Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Apple Quesadillas

Want a quick and easy treat for the kids?  This was fun to make and the kids went crazy for it. I made about 4 of these and they gobbled them up in no time.  I had to wash the pan in between tortillas as the brown sugar caramelizes to the pan but that was okay.  It came off just fine.  The vanilla ice cream just brought it over the top!  

Apple Quesadilla Recipe

2 - 3 flour tortillas
1/2 an apple, sliced thin
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. melted butter
2 tbsp. chocolate chips, I used mini's
2 tbsp. walnuts or pecans

Brush tortillas will melted butter.  Put one tortilla butter side down on your pan.  Layer half of it with apples, chocolate and nuts.  Fold the other side over and sprinkle the tortilla with just a bit of brown sugar. Let it sit for just a minute in the hot pan, flip over.  Sprinkle the other half of tortilla with brown sugar and flip. Do this pretty fast as you only want the brown sugar side on the hot pan for about 10 - 15 seconds as it will burn.  Flip, leave it for about 10 seconds and transfer to a plate.  The brown sugar gets a bit hard and caramelized.  So delicious!

Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Bread

I have been making a lot of breads lately.  I've got a lot of them to post here but I wanted to get this one out to you as soon as possible.  
I often have trouble making breads, the texture is off or it just doesn't cook right in the middle but this bread is awesome. 

This bread is perfect.

This Pumpkin Spice Bread is moist and the texture is perfect. It tastes like fall!  I shared this loaf with a bunch of my husbands co-workers and they all loved it. I know it's a bread that I'll make again and again. 

Pumpkin Spice Bread

1 cup (8 1/4 oz) canned pumpkin
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 1/8 oz) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (4 oz) water
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (7 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, water, and eggs. Whisk until well mixed. Measure the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and cloves into a separate bowl and stir until combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, beating until smooth. Spray a 9×5* loaf pan and pour batter in, smoothing the top flat. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan, cool completely on a wire rack, and wrap in plastic wrap. The bread gets better after a day so wait till the next day to cut it if you can stand it. :)
*If you’re doubling the recipe, you can use a 15 oz can of pumpkin.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Candy Corn Peanut Pumpkin Blondies

People are completely divided when it comes to Candy Corn. You either love it or hate it. I know people who think that the fall season is defined by Candy Corn and buy it in bulk, decorate with it and simply devote their lives to Candy Corn for an entire month or so.  I know others who consider it the dessert equivalent to plastic.  

It is estimated that 25 million pounds of Candy Corn are sold each year. 25 million pounds.  Holy cow, that is a lot of Candy Corn. 

I don't eat a lot of candy period and I don't find Candy Corn incredibly appealing.  I might eat a couple of candies but that's about it. I do find myself buying a bag or two each year. I can't help myself.  It's just something you do in autumn. Right? Or it just me?

Well, I decided to stick them in some blondies.  They tasted pretty cool in these. They melted enough that you could still see the color but they stayed soft like the blondie.  My kids thought these were the greatest thing in the world.  Looks like I'll for sure be buying more Candy Corn next year for these guys.

Candy Corn Pumpkin Peanut Blondies

Recipe from Picky Palate

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup candy corn pieces
  • 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts, crushed
Icing (optional)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Place softened butter, brown sugar, pumpkin, egg and vanilla into a large mixing bowl, stirring to combine. Stir in flour, salt, candy corn pieces and peanuts. Transfer to lined baking dish. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until baked through. Remove and let cool for 20 minutes.
  3. To prepare icing, whisk powdered sugar and cream until smooth. Drizzle over warm bars. I didn't use the icing as they were sweet enough. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crock Pot Tuscan Chicken Soup

We have had an amazing autumn here in Minnesota.  Beautiful sunny days and excellent weather.  The leaves are changing and falling and it just smells heavenly outside.  This crock pot full of soup smells heavenly inside the house.  This soup reminds me of fall and it just smells like fall. 

I so love my slow cooker.  Dinner was done by 10 in the morning which is such a relief.  My days are so busy that I hate to think of dinner in the evenings.

The soup was delicious and loved it for leftovers for lunch the next day too. We ate this with some crusty bread and salad and it was an amazing meal.

Crock Pot Tuscan Chicken Soup Recipe
2 (14 ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup bottled or filtered water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, crushed between fingertips
salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (jarred) roasted red pepper, diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 pound boneless chicken breasts
1 (14 ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed
3 cups fresh baby spinach
a big squeeze of fresh lemon juice (1 - 2 teaspoons)
fresh grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
crackers or crusty bread, for serving

  1. In a big slow cooker whisk the chicken broth, water, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper together.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, pepper, carrots and chicken.
  3. Cook on high 3 - 4 hours or low 5 - 6 hours.
  4. Remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board. Mix the beans and spinach into the pot and put the lid on it.
  5. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces and stir them back into the pot. Taste the broth and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Cook for another 20 minutes or so just to heat the beans and allow the spinach to wilt.
  7. Stir the lemon juice into the pot and serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Strawberry and Vanilla Pound Cake

This is a tasty sweet bread with strawberries and vanilla and a delicious glaze.  With a bite of strawberry in every bite this is a wonderful bread. or cake. Whatever it's called, it's awesome. 

This month for The Secret Recipe Club, I was able to look through Annie's Noms.  Annie has a huge variety of recipes on her blog and I found plenty that I enjoyed.  I plan to make her Sundried Tomato Antipasto Skewers for my next appetizer party.  I wanted to make her Simple Peach Cake this month but I never got around to getting some fresh peaches. 

I packed this in my husbands lunch and gave him extra for his coworkers.  If I don't give it away we tend to eat too much here and  we were for sure in danger of that with this.  It was so delicious, I wanted to eat more and more. Seriously good stuff. 

Strawberry and Vanilla Pound Cake
Adapted from Annie's Noms

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 and 1/2 cups cake flour (if you don't have it, for every 1 cup of plain flour, remove 2 tbsp and replace with cornstarch, then sift together to create cake flour)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups diced, fresh strawberries

  • Glaze:
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2tbsp water
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F and grease and line a loaf pan.
  2. Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well incorporated.
  4. Place the flour, baking powder and strawberries into a medium sized bowl and stir until the strawberries are coated in flour. (This will stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake).
  5. Add in the sour cream and flour mix and mix on slow until well combined and smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased and lined loaf tin and place in the oven for 70-75 minutes, until risen, golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Leave cake to cool in the pan completely.