Friday, October 30, 2015

Mummy Cheese Ball

Okay. Obviously we were going for terrifying with this guy.
I mean.... look at him. 
The fat and fluffy, red eyes glowing, clearly angry cadaver rising from his cracker filled tomb.
Don't let the smile fool you. He'll tear you to shreds.
Or... maybe not.
Sue thought he looked entirely too happy. 
I said I'd be that happy too if I were stuffed with ham and cream cheese. 
It's true though. 
Anyway.... sometimes cute is the right way to go for Halloween. Especially when you have little ones that get frightened easily. This guy can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and is sure to have your guests "ooh-ing" and "aaah-ing".
We are sharing our super easy, yet incredibly delicious cheese ball recipe, once again, but feel free to use your favorite. Pretty much any cream cheese based recipe will work!

Mummy Cheese Ball

2 (8oz) bricks Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 cans ham
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
generous splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 - 2 cups shredded, aged cheddar
dash of salt & pepper

about 1/2 cup sour cream
slice red pepper
slice cucumber skin

In a mixing bowl, stir together cream cheese, ham, onion, Worcestershire, cheddar, and salt & pepper until well combined. 

If it is too gooey then refrigerate for about half an hour. If it is still fairly firm, you can continue.
Shape your mummy - a palm sized amount for the head, 4 finger sized amounts for the arms and legs, and then the rest for the body. 

Place sour cream into a piping bag with a flat tip. Pipe strips over the entire head, body, and arms & legs in random directions. Leave a few long strips so it looks like his wrapping is unwinding.

Let chill for about 30 minutes. 
Cut 2 small circles out of the red pepper slice for his eyes, and a crescent shape out of the cucumber peel for his mouth. Place on the mummy's head.

Admire how cute he is....

Now, chill until ready to serve.
Just before serving, surround this horrible monster with crackers.

Let the screams of terror begin.

A few notes: I actually forgot to put in the shredded cheese when I made this guy and he still tasted fantastic. You should probably add the cheese though, it is definitely better. It is up to you how much you want to add - I usually just go with about 2 handfuls.
As I mentioned above, you can shape almost any cream cheese based cheese ball recipe into a mummy. Give your favorite one a try if you don't like this recipe!! :)
You can pipe Greek yogurt on top as an alternative to sour cream, if you prefer. It doesn't change the flavor too much at all. 
Happy Halloween everyone!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Blackberry Meringue Pie

When people ask, "What kind of pie do you like?", lemon meringue pie is going to be mentioned at least a million times. I mean, it's a classic. Right up there with apple pie and pecan pie. 
So I decided to take a classic and put a fruity spin on it. 
It's still tart from a bit of lemon and has mile high fluffy meringue BUT I added some blackberry puree for an entirely new flavor sensation.
It's crazy good (if I do say so myself). 
Give it a try... see for yourself! We would love to hear what you think! You can easily double the recipe to make 2 pies... in case you need to taste test one before bringing it to your next gathering!

Blackberry Meringue Pie

3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp cornstarch
pinch salt
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1/2 cup blackberry puree
2 Tbsp butter
4 egg yolks
1 8 inch, baked pie crust

4 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tbsp sugar

In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in water, lemon juice, and blackberry puree. 

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in the butter and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Gradually whisk in about 3/4 cup of the hot mixture (do this slowly to temper the eggs so they don't curdle). Whisk the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot mixture. Place back over medium heat and continue stirring until mixture returns to a boil and is thickened. Remove from heat.

Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie crust.

Set aside while you prepare meringue.
Preheat oven to 350.
In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, whip egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.
Pile meringue on top of pie.

Bake at 350 until meringue is golden brown, about 10 - 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it - it can go from golden to burnt in a short time!
Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.

Once it is room temp you can place it in the fridge to chill.

You can serve it room temp but it won't be quite set up. It needs to chill for a couple of hours, up to overnight, to be fully set.

The color is very vibrant. Soooo purdy. 

You definitely need to taste this to understand how different it is. 
It's one of those things that confuses your taste buds for a second. In a good way, of course!

I'm thinking this would be perfect for a romantic Valentine's dinner dessert OR at Christmas.

A couple of things - I used one lemon to get the 1/4 cup of lemon juice. If you get a bit more from your lemon - throw it in there too - you can always add a little less water to offset. 
For the 1/2 cup blackberry puree - use one heaping cup full of blackberries and press them through a strainer. That should yield about 1/2 cup of puree. 
For something different, if you are not a huge fan of meringue, you could also top this pie with whipped cream.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Green Bean Casserole

This is one of those classic recipes that I'm pretty sure everyone has made, in some form or another, for at least one family gathering. It is one of our go-to side dishes for most big gatherings. 
Only 4 ingredients and it is just crazy delicious. 
Plus.... it only takes about 10 seconds to whip up. 
Have I convinced you to give it a try yet?
You really, really should.

