Our Little Pumpkin is One

Dear Sis,

We had fun celebrating Mr. Baby’s first birthday with our neighbor friends. Our menu consisted of some of Mr. Baby’s favorite foods:

Chicken Nuggets

Mac and Cheese

Broccoli

Fruit Salad in Jack o Lantern Bowls

(made by our neighbor Merrill; inspired by Pinterest)

Pumpkin Patch Cake

Mac and Cheese
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. small pasta, cooked
  2. 1/4 c ghee or butter
  3. 3/4 c milk
  4. 1 (10.75 oz) can Cream of Cheddar soup
  5. 1 c gouda, shredded
  6. 1 c sharpe cheddar, shredded
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain.
  2. Over low heat, stir in ghee until melted.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese is melted and smooth.
Adapted from jamiegoof
Adapted from jamiegoof
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Pumpkin Bars
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  2. 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  3. 1 c avocado oil
  4. 4 eggs, beaten
  5. 2 c unbleached flour
  6. 2 t baking powder
  7. 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  8. 1 t baking soda
Frosting
  1. 2 (8 oz) pkg Neufchatel cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1 c powdered sugar
  4. 1 T vanilla bean paste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Beat together puree, sugar, oil, and eggs.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into pumpkin mixture.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 minutes. Cool.
Frosting
  1. Beat together all ingredients and spread over cooled pumpkin bars.
Notes
  1. If you choose to decorate your pumpkin bars, wait until the last minute, so the candies don't begin to dissolved and ooze. In the photos below you can see we learned that the hard way:)
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After our company left, Mr. Baby played with his new toys and shoes for a little while, I cleared away all the scattered packaging and added the new books to the shelf, and then Mr. Baby fell fast asleep. It was a big day of our little boy!

Love,

b

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Focaccia Bread

Dear Sis,

We had a new neighborhood Mama over for dinner last night. Her new baby boy is one month old. There was lots of baby and breastfeeding discussion over dinner:) I tried some new recipes for the occasion.

Focaccia Bread
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c olive oil
  2. 2 T minced garlic
  3. 1 T fresh rosemary or 1 t dry
  4. 1 T fresh thyme or 1 t dry
  5. 1/4 t ground pepper
  6. 1 c warm water
  7. 2 1/4 t active dry yeast
  8. 1 T honey
  9. 2 1/2 c unbleached flour
  10. 1 t salt
  11. 1 t garlic powder
  12. 1/2 c Parmesan, shredded
Instructions
  1. Heat oil and herbs in an iron skillet 5 - 10 minutes, take care not to burn garlic. Set aside.
  2. In a nonmetallic bowl, dissolve yeast in water and honey.
  3. Separate garlic from oil. Add to yeast mixture along with 1/4 c oil mixture.
  4. Stir in flour 1/2 c at a time and salt. Knead until smooth.
  5. Oil dough. Cover and rise 1 hour.
  6. Heat oven to 450. Grease 9x13 pan with 2 T herb oil. Press dough into pan. Spread remaining herb oil over bread. Dust with garlic powder.
  7. Bake 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and cool on wire rack.
Notes
  1. Stores airtight in fridge a few days.
Adapted from Inspired Taste
Adapted from Inspired Taste
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Focaccia paired well with Braised Beef Tortellini and Cesar Salad.

I also made Coconut Cream Pie for dessert but forgot to take a picture.

Coconut Cream Pie
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pie shell, baked
  2. 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
  3. approx. 3/4 c heavy cream
  4. 3 yolks
  5. 3/4 c sugar
  6. 1/3 c cornstarch
  7. 1/4 t salt
  8. 1 t coconut extract
  9. 1 t vanilla extract
  10. 3/4 c toasted coconut flakes
Topping
  1. 1/2 c heavy cream
  2. 1/4 c powdered sugar
  3. 1/4 c toasted coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Combine milk, cream, yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook stirring until thick.
  2. Stir in extracts and coconut. Pour into baked pie shell. Cool at room temperature. Chill.
  3. Beat heavy cream to stiff peak, adding powdered sugar 1 T at a time. Spread over coconut custard. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Love,

b

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Carrot Cupcakes

Dear Sis,

Mr. Baby had a late nap, so we baked this evening for the dinner we are having with neighbors tomorrow night. We are getting together “Not” to celebrate Mr. Baby turning 1 this month:) (If we were, Daddy would not approve.)

