How to Carve a Pumpkin Using Cookie Cutters

If you’re looking for a simple pumpkin-carving method, look no further. Here’s the secret: Cookie cutters. That’s right, cookie cutters can be used for so much more than cookies – and they make pumpkin carving a quick and painless process.

This method works especially well if you have young children who aren’t quite ready for a complicated pattern. Gather your supplies, get your family around the table, and get to work!

Materials:
– Pumpkin
– Paring knife (or the serrated saw from a pumpkin carving kit)
– Spoon (or the scoop from a pumpkin carving kit)
– Cookie cutters
– Rubber mallet
– Needle-nose pliers
– Tea light (battery operated or standard)

 

Directions:

1. You’re probably familiar with this step. Use your paring knife (or saw) to cut out a circle around the stem of your pumpkin. Then, lift off the lid you created.

 

2. Use your spoon (or scoop) to remove the seeds, scraping the inside of the pumpkin to get all the loose “threads” and, well, gunk, that needs to come out of there. (Now’s your chance to separate the seeds and roast them, if you’re interested in a tasty snack).

 

3. Pick the cookie cutter (or cutters) that you want to use to decorate your pumpkin. Some of our favorites include a bat, a ghost, a cat, a witch’s hat, an owl, and a moon. Select the location on your pumpkin where you want the shape to appear. Then place the cutter against the pumpkin and use the mallet to firmly tap it into the pumpkin. Once it’s all the way in, you can remove it – you may need the pliers for this step. The pumpkin shape should easily pop out, and you can discard it.

 

4. You can leave your pumpkin as it is, or you can use the same shape all around. You can also try a combination of shapes for a fun effect!

 

5. Once you’re happy with the way it looks, you’re finished! Place a tea light in the base of the pumpkin, pop the lid back on, and when it gets dark out, light it up and view your handiwork.

 

Don’t forget some snacks for the carving crew! Put those cookie cutters to good use and bake some Halloween cookies to enjoy while you’re working on your creations. We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Share your pumpkin photos on social media using #randminternational. Happy Halloween!

6 Snacks for Family Game Night

Between the hustle and bustle of school, work, sports, and lessons, it’s good to take a little bit of family time and relax. What’s better than a family game night? Pick a game, sit down at the table together, and spend a few hours playing your favorites. Of course, you’ll need a snack or two (or six!) to make sure that your bellies are full and you’re ready to compete.

We’ve pulled together some of our favorites – from savory to sweet – perfect for serving alongside whatever games you pick!

 

1. Sweet and Spicy Snack Mix, from How Sweet It Is

Photo from Howsweeteats.com

When you’re gathered round the table, you’ll need something crunchy to munch on while you play. This snack mix combines pretzels, rice cereal, crackers, cashews, peanuts, pepitas, popcorn, and wasabi peas into a seriously addicting snack for adults and kids alike – as long as you like a spicy kick! Get the recipe here.

 

2. Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites with Cheese, from Two Peas & Their Pod

Photo from Twopeasandtheirpod.com

Soft pretzels are actually easy to make – and this recipe will yield about five dozen bite-sized pretzels. With cheese sauce on the side for dipping, your family will love this special treat. Get the recipe here.

 

3. Healthy 7-Layer Dip, from The Pioneer Woman

Photo from Thepioneerwoman.com

Without a doubt, game night requires at least one dip. And, if you’re only going to have one, this is the one to have! Serve it up with pita bread, tortilla chips, or veggies, and get a little bit of each of the layers in every bite: Black beans, Greek yogurt, avocado, black olives, tomatoes, cheese, and green onions. Hint: You can even make your own tortilla chips using cookie cutters! Get the recipe here.

 

4. Hot Ham & Cheese Party Rolls, from Kevin & Amanda

Photo from Kevinandamanda.com

Finger foods are perfect when you’re busy playing games, and these rolls will satisfy your hunger more than some of the other snacks on this list. Serve them straight out of the oven for perfectly crispy and cheesy goodness. Get the recipe here.

 

5. Spicy Chicken Cheeseballs, from Everyday Made Fresh

Photo from Everydaymadefresh.com

Easy to make and delicious to eat, these chicken cheeseballs aren’t overly spicy. They’re sure to be a new family favorite Get the recipe here.

