Sunday, November 27, 2011

Garlic Chicken Soup

It's cold and rainy and miserable out. All you want to do is curl up on the sofa under a snuggly blanket and watch Bugs Bunny cartoons and eat cookies.
Oh, wait. Maybe that's just me.
Anyway, I figured soup would be a good lunch to have in the middle of this wet and just plain stupid weather.
I came up with this recipe to chase away my yucky winter weather blues.
Plus, my parents were both feeling a little sick and I figured if a little garlic is good for you then a LOT of garlic must be even better.
Aaaaaand, chicken soup is the absolute cure all, is it not?

Mmmmm, garlic! Yes, A whole head :)

Garlic Chicken Soup


2 Tbsp butter
1 whole head of garlic, finely chopped
2 chicken breasts, diced
1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1 green pepper, seeded, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 can yellow corn (about 1 cup)
1/2 can black beans, rinsed (about 1 cup)
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp Oh! So Garlic (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
splash of hot sauce
splash of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup sherry
4 - 5 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup quinoa
3 cups spinach
parmesan cheese, shredded

In a large pot, melt butter over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, and chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add green pepper, celery, corn, black beans, spices. Stir and cook until celery and green pepper have softened.  
Stir in Worcestershire, sherry, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil,
Stir in quinoa. Simmer for 15 minutes, until quinoa is done.

Stir in spinach. Let wilt in soup - this only takes a minute. 
Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese to serve.

I don't know if it will help you banish your winter blues but it certainly helped to banish mine.
Don't get me wrong, I still plan on eating cookies whilst watching Bugs Bunny, nothing's changing that. But, now I can say I had something healthy and hearty so I don't have to feel as guilty about eating the cookies.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spicy Cheese and Bacon Rolls

I can’t believe it’s been a week with no blogs!! Holy heck!
Anyway, things are finally slowing down again. The craft fair is over and was a success. (Yay!) This weekend Sue and I are doing a final bit of baking for our mother for her church’s annual bazaar. After that there is brief respite of about a week or two, and then Christmas baking starts. Whew!
I may be getting a little bit sick of cookies.
NO, not eating them…that would just be crazy talk.
I mean making them. After the bazillion batches I have made the last week or two they are getting a little repetitive. I think some bars/squares may be in order this Christmas instead of cookies. We’ll see how that goes.
There may be a rebellion.
This recipe was one that I had made for the craft fair. It is fairly easy, just a little fussy. It uses my “go to” bread dough recipe but feel free to use any yeast bread recipe you prefer. If you are interested in the full tutorial/instructions on how to make this, you can go to for where I pilfered the idea from. I love the site and have made a ton of the recipes there and they always work (and taste) great.

Spicy Cheese and Bacon Rolls

1 recipe yeast bread dough (here is my recipe)
2 cups shredded, aged cheddar (Plus more for sprinkling)
1 cup finely chopped bacon (or more)
1/2 cup finely chopped, pickled jalapenos (or more)
 Prepare 4, 9 inch round cake pans by spraying well with cooking spray.
Prepare bread dough. When you are kneading the dough, add in your cheddar and bacon.
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time; roll into 12 inch circle. Place a small drinking glass in the center of the circle to give a guideline as to how far to cut.  Cut into 4 equal wedges. Then cut each wedge into 4 smaller wedges. (see photo below) Place a sprinkling of chopped jalapenos on every second wedge.

Now you want to flip the wedge without jalapenos over onto the wedge with jalapenos and press lightly to seal. Twist each of the 8 doubled wedges about 3 - 4 times and then gently roll up towards the edge of the drinking glass. (See photo below for the 3 steps)

When all rolled to the center; remove the drinking glass and, using a large flipper, carefully transfer rolls to one of the prepared 9 inch pans. Sprinkle more cheese into center of rolls.
Repeat these steps with the next 3 pieces of bread dough.

Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour.
Preheat oven to 375. Bake at 375 until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in pans for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack (or serve warm).

We need to get organized in the next week or so and decide what we are going to be making and/or blogging about for December.
Hmmm…. Will that actually happen?
There are too many things I want to bake and the thought of having to narrow down the list is making me procrastinate. *Sigh*
Any suggestions on what Sue and I should prepare for December’s blogs? What are some of your favorite dishes?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jalapeno Ricotta Biscuits

Need something spicy to change things up a bit? These biscuits are fairly easy and are definitely spicy.
Sue and I thought we had better throw some non-sweet baked goodies into the mix for the upcoming 18th Annual Lillooet Craft Fair.
We have made a million...wait....maybe closer to a bazillion.....cookies, brownies, pies, cakes, candies, etc... but not really a lot of savory things.
These are definitely savory. You can make them as spicy as you can handle.