Carrot Cupcakes
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c avocado oil
  2. 3/4 c sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1 1/2 c carrot, shredded
  5. 1 c flour
  6. 1/2 t baking poser
  7. 1/2 t baking soda
  8. 1/2 t cinnamon
  9. 1/4 c pecans, crushed
  10. 1/4 c raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a cupcake tin with parchment liners.
  2. Whisk together oil, sugar, and eggs. Stir in carrot.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into carrot mixture.
  4. Fold in nuts and raisins.
  5. Spoon equally into lined cups. Bake 25 minutes.
Notes
  1. * If cream cheese frosting is desired, see recipe adaption link and make a 1/2 batch.
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/
Love,

b

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Pear Cheesecake Bars

Dear Sis,

Yesterday, we spent most of the day in the kitchen. We made lasagnas for us and some neighbors who had their first baby last week and we made Pear Cheesecake Bars.

Pear Cheesecake Bars
Serves 9
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Ingredients
  1. 20 gingersnaps, crushed
  2. 1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
  3. pears; see notes
  4. 1 1/2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, soft
  5. 1/2 c sour cream
  6. 1/2 c sugar
  7. 2 eggs, beaten
  8. 1 T vanilla bean paste
Instructions
  1. Line a square baking dish with parchment. Combine cookie crumbs and butter and press into pan. Place pears over crust. Chill while preparing other ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 325. Beat together cheese, sour cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Pour over pears. Bake 50 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Chill before serving.
Notes
  1. Fresh Pears: Peel, core, and chop two pears. Add to a saucepan with 3/4 c water, 1/4 c sugar, and 1 T lemon juice. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and steep 15 minutes. Drain and cool before using.
  2. Canned Pears: Drain and chop 1 (15 oz) can Pears in Juice
Adapted from Roxana
Adapted from Roxana
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Love,

b

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Triple Cookie Bars

Dear Sis,

Daddy likes Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies, and Oreos, so we thought we’d give Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownie Bars a try. Oddly enough he didn’t love them all together, but I did!

How to Make Chocolate Chip Oreo Brownie Bars

  1. Press Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough into the bottom of a baking pan. (2/3 pkg refrigerated dough for a square pan and all of it for a 9×13)
  2. Arrange Oreos on top.
  3. Mix up a batch of Brownies according to package instructions and pour them on top. (plastic pouch of mix for square pan and a box for a 9×13)
  4. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes.

All of our staged photo attempts were a wash, but we got a good one on our morning walk:)

Love,

b

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Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fluff with Pretzel Brittle

Dear Sis,

Tonight our neighbors joined us for dinner. We made Chili and Sweet Spoon Cornbread. For desert, we tried something new that went with our fall comfort food nicely.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Fluff with Pretzel Brittle
Serves 4
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Pretzel Brittle
  1. 1/3 c coarsely crushed pretzels
  2. 1/4 c crushed pecans
  3. 1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
  4. 1/4 c dark brown sugar
Apple Fluff
  1. 2 c diced apples
  2. 1/2 (8 oz) tub whipped topping
  3. 4 oz soft cream cheese
  4. 2 T refrigerated caramel sauce
Pretzel Brittle
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Combine brittle ingredients and spread over a jellyroll pan.
  3. Bake 5-7 minutes. Watch closely to avoid burning!
  4. Cool. Break into pieces.
Apple Fluff
  1. Beat together whipped topping, cream cheese, and caramel sauce.
  2. Fold in apples. Spoon into serving dishes. Top with brittle, apple slices, and heated caramel sauce.
Notes
  1. * Nut Free - replace pecans with additional pretzels
Adapted from The Gunny Sack
Adapted from The Gunny Sack
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Love,

b

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Rosh Hashanah Dinner

Dear Sis,

Our dinner was a success! I think I’ve had enough pomegranate until next year:)

