Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!! Bakerella's Cake Pops, Chicken Barley Chili and Mixed Bean Chili with Tofu

I had so many Halloween treat ideas, but the one I kept coming back to is Cake Pops. Of course I saw them when Bakerella first came up with the idea and they have been popping up (sorry for the pun) everywhere. I made 2 kinds- Chocolate Cake Pops and Pumpkin/Spice Cake Pops. I don't like to use cake mix very often (I just like making cake from scratch, it is fun!), so I did these from scratch, but you can use a cake mix in a jiffy.
The link for the chocolate cake recipe and cream cheese frosting can be found HERE from Bakerella's appearance on the Martha Stewart show and the Pumpkin Cake recipe can be found HERE courtesy of The Recipe Girl. I used Orange and White Candy Melts to coat them and sprinkles.
Now on to my 2 favorite chilis. They are both super simple. The first one has chicken and barley and I found it on the back of the quick barley box. I have made it multiple times and we love it. I feel good about the whole grains in there too. The second chili has tofu. If you haven't noticed by now, I love tofu. This chili is spicy and really easy. I top both of them with greek yogurt, but you could use sour cream instead.
Happy Halloween Everybody!
Chicken Barley Chili from the back of the Quaker Quick Barley Box
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 16-oz jar salsa (I used Pace Mild)
1 14.5-oz can chicken broth
1 cup QUAKER Quick Barley
3 cups water
1 Tbls Chili powder
1 tsp cumin (I used more)
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can corn or mexicornm undrained
3 cups cooked chicken breast, cut in bite-size pieces
shredded cheese
sour cream or greek yogurt

In 6-quart saucepan, combine first 7 ingredients. Over high heat, bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans, corn, and chicken; increase heat to high until chili comes to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 more minutes or until barley is tender.
Top with shredded cheese or sour cream/greek yogurt, if desired.

Mixed Bean Chili with Tofu adapted from Cooking Light
7 ounces firm tofu, drained and crumbled (about 1 cup) I cubed mine
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon minced drained canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can black beans
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup greek yogurt or sour cream

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add tofu and 3/4 teaspoon cumin; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in soy sauce; cook 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Remove tofu mixture from pan.
Heat the oil in pan; add 3/4 teaspoon cumin, chopped onion, coriander, and oregano; sauté 4 minutes. Add tofu mixture, tomato paste, and next 5 ingredients (paste through garlic); stir well. Add water, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Spoon chili into bowls; top each serving with cilantro and sour cream.

Up next- Polenta Rounds with Turkey Sausage and Vegetables in Marinara

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sarah's Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin-Pecan Coffee Cake

Over the weekend my little girl turned 4. She wanted a Rainbow Pony Cake- and there it is! It turned out great and was alot of fun. She also wanted Pumpkin Pancakes for her birthday breakfast. I have seen them popping up on blogs all over the place and found a great looking recipe for them over at Sweets by Sarah. I made them with a few changes- I started making Sprinkle Pancakes a few years ago as a way to keep pancake eating a little neater. I add sprinkles to the pancakes after I put them in the pan and then they are sweet enough for kids to eat without any syrup. Not so sticky for mom to clean-up. A definite plus for me. My kids love them.
I also added some pecans to some of the pancakes. I made 2 batches and in one batch did half whole wheat flour, added a little wheat germ and flaxseed meal.
There were so so good!
While on the topic of pumpkin, I saw this yummy little coffee cake at Cooking Light and thought it would be a great way to use the rest of the pumpkin. It was delicious!
Two really great breakfasts!

Pumpkin Buttermilk Pancakes adapted from Sweets by Sarah
Makes about 12 medium pancakes
1 cup flour ( for 1 of the batches I used 1/2 cup whole wheat and added 1 Tbls wheat germ and 1 Tbls flaxseed meal)
1 T sugar
1 t baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground nutmeg
dash of allspice
1/2 c canned pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 T butter, melted

Whisk together flour (and whole wheat, flaxseed meal, wheat germ, if using), sugar, soda, salt, and spices. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg, pumpkin and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together until mostly combined, a few lumps are ok. Let the batter rest for about 15 minutes. Heat a griddle to medium heat and drop about 1/4 of batter for each pancake.

