Friday, October 29, 2010

MMM! Pumpkin Dip



pumpkin dip

I've been making this yummy dip for years and often share the recipe.  It's a little different than many dishes, easy to make and nice to have on hand.  It lasts a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, so get ready to enjoy!

Hope it is a hit at your place too!!

PUMPKIN DIP

1 - 8 ozs. pkg. cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1 - 15 ozs. can solid pack pumpkin

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.  Gradually mix in the pumpkin.  Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and orange juice until smooth and well blended.  Chill until serving. Let stand atleast 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to blend.

 

This is great for dipping graham crackers, gingersnaps or apples.















Thursday, October 28, 2010

HAPPY DESSERT DAY! (& a Favorite Dessert Recipe too)

Desserts are my favorite!!!!!  So I wanted to make sure you knew today was "Dessert Day" and share one of my most favorite dessert recipes with you too!  Enjoy a sweet day!


photo: Taste of Home

BUTTERSCOTCH APPLE CAKE

1-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 c. peeled, chopped apples
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
1/2 c. butterscotch chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8-inch sq. baking dish.  In large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon.  Blend sugar, oil and eggs until smooth; stir wet mixture into dry and mix just until combined.  Stir in the apples, pecans and 1/4 c. butterscotch chips.  Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with remaining butterscotch chips. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  Yield: 4 - 6 good sized servings
(because you'll definitely want MORE)

A very moist cake and even those who claim to not like butterscotch, seem to
love this cake.

This recipe is linked to Sweets for a Saturday

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homemade Ghosts from Making Memories Blog

Are these adorable or what?  A fun (& free!) decorating idea as Halloween quickly approaches! Enjoy some family fun.

Print this idea to use next year too...but you can certainly leave these out until after Halloween...

I love the frugal and family-friendly ideas shared at this blog - she
has some darling holiday crafting ideas.  Enjoy!





A LINEUP OF GHOSTS FROM MAKING MEMORIES...ONE FUN THING AFTER ANOTHER

Monday, October 25, 2010

Life really is Sa-Weeeet!

My dear hubby and I just got home from spending a week in the Ozarks. It was a glorious time away!!

Here we are standing on the dock in front of the 'cabin' on the Lake of the Ozarks
where we stayed!

We were truly blessed to stay in a gorgeous 'second' home of some local friends and couldn't have been more pleased.  We had plenty of room and even a washer/dryer.  I think we only ate out 3 times during the week.  I did some cooking but nothing demanding.

We had NO tv....internet...not even a radio!  I know I had years added to my life because of the restful and relaxing time we enjoyed - away from my usual fast-paced life! I can't believe
I actually had time to read a 252-page book while gone!

The best part was spending time with precious TX friends that we hadn't seen in over 5 years. This was kind of a mid-way place for us to meet.  We always laugh ourselves silly when we're together and that's SUCH good medicine for the soul!
This is Bill & Jerri Sparks - our TX pastor and wife when we were stationed in Austin, TX, in the early 80's.  These folks truly light up our lives.  (After all - they ARE Sparks!=)

 
We all enjoyed sitting on the deck watching the fish come to the surface to catch bugs, or jump out of the water. We played card games and dominoes and relaxed to the max.  I even took 2 naps one afternoon!

Sunset from the second floor deck

Sunrise

It was tough to come home, but we were missing family and are ever so grateful for the break.
It was an 11 hr. drive one direction.

A beautiful place we hope to return to again one day.  Til then, we will cherish the precious memories we made during this very special getaway.

Friday, October 22, 2010

HOMEMADE IDEAS TO MAKE YOUR KITCHEN SMELL NICE!

AS THE TIME DRAWS NEAR TO 'CLOSE UP' OUR HOMES MORE, HERE ARE SOME GREAT IDEAS TO NATURALLY IMPROVE THE FRAGRANCE IN YOUR KITCHEN......




Who hasn't burned toast or needed to cover up a not-so-pleasant cooking odor in the kitchen?  Maybe you don't have time to bake something to fill your home with an inviting scent....give these ideas a whirl!


One of my favorite 'smells' is cinnamon...I love vanilla too. 

