Pumpkin Muffins

My friend Andrea posted a photo on her Facebook page with me tagged in it that she thought I would like…since she knows of my pumpkin obsession!

Ingredients

recipe

Instead of a yellow cake mix I used a spice cake since it had….well spices in it! I thought it would be comparable to what is used in pumpkin pie.

Ingredients

Ingredients

I just did like it said and mixed the pumpkin into the cake mix and put 1 and 1/2 scoops into a muffin tin lined with papers. The can of pumpkin in the picture is 15oz and since I make my own puree I measured out that amount.

filled and ready to bake!

filled and ready to bake!

cooked and cooling.

cooked and cooling.

I just tasted one and OMG they are so delicious! They came out light, fluffy and tasting just like pumpkin bread/roll/pie etc….so very good! Yummy! I suppose you could top with frosting (for the ones I made cream cheese frosting came to mind) but then they’d be cupcakes…right? I highly recommend this very easy and delicious recipe!

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Homemade Hummus

I love hummus! I go though a family sized dish of Sabra hummus, either classic (plain) or red pepper, every two weeks at about $5 each. After awhile that gets really pricey so I started looking into making my own! The recipe I had sounded easy enough and bonus I had everything at home except the tahini!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

One 15-ounce can (425 grams) chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans

1/4 cup (59 ml) fresh lemon juice, about 1 large lemon

1/4 cup (59 ml) tahini (we used Krinos)

Half of a large garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving

1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt, depending on taste

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

water

First you take your tahini and lemon juice and blend it in your food processor for about 30 seconds. Then scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for another 30 seconds. Next add garlic, olive oil, cumin, and salt to the bowl and blend another 30 seconds. Open the canned chickpeas rinse then drain before adding them to the bowl and process for 1 minute.  Stop and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl then process for another 1-2 minutes. Add a bit of water if the hummus is to thick of if there are chunks of chickpeas while processing. Once it has reached a nice smooth consistency you are done!

My first batch is done!

My first batch is done!

Tips:

#1 I didn’t like how the cumin tasted so in my second batch I halved the amount and it came out so yummy!

#2 By  my second batch the finished product was a lot smoother thanks to a friend’s feedback. They said “with hummus process it until you think it is done…then process for another minute” either way you get a wonderful smooth product.

#3 I didn’t have a garlic clove on hand but I had some jarred minced garlic in the fridge so I used a tablespoon of that instead.

Before I made this I bough some generic off brand hummus because it was cheaper then Sabra. Well it was nasty and I was out the $2 but I washed out the bowl and now I store my hummus in it! That way everyone knows where the hummus is instead of looking at a tupperware bowl and going “What is this??????” lol.

reusing a dish

reusing a dish

General Cost:

Chickpeas $0.74 ( Market Pantry brand found at Target)

Tahini (I used Joyva brand) $6.24

Garlic clove $0.50

Lemon Juice $1.79

Total: $9.27 For about 7 batches or $1.32 instead of $5 like name brand hummus!

The tahini can had 15 oz and 1/4= 2 oz so you will get about 7 batches from the 15oz can or $0.89 a batch! Another way to reduce costs is to use what you have on hand in the fridge and pantry!

 

Crock Pot Salisbury Steak

My boyfriend loves the frozen Salisbury steaks and I find them disgusting. I read the ingredients and all I saw was water, salt, salt, MSG, preservatives, and salt lol. So I found a tasty recipe for my trusty crock pot and they looked so good (I couldn’t sample since I am not allowed to have ground beef).

Ingredients:

2 pounds ground beef

1 packet dry onion soup mix

1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 milk

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablesppons vegetable oil

2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup

1 packet dry au jus mix

3/4 water

Salisbury Steak Ingredients.

Salisbury Steak Ingredients.

In a large bowl mix the ground beef, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, and milk then form into patties, should make 8. Heat oil in a large pan then dredge the patties in the flour to lightly coat them then place them into the pan to brown both sides.

Patties frying.

Patties frying.

Place patties in a crock pot and stack them like a pyramid.

Patties in the crock pot.

Patties in the crock pot.

Mix cream of chicken soup, au jus mix, and water then pour over the patties in the crock pot.

ready to cook!

ready to cook!

Cook low for four or five hours until ground beef is well done! They cooked up very nicely and my boyfriend said they were so tasty, flavorful and said he liked them better then the frozen ones!

 

Tips:

#1 The store I went to didn’t have au jus mix so I used the slow cooker french dip mix and it worked out well.

#2 I would recommend using 93% or higher ground beef if you don’t like a lot of fat. I used 85/15% and the sauce had quite a bit of fat so I had to keep mixing it or the fat would separate.

