Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pecan Tassies

I realize y'all are stuffed and can't even begin to think of food because Thanksgiving just passed along with all of it's leftovers.  BUT, Christmas is right around the corner and that means holiday parties, entertaining, and more yummy goodness!
A friend of mine about 2 years ago made this Pecan Tassies recipe as a dessert for her Thanksgiving get together and so she shared it with me.  These would be a perfect dessert for a holiday gathering as they are bite size and super easy to just grab and go!  

I've always been meaning to make these little morsels and Mike's friend from work gave me just the reason!  She gave me an entire back of organically grown pecans from Mt. Aukum!  So...I got to crackin with my hammer...I don't own an actual nut cracker, just the Christmas decoration variety seen below ;-)  
So...I made due with what I had and got out the hammer.  It is tedious work crackin nuts ;-) I spent about a half hour getting just a cup of pecans.  The work was definitely worth it because these pecans were so maple-y in flavor!
What you'll need:
4 oz. of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened
1 cup of flour
1 egg
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
3 squares of Bakers semi-sweet chocolate, melted
Beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium until well mixed.  Then add in the flour.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled. 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray two 12 cup mini muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.  Then divide the dough into 24 balls.  Press the balls into the base of each cup and up the sides.  Set aside.  
Beat the egg in a small bowl.  Add the sugar and vanilla and mix.  Stir in the pecans.  Fill each cup with the mixture until 3/4 full.  
Bake for 25 min. or until lightly browned.  Let stand for 5 min. in the pan and remove to a wire rack.  Cool completely and then drizzle with melted chocolate.  (Recipe courtesy of Kraft Foods)

Before I got to crackin nuts, I should have made the pastry dough because there's some down time in chilling the dough.  Silly me for not reading the recipe ahead of time.  
And...the recipe is correct when it says to wait 5 minutes before removing from the pan.  I'm a little impatient and they aren't very pretty when you have to rip them out of their pan.  So do the waiting and it'll be much easier to remove. 

The little morsels are a perfect texture...the crumbly buttery and creamy pastry and the crunchy and gooey goodness of the brown sugar and pecans.  
Of course, chocolate always adds a nice touch!
 And like I always say...they'd be fabulous for breakfast with coffee!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

I found this absolutely adorable dog photo via pinterest and at first glance I thought it was just adorable dog picture.  

Then I clicked on the pic thinking it might take me to more adorable dog photos but it was even better...a super easy dog treat recipe! 

Half of a recipe being easy for me is that I don't have to travel to the grocery store to buy any of the ingredients.  However, I had just run out of all my pumpkin puree so I did in fact need to run to the store, but it was worth it in the end because let me tell pup is one piccccky eater and she LOVED her homemade treats.  
"I'm a picky eater"

As a puppy (which I like to think she still is) we went through 5-6 different kinds of dog food till we found the one she actually liked, Science Diet it is!  She's never been food motivated so it's kinda difficult when you go out and buy treats thinking, Oh yea, she'll definitely like these...just to get the reaction of an ungrateful child ;-) She'll literally spit them out before you! We have a whole Costco sized bag of Beggin' Strips just waiting to be devoured because apparently Sophie's refined palate prefers Milo's sausages instead.  
Anyhoo, knowing Sophie does actually enjoy herself some pumpkin and peanut butter I was all over this recipe by Use Real Butter.  

The ingredients are so simple: 2.5 cups whole wheat flour (I chose whole grain), 2 eggs, 2/3 cup pumpkin puree, and 3 tbsp. peanut butter. 
Mix it all up in a stand-up mixer with paddle attachment on medium for a minute.

Ball up dough on a floured surface.  
Use a roller to flatten it out to 1/4 inch. 
I chose a dog bone cookie cutter but whatever suits your fancy.  
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  I baked for 30 for a crunchier cookie.  
Let them cool for a bit and then onward to the taste test...
It was as if Sophie knew I was baking something for her, she usually just does her own thing while I'm in the kitchen.  This time...she kept coming in to check on things ;-)  

"Mama, are they ready yet?" 
 "I'm being a good girl and waiting" 
 The first bite...not a gentle one at all ;-) 
 She loved every bit of it!
What you don't see here is that later we heard something in the kitchen and where to be found.  I go into the kitchen and I see a half eaten cookie on the ground as she's devouring the other half!
She had stolen 2 cookies off the cooling rack!! Thought she'd help herself to a couple more.  I couldn't believe it.  

