Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Teal Pumpkin Project {Free Printable}

Can I just vent to you for a bit?  Food allergies suck.  They just do.  As an adult who has had them all my life, I just sort of deal with it.  But, watching my sweet surfer boy deal with allergies has been sad.  It was harder when he was a toddler, because he really didn't understand that he couldn't eat Goldfish or Cheese-its and there were a lot of melt downs because of it.  Now that's he's a little bit older (4 1/2 is so much easier than when he was 2!), he has an understanding that we avoid dairy and soy like the plague in this house.  But, he also knows that we usually have a good alternative for yummy treats (I will post our favorite dairy allergy foods soon), so we don't have melt downs very often.  The thing I dread, though is the sadness he gets after trick or treating and realizing. . . he can't eat any of it.  Guess what?  We just deal with dairy and soy. . . there are kids out there that deal with so much more: fructose, tree nuts, peanuts (which surprisingly is not the same as tree nuts) and many others.  

Last year, I heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project and it got me so excited!  Then I forgot all about it until after Halloween was over.  Mom fail.  This year, I'm kind of on the ball (insert proud mommy face here).  I made a printable (that you, too, can print out), especially if you don't have the time or energy to paint a pumpkin teal.  I don't right now. . . although it sound like a lot of fun!  I also picked up some cool bubbles and erasers from Target to hand out to the kids who have allergies.  Apparently, I am running out  of color ink, so mine didn't print the greatest.  I had planned on having it printed at Office Max, but, I forgot and then ran out of time.  Oops!

You can check out more about the Teal Pumpkin Project here and here

You can print out my sign here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pumpkin Toffee Coffee Cake

My windows are open.  They sky is overcast and grey and the teeny tiny leaves on our tree are starting to change colors and rain down on our grass (Finally!).  I have even been able to dress my kids in slightly fall clothes (because by the afternoon, they will be back in shorts and a t-shirt).  And my Tuesday morning latte didn't make me break into a sweat.  I am one happy girl!

This is the kind of weather that makes me want to bake everything that I see, especially if it has apples or pumpkins (have you seen my Instagram feed?) and simultaneously sit and sip something yummy while reading a good book or binge watching my favorite show.  It really is a struggle!  Please tell me I'm not the only one.

I also have been feeling in a slump of cooking.  Did you notice that last month's dinner inspiration had only three?  It has been bad.  So, I reserved some cookbooks from the library and I am slowly making a list of things to make next month.  One of the cookbooks I checked out was this one, called Bake it like you mean it, and it's pretty much awesome!  A lot of the cakes are crazy tricky and my kids are begging me to make them (umm. . . probably not going to happen!).  But, one recipe timed it perfect for fall and all the ingredients were in my pantry.  It was like it was meant to be!  So, I baked it and realized I forgot the toffee in the middle, and wasn't going to go back and fix it.  It was still so very amazing.  I think the 'coffee cake' part of the title is just a way to justify eating pumpkin toffee cake with your morning cup of joe.  It was also so pretty to look at. 

Bunt cakes are super fun, too.  They make it look so fancy, with very minimal work.  And then just glazing frosting one and maybe some sprinkles (or toffee) and you have a decadent dessert with very little effort.  I highly recommend Pam non stick spray with flour when you are using a bunt pan.  It has never failed me!  If you don't have it, wipe the inside of the pan down with some softened butter, covering every inch, especially the grooves.  Then sprinkle some flour inside and shake it around, patting the outside.  Dump the excess flour and pour in your batter.  If you are making a chocolate bunt cake, use cocoa powder instead of flour.  That's my helpful hint.  Don't fear the bunt pan.  The bunt pan is your friend!

Now, that I've tormented you with pictures and deliciousness, here's the recipe for you to make.  Now bake away and invite a new friend over for coffee.  

Pumpkin Toffee Coffee Cake
from Bake it Like You Mean It

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 eggs, room temperature
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
toffee pieces

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp whole milk

toffee pieces

Spray bunt can with flour non stick spray.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 350.

In your favorite mixer, cream together brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add the honey and maple syrup.  Continue creaming until well incorporated.   Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.  Add the pumpkin pure and vanilla bean paste and mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated.  Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix only until they are well incorporated.

Pour half the batter into the pan and sprinkle a layer of crumbled toffee over the top.  Pour remaining bter and bake for 1 hour.  Cool in pan and invert onto serving platter.

Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Start with 1 tbsp and slowly add more if needed.  Drizle over the top and then sprinkled some more toffee over the top.

*I got in a hurry and forgot the toffee in the middle.  It was still very good!
* I buy my toffee pieces in the baking section at the grocery store (or Target).
* I ran out of honey while I was pouring, so I topped it off with Karo Light Corn Syrup.  It worked great!  


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What's for Dinner {September Edition}

Kitchen catastrophes happen all the time.  We've been living in an epic one in our home and I am praying (I mean serious get on your knees and beg kind of praying)  and hoping that this one would just be over.  It has been like a really bad nightmare that just won't end.  This kitchen crisis caused lots of tears and frustrations like no other.  

Earlier this summer, when we went on our adventure to Oregon, we came home to a rather disgusting infestation of pantry moths.  I threw so much food out and used so much vinegar, but it seemed that they would never go away.  We finally took everything out of the pantry, shelves and all, and vacuumed, wiped down, and repainted and kept all our food out on our kitchen table.  My kitchen has been a disaster for months! Yesterday, I got brave and put all my food back into my pantry and put my kitchen back to normal.  It has been so refreshing to have some order back into my day.   And I haven't seen any moth activity in weeks!  A major happy dance is going on here!

Because of this, the desire to cook has been very minimal.  I do know now that my Oxo air tight containers are completely worth the money!  They never even touched my flours or sugar.  That made my day.  Glass jars. . . not so much!  I learned a lot about what to have in a pantry and soon, I will be sharing some helpful hints on what NOT to do in your pantry.  I should also mention that I've heard a lot of people have been experiencing the same problem.  My best friend was actually dealing with her own case of moths at the same time!  While I wouldn't wish that on anyone, it was kind of nice to know that I wasn't alone!

But first, some of my favorite dinners from September.  There aren't that many because a lot of what I cooked were repeats of the previous months.  There wasn't a lot of experimentation because. . . well. . . I couldn't find anything in my kitchen.  

Oh, and I should mention that I've been doing a lot of grilling.  I'm kind of lazy and it's just one more pan I don't have to clean up.  Plus, it makes dinners so easy!  Feel free to share what you've been cooking in the comments.  I am always looking for new recipes!

1.  Pioneer Woman Pollo Asado
 I made this a few weeks ahead of time and froze it in the marinade.  The meat was perfectly tender and everyone loved it!  Definitely making this again!

2. Balsamic Honey Chicken Skewers
I've made this a few times lately because it's a simple recipe to freeze and save for later.  This will probably become a regular recipe on my menu plan. 

3.  BBQ Chicken
This recipe was like non I've ever made before.  I kind of found it by accident one day because I had thighs to cook and not a lot of ingredients since it was the end of the month . . . and well, my kitchen was ick!  This one won't be a good freezer meal because you marinate the chicken in mayonnaise, onion slices, and some other stuff for a few hours before you get it on the grill and start putting the BBQ sauce on it.  We used Sweet Baby Ray's because  that's our favorite and that's what we in the fridge.  I've made this twice already. . . it's so good! 



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