Thursday, December 31, 2015

Countdown to 2016: Most Popular Posts of 2015

The series continues, thanks to Sarah over at Fantastical Sharing. Today we are looking back at the most popular recipes on Cook with Sara over the last year. I'm excited to say the most viewed recipe was a MAIN DISH! But the two runner ups are definitely desserts. And all three are worth making on a regular basis!

Roasted Red Pepper Sausage Pasta

This has become a favorite in our house and every time I make it, I hear a chorus of "This is SO GOOD!"

Swedish Almond Cake

If you're in need of a last minute dessert, this cake can come to the rescue! You likely have all the ingredients on hand, it's super easy to whip up, and it is AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS.

Lucky Charms Chex Mix

You are sure to find gold at the end of your rainbow when you make this super fun treat!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Countdown to 2016: Best Crockpot Recipes of 2015

Everyone's counting down to 2016 and the best way to do it is with a look back at our favorite recipes of 2015! Sarah at Fantastical Sharing is hosting this party, and today we're sharing the best crockpot recipes. I am so happy to share two of my favorites from this last year, both featuring PORK!

Cranberry Pork Loin

This pork loin was incredible. I love finding interesting and successful ways to cook this cut of meat since it can usually be found for a very reasonable price. Pork and cranberries are great companions, and they complement each other well in this dish.

Apple Kielbasa

This is such a fun and tasty appetizer or snack! It's great football watching or party food, and people will be surprised how good applesauce goes with kielbasa! I loved that it gave me a chance to use my tiny crockpot,

Tomorrow we'll find out which were the most popular recipes of the last year on Cook with Sara! I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Countdown to 2016: Best Desserts of 2015

There is no shortage of dessert options on Cook with Sara. I've got all the carbs covered from A to Z, bars to tiramisu. (That's only B to T, but pretty close) As we continue our Countdown (thanks to Sarah at Fantastical Sharing for hosting!), my mouth is watering remembering these delectable treats.

Eggnog Cake with Eggnog Frosting

This cake is a winner all around. And it had my 3-year old nephew exclaiming, "More cake, PLEASE!" after finishing his first piece...

Gingersnap Rum Apple Crisp

I love making fruit crisps and I have used the same basic recipe for many years. When I stumbled across this variation, I knew I had to try it. I think I made it 3 or 4 times this fall, all to spectacular acclaim!

Mississippi Mud Bars

Can you say RICH? These bars meet that definition - be sure to cut them small!

Peanut Butter, Caramel and Chocolate Chip Bars

These bars disappeared quickly at a pool party and I had several requests for the recipe. And it's no surprise why - a blondie swirled with pb and caramel and studded with chocolate chips is sure to be a hit anytime, anywhere!

Caramel Banana Tiramisu

This dessert is simply amazing. It was such a hit at our house that the teenager requested it for his birthday "cake." Although it's great served cold from the refrigerator, we liked it best when it was slightly frozen.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Countdown to 2016: Best Main Dishes of 2015

I love adding to my main dish repertoire and this year I found some recipes that quickly became regulars in our meal rotation. For today's Countdown, hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing, I give you the four things we now make again and again and again.

Lasagna Soup

All the flavors of lasagna in a tummy (and heart!) warming soup. The cheese on top puts it over, well, the top!

Chicken Sausage Gyros

I am not even joking when I say I think there was a time when we were eating these once a week. Without the pita, this a great no-carb option, and the flavors are simply amazing. This is a perfect summer recipe!

Shrimp, Avocado and Roasted Corn Salad

Oh the flavors in this salad! It will make your tastebuds sing.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe was originally for the crock pot, but I adapted it to the stove top. It's easy, fast and delicious - three criteria for a weeknight dinner in my opinion! We love this with cornbread and a big glass of milk!

