Thanksgiving Pie– No More Choices

Every year we plan out our Thanksgiving menus.  Turkey, Sides, Appetizers, Beverages, and Desserts!  Oh the desserts!  We are traditional and make Pumpkin and Pecan Pies.  I have thrown in a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (YUM!).

When I hit the dessert table, I usually take a little bit of everything.  (It’s the right thing to do!)  But what if two of your favorites were combined.  Like Pumpkin Pie married Pecan Pie!!

Well, it happened the other night in my kitchen.  A few years ago, Southern Living introduced this little union.  And we all lived happily ever after! You need to plan to make this pie the night before serving.  It is better when it has time to completely cool and flavors will pop.  I have made a few adjustments to the recipe and it is perfection.

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Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle work surface with powdered sugar. Roll out piecrust, and place on prepared surface. Sprinkle piecrust with chopped pecans. Place wax paper over piecrust and pecans, and lightly roll pecans into crust. Fit piecrust, pecan side up, in a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp.

Mix together pumpkin  and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl until smooth and well mixed; pour into prepared piecrust.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.  Remove and shield edges with aluminum foil or crust protector.  This will keep your crust from burning.  Then bake an additional 25 minutes.

While pie is baking, you will create your pecan streusel topping.  This will create the pecan pie element to your pie.

For Pecan Streusel:
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
Mix all the pecan toppings together until well blended.After pie has baked 45 minutes,  gently top pie with Pecan Streusel Topping. Reduce oven temperature to 325°,  and bake 10 minutes. This will allow streusel to golden a bit. Then cover pie with aluminum foil.   Cool completely on a wire rack at least 3 hours.  Once cooled, place in refrigerator over night.  This will allow all the flavors to go crazy.
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Bourbon Vanilla Cranberry Sauce

We are on the official countdown to Turkey Day!  I will be sharing some of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes over the next few days.  For several years I made this Cranberry Sauce.  This sauce is yummy and has all the ingredients you want on your Thanksgiving table.  But then I discovered the beauty of mixing bourbon and vanilla to cranberries. And now this is our favorite!  Enjoy!
Bourbon Vanilla Cranberry Sauce

14 oz fresh cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 T Bourbon

1 T Mexican Vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst and begin to break down, about 10-15 minutes.

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Stir well and remove from heat. Refrigerate the cranberry sauce for up to 3 hours before serving. But feel free to get ahead and make it the day before.

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Our Thankful Tree

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

November brings a month of Thanksgiving.  A time to truly give thanks to for the multiple blessings that surround us.  We see words like “thankful”, “blessed”, “grateful”, “gratitude”, displayed on wooden signs, etched on pumpkins & turkeys, and Facebook statuses.  It is that one time a year that we all pause and give thanks.

Each November, I pull out my roll of brown craft paper and we create our Thankful Tree. It is fun to crinkle up the paper and turn it into branches and limbs.  Then we create leaves from a variety of colors.

Throughout the month we all take time to add to our tree.  At first the list is easy: God, Daddy, Mommy, brother, my church, food, my house.  But then you start digging a little deeper.  And there is big difference when asking a three year old what they are thankful for and then asking a twelve year old.

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My boys love to look at the leaves as they are added.  They notice pretty quick when a leaf has been added.  It is a wonderful way for your child to see you showing thanks for your spouse and others.

There are lots of ways to make a tree.  This is my elementary teacher brain way of displaying our tree.  I know some families that create a tree the day of Thanksgiving and all the guest add leaves to the tree.  One momma told me that they gather limbs from the yard to create their tree.

It’s all about giving thanks and showing your children how to acknowledge thankfulness.

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Looking Forward,

Amanda

 

Halloween Candy Turned Cookies

Halloween night was a success in this house.  When you have a ‘tween that is able to fill a complete king-size pillow case with candy, you have a lot of sweets on your hands.  Of course we believe in the Halloween Parent Tax.  Children pay their parents 10% of the candy.  This teaches true life skills.

So what are we going to do with all this candy?  This year we chopped up some of our favorite chocolate bars and made cookies.  And wow!!  The boys are wanting cookies instead of the multiple packages of candy.  It is a win!

We chopped up Snickers, Twix Bars, Kit-Kats, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  And then added in M&Ms for topping.  And it is a game when we bite into our yummy cookies- what candy did I just eat!

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Halloween Candy Turned Cookies

3  cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 oz cream cheese

1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup white sugar

2 eggs

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups of chopped chocolate candy (Kit-Kat, Snickers, Reese’s Cups, Hershey bars, Twix)

½ cup m & m’s for the top

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and white sugar.  Mix in egg and vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients until flour is fully mixed.

