Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

Food: Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Ginger Glaze.

Since all the blogs that I follow are doing it, I decided to hope on the wagon.

The wagon of making stuff from pumpkin.

I’m not sure what took me so long. This is so much better than the one that I spend a pretty penny at Starbucks..Seriously. It is moist (*dislike that word), full flavored, the perfect amount of sweet and salty.

I’m in love. Check out that drip. Aahhh.

I am still not sure at what time I should be consuming this. Morning, Afternoon, Evening….or all of the above.

Make this. You literally toss everything into a mixing bowl, mix and pour into bundt pan…and the oven does the rest. Holy smokes this is good.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread with Ginger Glaze

Adapted from A Muse in My Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1¬†teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • ¬†1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 1/2¬†teaspoon ground¬†ginger, divided
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix all of the ingredient together for the bread, flour through water (use 1 teaspoon of ginger in the bread batter). Pour into 2 loaf pans sprayed with baking spray (or one bundt pan). Bake one hour. Let cool. Invert cake and let cool more on rack.

2. Mix together 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, butter and milk. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar, stir with a whisk to combine. Add remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar. Should be somewhat thick. Let sit for a few minutes to thicken more. Drizzle over cake. Let the glaze naturally run down the cake Рadd however much or little you like. 

 

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October 28, 2011

Thoughts: Pending Graduation.

There is a good reason they call these ceremonies “commencement exercises.” Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.

-Orrin Hatch

I graduate on Saturday. I can’t wait to show you a picture of me¬†wearing the silly Chef’s hat.

October 27, 2011

Food: Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Reese’s Pieces Cookies.

There are combinations of foods that need to be made over and over again.

Peanut butter and chocolate are one of them.

The creamy and salty peanut butter makes these cookies cakey and rich. Oh and the sweet and salty combination is one to be repeated!

This is what happens when you take pictures of cookies right out of the oven.

Yes, I ate one. A girl needs an afternoon snack.

I wonder how long these will last?

The husband is known to consume cookies. Large amounts of cookies in one sitting.

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Reese’s Pieces Cookies

Thanks to Lauren’s Latest for this recipe. I added a handful more Reese’s Pieces and I used cocoa powder with dark chocolate chips in it ūüôā

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder with cocoa chips
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2¬†cups Reese‚Äôs Pieces

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line sheet tray with parchment paper.

1. In large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter together. Whip in sugars until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Stir in melted chocolate, eggs, and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again.

2. Slowly stir in all dry ingredients until just incorporated. Stir Reese’s Pieces by hand. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop cookie dough out into rounds and flatten slightly with wet finger tips. Place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 9 minutes or until cookies look matte. Cool on baking sheet 3 minutes and remove to cooling rack.

 

October 26, 2011

Life Lesson: Old fashion mail.

Send thank you notes in the mail…

October 25, 2011

Food: Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pies with Thyme Cream Cheese Biscuits.

If you know me, then you know that Chicken Pot Pie has a special place in my heart, er I mean stomach. Around these parts, it is called CPP.

Mr. A’s work colleagues request CPP all the time.

I make this probably 6 times a year.

Nutmeg and cream cheese are the bonus ingredients here. The nutmeg adds the perfect hint of Fall that compliments the rustic potatoes and creamy chicken…and the chicken is creamy because of the cream cheese. Obviously. It is not as rich as you would think. The crunchy carrots and flaky biscuits all work together. Try it for yourself.

You’ve been warned. Assemble takes a while – but the result is so worth it. Perfect to prepare on a cold Sunday afternoon.

Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pies with Thyme Cream Cheese Biscuits

Ingredients:

For the Biscuits-

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¬†tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 heaping¬†teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 4 ounces (half of a brick) cream cheese, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, cold

For the Filling-

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups¬† milk
  • 4 ounces (half of a brick) cream cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups shredded chicken – I used a whole roasted chicken
  • 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup thinly diced carrots
  • 1 oz. container sliced mushrooms
  • 8 small red potatoes, small dice

Method:

1. To make the biscuits:¬†In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, black pepper, and thyme. Add butter and cream cheese to the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to quickly incorporate into the flour. Pressing each piece of butter/cream cheese between two fingers. Work relatively fast since you don’t want the butter to melt.

2. Make a small well in the center of the fat and flour mixture. Add the buttermilk. Using your hands, combine the wet and dry ingredients – the dough won’t be fully combined – pour onto¬†lightly floured work surface. Knead together until dough forms a disk about 1 1/2 inches thick – the trick here is to fold the dough over itself. Like you are folding a piece of paper or a blanket.

