Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tiny Caramel Apples

When I spotted these Lady Apples at Whole Foods the other day I had to grab a few and turn them into the cutest little caramels apples for Halloween. To make these tiny caramel apples you will need four lady apples, 15 caramels, one teaspoon of water, and a variety of toppings if desired.

Step 1:
Wash and dry the apples.

Step 2:
Prepare caramel apple dipping station: Pour toppings into small bowls (I used coconut, sprinkles, and pecans). Line a plate with wax paper so you have a place to set the apples after they have been dipped and topped. Microwave caramels and water in a microwave safe bowl for two minutes or until caramel has melted, stirring after each minute.

Step 3:
Dip apple.

Step 4:
Immediately roll apple in topping after it has been dipped then place on wax paper and allow caramel to completely cool and set.

Serve apples on a tray or place in cupcake liners.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dinner Plans

Every Sunday I make a list of dinners to make for the week. Here's what's on the menu this week.

Monday: Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs (I use these chicken meatballs)

Tuesday: Curried Coconut-Pumpkin Stew

Wednesday: Portobello Mushrooms, Kale, and Black Beans

Thursday: Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Friday: Out to dinner with friends

Saturday: Turkey Burgers

Sunday: Dinner at my parent's house

spaghetti squash
1 large container baby spinach
red onion
red bell pepper
6 medium portobello mushrooms
acorn squash

goat cheese
greek yogurt

chicken meatballs
8 oz mushrooms
1 lb ground turkey

bread flour
white whole wheat flour
whole wheat flour

chicken stock
1 can light coconut milk
1 package extra-firm tofu
1 can black beans
wild rice
cranberry sauce


Friday, October 12, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

What better way to start off the weekend than with brownies? As promised a recipe involving cream cheese and pumpkin, pumpkin cheesecake brownies. Enjoy!

For the Brownies:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate chips
1  cup unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla  extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan, line with parchment if desired.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour and salt then sift in the cocoa powder and whisk to incorporate, set aside until needed.

Set a pot of water on the stove and heat until simmering. In a large bowl combine the chocolate chips, butter, and espresso powder, set bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Turn off the heat but leave bowl over the water and stir in the sugars. Once the sugars are completely incorporated remove the bowl from the pot. Note the mixture should be at room temperature.

Add 3 of the eggs and whisk until combined, then add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Stir in the vanilla, be careful not to over beat the batter.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, until a just a few specks of the flour mixture remain visible. Set batter aside until needed.

Brownie recipe slightly adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

For the Pumpkin Cheesecake:
8 ounces (1 package) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Scrape bowl then beat in the pumpkin puree, mix until fully incorporated. Beat in the egg and vanilla, scraping the bowl as needed.

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

Pour about 3/4 (does not need to be exact) of the brownie batter into the prepared 9 x 13 inch pan. Smooth the batter with an offset spatula. Pour the all of the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the brownie batter and smooth with the offset spatula. Drop the remaining brownie batter in dollops over the cheesecake batter. Spread the brownie batter around a bit with the offset spatula. Using a pairing knife, toothpick, or butter knife swirl the cheesecake and top brownie layers together. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool completely before cutting. Once cooled, you can chill the brownies in the refrigerator for about an hour which will make them easier to cut.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sweet Potato and Sausage Stew

Every fall I look forward to this stew, it is one of my absolute favorites, it's warm and sweet and just plain delicious. The thing I love most about this recipe is how versatile it is. Instead of butter try using all olive oil, or substitute the chicken apple sausage with a nice Italian sausage, use Yukon Golds or a variety of potatoes in place of the sweet potatoes, there are so many ways to adapt this recipe just to your liking. I like to add a little apple juice to complement the sausage, but you could use all water if you prefer. This recipe is fun to switch up and is flexible enough so you can use what you already have on hand. I hope you enjoy this stew as much as I do!

Sweet Potato and Sausage Stew
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 chicken and apple sausages ( I like Aidells), cut into 1/2 inch rounds
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 of a cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
salt to taste

Heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted add the red onion and cook 5-7 minuets stirring occasionally. Add the paprika then stir in the sausage and cook until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water, apple juice, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick. Bring stew to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 25-35 minutes. Remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick, salt to taste.

Recipe adapted from Apples for Jam, by Tessa Kiros

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall Bucket List

It is officially fall here in Salt Lake City. The leaves are changing, there is more than just a chill in the air, and pumpkins have made their appearance at every grocery store and farmer's market. That means it's time to get started on my fall bucket list so here it goes!

1. Bake something involving pumpkin and cream cheese (more on that in another post).

2. Carve, paint, or etch a pumpkin.

3. Make candy corn jello shots.

4. Knit a scarf. I got this book last October and have yet to put it to good use.

5. Take a drive up the canyon to see the fall leaves and take pictures.

6. Rock this maxi skirt.

7. Get bangs. I am still on the fence about this one but I was thinking of something like this or this.

8. Take my dogs for a walk around Wheeler Farm with pumpkin spice latte in hand.

9. Sign up for a Thanksgiving Day 5K or maybe even a 6K.

10. Have cider and doughnuts.

11. Go see Frankenweenie, and speaking of Fankenweenie, check out this adorable cake.

12. Get flannel sheets.

13. Go to the Haunted Village.

14. Get out and enjoy the fall weather because winter is just around the corner.