AUTUMN 2013

It’s that time of year again! The time for back to school, falling leaves, awesome patterned tights paired with boots, chilly weather for scarf wearing, sweaters, but most importantly…Halloween movies galore, and PUMPKIN EVERYTHING! Clearly it is time for my favorite time of year.

And why yes, I have had multiple Pumpkin Spice Lattes since they were released a week ago 🙂

1001442_10151821695313076_881963928_nDELICIOUS. Even more delicious because this one was a surprise from one of my 8th graders right before first period. I know it’s silly, but I’m loving the fact that my students actually like me, rather than just tolerate me as the kids did during my student teaching.

ANYWAY…pumpkin! So as most of you probably know, I love everything pumpkin related this time of year, that being said. Here is a roundup of some of my favorite pumpkin recipes, and some I am excited to try! I already picked up one can of pumpkin puree, but I can see I will definitely be needing more!

Pumpkin Bread – totally a classic and a must make for every year.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll – definitely a win for special occasions, when you’re trying to impress someone, or just because you feel like eating a fancy roll cake (I find any of these reasons to be valid for making this delicious dessert).

Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes – if I had the time, I would make these fresh every morning and snack on them throughout the day because they are the perfect accompaniment to morning coffee/tea, the perfect small post-lunch dessert, the best afternoon pick-me-up (with coffee of course), and obviously a great dessert for ending the day. Hmm…this makes me wonder, is this worth getting up at 5:00am so I can have some to bring with me to work? Quite possibly yes. And yes, I know, I have a pumpkin problem.

Some other pumpkin recipes from around the blog world that I can’t wait to try…

Pumpkin Oat Loaf – from Young Married Chic. A breakfast bread that sounds like it would be awesome slathered in peanut butter (really, is there any other way to put peanut butter on things?) It sounds like it’s almost baked pumpkin spice oatmeal in loaf form. So basically an awesome on-the-go breakfast.

Pumpkin Gingerbread – also from Young Married Chic (it’s slightly possible that Kris actually loves pumpkin things more than I do!) But yes, this pumpkin gingerbread sounds like an amazing combo of all things autumn/winter so I can’t wait to try it – maybe for Thanksgiving as a transition to winter.

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn (aka Monster Mash) – and one more from Young Married Chic! This caramel corn basically sounds like Halloween in a bag and therefore I think it’s awesome. Definitely will be contemplating bringing bags of this to school for my kiddos during Halloween. Or you know, just making for me to eat every day during the month of October. Don’t judge.

Pumpkin Cake Pops – from YumSugar. Pretty sure the title speaks for itself. Pumpkin + Cake Pops. Clearly no additional words are needed.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – from Smitten Kitchen. I’m not sure why I’ve never made these before. I pinned the recipe a while back and just found it but I can’t wait to make them! I mean come on, pumpkin. cinnamon. rolls. Yeasty, doughy, sweet deliciousness with the magic that is pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. PLUS A CREAM CHEESE GLAZE. Yes, these must be made asap this weekend.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes – from HealthyFoodforLiving. Pumpkin Spice Latte Pancakes? The question is not why, but rather why not?!

I can’t wait to get started making some of my go-to pumpkin favorites and trying out some of these other recipes!

What are your favorite pumpkin recipes?

Happy Start of Autumn!

xx

-C

 

THANKSGIVING 2012!

I absolutely love Thanksgiving, in fact, my favorite holidays are Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, & St. Patrick’s Day (I love corned beef…just wait until March), in that order. Okay, maybe not really in that order because Thanksgiving and Halloween are really more tied…and Halloween might pull ahead a slight bit. But anyway, I do love Thanksgiving. All the food, all the thankfulness, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!, & you know I guess I like seeing relatives and all that. Maybe. Kind of. Sort of.

Anyway…Thanksgiving food! This year’s planning has been put to the very last minute, because, one, finals week is spilling into Thanksgiving week, and two, work prep for Black Friday/Christmas season is in full effect. So to keep up with everything, I’ve probably consumed about 10x the normal amount of caffeine I consume. Oh well. DRINK COFFEE AND CARRY ON.

