Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brussels Sprouts with Vinegar-Glazed Red Onions

Brussels Sprouts with Vinegar-Glazed Red Onions

10 oz brussels sprouts
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1. Trim outer leaves and stems from brussels sprouts and discard. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, and add salt. Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath. Add brussels sprouts to boiling water, and cook until tender but still bright green, about 4 mins. Remove from heat, drain and plunge into ice-water bath to cool. Drain well, and cut in half.
2. Heat 1/2 Tablespoon butter and 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add brussels sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until they are brown and crisp on the edges, about 3 mins. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to a large bowl. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
3. Add remaining 1/2 Tablespoon each butter and oil to the same pan over medium-low heat. Add onions, and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted and transparent, about 3-4 mins. Add vinegar and stir to loosen any brown bits on bottom of pan. Cook until vinegar is reduced and the onions are glazed, about 30 seconds.
4. Add onions to brussels sprouts and toss well. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Source: Martha Stewart

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blueberry-Cranberry Pie

I HAVE GOT to keep practicing my pinched fluted edges....Sometimes I do a good job and other times...well not so good - as was the case with this pie :)

This has got to be the best smelling pie ever! While cooking the blueberries and cranberries and cinnamon, my mouth was just watering! I think this is my second favorite pie...my favorite is still the Apple-Cranberry pie that I made last month.

Blueberry-Cranberry Pie

16 oz frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
12 oz fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 disks pie dough for a double crust pie
Ground nutmeg

Combine the frozen blueberries, cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon sticks, lemon juice and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring to blend, until the mixture thickens and begins to boil, about 12-14 minutes. Once the mixture reaches a boil,
continue boiling for 2 minutes more, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, let cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out one disk of pie crust on and line a 9-inch pie plate with the crust. Remove the cinnamon sticks from the filling mixture, then spread the filling into the bottom pie crust. Roll out the remaining disk of pie dough and cut into thin strips. Use the strips to form a lattice over the top of the filling. Cut off the excess crust and pinch the edges together, using your fingers to create a fluted pattern. Lightly brush the top crust of the pie with half-and-half. Sprinkle nutmeg over the crust.

Place the pie on the middle rack of the oven. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the lower oven rack beneath the pie. Bake, rotating halfway through baking, until the crust is golden
and the filling is bubbling, about 60-70 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack to room temperature.

Serves 8

Source: adapted from Bon Appetit

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies & Sherbert Punch

With Andrew's birthday being so close to Thanksgiving it just made more sense to combine his birthday with Thanksgiving this year. So he got to have 2 birthday parties: one with my side of the family and one with Brent's side...Andrew was exhausted after two days of excitement.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies
All-purpose flour, for dusting
pie dough - enough for 2 disks
2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 large egg whites

Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into 12 4.25-inch-diameter circles; place in cupcake pan. Crimp edges, and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator, and prick bottoms of shells with a fork.
Line piecrusts with parchment paper, and fill shells with pie weights. Transfer to oven; bake 10 minutes. Remove paper and weights. Continue baking until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Sift together 1 1/4 cups sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Stir in 2 cups water, and mix until smooth; set aside.
In a nonreactive saucepan, combine lemon juice, 5 egg yolks, and pinch of salt. Set over medium heat, and stir in cornstarch mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, 14 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the lemon zest and butter. Pour filling into a bowl, and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally.
Pour lemon filling into the 12 piecrusts. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour.
Heat broiler. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a simmer. Combine 7 egg whites, the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl of an electric mixer. Hold bowl over simmering water; whisk until the mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved, 3 minutes.
Return bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat until stiff peaks form. Using an offset spatula, spread each pie with meringue so the filling is covered and the meringue touches the edges of the piecrusts. Transfer pies to broiler, and lightly brown the meringue, watching constantly, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from broiler, and place on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart

Easy Raspberry Sherbert Punch
2 liters of hawaiian fruit punch
2 liter 7-up
1/2 gallon raspberry sherbet

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chocolate Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

Happy Birthday to my little man! I can't believe he is TWO!!!
Chocolate Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

For Cake (makes 2 9-inch rounds):
Unsalted butter, for pans
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 round cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, stir in eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating once, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-60 minutes.
4. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely, right side up on rack.

For Frosting (for a double batch):
1 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoon light corn syrup
6 large egg whites, room temperature

1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cup sugar, corn syrup, and 4 tablespoons water. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved. Raise heat to bring to a boil. Do not stir anymore. Boil about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 2 1/2 minutes. Gradually add remaining 4 tablespoons sugar. Remove the syrup from the heat. Pour the syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl (to avoid splattering) containing the egg-white mixture, with the mixer on medium-low speed.
Beat frosting on medium speed until cool, 5-10 minutes. The frosting should be thick and shiny.

*I used blue food coloring to turn the frosting a light blue.

Source: adapted from Martha Stewart-One Bowl Chocolate Cake & Seven-Minute Frosting

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I'm not a huge fan of cheesecake but when my husband makes a request, I try to comply :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 8 full rectangles)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

24 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
15 oz pumpkin puree
5 fl. oz Evaporated Milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

12 oz sour cream, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For Crust:
Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar in medium bowl. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 7 minutes (do not allow to brown). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

For Cheesecake:
Beat cream cheese, sugar and brown sugar in mixer until fluffy. Beat in eggs, pumpkin puree and evaporated milk. Add cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg; beat well. Pour into crust. Bake 55-60 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly.

For Topping:
Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well. Spread over surface of warm cheesecake. Bake 5 mins. Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan.

Serves 16

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! The 3 of us had a busy day making most of our dinner from scratch. We have a ton of leftovers-which makes Brent very happy ;)
Rotisserie Grilled Turkey (Thanks Honey for taking on that job!), Herbed Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts with Vinegar glazed onions. Cranberry Sauce, and Dinner Rolls. ***not pictured Pumpkin Cheesecake and Blueberry-Cranberry Pie*** I will post recipes in the next few days.

Our house is getting ready for Civil War! Oregon State Beavers vs Oregon Ducks on 12/4! I found these napkin holders last year at the Made in Oregon store.

Andrew turns 2!

Cousins: Ian-6, Kellen-4, Andrew-2, Bryce-1

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Andrew's Birthday Wish...

Oh this little man is so funny!

Momma: "What's your name?"

Andrew (while pointing to his chest): "Name...Andrew".

Momma: "How old are you going to be?"

Andrew (while trying to hold up two fingers in each hand): "Two".

Momma: "What do you want for your birthday?"

Andrew (full on shout): "A BIKE!"

This went on for a full 10 minutes. I have no idea where he heard of a bike or if he even knows what a bike is...but he's not getting one for his birthday. For months he's been wanting and I quote "a choo-choo train" and well that's what he's getting....maybe the bike will come for Christmas. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Soft Bread Knots

I love making homemade bread items. It almost always calms me and puts a smile on my face.

*the 2 knots in front are with garlic, the 2 on the left are with Italian seasoning, the 2 in the middle are with Italian seasoning and Rosemary, and the 2 on the right are with Italian seasoning and Thyme

Soft Bread Knots

3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1 1/8 cup lukewarm water
Olive Oil spray
3 Tablespoons melted butter
Assorted seasonings (such as Italian seasoning; Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic)

1. To make the dough, combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the olive oil, milk and water. Mix until dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on low speed 8 minutes. Spray a bowl with the olive oil spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn dough to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

2. Divide the dough into 8-12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10-inch long rope and tie into a knot. Tucking the ends into the center. Transfer shaped rolls to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

4. Brush the melted butter onto the shaped rolls and sprinkle with your chosen seasonings.

5. Bake 15-18 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baked Ziti with Spinach

Baked Ziti with Spinach

Olive oil spray
1 lb ziti
1 teaspoon olive oil
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed

28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil


2 cups part skim mozzarella

1/4 cup Parmesan

8 oz fat-free ricotta

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with olive oil spray.

In a medium saucepan, add olive oil, chopped spinach, crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Keep this on low heat while your pasta is cooking.
3. In a large pot, cook pasta according to instructions. Drain and return to pot.
4. Add sauce to the pasta and stir. Add half of the mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and ricotta. Mix well.
5. Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared pan. Top with the remaining mozzarella.

6. Bake for 30 minutes, or until mozzarella is melted.

Serves 8

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Andrew's last FREE football game

Today was the last football game that Andrew could go to FREE...because he turns 2 in 1 week!
Andrew and Dadda with their game faces on.
Fun with cousin Bryce.

It was so stinkin' cold!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

These cookies are SO good! I had a really hard time not eating the dough after licking the beaters.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. With electric mixer combine the eggs and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour in oil, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract and continue mixing. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the butterscotch chips.

4. Drop a heaping teaspoon of dough onto the prepared baking sheets a few inches apart. Bake 14-16 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 4 days.

Yields: 3.5 dozen cookies
Source: Joy the Baker

Monday, November 15, 2010

Andrew's first bowling adventure

Andrew had so much fun today bowling! And he scored a 79! He loved picking up the ball and pushing it down the ramp...I was nervous he'd drop it on his foot or someone else's foot but he only dropped it once and luckily it landed on no one's foot :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Andrew and I made 5 dozen mini pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. He loved them! He has become quite the cookie monster. I let him have 2 after they were done and cooled...he then threw a fit when I wouldn't let him have a third. I think the next time I make these, I will reduce the chocolate chips to 1/2 cup. These seemed like chocolate chip cookies with a hint of pumpkin and I really was hoping for Pumpkin cookies with a hint of chocolate. But Brent and Andrew loved the 1 cup of chocolate chips :)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stop once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin, beating until smooth.
4. Stir in the flour mixture.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Drop by heaping teaspoons onto lined cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
8. Cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes then transfer cookies
to wire racks to cool completely.

Yields about 4-5 dozen Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baked Acorn Squash

Someone loves the pumpkin pie!

We also made acorn squash but it was a bit too sweet for Momma and Andrew...Dadda ate it all up though!

Baked Acorn Squash

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons butter, diced
3 Tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place squash in a shallow baking pan, cut side down.
3. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender.
4. Turn cut side up; season with salt and pepper, dot with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
5. Bake 20 minutes more.

Serves 2

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Pie (using carving pumpkin) and Italian Bread

Made 2 pumpkin pies (one with crust and one without)...Andrew loved the crustless pie!

Pumpkin Pie (using a carving pumpkin)
***Please Note: This pumpkin pie recipe uses pumpkin puree from a regular carving pumpkin NOT a pie pumpkin--there is a difference***

1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3 cups pumpkin puree
18 oz evaporated milk (I used half as non-fat and half as regular)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients together. Then pour into a pie crust. It will be liquidy but it will firm up in the oven. Bake 15 minutes.
3. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake 45-60 minutes longer, until a clean knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
4. Let pie cool and then enjoy!

Yields: 9-inch pie and a smaller crustless pie

Homemade Italian bread....yum!!!

Italian Bread

1 envelope active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cornmeal

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup of the water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. In a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour and salt. With the machine running, scrape the yeast mixture and the remaining 1/2 cup water through the feed tube until the dough just forms a ball. Knead the dough by pulsing until it is smooth and no longer sticky, about 30 times.
3. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray; place the dough in the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume, 40-50 minutes.
4. Punch down the dough; lightly sprinkle a work surface with flour. Turn out the dough; form into a 12 x 16-inch rectangle. Fold into thirds, lengthwise and pinch the seams to seal, forming into a 12-inch tapered oval loaf.
5. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray; sprinkle the cornmeal in a 12-inch strip down the center. Place the loaf on the baking sheet; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
6. Dust the loaf with about 1 teaspoon flour; with a sharp knife, cut 2-3 slashes into the top. Place in the upper third of a cold oven; set the oven to 400 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes; reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 25-30 minutes longer. Remove from the baking sheet and cool completely on a rack.

Serves 12 (1/12 loaf = 2 WW pts)
Source: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Puree and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

We failed to carve our pumpkins this year...Halloween just sneaked up on us too quickly. Luckily I found some recipes for making pumpkin puree from just regular carving pumpkins (instead of pie pumpkins). It was a really long and hard task but we have tons of pumpkin puree now for pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies and a boatload of other goodies.

Pumpkin Puree
Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap. Remove the seeds and scrape the insides. Cut the pumpkin into slices and then into manageable sized pieces to fit your pot. There are several ways to cook the pumpkin; just choose use your preferred method. Method 1 - Put it in a microwaveable bowl. Put a couple of inches of water in the bowl, cover it, and put in the microwave. Method 2 - Steam or cook on the stovetop. Method 3 - Bake in the oven.
Cook 15-30 minutes, until it's soft enough to scoop out the flesh with a broad, smooth spoon, (such as a tablespoon). Use the spoon to scrape the peel but scooping just under the surface. It should separate easily if the pumpkin is cooked enough. If your pumpkin puree has standing water, you may want to let it sit for 30 minutes and then pour off any water. That will help prevent your puree from being too watery! Puree the pumpkin flesh with a hand blender, regular blender, food processor or hand mixer until it's smooth. You are now done...you can use the puree right now or freeze.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Cut a fresh, well-ripened pumpkin in half. Remove the membrane and seeds. Remove most of the pulp from the seeds (leaving some pulp on is okay because it adds to the flavor; for the same reason, do not rinse the seeds). Heat oven to 300. Spread 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil in a shallow pan. Sprinkle seeds over oil in single layer. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over seeds. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned; cool.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chicken and Chickpea Chili

Andrew helped Momma make Chicken and Chickpea Chili today---Momma's favorite!

Chicken and Chickpea Chili

4 teaspoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
3/4 pound ground chicken (we've also tried ground turkey--yum)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 (14.5 oz) cans crushed tomatoes (we usually use 28 oz crushed/15 oz diced)
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick saucepan. Saute the bell peppers and onion until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken; cook, breaking apart with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes.
2. Sprinkle with the flour, chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, and cayenne; cook, stirring briskly and constantly, 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until thick, 30-40 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Serves 4 (about 1 1/2 cup = 8 WW pts)
Source: Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook

Andrew loves taking all the cans out of the cupboard and lining them up on the counter or floor.