No Tricks Just Halloween Treats

img_5389I love Halloween, not for the scary and spooky stuff, for the creativity it brings out of everyone.  Starting with costumes,  it is so fun to see my girls coming up with what they want to dress up as.  As a mom it is hard not to want to tell them what they should be or what costume would be the cutest, but really it is the best when they come up with their own ideas.  

Working up Halloween treats in the kitchen is the same, the more creative the better. Halloween is not a serious or elegant holiday so why not be a little crazy and have fun with it.  This year I am focused on treats that you and your kids will enjoy and get their hands a little dirty with.

Black and White Chocolate Bark is a simple treats you and your kids can make together.  With nearly no recipe needed at all, find whatever Halloween candy or salty sweet combination you like and sprinkle over melted dark and white chocolate.img_5391

Candy corn and caramel corn both scream fall and why not combine the two for a delicious snack that you won’t be able to stop eating.  Candy Corn Caramel Crunch combines all of my favorites, popcorn, buttery caramel, roasted peanuts, candy corn and drizzled with chocolate.  Serve in a bowl for your guests or package up for a perfect school treat for friends.img_5317

If you are hosting friends on Halloween Orange Fizz Punch is refreshing before or after trick or treating.  Frozen orange sherbet topped with pineapple juice and lemon lime soda ending with a fizz is decadent and sweet, it can even be dessert! img_5449

Keep Halloween stress free with these three kid and adult friendly recipes that will bring your creative juices out!  

Black and White Chocolate Bark
Serves 8
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  1. 8 ounces Semisweet Chocolate
  2. 8 ounces White Chocolate
  3. Candy Corn
  4. Sixlets
  5. Pretzels
  6. Candy Corn M&M
  7. Peanuts
  1. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  2. Melt semisweet chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until chocolate is melted
  3. (remove one ounce of semisweet chocolate and save)
  4. Pour onto a prepared baking sheet and spread to be even and smooth
  5. Allow the semisweet chocolate layer to cool
  6. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler, stirring until chocolate is melted
  7. Pour the white chocolate over the semisweet chocolate layer and spread evenly to cover the semisweet chocolate
  8. While the white chocolate is still melted, drizzle the extra semisweet chocolate in rows onto the white chocolate and take a toothpick to spread the semisweet chocolate through the white chocolate
  9. Immediately sprinkle the toppings; candy corn, sixlets, pretzels, M&M’s and peanuts over the white and dark chocolate.
  10. Allow the bark to cool completely, approximately 1 hour, before breaking it into pieces
  11. Package for gifts or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
Candy Corn Caramel Crunch
Serves 8
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  1. 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  2. 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  3. 1/4 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  4. 1 tsp Salt
  5. 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  6. 8 Cups Popcorn, Popped
  7. 1 Cup Candy Corn
  8. 1/2 Cup Unsalted Peanuts
  9. 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F
  2. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  3. In a large Saucepan, melt butter completely
  4. Stir in light brown sugar and light corn syrup and stir until fully combined
  5. Bring butter mixture to a rolling boil and boil for 5 minutes without stirring the caramel mixture
  6. Continue cooking for 5-8 minutes or until the mixture comes to a desired caramel color
  7. Turn the heat off and stir in the salt and baking soda
  8. Slowly pour in the popped popcorn and peanuts and toss until completely coated
  9. Spread the caramel corn onto a sheet pan 
Bake for 15 minutes until the caramel becomes a deep amber color
  10. Remove the sheet pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with candy corn and drizzle with semi sweet chocolate
  11. Once the caramel corn has cooled, break the pieces into small chucks
  12. Package the candy corn caramel crunch for gifts or store in an air tight container
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Orange Fizz Punch
Serves 8
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  1. 1 quart Orange Sherbet
  2. 1 Can (46 ounces) Pineapple Juice
  3. 2 Cups Orange Juice
  4. 1 Liters Lemon Lime Soda
  5. Garnish: Halloween Sprinkles
  1. In a large punch bowl, combine pineapple juice, orange juice and lemon lime soda
  2. Right before you are ready to serve add orange sherbet to the punch bowl
  3. Serve the punch in individual glasses and top it off with a splash of lemon lime soda to create the fizz!
  4. Garnish with halloween sprinkles and a straw
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen

Ice Cream Floats with Brio Ice Cream

brio 4Ok, let’s be honest…Ice Cream is one of the most beloved desserts and frozen treats!  Although there is not much better than a scoop of ice cream topped with sprinkles and chocolate sauce, I might be as in love with ice cream floats.  This frozen drink has become a new favorite of mine and maybe because it has been one of the best ways to cool off this summer.  brio 1brio 2brio 3

The wonderful thing about an ice cream float is there really is no recipe to follow!  Pick your favorite flavor ice cream and start creating from there.  I got my inspiration from the wonderful flavors of Brio Ice Cream.  They have six amazing flavors that will make for the best scoop or added to any dessert.  I chose the more classic flavors to add to my floats and they were delicious!  

