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10.30.2013

Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes filled with Cranberry Curd and topped with a Molasses Buttercream Frosting


Well that went by fast! 30 days of new pumpkin recipes. It may seem absolutely ridiculous to some, but I am so incredibly proud of myself tonight. I have a tendency to think up these blog ideas, and then when the time comes around to actually DO it... I never follow through. Or I start, and then stop just days or weeks into it. I actually created 30 brand new recipes and blogged for 30 straight days!


For those of you who blog regularly and develop new recipes, you know what kind of work it entails to test recipes, photograph them, write about them, and then promote them through social media. THIRTY straight days of that while taking care of the husband and kids! I'm tired.


10.29.2013

No Bake White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Pecan Pie Crust



Tonight, I'm excited! Not only are these little cheesecakes awesome, I have a super sweet giveaway to share with you all. First lets talk pumpkin, then we will get into the details of the giveaway.

Cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and pecans. How can you resist? Oh and did I mention this is a no bake recipe? It's pretty simple, and darned good. After my husband's first bite, "You've made me hate pumpkin this month, but this is good!"

Yes I ruined all pumpkin dishes for the man. I guess starting in August is a tad much yes? You guys may only see 30 recipes here.... but there was a whole lot of recipe testing and things that did not make it on to the blog, that he was forced to eat.

These tartlets/cheesecakes are so easy, and fancy looking. You'll wow your Thanksgiving guests with them. You start by melting white chocolate together with cream cheese and pumpkin puree.  Then pour into my simple and quick no bake pecan pie crust. Refrigerate and then serve.


No Bake White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Pecan Pie Crust

Ingredients:
For the crust:
  •  2 cups chopped pecans
  • 5 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp butter,browned
  • 1/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Directions:
  1. In a small sauce pan, over medium meat melt butter and cook until it starts to brown and gives off a nutty scent. Careful not to burn it. 
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool just slightly. 
  3. In your food processor pulse pecans until they are finely chopped. Add in sugar, salt and browned butter. 
  4. Pulse a few times until it comes together.
  5. Press crust into the bottoms of your favorite tartlet pans or a 9-10 inch tart/pie plate. Reserve just a bit to sprinkle over the top of your finished dessert.
  6. Place in the freezer until you are ready to fill.
  7. In a medium sauce pan add all of your filling ingredients and whisk constantly over medium heat until everything has melted and it is smooth. 
  8. Pour into prepared crusts or crust. 
  9. Sprinkle extra pecan pie crust over the tops of each tart.
  10. Refrigerator a minimum of 3 hours and serve.   


My friend Lauren runs a mail-order bakery called Keep it Sweet Desserts. Last April, I  was lucky enough to sample several of her products and host a giveaway. I instantly fell in love. Keep it Sweet Desserts offers artisinal  desserts. Everything from classic cookies to modern twists on your favorite treats.

Keep it Sweet Desserts would like to offer one lucky reader a dozen treats of your choice OR to gift to someone special. With the holidays coming up this is the perfect time to have extra goodies laying around! To enter follow the directions on the Rafflecopter widget below.


10.28.2013

Pumpkin Ravioli with a Sweet Onion and Mushroom Filling topped with a Parmesan Cream Sauce



When I turned 21 my mom bought me my first KitchenAid stand mixer. I was pretty excited, though I have to admit. The only thing I ever used it for at the time was mixing my mashed potatoes. I had yet to learn how to bake!

The following Christmas she bought me the pasta maker attachment. Probably thinking that I would use my mixer more if I could make pasta...Years have flown by and the pasta attachment stayed in it's box untouched.

$300 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

Who doesn't need an extra $300 in their pocket?? Well one of you are in luck... Follow the directions on the widget below and enter for a chance to win. 




a Rafflecopter giveaway

10.27.2013

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Muffins


I'm so super excited. My husband started building a small room off the side of our kitchen and between our garage. At some point in the past 50 years, I think there was  a small room off the side of the house as an entry way. But someone had torn it out and expanded it into the garage. So a good chunk of the work was already done for my husband. He just had to build a wall, frame a door, insulate, and some other touch up stuff. I did a good chunk of the painting. But then he kicked me out and took over since I really suck at slinging paint.

