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Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Alright, so I didn't make something with pumpkin EVERY day, but 20 out of 31 isn't too bad either. I even forgot to post about the pumpkin things we did that were not recipes, so it's probably even closer to 25.

I didn't have anything planned to make today, as usual I just got busy.

My parents are coming over tonight for our annual Halloween chili party (were skipping trick or treating since we went last week and at 3 and 4 they have no idea when Halloween actually is!), and since the kids were behaving (key word there is "were") I threw together some quick pumpkin cornbread and honey butter to go with our chili. I haven't tasted any of this yet, but they smell great!

Most pumpkin cornbread recipes I saw called for molasses, which I just don't have. The only time I have ever used molasses is to make gingerbread, and it's just not that time of year quite yet.

I finally found this one, and I had all of the ingredients, like I said, it smells great!

I left the pecans out of mine because I neither like nor have any pecans.

It is nearly impossible to take a non blurry picture with a baby on your back

I haven't tried any of this yet, so I will let you know how they tasted after dinner!

*Edit* They were delicious! I actually liked them a lot more then regular corn muffins. The pumpkin made them nice and moist. With some honey butter on top they were perfect!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Am I really blogging about sleep again?

Yep.

My kids are good sleepers, I would even venture to say great sleepers. At 3 and 4 they go to bed at 8, wake up at 7 and take a 1.5-2 hour nap in the afternoon. From what I have heard from some other parents, that's pretty darn good.

So it's not that I'm complaining, things could be worse, SO much worse, but this new habit my preschoolers have developed is making me a cranky mom.

Our bedtime routine goes something like this:

7:30 start cleaning up whatever we were doing/playing with. Read a book if the cleaning up doesn't take 5 million years.

7:45 Put on pajamas, brush teeth, get a drink of water, get in bed

7:55 hugs, kisses, tucked in

8 lights out

8:00:01 Noah opens the door and runs back to his bed laughing

8:00:30 we close the door and tuck him in again

Repeat this 5-6 times.

8:03 Nathan opens the door and says "mom, I like you"

I like you too Nathan, good night

8:04 Noah remembered the getting out of bed game again.

Repeat 5 more times

8:06 Nathan opens the door and says "mom, I love you"

Awesome buddy, but please, it's time for bed.

8:08 door opens again, but this time not all of the way, just a crack. It slowly opens if you ignore it, an inch every few seconds. If you acknowledge said door, Noah runs to bed and both boys deny they had anything to do with it.

8:09 I stand outside the door and listen to Nathan telling Noah to go open the door. I want to beat my head against the wall. Instead, I open the door, and tuck them in again. I've lost track at this point how many times it's been, 20? 78? 300? It's all just running together.

8:10 I've figured out that while Nathan is the one organizing all of this, he is too chicken to get out of his bed anymore. Noah, is in it for the long haul, and even without Nathan's directing would continue to get up over and over and over again. So I make an executive decision to put Noah in a time out in the dining room with me.

8:10:30 Noah is already crying he wants to go to bed

8:11 Noah sticks his feet through the back of the chair, gets them stuck and has a complete emotional breakdown.

8:12 I get his feet free and tuck him in bed again.

If I'm lucky, that's where it ends and I don't hear from them again until morning (or 5am if there happens to be muffins beckoning Noah out of his bed to eat them), or we could repeat the whole process 1-3 more times before calling it a night.

Like I said, things could be worse, but these small children are learning how to push my buttons...and I am not amused.

Pumpkin Pillows

I cannot believe that I didn't take a picture of these! For once, something that I made, was actually much prettier than the recipe photos. That's what you get when you are rushing between teaching ballet and a Halloween party. Awesome food, no time for pictures.

I followed the recipe exactly, and I'm glad I did. They were delicious. I need to make them again as soon as I have a chance to.

I even made them look extra festive, but putting the caramel dip in a tiny carved out pumpkin. It was super cute. But you will just have to take my word on it.


