Watermelon with Roasted Chipotle Salsa

Watermelon with Roasted Chipotle Salsa - PurdueAvenue.com

This sounds weird…but I promise – it’s DELICIOUS!

I figured this out via happy accident at a potluck BBQ a few years ago.  My salsa ran into my watermelon on my plate, and when I took the bite, WOW!  Now I’m addicted…and you can be, too!

These watermelon rounds make a quick and easy unique appetizer for your next potluck or party…or just a snack!  Simply cut your watermelon into 1.5 – 2″ slices, then use a biscuit cutter to cut the watermelon into circles.  (you could easily make these bite-sized using a small cookie cutter)  I piped a little sour cream onto the watermelon and topped each round with a spoonful of Roasted Chipotle Salsa (recipe below).  If you wanted to serve this as a dessert – just use whipped cream instead of sour cream to sweeten it up a little more.  Either way, the creaminess cuts the heat from the salsa and balances the texture really well!

As a bonus – you can use the remnants after cutting your rounds out to make a healthy & refreshing juice.  There are SO MANY health benefits to watermelon juice.  Who knew??  It’s just not delicious to eat!!  I recently read a fantastic article on THE TOP TEN WATERMELON JUICE BENEFITS from POSITIVE HEALTH WELLNESS {a really fantastic site that is a favorite go-to site for healthy recipes! You should definitely check them out!}

Roasted Chipotle Salsa:

{ I tried to recreate the Roasted Chipotle from Rubio’s – so if you’re not down for the cooking, you can pick up a catering bowl from them for about $8.00.  It freezes REALLY well! }

To make it yourself:

4 tomatoes (I like to use Campari or Roma)

(in a pinch – you can also use a 14 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes – but fresh is always better!)

1/2 C. white onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 whole jalapeño, chopped

4 chipotle peppers in adobo, plus 2 TBSP of the adobo sauce

(you can adjust the spiciness by using more or less peppers…using 4 is about a medium salsa)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 bunch of cilantro

1 lime, juiced

 

Cut the tomatoes & onions in half, and place the flat side on a lined, oiled cookie sheet.

Add the garlic & jalapeño to the pan, and spritz everything with some olive oil and season with salt & pepper.

Broil the tomatoes, onion, garlic & jalapeño in the oven with the skins on until charred and blistered.

Remove from oven & let cool slightly.  Roughly chop the onion and garlic.

Combine roasted vegetables with all of the remaining ingredients in a blender and puree.

Transfer to a container and refrigerate or freeze.

 

I hope that you try it, love it, and share it with all of your friends!

**Erin

P.S. Here are a few more potluck ideas…just in case!

Bake Group Fall Recipes 2015

Bake Group Flavors of Fall - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

I look forward to our fall bake group EVERY YEAR!  My husband summed it up perfectly {while having his own little tasting session with the extra goodies I brought home} when he said, “This just makes me excited for Thanksgiving.”  While it’s still 90 hot degrees here in Phoenix mid-day, it makes me long for cooler weather and more time outdoors, yummy soups & homey desserts!

This collection of recipes had some of my absolute favorites of all of the bake groups we’ve had.  What is bake group?  I explain it all in THIS POST.  If you love to bake – grab a group of your favorite baker friends & start one of your own!  It’s been SO MUCH FUN!  {I do suggest that you keep the group small to minimize how sick you are when you leave the table. HA!}

The first recipe is my contribution…I normally don’t feel good about the recipes I produce for bake group…but not this time!  I found a winner!!

Caramel Apple Shortcakes with Apple Cider Reduction - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

I modified the recipe, (you can print my version HERE) from one found in Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook & I cannot begin to describe how much I loved it.  This is fall’s version of the classic Strawberry Shortcake…so you really can’t go wrong!

