Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Granola

The granola that I made a few weeks ago did not last very long in our house so it was just a matter of time before I cooked up another batch. I wanted to switch it up a bit this time and going with the season I decided to add some pumpkin into the mix. Jason and I are headed to New York in the morning so this is the perfect healthy snack/breakfast to take with us on the flight.

This granola would also make the perfect holiday gift for friends or neighbors. Simply add the granola to a jar, seal it and tie with some holiday ribbon. Not only is it simple and affordable but it's a healthy alternative to the usual candy and cookies that are exchanged this time of year, although those are good too.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

- 4 cups old fashioned oats
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup pumpkin
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3 tablespoons light maple syrup
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

- Mix together oats, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, sugar, salt, cranberries, and sunflower seeds.
- In a separate bowl mix pumpkin, applesauce and syrup together. Add into the dry ingredients.
- On a greased baking sheet spread out the granola mixture.
- Bake on 325 degrees for 20 minutes. Stir granola and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Allow granola to cool then store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pumpkin Crisp

It is my job every Thanksgiving and Christmas to make this Pumpkin Crisp for our family dinner. It is the only two times out of the year that I make this dessert and we all wait for it with much anticipation. The layers of whipped topping, sweet pumpkin, moist cake and the crunch from the pecans adds so much flavor and texture to each bite.
I have to admit this is not a healthy dessert but we are allowed to splurge every now and then, right? Trust me, each calorie will be totally worth it.
As many of you begin planning your Christmas menu within the next few weeks I highly recommend giving this decadent dessert a shot. You and your family will thank me.

Pumpkin Crisp

- 1- 24oz. can pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 1- 12oz. can evaporated milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 stick melted butter
- 1- 8oz. package cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 medium container cool whip

- Mix pumpkin, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and eggs in a large bowl.
- Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with wax paper. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the wax paper.

- Top with dry cake mix (spread evenly over top). Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix and pour melted butter evenly over top.

- Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

- Allow cake to cool thoroughly, then flip into another 9 x 13 inch pan.

- Mix ingredients for the topping and add over top the pumpkin layer of the crisp.

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas


I spent the remainder of the holiday weekend in the mountains with family at my aunt and uncles cabin. All of the ladies did some Christmas shopping during the day on Saturday then we all spent the evening back at the cabin watching football, drinking cocktails hot chocolate, and enjoying a yummy dinner made by the men. As we were making our way back home yesterday we stopped by a Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree, which is now up and decorated. This is my favorite time of the year and from now till December 25th it is all things Christmas. Bring on the Christmas movies and music, and nights spent by the fire enjoying a mug of hot chocolate surrounded by Christmas decorations.

Now if only I could add some snow into that picture.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Jason and I headed to my parents house for a Thanksgiving feast with my brother, sister-n-law, niece and nephew. It was a wonderful day and I am so thankful to have an amazing and supportive husband, family and friends. Throughout the day I had thoughts of our baby girl being with us next year for Thanksgiving and feel truly blessed and thankful for the miracle that is growing inside of me.
Here is a recap of our day in pictures:

My mom working her magic in the kitchen

Smoked Turkey

Cranberry Sauce, turkey, mashed potatoes, cucumber dressing

Green Beans, gravy, crock pot mac and cheese

Cornbread Dressing, deviled eggs, broccoli casserole
We hope you have a wonderful weekend and safe travels.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cornbread Dressing

For me Cornbread Dressing (aka stuffing) is the star dish on our Thanksgiving menu. I can go without the turkey and the pies (please don't make me) but the cornbread dressing has stolen my heart since I was a little girl. This is what I consider to be a true southern style recipe that my grandmother would make for our family every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have only met a handful of people who make it just the way she did ( or as close as it gets).

I know how much my family loves this recipe, not only because it's yummy, but for the tradition that it has become during the holidays and the reminder of our wonderful grandmother, whom we miss very much. Last year I took it upon myself to be in charge of this dish so that we could continue to carry on the tradition of Memaw's cornbread dressing and I look forward to sharing it with our little girl one day.

I spoke with my uncle's girlfriend who helped me to get this recipe as close to my grandmother's as possible. The key to the perfect dressing is to use plenty of chicken stock to keep it moist. I choose to make my own cornbread because that's what my grandmother did but feel free to use a package mix if it works better for you.

Cornbread Dressing

- Approximately 4 cups cornbread, crumbled into small pieces.
- 1- 14oz bag Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing
- 1 Box (32oz.) chicken stock
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 stick melted butter
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 tablespoon sage

- Cook cornbread using the recipe below or according to the directions on the package. Cool then crumble into small pieces.

 - Saute chopped onion and celery in a skillet with a spoonful of butter

-In a large bowl add the cooked onions, celery, Pepperidge Farm stuffing, cornbread pieces, butter, eggs and sage.
-Slowly begin pouring in the chicken stock (about half the container) and mix well. Continue adding the stock, mixing as you pour, until the container is empty. 
-Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 greased baking dish and bake on 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until brown on top.
Basic Cornbread Recipe:
(Recipe from 123 recipes)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a cast iron skillet with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate small bowl whisk together the milk, egg and butter. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing only until the batter is just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Let the corn bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, invert it onto a rack and let it cool completely.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bringing Pinterest to Life

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I made a dessert for our early Thanksgiving dinner with Jason's family this past weekend. I pinned this Glazed Pumpkin Pound Cake on Pinterest at the beginning of the fall season in hopes that I would get around to making it for the holidays. It's almost guaranteed to be a hit because who doesn't love the rich buttery taste of pound cake? If you are looking for a festive and tasty dessert to make this Thanksgiving then I recommend giving this one a shot.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Kick off to Thanksgiving Week

Jason and I had his side of the family over Saturday night for an early Thanksgiving dinner since everyone will be spending Thanksgiving Day other places. It isn't often that we are all able to get together so it was really nice to have everyone over to kick off the holidays with family. We stuck to a traditional Thanksgiving meal so we Jason was in charge of the turkey while I made cornbread dressing (recipe coming soon), salad and a dessert. Each guest brought a side dish as well to contribute to the meal. It was a feast for sure.

