Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nutty Sweet Potato Soup

Since I get my love of cooking from my mom and we love to cook together, I have been trying to get her to be a guest blogger on here. She is always cooking up new recipes and then giving me her review of them. Tonight she emailed me some pictures and a recipe for a sweet potato soup. It looks delicious and I 100% trust her taste. So I'm posting her review of the recipe and her pictures. I have no doubt it's every bit as good as she says. Plus, this will be a nice change from all the sweet recipes I've been blogging. Thanks Mom. Wish I was home to taste it!

From Mom:
I made this incredible sweet potato soup. It's cheap to make and very tasty. The soup has a slight heat from the cayenne pepper. I never tasted the peanut butter but your dad said he did, but only in the first bite. I cut recipe right in half and it made plenty of soup for us two for dinner. This was better than any pumpkin soup I've tasted but I'm wondering if we can't make pumpkin soup with these same ingredients or tweak them a bit. I'll have to think about it.

Mom also mentioned that she would cut back the cayenne pepper a bit if you don't like your soups too spicy and maybe the peanut butter to 1/4 a cup.

**UPDATE NOTE: 10/30/10 I made this soup today! I can't have a recipe on my blog that I haven't tried. I took moms advice and cut back the cayenne pepper to 1/4 tsp. It was still plenty spicy. And then the 1/4 cut of peanut butter was just fine. It still has a nice depth of nutty flavor, but didn't taste like peanut butter. I also made this today for a Halloween/Harvest dinner tomorrow, along with this soup. I made it and will reheat it tomorrow. Should work out and be very tasty.

The Recipe is from Ellie Krieger, of Food Network, but I can't get the link to work in this post. So here is the recipe:

Nutty Sweet Potato Soup:

Makes 6, 1 1/2 Cup servings

1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
* 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
* 2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
* 1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
* 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
* 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
* 1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes, with their juices
* 2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
* 2 teaspoons honey
* 1/2 cup chopped scallion greens (about 3 scallions)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and carrots and cook, stirring until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, black pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

*Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in 2 batches and return the soup to the pot. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts. Serve warm, garnished with the scallions.

*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.

Per Serving:
Calories 290; Total Fat 18g (Sat Fat 3.5g, Mono Fat 9g, Poly Fat 5g); Protein 14g; Carb 23g; Fiber 5g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 260mg

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles

This time of year Sunday waffles turn into pumpkin waffles. Last week I fed the whole family Sunday pumpkin waffles, such a good breakfast. Brian and my sister, Mikken, request these the most, and I am always happy to whip up a batch. (When I'm not using the mix from Williams Sonoma.) A couple of years ago I went searching for a pumpkin waffle recipe and found this one on the Better Homes and Garden recipe. I think I tried out a few others I found, but ended up liking this one the rest, and the family agrees it's a keeper. I'm sure glad I printed this recipe out because I haven't been able to find it online lately. Using my new print friendly button you should be able to print it out no problem. These should definitely make an appearance on your next breakfast table.

Pumpkin Waffles
Makes: 16 (4 inch) waffles
Cook: per waffle iron directions

2 Cups flour (can use whole wheat)
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1/4 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 Cup milk
1 Cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs -separated
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 Teaspoon orange peel (optional - I don't use it)

1.In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, and ginger; set aside

2. In a medium bowl, combine milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, butter and orange peel, if using. Add pumpkin mixture all at once to flour mixture; stir just until combined (batter should be lumpy).

3. In small bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold beaten egg whites into pumpkin mixture, leaving a few puffs of egg white.

4. Heat a lightly greased waffle iron, pour batter onto iron and bake according to manufacturer's directions.

Nutrition Info: (if you like this kind of stuff)
Per 1 4- inch waffle: Calories 225, Total Fat (g) 6, Saturated Fat (g) 3, Cholesterol (mg) 66, Sodium (mg) 436.

Introducing: Print Friendly Button

I was thinking how easy it was for me to print off recipes from other blogs and recipe sites and how perhaps it's not so easy to print my recipes (if anyone out there is making them). So I started to do some research to see how I could get my own print friendly button for my site and I came across a few different ways to do it. Nothing I found was exactly what I wanted, but will have to do for now. I use to consider myself a bit of a computer wiz and felt very smart/special when my dad would call me up with computer application questions and I could totally help him. But apparently technology has continued to move forward while I have been in the kitchen and I'm not the wiz I once was, and my Dad doesn't call quite so often. Anywho, what I wanted the button to do was just allow you to print the recipe, and not the sometimes long intro I write before it. However, that's not going to happen, not this week anyway. (I'll keep searching for a way, leave a comment if you know how, please.)