Green Bean Casserole

3 (14 oz) cans Cut Green Beans
2 (10oz) cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cups aged cheddar cheese, shredded
3 (79 g) cans French's Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray an oven safe dish (11 inch pie plate pictured/9 X 13 used in bottom photo) with cooking spray, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, stir together beans, mushroom soup, cheese, and 1 of the French's Fried Onions cans.

Spread into prepared pan and bake, covered with foil, for about 40 - 45 minutes.
Remove foil, stir, and top with remaining 2 cans of French's Fried Onions.

Return to oven for another 15 or so minutes, until bubbling and browned.

Serve hot!
Here is a pic of it from yet another dinner we made it for...

Looks like you could just dive right in there, am I right?
So. Much. Tastiness.
What is your version of the classic green bean casserole? This one is VERY rich but is also very easy to adjust to suite your tastes. Add less cheese or more, less onions or more - however you like it. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thanksgiving Dinner 2015 (and 2014)

Sue and I have lots of photos to share with you today.
Last year at Thanksgiving we didn't ever get around to sharing our recipes so we have included some of them with this year's dinner!
The veggie turkey above was made by Sue this year. No recipe to share - just use your favorite dip and layer a thin layer of sour cream on top so it is pure white, then decorate with veggies (FYI - his face is a mushroom that Sue peeled the top layer of skin from). 
We have included links below to the actual recipes. Just click on the link you want to see and it will take you to a separate post with the recipe and more pics!
First up Appetizers:

This was last year's turkey meat and cheese tray. Pretty adorable, right?
It's a close race as to which turkey I like better. The one above from last year OR the one below from this year...

This guy was made by Orra with some help from our little cousins!

Home made pickled garlic and pickled carrots made last year's appie list. 

This year was pickles, gherkins, olives, and pickled onions.

We always have mom's deviled eggs but last year I made them look like cute little pumpkins. 
An easy way to fancy up your deviled eggs.

This year I made Crab Puffs with Garlic Aioli and they were a HUGE hit.
You definitely will want to give these a go! (Link to that recipe HERE!)

Now on to the dinner (meat and sides!)

Last year's green bean casserole was super tasty and I meant to share the recipe on the blog but never got around to it...

So, that meant I had to make it again this year and, don't worry, this time I will be sure to share!!

Last year Sue made a more traditional stuffing and mixed it with some Stovetop Stuffing to bulk it up a bit.

This year Sue tried a brand new recipe and it turned out fabulous!
(Be sure to check back soon and I will see if I can get Sue to share this recipe!)

Last year we did a roasted Brussels sprout dish with sweet potatoes and potatoes that was really tasty. We just drizzled the veggies with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and then roasted them.

This year Sue kicked it up a notch by adding a balsamic brown sugar drizzle and some bacon.
Bacon makes everything better! (Check back for the link to that recipe soon!)

Our nephew, Travis, has a favorite dish that his mom has to make for him every time! Layered salad. 
This photo was from last year's dinner but we did have it this year too!

Orra also brought this broccoli cauliflower salad. It was super yummy and, she says, also easy peasy to whip up.

This year we had salmon, ham, and turkey. 
Which is funny because, if you note in the 3 next photos, that is what we had last year too.
Apparently we like to have choices in the meat department.

Ooooh... turkey!!

BBQ salmon!

And ham! Oh my!!
Ham is always good.

And now... on to the desserts!

Orra made this adorable Rice Krispie Turkey with Smartie stuffing.
Too cute, am I right?

I tried a new recipe for Pumpkin Pie this year - Deep Dish - and it turned out amazing!!
It has a secret ingredient you just won't believe.
(Click HERE for that recipe!)

I made Triple Butterscotch Cupcakes. (Butterscotch cake, Butterscotch Pudding Frosting, and stuffed with a Butterscotch Schnapps Caramel filling)
(Find that recipe HERE)

And for something totally different - I also made Cherry Limeade Cupcakes. (Link to recipe HERE!)

This puff pastry Apple Roses are actually very easy to whip up and make a huge impression on your guests. They are just too pretty!
(Find the recipe and how-to HERE

Last year's dessert menu included Pumpkin Sex in a Pan - which is just ridiculously delicious.
(Click HERE for that recipe!) 

And... for the cheesecake lovers out there, a mile high Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust.
(Click HERE for that recipe!) 

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below!

Be sure to visit these fun site for more tasty links! - Joy Love Food,