Well, we now know she has a new favorite treat :-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Friday's Favorite Finds

The weeks just seem to be flying by lately! I mean, November really??...and almost half way through at that!  Normally at this time of year I'm well on my way to gift wrapping or wrapping up my gift buying in general.  I know...I like to get my holiday shopping out of the way early.  I feel like time has been whizzing by so fast lately that my favorite time of year just creeped up on me!  Goodness...well, to slow things down a bit I thought I'd recap some of my favorite finds from the week.  All these are pinned via my Pinterest...which you can follow here

Butternut Squash Soup:
It seemed the perfect time of year for something like this, and it did not disappoint! The recipe makes a whole lot which was fine by me.  I kept devouring leftovers all week long!

"Look on the bright side" - Kate Spade Bangle:
I'm pretty sure looking down at this would easily brighten any girls day! Might have to be an early Christmas present to myself ;-) 

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Puppy Treats:
I am so excited to make these treats for the Sops.  She loves pumpkin and peanut butter, so I know she's going to go crazy for these!  Oh and...I'll take the puppy too...what a sweet face!

If this doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what will.  Love this movie and pretty much want to conquer everything on that list :-)


Which reminds me...I am going to be searching for this glittery (Wizard of Oz Ruby Red Slipper) looking case this weekend to go with my new iphone5! Can't wait to have that sucker in my hand.  I've been living in vintage phone land far too long now!

Happy Friday All! Enjoy your weekend :-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Apple Hill and Apple Sauce

This past weekend Mike and I took another trip up to Apple Hill. I'm telling ya, I can't get enough of that place! Well...actually, we went for the Apple Hill Harvest Run this time around, but don't think for a minute I was leaving without getting my apple goodies on!

Mike actually ran a race with me!! I was so proud of him!  This guys hates to run, but he's been doing so well lately going on runs consistently and taking Sophie out for runs.  I'm starting to rub off on him...yeeeea probably not.  The course wasn't too bad if you're used to altitude and inclines ;-) Starts out with 1/8 mile initial incline and for about 2.5 miles it's literally flat or all downhill.  And when there's a know the uphill is coming.  For the last mile it was a slight incline until the last 1/4 mile with a steady increasing slope....ughhh what a way to have to finish.  Not gonna lie...had to pee so bad at the end, I HAD to book it bc it was about to be an emergency!

Sorry for the terrible iphone3 photo :-/

I completed the 3.5 mile race 6th in my class (ages 19-29) with a time of 26:48, that's a 7:39/mile pace.  I was pretty stoked about that!! I was so proud of Mike, he finished the race 34th in his class!! He ran the whole way on his bum knee.  He was hurtin the next day for it, but I'm so glad he ran it with me.

Our friends Lisa and Jenna came out to the run as well! 

We were all pretty much there for the free stuff.  Several orchards gave out free pastries, juice, and one of the wineries a free reserve wine tasting! Woop!

We had priorities though and made our way to High Hill Ranch.  My fave!!  I got a Caramel Apple Shake at the Cider Shake and the girls got Sparkling Moonshine (Apple Cider Wine and Champagne).  It was unreal...I would've been dancing on the tables after one of those!

I couldn't leave without my fritter! Mike was so darn good...usually he can't leave without a caramel apple, but he actually passed it up.  He has been doing so well on his "plan to eat better" (not calling it a diet ;-) I also stocked up on apples with the plans of making this baked apples recipe from How Sweet It Is.  I will be trying that next, but first...I went for the easier recipe!

Crockpot Apple Sauce by Mommy Makes it Better.  

Of course, I pinned this one a while ago and have been meaning to make it.  It was sooo super easy.  Besides the initial work of peeling and coring the apples, you throw all the ingredients in and wait 6 hours for your crockpot to do all the work.

All the apples will break down in the crockpot...then when it looks like this, you can either use a blender or just whisk it up a bit and WA-LA! You've got warm apple sauce.  

See, warm...condensation happening.
I had just a smidgin and it tasted like Fall!

I decided to put my creative touch on it with the mason jar...I placed a cupcake wrapper in between the lid and tied some cinnamon sticks with twine. 

Would make a cute holiday gift for friends and family!  

This one's going to my dad...he loves all things apple!