Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and WIAW

Happy Halloween!

I wonder if many people on the East Coast are actually celebrating.  This storm was quite a doozy but it seems like it was much better than some of the predictions. I live on the Connecticut shoreline far enough from the water that I didn't have to worry about flooding but clearly still in the area that would lose power due to flooding.  One report said it could be weeks without power.  

Ice cream sundae Monday afternoon before the power was lost.  Part of this was to use up the ice cream, the other part was to make me feel better.
I am smart enough know that weeks probably wasn't going to happen but losing power was definitely going to occur.  Sure enough right after 5pm Monday night the power was gone.  No warning just gone.  The worst part of this was that I was about ready to heat up some food so we could have a warm dinner.  

Tuesday morning though things had calm down considerably with the winds.  I would go so far as to say it was fairly nice out. I thought for this week's What I Ate Wednesday post I would put up how we ate without power for the last couple of days.

Mr. J was bound and determine to go exploring Tuesday morning after the sun rose.  Although I had forbid him the night before, seeing that the weather didn't look so bad I said OK and we both ventured out. Sure enough right down the road a big tree had come down along with a electric pull and lots and lots of wires.  

A bit further down the road our grocery store was up and running.  I knew they had coffee so we pulled on in.  We waited in line because they only had one machine and people were buying cups of the stuff. While Mr. J waited for coffee I grabbed to big bags of ice.  We didn't have too much in the fridge that would go bad but I hate wasting food and knowing we had ice made me feel 100 times better. The warm coffee made me feel about 1,000,000 times better.  

Once we got back I loaded our cooler with ice and shifted the milk, yogurt, and some cheese to the cooler.  We then had some cereal (cinnamon puffins) with banana, water, and coffee.  Pretty much like a typical day.

There were places open for business nearby but I convinced Mr. J that we could have a pretty fancy meal - no heat needed.  We had gone to Whole Foods the other week and picked up a wheel of Camembert.  Best at room temperature, this was perfect with some crackers.

We also had a few leftovers of steak and collard greens from Sunday to add to the collection.  Surprisingly this fit in well with the cheese and didn't seem odd at all to eat cold.

Later we managed some more cheese on apples.  Best. Snack. Ever.  Followed by a cookie or two. 

A friend happened to still have power so Tuesday afternoon we headed on over to get some human interaction and warm food.  We brought frozen veggie pizza.

Dinner was Mexican takeout.  There are pockets of areas with power.  One happens to be able two miles down the road.  It is a small stretch but includes three restaurants.  They were all packed. We picked Mexican and brought it home.  It would have been nice to eat with power but we got our food before we even would have been seated at a table.  Beer from our fridge was still cool.

We still don't have power but I feel very lucky to be safe, have water and access to food. Local businesses that can open have been very gracious and friendly to help people out.  

What would you eat with no power?
Spooky Snacks and Healthy Halloween Treats

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cinnamon Filled Pumpkin Muffins

I haven't made pumpkin muffins yet this year. I had hopes of streusel topped muffins, but to be honest when it came down to it I just got lazy.  Hurricane preparations and all.These would be great with a little topping.

These muffins are sweet. I blame all of the brown sugar.  Don't get me wrong though, I am not mad.  In fact I quite enjoyed these little treats for the last three days.  Like the cookies they soothed my mind.

I was wondering if at this point I would be a little tired of pumpkin.  After these muffins though there is no question in my mind. I don't think it is possible for me to tire of pumpkin.

These are good, more dessert like than breakfast but that didn't stop me from enjoying these each morning.

Cinnamon Filled Pumpkin Muffins

by Emily Morris, Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (24 muffins)
For the Muffins:
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Brown Sugar Cinnamon Filling:
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two muffin tins with paper liners or spray with cooking spray; set aside.

To make the brown sugar cinnamon filling, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, water, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth and combined. Add the flour mixture, stirring gently, until the ingredients are just combined.

Fill each muffin cup halfway with batter. Sprinkle the brown sugar cinnamon filling over each muffin cup. Top the muffins with remaining batter so the filling is covered.

Bake until muffin tops are just firm and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool on a wire rack.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Vampires Beware: Garlic Pizza {Secret Recipe Club}

Secret Recipe Club

Each month when I get my assignment for the Secret Recipe Club I immediately start searching to pick a recipe. The following weekend I make said recipe and I am done. The rest of the month drags on until I can finally reveal who I had.  October was a bit different. I search recipes very quickly but my mind was racing about other things that needed to get done. I vowed to come back again when I had more time and could really pay attention to the task at hand.  

