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Archive for October, 2011

So Jaclyn and I have a co-worker, Kate, whose favorite holiday is Halloween.   Her birthday was last month and I’ve been promising to teach her how to make a super easy pot roast.  However that has been held up by her search for the perfect crock pot :).  So during the wait I’ve decided to make her a late birthday surprise that she can use both for Halloween and when making pot roast 🙂

I used Halloween fabrics from JoAnns and an apron pattern made by Butterick.  My favorite part of the apron was the cupcake buttons.  I also love polka dots so I made the skirt from a happy polka dot Halloween fabric.

There was some goofiness going on in the back room (shushhhhhh).  Sorry for the multiple photos – The slideshow wasn’t working.

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So last night I was in the mood to decorate…cookies that is.  And I figured that if Jaclyn was going to do healthy cookies…that well I should balance her out with some non healthy cookies.  If you know us…you pretty much know that’s how we roll.  Today I bribed her into trying a bagel bite by promising to bring in broccoli so she’d have a back up….shameful :).

Anyway, I’ve got a great gingerbread cookie recipe for Christmas but what to do for fall.  I found a Martha Stewart chocolate cookie recipe that looked perfect for royal icing decorations….sadly my husband has been in the cocoa so there wasn’t enough 😦  What to do????  Pumpkin pie spice!!! Weeeeee.  Well let me tell you…it is not easy finding a pumpkin pie spice cookie that will bake flat to decorate.  But I found one.  http://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cookies/pumpkin-spice-cookies.html.

Of course I didn’t start baking until about 8:30 in the evening…so that meant a very late night.  My husband abandoned me for bed and I was left alone.  AND of course there was a stink bug in my kitchen.  If you know me at all you know that I do not do bugs.  Especially ugly bugs.  Stick bugs are one of the ugliest.  So I ended up decorating cookies on the sofa.  It’s hard watching the bug flying around (to make sure I knew where it landed so it wouldn’t sneak up on me) and icing cookies.

 

Be forewarned that this cookie recipe is very sweet.  I think I need to find a cookie that is less sweet so the icing won’t over do it.  That’s why I like it on gingerbread b/c that’s spicy.   Might be some more Halloween cookie posts coming before this holiday is over 🙂

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Several months ago, a co-worker asked me for some “healthy” cookie recipes. I am not quite sure there is such a thing as a healthy cookie recipe, but there are definitely ones that are healthier than others. Scott and I spent the last several months trying to perfect a “healthy” coconut, chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe where three of the main ingredients are whole wheat flour, wheat germ, and oatmeal and surprisingly we didn’t need to use a lot of sugar if we used sweetened coconut. We are almost there but still trying to figure out the right proportions of baking powder and baking soda… However, in the process of coming up with this recipe we tried several types of oatmeal chocolate chip recipes and stumbled upon a recipe with dried cherries and dark chocolate mixed in with the oatmeal cookie batter and they were delicious! I passed along this recipe along with a couple others to my co-worker but due to her busy schedule she has yet to try them. Her birthday was this past weekend, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make these Dark Chocolate, Cherry Oatmeal Cookies for her! I got the original recipe from Cooking Light: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-cherry-heart-smart-cookies-10000001949710/ and then tweaked it based on my own experience where I added a little bit of wheat germ (surprisingly you don’t really notice any taste difference!) and used a little bit less chocolate and dried cherries. The batter is very crumbly so don’t be surprised that you need to use your hands to sort of bind the cookies together prior to baking. Additionally I used my baking stone to bake these cookies because it keeps them tall and fluffier and the cookies are less likely to spread.

They are absolutely delicious and any recipe with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, and dried cherries has to be somewhat healthy! 🙂

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It is jack-o-lantern season, so now is a fun time to experiment with different pumpkin seed recipes! I used to think pumpkin seeds were disgusting and I was never a big fan of cleaning out the pumpkin before you could carve it. Although I’m still not a fan of all the gunk involved in cleaning out a pumpkin, I have come around to pumpkin seeds. I don’t really like them raw, but I love them cooked! The trick is to cook them at a low heat for a long time. We first started experimenting with pumpkin seed recipes when we accidently bought 2 bottles of Worcestershire sauce and realized neither Scott nor I really like or ever use it. So we found a pumpkin seed recipe that used Worcestershire sauce and I figured why not try it, otherwise we are probably just going to throw out the seeds and the sauce. It was a mixture of garlic powder, melted margarine, Worcestershire sauce, and salt that you cook at 275 degrees for an hour, stirring occasionally. This combination has now become one of our favorite snacks! One awesome revelation…this same sauce works just as well with acorn squash or butternut squash seeds! Since we eat squash all the time, it is an awesome treat to throw in the oven to cook while eating dinner and then have a fun night-time snack!

Below is a list of some fun pumpkin seed recipes we’ve tried/want to try depending on what we are in the mood for!

