Recent Recipes—November Edition

I thought I’d copy some of the recipes I’ve made recently in my blog here in case the links stop working at some point!  We’ll have the Caramel Apple Cheesecake, Fruit Pizza, Pumpkin Pie Fudge, and Pumpkin Bread Pudding. (Some of these may not have even been linked to, so this is a treat for you!)

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie (from the sweets life)

IMG_1394

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
from Annie’s Eats
Ingredients:
for the crust-
-1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
-3 tbsp sugar
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-5 1/3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
-1/2-3/4 cup caramel (see below for recipe)
-1 cup chopped pecans
for the apple filling-
-5 tbsp unsalted butter
-1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 tsp cinnamon
-5-6 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
for the cheesecake-
-8 oz. cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat)
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 egg
-1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
for the topping-
-3/4 cup heavy cream
-3-4 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
-1/4-1/2 cup caramel
-chopped pecans
for the caramel-
-1 stick unsalted butter
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1 cup packed light brown sugar
To Make the Caramel:
1. Combine butter, cream, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium and continue to stir until it thickens (approximately 8 minutes). Remove from heat and allow to cool.


Directions:
1. To make the crust, preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper (I skipped this step and just greased my pan well. The first piece was tough to get out, but the rest came out fine!). In a medium-sized bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Toss until evenly mixed and moist. Press into the bottom of the springform pan, pressing mixture halfway up the sides.
2. Bake for 6-8 minutes (until light brown). Remove from oven and allow to cool. Pour a layer of caramel over the crust and sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
3. To make the apples, melt butter in a saucepan and add brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon, cooking for 1 minute, until bubbling. Add apples, tossing to coat. Cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced (15-20 minutes). Allow apples to cool before placing in crust.
4. Reduce oven heat to 350F. To make the cheesecake layer, use an electric mixer to mix sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla, egg, and lemon juice, beating until well-combined. Spread the cheesecake filling over the apples.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
6. To serve, remove cheesecake from springform pan. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar on medium until stiff peaks form (don’t overbeat!). Carefully spread over cheesecake layer.
7. Top with caramel sauce and pecans. Slice into pieces before serving.

Fancy Fruit Pizza

from allrecipes.com

Ingredients
  • 1 (18 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 medium firm bananas. sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, halved
  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled and sliced
  • 1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon water
Directions
  1. On a greased 14-in. pizza pan, press cookie dough into a 12-in. circle. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spread over crust. Toss bananas with lemon juice. Arrange the pineapple, strawberries, bananas, kiwi and oranges over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Combine marmalade and water; drizzle over fruit.

 

Pumpkin Pie Fudge

Pumpkin Pie Fudge (Adapted from several sources)

Ingredients:
-2 cups granulated sugar
-1 cup light brown sugar (I’ve used dark too)
-3/4 cup butter
-2/3 cup condensed milk
-1/2 cup canned pumpkin
-1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (for less spice kick just use one teaspoon)
-1 package white chocolate chips
-1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow crème
-1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions:
Butter a 9×13 baking pan (I have used an 8×8 as well to get larger pieces) and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the sugars, butter, condensed milk, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice.  Heat until all the ingredients are combined and begin to boil.  Stirring constantly, allow the mixture to boil for about 10 minutes or until is reaches 234 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Remove from heat and quickly stir in the white chocolate chips, marshmallow crème, nuts (if using), and vanilla until all ingredients are fully combined and the chips are melted.  Immediately pour the fudge into your prepared baking dish and let sit on a wire rack for at least 2 hours to cool and store in your refrigerator.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

from allrecipes.com

IMG_1395

Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups cubed pumpkin bread
  • 2/3 cup butterscotch caramel ice cream topping
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Prepare a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl. Arrange the cubed pumpkin bread in the pie pan. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes.
  3. Bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  4. Combine the caramel sauce, heavy cream, and rum in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat on High in microwave for 45 seconds; whisk. Drizzle sauce over bread pudding to serve.

Working Hard

I was going to run this morning, but I woke up with sore hamstrings, along with that twinge in my right ankle (oh have I not mentioned that? same place as in August…) and my butt/hip issues, I figured, you know what, a day off is probably a good thing.  My trainer tells me to stay active and that I don’t need to worry but after years of dealing with my various violin-related injuries where TIME OFF is the best remedy, old habits die hard.  He probably meant don’t take a week off, rather than don’t take a day off.  (Then again he is crazy and runs every single day.)

The first day off I usually feel more achy.  But then the body heals.  I don’t plan to take more than today off, other than scheduled days off (busy weekend ahead!) but I think one day is fine. 

Mike (my trainer) and I had a little discussion yesterday regarding my weight loss goals.  Many people have asked if I am losing weight for my wedding, or alluded to how they lost weight for their wedding, or perhaps said that they were too stressed to eat, etc.  Basically I hear this as "you need to lose weight for your wedding." I mentioned to him, and that frankly I would be most happy if I didn’t gain any weight between now and my wedding (and I’m counting my weight as my pre-Thanksgiving weight, that is starting to equalize, thank goodness.) 

