Crispy Witches' Fingers Recipe and Tutorial

How did the Witches lose their fingers?

Well, let's just say they won't feel the urge to text from the dinner table any time soon....Mu-ah-ha-ha-ha!

Need a fun treat for your tricksters?  These crispy rice cereal treats were so much fun to make!  Plus, any day I get to dig my hands into green sticky goo is a good day in my book!  They're super easy to make and you just need 5 ingredients and 1 bowl!

Crispy Witches' Fingers Step-by-Step Tutorial:

Crispy Witches’ Fingers
Christina Verrelli -
Makes 18 fingers
Total time: 30 minutes

Non-stick spray

5 tablespoons salted butter
1 (10-ounce) bag marshmallows +16 additional marshmallows (regular size)
6 cups crispy rice cereal
Green food coloring (I used the gel/paste kind)
Candy corn

Spider rings if desired

Combine butter and marshmallows in large microwave safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 30-second intervals until they puff up and are very soft.  (Took me 1 min. and 15 sec.)  Spray a spatula with non-stick spray and stir until the marshmallows and butter make a smooth gooey mixture.  Stir in food coloring until you reach your desired shade of green.  Stir in cereal and mix until evenly coated.  

Lay out a silicone baking mat or large tray/board sprayed with non-stick spray.  Spray a ¼ cup measuring cup and your hands with non-stick spray.  Scoop out a ¼ cup cereal mixture.  Squeeze the mixture in your hands to compact it.  Roll into a cylindrical shape (like a hot dog.)  Press a candy corn “fingernail” onto the finger and place on a wax or parchment lined tray to firm up.

-The candy corn will seem loose when they’re first pressed on, but will firm up as will the crispy mixture.
-The mixture is easier to work with as it firms up a little.  You can always go back and reshape the fingers as they firm up.  
-You can make these a couple days in advance and store in an airtight container.

 Printable Recipe: Crispy Witches' Fingers

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Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the fingers ( : Tina

Chicken Corn Chowder Recipe

You know when you start wearing socks to bed it's time to make soup!

The fall weather has been gorgeous here - cool enough to want to make soup, but warm enough to enjoy it outside on the deck.  Taking advantage of the beautiful blue skies, we went pumpkin picking this past weekend at a Wynnorr Farm in Glen Mills. They took us on a hayride through the tall cornfields to the pumpkin patch and we each selected our choice gourd.  It was a lovely day to see some fuzzy sheep and explore the farm.  

Besides, corn, pumpkins and turkeys, there is also a malthouse on the farm.  Having never heard of a malthouse, I reached out through their website to Mark the owner and Chief Malster (love that title!  I picture him with his feet on his desk eating malted milk balls...)  He explained that at Deer Creek Malthouse, "We grow and malt local grains, using traditional methods, and primarily sell the “malt” to local craft brewers and distillers.  We’re just now starting to sell malt to restaurants for cooking and baking."  Cooking and baking!! WooHoo, so glad I asked!  I'll have to explore that idea.  Hey Mark, I'd love to see the process sometime - How about a tour??  I'll bring you soup!

Fall is the perfect time of year to make Chicken Corn Chowder - the weather is cooler and there's always end-of-season corn on sale in the markets or at the farm!  I love this soup as it's chock full of fresh veggies, tender chicken and of course tons of corn flavor!  Like other chowders, this soup is broth based and finished with a touch of cream.  I top it with a sprinkling of crispy bacon and some fresh parsley.  Can't find any fresh corn?  No worries - just use frozen.  I hope you love the soup as much as we do!    

Chicken Corn Chowder: Step-by-Step Photos

Chicken Corn Chowder Recipe
Christina Verrelli –
Makes 6 servings
Prep. Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

5 strips bacon, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
½ teaspoon salt (plus more if desired)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (1 teaspoon dried)
2 cups diced new or gold potatoes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 ears corn or 4 cups frozen corn (thawed)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
½ teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley (plus more for garnishing if desired)

In a large pot (6-quart) over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until crispy.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon and pour off all but 2-tablespoons bacon fat.  Add the onion, red bell pepper, celery, salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Stir in the thyme and potatoes, then pour in the broth.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  

While the soup is coming to a simmer, cut the corn kernels off the cobs, then scrape down the cobs with the back of a knife to release all the milky juices.  Puree 1½ cups of the kernels in a food processor.  If desired, simmer the cobs with the broth for 10 minutes or more to impart more corn flavor.  Then, remove the corn cobs with tongs and scrape them with a wooden spoon.  Add the cut corn kernels and the puree to the soup pot and bring back to a simmer.  Stir in the chicken and hot sauce.  Simmer the soup for about 20 minutes.

Stir in the cream and the parsley.  (Don’t allow soup to boil after the cream is added.)  Taste the soup and add more salt if desired.  Serve soup with a sprinkling of the reserved bacon and some parsley. 

Printable Recipe: Chicken Corn Chowder

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Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  I hope you enjoy the recipe!  Tina ( :

PB and J Oat Crumble Bars Recipe (+ nut free version)

PB & J Oat Crumble Bars - Epicuricloud

2,160 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches...

My poor Mom, she made me a PB&J almost every day of elementary, middle and high school.  She must have been sick to death of smearing peanut butter and globbing grape jelly onto that 1970's era not-so-soft whole wheat bread. (and why didn't I offer to make my own? - argh, sorry Mom!)  I should be sick-to-death of peanut butter and jelly at this point in my life, but alas, I still do crave that classic salty and sweet combo (smooth pb and strawberry or apricot jam on soft whole wheat bread, please.)

PB & J Oat Crumble Bars - epicuricloud 2

I especially crave it at this time of year - must be the convergence of autumn and freshly tuned-up school busses.  Add that craving to the oatmeal cookie thoughts that have been swirling in my brain lately...and here you go...mmm...PB&J Oat Crumble Bars!  Oh and if you don't like or can't do peanut butter - swap out for (nut free) cookie butter!  My testers couldn't decide which version they liked better.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

PB&J Oat Crumble Bars: Step-by-Step Directions

PB&J Oat Crumble Bars Recipe:

Christina Verrelli –
Makes 12-24 (depending how large you cut them)
Prep. Time 20 minutes
Bake Time 25 minutes


Non-stick spray or butter for greasing pan
½ cup softened butter
1 cup peanut butter or cookie butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup cold water
2 cups quick oats
13-ounces preserves, jam or jelly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 13” x 9” x 2” pan.  If desired, create a sling to lift bars from pan when cool, by lining pan with 2 layers aluminum foil that overhang the long sides of the pan.  Grease the foil.

With mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars.  In a medium bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.  Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until just combined.  With mixer running on low, sprinkle in cold water and then add the oats.  The dough should be crumbly.

Press about 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the pan.  Spread the jam over the base.  Use your hands to press the remaining dough into crumbles and place them on the jam.  Sprinkle any loose crumbs and crumbles over jam layer.  

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crumbles are golden brown and the jam is bubbly.  Cool completely and loosen any stuck edges with a sharp knife or thin spatula.  If using a foil sling, gently lift to cutting board.  Cut into desired size bars.

Printable Recipe Link: PB&J Oat Crumble Bars

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PB and J Oat Crumble Bars Collage - epicuricloud

Thanks for spending some time in the cloud with me!  Let me know if you like peanut butter or cookie butter better?  Tina ( :