So yea, if you’re last minute prepping like me, here’s a handy dandy list of links and food ideas that will hopefully all be incorporated into Thanksgiving 2012. Oh and for decor ideas, see my Pinterest board, Thanksgiving.

The Menu

Pumpkin Bread – Libby’s/my great-grandmother (don’t forget to serve it warm with cream cheese!)

Truffled Popcorn – Ina Garten (what? I’m buying truffle butter for the turkey anyway, why not put it to good use for an appetizer as well!)

Clam Dip + pita chips – my mother will be making this because her recipe is TOP SECRET.

Artichoke & Jalapeño Dip (because J is obsessed) – from Costco. It’s awesome and worth not having to search out good jalapeños and artichoke hearts. Directions: Go to Costco, find the large tub of Artichoke-Jalapeño Dip, go home, place in a microwave safe dish or oven-safe dish, microwave or bake until bubbly and cheesy and delicious. Dip everything into it. Enjoy!

Green Bean Casserole (of course you have to have the classic) but no soy sauce, putting all the french fried onions on top for the whole baking process, and instead of 3/4 cup milk, I will be doing 3/4 cup dry cooking sherry. The results are amazing. TRY IT.  – Campbell’s Kitchen

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (but with cream cheese instead of sour cream, and red potatoes with the skin on) – Paula Deen

Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter – Ina Garten

My Mom’s Gravy – which is also apparently a secret, BUT one I might get to learn this year. I said might. So no guarantees this recipe  will make an appearance post-Thanksgiving. All I know is it involves heavy cream, turkey drippings, and good scotch.

Stuffing – Pepperidge Farms Stuffing Mix, sausage, celery, & onions. Don’t judge, it’s delicious. (Be on the lookout for my mom’s sticky rice stuffing at Christmastime – that will hopefully redeem me for my use of pre-made stuffing mix).

Cranberry Sauce (this is about as close to my mom’s recipe as I can get; though no sugar/salt/pepper at the end, and a quick splash of grand marnier about halfway through cooking) – Food Network Kitchens

Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts – Same as always. A bunch of cut up brussel sprouts, a giant dousing of extra virgin olive oil, and a ton of garlic salt & freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 – 40 minutes or until all the brussel sprouts are nicely roasted with a lovely brown on the outer layers. This is seriously my new favorite way to eat brussel sprouts (and really all veggies lately) – oven roasted. They taste like salt and pepper chips. See picture below.

Caramel Pecan Tart – I actually plan to make a hybrid recipe out of this one from Martha Stewart and this one from Not Without Salt (and yes, of course I will add a chocolate ganache topping. Because, really, why not?)

Pumpkin Cheesecake – Krusteaz Pumpkin Bar Mix (this is all my mom, she saw the box, saw the recipe on the box, and decided that was it, this needed to be apart of Thanksgiving)

So, I think that’s it…unless last minute I decide to make some Cheddar-Mustard-Beer Pull-Apart Bread or something else like that. Which could totally happen. I also thought about throwing in a habanero mac & cheese, but there’s only 5 of us eating, and I don’t think I’ll have time to go find the awesome habanero jack that I used last time, so I guess it will have to wait for another day.

Any other suggestions though? Anything I’m missing?

Hope you are all having a fun time planning for Thanksgiving & not scrounging about searching for time to go buy a turkey, like I am. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to find one tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving Planning!

xx

-C

PS: Delicious example of oven-roasted brussel sprouts. They’re crispy and salty on the outside, slightly soft and sweet on the inside. Mmm…

First Pumpkin Bread of the Season

Second week of September? Autumn has begun you say? Then I say it’s time for some homemade pumpkin bread! I was actually at the grocery store to get things to make dinner but there was this giant display of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin cans, how could I possibly resist? This can made it a whole 24 hours in my house before I cracked it open to make some delicious pumpkin bread. The recipe I use is essentially Libby’s but with some tweaks from my great grandmother. There’s a wooden plaque that hangs in my house with my great grandmother’s recipe on it (with some lovely pumpkin artwork from my grandmother).

Pumpkin, flour, egg, and other stuff. Or Pumpkin Goop as I call it.

In the oven, ready to turn into delicious treats! On the top left, jack-o-lantern moulds [which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be available any more – see here] & on the top right mini loaf pans [also not available any more, what the heck…oh well, see here], and on the bottom, a larger stoneware loaf pan [I think this is the same one – also works wonderfully for other breads, like the beer-cheddar-mustard pull-apart bread or for meatloaf].

Complete! (except the large loaf, that took like an hour and fifteen to finish)

Jack-o-lantern shaped pumpkin bread?

And the final product, out of their baking containers. Sadly the jack-o-lanterns didn’t hold their shape well. You can kind of see the face, but not too well. See top right corner for the best one. I think next time I shall put raisins in for the face. Or something like that.

Anyway… the recipe!

Pumpkin Bread

Courtesy of Libby’s/my great-grandmother

3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c. each granulated white sugar and packed brown sugar
1 c. oil
1lb can Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin (NOT THE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING!)
4 eggs
1 c. each raisins and nuts (optional – I put raisins in all the loaves and left the jack-o-lanterns plain…I like both. As a person with weird nut allergies I tend to skip nuts. But pecans are good.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the oil and pumpkin (the whole can!). Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, and add to the pumpkin-oil mixture. Stir together well. Add eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9×5-inch loaf pans. (Or do like me and put it into any container you feel like! My great grandmother’s choice was always coffee cans, but as my coffee always comes in bags these days, it’s difficult to get my hands on those. Don’t over fill whatever container you do end up using though as the loafs will puff up quite a bit. I would recommend 2/3 full as a general rule. Depending on what type of container you use, you will also need to adjust the cooking time. For example, with the jack-o-lanterns and mini loaf pans, these were done after 25 – 30 minutes. Whereas the large loaf pan took closer to 1 hour 15 minutes. If you want case by case advice, feel free to leave a comment and I can give you my best estimate for cooking time.)

If you do use the 9×5-inch loaf pans, bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out relatively clean. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool.

Eat with cream cheese! And if it’s no longer warm, microwave it for 20 seconds – I like it warm if I’m going to eat it with cream cheese.

Best Autumn breakfast/snack!

Enjoy!

xx

-C

PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN!

Some people consider only October and November to be months for pumpkin goodies, but I for one, see no reason to not enjoy pumpkin treats from September to December. That being said, I give you the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll (think a Thanksgiving Buche de Noel) & Pumpkin Donut Holes!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll

Recipe adapted from Libby’s

Cake Ingredients

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with a silpat [or parchment paper will work fine]. [*If using parchment paper, grease and sprinkle with flour]. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel [or a clean, thin, cotton placemat] with powdered sugar and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. [Optional: Sprinkle with 1 cup chopped nuts.]
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off silpat/paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. A few candied cranberries on top will also make for a nice decoration.
Pumpkin Donut Holes

Adapted from JavaCupcake

Donut Hole Ingredients
10 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree [give or take, I used the entirety of what was left after making the pumpkin cream cheese roll – see above]

Cinnamon/Sugar Coating Ingredients
1 1/2  sticks butter, meleted
1 1/2 cups sugar + 2-3 tbsp cinnamon, combined
More may be needed of both ingredients depending on how many donut holes you make.

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Lightly spray mini muffin pans with cooking spray [if you do not have mini muffin pans, just use a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper]. In a medium bowl, whisk together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. With the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar (about 2 minutes). Beat in eggs, one at a time and beat on high until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture.  Mix only until just combined.

Using a combination of your hands and a teaspoon (or a small ice cream scoop), scoop a dollop of batter into each hole of the muffin pan. Try to make them as round as possible as this glob you are forming now will retain the same basic shape. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, coat each ball in melted butter then roll the ball in the cinnamon/sugar mixture until completely coated.  Let sit out on a rack to dry for several hours.  If you don’t, the butter won’t dry and you’ll have wet donuts, which while still delicious are really only something I will eat. Feel free to contact me to finish off the leftovers 😀

And there you have it – two pumpkin desserts fit for the entire Holiday season! Although, I personally think the donut holes are good any time of day, not just for dessert. They make a wonderful addition to a holiday brunch.

Happy Holidays!

xx

~C