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Strawberry & Cream Ice Cream Float
2 Tbsp Strawberry Syrup (homemade or store-bought)
3 Scoops Madagascar Vanilla Brio Ice Cream
Vanilla Cream Gourmet Soda

Add strawberry syrup to glass + 3 scoops of ice cream and top off with soda

brio 5Dark Chocolate Cherry Ice Cream Float
4 Fresh Cherries, Muddled
3 Scoops Dark Chocolate Brio Ice Cream
Dark Cherry Gourmet Soda

Muddle cherries at the bottom of glass, add 3 scoops of ice cream and top off with soda

brio 7Root Beer Caramel Ice Cream Float
2 Tbsp Caramel Sauce (Homemade or Store Bought) 
3 Scoops Vanilla Caramel Brio Ice Cream
Root Beer Gourmet Soda 

Add caramel sauce to the bottom of the glass + 3 scoops of ice cream and top with soda

brio 4

There are several of brands of ice cream and flavors that I love and keep in my rotation, but I have recently discovered Brio Ice Cream and will make a permanent place in my freezer and is the perfect addition to my gourmet Ice Cream floats.  Brio Ice Cream was founded by the original creators of Earth’s Best Baby Food and many years later they wanted to reinvent ice cream giving us less guilt and more healthy benefits. The ice cream is packaged in individual 3.6 ounce cups or 14 ounce containers.   All of Brio’s ice cream flavors are made with whole organic milk and loaded with calcium, protein, antioxidants and probiotics.  There are no artificial sweeteners or flavors added to any of the products.

As we strive for added nutrients to our daily diet, we won’t feel as guilty ending our day on a sweet note!!

Brio Ice Cream can be found throughout the country…click here to find a store near you!

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Frozen Hot Chocolate

hc 3While we are soaring through the hottest part of summer, there is only one way to stay cool; frozen treats after a long day of outdoor play and back yard barbecues. Frozen hot chocolate has become a family favorite and it’s rich chocolate, not overly sweet and frothy flavor brings us back to the comfort of the hot chocolate we love during the winter months. Blend the frozen hot chocolate to be extra smooth before pouring into a large mug and top with fresh whipped cream, toasted marshmallows and crumbled graham crackers. hc

Frozen Hot Chocolate
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  1. 6 ounce Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  2. 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  3. 4 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  4. 3 Cups Whole Milk
  5. 5 Cups Ice
Optional Toppings
  1. Whipped Cream
  2. Toasted Marshmallows
  3. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  1. Melt chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler, stirring constantly
  2. Once chocolate is completely melted, add in cocoa powder and powdered sugar, whisk until completely combined
  3. Add in 1 1/2 cups of milk to chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth
  4. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and allow it to cool completely
  5. Add Ice, the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk and chocolate mixture into a blender and blend to remove all chunks of ice and it becomes very frothy
Pour frozen hot chocolate into a glass or mug and top with fresh whipped cream, toasted marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs
  6. Serve immediately!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
hc 2Ink Foods Signature

Winter Citrus

citrus fennel saladDuring the coldest months of the year, citrus is in the back of our minds but we should be tapping in to the fresh aromatic flavors of winter citrus. The vibrant colors and burst of flavors are what make winter citrus a true jewel this time of year. Oranges, grapefruits, lemon, limes, and kumquats are just a few of the seasonal flavors that are ripe, refreshing and perfect to add any menu.

grapefruit sage 75

Fresh squeezed juice and citrus syrups will brighten and sweeten any winter cocktail or mock-tail. A favorite cocktail of mine, French 75, is a classic menu item that I have modernized with a splash of grapefruit juice and sweetened with an herbal sage simple syrup. Whether you are mixing or drinking the juice fresh, sipping on winter citrus is sure to keep the cold weather blues away.

Grapefruit Sage 75
Serves 1
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  1. 1 oz Gin
  2. 3/4 oz sage simple syrup (see recipe below)
  3. 3/4 oz grapefruit juice
  4. Champagne
  1. Shake the gin, sage simple syrup and grapefruit juice with ice until chilled
  2. Strain into a champagne glass and top with Champagne
  3. Garnish with a sage
  1. Sage Simple Syrup
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup water
  4. 6 sage leaves
  1. Combine sugar, water and sage leaves in a sauce pan and stir until sugar is dissolved
  2. Bring sugar and water to a boil until slightly thickened; remove from the heat
  3. Allow sage syrup to cool completely and strain leaves out through a fine sieve
  4. Store simple syrup in a air tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
citrus fennel saladYour choice of winter citrus served with cheese, yogurt or sliced over a leafy greens, is a perfect way to kick off a meal. A variety of oranges; blood orange, cara cara, and navel and grapefruit will pair well with the pungent flavor of fennel, mint and silky goat cheese for a refreshing and light salad. Fennel not only has an aromatic quality, it is also rich in vitamin c. What we eat will help keep the common cold behind us.