3. Use a round, 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut biscuits РI used a top of a mason jar :). Place biscuits on a sheet pan and place in the fridge until ready to bake.

1. To make the filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Dice onion, garlic, carrots and potatoes. Set everything aside, but the potatoes. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Turn heat to low and add the chicken stock. Whisk until no flour bits remain. Whisk in the milk and add the cream cheese. Heat over medium low heat, stirring often, until cream cheese has melted and the mixture is thick. Add chicken and nutmeg. Stir. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove mixture from heat and set aside.

3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and add vegetable mixture and potatoes to the creamy chicken mixture. Stir to combine.

4. Spoon filling into a 9√ó13-inch pan or individual ramekins.

Here is where two options presents themselves. Either top your pies with the biscuits or cook them individuals on a sheet pan. This time around I cooked them separately, because last time they were a bit soggy on the bottoms where they touch the pot pie. Complete personal preference. I think next time I will cook them on top of the pot pies.

5. Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until biscuits are puffed and golden, and the sides of the pot pie are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Dig in.

October 24, 2011

Thoughts: Oh e-cards.

October 21, 2011

Food: Roasted Cinnamon Butternut Squash and Quinoa Warm Salad.

What is more Fall than butternut squash, apples, dried cranberries and cinnamon?

I know you can’t come up with an answer.

This salad has great texture – love that crunch from the raw apples. It is warm too- the squash is silky and warm surrounded by the nutty quinoa! Love this combination.

I can’t forget my beloved Craisins..obcessed. I will put them in almost anything..almost.

Try this salad. You will like. Promise.

Roasted Cinnamon Butternut Squash and Quinoa Warm Salad

Yield 4 lunch portions or 8 dinner side portions

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • Olive oil- to coat
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Craisins
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and small diced
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground black pepper

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1. Coat squash with olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes – check with a fork for doneness. Should be soft all the way through. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, remove skin and cut into bite-sized pieces.

2. Meanwhile, saute diced onion in 1/2 teaspoon olive oil until soft. Mix with cooked quinoa.

3. To assemble salad, in a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients (excluding more olive oil). Add Kosher salt and ground black pepper to your taste. Serve warm.

 

October 20, 2011

Life Lesson: Think like a…

Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.

-Oprah

October 19, 2011

Thoughts: Memories of the Farms…

Besides all the animal, vegetable and landscape pictures, I took some artsy (hi, Mom) pictures while I was in the North Fork Valley.

And for some reason I think you should see them. And you will like them.

 

October 18, 2011

Food: Cornmeal Bacon Waffles with Maple Blueberry compote.

I can’t remember the last time I cooked a weekend breakfast, besides my go to breakfast sandwiches like ¬†here and here. Its been a while. Feeling motivated on an early Saturday morning – not sure where the motivation came from – I imagined something salty and sweet…and one of the requirements was to use my waffle iron.

See that piece of bacon peeking out?

I really like sweet and salty tastes together. You taste one first then you finish with another – bliss!

I added more maple syrup after I took these pictures. I’m an addict.

Cornmeal Bacon Waffles with Maple Blueberry compote

Adapted from Bon Appetit.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 8 thick cut bacon slices
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5¬†tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided¬†– plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled – plus more for serving
  • 1 heaping cup of blueberries (frozen is fine)
  • 1/4 cup water

Method:

1. Cook bacon your way. Whether it is cooked in the oven on the rack or in a large skillet – cook until crisp. Drain and crumble bacon.

2.Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients together. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, and 3 tablespoons maple syrup in medium bowl to blend. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; stir just until blended. Fold in 1/4 cup melted butter and crumbled bacon.

3. Preheat waffle iron to medium heat. Add blueberries and 1/4 cup of water to small sauce pot. Heat on medium heat, turn down once it comes to a boil. Stir occasionally. Berries will break down- turn off heat once desired consistency is reached. Add 3 tablespoons maple syrup to blueberry mixture. Let sit.

4. Lightly brush iron with melted butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon batter onto waffle iron, spreading evenly over grid. Close and let set for about 6 minutes.

5. Transfer waffles to plates. Serve with blueberry compote on top with a slice of butter and maple syrup.

October 17, 2011

Life Lesson: Weirdness.

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.

-Dr. Seuss

 

 
October 14, 2011

Life Lesson: Don’t hide.

Don’t hide behind your hair – pull it back.

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