Sweet and Sour Polish Sausage

A fun twist on the "same old" sweet and sour! I love the combination of salty polish sausage with sweet pineapple in a tangy sauce!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Countdown to 2016: Best Breakfasts of 2015

On Day 2 of the countdown, hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing, we are looking back at the best breakfasts of 2015. Now this is a post I could get carried away with - if there's an overabundance of anything on my blog, it's muffins and quick breads! Not that there's anything wrong with that... just sayin' there's a lot to choose from in this category so you know that these favorites are outstanding in their field.

Liven up your mornings with one of these tasty treats!

Cranberry Eggnog Muffins

Oh how I adore these muffins. Festive, beautiful and delicious...

Sausage, Red Pepper and Mushroom Quiche

This quiche is great for breakfast, and great for dinner too!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Danish

Pumpkin. And cream cheese. Wrapped in crescent dough. Oh. my. goodness.

Raspberry Poppyseed Bread

Another beautiful and delicious recipe, perfect with tea or coffee or even lemonade! You won't be sorry if you double this recipe and freeze some for later...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Countdown to 2016: Best Appetizers and Snacks of 2015

So today starts the Countdown to 2016, hosted by Sarah at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes! I love looking back at the blog from the past year and remembering my favorites. I'm always a little conflicted, though, because I like everything I post - I wouldn't share it with you if I didn't like it. But I can't use this space to recount every.single.recipe posted this year so I have made some tough decisions!

Over the next week, we'll look back on best breakfast, main dish, dessert, crockpot, the most popular posts, and then what I definitely want to make in the New Year! It will be a fun week so stop back every day.

For today, I'm sharing my favorite appetizers and snacks of the last year. I don't do a ton of posting of this category, but what we make a lot of at my house is flatbreads! They are such a versatile thing - can easily be a meal or an app or a snack, you just cut them in different sizes. And the toppings are limitless, just like pizza. These are two we make again and again. And they never get old. I hope you'll try them, too!

Mediterranean Shrimp Flatbreads

Covered in shrimp, artichokes and roasted red peppers, this is a trip to Greece without the airfare!

Sausage and Apple Flatbreads

Two simple toppings, one glorious result!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Samoa Fudge

I know I'm not the only one who thinks Somoas are the best Girl Scout cookies HANDS DOWN. That combo of coconut, caramel, chocolate... I do not buy them anymore cause I can eat the whole box in a day. And that is not a good idea for my health or my waistline.

So I was was thrilled to see this recipe for Samoa Fudge - all the great flavors of my fave cookie in a bite sized morsel, perfect for eating AND sharing at Christmastime! This makes a 9x13 pan of fudge, which is a lot, but I like that there's plenty to take to various family gatherings, parties etc., and there are still enough pieces for me to sneak one (or two) out of the fridge after dinner. HA! (True confessions.)

I just love how nice this fudge looks, too - the waves of caramel and the crunchy toasted coconut on top really make this a great addition to a cookie/candy tray.

Find more great Christmas cheer at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Clever Chicks, Show and Share, Fabulous, Create Link Inspire.

Samoa Fudge

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 package (12oz) white chocolate chips
1 package (3oz) coconut cream pudding mix
1 jar (7oz) marshmallow fluff
1 package Kraft caramel bits
1 tsp. heavy cream
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Note: if you can't find coconut cream pudding, sub vanilla pudding + 1 tsp. coconut flavoring

Spread coconut on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven at 375 for 5-8 minutes, checking after 5 minutes, and shaking the sheet to redistribute the coconut for even toasting.

In a large saucepan, heat butter, cream, sugar and salt on medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir for 5 minutes then remove from heat. Combine pudding, white chocolate chips and marshmallow fluff in a large mixing bowl. Pour butter and sugar mixture into the bowl, and mix, using an electric mixer, until combined and chocolate is smooth. Immediately pour into a parchment paper lined 13x9 baking dish.

Melt caramel bits with 1 tsp. heavy cream in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Pour caramel over top of fudge. Use a knife to spread and swirl it into the fudge. Refrigerate fudge for 2-3 hours until set.

