Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Decor, Baking and General Tom Foolery

Lots of baking mishaps this weekend so I will not be sharing much in the baking department with this post...Sorry! More actual baking posts to come soon!

Here is the cake portion of the southern caramel cake I was attempting. This part came out good...

...and this was the caramel frosting before I screwed it up and made actual caramel.

This little dity below turned out great though! Homemade mulled apple cider. Made with honey crisp and golden delicious apples, oranges, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and a little splenda.

Fangtastia on the back of my True Blood pumpkin

The front of my pumpkin

Spooooooooky front door...

To go down the stairs...

Just inside the door was my treat table.. ready for the Trick or Treaters!

Yay candy! Someone has had too much already!

Homemade chocolate vampire teeth! Creepy and delicious!

mmmm mellowcreme pumpkins

The Halloween pin I've had since I was little. Pull down the bat and the wheel up top spins. te he

Inside on the bar is a little more Halloween fun!

I COULD NOT get a good pic of our balcony... you can't see anything from downstairs and from the stairs up this is what I got. Spider webs all over the place lights, skeleton, ghosts and what not.

Creeeeeeep crow on the balcony.

Photobombed crow

Deranged hockey player on our balcony too I guess?

EEK! Spiders!

The little set up outside of the front door. Cute, no?

Well that's all folks. Have to wind down off this sugar and go to bed.

Baking posts to come!

Cowboys and Pumpkins

So someone challenged their girlfriend to a friendly bet during their match up week in fantasy football.

If I lost, I had to give an ode to Timmy Thomas at Sunday dinner with my family, all while wearing one of the giant bows my mom forced me to wear back in elementary school. (I think I might have had to wear said bow all weekend as well but I can't remember)

Any who- If Eric lost he had to wear a Dallas Cowboys shirt all weekend which included his company picnic. Being a Giants fan he really didn't want to have to do this but alas he lost to me. Badly.

Puntin Penguins (Me) vs. Dropkick Fluties (Eric). DOMINATION.

Here is a photo montage of our weekend travels: (Excuse the poor quality photos, most were taken on my phone)

Sad about his new shirt

Please don't take my picture....

Lunch at Mooyah where they had an AWESOME balloon artist...oh and depressed Eric eating a yummy burger.

Balloon Mario! OH YEAH!

Moving on from lunch to a pumpkin patch out in Grapevine...

Here is Mario in the corn maze where he lost his leg!

My bad...

Mario and Eric get lost amoungst the corn.

Everybody getting lost in the maze..

Me and Mario outside the corn maze being goofy.

oh Mario...

Pumpkin #1 acquired

Pumpkins #2-4 located... happy family :)

On to Home Depot! Eric chatting with a fellow non-Cowboys fan...sigh...

On the way home a quick pit stop... to the COWBOYS PRACTICE STADIUM. Someone is SUPER excited!

The next afternoon after getting a reprieve from wearing the shirt to golf (stupid dress code), we headed to Eric's office party. Luckily for us, they had a mechanical bull there waiting for us!

Later after the party we headed to my parents house to watch the end of the game... where the Cowboys lost. Eric was happy...

...until I yelled at him and told him to be sad, amoungst other things.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Honey Crisp Apple Cups

When I saw apple cups on Pinterest I was wondering how they got the apples hollowed out so nicely but it was easier than I thought!

1. You make a straight cut off the top of the apple.
2. Take a melon baller, teaspoon, or small ice cream scoop and start digging out the middle. Leave a good fourth of an inch around the edge so it has a nice cup shape.
3. Soak in lemon-lime soda if you plan to not use them right away and stick them in the fridge.
4. If you are ready to use them then fill them with something yummy and enjoy!

I filled mine with caramel, topped with brown sugar and served with a side of graham crackers.

Some other ideas would be:

Ice cream with caramel and chocolate syrup, pudding (vanilla, chocolate, white chocolate, etc) and whipped cream, caramel dip with a side of apple slices or you could use them for baked apples.

The possibilities are endless!!

PS Honeycrisp apples are back on the shelf so get those tasty suckers and nom them hard! They only stick around until early spring at the latest!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Goodies Galore!

Delicious Fall Goodies have been abundant in our kitchen the last couple of weeks so I'd thought I do one post about them all :) Hope you like them!

First up is gingerbread pancakes smothered in honey butter, pure maple syrup, topped with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice.

Oh and a side of bacon...mmmmm
Here is the recipe I used:

2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup molasses
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour the molasses and the milk into a separate bowl and mix together. Add the eggs to the molasses and milk mixture. Mix it until the batter is smooth but be careful not to over-mix.
Pour on to a hot griddle to make some yummy pancakes (you should be able to drop a few droplets of water on to the griddle and if they sizzle away in a few seconds you are good to go!).

And the best part- top with butter, syrup and whipped cream. Serve with a side of warm bacon or sausage to have a complete breakfast.

Next up is caramel stuffed apple cider cookies- these things are like amazingly good. It's like a caramel apple cider from Starbucks but in cookie form

Here is Eric using my new cookie scoop from Pampered Chef to scoop out the perfect amount of dough per cookie.

Then me placing the caramel inside...this is getting good right?!

Here they are after being baked... they smelled so good while they were in the oven.


Mmmm caramely delicious gooey insides!

Here is the delightful recipe for these things:

1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box (10 packets) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Mix or use the off brand from Tom Thumb
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment! The caramel sticks to the pan sometimes)
In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
With your mixer cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.
Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
Refrigerate for about an hour.
When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels.
Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. (I used a rounded cookie scoop-full. My scoop holds about a Tablespoon.)
Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies. Make sure to store in an airtight container.

Next in line is the yummy, ever so moist, pumpkin cake with apple cider glaze. This recipe is great for taking to parties, pot lucks or just to work just because you like your co-workers. It is an easy peesy cheater recipe!

Punkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

Yellow or French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 can (16oz) Pumpkin Puree
1 sm box vanilla or white chocolate pudding
1 egg
2 cups of milk

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease a 7x11 pan.
Mix all of the above ingredients until everything appears to be well blended.
Pour into the pan and bake for 45min to an hour. Insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake to check.

Apple Cider Glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons fresh apple cider (or 3 tablespoons warm water and your fav apple cider mix)
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (I made it without this because the apple cider was a strong enough flavor but if is not go ahead and add it in)

You can play with the consistency add more cider to make it thinner and more sugar to thicken it.

Let the cake cool about ten minutes and then turn over on to a platter and pour the glaze right over the top and let it drizzle over the edges.

Here is the mixture pre-bake

Cake post-bake covered in light and tasty apple cider glaze
Here is the cake on the table with the gorgeous fall flowers Eric picked up for me randomly one day :) I love random flowers! (Also please ignore all the beer crap in the background the dining room is our beer man cave)

And you've finally made it to the last recipe of the day!

Pumpkin Cake Waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-1/4 cups milk
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
4-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.
Whisk the egg, milk, pumpkin and butter; stir into dry ingredients until blended.
Bake in a preheated waffle iron until golden brown.
Serve waffles with butter and syrup if desired.
Yield: 4 waffles

Since Eric knows how much I love all things pumpkin so being the kind soul that he is he decided to make me a pumpkin ale just in time for Halloween :)
Here he is hacking at the pumpkin I'm sure he HATED this lol

Freshly cleaned pumpkin. The seeds were soaking in a bowl of salt water in prep for baking.

This smelled amazing and it was a beautiful amber color in the pot.

And when he was done with the pumpkin chunks and spent grain I froze them to make some more spent grain bread. I made one test batch but the bread was very dense. Moist but dense. I'm going to try some other recipes and then I will post the results.

Hope you all enjoyed my fall goodies I am sure there will be more to come.

Be sure to check out my goodies page and get your Thanksgiving order in ASAP if you are interested in bringing some homemade goodies to your family's Thanksgiving dinner!