Monthly Archives: November 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Desserts

If you have ever driven across the U.S., or even half of the U.S., or even just driven across Kansas you know how it feels when you are on the home stretch. You’ve come so far, yet you’re still not there. You’re tired and your legs and arms are sore and jelly-like.

That was how I felt after making and eating Thanksgiving dinner, preparing to eat dessert. I knew I had come many, many miles but would not be done with the journey until I had eaten at least one serving of one of the desserts I had made. I was tired and my legs and arms were sore and jelly-like. Add on to that the fullness of the belly, and the task seemed almost daunting. However, I just knew that I had to do it, because I had made desserts. In fact, there were four desserts to choose from.

Let’s start with the one that I did nothing to prepare. I had ordered it from a friend as a fundraiser for one of the sports her daughter plays in. It was a chocolate mousse pie.  Done!

Next, was an apple pie. I used a store-bought roll-out crust for this one. Making pie crust is not my forte. My grandmother made excellent pie crusts. My mother did not. After years of psycho-analyzing my mother and her pie crust issues (which she passed down to me) I firmly believe that she had a self-limiting fear of making pie crusts, because her mother was so masterful at it. I could be wrong. Making pie crust is an art. I usually buy the pie crusts in the red box that you unroll. Fabulous! I had a bag of pre-made apple pie filling that my mother had frozen during apple season. She had an over-flow of apples and her standard is to go ahead and mix up some apple pie filling and freeze. So, I took one of these. Her standard pie filling is apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and flour. After they thawed, I turned it into more of a caramel apple pie, by adding butter, brown sugar and heavy cream before putting it in the crust.

My third dessert was a pumpkin pie. The Hubs and D1 are huge pumpkin pie fans. It’s really not my favorite, but had to be done. It’s a tradition! So, I took a deep breath, and made up a recipe for pie crust dough. The Hubs had discovered this recipe a few years ago and has had much success with it. I figured, if he could do it, I could, too. Oh, and since it wasn’t my Grandmother’s recipe the old ghosts of pie crusts past would be exorcised!

Sour Cream Pie Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 5 oz. butter, room temp

Combine ingredients to form dough. Separate in half and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Roll out into 2 9-inch pie shells. You may add ½ teaspoon vanilla for fruit pies.

My pie crusts were a success inasmuch as I did not cry and I was able to get 2 9-inch shells. One, I used for the pumpkin pie and the other I baked for a pudding pie.

I used the pumpkin pie recipe on the Libby’s can, and it turned out beautifully. I added a few pie crust leaves to the top of the pie, which everyone seemed to think was very fancy. (Thank you, Williams-Sonoma for your cute little cutters!)

The last dessert of our Thanksgiving feast was a Raisin Sour Cream Pie. I had never even heard of this kind of pie until I married The Hubs. At the first Thanksgiving I spent with his family, his step-father talked about the pie that he used to just love, Raisin Sour Cream. I made it my mission to come up with a recipe for this odd-sounding pie. I found one in a “Kansas” cookbook, but have since lost it. I came up with this recipe later and I make it every Thanksgiving in his memory. It has become a family favorite and we all think fondly of him when we eat it.

Raisin Sour Cream Pie

  • 1 cup raisins
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 3 eggs yolks, beaten
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 egg whites
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar

In a small covered sauce pan, cook the raisins with the ½ cup water until boiling, and the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

Combine sugar and flour in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add beaten egg yolks, sour cream, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened. Add in raisins. Cool slightly and pour into baked pie shell.

In a large glass or metal bowl free of oils (I use my K.A.) beat egg whites, gradually adding sugar until they form stiff peaks, but are not dry.

Spread meringue gently over raising filling. Bake at 350 degrees until meringue is lightly golden, about 12 minutes.

Store uneaten pie in the refrigerator.

I chose the Raisin Sour Cream as my dessert, the end to my journey. It was a sweet and delicious ending to an amazing feast.

One of the great things about nearly any journey is not the end. Sometimes the end is bitter-sweet. It is the journey that makes the memories along the way…

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

In this case, it began with a lot of flour, cream and butter with a few vegetables and a turkey thrown in. Of course, I made fabulous new memories along the way during the making and eating of Thanksgiving 2012. Just think, Christmas is just around the corner. Many more miles to go!