Fold in chocolate candy.  Using a mini cookie scoop, scoop out dough balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet.

Press a few m&m’s gently into the dough ball. Bake for 11-13 minutes. You want them to have a golden brown edge.  If they don’t look quit done, it’s okay.  Remove cookies from oven and let cookies sit on the pan for about 2-3 minutes.  Place cookies on a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Store in airtight container.

Serve with milk and enjoy!

Looking Forward,

Amanda

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Okay, we are finishing up last minute details so that our Halloween night is all we want it to be.  As you are carving that crazy Star Wars or Paw Patrol design to be parents of the year, be sure to save the pumpkin seeds.

You don’t even need to deal too much with them until later.  Just run water over them, remove the slimy guts, and let them dry out.  The best is to lay them on a cooking sheet and air dry for 24 hours.  When your seeds are all dry, it’s time to roast.

2 T of butter for each 1/2 of seeds

Pumpkin seeds

Seasoning Salt (1 teaspoon or desired amount)

Sea Salt

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Melt butter. Then add seeds, butter, seasoning salt and sea salt. Mix well.

Line cooking sheet with foil. Place seeds on baking pan and add foil to the pan. Cook seeds for 10 minutes, remove and flip seeds.  Bake an additional 10 minutes or until toasted.

Let cool and store in airtight container for one week.  You can toss these seeds on top of salads, add a crunch to your fall chili, or just have them as a snack.

 

 

Hotdog Mummies

I know, I know.  But it involves two things my boys love- bread and hotdogs.  So we got in the kitchen and created Hotdog Mummies.  It was a fun time of creating our little mummies. There is no right or wrong way.  And the finished product was approved by both my boys. To make it easier, you could just wrap the hotdog without creating arms and legs.  Either way, your kids will love being in the kitchen with you.
1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
bun-size hot dogs
Parchment Paper
Mustard or ketchup, if desired
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Prepare baking sheet by placing parchment paper on pan.  
Unroll crescent roll dough, separate at perforations to create 4 rectangles. Press the other perforations to seal. 
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With a pizza cutter, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 strips, making a total of 40 strips of dough.
Take one hot dog at a time and make a slit at the bottom for the mummy’s legs. Then, make two slits along the sides for the mummy’s arms.
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Wrap strips of dough around the individual arms and legs and then around the body of each hotdog, leaving an area about a half an inch long where the mummy’s face is. Place the mummies on  your prepared baking sheet.20171027_082520
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the dough is light golden brown and the hot dogs are hot. With mustard or ketchup, draw two eyes on the mummy’s face.
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Tres Leches Cake

And just like that I have a twelve year old child.  It sounds cliché to say, he was just a baby.  But honestly I feel like I was just twelve years old.  He is almost as tall as me and has a very determined and passionate spirit.  I don’t have to ask where that came from.  It’s just weird to see it in the human that I have raised.  

You know that when I asked what he wanted for this birthday dinner, I was ecstatic that he wanted me to cook his favorite dinner.  And he was very specific he wanted Tres Leches cake for dessert.  His love for this cake comes from his father.  

This cake is super easy to make.  You just need to plan ahead.  It needs time to soak up the yummy goodness of the three milks in the refrigerator.  This can happen in three hours or overnight if that works into your schedule.  

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For the Cake:

1 cup all-­purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup whole milk
1 t Mexican vanilla

Tres Leches to add after cake is baked:

1- 12 oz can evaporated milk
1- 14 oz can sweetened, condensed milk
1/4 cup whole milk

For Topping:

16 oz Heavy Cream
3 T Sugar
1 t Mexican vanilla
1/4 t ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13” pan with non­stick cooking spray.
In a large  bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt.   Separate the eggs (yolk and whites) into two separate bowls.  Add 3/4 cup sugar to the bowl with the egg yolks and mix on high speed until fully mixed. Add the 1/3 cup milk and vanilla and stir to combine. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir gently just until combined.  Be careful not to over mix.

Use electric mixer to beat the egg whites on high speed. Then gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar.  Continue beating until you have achieved stiff peaks.

Gently add egg whites into the batter.  Pour batter evenly into your prepared pan. You want your batter to look even on top.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and cool completely.

Combine the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and whole milk in a bowl. Once the cake has cooled make small holes all over top of the cake.  You can use a fork. This time is used chopstick.  (use what you want)

Slowly pour the milk mixture over the the top of the cake.  Make sure to pour near the edges and all around.  You want that milk to get soaked up everywhere.  

Refrigerate the cake for at least 3 hours or overnight, to allow it to soak up the milk.

Before serving, whip the heavy cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until you have stiff peaks. Smooth over the top of the cake.

Enjoy!