Sunday, October 24, 2010

TWD ~ Pumpkin Granola ~ Quarter of a Century!!!

This past week was crazy, but it was the good kind of crazy.  You know what I'm talking about, right?  Started my new job as Employee Wellness Coordinator at a University very near my home, which was enough crazy for a whole month if you ask me, and I also turned 25 years old - that's a quarter of a century, folks!!!  My fabulous bff, RJ, and phenomenal husband made it into a whole "birthweek" celebration - there was seriously some kind of shenanigan for me to look forward to every single day!  They sure do know how to make a girl feel special.  Also note, my grandma gave me a genuine food processor (so my blender won't have to work overtime anymore), and my parents gave me a SEXY KitchenAid Artisan Mixer that I've been drooling over since cooking/baking crept their way into my heart.  I'm a very happy foodie!!! Anyway, with all the work/birthday goings on, I just did not have time to do my share of baking, but it was CARAMEL PUMPKIN PIE week, and that was the recipe I would have wanted to make for Tuesdays With Dorie this month, so I still have to post...even though its almost a week tardy.  Janell, from Mortenson Family Memoirs has the full recipe posted, so click HERE to get the goods. 

Like I said, I didn't make it, but I'm sure as heck not going to leave you empty handed.  That's not my style.  In honor of the season, I'm sharing with you a tasty & festive recipe for Pumpkin Granola.  I got the recipe from a friend and former co worker's blog:  Two Peas and Their Pod.  It was a huge success - Dick had it as cereal, I had it in yogurt, and of course alone as a snack.  Delicious every way we could think to eat it.  Some people aren't big pumpkin fans, and I'm not gonna lie, I just don't understand that at all.  The pumpkin in this isn't overwhelming, and it definitely doesn't effect the texture, so I think that even the pumpkin-haters should give this one a try. 

Pumpkin Granola
From Maria at Two Peas and Their Pod


5 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. apple sauce
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pepitas


1. preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet w/ parchment paper, and set aside.

2. in a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt.  mix well.

3. in a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  whisk until smooth.  pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until oats are very evenly coated.  they will be moist.  evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.

4. bake for 20 minutes.  remove pan from oven and stir.  bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the granola is golden and crisp.  remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas.  let cool completely.  store in airtight container.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Blondies

So, there were a couple of reasons for me being M.I.A. on the blogging scene, one of which being our trip to North Carolina that I posted about last time.  The other reason is that I got a new job!!!  The transition from one job to the other has kept me really busy - starting with the interview for the new gig, finding out that I actually got it, and then training my replacement for the old one.  My last day was just this past Friday, and it took a lot of organizing and teaching to pass the torch to the new me.  I really wanted to show her everything because I wanted to leave the people I've been working with in good hands.  I know they are - just wanted to do everything I could to make sure, ya know?!  Also note, I may have been working with them on improving their health for the last year and a half, but I wanted to go out with a bang, so I took them a treat on my last day.  These pumpkin blondies were a hit!  Not so healthy, but definitely festive and delicious.  They loved them, and I know you will, too.

Pumpkin Blondies
Adapted from My Baking Addiction

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
15 oz. canned pumpkin puree
12 oz. chocolate chips (mix of white & bittersweet)
3/4 c. chopped pecans, optional

1. Line a 9x13 inch pan with tin foil & spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together dry ingredients.
3. Cream butter & sugars until smooth.
4. Beat in egg & vanilla.  Then beat in pumpkin.
5. Mix in dry ingredients until just combined.
6. Fold in chocolate chips.
7. Pour evenly into prepared pan & bake for 35-40 minutes.
8. Let cool completely in pan.  Remove from pan by grabbing the edges of the foil and set on counter or flat surface to cut squares.

***I covered them and let them settle over night because I wanted them to be more chewy than cakey (they were cakey right out of the oven).  They were perfectly chewy the next morning!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Highlights from the Crystal Coast ~ Food & Fantasies

I know you've been dying to know where I disappeared to for a month, so here's part of the story.  We made a quick, but fabulous, trip to the southern coast.  The Crystal Coast in North Carolina, to be exact.  There were a couple of reasons for heading out that way, but the one dearest to my heart is that I'm one of the biggest, girliest, sappiest fans that Nicholas Sparks has, and because I'm in love with all of his books (and movies based on them), I just had  to visit the region they all take place.  How lucky am I to have a husband that likes to entertain my crazy dreams?!  I know.  As luck would have it, we also got to eat some of the most DIVINE cuisine my lips have ever encountered.  You're in luck, too, my foodie friends!  Because you know this girl doesn't take a trip without taking just as many pics of her food as she does of her adventures.  Here are some of both:

Fresh fresh FRESH seafood dinner of shrimp & scallops in an ocean of butter.

Is it still considered sailing if the wind isn't blowing? 

Well, I'm sitting on a sailboat & loving every minute of it.

Bar. B. Que.

This is how its done, my friends.

L - R:  Hush Puppies (my fave!!!), smoked pulled pork, chicken, slaw (eh), fries (I didn't even give them a thought after tasting the puppies...french what?)