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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Thanksgiving Dinner – Part 3

I feel a little bit like The Muppets on their journey in “The Muppet Movie”. Moving right along (dooga doon dooga doon)…

Moving right along on the Thanksgiving 2012 journey today I’ll cover the Cranberry Sauce, Irish Brown Bread, and Cornmeal Rolls. Let me tell you now, this is a bit of a journey in and of itself.

So, the cranberry sauce is just one of those things that is “traditional Thanksgiving fare”. So, I made it. I hate that gelatinous jelly that comes out of cans. I love cranberries, though. So, for the past few years I have been making homemade cranberry sauce. It is so easy and takes such little effort that it’s something I can squeeze in while working on other things. Which is another reason I make it. I just wash a bag of fresh cranberries and put them in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. I add a scant 2 cups of liquid and ¾ cup granulated sugar. In the past I have used a combination of water and juice (pomegranate once and orange once) and this year I just used a cran-pom blend. Stir it all together and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch out so you don’t get burned by bursting berries! I just love when those little babies start bursting and popping in the pan! Ok, you caught me. This is the real reason I love making cranberry sauce. It’s so much fun!

If you remember from Day One of our journey, D4 said that she wanted me to make Irish Brown Bread like we had in Ireland. I scanned the internet for recipes and found one that I liked. I thought it seemed fairly straightforward (I’m a skilled bread maker) and not too time consuming. The only thing that I didn’t have on hand was buttermilk. I started to make my own, using milk and lemon juice, but thought again. I had heavy cream in the fridge. I would see if D4 wanted to make some buttermilk with me, by shaking the cream in a jar until it separated! She was game. We had a blast doing this, and it was awesome to serve the butter later, too! It was almost like magic happening, when the yellowness separated away! I have attached a link to the Irish Brown Bread recipe that I used. I have to admit that somewhere I must have had a mis-step. It was very dense and not quite what I was going for. Or, as The Hubs put it during dinner; “this bread just wicked every bit of moisture out of my mouth”. Hmmmm. I will try again another day, to see if I can be more successful.

Now, to the cornmeal rolls. Ah, cornmeal rolls. Back story…My father worked as food editor for a local newspaper in the 80’s and during that time he had the opportunity to judge a few food contests. The recipe that has become a mainstay for family functions and has even been given to a couple of my nephews as part of their birthday gifts (per their request) was the overall winner of the breads portion of one such food contest. I am sharing the full fat version of the recipe, although it can be made with much less butter (about half) and only one egg.

Cornmeal Rolls

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 packet instant dry yeast
  • 6 cups flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine milk and cornmeal in a large glass bowl. Microwave on high for one minute, stir well, microwave another minute, stir, and continue until cornmeal is mushy and milk is absorbed. Remove from microwave oven, add butter and cool to warm stirring occasionally. Add sugar, salt, eggs, and water. In a separate bowl add yeast to cups of the flour and stir well; add to cornmeal mixture. Beat for 200 strokes. Add more flour, a cup at a time, and stir in until mixture forms a soft dough. Let rest a few minutes, then knead for 10 minutes. Let rise in greased bowl, covered, until doubled. Punch down and roll out about ¾ inch thick. Cut into circles with a 13-ounce coffee can*; rework trimmings, roll and cut again, continuing until all the bread is in circles. Let rise, covered, on greased sheet pans until light. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown.

These are delicious served with butter, or used as sandwiches for the leftover turkey and fixin’s.

Wow. We are really making progress through our Thanksgiving 2012 road trip! The dinner portion has all been covered and we are ready to move on to dessert! That’s what you have to look forward to tomorrow! Desserts from Thanksgiving 2012…buckle up. This could get wild!

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Posted by on November 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Boston Cream Pie – Bonus Post!

