Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow's the big day and this may come as a surprise to you, but I am not going to share a recipe with you.  But really, you just want the same turkey, the same stuffing, and the same cranberries you have every year.  Thanksgiving is not the time to be experimenting.  Stick to what you love, enjoy the time with friends and family, and then Friday you can start your Christmas shopping!

Last weekend, Austin and I helped our friends, Dave and Leah, get a jump on their Christmas shopping.  Actually we didn't help.  We just distracted them while they were trying to find a Christmas tree that they would like to come back for in a few weeks.
Now, I thought I knew everything about Christmas, (I know all of the songs, that's for sure), but I hadn't even heard of "tree farms!"  I've never had a real tree myself but I thought people always just went to the drugstore and bought their tree from some fenced in area in the parking lot.  I guess not :)
Anyway, we spent the day Saturday driving through the beautiful country roads of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia.  It was a beautiful day and we had a lot of fun pretending to be Yetis running through the rows of pines!

Friday, November 18, 2011


There are a few things that you can make in your kitchen that are so surprisingly easy to do but yet we still think that they are impossible and somehow they come directly from nature packaged and sealed in a nice little container.  One of these things is whipped cream.  Whipped cream does not actually come in that form straight from the udder!  I know!  Hard to believe. 

Another simple thing to make yourself is applesauce.  You know the best part?  It tastes a million times better than the store-bought stuff.  It's got chunks of real apple in it so you can actually recognize the origin of the food and it is naturally sweet without all of the added sugar.
Sack of Apples (sweet-ish ones are better for this, or a mixture...I used McIntosh)
Cinnamon (optional)
Sugar (optional)

1.  Peel, core and slice your apples.
2.  Place in the bottom of a large pot.
3.  Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pot (maybe 1/2c for the entire sack of apples).

4.  Cook over medium heat until the apples start to break apart.  Then use a potato masher to smash the remaining pieces of apple. 

5.  Optional, add cinnamon and/or sugar to taste.  Serve it warm or refridgerate...both are amazing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bread Pudding

What do you do when someone comes to the gym toting a giant box of somewhat old hot dog buns?  It's a tough decision, but if you are smart, you will grab two bags. 

These weren't your basic Sara Lee hot dog buns - these were fancy.  These were like flaky, buttery croissants on the inside with smooth, egg glazed tops.  Fancy buns for a fancy hot dog.  Well, I don't make fancy hot dogs.  I do make fancy bread pudding though.
Of course, if you don't go to a gym where people bring you boxes of carbs to offset whatever progress you are making at said gym, you could use croissants.  Hypothetically, you could use any bread that you've got but I'll let you in on a secret: croissants are way better!  I mean, croissants are better than regular bread no matter what, but I think the croissants soak up the egg/cream mixture of the bread pudding better and make for a softer, 'moister' pudding!

You know what this recipe would be perfect for?!  Thanksgiving!  and Christmas!  Perfect way to add some variety to your dessert/pie table.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I'll admit it...

...fall is pretty perfect here.

Corn Casserole

Thanksgiving is just a week and a half away and I for one could not be more excited.  Last year, I had a case of the stomach flu and forced myself to eat a few bites of food.  Then I realized, if I got sick again I would never be able to enjoy another Thanksgiving I refrained. 

This year though, I am going to wear some pants with some give in them.  I will take full advantage of that give.  I won't fill them out with turkey and mashed potatoes though.  Sure, I'll eat some.  But I'll really hold out for the good stuff.  The pie!

Maybe this year, you have a little bit of this corn casserole before you eat dessert.  It's like corn bread, but it never gets dry.  You won't have to worry about crumbs getting on your holiday sweater.  :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

'Pumpkin' Cookies

If you read many other cooking blogs out there you will notice an overwhelming amount of pumpkin related recipes circling the interweb this past month or so.  I'm sure they're all good, but really we need a more balanced diet right?  We can't just eat pumpkin and squash all day can we?  Do you think we would turn orange from eating too much squash?  Just carrots?  Ok, well still, let's eat something else.

Just to make the transition a little bit easier, we will make them pumpkin shaped.  I don't want to scare you too much right off the bat.
If you're thinking, "wait, these are cookies!  These won't help me have a well-rounded diet!"  You're wrong.  All you've been eating since the temperatures have dropped below 75 and you glimpsed that first leaf start to change is vegetables.  You forgot about the point of the food pyramid!  It's fats, oils & sweets!  Don't ever forget about those.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

It's getting to be that time of year.  The time of year for turkey and stuffing and big helpings of pie!  The most important part is the pie!  I love pie...blueberry, apple, pecan, coconut cream...the list could go on forever, but I have never been a fan of pumpkin pie.  I know that last statement just discredited my tastes altogether for some people as it's considered a blasphemous statement.  But if you're still reading, you should be happy to hear that I made one anyway!  And I liked it!

Normally, I would actually forego dessert altogether if pumpkin pie was the only option.  And that means a lot.  But this one! - This one is good!  It tastes more like a pumpkin flavored cheesecake and it's smoother and creamier than the pumpkin pies I have tried in the past.  Just think what someone who loves pumpkin pie would think of it!

Recipe from Paula Deen
8 oz. cream cheese
2 c. pumpkin puree
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg + 2 yolks, slightly beaten
1 c. half & half
1/4 c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 pie crust
whipped cream, for topping

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Roll out your pie dough into a pan and crimp the edges.
3.  Line the entire crust with foil then place pie weights/dried beans in the bottom to weight it.  Put in the fridge to firm up for an hour.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, take out the pie weights and foil.
4.  Beat cream cheese.  Add pumpkin, sugar and salt.

5.  Mix together eggs, half & half, and melted butter.  Add to pumpkin mixture. 

6.  Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat until well blended.

7.  Pour the filling into the warm pie crust.  Bake for 50 minutes, or until center is set.
8.  Cool pie on a wire rack.  Once cold, top with whipped cream!

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