 

6. Homemade Animal Crackers, from Well Floured

Photo from Wellfloured.com

You’ve got to have something a little bit sweet on game night! These animal crackers are adorable and easy to devour. Use our Party Animal Stamper Set to make zebras, elephants, turtles, hippos, and more! Get the recipe here.

 

For more recipes and ideas for family nights, check out our Pinterest page. Have a favorite family game or favorite snack? Share it on our Facebook page.

Meet the R&M Head Baker & Designer

If you follow us on social media, you’re familiar with the work of our Head Baker & Designer, Linda Schwartz. Linda is the first to use any new R&M products! She bakes and decorates all kinds of desserts in the R&M kitchen on a regular basis, testing our tools and creating many of the images you see across our social media accounts!

 

We sat down with Linda for a chat to learn more about her role at R&M and her love for baking. Read on for some insight into her decorating process, including some of her favorite creations!

 

  1. How did you get into cookie/cake decorating?

 

I started decorating cookies around 14 years ago. It’s actually a funny story, my mom sent me a newspaper article about a local girl who opened a sugar cookie shop. There was a note scribbled across the top of the article, “Linda you can do this.” I decided to give it a try and haven’t looked back.

 

  1. How do you decide how to decorate a shape?

 

When I’m coming up with a cookie design, I usually sketch out my ideas on paper first, but sometimes I’ll start decorating and switch my design halfway through.

 

  1. What’s the best tip you have for beginner decorators?

 

The best tip I could give a beginner decorator is don’t give up! Practice really does make perfect, and while on that subject, never stop learning. No matter what level of a decorator you are, there’s always something you can learn from someone else. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The cookie community is a tight-knit family, and there’s always someone whose mistakes and successes you can learn from.

 

  1. Which icing style is your favorite and why?

 

I prefer decorating my cookies with fondant. I’m not sure exactly why I like it better than using royal icing, probably something to do with the instant gratification that comes with being able to mold it into shapes. There’s a waiting period with royal icing because it’s wet. With fondant, I can bake, decorate, and ship a cookie to my cousin in Arizona within 24 hours.

 

  1. Do you have a favorite decorating technique?

 

I’d have to say my most favorite technique is stamping my cookies with names, monograms, dates, etc. – it creates such a personal touch!

 

  1. Are there any decorating tools or products that you can’t live without?

 

Here’s what I would recommend for any baker – beginner or advanced:
– Parchment paper: I had been decorating for at least five years before my sister, Marie, recommended that I line my baking sheets with parchment. It was a game changer – no more scrubbing pans, and the cookie edges don’t darken as quickly. I use parchment for rolling out my fondant as well. It makes clean up a breeze!
– A good cookie spatula: I use my cookie spatula to flatten my cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. There’s nothing worse than trying to decorate bumpy cookies.

 

  1. What baking creation are you most proud of?

 

I really can’t choose my favorite baking creation. I often feel a slight emotional tie with my creations, especially the ones I put a lot of time into, like cakes. Here are a few favorites:

Photo by Expressions by Nicole Marie

For more guidance from Linda, read her recent blog post, 8 Beginner Tips for Decorating with Fondant. To see more of Linda’s creations, you can follow her on Instagram.

Beat the Heat with Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

A hot summer day calls for one thing – ice cream! With the addition of some homemade cookies, you’ve got a real celebration with these make-your-own ice cream sandwiches.

Grab an ice cream scoop, a carton of your favorite store-bought ice cream, your favorite cookie cutters (those with less detailed edges work best), and a baking sheet. This recipe takes a little bit of time (there’s a lot of chilling involved), but it’s worth it!

 

 Cookie Cutter Ice Cream Sandwiches

Ingredients:

– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1/4 cup vegetable oil
– 1 cup light brown sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– A carton of your favorite ice cream

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat together the butter, vegetable oil, and brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract; mix again until thoroughly combined. Do not overbeat.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture while beating it at a low speed.

3. Once combined, the dough should be sticky. Chill the dough uncovered for at least one hour or until firm.

4. While the dough is chilling, line a 9×13 baking pan with wax paper. Spread your ice cream into the pan, making it as flat and even as possible. This is easier if it’s slightly warm, but if it’s too warm, it will start to melt and become too difficult to spread. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and then freeze for at least 8 hours – overnight is preferable.

