Before I go into my TWD post, as originally planned, I thought I’d take a minute or so to get everybody in the proper “pumpkin-y” mood. I love pumpkin – every year around the middle of September, I start drooling over all the pumpkin recipes I’ve yet to make – there’s a lot of them out there, but hey, all I got is time, people! :-)  In fact, I’ve got my eye on a sinfully delicious looking pumpkin cheesecake recipe that’s just calling my name. Sure, there is lots of new, uncharted territory when it comes to pumpkin recipes; but what about the old stand-by ones? The ones you can’t help but make every single year as soon as there’s the slightest hint of a nip in the air? (except not really in Texas…..there isn’t an actual “nip” in the air until about Thanksgiving, and you’re lucky if you even get one then!) The ones like the pumpkin muffins my mom would make for me in the Fall when I would come home from college for the weekend. Ahhh, pumpkin muffins – one of my great loves. Moist, fluffy, full of spice,packed with pumpkin and dripping with melty butter….does it get any better? I think not! Which is why I was so very excited when Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp (interesting blog name, no?) chose Pumpkin Muffins for this week’s TWD recipe. God love her!

Usually when I make pumpkin muffins, I like to use either my mother’s recipe or one from allrecipes.com (Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread), but I was more than happy to give Dorie’s recipe a shot – I mean, let’s face it, everything I have ever tried of hers’ has been a complete success (unless I did something to screw it up). And really, her recipe was almost exactly the same as my mother’s…cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin puree, sugar…all the usual ingredients. The only big difference is that she adds walnuts (which I love) and raisins (which I do not love and gladly omitted) to the batter and tops them with sunflower seeds (which I didn’t have so I left out). So, by the time I finished omitting most of Dorie’s different-from-everybody-else’s ingredients, these were almost identical to the one’s I love so much. Perfect!

Now, its just not Fall until you’ve made pumpkin muffins, so if you haven’t and you’d like the recipe, just head on over to Kelly’s blog and then make these as soon as possible! Otherwise you’re only cheating yourself out of the complete “Fall Experience”.

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Lindsay's Sweetly Simple Coffee Cake

We’re still in the never-ending process of moving into our house and getting everything unpacked, decorated, etc, so I don’t have a whole lot of time to blog, but here’s a little mini-post, just to keep things moving around here!

A few weeks ago I was making breakfast for dinner (one of my favorites!) and wanted something sweet (other than pancakes or waffles) thrown in there with the bacon, eggs, etc. but it needed to be super quick! Luckily I remembered one of my sister’s quick and easy recipes – a coffee cake made out of refrigerated biscuits that bakes in no time! Perfect!

Sweetly Simple Coffee Cake

2 10-oz tubes refrigerated biscuits
1/4 c margarine, melted
1/3 c brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c chopped nuts
Arrange biscuits very close together in a 9″ round cake pan.  Mix together margarine, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts; spread over biscuits.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
This is perfect for mornings when you’re trying to hurry and get something on the table for breakfast, or if you want a quick and easy substitute for the usual pancakes and waffles! Yum yum!
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Tuesdays with Dorie…FINALLY!!!

Oh my gosh, I was so excited when I peeked in over at the TWD blog and saw that this week’s recipe was going to be Apple Cheddar Scones…I have seriously been dying to try these ever since I first got my copy of Baking From My Home to Yours! So, a big, fat THANK YOU to Karina of The Floured Apron for picking these yummy little scones!

Actually, I’ve never made scones before so I was curious about how easy/hard these might be to make, but surprisingly, they were totally easy! They didn’t take long at all. Most of the TWD bakers mentioned how sticky the dough was….definitely true! Pretty sticky stuff, but I rolled it out with plenty of flour and it was easily workable.

The recipe calls for dried apples, but my crummy Tom Thumb (yes I’m naming names!) doesn’t carry them, so I decided to take my chances and try fresh apples. I was a little worried they might give off too much liquid and make the scones soggy, but they came out perfectly! I think the little chunks of fresh baked apple in scones added great flavor and texture!