Boston Cream

Boston Cream Pie

Daughter Number 4 has a birthday that falls on November 23rd. Sometimes it’s on Thanksgiving, and sometimes it falls a day or two on either side. This year, her birthday was the after Thanksgiving. I have always been a firm believer in letting my girls choose what kind of a birthday cake they get for their birthday. I prefer making my own, but have definitely purchased some along the way, depending on the situation. There was the Thomas the Tank Engine cake back in 1993, the Snickers cake in New Mexico in 2009, and of course, any requests for DQ Ice Cream cake has to come from DQ. Natch. This year, I was in a bit of a quandary when D4 said she wanted a Boston cream pie. I love Boston cream pie. Great choice for an almost eight-year old. I knew that I was going to spend the majority of Thanksgiving Day cooking and/or cleaning. Did I really want to take on the challenge of making a birthday cake that I have never made before? Especially one that has three very distinct and somewhat complex parts? Or, did I want to venture out on Black Friday…that was it. I was making a Boston cream pie. I knew that it was going to take some time, because the pastry cream had to chill for at least two hours. Then, there was the making of the sponge cake, with time to cool, and the ganache. I have tried to make ganache one other time with moderate success. I knew that I could not have “moderate” success on this occasion. After all, birthdays are very special… I read 6 different Boston cream pie recipes, and settled on two. The one that I used most pieces of came from the FoodNetwork courtesty Gale Gand. I have given you the link, if you want to see that recipe.

This is how I prepared it.

Boston Cream Pie

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pastry cream, recipe below
  • Ganache, recipe below

Pastry Cream Filling:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1cup heavy cream, boiling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the inside of a 9 inch cake pan. Lay parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. Butter the parchment and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat an additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the egg white mixture and fold in. Gently pour the batter into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely. When cool, remove pan and parchment.

Pastry Cream Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with waxed paper, lightly pressing the paper against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)

Ganache: In a medium bowl, pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted. To assemble pie first, cut the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on wire rack and spread with the pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Place a baking sheet under the wire rack.Pour chocolate ganache over and down the sides of the cake. Gently lift the cake onto a serving plate or platter. Refrigerate cake before serving, and any leftover cake.

It was unbelievably good. It turned out even better than I could have possibly imagined. The cake was spongy and fresh, the pastry cream filling was so vanilla-y, and the ganache was spot on. The birthday girl thanked me over and over for making it for her. She was not as thrilled with the filling as some she has had, though she didn’t say as much. I could tell. I finally told her if she was too full she could be done. Her sweet smile told me I was right. Then she hugged me and told me again how much she liked it and how glad she was that I made it for her. All of the layers of sweetness and the dark chocolate ganache were almost too much for me to handle. I did, though. The Guinness helped wash it down. A little Irish with a little Boston; a great combination!

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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized



Thanksgiving 2012 part deux

Now, back to the journey of our Thanksgiving Dinner 2012.

I’ve taken you through the turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables, and the gravy. Let’s move on to a Thanksgiving tradition and family favorite.

Green Bean Casserole. In my family, we call it Green Bean Supreme. It was called this by my youngest brother. He asked for it one Thanksgiving about twenty years ago. I found a recipe for it, but thought it was lacking. I created this one and everyone liked it so much it has become the standard as to which all other Green Bean Casseroles pale.

Green Bean Supreme

  • 4 cans cut green beans, drained
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 pound Velveeta, cubed
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1 can French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sour cream, Velveeta and mushroom soup in a glass bowl and microwave at one minute intervals until smooth. Pour the drained green beans into a large casserole dish and pour melted sauce over beans. Mix gently. Bake for 20 minutes. Tope with onions and heat 5-10 minutes until the onions are browned. * I like to throw a few of the onions in with the green beans and sauce before baking for added flavor.

Now let’s move on to the stuffing. When I was talking to the girls pre-Thanksgiving about “must-haves” and “wants” they all said that stuffing is a “must-have”. I found this to be very strange because I couldn’t recall them eating stuffing (dressing) in the past. I asked them what kind of stuffing they like and they unanimously declared that they like the kind without celery. (My mom’s has celery.) I asked what some other pre-req’s for stuffing are. That was really it. D3 said that she would like a stuffing to have apples and pecans in it. Do not ask me from where she pulled that, but that is what she said. So, I got to work looking for a stuffing recipe. I found one (to go inside of a pork crown roast) by Tyler Florence. I adapted it slightly, trading the sourdough for white bread. I think the sourdough would have been better, but I didn’t have any.