Let me walk you through the layers in this beautiful treat:

Drizzled on the bottom is an apple cider & spiced rum reduction infused with vanilla beans

TOPPED WITH a shortcake biscuit that was sweet, flakey perfection

TOPPED WITH caramelized granny smith apple compote

TOPPED WITH a sour cream vanilla bean whipped cream (say THAT fast 5 times!)

TOPPED WITH the other half of the beautifully browned shortcake biscuit that was brushed with milk & sprinkled with sugar to give it a crunchy, caramelized crust that’s TO DIE FOR!

Tips & Tweaks

Tweak #1:  The original recipe called for Apple Brandy, but I happened to have spiced rum on hand from our last bake group (WHAT!  I thought you were Mormon!  HA HA – I am!  It cooks out!!) so I substituted it thinking that another flavor profile couldn’t hurt…and I was right!

Tweak #2: Absolutely, without a doubt, you’re going to want to double the Apple Cider Reduction portion of the recipe!  It doesn’t stretch as far as the other ingredients…and just double the biscuit recipe while you’re there.  It’s so easy and you’ll want more of them.  Trust me.

Tip #1: If you’re hosting a large group – you could easily use a smaller biscuit cutter to stretch the batches.  And they’d be darling bite-sized!

Tip #2:  Experiment with this one! I think my favorite part of making this was dreaming about all of the possibilities for tweaking this recipe seasonally.  It would be AMAZING with peaches, blackberries, FIG, a pomegranate reduction would be something I’d probably drink out of the pan!  Anyway – I’m getting carried away over here.  If you’d love the recipe as I’ve modified it – you can print it HERE.  If you want Bobby Flay’s version – I highly recommend his cookbook.  Several of our favorite dinner recipes are in there…it’s a can’t go wrong kind of cookbook!

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites with Gingersnap Crust - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

Vickie found her recipe on OUR BEST BITES.  The texture of these cheesecake bites had me eating more than one!  It was light and fluffy, almost mousse-like.  The gingersnap cookies in the crust & topped with a light whipped cream, there was nothing heavy about it!  A whole slice would have been okay by me – and I would have finished it easily.  If you’re planning for a crowd – the bite sized portion was perfection!!

Tips & Tweaks

Tweak #1: To simplify the recipe, she left off the caramel topping…but she said it’s delicious with it, too!

Tweak #2: Because she made the recipe into bite sized portions, she changed the cooking time to 11 minutes @ 375 degrees.

Tip #1: She had no tips.  The recipe was very well written!  Love that!

Maple Gingerbread Cake with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

Nancy modified this one quite a bit – and it was one of my favorites…the original baker Joann at Eats Well With Others trades out the traditional fall spice line-up for a Chinese 5 Spice blend that really grabs you on the first bite. (in a good way! not in a “ew – I wasn’t expecting that” kind of way)  The frosting is light and airy made using whipped cream, creme fraiche & brown sugar.  And those candied pecans add the sweet that you’re craving in the bite while adding the perfect crunchy element.

Tips & Tweaks

Tweak #1: She didn’t have maple sugar, so she replaced it with white sugar.

Tweak #2: Since she still wanted the maple flavor to come through she replaced 1/2 of the molasses with maple syrup.

Tip #1: If you don’t have or can’t find Creme Fraiche – sour cream makes a great replacement!

Tip #2: Look elsewhere for a caramel sauce recipe.  She ended up leaving it off of the cake entirely because after 3 attempts – she couldn’t get it to turn out, even though she followed the directions exactly.  (I’d love to taste this one WITH the sauce, but to be honest – it wasn’t necessary.  It was absolutely delicious!)

Magnolia Bakery's Caramel Apple Cake with Butterscotch Frosting - Bake Group Fall Recipes - Purdue Avenue

Randi didn’t only make this Magnolia Bakery Cookbook cake look DARLING, but it tasted incredible!  Chunks of apples throughout the cake batter give it an incredible texture, while maintaining moisture in the cake.  SO GOOD!!

Tips & Tweaks

Tweak #1: She swapped out the Caramel Cream Cheese Icing in the original recipe, for a Butterscotch Cream Cheese Frosting – also found in the same book.