#3 You can use any ground meat you want. I cant have red meat (doesn’t agree with my system) so I made myself a ground turkey patty (it’s the pale patty in the photo). It tasted wonderful!

I love this recipe and can’t wait to make it again!

 

Happy Pinning!

Smothered Chicken Breasts

I wrote a post for a crock pot recipe for round steak and gravy, which I thought was amazingly delicious, and one day I wanted some but didn’t have any steak. So I decided to try chicken breasts in the same homemade gravy and wow was I amazed!

Ingredients

3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 package onion soup mix

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup water (the old one called for 1/4 but I upped it for more gravy to cover the thicker chicken breasts)

 

I mixed the water and onion soup mix in the bottom of the crock pot before stirring in the cream of mushroom soup.

Gravy all mixed up and ready!

Gravy all mixed up and ready!

Then I added the chicken breasts and rolled them over a few times to make sure they were well covered.

Chicken cooking in the gravy.

Chicken cooking in the gravy.

I then set the crock pot to cook for 8 hours but you can set it for what works best for your time limit. After they were done I served them with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

Dinner!!

Dinner!!

These were the most tender, moist, and delicious chicken I have had in a long time! They were so tender you could cut them with a fork! I love how easy the crock pot is and this “homemade” gravy is so easy and soooo delicious!!

 

Happy Pinning!

Pumpkin Puree Part 2

In another post I covered how to make your own purred pumpkin for cooking and in it I said:

“I found nicer, darker pie pumpkins at a local market that sells Amish and Mennonite produce (they were $1.49 each) and I will bake them today but I don’t expect much change.”

Well I cooked some up recently that were a nice dark color and the puree they made was so much better then the pale ones at the grocery!

Nice dark pumpkin.

Nice dark pumpkin.

I cooked them according to my old post (here: https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/pumpkin-puree/) and pureed them in my food processor. The puree came out so nice and dark! You could definitely tell the difference!

Freshly pureed

Freshly pureed

Fresh puree packaged for freezing.

Fresh puree packaged for freezing.

 

Old vs. New

Old vs. New

In this photo you can see the old, pale puree laying on top of the darker, newer pumpkin. Now I know you are thinking did it really make any difference? In cooking no it didn’t but the darker puree had a richer taste to it…hard to describe…but it was better tasting.  Another problem I ran into was after packaging them in baggies it was difficult to get the puree out and some got stuck. Since I measured these out at precisely the amount needed for the items I was making leaving some behind wasn’t ideal. Then I came up with an idea on how to get the puree out without leaving any behind! I cut the end off the baggie and slowly squeeze out every drop, if you have ever iced cakes this way then it’s the same concept.

Pumpkin out of a baggie

Pumpkin out of a baggie

So when making your own puree I would recommend getting the darkest pumpkins so you can get that dark, rich tasting puree for your baked goods! The pale puree works great too and tastes good, so much better then canned versions, so either way it’s a healthy and tasty addition to your cooking!

Happy Pinning!

Crock Pot Round Steak and Gravy

I am sure I have said this before but I LOVE my crock pot. I just love putting ingredients in, turning it on, and leaving for work so when I get home dinner is ready to be served! So I am always looking for new recipes to use so I can expand my crock pot horizons! I bought some eye of round steaks at a local store sale ($1.90 for 2 steaks! Amazing!!) and wanted to do more then just pan frying them up. So off to Pinterest search I went and I came up with this:

The Pin:

http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/beef/crock-pot-round-steak-gravy.html#.UE3G0Kia0FA.pinterest

Ingredients:

Round steak (or eye of round like I used)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 packet Lipton onion soup mix

1/4 cup water

All you do it place the steak in the crock pot and add the soup, water, and onion soup mix on top of it and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

After this is done cooking you can put these steaks on top of pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes….or you can eat them as is! I cooked tri-color rotini pasta and placed a steak on top of the noodles and poured some of the gravy on top. Yummy!

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1 Before I added the onion soup mix I blended it with the water before pouring it over the steaks and mushroom soup.

#2 Right when they were done cooking, while I was baking the biscuits for dinner, I sliced up some mushrooms and onions (I left them in rings). I heated up a frying pan and added a small bit of butter and when ready I added the onions and let them slowly caramelize. When the onions were half cooked I added a little more butter and added the mushrooms and cooked until done! When I plated dinner I put the rotini on bottom, added the steak, poured a bit of gravy on top, and then top it all with a healthy dollop of the onions and mushrooms.

Onions and mushrooms added.

Onions and mushrooms added.