Apple Pecan Stuffing

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for finishing
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups raw pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 5 cups sourdough bread (crusts removed), hand-torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add olive oil, sage and thyme sprigs. As the oil heats up the herbs will crackle and fry, infusing the oil. Remove the sage and thyme and set aside on a paper towel to drain – these can be as a garnish, if desired. Add onions to the pan and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Remove onions from pan and add apples. Crush the pecans and add to the pan. Add more oil, if needed and season with salt and pepper. Gently saute until pecans are lightly toasted and apples are just cooked slightly – about 3 to 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl whisk together egg, cream, chicken stock, and salt and pepper, to taste. Add torn sourdough, caramelized onions, apples, pecans and chopped parsley. Using a wooden spoon, mix the stuffing until well combined.

The Hubs liked the new stuffing recipe and D3 was more than thrilled that her choice had turned out so well! I don’t know that D2 or D4 tried it at all. Oh, well…more for us! I will definitely be adding this recipe to the repertoire.

Did I happen to mention that I did not seek out “healthy” options for Thanksgiving this year? This year was all about taste. It succeeded in being tasty! I will probably need to throw in some extra workouts to get back to my pre-Thanksgiving weight (BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol level) but it was all worth it.

I’m looking forward to getting back on the road with you tomorrow, for more of our Thanksgiving 2012 journey! See you soon!


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Posted by on November 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Thanksgiving 2012

Roasted Root Vegetables aka Irish Vegetables

Yesterday was the best Thanksgiving I can remember. Instead of going out of town to visit relatives or driving hundreds of miles to a destination, we chose to stay at home. The five of us who reside in this house chose to spend Thanksgiving together, watching the parades and enjoying a relaxing day.

I chose to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner for the five of us. I asked The Hubs what he wanted and his only request was a BIG turkey, so that there would be plenty of leftovers. I think the 20.43 pound bird that I chose suited his requirement.

I made some old standbys and some new recipes’. It was hands down the best Thanksgiving dinner I have ever prepared, and maybe the best I have ever eaten. It all just worked perfectly and was timed out like a well-choreographed dance.

The menu was planned by all of us and Daughter Number Four wanted to have traditional Irish food (she’s still really fixated on our trip to Ireland and all of the good food that we ate). When I asked her what that meant to her she explained that we had to have mashed potatoes (a given), vegetables, and Irish brown bread. So, in addition to those items I had input from Daughter Number Two to make Green Bean Supreme. Her input on the potatoes consisted of “buttery”. Daughter Number Three wanted me to make a stuffing (or dressing as it didn’t actually go into the turkey) that didn’t have celery or sage. When I asked her what she would put into stuffing that would make it awesome she said pecans and apples. So, I found a recipe that called for pecans and apples and modified it slightly. I came up with the rest based on my likes and wants. Here is the menu, and the reasons they made the cut:

  • Oven Roasted Turkey – per The Hubs (20.43 pounds)
  • Mashed Potatoes – D4 (buttery per D2)
  • Gravy (required Thanksgiving fare)
  • Roasted Root Vegetables (D4)
  • Green Bean Supreme (D2)
  • Apple Pecan Stuffing (D3)
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce (required Thanksgiving fare)
  • Irish Brown Bread (D4)
  • Cornmeal Rolls (my father’s recipe and tradition)
  • Pumpkin Pie (RTF)
  • Apple Pie (RTF)
  • Raisin Sour Cream Meringue Pie (The Hubs step-father’s favorite pie, which we make every year in his honor)
  • Chocolate Mousse Pie (no thought here, I bought it for a fundraiser)

Rather than make this post 12 pages long, I will break the creation of the meal into several days. I hope you enjoy the journey!

I oven roasted the turkey in a low oven for 5 ½ hours. After washing and patting dry I rubbed the cavity with Kosher salt, cracked black pepper, thyme and bay. I coated the inside and outside with butter and had The Hubs lift the bird into the oven. Damn, she was heavy!

I found a recipe for the potatoes and Root Vegetables on a website for the Ireland Food Board – I used Yukon Gold potatoes for my mashed, and learned that a “knob” of butter is a piece about walnut size. I actually used a total of a stick of butter as per the request of D2.  For my roasted root veggies I used sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and a red onion. I drizzled them with olive oil and sprinkled with a little bit of thyme and sea salt.

Gravy. Ah, gravy. In case I have not mentioned this in prior posts or in case you missed the headlines: I Love Gravy. (It’s a very close tie with cheese. I Love Cheese.) I grew up on homemade gravy and it is truly one of the best parts of life, in my opinion. Both of my parents made gravy and were quite good at it. My mother would make gravy with fried chicken, pork roast, beef roast, and other meats. My father, who loved cooking and experimenting with food, made red-eye gravy, hamburger gravy, turkey gravy, and most every gravy recipe he came across. In Junior High I spent part of a summer with my maternal Grandmother, and she made gravy (for me) at almost every meal. I have eaten gravy on meat, potatoes, rice, bread, French fries, rolls, pancakes, and countless other foods. Yesterday, I made milk gravy out of the turkey drippings. This turkey made the most wonderful drippings. I poured off about ½ cup of fatty juice from the turkey pan and heated it in a heavy bottomed skillet. I added ½ cup flour a little bit at a time whisking thoroughly to prevent lumps and make a smooth gravy. I added milk to the roux and continued to whisk thoroughly while it cooked over medium heat to a nice thickness. This was phenomenal gravy! I seasoned lightly with salt and black pepper.

I hope you have enjoyed the first part of our 2012 Thanksgiving Dinner! I cannot wait to share the rest of this incredible food journey with you! Oh, and as for orts left on our plates after dinner, there were none! Every single one of us cleaned our plates. Some of us more than once!

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Posted by on November 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Baked Apples

Today we set the clocks back – Fall Back! The entire day I felt like it must be later than it was. By 10:30 I thought it surely must be noon. By mid-afternoon I was starting on dinner, and by the time dinner was over I was ready for bed! I’m so glad it wasn’t my night to do dishes! (Thanks 2!)

This morning at my parents’ house, I enjoyed some Pumpkin Spice coffee that Mother had picked up a week or two ago. It was from a local coffee shop, not a chain. Mother and I only brew “foo-foo” coffee on the weekends (my second oldest brother refers to it as such) and drink “regular” coffee throughout the week when we get together. Mother decided that the Pumpkin Spice is not really her thing, although Daddy and I liked it! My only issue is that Mother makes her coffee fairly weak. If she brewed this a bit stronger she might like it better. I know I would! When Daughter Number 4 called to say that she was awake and ready to be picked up for her Sunday morning breakfast at G’s house she also told me that Daughter Number 2 was awake. What I soon found out was that Daughter Number 2 was barely awake. She was up late, due to the football game that took place several hours from home (we won, which made her very happy). I asked her to wake Daughter Number 3 who had asked at bedtime the night before to be awakened so she did not miss breakfast again. As we were on the phone together, Daughter Number 2 made an off the cuff comment about liking the cinnamon sugar donuts from the local Casey’s. I headed the three blocks home to pick up the girls.

As we pulled into my parents’ parking area, my mother was headed out the door with her purse in hand. She informed us that if she was going to get the kind of donuts the girls’ liked, she had best have some help in getting them. Daughter Number 2 jumped into the car. Needless to say, I enjoyed the empty calorie non-nutrition friendly donut. All 300 plus calories!

I ate light the rest of the day, and noticed that all of the girls did, too. In fact, when I was thinking about what to make for dinner I got the following comments from the girls: Daughter Number 2 wanted no meat; Daughter Number 4 wanted something soft on her tummy. I chose pasta. I chose Campenelle pasta, to be exact. I had some on the shelf and had never tried it. I chose it for the fun shape, obviously. I cooked the pasta in some chicken broth with some minced garlic. While the broth was coming to a boil, I started poaching a chicken breast for The Hubs. He informed me after dinner that he is not a fan of poached foods. I won’t do that again! I opened a can of tiny peas and baked them in the oven with a little bit of butter, salt, and sugar. I served the peas over shredded lettuce. I also served some toast with seasonings and canned peaches to round out the meal. It was a really bland dinner, even with the spices and seasonings that I used and the shredded Parmagiano over the pasta. Everyone was thrilled except The Hubs. He hadn’t had a heavy donut for breakfast, which seemed to have set the tone for our tummies for the day.