Tweak #2: Wanting to serve mini cakes, she modified the recipe from 2 9″ rounds to a jelly roll pan & used a biscuit cutter to cut out the individual mini cakes. No modification to the baking time or temperature – but since all ovens are different, she suggested you watch closely the last few minutes.  She did mention that she watched it like a hawk in her oven because she was worried that it would spill over – but it didn’t!

Tip #1:  Use a potato peeler to create curls on top by scraping it across a bar of white chocolate!  Scrape along the length for longer curls!

Tip #2: To add a fall touch, she sprinkled on some cinnamon & edible gold baking glitter above the white chocolate curls.  This glitter glams up everything you put it on!

Sweet Karin was our hostess this month – and MAN did she a WONDERFUL job!!  Here’s a look at how she set the room up:

Bake Group Fall Recipes Tablescape

And a closer look at her place settings:

Bake Group Fall Recipes Table Setting

Everything was so festive – including these take-away gifts she made for us!  She graciously sent me the recipe card to share with you, so that you can make someones day giving this cute gift away!!  **YOU CAN PRINT THE RECIPE CARD HERE**

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Free Printable Recipe Card - Bake Group Fall Recipes - PurdueAvenue

What is so beautifully displayed in those jars was an INCREDIBLE Baked Pumpkin Granola, a recipe that she got from one of her amazing baker friends!

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal - Bake Group Fall Recipes - purdueavenue.com

You don’t have to wait for breakfast to make this…it was EASILY passable as a dessert.  Think Apple Crisp – only Pumpkin Crisp.  YUM!  The bottom layer of this baked granola was a pumpkin flavored almost custard-like texture that paired perfectly with the topping that was crunchy-buttery-caramelized-nutty-sugary-deliciousness. This is one you’ll definitely want to share! (or not – we won’t judge.)  Here is the recipe:

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal Recipe - Bake Group Fall Recipes - PurdueAvenue

Be a part of our bake group via the internet!  Leave a comment describing YOUR favorite fall recipe & leave us a link to any that are tested and approved by you!

 

Happy Fall!
Erin

Tomatillo Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice

A few years ago, my friend Elaine called me up and said she had just made the yummiest dinner and she was bringing me a taste!

She called it Tomatillo Chicken and had made it in the slow cooker.   She served hers street taco style with just the meat and cheese.  She folded it over and deep fried it.  It was delicious.

The meat was so incredibly tender – while the flavor of the meat was tangy, spicy and sweet all at the same time.  SOOOOO GOOD!!!

I’m not a member of the fry club {Don’t own a deep fryer} and greasy foods and I don’t get a long well.  So – I’ve adapted the way I serve it from hers – but didn’t stray at all from the recipe for the meat.  Because you really don’t want to mess with perfection.  I have since made it for several friends and family and have yet to find someone that doesn’t snarf it and then ask for the recipe.  It’s that good.

I serve mine with a Cilantro Lime Rice {recipe to follow} that is delicious on it’s own – but to die for when paired with this meat.

They were meant to be together, I believe.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the meal:

Tomatillo-Chicken-Basket-of-Ingredients

For the Meat:

15 Tomatillos {about the size shown above} – husks removed, rinsed and quartered

1 Small Onion – Roughly Chopped

1 Can of Chipotle Chile’s in Adobo Sauce – I only use about 3 or 4 chili’s from the can – but you can add them to how spicy you like it.

3 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed

1 C. Chicken Stock

2 Tbsp Dried Oregano

1/4 C. Brown Sugar

4 Chicken Breasts (I also like to use a small pork roast sometimes)

Toss all of the ingredients together in the crock pot and cook it on high for 4 hours, or on low for at least 6.

(The longer it cooks on low the more tender the meat will be.

