Friday, October 31, 2008

pumpkin spice muffins...

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Brown Sugar Crumble and a Cream Cheese Drizzle... Oh Lord please help my thighs!

I actually made my own pumpkin puree for these babies.

And let me say, when re-heated in the microwave they compliment your morning coffee nicely... mmmm

See all the fresh pumpkin flavor?

I actually made these the other day and was going to wrap each one up and share with my favorite people... but these days there's no sharing for this pregnant lady! Maybe I'll try the sharing thing again for Christmas. By then, the baby will be here and hopefully I'll give a hoot what is sticking to my thighs.

*Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Brown Sugar Crumble and a Cream Cheese Drizzle*
For the muffins...
~3 cups all purpose flour
~1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
~1/2 tsp. salt
~1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
~1 tsp. ground cinnamon
~1/2 cup butter, melted
~1/2 cup sugar
~1/2 brown sugar
~2 eggs
~1 tsp. vanilla
~1/4 cup milk
~1/4 cup heavy cream
~1 cup pureed pumpkin
For the crumble...
~1/4 cup brown sugar
~2 tablespoon all purpose flour
~1/2 tsp. cinnamon
~1 tablespoon butter, melted
For the drizzle...
~1 cup powdered sugar
~2 ounces softened cream cheese
~dash of ground cinnamon
~splash of milk or cream, if needed... I used several "splashes"
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray regular muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
3. Using a mixer, mix the butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk and cream. Add pumpkin puree. Do not overmix.
4. Divide batter evenly between the muffin tins, filling to the very top and a little over.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the crumble. Crumble on top ov each muffin batter. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned. Transfer to wire rack to cool sightly.
6. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the glaze. Drizzle over the tops of the muffins.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

bruschetta chicken bake...

I got this recipe from my Fall issue of Kraft Food & Family. I will say, although I love getting my quarterly issue of Kraft Food & Family, I was a little less than pleased with the recipes offered this go round... but I needed something quick, easy and here's the magic word these days, different for dinner last night. By the time dinnertime rolls around, this ol' 9 month pregnant body is pooped out and standing on my already swollen tootsies is less than appealing. So, needless to say we've been eating take-out a lot and I'm grossed out just sitting here thinking about it.

This recipe met my requirements and it tasted good. However, I thought (as well as JB) that it was a little on the dry side. So, if I happen to make it again I would add a can of tomato sauce or possibly a can of cream of chicken, or cream of mushroom soup to the chicken layer for moisture.

*Bruschetta Chicken Bake*

1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pkg. (6 oz.) Chicken Stuffing Mix
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces... or like me, you could just pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery and pull the meat from the bone.
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 cup mozzarella cheese

~Heat oven to 400 degrees, Mix tomatoes, stuffing mix, water and garlic just until moistened.
~Layer chicken, basil (I added the basil to the stuffing mix) and stuffing in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
~Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through... of if you use the meat from a rotisserie chicken bake until heated throughout and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
~Serve with a green salad.


Monday, October 27, 2008

9 months...

I'm officially 36 weeks along now... which equals 9 months. Aren't I good at math? *big smile*

Anyway, I've still got four more weeks to go until my due date and I'm happy to say that all is good... well, except for maybe the swollen fingers and toes and the fact that I'm always HOT. I'm normally a cold natured gal, but lately it seems, I'm just so darn hot all the time.

I've started my every-week visits to the Dr. now and last week they didn't say anything about my weight gain... which I interpreted as a good thing. *another big smile*

I know the lil' guy has got to be out of room in there by now. Sometimes it feels as if I'm carrying a baby octopus. JB and I find it funny that when I lay on my back he'll move over to my right side and cause my belly to be lopsided... it's the funniest thing.

I'm also officially in the nesting stage... and the worst thing about that is, it's so hard to move around like I'd like too to get things done.

Everyone else is good and is getting excited about the big day and having this little guy home to love on.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

pie night...

Scrumptious Apple Pie & Cheeseburger Pie

A couple of weeks ago we had an evening of pie... and I believe if everyone had an evening of pie the world would be a better place.

First, we had Paula Deen's Cheeseburger Pie. If you're anything like me, and on occasion get tired of the ol' traditional hamburger bun and all its thickness, then this is a nice alternative.

Not to mention they're fun to make and taste delicious.

