Wednesday, September 30, 2015

#PumpkinWeek ~ Chicken Mushroom and Pumpkin Stew

Welcome to #PumpkinWeek day 3! Hosted by Terri from Love and Confections, 19 Bloggers will be sharing 65 pumpkin-filled recipes over the course of the week. Be sure to come back every day to see all the delicious creations - from muffins to cakes, cocktails, breakfast baked goods, savory pastas and stews, and gluten-free recipes too. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

This is a wonderful, hearty, and rustic stew. I wasn't sure what to expect when I first decided to make this recipe but I knew I wanted to branch out at least a little this week from just my favorite baked goods with pumpkin.

I had the idea in my head to do recipes over the course of this week that added up to items you could eat over a day. Breakfast could be the Pumpkin Monkey Bread with the Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, and a dinner could be this lovely stew with pumpkin focaccia bread (coming soon) along with the amazing pumpkin carrot cake (tomorrow, tomorrow) for dessert!

This stew has a thick and hearty base with the pumpkin as both a wonderful flavor ingredient and thickener too. I loved the meatiness of the mushrooms, and the carrot adds a touch of color and sweetness.

I came home from work early yesterday because I needed to be at the house for a couple appointments (getting HVAC and our water heater replaced / updated, and our garage door is in the process of being replaced and they had to come out for the lead test and measurements - owning an older home is OH so much fun!) so I grabbed a late lunch when I walked in the door. I knew all day that I was going to have a bowl of this stew as soon as I could - so that's exactly what I heated up and enjoyed. It's such a wonderful and unique combination of textures and ingredients - the spices are fragrant and really make this stew special; they work so well with the pumpkin!

#PumpkinWeek Day 3 Recipes:

Chicken Mushroom and Pumpkin Stew adapted from BHG

2 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves and thighs), skinned
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 cups unsalted chicken broth
1 tablespoon honey
16-oz sliced white mushrooms
6 medium carrots, peeled and diced into bite sized chunks

  1. In a large Dutch oven heat the oil, when oil is hot add in chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt, red pepper, cloves, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper, Brown chicken on both sides for about 3 minutes per side.
  2. Add in all remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine. 
  3. Bring the mixture to a low boil, cover with a lid and simmer for an hour.
  4. Taste test, adjust seasonings if needed. Break chicken into desired sized pieces with a spoon, ladle into bowls and serve immediately.
Serving suggestion: Serve with a loaf of crusty bread.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

#handcraftededibles ~ Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur

In an effort to make all of her holiday gifts this year, Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla invited some of her favorite foodie bloggers to share recipes for hand-crafted edibles. Over the course of the next twelve weeks, we'll be sharing recipes from libations (this week's theme) to cookie platters. Hope you'll follow along for inspiration.

libation (noun li·ba·tion \lī-ˈbā-shən\) - beverage; especially a drink containing alcohol.

This is kind of the best thing ever... seriously. I am not a whiskey fan, but I do love me some Irish Coffee so when I heard this week's theme was libations I did some looking around for something that would allow me to enjoy one. When I stumbled across this homemade Irish Cream Liqueur recipe I knew I had found "the one".

I have never had such a tasty drink - there are so many ways you could enjoy this, but poured over a few ice cubes is a great way to start. The liqueur is so creamy, a touch of chocolate, a kiss of coffee, and just the right amount of warm heat from the excellent Irish whiskey.

This drink reminded me of a grown up cold hot chocolate - I'm sure it would make a terrific addition to cocoa or of course a mug of coffee. These could make some very special gifts to hand out this Christmas, and the very best thing is it only takes about 10 minutes to whip up a batch!

Cheers to these gals and their lovely libations!

Next week, check back for our handcrafted spice blends. Or check out our #handcraftededibles pinterest board.

Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur from Practically Functional

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 - 1 1/2 cups Irish whiskey (we used Powers Irish Whiskey)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder, coffee granules, and about a tablespoon of cream until the powder and granules are completely dissolved and mixed in.
  2. Slowly stir in the remaining cream whisking until evenly mixed (use a spatula to scrape the bottom of your bowl to make sure all of the cocoa powder and coffee granules are blended in).
  3. Add the whiskey (use 1 cup if you plan to enjoy directly, add up to 1 1/2 cups if you plan to blend the mixture with other beverages such as coffee), vanilla, and condensed milk and whisk until completely combined.
  4. Pour the mixture into mason jars (or other airtight containers) and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  5. When you're ready to serve, pour over ice in a glass or add to hot chocolate or coffee.

#PumpkinWeek ~ Crock Pot Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Welcome to #PumpkinWeek day 2! Hosted by Terri from Love and Confections, 19 Bloggers will be sharing 65 pumpkin-filled recipes over the course of the week. Be sure to come back every day to see all the delicious creations - from muffins to cakes, cocktails, breakfast baked goods, savory pastas and stews, and gluten-free recipes too. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

This is such a fun fall treat to make, share and enjoy! There is a large amount of cinnamon in this, so we found that it needed to definitely be heated to the right temperature to allow all the spice to properly incorporate - for good measure I also whipped the heated product through the blender and would definitely recommend you do the same; it whips in a ton of air and you end up with a delightfully airy and frothy beverage!

Enjoy this beautiful, perfect fall beverage unadorned, and if you like a little extra sweet and creamy, add a touch of whipped cream and maybe another dusting of cinnamon if you want that extra touch of color.

I was so excited to find this recipe - I love that it incorporates real pumpkin puree! It's not overly sweet at all, if you want it sweeter feel free to up the sugar amount. I liked that it wasn't too sweet - it allows you to really taste and appreciate the pumpkin and spice flavors.

This is a delightful treat that you can serve and keep warm in your crock pot. Make it for your next get together this fall!

#PumpkinWeek Day 2 Recipes:

Crock Pot Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Thriving Home
Makes 10 - 15 servings

6 cups of milk (I used whole)
4-6 cups of strongly brewed coffee (I used Starbucks House Blend)
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
3 TBS vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 - 4 cinnamon sticks

  1. In your crock pot, combine the milk and coffee.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip together the pumpkin puree, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon until well combined then whisk the pumpkin mixture into the milk and coffee in the crock pot.
  3. Add in the cinnamon sticks then cover the crock pot and cook on high for 2 hours.
  4. Taste test, adjust sugar / seasonings if desired. Blend in small batches in your blender if desired to add frothiness to the texture.
  5. Serve with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon.
  6. If you have leftovers, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days - to reheat use a pot over medium heat, whisking occasionally until heated through (microwaving the mixture is not recommended).

Monday, September 28, 2015

#PumpkinWeek ~ Pumpkin Monkey Bread

#PumpkinWeek is here again and we can't be more excited. Hosted by Terri from Love and Confections, 19 Bloggers will be sharing 65 pumpkin-filled recipes over the course of the week. Be sure to come back every day to see all the delicious creations - from muffins to cakes, cocktails, breakfast baked goods, savory pastas and stews, and gluten-free recipes too. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections' #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

This is a fairly time intensive recipe - but boy oh boy is it worthwhile! The caramelized butter and brown sugar sauce seeps down into the dough as they bake leaving you with lots of gooey delicious pumpkin spiced bites of heaven. My dough seemed to take a long time to wake up for the first rise, so for me the total rise time was probably around 2 1/2 - 3 hours total.

The color of the dough is gorgeous - packed full of pumpkin goodness and perfectly seasoned with nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.

I was so excited when I saw it was time once again for #PumpkinWeek - I dug through my Pumpkin Board on Pinterest and made a (long) short-list of all the possibilities. This amazing sounding Pumpkin Bread was at the top of the "to make" list, and so I'm excited to share this one with you today on our first official reveal day for Pumpkin Week this year.

If you visit the original recipe (linked below) you will find further instructions for a cream cheese drizzle, but we skipped it - the glaze this tasty bread is baked in adds plenty of sweet (although I'm sure the cream cheese drizzle would definitely add a touch of "extra special"!)

I'm excited that it's time again for all things pumpkin! This is definitely one of my very favorite times of year - pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient and I am excited to share a variety of dishes from a pumpkin latte to a pumpkin chicken stew this coming week, so make sure to come back every day through Friday!

Get your fix now by checking out some of last year's recipes: Pumpkin Scones, Baked Pumpkin Donuts, Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter,  and Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins!

#PumpkinWeek Day 1 Recipes:
Browned Butter Salty Pumpkin Sugar Cookies from The Spiffy Cookie.
Caramel Pumpkin Cake from Feeding Big and more.
Easy Pumpkin Donuts with Vanilla Cream Sauce from {i love} my disorganized life.
Gooey Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks.
Healthy Cinnamon-Apple Pumpkin Muffins from Simply Healthy Family
Homemade Pumpkin and Sage Pasta from Kudos Kitchen by Renee.
Pumpkin Cannoli from The Redhead Baker.
Pumpkin Chai Baked Donut from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars from That Skinny Chick Can Bake.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Flourless Chocolate Cake Roll from Cupcakes & Kale Chips.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Whoopie Pies from Dizzy Busy and Hungry.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls from Gluten Free Crumbley.
Pumpkin Monkey Bread from Making Miracles.
Pumpkin Muffins from My Catholic Kitchen.
Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Crumby Cupcake.
Pumpkin Snack Cake from Recipes Food and Cooking.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins from A Day in the Life on the Farm.
Semi-Homemade Pumpkin Butter from Love and Confections.
Spiced Pumpkin-Bourbon Fizz from Culinary Adventures with Camilla.

Pumpkin Monkey Bread from Well Plated


For the dough
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup milk (I used 1%)
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard package) Instant Yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour

For the cinnamon sugar coating
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the glaze:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Make the Dough: Combine the butter and milk in a saucepan and heat over medium until the butter has melted into the milk (bring to approximately 120 degrees, then turn heat off and set aside). 
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves together on medium speed. Pour in the warmed milk/butter mixture and mix until combined. In a small bowl, lightly beat together the egg and egg yolk, then add to the flour mixture. Add the yeast, then mix until just combined.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, then add 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour. Mix for 5 minutes, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and mix until fully incorporated. The dough will be very soft and tacky. Lightly coat a large, clean bowl with cooking spray, then place dough in the bowl, turning once to coat all sides with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft free place until doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.
  4. Make the Cinnamon Sugar Coating: Place the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, mix to combine.
  5. Coat a 10 to 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Pinch off walnut sized pieces of dough and roll them into individual balls that are about 1 1/4-inches wide (the dough is very sticky, so handle lightly and carefully). Toss dough balls in the cinnamon sugar and place in rows in the prepped bundt pan until all dough is rolled, dusted in the cinnamon sugar and in the bundt pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled, or about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Place a rack in center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the glaze by melting the 6 tablespoons butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. 
  7. Uncover the bundt pan and pour the glaze over the dough. Bake the monkey bread for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on top and the internal temperature of the dough reads 185 to 190 degrees. Check at 15-minutes and loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil if the bread is browning too quickly. 
  8. Once baked, remove from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack - let the monkey bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.
  9. Serve warm or room temp - you can cut the bread into slices (and serve like a cake) or let everyone have fun pulling pieces off with their fingers!

#SecretRecipeClub & #MuffinMonday ~ Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

Today I am sharing my monthly Secret Recipe Club and Muffin Monday post all-in-one; so I went straight to my assigned blog Karen's Kitchen Stories to check what yummy muffins she had on her blog to choose from and immediately jumped to the Double Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins, but there were also these Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins... guess what I chose! T'is the season for all things pumpkin (and stay tuned, the blog is going to be inundated over the coming week with them thanks to #pumpkinweek)!

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Learn more about Karen here. She is a married, busy HR lady /recruiter who also teaches college courses part time, mom of two grown children, and proud grandma to two adorable boys who resides in Southern California (I used to live in SoCal many many moons ago at Camp Pendleton - I still miss the gorgeous weather and beautiful ocean view we had from our home).


These muffins are pretty spectacular; very moist and so perfectly flavorful! I loved the spices in this recipe; they have just the right amount of flavor from all those lovely spices. (My 16 year old son says these are the best muffins he's had in a long time - high praise indeed!)

I am kind of obsessed with all things pumpkin, and of course now that we are at the tail end of September it is the appropriate time to allow my obsession to come on out and play! I always stockpile pumpkin puree when it goes on sale after Thanksgiving, and love to use it in various muffins and breads throughout the year, but when September / October hits every version of pumpkin is fair game. Pumpkin Monkey Bread and a Pumpkin Chicken Stew will be shared very soon... yumm...

Anyhow, enough with my pumpkin craziness - back to these muffins!

As you can see my official baby taste tester also gives her big seal of approval. She's been getting about half a muffin as a snack, or with breakfast or dinner most days since we made these. These are very versatile and everyone in the house has really been enjoying them. It makes a pretty large batch, so you can put some in ziploc bags and freeze them after baking if desired. Then thaw and enjoy all over again at a later date!

Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins from Karen's Kitchen Stories
Makes about 21 muffins.

Cooking spray
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 tsp nutmeg (I suggest freshly grated)
1 tsp salt
8 TBS unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla 
2/3 cup apple juice
1 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional - I omitted)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and fill approximately 21 - 24 regular sized muffin tin openings with cupcake liners / or spray the muffin tins generously with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, and salt - set aside. 
  3. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend on high speed with the paddle attachment for about 3 minutes, or until creamy. Add in the eggs, applesauce, pumpkin, and vanilla, and continue beating until ingredients are well blended.
  4. Next add in half of the dry ingredients, mix, add in the juice and mix, add the second half of the dry ingredients and mix again until smooth. Don't overmix.
  5. Fold in the raisins (if using).
  6. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full. Bake on the center rack (one pan at a time) for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. 
  7. Allow the muffins to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them and allowing them to finish cooling on a wire rack. Serve muffins warm or room temp.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Creamy One Pan Veggie Cheddar Pasta

This is a delicious and EASY cheesy side dish for any night of the week. Thanks to the AllRecipe's Brand Ambassador program I had the chance to work with Barilla again this month using their new "Pronto" pasta. I love this stuff - it allows you to cook pasta dishes all in one pot. Less mess, fast and easy, and tasty results. What more could I ask for?

I particularly like this dish because it is so versatile. Change out the suggested veggies, use a different type of cheese, and mix and match protein add-ins for a complete all in one dinner instead of just a side dish, or meat free entrée. The options are endless. I think some grilled chicken would be delicious, or shrimp... yumm!

Do yourself a favor and definitely give Barilla's pronto pasta a try soon!

Creamy One Pan Veggie Cheddar Pasta from Barilla on AllRecipes

1 box Barilla® Pronto™ Penne
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups chopped frozen broccoli
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Pour whole box of pasta into a large skillet (approximately 12 inches in diameter). Pour 3 cups of cold water into the pan, ensuring that the water covers the pasta. Turn the burner to high, then set your timer for 10 minutes (optional: add a bit of salt to taste).
  2. Cook on high, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Add cream and broccoli; stir to combine and gently heat through.
  4. Remove the skillet from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste and fold in the cheese. Serve immediately.
I am an AllrecipesAllstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews my personal blog.  The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are all my own.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Easy Apple Crisp

I'm not 100% sure this is a standard "crisp" - it's cobbler-esque in that it has a doughy topping that is reminiscent of pie crust. You can reheat this nicely in the oven (otherwise the topping can get a little "wet" after sitting for a couple days).

We took this tasty dish to a get together over the weekend, and it was very well received - though we took several desserts, so we still had half a pan to bring home (not that we were complaining)!

Whatever category you put this in, it is a very delicious treat, perfect for the fall weather and bountiful fresh apples. We used a pretty good chunk of our remaining farm-picked apples for this dish, and boy was it a great way to use them! The apples are well seasoned, perfectly tender, and the topping is buttery and lightly crisped. Delicious!
I can't believe we're already approaching the end of September... sometime in October we're planning to head back out to the Blue Ridge area for a pumpkin patch visit, and I'm hoping to swing back by the apple farm for another bag or two of produce before the season has completely ended. You can't beat farm fresh tomatoes and apples for cooking!

Best Apple Crisp from The Examiner

8 - 10 cups apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (use whatever variety you prefer, we used a mix)
2 tsp vanilla
scant 1/2 cup water (less if using farm fresh picked apples)
1 TBS cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 cup butter, chilled and cut into small chunks
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups white sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place the sliced apples in the bottom of the prepared baking dish so that it is just a little more than half-full. Put the vanilla in a measuring cup and fill it with water to 1/2 cup (less if using fresh picked apples); pour this mixture evenly over the apples. Then sprinkle the apples evenly with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves - toss gently.
  3. Combine the flour and sugar then cut the chilled butter in with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Distribute the crumbles evenly over the top of the apples.
  4. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes or until golden brown (ours needed about 10 - 15 more minutes to get the top browned, so if yours isn't browning you can turn the heat up a little towards the end and keep an eye on it; remove when it reaches the color you're looking for). Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream if desired.