Sunday, November 23, 2008

some dang good pumpkin recipes

I don't know where this recipe came from originally, but it's so amazing! I first had it at a friend's house last year and I make it frequently now. This time I made it with my mini bundt pan. The plan was to put two of them together and make it look like the shape of a pumpkin. I frosted it with a maple frosting and had really good intentions of making it all cute and stuff, but it didn't happen. It still tasted amazing though. I love the pumpkin bread and maple frosting combo for sure! It was really good with a powdered sugar dusting as well though.

Best Ever Pumpkin Bread

1 1/3 C vegetable oil
5 eggs
15 oz can pumpkin
---beat well---
2 C flour
2 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
3 oz vanilla pudding mix
---add to pumpkin mixture---

Bake at 350 for 1 hour in a greased loaf pan.

I also made some good pumpkin fudge truffles. Basically, pumpkin fudge rolled in balled and dipped in chocolate. I normally don't like the pumpkin and chocolate chip mixture much, but these were actually pretty good!
Pumpkin Fudge

3 C sugar
3/4 C melted butter
2/3 C evaporated milk
1/2 C canned pumpkin
2 T corn syrup
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 12 oz package white chocolate chips
1 7 oz jar marshmallow creme
1 C chopped pecans, toasted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir together sugar, butterm milk, pumpkin, corn syrup and pumpkin pie spice in a sauce pan over medium high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook until you get to the soft ball stage, about 12 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour into a foil lined greased 9 inch square pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool.

If you want to make truffles out of it, roll it into balls before completely hardened and let harden on wax paper on a cookie sheet. Melt 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips and pour into a deep mug. Dip fudge balls in chocolate and let harden back on the wax paper.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chili and Cornbread

I don't have enough photography skills to take pictures that would justify how good this meal is. I'm actually quite embarrassed by the pictures so you'll just have to take my word. I crave this chili and especially the cornbread and it hits the spot like no other food does in the cold winter months. I usually make the chili in a crock pot a few days before I'm actually ready to eat it. The flavor just gets better with time. It makes a lot too so we eat what we want the one night and freeze the rest. You can just imagine what my freezer looks like right now. I have about 12 quart sized bags of frozen soups and chili now.


2 lb cooked ground beef
2 cans kidney beans
4 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 quart tomatoes
2 quarts tomato or vegetable juice
1 T cumin
1 T salt
3/4 tsp curry
cayenne pepper to taste; I'm not a fan at all of spicy food so I barely put any in for me.

Put it all in a crockpot and cooke until warmed through. Remove bay leaves before serving.

I'm not kidding when I tell you that this is the most moist and sweet cornbread you will ever eat. You really need to try it and you will never go back to any other cornbread!

Buttermilk Cornbread

1/2 C butter
2/3 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C buttermilk
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 C cornmeal
1 C flour
1/2 tsp salt

Melt butter. Stir in sugar and eggs and beat well. Combine buttermilk and baking soda then stir into butter mixture. Add cornmeal, flour, and salt. Stir until well mixed. Bake in greased 8x8 pan at 400 for 30 minutes and lightly browned on top.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Rice Pudding

What? It's Tuesday already? I almost forgot to post today's recipe. Before making this recipe, I really didn't like rice pudding, but it was good for me to make it since my husband likes it and it's a tradition in his family to have it on Christmas. Even though I don't like it, I had a lot of fun making it! We have this little place close by called Pudding on the Rice, and it's like an ice cream parlor with all different kinds of rice pudding instead of ice cream, so I made my rice pudding based on that place.

I made chocolate and vanilla just like the recipe called for, but then I also made mint chocolate by adding a little peppermint extract to the chocolate, butterscotch rice pudding by melting some butterscotch chips into the plain pudding, and cinnamon rice pudding by melting cinnamon chips into the pudding. We had a fun little tasting party with some friends. The mint chocolate and cinnamon were my favorite and it actually tasted really good. Maybe I'm not a hater afterall!

Good choice of recipe from Isabelle of Les gourmandises d’Isa! Check out her blog for the recipe or go get "Baking From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan. Just a note, her blog is mostly in French, but there is some English and you can use the translator on the right hand side of her blog too. Don't forget to check out the blogroll as always!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Mint Chocolate

I heard the average person gains at least 5 pounds from Halloween to Christmas. Ummm, I'm going to have to say that I'm just not average. I'm pretty sure I gain a lot more than that each year and this one will be no exception!

I'm totally feeling the mint chocolate already this holiday season. Here are some of the fun products I have found in stores:

(to be fair, I couldn't find a picture online anywhere of these so I stole this pic from this fun blog)
These can be found at Walmart!

Only at TJ's which we don't have in Utah (poor me!) but I'm going to AZ for Thanksgiving and am totally going to stock up!

Can get these Fudge Mint Oreos pretty much anywhere

I got my mint miniatures at Walgreens because there was a $1 off coupon. The trouble is that I'm going to have to go back for more because I have eaten the whole bag by myself in a matter of 4 days. NO JOKE!

