Saturday, October 19, 2013

Leader Enterprise - Oct. 16, 2013 - Brown Sugar & Fall Recipes


I love fall and the refreshment that it brings with the cooler, crisper mornings and
evenings. God’s artwork is on display as He paints autumn’s beauty in colorful canvases for us to enjoy. I’m reminded that I’m in the ‘fall’ of my life, and need to make the most of every day, because as they say "Life is like a roll of toilet paper-the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes." It's so true!



One problem that plagues cooks is having your brown sugar harden and clump. Here are some ideas to help resolve any issues you may have with that.



Be sure to keep brown sugar in an air tight container. Placing a slice of bread or a few marshmallows in the container for a few days will make the sugar moist again. And did you know that even adding a couple of saltine crackers will help moisten up the sugar too? That's a new idea to me.


Need a quick fix because you want to bake today and discovered your brown sugar has hardened? Place the brown sugar in the microwave along with a small bowl of water next to it. Microwave at 30 second intervals until softened. Watch closely so it doesn't melt. If you'd rather, brown sugar can be placed in a baking pan; cover with foil and bake 5 minutes in an oven set at 250. Then bake to your heart's content!

This makes a great after school snack for the kiddos.

NUTTY BROWN SUGAR APPLE DIP

1 (8 ozs) (lite) cream cheese ,softened
1/2 c. packed brown sugar (or more)
1/4 c. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
chopped peanuts for garnish
3 apples, cored and sliced

In medium bowl, combine cream cheese, brown sugar, applesauce and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Pour into bowl. Just before serving, top with chopped peanuts. Refrigerate leftovers-if there are any!

This lovely salad exhibits all the flavors of fall. Crunchy and delicious!

AUTUMN CHICKEN SALAD
4 c. cooked chicken,diced
1/2 c. chopped pecans,toasted
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. (or more) chopped apple
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 c. sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
1/2 c. (lite) mayonnaise
In large bowl, stir all ingredients together until well combined. Chill at least 2 hours before serving. Serve as a sandwich or with crackers.
Your family will adore you when you surprise them with this special treat!
PUMPKIN SPICE HOT CHOCOLATE 

2-1/2 c.(1%) milk
1/3 c.(sugar-free)hot cocoa mix
1/4 c.canned pumpkin puree
1 to 1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 
1/2 tsp.vanilla 
pinch of salt 
(I also added a couple drops of caramel coffee flavoring) 
homemade whipped cream & marshmallows for garnish


In a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisk together milk, hot cocoa mix, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Then a
dd pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Heat thoroughly, whisking as the temperature rises. When desired temperature is reached, pour into 3 small mugs (or two large ones), top with whipped cream and marshmallows. Sprinkle a couple of shakes of pumpkin pie spice for a pretty topping.


These yummy 'seasonal'cookies are great with a tall glass of cold milk!

NO BAKE PUMPKIN OATMEAL COOKIES 
1-1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. milk
1 (3.4 ozs) (4 - serv) box instant pumpkin spice pudding mix
(If you need to substitute, try a sm. box of vanilla instant pudding &
1 Tb. pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
3-1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a full boil; boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. (While it's cooking, combine dry pudding mix with remaining 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice). Remove mixture from heat and stir in pudding mix, stirring to remove lumps, until smooth. Add oats and vanilla; stir until combined completely. Let stand for 5 minutes. 
Drop by rounded tablespoonsful onto prepared cookie sheet. Allow cookies to cool completely. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Yield: about 36 cookies.

I plan to share some 'Make Your Own' substitutions in an upcoming column, but wanted to share this one since it can be used in the recipes above. 

HOMEMADE PUMPKIN PIE SPICE

Combine 1 TB.cinnamon with 1-1/2 tsp. ginger, 3/4 tsp.  nutmeg, 3/4 tsp.allspice and 1/4 tsp. cloves. Use as you would store-purchased.

Stroll through an apple orchard or go to the park and enjoy walking in the crisp fallen leaves, and soak in the changing colors. We all know it won’t be long and winter will be upon us. As an 80-something friend once said to me - ’Do what you can while you can’.