Credit: istockphoto/thinkstock

MMMMM!
7 HOMEMADE ODOR KILLERS

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hamburger Stroganoff from Fun Foods on a Budget!

I recently made hamburger stroganoff and forgot to take a picture, so when I came across this delicious-looking recipe at this wonderful blog, I decided I should share it with you.



Changes I make in this recipe to become more like MY recipe (page 42 in my cookbook=)

1. After browning burger and draining off half the grease, add 1# sliced fresh mushrooms
and cook 4 - 5 minutes.  (Can also used canned if you prefer)

2. Then add salt, pepper & 2 TB. all purpose flour; stir and cook a couple of minutes.

3. Add 1 tsp. worchestershire sauce to sour cream (optional), then stir into
mushroom mixture.

It's GREAT over rice, noodles or mashed potatoes. YUM-O!!






Friday, October 15, 2010

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Don't these look yummy?  Look at that cream cheese & chocolate chips! MMM!

I recently made this recipe and shared with my son and family.  It wasn't long afterwards, my daughter-in-love called to find out where the recipe was
in my cookbook.  (SMILE!)

Again I say....MMM!  Enjoy!

BLACK BOTTOM CUPCAKES
Cupcake part:
1 c. white sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. water
1 TB. vinegar
1-1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/4 c. baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. In medium mixing bowl, beat all
ingredients together until blended.  Line cupcake pans
with papers - fill 1/3 full with batter.  Top with a tablespoonful
of the cream cheese mixture.  Bake 15 - 18 minutes.  They are
done baking when the cake part tests finished. 
Yield: about 2 dozen

Cream Cheese Filling:
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/2 c. white sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate (mini) chips

In small bowl, beat all ingredients together until smooth.




Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Quick Potato Soup

Here's a quick 'n' easy soup recipe that tends to be comfort food, especially this time of the year.  I hope this will be enjoyed by all in your kitchen. Add a salad or sandwich to a warm comforting bowl of soup, and you'll have some happy tummies in your home. 

credit: Jude Doyland
(A real potato that came out of the bag smiling!)

We'll start with this one that uses leftover mashed potatoes...soooo easy!


PRONTO POTATO SOUP

8 strips bacon, diced


1 small onion, chopped


1-1/2 - 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes


1 can cream of chicken soup


1 soup canful of milk (or more)


1/2 tsp. salt, optional


1/4 tsp. pepper


parsley for garnish if desired


In a small frying pan, brown bacon until crisp.  Place on paper towel to drain. Add onion to drippings and saute 2 - 3 minutes; drain off the fat.  Mix the potatoes with the soup until blended; stir in milk until desired consistency.  Add bacon and onions - season with spices and serve warm.  MMM!



Monday, October 4, 2010

Popular Cheesey Chicken Chowder

(Since this is one of our family favorites, I'm reposting an older post) -

it's a MUST-TRY for the fall.....When the temps are cooling down and the leaves are changing colors, soup seems to warm us inside and out. It's
truly comfort food.   I plan to share a few more soup recipes in upcoming posts, so stay tuned.....

This recipe has been published in two of the American Profile cookbooks
and in their nationwide publication. I have a friend who lives on the West coast and she got to see this recipe in print before I did!

I've received notes from women (unknown to me) from out of state, and even a phone call letting me know how much they enjoyed this delicious recipe,
after reading it in American Profile.  What a kick!!! 

If you're interested, click on this link and see my recipe online at AP's site....
(there's a better picture there too=)

TRY IT...YOU'LL LIKE IT!

CHEESEY CHICKEN CHOWDER 

3 cups chicken (reduced-sodium) broth
2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
1 cup each - diced carrots & celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1/1/2 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
(we prefer 1-1/2 cups velveeta)
2 cups diced cooked chicken

In large pan, bring chicken broth to a boil.  Reduce heat.

Add potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper.

Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Add flour and mix well.

Gradually stir in milk and cook over low heat until slightly thickened.

Stir in cheese and cook until melted.

Add to broth and vegetables along with chicken.

Cook and stir over low heat until heated through.

