Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pumpkin Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies changed my life.  Not really, but they were my first step toward liking pumpkin.  I used to hate pumpkin until I tasted these Pumpkin Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies.  We used to go to an annual wine tasting/swapping party at a friends house every year.  Someone always brought these cookies – I really didn’t know they were pumpkin and just started eating them and thought they were delicious – fluffy, spicy and minty.  Then when they told me it was pumpkin I was really surprised.  After that I tried other pumpkin things and started to really like it and today I am addicted.

Here is the recipe to the famous pumpkin mint cookies, they are minty and you are probably thinking pumpkin and mint, hmm that is a strange combination – but these are delicious.

It can be hard to find mint chocolate chips but I order them on  Also in this picture I added a few white chocolate just for fun.

Other exciting news today is that I have 3 months to go with my pregnancy – time is flying by!

Pumpkin Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yields: 40 cookies | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 15 minutes

½ cup sugar
1 (1/2 cup) stick butter room temperature
1 egg
2 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup mint chocolate chips

Turn oven onto 350F

Mix sugar, butter and egg in a mixer until fluffy.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.  Then in a third bowl mix the peppermint, vanilla, pumpkin and mint chocolate chips.  Then mix the three bowls together into one just until combined.

Using a tsp add these cookies with an inch apart on a cookies sheet with parchment paper or silicon liner. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.

One Year Ago: Turkey Stuffing

Monday, November 7, 2011

Corn Chowder

I love corn chowder just never make it enough.  There are many different ways to do corn chowder but I especially like curry in mine.  I think it gives great flavor to the soup.  This is not a vegetarian version but you can omit the bacon and use vegetable stock as well.  I do enough my corn chowder spicy so I usually use hot curry powder and including hot sauce at the end.  The soup is even better the day after.

I got the idea to finally make corn chowder because it was time for another Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog this month was The Cookaholic Wife which is written by Nicole.  Nicole had some great soup recipes on her site, and everyone knows I love soups.  But then when I saw her recipe for Corn Chowder I knew I had to try it out.  Since I really like curry in my corn chowder I made a few adjustments, but the soup was delicious.

Corn Chowder

Adapted from: The Cookaholic Wife

Yields: serves 6 | Prep Time: 45 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

olive oil
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
3 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cobs (or 2 cups of frozen corn)
2 tbsp salted butter
2 strip of bacon chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup chicken stock
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp curry
1 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper
2 cups half and half
hot sauce, optional
1/2 tsp parsley

Preheat oven to broil. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Drizzle olive oil over the green, red pepper, and broil until slightly browned 4-7 minutes. Remove the green and red pepper but turn the oven to 350 F.  Wrap the corn in foil and put them in the oven for 30 minutes to roast.

Once the corn is done remove the kernels from the corn by standing a corn cob vertically over a large, shallow pan (like a roasting pan). Using a sharp knife, use long, downward strokes of the knife to remove the kernels from the cob. Use the edge of a spoon to scrape the sides of the cob to remove any remaining pulp.  You can also use frozen corn if you wish.

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the bacon strips . Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and carrot and cook for 10 minutes or until tender.

Chop the green and red pepper and add to the pot along with the corn. Cook about 5 minutes. Or until the corn is thawed if using frozen corn.

Add the chicken stock, potatoes, oregano, bay leaf, celery salt, paprika, curry, mustard powder and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the half and half cook for 5 minutes until heated through.

Season with additional salt if necessary – the potatoes will take a lot of the salt and add hot sauce if desired. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

One Year Ago: Cranberry and White Chocolate Streusel

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I am back from my “babymoon” and very relaxed.  I have lots to write about from there.  But first I have to share this fabulous Pumpkin Bread recipe.  I hate to cook baked good with oil but since I have been a pumpkin fanatic this season I decided to try this recipe for pumpkin Bread that is with oil from Alexandra’s Kitchen.  WOW!  That is all I have to say.  This is definitely the best pumpkin bread I have had.  It is spicy, lots of pumpkin taste and very very moist.  I have another pumpkin bread recipe that I made here which is with butter instead of oil and with raisins and walnuts and it is delicious but this one here today does beat it with moister.