This room will also serve as extra storage for my many kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, photography equipment. It's also the perfect spot in my house to do photo shoots. The lighting is gorgeous. Look at the photos I've taken the last three posts... they were all done in my new blog office with little to no editing afterwards. I'm quite happy with them!

While the husband finished up adding the moulding today. I  searched antique stores in hopes of finding some  unique pieces to decorate with and perhaps a small table or desk. Ever since I scored the tray shown pictured in these photos at Marshalls . I have been obsessed with finding a table that I could finish in the same way. I can't seem to find anything that fits the bill.

However I did come across this DIY Pallet Table on Pinterest. I think I just found a new project for my husband... as if he doesn't have enough going on!

What do you think of this idea??


While I was day dreaming of new tables and desks,  pretending that I actually have the time to build my own furniture... I made these muffins for a mid day Sunday snack. They are a sweet moist pumpkin muffin made with apple cider, cardamon and of course cinnamon. I then topped them in cinnamon and sugar to give them that snickerdoodle feel. They were quite easy to whip up and very popular among the kiddos.

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 11/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider   
For the topping:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, cardamom, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and sugar. 
  3. Fold in  pumpkin puree, eggs,vanilla, oil and cider. 
  4. Once combined fill greased muffin tin 3/4 of the way.  
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.
  6. Once they are out of the oven, mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl.
  7.  While the muffins are still hot, sprinkle with your cinnamon sugar mixture. 
  8. Allow to cool and then remove from pans.  
Recipe yields about 2 dozen muffins. 
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10.26.2013

Pumpkin and Cider Stove Top Mac n' Cheese with Crispy Bacon


I posted "Sleeping in is for schmucks." on my facebook fan page at 6am today. I was super tired (what's new) because I was up working on a blog post till midnight (what's new...) and then woke up with Mads at 5ish (again... same story every day). I will be the first to say I am so incredibly jealous of anyone who gets 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I want to be the schmuck that sleeps till 10 am so bad! I was being sarcastic when I posted that status. I guess I need to learn that there will be a lot of people who just don't get my dry sense of humor... and in those instances there could be back lash.

And that is OK.


I sometimes let the things people say to me on the Internet get under my skin. And every time I do I think back to a facbeook post that Joy the Baker posted a long time ago, after her book was released. She had gone on Amazon to read some of her reviews. A couple of people had taken the time to write some lengthy not so nice reviews (which is I think is bat shit crazy, because I've made 75 of the 100 recipes in her book and they are the bomb). She said that she realized that it is OK. Not everyone has to like you.

And so that is it. I will continue to be me, a tad crazy, enthusiastic about baking, dry, sarcastic and a little rough around the edges. If people don't like it... that is SO OK. Just move on and find a blog or recipe page that is a better fit for you.

Some people may not like pumpkin. I should say OK. But I'm not... all the cool people are on the pumpkin train and you my friends are missing out.

Pumpkin mac is one of those trendy dinner ideas that I see popping up this fall. Some people are weirded out by it. But cheese and squash work so well together. You get to add some extra vitamins and some color to your cheese sauce. It's the perfect sneaky mom move, the kids can't tell. It gets that beloved classic orange color that they see on the Kraft box.  For this mac, I used a little cider to start my sauce. Some Cabot Seriously Sharp, pumpkin and of course BACON. Start to finish this dinner takes 15 minutes.



Pumpkin and  Cider Stove Top Mac n' Cheese with Crispy Bacon

Ingredients: 

1 16 oz box of dry pasta, prepared according to box directions
3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
1/2 cup apple cider
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 cups shredded Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup pumpkin puree 
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 pound of bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled
sage leaves for garnish

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan melt butter with 3 tbs of butter over medium heat. Whisk until a paste forms.

Whisk in cider and milk, and bring mixture to a low boil. 

