At MOPS on Thursday, my friend Bethany brought awesome pumpkin scones. They got me in the mood to bake some myself. Now, my normal scones are amazing and I love the recipe. I’ve just never been super comfortable trying to alter it to a pumpkin scone recipe because there are already so many wet ingredients in it – the primary one being sour cream – which can’t be substituted out because of the unique reaction it has with the baking soda. Once I’d tossed the idea of altering my own recipe, I got a lot more comfortable with just finding the most delicious pumpkin scone recipe I could. This is it. The double glaze sold me right away. I only altered the recipe slightly, using cream instead of the original half-and-half called for (and that’s just because I had one and not the other). The scones themselves are not very sweet at all – I left a couple unglazed for my sweets-hating hubby. They are also quite lightly spiced. I’ll probably add some allspice and or pumpkin pie spice to the next batch. Which, I’ll be making very soon I’m sure. They are moist, light and delicious. Just like a scone should be. Continue reading
It’s an awesome day today! MOPS this morning was fantastic, making up Dutch Apple Pies with my girls. Tonight I’m going to see Harry Potter at midnight. Well, actually – I’m getting in line at 7pm. Obviously I will need some snacks while waiting. I was in the mood to try something new that I could put a bag of in my purse. Wait, doesn’t everyone smuggle snacks into the movie theater? No? Just me? Hmmmm.
You may have noticed, I don’t put nuts in my baked goods. Not sure what it is, but I just don’t like eating something deliciously soft and then finding a hard nut in there. However, I adore nuts on their own merits. The grocery store nearest my home has a nut bar and I absolutely LOVE their vanilla cinnamon coated macadamia nuts. But, they are $16 a pound. Seriously? I found a recipe for candied nuts and thought I’d put my own spin on it. Voila. Eggnog Vanilla Candied Nuts. Oh goodness they are so delicious. And way less expensive than purchasing them. I got a pound of walnuts on sale at WinCo (have I mentioned how happy I am to have one nearby now?) for $3.50 and threw together this recipe. Gonna try them next with macadamia nuts. I’m sure this would be amazing with whatever nut you particularly love. Continue reading
Sometimes, you just want a doughnut. If you’re like me, you have trouble justifying the drive to a bakery just to buy one, so you get a dozen. And then eat them all. Not good. Here’s my take on a mini-muffin that tastes just like a delicious doughnut. Without the guilt. The original recipe for this used butter, I like to substitute applesauce wherever I can – and always have success when using it in muffins or bread. These are light and delicious. Bet you can’t eat just one! I’m glad I’m heading out of the house – otherwise there’s no way these would make it to the meeting I’m taking them to tonight!
Usually I buy hummus in a big tub from Costco. It’s fairly cheap (especially compared to the tiny containers at regular grocery stores) and my family can blow thru one in about a week. My kids love it with chips or carrots. Zack and I enjoy toasting up some pita bread and scooping hummus up that way.
I got a hankerin’ for hummus tonight and (gasp!) we were all out. Doggone! I did a quick search and found that I could make my own fairly easily. The only ingredient I did not have was the tahini (the essential ingredient in hummus). But, another search online told me that you can make your own with sesame seeds and oil. Which I found at the back of my spice cupboard. So, I made some of that too. I know it might seem strange to make something in order to use it as an ingredient in something else – especially when it would probably have been much faster to just pop out to the grocery store and purchase some hummus. But hey, I’m always up for trying something new.
Yesterday I went in search of caramels to make my Halloween tradition, Caramel Apples. I had to visit three stores before I found one that had them in stock. It was very frustrating – but, these babies are totally worth the irritation. You can go crazy with decorating caramel apples…drizzle with melted chocolate, rolled in chocolate then coconut or candies etc. I prefer the good old-fashioned original.
We had a great spread tonight at our gathering – I also made Wassail, Mom’s Tortellini Soup, Applesauce Drop Doughnuts, and Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
I used to just throw some salt and oil on my pumpkin seeds every year. Then a few years ago, I came across a recipe that used these ingredients. I’ve tweaked the recipe quite a bit based on what I’ve learned from making Chex mix from my mom’s old old recipe of it. Newer recipes use WAY less butter and seasoned salt. Same here. I pumped up the seasonings and the butter. Voila! Fantastic pumpkin seeds people will actually want to eat!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
For every 2 cups of pumpkin seeds:
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt (to taste)
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (135 degrees C).
