October 14, 2014

Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake & Gingersnap Trifles


Happy National Dessert Day!  Treat yourself to these quick, easy, and delicious pumpkin cheesecake trifles with crushed gingersnaps.  They're so good, you might find yourself eating the whole thing like I did!

Ingredients:
Yields 3 servings, depending on the size of your dishes


  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened 
  • 7 oz pumpkin puree 
  • 1/4 c plus 2 tbsp confectioners' sugar, or to taste 
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 gingersnap cookies, crushed 
  • 6 oz whipped cream 

Directions:

Combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.  Stir well to combine.  Add more confectioners' sugar if desired, to taste.  

In serving dishes, layer the crushed gingersnap cookies with the pumpkin cheesecake mixture and the whipped cream.

Garnish with gingersnap cookies.  

Enjoy!





October 12, 2014

Homemade Cinnamon-Spiced Applesauce with Canning Instructions


One of my favorite things to do on a chilly fall day is make applesauce.  It's super easy, tastes better than any of that store-bought stuff you can buy, and it makes the house smell ahh-mazing while it's simmering!  For the best flavor, try to use a variety of apples that are good for cooking such as Fuji, Gala, Pippin, Jonathan, Gravenstein, Rome, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and McIntosh.  Honeycrisp apples are also very good (actually my favorite), but they are a little more on the watery side.  Whenever I use Honeycrisp apples, I reduce the amount of water to usually 3/4 cup.  The beauty of homemade applesauce is that it's very forgiving.  The natural sweetness of your apples will ultimately determine how much sugar you will want to use.  Always start out using less sugar than you think because you can always add more later.  If your applesauce is too sweet, add some lemon juice.  Try substituting the water for apple juice and even add a touch of pure vanilla extract for some more depth of flavor.

For making a larger quantity of applesauce for canning, see below.



October 11, 2014

Spaghetti Squash, Chicken & Broccoli Soup with Cinnamon


Nothing satisfies the soul on a cold autumn day quite like a warm bowl of homemade soup.  This is a delicious lightened up version of chicken and broccoli soup that is both hearty and healthy.  Instead of using pasta or rice, I added roasted spaghetti squash.  What really puts this over the top, though, is the delicate touch of cinnamon.  It really is a fantastic fall soup that will please even the pickiest of palates!  



October 3, 2014

Simple & Succulent Slow-Roasted Pulled Pork Barbecue


This recipe is so easy that I almost didn't share it, but it came at the perfect time, so here it is!  It was a very long day of work immediately followed by cleaning, running errands (piano lessons, groceries, etc.), helping my little sous chef with her homework (Everyday Math can be so frustrating)... all while being reminded that I hadn't fulfilled my promise to "play with me" yet.  At the end of the day, I thought to myself, "I sure am glad I put that pork in the oven at 6:00 this morning!"  It was dinnertime.  I yanked the pork out of the oven, pulled it apart, mixed in some barbecue sauce, and served it on buns.  Viola!  After a day like that, I'm thankful for an easy meal!  It's so tender and juicy... and with little-to-no effort on my part!  Time for wine.  Cheers!



October 1, 2014

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Glaze


It started a couple weeks ago while we were celebrating the wedding of some friends.  After a very touching, beautiful ceremony, we found ourselves enjoying cocktail hour with friends and family.  Mid-conversation, a tray of what looked to be martinis were presented to us.  Pumpkin martinis you say?  Sure, I'll try one.  One sip, ahhh - I was in heaven!  They were the most it was the most (okay, so I had two!) delicious pumpkin martini I have ever had!  I tend to not jump on the pumpkin train as quickly as everyone else does when autumn rolls around, but I am officially on board!  Choo choo!  

For my first pumpkin recipe of the season, I made these delectable pumpkin cinnamon rolls.  I decided to amp up the pumpkin and add it not only to the dough, but to the filling and the glaze.  Making cinnamon rolls from scratch may be time consuming, but these are so worth it in the end!  They are certainly a family favorite, and they don't last very long around here at all.  They are amazing warm, but I enjoy them the most when they are cold.  I indulged in two of these bad boys today, so please excuse me while I go do some crunches.  