Mix in shredded cheese, cream cheese, pumpkin, salt, and pepper. Mix until smooth.

Toss with prepared pasta. 

Serve each bowl with bacon crumbles and garnish with fresh sage.    
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10.25.2013

Maple Brown Sugar Pumpkin Roll


It's been a long month. I want to win my husbands heart over tonight, to make up for the nights of neglect. I've been working so much between blog and kid school stuff. He gets little to no attention these days. So I made him a pumpkin roll. The man loves himself some pumpkin roll.


Now most wives would probably go buy something at Victoria Secret, perhaps get all dolled up. Not me. I bake.


However I have to say, I may not be smokin' hot tonight,  but this pumpkin roll damn sure is.



10.24.2013

Cookie Butter Pumpkin Pie Dip


For the most part we try to stay away from processed snack foods. You rarely will ever see a package of Oreo cookies in my cupboards, there are no secret stashes of candy, or other junk food. Though every once in awhile I will buy a jar of Biscoff Spread aka, Cookie Butter.

Cookie Butter and I have a love hate relationship. I really hate that I love it so much. I really can't have it in the house. As I have said many times before on here... I wake up in the middle of the night just to eat scoops of it. I will polish off an entire jar in two days all on my own. 

Cookie butter just so happens to pair quite well with pumpkin. The cinnamon and rich brown sugar flavors paired with pumpkin remind me of pie. This dip is fun. You can dip Biscoff Cookies in it, grahams, apples, pretzels, the list really is endless.

10.23.2013

Pumpkin Reuben

Man. Thanksgiving puts a lot of pressure on a girl.

I just looked at the calender and realized it's creeping up on me. I've had my head buried so deep in pumpkin and blog stuff I have forgotten all the work I want to have done around the house, before I open the doors to all of our friends and family.

The house is all new on the inside so it's not like I need to go crazy, but I need to do some major de-cluttering. How is it possible we have only lived here since June/July and I have so much stuff everywhere?


My husband also started to build me an office off the side of the kitchen, it's almost done. But so many small things need to be done. I need to furnish/decorate it. I think I'm pushing it on time!



But forget the house.... I need to plan a menu! Priorities. If they are all so busy stuffing their faces they won't notice my unfinished office or the dust bunnies in the corner right?

7 more days of pumpkin recipes and then I can turn my focus onto the upcoming holidays.

Today for #30DaysOfPumpkin. I made a really non pumpkiny-pumpkin recipe. There is pumpkin there, but you can hardly tell. It's fun fall twist on the Reuben. Slices of tender corned beef, piled high with cheddar cheese instead of Swiss, and a red cabbage slaw tossed in my pumpkin cranberry vinaigrette.




Pumpkin Reuben 

Ingredients: 
  • Your favorite pumpernickel bread. Or you can go with a pumpernickel rye blend like I Did
  • 4 oz of sliced cooked corned beef per sandwich 
  • 2 oz of cheddar cheese per sandwich
  • 1 tbs of butter per sandwich
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Coleslaw *recipe follows
For the coleslaw:
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3 tbs pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbs cranberry mustard
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash of black pepper

Directions: 

  1. First start by preparing your coleslaw. In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin, mustard, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, water, maple salt and pepper. 
  2. Once combined toss with shredded cabbage.
  3. Refrigerate for one hour before use. 
  4. To assemble your sandwiches. Place layers of beef and cheese on one piece of bread. Top with coleslaw and your second piece of bread. 
  5. Fry over medium high heat with 1 tbs of butter until toasted on each side.  

*This recipe makes a couple cups of coleslaw, if you are not using it all for sandwich making. It sores well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  I also made a double batch of the slaw dressing to have on hand. It goes great on salads. I decided to top my sandwich with an extra dollop of that instead of Thousand Island Dressing. This however is completely optional and not necessary.

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10.22.2013

Pumpkin Spice Latte Meringue Cake

Layers of baked coffee flavored meringue and pumpkin pastry cream topped off with whipped cream, coco powder and pumpkin molasses caramel. 