**Since I’ve started making this – I have been introduced to this Cuisine Art Electric Pressure Cooker.

Pressure-Cooker

It cooks the meat from frozen to fall apart in 90 minutes.  Perfect for those days that I space out thawing my meat out and forgetting to make the dinner in the morning so it can slow cook all day.  Not to mention, you don’t lose the nutrients the way you do otherwise.  The flavors are more intense and the meat is WAY more tender.  Just so you know ;0) **

With about 30 minutes to dinner – I start making the rice:

Here is the recipe for Cilantro Lime Rice:

You will need:

2-4 Tbsp Butter

2 Green Onions, Sliced

2 C. Rice (I like Jasmine)

**Note – it’s equally good with brown rice – but you’ll have to refer to the package directions for cooking time**

Zest of 2 limes

Juice of 1 lime

2 Tbsp chopped fresh Cilantro

4 C. Chicken Stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and add in the green onions and sauté.  Then add the rice and coat with the butter and toast it just a bit.

Then add the chicken stock, lime zest and juice, cilantro and salt and pepper.

Bring to a full boil, then cover and turn to low.

Let simmer on low without stirring or removing the lid for 20 minutes.

Then take the lid off and fluff the rice with a fork.

To Serve: 

Once the rice is finished – I shred the chicken with 2 forks right in the crock pot.

Then place a mesh strainer over your crock pot, and let some of the juices drain out.  You don’t have to do this step – but I hate leaky burritos.

Drain-off-the-juices

While the juices are draining – start cooking up your tortillas

I like to use store bought, uncooked tortillas and then brown them on my cast iron griddle.

Cook-the-tortillas

When they are nice and toasty, just assemble your burrito with the ingredients that you like: (we do it buffet style)

Make-the-Burrito

I like mine with:

Sour cream spread on the bottom, Cilantro Lime Rice, Tomatillo Chicken, Cheese, and Avocado Slices.  Just don’t add so much that you can’t fold it up.

You could just wrap it up burrito style and eat it at this point – but I like to toast all of the sides to give the burrito a nice crunch.

And my husband has this nifty little trick to seal up the burrito.

Fold it burrito style, and leave the last flap open a bit and sprinkle on some cheese:

Place-cheese-at-the-seam1

Then fold it shut:

Place-Cheese-at-the-seam

Place it seam side down on the cast iron griddle:

Place-Seam-on-Skillet

Then eat it and leave me a comment about how delicious it was!  Because you’ll love it!!

Tomatillo-Chicken-Burrito

If you  aren’t a tortilla fan (like my son) he eats his rice bowl style:

Tomatillo-Bowl

If you want carb free – this meat makes a DELICIOUS salad…and if you don’t strain the meat – you don’t need a dressing.

I’ve also made a salad Cafe Rio style – with the lettuce, meat, black beans, and the cilantro lime rice.

A little sour cream and some avocado slices and you have a yummy and light meal.

However you eat it – this is one that gets requested a lot at my house…I’m sure the trend will continue.  Leave a comment if you try it!! I know future readers would love to know how delicious it is from more than just me ;0)

Enjoy!!

**Erin

Christmas Eve Dinner

A few years ago – my husband and I were into watching Hell’s Kitchen.  Gordon Ramsay’s Beef Wellington always sounded DELICIOUS!! My husband was always drooling a little bit when they would show it.  So – for Christmas 2 years ago – I surprised him and made it for our Christmas Eve Dinner as one of his presents.

Since it was Christmas – I wrapped it like a gift ;0)Beef-Wellington

He absolutely LOVED it!  And it’s become a tradition to have this Christmas Eve.

You can get the recipe HERE and watch the instructional video HERE

To make the bow on top:

Cut the extra puff pastry into 3 long strips

Fold both ends of one strip into the center (so that there are 2 loops)

Wrap a small piece around the center to hide the seam

Place the bow in the center.

Lay long strips down both sides of the bow

Cut 2 small pieces to hang and notch the edges

The tradition at our house is that we get to open 1 gift on Christmas Eve – our PJ’s.