September 25, 2014

Quick Beef Pot Pie (Meat Pie)


At the start of autumn, I always make one of my husband's top-ten favorite meals, beef pot pie.  (We call it meat pie here.)  I had planned to make it for dinner, but there was one little problem - my little sous chef came down with a cold and wasn't feeling well all day.  Thankfully, she had no school for the Jewish holiday, so she could rest.  However, I still had to work, which proved to be a little bit of a challenge.  One of the beautiful things about working out of home is that I can easily take frequent cuddle and playtime breaks throughout the day.  But when sickness strikes, the need for things like cuddling increases tenfold.  It ended up being a really busy, busy day for me.  Taking care of my little one, working, cleaning, trying not to stress out.  I look up at the clock.  *Gasp!*  It's already 4:45?!  Meat pie takes hours to make!  We've been looking forward to meat pie all day, so I decided to come up with a speedier version of it.  I gathered my ingredients and laid them all out on the table and got to work (while my daughter clung to my heels pleading for more couch cuddles).  The verdict?  Delicious!  It tastes like it's been cooking the entire day!  All said and done, including baking time, it was ready in under 1 hour.  Success!  It doesn't end there.  I stood up from the table after everyone paid me lovely compliments about dinner, and I thought about all that I had accomplished in one day.  I breathed a sigh of relief, turned away from the dinner table... and cleaned the kitchen.  Again.              

You might be interested in:  Crock Pot Beef Pot Pie
                                                 Stove-Top Beef Pot Pie

September 24, 2014

Baked Salmon & Balsamic Quinoa Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts


The days are growing colder, and the nights are creeping earlier.  What do I love about fall?  So many things!  Baking pies and breads, picking pumpkins and apples, crunching leaves under my feet, sipping hot cocoa, breathing in the crisp air, and wearing chunky sweaters with fuzzy socks and boots!  Yesterday was the first official day of autumn, though it's felt like autumn for quite some time now.  It was chilly outside, and I was in the mood to fire up my oven for dinner.  I had some lovely organic salmon that I needed to use up, so I made a simple & delicious baked salmon.  As a side, I made a warm quinoa salad with zucchini and pine nuts, and brightened up the flavor by adding balsamic vinegar.  Divine!  

September 22, 2014

Trottole with Seafood & Smoked Gouda Alfredo


I lied.  In my previous post, I promised to start sharing recipes weekly, but it's been exactly two weeks since I've posted anything.  I had a good reason to lie, though.  We ended our summer with a much-needed beach vacation.  It was a magical time.  Yes, I'm happy to be back home and sleep in my own bed again, but I sure would love to go back for some more of that fresh seafood!  

While visions of sea scallops danced in my head, I splurged a little at the grocery store without a second thought.  I gently cooked shrimp, crab, and scallops in a simmering smoked Gouda Alfredo sauce.  I then poured that delectable, creamy mixture of goodness over cooked organic trottole.  It was so rich and creamy, it had to be a sin!  I served it with steamed broccoli and Tums.  Everything in moderation!  

September 8, 2014

Chipotle Quinoa & Summer Harvest Salad with Smoked Gouda


I can never relate to the parent that says they're happy to shove their kids back on the school bus and get them out of their hair when school starts back up.  For me, it's a sad time.  Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited that my little sous chef is getting bigger and starting 4th grade, but I really do enjoy those precious moments of summer break with her each day!  If you haven't noticed, I've haven't posted a new recipe for nearly a month.  This is mainly because the last month of summer is always a super busy time for us.  Now that school has started and our schedules have become a lot more structured, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things and start posting on a weekly basis again.

One of the things that has really kept us busy over the last month is processing harvested vegetables from the garden.  I had some green pepper, tomato, and corn that I needed to use up from all that harvesting, so I decided to make this warm, spicy quinoa salad with freshly harvested garden vegetables, topped with smoked gouda.  It's delicious, guilt-free and packed with flavor!  


August 14, 2014

Ham & Cheddar Breakfast Casserole w/ Green Pepper and Onion


Who doesn't love ham and cheese?!  With the weather cooling down some, I've been getting a little more guilt-free use out of my oven.  Organic eggs, fat-free milk, leftover ham, green pepper from the garden, and reduced fat cheddar cheese are used to make this tasty breakfast casserole.  It has a delicious crescent roll base that just puts it over the top!  It's perfect for company or a lazy weekend and ready in less than an hour.  Oh, and it's even better cold!  Happy Friday!


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