It turned out beautifully and tasted so yummy! Even my picky daughter said she loved them! She never liked mushrooms before so while cooking I had her help me caramelize the onions and mushrooms so when plating the food she said she wanted some. She has never cleaned her plate up so fast! She said she wants it more often so after I post this I am off to the store to get some more! I loved how quick and easy this dinner was (sometimes crock pot meals require more work once the entree is done) and the flavors….just amazing! Enjoy!!

Happy Pinning!!!

Healthy Crock Pot Meatballs

I love my crock pot because there is nothing better then coming home at the end of the day and dinner is done! You just add ingredients, set the time, and it takes care of the rest! Love it! So I am ALWAYS on the hunt for new recipes for my crock pot. I used to just use it to cook roast. stews, and cream of mushroom chicken but other then that I had no idea what to do. Now thanks to Pinterest I can find TONS of recipes and I can use my much loved crock pot more! I found this yummy sounding meatball recipe and I just had to make it! Meatballs are so versatile! You can make sandwiches with the, put them on noodles for spaghetti, eat alone, or put on spaghetti squash!

The Pin:

http://glow.beautygala.com/healthy-crock-pot-meatball-recipe/

Ingredients:

1lb ground turkey (you can use any ground meat chicken, pork, or cow)

1 egg

1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/4 Parmesan cheese

4 garlic cloves

2 28oz crushed tomatoes

Italian seasoning

2 bay leaves

salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients

Ingredients

Combine ground meat, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, egg, and 2 cloves chopped garlic in a bowl. Mix the ingredients with your hands (do not over mix because it will  make the meatballs tough). Then create (with your hands) meatballs the size of a tablespoon, you can vary the size depending on your taste.

Meat mixture ready to form.

Meat mixture ready to form.

In the crock pot place the two cans of crushed tomatoes and the 2 bay leaves then add 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Add the meatballs on top of the tomato mixture then add the other 2 garlic cloves, you can mince them if you want.

Tomatoes, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning.

Tomatoes, bay leaves, and Italian seasoning.

Cook on high for 5-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, Salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Ready to cook.

Ready to cook.

All done and looking so yummy!

All done and looking so yummy!

 

 

Tips from me:

#1 I cooked these on high for 4 and half hours and it was delicious but next time I will cook on low for the 8-10 hours. By letting it simmer longer it will give the flavors longer to mingle and should taste amazing.

You can serve these on spaghetti noodles, on a sandwich, brown rice, or over vegetables like spaghetti squash or zucchini. I love spaghetti squash so I had mine this way and it was so yummy! I love how these turned out they were so light, tender, and flavorful these will become a staple in my family from now on! Plus the ingredients are so cheap and made of things I already have in my pantry and freezer. You should know by now I am all about using what you have on hand and things you can get on sale like the ground turkey! Since I bought the bread crumbs for this recipe alone so I know for a fact I will be making it again, and again until these are gone lol!

Enjoy and Happy Pinning!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

After making the steel cut pumpkin pie oats and the homemade pumpkin bread I had to break down and buy some more pumpkin so I could continue my cooking. But what I found shocked me! The canned pumpkin was $1.99 for generic and around $2.xx for name brand! I was astonished and decided I wouldn’t buy any! When I got home I looked on my pinterest and I found a how to on making your own pumpkin puree for use in recipes. I also like the idea of making my own because it won’t have any dyes, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients in it!

The pin: 

http://dailysavings.allyou.com/2012/09/24/pumpkin-cooking/

I went to a local grocery store and found they had pie pumpkins on sale for $0.89 and I bought two for under $3. The are a lot smaller then carving pumpkins, you should use pie pumpkin because they have a better taste to them. First you cut them in half legthwise (start at the stem and cut until you reach the stem again. After cutting it scoop out the seeds and put them aside (I am going to roast them for the first time tonight and post about it tomorrow) in a bowl of water.

Cut, scooped, and ready to bake.

Cut, scooped, and ready to bake.

Place both halve cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook on 350 degrees the time ranges due to several factors. My tiny ones cooked up in 45 minutes but it can take up to 2 hours depending on size and density.

Baking

Baking

After they are cooked fully the flesh should scoop out easily, if not place back in over and cook longer. Wait until the pumpkin is cooled then scoop out the flesh and place into a bowl and toss the rinds in the trash, or compost. The pin said to mash it up but I had trouble and couldn’t mash it well enough so I dumped into a food processor until it was all smooth.

Pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree

I baked two pumpkins and got around 3 cups of puree and since the bread calls for one and a half cups I measured out that amount. I put some into the fridge then froze the rest. I found nicer, darker pie pumpkins at a local market that sells Amish and Mennonite produce (they were $1.49 each) and I will bake them today but I don’t expect much change. I asked my mom about how pale the pureed pumpkin was compared to the canned pumpkin (she makes her own canned pumpkin) and she said the color didn’t matter. She said the products I made would be paler in comparison (to canned products) but taste the same since pumpkin has really no taste of it’s own…it’s the spices that make the taste. So don’t be frightened if your puree is pale too.  So for under $3 I got enough pumpkin for 2 loaves of bread compared to $2.xx for one can which would only make one loaf! It was super easy and unless I can find a crazy good deal on canned pumpkin I will make my own!

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Since the season of pumpkin is upon us I decided to make some yummy, scrumptious pumpkin bread! I love all things pumpkin including, but not limited to, pumpkin bread, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice cappuccino, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin oatmeal. Yummy!!

The pin:

http://mylifeandkids.com/moist-pumpkin-bread-recipe/#comment-91397

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 c sugar

½ c brown sugar

½ c butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1½ cup canned pumpkin

Ingredients

Ingredients

First you preheat the over to 350 degrees then mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Mix butter and sugar together until creamy then add eggs one at a time while still stirring (or crack one and then stir…add the other…stir). After the eggs add the vanilla, then you slowly combine the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients. Add pumpkin into mixture (the blog says to “by hand, mix in pumpkin”) but I folded it in gently until all combined.

Pumpkin batter, ready to bake

Pumpkin batter, ready to bake

Pour into a greased, floured pan and bake for 45 minutes, let set in the pan once cooked for 15 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Done and ready to eat!

Done and ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1: Oven temperatures vary widely so the cooking time may be longer. I checked mine at 45 minutes and it was still really liquidy so I cooked it longer, it took 1 hour and 10 minutes before the knife came out clean.

#2: Like I said above the blog stated to “by hand, mix in pumpkin”. But in my experience a batter like this that is sticky and really liquid it is hard to knead by hand.

#3: When it says dry ingredients it means the spices too lol! When I first made this (I have made 2 loaves so far) I mixed everything in but the spices since it didn’t occur to me they were dry ingredients! So I added them in at the end but before adding the pumpkin! It tasted every bit as delicious as my second loaf (made properly this time lol!).

I found this to be a very easy and simple bread to make! It was very moist, flavor full, and it sliced real easily! It was so good in fact my boyfriend ate half the loaf the next morning for breakfast! Since my mom, as well as I, wanted some I had to bake a second loaf and let him have the remainder of the first one! So be prepared because this pumpkin bread is so good it’ll disappear quickly!

Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

‘Tis the season!! No not that season…not yet anyways! I mean the season of everything pumpkin! I LOVE pumpkin so much that I try to use it as much as possible this time of the year! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee creamer, pumpkin roll, pumpkin bread, and now pumpkin pie steel cut oats! I have only recently because aware of how much better steel cut oats are for you vs. rolled oats so I looked up multiple recipes.  Last time, my first blog post on here, was cinnamon apple steel cut oats https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/crock-pot-cinnamon-apple-steel-cut-oats/.

The pin: http://fooddoodles.com/2011/11/13/pumpkin-pie-steel-cut-oats-in-the-crockpot/

Ingredients:

  • 2 C steel cut oats
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin(or about 1 3/4C)
  • 1 400 mL (about 1.5 cups) or 14 oz can full fat coconut milk plus enough water to make 7C(about 5 1/4C water)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 C honey or maple syrup(or leave unsweetened and add after it’s been cooked)

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot and cook 5-6 hours on low.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

When done simply spoon up and enjoy with any topping you like!

Delicious!

Delicious!

I loved cooking this overnight because when I work up this morning not only did my house smell so good but a hot breakfast was waiting for me! I didn’t have to cook or prepare anything I could just serve it up and enjoy! It tasted like you crumbled up a slice of pumpkin pie and ate it in milk! So good! I can’t wait to have more tomorrow morning!

Tips from me:

#1 Any milk can be used in place of the coconut milk. I used a almond/cashew/hazelnut milk blend in mine.

#2 The temperature and time may vary from crock pot to crock pot. Mine has timed settings intervals of 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours so I started mine at 8:30 pm and set it on 10 hours so it would be done by 6:30 am and ready to eat!

#3 I didn’t have any honey or maple syrup so I omitted it (it cooked just fine) and I added brown sugar to my bowl and it tasted fabulous!

#4 It makes a lot so be prepared for leftovers if your family is small, like mine!

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Happy Pinning!

P.S.: I would love it if my readers would post some pins in the comments section! I am always looking for new things to try!!