Friday, September 30, 2016

Fall Favorite: Maple Pudding

Maple a wonderful fall flavor.  To me, it is right up there with pumpkins and apples.  Usually when I think of using maple syrup it usually is on pancakes, waffles, in hot cider, french toast, etc.  I never thought of it used as a main ingredient in pudding.

I found a recipe for Maple Pudding in Good Housekeeping magazine that is super easy to make.  Start by whisking together some milk, and cornstarch until they are smooth.  Then you heat up some milk, maple syrup, butter, vanilla extract and salt until the mixture begins to boil.  The recipe instructed to stir occasionally, but I stirred continuously.  I didn't want the milk to stick to the bottom of the pan.  Next the heat is reduced to a simmer and you whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  The pudding is cooked until the mixture thickens.  Pour the pudding into 6 parfait or other serving dishes, cover with plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until cold.

I served the pudding with a gingersnap cookie but a nice dollop of whipped cream would do nicely.  This pudding has a deep rich maple flavor which is  perfect  for the holidays.   The family enjoyed this dessert.  The rich maple flavor hit the spot and it was so easy to make.
Maple Pudding

Maple Pudding
Good Housekeeping Magazine


2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup whole milk and cornstarch until smooth.  In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups whole milk, maple syrup, butter, vanilla extract, and salt to boiling on high, stirring occasionally (I stirred constantly).

Cornstarch and Milk
Milk, Maple Syrup, Butter, Vanilla Extract, Salt

2. Reduce heat to simmer.  Whisk in cornstarch mixture; cook until mixture thickens whisking constantly.
3. Transfer to 6 parfait glasses (or other serving dish) cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

Pudding Covered With Plastic Wrap
Makes 6 servings

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fall Favorite: Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte in My Favorite Mug
Today I am going to share a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte with you.  I love this fall beverage.  It has fall in every taste, the pumpkin, the spices. MMM - delicious:) The warmth of the beverage  takes off the morning or evening chill with every sip.  In fact, as I am writing this post, beside me is a cup  Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Now, to the recipe.  I found this recipe from a blog named "the Kitchn".   I modified this recipe ever so slightly.  You begin by heating milk, pumpkin spice syrup, and sugar just until steaming.  You then stir in some vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  With either a stand or a immersion blender, blend for 15 seconds or until foamy.  Pour mixture into a large mug and add 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee or espresso.  Top with whipped cream.  That's it.  Sit back and enjoy:)

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Adapted slightly from "the Kitchn"

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
1 to 2 shots espresso, about 1/4 cup espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee
Whipped Cream, to garnish

1. In a saucepan whisk together milk, Pumpkin Spice Syrup, sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring until steaming.

2. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Blend mixture for about 15 seconds or until foamy.

3. Pour into a large mug or two mugs.  Add the espresso or coffee on top.
4. Top with whipped cream, if desired, and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top.
Note:  If you do not want to use sugar, use sugar substitute to taste.

Makes 1 to 2 servings

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hot Maple Apple Cider #Fall Favorites

Autumn is here and that means it is time for hot apple cider.  This is a family favorite drink on crisp autumn days/nights.  After the first servings, I  keep the cider warm  in a carafe.  This way we can help ourselves to it whenever we want.

Hot Maple Apple Cider


1 orange
10 whole cloves
1- (64 ounce) bottle apple cider
1 ginger tea bag
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
1/3-cup pure maple syrup
Whipped cream
Ground nutmeg


1. Stud the orange with the whole cloves.  Set aside.
2. Pour the apple cider into a large stockpot.  Add the orange, ginger tea bag, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.
3.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 60 minutes.
4. Remove the cider from the heat and add the maple syrup.  Stir until the syrup is dissolved.  Taste and add more syrup if needed.
5.  Ladle the cider into mugs and top with whipped cream and ground nutmeg.

Makes 8 servings

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Fall Favorite: Pumpkin-Cranberry Scones

Pumpkin-Cranberry Scone
Dough Patted In Circle
Cut Into Wedges
Pumpkin and cranberries are some of  my favorite flavors of the season.  Combine these ingredients with the  "fragrant spices" of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg,  cloves and you have one great tasting scone. I found this recipe in Teatime magazine.    In the directions for this recipe they call for the use of 2 (8-well) cast-iron wedge pans.  I did not have any so I  just made these scones the way I usually make scones. I pat the dough into a circle and cut the dough into wedges.  I placed the dough on a floured work surface and I lightly floured my hands and cutting knife. Next, I placed the wedges on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  This  method worked just fine and the baking time was the same. The  scones are brushed with and egg wash and then sprinkled with turbinado sugar. Bake until the scones are golden brown.  The egg wash adds a nice sheen to the scones.  When you bite into these scones the flavor is wonderful.  Every ingredient compliments one another and they blend into a very flavorful scone.  

Pumpkin-Cranberry Scones
From Teatime Magazine


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray wells of 2 (8 well) cast-iron wedge pans with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.*
3. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, whisking well.
4. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add cranberries, stirring to blend.  Set aside.

5. In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, buttermilk, 1 egg, and vanilla extract, stirring to blend.  Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring until combined.  If mixture seems dry, add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until uniformly moist.

6. Divide dough evenly among wells of prepared pans.  Using wet fingers, evenly pat dough into wells. Set aside.**
7. In a small bowl, combine remaining egg and milk, whisking to blend.  Brush lightly onto each scone.  Sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar.

8. Bake until scones are golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 15 to 17 minutes.
9. Serve warm, or let cool on a wire rack to serve later.

Makes 16 scones

*If you  are not using well pans, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
**NOT USING WELL PANS:   With lightly floured hands, divide the dough in two equal balls.  Take one ball of dough and place it on a lightly floured surface.   Pat the dough out into a 5-inch diameter circle.  Cut the dough into four equal wedges.  Place on baking pan lined with parchment paper.
***Makes 8 scones if you pat out the dough.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sticky Chicken

Sticky Chicken.  What a great name for an incredibly delicious dish.  I found this recipe in the latest issue of Cook's Country magazine.  Not only is this recipe delicious - it is incredibly easy to make.

Start by sprinkling pepper on some chicken.  The recipe calls for chicken thighs - I used breasts.  The chicken is then smothered in a tangy, sweet, salty sauce.  Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken and cook for another 20-25 minutes.  Remove and place the chicken on a platter.  Pour the sauce into a fat separator.  Pour into the skillet and add some cornstarch and water.  Cook until the sauce has thickened.  Place chicken in sauce and turn to coat both sides.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

A flavorful and tender Sticky Chicken dinner is ready for your family.

Sticky Chicken
From Cook's Country Magazine

8 (5- to 7 -ounce) bone-in chicken thighs,trimmed
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1.  Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees.  Season chicken with pepper and arrange skin side down in 12-inch oven safe skillet.  Whisk vinegar, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, granulated garlic, and pepper flakes together in bowl and pour over chicken.  (Skillet will be full.)
2. Bake chicken for 20 minutes. Flip chicken skin side up and continue to bake until skin is spotty brown and meat registers 195 to 200 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes longer.  Transfer chicken to serving platter.  Carefully pour pan juices into fat separator (skillet handle will be hot) and let settle for 5 minutes.
3.  Dissolve cornstarch in water in small bowl.  Return defatted juices to skillet and whisk in cornstarch mixture.  Bring sauce to boil over high heat and cook until syrupy and spatula leaves trail when dragged through sauce, 7 to 9 minutes.  (You should have about 3/4 cup sauce.) Season with pepper to taste.
4. Off heat, return chicken to skillet and turn to coat with sauce.  Flip chicken skin side up and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Serve.

Serves 4

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Carmel Toffee Yogurt Fruit Dip #Fall Foods

Fruit dip is one of those food items I start making in fall. I can't explain it.  I just feel compelled to make fruit dip.  One of the family's favorite is a caramel dip with toffee bits in it. The dip  has a toffee crunchiness with a smooth caramel taste.    They love eating this dip with fresh apples and pears.
This dip is easy and quick to make.  I start by beating 4 ounces of cream cheese until creamy.  To the whipped cream cheese I add Greek yogurt and caramel topping.   I stir it  well and refrigerate until cool.  I then stir in some toffee bits.  Drizzle some topping on top  and swirl with a knife and serve.
Fruit dip never tasted sooo  amazingly good.

                              Caramel Toffee Yogurt Fruit Dip


4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Greek nonfat vanilla yogurt
¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon caramel topping
¾ cup Heath English Toffee Bits


1. Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until creamy.  Beat in the yogurt and ¼ cup of caramel topping until smooth.

2. Cover and refrigerate the dip at least 30 minutes or until chilled.
3. Stir in the English Toffee Bits.  Spoon dip into a serving bowl and drizzle with 1 teaspoon caramel topping.  Swirl with the tip of a knife.
4.  Serve with you favorite fruits.

Makes 8 servings

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fall Pumpkin Spice Apricot Bread

This sweet quick bread has a rich pumpkin flavor with a hint of holiday spices - cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg.  The walnuts add a nice flavor to the bread.  Add to this goodness, a maple glaze topped with walnuts.  MMMM:)
I make this bread over the holidays and serve it with different types of butter - pumpkin butter, apple butter, almond butter, peanut butter, and just butter.  

Pumpkin Spice Apricot Bread

Bread Ingredients:

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1-teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup unsalted butter
1-cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup canned pumpkin
¾ cup diced dried apricots
¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Glaze Ingredients:

½ cup powdered sugar
1/8-teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Directions for Bread:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with Baker’s Joy *or similar product.  Set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together with a stand mixer using a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
4. Beat together the two eggs in a small bowl.
5. Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture. Mix until incorporated. 
6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternating with the pumpkin.   End with the dry ingredients.
7. Fold the dried apricots and walnuts into the bread batter.
8. Transfer the batter into the prepared bread pan.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
10. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Directions for Maple Glaze:
1. Stir together the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a small mixing bowl until smooth.
2. Drizzle glaze over the cooled bread.  Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the top of the bread.  
3. Slice and enjoy. 

*Bakers Joy is a baking spray of oil and flour.

Makes 1 loaf

Coarsely Chopped Walnuts

Chopped Dried Apricots

Dry Ingredients 
Dry Ingredients Whisked Together

Bread Batter Ready For Pan and Baking

Baked Bread

Maple Glaze

Slice of Pumpkin Spice Apricot Bread

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread-Fall Favorite

Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread
I just made some Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread.  Was it ever good!  Who would have believed refrigerator biscuits could make a such a tasty treat.

Refrigerator biscuits are the base for this bread.  I cut  the biscuits into quarters, shake them in in sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spice mixture, stack them in a Bundt pan, and pour a delicious butter, maple syrup, and of course pumpkin sauce over the biscuits. I bake for 20 minutes, cool, and serve.

This is a quick and easy dish to make for breakfast, brunch, potlucks, family/friend get togethers.

Pumpkin Spice Monkey Bread

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1-cup sugar
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 (7.5 ounce) cans of biscuits
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray.  Arrange the walnuts in the bottom of the pan.   Set aside.
3.  Put the sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spice in a Ziploc bag.  Shake until well mixed.
4. Cut each biscuit into fourths.  Place a small amount of the cut biscuits into the Ziploc bag and shake until well coated.
5.  Put the cut biscuit quarters on top of the walnuts and continue layering evenly until all the quarters have been used.
6.  Stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, pumpkin, and maple syrup until well mixed.
7.  Pour the mixture over the biscuits.  Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
8.  Remove from oven.  Cool for 5 minutes.
9. Place a serving dish or plate over the Bundt pan and invert.  Let the bread cool before eating.

Serves 8-10

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp is one dish the whole family enjoys.  I like it because it is so versatile and relatively easy to prepare.  You can grill it, boil it, fry it, and bake it.

In this recipe shrimp is fried in a  nice sauce made with butter, olive oil, garlic, white wine, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  After the shrimp is cooked, add some lemon juice and parsley and toss.    I served my shrimp over some pasta.

This is a delicious dish.  The shrimp have a nice flavor and the pasta tastes wonderful coated in the wine sauce.

Shrimp Scampi
From NYT Cooking

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup dry white wine or broth
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
 Freshly ground black pepper
1 ¾ pounds large or extra-large shrimp, shelled
⅓ cup chopped parsley
 Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
 Cooked pasta or crusty bread

In a large skillet, melt butter with olive oil. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add wine or broth, salt, red pepper flakes and plenty of black pepper and bring to a simmer. Let wine reduce by half, about 2 minutes.

Add shrimp and sauté until they just turn pink, 2 to 4 minutes depending upon their size. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice and serve over pasta or accompanied by crusty bread.

Makes 4 servings