Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Meal

Tonight was Thanksgiving and dinner was a success!

The menu ended up being:

Turkey made by my mom with the recipe posted the other day
Butternut Squash Soup
Green Beans with Almonds and Lemon
Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream, Rosemary, and Garlic
Roasted Brussle Sprouts
Fresh Baked Rolls (Cheddar/Dill) and Plain
Cranberry Sauce (which didn't turn out so well - do not recommend using splenda instead of sugar in this case)
Sweet Potatoes Roasted with Orange Juice and Honey

Little Sisters boyfriend made a broccoli, cheese, and rice casserole
And my mom's friend Diana brought a corn soufle

Dessert was:

Brownie, Berry trifle
Whipped Cream Icebox cake
Cream Cheese Brownies

Hope you all have a great holiday!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pumpkin Trifle

OK, I know, I suck. I forgot to take pictures as I was making it, and even once it was done. But, the nice thing about trifles is that they're easy, always look pretty, and are hard to mess up!

I wanted to make a pumpkin trifle for Ambrose's baptism today, being the season and all. I looked and looked and looked but the only versions I could find online called for gingerbread or gingersnap cookies, and I'm not really a gingerbread kinda girl. So, I decided to take all of the things I love about pumpkin pie and make that in to a trifle. Therefor, here it is, my very own recipe for a pumpkin trifle.


2 packages vanilla pudding - prepared as told on package
1 8 oz can pure pumpkin puree
cool whip or whipped cream (i used 2 containers of cool whip)
1/2 angel food cake (typical store bought size)
pumpkin pie spices
1 package graham crackers
1 cup toasted hazelnuts

To Prepare Ingredients

Prepare pudding as directed on the package
mix pumpkin in to pudding

break angel food cake up in to small pieces (about 1"-2") and sprinkle with pumpkin pie seasoning

Crush graham crackers to crumbs and hazelnuts to small pieces, toss together


I assembled the trifle in this order - but you can change it to whatever you'd like. I do suggest starting with the cake to build a base, the last layer being the cool whip, and then topping with crumbs and hazelnuts to garnish.

angel food cake
1/2 pumpkin/pudding mixture
1/2 cool whip or whipped cream
3/4 hazelnuts/graham cracker crumbs
1/2 pumpkin/pudding mixture
1/2 cool whip or whipped cream
1/4 sprinkle top with graham cracker crumbs and hazelnuts

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


We are now in the throws of the holiday season. First up, is Thanksgiving!

Being that it's my first year back in Cleveland in a few years, everyone is going to be in town for the holiday. It will be interesting to say the least. The entire family, a boyfriend, a husband, a new baby, and lots and lots of friends. The house will be filled to (or beyond in some instances) capacity.

My mom and I have started planning the menu. It's still under discussion, but so far it's as follows:

  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Orange Honey Turkey (also known as Death to Vanessa)
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Hazelnuts (thanks Joelle!)
  • Fresh baked rolls
  • Fresh made butter
  • Roasted Brusslesprouts
  • Fresh Cranberry Sauce (and the jelly type from the can with lines for my dad)
  • Green beans of some sort
So that's the list so far. It will probably change but at least it's a start.

First Recipe - Death to Vanessa Turkey

This recipe is the only recipe my mom ever uses for turkey. Which is just fine with us. It's moist, somewhat sweet, and no oil or butter is needed!!!

1 Turkey or Turkey Breast – what ever size you need for your dinner

1 can frozen orange juice

Water to mix with juice

1 cup honey

Heat oven to 325°F

Place turkey in roasting pan, breast side down (really, breast side down)

Mix honey, can of juice and half a can of water together

Pour over turkey (since you put it in breast side down, you won’t need to baste!!)

Roast turkey until almost done (approx. 160°F )

Flip turkey so breast side is up and continue cooking to 165°F. check for doneness by sticking a meat thermometer in to the deepest part of the meat. Use the table as a guide but make sure to check for temperature!!!!

Let sit for 15 minutes before carving

Filter the drippings to use as or make a gravy

Size of Turkey (lbs.)

Timing (Hours)









20-24 lbs.


Friday, October 30, 2009

S'mores Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I discovered this wonderful blog!
C&C Bakery

Their baked goods look so delicious and the recipes are great and easy to follow! They posted this a while ago and I saved it to bake them for Halloween at work. Brought them in today and they were diabetic coma inducing little bits of goodness!

You are warned, they are super sweet and pure deliciousness! And perfect for Halloween!

The directions that follow are directly from their website:

Pumpkin S'more Cupcakes
Graham Cracker and Chocolate Cake with Pumpkin Marshmallow on top


1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk + 1/4 cup yogurt

1 cup chocolate chips (I prefer dark)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, graham cracker, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk until evenly distributed.

In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Next alternatively pour in the flour mixture with the milk/yogurt, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in your chocolate chips.

Fill your (preferably Halloween-oriented) cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes (or until your tester comes out clean.

Pumpkin Marshmallow Frosting

Now, if you want to go the extra mile, I'd use this recipe for homemade pumpkin marshmallow. If you are in a time crunch (Like I was), you can use this super easy subsitute.

2 cups big marshmallows

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp all spice

Put the marshmallows in a large glass bowl and add a TBSP of water. Make sure most of the marshmallows have soaked up some moisture and place them in the microwave. Nuke those bad boys 20 seconds at a time, stirring each time you take the bowl out to check, until the marshmallows are mostly melted (there still will be some lumps, but don't worry about that yet).