I have made this recipe a few times now, I have tried with without frosting and with whole wheat flour.  I recommend the bread with all purpose flour, using whole wheat makes it much dyer and not as tasty.  Also if you want to be decadent add the frosting.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween I can’t believe it is already November.

Pumpkin Bread

Adapted from: Alexandra’s Kitchen

Yields: 2 standard loafs | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 60 minutes

2 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
16 oz. canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
3/4 cup water
3 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease loaf pans with butter.  Using a mixer beat sugar and oil together until blended. Add eggs one at a time mixing after each addition. Add pumpkin purée and water and mix until blended.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and allspice. Add to the mixer and mix only until just incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake for about an hour (mine took 1 hour 15 minutes) but start checking for doneness after 45 minutes — the loaves are done when center springs back when touched.

Maple Frosting

6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 tsp Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Spread the breads with the Maple Frosting.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Pie Bars

Monday, October 24, 2011

Apple Cake

This is my new favorite apple cake.  I am a reader of Söta Saker which is a Swedish baking blog written by Theresia.  It’s a fabulous blog and I found this recipe there.  Theresia has a baking cookbook out in Sweden as well. She swore that she has tried all kinds of apple cakes, pies etc. and this one was the best she has ever had.  I had to try it.  And I have made it twice already.  Huge hit and I love it. The cake is a in-between of a pie and a crisp. The great part about this cake is that it is very easy to make and only takes about 30 minutes in the oven.

While I am writing this I am also away on my “babymoon,”  a new word I just learned a few weeks ago. I am in Hawaii, so this is my view most of the day. If you are ever here i wrote this post last year about the best place to eat in Kona, Hawaii.

Hope everyone is enjoying their October and you have to try to make this apple cake. This cake goes very well with some vanilla ice cream.

If you have a favorite apple dessert please link it in the comment section.

Apple cake

Adapted from: Söta Saker

Yields: 6 servings | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 30 minutes

4 medium sized granny smith apples
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
9 tbsp (125g) room temperature butter
½ cup and 2 tbsp (150 ml) sugar
3/4 cups and  2 tbsp (200 ml) all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder

Turn your on 400F.

Peel the apples and cut into ½ inch slices.  In a bowl mix the apple slices with the brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  Butter a 9” pie form and place the apples in the form flat so they all fit nicely.

In a mixer add the butter, sugar and blend, then add the baking powder and flour and mix.  Remove the dough and place in the refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes.  Then remove and roll out the dough big enough to cover the whole pie form just like a blanket,  You want to cover it end to end but it is ok if you have a few holes. Put into a 400F for 30 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Brownies

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cranberry Bread

I went to the store and saw a bunch of cranberries and pumpkins and I couldn’t decide what to get – I have been eating tons of pumpkin so I guess it was time to switch to cranberries.  And what could not be a better things to start with than a cranberry bread.

You can use dried or frozen cranberries for this recipe, you can also use orange juice instead or orange peel.  I decided to go with lemon since I wanted it a little more tart.

If you are using a food processor to chop your nuts and cranberries make sure you only pulse a few times.  I would recommend chopping by hand.

This bread is fantastic, tangy, slightly sweet bread, lemony, with a occasional explosions of cranberry tartness, with some crunchy walnuts.

Cranberry Bread

Adapted from: Simply Recipes

Yields: 1 loaf of bread | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 60 minutes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped cranberries
3/4 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped cranberries and walnuts to coat with the flour mixture.

Mix together cranberry, sugar, butter, egg, vanilla and lemon peel. Add to flour, cranberry, nut mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just blended.

Pour into a greased 9×5 or 8×4 loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes or until done (a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

One Year Ago:  Thai Curry Squash Soup

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bar

It is fall and this year I have been just baking away with pumpkin.  I love the stuff, I never used to but that changed a few years ago.  This Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bar recipe is delicious. The bottom layer is like a blondie brownie and then covered by a layer of pumpkin pie filling. Sprinkled with a cinnamon sugar on top and baked into a delicious bar with white chocolate on top.  But the bar is even better the day after.  Great recipe for those that want something different to pumpkin pie.

