Mini Pumpkin Pies - Do the Little Monster Mash with @OXOTot #Sponsored

The past few months have been busy, so it's no huge surprise that the holidays have snuck up on me. I'm not sure where the time went, but there's only a week until Thanksgiving and I haven't even planned our menu yet. I'll admit I'm a little out of practice at menu planning, it's been years since we've stayed home for a holiday, which is why I've spent the past few days trying to get a handle on what I want to serve so I can write up the mile-long shopping list that generally accompanies one of my fabulous feasts.

Rather than save the best for last I decided to tackle our dessert spread first. We'll likely have a handful of children around the table so I've decided make a healthier version of our holiday favorites, starting with these mini pumpkin pies. OXO has once again sent us some tools from their OXO Tot line, so make sure to keep reading after the recipe for our full review of the products we used during the development of this recipe.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Little Monster Mash OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Little Monster Mash OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Mini Pumpkin Pies for Tots

makes 6 servings


 


The great thing about this recipe is that it's flexible, you can easily adjust the ingredients as your little one grows. For younger children feel free to remove the butter (but not the milk) and scale back on the spices. The cooking time will be the same, but it will change the final texture. Older children love a little sugar mixed in, extra pumpkin pie spice, and a fun topping. To get them involved make sure to let them decorate their own mini "pie".

Ingredients


15 ounces canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)

optional toppings

whipped cream
crushed graham crackers
maple syrup
leftover pie crust scraps (dipped in cinnamon sugar then baked)

 

Directions
 

 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl combine pumpkin, melted butter, milk, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice, then blend until smooth. Spoon mixture into OXO's glass baby blocks or another 4 ounce oven-safe container and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown. Make sure not to fill past the 3 ounce marker-line so you have room for expansion as the eggs bake.

Don't forget, you'll need to adjust the baking time if your containers are larger than 4 ounces.

  • Serve immediately with one of the optional toppings listed above or allow to cool on a wire rack for an hour, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Notes

 

This recipe makes slightly more than will fit in the OXO Tot glass blocks. Rather than scale the recipe down to fit in 4 containers I like to put the extra in a small oven-safe dish, add a bit of sugar (either white, brown, or both) and bake it along side the kid-friendly "pies". This way I have a small treat to eat during nap-time or later in the day when I need a sweet pick-me-up that won't leave me feeling guilty. 

A note on freezing:

Because this is technically a custard pie it will likely start to separate in the freezer, so while you can freeze it the texture will change and may not be appealing to a picky little one. I would do a test freeze and thaw of a single container to make sure your little one won't balk at the change in texture.

Want more great ideas to help you feed your tot? Check out our recipes for Easy Crockpot Applesauce, Gingerbread Applesauce, and Homemade Spaghetti O's.

Make sure to keep reading for our OXO Tot product review!

Today we'll be looking at the Glass Baby Blocks, Food Masher, and Feeding Spoons from the OXO Tot line.

Product Review: OXO Tot Glass Baby Blocks, Food Masher, and Feeding Spoons

Review


Glass Baby Blocks

When my son was first starting on solids I tore the internet apart looking for small glass containers like this, but there really wasn't anything remotely similar on the market at the time. I eventually settled for a plastic set which has served me well over the past few years, but not all of the containers have held up to the abuses I've put them through (they eventually developed cracks in the bottom from being smashed in my diaper bag, which is why I was interested in a glass set in the first place.)

The bottoms of these blocks are made from borosilicate glass, which unlike plastic will never break down and can be taken straight from the fridge or freezer to the microwave or oven to be reheated as needed. You don't even need to defrost the food first, which is a huge plus when you're in a hurry (and let's be honest, when you have a screaming, hungry child you are always going to be in a hurry!)

What I really love about these containers is that they have a million and one uses beyond baby food. I use mine to store small amounts of chicken stock, fresh herbs in olive oil, leftover bits & bobs, and even salad dressing—the containers are leak-proof so they're great for tossing in lunch boxes. They're definitely not a one use product, which isn't something you can often say about a product designed for kids.

If you like the design, but aren't keen on using glass around your little one OXO does make a plastic version that comes in a variety of sizes.