Honey Apple Challah
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 c warm water
  2. 1 egg + 1 yolk
  3. 6 T honey
  4. 1 T olive oil
  5. 1 t vanilla
  6. 1 t salt
  7. 4 c bread flour
  8. 1 T dry active yeast
Apples Filling
  1. 1 granny smith apple
  2. 1/4 c sugar
  3. 1 t lemon juice
Egg Wash
  1. 1 egg white
  2. 1 T water
Instructions
  1. Place wet and dry ingredients in a bread machine in the order they appear, placing yeast on top. Manually program bread machine: 2 pound loaf, first rise 40 minutes, second rise 30 minutes, no shaping, or baking.
  2. Peel, and finely dice apple. Toss with sugar and lemon juice, set aside.
  3. Divide dough into four equal portions. Shape dough into long ropes. Flatten into strips and place bits of diced apple in the center of each length of dough. Reshape dough into ropes around apples. Braid into a round loaf. Use the link below as a reference if you aren't sure how to go about it. Transfer loaf to a parchment lined baking sheet. Rise 30 minutes.
  4. Whisk together egg and water and brush over loaf. Dust with coarse sugar if desired. Bake at 350. 20 minutes. Brush with another coat of egg wash. Tent with foil, to prevent over browning, and return to oven 20 - 25 minutes.
  5. Tap bottom of loaf to test doneness. Should sound hallow. Cool on wire rack before serving.
Adapted from Tori Avery
Adapted from Tori Avery
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How to Braid a Round Challah

Roast Fowl with Apple Stuffing
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. whole chicken or duck
Stuffing
  1. 1 lb. ground turkey
  2. 2 green apples
  3. 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 t marjoram
  6. salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Peel, core, and chop apples.
  3. Mix apple, crumbs, egg, and marjoram into ground turkey to create stuffing.
  4. Remove neck and giblets from fowl. Place in a roasting pan and pack check cavity with stuffing. Dust skin with salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and Bake 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake 2 hours more. Rest 30 minutes before serving.
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New Fruits for the New Year Salad
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 6 c arugula
  2. seeds of 1 pomegranate
  3. 1 apple, diced
  4. 1/2 red onion, minced
  5. 4 dry dates, diced
  6. 1/4 c walnuts, coarsely crushed
Dressing
  1. 1/2 c olive oil
  2. 3 T red wine vinegar
  3. 2 T lemon juice
  4. 1 1/2 T honey
  5. 1 T minced garlic
  6. 1 1/2 t salt
  7. 1/2 t pepper
Instructions
  1. Place arugula in a salad bowl or individual dishes and top with fruit and nuts.
  2. Place dressing ingredients in a pint jar and shake to combine before each use.
Adapted from Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller
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After our meal, we greeted the New Year with the tradition of apples dipped in honey and watched a Youtube video featuring shofar blasts🙂

Pomegranate Fudge
Serves 16
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Ingredients
  1. 4 c Quality Chocolate chips of preferred variety (I like 2 1/2 c Milk chocolate, 1/2 c semi-sweet, and 1 c dark)
  2. 1 (14.5 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  3. 1/4 c Pomegranate Molasses
  4. 1 t salt
  5. Pomegranate seeds (opt)
Instructions
  1. Line a square pan with parchment in both directions, so that fudge will lift out easily once set.
  2. Melt together chocolate, milk, molasses, and salt in a double boiler, stirring occasionally until smooth. Pour and spread into prepared pan. Press pomegranate seeds into fudge as desired. Cool at room temperature until set. Cut just before serving.
Notes
  1. Store fudge wrapped in parchment. Fudge lasts until it begins to dry out. However, fruit topped fudge lasts only for the day it is made.
Adapted from Honest & Tasty
Adapted from Honest & Tasty
Tag Sis, You're It! http://www.tagsisyoureit.com/

Pomegranate Molasses Recipe

Rosh Hashanah Party Favors

Love,

b

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Labor Day Picnic

Dear Sis,

Today Daddy grilled burgers for us for lunch and we ate on the back patio. Mr. Baby enjoyed eating outside!

My festive dessert wasn’t ready until dinner time because it takes so long for pound cake to bake and cool. I used the cake to make Red, White, and Blueberry Trifle. 

I used Martha Stewart’s pound cake recipe, thinking surely Martha knows how to make a perfectly moist pound cake, but it was dry like every other pound cake I’ve tried to make! Luckily, serving it cubed up as trifle did a lot to disguise its imperfection. 

My dry pound cake reminded me of the pound cake Granny made while we were in Nashville, and fussed over because she too thought it too dry. Then, I recalled her saying that we needed Granny Bob’s recipe for pound cake because her’s is moist! So I called Granny Bob, and she promised to share her recipe sometime soon:)

Love,

b

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