It was time for another Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog this month was Megan’s Cookin which is written by Megan who lives in northern California.  Megan loves to cook and makes everything from amazing cakes to delicious looking Filet Mignon with Cognac Sauce.  I also really enjoy reading about her wine pairing parties.  If you haven’t been to her food blog check it out. This Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bar recipe was a huge hit and Megan has many more pumpkin recipes as well.

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars

Yields: 9×13 inch pan | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bakes Time: 40 minutes

Adapted from: Megan’s Cookin

Snickerdoodle Layer
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla

Pumpkin Pie Spice (2 tsp)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Pumpkin Pie Layer
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick butter) at room temperature
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups (16 oz) canned pumpkin

2 tbsp white sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 oz white chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan and lay a piece of parchment paper across the pan, so that it extends the pan slightly. The parchment paper is an optional step, but it will make it easier to get the bars out later.

To make snickerdoodle layer – Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.

Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be thick just like cookie dough).

To make pumpkin pie spice – Mix all the spices and set aside.

To make pumpkin pie filling – In a mixer bowl (you can use the same one you used to make the snickerdoodle batter) with a paddle attachment, mix together butter and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. This layer will be less thick and more pourable. Pour over the snickerdoodle layer, smoothing out the top.

Combine white sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Let the bars cool completely (about an hour). They will deflate a bit and remain a bit pie-like on the top layer. The bars that are closer to the edges of the pan will be more firm.

After the bars are completely cool, place the chopped white chocolate into a bowl or zip-lock bag and melt on low power, 15 seconds at a time. When it’s completely melted, add the pumpkin pie spice and mix (or knead if using a zip lock bag). Use a spoon or cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the bars and let it cool and harden.

Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into bars. Store in a covered container.

One Year Ago: Asparagus Soup with Bacon

Friday, September 30, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

October is almost here and i am starting to think of Pumpkin.   It used to be i hated pumpkin, but i still have no idea why but one day i just seemed to like it and now i love it.  I have no idea why.  It was time for me to start the season with a Pumpkin Bread and i found this amazing Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.  It’s simple, very pumpkiny, spciy and just tasty.  All the flavors come out perfectly in this bread.  Even the frosting is spiced up.  You will not be dissapointed with this recipe.

Looking for other pumpkin or squash ideas for October?  Here is a short list of my favorites:

What are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes?  Please share a link with me in the comment.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Adapted from: Horizon Dairy

Yields: 1 Loaf | Prep Time: 25 Minutes | Bake Time: 65 – 75 Minutes

1 3/4 cups unbleached flour (you may substitute up to 3/4 cup whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup Horizon Organic unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 large Horizon Organic eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp Horizon Organic milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour one 9×5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt and spices. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined. Add flour mixture alternately with pumpkin, mixing well between each addition. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 65-75 minutes, until loaf feels firm and springy when pressed in the center and a tester inserted comes out clean (except for melted chocolate chips). Cool in pan for 15 minutes then remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. To prepare glaze, sift powdered sugar with nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add milk until mixture is thin enough to drizzle. Pour glaze over cool bread. Bread will keep well wrapped at room temperature for two days, in the refrigerator for five days, or in the freezer for up to four months.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting


Thursday, September 29, 2011

No Bake Energy Bars

I love granola bars and energy bars but even better No Bake Energy Bars.  This adapted recipe comes from Jessica Seinfeld.  Not only does she have a great food blog but she has some great cookbooks especially for families with kids. Jessica finds ways to make ordinary foods extraordinary by loading them up with healthy ingredients, such as pureed vegetables and fruits.  She also uses healthy ingredients that you can add to make everyday food even better by adding whole grains to baked goods and boosts sweetness without a lot of sugar.

