Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rosemary Roasted Cashews

This is a Barefoot Contessa recipe.  I just love her!  She one of those people that I feel like we could be great friends if we ever met.  I mean after all we have so much in common.  We are fabulously rich, have a mansion in the Hampton's, adore our husbands, and love to cook.  OK, so we have two things in common, we adore our husbands and love to cook.  She has so many great recipes that I make and most of them are pretty simple.  I am starting to plan my Thanksgiving menu and this is going to be one of the appetizers I sit out. They are so good with the fresh rosemary and have such a special Holiday feel.  I am going to share my exact menu with you tomorrow and the recipes I have tested.  I will also suggest recipes I have previously tested that I know are great.  If you have any request for a recipe you'd like me to try please let me know.  I hope this helps you get ideas for your Thanksgiving meal!  Stay tuned!


If you can't find unsalted cashews, you can use salted,  just omit the salt called for in the recipe.


1 pound roasted cashews, unsalted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes or warmed through.

In a medium bowl combine butter, rosemary, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and salt.  Toss the warm nuts with the rosemary mixture until the nuts are coated.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Good Morning!  If it's not a good morning, you can make it one by making these delicious muffins!  These are my knock off Starbucks Pumpkin cream cheese muffins.  Years ago, when my husband and I were living in Atlanta I would go to Starbucks everyday (yes, everyday!!) and get something for breakfast and an iced coffee on my way to work.  I worked full time then and we had only one child who was in school.  So I justified my morning Starbucks habit.  One of my favorite things to get in the fall was their pumpkin muffin.  Flash forward some years, we have 3 kids and I bake from my home part time.  Not to mention we live in a much smaller town in Tennessee.  Needless to say there is no daily Starbucks runs.  I don't mind though.  Now I can't imagine spending that much a day on coffee and a muffin.  Plus, my breakfast company is so much cuter!  I do however still want my muffin and my coffee.  I brew my own now using the cold brew method ( I'm going to share that with you later) and I make my own muffins.  I have to say i think these are better then Starbucks.  They are lighter and I sweeten the cream cheese a bit making it even better.  They are easy to make and will make a perfect weekday breakfast to go for those busy mornings.


I bought pre roasted and salted pumpkin seeds at my local grocery store.  They really make these special and they make a great snack, salad topper, or pasta topper too.


3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 ( 15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
8 ounces cream cheese,
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
pumpkin seeds (optional)


Preheat oven to 350.

Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.  Set aside.

Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.  Set aside.

In a large bowl mix together flour and next 5 ingredients.  Make a well in the center. 

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil.  Fold into dry mixture until there is no large lumps.  Do not over mix.

Spoon mixture into muffin cups filling half full.  Place one heaping teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into each muffin cup.  Using a wet finger flatten cream cheese down a little.  Top each with some more of the muffin batter.  Don't fill more then 3/4 full.  Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.

Bake at 350. for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in comes out clean.  Don't touch cream cheese mixture.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Apple Cider Pancakes

These pancakes are wonderful!  Such warm and comforting flavors.  We are a big fan of breakfast in this house, we often eat it for dinner too.  My kids are always up for some pancakes and honestly I am always up for some bacon which is what I serve these with.  So here is my spin on some breakfast pancakes for fall.  The batter is thin so don't be alarmed they cook up great!

On a side note, Thanksgiving is coming and I can't wait to share some great recipes with you!  Who does the Thanksgiving meal in your family?


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium apple (sweet variety) peeled and grated
2 tablespoon butter, melted


Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in  a large bowl.  In another bowl combine milk, apple cider, egg, and vanilla.  Combine wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Add apple and melted butter, stirring to combine.  Do not over mix.

Melt butter in a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and cook pancakes until golden brown on both sides.  Serve with maple syrup.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Three Cheese Pizza

So I made this big dinner last night, roasted lemon chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans.  And it got hugely ignored.  I have learned my lesson on making a big dinner on Halloween.  My kids were so excited about their candy they DID not want to eat their dinner.  Don't get me wrong, I made them eat some but next year I am just going to go with the indulgent flow of the night and make pizza!  Speaking of pizza, I made this one a couple of weeks ago and it has become one of my all time favorites!  This is a loosely based on a Martha Stewart recipe I found.  I changed some things and I think it turned out so good.  I always make the typical pepperoni and cheese for Mark and the kids and a small "gourmet" topped pizza for myself, but Mark ended up eating mine!  He said this had such good flavor, that's a huge compliment from him because he is such a meat guy.  This pizza is all about the cheese so it's important to buy the kind listed, even though they're a little pricey.  The results are really worth it!


1 homemade or refrigerated pizza crust ( Check out my homemade pizza crust recipe, it's really good!)
1 (8 ounce) ball fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 small block fontina cheese ( about 1 cup) found in the speciality cheese section of your grocery store
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush pizza dough with olive oil.  Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until  light golden brown.  Remove from oven and top with cheese ad red pepper flakes.

Place pizza back in oven and bake 5-10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and heated through.  Remove from oven and sprinkle on basil. 


Monday, October 31, 2011

Great White Pumpkin Cheese Ball

I love Charlie Brown cartoons.  They just don't make cartoons like that anymore.  I hope they never stop showing those 3 movies every year.  The Great White Pumpkin Charlie Brown, the Thanksgiving, and Christmas special.  I get more excited then the kids when they come on.  As we watched the movie the other night I thought it would be fun to have the Great white pumpkin to eat.  My kids loved it, and so did Mark and I.  This would be great to make today but I think this would be a great appetizer for Thanksgiving too.  It's so easy to make and is so yummy.  Have a safe and Happy Halloween everyone!


1 (8 ounce) block extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8 ounce) block extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (4 ounce) log goat cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Pretzel rod or broken pretzel, for decor
paesley leaves, for decor
Serve with Apple wedges and Assorted crackers


Mix together all cheeses and pepper in a medium bowl. Shape into a pumpkin.  Using a knife form lines in the pumpkin.  Insert pretzel and decorate with parsley leaves.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

I love Oreos!!!!  I am really kind of obsessed with them.  There is just something so good about that simple little cookie.  But these cupcakes are like Oreos on steriods.  Oreo half on the bottom, chunks of oreos inside and a rich cream cheese frosting.  YUM!  These are easy to make and who ever you make them for, share them with, will love you!  You'll love yourself too!  The picture above is a Halloween spin on these but the picture on the bottom is how I usually make them.  Your gonna love these!


I save the egg yolks and make a big omelet for all of us the next morning.

24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup milk
15 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped

Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. 

 Line  two cupcake pans with 24 cupcake liners.  Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients.  Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.
Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese softened
1 stick butter, salted
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  Beat in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes.  


recipe adapted from Annie's Eats.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles with Maple Walnut Cream

I love waffles and pancakes.  I really love breakfast food period.  We often have it for dinner too.  My kids love waffles too.  After tasting their Eggo waffles once I decided to start making waffles in big batches and freezing them so they can have homemade "Eggo's" instead.  Eggo's taste like cardboard!  Not that I've eaten cardboard but that's what I imagine cardboard to taste like.  We just stick them in the toaster and voila they have warm waffles in no time.  These are a fall spin on traditional waffles and they are so good!  Nice pumpkin flavor with a little spice. They prefer regular pancake syrup, go figure, but I love this maple walnut cream.  It makes a hearty fall breakfast that will leave you happy and satisfied all morning!


4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1/4 cup butter, melted
Maple Walnut Cream


Lightly grease waffle maker.  Preheat waffle maker.

In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

In a large bowl combine eggs, milk, pumpkin, and butter.  Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture.  Stir until just moistened.  Batter should be slightly lumpy.

Pour batter into waffle maker and bake according to manufacturer's instructions.  Serve with syrup.

Maple Walnut Cream

In a medium saucepan melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat.  Add 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts.  Cook and stir for 1 minute or until walnuts are toasted.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups maple syrup and 1/2 cup whipping cream; heat through.