Well I visited a few more times but October was just a busy, busy month and most weekends I was away - most weeks I was away.  Finally about half way through the month I scheduled time.  After about a handful of recipes Mr. J was called in to make the final decision.  Of course he went savory instead of sweet.  I need to stop letting him help me pick.  

This month my blog was Renee with
Kudos Kitchen by Renee.  Each recipe is posted step by step and with lots and lots of pictures.  Not only does she have a ton of recipes to pick from she is also very crafty.  I was so impressed by the different handmade products she has created.  Renee is quite talented.  She recently made these Disney glasses that would fit right in to any Disney store.  So cute!

OK so what did we pick....or Mr. J pick....well that would be
Garlic Lover's Pizza.  Thinking about it now it seems perfect for October and Halloween.  

I love watching bread dough rise.   Starting small and growing in size.

Garlic Pizza

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Keywords: bake pizza garlic Italian

Ingredients (serves 6)
For the Crust:
  • 3-1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 (or more) freshly grated garlic cloves
  • 4 red ripe tomatoes
  • 8 oz shredded Italian cheese blend
  • dried basil and oregano
  • crushed red peppers
For the Crust:

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, starting with only 3-1/2 cups of flour. More may be necessary later.

In a small saucepan (over low heat) heat the above ingredients until the butter is just melted. Allow to cool slightly so that you can comfortably stick your finger in and not be burned.

Add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients in the large bowl and mix until moistened. Stir in enough remaining flour (if needed) to form a soft but not sticky dough. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour). When dough has fully risen, punch down and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes.

After the dough has risen, add approximately 1 tablespoon cornmeal to the surface of your baking pan and using your hands, flatten the dough out, on top of the corn meal, into whatever shape you wish.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and pre-bake the crust for approximately 15 minutes. This is a thick crust so the pre-baking of the untopped crust is definitely something you'll need to do.

After the initial pre-baking, take the crust from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Increase your oven temperature to 400 degree. Using your fingertips, lightly dimple the top of the crust to form little wells.

Using a pastry brush, and being liberal, brush the olive oil on top of the crust. Next, peel and grate the garlic and spread it over the crust, along with the olive oil.

Slice your tomatoes into 1/4" thickness. Starting with the tomatoes, arrange them on top of your crust making sure to cover as much or surface area as possible.

Next, layer on the cheese however you choose and sprinkle the top with additional basil and oregano.

Bake your pizza into the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Edition: Hurricane Cookies

This hurricane has turned me into more of compulsive cleaner than normal.  I somehow found myself doing a deep scrub of the kitchen sink and cleaning out old spices from the spice rack.  Clearly this is absolutely necessary to prepare for a massive storm heading in our directions.

Thank goodness for cookies. Unfortunately I have a pretty strong feeling that the cookies will be way gone before the storm even hits.  Although given the fact that the storm is 800 miles big maybe not. 

Today I am busy tying up some loose ends for work next week and getting posts ready to go on the off chance we lose power.

Hurricane Cookies (Chocolate Chip Coconut)

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Keywords: bake chocolate cookie

Ingredients (24 cookies)
  • 11 1/2 ounces semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 shredded coconut
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups unsifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 375ºF.

Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat coconut oil with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and lightened in color.

Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in coconut and chocolate chips. Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.
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In case you missed it here is what I was up to last week:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Next Week

It is 1pm on Saturday and I am ready for a long nap.  

Next week my calendar looks like this:

Blue means traveling.  Everyday next week involves travel, including a flight out on Tuesday to Illinois.  You know what else is coming on Tuesday?  A hurricane.  I wish they could tell me now where and when it was going to hit.  

I think regardless of the exact location at this point we are in the action area for sure.

All morning I have been running around trying to secure water (extremely difficult but we managed to get 3 gallons), buy food staples, and do laundry.  My food staples include the following items...

Don't judge.  I am thinking of my mental state. If we loose power for a prolonged period, these will do me good.

I think cookies will also do the trick.  I made 12 mini cookies already before realizing that if the storm doesn't come till Monday night or Tuesday that these will probably all be already gone.  Silly me. 

All that is left is a trip to the library for a stock pile of entertaining books and gas for my car.

So much for a relaxing Saturday!  What are you up to this weekend?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Apple Desserts Galore!

Oh it is Friday. I am so happy that this week is almost over.  It has been a very, very long week.  Lucky for me so much got done, and I am not thinking that I will leave tonight with a to-do list a mile long for Monday.

What I am not looking forward to on Monday is the impending storm.  I don't want this hurricane to come. I don't like rain and I don't want to loose power.  Furthermore, I am suppose to go to Illinois next week.  This is the same client I was suppose to go visit when Irene hit Connecticut last summer.  Coincidence, I don't know.  It is a bit much for me.