Ingredients

12 KRAFT Caramels
1 tsp.  water
1/2 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1 tsp.  ground cinnamon, divided
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup  canned pumpkin
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp.  flour
1/4 tsp. orange zest
20   won ton wrappers
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 cups  oil
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Make It


MICROWAVE caramels and water in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 30 sec.; stir until caramels are completely melted. Cool 2 min. Stir in sour cream and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Refrigerate until ready to use.
WHISK cream cheese, pumpkin, brown sugar, flour, zest and remaining cinnamon until well blended. Spoon about 2 tsp. onto center of each won ton wrapper. Moisten edges with egg white; fold diagonally in half. Pinch edges together tightly to seal.
HEAT oil in large saucepan on medium-high heat to 350ºF. Add won tons, in batches; cook 2 to 3 min. or until evenly browned. Drain. Cool slightly or to room temperature. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with caramel sauce.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

I could eat this all day long...and have been since I made them yesterday. Thursday's are hard days to post since I have ballet in the evenings, I always think I will have more time and then suddenly it's bedtime and the day is over.

Anyway, here is the recipe!

For the filling:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbls flour
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tbsp. plus 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbls vegetable oil
For the topping:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Directions:
  1. To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese, egg, flour and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
  4. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin about 2/3 full with batter. Add a dollop of filling on top. (I would say I used about a tablespoon of batter and a heaping teaspoon of filling. They were pretty full going into the oven.) Sprinkle with topping. Bake or 14 minutes. Cool. Eat. Smile.
I followed this recipe exactly, without even a little bit of tweaking and they are great. So great that I woke up at 5am this morning to the sound of Noah climbing on the counter trying to sneak some. Their location has since been moved.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Crescent Rolls

I am a terrible blogger. When I get busy, I don't blog. Then I make promises about blogging and forget to keep them. Oops!

Anyway, here is what I made at the end of last week. I can't say they were my favorite pumpkin recipe so far, but I did eat probably 60% of the batch (other 40% consumed by Nathan and Noah). I think it was more the crescent rolls that I didn't like. Something lighter and fluffier would have definitely been better.

I'm not sure if it was baker error, or just not a great recipe. I am typically pretty good at baking, so I am going to blame the recipe on this one.

I started with this recipe for crescent rolls, it was a little too dense for my liking in a crescent roll, but here it is none the less.

  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened

Directions

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
  2. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until smooth. Scrape dough from side of bowl. Knead dough, then cover it and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1-1/2 hours).
  3. Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch circle. Spread with butter. Cut into 10 to 15 wedge. Roll up the wedges starting with the wide end. Place rolls with point under on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour).
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 12-15 minute or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter when they come out.

And then I used this recipe for the pumpkin pie filling.
  
Start with 2 tubes of refrigerated crescent rolls.  Roll each crescent roll out and cut lengthwise in 2.  This recipe will make 32 mini croissant.  Each croissant will get a generous tablespoon of this luscious pumpkin pie filling:

1/2 block of cream cheese
1 cup of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3 T sugar

Beat together until fluffy and creamy.

Mix together 4 T sugar and 1 T pumpkin pie spice and roll each pumpkin pie croissant in it.


Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes. 
 
And now that I am putting this all together, I see the recipe was for pumpkin pie CROISSANTS, not CRESCENT ROLLS. But the recipe calls for canned crescent rolls...hmmmm.

Here is my advice, buy the canned stuff, it's lighter and will give you something more like a croissant than a crescent roll.

And after all of that...I didn't even take pictures.

More pumpkin fun coming soon! This post got long, but I'll write about our hayride and trick or treating soon.


Friday, October 21, 2011

No I haven't forgotten

I haven't forgotten about the whole pumpkin thing, in fact I HAVE been cooking and doing fun things with pumpkins...I've just been too busy to sit down and write a post about it! Monday morning expect a big post with a recipe (or maybe two) and lots of pictures doing fall/pumpkiny things!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Pudding

I love pudding, not as much as I love pumpkin, but I still love it. I was really excited when I found this recipe, and it made a great dessert for the boys and I after dinner tonight! (Anthony doesn't like pumpkin or dessert, so his loss)

I followed it exactly, only we didn't put any nuts on top. #1 because we don't really like nuts, and #2 because we didn't have any.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 3/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Preparation

  • 1. Combine 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Combine milk and egg, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to sugar mixture, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  • 2. Combine pumpkin and the next 4 ingredients (through ground nutmeg) in a bowl, stirring well. Slowly add pumpkin mixture to milk mixture, whisking constantly. Place pan over low heat, and cook for 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly (do not boil). Divide pudding evenly among 4 dessert bowls, and cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Chill.


It was delicious and creamy, much better than store bought pumpkin pie pudding I have had before. This tasted much more like real pumpkin pie!