5. When your dough is done chilling, cover your baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

6. Flour a surface and place your chilled dough on it. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until it’s around 1/4-inch thick. Use the cookie cutter of your choice – something that will easily hold its shape and contain your ice cream! – to cut your dough into shapes. Place each one on the cookie sheet and bake for approximately 8 minutes. Continue to roll out your dough and bake your cookies until all the dough is gone. Do not place the dough on a hot baking sheet (it’s a good idea to use more than one baking sheet to help with this). Cool your cookies completely before attempting the next step.

 

 

7. Here’s where it can get a little tricky! Remove your ice cream from the freezer. Using the same cookie cutter that you used on your cookies, cut out as many shapes as you can into your ice cream. Place each ice cream shape onto a cookie and top with another cookie. If your ice cream isn’t cooperating, freeze it for a longer period of time.

 

8. Serve your ice cream sandwiches immediately or wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for up to two weeks.

This recipe should make around 8 ice cream sandwiches, depending on the size of your cutters.

You can really have fun making these ice cream sandwiches as customized as you want. Pick your favorite ice cream, roll your sandwich in your favorite decorative topping (mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, or cookies crumbles), and use a cookie cutter that you love. Share your creation using #randminternational on all your photos! Stay cool!

5 Options for Your Baby Shower Dessert Table

Everyone loves a good dessert table at a party and baby showers are no exception. Being able to pick and choose a couple of treats to try is fun – and delicious! But, planning a dessert table can be overwhelming. Pinterest is full of so many great ideas that it’s hard to narrow down the selections.

We’ve done the work for you! Below you’ll find five of our favorite baby shower dessert options – perfect whether the guest of honor is having a girl, a boy, or multiples! These desserts are simple, tasty, and sure to make a winning dessert table for your party.

 

1. Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs, from Sugar Apron

Photo from Sugarapron.com

Kabobs are perfect for a party because they’re easy to assemble and easy for guests to pick up and carry. These are made with a box mix for the cake, white chocolate, and strawberries, but you can swap out the ingredients to match your tastes. To make it even easier, buy a pre-made cake! Get the recipe here.

 

2. Mini Donut Pops, from Love from the Oven

Photo from Lovefromtheoven.com

You can’t go wrong with donuts. If you’re feeling fancy, try this homemade donut recipe – cake donuts dipped in chocolate are amazing. If you don’t want to go the homemade route, buy a variety of mini donuts and pop them onto sticks. Get the recipe here.

 

3. Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizzas, from Taste of Home

Photo from Tasteofhome.com

 The trick to these sugar cookie pizzas is buying pre-made cookies. Sure, you could make your own – or you could buy slice-and-bake – but if you don’t have the time, don’t worry about it. With the addition of a quick icing and fresh fruit, these cookie pizzas will be a bright and colorful addition to your table. Get the recipe here.

 

4. Oreo Cheesecake Parfaits, from Plated Cravings

Photo from Platedcravings.com

A no-bake dessert is perfect if your party is on a hot summer day – or if your oven is being used for other party foods. The cheesecake mixture is easy to whip up (just leave time to chill it) and tastes incredible layered with crushed cookies. Serve these in stemless wine glasses, mason jars, or any other cups you have available! Get the recipe here.

 

5. Celebration Popcorn, from Two Sisters Crafting

Photo from Twosisterscrafting.com

This popcorn is full of fun flavors, made with popcorn, marshmallow, chocolate, and sprinkles! Instead of serving it in a large bowl, you can divide it into small cups or cupcake liners to make it easier for your guests to pick it up and go. Get the recipe here.

 

If cookies are on your menu, our baby shower cookie cutter set and our baby shower cookie stampers make decorating easy!  Do you have a fun twist on traditional baby shower desserts? Tell us on our Facebook page.

Mom-Friendly Kitchen Tools from My Life Well Loved

We’re so excited to share that some of our kitchen tools and gadgets have been featured on My Life Well Loved. Heather is a healthy lifestyle blogger who writes about motherhood, fitness, cooking, and more. In her latest post, she lists some of her favorite mom-friendly kitchen tools, including a few fun items from R&M, like our colorful measuring spoons and our travel coffee mug and teacup cookie cutters.

Find out more about Heather’s go-to kitchen tools by clicking below. We love her selections!