This print friendly button, found at the very end of the blog post, will allow you to print the full blog text and pictures. Once you click the print friendly button a new little window will open and show you what is going to print. There is a box in the top right hand corner that says "remove images." Click that and it won't print the pictures, and you can highlight other text and delete it and end up just printing the recipe. Is all this easier that just highlighting the recipe and copy and pasting it into Word? Probably not. But I thought it made my blog seem more legit!

Thanks to these peeps for helping me figure it out. And my little bro.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Frost on the Pumpkin Cake

A few years ago my dear friend Kimberly was living abroad in Bahrain and emailed me a recipe for the best pumpkin cake she'd ever had. She had gone to a church activity and went through a bit of work to try and track down the woman who made the pumpkin cake. Turns out the woman had come from Saudi, where apparently the pumpkin cake is amazing! Kimberly emailed me the recipe and my mom made it for my 30th birthday and it made my day. I made it again just this weekend and once again it got rave reviews. It is a very moist cake, but not dense, quite fluffy. And the cream cheese frosting puts it over the top. The recipe makes a 9 x 13 pan, and you get nice, thick pieces. Add this to your pumpkin recipes today, and thanks Kimberly!

Frost on the Pumpkin Cake

Combine and Mix well:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix Well.

1 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix well
Pour into a 9 x 13 greased and floured pan.
Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until test done.

Frost with the following when completely cool.
Mix together until smooth:
1 (8 oz.) cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 lb. powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Banana Bread

I can't believe that today is the first time I have made my mom's banana bread. Whenever I have old, sweet, but yucky looking bananas I usually use them to make banana bars! But I got a text message from my mom Saturday morning saying that she had made banana bread, pumpkin bread and harvest loaf for my little brother Jeff to eat and then take some back to other brother Garrett when he came home to visit this weekend.(Apparently she couldn't sleep the other night and was baking bread at 2 am!) There was a change of plans and Jeff came to Orange County instead, so she asked if I would make him all those breads to eat and take back to Gar. Of course I would. Cooking for my little brothers is one thing I absolutely love to do. (Maybe one of these days they'll find wives who will bake for them, but until then I'm happy to fill in.)

Due to mom's request, my weekend was full of baking! I love this banana bread recipe. It's comes from Grandma Payne, my mom's mom, she was the queen of baking! I think as long as your follow the recipe, and don't mix the batter too much, the bread should turn out. It was my first time and they tasted just like moms. And this quick bread recipe can be adapted for other flavors too. The pumpkin bread I made, per mom's request, was this same recipe with pumpkin instead of bananas. (Post coming.) As my mom said, this recipe is fool proof. When my mom makes this for us, she has to make a mini loaf per child and husband. I can polish one of these off in no time flat. (Ate three pieces just while writing this.) Spread some butter on each slice. The outsides get a little toasty, the end pieces are my favorite. Heaven! Great for breakfast, or a sweet afternoon snack. Happy Baking!

Banana Bread

350 degree oven 40 - 45 minutes for 5 small loaves

• 1 cup butter (room temperature) = 2 cubes
• 1 ½ cups white sugar
• 2 eggs (room temperature)
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 2 cup flour
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ tsp soda
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• 4 extra ripe bananas, 7 – 8 inches long, (1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups)
• ¼ c 2% milk (room temp)

1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. Add eggs one at a time, vanilla, and beat until creamy.
3. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda, and salt and wisk.
4. In a separate bowl mash up the bananas.
5. Chop the nuts.
6. Add alternating into the butter mixture but don’ t over mix:
• Flour mixture
• Milk
• Bananas
• Flour mixture
• Milk
• Bananas
• Flour mixture

7. Gently stir in nuts.
8. Generously coat 5 small loaf pans with cooking spray.
9. Spread batter evenly into loaf pans.
10. Bake 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
11. Let pans rest for 5 min. Gently remove loaves by tapping the bottom of the pans.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Brownies

These brownies are probably Brian's favorite fall treat, that I make. (He is sitting by me right now finishing off the pan!) I found this recipe a couple of years ago on Martha Stewart site and he requests them year round. (I only make them during pumpkin season though.) I love these too, because who doesn't love brownies and pumpkin swirled together? I just made these with my mom yesterday. It's a great two person recipe. One person can make the chocolate batter and one can do the pumpkin part. The recipe is easy though, so don't worry if you don't have a kitchen helper. These brownies will be your new fall favorite, full of pumpkin and delicious.