This is why I love Mike.  His answer was, "well, I don’t think you need to lose any weight." 

(For the record, Chris won’t talk about weight-related topics to me at all because he knows they are a trap.  I’m sure he would say the same except he wouldn’t answer at all.  Smart man.)

Granted, I don’t actually BELIEVE that answer. 

But it made me think, hmm, this is a weight I’ve maintained pretty easily for months now without too much bother or stress.  But yet I still want to be smaller (less significant, am I right?) and thinner.  Or do I just want to be stronger, faster, and more muscular?  I guess I’ll have to keep working out even after I get married ;)

All in all though, I certainly get a lot done when I’m not working out!  I did a bunch of wedding planning stuff (up to 54 official yeses!), caught up on some other paperwork, practiced, and even cooked a hot lunch for myself.  I love having a cooked lunch on occasion—usually I just have a sandwich with a salad or cup of soup. 

What do you think about rest days?  Necessary evil?  Best part of working out? 

November Foodie Penpals

Okay, so the end of the month has totally snuck up on me.  I didn’t realize until this morning after I’d already posted that I was supposed to post my foodie pen pal post today…so I’m doing it late!  Or early, if you consider that technically I could also put it up tomorrow.

What am I talking about?  I’ll give you all the details at the end!

This month I was paired to send food to Abby of Abz ‘n’ Oats.  You can follow that link to her blog post about what I sent!

I received a box of goodies from Molly from Hungry Hungry Runner.

IMG_1307

IMG_1309

I must not have been in a huge picture taking mood when I got this!  Let me tell you about what she sent:  Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Cranberries (delicious!! I served them at the Cookie Party), Pumpkin Butter (yum!), and Cocoa and a mug—I haven’t actually made the cocoa yet but I keep meaning to…now that it’s gotten cold here I’ll probably be more tempted.  I’m also tempted to get some cottage cheese and try mixing the pumpkin butter with that—we used to mix apple butter in cottage cheese as children and it was pretty tasty.  (Then again, cottage cheese is good on its own as well.) I love the mug too, it’s not edible but very practical and seasonal.  Thanks so much Molly!!

Want to participate next month?  Here’s how:

Foodie Penpals
1. On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact each other and get mailing addresses and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
2. You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. This will ensure everyone receives their goodies in time to post about them.
3. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! Feel free to write your post as soon as your get your goodies if you want, just don’t publish it until the last day of the month. Please also include the basic information about Foodie Penpals and provide my email (theleangreenbean@gmail.com) in case people are interested in joining for the next month. 
4. The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15.
5. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

6. You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
7.  If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for the blogger to feature on their blog to show off what they sent you.
8. If two readers get paired together, no one has to worry about writing a post :)

Cookie Party

Sunday night’s cookie party was an unequivocal success.

IMG_1403

Yes, those are little penguins made with olives, cream cheese, and carrots.

IMG_1404

This isn’t even all of the cookies—there was a side table with more!

I invited about 20 women, probably a dozen showed up.  I told everybody to bring 4 dozen cookies and copies of the recipe.  Some people brought a few more, some probably brought a few less, all in all there were TONS of cookies.  I provided some ziplock bags and wax paper, some people brought empty containers (I think I forgot to remind people to do this, but most did anyway.)

Since everybody knew ME but not everybody knew each other (most did, but not all) we went around the room, introduced ourselves, everybody told how they knew me, and also about their cookie recipe, or recipes.  After that, it was time to swap!  Basically everybody just took a few of each recipe until all the cookies were gone.  I had to chastise a few people to take more cookies.  It was a cookie swap, not a cookie dump!

I’ve read stuff online (on how to throw a cookie swap party) that suggests some people are a lot less generous—swaps that say to bring 10 dozen, all parceled out so nobody takes too many (or too few?).  Or that some people are less creative—I read something that suggested you want to make sure everybody doesn’t just bring chocolate chip.  Um, as far as my friends are concerned, getting together is an excuse to show off our culinary talents!  NO worries about five chocolate chip recipes.

I guess my friends are just more awesome than most!  The variety of cookies (and bars, and biscotti, and whatnot) was amazing.  I was so happy that so many women came out on a Sunday evening to support me, and I am especially honored that so many of my friends are fantastic bakers!  I always forget just how lucky I am, to have so many wonderful people in my life. There are times when I wish I remembered that instead of thinking about how I don’t think things are up to par or good enough.  I was also amazed by how many people complimented my house, its decor, its cleanliness, its size (someone said it was huge!), and that sort of thing.  I need to stop being so hard on myself and just appreciate what I have.  (I needed to stop that several months ago, but too late!  But it’s never too late going forward, right?)