6 Recipes for Your Next Summer Cookout

When summer hits, every weekend seems to be filled with an outdoor party or event. Whether you’re the host or just bringing a dish to someone else’s party, eating the same foods over and over again can get boring. We’re here to help! Below you’ll find six recipes to help you spice up your summer dishes, ranging from sides to dessert. We didn’t include the classic corn on the cob, but you can find our list of five different ways to prepare that here.

Are you ready to wow your friends and family this summer?

 

1. Simple Mediterranean Pasta Salad, from Fannetastic Food

Photo from Fannetasticfood.com

Pasta salad is always a crowd pleaser and easy to make in large batches. This mayo-less option from Fannetastic Food features Mediterranean flavors with simple, fresh ingredients. Get the recipe here.

 

2. Fruit Salad, from The Pioneer Woman

Photo from Thepioneerwoman.com

We love this fun twist on fruit salad from The Pioneer Woman. She adds an orange-vanilla syrup and fresh mint that combines with the fruit of your choice for a truly refreshing flavor. Get the recipe here.

 

3. Zucchini Noodles with Pesto, from Two Peas & Their Pod

Photo from Twopeasandtheirpod.com

 Spiralized noodles are really popular right now – and with good reason! You don’t have to cook them (so prep is easy), and they’re really healthy! Just add in some pesto, garlic, pepper, and parmesan cheese (and a couple other ingredients) to create a standout dish that people will love. Get the recipe here.

 

4. Star Ice Cream Sandwiches, from Unwritten Recipes

Photo from Unwrittenrecipes.com

No surprise that we love these ice cream sandwiches – they use cookie cutters to create the perfect summertime treat (especially for a fourth of July party). If you’re not into stars, try using some other summer-themed cookie cutters, like a fish, the sun, or a seashell. Get the recipe here.

 

5. Sweet Potato Salad, from Trisha Yearwood

Photo from Foodnetwork.com

Potato salad is pretty standard at a cookout, but have you tried sweet potato salad? Mixed with yogurt and orange zest, this is a dish that will have people coming back for seconds. Get the recipe here.

 

6. Black Bean Salsa, from The Blond Cook

Photo from Theblondcook.com

You can’t have a party without chips – you just can’t. And, you’ve got to have something to dip those chips into. Well, this black bean salsa is just the thing! It’s fresh and filling (and delicious). Get the recipe here.

 

What’s your must-have dish at a summer cookout? Tell us on our Facebook page.

5 Ways to Make Corn on the Cob

Summer is practically here, which means it’s the best time of year for fresh, delicious produce, including one of our seasonal favorites: Corn on the cob. Whether you’re having a family barbeque or pulling together a quick weeknight meal, corn on the cob is a quick, easy – and versatile – side dish.

Just so you don’t get tired of eating it this summer, we’re sharing five different ways to prepare it, using the grill (two ways!), the oven, the stovetop, and the microwave.

 

1. Grilled Corn on the Cob (No Husks), from 101 Cooking for Two

Photo from 101cookingfortwo.com

Summertime is for grilling, and this recipe couldn’t make the process any easier. Simply shuck your corn, coat the ears with vegetable oil, and place them directly on the grill! Get the recipe here.

 

2. Grilled Corn on the Cob (with Husks), from The Food Network

Photo from Foodnetwork.com

Leaving the corn in the husks protects the kernels from direct heat. This recipe from The Food Network’s Bobby Flay has you fold back the husks, de-silk the corn, then soak it in a combination of water and salt. Then you pull the husks back down and place the corn directly on the grill. Whip up his Herb or BBQ butter to pump up the flavor, and you’re all set! Get the recipe here.

 

3. Oven Roasted Corn on the Cob, from The Slow Roasted Italian

Photo from Theslowroasteditalian.com

 Not a fan of the grill? You can roast enough corn on the cob for a crowd in just ten minutes with this method! Get the recipe here.

 

4. Boiled Corn on the Cob, from Taste of Home

Photo from Tasteofhome.com

Boiled corn is classic and easy – and all you really need is a large pot! This recipe from Taste of Home gives you the step-by-step directions, as well as recipes for six different herb butters to spread on your cobs. Yum! Get the recipes here.

 

5. Microwaved Corn on the Cob, from Lovely Little Kitchen

Photo from Lovelylittlekitchen.com

 Did you know that you can microwave corn on the cob? It works best when you use very fresh ears of corn. Just leave the husks on and pop three or four ears into the microwave at a time! Get the recipe here.