Pumpkin-Pecan Coffee Cake from Cooking Light
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup regular oats
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped pecans
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice (I used 1/2 tsp cinnamon, scant 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and a dash of allspice)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350°.
Melt 1 teaspoon butter in bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Combine oats, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and pecans. Sprinkle oat mixture over bottom of pan, and set aside.
Beat 3 tablespoons butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup brown sugar at medium speed of a mixer until mixture is well-blended (about 4 minutes).

Add the egg, and beat well. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin-pie spice, and baking soda.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the pumpkin and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Spoon batter evenly over oat mixture. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes, and invert cake onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Coming on Halloween- Bakerella's Cake Pops and 2 kinds of chili-

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Pizza- Greek, Summer Squash, Hummus, BBQ Chicken, Nutella, Mexican, and Thai

Greek- my pizza sauce, greek-seasoned chicken, baby spinach, red peppers, mozzarella and feta

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was pizza. The pizza dough used cold fermentation as the method and we were supposed to toss the dough. No pictures of tossing here- by the time I let the dough rest in the fridge over night and sit on the counter for a few hours the next day, it was so elastic, I could barely hold it up. I got it onto my fists and the dough was already streched out to an enormous size. I attempted tossing but couldn't get any pics of it, because it happened too fast. Sorry. This dough came together easily and I went a little crazy with the toppings. I actually made 7 dough balls because I wanted a dessert pizza too. Check out what other DBer's did with this challenge by visiting the Daring Bakers Blogroll!

Summer Squash- my pizza sauce, thinly sliced summer squash and zucchini, fresh basil, garlic sea salt and mozzarella

Hummus- roasted red pepper hummus, spinach, yellow, orange and red bell peppers, feta

BBQ Chicken- BBQ sauce, cooked chicken, pineapple chunks, green bell peppers, cheddar and mozzarella cheese

Nutella- granulated sugar instead of cornmeal on pan, after baking- Nutella, fresh strawberry slices and blueberries

Mexican- refried beans, black beans, red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers, taco cheese blend, added fresh, chopped tomatoes from the garden after it was done baking

Thai- peanut sauce (creamy PB, tamari, and rice wine vinegar), fresh bean sprouts, green onions, matchstick carrots, cilantro,- after done baking- cucumber slices and roasted peanuts

My Pizza sauce: (makes enough for 2 large round pizzas)
1 Tbls olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbls fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, removed from stems
2-14 oz cans petite diced tomatoes, flavored with olive oil and garlic
1 6-oz can tomato paste
To make sauce- heat oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add onion and saute, until almost tender. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add herbs and saute for 1 more minute. Add tomatoes and cook until bubbly. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes. Scoop mixture into blender and puree, for a few minutes, until completely pureed. Set aside
BASIC PIZZA DOUGH ~Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart
Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter)
4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled -
FOR GF: 4 ½ cups GF Flour Blend with xanthan gum or 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup corn flour, 1 cup oat flour, 1 ½ cup arrowroot, potato or tapioca starch + 2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast - FOR GF use 2 tsp1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar - FOR GF use agave syrup
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting
1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.
NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.
2. FOR GF: Add the oil, sugar or agave syrup and cold water, then mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough.
3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper
.4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).
NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.
5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.
NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.
6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.
7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.
NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.
8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.
8. FOR GF: On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the number of desired dough balls from the refrigerator. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and sprinkle with a gluten free flour. Delicately press the dough into disks about ½ inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle the dough with flour, mist it again with spray oil. Lightly cover the dough round with a sheet of parchment paper and allow to rest for 2 hours.
9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C). NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.
10. FOR GF: Press the dough into the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough).
NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time.During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again.You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.
11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.
11. FOR GF: Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.
12. FOR GF: Place the garnished pizza on the parchment paper onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for about 5-8 minutes.
NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.1
3. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.
13. FOR GF: Follow the notes for this step.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.
Come back in the morning for Sarah's Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TWD-Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

