10 October

M&M Cookies

October 13: National M&M Day

Those who love chocolate chip cookies like us will certainly enjoy its colorful, crispy “cousin”—M&M cookies. The candies are a festive substitute for the chocolate chips and can be made with the colors of the season (warm oranges, yellows and chocolate M&Ms for fall; red and green M&Ms for Christmas; pastel M&Ms for spring and Easter, etc.). But we followed the classic M&M cookie recipe for our blog post today in observance of National M&M Day.


(Adapted from M&Ms)


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¾ cup (1 package) M&Ms


In a large bowl, cream the butter with the brown and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg. Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add this into the butter-egg mixture. Stir until a smooth dough is formed.

Fold in the M&Ms, reserving a few to press onto the top the cookies (optional). Scoop one-inch balls onto a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving them about two-inches apart. Flatten slightly for flatter cookies (optional). Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Yield: Approximately 4 dozen cookies.


  • We recommend letting the cookie dough rest after folding in the M&Ms. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for half an hour before scooping into balls. This also helps to prevent the cookies from spreading too much during baking.
  • Adjust baking times for softer cookies (10-12 minutes) or crisper cookies (12-15 minutes).
  • Learn more about M&Ms from the official candy website at http://www.mms.com.

Mocha Frappuccino

October 7: National Frappé Day

Before we switched to mostly drinking tea, Highlander would spend several dollars a day at Starbucks drinking coffee—and that, when added up, was a budget buster! So sometimes it made “cents/sense” to make our own blended coffee drinks, such as a mocha frappuccino, at home for a whole lot cheaper. And we could control the amount of sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and whipped cream added to the coffee to suit our tastes. We still go to Starbucks once in a while, but not as frequently as before, to indulge in a frappé. But instead of buying one today, we made our own to observe National Frappé Day.


(Adapted from The Pioneer Woman)


  • 1 ½ cups espresso or strong brewed coffee (we used leftover Kona)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup chocolate syrup
  • ice cubes
  • whipped cream


In a blender, pour the coffee, milk, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.

Add the chocolate syrup. Top off the blended with ice cubes. Blence until smooth. Pour into two tall glasses. Swirl some whipped cream on top. Add a straw and enjoy cold.


  • We halved the above recipe for the two of us and still had an extra serving left over.
  • Add about ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the recipe for some texture and flavor.
  • We drink more tea now (just plain—no sugar or milk/cream) than the sugary blended coffees but still indulge in a frappé once in a while. Although it saves us more money than buying Starbucks drinks daily, sometimes good quality organic tea can get pricey, too.
  • We bought a Starbucks frappucino and saved the logo cup, cover and green straw to drink the rest of our homemade frappé.

Kale Parmesan Chips

October 3: National Kale Day

Our farmer friend Eugene K. generously gave us a big bag of fresh vegetables, including kale. Islander prefers spinach overall but after tasting baked kale “chips”, she now craves kale this way for a healthy snack! This quick and easy homemade recipe for baked kale leaves tossed in olive oil and Parmesan cheese and lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes are a totally tasty way to observe National Kale Day!


Adapted from Betty Crocker


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Mist with cooking spray. Wash and dry the kale. Tear the leaves into small pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil and cheese. Season the salt, pepper and flakes.

Spread the leaves out on the prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through until the leaves are crispy. Remove from the oven and cool. Store remaining chips in an airtight container.


  • Thanks to Eugene K. for the kale from his farm.
  • We hope to add more kale recipes to our blog soon. Search back later.

Ghost Peeps Cupcakes


October 31:Halloween

Get into the Halloween a”spirit” and decorate devil’s food cupcakes with marshmallow ghost Peeps and pumpkin candies. They are a simple, cute and quick treat to make with the kids and they sure beat store-bought desserts. Plain cupcakes can be transformed from boring to “boo-tiful” and can be a festive food for Halloween.



  • Devil’s food cupcakes (or other favorite flavor)
  • Chocolate frosting (canned or homemade)
  • Marshmallow Peeps ghosts
  • Pumpkin candies (Brach’s brand)


Bake cupcakes according to the package directions. Cool completely. Spread or pipe frosting on the cupcakes.


Separate the marshmallow Peeps ghosts in the package by cutting between them. Stick a toothpick on the bottom of the Peeps ghost. Insert into the top of a cupcake. Finish decorating by placing a pumpkin candy next to it.



  • Change the cupcake paper colors to orange, purple, green or other Halloween liners.
  • Vanilla can be substituted for the chocolate frosting.
  • Search our blog for other Halloween recipes.


Pumpkin Crunch Cake

October 26: National Pumpkin Day

In Hawaii during fall and Thanksgiving, pumpkin crunch cake is the most-searched recipe on the Internet. As an alternative to pumpkin pie, this dessert holds up well in a tropical climate, can serve lots of local people, is relatively easy to prepare and complements the other ethnic dishes served at potlucks. We have made pumpkin crunch cake for autumn-themed parties and Thanksgiving get-togethers on the mainland and it is a crowd-pleaser. This favorite fall dessert is especially perfect for celebrating National Pumpkin Day!


(From Phyllis S.)