So I set a really fancy schmancy table – and each person has their gift to open on their plate.

We open them, and change, and eat our super fancy dinner in our new Christmas PJ’s.  I love it.

It helps that the PJ’s have an elastic band with this deliciousness…I’m just sayin’…

That’s what we’ll be doing tonight!  Have a Very Merry Christmas!!  And don’t forget to enter our GIVEAWAY!!

**Erin

1 Chicken = 3 Soups

Finally!!  Soup weather has hit Arizona!!  I realize that, for many of you, soup weather has been around for awhile.  But last week we were still in the 90’s.

Yuck.

But – it’s finally cooled down to where warm soup sounds wonderful.

So…I thought I’d show you how I take 1 simple rotisserie chicken to make 3 delicious soups!

I’m lazy & I buy the rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.  If you’re more motivated you can roast the chicken yourself. :0)

Step 1

Remove the meat from the bones

**Just a note: this step is much easier while the chicken is still warm.  You can do it later, after it’s cold, but I do it as soon as my other groceries are put away.

I think the container that the chicken comes in works perfectly for this…

I leave the meat in pretty good sized chunks, because that’s how I like it in my soup.

Cover the meat & refrigerate for later, leave the carcass out for step 2.

Step 2

Place the carcass (the bones, the skin, the juices…) in a  large stock pot and fill the pot with water.

Bring to a boil and then reduce to med/low and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.  The longer you leave it, the more concentrated your stock will be.  I try to give it an hour.

**Note: a lot of people will add celery, carrots, onions, etc at this point to give the stock more flavor, but since I’m using them in soups later, I just use the carcass.

Step 3

Pour the stock through a strainer into a bowl large enough to hold the liquid.

Discard the bones.

Step 4

Pour the stock into individual containers and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Now you have your stock made, let’s talk about the soup.

Soup #1: Chicken Noodle Soup

I always make this soup first, since I’ve got the chicken all ready to go.

I usually just leave enough stock for this soup in the pan (about 1 quart) from making the stock.

Since it simmered for so long, it’s pretty concentrated, so I’ll add water (about 64 oz) & salt to taste.

Crank the stove up to high to get it boiling again.

Then I add my chicken I removed from the bones.  Like I said, I like to leave it in good sized chunks.

Add 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (more if you like things spicy)

& this (my favorite seasoning)

You can get it at Costco.  I use it A LOT!!  So – I throw in about 1/3 cup of this.  This soup is good without it, but better with it. :0)

If you can’t get it from Costco, just throw in 2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning.  But trust me, the Costco seasoning is better!!  Get it if you can!!

Then I roughly chop:

1 large russet potato (skins on)

2 large carrots

1 onion

and throw them all into the food processor.  I use the Ninja.  I love it.

Give it a few pulses until it looks like this:

As you can see, the pieces aren’t uniform.  But I like that.  And this is a heck of a lot faster than dicing all of these veggies.

The celery, however, I do chop by hand.  Leaves and all.  I think they add flavor and are visually pretty in the soup!

Toss it all in the pot, cover, & let it simmer for at least 10 minutes and then add Ditalini pasta.  I use about 1 cup.  You can add more or less (or none if you want low carb)

Let cook until pasta is soft (about 12 minutes).

Top with shredded parmesan & serve warm.

You can get the printable recipe by clicking on the image.

Soup #2:  Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup w/ Bacon “croutons”

I love butternut squash.  {That’s pretty apparent from my choice of dessert at our last Bake Group.} So I LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED LOVED (do you get it?) this soup!  I ate all of the leftovers myself.  I’ve had butternut squash soup before, but I think it may have been the granny smith apple & the bacon in this one that won me over.  I just loved it. (oh yeah, I said it, LOVED!!)

I found this recipe in the Williams Sonoma catalogue & made the following changes:

Change 1: Instead of Pork Belly, I used bacon.

