Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

[Skeleton] Mudslide Jigglers

HAPPY HALLOWEEN 2011!

Due to the Snow-Tober Storm we experienced here in the NorthEast, my pumpkin-carving-party got changed a bit! We just traveled over to J’s house with some snacks and goodies in hand. The power going out put a hamper on much of my exciting goodies I had planned on making but I still had a pumpkin hummus, buttermilk ranch, sweet pumpkin dip, and these little beauties!

The color was just right, the flavor was awesome, and they are so easily adaptable to whatever you want to make with them! I can see these guys being so cute for Winter in a Snowman (or snowflake) pan!!!

Mudslide Jigglers

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1/4 cup Kahlua
  • 1/4 cup vanilla vodka
  • 2 envelopes Knox Gelatin

Put your milk into a small saucepan & sprinkle your 2 packages of Knox on top – allowing it to soak for a minute or two. Then turn your heat on very low and stir constantly for about 5 minutes until gelatin is fully disolved (this will be thick).

Then pour in your Baileys & Kahlua (stirring very well to blend it all). Finally add the vodka.

Pour the entire mixture into your desired pan. If using the adorable Wilton Skeleton Pan, make sure to spray lightly with cooking spray and then wipe most of it out & make sure it gets into those corners – just leave enough to allow it to pop out at the end. Allow to set for at least 3 hours (or even overnight) and pop out of pan or cut as soon as possible to serving as possible. This should make about 18-24 mudslide jiggler shots (it made the 15 skeleton heads and then another half dozen in a flat container)!

One Year AgoPumpkin Carving Party 2010 (the one that wasn’t snowed out!)

And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… what shapes do you think would lend themselves to awesome seasonal jigglers (and what flavor should those awesome shapes be)

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October 29, 2011

Jalapeno Bisque

We had an issue with hot peppers this year, and by “issue” I mean Rich grew habaneros & I evacuated the house while making hot sauce, burned my skin a few times, and also was overwhelmed with the amount of spice and had no idea what to even do with them anymore. Luckily, we did have some Jalapenos as well (from our Co-Op, although next year jalapenos are all we plan to grow in the hot-pepper-department). And with those Jalapeno Peppers I knew that this Jalapeno Bisque would be a big hit at home.

These photos actually represent take #2 of this soup because the first one I made for Rich one evening when he was out at school late and he ended up just bringing the whole container to work. He said that first version was almost too spicy to have a whole bowl of. This version was a lot more mild (I just used all sorts of green peppers). I think somewhere between the two would be perfect, so that is what I am posting.

Make sure to allow your peppers to get chopped enough in the food processor and use canned tomatoes that are finely chopped, not just chopped/diced. Besides that – feel free to play with the flavor/spice profile depending on what you and your loved ones like. Goes great with a big salad or as a starter soup or quesadillas or for lunch! And as I finish writing this post with the snow falling at the end of October I know that this soup would do wonders to warm us up!

JALAPEÑO BISQUE

1 T olive oil
6 to 8 jalapeños, chopped
1 cup chopped [red] onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups milk
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 can diced tomato (the medium sized can)
1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

Throw your jalapenoes, onion, and garlic in a small food processor and get a fine chop/dice. Then in a medium pot/pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the jalapeños, onions, & garlic until the vegetables are almost soft. Add the milk to the jalapeño mixture. Stir in the remaining ingredients and gently heat to blend flavors. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with additional cilantro.

And I leave you with this, today’s Question of the Day… what is your go-to warm up dish on a cold days?


October 26, 2011

Caramel Apple Bars

I first made these Caramel Apple Bars from My Baking Addiction for school a few weeks ago & they went like hot-cakes (or hot apple pie, if you will). I didn’t take photos that time AND I slightly under-baked them, so they didn’t turn out as pretty and I wasn’t happy with their looks. It was requested that I make them again (and immediately – in a “you should leave school immediately and make them again” kinda way, which I obviously didn’t do but instead waited a few weeks). In an effort to keep my friends at school and avoid a roit, I finally decided to whip these up again…

They are really easy to make, so I don’t know what took me to long to make them again! SO – since October is both National Apple AND National Caramel Month, I decided I should make them again (in our school we celebrate something called “Apple Crunch Day” so I brought in chewy apple bars to celebrate with my co-workers).

These can easily be made without the caramel if you want to skip that step and then they are more like “apple pie bars” but with the caramel – it really kicks it up to the next level. These are nice and sweet and just the right amount of chewy-ness and you can have more than one since they have fruit in them (so that makes them ‘healthy’).

WARNING… Once you make these you will be making them again because people won’t stop asking you until you do!! So, Happy Caramel/Apple Month & good luck…

Caramel Apple Bars

borrowed, loved & saved from My Baking Addiction!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped apple (about 2 apples)
  • [1 cup finely chopped walnuts]
  • Topping:  1/4 cup white sugar 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 inch pan.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together: melted butter, brown sugar, and white sugar, until smooth. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture until just combined, then stir in the apples and walnuts (if using).

