Monday, November 28, 2011
Back to the daily grind. Don't know about anyone else, but man did that holiday weekend ever fly by. It was really fun though.
I love any time that I get extra time with my hubby, and this year was the first year he tried to run the Turkey Trot with me. He only mad it through 3 of the 6.2 miles, but I love that he tried to share a love of mine.
Me on the other hand, well, not to brag but... I finished my run at 56 minutes and 43 seconds. Which is a new personal best for me. Almost 9 minute miles the whole way. Not gonna lie, I was pretty happy about that.
And another historical event, I made my first turkey!! Yeah, hum, this was an adventure. Here I was looking down at this things thinking, "Ok, now what???" Ha!! So I call my mom who was elk hunting, hence why I got assigned the turkey. So I got instructions on how to pull the neck out of the butt and the giblet bag out of the neck. Was expecting that to be the other way around, but whatever. I'm easy going so, moving on. Then time to separate the skin from the breast and stuff it with herbed butter. Wow!! Who new being a cook could be such a dirty job.
And then there was this weird plastic thing holding the drumsticks together. For 10 minutes I went back and forth, "Do I leave this on? Do I cut this off?" My first conclusion was, "This is to hold the bird together so I could easily put it in the pan. So now that it's in the pan, I cut it off. Right?" But then when I actually tried to cut it off, it was really well put on there. Which made trying to get it off really difficult. So I finally decided that it was suppose to stay on. Can anyone answer this for me? Are you suppose to keep it on or take it off?
So, that was my Thanksgiving in a nutshell. That and this amazing cheesecake. I know everyone is so sick of gorging, but, desserts are my thing. Scrumptious dinners are soon to be on the way, but to hold you over, here you go.
I know I say this a lot, but this cheesecake is a 10!! Love all the textures and layers. The perfect combination of cheesecake, pecans, caramel, and chocolate. Actually, I wish I had some leftovers to refresh my memory (or to give myself another excuse to have another piece :). Seriously, this is just flat out amazing! Enjoy!!
Layered Turtle Cheesecake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
6 tablespoons cold butter, chopped
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpase flour, divided
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Additional caramel ice cream topping
Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and pecans.
Cut in butter until crumbly.
Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugars until smooth.
Beat in 1/4 cup flour, cream and vanilla.
Beat on low speed just until combined.
Remove 1 cup batter to a small bowl; stir in melted chocolate until blended. Spread over crust.
Combine caramel topping and remaining flour; stir in pecans.
Drop by tablespoonfuls over chocolate batter.
Top with remaining batter. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
Place chips in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chips; whisk until smooth. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally.
Spread over cheesecake. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Refrigerate until set. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with pecan halves and additional caramel topping if desired.
Recipe from Taste of Home Fall Baking.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Kind of late post today, but it's been hectic. If you've been following my blog, you know by now that I dabble a little bit in making my own recipes, but mostly try others recipes. And a few day ago Jenny Flake, from Picky-Palate, asked if I would be interested in posting one of my own recipes as a guest post. First, total excitement hit, followed by panic. I want to start making more of my own recipes, but that hasn't been a huge priority since there are so many recipes I've been wanting to try. So, yesterday was crunch time. Time to make an amazing recipe that would wow everyone. No pressure.
And for all of those who haven't tried to make a recipe, just know it's not horribly easy. Isn't not greatly difficult ether. It just takes a good amount of creativity, but there is a lot more that goes into it then just going by someone else's recipe. A lot of trial and error. Plus after figuring out your ingredients and how to make whatever it is you are making, you have to compose directions to go with your ingredients, and this all needed to get done quickly so I could get back to Jenny and let her know if I even had a recipe I wanted to feature on her blog. Needless to say, it was a long day. Above is the aftermath of nonstop cooking.
