Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal


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After a week of heavy meals and overindulgent sweets, it always feels good to switch back to "normal" eating. Yesterday flipped that switch for me. The leftovers were gone and I didn't want anything resembling a holiday meal, and I'm craving crisp vegetables like crazy. This morning was no different. Actually, last night I felt the need to make a good oatmeal this morning since I've been terrible about eating breakfast this past week.

I guess some might say that Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal has an overindulgent holiday feel to it, but pumpkin is a year round flavor in my house. Plus, pumpkin is really good for you, so it's a win all around. Go ahead and start your New Year off right with a big steaming bowl of oatmeal!

Here is what you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk or unsweetened almond milk (almond milk is super yummy here!)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/16 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup rolls oats
Combine water, milk, pumpkin, brown sugar and spices in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Add oatmeal. Combine well and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 1.

Source: An Adventures in My Kitchen Original

What's Baking: Peppermint Meringues


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It was fitting that this month's What's Baking theme was peppermint. I had Peppermint Meringues on my holiday baking list. My original plan was to make candy cane meringues, but come game time I didn't have red food coloring (note to self: must get red coloring before February!). I forged on anyway.

These are a welcome addition to any holiday tray. They're a light treat with just a hint of peppermint flavor, that perfect bite of something sweet to satisfy my must have something sweet after dinner craving.

Now what to do with 6 egg yolks...

This month's What's Baking was hosted by Carrie's Sweet Life. Head on over soon to check out this month's roundup of peppermint treats.

Here is what you'll need:
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 250F degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Using stand mixer, beat egg whites on medium-high until foaming.

In a small bowl, combine cream of tartar, salt and sugar. Gradually add to egg whites and continue beating. Beat until stiff peaks form, or when the bowl is turned upside down nothing moves. This could be anywhere from 10-20 minutes, mine took about 17 minutes.

Fit a piping tip into a pastry bag (or large ziplock bag) and fill bag with meringue. Pipe meringue onto lined baking sheets.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, meringues should easily lift from parchment paper. Turn oven off and leave meringues in the oven while it cools. Once cool, store in an airtight container. Makes 8 dozen 1 1/2-2 inch meringues.

Source: The Penny Whistle Christmas Party Book

Chex Caramel Corn


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My week of sweet treats continues, after a one day interruption (sorry, I had unexpected schedule overload!). I was looking for something to munch on while I baked and something I could throw in my lunches. Something that was sweet, salty and crunchy. I looked around Chex's website to see what I could come up with since I have 2 boxes of Corn Chex.

When I spotted this Caramel Corn Chex Mix recipe it brought me back to my childhood, when we used to make caramel popcorn balls that we wrapped and hid in our Christmas tree. I don't know if this was only something our family did, or if this was a thing back in the day. Do any of you have memories of this?

Of course this would be great bagged up for your holiday trays, or just as a big bowl for guests to munch on before or after a meal. I'm not sure what I liked about this most, the fact that you use the microwave and it's done within 15 minutes, or that it has just a light coating of caramel, enough to add sweetness, but not so much that it sticks to your teeth.

By the way, I don't plan on bringing the popcorn ball tradition back anytime soon, not with this frequent sighting in our tree...

Here is what you'll need:
  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 4 cups of your favorite Chex Cereal (I used Corn Chex)
  • 1/2 cup peanuts 
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • decorating sprinkles
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Set aside.

Mix popcorn, cereal and peanuts in a large microwaveable bowl.

In a medium microwaveable bowl, add butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla extract. Microwave 1 minutes. Stir. Microwave another 1 minute, until bubbling. Pour over popcorn mixture. Stir.

Microwave popcorn mixture for 1 minute. Stir and scrape side of the bowl. Repeat microwaving and stirring 4 - 5 times. When the mixture comes of the microwave the last time, shake on sprinkles and stir.

Spread mixture on lined baking sheet. Allow to cool. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Slightly adapted from Chex

Hot Cocoa Cookies


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 While shopping at Target I decided to browse down the baking aisle to see if there was anything interesting. I came across Kraft's Mallow Bits and read a recipe on the side for Hot Cocoa Cookies. At the time I thought this was a new product, until I searched online and saw I was way behind in my discovery.

I couldn't wait to try these bits and dug right in when I got home. I quickly discovered these are exactly like the marshmallows from Lucky Charms!

Since it has been a while since JR had sweets (he's SO sad about the demise of Ring Dings and Funny Bones), I got to making a batch of these. He loved them, as did my sister. I thought they where a bit sweet, but, I guess they are cookies!

The great thing about this recipe is that it makes a ton of cookies, which is great for the holiday cookie exchanges going on right now. And the kids will go crazy for them!

Here is what you'll need:
  • 1 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup (or 4 individual packages) Hot Chocolate Mix (not sugar free)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Mallow Bits (you could substitute mini marshmallows)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Using a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, hot chocolate, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Slowly add dry ingredients to mixer and mix until well combined. The dough will be very thick; the motor in my mixer sounded like it was struggling!  Once dry ingredients are mixed well, add chocolate chips and mallow bits. Mix until just combined.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough and drop onto cookie sheets. Bake for 8-11 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Be careful not to over bake as these are soft cookies. Makes 4 dozen.