I haven't tried these ones yet, but I can't wait! I have so many memories of going to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco growing up and I LOVE their chocolate! Sorry about the small pictures. Hopefully they enlarge okay if you click on them.

I can't wait to use these to make lots of Holiday treats like mint oreo truffles and milkshakes and lots more that I will surprise you with. For now, I'm going to go make my cream mint brownies that you may recall from brownie week. I've been craving them all week!

What fun limited edition treats have you found this Holiday Season?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Kugelhopf

Yolanda of The All-Purpose Girl chose the Kugelhopf recipe this week. I have to be honest and say that I was really not a fan at all, but I'm glad I tried it anyway. It was a little dry and just not much flavor even with all the butter that you drown it in. I couldn't even think of any way to add more calories. I just wasn't feeling it this week with the recipe.

I guess it smelled pretty good though because I had a visitor at my back door when it was baking.

What do you mean is that really a peacock? Don't you have wild peacocks running around your neighborhood?

Back to the Kugelhopf...I even tried to make french toast out of it the next morning and it still didn't do anything for me.

I am sure there will be recipes that I love and some that I can do without and that's why this is such a great group to be a part of. Someone else gets to choose things for me to bake that I wouldn't otherwise pick myself. For the full recipe go to Yolanda's blog, or buy the book. You know the drill by now. Be sure to check the TWD blogroll and see the other opinions of Kugelhopf.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturday Soup Day

What a better way to spend my Saturday than to be in the kitchen! My husband was absent all day due to it being football season, so as winter is quickly approaching I was busy getting prepared. I made 3 different kinds of soup, bagged them in quart size ziplock bags, and now they are patiently awaiting consumption in my freezer.

I highly recommend doing this, but here are some quick tips.
-make sure the soup is completely cooled to room temperature before bagging. This will prevent condensation and frost from forming.
-label and date the bags
-lay them flat to freeze. The last thing you want is mishapen frozen soup that becomes awkward to fit in your freezer.

Minestrone Soup

1 lb ground beef
1 C chopped onions
1 C sliced carrots
1 C cubed potatoes
1/2 C sliced celery
1 can tomatoes
1 1/2 quarts water
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp basil
1 T salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 beef bouillon cube
1 C macaroni or bowtie pasta

Brown ground beef in sauce pan and drain oil. Add onion and cook until the onion becomes transparent. Add all other ingredients. Simmer for 45 minutes. Add pasta of choice and cook for 15 minutes more.

makes 2 1/2 quarts

I highly recommend serving with my mom's Buttermilk Cornbread. That recipe will come soon!

Creamy Potato Soup

4-5 celery stalks, diced
1 C butter
3-4 carrots, diced
1 1/2 C flour
2 qt water
2 T chicken bouillon (or 5 cubes)
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 potatoes, cubed
2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Put celery, potatoes, carrots, and onions in saucepan and add enough water to barely cover them. Boil about 20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. In another pan, boil the 2 qts of water and add bouillon. Melt butter in a small bowl and add flour to thicken. Add butter/flour mixture to bouillon water and whisk until creamy. Add cheese and mix well. Add cooked vegetables with the water and simmer 10-15 minutes.

makes 3 quarts

Vegetable Cheese Chowder

1 10 oz package frozen broccoli or cauliflower
1/2 C shredded carrot
1/2 C water
2 C milk
1/3 C flour
1/8 tsp pepper
1 14 oz can chicken broth
1 C shredded American cheese
1 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 T parsley

Combine vegetables and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and simmer for about 4 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender.

Whisk together milk, flour, and pepper in separate bowl. Add to saucepan and stir in broth. Cook until thick, stirring frequently. Add cheeses and parsley. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted and heated through.

makes 2 quarts

***a little note about defrosting the soup when you are ready to eat it...microwave for 2 minutes with the bag slightly open so the steam can escape, or let it sit on your counter for an hour or so just until it's defrosted enough that you can get it into a saucepan and heat the rest of the way on the stove.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Rugelach

I know what you are thinking...what the heck is Rugelach? That's what my first thought was anyway. Rugelach is a cream cheese pastry dough brushed with a warm marmalade and filled with nuts and raisins before rolling it up and baking it like a croissant. Well, that didn't sound at all like something I wanted to waste calories on, so as usual, I made some changes.

I brushed the dough with warm applesauce, sprinkled it with cinnamon and sugar, and filled it with some caramel bits and white chocolate coursely chopped. It was absolutely to die for and I wasted all my calories on them until they were gone!

It's really important to chill the dough like the recipe calls for. I was too anxious with one of my batches and it just melted all over the place. Patience is a virtue! Be sure to use a liner on your pan regardless because it just makes the clean up that much easier.
This recipe was chosen by Piggy of Piggy's Cooking Journal. You can find the recipe on her blog or in Baking, From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I recommend just buying the book. There are SO many good recipes so it's totally worth it!

Check out the TWD blogroll to see what other bakers did with their Rugelach!
Also, let me just throw in my two cents right now...don't forget to vote today!!! What an important election and awesome opportunity we have to express our opinions with our vote!