Clara of I heart food 4 thought chose this week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe and I think I know why- They are the only cupcakes in the book! She has another really cute blog- I heart cuppycakes- dedicated to, yes, you guessed it, cupcakes. Get this recipe from her 1st blog I mentioned or go to THIS POST from a few months ago when I made these cupcakes because I had some leftover praline paste and ganache from a Daring Bakers challenge. The first time, I frosted them with Praline Buttercream and filled them with leftover ganache. TO DIE FOR!
I wasn't going to make these again just becuase I made them so recently, but then I needed to make some goodies for my husband to take to work and these were fairly simple, so I whipped them up. This time I used marshmallow fluff for the filling, but should have used more. I also used the ganache topping called for in the recipe.
I let my girls split one and the rest were whisked away.
Honestly, I thought they were amazing when I topped them with the praline buttercream and filled them with ganache, but this time they just weren't as tasty. They were still good, but the ganache wasn't my favorite for the topping.
I didn't have any problems with them turning out dry-both times I made them, they were moist and delicious, with great crumb.
Go check the Tuesday's with Dorie blogroll to see all the other cupcakes- you might just see some spooky ones!

Coming tomorrow- Daring Baker's Pizza-- 7 ways

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thai Peanut Noodles with Tofu and Edamame and I've been tagged!

I saw this wonderful looking dish on taste buds. I have been wanting to try more Thai food at home and this look like a good one to try. I added a red pepper, edamame and tofu, just because I thought the more vegetables the better. It made a great meal and had everything in one! The leftovers were great, cold or rewarmed. I was also tagged by Cathy over at The Tortefeasor, so if you can handle reading a little bit, scroll down to the bottom. If you haven't checked out Cathy's blog, go over there. She is one of the funniest bloggers I know. I love her posts!

Thai Peanut Noodles with Tofu adapted from taste buds
1 cup matchstick carrots
3 green onions, sliced into 2 in pieces
1 Tbsp canola oil, divided
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup matchstick carrots
3 green onions, sliced into 2 in pieces
1 1/2 cups snow peas
1 red bell pepper, chopped
14 oz extra firm tofu, cubed
1 lb whole wheat angel hair spaghetti
10 oz frozen edamame
1/2-1/4 cup peanuts

Heat 1 tsp oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and minced garlic; saute 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and the next 5 ingredients; stir until well blended. Reduce heat and simmer 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to pkg directions; add frozen edamame when pasta has 5 minutes left to cook. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add carrots and season with salt & pepper and cook until almost tender. Add snow peas, red pepper, tofu, and green onions and cook 1-2 min more. Toss vegetables, pasta/edamame and peanut sauce together and sprinkle with peanuts.

7 things I did before
1. watched the sun melt into the Baltic Sea every night for a summer
2. worked as a lifeguard summer after summer, teaching swimming lessons and hoping no one would drown
3. wore shorts in the middle of winter, when the snow was up to my knees to rebel
4. went to my college classes the day before I had my son via C-section and went back to class 3 days later
5. tutored underprivileged kids in an after school program
6. enjoyed college classes with guys who are now in the NFL (That's what you get when you go to a great University like GEORGIA- I have a little Dawg pride- GO DAWGS!)
7. Cried too many times when working for DFCS in Clarke County, especially when transporting crack babies to have visits with their birth mothers
7 things I do now
1. Laugh and smile as much as possible
2. Walk my son to and from 1st grade
3. Live for a date with my husband
4. Try to work out before 6:30 am when I start packing lunches
5. Bake, Bake and Bake some more- oh yeah, cooking too
6. Try to get my baby girl to go on the potty
7. Waste time on Facebook looking for old friends

7 things I want to do
1. Open a bakery or cafe
2. Decorate cakes for a living
3. Be motivated to train for a half (again) or full marathon
4. Visit family in Georgia
5. Gain some fashion sense
6. Plan an awesome anniversary trip since this year it is my turn to plan
7. Travel the world

7 things that attract me about the opposite sex (my husband)
1. A good, pure heart
2. the way they treat other people of all kinds
3. good looks
4. sense of humor
5. honesty
6. trustful
7. fun-loving