Source: Love from the Oven as seen on Kraft's Mallow Bits

Irish Cream Fudge


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My Week of Sweet Treats continues with something boozy! I'm not a big drinker, but Irish Cream is something I like to keep on hand, especially during the holidays. When I saw Melissa post this Irish Cream Fudge last year I knew it had to make an appearance on my holiday trays.

I was a big fan of this unusual combination. It is super sweet, so I recommend cutting it into very small pieces (my pieces were too big!). And obviously if you gift this on a tray, be sure to label it or include a note. We don't want any tipsy children stumbling upon Santa! 

I have my sights on experimenting with chocolate chips and mint flavored Bailey's next. Keep your eyes peeled for this one!

Here is what you'll need:
  • 36 oz white chocolate chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup Irish cream liquor, plus 3-4 tablespoons
  • 1/3 cup salted pistachios, chopped
Line a 9 inch square baking dish with foil, allowing the foil to hang over the sides of the pan. Lightly grease pan, I used cooking spray, and set aside.

In a medium sauce pan over low heat, combine chocolate chips, condensed milk and liquor. Stir constantly until chocolate has almost melted.

Remove from heat and stir constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add pistachios and stir until incorporated.

Pour into lined baking pan. Let cool until set. Lift fudge by foil and remove from pan. Remove foil and cut fudge. Makes 64 small squares.

Cappuccino Fudge


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Today begins my Week of Sweet Treats! 

Christmas is often a time known for sweet treat in our family. I have many memories of making dozens and dozens of cookies since childhood. Recipes varied from easy to complex. Over the last 5 years or so I've tried to stick to easy, and in doing so branched out to different candies as well.

The recipes I'm sharing with you this week are all easy ones! I hope you'll get inspired to make some for your family as well.

I'll begin with a recipe that was new to me last year as last year became known as the year of fudge around here. It is so easy to make and always well received. This Cappuccino Fudge would be a perfect gift for any coffee lover as it delivers an afternoon jolt in a bite or two!
Top: Cappuccino Fudge, Bottom: Irish Cream Fudge
This fudge is on the softer side, so I'm recommending keeping it refrigerated.

Here is what you'll need:
  • 7 oz marshmallow cream
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp instant coffee
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Line an 8 inch square baking dish with aluminum foil and set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, cream, butter, coffee, cinnamon and salt. Stir constantly while bringing to a boil. Continue to boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until melted and smooth.

Pour into lined baking pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before cutting. Makes 36 small pieces. Keep refrigerated.

Source: Annie's Eats

National Blogging Day of Rememberance



Toasted Coconut Custard Pie


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This post was meant for November's What's Baking. I guess it's obvious now that I didn't make the deadline. Actually, the pie was made, it's just the post that didn't make it. Oh well! I'll have a December post for sure!

Toasted Coconut Custard Pie has become a traditional pie for our family since after I began dating JR. I wanted to take something to his parent's house for Thanksgiving. Dessert is usually my domain when it comes to his family's celebrations since very few people in his family bake. Since my family sticks to pies on Thanksgiving, my mind was on bringing pies for his family as well.

Coconut is favorite flavor with his family, so I knew this Toasted Coconut Custard Pie would be well received. It was, and so the tradition began of taking this pie every year. I can't remember now if I made one for my family that first year as well or not, if not it was very soon after that this pie made it's way to my family's Thanksgiving table as well.

Here is what you'll need:

2 deep dish pie crusts (I use frozen)
4 extra large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut, divided
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425F degrees.

To partially bake pie shells:

Place a piece of aluminum foil in each pie shell. Fill each pie shell with dried beans to weigh down the foil. Place pie shells in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove pie shells from oven and remove beans and foil. Place pie shells back in the oven and bake for 4 minutes. Remove pie shells from oven and set aside.

Reduce oven to 325F degrees.

To make pie filling:

Using a stand mixer, beat eggs on high for about 5 minutes until they become thick and light yellow.

Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a small bowl. Beat this mixutre into the eggs until well combined. 

Reduce mixer to medium speed. Add cream, milk and vanilla to egg mixture. Beat for about 3 minutes until light and frothy. Gently stir in 1 1/4 cup coconut.

Evenly divide filling between 2 pie shells. Place pies on a baking sheet. Dot tops of pies with butter pieces and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Place pies in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove pies from oven and sprinkle with remaining coconut. Place pies back in oven and bake 20-30 minutes more. The pies are done when the center slightly jiggles when the pie is moved, and the coconut is toasted. A knife inserted into the middle of the pie will also come out clean.

Remove pie from oven and cool on wire racks for 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Makes 2 - 9 in. deep dish pies.

Source: TheRecipeLink.com