Change 2: Instead of their Chicken Stock Concentrate, I used the stock we made a the beginning of the post.  (Again, it is pretty concentrated, so add about 64 oz. water & salt to taste.)

Change 3: I gave it a dash of chipotle pepper in each dish on top of the bacon.

Here are some pictures of the process:

The Roasted Butternut Squash & Carrots

 

Caramelizing the apples & onions

 

 

The bacon “croutons”

You really have GOT to try this one!!

Soup #3: Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Potato Soup)

I love this soup at Olive Garden.  So – I went on a quest to find the recipe.  This one is the closest I’ve found.

A few notes:

**Just use the stock we made above instead of the chicken broth.

**Add in the Kirkland Seasoning I mentioned earlier, if you’ve got it

**Make SURE to use the ground mustard & the fennel seed.  He says optional, but it’s not. It makes the soup.

What are your favorite soups?  Come on people, I want to hear from you!!! ;0)

Enjoy!

**Erin


Slumgullion

At least that’s what he called it.

I had completely forgotten all about it.

And then, as I was borrowing the correct spelling of voilà [I am not proficient in the special character aspect of blogging and must resort to borrowing correct spellings on occasion], dictionary.com informed me that voilà is a great word to know and so is slumgullion. Then I was asked to guess it’s definition. Which I randomly happened to know.

You see, every other month we will have a Relief Society meeting called Fun with Foods. Last month a pastry chef brother from the ward was asked to come and share his favorite quick and easy breakfast foods. He let us each try our hand at preparing crepes and then he fixed us slumgullion. His favorite throw together breakfast.

I made it for breakfast this morning and considered taking a photo, but realized that sometimes photos are not necessarily the best selling tools. Which is to say, if I were to share a photo it’s very possible that no one would try the recipe simply because it doesn’t look appetizing. At all. But it is. I promise. And it’s so very simple…

For my kidlets and I [that’s five] this is what I used:

1/2 lb sausage [we like Jimmy Dean’s sage flavored sausage] or a few slices of bacon

5 slices of bread

5 eggs

  1. Brown the sausage [do not drain].
  2. Break the bread [bite sized chunks] into the pan with sausage and drippings. It isn’t necessary to break each piece individually… stack a few together and chunk them up.
  3. Stir the bread around with the sausage and drippings for a few minutes so it can soak up all that good, um, flavor.
  4. Crack the eggs into the pan and mix them up with the rest of the ingredients until done [I interpret eggs done when they are no longer shiny… these will cook up similar to scrambled eggs with a bunch of other stuff mixed in].
  5. Serve + enjoy. Seriously.

A few notes:

When he made this he actually used bacon. Truthfully I’m not a fan of bacon, but it gave a great flavor in this mix. Though I did avoid actually eating the bacon pieces. It’s more of a texture thing for me. We use sausage because I don’t buy bacon.

There are no rules here. Ladies kept asking him how many slices of bread he used, how many eggs, etc. He had no idea. He just threw some stuff in. I kept track of what I used so I could share. I know some people like actual numbers. I’m more of a tosser-inner myself. I think this makes just enough to feed those of us at home during breakfast. My boys think they would like more. It won’t fit in my skillet. I don’t want to use a bigger pan.

Wiktionary says slumgullion is a stew of meat and vegetables and the images that pop up [if one were to choose to google the word as I did] look much like what we call goulash around here. So I like that he called it slumgullion.

And my kids love it.

ps. The photo above is obviously not of slumgullion. It’s just fun. And every post needs a fun photo.

The end.

pps. Happy Halloween

ppps. I found a reference to slumgullion that may indicate where this particular recipe originated… Apparently Jack Kerouac talks about making slumgullion in his book The Dharma Burns. It was made with home fries and eggs.

Bake Group: Tricky Treats

I always think that the previous Bake Group will be the best one…because you really can’t top perfection.  But, as usual, WRONG!!