(When I'm in a hurry, I use frozen hash browns and frozen mixed veggies, along with the chopped celery & onions - cooking the fresh ingredients a few minutes before adding frozen)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Leader Enterprise - Oct 2010

Autumn leaves warn that winter is just around the corner. Fall is my favorite time of the year with the colorful leaves, the cooler weather and most of all the yummy fall foods.

I've been very excited to see canned pumpkin being restocked on grocer's shelves that have remained bare for some time. I know I tend to think more about baking/cooking with pumpkin and apples when fall arrives. I am delighted to share some favorite fall recipes with you. Enjoy warming the house and satisfying hungry tummies. Maybe some of these recipes will become favorites at your home too.

EASY APPLE DUMPLINGS

4 baking apples
1-8 oz. pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1 stick butter
1/1-3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-12 oz. can (diet) Mt. Dew soda

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13x2 baking dish. Peel and quarter apples, separate crescent rolls; roll apples in crescent rolls from big end to little end. Place in prepared pan. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Melt butter; whisk in cinnamon mixture until smooth. Pour over apples, then pour Mt. Dew around dumplings. Bake 45 minutes - 1 hr. Serve warm with ice cream.
(You may substitute Splenda for sugar if desired, but it will bake faster). I cover with foil after 30 minutes of baking time as the dumplings tend to brown quickly.

QUICK APPLE CRUNCH

4 c. peeled, sliced apples
1/4 c. water or apple juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened
caramel ice cream topping, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray an 8x8 baking dish. Spread apples in prepared pan. Sprinkle with water. In medium bowl, combine cinnamon, salt, sugar, flour and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Serve warm with milk or ice cream and caramel topping. If you just can't wait, this dish can be microwaved for 12-15 minutes.

PUMPKIN PATCH PANCAKES

Mix up your favorite pancake mix according to directions. For every 1 cup of dry pancake mix used: add 1/4 c. canned pumpkin, 2 TB. brown sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Maybe your family can enjoy breakfast for dinner one of these busy fall days.

HEALTHY CARAMEL APPLE DIP

1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. applesauce
1/4 c. pkd. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. salted peanuts,chopped
3 apples, cored and sliced

Combine cream cheese, applesauce, brown sugar, and vanilla in large bowl and beat well using a mixer. Sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate; serve with apple slices. If you desire a sweeter dip, drizzle with caramel syrup. May use light cream cheese & unsweetened applesauce. Makes a great after school or bedtime snack.

Grapes have been on sale often recently.This is an unusual and very delicious way to serve them.I'm amazed that this dish keeps nearly a week.

GOOEY GRAPES

5 c. green and/or red grapes, washed and dried
1-(8 oz.) pkg. (reduced-fat)cream cheese,softened
2 c. (light)sour cream
1/2 c. sugar (or Splenda)
chopped pecans,optional

Place grapes in bottom of 9x13 pan. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth. Spread evenly over grapes. (May mix together if preferred). Sprinkle nuts over top. Can serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Friday, October 1, 2010

LE - October 2010

Autumn leaves warn that winter is just around the corner. Fall is my favorite time of the year with the colorful leaves,the cooler weather and most of all the yummy fall foods.
I've been very excited to see canned pumpkin being restocked on grocer's shelves that have remained bare for some time. I know I tend to think more about baking/cooking with pumpkin and apples when fall arrives. I am delighted to share some favorite fall recipes with you. Enjoy warming the house and satisfying hungry tummies. Maybe some of these recipes will become favorites at your home too.

EASY APPLE DUMPLINGS

4 baking apples
1-8 ozs.pkgs.refrigerated crescent rolls
1 stick butter
1/1-3 c.sugar
1/2 tsp.ground cinnamon
1-12 ozs.can (diet)Mt.Dew soda

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9"X13"X2" baking dish. Peel and quarter apples,separate crescent rolls; roll apples in crescent rolls from big end to little end. Place in prepared pan.In small bowl,combine sugar and cinnamon.Melt butter;whisk in cinnamon mixture until smooth. Pour over apples,then pour Mt. Dew around dumplings. Bake 45 minutes-1 hr.Serve warm with ice cream.(You may substitute Splenda for sugar if desired, but it will bake faster.). I cover with foil after 30 minutes of baking time as the dumplings tend to brown quickly.