These were pretty darn tasty served warm with lots of honey butter – I’m really looking forward to having them for breakfast tomorrow with my coffee or a hot cup of tea!

I’m also really looking forward to next week’s recipe – Double Crust Blueberry Pie chosen by Amy of South In Your Mouth. Check back, cause it’s gonna be GOOD!

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Barefoot Bloggers….A New Group!!

I’m happy to announce I’ve joined a new blogging group! Fellow food blogger and absolute genius, Tara started a group last week dedicated to cooking Ina Garten’s (aka: the Barefoot Contessa) recipes twice a month. She decided to call this wonderful group “Barefoot Bloggers” – genius! Being a HUGE fan of Ina, I of course, signed up without hesitation when I heard about this group! The recipe this time around was herb baked eggs – super yummy! We had these for dinner tonight and they were delicious! Joel even loved them and he’s not the biggest fan of eggs for dinner!

These cook very quickly and have a lovely, crunchy crust on top. I didn’t have a gratin dish, so I used four individual ramekins, which worked out perfectly! These went perfectly with a salad and toasted crusty sourdough bread.

Herb Baked Eggs

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won’t be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It’s very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren’t cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.

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For Mommy….

Mother’s Day was kind of unfortunate this year. My mom was having my sister and her family and my grandparents stay for the weekend, and I offered to have a Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday morning for everybody (9 people total). I was so excited to have everyone over – neither my grandparents or my sister had ever had a meal at my apartment. Joel and I worked so hard to get everything ready the night before so that all I would have to do Sunday morning was pop the casseroles in the oven. Everything was perfect. And then, as luck would have it, I ended up being sick all through the night. I was still feeling horrible Sunday morning, so my mom told me to go back to bed and she and my grandparents would just come back the next morning. So, it sort of worked out anyway – although my sister and her husband weren’t able to be there, nor my dad, which sucked. However, we still had a really good time, and hopefully they enjoyed the food.

My menu consisted of:

Fresh Mango Bread

Pioneer Woman’s Breakfast Potatoes

Baked Caramel French Toast

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Strata

Peach Bellinis

I had made the french toast before at Christmas and it was delicious – once again, it didn’t disappoint. Please, please, PLEASE excuse my appalling pictures- it was early Monday morning and I was expecting guests in any second, and I was still a little under the weather. I probably shouldn’t even post these pictures, but I wanted you to have some sort of idea of what the dishes look like (even if they do resemble something you might feed to your dog).

(That’s the baked french toast, in case you can’t tell…..I barely can)

Baked Caramel French Toast

– from The Magic of Christmas Gooseberry Patch Cookbook

1/2 Cup butter
1 Cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 loaf french bread,cubed (I used Challah)
6 eggs
1 1/2 Cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cinnamon to taste

Blend together butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Pour into ungreased 9×13 baking dish. Place bread cubes in baking dish over sauce. Whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla until well blended; pour over bread and sprinkle with cinnamon. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour (my plan was to let this sit overnight, but since we ended up having guests the next day, it sat for 2 nights and was still perfect! I just splashed a little half and half over it before i baked it). Bake at 300 degrees for one hour.

This egg strata was amazing – I can’t wait to make this again. Even with the bread, it was still light and fluffy and full of flavor! Once again, I present you with an unbelievably horrible picture. Please don’t base your opinion of this dish on my picture – it tastes SO much better than it looks!! Give it a try!!

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Strata

from allrecipes.com

12 thick slices white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (I used almost a whole loaf of french bread)
1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon (I used half a pound)
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
12 eggs
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I also used a little dry mustard)
(I also added a small can of diced green chiles and a little garlic powder)

Toss cubed bread with bacon, cheese, and mushrooms, and pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish. Whisk together eggs, half-and-half, and mustard (this is where I added the green chiles) until smooth, then pour evenly over cubed bread. Cover dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Remove plastic wrap from the baking dish, and bake strata in preheated oven until the top is golden brown, and the eggs are set, about 1 hour. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

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