Melt semi sweet morsels in a small bowl in the microwave at 50% power, stirring after every 30 second interval. Spread over set fudge and sprinkle generously with toasted coconut. Lightly press the coconut down into the chocolate to be sure it sticks.

Store in covered container in refrigerator.

Recipe Source: Shugary Sweets

Monday, December 14, 2015

Triple Peppermint Cookies

If I had to choose, the candy cane "flavor" of Hershey's kisses would be my favorite. I'm one of the few people who wouldn't pick chocolate, I know, but these candy cane kisses are SO addicting. I cannot eat just one. A few years ago, I found a recipe incorporating them into a chocolate cookie, and they were amazing. Those Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cookies have become a part of my regular Christmas-cookie rotation now! But I love those kisses so much, I thought I needed another way to use them in a cookie.

So here's another variety - a traditional dough is peppermint-ified with crushed candy canes, chopped candy cane kisses, and then a candy cane kiss on top. These are just what you need for an after dinner treat, and besides being oh so tasty, they are oh so pretty.

And if you can't depart from the traditional Hershey's kiss, you can use them in Chocolate Kissed Gingerbread or Macaroon Kisses!

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me, Mix it Up, Show and Share, Fabulous, Tasty Tuesday, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday.

Triple Peppermint Cookies

1½ cup Powdered Sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. peppermint extract
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Egg
3 cups flour
3 candy canes
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Sugar (about 1/4 cup, to roll cookies in)
1 bag Candy Cane Hershey Kisses

Place candy canes in food processor and pulse until they are completely crushed.

Combine powdered sugar and butterin large bowl. Beat until fluffy at medium speed. Add in eggs, vanilla and peppermint extract and beat until incorporated.

Combine flour, crushed candy canes, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until well blended (mixture will be kind of dry). Finely chop about 12 of the candy kisses; then stir them into the batter.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 1-inch apart on a parchment paper or silpat-lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until set. Remove from oven and immediately press a Candy Cane Kiss in the center of each cookie. Let rest on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.

Recipe Source: Saving Cents with Sense

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Eggnog Cake with Eggnog Frosting

I know I just posted a festive bundt cake that would be perfect for any Christmas celebration, but I couldn't resist - here is another. This cake won rave reviews at both a party and a family gathering. The three year old wolfed down his piece and exclaimed, "more cake PLEASE!"

This cake is super easy to put together - just doctor up a cake mix with all kinds of great ingredients - eggnog, nutmeg, sour cream - bake it in a pan coated with cinnamon sugar and then frost it with more eggnog flavored goodness. And if you have more eggnog to "use up" just make these muffins!

As I said before, sometimes you just need a piece of cake. Or two. It is Christmastime after all...

Find more great stuff at Tasty Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Eggnog Cake with Eggnog Frosting

1 box (15 oz.) yellow cake mix
1 box (3 oz.) white chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup eggnog
1/2 cup sour cream (light is ok!)
4 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup water

Pan Coating:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup eggnog, room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. sea salt
2 cups powdered sugar

For pan coating, combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; mix. Grease a bundt pan well, then evenly coat pan with mixture; reserve any excess.

In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, pudding, nutmeg; stir to combine. Add eggnog, sour cream, eggs, canola oil and water; mix until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan, then top with the leftover cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center removes clean. Rest cake on rack for 10 minutes.
Carefully turn out cake onto cooling rack and let cool completely.

For the frosting, cream butter, vanilla, and eggnog. Add nutmeg, salt, and powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix until smooth and a pourable consistency; adjust as necessary with more eggnog or powdered sugar.

Place cake on serving platter, spoon frosting around the top of cake and allow to drizzle down the sides. Serves 16.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Cooking with Ruthie

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lasagna Soup

We had our first measurable snow fall yesterday which makes me want to make soup! This was on my "to try this year" list, and I'm getting it in just under the wire! This is a great idea for a soup - all the flavors of lasagna cooked into a hot soup, with the cheesy portion getting melted in individual bowls at the end. Leftovers heat up well, although the pasta absorbs much of the liquid, so any leftovers are more like lasagna casserole, equally delicious!

I love how fragrant soup is when it's cooking - you'll have lots of oohs and ahs from those walking in the house, and those sitting down at your dinner table. Served with some crusty bread, and a nice green salad if you're on a health kick, this is the perfect first snowfall soup. Or any time snow is falling soup.

Find more inspiration at Fabulous, Show and Share, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, Try a New Recipe, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Me, Wow Us, Favorite Things, Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Lasagna Soup

1 lb lean ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups chicken broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (pureed if you prefer)
2 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 3/4 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crush
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. parsley, plus more for garnish
8 lasagna noodles, broken into bite size pieces
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
6 oz ricotta cheese

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, crumble beef into pot, add onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring occasionally until browned.

Drain the fat, then add the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, rosemary, fennel seeds, thyme, sugar and parsley to the pot. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare lasagna noodles according to directions listed on package, reserving 1 cup pasta water before draining pasta.

Add cooked pasta to soup along with 1/2 cup - 1 cup pasta water as desired.

In a mixing bowl, using a fork, stir together mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta.

Ladle soup into bowls, dollop with a large scoop of the cheese mixture and sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Monday, November 30, 2015

Candy Cane Bundt Cake

It's the 5th Monday of November, so that means it's time for the Secret Recipe Club Holiday Treats Edition!

I've been thinking about seasonal treats for quite some time now, and have made my list of what I'm going to make and bake in December. This lovely Candy Cane Bundt Cake was a perfect way to start off my holiday baking!

Lauren, from Sew You Think You Can Cook, was involved in a bundt cake challenge a while back and this cake was one of the ones she made. I knew it was the right choice - a pound cake laced with peppermint extract, and beautifully colored white and pink (you should make yours more red, I certainly regret that mine is not redder!) with a white chocolate icing and crushed candy canes for decoration - rings in the Christmas season wonderfully. I shared this with family and with church friends and it was a big hit with every audience.

I adore Christmas cookies, but sometimes, you just need a CAKE, am I right? This is the cake you need. Happy baking!

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Inspire Me.

Candy Cane Bundt Cake

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
6-8 drops red food coloring

3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. heavy cream (milk is ok)
3/4 cups powdered sugar (may need more or less)
2 candy canes, crushed

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oil and sugar and beat until well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix in vanilla and peppermint extracts.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Mix in 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat with another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the last of the buttermilk, and ending with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients.

Put 2 C of the batter into a separate bowl and add the red food coloring, then stir well.

Pour half of the white batter into a greased bundt pan, top with the red batter, and finish with the rest of the white batter.

Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out cleanly. Allow cake to cool in bundt pan before removing to a cooling rack.

For the icing, melt white chocolate with heavy cream in the microwave at 50% power. Stir until smooth. Whisk in powdered sugar until it has the consistency you desire. Glaze cake. Top cake with crushed candy canes.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Raspberry Poppyseed Bread

We take a break from all the pumpkin goodness of the last few weeks (crepes, danish, muffins, oh my!) to bring you this glorious quick bread - raspberries with poppyseeds, and a lovely lemon glaze to top it off. This recipe is for two standard sized loaves - but feel free to adapt to those adorable little paper loaf pans and give them as gifts! These make a lovely holiday presentation since they are studded with raspberries - and who doesn't love a wonderful quick bread for Christmas?

And if you choose to bake these traditionally in regular loaf pans and keep them both for yourself, well I wouldn't blame you. This bread is spectacular. And you could freeze one loaf for later, if you prefer. Lots of options here, folks! But your best option is to make this bread, and right away. You won't be sorry.

Find more great recipes at Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up, Inspire Me, Full Plate, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Us, Wow Me.

Raspberry Poppyseed Bread

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tsp. vanilla
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. coarse salt
2 cups frozen raspberries

3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs. Add oil and sugar and beat until combined. Mix in lemon zest, vanilla, milk and poppy seeds. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Beat on low just until combined. Fold in raspberries.