Jalapeno Ricotta Biscuits

3 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
pinch sea salt
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/3 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup milk (plus 1 - 2 Tbsp extra)

Spicy Cheese Filling
1/2 cup Ricotta cheese
1 cup aged cheddar, grated
1/2 cup salsa
1 - 2 Tbsp pickled jalapeno peppers, minced
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie tray with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, dried parsley in a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir, adding enough milk to form a soft dough. (Start with 1 cup and see if you need to add extra to have it stick together)
Turn onto lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 - 5 times. Gently roll out to 10 X 15 rectangle.

Spicy Cheese Filling ingredients

Combine the ingredients for the cheese filling, stirring until combined.

Remember to leave about 1/2 inch around the edges so you can seal the roll.

Spread over dough, leaving about 1/2 inch around edges to seal. Roll up jelly roll style. Pinch dough at edges to seal. Cut into 1 inch slices.
Bake at 375 for 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

If you like things spicy then use the maximum amounts or jalapenos and garlic, and use hot salsa. Still not hot enough for you?? (That makes you crazy, just so you know) Consider adding a sprinkle of cayenne to your dough....
 If you are like me, and can barely handle smelling spicy stuff let alone eating it, then use the minimum amounts and use mild salsa.  

These are great snack for the kids as well. You can take them out of the freezer and microwave them for a few seconds and they are good to go.
Great with soup for dinner or to grab for breakfast as you are headng out the door.
We hope you give them a try.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramels

I have 3 words for you - caramel, chocolate, salt.
It doesn't get much better than that.
Salted caramel is all the rage right now. Have you tried it? It is very tasty. I admit at first I thought it was just plain weird. I mean, you don't put salt on your chocolate! That's blasphemy.
Turns out, it's actually not.
Turns out sprinkling chocolate and caramel with sea salt is a brilliant idea.
Turns out I have a new favorite candy.

Chocolate Drizzled Salted Caramels

1 lb pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 cup butter
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
(I used the whole can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk - which is more like 1 1/3 cups)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
sea salt for sprinkling

Spread chopped pecans onto a well greased cookie tray. Combine corn syrup, butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar and 1/4 tsp sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil over medium - low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches medium hard stage (~250 degrees). This takes about 15 - 20 minutes. (I don't use a candy thermometer - I use a glass of water filled with ice cold water. When you drop a little of the boiling mixture into the water - off your spoon - it should form a ball that is fairly firm but that you can still squish easily in your fingers. Be careful not to touch the caramel until it has cooled in the ice water.)
Pour over pecans and let cool.

Using a large flipper, loosen caramel from pan. Line counter with plastic wrap and invert caramel onto counter. Using a sharp knife cut caramel into pieces.

*if you cooked your caramel too long and it is too hard to cut, simply smash with a  hammer/meat mallet and don't worry about the pieces being even.
Melt both chocolates separately and drizzle over caramel pieces. Sprinkle with a little more of the sea salt.

I used to make these all the time a few years ago - they are also known as "turtles" if you don't add the salt. I cooked them a little less so they were chewier and then dipped the entire thing in chocolate so they were more "turtle-y". I don't know which way I like better.
I think because putting salt on caramel is the cool thing to do right now, I will choose the "new and improved" way. When we revert back to the old school way of thinking, where salt is weird again, I will go back to my original turtles.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Pink Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s Sue again. This is getting to be quite a habit – me taking over the blog from Jo. After reading her blog about the Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pies with Browned Butter Frosting I had to steal the blog from her once again. While her Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pies may be “okay” my Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Frosting are clearly far superior.
I do apologize for my photos though. Jo has actually stolen my camera and left me with one I am not familiar with so the photos are not as fancy schmancy as hers
(I am sure it is part of her plan to make my whoopie pies look bad).

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Pink Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 Tbsp baking cocoa
1 Tbsp red food color
1 cup (more or less) of Pink Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting.

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie tray with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat sugar cookie mix, butter, egg, cocoa, and food color until combined. Beat on high speed for 1 minute.