Everything was super delicious this month.  I won’t keep you waiting…

This Pumpkin Cheesecake w/Pecan-Gingersnap Crust is from Our Best Bites Recipe Book.

But – Lucky for you – they have the recipe on their blog.  You can get it HERE.

When the baker was describing it – she said the topping is melted kraft caramels.  I was sold.  I love them.  Too much at times.

The whole cake was completely amazing.  I don’t love firm cheesecakes – so this was perfect.  Very soft and moist.  And DELICIOUS!!

Let me just say, first, that I couldn’t eat the chocolate spiderweb atop my cupcake.  It was too cute.

The nice thing about this cake, as the creator pointed out, is that it doesn’t taste like a muffin.  It still tastes like a cupcake.

And that frosting!!!  Oh my!!  HEAVEN!! Get the recipe for the cake HERE and the recipe for the frosting HERE.

So – to make the cute chocolate art deco on top – she printed out an image and put it under wax paper.

Then cut a tiny hole in her piping bag and used the image underneath as a guide to pipe the chocolate onto the wax paper.  GENIUS!!

Okay – this funny baker apologized over and over that the frosting wasn’t right.

But – oh my – it definitely wasn’t wrong.  I could have licked it off.  And I’m not a huge frosting person.

It was delicious and the cake was 3 perfect layers.  She does suggest that if you make this – to not cook the frosting so long.  She said it was probably at the right consistency after 1 minute instead of the 5 the recipe calls for.  You can find this one in the 2010 Southern Living Ultimate Christmas Cookbook  I can’t give you the recipe right out of the book – but this one looked similar.

This may replace plain old pumpkin pie this thanksgiving at my house.  It can be made as a whole pie…and it may or may not be served to guests.  I might hoard it.  SOOOO GOOD!!

So – she had me at cream cheese at butterscotch – but then there is a layer of pumpkin pie, topped with a gingersnap streusel.  Seriously.  I don’t think I need to say anything else, do I?

You can get the recipe HERE.

This recipe was found in the Better Homes and Gardens at my hairdressers!!  Ha Ha.

I was getting cute-ified and found this and knew it was what I wanted to make.

It sounds a little weird {it calls for mozzarella cheese} and I couldn’t decide if it was meant to be a dessert – but I finally decided it was.

There is whipped cream on top.  That makes it dessert, right?

But – some of the gals in bake group said they might make this in place of the sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving.

So – try it out and let me know what you think…you can get the recipe HERE

Last, but certainly not least…This apple cake was AMAZING!!!  Honestly – it would be good alone.

But I wouldn’t recommend it.  That frosting was the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.

It was light like whipped cream – but with WAY more flavor.  SOOOOO GOOD!!!

And – I’m sorry – but I just love the edible gold baking glitter and witches feet she added.

Delicous and Cute.  Win Win.

Sorry – can’t give out this recipe.  You can find it in the Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented Cookbook.  Or I found one at a different blog HERE.

Let us know which recipes you try out and which are your favorites!!

Happy Halloween!!

**Erin

Pumpkin Waffles with Buttermilk Syrup

Who wants Pumpkin Pie for breakfast???

 I DO!!  I DO!!

That’s exactly what these delicious waffles taste like.  Soooooo delicious!!  My friends mother made them for us – and she got the recipe for the waffles HERE.

2 things happened when I had these waffles…

1st – I had to really convince myself not to run out and buy the waffle iron she used.  It was AWESOME!!!  Then I saw the price – and – well – :0(

But it made 1.5″ thick waffles – and the iron was deep set so there was no spillage.  WONDERFUL!!  The outside was perfectly crispy while the inside was fluffy.  Put this one on your wish list for sure!!

My waffle iron – it did okay.  I was happy to see that the waffles did fluff up quite a bit.  Not quite the 1.5″ thick gloriousness that I had previously enjoyed – but fluffy.  Not so crispy on the exterior.  That crunch you get with a belgian waffle iron added quite a bit to the whole experience…

Maybe one day Williams Sonoma will read this post and say “That girl deserves that waffle iron just for existing.”  ha ha.  A girl can dream, right?