To Co-sleep or Not to Co-sleep

5 years ago I would have laughed if someone talked with me about co-sleeping with our kids. No way. We were getting a crib, they were sleeping in their own room, *maybe* we would let them sleep in our room in a cradle for the first few weeks, you know, until they were sleeping through the night. But then they were going straight to their room and crib.

Then I had kids.

I've talked about co-sleeping before and how we came to it. It was no later than a few hours into night 2 at home with Nathan when I brought him in bed, passed out and never looked back.

We didn't even attempt putting Noah in the crib until he was at least 6 months old.

And we just set it up for Elise a few weeks ago.

She's the easy baby.

She hasn't been sleeping great in the crib, it's a little difficult to get her down without waking her up, and she usually only lasts about 30 minutes before waking up again. But honestly, we haven't really been trying very hard.

She just sleeps so well with us.

By the time the boys were this age we were ready to start kicking them out. Nathan used to turn sideways in bed, put his feet against Anthony's back and stretch.
Good morning Nathan!


Noah tried to crawl off the bed at 2am, and ended up waking up more and more often with us right next to him.
Noah sleeping with me on the couch


But Elise? She snuggles in and sleeps completely still. She usually wakes up about once in the middle of the night to eat for a few minutes, then goes right back to sleep until 9 or 10am.

It's just too easy and comfortable.

Because of that, I'm having a really hard time putting any sort of effort at all into getting her into her crib. I actually like sleeping with her instead of being frustrated and trying to find a way to get her out.

I've never had this problem before, and now I'm sort of torn. Do I stick with what's working and follow my instincts like I always have? Will that make me one of those moms with a 4 year old who won't get out of their bed?

Or do I move her into her room so that she can be independent and learn to sleep on her own even though it makes sleep difficult for the both of us?
The snugglebug

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jello and Crawling

We went with something simple today since I knew we would be gone most of the day at dr's appointments and running errands. The boys loved their pumpkin jigglers with their lunch today though!










Elise is getting very fast at crawling and scooting around, I'm having a hard time getting anything fun done! For a while I could sit her on the ground near me with some toys and she would roll around and play happily. Now she's down the hall in the bathroom or the boys room, or getting into their toys in the play room! She sure is keeping me on my toes, and making me keep things really clean and picked up as well. She is a scavenger and will find anything she can and put it in her mouth.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

I am SO excited to try this one, it's in the oven as I type this, so the review will come at the end. I've been meaning to for a while, but I may or may not have mentioned before, that when my kids wake up they want to eat...5 minutes ago.

In the time it takes me to toast and spread some cream cheese on a bagel Noah is usually already sobbing at his seat how hungry he is. At the mention of making other breakfast meals, Nathan usually throws himself on the floor and tells me through his tears that "it's so hard to wait!".

Today is grocery shopping day, I woke up and we had exactly 1 bagel. So I knew that even if I made something else for myself, there were going to be tears over having to wait, share the bagel, or one of them getting the bagel and the other something else. So here we are!

I actually had to give them a few crackers to hold them over, and they are still popping their heads into the kitchen ever few minutes to ask if it's ready yet because they are SO hungry.

I used this recipe, and followed the directions exactly. The only thing I would change, is to soften the butter before adding it to the mix. I was pretty sure I would want it softened, but since it didn't specify, I just threw it in...and had a lump of butter moving around in the oatmeal. Taking it out and cutting it up worked too, but softening ahead of time would be perfect.


Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (for the top)
In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except the ¼ cup brown sugar for the top.
Spread into a greased 9×13 pan.
Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup brown sugar on top.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.


I used a square baking dish instead of my 9x13...because it's prettier. I ended up baking it for between 25 and 30 minutes since it was a little bit thicker in the square dish.

And they loved it! It is delicious, and will definitely be making it again. I think next time I will mix it the night before, so I can just pop it in the oven when we wake up in the morning and the horrible crying wait will be reduced.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Smoothie

I'm fully recovered from the party this weekend (a post about the Green Eggs and Ham fun we had coming soon!) and back to pumpkins.

Sunday's I help with our parish Life Teen group, and while I love being a part of the group, there is one small thing I do not like. Sunday dinner.

Mass is at 5:30, we come to help set up no later than 4:45 and I am not home for the night until nearly 9. So eating becomes a little problematic. There is a snack at the night, but it's barely enough to keep me from wanting to eat everything in the kitchen by the time I finally get home.

Today I decided to make myself a snack to eat (or drink) on the way in hopes of not dying of starvation on the drive home.