Drop by 1/4 cup scoops about 2 inches apart on cookie tray.
Bake approx 15 minutes, until set (do not over bake). Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on tray before removing to cool on wire racks.

Once completely cooled, place about 1 - 2 Tbsp of Pink Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting on flat side of one of the whoopie pie halves, sandwich with another whoopie pie half and gently squeeze together. You can use more or less icing, as you prefer.

These are very tasty and, I am sure you will agree, much prettier than Jo’s stupid Apple blah blah blah Whoopie Pies. The little white bits in my Red Velvet Whoopie Pies are some of the sugar cookie mix that didn't break up. I'm not sure how to solve that issue as I pressed it through a strainer and everything and they still showed up. If you know how to get rid of them, please let me know! Not to worry though, they still taste great!
Feel free to use regular cream cheese frosting rather than the Pink Grapefruit Cream Cheese Frosting if you prefer. If you want a shortcut you could even use a can of store bought cream cheese frosting. Just a thought to save some time...
In any event, we hope you enjoy both of them!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Salmon In Pastry with White Wine Sauce

So, I am going to apologize in advance for not having more photos to share of this easy, yet elegant dish. I honestly had planned to take more but did not move fast enough. It was gone before I had a chance to take any more!
Of course the lighting was awful for the one picture I did manage to snap. 
I apologize.
That being said - this dish was soooooo easy to make. It literally took 40 minutes from start to finish (providing you have the pie dough already made). 
I can't remember exactly what I was looking up but I happened upon a photo of a salmon steak cooked in pastry and thought it looked interesting. I had made pie dough in preparation for the craft fair so stole a piece of it to make this.
It was really, really, REALLY good. Especially with the white wine sauce I made to accompany it.

Salmon in Pastry

pastry dough, 1/3 of this recipe
1 lb salmon steak, skin removed
2 cups spinach leaves
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

white wine sauce
1 Tbsp butter
2 tsp flour
1 cup white wine
1 tsp dried parsley
pinch garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400. Line cookie tray with parchment paper.
Roll out pastry dough so you can wrap salmon completely.
Place 2 cups spinach leaves in center of dough, sprinkle with chopped garlic.

Place raw salmon steak on top of spinach bed. Gently fold pastry up over salmon and pinch to seal.
Using a large flipper, gently invert pastry bundle onto cookie tray so that the seam is now on the bottom. Poke a couple of hole in the pastry with a knife to vent the steam.
Cook at 400 for 30 minutes, or until salmon is cooked.
While the salmon is in the oven you can make your white wine sauce. 
Melt butter over medium heat. Slowly whisk in flour until smooth. Slowly whisk in white wine, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated. Add your pinch of garlic salt and parsley.
Bring to a gentle boil. Turn down to simmer and continue whisking until sauce is reduced in half. This takes about 10 - 15 minutes.
To serve: Place a slice of the salmon in pastry on your plate and drizzle with a spoonful or two of the white wine sauce.

I still can't believe how easy this was to prepare. It looks very Martha Stewart. I served it with potato wedges that I drizzled with olive oil, minced garlic and parsley and fresh boiled carrots on the side. If you are looking for a dish to impress your guests - this is the one. They will think you are a super genius and the best part is it is sooooooooo easy peasy!

Be sure to stop by Hun...What's For Dinner? and Carole's Chatter for some great links!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I really like lemon pudding. Not love .....just really like. I couldn't eat it every day - like I could chocolate or caramel...or pretty much any kind of cookie, but when I get a craving for it I have to have it.
It usually comes in the form of a lemon meringue pie but I was looking for something a little different this time. I started googling lemon recipes and came across several different versions of lemon cheescake squares. I crossed a couple of them and came up with this one.
The graham crackers and butter are nice and butterscotch-y the cheesecake is rich and creamy with a hint of lemon, and then it is topped with a VERY lemony pudding on top. The textures blend well together and the flavors are enough to satisfy a lemon pudding craving AND a cheesecake craving.

