Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie~ Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

Nate was excited about this pie all week. Who wouldn't be? I mean it's such a great idea, and sounded so delicious!! Pecan AND pumpkin pie all in one crust is what this weeksTUESDAYS WITH DORIE is all about. The selection for the Thanksgiving Holiday edition of TWD was chosen by Vibi of LA CASSEROLE CARREE. Click over to h blog to see the full recipe~ and be sure to visit the TWD Blogroll for tons of stunning, creative, delicious versions on this pie!
I found that I agree with Dorie's hubby on this one and liked it much better the second day after it'd been in the fridge.

The next time I make this yummy holiday pie, I think I'll use my own pumpkin pie recipe for the bottom. I thought I was going to love the rum in the mix, but thought it was a little overpowering and wanted it to be more traditional pumpkin-pie-y.

I'd had this recipe marked since the day I bought this book and had a great time making it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Giving THANKS!

I am so excited for Thanksgiving this week! It has been a busy year, and I truly feel so thankful for everything we have...
Family, Friends, Food and of course... weenie dogs!!

So, with the big all-day food fest just a few days away, here is what I'll be making to celebrate our thankfulness.

To take to The Griffin's house on Thursday, I'll be making Charlie's Mom's Italian Sausage Stuffing & this week's Tuesday's With Dorie Twofer-Pie (that's a pumpkin/pecan combo pie, I can't wait!!)

To take to the Bagwell-Pape's on Friday, I'm making twice-baked sweet potatoes, and Italian Mac n' Cheese.

Stay tuned for the recipes~ AND feel free to comment on this post this post with what you'll be making AND what you are most THANKFUL for this Thanksgiving!


Sweet Life Pumpkin Roll

Look at little Artie in the background- I literally had to wrestle with him while taking these pics, he was relentless and wanted that cake!!
I've been making different pumpkin cakes this month, trying to find a recipe I love and discovered I was not super into the powdered sugar intense frosting...don't get me wrong, I am not a frosting hater. I love making MY PUMPKIN GINGERBREAD at this time of year and making spiced cream cheese to spread on I made this version that was a little less sweet and a little more in the spice-filled-cheesecakey-filling neighborhood. I used the "kitchen towel" covered in confectioners sugar method, as most pumpkin roll cake recipes do...This sounds gnarlier than it really is and it's a fun way to make a delicious good lookin' cake! Here is a useful link to a video on the Libby's Pumpkin site that shows the whole process step by step! CLICK HERE TO SEE VIDEO

Sweet Life Pumpkin Roll Cake
This is my version of a pumpkin roll, the cake is moist and spicy and the filling is more of a cheesecake than a frosting

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp allspice

8 oz cream cheese softened
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 c sugar
1 small/regular container cool whip, thawed
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Pre-heat the oven to 375...grease the bottom of a jelly roll pan,W then line with wax paper, then grease again and dust with flour.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, spices, salt & baking powder.
Prepare a thin kitchen towel on a flat surface by dusting it with powdered sugar. (see video above)
Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or the aforementioned hand mixer or strong arm) whisk the eggs and sugar for several minutes. Add the pumpkin and lemon juice, and mix a few minutes more. Slowly add the dry mixture until it is fully incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 17-20 minutes or until cake springs back when touched.
Invert the cake onto the towel and roll up slowly. Let cool about 15-20 minutes.

Combine all frosting ingredients in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until well combined and smooth.

When cake is completely cooled, unroll it and frost, then roll it right back up in some plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 or more hours, slice up and enjoy~

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Our Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ok, for a gal that does NOT like raisins, they sure are poppin up all over the place this month!! I soaked them in rum and brown sugar last weekend for TWD's Arborio Rice Pudding. Nate, as previously mentioned, loves raisins, so he's been pretty happy with this years fall baking...I usually make this cookie with crazins, but thinking I may eat less of them if they had raisins, knowing Nate would love them, I went raisins on this batch.

These are awesome on a holiday cookie plate, I'm not going to be making them for the holidays this year though so thought I'd make a pre-Thanksgiving batch for the heck of it.

This makes about 40 cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed pecans (very finely chopped)

Pre-heat oven to 350 and have 2 un-greased foil covered baking sheets ready to rock.
In a medium bowl combine the flour baking soda, spices and salt, and whisk to combine.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter shortening and both sugars, add the eggs one at a time and mix until totally incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix. Switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment of the mixer. Slowly mix the flour & spices into the butter, sugar, eggs mix. Then stir in the oats, raisins, chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop using a cookie scoop or spoon (make rounded spoonfuls about 1 1/2 inch diameter) onto the cookie sheets, they only need about an inch between each drop.
Bake 10-12 minutes, let cook a few minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wrack to cool completely.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Bacon Shug Smokies

This is one of those old school party classics....and you know we LOVE weenies!! I can't remember where I was the first time I had these, and I've only had them once or twice, but for the amount of flavor you get on one lil'toothpick~ I couldn't resist! These are another awesome app (like the BACON WRAPPED JALAPENOS) that can be prepped in advance and frozen, then made up quick and easy at a moments notice.
Bacon and weenies baked with brown sugar. A perfect combination. Great for fall foot ball or holiday get togethers!

1 pkg lil smoked cocktail sausages
1 pkg bacon
Brown sugar

Pre heat the oven to 400. Cut the bacon into thirds and wrap a 1/3 of a piece of bacon around each lil sausage and secure with a toothpick. Cover a cookie sheet with foil and set a cooling rack on top of the foil. Lay the bacon wrapped sausages on the rack and sprinkle generously with brown sugar. Cook for 40-50 minutes, they can be served and devoured immediately, or for big batches and long Sundays full of football, toss them in a slow cooker and keep on warm~

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pumpkin Cake...

One of the things that makes our place smell spectacular at this time of year is pumpkin cake.

Here are two ways (my favorite coming soon...) to make either a pumpkin roll cake or some yummy bars that will make it feel officially like fall...even if it is 80 degrees, like it has been here in LA.

I used a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan, greased the pan then lined it with wax paper, then greased the wax paper. greeeeasy. delicious... ~

Pumpkin Mini-Rolls or Bars
this recipe is a bit more moist in the cake dpt, and uses more of a cream cheese frosting for the filling

3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cups pure pumpkin puree
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
a small pinch of nutmeg

8oz cream cheese, softened
5 T. Butter
1 cup powdered confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

about 1 cup crushed pecans

If you want to go with a roll- dust a thin kitchen towel with powdered sugar so you can roll it up (more on this in the next pumpkin roll post!)

Preheat oven to 375

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and spices.
Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a hand mixer (or a whisk & bowl if you are a total badass, which I am not) mix the eggs and sugar, until bright and well combined. Add the pumpkin to the eggs and sugar and mix until fully incorporated, slowly sift in the flour/spice mixture. Pour into the jelly roll pan and make sure the batter spreads evenly to each corner, tip it slightly in all directions. Bake for 15-17 minutes....

While the pumpkin cake is baking, whip up the frosting!
Combine all frosting ingredients using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.


Remove cake from the make bars let the cake cool a few minutes, then invert the cake onto a sheet of wax paper and let cool completely before frosting.
Cut the cake in half (so if the jelly roll is 10 x 15 you want two 10 x 7.5 inch pieces) frost 1 half of the cake with the frosting, sprinkle with pecans and layer the other half on top. Frost the top, sprinkle with pecans and cut into bars~ (not pictured, got totally scarfed, really FAST!)


Remove cake from the oven and let cool 2 minutes, then dust the top with powdered sugar, cover with another piece of wax paper and flip out onto a flat surface removing the pan. Roll the cake up (not too tight) and let cool about 20-30 minutes...unroll and remove the top wax paper. Frost and cut in half, then into thin strips to make "mini-rolls", slice & top with crushed pecans. (this is also a good way to do the roll if you are going for a full sized roll cake and part cracks or breaks!)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie~Arborio Rice Pudding

Hoooooray and WOOHOO for RICE PUDDING!! This is one of Nate's favorite things, that I have never made, so I was happy to see Arborio Rice Pudding on the agenda for this weeks edition of TUESDAYS WITH DORIE.