But, can I just express for a second how hugely excited I am about this recipe. While trying to figure out what it was I wanted to create, it hit me that I've been wanting to feature a Monkey Bread recipe for a while, and it's fall, so the thought pumpkin something kept rolling around in my head. So put the two together and you have Pumpkin Spice Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread. After playing around for a while, it was finally time for the final taste test. Apprehensively I took a bite... My first thought was, "Wow!! It turned out amazing. Yay!!" But then I was like, "After all this hard work, I'm bias." so I need someone else's opinion who is just as picky as me. My mom!! I'm not gonna lie, I was even more nerves to have her try my concoction then I was to try it, but she loved it too. She thinks I should submit it for a recipe contest, but we'll figure that out at a later time. But for now, not to toot my own horn, but this recipe is 100% amazing!! Hope you like it! Enjoy!!
Pumpkin Spice Caramel Pecan Monkey Bread
1 package quick rise dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup warm milk
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 - 5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin, butter, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
Beat in eggs...
and dissolved yeast mixture.
Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and mix until just combined. Add the remaining 2 - 2 1/2 cups flour until dough is no longer sticky.
At this point either change to the kneading attachment on your mixer or turn onto floured surface.
Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes.
Place dough in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat entire surface of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make caramel by combining butter, heavy cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, continuously stirring, until caramel has reach 210-215 degrees F (about a minute after boiling).
Pour half of caramel into a greased 10-inch fluted pan. Sprinkle half of the pecans over caramel.
Punch down dough and shape into 40 balls (about 1-inch diameter). In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Place melted butter in another bowl. Roll balls in butter, then roll in sugar mixture.
Place 20 balls in the pan over the caramel.
Top with remaining caramel and pecans.
One more close up for effect. Yum!!
Roll remaining balls in butter and sugar and place over balls in tubed pan. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Place fluted pan on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool bread in the pan on a wired rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.
A Food Snots Original Recipe.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Hey Everyone!! Just thought I would give everyone a heads up that my first guest post just got posted!! This one isn't about food, but about my weight loss story. I went from 180 to 130 pounds. If you want to read more about it click on through to my friends awesome blog Running to be Skinny.
Posted by FoodSnots at 7:44 AM
Sunday, November 20, 2011
This week has been fun and exciting!! For one, Thanksgiving is coming up next week. Yay!! I guess it is pretty obvious that, since I am so obsessed with food, a holiday where you get to eat none stop is a pretty big deal in my world. Two, I got asked by two friends to make up guest posts for their blogs. One blog being, runningtobeskinny.com, and the other being picky-palate.com. Most of you probably don't know that I used to be 180 lbs. Yeah, I know. Shocking, right?! But yes. My post for Running to be Skinny will be posted tomorrow, and it's all about my weight loss story if you guys wanna go and check it out. Just don't laugh at my before weight loss picture. It's pretty bad :/ And I'm still talking with Jenny about my Picky-Palate guest post, so if that ends up working out I will keep you all updated, but I am super excited about both!!
Three, my daughter has started taking a huge interest in helping me cook. This is her drawing her own cookbook. She is turning in to my own little "mini me", so it's been lots of fun having her help me out with picking out and cooking recipes.
This is her recipe she had to have us make, and it was so yummy. Like a cinnamon sugar doughnut with a hint of that gingerbread flavor. The only thing about this recipe is that it makes like 15 doughnut holes, so if you need more you will need to double or triple the recipe. But other then that this recipe is awesome and so easy to make. It would be perfect if you are having people over for the holidays, or even just for your little ones as a morning snack, and trust me, they wont last long. Enjoy!!
Gingerbread Doughnut Holes
2 cups baking mix
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon molasses
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil for deep frying
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
In large bowl, stir baking mix, 1/4 cup of the sugar, the ginger and pumpkin pie spice.
In small bowl, mix milk, molasses and eggs.
Add milk mixture to dry ingredients.
Stir until smooth.
In deep fryer or 3-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil to 350 degrees. In small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon; set aside.
Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into how oil; cook 2 minutes, turning once, until brown.
Drain on paper towels; roll warm doughnut holes in cinnamon-sugar.
(My kids loved helping with this stage. Have a great week everyone :)
Recipe from Pillsbury Best Holiday Desserts