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted


2 X 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
pinch salt

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
finely grated zest from 1 lemon
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp cream

Preheat oven to 325. Line 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper to make a sling, fold the overhanging paper over the edges of the pan. Spray lined pan with cooking spray.
To make crust:  Mix crumbs, brown sugar, and butter together in a medium bowl. Press down firmly into prepared 9 X 13 pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes.
While the crust is baking, whip the cream cheese in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest, stopping frequently to scrape down sides of bowl.
Pour mixture over the hot crust and spread evenly to sides. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes, or until top is no longer shiny and the filling jiggles only slightly when shaken. (I usually cook it until the filling doesn't jiggle at all because I am paranoid about under cooking things)
As the cheesecake bakes: heat the lemon juice and zest in a medium saucepan, over medium heat, until hot but not boiling.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and slowly whisk in sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in lemon mixture until completely blended. (Do not do this too fast or you will curdle your eggs.)
Return the egg and lemon mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking and stirring until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. About 3 - 5 minutes approximately.
Remove pan from heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Stir in the 1 Tbsp cream and stir until smooth. Let sit until cheesecake is baked.
After the cheesecake has come out of the oven, (give the lemon pudding a stir first) pour lemon topping on top and smooth out evenly.

Let cool on wire rack until at room temperature. Set in fridge until completely chilled and then cover.
Let set for at least 5 hours, but can set up to 2 days. When you are ready to serve you can lift the cheesecake out using the parchment paper "handles" to get it out of the pan. Cut and serve.

It does take a little bit of planning and patience to make this, especially if you are in the middle of a lemon pudding / cheesecake craving. But, if you can stick it out you will not be disappointed. I promise!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pies with Browned Butter Frosting

As Sue and I prepare for the upcoming Craft Fair we are making a bazillion different recipes. Sue has a fantastic Red Velvet Whoopie Pie that she makes (and will be available at the Craft Fair) so I had to find a more delicious Something-Something Whoopie Pie to beat her.
Errm...I mean, an equally delicious whoopie pie to sell alongside hers.
Anyway.... I thought of maybe a spice cake or something similar because I had leftover Browned Butter frosting to use up and figured it would go really well with a spice cake.
I couldn't really find exactly what I was looking for so I decided to come up with my own.  Thus the Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pie with Browned Butter Frosting was born!

Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pie With Browned Butter Frosting.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
pinch sea salt
1 egg
1/4 cup pureed squash
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 large apple, shredded (about 1 cup)
Browned Butter Frosting (Click for recipe)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a whoopie pie pan with cooking spray OR line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until creamy.
Add in brown sugar, baking soda, spices, and salt.
Beat on medium until well incorporated.
Add egg and beat until combined.
Add in squash and buttermilk and mix on low until fully incorporated.
Add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until combined.
Fold in apple with a spatula.
Using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop dough into prepared whoopie pie pan or onto prepared baking sheet approx 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, until tops are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let cool on tray/in pan for 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
When completely cool, frost flat side of one of the whoopie pie halves with Browned Butter Frosting and sandwich with another half.
I got 12 large whoopie pies (24 halves) out of this recipe using a whoopie pie pan and probably used a little more than 1 cup of frosting. The frosting is really sweet so you don't need to add too much!

If you come to the Craft Fair you can get one of Sue's Red Velvet Whoopie Pies and one of my Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pies and let us know which one you like better.
Psssst - the correct answer is the Apple Cinnamon Whoopie Pies....
Be sure to check out Hammocktracks for tons of apple recipes! She is hosting an Apples Galore recipe series!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Apple Cake with Toasted Pecans and Browned Butter Frosting

I have to start by saying that this is's 100th blog. Yay!
Sue and I have been having lots of fun coming up with things to share on our blog and look forward to many more :)
What better way to celebrate than with a cake?
A delicious, apple, pecan, caramel, heaven-in-a-bite cake to be exact.
Our friend, Kerry, brought this to work one day for a co-worker's birthday and I had to get the recipe from her. I had never had browned butter frosting before and now that I have tried it I expect to gain a million pounds eating it. If you haven't had it before - go make it!
I cannot believe the taste you get from simply browning the butter.

Made as a "square" instead of in a cupcake liner

Apple Cake with Toasted Pecans and Browned Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
4 medium apples, peeled, diced
1 1/4 cup pecans, toasted, diced
Browned Butter Frosting
1 cup butter
4 - 5 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Caramel ice cream topping

Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with paper cupcake liners. (Or you can spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray)
Stir together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, stirring until just blended. Stir in apples and 1 cup of the pecans. Reserve remaining 1/4 cup of pecans for later.
Batter will be VERY thick, like a cookie dough batter.
Scoop spoonfuls into the 24 lined muffin cups OR spread into prepared 9 X 13 pan.
Bake at 350 until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and tops are browned, anywhere from 20 - 45 minutes depending on size of pan, oven temp, etc... Keep your eye on them!

It is very dense and won't look like a "normal" cupcake at all.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes.
If you made cupcakes, remove and let cool completely on wire rack.
If you made 9 X 13 pan, leave in pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
Spread with Browned Butter Frosting and sprinkle remaining toasted, chopped pecans on top to decorate. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping, if desired.

Directions for Browned Butter Frosting
Cook butter in heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 6 - 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn a golden brown. (It took me about 10 minutes)
Remove pan from heat immediately and pour butter into a small bowl. Cover and chill for about an hour or until butter starts to solidify.

The browned butter after it has solidified again. It smells sooooooo amazing!

Beat butter at medium speed, with an electric mixer, until fluffy. Gradually add icing sugar alternating with milk, beginning and ending with icing sugar. Beat at medium speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. (I did 4 additions of 1 cup of icing sugar but then had to add a bit more to get the right consistency)

The recipe for the frosting makes quite a bit. I frosted 24 cupcakes and a small 5 X 5 square pan of cake and still had about a cup left over. You don't have to use a lot of this fact....if you use too much it is too sweet.

I have decided this is my new favorite icing. I can't believe I haven't tasted it before. I have a lot of missed time to make up for.

Anyway.... thank you to those of you who have supported our blog. 100 down and a bazillion more to go! Please share us with your family and friends and join us on Facebook ( and twitter (@joandsue), or be one of our "followers" right here on

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Healthy Ham and Cheese Scones

I thought I had better steal the blog away from Jo for a second. It’s Sue again.
With Thanksgiving and Halloween just finished and Christmas quickly sneaking up on us, I figured one healthy, low calorie recipe might not hurt. I know Jo does low calorie and healthy blogs sometimes too but.... she is trying to kill us all with her addicting, high calorie treats right now.
This recipe is one that I have had forever. It is great to go with soups or to feed to the kids as an after school snack. It is also quick and effortless – from start to finish in 30 minutes.
This was originally a Weight Watchers recipe but I may have made some changes and altered the points/calories from the original. I think I am pretty close to it though.
Healthy Ham and Cheese Scones
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole-grain wheat flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp butter, chilled, cut into pieces
3/4 cup shredded, low fat cheese
1/3 cup cooked ham, finely chopped
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large egg white

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flours, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal; stir in cheese and ham.
In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg whites with a fork. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
Place dough onto lightly floured surface; knead 5 to 6 times.
Place dough on baking sheet and pat into 8-inch circle; cut dough into 8 wedges; separate a little. (You can also pat/roll out on floured surface to about 1 inch thickness and cut out with biscuit cutter.)
Bake until slightly browned, about 20 minutes.

As far as Weight Watchers points and such.... I believe it is equal to 4 points per scone if you make 8. Or, 228 calories per scone, again – if you make 8.

Okay, I will let Jo go back to making her dangerous-to-the-waistline treats now. She and I will be busy over the next 2 weeks getting ready for the annual Craft Fair where we will be showcasing many of our treats. Yes....most of them will be deliciously unhealthy.....I promise we will TRY to make at least a couple of things that are healthier.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin or Banana Streusel Rolls

Top roll is banana and bottom roll is pumpkin!

I found these delicious looking rolls in a Taste Of Home Fall Baking Magazine a little while ago. The photos in the magazine looked so amazing!
I had pumpkin to use up and I also had a few over-ripe bananas hanging around so I thought I would try the recipe with bananas as well. They turned out just as yummy.
I imagine you could give this a go with almost any fruit if it were thick enough. Mmmm....mashed strawberries would be a great idea!

Pumpkin (or Banana) Streusel Rolls

2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm milk (110 - 115 degrees)
1 cup solid packed pumpkin (OR 1 cup mashed banana)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp sea salt
4 - 6 cups of flour

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, cubed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Optional drizzle
cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie tray with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the pumpkin (OR banana), sugar, melted butter, salt, and 4 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky)
Turn onto floured surface, knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

The yellower one is pumpkin :)

Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Cut in butter until until crumbly. Set aside 1 cup.
Punch dough down, divide in half. Roll each half into a 12 X 10 rectangle.
Sprinkle streusel (except for 1 reserved cup) over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges, press down lightly. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with long side, pinch seams to seal.
Cut each into 12 slices. Place, cut side down, on parchment paper. Sprinkle with reserved streusel.