Most smoothies call for yogurt or at least a banana or something...which I of course didn't have. But I was determined to make this work anyway with what I had in the fridge.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
Ice


Throw everything but the ice into the blender and blend until smooth, then add little bits of ice at a time until it is as thick as you would like. Pour into a cup and enjoy! It's like pumpkin pie in a glass. You can add more or less sugar too, depending on how sweet you would like it to be.

It wasn't as smooth and creamy as I would have loved in a smoothie, but definitely tasty and nice and thick with enough ice.

And best of all, while I was still hungry by the time I got home, I wasn't ready to eat my own arm on the car ride home.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Noah

Taking a break from all things pumpkins for a few days to celebrate my little guy and his 3rd birthday! Even just typing that out is weird for me.

Nathan was born a big brother, and has always acted much older than he is. He often tells Anthony he is being too silly, and is serious.

Noah on the other hand is my baby. Even though he's not the youngest, I think he will always be the baby in my mind. Probably because he wanted nothing to do with anyone but me until he was about 18 months old. This includes Anthony. While other toddlers were running around playing, Noah just wanted to be held and snuggled. And he is still a snuggly guy who has to climb up in my lap several times a day just to cuddle for a few minutes.

So to say that he is 3 years old just seems surreal.

3 years ago, we had *just* gotten back from a wedding in Buffalo, we'd only been home a little over 24 hours when I went into labor 25 days early, and I was in COMPLETE denial.

I think I'd been having contractions for over an hour, less than 5 minutes apart when Anthony finally told me he didn't care what I said, he was packing a bag for me. I'd already told him several times there was no need and they would stop. Um, right.

After my dad showed up to watch Nathan, and we made our way over to the hospital it was pretty clear we were having a baby.

The results from my group b strep test were not back yet, so they needed to start me on the first dose of antibiotics right away. Honestly, the feeling of the penicillin going into my arm was the most annoying part of the whole labor and delivery.

For as needy and difficult Noah was as an infant, I could have a million birth's like his.

Less than 3 hours after we pulled into the parking lots, and 3 pushes (the dr just barely made it in the room in time) we had our little Noah!
(I very distinctly remember telling my mom "So THAT'S what normal people feel like after having a baby" Read Nathan's birth story to understand why this was so different for me!)

Though he wasn't Noah yet at that point, the biggest (and really only) problem with him being early, was that we had no idea what we were going to call this child. He remained "Baby Mion" for a few hours, then finally I told Anthony I was too tired to have a lengthy name discussion, but I wanted him to have a name and he could just pick from our top 4-5 names we'd been thinking of. Anthony named him Noah Gabriel (my favorite on the list!).

He slept with me most of that night and every night from then until he was about a year old, the sweet little guy sure was (and is) a mama's boy. And while it was difficult to do just about anything else, those first 18 months, I'll always remember snuggling with my Noah bee.*

Cute little brand new Noah

Meeting his brother for the first time
If he wasn't being held, he was following me around asking to be held

Snuggly one year old
Snuggly two year old
My big boy three year old

*I think I may have shared before in talking about the baby, but when Noah was born, Nathan was only 13 months old and didn't have much in the way of a vocabulary. He couldn't say "baby" and it came out instead as "bee". I called Noah "Noah baby" very early on and Nathan followed suite calling his brother "Noah bee" and the nickname stuck. As a joke now we sometimes even call my little brother Noah (almost 17!) "Noah A" :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Ravioli

This was a time consuming one! I've been wanting to do it for a little bit, but it really takes a lot of time without interruptions to make your own pasta. Luckily the baby was having an extra cute day and she quietly played on the floor while I filled, cut and sealed the ravioli.

While it wasn't a quite dish, it was worth the effort, so good! Elise ate 2 by herself, I think the most solid food she's had at one sitting so far, and Noah asked for seconds, eating more than I did. We won't discuss how Nathan felt about the meal.

I followed this recipe exactly, next time I might add *slightly* less salt to the filling just because of my personal taste preference, but it wasn't too salty.