Citrus Fennel Salad
Serves 4
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  1. 2 small grapefruit
  2. 2 blood orange
  3. 2 navel orange
  4. 2 cara cara oranges
  5. 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  6. 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  7. 2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  8. watercress, garnish
  9. Champagne Shallot Vinaigrette
  10. 1/4 cup olive oil
  11. 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  12. 2 tsp shallots, chopped
  13. 1 tsp honey
  14. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  15. pinch of pepper (to taste)
  1. Peel all citrus, removing as much pith as possible
  2. Slice citrus into thin wheels, removing all seeds
  3. Layer the sliced citrus onto a serving platter
  4. Garnish the citrus with thinly sliced fennel, crumble goat cheese, chopped mint leaves and watercress
  5. Whisk together champagne vinegar, shallots, honey, salt and pepper
  6. Slowly add olive oil into vinegar mixture until fully combined
  7. Drizzle 4 Tbsp of dressing onto citrus salad (add more or less dressing to taste)
  8. Serve immediately
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kumquat upside down cakeA sweet finish to your evening, candied citrus is as simple as it sounds. The peel of citrus is equally as flavorful as the juice that comes from inside. To enjoy the most basic form of candied citrus, it is best to blanch the peel in order to remove the bitter flavor and later coat in sugar to add a crunch. Candied citrus can also be enjoyed as a cake with a variety of winter citrus. I absolutely love the idea of kumquats, they are small, you can enjoy the whole fruit (skin and all) and they are best during the winter months. Although kumquats can have a bitter flavor, once it is combined with brown sugar and butter topped with a decadent butter cake, there is only love for this tiny fruit.

Kumquat Upside-Down Cake
Serves 6
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Fruit Layer
  1. 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 Cup light brown sugar
  3. 2 Tbsp honey
  4. 2 Cups Kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
  1. 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  2. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
  6. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 Cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare 8” cake pan with oil or non stick spray
  2. In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter completely, but do not brown the butter
  3. Add brown sugar and honey to the butter and stir until fully combined
  4. Pour sugar mixture into the bottom of the 8” cake pan
  5. Arrange sliced kumquats to cover the entire bottom of the pan (it is ok to overlap)
  6. Prepare cake while fruit layer cools
  7. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment cream butter and sugar
  8. Add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time
  9. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt
  10. Alternate flour and milk into mixing bowl and beat until fully combined (do not over mix)
  11. Spread cake batter over kumquats
  12. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until baked through
  13. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes before flipping onto serving dish
  14. Enjoy!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
In the midst of winter, we tend to eat heavy, warm and comfort foods that are very familiar to us and satisfy our cravings but with these recipes and the fresh produce at our local markets, lighten up your cold weather must haves and let the bold flavors of winter citrus work for you.

This story was featured in The Dallas Morning News 

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Holiday Wine and Desserts…A Perfect Pairing

wines and dessertAs the holidays quickly approach, wine and dessert are two of our favorite things. Although wines are usually paired with savory dishes and coffee paired with desserts, wine and desserts can find perfect harmony while livening up your seasonal soiree. So how do you know which wines are the best for your dessert selection? There are a few factors that you need to consider: acidity, intensity and sweetness. The rules are simple: wines pair with like colors; oaky wines go with simple flavors like vanilla bean, butterscotch and caramel; the sweeter the wine, the less sweet the dessert should be. With these easy rules and a list of wine and dessert pairings, step out of the box and try wine instead of coffee at your holiday table. –

Sauvignon Blanc originates from France, specifically Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine and is very different than most due to it herb like flavors. While you are sipping on a glass, you are sure to taste hints of lime, green apple and passion fruit as well green bell peppers and jalapeño.
Dessert Pairing: Lemon Meringue Tart

Riesling is one of the most aromatic grapes in the world and is a highly acidic wine that originated in Germany. Riesling has several varieties; dry, semi sweet and sweet and the flavor will vary depending on the region that it was made. Some of the most common flavors that you will find while drinking riesling are lemon, apricot, peach, apple and honey.
Dessert Pairing: Apple Tarte Tatin

Chardonnay is known to be the most popular white grape in the world and it originated in the Burgundy Region of France. The fermentation process for this grape is done in oak barrels which brings out the buttery flavor. Vanilla and cinnamon are some of the flavors that you will taste as well as many tropical flavors such as banana, mango, melon and pineapple while drinking Chardonnay.
Dessert Pairing: Butterscotch Pot de Creme

