Friday, November 18, 2016

Pumpkin Cake - Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Cake/Pumpkin Bars





I'm not sure where I got this recipe from but its a huge success in my house.  It is requested all the time.  Perfect for this time of year. :)


Ingredients:
- 4 eggs
- 1 and 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 15-ounce can pumpkin
- 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda


Icing:
- one 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
- 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy.  Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth.  Spread the batter into a greased 13x10-inch baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool completely before frosting.  Cut into bars.


To make the icing:  Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.  Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined.  Stir in the vanilla and mix again.  Spread on cooked pumpkin bars.



Watch out now, its hard to eat just one!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Birthday Barbecue for Nancy

 
Nancy's Birthday Barbecue!
 
Nancy's Birthday is actually July 3, but she is a busy woman! We finally got to celebrate with her July 30.  This was the menu:
 

 

 
RECIPES:

 
If you want to try the potato salad, the recipe is here .




=========================================================================
The cucumber/tomato/feta salad was SO good.
 



 
Salad Ingredients:
- 2 large cucumbers
- 2-3 tomatoes
- 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 red onion chopped
- Feta Cheese
(Optional: avocado)

 
For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
'

 
Instructions:
 
Wash and peel cucumbers (I alternate strips of peeled skin and leaving skin on), trimming ends.  Cut cucumbers lengthwise and scoop out seeds then cut into cubes.  Dice tomatoes.  Chop red onion into fine slivers.  Prepare dressing by combining ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.
 
Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, garbanzo beans and onion.  Add dressing and toss thoroughly.  Add feta cheese.
=========================================================================
Butternut Squash
 
Did you know you could cook a whole butternut squash in your crockpot?  Yep, you can. 
Since this was in the middle of a hot summer I wanted to avoid using the oven.  I had 3 crockpots going, one with butternut squash.  All you gotta do is wash it and put it in the crockpot for a few hours.  Yum!
 
=========================================================================
Kabobs
 
Soak the sticks in water ahead of time.  Chop up your veggie selection and put on sticks. Place on grill and brush on your favorite marinade (I can't tell you what marinade my husband used because he wont tell me lol but I know he often uses an Italian dressing and Lawry's have good flavors click here to see flavor options) and let sit to soak in the marinade for a few hours.  To cook, put on the grill, turning every 5-10 minutes and continue dressing with extra marinade.   If you are serving vegetarian, make sure you do those before the meat (I used tofu for those).
 


 
The hubby takes his grilling very seriously!

=========================================================================

 
Ribs

 
Brine the ribs with
1 qt apple cider
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup table salt
10 turns ground black pepper
10 turns ground white pepper
Combine ingredients in a bag.  Put ribs in bag and make sure the are coated with brine.  Refrigerate overnight.

 
Dry rub:
                           
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar

  •  
    Place ribs in a large pan. In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. Rub into pork ribs. For best results, allow ribs to sit in dry rub for an hour at room temperature.  Grill as desired (hubby adds some of his favorite bbq sauce at this point).

     

     

     
    =========================================================================
     
    Sweet and Sour Chicken in the Crockpot
     (sorry no picture yet)
    • 1 can (15-20 ounces) of pineapple chunks in juice
    • 1 cup cut carrots (I use baby carrots cut in half)
    • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
    • 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1/2 green bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup water
    • Rice or chow mein noodles
    1. Put carrots, onion and garlic in bottom of slow cooker.  Top with chicken. 
    2. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar and juice from pineapple can (reserving fruit for later) on top of chicken.
    3.  Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.
    4. During last 30 minutes, add pineapple and bell peppers.  During last 10 minutes, mix cornstarch and water and stir into slow cooker.  Serve over rice.
    ========================================================================

    If you want the cheesecake recipe, you can find it HERE



     
    
     

     

    Sunday, March 13, 2016

    No Churn Ice Cream


    Did you know you could make your own ice cream at home?
    With 2 ingredients (heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk) as a base, you can add in whatever extras you might want. 


     
    Whip your cream into a fluffy cloud of goodness, mix your sweetened condensed milk with your favorite ingredients (think chocolate chips, fruit, nuts, cookies, cocoa powder - be creative!)  and wallah! 

    I made a vanilla cinnamon ice cream to go over warm apple pie: 

    * 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
    * 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
    * 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    * 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    Instructions:

    Mix together sweetened condensed milk with vanilla, butter and cinnamon.  Whip heavy cream in a mixing bowl on high for several minutes until stiff peaks form. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the milk/vanilla mixture to the heavy cream. Once combined, pour into a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 6 hours to overnight.



    Saturday, March 12, 2016

    Cheesecake

    My favorite cheesecake to make is a no bake cheesecake. 
    I like the simple ingredients and how fresh it tastes with our favorite toppings.
    If you prefer a thicker, rich bake cheesecake, I've listed a recipe for that as well. :)




    No Bake Cheesecake


    Ingredients
    - 2 graham cracker pie crusts or 6 mini crusts
    - 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
    - 1/3 cup of sugar
    - 1 cup (1/2 pint) sour cream
    - 2 teaspoons vanilla
    - 1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, mildly thawed
    - Fruit or caramel sauce for garnish (optional)


    Beat cream cheese until smooth; gradually beat in sugar.  Blend in sour cream and vanilla.  fold in whipped topping.  Spoon into two graham cracker crusts.  Chill until set for a few hours. 