But once again, this is what it's really all about for me... and after I give birth to this lil' guy in about 5 weeks and I regain some energy other than raising a fork to my lips, I've got many, many uphill miles to walk on the treadmill.

This is PW's Scrumptious Apple Pie. And let me just say, this pie could be the answer to world peace.

Especially when eaten warm with some vanilla ice cream... or the next morning for breakfast with a little bit of coffee... then again for an afternoon snack... and maybe even again for dessert the next night. I'm not saying *I* indulged that many times or anything... I'm just saying, you could if you wanted to. Because after all, with each mouthful a sense of peace and well being would overcome you and all would be right in the world, so no one would blame you if you did indulge a little... or a lot.

*Cheeseburger Pie*

1 lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup sweet onions, preferable Vidalia onion...
or omit completely
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
1 tablespoon steak sauce
Your favorite cheese slices
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough, at room temp. for about 20 minutes
1 egg yolk

~Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

~Mix the ground beef, onion, steak seasoning and sauce together (using your hands is the most efficient way to do this). Form into flat patties. Grill or pan fry the hamburgers to medium-well. Remove and top each burger with a slice of cheese.

~Roll the puff pastry sheet to flatten slightly. Cut into 4 relatively even rectangles.

~Cover each burger with a piece of puff pastry and wrap it around the bottom, pinching all of the edges to seal. Place on a un-greased baking sheet, pinched side down.

~Whisk together the egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water to make an egg wash. Brush each wrapped pastry with egg wash. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the puff pastry is nice and brown.

~Serve with your favorite toppings/condiments.

*Scrumptious Apple Pie*

Pie crust... I used two frozen store bought pie crusts, not PW's "made from scratch" pie crusts
6 to 7 cups peeled and sliced Granny Smith Apples
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 jar (or more) caramel topping

~In a bowl mix peeled apples, lemon juice, sugar, flour and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside.

~Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, then add in the brown sugar, oats, and salt.

~Divide the apple mixture into the prepared pie crusts and top with crumb topping.

~Cover crust edges with aluminum foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil from crusts (be sure to watch this... my crust edges were already done after 25 minutes so, I couldn't remove the foil) and place back in oven for another 15 to 30 minutes. With 5 minutes remaining top with the pecans and finish baking.

~Remove from oven and top with 1/2 jar (or more) of caramel topping. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

~Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

mexican pork chops & cream cheese sopapillas...

I made these the other night... and honestly, I thought they were "ok", but the rest of my family thought they were yummy and gobbled them up. I think they would be better with a thicker cut of pork. So, needless to say, I don't have a whole lot to say about this dish. Maybe it's because I made the Cream Cheese Sopapillas and had them in the oven baking while I cooked, teasing and distracting me with their cinnamon, buttery, aroma. Oh my.

I'll get to the sopapilla's in a minute... because for me, that's what it's really all about anyway.

*Mexican Pork Chops*

~1 lb boneless pork chops
~1 can Original Rotel
~1 can corn... optional
~2 Tablespoon olive oil
~2 Tablespoon butter
~ Salt & Pepper to taste
~Spanish Rice
~Black Beans

Cook chops in skillet with olive oil and butter over medium-high heat until browned on both sides.
Add the Rotel and corn and simmer over medium-low heat turning the chops in the sauce until no longer pink in the center.
Serve on a bed of rice topped with black beans.

Now for the fun part... just look at that creamy, golden goodness.

Drizzled with a little honey... even better. Sinful, I tell ya... just sinful.

*Cream Cheese Sopapilla's*

~2 (8 oz) pkgs. cream cheese
~2 (8 oz) pkgs. crescent dinner rolls
~1 c. sugar
~1 tsp. vanilla
~1/2 c. butter, melted
~1/2 c. cinnamon sugar... Cinnamon sugar can be made by combining 1 cup sugar to 2 Tbs. cinnamon.

Unroll one package of crescent rolls and line the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan.
Mix together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread over the crescent rolls.
Unroll the other package of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture.
Pour the melted butter on top and sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cool, then dig in while still warm.
After I took the first bite, I seriously considered hiding the rest from my family so I could secretly eat on it the rest of the week. Then, I called my dear friend, Amy, and cursed her for sharing yet another divine recipe that will take up permanent residence on my thighs.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

amy's easy chicken tortilla soup...

Amy is one of my dearest friends. We've known each other for about eighteen years and talk almost daily (although lately she's working a new job and it's seriously getting in the way of her social calendar... *sigh*). Where would I be without my dear friend Amy? I love Amy.

This is her recipe and it has become one of my family's favorites... especially for my step-son, Jackson. He LOVES soup... especially chicken tortilla soup.

Now, usually I hold off on making soups, casseroles or comfort foods until the temperature drops and the weather is more Fall like. But there is only one problem... I live in Dallas, Texas and around here, you never know what the weather is going to do from one year to the next. I mean really, I've worn shorts on Christmas Day before. So, rather then let weather dictate my cooking regimen, I decided to make Amy's Chicken Tortilla Soup last night (even though it was eighty something degrees outside)... and Jackson was happy I did!

I usually serve cheese quesadilla's on the side... they're great for dipping.

Amy's Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

2 10 oz. cans chunk white chicken... or you could use the meat from a whole rotisserie chicken from the grocery like I often do.
3 cans chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken
1 can Rotel Original
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
... I omit the corn, sadly JB is not a corn lover.
Tortilla chips
Shredded Mexican cheese
*Other optional toppings
... Sour cream, avocado, cilantro, etc.

~Combine all ingredients, except the chips, cheese and other toppings in a pot.
~Bring to a boil and simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
~Serve with chips, cheese and other desired toppings.


Monday, October 13, 2008

breakfast with a few ghosts...

First, let me say, I love my husband. He's multi-talented (I'll brag more about his talents at a later date... It's not what you're thinking, so get your mind out of the gutter!) and impresses me often with what he can accomplish. He also has the most beautiful green eyes, and he's pretty cute too... ok, I'll stop and get to the point of this post...

In my third-trimester pregnancy boredom this weekend, I sat and browsed through a ton of others blogs. How interesting it was to see how other people set up their blogs and what they blog about. For the most part though, I came across mostly food and baking blogs... yum! Oh, and the ideas I got. I'm now following (stalking) about a hundred other blogs... no, really, it's probably only about fifty or so... for now. Anyway, I had no idea the extinct of this new world I've entered into called "blogging". There's no turning back now... I'm hooked. And, I've got a lot to learn.

Back to my point here... As I was clicking around (and salivating), I would randomly show my hubby, who was sitting nearby watching tv, awesome photos of delicious looking food and desserts. I can't even remember some of which I showed him and where they were, as he was later asking, "Where did you see that recipe for lemon cheesecake at?". Hmmm... I don't know. Well, some of what he saw he didn't need to ask where it was, because Sunday morning as I resumed my blog browsing with my coffee he was in the kitchen whipping up these...

Ghosts pancakes! How cute is that!?! I love him. Did I already say that?

And honestly, I can't even remember on whose blog I saw them to give proper credit.

But what a cute idea! And even though the youngest two of our bunch are twelve and thirteen, they thought they were pretty neato too. So, I know if you've got lil' ones younger than twelve they'll love 'em.

And here's Haley's after she poured some syrup on him. She drizzled it across and said, "Now he looks like a mummy ghost!". (Please pay no attention to the water spots on this old plate... thank you.)

All that's required for these is your favorite pancake mix and some chocolate chips... or if you want to really get creative (or throw in something more nutritious) you could use fresh fruit, like blueberries and raspberries.

Happy Haunting!

Friday, October 10, 2008


Meet Buzz.

He's slightly obese.

His belly flops over and hides his back paws when he sits.

OK, I'm sorry Buzz... maybe obese is too harsh. Maybe I should say, "very healthy".
This is Buzz... our very healthy cat.

Buzz has only several objectives in life...

1.) To stalk you, following you from room to room, meowing and rubbing
against your legs, while you're eating your morning yogurt
until you
him the container for his fair share.

Oh, how he loves yogurt. I don't know how, but he can hear you peel
back the
lid (even if you're trying to be quiet) from anywhere in the house.
If he could, he would stick his whole face down in that container.

2.) To beg for ham in the mornings while you're making lunches for the kids.
He'll beg and beg and even try to stand on his hind legs and paw at you so you'll notice him.
"Hey, I'm down here... give me MY ham!"

"Oh, how I've got to have that ham."

And this is where I imagine that he thinks he's out on the Serengeti about to enjoy his kill.

"Ahhh... the fresh meat of a gazelle."

3.) To sunbathe. He loves to find a sunny spot, stretch out and bathe himself.
He doesn't care who's watching. He's not the least bit modest.

Ahhh... the life of a house cat.
Have a relazing weekend.