7 Favorite Foods (I am doing this in groups, because I have too many)
1. Fruit-Watermelon, Strawberries, Elephant-heart plums, fresh georgia or utah peaches, pomegranate
2. Tofu and Edamame
3. Frozen-Pumpkin Ice Cream, Rasberry and Peach Sorbet, Fudge Pops, blueberries and cherries (homegrown)
4.Prudy's Roasted Red Pepper Soup
5. Butternut Squash Risotto
6. Pizza
7. Vegetables and Legumes- Pumpkin- but I love this in dessert (pie, cake, bread, etc), tiny home grown tomatoes, winter and summer squash, kale, spinach, swiss chard, chickpeas, black beans, red lentils
8. Citrus anything and everything
9. Crepes and European Pancakes
10. Indian Food
(I care too much about food!)
7 things I Say Most Often:
1. That is my favorite
2. Did you hear what I just said?
3. Try to remember where you put it last.
4. It is super yummy.
5. I love you
6. Could you please..... ?
7. Can I have a kiss?
Up Next- Tuesday's with Dorie- Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes- 2 ways

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers- Root Vegetable Pot Pie with a Phyllo Crust

Deb of Kahakai Kitchen chose this week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe. I am a few days late in posting, but at least I got it in, right?
I am going to have to talk to Ina Garten. She just makes her savory dinner recipes too rich. I have said it before and I will say it again- there is no way I am going to use 12 Tbls of butter to saute onions for the base of a dish. I save my butter and cream for dessert. So, this Pot Pie is quite different than the original, but it was really tasty.
I omitted all the butter and replaced it with 2 Tbls of olive oil. I omitted the fennel, well, I basically just redid the recipe. Asparagus isn't in season, none of the grocery stores had pearl onions- so I decided to go with turnips and parsnips instead. I love roasted carrots and those 2 aforementioned veggies with rosemary, so that is where this recipe got it's new look. I kept the squash because I am a fan of it and the potatoes too. I topped it with phyllo to keep it light and it tasted wonderful. I will make this again- my way, so that I can enjoy whatever goodie I am baking. Delish!

Root Vegetable Pot Pie with Phyllo Crust heavily adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
2 Tbls olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
2 Tbls dried parsley
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
splash of heavy cream
1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 turnips, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash
8 sheets phyllo dough
cooking spray
Heat the oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 8-10 minutes . Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, parsley, and rosemary, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the carrots, parsnips, turnips, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 8 minutes. Drain well.
Add the potatoes, and mixed vegetables to the sauce and mix well.
Spray an 11x7-inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Transfer the vegetable/sauce mixture to the prepared dish.

Place 2 sheets of phyllo on a cutting board and spray heavily with cooking spray. Layer 2 more sheets on top and spray with cooking spray. Repeat until all phyllo is used. Carefully place phyllo sheets on top of vegetable mixture and gently press down around the edges.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until phyllo is crisp and golden.
Up Tomorrow- Thai Peanut Noodles with Tofu and Edamame

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Minestrone and Easy Breadsticks

This meal is a definite family favorite. My mom used to make it when I was growing up and I even remember requesting it as my birthday dinner as a teen. We made the breadsticks twice in the past week. The pictures above are with half whole wheat flour and the ones below are with no wheat flour. They taste great both ways. This soup is pretty easy and very comforting. It does take a little time, but if you plan ahead, your house will smell great. Perfect for a chilly weekend!

3/4 pd mild pork sausage
4 cups water
2 beef bouilllon cubes
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium celery ribs, diced
1- 16 oz can tomatoes, pureed
2- 8 oz cans tomato sauce
2 tsps crushed dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp crushed dried basil
1/2 tsp crushed dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
garlic salt to taste
1-15 oz can garbanzo beans
1-8 oz can cut green beans, undrained
2/3 cup uncooked wide noodles or other pasta
Brown pork sausage in a dutch oven; drain. Dissolve bouillon cubes in water. Add onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, and seasonings. Simmer, covered, for 4 to 6 hours. Thirty minutes before serving time, add beans and noodles. Simmer until noodles are tender. Makes 8 servings.

Easy Breadsticks
1 Tbls active dry yeast
1 Tbls honey
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, stirred and measured (you can use half whole wheat)

In a large mixing bowl, soften yeast and honey in warm water; allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir in salt. Gradually add flour, blending with a wooden spoon until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl to form a ball. Divide dough in to 12 pieces. Roll each piece between hands and make sticks about 10 or 12 inches long. Place on greased cookie sheets. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with desired seasonings- poppy, sesame or caraway seeds, Parmesan cheese, crushed dried parsley, or garlic salt. Allow to rise 10 to 15 minutes, if desired, not necessary. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Coming Tomorrow- Late Barefoot Blogger's Root Vegetable Pot Pie with a Phyllo Crust

Friday, October 24, 2008

Raspberry Cream Sandwich Cookies and Graham PB Bon Bons

I haven't found out the results of the pizza contest yet, but I did get around to making that pot pie. Look for it on Sunday with some fab twists. Now for some treats!

Last week my husband asked me to bake some goodies for a team meeting at work. I had a couple of things I wanted to try, but then the day before he told me he wanted me to make a pony cake instead. You see, my daughter is turning 4 tomorrow and she is obsessed with horses. She wanted a horse cake, so I looked online to see if Wilton had a cute pony pan. They do. Only problem is that they haven't made it since 1986. Back when I used to play with My Little Pony. Luckily, I found one on E-bay and with a little help from my bro (Thanks Jake!), secured the pan. My husband told me I could practice and make his co-worker a b-day cake. It was a joke, of course. What 30+year old man actually wants a pink pony cake for his birthday? Everyone got a good laugh and my hand was hurting from piping all those stars. I get to do it again today!
I also made these delicious sandwich cookies from Martha Stewart. The cookies are great by themselves but even better with the Raspberry-White Chocolate Cream Filling. I used another vanilla bean (can I say expensive?) and then threw together some Peanut Butter Bon Bons. They may sound simple, but they are a crowd pleaser!

Raspberry Cream Sandwich Cookies from Martha Stewart Cookies
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. plus 2 tsp. sugar
1 lg. egg
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
6 oz. (1 cup) fresh raspberries
7 1/2 oz. best-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Mix butter and 1 1/2 c. sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 min.
Add egg, extract and vanilla seeds; mix until smooth.
Reduce speed to low.
Gradually mix in flour mixture.
Scoop batter using a 1-inch ice cream scoop; space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake cookies 4 minutes.
Remove from oven; gently tap baking sheets on counter to flatten cookies.
Return to oven, switching positions of sheets; bake until cookies are just set, 4 to 6 minutes more.
Let cool on parchment paper on wire racks.
Puree raspberries and remaining 2 tsp. sugar in a food processor.
Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing to extract juice; discard seeds.
Set mixture aside.
Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
Remove from heat; whisk in cream in a slow stream.
Whisk in reserved raspberry mixture.
Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Spread 1 heaping teaspoon raspberry cream on the undersides of half the cookies.
Sandwich with remaining cookies.
Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Graham and Peanut Butter Bon Bons 1 1/2 cups rice krispies
1 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup powdered sugar
12 oz white or dark chocolate candy coating (I used Bakers milk chocolate dipping chocolate)

In a large bowl, stir together cereal, peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and sugar. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Shape crumb mixture into balls, using 1 level Tbls for each.
Melt candy coating or dipping chocolate and dip each ball in coating, letting the excess drip off. Place on wax or parchment paper. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes or until set. Store in an airtight container

Coming Tomorrow- Minestone and Easy Breadsticks!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bulgur and Chickpea Stuffed Squash

First of all an apology to my fellow Barefoot Bloggers- I am going to be posting the Vegetable Pot Pie a few days late. I waited until the last minute and then got a surprise opportunity to participate in a pizza cook-off, but had very little notice to get ready. So, as you read this, I am probably throwing my pizza together, hoping the judges like it enough to call it the winner!
I thought I would share this delicious dinner we had the other night. Ever since I tried the Butternut Squash Risotto a few weeks ago- I have decided to give all winter squash another chance. My mom used to make it alot when I was a kid and I wasn't very fond of it. But, now I love it!
This dinner was so good. I reduced the amount of sausage and used turkey sausage instead. I also added a can of chickpeas because I thought it would taste good in this. I added some chicken stock at the end to keep it moist and this was a beautiful all in one dinner. The acorn squash made cute little bowls and the combination of the bulgur filling with the slightly sweet squash was amazing. Please give it a try, even if you don't like squash, you might be surprised. I am now a lover of winter squash!
p.s. I will get the vegetable pot pie up over the weekend, so come on back!

Bulgur-Stuffed Squash adapted from Family Circle Magazine
3 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
3/4 cup bulgur wheat
1 sweet Italian turkey sausages 1- 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small sweet red pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1/4-1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place squash halves, cut-side down, on a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Add 2 cups water, and transfer to oven. Bake at 400°F for 35 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, put bulgur in a bowl. Pour 3/4 cup boiling water over bulgur; cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 30 minutes.
3. Once bulgur is softened, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook 2 minutes. Stir in chickpeans,garlic powder, and red pepper; cook 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in bulgur, chili sauce, chicken stock to moisten, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Remove squash from oven; pour off water. Flip over squash; brush with maple syrup. Season with remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Spoon filling in squash; return to oven. Bake 10 minutes.

Coming tomorrow- Vanilla Sandwich Cookies with Raspberry Cream and Peanut Butter Bon-Bons!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Weekly Lunchbox- Confetti Couscous Salad, Apple Smiles, Chicken Chunks on a Stick, and Carrot and Cucumber Salad

This week's lunchbox is mostly taken from Annabel Karmel's Lunch Boxes and Snacks. It is one of my favorite cookbooks to go to for lunches because of the variety and ease of the recipes. The couscous salad was really quick and I tripled it so we could have some too. I also added some celery to it. The Chicken Chunks on a stick, I also doubled and we had some for dinner and sent the leftovers in the lunchbox. The kids loved them! The Apple Smiles are based on a similar idea I saw over at Picky Palate, but Jenny's looked way cuter. These were also a big hit. My husband actually ate the most of those and I have made them multiple times as a snack. The carrot and cucumber salad was quick and easy and very delicious- Hope you enjoy!

Confetti Couscous Salad from Annabel Karmel
1/4 cup couscous
1/2 cup hot vegetable broth
2 Tbls diced red bell pepper
1/2 medium carrot, peeled and diced
2 scallions, sliced
1 Tbls raisins
1 1/2 Tbls pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbls olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp honey
salt and pepper
Put the couscous into a bowl. Pour the broth over it and leave to stand for about 5 minutes.
Fluff up the couscous with a fork. Stir in the bell pepper, carrot, scallions, raisins and pine nuts.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and stir into the couscous. Season to taste.

Chicken Chunks on a Stick from Annabel Karmel
2 Tbls soy sauce
1 heaping Tbls dark brown sugar
1 Tbls lime juice
1 1/2 tsp canola oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts , cut into chunks

Put the soy sauce and sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice, oil and garlic. Marinate the chicken for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Soak four bamboo skewers in water. Thread the chunks of chicken onto the skewers, place on a broiler pan lined with foil, brush with the marinade, and broil for 4-5 minutes on each side, basting with the marinade halfway through, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Carrot and Cucumber Salad From Annabel Karmel
1 large carrot, peeled
1/2 English cucumber or hothouse seedless cucumber
1-2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1 Tbls toasted sesame seeds
1 Tbls soy sauce
1 Tbls rice wine vinegar
1 Tbls sunflower oil
1 Tbls honey
1 tsp mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
Using a swivel vegetable peeler, make thin strips of carrot and cucumber. (I just shredded them). Mix together the dressing ingredients and toss with the salad.
Apple Smiles
peanut butter
apple slices
mini marshmallows
Spread peanut butter on 2 apple slices. Put mini marshmallows on one apple slice and place other apple slice on top.
Coming Tomorrow- Barefoot Bloggers- Vegetable Pot Pie with Phyllo Crust

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD-Pumpkin Muffins

As you can see, these muffins were quite popular. Kelly of Sounding my Barbaric Gulp chose these Pumpkin Muffins, so go get the recipe at her blog or go to THIS POST, from earlier this year, when I made these muffins and typed up the recipe.
Since I had made these muffins before, I knew they were good and I knew the original recipe was great. I decided to use half whole wheat flour this time, sub dried cranberries for the raisins, and I threw in a few chocolate chips. I used unsalted pepitas on top. There was still some great light outside, so I put these on a cake stand and went outside to take a couple pics. My girls were not far behind and hence, this turned into a race. Could I get a picture before the girls attacked the muffins? See for yourself and then go to the TWD Blogroll to see all the other variations on this week's Pumpkin Muffins!

Coming Tomorrow- Another Weekly Lunchbox featuring some of Annabel Karmel's great, kid-friendly recipes!