A BIG THANKS to Isabelle of Les Groumandises d'Isa for choosing this desert, I look forward to making this again~

Visit Isabelle's blog using the link above for the recipe~

Here are my notes;
I par-boiled the rice for the 10 minutes listed in the book, and next time would par-boil for 15 (because I cooked it for 40 minutes, not 30 in the milk and it was still a little too aldente) I also increased the amount of Arborio rice to a little less than 3/4 cups and kept the milk the same after reading many TWD'ers who felt the mix was too thin...mine was SUPER thick! I think next time my ratio will be 1/2 cup rice to the 3 1/4 cups of milk.

Also, because (by now) we all know NATE LOVES RAISINS, I decided to go the rum-raisin route for a fun mix-in.

I used two lil'boxes of Sun-Maid raisins
Soaked in just enough warm water to cover them for about 4 minutes, then when the pudding was almost done I heated the raisins with 2 T. dark rum, 2 T brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon over medium heat for about 5 minutes, then lowered the heat for 3 minutes to thicken up the mix. Even I liked this, raisins and all....go figure!

Next week's TWD will be posted a little late since I'll be taking it to Thanksgiving dinner~ STAY TUNED....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Halloween Candy Corn Cupcakes

Dear lord, HOW CUTE ARE THESE CUPCAKES?!?! There are two ways to do this, with a yummy homemade white cake recipe- like THIS ONE from Dorie Greenspan...or go full blown short-cut style and do it up with boxed cake mix.
These were a bit time consuming, due to the freezing step and the fact that I only had one mini-muffin tin and one regular muffin-tin, but I made some in each size for kicks.
These are great to take to work, school or a party around Halloween, they are as yummy as they are guuuuuud-lookin'!

I made these on a week night since I took them to a Halloween party (which fell on a Friday this year) so here is the method with boxed cake mix...

1 box of yellow cake mix (prepare batter according to package directions, w/ oil, eggs and water)
yellow & red Food dye
White or Cream Cheese Frosting
Candy Corn for decoration...

Prepare the cake mix batter and divide it into two bowls....add about 10 drops of yellow to one bowl of the batter and 15 drops each of yellow & red to the can continue adding even drops of red & yellow to the "orange" half of the batter until it is a light pumpkin hue.
Grease a mini muffin tin and fill each cup about 1/4 of the way with the yellow batter. Freeze the tray for 10 minutes. Fill the cups an additional 1/4 of the way full with the orange batter & bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on a rack and frost with white frosting, top with a candy corn!

~This recipe was inspired by a booklet I flipped through in the grocery check out line, I apologize that I can not remember which one, but I literally read it in halfa'second and put it together from what I remembered!!~

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Swampy Spinach Dip~ Halloween Party Recipes

This was another Halloween party treat, there is no real slime involved! This is a very basic recipe for a cold spinach dip, with a little green food dye, helping to bring a little veggie love to the fiesta. I served this with bread, carrots, celery and red bell peppers... I would make this again with out the dye (swampyness) because it was a really great dip!! I know this is a few weeks late, but I'm feeling pretty productive getting it up before Thanksgiving! More Halloween fun to come!!

This recipe is courtesy of All Recipes, click the link for the original recipe.

Here's my "Swampy Party" version...
Serves 30-40
1 1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 16 oz. container sour cream
2 1.8 oz) package dry leek soup mix
1 8 oz. can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
3 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
Fresh cracked black pepper (just a bit to taste)
Green food dye- for swampy spookieness

Mix all of the above ingredients in a large bowl and add the food dye until it is the desired color of swampy green. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight. Serve with chopped Italian bread & veggies like celery, carrots & bell peppers~

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie~Rugelach

Alllllrightythen. A day late, but OH SO YUMMY!! This is a new favorite recipe/cookie for me and you will see them again at the Holidays, no doubt! The dough can be made ahead and frozen, they were freaking beyond easy and they are DELICIOUS!! I can't wait to try different variations of this sensational cookie! I had never heard of or tried Rugelach before so CHEERS to yet another spectacular discovery via Tuesdays With Dorie.

Head over to Grace's Blog Piggy's Cooking Journal to see a stunning version of these yummy cookies and to get the recipe! Thanks to Grace for a fabulous pick!

Don't miss all the other RUGELACH, visit the TUESDAYS WITH DORIE today!