Spread the mixture evenly into prepared pan. In a cup or small bowl, stir together the remaining “topping” cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the top of the bars. Bake for 30-35 minutes in preheated oven; bars should spring back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan, and cut into squares.

When cool: drizzle them with melted Caramel Bits or Caramel Ice Cream Topping or Melted Chewy Caramels & carefully remove from pan then enjoy!

I also want to try these tasty looking bars from Joanne but knew that I needed to make these bars again first!

And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… Is there a dish that you make that everyone always wants the recipe for or that you are always asked to bring places?

October 25, 2011

Apple Maple Pulled Pork

I love using my crock pot! It usually gets pulled out an average of once a week during the fall/winter months. There is just something so wonderful about spending some time in the morning to put together a meal and then coming home at the end of the day to the house smelling amazing and your dinner practically done!!

After making my Apple Butter and having lots of Apples I decided to make a family favorite – Pulled Pork, but with a twist. This Apple Maple Pulled Pork (with a kick) was an awesome variation of my normal pork. The Apple/Maple flavors were there, but I wanted more. I could have easily added more Maple as well as some more diced Apples, but I was craving something else… I remembered that we had some Spicy Apple Jack BBQ Sauce made by Bonfatto’s and knew that with a splash of that the flavors would really be “amped up” – that was the perfect touch! The Maple Apple Pulled Pork is a Perfect Fall Classic Dish, no matter how you “kick it up a notch” at the end!

Maple & Apple Pulled Pork

adapted from Behind the Skillet

  • 3 lbs pork shoulder/butt
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • about 4 Tbs Steak Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp dry ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp ground Paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 apple, peeled & cored and sliced into rings
  • optional sauce to finish it off (see my notes below)

Place the pork into your crock pot and pour in the apple cider vinegar. Add the dry spiced, garlic, onion and chilies. Drizzle the Maple syrup over then top with apple slices.

Cover and cook on low for around 8 hours. If you are home (I wasn’t) about half way through the cooking time check on it and stir it up/break the meat apart a bit and I find this helps in coaxing into the ‘pulled’ status. About 30 minutes before you eat it and it finishes you might want to break it apart again.

This is a good time to taste test & maybe add some more syrup (if cider/spices if it seems a bit bland – or maybe even a splash of Apple Cider).

* NOTES: Mine was a bit dry so I added about 1/4 cup more cider, 1/4 cup of Bonfatto’s Apple Jack Sauce and about a half cup of water. The Apple Jack Sauce kept up the Apple Flavor while adding a nice kick and was the PERFECT compliment to finish off this meal, I highly recommend it!

Serve on rolls with cole slaw or sauerkraut (my choice) or enjoy just as it is.

One Year AgoPumpkin Carving 2010 (Pumpkin Carving 2011 coming soon)

And I leave you with this, today’s Question of the Day… We bought the Apple Jack Sauce on an Impulse at a Festival – what impulse buy do you find yourself using more often than you thought you would and loving every minute of it!?


October 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Fall is in the air. We did our apple picking a few weeks ago and then last weekend we headed to the corn maze. After Fun Fall Frolicking we needed some tasty fall dishes.

This soup is so simple and highlights all the tasty fresh flavors of fall. Serve it along with a Grilled Cheese Sandwich of thin sliced apples, a bit of apple butter, and a sharp cheddar and your meal is complete!

Every time that I make a Butternut Squash Soup it seems to turn out a bit differently, but I love it every time! This soup has a definite sweetness to it from the apples. You can spice up your soup with some pepper flakes or leave it sweeter. Roasting the ingredients first allow the full flavors of the squash to really develop instead of just boiling them like I often do -yes, another step/dish but with some foil its totally worth it!

Flavor up your house with the delicious smells of fall! AND you could make this for Halloween with some roasted pumpkin seeds on top and a scary drizzle of something dark (dark BBQ sauce maybe) to give you that orange/black visual. Happy Fall 🙂

Roasted Apple Butternut Squash SoupRecipe

adapted from Verses from my Kitchen (check out the amazing photos)

  • 1 large butternut squash (I used 1 small butternut & 1 small acorn)
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tbsp. sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Roughly chop and spread out on a baking sheet. Add the quartered apples, 4 sage leaves and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, until squash is tender.

Using a large pot, add in two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add in the onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft and then add in the garlic and bay leaf. Cook for another minute. Add in the squash, apple cider, apples, brown sugar, spices, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

Using an immersion blender – make it smooth (OR blend in blender/food processor – be careful with hot soup) Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the heavy cream. Taste test & then serve and top with sour cream. Serves about 4

One Year Ago – my Scott’s Pizza Tour write-up (do it!)

And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… what says “FALL” to you…

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