Monday, November 23, 2009

Crochet Bug

We found this book full of wonderful little crochet projects with simple directions and great photos of all the finished projects. I am including a few of the things I think are adorable. Crocheting is really a blast and pretty quick. I am slowly working on loving knitting, but it takes so much concentration. Some day, when I am all grown up I might be able to catch on. Anyway - give it a try! I think you will love it. I did make the green the skinny scarf and I LOVE it. The flower one is adorable. Can you see that in miniature on a little girl?

this book

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fall Festive Food

I love acorns!!! So, when I saw this cupcake recipe I knew I had to use it for my dinner I hosted recently. Not a hostess by nature, I am so grateful I have such a helpful and skilled daughter who saved my bacon to pull it off.

Dessert first!
These tasted as good as they looked.

Acorn Pumpkin Cupcakes

Mix the following 4 ingredients in a medium-sized bowl:
2 1/4 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:
4 eggs beaten
1 small can of canned pureed pumpkin (or half of a large can)
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 c. oil
3/4 c milk

Add half of the dry ingredients in your medium bowl to the large bowl and mix, then add the rest and mix to only combine. Don't over mix.

Spoon into 24 paper lined cupcake pans 3/4 full.
Preheat oven to 375 and bake for 25 min.
Frost when completely cool.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar (add more if needed)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

With Electric beater mix cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy, add vanilla and cinnamon, and one cup of sugar at a time until desired consistency is reached. Place frosting into a freezer quart size bag, twist air out of top of bag, snip off a small amount off of a corner and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Caramel Acorns:
24 Brachs caramels
handful of chocolate chips, melted in microwave
chocolate jimmies

Microwave 2 unwrapped caramels at a time for about 8 seconds. Roll into a ball and shape into an acorn shape. Set aside. When all are shaped, dip caramel top into melted chocolate chips and then immediately into a pile of chocolate jimmies. Place on frosted cupcake.

The funny thing is, they gloss over and look even better the second day. These cupcakes can be made a day ahead. Just frost them when you're ready to serve them.

Next time I make them I am going to try the bean puree in place of the oil (like the pumpkin bread).

The Main Course

I make this chili on a rotation system in our house. The original recipe calls for 2 cans of White Northern Beans, however after scaring my entire family, including the dad, when they noticed a bean, of all things, in their chili, I have since pureed one can and added it to the mix. I often also add steamed and pureed cauliflower for some added vegetables -- another food that causes our family to shriek.

White Chicken Chili
1 lb. chicken, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 T vegetable oil

Saute above ingredients and then add:

1 can pureed Great Northern Beans
1 can corn, drained
1 1/2 can chicken broth
1 can diced green chiles
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano leaves
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. pureed cauliflower (optional)

Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add:
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Don't forget the Salad

I don't have a picture of the salad. Sorry. It was the most colorful of the bunch. It was very tasty. I highly recommend it, too. Thanks to my friend Brittany for suggesting it to me. I was sold on it before she finished saying the word "Pomegranate." We love this time of year -- pomegranates are at their height!

Pomegranate Pear Spinach Salad

1 bag Spinach
1 head Red Leaf Lettuce
Mushroom slices (about 4)
Slivered almonds
Grated Swiss Cheese
Bacon slices
3 to 4 Pears, sliced

Assemble above together and top with dressing below:

2/3 c. cider vinegar
1 c. oil
2 tsp. mustard (prepared)
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. poppy seeds
1 bunch green onions

Place all of the dressing ingredients in your blender and blend.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dresser Up

Here's the before picture of a dresser David picked up this summer at a benefit garage sale. Twenty bucks and it was ours. I didn't know where I was going to put it, so I let it sit in the garage for a while. I took off the knobs before I thought to take the picture, so for history sake, I put one of each back on.

Because I just had so much time on my hands -- really not true (should have been preparing more for my Stake Primary Appreciation Dinner at my house last night -- pictures of some darling cupcakes coming soon) I hurried to try to get this done prior to my get-together, but we didn't have time to put on the hardware and drill holes. Anyway, it's done. Who knows if it will stay in the living room or not. I am always rearranging.

Next project. My card catalog that has been a garage resident for many years longer than this piece. That ought to take some time. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Here's the Skinny

We love pumpkin bread. However, after hearing Melanie Douglass on Studio 5 inform everyone that pumpkin bread is essentially pumpkin cake, I had to think twice about that second or third slice I enjoy. She recommended replacing the oil in the bread with white bean puree. (White Northern beans pureed with some water). So, I decided to give it a try! And WOW! It was good.
She claims this bread only has 2g fat per slice and 140 calories per slice as opposed to 8 to 15 grams of fat and 200 to 300 calories per slice. Armed with that information now, you won't feel nearly as bad lathering up this Kneader's spread on top of it.

Pumpkin Bread with Bean Puree
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup white bean puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 oz. canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • chocolate chips, nuts or raisins: optional
  • Rinse a can of Great Northern white beans and puree in a blender with about ½ cup water. Bean puree should be the consistency of applesauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray (1) bread pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix sugar, beans, eggs, canned pumpkin, and water. Then stir in dry ingredients and mix well until blended. Pour into bread pan and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool completely before slicing.