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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Super Easy, Super Tasty Pumpkin Bread



I am consumed by all things pumpkin.  I literally crave it daily from the start of September all  through Christmas.  I make pumpkin everything...cheesecake, muffins, breads and pies.  Most everyone has a pumpkin bread recipe, but if you don't have a go-to recipe for pumpkin bread, try this super easy one...it is so moist and delicious!!




PUMPKIN BREAD
(make 2 loaves)


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can pure pumpkin (15oz)
  • 2 cups  packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons  vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

SIFT flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, sugar, apple cider, eggs, butter and vanilla extract in large bowl; stir well. Stir in flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon into two greased  9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

BAKE for 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.


Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramel Popcorn


My daughter and I wanted to do something fall-ish together, so we decided to make popcorn....not just any popcorn though...."fall-ish" popcorn....Pumpkin Spice Salted Caramel Popcorn to be exact.
Popcorn has always been her favorite snack and this time we put a fall spin on it.  Since making it this way, we have made it about a dozen more times and gave them as gifts.  
Make sure to make extra for yourself to enjoy....we always do!!!


What you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1- 1 1/2 t sea salt 
  • pumpkin pie spice

~Before putting in oven, sprinkle salt to taste and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

~Add in pecans, slivered almonds and peanuts (optional).




  1. Preheat oven to 300°
  2. Pop popcorn kernels using air popper or use a brown paper bag and microwave for 2-3 minutes,
  3. In a saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and 1 tsp salt together over medium heat. Bring to boil and boil for 4 minutes without stirring.
  4. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir to coat evenly.
  5. Pour popcorn into pan.  Sprinkle with salt and spices.  Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
  6. Allow popcorn to cool before eating. 




Friday, October 10, 2014

First Time For Everything: Canning Salsa

This was the first time I ever canned and I was surprised 
how easy it was.  I got together with friends who have 
canned before and watched and learned and canned.  
I can't wait to can jams, applesauce, soups, 
tomato sauce and so much more.
This taste so much better than store bought salsa 
and you know the exact ingredients you put in it.
I love the idea of stock piling my own food.  
I get pure joy from going to the pantry and having 
a variety of healthy foods to choose from.  
So here it is...step by step instructions.





Ingredients:

– 5 lbs tomatoes
– 1 large onion
– 5 jalapeƱo peppers and 3 serrano peppers
– 5 cloves of garlic
– 1 bunch of cilantro
– 1 Tb garlic powder
– 1 Tb salt
– juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime

  • Rinse and chop veggies and blend in food processor. You can use a blender but it will take longer as you can only put in small amounts at a time.


Canning:


 Fill your canning pot with water and bring to a rolling boil.



Sanitize your jars and lids. You can put the jars in the boiling water for several minutes or run them through a sterilize cycle in your dish washer.



Carefully, remove jars with tongs.  Wipe off the rims of the jars.


 Ladle the salsa into the jars using a wide-mouth funnel.  Fill the jars almost to the top, but leave about 1/2 inch of space



Use the magnetic, long stick to remove lids from boiling water.


5) Remove the lids from the boiling water and place them onto the tops of the jars.  Twist the metal rings, but not too tight.


Lower the jars into the boiling water with tongs.  There should be at least 1/2 inch of water above the jars.  


Place the lid on your pot and let the jars boil for 20 minutes.


Remove the jars from the boiling water with tongs and set them on a flat surface to cool to room temperature.  As the jars cool you will hear the lids seal.  It sounds like a suction-pop sound.


Leave jars to rest on counter for a few hours and then store in pantry until ready to eat.
~makes 6 quarts



Frozen Banana Treats


In an effort to eat healthier and cut down on desserts, I have been finding alternative ways to satisfy my after dinner sweet-tooth.  This is my new favorite "dessert",  Frozen Banana Treats.  When frozen, bananas are a lot like ice cream.  This treat is so satisfying especially with peanut butter or Nutella or any of the new nut butter combinations that are in your local grocery store.  If you really want to gild the lily, add dark chocolate morsels for chocolatey goodness!!



This a great way to use up bananas before they get overly ripe.   These banana treats are a much healthier alternative to ice cream. Make a few of them at a time so when that 
sweet-tooth craving hits, you can grab one out of the freezer.


What you'll need:

  • foil
  • bananas
  • peanut butter or any nut butter of your choice (crunchy or creamy)
  • chocolate chips or any flavor chip


 Tear out pieces of foil.
 Melt nut butter in microwave for 20-30 seconds and drizzle over bananas.
Wrap up foil like a tent.
 and place in freezer for at least 3 hours.
 Remove from foil and thaw for 5 mins enjoy.  
You can slice into 1 inch pieces if you prefer.

Crispy Cheesy Chicken Tenders

Every now and then I try a new recipe and am so surprised at how good it is.  This is one of those recipes.  My family devoured it up!  I make chicken more than any other protein and I really wanted to try something new....new to me anyways.  I can not believe I have never coated chicken with Ritz crackers before.  I was inspired by a warm, cheesy dip that I make using Ritz crackers and decided to try it on chicken 
and it was delicious.   
Take this already delicious chicken and dip it in a quick, homemade gravy.
 I hope you like it as much as we do!!



Chicken:
  • 10-12 chicken tenders
  • 2 sleeves Ritz crackers
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/8 t pepper
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 3 C cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 t dried parsley
  1. In a small food processor grind up the Ritz crackers. 
  2. Pour the buttermilk, cracker crumbs and grated cheese into 3 separate containers. 
  3. Mix salt and pepper and garlic powder into the cracker crumbs.
  4. Dip chicken into the buttermilk then cheese then cracker crumbs.
  5. Spray a 9x13 cooling rack and place on 9x13 pan sprayed with cooking spray and place chicken on rack.
  6. Lightly spray chicken with cooking spray.
  7. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. 
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown.


Gravy:
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tb butter (melted)
  • 2 Tb flour
  • salt and pepper
  1. Make a roux by melting butter and adding flour and whisking for 1 min.
  2. Add broth while whisking and simmer until it thickens.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
~Using a cooling rack allows chicken to brown on both sides.  No mushy bottoms.