Archive | September 2012

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte

What’s the first thing you think of once fall weather hits your hometown?
Baking? Apple picking? Pumpkin picking? Fall colors?
No matter what you think of, this is truly a magical time of year. Besides the long, cold winter, I am very glad that I live in the Midwest. Not every state or country has the changing of seasons that we do. I am thankful for all the seasons as they come. I’m just not as ready for them all when they arrive. But I definitely appreciate different things about them. And if it wasn’t for winter, I wouldn’t appreciate spring and summer so much!
But for now, we are full on Fall! Cool weather, leaves are turning, and if you’ve read my last few posts, you can tell I am in to pumpkin. More than any other fall flavor, I love pumpkin. (I’m sorry if you don’t share the love of pumpkin that I do, you clearly have been missing out on some tasty treats!)
I tried this recipe last week when I hosted an Arbonne party in my home. It was wonderful evening of relaxing, drinking lattes and chatting with girl friends ๐Ÿ™‚
The Pumpkin Spice Lattes were a big hit and easy to make. Fix it and forget it. Only about 2 hours in the crock-pot and you’ve got a delicious hot drink that anyone would be excited to drink!

Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes (adapted from Urban Nester)

8 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeded
2 tsp cinnamon
8 Tbsp sugar
4 cups strongly brewed coffee
6 cups milk (I used 1%, because that’s what we have in the house)
Whipped topping or Redi-whip (optional)

Using a whisk to stir, combine all ingredients in the crock pot and whisk well.
Turn crock-pot on high and cook for about two hours or until hot.
Top with whipped cream and dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

Enjoy!

Note: if you don’t have vanilla beans, don’t worry, just add extra vanilla extract.

Happy Football Season!

You know those really soft, frosted cookies that you find in bakeries at Walmart, Copp’s or any other local grocery store? You know what I’m talking about. They’re like 1/2 inch thick and usually have really thick frosting in a multitude of colors and sprinkles…we can’t forget the sprinkles! These are one of my favorite kind of bought cookies, at least as far as bought cookies go. These and Oreo’s..but that’s another story.

Anyway, I got a hankerin’ for baking today and asked my Facebook fans if they had any suggestions. Now, lets face it. I don’t have thousands of followers, but I have a handful and they usually comment on my stuff. Well, today, I had one. One friend comment. All she suggested was that she wanted to make something for the Packer game coming up this Sunday. I instantly knew what I needed to make.

My new football cookie cutter came to mind and VOILA!!! I knew what recipe to use and everything!

My adorable football cookie cutter!

My sister gave this recipe to me a couple years ago and besides my raisin oatmeal cookies, this is probably my hubby’s favorite cookie that I make. They’re soft. Chewy. Fluffy. Delicious.

I topped these with my Cinnamon Butter Cream . Do you have to? No. But I had it left over from my Pumpkin Patch Cake I made last weekend. So instead of freezing it and eventually throwing it away, I decided to use it. All I had to do was use a little brown food coloring. I really like Americolor coloring. It makes very vibrant colors and results in not being able to taste the coloring. Some brands, since you have to use so much to make brighter colors, start to taste like the coloring…not good. Not good at all.

Fluffy Cut-out Sugar Cookies
Yield: about 2 dozen cookie

3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar until smooth.
Beatย  in eggs one at a time. Stir in milk and vanilla.z
Into the creamed mixture, add the flours, baking powder, and salt.
Mix until it formsย  a nice ball.
Cover and place in the fridge for about and hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out the cookie dough to no less than 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
Bake 6-8 minutes. DO NOT LET THEM TURN BROWN. If you think they don’t look done at the 6-8 minutes, they are. Take them out. I only baked mine for 6 minutes and they were perfect.
Let the cookies rest for a couple minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Let cool completely before frosting.

Note: you can totally use all-purpose flour for all of it instead of adding the whole wheat pastry flour. It will.work either way.

Note II: Any type of frosting or cookie icing will work to frost these cookies. Use your favorite frosting or find a recipe on here!

Raspberry Cooler

For a change of pace, I decided to give you a recipe for something other than pumpkin food. Shocking. I know.

After a long couple of weeks, some friends and us had a taco night. We’ve done this before and its seriously probably one my favorite times. We go all out.
Hard shells, tortillas, chips (this time, homemade by Beth), guacamole (also made by Beth), salsa, pico de gallo, re-fried beans, sour cream… I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

So, again, it had been a long week for us all, so I decided to make a fun drink to share. I scoured my Pinterest boards and found something easy. (since I knew I wouldn’t have tons of time to make anything too fancy)

Here’s what I came up with. Barefoot Mascato Wine with Sprite, topped with frozen raspberries, a.k.a a Raspberry Cooler

Okay, maybe I didn’t come up with it, but I found it on Pinterest and made it my own. Meaning I switched diet Sprite for regular Sprite…

Either way, it was a big hit and this is super easy to put together!

Raspberry Cooler (adapted from Make it, Bake, Create it)

Barefoot Mascato Wine
2 Liter bottle Sprite (or any clear lemon lime soda)
Frozen raspberries

In a pitcher, combine equal parts wine and Sprite. Add raspberries to taste.

I enjoyed adding the raspberries to each glass to be used as ice cubes.

You could also use frozen strawberries or any berry you prefer ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy!

Thanks to Janelle for the use of her beautiful pitcher and the table cloth that happens to match perfectly!!!

Sweet and Sassy…(I Mean Salty)

Are you sick of pumpkin yet?

I’M NOT!!!!!!!

I could eat pumpkin all the time. All year ’round.

Pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin dip. (gonna make that soon too!)
Pumpkin cookies. (an old favorite of mine)
Pumpkin lattes.
Pumpkin bread.
Pumpkin. Pumpkin. PUMPKIN!!!

Okay. I’ll stop. For now…

But I have a great treat for you today! And yes, it has to do with pumpkin.
Have you seen the pretzel treats with a Hershey Kiss and a M&M on top? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
But one day, I had a brilliant idea. I was ecstatic! Beyond ecstatic. Overjoyed! Let’s just say, I’m pretty sure I’m a genious…

Alright, fine. I’ll share my brilliance with you.

Pretzels…with a pumpkin spice Kiss and an M&M on top…

What? You didn’t know there is such a delicious, delectable treat such as this?
Well, now you do.
Go buy some. Trust me.

The great thing about this treat or snack, whichever you prefer, is it’s fast and easy. Easy clean up. Clean enough to eat, even with kids. There’s really no mess. One bite and it’s gone. (Unfortunately, this is also the downfall. You will eat WAY too many. I suggest making these for a party, so you don’t gain 10 lbs from eating these)

This is also a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen. They can help unwrap all those Kisses, help place them om the pretzels, and, if they’re l careful enough to not burn themselves, place the M&M’s on the warm Kisses.

These are also very versatile. However, I’ve found them easiest with soft chocolate Kisses, rather than dark chocolate. To stick to the milk chocolate, white chocolate ‘hugs’, or pumpkin spice. Anything soft really.

Alright, alright…I’ll give you the recipe already. I know you will want to run to the store (and not only to start burning calories now! Lol…sorry…I like to throw out lame jokes once in a while. I get that from my mom)

Disclaimer: I will not be held responsible for anyone’s pants that may or may not fit after making and eating these.

Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Bites

1 bag round or square pretzels (I used round butter flavored pretzels)
1 bag pumpkin spice Hershey’s Kisses
1 large bag M&M’s (I used fall colors in honor of fall)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
On a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, place as many pretzels as you can flat on the pan.
Unwrap the kisses and place one in the middle of each pretzel. (I ended up using a couple kisses from a second bag)
Place pan in oven for about 2-3 minutes, just until the kisses are soft or shiny looking. Remove from oven and carefully place one M&M in the middle of each Kiss.
Place pan in refrigerator or freezer until the kisses are hardened.

These will get soft when left out, so I suggest leaving them in the fridge until about 10 minutes before serving.

Happy Fall!

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I’m a skeptic.

I’ll be the first to admit that.

So when I saw this recipe for Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, I wasn’t going to let them fool me. How could cookies with only 2 tablespoons of butter be soft and chewy. No way.

But, since I wanted to make something for an Arbonne party I hosted the other night and I didn’t want EVERYTHING to be pumpkin…(only 75% of it, apparently)

I went to work. First making these cookies. Boy was I wrong. These things were a hit! Even with only two tablespoons of butter, these were the softest most delicious chocolate chip oatmeal cookies I’ve ever made!
They were still soft the next day even! Now that is impressive to me.

These are also pretty versatile. You could add raisins instead. Or butterscotch chips. Anything your little heart desires, really.

This was all of them…besides the ones I ate.

You could easily freeze these cookies to bring out for a special occasion or freeze the dough.

Don’t they just look so good? You will want to go make them now..trust me.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from Six Sister’s Stuff)
Yield: 3 dozen

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup chocolate chips (or any add-in you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, combine butter, sugars, egg, applesauce, and vanilla; mix well.
Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until just combined
Add oatmeal, mix well. Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by tablespoon-fulls onto lined cookies sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are just turning light brown.
Let cool for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispy Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried to get this recipe out at the end of last week, but clearly just ran out of time. So, I will continues with my Pumpkin week today… I hope you don’t mind ๐Ÿ™‚

On Friday, I made a meal for some friends that just had their fourth baby. A girl…they actually have four girls now! But, really, they are just trying to hold up the girl end of all these new babies. Seriously, there are lots and lots of boys going on here.

I knew what meal I wanted to make them. I grabbed some salad and dressing from the store and was well on my way. Except for dessert. I really wanted to practice more cakes, but ran out of time. Last week was so busy, I could even imagine baking and frosting another cake. But I also didn’t want to make it look like I just threw this meal together in a day. (maybe a day and a half…lol)

I knew I had lots of bags of marshmallows on my pantry shelf in the basement, since I went on an accidental marshmallow shopping spree a few weeks back. I also had a new box of rice krispies from a good sale at the local grocery store. So obviously, rice krispy bars were on my mind, but again, it sounded too boring to me at the time. (when I male something for someone, I can’t make it easy…its the OCD coming out in me)

Lucky for me, I remembered a recipe that I pinned on Pinterest for pumpkin spice rice krispy bars. It was the perfect dessert. Not too messy for the little girls that I knew would eating these, but also a little more sophisticated for the grown ups.
The original recipe, found here, has you ‘brown’ the butter before adding the marshmallows. I say forget that…do it the easy way and just melt it all together like you normally do. Add the rice krispies and ‘tada’! You have a masterpiece fit for a king..or at least an adult.

This a great recipe to get the kind involved in too. If you have small children, using the stove would be a not so good idea, they could definitely help press the rice krispy mixture into the pan.

So without further ado…here’s the recipe and some lovely pictures to go with it ๐Ÿ™‚

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispy Bars (adapted from Cookies and Cups)

6 cups rice krispies
10.5 bag marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Melting butter, marshmallows and pumpkin spice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pour rice krispies into a large bowl; set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter, marshmallows and pumpkin pie spice.
Once it’s melted, pour the marshmallow mixture into the bowl with rice krispies. Mix well.
Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Pat down with greased hands.
Let sit until completely cooled; cut and enjoy!

Can you see the pumpkin pie spice mixed in there?

Clean Eating Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a good day here in the good ‘ol state of Wisconsin! Besides the fact that I woke up with my hubby at 3am, my nose won’t stop running (I just can’t seem to catch it!), and I ate way too much ‘un-clean’ food last night, it IS a good day. Three reasons why I am happy about today:
1. It’s Friday!
2. I get a short break from my kids this weekend, starting today! (don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kids, but they have been driving me crazy this week!)
3. THE PACKERS WON LAST NIGHT!

Yeah, I’m pretty excited about all them. I guess the excitment was just too much for me this morning. My body told me to sleep, and my nose told me no.

So what did I do with my extra 3 hours before the kids get up? I baked! (what else would I do…geez!) Since we will be gone tonight and all day tomorrow, I wanted to use up some food I had. Namely, about a half can of pumpkin puree and some bananas. I decided on muffins and then just needed to find a recipe to use. I searched Pinterest, but shockingly didn’t find anything on my ‘boards’. So I went straight to my recipe box. (I know what you’re thinking, “who still uses a recipe box?’ I do. So deal with it)
I found a couple recipes for banana oat muffins, and oatmeal applesauce, and I figured I could just add the small amount of pumpkin in and it wouldn’t change the consistency that much. But I kept looking and stumbled upon Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins! How perfect is that! It was meant to be. Fate, if I may.
I looked through all the ingredients and I.had everything, except sucanat and oat bran. Easy peasy. I substituted honey for sucanat and ground flax for oat bran. I was on my way to a delicious and healthy breakfast for my children and I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Eating Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins
Yield: 18 muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup ground flax
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice or nutmeg
1 medium banana, mashed
1/2 can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 egg whites*
1 Tbsp wheat germ or more ground flax
1/2 cup honey

Forgive my 4am photography…and my ‘drugs’ in the background..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line muffin tins.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, flax, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice/nutmeg.
Add mashed banana, pumpkin, applesauce, egg whites, wheat germ and honey. Whisk until smooth.
Use a spoon to distribute batter evenly to lined tins.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack.
These are great for freezing and using as a quick breakfast. Let thaw for 30 minutes or reheat in microwave for about 30 seconds. (that is a total guesstimate for microwaving time)

Note: If you don’t have wheat germ, just use 1 Tbsp more of ground flax. I’m sure you could use more flour or oats as well. Don’t let the little things keep you from eating clean!

*I hate wasting things, so I froze my egg yolks to use in the future for ice cream!