The recipe for the syrup – she wasn’t sure where it came from – but it’s pretty simple:

Buttermilk Syrup

In a medium saucepan (because it foams up and expands)

1 stick real butter

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

*melt over medium heat in a saucepan

*remove from heat when it starts to boil

*add 1 tsp. baking soda

*add 1 tsp. vanilla

*whisk together and serve

**this syrup will last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.

This recipe makes12 waffles…my kids DEVOURED them.  I topped them with whipping cream mixed with a little vanilla and sugar and topped the whole thing with a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

Perfect way to jump into October!!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!!

**Erin

Bake Group: The Flavors of Fall

Normally for bake group – we will stick to one cookbook – but sometimes we’ll just choose a theme. This time was The Flavors of Fall. Naturally, almost everything was pumpkin flavored. Not on purpose – but that’s just how it happened. I’m okay with that. I love pumpkin. :0)

Apple Cake with Butter Sauce – I cannot describe how delicious this was!  She made the recipe in mini bundt pans – so the butter sauce poured right in the middle and soaked

all

the

way

through

the

cake.

Oh my.

My mouth is watering just thinking about it. You can get the recipe HERE

This Pumpkin Cheesecake is one of my favorite things in the world!  But – unfortunately I can’t give you the recipe because it is copyrighted in the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. Let me just say – it has a pecan gingersnap crust.

I think that’s all I need to say.

Except, I sure wish I had found my Vintage Fork Place Card Holders for this picture.  Ha Ha.

Pumpkin Mousse

To be honest – the mousse was good – but I was more excited about all of the cute crystal glasses I found at the Goodwill to serve them in.  You can get the recipe HERE.  I substituted rum extract for the rum – just make sure you don’t use equal amounts like I did – it resulted in very butter rum lifesaver flavored mousse.  Yuck.  It would have been perfect if I hadn’t put in too much extract.  Probably a capful would be perfect.  But – the texture was amazing!  A very good mousse recipe!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake.

Very good.  Very rich.  It would feed a large crowd easily because you can’t handle much.  It had an amazing flavor!!  You can get the recipe HERE.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Simple – delicious – very traditional for fall.  The frosting was to die for and went perfectly with the cupcake.  You just can’t go wrong with this one.  You can get the recipe HERE.

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Delicious!!  You can get the recipe HERE

What is your favorite fall recipe??

Enjoy!!

**Erin

i {heart} rotten bananas

I have a thing for rotten bananas.  There is just a delightful quality in something gone bad made into something good.  Really good. I hoard them while my husband curses them.  I slice them up and freeze them in baggies.  Perfect to throw into smoothies.  Maybe it’s the OCD in me – I just can’t let something that has some potential go to waste.  He doesn’t share the vision. Do you?

My first favorite thing to do with a rotten banana is an obvious one…   Banana Bread.   Love it.  Here is my favorite recipe: (Just click on the image for a printable version)

My next favorite thing to do might seem a little strange…but try it – you’ll be hooked:

Grilled Nutella Banana Sandwiches.  Oh my.  It is my dessert of choice these days.  Technically, it could count as lunch…if you like to be technical in the same way that I like to be technical. ha ha. Making it is pretty straight forward:

I like to use Aunt Hatties Sourdough Bread.  So yummy.

Cut about 1/3 – 1/2 of the super soft banana and spread it around the bread using a butter knife.

Spread Nutella (or peanut butter – it’s yummy too) on the other half.

Place pieces together and butter one side of bread. Place buttered side down on a med/high skillet.

Butter the other side while it’s on the griddle.

Flip when it’s perfectly golden brown and repeat on the other side.

Make 2.  You’re gonna want them.

Sheesh – I’m hungry.  Good thing I have a stash of rotten bananas in my freezer!!

Enjoy!!

**Erin