November 28, 2012

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies



Alright, I'm going to say it... I miss Thanksgiving.

I love being around family, and friends and getting to go back for seconds and thirds without being judged. Once you get married (and sometimes before you get married) you have to split holidays, so every other year I miss out on prepping with my mom! This year it worked out perfectly - I was able to spend the whole day before Thanksgiving with her prepping all the food, and we had a blast!

Hands down my favorite thing I got to taste prep:




Thanksgiving day rolled around and we got up early to head to the Turkey Trot. Yes, my husband has a nasty mustache. Yes, it's Movember. But, I was unaware that he was participating, I came home from said prepping for turkey day and found it on his face. (Note: It's gone now)



We had a great Thanksgiving - I ate too much, way way too much! We both could have been rolled home with how much food we had in our bellies. We had a great rest of the weekend spending time with family. Friday morning I woke up early with plans to surprise Mike!I put on Christmas music and went to work! Mike woke up Friday morning to a whole house decorated for Christmas! He was so happy!

Anywho, to the food: pumpkin whoopie pies, filled with cream cheese (and bourbon) frosting then rolled in candied pecans. Yea, they don't disappoint.

Ingredients for the cakes:
*Adapted from Epicurious
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Whoopie-Pies-369375#ixzz2DSDU1hO5
    1/2 teaspoon salt


    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup vegetable oil
    1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a whoopie pie pan. (You do not actually need to use a whoopie pie pan, but if you have one it's convenient!)
    2. Beat all of the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Scoop the mixture in 1 tablespoon dollops and onto your cookie sheet (or whoopie pie pan)
    3. Bake for about 12 minutes until cakey. Set aside to cool.

    Ingredients for the cream cheese (and bourbon) filling:
    *Adapted from Epicurious


    6 ounces plain cream cheese, softened

    3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
    1 tablespoon bourbon (substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)


    1. Beat together all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and put the bowl into the fridge.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Whoopie-Pies-369375#ixzz2DSBzDdYN
    Ingredients for the candied pecans:
    1/2 cup of pecans, roughly chopped
    1/3 cup of white sugar
    1. Place the sugar and the pecans in a small frying pan and heat at medium low heat. Try not to mess with it until the sugar starts to caramelize (it turns brown). As the brown crystals start to form give it a stir and try to coat the pecans with the caramelized sugar.
    2. When there is no more white sugar in your pan, pour the pecans onto tinfoil and set aside to cool.
    Assembly:
    1. Make sure your pumpkin cakes are 100% cool - otherwise your frosting will melt!
    2. Spread 1 tablespoon of frosting onto one of the pumpkin cakes, and smash another one onto it - making the actual sandwich.
    3. Roll the outsides in the candied pecans.
    4. EAT UP!
    Cookie-cakes:
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Candied pecans:
    • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon water
    • 1/2 cup pecans

    Filling:
    • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional; substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)


    Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Whoopie-Pies-369375#ixzz2DSBu2DYk

    One more shot from Thanksgiving - the pie!


     How was your Thanksgiving!?
    Cookie-cakes:
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 (15-ounce) can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Candied pecans:
    • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1/2 tablespoon water
    • 1/2 cup pecans

    Filling:
    • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional; substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)


    Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pumpkin-Whoopie-Pies-369375#ixzz2DSBu2DYkHow was your Thanksgiving!?

    November 26, 2012

    Vegetarian Quinoa Chili



    Man, oh man... there has been some D-R-A-M-A over here. Our computer basically stopped working - you know the one I upload these yummy images to!? Then, after buying a converter for my laptop and the CF/SD card - I run out of room to store photos. Ok - fine. Then I find out after transitioning some of my images from Picasa over to Photobucket that I lost some. LOST! So, if you are poking through some of the older posts on here - you will see some empty posts! The content will be there, but the pictures are all gone! Of course my archive folders are on said computer that doesn't work, in which case I cannot back fill the posts. I'll work on it. Anywho...



