Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate

Hi Y'all!
Even though its not all that cold down here, its still hot cocoa weather! The hubs and I love hot cocoa. I was trying to figure out how I could combine our love for hot cocoa and my need for making pumpkin items this month..
 I had seen several recipes going around for pumpkin lattes and what not, but it wasn't until I found one for pumpkin pie white hot chocolate, that I knew what I had to do! I just tweaked that recipe a bit to fit my needs..
So here you go! The perfect hot chocolate for the fall!
Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate:
3 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces chocolate (chopped)
pinch salt, optional

 Heat the milk, pumpkin, and spices in a sauce pan until it just starts to simmer and remove from heat.

 Add the chocolate and stir until it has melted.
 Pour into mugs and garnish with a dab of whip cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Eat and Enjoy!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls

Hi Y'all!
As you can see, I have discovered a few ways to make yummy popcorn balls! So far, these are my favorite, but I have a few more ideas to try out...
My friends loved these and so will you! Whats better than popcorn, pretzels and chocolate? I dare you to come up with something better! lol
Sweet and Salty Popcorn Balls:
3-4 cups popped popcorn
1/2 a stick of butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
 mini marshmallows (I used just over half the bag)
1 cup pretzel sticks (broken into 3 or 4 pieces per stick)
1 square chocolate almond bark
1/2-1 tsp shortening
Pop your popcorn and try your best to remove all the unpopped kernels.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add your brown sugar and marshmallows.
Stir until all melty and combined. Add the pretzel bits.
Immediately add the marshmallow mixture to your popcorn and stir it up real nice like..
 Let the mixture sit for a few minutes until its cool enough to handle.
Shape into balls. I got about 13 from my batch..
Melt your square of almond bark with the shortening and drizzle over each ball.
Eat and Enjoy!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Popcorn Balls

Hi Y'all!
The hubs had been asking me for like ever to make him some popcorn balls. This man would probably live off of popcorn if left on his own.. Finally I gave in, because the idea of popcorn balls did sound good.. but when looking at what I had in the cupboard, it wasn't going to be easy.. I didn't have enough corn syrup for one recipe, nor did I have enough marshmallows for another recipe that I had..
 My compromise? The almost full jar of marshmallow creme I found in my cabinet!
 These popcorn balls turned out really good. I am going to share the original recipe for you, but know that if need be you could use the marshmallow creme!
Popcorn Balls:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 package miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 quarts popped popcorn
Melt butter in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and brown sugar and stir until melted. I did not have a full bag of miniature marshmallows, I had about ¼ of a bag, but I had an almost full jar of marshmallow creme… So I added most of that jar to the brown sugar and butter mixture.

 Remove from heat.
Pour popcorn into pot; mix well. With greased hands, shape into 2 1/2-inch balls. Set on parchment lined baking sheet to dry slightly.

Eat and Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hi Y'all
I have found way too many pumpkin items that I want to try.. So I have decided to extend my pumpkin month into November. And possibly adding another pumpkin recipe per week.. I'm not sure if I am that ambitious or not, so we'll see!
This week I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I found this recipe over at Chef in Training. She has some awesome recipes over there, so be sure to check her out!
I found that my cookies did not come out to looking like they did over at Chef in Training.. Mine were a bit on the cakey side. They were still good, but I'm not sure what I did wrong. I do have some ideas running through my head on how to make them more to my liking.
I've also been experimenting with popcorn balls.. So be on the look out for those recipes sometime this next week!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1-1  ½ cups chocolate chips
 Pre heat your oven to 375.
Combine shortening, sugar and pumpkin until creamy. Add egg and mix well.
Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix until dough forms. Add your chocolate chip.
Drop by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Eat and Enjoy!


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Hi Y'all
This week we got some sweet potatoes in our veggie basket. My husband does not like sweet potatoes, and honestly I have never really had them except at Thanksgiving time when they are smothered in marshmallows...
So, I had to come up with some creative way to use them. I found this recipe from Paula Deen on the Food Network site and had to give it a try!
The original recipe says to chill your bread pudding mixture for 8 hours before baking. I did not see that step until it was too late. I was making this for an event we were going to that night and did not have time to let it chill. I think it turned out wonderful with out being in the fridge.. But if you have the time for that, then by all means go right on a head and let it chill!
Since I was running behind, I did not get to take any photos before hand.. I apologize for the pictures of the leftovers that I took home..