For dessert I wanted to use the apples that didn’t get attacked with caramel yesterday. I spent a little bit of time perusing different websites and blogs and just wasn’t coming up with what I wanted. I found quite a few crisp and crumble recipes, and cake recipes, and pastry recipes. Nothing really hit the spot in my mind. I remembered back to my childhood when a childhood friend made baked apples when I spent the night with her once. It was so easy, and they tasted so good! I asked Daughter Number 4 to assist me in the task, and we had a great time. Here is our baked apple recipe.

Baked Apples

  • 4 or 5 baking apples
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Large Marshmallows, 1 per apple
  • Butter
  • Chopped Pecans, optional
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash and Core the apples. Place a marshmallow in the bottom, as a plug. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and nuts if desired. Place the apples in the bottom of a baking dish.  Fill the centers with the sugar mixture. Place a half a pat to a pat of butter on the top of each apple. Pour the boiling water into the baking dish, around the apples. Bake for about 45 minutes until the apples are soft. Let cool for 5 minutes. Remove carefully from the pan into a bowl. The marshmallow will be melty. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

They were very good. This is something that I will definitely be making again. I made an extra one, so that I can chop it up in my oatmeal tomorrow for breakfast. I’m really looking forward to that!

I will have to look for some more good fall recipes, that are relatively healthy. This one really did meet all of the criteria I was looking for. Good. Easy. Healthy. What more could a girl ask for? Well, it didn’t have chocolate. Maybe next go.


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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Halloween Week 2012

Halloween fell in the middle of the week. I had very good intentions and plans for some awesome food creations! Well, a little under the weather kept me from being an over-achiever.

Daughter Number 2 (I’m sure this will not surprise you) had to make treats for two events: a friend’s birthday and Rally Bags for football players (I’m so glad she’s Cheer Captain). I nicely suggested that she could make cake balls (since that’s what her friend wanted anyway) and use half for the birthday class and half for the boys. I told her to shape the cake balls for the boys more oblong, so then she could make them look like footballs. She took my advice and they turned out great!

I had seen a recipe for Pumpkin cake balls that sounded relatively healthy and really good. I am not a huge fan of box cake creations (except for cake balls). This recipe was 1 box cake mix (the original recipe called for yellow cake) and one can of pumpkin puree. That’s it. Mix them together, bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes and cool. The recipe called for light cream cheese in place of the usual frosting, and then dip in white almond bark. Once I had the cake cooling on the rack, it smelled so good I just glazed it with a little bit of cream cheese frosting (left over from the aforementioned cake balls) and ate it. The texture is slightly different, but very moist. It was so tasty I had a second piece. The whole family enjoyed it ; except for Daughter Number 2 who apparently has an aversion to pumpkin.

The night before Halloween Daughter Number 4 told me this really cute idea she had come up with. Take baked cupcakes, frost them black, add black licorice for legs, and frosting for eyes to make spiders. I don’t know if she saw that on TV, read it somewhere, or actually came up with it on her own – but it seemed like a really cool idea. So, when I got home from work on Halloween I whipped of some Red Velvet cupcakes (Ok, I did use a box. Time was of the essence).  I didn’t have any black food coloring so I used a whole lot of red, blue, and green in white frosting to make a dark gray. I did have some black sugar, so I sprinkled the frosted cupcakes with the black sugar. Daughter Number 4 said we should make red hourglasses on the backs of them. I wasn’t sure how to do that, so I used a little bit of red pearl sugar on the backs.  I poked four holes on each side of the cupcakes, and we inserted the black licorice legs which I had cut to just rest on the “ground”. We added some candy eyes that I had purchased, wrapped them in cellophane and put them in bags. When the girls trick or treated the neighbors, they delivered the spooky spider cupcakes! They enjoyed delivering them almost as much as making them!

Tonight, I tried to make caramel apples for the second time. Daughters Numbered 3 and 4 helped in every area; unwrapping caramels, putting sticks in apples, stirring caramel, and dipping apples. They waited the hour that it said to wait before eating. They were a sticky, gooey mess. I watched them eat the apples in horror as they were covered in the caramel. They said they were good. The first attempt was actually less successful. I think I need to find a new recipe, or practice before next year.

I hope you enjoyed your Halloween week, and maybe tried some new things with success!

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Posted by on November 3, 2012 in Uncategorized


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