But enough of new recipes today.  I do have a round up of some delicious apples treats.  I have a feeling if this storm hits we will be saying bye bye to our local apple supply.

Have a great weekend!

French Apple Cake

Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts

Stewed Apples

Apple Tarte Tatin


Apple Pie

Slow Cooker Baked Apples


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Saturday and Sunday were perfect fall days.  It was bright sunny outside.  The leaves were all shades of reds, oranges, and yellows.  Beautiful!

I kept thinking that this would be time for a family football game in the backyard.  This plan had some flaws.  We don't have a backyard.  Both our families live very far away.  I don't even think we own a football.

Instead we got some ice cream.  Apparently while in Alaska Mr. J started craving ice cream.  You know it is perfectly normal to have ice cream craving while traveling in locations where the high for the day is 20 degrees.

After ice cream I made dip.  I figured dip could be consumed while watching football on TV.  Almost the same thing.  I didn't really watch any football.

This would also be the most perfect dip for any holiday celebration in the coming months.  It can easily be made ahead of time and put in the oven right before the guest arrive. 

Spinach Artichoke Dip

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer spinach

Ingredients (serves 12)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1½ cups (6 ounces) finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Paprika, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Press the excess moisture from the spinach.

2. Combine the artichokes, spinach, 1¼ cups of Parmesan cheese, 1¼ cups of Monterey Jack cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic in a bowl and mix well.

3. Spoon the artichoke mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining Monterey Jack and Parmesan cheeses on top, and then sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm with tortilla or pita chips, crackers or vegetables.
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WIAW: Life on the Road

I am watching Dancing with the Stars from my little hotel room somewhere between my apartment and Boston. I have a very early meeting tomorrow morning and opted to be a bit closer to the meeting tonight.  The morning won't be quite so early, although I am still getting up before my normal wake up call.  I am away from Mr. J though.  That explains Dancing with the Stars.

Breakfast was a Green Monster smoothie and a pumpkin doughnut from the weekend.  Everyone has been sick in the office and I am making sure I get my extra boost of vitamins.

Lunch was leftover pizza - bread, tomatoes, cheese.  Yes, it was good.  Recipe will be up next week.

Dinner was suppose to be much better than this photo looks.  There was a Joe's American Bar and Grill within walking distance from the hotel.  I had not walked all day.  Even though it was only about 1/4 of a mile it felt nice to move my legs.  I ordered the California Cobb salad - it was good but not worth the $15.  It was suppose to have avocado but I didn't see any.  From the picture this could have been any salad from Wendy's.

I rounded out my evening by trying to redo a skirt the hem had come out of after washing it in the normal washing machine and not getting it dry cleaned. I tried to be a superstar this weekend. I went to Walmart, got special tape for cloth, and was all set to iron.  The iron ended up being broken.  I was too lazy to go back out and knowing that I would have access to an iron at the hotel I just brought everything along.  I am telling you I live an exciting life.  

Now I am off to bed at 9pm ready to be out the door by 6am.  At least I will be home early in the day.  I am pretty sure my dinner tomorrow will be much better than last nights!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Slow Cooker Baked Apples

I have been giving way too much attention to pumpkin this fall.  I think for every one apple recipe posted there have been at least three pumpkin.  My apologies.  I actually love apples but eat them just plain.  Raw.  Delicious.

Last week Mr. J was in Alaska.  All week.  I hate Alaska.  Not only was he gone but talking is nearly impossible with the time difference.  He was getting done at work just as I was climbing into bed.  5 minutes conversations just aren't enough.  He is back now so enough of that...the point is I was by myself.  Bored.  I couldn't really cook because when I cook massive amounts of food accumulate.  Instead I played on the internet until I found something suitable.  

Slow Cooker = Easy

Apples = Healthy

Brown Sugar and Walnuts = Smile

These were super quick and easy to get prepped.  Then all I did was turn on the slow cooker for 3 hours.  

You could call this dessert but I called it the most perfect fall snack.  Breakfast is also very much an option.  I had these baked apples for both.

Crock Pot Baked Apples

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker apple fall

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 Gala or Macintosh apples, cored
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons orange liquor (optional)
Preheat a large crock-pot on high heat and preset it for 3 hours. In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, walnuts, butter, and cinnamon. Fill the apples with the filling and place them in the crock-pot. Pour in the apple juice or cider and the liquor, if using.

Cover and cook 2 1/2 to 3 hours on high heat until the apples are soft and begin to collapse.
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