Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake

I have to say that I'm always surprised (and maybe a bit disappointed) when someone tells me they don't like pumpkin. This does not compute, in my mind. Then again, I don't like watermelon. For most people, that doesn't compute.  To each his/her own, they say. For me, pumpkin will remain at the top of my list of "food loves.

With Fall officially being here, I know that I'll be making recipes with pumpkin, and fortunately, my family loves it as much as I do. 

I love a good coffee cake, and when sour cream is part of the equation-- I just can't resist.  But, adding a layer of pumpkin in between, with a pecan topping... I was on a mission to make this cake.  I saw the recipe on Bunny's Warm Oven (who got it from, but decided to make a couple of minor tweaks.  Oh, and if you have a sweet tooth, and love baking-- Bunny is your gal.  She can bake some crazy delicious looking treats!

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

5-Minute Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes and a Panko Herb crust (Pressure Cooker Style)

Before I talk about this creamy, dreamy homemade Macaroni and Cheese that I made last night, I want to say that I am deeply touched, and encouraged, by all the supportive comments I received on my "Spaghetti Pie" post, and on my Facebook Fan Page. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I shared some health issues I've been dealing with, and that I'm going to be a bit scarce. I'm still struggling with fatigue, but I'm starting to feel better.  Your encouragement really lifted my spirits and I'm starting to think a lot more about getting back into the kitchen.
So, with a slow resurgence of energy, I am wanting to make easy (but delicious) dinners for my wonderful husband, who is always appreciative of whatever I make. I do enjoy sharing a meal together, and talking about our day at work.

A while ago, I had bookmarked this recipe from one of my most used books on pressure cooking: "Pressure Cooking Perfection".  When my son was a little boy, he'd beg me to bring home those "Blue Boxes" of mac 'n cheese.  Now that he's all grown, he doesn't eat those any longer (thank goodness).  So, I don't make Mac 'N Cheese often. But this recipe got my attention because it looked so easy, and it sounded really good. I liked their variation of adding tomatoes, so I set my mind to making this for dinner.
NOTE: If you don't own a pressure cooker, please know you can still make this recipe on a stove top. It'll just take a bit more time, but it's worth it.  

I've written several recipe posts on pressure cooking, and I hope that I can convince more folks that there is nothing to fear about pressure cookers.  I wish I could hold your hand, and show you how easy it is to plug in an electric pressure cooker.  This macaroni and cheese recipe is the perfect "starter" way to personally learn how fool-proof pressure cooking is.

The first thing you do is measure out 8 ounces (two cups) of macaroni, and 2 cups of water.  There's no pot of salted water to bring to a cooked pasta to drain. No-siree!

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Easy Spaghetti Pie-- and my brief food blog leave of absence

This recipe for Spaghetti Pie is something I would often make for my son, when he was a little boy. He loved it, and I appreciated that it was fast to make.  This photo, I admit, doesn't begin to do justice to the flavor of the meat filling-- which is not made from bottled spaghetti sauce.  The crust is made with cooked pasta, eggs and Parmesan cheese, with a layer of fresh ricotta cheese (or cottage cheese). The topping has plenty of melted, gooey mozzarella.  I'm going to share this recipe, for Spaghetti Pie in the next few paragraphs. Pinkie promise. After all, that's why you're here, isn't it? 

I wasn't going to post this recipe, because I was underwhelmed by the photographs that I took.   I did share it on the website where I store all of my recipe cards, so that I would have it as a quick reference. I was surprised at how popular the recipe card became! So, I decided to share it with all of you-- and as a segue for me to explain why my recipe posts have become so few and far between.

I'll try to keep food blog etiquette, by trying not to write super long paragraphs. Though, please indulge me, this one time. I have something really important I need to tell my readers and internet friends. I'll try and break up the paragraphs with photos of this recipe. Then, I'll tie the whole thing together. Okay?

Thank you. Truly.

So, here's what's been going on, with me. (Deep breath): Until recently, I've been blessed with pretty good health. Granted, I've struggled with a bum left knee, ever since I had my first major surgery at the age of 14. The short explanation is that I have "loose connective tissue". That is, when I least expected (or wanted) it, my knee would go the opposite direction where I was headed. Ouch. Over the last few decades, I had two more surgeries, to try and improve my knee  Still,  it never stopped me from my years as an equestrian and a few ski trips.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodles

I remember the first time I ate a Snickerdoodle Cookie. It was in the mid 60's (not 1800, thank you very much). The reason I remember is that my mother, being German, rarely baked any kind of "American" recipe. A co-worker had brought some to her job, and she was smitten. She handed the recipe to me, and the rest is history.

It's interesting that when I googled "who invented the Snickerdoodle cookie" the most common answer is that, perhaps, the name snickerdoodle is a hybrid of the German word schneckennudeln, a type of cinnamon dusted sweet roll.   Who knew? I thought the recipe came from Betty Crocker, because I have always made that version-- which has a combination of butter and shortening.  It's a great recipe, and a true classic.

What? You've never had a Snickerdoodle?  Impossible!  They're made with the basic of ingredients-- butter, flour, eggs.  One cannot forget to add the cream of tartar, salt or baking soda. Or, it just wouldn't be a Snickerdoodle cookie, right?  Last, but not least, you roll the cookie dough into a ball and give it a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar. This, my friends, is what makes this cookie so irresistible.

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