Food Masher

At first I wasn't sure how much use I'd get out of the food masher, but I'm perfectly willing to admit when I'm wrong, there are some well-thought-out features included in the design that make this much more efficient than using a fork. First of all, the masher handle comes apart, so you can store everything inside the bowl allowing you to toss it in the diaper bag and go, without having to worry about bits of leftover food getting everywhere. This feature alone makes it worth the purchase price, I can't count the number of times I've tossed my mashing utensils in my diaper bag, leaving behind stray bits of food on my diapers and other whatnots. But the feature I really like are the teeth on the side of the masher, they make short work of stringy foods like sweet potato and I was able to have a nice smooth consistency in no time at all, which isn't always possible with a fork. This ended up being a real winner and as an added bonus it's really great at making small amounts of guacamole, so even after the baby is done with mashed food it's still useful in the kitchen.

Feeding Spoon Set with Soft Silicone

The soft silicone tip of this spoon is perfect for little ones just starting out with solid food and the material is gentle on the skin should you need to scrape stray bites off their face, neck, or belly (my kid can't possibly be the only one who has managed to get food stuck in his belly button, right?)


Where to Purchase


OXO Tot Glass Baby Blocks — OXO.COM or Amazon

OXO Tot Food Masher — OXO.COM (not yet available on Amazon)

OXO Tot Feeding Spoon Set with Soft Silicone — OXO.COM or Amazon

 

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Today's post was sponsored by OXO as part of the Little Monster Mash OXO Tot blogger outreach campaign. They have provided me with a set of tools from their OXO Tot line, but no other compensation was given for this post. 

Monster Mash with OXO Tot

3rd Birthday Party Plans + Key Procrastination Tips

I've been a very busy girl these past few weeks, which is why I've not been posting as often. So far, in the last two days I've turned 24lbs of apples into three types of applesauce, made a small batch of pumpkin pie spiced apple butter, as well as roasted corn and poblano quesadilla filling, refrigerator oatmeal, and breakfast sandwiches. Pretty soon I'm moving on to brownies, banana bread, and hummus. And we can't forget the home made pizza I made for movie night. That probably sounds like enough food to feed an army, and it is, but what I'm really doing is procrastinating. I know that may be hard to believe after reading the list of everything I have accomplished, but in reality I'm putting off cleaning the house. If I'm honest, on the best of days I'm a terrible housekeeper and on the worst days you'll wonder if I ever clean at all. The truth is, I'd rather be playing with my son than cleaning, so more often than not we make messes rather than clean them up.

Isn't life with a toddler grand?

Despite my self-admitted poor housekeeping skills I do attempt a mini-spring cleaning the week of my son's birthday. The key word there is attempt, right now I'm attempting not to think about it, hence all the extra time I've spend in the kitchen. I'm sure each and every one of my guests know I'm a complete and utter slob, but for this one day a year I like to have the house somewhat in order before the party sends it back into chaos. We have exactly seven days to go until my friends and family make the trip to help celebrate my son's third birthday and I haven't cleaned a single thing. In fact, I've made such a huge mess of the kitchen and dining room that I'll have to clean before I can continue cooking. Perhaps there was a method to my madness after all, now I'll have to get a bit of cleaning done so I can make the birthday cake! 

Every year I start my planning by picking a theme for my son's party. The theme for his 2nd birthday, as you can see from the photo above, was dinosaurs. I made a pretty kick ass Paleontology Cake, but so far this year I'm at a bit of a loss. How in the world do you top a cake as cool as that? I've got a few ideas and hopefully I'll be able to tweak things this week. In the mean time I've come up with our menu for the weekend. The last two years we've done a chili buffet, but I'm ready for a change. We'll have a hoard of hungry toddlers running around and I can't think of anything they would enjoy more than a pasta buffet. I've never met a kid who didn't love pasta, have you? 

So without further ado, here is this year's party menu. I'll be updating it over the next week or two with links to the various recipes as I have time to photograph and post them.