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding:

Butter, for baking dish
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pureed sweet potato (about 3 medium sized sweet potatoes)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 egg yolks
2 loaves white bread, crusts removed
Pecan Crumble, recipe follows

Pecan Crumble:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup toasted and chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
First you need to puree your sweet potatoes. I peeled them, then chopped them into small pieces and boiled until soft. Once that is done, place them in the your food processor until smooth. Voila! You've now got sweet potato puree!

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, sugars, sweet potato puree, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cook over medium-high heat, just until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth and combined. Using a ladle, pour 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture in a slow, steady stream into the yolks, whisking constantly. Add another 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 3 to 5 minutes. Strain the custard and reserve.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with 1 layer of bread slices. Pour about 1/4 of the custard mixture over the bread. Repeat with remaining bread and custard, ending with custard.
Pecan Crumble:

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients, and mix with a hand mixer on low speed, until well combined.

Sprinkle the bread pudding with the pecan crumble. Bake until the crumble mixture is golden and the custard is bubbly, about 45 minutes. Serve warm.
Eat and Enjoy!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Hi Y'all!
Since I got a late start on my pumpkin challenge, I am adding an extra pumpkin recipe this week.
I have found many yummy looking pumpkin recipes, but am having trouble deciding what to bake next. Any of you out there have a favorite pumpkin recipe? Or any pumpkin recipe you have been wanting to try?
I can tell you that these cookies are amazing! I could just eat the cookie dough by its self and be perfectly happy! I had a tough time keeping cookies on my plate while photographing them! Sneaky hands would come grab one after I would take the pictures..
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles:
3 3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the coating:

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars on medium speed until well combined. Next, beat in pumpkin then, add the egg and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and beat until combined, but do not over mix.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line your baking sheets with wax paper. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the sugar coating.
Scoop dough, about 1 tablespoon, and roll into a ball. Roll the ball in the sugar mixture, and place on the lined baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball.


Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Remove when the centers of the cookies have set. Let cool on the baking pan for 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Eat and Enjoy!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Pull Apart Bread

Hi Y'all!
Can you feel it? Can you smell it?
 Supposedly fall is here.. And by here, I mean every where but the great state of Texas! Yeah sure, it's not 100 degrees outside anymore, but there are no pretty leaves falling. If anything the trees are looking greener, the grass is still growing and even the garden started growing again!
So I ask again. Can you feel the cool crisp bite in the air that signifies fall being here? Can you smell the changing weather in the air? This is my favorite time of year, and It feels like spring here!
My solution?
 Make my home smell like fall! That means lots of baking with pumpkin!
I have decided to try again with my pumpkin challenge.
 Last year I challenged myself to try and bake only pumpkin items through out the month of October.
 I did not get very far with that..
So, this year, I'm going to try and just do one pumpkin recipe a week, and still do other stuff.
 I think I will be able to see this challenge through better than last years. (we'll see about that..)
To start with, I have this yummy, amazingly wonderful, cinnamon sugar pumpkin pull apart bread.
When I say its amazingly wonderful, I mean its OMG  this is so freaking amazing! This bread did not survive the afternoon, it almost didn't survive the photo shoot..
You have to go make this NOW! Go on..

Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Pull-a-part Bread:

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Buttered Rum Glaze:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp rum

In a saucepan, brown 2 tablespoons of butter over med-high heat, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown. Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer and allow to cool.
Once it has reached a warm temperature, add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar. Allow to proof, this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy. Then add the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Using your dough hook attachment, stir until combined, then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.
While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well. Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9×5 loaf  pan or a bunt pan and set aside.
When the dough is done rising, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a rectangle. The recipe I followed said to roll it into a 20x12 rectangle... I’m pretty sure mine was not 20x12, so don’t worry about that part… Just as long as it’s in a good sized rectangle, all is good!
Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Then cut those strips into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. If you are using a bunt pan, I just stuck the pieces in there all willy nilly like, and loved how my bread turned out...
See? All willy nilly like!
Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes and pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar. While your bread is still warm, drizzle the glaze over the top of it.

