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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I love sugar cookies. I love anything pumpkin. So when I saw these, it was a no brainer. They actually look really dense when you make them but are pretty light. The perfect treat for fall.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
from Betty Crocker


1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz.) sugar cookie mix
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 c butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg


2/3 cup marshmallow creme
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

In large bowl, stir together cookie mix and flour. Add remaining cookie ingredients; stir until stiff dough forms.

Onto ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough about 2 inches apart. I use a ice cream scoop like the rest of the world to try and get uniform size cookies. Lightly press tops with fingers to flatten slightly. You can dip your fingers in flour before flattening to cut down on the mess.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes and then move the cookies to wire rack to cool. Cool them completely, about 15 minutes.

In medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer until light and fluffy. For each whoopie pie, spread about 2 tsps of the filling on bottom of one cookie. Top with second cookie, gently press together. Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bubblin' Swamp Juice

Oh my, is it cold here. It has been in the low 50s all day and raining. The kind of weather that makes me just want to grab some hot chocolate, a good book, and crawl in bed all day. Not really feasible with three kids in the middle of the afternoon. However, the hot chocolate is. I picked my daughter up from school and she started begging for some hot chocolate. That is her favorite thing about being in cold weather. So we ran home and tried this. It is a Halloween twist to the traditional hot chocolate. It really does have strong vanilla flavor. But kids are easy to please. Add some food coloring and they are telling you that you are the best hot chocolate maker in the world. Totally not true, but sweet all the same!

Bubblin' Swamp Juice
by Taste of Home

4 cups milk
1 cup vanilla or white chips
12 drops green food coloring
8 drops yellow food coloring
1/4 c mini marshmallows (I used regular cause that is what I had)
centipede gummies for garnish (I didn't have those so they didn't make an appearance)

In a large saucepan, heat milk and chips over medium heat. Whisk until chips are melted and mixture is blended. Do not boil. Remove from the heat; stir in food coloring. Garnish with marshmallows and gummies if you want.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pumpkin Napoleons

Growing up, I didn't get to spend a ton of one on one time with my mom. So the weekend when I was about 11 years old and just my mom and I went and spent the weekend with my grandma really sticks out in my mind. We had a great time eating ice cream, watching movies, and just talking. To top it all off, on the way back to our house, we stopped at one of our favorite places, Solvang. It is a little Dutch town in So Cal. We spent several hours just roaming the streets, perusing the shops. I still remember my mom bought me a watch and a troll(remember those weird troll doll things? I loved them). To top it all off, as we were leaving, we stopped at the bakery and got the amazing Napoleons available there. It was a heavenly day.

Since running to Solvang on a regular basis wasn't an option, my mom decided to try her hand at recreating the yummy treats. To this day, whenever she makes them, I am reminded of that day.

Traditionally, when we make these, they are made with store bought frosting and red raspberry preserves, sprinkled with sugar on top, which is so easy, yet so good. However, I was bored the other day and when I decided to make these, I thought I would try and put a fall twist on a favorite treat. I tried to create my own pumpkin filling, it turned out ok, although I am sure there are better ones out there. Instead of using store bought frosting, I had seen on Christy's blog the recipe for the best ever frosting, so I decided to try that. And since I was being so darn domestic, I also made the Pioneer Woman's caramel sauce to drizzle on top. Overall result? Light, flaky, delicious! Bring on fall!

Pumpkin Napoleons

Puff Pastry (I'm sure you can make your own but I used good ol' store bought)
Thaw pastry according to package. Roll out a little on lightly floured surface. Cut into even size squares (as close as you can get). Brush lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Cook at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Let cool.

Caramel Sauce

4 tbsp butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 c half and half
pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla

Mix butter, brown sugar, half and half, and salt in saucepan over medium low heat. Cook while whisking gently, 5-7 minutes until thickens. Add vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off heat and pour sauce into jar. Refrigerate until cold.

Best Ever Frosting

5 tbsp flour
1 cup milk (she used whole, I used 2%)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter

In saucepan, pour flour into milk and whisk together. Place on medium heat and whisk as it heats, until it thickens. It should become very thick. Take off heat and cool completely. When it is totally cooled, add vanilla.
Meanwhile, whip sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture to sugar/butter mixture. Whip together until it resembles whipped cream.

Pumpkin Filling

3/4 c canned pumpkin
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Add all ingredients together in medium bowl. Whisk together until combined.

Just a quick note: I am fairly confident this is what I put in the filling, however I just made it up as I went along and I made it several days ago.

To assemble Napoleons:
Take two pastries, slather one with frosting, slather the other with pumpkin mix and place together lightly. Drizzle caramel sauce over and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soccer Spaghetti

or better known as chicken tetrazzini.

Have you seen the movie 17 again? I love that part where Zac Efron is eating everything in sight and says I am So hungry! I just think that it really portrays reality. Teenage boys' appetites really inspire wondering amazement.

My husband had that type of appetite when younger (and now too but don't tell him I said so). His mom used to make two dishes or two pies, etc of his favorite things; one for my husband and one for the rest of his family. At our anniversary dinner several years ago, the waiter, when Ryan was done with his dinner, actually shook his hand. It was kind of embarrassing. But my husband likes to eat. (It is kind of amazing he married me!)

Growing up, Ryan was very into soccer. He played on all sorts of teams but on one of the teams, this dish was tradition. The moms rotated who made it and the boys all consumed it before games. He loved that his own mother was a "soccer spaghetti purist" as he calls her. He said all the guys would be pumped up to eat this dish and then a mom would show up having added red peppers and peas and it just wasn't the same. It didn't stop them from shoving it in their face I am sure.

Soccer Spaghetti

1 stick butter or margarine
1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups fat free chicken broth (I don't use fat free, it goes against all of my beliefs!)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 c cooking sherry (I leave this out)
1 one pound package regular spaghetti less 2 oz. (14 oz. total), cooked and drained
4 cups cooked and cut up chicken breasts (about 4-5 breasts)
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour and seasonings. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly.

Remove from heat and stir in broth and cream.

Return to burner and heat to boiling, stirring constantly, over medium to low heat. Boil and stir for 1 minute.

Add cooking sherry, stir until alcohol evaporates (just a few seconds).

Add spaghetti and chicken.

Pour into a 9x13 pan and sprinkle Parmesan over top.

Sprinkle Paprika on to.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Brown briefly under broiler.

Just a few notes: If refrigerated before baking, allow to come to room temperature before baking. Also, I was told never to make it with thin pasta however, I didn't realize I was out of spaghetti when going to make this. I used angel hair and I thought it tasted basically the same.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Homemade Oreos

I am a girl who kind of likes to be taken care of. I am not really high maintenance, I just appreciate people doing things for me that I don't really like to do myself. My girls even know about the "magic" chute that exists at my mom's house still; you put dirty clothes down it and they magically appear clean and folded in your room without much delay.
I have always really liked to eat good food but never motivated enough to actually have to cook it on my own. My family had a really good laugh when a few months after getting married, someone told Ryan that he looked like he had gained a few pounds and that it must be all of my good cooking.
But eight years into marriage and three kids later, I have discovered that I actually don't mind to cook that much. Baking is my favorite because, hey, I have a huge sweet tooth, and I get to eat the end product, but making good meals for my family has grown into something that I actually don't abhor.
Anyway, this avoidance of cooking has led me to be lacking in knowledge about many things in the kitchen. The first time I saw these were at a church fundraiser. I was like, you can make homemade oreos? Are you serious? The girl who made them said, "yeah, they are from Paula Deen." I just smiled and thought to myself, Should I know who that is? So when I saw this on my friend Christy's blog, I knew I had to try them. Especially since I know who Paula Deen is now!

Homemade Oreos
by Paula Deen

2 boxes Devil's food cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 c vegetable oil
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 c butter, at room temperature
3 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, and oil with a mixer. The batter will be very stiff. Pinch pieces of the batter and roll into 1 inch balls. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets and flatten slightly with your fingertips. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until a slight indentation remains when lightly touched. Remove immediately from the cookie sheets with a spatula and cool on a wire rack.
In a small glass bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter until completely blended. Gradually add in the sugar and vanilla and mix until the icing is smooth. Spread half of the cookies with the icing and top with remaining cookies. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.