Pumpkin Brownies Recipe

Monday, October 11, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls

My first pumpkin creation of the season, and I'm not sure what took me so long. This is a new recipe. I got it from the blog Bake at 350. Last fall Brian and I were in the Godiva store and we bought some pumpkin patch truffles (pictured above). They are this delicious, creamy pumpkin spice inside and milk chocolate outside. They were to die for. So when I came across this recipe, I thought maybe, just maybe, I could recreate something close to the Godiva truffles.

You start with a doctored up vanilla cake mix by adding pumpkin and spices. Make the cake, and crumble it it. Then mix in cream cheese frosting. (She suggests using store bought frosting, but I made my own.) Roll them into balls and freeze until hard. Then dip them in chocolate and wait for the to harden. I made sure to use a lot frosting and they were super moist inside. These were a huge hit with everyone at dinner last night. And today Brian was eating the undipped ones right out of the freezer. I'd say my first attempt at cake balls was success, but I may still swing by Godiva again this year.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls Recipe

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
1 stick of butter
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Cream the cream cheese and butter, add the sugar. Beat about 5 minutes until fluffy. Add vanilla. (I used all of this frosting to the cake balls)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jack O' Lantern Sugar Cookies

At school this week I got Booed! It's a cute little way to pass goodies and treats around during the Halloween season. Someone gives you treats and a Boo sign with a poem explaining that you should pick two people to pass treats and the Booing on to. I had seen this in a magazine or on a blog somewhere and wanted to start it with friends, and when I got it at work I was reminded of it. (For more on Booing visit click here.) I needed to pass the boo on, so I had to make treats. Monday night I set out to make my first Halloween treats of the season.

My pumpkin cookie cutter is pretty big, I wasn't prepared for how much frosting it would take to fill these babies! But it made for a great space for putting on the faces. The cookies really came to life with the faces. As Brian said, "pumpkins are fall, but jack o' lanterns are Halloween." So true! I read some posts on making black icing, since it was my first time. A few things to remember, it's going to dry a lot darker than it looks, so you can aim for a charcoal color. If you make it a day ahead it will darken up a bit, and then more when it drys. I would have liked the orange to be brighter and less pasteley, but I got a bit impatient with the coloring. Also, the gel food colorings are supposed to work better, and I was using the liquid drops for the orange. The completed cookies turned out pretty good though! I'm definitely going to be making some more sugar cookies with other Halloween designs.

Sugar Cookie Recipe
Black Icing blog reference
Halloween Sugar Cookie Ideas

Friday, October 1, 2010

Stacked Enchiladas

This recipe comes from my Grandma Stiles, introduced to us by my aunt Sue. It wasn't that many years ago when Sue made these for us at my parents house. All of us kids asked my mom why she didn't have this recipe and why she never made it before. Since then we have added this to our rotated recipes. This is one of Brian's favorite recipes. Although he likes it with flour tortillas instead of corn, but I tell him it's not a flour tortilla recipe. Aunt Sue would not approve, she didn't even like us changing the recipe to include putting sour cream on top. While I don't endorse the flour tortillas (they are good, but just too much for this recipe) the sour cream is a must!

The sauce is easy to make, and will be very watery, it's a thin sauce. That is a good thing because the sauce runs all over your plate, so good. I usually double the recipe if I'm making it for five or more people. You don't want to run out of sauce.

For sauce, in pot:
Saute 1 yellow onion
2- 8 oz cans tomato sauce
2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs chili powder
3 Cups water

Fry up 1 lb. of hamburger with onion flakes
Warm up corn tortillas-put a tiny bit of oil on each one place in plastic bag warm in microwave

To assemble:
Put a little sauce on plate
Put down one corn tortilla, top with hamburger, lettuce, cheese, and sauce.
Place another tortillas on top and repeat as many times as you can handle. Usually a three stacker is good. You can top with sour cream, or add it in the layers. These are really filling once they are all stacked up, so be prepared!
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