    If you know me, you know that over the years the holidays tend to drive me a little nutty. I can't always bring myself to decorate for the holidays, I get hung up on the "it's just one day" theory. But, not this year! I woke up the morning after Thanksgiving and immediately put on Christmas music! I spent all morning decorating for Christmas. Our trees are up, our decorations are all up and out. Imagine my husband's surprise when he got up to find our little winter wonderland had appeared overnight! He was so happy, and immediately asked for Christmas music!

    I even started wrapping the few Christmas presents I have! Bring on Christmas! For once, I'm actually ready!


    On to the food - what feels like months ago, a girlfriend of mine threw a pot luck. This was hands down my favorite thing that I ate that night. I absolutely had to make it. It's from two peas - so, it's a sure thing. I simply kicked up the heat a bit: more jalapenos, I added mushrooms, a few extra cloves of garlic, swapped red kidney beans for white and added another zucchini.

    This recipe makes enough food for a small army - which is the only way to make chili if you ask me! We immediately froze half of it and ate the other half multiple times. Mike is usually a meat guy all the way, but he loved this!

    Ingredients:
    *Slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

    1/2 cup quinoa, cooked and rinsed
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 small white onion, chopped
    5 cloves garlic, minced
    4 jalapeno peppers, minced
    1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
    2 celery stalks, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    2 medium zucchinis, chopped
    1/2 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
    2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 (15 ounce) can white (cannellini) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    3 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
    1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
    3 tablespoons chili powder, depending on your taste
    1 tablespoon ground cumin
    Salt and black pepper, to taste
    1. Cook the quinoa according to the package and set aside. Typically, it's 1 cup of water for every 1/2 cup of quinoa. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer on low for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
    2. In a large skillet heat the olive oil and then add in the onion. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, peppers, celery and carrot. Cook until the onion is translucent, and the carrots are just soft.
    3. Then I took everything and added it into a crock pot - simmer about 30 minutes and serve good and hot!
    4. Garnish with what you see fit - avocados and cheese are typically how I serve chili.

    November 16, 2012

    Friday Rambling

    Do not ask me why - but Mike and I have been looking through our wedding photos ... again. I obsess over them like every bride obsesses over her photos.  Our photographer went above and beyond at every turn, but I seriously didn't notice this until last week.

    He took photos of every single food course at our wedding...













    ... maybe, this is standard practice as a wedding photographer, but he still got a shot of each item when he could have been eating his own dinner. It's just a bonus that the photos are stunning. The food looks fantastic - I only wish I had eaten more of it.

    Vick Photography - use them.

    November 15, 2012

    Balsamic Pork Chops






    Today marks ONE week until Thanksgiving and I can hardly believe it! Man, does time fly or what??

    I’ve decided that the one downside to being a twenty something and living close to my parents and my in-laws is that I don’t have any control over Thanksgiving dinner! Not that I want to change anything, or that I have any complaints about the dinners we get to have. I just think that even though it would be stressful, it would be a heck of a lot of fun to have my house be the one full of family and friends. The upside of course being that I not only get to see everyone, but I just get to show up and eat!

    We were going to have our own Thanksgiving dinner just for friends, but somehow it morphed into a Mexican themed dinner party – go figure! 

     
    This recipe was inspired by a friend! As a gift, she gave me two different flavors of olive oil and fancy balsamic vinegar that was infused with apple flavor. The second I opened the gift my mind started churning, trying to figure out how I could use them and what flavors I could pair with the flavors of the oils and vinegar. Before I knew it I had an apple/pork combo in my head. Thanks Erica!!

    Ingredients in the marinade:
    2 cloves of garlic
    3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, preferably apple flavored 
    1 lb. pork chops, boneless
    Salt and pepper

    1. In a large ziplock bag add together all ingredients and zip the bag shut. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. To be honest - I forgot all about them! Two hours later I pulled them out! (Oops!)
    2. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil at 350 for about 30 minutes.