Spring mix, chopped pears, cranberries, sugared mix nuts, and feta cheese

I think we got a little carried away this year when buying a turkey because we had this 19 pound bird to prepare...Holy big bird! We are currently making our way through lots of turkey leftovers and it's not even Thanksgiving yet. Hopefully I won't be throwing in the towel before Thursday.

 I have to brag on my husband for a minute and tell you how wonderful this turkey turned out. The meat literally fell off the bone as he was carving it. While he was cooking I found him a time or two dancing around the kitchen saying how much he loves cooking a turkey. It's the little things that make us happy.

After removing the giblets out of the cavity he filled the turkey with chopped onion, sliced apples, and celery. On the side he made a marinade using 1 tablespoon Sriracha ( he has a slight obsession), 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, and about 15 oz. of worchestire and teriyaki sauce each. He added some thyme and rosemary into the marinade and placed a few springs of rosemary under the skin of the turkey. After pouring 1/2 stick of melted butter over the turkey and sprinkling it with salt and pepper Jason poured the marinade over the turkey along with some of the aromatics that didn't fit inside. He then loosely covered the roasting pan with foil and baked the turkey in the oven on 325 degrees for 4 hours. Once that was done the foil was removed and the turkey continued to cook for another hour on 425 degrees. If you are cooking a turkey this Thanksgiving I highly recommend adding some spices under the skin because it really adds a lot of flavor to the meat.

The skin looks burnt but I promise it was not


Friday, November 16, 2012

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

I find myself stocking up on cans of pumpkin every time I go to the store and then stare aimlessly in my pantry wondering what I can use them for. It doesn't take me long before I am making a batch of  pumpkin scones, or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, or adding pumpkin into a bowl of oatmeal or making a smoothie. Often times this leaves me with half a can of pumpkin in the refrigerator that will soon go to waste if I don't find another use for it. The horror! This is how I found myself searching the internet the other morning for these wonderfully delicous yet healthy muffins. Here is a recipe to try next time you find yourself with leftover pumpkin.
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins
(Recipe adapted from
Recipe makes 12 muffins
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice.
In a seperate bowl mix together the sugars, oil, applesauce, pumpkin, milk and eggs. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter among a greased muffin pan. Bake on 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Roasted Delicata Squash

I really can't call this a recipe because it is so simple but I wanted to share it anyway. This was my first experience cooking and for that matter eating delicata squash. Like butternut squash, the delicata is another one of those winter squashes. In my attempt to embrace some of these funny looking vegetables I picked up the delicata to give it a try. It has a mildly sweet taste and because of the thin skin there is no peeling required. As you know, that is not the case when cooking with butternut squash and one of the reasons many of us don't like to work with it. If you are one of those people then let me introduce you to your new best friend.

 All you have to do is cut the Delicata in half, remove the seeds and begin slicing into half moon shapes. Drizzle with olive oil, fresh rosemary, salt, pepper and roast in the oven on 375 degrees for 35 minutes. It is that simple making it a perfect healthy side dish for an easy weeknight dinner.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Since I was a little girl spaghetti was and still is one of my all time favorite foods. However, this statement is only true if we are talking about my mom's spaghetti sauce. The recipe for this sauce is, in my opinion, the very best spaghetti sauce in the world.
This was always the meal my mother would make for me on my birthday and when I was gone for 23 days in high school on Teens Westward Bound I called home a few days before we were to arrive with one request..Will you please make me spaghetti when I get back into town? It is so good!

I tried to measure out the ingredients as I went but like most sauces you add as you go and alter the ingredients to your liking. The aroma from the sauce simmering on the stove is enough to make you want to curl up on the couch in front of the fireplace with a good book till it's time for dinner. The sauce is best when it can simmer for a while so sit back and relax while the sauce works it's magic.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

- 1lb. Ground Turkey
- 1- 45oz. jar Ragu Traditional marinara sauce
- 1- 8oz container sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon worchestire sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 box whole wheat spaghetti noodles, cooked

- Heat olive oil in a saucepan and add in chopped onion and ground turkey, salt and pepper. Cook the meat until brown, stirring frequently.
- In a large pot pour in the ragu sauce, mushrooms, basil, oregano, worchestire sauce. Add in the cooked ground meat.

- Let the sauce simmer for an 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The longer the sauce simmers the better it will taste.
- Add sauce to whole wheat noodles and top with Parmesan cheese (optional).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's a.....?

This past weekend we had a gender reveal party at our house to find out the sex of our baby. Initially, Jason and I were going to find out the sex during our ultrasound and surprise our family by getting a cake but we decided it would be really fun to wait and find out with everyone else. Everyone was told to wear either pink or blue based on their guess as to what we were having. As you can see from the pictures I felt that we were having a boy and Jason was on the pink team. Who was right?

It's a Girl!
I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see that it was a girl because I just knew it was going to be a boy. However, all I want is a healthy baby so I was happy either way. I am so very excited with the outcome and can't wait to begin decorating the nursery and planning for the arrival of our baby girl. Having the reveal party was so exciting and I loved that we were able to share that with our family.