Pour into two greased 8 or 9" loaf pans and bake at 300 until golden and a toothpick inserted into middle of bread comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove to a cooling rack. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.
Once bread is completely cooled, stir together lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar. Spoon over top of bread.

Recipe Source: Imperial Sugar

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New England Fish Chowder

The weather is just starting to turn here, and with it, my longing for soup and stew. Chowder is the perfect middle ground between soup and stew - hearty, hot and full of delicious ingredients and enough to fill you up as you contemplate hibernation. I've made this chowder now twice in the last two weeks - it is just THAT good.

And here's a little secret: once it's cooked, it's difficult to detect the fish - SO, if you have people who "claim" to not like fish, but you want them to eat it anyway (ahem), this is the perfect recipe. They will be distracted by the bacon, potatoes, carrots and corn and not even realize the other goodness that is in their bowls. And for those of us who love fish, we can just happily eat it without saying a word.

This chowder uses an interesting ingredient - oyster crackers. (These are not crackers made of oysters, but rather, the name of those little white hexagon shaped things that come in small cellophane packages at diners and the like.) The crackers help to thicken the soup and also add a dimension of flavor.

So if you need to warm up, make this soup! Leftovers are great for lunch the next day, if your crew doesn't "chow (der) it down." Tee hee.

Find more great ideas at Hearth and Soul, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Create, Link, Inspire, Wow Me, Wow Us, What's Cooking, Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Favorite Things, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

New England Fish Chowder

6 slices bacon, cut in 1" pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups peeled & cubed potatoes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup finely crushed oyster crackers
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 lb. mild, white fish fillets, chopped (cod, sole, haddock, etc.)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can evaporated milk

In Dutch oven, brown bacon over medium-high heat, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease, then add onions and garlic to the pot and saute until soft.

Add celery, carrots and potatoes, and cook and stir for several minutes, being sure to scrape up all the brown bits leftover from the bacon.

Add chicken broth, water, cracker crumbs, salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are soft (7-10 minutes).

Add fish and cook until fish is cooked throughout (5-6 minutes). Add milk, bacon and corn and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve! Serves 6.

Recipe Source: Adapted from The Yummy Life

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin Coffeecake Muffins

We're on a bit of a pumpkin roll here at Cook with Sara - and that's nothing to apologize for, in my opinion. Crepes, danish and muffins, oh my! When I received my assignment for Secret Recipe Club this month, I was glad to see that Chelsey is equally pumpkin crazy as I am. There were lots of great things to choose from on her blog, Mangia, but ultimately I landed on this recipe for Pumpkin Coffeecake Muffins. And I'm glad I did.

Chelsey's recipes feature ingredients for gluten free, nut free, dairy free, paleo, etc. I don't need to cook and bake that way, so I adapted this recipe a bit. If you have dietary restrictions, you should definitely check out all of Chelsey's great recipes. And if you don't have restrictions, you should still check them out! And in any case, make these great muffins.

Get more ideas at Mix it Up, Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me.

Pumpkin Coffeecake Muffins

1/4 c. canola oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt

For the streusel:
3 Tbsp. butter, cold and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

For glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. milk

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, pumpkin, egg, milk, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.

Divide batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups.

For the streusel, in a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter using your fingers, a pastry blender or two forks until the butter is incorporated. Sprinkle the streusel over the muffin batter.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each muffin comes out clean.

For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until a good consistency is achieved. Drizzle over the cooled muffins. Serves 12.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Danish

It's pumpkin time - last week it was crepes and this week it's danish. And stay tuned for next week, too! I made this danish for a birthday celebration at work and it was a huge hit. And why it shouldn't it be? Pumpkin, spices and cream cheese baked inside crescent roll dough - I'm already dreaming about the next time I get to eat this. It would make a perfect Thanksgiving morning breakfast - or a great way to wake up on Black Friday.

No matter when you serve it, everyone will love it. It's just that good.

