Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Maple bourbon cream cheese spread

This is a recipe from the archives. I decided to repost it because this sweet, cinnamony cream cheese spread is great on top of almost any anything from muffins to quick breads, especially pumpkin bread! It makes a great addition to your Thanksgiving table. Enjoy and  have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Maple Bourbon Cream Cheese Spread 

6 ounces cream cheese at room temp.
3 Tablespoons brown sugar 
2 Tablespoons maple syrup 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons bourbon 
Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. A great topping for quick breads, rolls, and muffins.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baked Oatmeal with Peaches

This time of the year, with the holiday season rapidly approaching, it seems as though time speeds up. There's just never enough time in the day to get to everything done that needs to get done. I have a specialty baking business, and as you can imagine, this is the busiest time of the year for me.

Eating right is probably one of the first things I let slip. Well that and vacuuming! Anyway quite often my meal consists of a leftover sugar cookie and a cup of coffee. Too bad sugar cookies don't contain any fruits and veggies. I'm making an effort not to slip back into that rut this year and have been looking for ways to add fruits and veggies into some of my favorite meals.

Baked oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfast foods to make during the cooler months of the year. Served warm, it's like eating a fresh-from-the-oven oatmeal cookie. It's so comforting and delicious. Trying to stick to my goal of eating better, I decided to add a little more nutritional value to this meal by adding some fruit.

I changed up my usual recipe for baked oatmeal by adding Del Monte peach slices in extra light syrup. The peaches, which have 1/3 less calories than peaches in heavy syrup, added a wonderful sweetness to the baked oatmeal. I replaced some of the milk in the recipe with the syrup from the peaches which allowed me to cut down the amount of the sugar called for in the original recipe.

I like the fact that Del Monte uses high quality produce and doesn't add any artificial color or flavors to the majority of their canned fruits and vegetables. Also, the majority of Del Monte's fruits and veggies are grown in the U.S. and most are packed the same day that they are picked. This helps to lock in the nutrients and delicious flavor of Del Monte's canned fruits, vegetables and tomatoes. With a wide variety of canned fruits and vegetables, Del Monte makes it easy to Add Some Garden™ into your favorite meals!

Visit Del Monte's Add Some Garden campaign on Facebook for more ideas and recipes for using Del Monte's canned fruits and vegetables or visit their website for even more information.

Baked Oatmeal with Peaches
4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups milk (Use the liquid from the canned fruit and reduce the amount of milk by that much.)
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 can Del Monte sliced peaches in extra light syrup, roughly chopped, reserving the syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar

Combine oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; stir in milk, syrup, eggs, chopped peaches and brown sugar. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve hot.

Tell us about meals that make you feel good & are good for you!

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Apples

Thanksgiving is less than a week away! I'm already salivating at the thought of turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. I know many people could care less about the cranberry sauce and merely open the obligatory can each year. It's the kind of the red headed stepchild of the Thanksgiving table.
For me the cranberries play a very important role on my Thanksgiving plate. They are the tart sweet goodness that brings everything else together for that perfect bite of Thanksgiving tastes.
Okay so most of you probably don't feel as strongly about the cranberry sauce as I do. Maybe you don't feel the need to make a couple of different cranberry sauces. (I'm making this one too!) However if you do plan to serve a cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving, this one is about as easy as it gets to make and it tastes fantastic. You may even want to join me in singing the praises of cranberry sauce... Anyway, this sauce can be made well in advance of Thanksgiving, so there's really no excuse to settle for just opening that can!
I topped mine with these sugared cranberries, fresh cranberries, sugared pecans, and a little fresh rosemary. Way prettier and more festive than the stuff from the can!

Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Apples
source: The Bitten Word, slightly adapted

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 large apple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)

Line an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and spray the plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium heavy bottom pot, combine the cranberries, apple, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently until the cranberries are completely broken down and the sauce is very thick, about 15 minutes. Stir in the chopped nuts, if using. Scrape the cranberry sauce into the prepared pan and refrigerate at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set. Invert the jelled cranberry onto a serving plate and remove the plastic wrap. If desired, garnish the jelly with fresh and sugared cranberries, sugared pecans, and rosemary sprigs. Slice with a serrated knife before serving.
Make Ahead: can be made up to 2 weeks in advance. Just cover well with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated.

This cranberry sauce may even steal the turkey's spotlight! 
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Monday, November 12, 2012

Pecan Pumpkin Butter

A few Christmases ago one of my gifts included a small jar of pumpkin butter. Pumpkin butter is similar to apple butter. The pumpkin is cooked down until thick and spreadable like butter. I thought it was fantastic stuff. At the time I wanted to try making some at home and have finally gotten around to actually doing it. I can't believe I waited so long. This pumpkin butter is super easy to make and I think this homemade one is even better than the pumpkin butter I got as a gift.
Using this recipe as a guide, my pumpkin butter recipe is the result of several batches I made this week. I played around with the amount of sugar and spices in the recipe and this combination was the one I liked the best. I also made some with maple syrup and some without. I liked the flavor the maple syrup added but you can leave it out and replace it with brown sugar. I saw several recipes that included pecans or walnuts in the butter. I like nuts in anything so I knew I wanted them in this pumpkin butter. Toasting the nuts really brings out their flavor and adds a great crunch to the butter. Feel free to leave out, add in, or change up this recipe to suit your own tastes.
At home canning is not recommended for pumpkin butter but it will last up to month in the fridge. I'll bet you, you won't have it nearly that long!

Pecan Pumpkin Butter

1 29-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup apple cider (apple juice will work too)
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup pecan pieces, toasted
Preheat oven to 350. Spread the pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet an bake for 3-5 min. Just until they start to brown. Remove from oven.
Place all of the ingredients into a large heavy bottom pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Most of the liquid should be cooked out and the pumpkin mixture should be thickened. Let cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. It can also be frozen. This recipe makes about 3 1/2 cups.

Put the pecan pumpkin butter into glass jars tied with ribbon and it makes a great Christmas gift!