Meringue is one of those things that I was scared of making for so long. I had heard horror stories of whites not whipping, collapsing or perhaps being over whipped. The term stiff peaks, was kind of a mystery to me. I had no idea what this meant for the longest time. Then one day I read this post about  how to make Swiss meringue buttercream and I had an aha moment.

Meringue is easy peasy. It's great to top pies with, baked into cookies, to use as frosting, I've even used it in pie crust! One thing I have never done is make a meringue cake. Now I'm sure you are looking at these pictures thinking. What the heck is that blob? It's pure meringue! This is a non-cake, cake.  A great alternative for those with gluten sensitives. It's also lower in calories! No butter or  flour. All these eggs also means it is high in protein right? So it's practically health food... Kidding!

10.21.2013

No Yeast Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


Today is a bit of a flash back. Pardon the photos, they are old,  as is the recipe. However it is kinda new because the recipe was never posted on my website...

You see, I originally created them for a guest post on another blog. Well... that blog no longer exists. Which is really sad, because I actually really enjoyed it.  And it's double sad because this recipe has been MIA for the past few months. 

10.20.2013

Pumpkin Molasses Caramel Sauce



A good caramel sauce is so important to have on hand. No bowl of ice cream is complete without a hefty drizzle over the top. Brownies, cookies, cakes... they all are made 100x better when topped in caramel.

For #30DaysOfPumpkin, I knew from day one that I wanted to create a caramel type sauce to top everything in. After some playing around I realized how much I adore the rich flavor of molasses and how well it goes with the pumpkin.

10.19.2013

Pumpkin Manicotti with Apple Sausage and a Bacon Cream Sauce


Wow. Today has been super productive. Made and shot two new recipes, blogging one of them now. Cleaned the house top to bottom. Went shopping. Entertained my in-laws for a couple hours. Now it's date night!


The husband and I are going out for dinner and drinks tonight which is a rare occasion and so over due. So if you don't mind. This #30DaysOfPumpkin thing is going to be short and sweet.... my cute date is waiting!




Pumpkin Manicotti with Apple Sausage and a Bacon Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

1 box manicotti prepared according to package directions
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 8 oz package of  cream cheese
1 tbs olive oil
4 apple chicken  sausage links, diced
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tbs diced fresh herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) 
3 tbs bacon grease
3 tbs flour
2 cups milk
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: 

In a fry pan heat olive oil over medium/high heat. Add in sausage pieces and fry about 5 minutes or until they start to brown. Remove from heat.

In a mixing bowl mix in sausage pieces, pumpkin, cream cheese, dived onion, garlic, pecans, and herbs.

Fill each cooked manicotti shell with filling and place in a greased casserole dish. Set aside.

In a medium sauce pan, add bacon grease and flour. Whisk together over medium high heat until a paste forms. Slowly whisk milk and bring to a boil.  Mix in freshly grated nutmeg and Parmesan cheese. Mix until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pour cream sauce over the top of the filled pasta. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Garnish with chopped pecans, herbs and extra Parmesan cheese. 

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10.18.2013

Pumpkin and Cranberry Crostinis with Maple and Brie

A fancy yet simple appetizer to serve at your holiday get together. Crispy crostinis topped with creamy brie, maple spiced pumpkin, and cranberry chutney.



I have had kind of a crazy long day, and I have no words to share with you all. Nothing about Friday Night Lights. No crazy rants about life and nothing cute or funny. So I give you food!

Toasted slices of baguette topped with  brie, a spiced maple pumpkin mixture and topped off with my favorite cranberry chutney.

10.17.2013

Pumpkin Brown Sugar Cookies Dipped in Molasses Caramel

A simple roll out Pumpkin Brown Sugar Cookies Dipped in a rich Molasses Caramel.


Want to know what I love? TV.

Which is kind of funny considering 4-5 years ago I went on a TV strike, didn't allow the kids to watch it, we got rid of cable.... and  ALL of our TVs. Life was much more quiet and simple then. Fast forward a few years, and I have 3 kids. TV is a must now. I can't live without. I know this sounds awful, but I look forward to TV time. It's the only part of my day that the kids sit still and stop asking for stuff.