Eat and Enjoy!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Mozzarella Grilled Cheese with Kale Pesto and Tomatoes

Hi Y'all!
Ha! I found another use, that is not pasta, for my yummy kale pesto! I had found this recipe a while back on Pinterest, but had completely forgotten about it. I was going through on of my boards today when I found it. I changed it a little, using the kale pesto instead of basil.
The other day I found this awesome spinach and parmesan bread that I just had to buy. I had no clue as to what to do with it, but I knew I had to have it. It was perfect for this sandwich!
The hubs loved this sandwich so much, he had one for lunch and then asked for another one for dinner!
 Mozzarella Grilled Cheese:
8 slices any kind of bread
4 quarter-inch slices of fresh mozzarella
2 roma tomatoes, cut into thick slices
1 cup kale pesto
freshly ground black pepper and salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
Heat a skillet over medium heat.
Assemble sandwich by spreading insides of bread slices with pesto. Arrange a layer of sliced tomato and season with pepper and salt. Layer the mozzarella slices over the top and then place another piece of bread on top to make the sandwich.
Drizzle olive oil over skillet's surface and place sandwiches on the hot skillet. Place another heavy skillet over the top to press your sandwich (If you have one of those nifty panini press things, by all means, use that instead!).
Turn after 2 to 3 minutes and replace the top pan. Your sandwich will be ready when it is golden brown and the cheese has melted around the edges.
 Just look at that ooey-gooey goodness!
Eat and Enjoy!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Carmel Apple Snickers Salad

Hi Y'all!
Obviously there is nothing healthy about this salad! I made this dish to bring to a friends house. I always bake something, cookie, cupcakes, cake, if it goes in the oven, I bake it.. It was time to give the oven a break and make something that does not require an oven..
This recipe is super easy to make and is sooo yummy!!
 I got this recipe from Chef in Training
Carmel Apple Snickers Salad:
6 regular size Snickers Candy Bar
 (It was cheaper for me to snag a bag of fun size snickers that were on sale, as opposed to buying 6 snickers bars..)
6 apples I used Gala apples
1 (5 oz.) package Vanilla Instant Pudding
1/2 cup milk
1 12 oz. tub cool whip
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping

Whisk vanilla pudding packet, 1/2 cup milk and cool whip together until well combined.
Chop up apples and Snickers.
Stir chopped apples and Snickers into pudding mixture.

Place in a large bowl and drizzle with caramel ice cream topping.
Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Told you it was easy!
Eat and enjoy!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kale and Black Bean Brownies

Hi Y'all!
I bet you thought I was done with things you can make with kale, huh? Yup, not so much! I mentioned I had enough kale left over to make chips with, but I also had enough left to make these brownies..
I have to say, when I was tasting the batter, I told my husband that this was the strangest tasting thing I had ever put in my mouth.. He just laughed.. The combination of veggies and chocolate was a bit weird, but tasty..
They almost taste a bit like those health bars you buy in stores only made with real chocolate..
Kale and Black Bean Brownies:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed & drained
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups kale, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 tablespoons butter

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients until combined. Rinse kale and remove ribs. 
Add wet ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
Make sure the kale is chopped up and Incorporated very well.. My kale mixture still had big pieces of kale, and I think the brownies would of turned out a bit better if I had mixed it longer..
  Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients until combined, do not over mix. Spread into a 9 x 9 greased baking pan.   
 Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Eat and Enjoy!
Do you have a healthy brownie recipe?


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mini Peach Cobbler

Hi Y'all!
In our circle of friends, we do a lot of potlucks. I love finding new desserts to bring. It has come to the point that if I don't show up with a dessert, all our friends are disappointed.. I am known as The Baker.. They even gave me a theme song.. It's called The Baker. Lol. I can't remember who sings it, but its pretty funny..
So with that being said, I can't let my fans down now, can I?
I came across this recipe on Pinterest (ah, another lovely recipe from Pinterest!) and just knew my friends would love it!
Mini Peach Cobbler:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Dash of salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Brown sugar
1 can peaches, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put 1 teaspoon of melted butter into each regular size muffin tin.
With a wooden spoon stir together the sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and milk.
Put 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin tin. Add 1 tablespoon diced peaches on top of the batter.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and then cinnamon.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Let them cool almost completely before taking out of pan. Use a butter knife to loosen the edges then just lift them out.
Eat and Enjoy!
Do you have a go to potluck item?