 

Photo from R&M International

Of course, we’ve got some tools to make your corn-eating experience even easier (pictured above). Check out our two corn de-silking brushes (here and here), our selection of corn holders (here, here, here, here, and here), and our corn trays, which make serving easy.

Do you have a go-to corn on the cob recipe? Share it on our Facebook page. Happy eating!

The Best Kitchen Gifts for Newlyweds


These days wedding registries have all sorts of interesting requests, from honeymoon contributions, to furniture, to luggage. Fewer and fewer couples are registering for fine china, crystal, and expensive silverware. But just because some of the traditional kitchen items are losing popularity, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider kitchen-related gifts when you’re shopping for a wedding shower.

We’re taking it back to the basics today, sharing a list of go-to kitchen tools and gadgets that would make perfect gifts for newlyweds.

 

1. ThermoPro Meat Thermometer, from Amazon

Photo from Amazon.com

This digital meat thermometer is a must-have kitchen item, especially for someone new to cooking. In just a couple of seconds your newlyweds will know if their dinner is safe to consume or if it needs to cook longer. Buy it here.

 

2. Pioneer Woman Cast Iron Skillet, from Walmart

Photo from Walmart.com

A cast iron skillet is one of the most versatile items you can have in your kitchen. With this one tool, your newlyweds will be able to try recipes for breakfast all the way through dessert. Buy it here.

 

3. Lodge Dutch Oven, from Target

Photo from Target.com

 Similar to a cast iron skillet, Dutch ovens can be used for a variety of recipes. Your newlyweds can sear, simmer, bake, boil, and more – all with this one item! Buy it here.

 

4. Kitchen Linens, from Pier1

Photo from Pier1.com

Every kitchen needs a little bit of fun or color. Help your newlyweds show their personalities with dish towels, placemats, tablecloths, napkins – even aprons! These little accents add just the right amount of detail to any room. Buy them here.

 

5. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman, from Amazon

Photo from Amazon.com

 This book is the best resource when it comes to making, well, everything. The instructions are easy to follow, the food is delicious, and the recipes are plentiful – your newlyweds will be prepared to feed their guests for any occasion. Buy it here.

6. The Basics, from R&M International

Photos from R&M International

We also want to make sure that your newlyweds have their essentials covered. Give them a gift basket with everything a kitchen should have (and a few extras!), including measuring spoons, measuring cups, a pizza cutter, tongs, a grater, a peeler, a corkscrew, a rolling pin, English Muffin rings, biscuit cutters, a set of corn cob holders, and a miniature masher.

With these ideas, you should be all set for your next wedding shower – and the newlyweds should be ready to get into the kitchen. If you have other kitchen-related gift ideas, share them on our Facebook page!

 

How to Make Bird Feeders Using Cookie Cutters

With summer on its way, kids will soon be home from school and looking for entertainment. We’ve got the perfect thing: A DIY kid-friendly bird feeder. They are super easy to make using items you probably already have around your house.

The best part is that your kids can customize their bird feeders into whatever shapes they want using cookie cutters! Your kids will enjoy making them and the birds will thank you for the tasty snack.

Materials:

– 1 small envelope of gelatin
– ¼ cup water
– Small saucepan or pot
– ¾ cup birdseed (use small bird seed mix)
– Cookie cutters
– Wax paper
– Straws
– Twine or string

Directions:

1. Mix the gelatin and the ¼ cup water in the small saucepan or pot. Bring this mixture to a simmer while stirring; continue stirring until the gelatin is dissolved.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool.

3. Stir in the ¾ cup bird seed; add more seed if desired.

4. Lay cookie cutters – the shape is your choice! – on wax paper and fill halfway with the seed mixture. Insert a straw where you would like the hole to be. The hole will be where you tie the string to hang the feeder from a tree.

 

5.  Allow the mixture to cool and the gelatin to take shape. (You can put them in the freezer for faster results).

 

 

6.  Once the shape has cooled, you may remove the mold and the straw. Put your string or twine through the hole, and hang the bird feeder on a tree.

 

 

You and your little ones can check to see which of your feathered friends stop by for a feast. If your feeder is particularly popular with the birds, share it on social media using #randminternational. Have fun!