September 30, 2011

Caramel Frosted Pumpkin Pie Coffeecake

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Happy Birthday to.........
Today I am another year closer to being 1/2 a century old.  
I'm my mother's age.  Not mine!  
It doesn't seem like I should be already. 
Not once has turning another year older bothered me.
It has amazed me though.  Amazed me that I am actually that old.
Amazed me that I don't feel any different than I did as a young girl.

This year is my first year away from my family for my birthday.  That is the part that is the hardest for me.  I guess Grumpy has a lot of work on his hands today to make up for all the love and attention I would have gotten at home.  ;o)

While your here, enjoy a piece of this yummy coffeecake with me, I made two of these and took them to work this week and they were devoured in no time.  I even heard one co-worker say that she "didn't even breath in between bites"!  Make this if your feeling like pumpkin.  If you've had enough of it already, save it for another day.  It will be worth it, I promise!

Caramel Frosted Pumpkin Pie Coffeecake

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin 
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 cup candied walnuts

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon karo syrup

Preheat oven to 325.  In large mixing bowl mix butter and sugar until creamy.  Mix in pumpkin, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.  Set aside

Place dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.  Add flour mixture to wet mixture gradually and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined.

Divide batter between 2-9" round baking pans that have been coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle each cake with 1/4 cup of candied walnuts.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake is set and a toothpick comes out dry when inserted in center of cake.

When cake is done, make frosting.  Place combined sugar and butter in heavy saucepan.  Cook until sugar and butter is melted, stirring only occasionally until mixture comes to a boil.  Boil 2-3 minutes then add milk, vanilla, salt, and  karo syrup and boil another 1-2 minutes.  Mixture will begin to thicken.  Remove from heat and stir until no longer bubbly, frosting will be shiny and easy to pour.  Drizzle evenly over both coffeecakes.  Cool, cut, and enjoy!  This reminded me a lot of a pumpkin pie, but not exactly.  It was delicious though and addicting enough that I will definitely make it again!  Enjoy :)

September 21, 2011

Quinoa Salad with Mango, Black Beans, and Cilantro Lime Dressing

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Quinoa Salad #mango #quinoa #cilantro
I really do try to eat healthy most of the time.  I'm human though and I slip.  Lately I've been walking to the "Candy Corner" at work once a day and grabbing a miniature candy bar, usually about the time I have to take mail around or right before I head out on my lunch break.  I have a super sweet tooth and my son's come by it quite naturally (especially Justin!).  For the most part, I don't eat too many sweets in one day.  I've had my moments of over indulgence though and I have paid for it by feeling ill and whipped not long after.  
Quinoa Salad #mango #quinoa #cilantro

In trying to counteract the candy eating I've been doing lately and hoping to get this sugar craze out of my system, I started looking at my vegan cookbooks for healthy recipes that would make me feel like I was getting my fill and yet not missing out on anything.  I found this recipe for Quinoa Salad and the colors alone in the salad were enough to tempt me! I wanted something that would be delicious and yet good for me, that would hopefully kill that desire for anything full of sugar mid-day.  My sweet/heat addiction did have me changing this recipe up a bit from the original when it came to the dressing.  I thought the sweetness of the mango would help with my sugar craving and I feel that when you are putting cilantro in anything, it is natural to add lime juice and heat.  I made this first without the packet of Splenda but after tasting felt that it needed a little more sweet boost than the mango was giving it.  One packet (teaspoon) of it worked out just right for me and I love how it turned out.  I am looking very forward to having this for lunch again today!
Quinoa Salad #mango #quinoa #cilantro
Other quinoa recipes you may enjoy!

Quiona Salad with Mango, Black Beans, and Cilantro Lime Dressing
adapted from Veganomicon
serves 4
Printable recipe
1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup black beans
1/2 red pepper, diced small
1 small mango, cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 large lime, juiced
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2-3 dashes of cayenne pepper (do this to your heat tolerance)
1 teaspoon sugar (or 1 packet splenda)
dash or two of salt (to taste)

Bring 1 cup of water to boil.  Add quinoa and once it has come back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 12 minutes or until all water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and place in mixing bowl to cool.

Dice peppers, onions and mango into small pieces.  Drain and rinse black beans.  Measure 1 cup.  Add vegetables and beans along with chopped cilantro to cooled quinoa.

Whisk together grapeseed oil, cayenne pepper, sugar (or splenda), salt, and juice of one lime.  Pour over quinoa mixutre and toss to coat.