Mine were not the prettiest, but they sure were tasty!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Mix the cheese, pumpkin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the nutmeg. Set filling aside.
  2. Mix the flour, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center of the flour. Beat the tomato paste, oil, and eggs until well blended, and pour into the well in the flour. Stir with a fork, gradually bring the flour mixture to the center of the bow until the dough makes a ball. If the dough is too dry, mix in up to 2 tablespoons water.
  3. Knead lightly on a floured cloth-covered surface, adding flour if dough is sticky, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover, and let rest for another 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Roll the dough, one part at a time, into a rectangle about 12 x 10 inches. Keep the rest of the dough covered while working.
  4. Drop 2 level teaspoons filling onto half of the rectangle, about 1 1/2 inches apart in 2 rows of 4 mounds each. Moisten the edges of the dough, and the dough between the rows of pumpkin mixture with water. Fold the other half of the dough up over the pumpkin mixture, pressing the dough down around the pumpkin. Cut between the rows of filling to make ravioli; press the edges together with a fork, or cut with a pastry wheel. Seal edges well. Repeat with the remaining dough and pumpkin filling. Place ravioli on towel. Let stand, turning once, until dry, about 30 minutes.
  5. Cook ravioli in 4 quarts of boiling salted water until tender; drain carefully. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nathan woke up from his nap today on the wrong side of the bed (or rather couch since that's where he was sleeping). So to help cheer him up, I let him pick today's pumpkin recipe as an after dinner snack. He picked out these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies after many tears were shed over the possibility of pumpkin bread (oh the horror!) and the fact that we didn't have anymore cupcake liners for muffins.

In the end though, I think we were all happy with the result!



like I've said before, I don't often modify recipes when baking, too much can go wrong. So I followed this recipe pretty  much exactly, without the option walnuts.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

The only real changes I made, were that I made bigger cookies (it was dinner time and I wanted to fit them all on 2 pans so I wouldn't have to spoon out more in the middle of eating), and I cooked them for 17 minutes instead of the 10 listed in the recipe. This could have been a result of my cookies being bigger than suggested.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Bread in a Bowl

I had planned on making Pumpkin bread today and making this recipe for breakfast tomorrow, but the more I looked at it, the more I wanted it. Until I just couldn't take it anymore and I had to make it now.

It's from the same blog I used yesterday, and once again there are ways to make it gluten and dairy free, but since I don't need to do that, I didn't.

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 c pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 c milk
  • 1 cup Corn Flakes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp sugar (you can adjust this based on your own preference)
Throw it all in the blender or food processor until blended, then pour into a bowl (mine is in a large mug) and put in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes so it can thicken up.

She suggests adding chopped nuts or chocolate chips if you want, I'm just eating mine plain.

And I think this is my new favorite breakfast/healthy filling snack. I'll be eating this every morning as long as I have pumpkin! This has an interesting texture as it is not smooth, but not crunchy, probably exactly how you could imagine soggy crushed up corn flakes tasting. It's such a great flavor, and so filling it doesn't bother me, but if you have texture issues, this is probably not for you.

And, another plus Elise LOVES it. We shared my mug :)
 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin

Yes that's right, "muffin" not "muffins". This recipe is for 1 muffin. Since I STILL have pumpkin oreo cheesecake in my fridge, I needed something that wasn't going to add to the desserts I will end up eating myself.

If I haven't mentioned it yet, Anthony hates dessert. He did say he would have liked my pumpkin cheesecake if not for the oreos. Maybe I will make him a plain old pumpkin cheesecake this weekend.

Anyway. Recipe for one muffin, but I am going to make 3 so that the boys can have some too for a snack this afternoon.
Edit: tripling the recipe gave me enough for 2 muffins in mugs.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you can cook it in the microwave! There are oven directions too (same as microwave, but cook at 330 degrees in the oven)

Very simple recipe, from this blog which looks to have lots of other great ideas!

I changed mine a bit since this is a dairy free/could be gluten free/could use natural sweetener recipe, and I fully intend to use dairy, gluten and plain old white sugar. But if you are interested in the other version, check out her blog!

  • 3 T flour
  • 1 T canned pumpkin
  • pinch cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • heaping 1/16 tsp salt
  • 1/2 T or more chocolate chips
  • 1T sugar
  • 1 T plus 1 tsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Directions:  Mix the ingredients and pour into a mug or another microwave safe dish. Smooth top of batter. Cook in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

I forgot to smooth mine out before baking, but topped with some buttercream frosting and sprinkles, you would never know.

It was a nice day, so we ate our snack out on the patio!





Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

I could not physically bring myself to bake something else when I still have 8 mini Oreo Pumpkin Cheesecakes in my fridge. The thought just made me gain 2lbs.

Plus, the boys have been very interested in all of the baking going on around here lately, so I thought I would make them some of their own dough. That way when I am busy baking, they can be busy "baking" too.

