Thursday, February 20, 2014

Crockpot Pumpkin Butter

This is super delish and so versatile!  Oh, and very easy!  I found this recipe from The Gracious Pantry.

Its great with Greek yogurt, ice cream, granola, with pancakes or waffles, on toast/bread and on its own!  Enjoy!

Makes about 5 cups.

-2 (15 oz.) cans pumpkin puree
-1 cup no sugar added apple juice {I substituted 1 cup homemade apple sauce}
-1 cup honey or sugar {I used sugar}
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-2 tsp molasses
-2 tbsp lemon juice
-pinch of salt

1. Combine all ingredients in a crockpot.
2. Mix well and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
3. Allow to cool and pour into storage jars or airtight containers.
4. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning.

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Homemade Sugarless Pumpkin Pie Spice

I found this recipe from The Gracious Pantry and used it for some great Pumpkin Butter.

Makes a bit over 1/2 cup

-6 tbsp ground cinnamon
-2 tbsp ground ginger
-1 tbsp ground allspice
-1 tsp ground nutmeg
-2 tsp ground cloves

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Store in an airtight container for up to 8 months.
3. Enjoy in any recipe that calls for Pumpkin Pie Spice.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ovaltine Cupcakes with Ovaltine Frosting

These are tasty; I found the recipe from Or Whatever You Do.  

I think you could easily make this recipe in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or as a layer cake; just bake longer at the same temperature and test with a toothpick to make sure the center is baked.

Ingredients for Cupcakes:
-2 cups flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 tsp baking soda
-3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/3 cup chocolate Ovaltine powder
-2 cups sugar
-1 cup canola or vegetable oil
-1 cup strong hot coffee
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1/2 cup half & half {I substituted 1/2 cup milk plus 1 tbsp melted butter}
-2 eggs
-1 tbsp vanilla extract

Process for Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine oil, coffee, half & half, sour cream and sugar; mix well.
3. Add salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, Ovaltine eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.
4. Add flour and mix well.
5. Pour batter into cupcake liners, about 2/3 full.  

TIP: You can spray the paper cupcake liners with cooking spray to help make them peel easier.

I ended up with 24 cupcakes plus enough batter for 3 ramekins cakes.
6. Bake cupcakes 13-15 minutes.
7. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Ingredients for Frosting:

-1 1/2 cups butter, softened
-1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
-3/4 tsp salt, optional if using salted butter
-4 cups powdered sugar
-1 tbsp vanilla extract
-1 cup heavy cream {I substituted 2/3 cup milk plus 1/3 melted butter}
-2/3 cup chocolate Ovaltine powder

1. Beat together butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar, until free of bumps.
2. Add vanilla, heavy cream and Ovaltine.
3. Beat on high for about 2 minutes, until smooth and slightly lightened in color.
4. Frost cupcakes and enjoy!

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Cranberry Yeast Bread {with Bonus Valentine Box and Printable Valentines for Kids}

Happy Valentines Day!  Hope you all have a great day with family, friends and the animals in your life.

This year was the first year that Big J needed to make a Valentines box for his class party.  
He settled on making a "Gary the Snail" box; if you don't already know, Gary is Sponge bob's pet snail.  

How'd we make him:  
{This is just a brief summary; if you would like more details just ask}
1. We used a  square Ritz cracker box.  
2. I rounded the top corners and glued the paper on.  
3. Then, we used a toilet paper tube to make Gary's head {squished flat on one end}.  
4. Big J cut out the swirls and spots for Gary's shell and glued them on. 
5. I hot-glued the tiny black pom poms to the larger white pom poms {for his eyes} and the wire to the pom poms for this "eye-stalks".  
6. We made Gary's smile using a white piece of foam with the blue paper glued to it.
7. After Gary was complete Big J thought of the idea of making him a party hat {BRILLIANT, right!}  
So, I cut out a circle about the size of a standard coffee filter, cut a line to the center and rolled the circle into a cone.  Put some hot glue on the inside of the hat glued the wires to it, glued the tiny pom poms to the ends.
... And WHA-LA!  Partying Gary!
Big J is super proud!
 Oh, Gary's getting into mischief, crawling all over Big J...
I also found this great, printable Valentine card for the class Valentines.  
They print 4 per page and fold into these cool little paper airplanes...
We punched two holes in each plane so we could thread a sucker stick through them.
 They all have cute little messages on the tops...
 Still proud of Gary...
Well, now I think its time to move on to today's recipe post.
Enjoy its a good one...
Really great bread!  It makes fantastic toast and I think it would also be great for a leftover holiday turkey or chicken sandwich.

I found the recipe from Taste of Home.

-1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, halved
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup molasses
-1 1/4 cups warm water {about 110-115 degrees; just warm to touch}, divided
-1 tbsp yeast
-1 tbsp honey
-2 tbsp melted butter
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp ground allspice
-2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour {you could also use white flour}
-1 1/2 to 2 cups white flour
1. Combine halved cranberries with brown sugar and molasses and let stand for 1 hour.  {I don't really know what this does or if its even necessary; but I did it anyway.}
2. Stir in 1 cup warm water.
3. In a large bowl dissolve yeast and remaining 1/4 cup warm water.  Add honey and let stand for 5 minutes.
4. Add butter, salt and allspice.
5. Add flour.
5. Add in cranberry mixture.
6. Mix well.  {I used my standing mixer with the paddle blade; that worked well.}
7. Add enough white flour to form a soft dough.
8. Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray or lightly oiled; turn down over to coat the top.
9. Cover and let rise until about doubled, about 1 hour.
10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
11. Shape dough into a loaf and place in a lightly oiled bread pan.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
12. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.
13. Remove from pan and allow to cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.  Enjoy!
Have a Very Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to Roast Garlic

Surprisingly, this was the first time I roasted my own garlic! 
And its so simple, will last quite a while in the fridge and adds oh so much to so many recipes.
-whole heads of garlic, as many as you want
-olive oil or another oil if you prefer {I've done this with canola oil}
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel away an loose papery skins from the outside of each head.
3. Cut off about 1/4-1/2 inch from the top of each garlic head.  You should be able to see the inside of each clove.
4. Place garlic heads in a baking pan with cut sides up; I like to use muffin pan.
5. Drizzle oil over garlic, about 2 tsp per head.  Rub each garlic head to make sure it is coated with oil.
6. Cover the pan with foil.
7. Bake garlic for 30-35 minutes.
8. Allow garlic to cool enough so you can handle it.
9. At this point, you can either refrigerate these in an airtight container as is or squeeze the garlic from it's skin and use or store out of its skin.
I stored my in the skins in this dish all together...
You can mash it and spread it on toast of fresh warm bread, mix it with sour cream for on baked potatoes or mix it with Parmesan and toss with warm pasta.  Or really in any recipe!  Its mild and excellent in so many things!

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