  • 1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
  • ¾ – 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves)
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and lightly cooled
  • whipped cream (optional frosting)


Line the bottom of a 9×13” pan with waxed paper. Mist the bottom and sides with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the canned pumpkin and canned evaporated milk. Beat in the eggs. Add the salt.

Mix in the pumpkin pie spice. Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the yellow cake mix evenly over the entire top of the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.

Pour the melted/cooled butter all over the top. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 50 minutes (test the cake for doneness with a toothpick). Cool at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate to set. Invert the pumpkin crunch on a tray and cut into squares. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream (optional).


  • Smother whipped cream on the cooled cake as a frosting before serving.
  • For potlucks, we omit the whipped cream, cut the cake into 48 pieces and place them in cupcake papers for easy self-serve.
  • Thanks to our friend, Phyllis S., a Hawaii expatriate now living in Texas, for sharing this recipe with us. She served pumpkin crunch cake when she and her husband Pat S. entertained us and other people at their home and it was nostalgic for the locals!
  • Search our blog for other fall favorite foods or pumpkin recipes.


Queen Elizabeth’s Drop Scones

October 12, 2018: The Royal Wedding Day of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank

Those who live on the west side of the Atlantic Ocean and are planning to follow the second British royal wedding of the year must wake up really early to watch any news reports due to time differences. A simple British-inspired breakfast with tea and scones would make still-sleepy fans rise and shine for the celebration of marriage between Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank (a low-key event compared to her cousin Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding on May 19).

We have made many royal recipes for our blog before and are now including Queen Elizabeth’s own drop scones for this occasion. Also known as Scotch pancakes (which are basically like American-style “silver dollars”), Her Majesty served these to U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower when he visited her at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in 1959. Her old family recipe is included in the National Archives.

Drop scones/Scotch pancakes/silver dollars are a perfect option for celebrating the royal wedding early in the morning or for a tea time breakfast or brunch. Congratulations to Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank on their wedding day!


(Adapted from Town and Country magazine)


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (superfine preferred)
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (we used European/Irish style unsalted butter)


In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. In another bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar. Add half the milk. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients.

Mix in the remaining milk and melted butter. Drop by tablespoonsful on a greased griddle/skillet/pan on medium high heat. Do not overcrowd the pan if cooking in batches. Use a spatula to flip the scone on the other side when bubbles appear. Cook until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve warm with jam, jelly, clotted cream, butter or syrup.


  • Queen Elizabeth’s original recipe uses teacups for measurements. We have converted them to modern cup measurements above.
  • Search our blog for other royal recipes filed under the British/English/Tea Time section of our Theme Menus.

Homemade Chocolate Candy Bars


October 28: National Chocolate Day

Giving out free candy on Halloween isn’t exactly cheap. So it is quite understandable that some people opt to buy the generic brands or bulk variety packages of assorted candies to distribute to trick-or-treaters on Fright Night. Yet somehow the neighborhood children still seem to know which homes hand out their favorite candies! We were thought to be the one of the houses that gives out the good stuff! But there is an ulterior motive—if we still have candies left over, we eat them ourselves! So we buy what we like and they are usually the miniature chocolate candy bars (Hershey’s Special Dark, Mr. Goodbar and Krackel*).

With special candy molds, chocolate bars can be made at home very easily. Just melt the chocolate in a bowl, stir in rice cereal or nuts, place in the molds and let set. We replicated the recipes for Nestle Crunch and Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar for a homemade treat that is terrific on National Chocolate Day, on Halloween and whenever one wants to satisfy a sweet tooth.


For the Crunch chocolate bar

  • Chocolate chips or wafers (we used Ghirardelli dark chocolate melting wafers)
  • Rice cereal


Melt the chocolate in a bowl (in a microwave or over a double boiler), according to the directions on the package. Stir in the rice cereal and coat with chocolate.


Spoon the mixture into the wells of a chocolate bar mold. Tap the mold on the counter to even out the surface. Place in the refrigerator until firm. Unmold onto a paper towel. Serve the rice cereal chocolate bar at a cool temperature.


For the Mr. Goodbar chocolate candy

  • Chocolate chips or wafers (we used Nestle Toll House milk chocolate chip morsels)
  • Roasted peanuts, chopped


Melt the chocolate in a bowl (in a microwave or over a double boiler), according to the directions on the package. Stir in the chopped peanuts and coat with chocolate.


Spoon the mixture into the wells of a chocolate bar mold. Tap the mold on the counter to even out the surface. Place in the refrigerator until firm. Unmold onto a paper towel. Serve the peanut-covered chocolate bar at a cool temperature.



  • The equivalent of Hershey’s Krackel is Nestle’s Crunch chocolate bar.
  • We also like M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, KitKat bars and other candies that do not stick to our teeth (sorry, caramel, gummies and chewy nougat).
  • We make homemade chocolate candy bars for ourselves and do not give open/unwrapped candies out on Halloween to trick-or-treaters for safety and sanitary reasons.
  • Purchase candy bar molds from a local hobby and craft shop or cake decorating supply store.
  • Substitute real chocolate for chocolate-flavored confectioner’s wafers, like Wilton’s Candy Melts.
  • There are several “chocolate holidays” throughout the year. Search our blog for other chocolate recipes.


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