Mix all the spices together in a small cup. Put the pumpkin in the marshmallow bowl and about half of the spice mixture. Using a hand mixer, mix everything together until all the marshmallowy lumps are gone. Taste and adjust the spice if need be.

(Your marshmallow will seem watery at this point - don't panic. It will re-congeal when it cools.)

Using a knife, cut out a small hole in the middle of your cooled cupcakes (going just about a third of the way down). Spoon in the pumpkin marshmallow until it covers most of the top. Let the marshmallow cool.

Chocolate Ganache Topping

4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Graham Cracker crumbs

Melt chocolate and butter over low heat (preferably in a double boiler). Take off heat and dip each of the cupcakes in the ganache, making sure the pumpkin marshmallow is completely covered. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs over top.

Add candy/chocolate tombstone and/or zombie limbs as you see fit.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chili Cupcakes!!!

Tomorrow is Michelle and Vincent's annual chili cookoff. Rather then making another pot of chili, I decided to make Cincinnati Chili style cupcakes!

Recipe and instructions:

1 box chocolate cake mix and stuff they tell you to add
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cayanne pepper
2 tsp cinnamon
1 can vanilla icing
yellow colored white chocolate which can be found in most baking supply stores

1 - prepare chocolate cake as directed on the box adding vanilla and spices
2 - bake as directed for cupcakes


4 - while waiting for cupcakes to cool - melt chocolate then chill in freezer
5 - grate chocolate using a cheese grater to look like shredded cheese

6 - using a icing piping bag and small circle tip, ice the tops in random strips to look like spaghetti
7 - sprinkle "cheese" on top of "spaghetti" to finish cupcakes

Monday, September 28, 2009

No Knead Bread

No Knead Bread
my favorite basic bread recipe

1 ½ c scalded milk

½ c shortening

½ c sugar

1 tbsp salt

3 packets yeast

3 eggs

9 cups flour (white tastes best but whole wheat works too. I tend to use half and half)

  • Combine milk, shortening, sugar and salt.
  • While mixing, add 1 ½ c cold water to cool mixture to room temperature
  • Add yeast – mix well
  • Add eggs – mix well
  • Add flour slowly – 1 cup at a time – allow to fully mix in before adding the next cup and mix till smooth
  • You can knead the dough at this point but it’s not required
  • Shape in to 3 loaves and place in greased bread pans (9x4x3)
  • Let rise to double, about 1 hour
  • Bake at 375 for 1 hour or until it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom and the top is browned
  • Dough can be chilled over night – let rise 2 hours

Good things you can add before baking:

Savory spices, cheese, cinnamon and raisins, seeds

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stuffed Cabbage

First recipe - here we go!

This recipe is based on one from my Bubbie, my dads mom. She used to make this when we'd visit our grandparents in Florida. I'm not sure of her exact recipe, not sure she even knew an exact recipe. I just remember she would add whatever fruit she had in the house and it always turned out delicious. I've changed it slightly, using dried fruit and fresh ginger, but it's still that good comfort food I remember my Bubbie making.

Stuffed Cabbage
(makes about 20 pieces)

1 head of cabbage
1 lb ground meat (I use 1/2 lb turkey and 1/2 lb beef)
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 onion
1 tbsp olive oil
2 29oz cans plain tomato puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp fresh ground ginger
1 cup dried fruit - chopped
1 cup Verners Ginger ale or apple juice
salt and pepper

  1. Steam Cabbage head whole. Peel leaves but keep whole so they can cool. If leaves are very large or have hard cores, cut in half or to remove core.
  2. Cook rice per package instructions
  3. Saute onion in large skillet with olive oil until softened but not browned
  4. Add meat and brown, adding salt and pepper to taste
  5. Once meat and rice are both cooked, combine a in large bowl and allow to cool
  6. Pour 1 cup of tomato sauce in to bottom of 5 qt stock pot
  7. Place a leaf of steamed cabbage flat on a work surface. Spoon 1/4 - 1/3 cup rice and meat mixture on to cabbage leaf about 1/2" from edge. Fold leaf over to form wrap around meat and rice mixture. Put cabbage roll in the bottom of the stock pot. Continue with remaining meat and cabbage leaves until you run out. Should be about 20 rolls depending on size of cabbage head.
  8. Mix remaining tomato sauce, brown sugar, chopped fruit, ginger, and ginger ale or apple juice. Pour mixture over cabbage rolls. If rolls are not covered in liquid, add more ginger ale until cabbage rolls are covered.
  9. Cover pot with lid and cook on low heat for 2-3 hours. This can also be done in the over using a large cake pan covered in foil cooked at 250 degrees. The longer the rolls cook the softer the cabbage will be.
  10. Serve hot with bread for soaking up the sauce. Stuffed Cabbage is even better the second or third day!
Another alternative for when you just don't have time to let it cook for hours -
Steam cabbage till soft, then cut in to 3/4"x2" pieces (or about that). Mix all ingredients (ground meat and rice already cooked) in to a 5 quart stock pot at once. Make sure there is plenty of liquid! Add extra to make sure everything is covered. Cook on a low simmer for about 1/2 an hour. Serve as a stew with bread for dipping.