As usually I was missing an ingredient for your run of the mill homemade playdough. As much as I tried to will it to be in my cupboard, the truth was I just don't have any cream of tarter. After looking at a few recipes that didn't include it, I sort of came up with my own. I'm not even going to post the one I modified, because I had to change it so much to work it's not the same.

I made a BIG batch for the boys, but you could easily make half this amount for one child.

2 cups of flour (plus some extra as needed to get the right consistency)
1/2 cup of salt
1 1/3 cups of water
6 Tablespoons of cooking oil
3 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie spice
Red and Yellow food coloring

Mix together the flour and salt
Add water and oil and mix until smooth

Here is where you get to play with the measurements a little bit until it's just right. Keep adding about a tablespoon of flour until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and is not sticky to the touch.

Now add your spices and mix again.

Then add your food coloring until you get the desired color. The ratio of red to yellow is 1:2. I ran out of yellow, so mine isn't quite as dark as I want it to be, but it still has a light pumpkin color to it.

You might need to add a *tiny* bit more flour if the food coloring made your dough sticky again.

Kneed together on the counter top a few times to make sure it's nice and smooth and doesn't stick to your hands.

And your done!

Get out some pumpkin cookie cutters, and have fun!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

No Pumpkins Today

Sorry, no posts about pumpkins today! Anthony and I decided that since the weather was nice, we were going to take advantage of our Cedar Point season passes and go one last time for the year, and the only time we've been able to go without the kids!

Well I think everyone in a 100 mile radius had the same idea.

It was PACKED.

We waited 90 minutes to get into the parking lot...only to find there wasn't a single space left to park. There were cars parked up against the fence, and in a random field, and pretty much anywhere you could squeeze a car. Thank God for taking the Focus and not the van or we may have just turned around and drove home after all of that.

Once we finally got in the park, I really had to pee after a Pepsi and a much longer trip than I expected. And of course, a long line for the bathroom too. (at least that was the shortest line I saw while there!)

We quickly realized this wasn't going to be our exciting ride our favorite rides trip we thought it would be. Even the family rides had long lines coming out into the midway. And speaking of the midway, it was so packed you could hardly walk at times. I had to grab on to Anthony's shirt to make sure I didn't lose him.

After walking to the back of the park and seeing there was no way we were avoiding long lines, we decided to ride the Witches Wheel. We waited an hour. If you have ever been to Cedar Point, you know exactly how depressing that is.

After that, we were already running out of time, this was only an afternoon trip, and we wasted half of it in the car trying to get in. So we ran over to the Sky Hawk. One of 3 rides in the park we had never been on (the other 2 are Shoot the Rapids and Wind Seeker) Thankfully it was only a little over an hour wait, and a pretty great ride...but then it was already time to go home.

So that was the time we drove to Cedar Point to ride 2 rides.

At least the weather and the company were nice :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake

Never has something so tasty, been so incredibly easy. If you ever wanted to make cheesecake, but were a little intimidated, this recipe is for you.

Here is the blog I took the recipe from, I just made a few *slight* changes to my own version. And she has some pretty pictures, mine are not as pretty
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2-8 oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
Oreos
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350* Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan. Beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the sugar and cream again. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each one. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat again. Place one whole oreo in the bottom of the cupcake liners and fill up the liner 3/4 full with the cheesecake batter. Push another whole oreo into the top of the batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cool in pan for 15-20 min before removing and placing on a wire rack to finish cooling. Keep refrigerated. Top with whipped cream and oreo sprinkles before serving. Makes 24.
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I didn't have any sour cream, so I looked up some substitutes, I had no idea there were so many subs for sour cream!

I went the buttermilk route since that's what I had on hand. Yogurt probably would have been the best, but I didn't have any of that either.

I only used one Oreo in the bottom, instead of putting a second on a top. I thought it might be too much Oreo to have 2 per cheesecake, but mostly I just didn't want to buy two packages of Oreos. Looking at them now that they are finished, I definitely wouldn't add a second Oreo unless you wanted cheesecake covered Oreos instead of Oreo cheesecake.

Oh and I used Halloween Oreos, because how could you not? 

And mine are not orange. She must had added food coloring to hers, because I just don't think it is possible to have cheesecake THAT orange without food coloring.