    Garnish with fruit or toppings as desired. 


    Easy Bake Cheesecakes

    - 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    - 3/4 cup of sugar (plus 2 Tablespoons)
    - 3 Tablespoons butter (melted)
    - 3 packages (8 oz. each) softened cream cheese
    - 1 teaspoon vanilla
    - 3 eggs
    - 1 cup coconut (toasted)
    -- 18 muffin paper cups

    Heat oven to 325 degrees. 

    Mix graham crumbs, butter and 2 tablespoons sugar.  Press cookie crumbs onto bottoms of muffin cups. 

    Beat cream cheese, vanilla and sugar with mixer.  Add eggs, mixing at low speed until blended.  Spoon onto crusts.

    Bake 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely.  Top with coconut or other desired toppings.  Store in refrigerator.

    These were topped with coconut and m&m eggs for easter. :)

















    Saturday, February 13, 2016

    Fritattas and Quiche





    I love the diversity of frittatas and quiche.  You can put anything you want in them and you can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
    Frittatas and quiche share the same basic ingredients, the difference between them is that a quiche has a crust on the bottom. 
    A basic recipe for either is made of eggs, cream and desired veggies/cheese.
    You can make these ahead of time by putting together and popping in the oven when ready or you can bake and re-heat later. 
    A basic recipe:


    - 1 nine-inch pie crust
    - 2 tablespoons olive oil
    - 4-5 large eggs
    - 1/2 to 1 cup of cream (half and half, heavy cream, milk depending on preference)
    - 1-2 cups of desired veggies (mushroom, spinach, squash, asparagus, onions)
    - 1/2 cup cheese
    I made 4 quiche for a friend's housewarming recently





    1. Asparagus and Tomato
    2. Spinach and Mushroom
    3. Veggie Medley
    4. Ham and Cheese

    I started by rolling out one pie crust per pan.

    Then by sautéing the veggies lightly and dividing them into the pie crusts.

    I mixed the eggs (4-5 eggs per quiche) with some cream and cheese and poured them over the veggie mixtures.  I baked them at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

    Asparagus and Tomato
    (using dried tomatoes is better than fresh as fresh tomatoes have too much liquid).


    Spinach and Mushroom



    Veggie Medley


    Ham and Cheese












    Monday, October 26, 2015

    Apples!




    What do you do after you go apple picking and come home with more apples than you know what to do with? Cook with them of course!!!
    Last weekend I made Apple Pie Bars, The beginning of Apple Cider Vinegar and Dried Apples.  Yum!
    If you want to make them also, here are the recipes I used.


    Apple Pie Bars









    Ingredients:

    CRUST
    • 1 egg
    • 2 sticks butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    APPLE PIE FILLING
    • 4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
    • 4 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    SUGAR TOPPING
    • 2/3 cup brown sugar
    • 2/3 cup flour
    • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
    Instructions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
    2. THE CRUST: In a large bowl, combine the egg, butter and sugar. Mix until creamy. Add flour and salt and stir until combined. Using your fingers, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
    3. THE APPLE PIE FILLING: In a large bowl, combine apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir until combined. Pour over crust.
    4. THE SUGAR TOPPING: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and butter. Stir until mixture is crumbly. Spread evenly over filling layer. Bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool and remove the bars from the pan by pulling the parchment paper.  Cut into squares.







    I drizzled caramel over the top for extra added yumminess! 
    #caramelcreation
    --------------------------------------------------

    Apple Cider Vinegar


    Ingredients:

    • Cores and peels from 6-8 apples (ideally organic)
    • 2 tbs. honey
    • Water to cover
    After using the apples to create my apple pie bars, I placed the cores and peels in a large jar.  Cover the apple scraps with water and stir in the honey.  Put a paper towel on top and secure with a rubber band.  Let the mixture soak for 2 weeks then drain the liquid and discard the soils.  Return the liquid to the jar and cover with a paper towel and secure with a rubber band again and leave for 4 weeks, making sure to stir daily.  After 4 weeks, check for acidity to your liking.  Once you are satisfied, transfer to a covered bottle for storage.  

    --------------------------------------------
    Dried Apple Slices 

     Dried Apples:  Core apples; slice into 1/8-inch thick rounds.  Arrange on an oiled baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees F until dry but still soft, 2 to 3 hours.




    Monday, September 14, 2015

    Chili

     Cooler weather is coming and it inspires me to make soups and stews and this weekend, it was a chili. :)



    • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (optional)
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 yellow or white onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
    • 1 yellow squash, chopped
    • 1 zucchini, chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
    • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
    • 2 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (optional)
    • 3 tablespoons chili powder
    • 2 teaspoons cumin
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon black ground pepper
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 can diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
    • 2 can tomato sauce (8 oz.)
    • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 can pink beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 can garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
    • Shredded cheese and sour cream, for topping



    If using meat, cook over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Transfer the meat to dish. Drain excess grease.

    Add the olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until softened, add garlic, parsley and jalapeño peppers (if using). Add carrots and squash.  Remove from heat and add the chili powder, cumin, sugar, oregano, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir until combined.

    If cooking the chili with meat, add the cooked meat back to the skillet. If not, add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans.  Bring to a boil then turn heat back to medium-low and simmer for 2 hours. In slow cooker, cook on low for 4-5 hours.  Serve with choice of toppings (cheese, sour cream, onions).