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Kale Pesto

Hi Y'all!
So the other day we made a pizza with cauliflower crust. Instead of the usual tomato based sauce I decided to try a kale pesto. We have gotten kale in both of our produce baskets do far. The first bunch of kale we got, we made kale chips. This time I wanted to try something a little bit different.. Don't get me wrong, the kale chips are awesome, and I made sure I left enough kale so we could make more, but I wanted to be able to use the kale in a meal or something, ya know?
I saw this recipe on Food Buzz and had to try it! Originally I had a pasta dish or some sort of sandwich in mind, but when I decided on making a pizza, I thought the kale pesto would be a nice change. It was really good, and there is enough left to make a pasta dish!
Kale Pesto:
4 cups torn kale, (about 6 large stems, stalks removed)
3 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
Juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic paste or 2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
4-5 Tablespoons water (optional)

Place kale, lemon juice, salt, garlic and Parmesan in the food processor.
Pulse until ingredients are finely chopped. If it is too thick and it does not blend well, add a few tablespoons of water, one at a time.
Once everything is chopped, with food processor running, slowly drizzle olive oil over the ingredients until incorporated.
Put pesto in a glass jar, or plastic container.
Eat and Enjoy! 
Sorry for the not so great picture.. I don't know why its the only one I took..
Whats your favorite way to use pesto?


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Hi Y'all!
In the spring, the hubs had planted a garden. We had all kinds of wonderful things growing, and it inspired us to start eating better and trying our best to know where our food comes from. He grew corn, kale, two types of lettuce, several types of beans, squash, zucchini, and of course basil.  Once the Texas heat hit, our pretty little garden died.. We are still all about eating fresh organic fruits and veggies, but growing our own will have to wait till it cools off some.
Luckily for us we found this awesome place that does co-op style produce baskets. Urban Acres not only has a store in the DFW area, but they deliver produce baskets every two weeks to a little organic market in our area. We just got our second basket from them this past Friday, and got some kale, butternut squash, cauliflower and lots of other goodies.
The hubs and I both agree that we do not like cauliflower that much, but do not want to be wasteful. I had seen cauliflower pizza crust going around on pinterest awhile back and thought that would be the perfect solution for our cauliflower!
I made a kale pesto sauce for our pizza (look for that recipe soon!), and our toppings included: red onion, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, kalamata olives and arugula.
You can put whatever you want on your pizza though! =)
Cauliflower Pizza Crust:
1 cup cauliflower crumbs
2 egg whites
1 cup cheese (I used cheddar)
1 tsp cilantro or oregano
1 tsp. minced garlic or garlic powder
Parmesan cheese, if desired
pizza toppings of your choice

I used a whole head of cauliflower. Wash your cauliflower and pat it dry. Be sure to have it dried completely; otherwise your crust will be mushy. Chop the cauliflower into small pieces and tossed them into your food processor and processed it until it is crumb like.

Once you are done, place the cauliflower in a microwave safe dish and put it in the microwave for about 7-8 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
Grab a pizza pan and spray it with a non-stick spray. If you don’t have a pizza pan, you can use a cookie sheet like I did, just line it with wax paper and spray it lightly with a non-stick spray..
It will stick if you don’t!
In a medium bowl, combine the cauliflower, egg whites, cheese, oregano and garlic.
Press evenly in the pan. Make sure you get it mushed down real well on all sides. If you are using a cookie sheet, make the best circle you can... It does not have to be pretty to still taste good!
Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top of your crust.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Check it after 15 min, if it still seems a little dough like in the middle, put it in for another 3-5 min.
Remove the pan from the oven. Add your sauce, toppings and cheese.
Place under a broiler for about 30-60 seconds, just until the cheese is melted.
Eat and Enjoy!
What is your least favorite veggie?