September 19, 2011

Apple Crisp

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It seems like this last week it started to finally feel like fall was here.  The air got cool and crisp and air in the house was not so stuffy and Grumpy finally turned the central air off!  Now, there is a definite chill in the air but its the good kind of chill.  I love it when it when the sun is shining bright in the morning and that crispness that smells like fall is in the air.

Yesterday morning my friend "Swiss Miss", took her son and me to this place called Indian Ladder Farms.  I had no idea this place existed so close to home until my friend invited me to go!  You can go there to pick your own strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and apples!  They have an animal farm where you can visit the goats, sheep, pigs, cows, turkeys, and chickens!  Kids love it because they can feed the animals who are ever so happy to come running as soon as they hear the vending machine dial turn.

Yesterday, we went early in the morning, visited the animals and then bought some apples, cider, and homemade donuts.  You can actually watch them make the donuts from the outdoors as they have a "window wall" that allows you to look in and see their process.  It is pretty cool!  The donuts and cider are pretty good too.

Late in the afternoon Grumpy and I took a ride out that way so I could find the place on my own and when we got there I realized that the time we went to visit yesterday was a good time to go as the place at 4 PM (only an hour before closing) was packed like sardines.  I couldn't believe the number of people there!  We will definitely go back to pick our own fruit in the future!

I left with some Honeycrisp apples and when I arrived home I made this yummy apple crisp.  The Honeycrisp apple was not only good for cooking, but as an eating apple it was really good!  It is exactly what the name implies, sweet and crispy.  Perfect no matter what your plans may be for it!

Apple Crisp

printable recipe

For the apples:
4 Honeycrisp Apples, cut into small pieces (I quarter, cut the quarter in half, then slice the apple thin)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the crisp:
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, diced
Sugared walnuts (I like these because they are salty too but you can use just plain walnuts if you use them at all)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Mix apple ingredients together and divide between 4 single serve ramekins that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt to combine.  Add the cold butter pieces and toss to coat.  Using a pastry cutter or fork, work the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like little peas.  Sprinkle  evenly  over apple mixture and then top with some walnuts.  Bake for 30 minutes or until filling is bubbling up through the crisp and the topping is browned.

Best served warm with vanilla ice cream!  To make it even more decadent, top the ice cream with a little maple syrup and a few more walnuts.

September 15, 2011

Crazy for Chicken Wings!

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Howling Wings - Pillsbury Recipe
We love wings, we just don't eat them often.  It is hard when you move to a new area to find a place that makes wings the way you like them, or the way your favorite place back home made them.  Our favorite place in Northern NY was Doug's Tavern in Heuvelton.  They have the best wings I have ever eaten when ordering them out.   As a matter of fact, before moving down here last year, I joined some current and former students (if they read this now, they know they were my favorites!) at Doug's for my goodbye.  Good food, sad occasion.  I can hardly believe its been almost a year now!

Back to the wings.  I have two reasons I rarely make or buy wings.  First of all, I don't enjoy frying food in my home.  The best way to make wings in my opinion is in our turkey fryer where I let Grumpy do all the work!  I hate spattering grease.  My second reason is the simple fact that they are not the most healthy food for you even if your baking them in the oven (unless your going skinless chicken wings...but that just isn't the same).  So, to us, they are a rare treat.

Our very favorite way to eat hot wings is my the recipe right on the Franks Red Hot Sauce bottle.  I know they make a hot wing sauce now too but I prefer to mix it up myself.  I also like to mix them up a little with different flavors at times, but Grumpy usually complains when I do that (he still eats them though.  lol).  Franks has a slew of recipes for ways to make your wings on their website, you can check them out by following the link I have to their search results for hot wing recipes.  Below are some of my favorite ways that I have made hot wings.

**Note - all the below are guides - please adjust amounts to your own tastes. 
  • Honey Garlic Wings:  Stir in 1/4 honey and 3 large cloves minced garlic (fresh is best)
  • BBQ Buffalo:  Stir in 1/4 cup BBQ sauce of our choice with hot sauce mixture (my favorite is Sweet Baby Ray's or KC Masterpiece)
  • Maple Hot Wings:  Stir in 1/4 cup pure NY Grade A (what we use) maple syrup with hot sauce (this is my favorite way!
OR skip the hot sauce all together and make up the following sauces:

  • Honey Mustard Wings:  1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup dijon mustard, 1/4 cup stone ground mustard

Here are some other great places I have found wing recipes for:

What's Cookin' Italian Style - Italian Style Grilled Wings
Cook Lisa Cook - Chinese Five Spice Wings with Labneh & Cilantro Dipping Sauce
Veganized Buffalo Wings (for you non meat eaters!)
Cooking by the Seat of My Pants - Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings
The Hungry Housewife - Grilled Rosemary Chicken Wings

Bobby has a slew of wing recipes on his blog - here is a link to the search tab for his BlogChef Wing Recipes
Allrecipes has a section on their website devoted to Chicken Wing Recipes


September 12, 2011

Puff Pancake with Caramelized Cinnamon Apples (SRC)

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I am normally not a procrastinator.  Especially when it comes to my work life.  When I am on the job and someone gives me something they want me to do I normally get it on my list and do it ASAP.  When I am home it is easier to procrastinate more when it comes to doing something for me.

Today is reveal day for Group A (Amanda's group) of the Secret Recipe Club.  I was assigned Mimi's Blog titled Cookin' Mimi.  Mimi likes to cook simply and her blog purpose is to show you that you can cook that way without some of those hard to obtain ingredients!

September 08, 2011

Chipotle Zucchini Cheddar Biscuits

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A few times since I have been blogging I have come across recipes that other bloggers made that immediately scream make me and make me now!  I remember the very first time this happened to me after I started blogging was when I saw this Spicy Mango Lime Salsa with Asian Pear from The Hungry Mouse.
Monday night after we returned from our family visit I was browsing on Facebook when I saw Cristine from Cooking with Cristine had a new post up for Zucchini Cheddar Biscuits.  I immediately "liked it", "shared it", and promptly "made it" the next night for dinner!  As soon as I shared it the lovely Dawn from Vanilla Sugar Blog, who knows me oh so well when it comes to food, told me that I had to add heat to the recipe.  I already was there!  ;-)
If you've been reading my blog for very long, you know that I am not the best biscuit maker ever, at least when I compare myself to my mother.  My mom makes about the best biscuits that I've ever had and they rise so high and beautiful.  I must have done pretty well here though because Grumpy, who is not a biscuit fan, ate two of these large old babies with his dinner.  I loved this recipe and will definitely be keeping it around for future use!  Thanks Cristine for inspiring me!
Chipotle Zucchini Cheddar Biscuits
as inspired by Cooking with Cristine

Printable Recipe

3/4 cup grated zucchini
1 heaping  tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 generous cup grated cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp white cheddar as that is what I usually have on hand)
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (just the plain milk - not the vanilla flavored one)
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Grate zucchini and place on a layer of thick paper towels.  Let sit for a little while, then with another thickness of paper towels, press the zucchini shreds between the towels to remove moisture.  (Cristine uses another method which you can read on her blog).  This is my "lazy man" way of squeezing out the  extra water.

Toss zucchini with heaping tablespoon of flour and salt.  Set aside while mixing the flour mixture.

Place the flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt and chipotle powder in a bowl and stir with a whisk to combine.  Toss cold butter cubes into flour mixture and mix with a fork, pastry blender, or your fingers - whichever method works best for you - until mixture resembles pea sized crumbles.  I tend to use a pastry blender just because I'm a prissy girl and don't like dirty hands if I can help it.  ;)

Toss zucchini and cheddar cheese in flour mixture then pour milk into mixture and stir with a fork until it begins to come together.  This is where Cristine made them drop biscuits but I couldn't seem to do that as my mixture was not coming together well enough without giving it a couple fold overs on the counter top.  So, I patted the dough out until about 1/2 inch thick and made 7 super large biscuits.

Bake in 450 degree oven for 15 minutes (if you make them large) or until biscuits look like they are "dry" and have browned nicely.  Next time I would make a garlicky butter topping and brush these with it, this time I didn't have time and we were hungry!!  :)  Best served warm with lots of butter on the side!

September 06, 2011

Spicy Penne Vodka with Shrimp

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I came across a photo of Pioneer Woman's Penne ala Betsy.  I knew I wanted to try it, or at least something close to it.  I had fresh tomatoes that I brought home from Mom & Dad's and I had shrimp and the last bit of heavy cream in my fridge.  I didn't have the wine but I had vodka.  So, I basically threw it together and prayed because I have never ever made a vodka sauce before.  My prayers were answered.  It was the most yummy sauce I have ever made!  Both Grumpy and I loved it and his words as I sit here typing was "make sure you tell everyone how yummy your sauce was!"  This evening Grumpy ate like a king.  This is probably the only night he will this week, so if any of his co-workers read this, let him know please that you know he ate like a king last night!   He tells me you all think he does every night and that it is MY fault you think so.  I think its all his fault, but I won't argue the fact ;o)


This is my submission for Presto Pasta Nights for this week.  If you would like to participate, please check out the website for instructions on how to join in!

Spicy Penne Vodka with Shrimp
Serves 4 comfortably, 2 completely

Printable Recipe
1/2 onion, chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup vodka
3 medium tomatoes, diced

1-1//2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon better than boullion vegetable concentrate (or 1 bouillon cube)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 ounces penne pasta (I use whole wheat) cooked according to package directions

2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper
2 small cloves garlic, minced

Saute onion and butter over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic.  Cook and stir 1 minute more.  Add vodka and simmer about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes more.  Add heavy cream, bring to boil, add bouillon, turn down heat and simmer (uncovered) about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Sauce will begin to thicken as it simmers.

While sauce is simmering, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add shrimp.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until shrimp is no longer pink,stirring every few minutes.  This will take about 6-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool. Chop into bite size pieces.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Add pasta to sauce along with shrimp.  Stir to combine.  Serve.  Don't feel bad if you feel you have to lick the bowl clean.  You don't want to waste one drop of that yummy sauce!

September 02, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Roll with Spiced Cream Filling

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Before I tell you about my recipe I want to wish everyone a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.  My thoughts are with all of you who were hit hard with Irene -- that includes my area where we were lucky to not have damage of our own - however there was massive flooding in our area, mudslides, many people still without power, and sadly, loss of life in  the Capitol Region of NYS.  

People really aren't any different - no matter where you are, and in this instance, I really am not complaining!  When I worked at Clarkson, the faculty and students alike would "hint" that they wanted muffins or cookies.  Sometimes they would give the "starving student" line.  I really didn't mind because I loved to bake anyway and they were giving me a reason to do so!  Grumpy always complained when I did bake and take it to work - no matter that he couldn't or rather shouldn't eat the entire cake on his own!  Its a little different now when it comes to my baking for work.  Now its a fight between my co-workers and Grumpy about who deserves the goodies in the office!

Stephanie, Carina, & Emily alike have all "hinted" and sometimes just outright ask (GASP!) when I was going to bring them in muffins or cake.  I love Carina's subtle way...."the baby would really like some blueberry muffins".  Grumpy on the other hand, when he finds out I might "make" something, tells me that I need to tell them they are SOL because HE is taking the goodies to HIS work.  ha ha.  Well, being the fair mom  that I am, I make him share.  This time it was my turn to take something to work.  My supervisor was not so subtly hinting that I was supposed to be bringing a baked treat in.   I decided that if I woke up early enough the next morning, I would be nice and treat my co-workers to cake.  However, when they ask for treats, what they didn't always know was that they are also asking to be my guinea pigs!  It is very rare, as you do know if you are a regular reader here, that I make anything according to the way it should be and I love to experiment!  I decided to subtly test my co-workers out and see if they could figure out what the secret ingredient was in the cream of this cake.  One guessed nutmeg (no).  Another made me giggle when she suggested I mixed vanilla frosting and sour cream together for the filling!  (no again!) and yet another (JOE-yes, I'm saying your name on my blog!) wanted to know if he brought in his sweet & spicy sauce for grilling if I would blog about him...this was after he found out that there was cayenne in the filling and shared his passion for sweet heat with me!  Of course, I said yes.  lol  

The secret ingredient was cayenne pepper in the filling and it was awesome!  

I wonder, when these goodies turn out so well and they all love them like they say they do, maybe I should start making commission on these  office treats?

Chocolate Zucchini Roll with Spiced Cream Filling
(or in other words - a glorified HOHO!)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded peeled zucchini
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 6T cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper - optional (don't go overboard!)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Additonal confectioners' sugar

  • In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; add to egg mixture alternately with milk and mix well.  Stir in zucchini. Spread into a greased and waxed paper-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 7-10 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
  • Turn onto a linen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Peel off waxed paper and roll up, jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool on a wire rack.
  • In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne pepper until fluffy. Beat in confectioners' sugar. Unroll cake; spread filling to within 1 in. of edges. Roll up again; dust with confectioners' sugar. Refrigerate until serving.

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