- Combine the butter, seasoned salt, garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce and pumpkin seeds. Mix thoroughly and place in shallow baking dish. I use rimmed baking sheet so the seeds can spread out into a nice thin layer.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes – until seeds are crunchy and golden brown.
A special shout out to my Aunt Nola – who brings this amazing salsa to family functions. I got the recipe from her and made it today for our small group’s football party. So awesome. Serve with “scoops” style chips — you’ll want big bowl chips to scoop up all the goodness in this stuff! Nola’s original recipe calls for a can of black eyed peas with jalapeños, but since I couldn’t find those at the grocery store, I did regular black eyed peas and added in some fire roasted chiles.
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon Tabasco hot pepper sauce
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cumin
Pepper to taste
1/2 pound Roma Tomatoes, diced
1 ripe Avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
2/3 cup sliced Green Onions
2/3 cup chopped Fresh Cilantro
15 ounce can Black Eyed Peas, drained
11 ounce can Shoepeg Corn (or sweet white corn), drained
1/3 c diced fire roasted green chiles
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Football party today! Go Seahawks! These were terrific little bite sized (have I mentioned I love all things bite sized?) snacks. Perfect for popping in your mouth while watching your favorite team dominate the opposition.
*Had to take this photo with my iPhone – forgot the camera and they were disappearing quick!
Tomato Bacon Bites
6 slices bacon, chopped
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
3 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon fresh basil
1 (16 ounce) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a mini muffin pan.
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until evenly brown. Drain on paper towels. In a medium mixing bowl, combine bacon, tomato, green onion, cheese, mayonnaise and basil.
- Open can of biscuits. Cut each biscuit into quarters. Place each quarter into one of the cups of the prepared mini muffin pan. Press into the cup and up the sides. Fill each biscuit cup with the bacon mixture, about a teaspoon per cup.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven , or until golden brown.
I took the original recipe and messed with it a bit. For starters, there is no oil or butter in my version – you will be AMAZED how fantastically moist these are using applesauce. Obviously if you put chocolate chips in, that decreases the “healthy factor” a bit, but still. No butter or oil? Superb! Also, I like the flavor of a mix of brown and white sugars much better than using all of one variety – but if you don’t have two cups of each, I’m sure these would still be great with mostly (or all) just one kind of sugar.
Spiced Pumpkin Muffins
3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, applesauce, sugars, and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended. Add chocolate chips, raisins or anything else you’d like to add.
- Scoop batter into greased cupcake pans. Or divide the batter evenly between three 9×5 inch loaf pans that have been greased and floured. Top with candied walnuts if desired.
- If doing muffins, bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out with just a couple of crumbs. For loaves, bake for 1 hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.
- For muffins, cool 3 minutes in pans, then remove to a wire rack. For loaves, cool 10 minutes in pan, then slide a paring knife around the outside edge then remove to a cooling rack.
Yesterday, my power was out the entire morning and most of the afternoon. It was very frustrating. I realized how completely addicted I am to my computer. When the power came back on, my monitor got fried and now won’t display anything. Computers are pretty worthless without a screen to show you what it’s doing. So, I’m typing on my little pink laptop – and having to stoop to non-RAW/unedited photos because this computer doesn’t have a program on it that can read RAW file format. Sigh. Woe is me.
None of these issues however, can stop me from baking. And, amazingly enough, these muffins taste just as good without the fancy-pants photo. The shredded apple gives moisture and flavor to the entire muffin while the apple chunks add that extra “Oh! I’m eating an apple muffin!”. This recipe makes 12 normal sized muffins, or 6 jumbo/bakery style muffins.
Apple Strudel Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup peeled and chopped apples*
1 cup peeled and shredded apples* (use the biggest holes on your grater)
*Total, you’ll need about to large apples
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or use paper liners.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugars, applesauce and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in apples, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan. Batter will be thick like a cookie dough.
4. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan. Depending on how much sweetness you like, you’ll either use about half the mixture (like me) or more to your taste.
5. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack.