Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Popcorn Cake

I made this Popcorn cake for a Halloween party we attended this weekend. It's really cute, festive, and as easy to make as rice krispie treats. You can put in whatever Halloween candies you like, I went with a chocolate and peanut butter theme. It was a hit with the kids and adults too. Wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween!
Halloween Popcorn Cake
From  Taste and Tell
Printable Version
13 cups of popped popcorn
1 ounce bag mini marshmallows (all my store had was jumbo and that worked fine, too!)
3 tablespoons butter
3 cups of your favorite mix-ins (I used one cup each of dry roasted peanuts, peanut butter M&Ms and candy corn)
Melt butter and marshmallows together in a large pot over medium low heat. Remove from heat and add popcorn, mix slightly. Add in your mix-ins and combine until melted marshmallow mixture has coated all the popcorn.
Pour into a bundt pan that has been spayed with cooking spray or buttered. 
Turn out onto a serving dish. Slice with a sharp knife.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

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One of the best things about being a food blogger is stealing borrowing ideas from fellow bloggers. I saw Pumpkin Snickerdoodles on Greens and Chocolate and was in awe of how brilliant she is. Snickerdoodles are by are my most favorite cookie of all time. The idea of adding in pureed pumpkin to this classic cookie recipe was just too tempting not to try. 
I was very happy with how they turned out. The pumpkin created a moister more cake-like cookie with a beautiful orange color. Because it made a big batch I shared them with neighbors and friends and everyone complimented them. Cookie success!
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Recipe modified from this Snickerdoodle Recipe
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium mixing bowl (or in stand mixer) beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup of sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Add in pumpkin and combine. 
Beat flour in slowly, mixing as you go. Cover and chill dough for about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the 2 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat. 
Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. 
Bake for 10 to 11 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Okinawan Taco Rice

Taco Rice is an extremely popular dish here on Okinawa. It's said that this dish was created by a local chef who combined the Tex-mex flavor of a taco with rice, a staple in the Okinawan diet. It's a genius idea: the flavors of taco flavored meat on a bed of rice and garnished with traditional taco toppings: tomato, lettuce, salsa. It's on the menu at many local restaurants and we've sampled it several times already. We liked it so much I decided to try making it at home. I loved how this dish calls for melting the cheese on the rice before adding the meat. If you want a taste of Okinawa give this fun recipe a try!
Okinawan Taco Rice
From Cooking with Chopsticks
Printable Version
Makes 2 large servings
1 cup of rice, cooked
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound ground turkey or beef
6 tablespoons pureed tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Several drops of lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 cup cheese
1/2 cup lettuce, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped

Place the cooked rice in an oven proof baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until the onions are soft. Mix the garlic and onions into the rice gently with slicing motions instead of mashing motions. 
Heat a little more olive oil in the pan and add the meat. Break the meat into small chunks and once cooked add the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, water, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer until the water reduces. 
Cover the rice with cheese and place into the oven for about five minutes or until the cheese is throughly melted. 
Top the cheese and rice with the meat mixture. Squeeze some lemon on the meat and dust with additional chili powder if desired. Garnish with tomato and lettuce and serve. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

I was on the lookout for a fall cookie to make to "Boo" our neighbors and came across this recipe. They are easy, adorably cute, and best of all this sugar cookie recipe from Martha Stewart is awesome! I think I've found my new go to sugar cookies. These little treats are perfect for Halloween parties or fall get togethers!
Candy Corn Cookies
Makes 18 cookies (I doubled the recipe)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
About 18 pieces of candy corn
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl; beat until combined. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla, baking powder, and salt. Add flour and mix until a dough forms. 
Scoop our level teaspoons of dough and roll into balls (chill dough briefly if it becomes too soft to handle). Place balls on baking sheets, 2 inches apart. 
Bake until edges are firm and cookies are dry to the touch (do not let them color!) about 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and gently press a candy corn into the center of each cookie (surface of cookie may crack slightly). 
Cool on sheets one minutes then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Easy Beef Burgundy

I've been missing my Gram a lot lately. She passed away a little over a year ago and I still miss her every day. I feel closer to her when my kitchen is filled with the familiar smells of her food. As I was looking through my copy of her hand written recipes I saw this one for Beef Burgundy. 
I'd never tried it before so set about making it last week for dinner. I modified it a little bit but I don't think Gram would mind. :)  As it was cooking the aromas of the meat, onion, mushrooms, and wine reminded me of when I made Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon. The taste is actually very similar too but it doesn't take half the time or energy to make! It's rich, earthy, and comforting and my favorite part about it is that it's a one pot meal. Grandma's directions said to serve it over rice and that's what I did, but it'd be great over potatoes too. Thanks for another great recipe, Gram!
Easy Beef Burgundy 
From My Gram
Printable Version
2 pounds round cut steak, cut into 1 inch strips
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon ground mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can onion soup (I forgot this so used a can of golden mushroom instead and then chopped one small onion)
1 large can of sliced mushrooms or 1 cup of fresh sliced mushrooms
1 soup can of burgundy or red wine
Fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place mean into dutch oven or large oven safe pot. Season with salt and pepper. Combine all ingredients and cover. 
Cook for 3 hours. Serve over rice or potatoes. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

I'm really mad at myself. I have had this peanut butter pie recipe in my family collection for years and had never made it before! What is wrong with me?! It's seriously the best peanut butter pie in the world. It's fluffy, creamy, light, perfectly peanut butter-y and topped with chopped peanuts and drizzled chocolate. 
I made it for hubby's birthday and was one happy man. He ate it for lunch the next day and that was the end of it. (I may have eaten it for breakfast, but you won't tell, right?!) It's ridiculously easy to make for how extremely delicious it is. I am telling you, GO! MAKE! THIS! PIE! RIGHT! NOW! Trust me on this one!
Peanut Butter Pie
From My Gram and My Mom
Printable Version
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons milk
8 ounces cool whip
1 9 inch graham cracker pie crust
1/2 cup crushed peanuts (optional)

1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peanut butter in a large bowl or electric stand mixer. 
Beat at medium speed until blended, about four minutes. 
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Fold in cool whip. 
Spoon filling into crust.  
Sprinkle with crushed peanuts.
 Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or in a saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle onto pie using a fork. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese

I'm not sure if it's because on Okinawa we don't have fall weather (temps are in the 80s everyday) and I'm feeling a little homesick, or if it's because of the nostalgia that pumpkin pie flavors create, but I'm really enjoying making things with pumpkin this year. I saw a version of pumpkin cream cheese on Pinterest and thought, "I can do that!" so I set about making my own version. I used pumpkin pie filling but you could use pureed pumpkin too. I thought that it tastes like pumpkin cheesecake! Spread over english muffins or cinnamon raisin bagels, this pumpkin pie cream cheese is the perfect fall flavored breakfast!

Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese
Four servings
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or use a combination or cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves that equal 1/2 teaspoon)
Dash of salt
Combine all ingredients until smooth and creamy. 
Serve on toasted bagel or English muffin. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Meatless Mondays: Kickin' Black Bean Soup

Meatless Mondays are back! It's been a while, but it is my goal to get back to eating vegetarian at least once a week. This spicy black bean soup is a perfect Meatless Monday meal: it's hearty, healthy, and has some kick to it! I cooled it off with a squeeze of fresh lime, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. It's a wonderful, filling soup that is a cinch to make! From start to finish this soup takes less than half an hour. 
Kickin' Black Bean Soup
Modified From Let's Dish
Printable Version
Makes 4 bowls
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 small onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I used about six slices of pickled jalapenos from a jar)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon Julio's Seasoning (a gift from our awesome friends from TX!) or a dash of cayenne
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups beef stock or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeno and garlic and cook until soft, about five minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, and Julio's seasoning. 
Add the beans and broth and simmer for fifteen minutes. 
Remove 1 1/2 cups of the soup and puree in a blender then return to a pot (or use a hand blender directly in the pot). 
Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice. Ladle into individual bowls and add a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Excellent with tortilla chips!


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