    Remaining Ingredients: 
    3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
    1/2 cup of cheese, crumbled (I recommend something salty like Gruyere)
    1 large apple, grated
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

    1. While the pork chops are baking - Pour the balsamic into a small saucepan and place on low heat. Cooking until it's thickened and coats the back of a spoon. This is a balsamic reduction. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
    2. Grade the cheese, and thinly slice the apple. I used my mandolin for slicing the apple into a uniform thin slice, it's completely unnecessary, but it looks so pretty!! 
    3. When the pork chops have been in for 30 minutes, pull them out, and turn your oven to broil on high. Cover the chops in the cheese and broil until the cheese is fully melted. About 5 minutes.
    4. Toss the thinly sliced apple with the red wine vinegar.
    5. Plate the pork chops with the slaw on top or off to the side, and the balsamic reduction for dipping!


    Oh and if you are still looking for ideas for your Thanksgiving dinner consider these: Fall Quinoa, Hasselback sweet potatoes, salted caramel apple pie, and the layered pumpkin pie.

    November 12, 2012

    Virtual Baby Shower: Rachel Cooks


    I was invited to participate in a baby shower for the lovely Rachel over at Rachel Cooks and I could not have agreed faster! We “met” via twitter what feels like forever ago and we became fast friends. When she announced her second pregnancy I was over the moon for her – and I was immediately {and secretly} hoping for a baby boy! She has a sweet little girl – “E” and I was convinced she needed a baby brother. I anxiously awaited the big reveal and sure enough, a BOY it is!

    As I started thinking about what to "bring" to the party cucumber sandwiches popped into my head. They are dainty, people make them for tea parties - it just felt right. I put my own twist on them! Now, if only we could figure out how to virtually send all these delicious things to Rachel... someone invent that ability - stat!


    Ingredients:
    10 ounces mascarpone cheese
    4 slices of toasted bread
    1 large cucumber sliced thinly
    3 tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
    2 tablespoons of sundried tomatoes, chopped
    Salt and Pepper, to taste

    1. Let the mascarpone cheese warm up on the counter so it's easier to work with.
    2. Toast your bread and set aside
    3. Chop your basil and your sundried tomatoes
    4. Mix together your mascarpone cheese, basil, sun dried tomatoes, salt and pepper until well combine
    5. Spread over the cooled toast
    6. Cover with cucumber slices
    7. Cut out with a cookie cutter - totally optional you can simply cut these into squares and serve
    8. Enjoy!
    Congratulations {again} my dear! We are all anxiously awaiting his arrival!

    Check out what everyone else brought:

    For The Love of Popcorn 
    S’mores Popcorn | Nutmeg Nanny
    Bourbon Toffee Popcorn | Bran Appetit
    Salted Caramel Cashew Popcorn | Bake Your Day
    Salted Caramel Popcorn Balls | Bakeaholic Mama

    Savory Nibbles
    Apple Asiago Prosciutto Bites | Sarah’s Cucina Bella
    Baby Blue Cheese Burgers
     | Budget Gourmet Mom
    Chicken Salad | Eat2Gather
    Creamy Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Cream | Pass the Sushi
    Cucumber Sandwiches | Susie Freaking Homemaker
    Cranberry Citrus Meatballs (Slow Cooker) | Diabetic Foodie
    Curried Salmon Phyllo Cups | Cooking with Books
    Mini Onion and Feta Pizzas | London Bakes
    Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Pesto Crostini | Thrifty Veggie Mama
    Southern Cheese Straws | 30AEATS

    A Little Something Sweet
    Baby Blueberry Pies | Steph’s Bite by Bite
    Blue Layered Jello
     | Taste and Tell Blog
    Dark Chocolate Cashew Brittle Cookies | Farmgirl Gourmet
    Hermit Bars – Chewy Molasses Cookies | The Lemon Bowl
    Itty Bitty Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies | Chip Chip Hooray
    Mini Blackberry Pies | Oh Sweet Basil
    Primal Pumpkin Whoopie Pies | Bread & Butter
    Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls | Mother Thyme
    Snickerdoodle Scones | Fake Ginger
    Sweet Potato Pie Dip with Pie Crust Dippers | The Spiffy Cookie
    Turtle Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake | A Spicy Perspective
    Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake | Cookistry
    White Chocolate Biscoff Muddy Buddies | Miss In The Kitchen
    White Chocolate ‘Quilted’ Cupcakes | Creative Culinary
    Thanks again to the hosts - Brandy at Nutmeg Nanny and Brandi at BranAppetit 
     
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