QUICK APPLE CRUNCH

4 c.peeled,sliced apples
1/4 c.water or apple juice
1 tsp.ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp.salt
3/4 c.white sugar
3/4 c.all purpose flour
1/3 c.butter or margarine,softened
caramel ice cream topping,optional

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray an 8"X8" baking dish. Spread apples in prepared pan. Sprinkle with water. In medium bowl,combine cinnamon, salt, sugar, flour and butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over apples. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Serve warm with milk or ice cream and caramel topping. If you just can't wait,this dish can be microwaved for 12-15 minutes.

PUMPKIN PATCH PANCAKES

Mix up your favorite pancake mix according to directions.For every 1 cup of dry pancake mix used:add 1/4 c.canned pumpkin,2TB.brown sugar,1/2 tsp.vanilla extract,1/2 tsp.pumpkin pie spice.Maybe your family can enjoy breakfast for dinner one of these busy fall days.

HEALTHY CARAMEL APPLE DIP

1-8 oz.pkg.cream cheese,softened

1/2 c.applesauce

1/4 c.pkd.brown sugar

1/2 tsp.vanilla extract

1/2 c.salted peanuts,chopped

3 apples,cored and sliced

Combine cream cheese,applesauce,brown sugar,and vanilla in large bowl and beat well using a mixer.Sprinkle with nuts.Refrigerate;serve with apple slices.If you desire a sweeter dip,drizzle with caramel syrup.May use light cream cheese & unsweetened applesauce.Makes a great after school or bedtime snack.

Grapes have been on sale often recently.This is an unusual and very delicious way to serve them.I'm amazed that this dish keeps nearly a week.

GOOEY GRAPES

5 c. green and/or red grapes, washed and dried

1-(8 oz.) pkg. (reduced-fat)cream cheese,softened

2 c.(light)sour cream

1/2 c. sugar (or Splenda)

chopped pecans,optional

Place grapes in bottom of 9"X13" pan.Mix cream cheese,sour cream and sugar until smooth.Spread evenly over grapes.(May mix together if preferred).Sprinkle nuts over top.Can serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

One option is to cut back on the sugar amount and sprinkle brown sugar over the top before serving for color and sweetness.



For more fall recipe ideas visit my blog at www.thebetterbaker.blogspot.com

Butternut Squash Bread

I definitely have a DRIVE to try new recipes, especially if they offer a different 'twist' than others.

And I SO get into a baking 'mode' when fall comes around.  I long to make soups, and dishes with apples and pumpkin BIG TIME!  *-*

I'm hoping to post a few extra times during the months of Oct. and Nov.
just because I have so many wonderful fall recipes and I love sharing with you.

I found this recipe at My Baking Addiction  - check out her blog and recipe at this link.

I was very pleased with the results of this bread, though I tweaked it just a tad.

I took it to a ladies Bible study and had many good comments about it.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  It's MMMM good!

Actually, I made 2 loaves - the picture below is of the one with chocolate chips...

I added craisins to the other and they were both very tasty.

And if you like cream cheese even a little bit, this bread is fantastic topped with cream cheese. 


BUTTERNUT SQUASH BREAD

1 cup butternut squash puree
2 eggs
(I used 2 TB. ground flax seed meal and
3 TB. water to replace one egg)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
(I used 1/4 c. applesauce +
1/4 c. oil)
1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1-3/4 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cardamom
(I replaced with pumpkin pie spice)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one 8" X 4" X 2" loaf pan.
In large bowl, mix together the squash puree, eggs, oil, water and
sugars until thoroughly combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice.
Stir in the dry ingredients into the squash mixture.  Combine just until
incorporated; do not overmix.  Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake 55 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center
of the loaf comes out clean.

Add any 'extras' you'd like...dark, semi sweet, or white chocolate chips,
nuts, craisins, etc.

Enjoy surprising your family & guests with a 'hidden' ingredient!