First souvenir of the trip?

You know it was some of Moore's famous sauce!

A HUGE omelet and french toast at The Baker's Square in New Bern. 

Breakfast of champions.

My favorite guilty pleasure is the tv show One Tree Hill (you can laugh all you want, but I'll still be watching it every week - been w/ the Ravens since day one back in 9th grade, so there's just no turning back).

My BFF, RJ, looked up some addresses of where they film the show in Wilmington, and Dick was kind enough to chauffeur me to a few.  So fun!
B. Davis's store, Clothes Over Bros - I wish it was real!

Met some fellow fanatics @ the River Court.  No kidding.

On the pier where many a One Tree Hill & Dawson's Creek scene have been filmed.

Waiting to be seated at The Chelsea, a restaurant that is in the book The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks, that just so happens to really exist.

I only know because I'm a stalker.

Fried Green Tomatoes.

I've never liked tomatoes, but this was all it took to convert me.

All I remember about this pasta was that there was crab, shrimp, and lots of veggies.

Oh, and that I loved it.

This was called South African Bread Pudding.

Call it whatever you was the perfect ending to my perfect day.

Dick thought it was too rich.  I don't even know what that means.

You can't tell because of the awesome flash in the window, but we had the best view of downtown right from our table.  Seriously felt like I was right in the book.


Remember in The Notebook when Ally and Noah lay in the middle of the street?

Dick is seriously my soul mate. 

And such a saint for reenacting it with me!

We asked around for a new place to have breakfast the next day, but the only thing anyone told us was to go back to The Baker's Square.

So we did.

This butter syrup was heav-en-ly, I tell you.

Did you know New Bern is the birth place of Pepsi Cola?

Now you do.

On the ferry out to Hammock's Beach on Bear Island.

Frolicking in the sand dunes...just like in Dear John

This was seriously our 3rd basket of hush puppies.

Enough to make me want to cry when I think of Jamie Oliver burying that family's Fry Daddy.

Who knew deep fried cornbread could be so dangerously addicting?  I'm hooked for life!

We both are.

My first bite of soft shell crab.


Last minute stop at the Waffle House.

I did have the apple cinnamon waffles, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

Another delicious trip crossed off my list of dream vacations.

Thanks to this guy.

Love ya, babe!

Coming up:

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Casserole Stew, to clean out the fridge

You know those times when you get to the end of the week and you've already made everything on your menu, but you have bits and pieces of all of those dinners left over in your fridge?  This soup was the result of just one of those times.  I needed to use it all so nothing went bad, but I just wasn't in the mood for a casserole.  So in the spirit of the classic "odds & ends casserole" I made a sort of casserole stew, where I just threw it all in a pot of broth, heated, and served.  It worked like a charm.  Dick was happy, the fridge was almost bare, and I could start planning the next week's menu with a delicious meal in my belly. 

Casserole Stew
A Get in the Kitch Original

4 c. broth (I used a mix of vegetable and chicken)
3 c. mixed veggies (I used carrots, yellow squash, mushrooms, & onions)
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 1/2 c. shredded chicken, cooked
salt & pepper

1. Combine the broth & veggies in a large pot, and warm over medium-high heat.  Cook until veggies are just tender.
2. Add kidney beans & chicken. Cook until warmed through. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Serve with dinner rolls, so you can sop up the broth at the bottom of your bowl.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Peek-A-Boo! {TWD} Double Apple Bundt Cake/Jan's Fresh Pear Cake

Hello friends!  Life has been crazy crazy crazy, like it often is.  But its back to reality, and back to blogging for me...finally!  Oh, how I've missed being an active part of the fanatic foodie world.  Don't worry, next time I will catch you up on all of my recent distractions, but today my post is dedicated to Tuesdays With Dorie.  Lynn of Honey Muffin chose for us to bake Dorie's Double Apple Bundt Cake this week.  Click HERE  for the complete recipe for this sweet autumn treat. 

I'm not gonna lie to you, I didn't make this cake.  I didn't make any cake.  But my mother made her very own Pear Cake that took our latest family party by storm, and I couldn't resist sharing it with you.  So moist.  So perfectly spiced.  So... So... well, you'll just have to try it for yourselves to know what I mean. This will be perfect for the next time you have friends over for dinner and games, or the next family gathering you attend.  Happy Fall, my foodie friends!

Fresh Pear Cake
From Janet Porter (my momma)


2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
3 eggs (well beaten)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups cooking oil
2 tsp cinnamon
3 cups flour
3 cups pears (peeled & sliced very thin)
1 tsp baking soda

1. Blend sugar, eggs, and cooking oil together.
2. Sift flour, soda, salt together.
3. Gradually add one cup at a time to sugar mixture.
4. Then add the vanilla and cinnamon and pears. Mix well and pour into a well greased and floured tube
or bundt pan.
5. Bake at 350' for approximately one hour.
***The softer the pears the more moist the cake will be.


Melt and mix together:
1/2 square butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp soda
Mix and boil for 2 minutes.
Let cool a bit then drizzle over cake.


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