Prosecco is a sparkling wine that comes from Italy. While sipping on Prosecco you will experience a hint of green apple, honeydew, pears and cream as well as some floral flavors. This wine can be enjoyed on its own or added to fresh squeezed juices or other refreshing cocktails.
Dessert Pairing: Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream

Pinot Noir is known for its subtle flavors of berries, cherries and cranberries. This grape is grown in cooler environments and despite being a weak grape and fairly hard to grow, the price of pinot noir is competitive to other red wines.
Dessert Pairing: Creme Brûlée or Chocolate Mousse

Merlot originating from Bordeaux, this grape has a dark and intense color that gives off flavors of plum, blackberries and leafy greens.
Dessert Pairing: Dark Chocolate Truffles or Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Port wine is the most common wine to be enjoyed after dinner. Port is a sweet red wine that comes from Portugal and gives off flavors of berries, chocolate, caramel and nuts. This wine should be paired with something not to sweet and might add a touch of salt.
Dessert Pairing: Assorted Cheese Platter

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Summer Sipping-Italian Cream Soda

italian cream soda 1

A backyard summer barbecue is the perfect place to sip on a refreshingly fizzy homemade soda. Although this fruity drink is called Italian cream soda, it was originally created in the United States, flavored with well-known Italian syrups.  This recipe gives you the option to make your own syrups from scratch, which provides endless flavor possibilities for a quick and easy summer drink.italian cream soda 6

italian cream soda 3italian cream soda 4

Italian Cream Soda
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  1. 2-3 Tbsp homemade blueberry or strawberry simple syrup
  2. ½ Cup sparkling water
  3. 1 Tbsp half and half
  4. Simple Syrup Recipe
  5. 1Cup granulated sugar
  6. 1Cup water
  7. 1Cup fresh strawberries or 1 Cup fresh blueberries
  1. Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.
  2. Once sugar has dissolved add in fresh fruit and boil for about 10 minutes or until syrup becomes thick.
  3. Strain the mixture to remove the fruit and keep the juice.
  4. Allow the simple syrup to cool completely before using.
  5. Add 2-3 tbsp of simple syrup to a glass filled with ice.
  6. Pour in sparkling water on top of the simple syrup until the glass is almost full.
  7. Top off the soda with a splash of half and half.
  8. Stir to combine, and enjoy immediately!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen

italian cream 8Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy!  Recipe featured in Advocate Magazine July Issue.


Photography: Megan Weaverink-foods_signature

Grapefruit Lemonade


When life gives you lemon and grapefruits….make the most delicious lemonade!  Ever since citrus season started, I have had a grapefruit a day and loving it, but I decided I needed to change it up and juice these beautiful pink fruits.  I can drink the pure grapefruit juice, but the rest of my family loves lemonade and this is the most refreshing drink…how can you resist the beautiful color and perfect for your valentine! 

grapefruit 8

Its very simple and extremely quick to make! 
2 grapefruits
2 Lemons
1 cup of simple syrup
fresh mint

*** Make this a cocktail…substitute the simple syrup for champagne***

grapefruit 7grapefruit 5grapefruit 4

sugar your glass rims for a little added sparkle and a touch of sweet!  Enjoy

grapefruit 1


Grapefruit Lemonade
Serves 4
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  1. 1 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  2. 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  3. 1/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 cup water
  5. fresh mint for garnish
  1. boil sugar and water to make a simple syrup
  2. juice grapefruit and lemon
  3. cool simple syrup completely
  4. combine grapefruit juice, lemon juice and simple syrup
  5. garnish each glass with fresh mint
  1. make this a cocktail...substitute the simple syrup for champagne!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen


Cheers to 2014-My Favorite Moscow Mule


In celebration of the first weekend of 2014, I would like to raise a toast to you with my new favorite cocktail…The Moscow Mule.  Not only are they served in the coolest copper mugs, but the mix of ginger beer, vodka, lime juice and garnished with mint and blackberries is a combination that can’t be beat.  2013 was an incredible year for the Massad Family and I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for us.  I wish you all a wonderful year with lots of love, friendship and food!

Copper mugs can be purchased at Sur la Table


Moscow Mule
Serves 1
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  1. ice cubes
  2. 1/4 cup vodka
  3. 1/2 cup chilled ginger beer
  4. 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  5. 1 lime wedge
  6. 1 sprig fresh mint
  7. blackberries
  1. fill copper mug with ice
  2. pour ginger beer, vodka, and lime juice; mix
  3. garnish with lime wedge, mint and blackberries (optional)
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Adapted from Bon Appetit
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen
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