I wasn't overly worried about my cheesecakes cracking, and if you put whipped cream on top (forgot to get some today!) you won't even notice. BUT if cracked cheesecakes bother you, then you need to cool them off slooooooowly, so turn the oven off for the last 2 minutes, then open the oven door and leave them in the oven for 5 more minutes, then finally take them out of the oven and let them cool for 10-15 minutes in the muffin pan before moving them to a wire cooling rack.

It really is that easy.






Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pumpkin Butter

It was bound to happen, I just never thought it would happen so soon in the month. I found a pumpkin recipe that I do not really like.

I made this recipe for pumpkin butter, and I was pretty excited about it, but it is just way too sweet for my liking. If I had more pumpkin I would add much  more to adjust how much sugar was in it, but I used the very last of my pumpkin on the recipe. When I get to the store for more, I am definitely adding it it hopes of saving it.

It would however be great in something that needs sweetening. I bet it tastes fine in oatmeal, or mixed in to plain yogurt, but on my toast it's just too much.

Oh well, on to something else!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

Today I woke up and decided we needed some pumpkin pancakes.

I started with a basic recipe for pancake mix, and then added my pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, easy! If you want to make it even easier, you could start with a boxed mix.

Here is my recipe for easy pancake mix

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
This will make you 3 batches of pancakes, below is the recipe for 1 batch of pumpkin pancakes
You will need

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, make your own!)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups of pancake mix
  • Butter for greasing the skillet
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon of pumpkin spice
In one bowl whisk the egg white and the buttermilk

In another bowl whisk the egg yokes and the melted butter

Combine bowls and whisk together

Pour the liquid mixture on top of your pancake mix and mix together, it will be a little lumpy, getting out all of the lumps is not necessary.

Add your pumpkin and spices and mix again.

Cook just like you would any other pancakes!

If you REALLY want some pumpkin flavor, serve with pumpkin spice syrup on top.

Pankcakes lightly drizzled with pumpkin spice syrup mmmmm






Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Chili

Well it started off as this recipe that a friend shared with me, but I have this thing with recipes...I don't follow them really well. I hate measuring unless I really have to (like when you are baking, it's more of a science experiment than cooking, and measuring is a must). Plus I just really like to use things I already have on hand if I can instead of buying all new specific ingredients.

So here is what it became. I'll do my best to estimate amounts, but I'll be honest, I just kind of scooped and poured and shook until it looked right.

Ingredients
1lb ground beef (or sausage, or turkey, whatever sort of ground meat you want to use)
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1 large can of diced tomatoes DO NOT DRAIN (I used some of our own canned tomatoes, it was 1qt, with a lot of water)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 15 oz can black beans
1 15 oz can great northern beans
1 15 oz can kidney beans
Half of one large onion minced
1 Tablespoon of garlic
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon ginger


If you are using dried beans (like I did) you want to soak them the night before, so they have time to soften up a bit before you cook them. If you are using canned beans (like the recipe says) just throw them in when it's time.

Directions
1. brown the ground beef, drain the grease
2. dump everything into your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. adjust seasoning as needed

That's it! I love crock pot cooking. Somewhere around hour 4, open the lid and just smell. That pumpkin and the pumpkin spices produce such a great fall smell. My kitchen was a wonderful place to be yesterday!

If you want, this could easily be made in a pot on your stove, that's how the other recipe has you do it, but I love the ease of making dinner in the morning and just forgetting about it until it's time to eat.


Monday, October 3, 2011

The Corn Maze

Yesterday my kids went to a corn maze with their grandparents and aunts and uncles. I was gone when they came back, so I didn't get to hear about it until this morning. Nathan walked into the kitchen and said "mom, I need to tell you a story, a story about the corn maze"

So here you have it, Nathan's story about the corn maze.

"We were going to the corn maze, then I was finding the way out, then I was going to make a pumpkin scarecrow, then I was going to get a pumpkin, then I was going to McDonalds, then grandma asked me to go to the play ground, then I ate my food, then I went to the playground again!

Then I was playing on the 'puter, snowman were eating! Then I was going home!

And that's the story!"

(Nathan looks at the computer, points to the last sentence)

Nathan: What does that say?
Me: It says "And that's the story!"
Nathan: I want you to go back and get rid of that part, I don't want to say that part anymore.

But I'm leaving it in anyway shhhh.

It's a good thing we love pumpkins around here since they brought home pumpkins last night, we're going on a field trip to get pumpkins with our playgroup in a few weeks, my sister has passes for the boys to go to Pumpkin Village, and chances are, there will be another pumpkin trip in there somewhere too.