For example I have made these Maple Spice Muffins that have no sugar in them, they have whole grains and they are 198 calories per muffin.  You would never have guessed.  In some of her other recipes she has for example sweet potato puree in her Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Cauliflower Puree in Lemon Bars.  So imaginative.  I think every family should have this cookbook.

Today I am doing her No Bake Energy Bards. These energy bars are great for an on the go snack and they’re packed with all things good: vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. They are great for kids and adults snacks and best of all they are No Bake.

Share how you get your kids to eat healthy food below for a chance to win a $500 Mom’s Getaway Spa Day from BlogFrog in the conversation below.

No Bake Energy Bars

Adapted from: Jessica Seinfeld

Yields: 14 bars | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cool Time: 30 minutes

Cooking spray
¾ cup raw almonds
1 ¼ cups rice puffs
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
¼ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
¼ cup flax meal
½ cup brown rice syrup
6 tbsp almond butter
½ cup raisins

Spray an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.

Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until evenly chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and combine with the rice puffs, oats, coconut, flax meal, and raisins.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the rice syrup and almond butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until melted and creamy. Pour over the oat mixture and stir until well combined. Press evenly into the prepared pan and let cool completely (about 30 minutes). Grab the ends of the parchment and lift onto a cutting board. Slice into bars.

One Year Ago: Honey Ice Cream

Want to exchange more healthy snacks ideas, money saving tips and back to school shopping advice with other moms? Visit the Horizon® Healthy Families Back to School Community

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon.  The opinions expressed by me do not necessarily reflect the view of the Horizon Organic brand. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Double Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

I was going to a 10 year old Birthday party and wanted to bring something sweet.  I found this recipe for Double Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes and thought they would be perfect and they were.  These are a chocolate lover’s dessert.  Not only are the cupcakes moist, fudgy and delicious but when you add the frosting it a double whammy.  Awesome cupcakes, they taste like brownies with frosting!

This is the Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog this month was Lick That Spoon which is written by Louise.   Louise lives in Australia and is a mother, housewife and loves to bake. Her blog is adorable and some awesome recipes.  But since I needed a birthday dessert I knew what I was looking for.

Double Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Adapted from: Lick That Spoon

Yields: 15 cupcakes | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 20 minutes

500g (2 cups 2 tbsp) Organic Horizon Dairy butter
2/3 cup cocoa powder
4 Organic Large  Horizon Dairy eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
½ tsp of baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt the butter and the sugar in a saucepan and stir. Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl. Pour the butter mixture, eggs, and vanilla into the flour mixture and combine thoroughly. Add the chocolate chips and stir through. Spoon the mixture into a buttered and floured muffin tray (alternatively muffin cases) and cook for 20 minutes or until firm. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before removing. Top with a chocolate buttercream frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker

Yields: Enough to frost 12 cupcakes | Prep Time: 15 minutes

1 cup (8 ounces) Organic Horizon Dairy unsalted butter, at room temperature
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Using the wire whisk attachment of your stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.

Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla, mixing until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed to incorporate all of the chocolate.

You can store any unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container; let it come to room temperature and then give it a quick whip in the mixer before using.

One Year Ago: Harira – Moroccan lamb and lentil soup

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are always great to have around.  Just sweet enough to have for dessert or a snack and not feel too guilty.  This shortbread recipe i have made several times and i use 1/2 of he sugar that was originally asked for and also to make it more interesting and give it more texture i add almond meal which gives it a great flavor and texture.  If these are not sweet enough, you can always dip them in chocolate.

Today I also have some exciting news to share —–  I am pregnant and having a GIRL!  It is my first so I am very excited.  The due date is in February 2012.  I have been feeling great, no nausea at all and now in the second trimester i have my energy back so things are just great. Will keep you up to date as things progress, just very excited to share this news with you.

Shortbread Cookies

Adapted from: Ina Garten

Yields: 20 cookies | Prep Time: 15 min | Cook Time: 30 minutes

¾ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1/2 cup of sugar until they are just combined. Add the vanilla. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour; almond meal and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick and cut with a 3 by 1-inch finger-shaped cutter. Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Bread


Don't miss a single post! Sign up for email updates