The one thing most of us failed at was bringing the recipe.  I told everybody to but I myself forgot to print it out.  I did blog about it though ;)  I sent a follow up asking for some recipes.  I have sampled so many of the cookies and they are just all fantastic!

I also had a vegetable/hummus platter, cheese/crackers, pumpkin bread, chocolate covered cranberries (courtesy of my foodie penpal!), fruit pizza, and some super addictive sesame sticks from Pepperidge farm.  For drinks Laura made hot apple cider and I served Poinsettias, a cranberry champagne cocktail.

I failed to take any pictures of people!  I was so busy hosting and I just didn’t want to interrupt people’s conversations.  Oh well.  Most important is the cookies, right?

I really need to curb my sugar eating though.  This is getting out of hand.  I made an extra trip to the gym last night for cardio, but I worry it just pushed me to have a couple more cookies rather than, you know, burning off some extra calories.  Oh well.  Today is a new day for healthy eating, right?

(Is that me being hard on myself, or just being practical, I do have a wedding dress to look awesome in!?)

I just have a few more cookies to make for some blogger cookie swaps.  I have some excellent ideas now!!

Tri-Color Cookies

My big project over the weekend was making Tri-Color Cookies.  I didn’t know what these were until I visited Chris’s relatives at Christmastime.  He seemed to really love them, so finally last Christmas I felt I had the baking skills necessary to ask for the recipe.  His Aunt Pat sent it to me, and I hope she won’t mind that I share it with you.

IMG_1401

In her words:

For Best Results cook separately

 – Red on top

– Yellow in middle

– Green on bottom

Ingredients:

2 cans 12½ oz. Solo Almond Filling

4 sticks butter (1 lb.) room temperature

2 cups sugar

9 egg yolks

9 egg whites (3 each in separate bowls)

4 cups sifted flour

Red food coloring

Green food coloring

Yellow food coloring

¼ cup raspberry jam (optional)

12 oz. apricot preserves

melted chocolate (add a teaspoon of Crisco to prevent chocolate from cracking)

Mix almond filling, butter, and yolks until light and fluffy.

Add sugar, then add flour. Mix

In 3 separate bowls beat 3 egg whites until a peak forms. Add one food coloring to each bowl. Mix 1/3 of the almond mixture to each of the colored egg white.

Place mixture in a Pam sprayed pan (15¼ x 10½ x 1) and spread it evenly. Cook individually at 350o for 12 minutes each. Cook green first and let it cool in the pan. Add jam. Loosen edges before turning the yellow onto the green. Add remaining preserves. Place the red layer on top. Cool. Cover with wax paper and place one of the empty pans on top. Add weight and refrigerate. Trim edges. Cut into 1½ inch strip widthwise (about 8 strips). [Strips may be frozen and covered with chocolate at a later date.] Use a long metal spatula to remove from pan. Cover with melted chocolate on both sides. Cut into ½ inch cookie when ready to serve. Freezes Beautifully.

I usually cut them into long strips and wrap them in saran wrap and freeze them until I use them and at that time while they are defrosting, I ice them with the chocolate.  This way you can use as needed.

Hannah’s commentary:  I didn’t use the raspberry jam, I need to ask her what that was for!  Turning the layers onto one another was the hardest part, in my opinion.  I cut them into strips before adding the chocolate, but next time I might just leave it as one big piece because it was hard to see where I had cut. 

IMG_1400

For the chocolate I used Baker’s Chocolate Squares, and added some chocolate chips when I ran out.  All were semi-sweet. 

In any case, the recipe, though challenging, tasted great!  I also love the way the little cakes look—so bright and colorful!

Cookie Time

Today I’m hosting a cookie exchange party.  This is my third annual party!  The idea is: you make several dozen (this year I said 4) of one kind of cookie.  At the party you go around and help yourself to other people’s cookies.  You come with one kind and go home with lots of different kinds of cookies (or bars, or candy, or whatever.)  It’s a lot of fun, in my opinion.  (That would be the opinion of someone who both enjoys making and eating cookies!)

Here’s what I made last year.

And here are some pictures from the first party!

The cookies I chose to make this year were QUITE a challenge.  I’ll tell you more about them later, but they turned out well (finally!) after hours of work.

We’ve been frantically cleaning the past two days and I’ve been preparing food.  Now I’m hoping to go to the gym to get a quick run in (or outside, it’s been raining off and on and I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for.)  Then it’ll be cookie time!

Tomorrow:  Five weeks until our wedding!  Where did the time go??  Three (or so) more weeks of work until Christmas, New Year’s, Wedding, and then the honeymoon.  I’d be more excited if I weren’t so stressed…

Don’t get me wrong, I AM excited.  There’s just a ton to do.  I have a list I’m following but I keep worrying, what if we forget something really important?  I guess, then we get over it.  Oh well?!