Salty Spiced Seeds: (our personal favorite, probably because it was our first taste of what you can do with pumpkin seeds)
1 T. margarine, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. raw pumpkin seeds

Brown Sugar Spiced Seeds:
1 T. margarine, melted
1 T. dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground pumpkin pie spice
1/2 T. water
1/4 tsp. salt
dash of cayenne (optional)
1 c. raw pumpkin seeds

Maple Chipotle Seeds:
1 T. margarine, melted
1 T. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili power
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. raw pumpkin seeds

Curry Lime Seeds:
1 T. olive oil
1 T. lime juice
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. raw pumpkin seeds

ENJOY!

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For my next batch of cupcakes, I made pumpkin.  Why?  Well duh!! It’s October.  That and my co-worker requested them for her birthday.

I always have tons of pumpkin on hand.  When my puppy, Axel, was actually a puppy last year he always had an upset tummy.  I read somewhere online that pumpkin was really good at soothing doggie stomachs so I bought up a lot of pumpkin at the store.  It worked and Axel actually liked it.  But luckily a month or so later, he didn’t need the pumpkin anymore and I was left with cans and cans of pumpkin puree.

What better to do with pumpkin than pumpkin cupcakes??!  I made these cupcakes with the same icing as the apple spice cupcakes.  Here’s the recipe

Fluffy Whipped Cream Cheese Icing

– 8 oz cream cheese (room temp – seriously otherwise its a disaster)
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1 tsp vanilla

Mix the cream cheese and sugar together in a mixer (or with a hand mixer). Slowly add the heavy cream and vanilla and start to whip (don’t go to fast at the beginning or cream will splash everywhere). Be careful not to over whip!

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For week 2 of cupcake month, I made Cheesecake cupcakes. I know…i’m a little late for week 2 but I have a legit excuse.  Tax season…October style.  Anyway I made these cupcakes for my office buddy, Kate.  I’ll be honest…I don’t have the best reputation for cheesecake.  The first one I ever made was perfect.  I think it was beginners luck.  I made it four years ago on Valentines Day(in a heart shaped springform pan that I bought for 75 cent at a yard sale).  Half of it was oreo cheesecake and the other half was caramel mascarpone. It was delicious.  Sadly, my husband’s (boyfriend at the time) roommate threw away the base of my springform pan…it was sad.  Its not like you can actually find a replacement base for a heart shaped springform pan.  So that was the first and last time I used that pan.

Anyway a few months ago I bought a new springform pan (not heart shaped…can you tell that I really liked that pan) with a wedding gift card.  This cheesecake was a disaster…half burnt, sunken in the middle, it was nasty.  So needless to say I was a little concerned about making cheesecake cupcakes but I pride myself on my ability to make most deserts in the form of a cupcake.

In highschool, we had a neighbor (slightly strange neighbor) who we didn’t see very often during the year but every Christmas she would make cheesecake cupcakes (I’m pretty sure from one of those box mixes but hey…no shame) and she would fill the sunken part in the middle with M&Ms or strawberries.  She never missed a year.

Back to my actual story.  I took a page from the Martha Stewart book (that woman has never lead me astray) and made Martha’s cupcake cheesecakes.

http://www.marthastewart.com/350089/cheesecake-cupcakes-sour-cream-topping

 

I made no attempt to tweak this recipe.  Other than the fact that I didn’t have any of those adorable currants (before this picture I didn’t know currants were so cute).  I was going to put a mango topping on top since Kate loves mango but sadly my mango was not ripe…and tasted funny…I tried ripening my spare mango in a paper bag (per Jaclyn’s instruction) but sadly it was still not ripe….I also tried to go to Harris Teeter the morning of Kate’s b-day work party but I had left my wallet at home…so the mango was a fail.  But the cheesecakes were delicious.  If i do say so myself.

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PS I apologize for the not rotated photos – wordpress wouldn’t save them 😦

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Remember how September was Muffin Month?  Well I’ve decided that October should be Cupcake Month.  I actually think that in real life every month should be cupcake month…but in blog world this month is best because there are FOUR birthdays at work this month….FOUR…did you hear me…that’s like one a week!

The first cupcake up to bat is the Applesauce Spice Cupcake.  Now I know you ask…why did I not just start with vanilla or my signature cupcake, Funfetti :).  Well I asked my co-worker what he wanted for his birthday (expecting to get a generic answer) and he asked for Applesauce Spice Cupcakes with Fluffy white icing…(FLUFFY ICING???)

Well…since I’ve never made this cupcake before I had to do a trial run but my final batch turned out pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

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This batter was perfect and scoopable (my favorite kind of cupcake batter)

For fluffy icing I used cream cheese and whipping cream…delicious (and fluffy).  Jaclyn even approved and she is an ‘anti-icing’ person.

Comment/Email us for the recipe

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