Nathan's looks tiny, I wonder if I can convince him to let me cut it up and puree it... ;)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I have a few different recipes for these, but I have really been drooling over this one for a while because of the yummy looking cream cheese hidden in the center. mmmmm

So after a slight delay because of a missing whisk attachment (ask Anthony, I was about to cry right then and there) I'm back on track and ready to bake!


Here is the recipe, I plan on following it exactly...or almost exactly, I am going to make my own pumpkin pie spice since I only have about 2 teaspoons left. If you want to make your own too, check out this post from yesterday.

Comment in italics are mine


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins


Yield: 24 muffins
Ingredients:
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil

For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions:
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil.  Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

 While you are waiting for the cream cheese filling to harden, lick the whisk clean (trust me, it's like cheesecake...on a whisk), then clean it for real since you will need it again.


Oh, and don't do what I did an put the cream cheese filling in a bowl and stick it in the freezer. Actually read the directions. Is anyone noticing a theme with me and cooking lately? The plus side is now I have a bowl with cream cheese filling on it to lick clean too.


To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil.  Mix on medium-low speed until blended.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.


To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.


To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons).  Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.

I was really hoping it wouldn't take a whole 2 hours for the log to harden, but really, the longer the better. Cream cheese is not fun to slice and handle unless it is really cold. So allow yourself plenty of time for it to harder. Maybe even make the filling the night before so that your not spending half the day waiting to bake your muffins.
 
 Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.  Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.  (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)

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Oh my goodness. Heaven in muffin form. Thank goodness for my brother in law inviting us over for dinner so I could share. Otherwise I may have made myself sick from eating too many of these. Delicious!

I had plenty of batter for all 24 muffins, plus enough to make 20 mini muffins without the cream cheese filling. Perfect for little ones who would otherwise eat about 6 full sized muffins. Makes the 6 mini muffins they actually ate not seem so bad!
The few that survived long enough to  make it into a picture!

Yummy cream cheese filling!






Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pumpkin Spice

This recipe doesn't actually have pumpkin in it, but is definitely useful when cooking with pumpkin.

I don't know about you, but I kind of go through a lot of pumpkin spice, and those little tiny spice containers that it comes in just are not cutting it for me. Luckily for me (and you now too!) pumpkin spice is really just a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.

With this basic recipe you can either mix up your own spice so you always have it ready to go, or just use the simple ratio of spices to each other to figure out how much of each you need to substitute for recipes that call for pumpkin spice.

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Stir together and you have 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Pumpkin A Day

Well, I'm not really sure it will keep the dr away, but certainly can't be that bad for you!

I have SO many pumpkin recipes, I finally just made a pumpkin board on Pinterest, and realized that I need to utilize this short window of time where people will tolerate my putting pumpkin in everything while I can.

Here is the challenge, I am going to attempt to cook/make something with pumpkin every day for the next month, and post about it here.

First up, an easy one.

I adore pumpkin spice latte, it's probably one of the things that got this obsession going the most (aside from good old pumpkin pie). Problem, Starbucks is not in my budget. But that doesn't mean that I can't find a way to make something as good, or even better at home.

So I'm making some Pumpkin Spice syrup to go in my travel mug of coffee to take to ballet this morning. If I don't make it, the temptation of walking past Cool Beans might just be too much or me to handle.

Here we go, pumpkin spice syrup, inspired by this recipe that I found on pinterest.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons pumpkin purée (the other recipe called for 3, but I love pumpkin)

Heat the water and the sugar over medium heat until all of the sugar is disolved.

While this was heating, I measured out my other ingredients into 2 prep cups, 1 for spices, and one for the pumpkin. If you don't have prep cups, get some. They will change the way you cook.

Dump the pumpkin and the spices into the syrup mixture and wisk until heated thoroughly, or about 5-6 minutes.

This is where the other recipe said to strain through a cheesecloth....which I didn't have on hand, and didn't realize I would need until I got to this point in the recipe.

PSA *Always read all directions before starting a recipe*

Since I was cheeseclothless, I just poured everything straight into a mason jar. If you want a super smooth syrup, use the cheesecloth. It's blended enough that it doesn't bother me, but you will have tiny bits of pumpkin puree settling in the bottom of your mug if you don't strain it.

Pour a little into your coffee/latte and enjoy!

If you are feeling really fancy put some whipped cream and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top too!