✔ Party Theme

Construction

 Appetizers

Antipasto w/ Olives from Mezzetta
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus w/ Red Peppers from Mezzetta

 Main Course - Pasta Buffet

Originally we had planned on three types of pasta and an assortment of toppings and sauces, but a number of our guests weren't able to come for the party. Instead we had Fettuccini Alfredo topped with imitation crab meat, chopped broccoli, and parmesan cheese. I look forward to trying out the pasta buffet on a larger scale next year when we have more guests. Even on a small scale it was a hit with everyone, especially the kids, and only required a minimal amount of work.

I have a Crock-Pot Triple Dipper we used for keeping the toppings warm and everyone was able to customize their Fettuccini. 

✔ Side Dishes 

Mixed Green Salad with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch
Cheesy Garlic Bread

✔ Drinks 

Iced Tea
Local Craft Beer 

  The Cake 

Construction Cake

Disclosure:

In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that House Party and Mezzetta have provided me with free or discounted products that I've used to create some of the recipes in this menu. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Lucky Mix aka White Trash

White trash mix... what a terrible name for such a delicious party snack. I've had it made various ways over the years, but my favorite incarnation is made with Lucky Charms cereal. Whoever decided on this change is an absolute genius! I still remember the Saint Patrick's Day party in elementary school when some enterprising room mother brought it in. In fact, it's the only thing I remember about that party, but my love for Lucky Mix was cemented that day. Now any time I need a quick sugary snack to bring along somewhere this is it.  

The first time I busted this out for poker night I was surprised how many people had never had it. Now when it's our turn to host it's the first thing I make, my husband insists on it. I will admit that I messed up a bit last time we hosted poker night. I forgot to make it, but in my defense I was in the middle of a crazy mission to make 7 different hot dips in an attempt to use all my crock-pots at once. What can I say, we're an odd bunch and I do have a somewhat excessive amount of crock-pots. I'm also pretty sure my husband had a bet going with someone that I wouldn't be able to pull it off.

Just let me warn anyone who tries to issue a food related challenge. You are going down, end of story. I'm just stubborn like that. Besides, food is kind of in my wheel house.

And now for a quick word of warning in case you decide to try this recipe out for your next party or poker night, it's highly addictive. If you've got a large group coming over make sure to double the recipe, this is always the first thing to disappear.

LuckyMix.jpg

Lucky Mix
makes approximately 12 servings

Ingredients

1 box Lucky Charms Cereal (11.5 oz)
1 bag white chocolate chips (12 oz)*
2 cups M&Ms
2 cups pretzels
2 cup honey roasted peanuts 

Special Equipment

Double boiler, for melting the white chocolate

If you don't have access to a double boiler you can construct one using a mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water. Just make sure the pot doesn't come in to contact with the water.

Directions

  • Fill the bottom of a sauce pan or double boiler with several inches of water. Do not allow the water to touch the bottom of mixing bowl or double boiler.
  • Bring water to a simmer and add white chocolate to the double boiler. Stir occasionally until there are no lumps and chocolate is smooth.
  • While chocolate is melting separate the marshmallows from the lucky charms cereal and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl combine peanuts, pretzels, and lucky charms cereal (but not the marshmallows, the warm chocolate will melt them.)
  • Once chocolate has melted pour over the contents of the mixing bowl and stir until well coated.
  • Spread the coated cereal on a baking sheet to cool for several minutes before adding marshmallows and m&m's.
  • Let stand for 20 - 30 minutes while chocolate hardens, break pieces up, then enjoy!

Notes

If you happen to have an Easter bunny or two lying around uneaten melt those babies down! They make a great coating for lucky mix.

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You thought I was kidding, didn't you? Didn't I just warn you that we're a weird bunch?

If you're having trouble getting the chocolate to set up, stick your Lucky Mix in a gallon sized ziploc bag and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes. I've noticed that on hot or humid days my chocolate doesn't always want to behave.

Inspiration

This tasty treat has been around since I was a kid, although I'm not sure where the recipe originated. It could have been the back of a cereal box or a recipe belonging to a very ingenuous room mother. Those ladies have quite a bit of talent when it comes to making fun treats for holiday parties.

Product Review - Gingerbread Cookie House Kit - Orbit Cookies and Chocoley

Tea wasn't the only thing I ordered on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I placed a huge order with a company in Georgia called Chocoley to kick off my holiday baking season. They've been my go-to source for all things chocolate since 2011 due largely in part to their excellent customer service. When part of my order wasn't available to ship immediately they called and let me know there would be a one week delay in having the out of stock item shipped out. I can't remember the last time someone called to talk to me personally when there was a problem with my order and I really appreciate the extra personal attention.

The Cyber Monday promotion Chocoley offered this year caught my eye because not only did they offer 20% off the entire order, but they also included a free 12 ounce package of Cookie Blend chocolate and a Gingerbread House kit from Orbit Cookies. I wasn't sure I was going to have enough time to make our gingerbread house from scratch this year, my husband is getting ready to go in for surgery soon and the baby and I have had the stomach flu, so I was really glad I had this on hand. 

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Description:

Okay, you 'Do It Yourself Chocoholics' 'tis the season' and you know what that means... It's time to gather around the kitchen table and start buildin' your dream house...you know, the kind covered in candy & goodies and suitable for your entire household to participate.

Opportunity is knocking at the front door to acquire and construct the absolute cutest & most adorable little gingerbread houses on the planet using our complete Gingerbread Cookie House Kit...Avoid the long holiday lines at the big box hardware stores; this little box has everything you need to create this delightful munchable mini-mansion!

This remarkably edible showplace is gonna be the talk of the neighborhood and just think, no building permits required, no weather delays, no labor strikes and no Homeowner's Association approvals. Hey, you can even get away with using child labor for this family fun construction project... then display your architectural wonder as a holiday centerpiece!

Hurry, supplies are limited, so grab your cookies and start building before it's too late and this real estate bonanza crumbles!

So adorable when constructed, we recommend for decorative use only.

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Includes:

  • 7-Piece Prefab Gingerbread Cookie House
  • Icing
  • Fondant
  • enough hard candies to completely decorate your house (or give you a mouth full of cavities)

Review:

This was the first year my son was old enough to build a gingerbread house with me, but I wasn't sure we would have the time to make one. I didn't want to miss out on one of my favorite holiday traditions and this kit was the perfect solution to my problem. It ended up being very easy to assemble, came with easy to follow instructions, and included everything I needed in the package. I didn't even need to make icing. One thing that really stood out was that the kit included a notched base for the house. The added stability this provided makes this the perfect kit to use with a young child.

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As you can see from the photos, my house arrived well packaged and unbroken. I like the fact that the pieces were shrink wrapped together to ensure they didn't break during shipping. The kit also included a nice variety of candy for decorating, with enough extras to eat a fair amount while constructing our house. We did end up running out of gumdrops, so I wish the kit included more, but part of the problem was my son decided to eat them all. We also ran out of icing, since the kit didn't include a decorating tip for the icing bag it was difficult to make a thin line as we "glued" the house together. This meant we used twice as much icing as necessary. I would love to see either a second package of icing included, or have a decorating tip on the bag so we didn't waste as much icing.

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As we were building our house we taste tested everything and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality. I've put together other kits in the past where the gingerbread was stale and the candy as hard as a rock. That wasn't the case here, the gingerbread was soft and tasted good (although not quite as good as mine.) The candy balls weren't hard enough to break a tooth and the gumdrops were gummy, as they should be. My only complaint in taste was the fondant. While my son did have fun rolling it into little pieces, neither one of us wanted to eat it.

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Our finished house turned out great and has managed to hold its shape, even though my son has climbed up on the sideboard every few minutes to steal candy pieces off to eat. If he keeps up his current pace he'll run out of candy and start on the roof by tomorrow. If he's anything like me, he'll be having gingerbread house for breakfast... now you know why I really like this holiday tradition ::grins::

Summary:

Pros:

  • Arrived well packaged and unbroken
  • Everything was fresh and tasted good
  • Includes everything you need 
  • Easy to use with a small child
  • Notched base for added stability

Cons:

  • Not enough icing or gumdrops
  • Difficult to make a fine line without a decorators bag and tip
  • Fondant did not taste good

My Rating: 95/100

Would I order this again? Absolutely! This ended up being a great time saver for me this year.