 

This year I want to restore balance back to my daily diet, and be more mindful about every single thing I’m putting in my body.  Consuming foods that fuel my body, and re-focusing on how those foods make me feel.  For me that means minimizing my meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol and processed foods intake.  Letting vegetables, fruits, and healthy grains be the star of the show again.  Getting back to planning out, and cooking my meals. And most importantly, eating for my long-term health and not a number on the scale.

So with this newly restored focus, I’m happy to share my first meal of 2018-a super easy, Quinoa Superfoods Salad.  So what are superfoods?  According to Live Science, “Superfoods are foods — mostly plant-based but also some fish and dairy — thought to be nutritionally dense and thus good for one’s health. Blueberries, salmon, pomegranates, nuts & seeds, squash, kale and acai are just a few examples of foods that have garnered the “superfood” label.  Superfoods have extra-large doses of vitamins and minerals that can help us ward off diseases and live a longer, healthier life.  Some of the nutrients that certain superfoods contain include antioxidants, thought to ward off cancer; healthy fats, thought to prevent heart disease; fiber, thought to prevent diabetes and digestive problems; or phytochemicals, the chemicals in plants responsible for deep colors and smells, which can have numerous health benefits.” 

All great things scientifically right?! But I don’t really need science to know this Quinoa Superfoods Salad is super.  If I’m tuned into my body, I naturally know everything in this salad is great because of how amazing it makes me feel.  Chocked full of warm butternut squash flavored with good-for-you cinnamon and turmeric spices, the warm, and spicy squash pairs perfectly with the cool and tart granny smith apples and refreshing pomegranate seeds.  Then you know I’ve got to have a little crunch, which I get thanks to pumpkin seeds.  While it’s great to use heart-healthy almonds and walnuts in dishes, I love switching it up with pumpkin seeds. I find they still provide that nutty flavor I crave, but don’t overwhelm the dish.  Then I topped it with a little goat cheese for that creamy texture and cilantro because I top almost everything with cilantro.  You can of course leave these out if you’re one of the cilantro haters and if you’re avoiding dairy…the dish will not suffer.

My Quinoa Superfoods Salad is easily a main dish in itself, but if you’re slowly introducing yourself or your family to superfoods it can also be a side.  Plus it’s great the next day, warm or cold! 

At the end of the day I know I’ll still have my burgers and fries, but I look forward to enjoying those as a treat and not as a Monday thru Sunday staple.  I’d love to know do you have any 2018 goals around food? Truly, MKR

P.S. If you’re looking for a bit more balance too, check out my recipe index and click Healthy-ish or Vegetarian/Vegan Meals for a little inspiration.

Quinoa Superfoods Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Quinoa
  2. 4 cups butternut squash, cubed
  3. 2 granny smith apples, matchstick diced
  4. 1-2 cups pomegranate seeds
  5. 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  6. goat cheese crumbles (optional)
  7. Cilantro, chopped (optional)
  8. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  9. 1 tsp. turmeric
  10. 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  11. salt
  12. olive oil or coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. On a large, sprayed or non-stick, roasting pan lay out your butternut squash. Sprinkle with cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne & a pinch or too of salt. Drizzle with olive oil and mix together so squash is well coated. If you want to add more spices, do so now. Place in oven and let roast for 10-15 minutes or until softened and cooked through.
  3. While the squash is roasting cook quinoa per directions, cover and set aside. You want the quinoa warm when you mix up the salad.
  4. Once both the quinoa and squash is complete grab one large bowl or separate bowls. Add in quinoa as the base, then layer with squash, apples, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and top with cilantro and cheese if desired.
  5. Add salt to taste, and if you'd like a bit of citrus olive oil. Enjoy!
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Sheet Pan Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash, Pecans & Cranberries

An easy, one sheet, side dish sure to please everyone
Filed Under > Appetizers & Sides

Sheet Pan Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash, Pecans & Cranberries Sheet Pan Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash, Pecans & Cranberries Sheet Pan Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash, Pecans & Cranberries

One of my favorite, easier than easy, sides to make is sheet pan brussel sprouts.  The problem, they can get a bit boring.  So recently while looking at all of my holiday meal prep ingredients I thought lets just give this combo a whirl; brussel sprouts, butternut squash, pecans, and cranberries.  And to my delight and surprise it turned out amazing.  

The caramelized brussel sprouts pair perfectly with the sweet, cinnamon and tumeric butternut squash.  While the cranberries give it just that right amount of tart, and the pecans the crunch I’m always looking for.  Plus you still have my favorite aspect of sheet pan brussel sprouts at play; the easy clean up.  

Trust me when I say this will definitely be a crowd pleaser. So if you’re still in need for a holiday side, or just looking for a way to add a little more color to your weeknight meal, then this is the dish for you.  Let me know if you try it out! Truly, MKR
 


 

Sheet Pan Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash, Pecans & Cranberries
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-2 bags of brussel sprouts, halved
  2. 2 cups of pecans
  3. 4 cups of butternut squash, cubed
  4. 4 cups of cranberries
  5. 4 tabelspoons sugar
  6. 1/4 cup orange juice
  7. 1 tabelspoon cinnamon
  8. 1 teaspoon tumeric
  9. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  10. 1 teaspoon salt
  11. olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or spray down with non stick spray.
  3. Add brussels and squash to the sheet pan, lightly cover with olive oil, then sprinkle tumeric, cayenne, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together so everything is well seasoned and covered. Place in oven and cook/roast for 15 minutes.
  4. While the veggies are roasting add cranberries, sugar and OJ to a pan on high heat. Cook until a few cranberries begin to burst, but before it turns into a sauce. Cover and remove from heat.
  5. After 15 minutes, remove sheet pan from the oven, add pecans and mix lightly again. Re season if needed.
  6. Roast an additional 15 minutes or until squash is softened and brussels have begun to brown and properly caramlize. Once cooked, remove from oven and add in cranberry mixture and serve.
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Photography, Rustic White

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