Monday, November 24, 2008

Update and a Birthday!

My baby girl, Perry, turned 1 year old today. It's hard to believe but it's here. She's walking and jabbering, and just a joy to us all.

Last I wrote, I told you I lost my camera. I am looking at new lenses this weekend so I can get my Nikon back up and working. The old lens broke back in July and I had been using my point and shoot... which disappeared on me earlier this month. Sooooooo.... hopefully I will be back to posting regularly once I get that purchased.

A week after I got back from New York, I got a call from the relocation company and they wanted to get our big move done before Thanksgiving. I was given TWO DAYS NOTICE that the moving truck would be at my house to load up our things. It was frantic. It was chaos. But I got it done. A few days after everything was packed up, the girls and I loaded up the Explorer and made the big trek up to New York.

So here we are in a hotel room waiting for the house to be ready for move-in. Our household goods arrive Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) and we will be out of the hotel on Friday and living full-time at the house. Can't wait! You should see the kitchen. I am so excited. I will show lots of pictures!

I hope you all will continue to be patient with me while I get through this period of transition. Thank you thank you!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Back from New York

I'm back. I lost my camera and my wedding ring. :( :( :( This was my little point and shoot that I was using because the lens on my nice Nikon broke... so I'm going to try and sweet talk my husband into letting me buy a new lens ASAP.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

.harvest pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie is probably one of my most favorite holiday pies. I love when Fall rolls around because I know those pumpkins are ripening on the vine and will soon hit market places. I have to admit to something. For years I used to buy the canned pumpkin, and in a pinch I will use it, but really.... nothing compares to fresh roasted pumpkin for your pie.

I bet you're thinking, "Great! I can use my Halloween pumpkins for pie!" No no no... pumpkin pie flesh comes from pie pumpkins. They are much smaller than those giant ones you use for jack-o-lanterns. The flesh isn't stringy and it's sweeter.

Aren't they just adorable? I think they are. Paige thought we were going to carve them for Halloween and I told her to BACK OFF MY PUMPKINS. Yah.. she's a little upset with mom. LOL

Cut the tops off the pumpkins and then in half. Use a large spoon to scrape out the centers. I thought having one family member upset with me was enough... when Jim saw me throwing away the pumpkin seeds, I had another cry baby on my hands. (I just can't get a break!)

Place the pumpkins in a baking dish and pour 2 cups water into it. Don't get the water in the pumpkins but around them.

Cover the dish loosely with foil and pop in a 400* oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. Pull from the oven and let cool.

I cooked the pumpkins yesterday and let them chill in the fridge overnight. You don't have to do this, but you will have to wait until the pumpkins cool enough so you can do this step. Take a large spoon and scrape out the cooked pumpkin flesh.

Mash with a fork. Make sure you look through this puree really well. I accidently had a few pieces of pumpkin shell in there that needed fishing out.

You should have about 3 cups worth of pumpkin here.

Add 1 can evaporated milk to the bowl.

Then add 1 cup sugar.

Add 1 tsp vanilla.

Time for the important spices. 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp allspice, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.

Dump in 1/4 cup flour.

And finally add 2 large eggs.

Whisk everything together until there are no lumps.

Prepare 1 single pie crust. Roll out and put in a pie plate. Trim the edge, turn under, and crimp. This recipe makes a lot of filling so if you will need a great deep dish pie plate. I love this one I use. I received two of them 16 years at my wedding. They're hand crafted clay and bake so nicely. I would cry if something were to ever happen to them.

Pour your pie filling into the pie shell. It should come all the way up to your crimped edges. Do not fill too full otherwise it will bake up and over your plate and cause a big mess in your oven.

Carefully place in a preheated 450* oven. Bake at 450* for 15 minutes and then lower to 350* and bake another 45 minutes.

The center should be just set. If you bake too long, your pie will crack in the center as it cools. Thankfully this doesn't affect it's awesome taste. ;)

Allow your pie to cool on the counter then transfer to your fridge to chill thoroughly. To keep a skin from forming on the surface, put a layer of saran on top and press on it lightly to stick it to the pumpkin.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Monday, November 3, 2008

.german pancakes with pears.

This recipe was found in a Martha Stewart KIDS magazine I bought years ago. While packing things up for our move, I found my stash upstairs and gleefully went through each issue page by page taking all of the craft and food projects in. I really miss this publication and wish Martha would bring it back! (Perhaps we should start a campaign?)

Today I wanted to make breakfast one last time for my husband before we separate for a couple of weeks. Sounds dire, doesn't it? I thought this would be the perfect thing and man.. it sure was. The original recipe calls for apples, but I bought pears instead because I love the sweetness they give, especially to this type of baked treat.

I imagine these would be a great breakfast for your holiday mornings, either Thanksgiving or Christmas. They don't take horribly long and you can make as many or as few as you want. Throw in some fruit, cottage potatoes and sausage and you've got a breakfast your family will love you for.

Here are your ingredients. I doubled the recipe from the magazine which I will post here. If you want less, just cut the recipe in half.

1 1/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. sugar + more for dusting pan, 3/4 c. milk, 3 Tbsp butter(melted), 5 eggs, 3 Bosc pears (peeled and diced), 3 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp butter, 1/4 c. honey or brown sugar.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a skillet. Dump in the diced pears. Stir to coat and fry for a couple minutes.

Add the lemon juice, cinnamon, and honey. Cook over medium high heat, stirring often until the liquid evaporates and the pears and nice and caramelized.

This is what they should look like. Yummy. You could eat them just like this, but I really suggest you put them in these pancakes. They are SO GOOD!

Brush giant muffin tins with the melted butter.

Sprinkle in teaspoons of sugar and coat each muffin cup. My pancakes stuck a little and so if I were to do this again? I would probably skip this and spray with Pam so they release better.

I got my big helper involved. She loves to cook with me and I appreciate her interest and help.

In a large bowl, dump in the sugar, flour, and salt. Mix together with a whisk.

Using one of those empty bowls, break your eggs. Paige will not let me crack the eggs. She must do them herself. She's so independent!

Mix the eggs with a fork and pour into the dry ingredients. Pour the milk into the bowl as well.

Whisk all the ingredients together then transfer the batter into a bowl with a pourable spout. This will make it easier to fill the muffin tins.

Hmph... look who I caught sneaking some pears? See, I TOLD you these were really good!

You might want to hide them from the family because you might find a thief doing something like this in your home.

Spoon some of the pears into the bottom of each tin. Pour the batter on top of the pears and fill each cup up halfway.

Once the batter is all used up, put the pans in a pre-heated 450* oven. Once you put them in, lower the heat to 400* and bake for 15 minutes.

The last 5 minutes these will puff way up.

When you pull from the oven, see how they are all puffy and pretty? Take a knife and run the blade around the edge of each pancake. Place a tray on top and then flip it over to release the pancakes from the pan.

Plate and then dust lightly with powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream. Or you could drizzle with maple syrup like my husband. Enjoy!

Printable version:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Heading out of town

I will be in New York the next week. My husband has OFFICIALLY retired from the Navy after serving 20 years. WOO HOO! He starts his new job on November 10th so we're heading north to check out the area and find a place to live. I have some great fall recipes scheduled to post while I'm gone so don't let my absence keep you away!

I will be doing a small segment on hotel cooking (we're staying in a place that has a little kitchen) and will have those recipes and such when I return back to Georgia. It's going to be just me and my girls (we're leaving Jim up in New York) and I will be making some really awesome modified recipes for small households. I will be posting recipes for the full size and small size portions.

So that's what I have to update you with. I will still have access to email and all that good stuff so if you do need to contact me, shoot me a note. I love hearing from you!