Waiting for them to rise...that's the hardest part!

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 375 for 20 - 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes. Remove to wire rack to finish cooling.
If desired, drizzle with softened cream cheese.



I think I enjoyed the pumpkin ones more but my family loved the banana. I can't wait to try other fruits like strawberry or peaches or oooooooooooooooh, maybe mango and throw some toasted coconut into the streusel.

Be sure to stop by Carole's Chatter for tons of fun links!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mummy Skewers, Alien Worms, and Intestines for dessert

I decided to combine 3 of our Halloween creations into one blog rather than carry on with Halloween blogs into November. (Too many more November-y things to blog about!)
These are recipes that don't require exact measurements so feel free to make your own adjustments.

First up:
Mummy Skewers

meatballs, cooked
breakfast sausages, cooked
cream cheese, softened (about 4 oz or more)
pesto (2 - 4 Tbsp)
linguini noodles, cooked
olives, cut in tiny pieces for eyes
Wooden skewers

Carefully skewer a breakfast sausage on a skewer, being careful to go through from top to bottom without going through the sides. Skewer a meatball on top of the sausage.

This can be a little messy so make sure you get all of your mummies skewered before going to the next step.
Mix together your cream cheese and pesto until well combined. Evenly spread over sausage and meatball, thick enough that you can't see the meat through it.
Wrap linguini noodles around your mummy until he (or she) is covered. If your noodles are too wet they may not stick as well. Dry them until they are just damp and they will be more sticky.
Press olive bits onto mummies head for eyes. Enjoy!

Next up:
Alien Worms
pork tenderloin
Wrap pork tenderloin in bacon. You will have to use a lot of bacon as you want to make sure there is no tenderloin showing through. Layer your bacon strips so that one strip half covers the next strip.

Now you will want to freeze your tenderloin until it is solid. At least 6 hours.
Take out your frozen tenderloin while you preheat the oven to 350. Cook at 350 for about half hour and then up the temperature to 375 and cook until pork is done. Bacon should be fairly crispy. If your pork tenderloin is done but the bacon doesn't look crispy then place it under the broiler for just a minute or two to crisp up.

Remove from oven and cut V shaped wedges out of the thick side of the tenderloin for a mouth. Add raw spaghetti for teeth.

Remove from dish it was cooked in and place on serving platter. Decorate as desired! Salsa or spaghetti sauce make excellent blood and guts :)


1 box of puff pastry, thawed
1 can (I believe it was 15 oz) pie filling
(Cherry or Strawberry Rhubarb works well)
4 oz (approx) spreadable cream cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
Cut each square of puff pastry (Box should contain 2, joined together) lengthwise into 4 equal strips.
Roll each of the 8 strips out and place end to end, sealing by brushing dough where it connects with beaten egg.

Spread cream cheese gently down the center of the dough length. Then place pie filling on top of cream cheese, making sure not to fill too full or get too close to the edges.

Brush along one edge of dough with beaten egg to dampen. Pinch edges together, being sure to seal dough without ripping it.
Now comes the exciting part - it is easier to do with a helper but can be managed alone (with much cursing).
Gently lay dough, seam side down, into 9 X 13 pan. Twist and snake your dough so it resembles an intestine. Leave some space as dough puffs up.

Using a clean, small paint brush, or large toothpick, draw random lines on your intestine by dipping brush (or toothpick) in red food coloring.
Bake at 375 until dough has puffed up and is golden brown. About 30 minutes. (This is a complete guess... it may have been 20 minutes or it may have been 40....I wasn't keeping track....oooops!)

There you go! Three more Halloween dishes to add to your spooky food list! These were fun, easy, and very forgiving. (Click HERE for more pics of our 2011 Halloween dinner)
The intestines were a little tricky but turned out great. Sue and I made one for our dinner and it was much easier than when I did it myself the next day to bring one to work. I had some tears in mine as I tried to move the entire thing myself.....arrrg!.... fortunately intestines are not meant to be neat and tidy so the bits of pie filling that bubbled out in spots just looked like guts.
How often do you get to say that your dessert "looking like guts" is a good thing?
See, this is one of the reasons I love Halloween.
We're sharing over at Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons