Twelve Days of Christmas: Five Golden Rings

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Five Golden Rings!
Four Calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

Okay so don’t hate me, but I had to skip the fourth day of Christmas… I’ll try to come back to it, I swear, but I just could not find something that I wanted to make for that theme… I had finally settled on calling bird sugar cookies, but can you believe that no one had a bird cookie cutter??? I got frustrated and decided to skip it for now.  I will introduce you to something fun I discovered while perusing Pinterest a few weeks ago: a pizza ring! This recipe is great because its easy, quick, and you can prepare it the night before and simply toss in the oven before serving.  So easy.  You can make it a variety of different ways, adding your own type of sauce, veggies, meats, cheeses, etc.  For my version, I used sweet basil marinara sauce, pesto, chopped spinach, chopped baby tomatoes, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese.  I found this wonderful recipe at ducksinarow[dot]com.  You can chick on the link to see their variation of this recipe.

What you’ll need: 2 cans of Pillsbury crescent rolls, 1 jar of marinara sauce, spinach, shredded mozzarella cheese (plus more for topping), 1 tbsp of pesto, 1/2 cup of chopped baby tomatoes, pepperoni and parmesan cheese.

Preheat oven to 375 F Degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with non stick cooking spray.  Lay out the crescent roll triangles on the baking sheet in the shape of a sun.  You will want to make 2 layers of this.  I cut a few of the triangle down since I found them a little big for my pan.

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Mix sauce, shredded cheese, pesto, and spinach in a medium bowl.  Spoon the sauce mixture onto the crescent roll sun in the shape of a circle.  Top with pepperoni and shredded cheese.

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Fold the crescent roll triangles over the middle of the sauce mixture and lightly press to the other side.  This will make your ring.

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Top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake for 20-23 minutes.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

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I brought this in for a work potluck.   I prepared it the night before and then ran home to bake it about 40 minutes before the potluck.  It was a hit and my co-workers demolished it! If preparing ahead, just make sure to cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

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Happy baking!
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Three French Hens

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree

I have been insanely busy – there is just not enough time in the day for me to get everything done.  In fact, I don’t even have time to write this blog post, but I am doing so, because dammit I’m going to make time! I will finish this 12 days of Christmas even if it kills me (which, I mean, it won’t… sorry… I just felt like being dramatic).  So, questions I’m sure you’re dying to know the answers to: 1. Have I sent out my Christmas cards yet? No. But I will by Wednesday; 2. Have I finished Christmas shopping yet? No.  And I don’t want to talk about it; 3.  Have you wrapped any Christmas gifts yet? No.  Because I actually haven’t started Christmas shopping, meaning I have nothing to wrap; 4.  Have you finished your homework assignments yet? Noooooooooo.  And I am avoiding them like they are an infectious disease; 5. How’s your house looking? Dirty; 6. Is work driving you bonkers yet? Yes… when do my holidays start again??

Sheesh.  I’m tired.  I’ll be happy for this coming weekend when I can finish my baking, shopping, wrapping and cleaning.  I feel I just need a day off from my daily rustle and bustle to get myself organized.  Which brings me to this recipe… it comes with a bit of a story.  Let’s talk raw chicken.  Up until about a year ago, I could barely handle raw chicken without gagging.  I have the look, fell and smell, and I am INCREDIBLY paranoid about salmonella. So here’s what went down while trying to cook the three french hens themed recipe from my 12 days of Christmas blog post series:

Friday Night – I got home, poured myself a glass of wine, and pulled my thawed Cornish Hens out of my bag.  I had had a busy day at work, so I didn’t have much time to research how to cook cornish hens.  So, I got to work.  Remember that whole “can’t handle raw chicken or I will barf” thing?  Well once I realized that I would have to pull the chicken neck out of the body and chop part of it off, I almost had a heart attack… I started getting a little queezy, there was blood, I panicked, re-froze the hens, and ordered pizza.  I promised myself I would conquer the hens on Sunday.

Sunday – My company Christmas party was Saturday night… I spent. the day on the couch, watching movies and playing video games.  Dinner time came around and I needed grease and was no way ready to face the hens… I again, ordered pizza (please don’t judge me).

Monday Night – Okay hens, it’s on like donkey kong.  I threw together the glaze, covered the hens, and tossed in the oven.  I ignored the blood.  I made some fantastic roasted potatoes and a goats cheese and pear salad.  I meant to add some roasted pecans to the salad, but I burned them to a crisp – note: 350 F Degrees in the toaster oven is not the same as 350 F Degrees in a regular oven; well, at least not in mine.  I couldn’t save them.  The hens were done, potatoes roasted, and my belly was rumbling.  It looked really good.  In my panic, I pretty well dismembered one of the hens to make sure it was cooked.  It was.  While eating the hen, I noticed small amounts of red and pink near the bones – I called my boyfriend’s dad in a panic, asking him: 1. if I am going to live, and 2. If it’s normal?  He assured me that often game will have a little more vein around the bone and might be a little pink here and there.  As long as they juices ran clear, I should be fine.  Of course, I continued to panic – my boyfriend then began to panic.  The hens tasted REALLY good, but I couldn’t get over my fear, and after a few bites, I abandoned my hen, and moved on to my potatoes and salad –  my boyfriend made pogos.

Sooooo I don’t really know if this recipe turned out. The part of the bird that I actually ate was lovely… I really need to invest in a meat thermometer.  Anyway, the recipe is below.  Baking Fail.

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The pear and goat’s cheese salad is pretty easy – this version had spinach, chopped pears, walnuts, and goats cheese, but my favourite way is with roasted pecans and dried cranberries.  To roast your pecans, preheat the oven to 350 F Degrees and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.  Don’t leave half way though and get distracted by a movie – keep an eye on them they can burn easily.  I top it with a light raspberry vinaigrette.

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The potatoes were very easy.  I tossed them in Kraft Sundried Tomato and Oregano salad dressing, a little EVOO, salt, pepper and garlic powder, and tossed in the oven.  I baked them for about 45 minutes at 400 F Degrees.

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Honey Spiced Cornish Hens

For the hens I first made the glaze. I combined 1/4 cup honey, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 cup red wine, one whole star anise, and 1/2 cup whole black berries into a large skillet.  Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove the berries and star anise and let the glaze cool.  Brush the glaze on both sides of the hen and place on a foil lined baking sheet.  Bake at 400 F degrees for 50 – 60 minutes, or until a meat thermometer read 165 F.  Let the hen sit for 10 minutes before serving (I covered mine in foil).  One hen will serve two.  You can find a version of this recipe here.    

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The next recipe will be better… I promise.  I feel I need mom supervision when working with whole hens/chickens/turkeys/etc., so I will ensure that Ken’s mom is around the next time I decide to attempt this.  I hope everyone is a little more organized this holiday season than I am!! Ken and I had a blast at my company Christmas party this past Saturday night.

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On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Two Turtle Doves

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

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The Twelve Days of Christmas recipes continue!!  Today’s theme is two turtle doves, and might I say this recipe is MUCH simpler than the last one.  It took very little time to make these and they are relatively simple.  To read about my Partridge in a Pear Tree recipe, click here.  I love turtles.  When I was growing up nothing excited me more than the orange turtle box under the tree.  My mom would leave it unwrapped since my dad would always go snooping for them, and by the time Christmas day would come around there would be none left.  She actually started buying two boxes of them because we just couldn’t help ourselves!  These turtle doves are essentially your basic run of the mill turtles, cloaked in white chocolate with a milk chocolate drizzle topping.  They are freaking fantastic.  I snagged this recipe from Woman’s Day Magazine’s December issue.

What you’ll need:  1 heaping cup of pecan halves, 16 soft caramel candies, 1 cup of white chocolate, 1/4 cup of milk chocolate and 1 tbsp plus 1/4 tbsp of shortening, divided.

The first step is roasting your pecans.  Toss a heaping cup of pecans onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 F degrees for about 10 minutes.  Make sure the pecans are arranged in a single layer, not overlapping, in order to get evenly roasted pecans.  Once the pecans have cooled, divide them into 16 clusters.

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Next, add a soft caramel candy to the top of each cluster.  Try to arrange it so that it is at the top of the cluster, touching multiple pecans.  I actually flattened the caramels a little bit so that they would better coat the pecans.  Place in over, set to broil, and bake for 2 to 3 minutes or until the caramel has melted.  Watch your caramels carefully, it can burn very easily if you’re not paying attention.

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Let the melted caramel cool.  Meanwhile, melt white chocolate and shortening  in a double boiler, in a microwave, or in a heat safe bowl atop a pot.  Once melted, spoon heaps of the white chocolate over the pecan and caramel cluster.  Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or until hardened.

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Melt the milk chocolate as you did the white, and then drizzle over the white chocolate.  Return to the fridge to cool.  I left them in for about a half hour.

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These taste really good.  Let them soften to room temperature before serving or you will be biting into a really hard caramel center.

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Annnd that’s pretty much it… super simple right?  With cooling time in the fridge it took me about an hour from start to finish.  They’re a great gift to give at Christmas – especially for Turtle lovers.  Pop them in a home decorated box, wrap and send – it’s that easy.

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On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
A partridge in a pear tree.

This year I decided to do something really fun for Christmas: I’m going to make 12 different recipes all following a “Twelve Days of Christmas” theme.  By now, I’m sure most of you have figured out that I am an absolute Christmas freak, and since I love everything food, I thought, why not do something super exciting that will allow me to make and try 12 different recipes!?  Over the next few weeks I will be posting a bunch of recipes/treats/etc, one for each verse in the Twelve Days of Christmas Song, until we get through each and every single one of them. The theme of today’s recipe is, of course, a partridge in a pear tree.  I found this recipe in the December issue of Woman’s Day Magazine.  For the pear, I made a cranberry poached pear, simmered with cinnamon stick, star anise, vanilla bean  and a whole naval orange.  The partridge portion of this recipe is a partridge pie crisp, egg washed and sprinkles with white sugar.

To make the pears, first combine 6 cups of cranberry juice cocktail and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in a large saucepan or pot.  Simmer on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved into the juice. Next, add your spices; this recipe calls for two cinnamon sticks, one vanilla bean cut in half vertically, and two whole star anise.
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Peel 4 to 8 bosc pears and add them to the saucepan.  You will want to make sure your pears are quite firm as they will hold their shape much better when simmering.  Bosc pears work well when poached as they are a firmer pear to begin with, especially in the winter.

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Quarter a large naval orange and ass to sauce pan.  Simmer the mixture of medium-low heat (at a very gentle boil) for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pears can be easier pierced with a fork.  For best results, cover the sauce pan with a circle of parchment paper, cutting a small hole in the center in order to allow some of the heat to escape.

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While the pears are simmering, make a your pie crust.  I decided to use a homemade pie crust put you can just as easily purchase a pre-made one if you are pressed for time.  cut up one stick of butter (1/2 cup) into small cubes and freeze for at least 15 minutes.  Add 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the butter to the salt and flour mixture and pulse no more than 10 times.  Sprinkle 2 tbsp of ice water of the mixture (or more if needed… I used 3 tbsp) and process for no more than 20 to 30 seconds.  The dough should stick together when pinched.  Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Don’t have a food processor?  Browneyedbaker.com explains how to do it here.  Once your dough is set, remove from fridge and let it sit for a few minutes in order to allow it to warm up a little bit.  Roll it out, and use this template to cut out your partridges.

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Cut out a partridge for every pear you are serving.  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Brush each partridge with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.  Place a small black sprinkle on the head for it’s eye.  Bake at 375 F degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Once the pears are done, discard the orange and spices and remove from heat to allow the pears to come to room temperature.  Remove from the saucepan and place on a platter.  Return the liquid to a gentle soil and allow to simmer until reduced to 1 cup (about 45 minutes).  Spoon the syrup over the pears and serve with the partridge crisp and homemade whipped cream.

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Making homemade whipped cream is very simple! You have to excuse the pictures of the cream I made as my apartment was pretty steamy and I waited much too long to actually take the picture.  Place the bowl of a stand mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Add 1 cup of cream, 1 tbsp. of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extra to the cold bowl.  Whip using the whisk attachment until medium peaks form, about 1 minute.  You may also use a hand mixer for this, but it will take more like 3 minutes for the peaks to form.

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Cranberry Poached Pears and Partridge Crisps

Ingredients

for the pears

  • 6 cups cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 naval orange, quartered
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 4 – 8 whole Bosc pears, peeled

for the partridge crisps

  • 1/2 cup of butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • granulated sugar for sprinkling
  • black sprinkles

for the whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine 6 cups of cranberry juice cocktail and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.  Heat and stir until sugar is combined.  Add 2 small cinnamon sticks, 2 whole star anise, 1 vanilla bean and naval orange.
  2. Add pears and cover with a circle of parchment paper.  Cut a small circle in the middle of the parchment paper cover in order to let some heat escape.  Allow the pears to poach in the cranberry liquid for 20 – 25 minutes on medium low heat (or until you can easily pierce with a fork.
  3. Remove the sauce pan from heat, discard the orange and spices, and allow the pears to come to room temperature.  Remove from the liquid and place on a platter.
  4. Return the liquid to the heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes.  The liquid should be reduced to about 1 cup, and should be like a thick syrup.  Pour over poached pears to serve.
  5. Make the pie crust:  place butter in freezer for at least 15 minutes. Add flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Add the butter cubes and pulse no more than 10 times.  Sprinkle the ice water of the mixture and process for no more than 30 seconds.  Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  6.   Using this template, cut out a partridge shape for each pear.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.  Add a black sprinkle to the head for the eye.  Bake at 375 F degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Serve with whipped cream:  place the bowl of a stand mixer in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Remove from cold and add cream, vanilla and sugar.  Beat on medium speed until medium peaks form (about 1 minute)

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This recipe took me a while to complete… likely because I was in the midst of baking other Christmas treats while I was making it.  Note that you can prepare this in advance.  Refrigerate the pears in the cooking liquid for up to 2 days.  To serve, simply remove the pears from the liquid and place on a platter so that the pears may come to room temperature, then reduce the liquid as instructed above.  I have to say that this recipe was pictured in the magazine and it is MUCH pretty than mine… and the sauce is like, 3 shades darker.  But it tasted amazing! Anyways, happy baking!

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cheesecake Balls

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So I have a secret, a guilty pleasure if you will, maybe even an obsession – with cheesecake.  I love cheesecake.  I think it is my favourite dessert ever, of all time.  Every time I order dessert at a restaurant, it’s cheesecake.  Always.  So when I discovered that I can roll cheesecake into a tiny bite sized ball and cover it in chocolate, I was sold.  Chocolate covered Oreo cheesecake balls.  So freaking amazing.  This recipe is incredibly easy, which is one of the reasons why I decided to add it to my list of recipes that I would be making this year.  I have a few more things on my Christmas baking bucket list that I want to make, but as anyone who bakes at Christmas knows, the easier the recipe the better,  especially if you’re making a lot of different items for a lot of different people.   photo 3

For this recipe, you will need a few simple ingredients:  one package of cream cheese, one package of Oreos, 2 cups of melted chocolate and 2 tbsp of shortening.  I always add shortening to my melted chocolate as it will make the chocolate thinner and more manageable when coating.

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This recipe is super simple: using a food processor, crush Oreos until finely ground.  If you don’t have a food processor, toss the Oreos in a large Ziploc bag and crush the cookies using a rolling pin.  
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Mix the crushed Oreos with the cream cheese (softened), and once combined, form the mixture into small balls, about 1/2 oz each.  Pop the Oreo cheesecake balls into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.  Once the balls are hardened, toss them in the melted chocolate and shortening mixture, one by one, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Let cool for another 20 to 30 minutes.  I add red chocolate drizzle to coat the cheesecake balls in order to give them a little Christmas colour.

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Chocolate Covered Oreo Cheesecake Balls

Ingredients

1 (18-ounce) package Oreo cookies
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Directions

1. Crush the Oreos using a food processor, or by adding the Oreos to a Ziploc bag and crushing them using a rolling pin.

2. Using a spoon, press, mix and stir until the cream cheese is completely mixed into the Oreo crumbs and you have a soft, homogeneous mixture.

3. Roll the mixture into small 1/2 oz. balls (equal to about 2 tsp)  and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4.  Using a double boiler (or microwave, or heat safe bowl atop a pot)  melt chocolate and shortening together.  Place the cooled cheesecake Oreo balls into the melted chocolate, one at a time, until fully coated.  Use a fork to lift the balls from the mixture, tapping against the side of your bowl to remove excess chocolate.  Place back on baking sheet and cool in the refrigerated until the chocolate has hardened (10 to 15 minutes).

Told you it was simple! Try them – they are amazing.  Everyone loves cheesecake, right?  So it’s pretty well a must make.  Happy Baking!

Santa’s Favourite Peanut Butter Balls

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I am a pretty big peanut butter person.  Anything that includes peanut butter is at the top of my sweet tooth list, especially if it’s paired with chocolate.  Let’s face it… anything that is paired with chocolate tastes better, so naturally, chocolate covered peanut butter balls made my baking bucket list this year.  I like peanut butter balls because they are super easy to make, they are no bake, meaning that I can cook or bake other things while the balls are setting, and they require very few ingredients which means less shopping time for me.  Oh, and of course they taste freaking phenomenal, and I have it on good authority that Santa LOVES peanut butter balls… so bake lots for him this year! Sometimes I like adding crushed pretzel bits to my peanut butter balls, it gives the right amount of sweet and salty, but for now I have just made your basic, run of the mill peanut butter balls, decorated with a little white chocolate drizzle just to add a little extra something for jolly old Saint Nick!

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You will need a few, simple ingredients: peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, icing sugar, chocolate chips and shortening.

Mix the peanut butter, butter and brown sugar together.  Once combined, gradually add the icing sugar until completely combined.  I used my stand mixer to combine all the ingredients, but I have used my hands in the past (I find a hand mixer makes too much of a mess… just use a really deep bowl if you’ve got one).  Roll the mixture into 1 oz balls.  I usually get about 42 balls if I measure each out to exactly one ounce.  Place the balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate until the balls are firm (30 – 60 minutes).

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Using a double boiler (or a microwave, or a heat safe bowl on top of a pot like I do) melt the chocolate and shortening.  The shortening makes the chocolate a little more “liquidy” and  easier to coat.  You may omit the shortening, just be prepared to melt more chocolate; your balls will have a thicker chocolate layer if you don’t use shortening.  Dip each peanut butter ball into the chocolate.  I use a fork to remove from the melted chocolate to help remove any excess chocolate from the ball.  Place each ball on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and refrigerate until set (again 30 – 60 minutes).  And you’re done! For extra decoration, melt some coloured chocolate (or melt white chocolate and colour it with candy colouring) and using fork, scoop up some of the chocolate and quickly whisk your fork back and forth over the balls to add a few lines of colour.  I like using red, green or white, or a combination thereof.

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Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 16 oz chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 tbsp shortening

Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine peanut butter, butter and brown sugar.  Gradually add icing sugar until completely combines and no sugar streaks appear.
  2. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1 oz balls and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes, or until balls are hard.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler.  Dip each ball into the chocolate and remove using a fork to help remove excess chocolate.  Place on a wax sheet and refrigerate until set.

Keep these balls refrigerated as they may melt if they get too warm.  These balls freeze well.  Store in airtight container or ziplock bag in the freezer for 3 to 6 months (although…I have friends who often store their stuff up to year and have had no problems).  Happy baking!

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S’more Blondies and the Beginning of the Christmas Season

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Kitchen fail of the week:  So I have recently taken a slight interest in the Paleo lifestyle. Not completely, don’t worry all my sweet-toothed, carb loving friends, I am not abandoning you.   I could never follow this type of lifestyle… well, actually I’m sure I could if I really tried… but I am a firm believer in bread. And cheese. And I will never give it up, NEVER I TELL YOU! YOU’LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE! Sorry… I get a little carried away when I talk about any type of bread free diet.  I’ll try to be a little less dramatic about the whole thing from here on out, promise.  Anyway, despite my unhealthy addiction to carbohydrates, over the last few months I have really been trying to cut down, and I have been really trying to cut out any and all processed foods.  So far, I’d say that I have cut down more than 60% of processed foods, and 100% of artificial sweeteners.  Including aspartame (I’ll miss you diet Coke!) and Splenda based products (my coffee is a little bit bitter but I have been substituting with honey).  Anyway, since I am a huge foodie and love learning about different types of diets and lifestyles, I decided to try some Paleo recipes.  Since I am focused on losing about 10 pounds by Christmas time (although I’m not sure how focused I will be considering the amount of baking I’ll be doing… how can I not try my treats?), and since I wasn’t gifted with the “eat anything you want and you won’t gain a pound” kind of body, and I’m absolutely not a “oh my god I love the gym because it just totally helps me blow off steam and I really love sweating” kind of girl, but more of a “I’d rather eat my own vomit then spend another damn second on that treadmill and oh my god I can’t breath I think I’m dying from this 10 minute jog”  kind of girl, a weight loss of any kind, whether it be small or big, will require effort, and change.

So let’s talk Paleo.  As I understand it, the Paleo lifestyle is based on eating wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups of hunter-gatherer societies during the Paleolithic era.  The time period would be around 2.6 million years ago up until the agricultural revolution, which dated about 10,000 years ago.  Paelo dos include: fresh meats (preferable grass-fed or free-range), fish, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils such as olive or coconut oil, flax seed avocado, etc.  Paleo don’ts include ceral grains, legumes, refined sugars, processed foods, and dairy (FYI I got all this info from thepealeodiet[dot]com).  One thing I know I could NEVER give up is dairy.  Starches? maybe. If I really had to.  If I really made a commitment.  I’ve done it before and I could probably do it again.  But dairy? I will die before I give up cheese! You will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands before I give it up! I’m being dramatic again.  Anyway.  So I decided to try a Paleo pizza recipe last Friday.  It uses coconut milk, coconut flour, eggs, garlic and a few spices for the crust.  Blend in a processor and then spread in a pizza pan and bake.  It was a disaster.  Needless to say the recipe was not meant for me.  I offered my dad seconds, and he refused, saying he was full (if you know my dad you will know that he does not refuse seconds) and my boyfriend flat out said that I will be a single woman if I ever though of making him a fake pizza crust again… Oh well, at least I tried.

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Anyway, on to the good stuff. I am a Christmas freak.  A big one.  I’m one of those crazy people who start planning for Christmas before Halloween is over, and start decorating the first week of November.  This means, of course, that I start my Christmas baking just as early as I decorate my house.  My first recipe for this year is S’more Blondies.  I love S’mores – the chocolate, marshmallows and the ewey-gooeyness, it reminds me of campfires and summer.  So, when I stumbled on this recipe I just HAD to make it.

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I got this recipe from motherthyme[dot]com.  These things a frigging good. I Had one while it was still warm annnnnnd I almost died and went to heaven.  I found it very difficult to cut these things though, the marshmallow wasn’t having any of it.

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Chewy S’more Blondies

makes 12 to 16 blondies (or more if you make them smaller, I managed to get 32 small blondies out of the batch)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp baking poeder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 8 oz. milk chocolate squares, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

Baking Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

2.  Mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Mix until combined and set aside.

3. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl.  Add vanilla and then eggs, one at a time.  Mix until combined.  Gradually add flour mixture until combined.

4. Spread the blondie mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30 minutes on centre rack.

5.  In a small bowl toss marshmallows and chocolate and then sprinkle on top of the blondies.  Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

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One Christmas bake down…ten to go?  I’m going to try a new nanaimo recipe next week so stay tuned for that. Happy baking!

Halloween Things Part II: Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcake Owls

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Happy Halloween! It is October 31st and I have a very special recipe to share with you today.  It’s a combination of some of my favourite things (cupcakes, chocolate, pumpkin, Oreos and owls).  First I thought I would start the post off with some of my Halloween top tens.

My Top 10 Favourite Horror Movies

Many of these are likely not on the top 10 best horror movies of all time list, but they are absolutely on mine.  My favourite kind of horror movie is one that involves some sort of possession or an evil spirit or demon.  I’m not a fan of anything too gory and I find slasher movies have been overdone (I’m sure they’re about to release to 100th Freddy or Jason movie any time now, and Scream 5 anybody?).  I love a movie that is going to make me jump out of my seat, not one that’s going to make me throw up (I’ve given up on the Saw franchise) or roll my eyes (one more blonde bimbo who trips and falls in the woods while running from a masked murderer with a knife and I will kill myself).  So, my fave movie picks this year are:

  1. The Conjuring (2013) – I LOVED this movie, and it’s probably one of the best “newer horror movie” I’ve seen in a very long time.
  2. Amityville Horror (2005) – I’m sorry none of the originals are on here.  This movie has been redone so many times I just decided to watch the newest one, and can you blame me? Two words: Ryan Reynolds.
  3. Darkness Falls (2003) – The twisted story about a pissed off toothfairy might not be scary to you, but this movie is the reason I still slightly hop onto my bed at night so that whatever living under my bed can’t pull me under.
  4. The Ring (2002) – This movie freaked me right out and that’s all I have to say on the matter.
  5. The Gift (2000) – I was quite young when I saw this, but it’s one movie that actually made me scream out loud.
  6. The Exorcist (1973) – One of the first of it’s kind – This movie doesn’t scare me much anymore since I’ve seen it so many times, but the freaky stories that I’ve heard about the making of the movie really scare me.
  7. Insidious (2010) – The second one is coming out soon and I am so excited to see it.  I will admit that this movie almost made me pee.
  8. The Poltergeist (1982) – It’s a classic – my parents weren’t very good at keeping me from watching scary movies as a child.  I believe I saw this one when I was 10 and I have loved it ever since.
  9. Carrie (1976) – I loved this movie and I am seriously curious to see how the remake will live up to the original.

Top 10 Halloween DIYs I’ve Seen This Year

I love crafts and love DIYs.  You should see my list for Christmas this years it’s out of control.  Anyway, thanks to Pinterest, I have found a whack or really neat Halloween DIYs this year.

  1. Halloween Wreath
  2. DIY Recycled Ghost and Pumpkin Lantern
  3. White Owl Pumpkins
  4. Halloween Tree
  5. Incredibles Costumes
  6. Minion Costume Tutorial
  7. Pumpkin Door Decoration
  8. DIY Harry Potter Potions
  9. Mummy Halloween Treat Bucket 
  10. DIY Creepy Mason Jars

Top 10 Halloween Bakes

My absolute favourite recipes I found this year were both from the Domestic Rebel and will be on my list for next year: Creepy Crawly CUpcakes and Butterbeer Cupcakes (the Butterbeer cupcakes because of my unhealthy Harry Potter obsession).  You can find my other faves below.

  1. Creepy Crawly Cupcakes 
  2. Butterbeer Cupcakes 
  3. Halloween Mummy Spinach Dip 
  4. Candy Corn White Chocolate Chip Cookies 
  5. Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Owl Cupcakes  (Today’s recipe!!!!)
  6. Chocolate Spider Web Cupcakes
  7. Gooey Monster Eye Cookies
  8. Halloween Cookies n’ Cream Bars 
  9. Creepy Crawly Brownie Bite Spiders
  10. Kiss of Death Cupcakes

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So let’s talk cupcakes.  I of course had to add a little pumpkin to today’s recipe, so I decided on pumpkin spice cupcakes and a dark chocolate frosting with a cinnamon spice.  I really wanted to take this cupcake a step further, I didn’t want to just do pumpkin, I needed something more.  More Halloween.  And that’s when I stumbled upon this fantastic recipe, and I of course had to try it.  I of course also had to make this, because they are cupcakes in the shape of owls, and I love owls, like alot, and so does my boyfriend (they’re his favourite animal).  So when he saw these he begged me to make it, and I of course obliged.

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I did make a small adjustment to the recipe.  Instead of using junior mints for the pupils, I used Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons.  They are essentially little dairy milk discs, and are pretty well meant for the exact purpose in which I used them.  I used these for two reasons: 1. I could not find any junior mints at the grocery store; and 2. I am one of those people who just don’t think mint and chocolate belong together.  Mint reminds me of toothpaste, and that’ just doesn’t belong in my dessert.  Everything tastes awful if you eat it right after you brush your teeth… do you really want your cupcake to taste awful? I didn’t think so.  Mint means toothpaste and toothpaste means dentist.  Since my last visit to the dentist involved a pair of pliers and a very unhappy wisdom tooth, I have to say that I don’t want to think about a dentist while I’m eating a cupcake, or ever really, but especially not when I’m eating a cupcake.

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Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cupcake Owls

makes 12 to 16 cupcakes

Ingredients

for the Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

for the Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Hershey’s Dark Chocolate cocoa (I used regular cocoa and added a little bit of black food colouring gel to darking the frosting)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1lb powdered sugar, sifted (approx 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

for the Owls

  • 16 Oreos, split in half
  • 16 orange Reese’s Pieces Candy
  • 32 Cadbury Milk Chocolate Buttons (or junior mints)

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in your microwave.
  3. Whisk in the sugars, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients onto the pumpkin mixture and whisk until just combined. It will still be lumpy at this point.
  5. Add the milk and whisk until smooth.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. NOTE: Don’t be afraid to fill these liners full! These cupcakes do better with more batter in the cups and puff up nicely!
  7. Bake 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I baked mine for about 20)
  8. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Make the frosting: cream together the butter, cocoa, cinnamon and vanilla.  One cup at a time, add the sugar and beat on high until smooth.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the heavy cream until you reach your desired consistency.  Mix on high for 4-5 minutes or until fluffy.
  10. Make the owls: split the Oreos in half by separating one side from the other.  I did this by slowly turning each side in the opposite direction until it came apart.  Not every Oreo split perfectly, so I had to go through a bit more than the 16 before I got what I wanted.  Place the chocolate button in middle of the eye, slightly off center so that it looks like cross eyes.  Separate out the orange Reese’s Pieces candies and set aside.  Using the spatula or knife, frost cupcake creating a flat surface.  At the top of the cupcake, make two little points with the frosting for the owl ears.  Place two eyes on the cupcake, making sure to leave room for the beak and not to cover the ears.  Place an orange candy under and between the eyes for the beak.

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The cupcakes are literally the cutest things I have ever make, and the pumpkin spice and cinnamon dark chocolate frosting are an amazing combination!  This recipe is a must try.  These cupcakes were so cute I almost couldn’t eat one! Thankfully I love chocolate so I couldn’t resist. Happy Baking!!

Halloween Things Part I: Candy Corn White Chocolate Cookies and a DIY Costume

Halloween is such a fun time of year:  It means fun eats and treats, horror movies, zombies, monsters and parties.  It also means you get to dress up as who ever you want.  This year I decided to make my own costume (bear with me… it was the first time I ever used a sewing machine. Well, not ever, but certainly the first time in the last 10 years).  My boyfriend and I are huge into gaming, but aside from a few Resident Evil characters, I really couldn’t say I had a favourite female video game character from the last year.  So I racked my brain for days trying to figure out what I wanted to be, and after spending way too much time on my phone playing Minion Rush, I settled on a pair of Minions from Despicable Me.  How could I not? I love the movie and everything cute, so naturally a Minion fit the bill.  Unfortunately no one in town could sell me a costume and it was way too late to order online, hence the reason for my sudden ambition over making my costume this year… How hard could it be, really?  So I went to the store and bough all my supplies, tracked down a sewing machine, and got to work.

Despicable-me-minions

I love love love minions.  These bright yellow cylindrical little creatures are just fantastic. I’m not going to lie… last week Ken and I watched Despicable Me so that we could.. “get into character” in time for Halloween.  That movie never disappoints me.  I haven’t seen the second one yet though so no spoilers!

So onto my costume.  First I made the Minion goggles and beanie hat.   I found some large glasses at a costume shop, popped out the lenses and then painted the frames black with acrylic paint.  I traced out two large circles of cardboard, cut out smaller circles in the middle, and then painted them silver.  Once dry, I glued the silver circles onto the painted black frames using a glue gun.  Next, I made the beanie hat (I used this tutorial to help with the “sewing” part of it).

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What you’ll need:

  • bright yellow fleece material
  • black pipe cleaner
  • a needle and thread or sewing machine
  •  scissors
  • measuring tape
  • beanie hat pattern (which can be found here)  *I kind of eyeballed it since my printer was out of ink and it turned out fine.
  1. Follow the tutorial up until the four domed edges are sewn together.  You can absolutely do this without a sewing machine (I did, since I hadn’t figured out how to use mine at this point), it just takes a little longer.
  2. Create the inside band of the hat by folding up the bottom section of the hat.  I glued it in place using fabric glue as I did not want a seam here.
  3. Cut 2 to 3 pipe cleaners into quarters. Poke small holes at the top of the hat using sharp scissors and then thread the bottom of the pipe cleaners into the holes.  Glue them in place with the help of a glue gun.

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I also decided to make our overalls, which was the most challenging part of the costume.  Some advice: if you ever see overalls, buy them, because when you need them, you will not be able to find them, anywhere.  For my jumper dress I cut out two large rectangles of dark blue fabric.  I made sure to use my measurements (waits, bust and hips) as a guideline, so it would make more of a coke bottle shape and less of a box shape.  I sewed both pieces of fabric together using a sewing machine I had to get a quick lesson from a co-worker on how to operate the thing – thanks Mel!).  For the straps i cut out long pieced of fabric that we about 2 inches wide, folder them in half, and then sewed the edged together.  I then turned them inside out (with a little difficulty).  I made sure they were the length that I wanted, and then sewed them in place.  I glues on two large buttons at the base of the straps on the front side of the dress.  I then traced out a Gru logo in felt and hot glue gunned it to the front of the dress.

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For my boyfriend’s overalls, I used a pair of his snow pants as a pattern.  I first folded the material in half.  Then, I folded the snow pants in half, and traced along the pants with a white tailor’s pencil, giving about an inch and a half of extra room around the pants.  I did this twice and then cut out the pattern.  I sewed the “middle” seam together first, and ended up with two pieces of pant-shaped fabric.  I then laid the pieces on top of each other and sewed together the edge seams.  Once i was done perfecting the seams i finished with, surprisingly enough, what resembled a pair of overalls without straps.

photo 3 I added the straps as I did with the dress, and then glued on a Gru logo to the front of the overalls.  Ken and I both purchased some yellow knock off morph suits so that we could be yellow just like minions.  I cut off the heads and hands so that I could get the look I wanted (and the feet too since we were both a little tall for the suits).  You can fold in the cut edges and secure with fabric glue if you’d like.

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The costumes were an absolute hit! I thought we were being pretty original with these costumes but apparently the entire world had the same idea – there was an absolute minion takeover this Halloween and I can’t wait to see more costume pictures!

Now onto some fun Halloween treats… This will be a two part post, and I will be sharing one recipe today and the other a little closer to Halloween.  Ken and I will be visiting a few Haunted Houses on the 31st.  I love being scared.  I love scary movies and creepy houses and scary costumes.  I love it all.  There are a few places around town that are supposed to be very well done and I’m hopping that I’m am scared silly when I come out of there. If not I know there will be a good selection of horror movies on TV that will hopefully give me a scare before bed.

One candy that always comes to mind when I think of Halloween is candy corn.  This extremely sweet, bright orange, yellow and white candy is a favourite of mine.  Stop reading now if you are looking for a healthy treat because this one is full of sugary goodness.

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Some cookie facts: These cookies are buttery and soft, and I used both cornstarch and cream in the batter, making the cookies extra soft without being cakey.  This cookie should not be cooked for more than 10 minutes.  The candy corn should be on the interior of the cookies, not touching the baking sheet as the corn could melt or burn.  I got this recipe from AverieCooks.com; this is the second recipe of hers I have tried and so far she is two for two.

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Now I did have some teeny tiny issues making these cookies (all my own fault I assure you).  The first was that I actually ran out of all purpose flour.  I didn’t even think that was possible.  On my way out to work yesterday morning I did a quick peek into my pantry and saw a huge bag of what I thought to be all purpose flour, but it turned out to be bread flour.  Not a huge deal… I used it anyway and the cookies turned out fine.  The only thing I found was that they didn’t quite “spread” when they were baking.  Whatever form they took when they were sitting in the fridge is the shape they stayed.  My other issue was that I a kind of missed the Halloween Candy Corn train.  Apparently it went by weeks again and everyone who wanted candy corn stocked up before I could get my hands on any.  I checked three stores and no luck, so I settled on berry flavoured candy corn.  It’s not quote the same (which is what I frantically explained to the cashier at the Bulk barn) but unfortunately I was SOL.  Next year I think I’ll pick it up much earlier.

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Candy Corn White Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes approximately 20 medium sized cookies. cookies can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week, or in the freezer for up to four months.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups candy corn
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

Baking Directions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugars, egg and vanilla extract.  Beat on medium-high for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the cream, flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt.  Mix until just combined (approx. 1 minute), do not over mix.
  3. Fold in the candy corn and white chocolate chips.
  4. Place 20 large heaping 2-tablespoon mounds of the batter onto a large plate or baking sheet.  Flatten them slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to five days before baking.  (**Note from author: do no bake with warm dough as the cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.)
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lightly spray with cooking spray.  Place the cookie mounds on a baking sheet, spacing each mound at least 2 inches apart, and bake for 9 minutes or until edges are set and tops are just beginning to set.
  6. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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The purple candy corn does not take away from the taste, at all.  It’s just a different taste. This cookie still as Halloween written all over it. And it is so soft and gooey – no crunch just the way I like it.  I hope you enjoy the recipe! Happy Baking.
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Thanksgiving Things

5I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!  This year was the first time I ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner (turkey and all) on my own and it actually turned out really well.  The only menu item I managed to botch was the pie, and it still tasted okay… sort of… but we’ll get to that.  So I love the holidays, and next to Christmas, Thanksgiving is one of my favourites.  I love fall, pumpkins, leaves, and I love the beautiful colours, but my favourite part of course is the food (and maybe the wine…).  So when I had the opportunity to cook dinner I couldn’t say no.  I created my menu based on some of my favourite dishes I’ve had throughout the years.  I much prefer turkey over ham, so we bought a small turkey for the seven of us to eat.  It was pre-stuffed this time around, but at Christmas I will be making my stuffing from scratch.  About 3 years ago I tried a sweet potato casserole for the first time.  It had a brown sugar crust and I was fantastic, so I decided to include that on my menu.  I also love broccoli salad, and I found one that included cranberries and sunflower seeds to make it more festive.  And of course, what’s Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?1

Ken and I were both fighting a pretty mean head cold last week. Luckily I was able to shake it by Sunday morning in time to start cooking.  We had a very lazy and relaxing weekend, caught up on some Breaking Bad, and made time to cross a few movies off our To Watch List (FYI Star Trek 2 and Iron Man 3 are must sees).  I am very thankful that this week is a four day work week because I am exhausted! Most likely because of all the cooking… and eating… and drinking… that I did this past weekend.

I love holiday decorations, which is likely why I start decorating for Christmas in early November.  When my mom was alive her and I would make a weekend out of it and watch Christmas movies all day long.  This tradition really hasn’t changed for me.  Thanksgiving is no exception, and while the decorations are no where near as extravagant as those put up for Christmas, I appreciated that my boyfriend’s mom “Thanksgivi-fied” the house, with pumpkin themed decorations, lots of oranges and reds, and a wonderful tablecloth.

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Broccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries and Sunflower Seeds

Ingredients

  • 2-3 broccoli crowns, just the florets, finely chopped (5-6 cups)
  • 10 bacon slices, crisp-cooked and crumbled
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2c mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar

Directions

Add broccoli, bacon, onion, seeds, and cranberries to a salad bowl.  Make the dressing my combining the mayo, vinegar, and sugar in a separate bowl. Pour dressing mixture over salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least one hour).

*original recipe from alaskafromscratch.com

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Pecan and Brown Sugar Topped Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

For the Sweet Potatoes…

  • 6 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (I omitted this)

For the Topping…

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees
  2. Peel potatoes, cube, and boil until soft and you can easily pierce with a knife.  Drain the potatoes of all water and then mash.  You should have 4 to 5 cups of mashed sweet potato. (or roast your potatoes instead, click here for more details.)
  3. Stir in brown sugars, eggs, orange juice, butter, vanilla, and salt; transfer to a square baking dish.  I used a large oval Corning Ware dish.
  4. Make the topping: In a small bowl, mix together butter, brown sugar, and pecans. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture. Transfer to oven and bake until nuts are toasted and casserole has puffed, about 30 minutes. Serve.

*recipe adapted from MarthaStewart.com.

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My favourite dish at Thanksgiving has always been stuffing. Okay well not always, actually i only discovered it about five years ago and honestly I could probably live off the stuff.  I can’t wait to make my own at Christmas!

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So let’s talk about one of my downfalls.  I have a really hard time paying attention, especially when I’m busy or already distracted.  Often, for some reason, I try to multitask while I bake.  I can’t multitask to save my life.  So in all honesty, the main reason that I mess up my baked goods is because I misread the recipe.  I did this for my pumpkin pie.  In my defense this was my first pie, ever, and first crust, ever.

I made the pie crust from scratch, and got it from BrownEyedBaker.com.  I think next time I might do an egg wash on my crust to make it brown and shiny, and possibly a braid design, but I overworked my dough a little bit so i wasn’t able to do the design this time around.  Despite this, my pie crust turned out relatively well.  Ready to hear my mistake? So… the pumpkin pie wasn’t as sweet as I wanted it to be.  So I thought to myself, next time I am adding more of the sweetened condensed milk… the 1/4 cup the recipe called for just wasn’t enough.  Well, after rereading the recipe the next day, my boyfriend’s mom pointed out that I should have in fact used a full 14 oz can, not 1/4 cup.  Apparently I saw a 1 and a 4 and automatically assumed 1/4 cup.  I suppose next time I’ll know better… oups!  Perhaps that’s why my pie cracked a little bit. I was missing a full 12 oz of an ingredient!

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Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  •  1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
  •  2 large eggs
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 9 inch unbaked pie crust

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth.
  3. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

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It still tasted okay… it was just a little bitter.  It wasn’t melt in your mouth fantastic.  I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family! Happy Baking!

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