Slowly over the last year, I've started to become obsessed with a few really good shows, The Newsroom, Downton Abbey, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, and Orange Is The New Black.

If you have followed me on social media over the last few weeks, you would know that I am also super obsessed with Friday Night Lights. For years I listened to people talk about the show, and I never fully understood why everyone was so obsessed with a football show. I am not a fan of football, in fact, I kind of hate all sports, so I never had the desire to start the show.

Then one rainy lazy day at home I saw that it was Amazon Prime. So I started watching it. A month and a half later, I finished all five seasons.  

I am not sure what kind of spell this particular series cast on me. But I was in deep. From the moment I woke up I put it on. It played on my iPad or laptop while I was cleaning, baking, blogging, or while the kids slept. I could not break free of it! When I wasn't watching Friday Night Lights, I was thinking about it, or talking about it on facebook and twitter.

Over the last month I formed a major crush on one of the main characters, Coach Eric Taylor. He is so stinking adorable. Whenever I would talk to anyone about Friday Night Lights they would ooo and ahhh over Tim Riggins. The bad boy with long dirty hair. Yeah... I get that whole bad boy appeal, and I definitely noticed his rock hard abs. But the boy needs a shower and a hair brush bad. The whole hair thing just doesn't do it for me. Then it dawned on me. I like the old guy in the show... I must be getting old! When did this happen? This transition of thinking more mature men, men with slightly graying hair... are attractive?

10.16.2013

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie with Honey Sweetened Meringue

Creamy brown sugar pumpkin pie topped with a fluffy light meringue that is sweetened with honey. 
This photo was taken by Owen, my 6 year old (7 in March)

The other day I kind of a had a melt down rant here on my blog. I felt kind of funny for posting it. I sort of ragged on my husband (in a joking manner). He is the most amazing person in my life, the one who keeps my head on straight at all times. I don't want anyone to think I think ill of him. I was just having a vent session. This is why I started my blog.... I need a place of my own to speak my mind. A place that wasn't cluttered by husbands and kids, my place to retreat to when I've had a long day.

A friend emailed me a couple days after my post went live and thanked me for being real on my blog. And it got me to thinking... and then venting some more. Why do we feel the need to pretend on social media? Posting photos of our beautiful children, long status updates how blessed we are and how everything is all pink roses and rainbows all the time. Our worlds are perfect, our houses are spotless, we make every ounce of our family's food by scratch... and not only that we do it while looking like hot Mamas. Come on! No one lives like that. 

10.15.2013

Pumpkin Pie Wontons with a Pear Ginger Beer Dipping Sauce



I always have wonton wrappers in my fridge. They are so versatile! There are so many fun things you can fill those little wrappers with.  For a special after school snack I filled them with a sweetened and spiced pumpkin filling and then deep fried.


For a dipping sauce I was thinking of an apple sauce of sorts, but all I had on hand were pears. So we reduced some peeled and cored pears down in a bit of ginger beer and served with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

They were a hit all around!

10.14.2013

Stuffed Turkey Cutlets with Pumpkin Brie Sauce and Cranberry Chutney

Turkey cutlets stuffed with a wild rice cranberry stuffing. Topped with a creamy pumpkin, brie sauce and cranberry chutney. This is the perfect weeknight meal, or great for a low key Thanksgiving dinner.




I love holiday inspired meals that are simplified enough for an everyday dinner.

This turkey dish would work great for an easy weeknight meal, or even a low key Thanksgiving  for two. All you need, is some turkey cutlets (forget buying that 15lb bird), stuffing, chutney, and topped off with a fancy but simple pumpkin and brie cream sauce. I know some people are hung up on having gravy with the their turkey dinner. So if you are not feeling the pumpkin brie sauce you can easily swap it out with your favorite gravy recipe. Or if you like brie but hate pumpkin you can substitute the pumpkin for any squash puree or even sweet potatoes.