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Inspire Me, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Turn it Up, What's Cooking, Hearth and Soul, Showcase Your Talent, Full Plate, Show and Share, Wow Us, Favorite Things, Wow Me, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Danish

1 tube crescent rolls (or crescent sheet)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. flour

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and flour. Stir well until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.

Pop open crescent roll dough and unroll, leaving crescents in rectangles. On an ungreased baking sheet, lay the crescent roll rectangles together, then press edges together to even out edges and seal any holes.

Carefully spread cream cheese filling down the center of the dough to be about 2-3 inches wide. Cut 1/2 inch diagonal strips up each side of the dough. Fold 1/2 inch dough pieces up over filling alternating sides to get a braided pattern. Fold up the edges on the ends.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until filling is set and crescent dough is golden in color. Cool before removing from baking sheet.

Once danish has cooled, remove to serving platter. In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, vanilla and milk to create icing. Drizzle icing over danish. Cut into pieces and serve.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Lauren's Latest

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pumpkin Crepes

Here's a fun and different way to incorporate pumpkin into your breakfast or brunches - I love crepes cause they're a bit lighter than pancakes. And you can dress them up in so many ways - these I kept relatively simple - no filling, just topped with some cooked apples and real maple syrup. With a side of salty breakfast meat, it made a wonderful autumn breakfast.

If you've never made crepes before, don't be nervous! They're really easy - check out my step by step directions on caramel banana crepes. (And then add these to your list for your next dessert!)

Find more great recipes at Mix it Up, Inspire Me, Inspiration Monday, Hearth and Soul, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, What's Cooking, Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday.

Pumpkin Crepes

2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk and butter until the butter is melted. While the milk is warming, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Gradually stir the warm milk in the pumpkin mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking until totally smooth.

Pour about 1/3 cup batter into a hot crepe pan or nonstick skillet coated with nonstick spray. Cook over medium heat for about a minute or until crepes look somewhat dry on top; flip over and cook for another 30 seconds. Folk crepes into quarters and place onto serving plate. Continue with remaining batter.

Top with apples and maple syrup. Serves 6.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Eats Well with Others

Monday, October 26, 2015

Gingersnap Rum Apple Crisp

We have had such a lovely autumn this year with warm temperatures and beautiful leaves. We are trying to soak up every minute of it and made a visit to a local orchard yesterday. They make their own hard cider on site, and it was fun to see the inner workings of a small cidery. Of course, we couldn't leave without getting some apples, and after seeing this recipe recently, I knew exactly what I wanted to use some of them for - the rest will be eaten quickly, I'm sure - they are delicious! We tried a new to us variety - Keepsake, bred by the University of Minnesota in 1978! - and love the crunchy bite. Not quite as crisp as Honeycrisp, but a wonderful eating apple nonetheless. It may be my new favorite.

Anyway, on to the dessert! I love it when traditional desserts have a bit of a twist and that's exactly what is happening here. Apples mixed with sugar, spices and flour are then amped up with just enough rum/caramel sauce and a crunchy gingersnap topping. The gingersnaps really add a new dimension of flavor and texture and is a nice change of pace from the regular oatmeal-based topping. And you can be sure that this recipe is safe for the whole family - the alcohol from the rum cooks off, and you're left with great flavor - but you can sub orange juice if you prefer.

This crisp is best served warm with a dollop of ice cream. Enjoy this wonderful fall!

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me, Mix it Up, Create, Link, Inspire, Clever Chicks, What's Cooking, Showcase Your Talent, Full Plate.

Gingersnap Rum Apple Crisp

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ginger
6 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (about 6 medium)
8 caramels
1/3 cup rum (or orange juice)

3/4 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (about 15 cookies)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Place the apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, salt and ginger; toss to coat. Transfer to an 8 or 9-inch baking dish.

In a small saucepan, combine caramels and rum. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until caramels are melted. Pour evenly over apple mixture.

For topping, in a small bowl, mix crushed cookies, brown sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Makes 8-10 servings.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Taste of Home
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