Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Goodies!

I can't believe it's almost Christmas!  Even if the house is a mess, even if there is a pile of old mail and newspaper sitting in the kitchen, even if the puppy is neglected (or at least thinks she is - she still gets her two walks a day), even if I haven't made dinner in over a week, and even if I just had a baby a month ago, I can still find time to make Christmas goodies!  And boy are they delicious this year!  Tina can attest.  In retaliation to us having a baby, she is misbehaving - including jumping on the counter and eating 15 cookies and untold numbers of pretzel turtles while we weren't around to stop her.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread, Toffee, Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies, and pretzel turtles!

 Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

Cream Cheese Filling - beat all ingredients together until smooth:
8oz cream cheese
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla


1 2/3 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg

In a separate bowl combine the following ingredients.  Beat Well:
15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 C oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 C sugar

Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.  Pour 1/4 of the batter into two greased and floured 8inch bread pans.  Spoon the cream cheese mixture on top of the batter in each of the bread pans.  Top with remaining pumpkin batter (it's ok if you don't quite have enough pumpkin batter to cover the cream cheese as you will be mixing the two layers anyways).  Using a knife inserted through the top two layers, swirl the cream cheese and top pumpkin batter together to create a marble effect.

Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes.

Adapted from recipe posted by the Nanny Create Blog.  Thanks for a delicious recipe!

Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 C chocolate chips
  3/4 C Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips - At first I couldn't find these so the first batch I made used chopped up Andes mints.  It turned out delicious.  The next day I went to the store and there they were in a special holiday display in front: Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips.  Despite the name "crunch" they are soft white chocolate peppermint chips.  Truth be told, Geoff and I couldn't really tell the difference between the cookies with the chopped up mints and the cookies with the Peppermint Crunch Chips.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

In a seperate bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the flour mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips and peppermint chips.

Refrigerate dough for 24 hours (I'm a believer - the dough really improved after the 24 hours in the fridge).  Scoop cookies onto cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Original Recipe from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.  Thanks for the delicious recipe!


1 C coarsely chopped almonds or pecans, toasted, divided (to toast, spread onto a cookie sheet and bake for 4-5 minutes at 350, stirring halfway through).
1 C unsalted butter
1 C sugar
3 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp corn syrup
3/4 C semisweet chocolate chips

Line a 9x13 pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of the pan.  Sprinkle with 1/2 of the toasted nuts.  Set aside.

Butter the sides of a heavy 2-qt saucepan.  In saucepan, melt butter.  Add sugar, water, and corn syrup.  Stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils.  Reduce heat to medium.  Continue to boil at a moderate, steady rate stirring constantly until a candy thermometer reaches 290 degrees (about 12-15 minutes).  Watch carefully after 275 because the last 15 degrees will go fast!  Immediately remove from heat and pour into prepared pan.

Let stand 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Let stand 2 minutes.  Spread chocolate chips over candy.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 C toasted nuts.  When candy is firm, use foil to lift it out of the pan.  Break into pieces.  Store tightly covered.

Original Recipe from bhg.  Thanks for the delicious recipe!

And finally, some baby photos, as that's what my biggest fans (aka - my parents, babies grandparents) actually come to the blog looking for.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Mexican Pizza

Remember how I love pizza?  This one was fantastic, as all pizza is.  The black bean sauce was really good and I had leftover sauce which I quite enjoy as a dip.

1 pizza crust

Black Bean Sauce:
2/3 C dry black beans (or 1 can black beans)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 C salsa
1 tsp garlic powder
Sea salt, pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight.  Cook beans, drain, and rinse.  Puree all ingredients together.  Add water until you reach the desired consistency.

Mexican grated cheese blend
Bell Peppers
Red onions

Cook crust for 4-5 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread sauce over partially cooked crust.  Add desired toppings.  Bake until cheese is delicious looking and crust is golden brown (I didn't set a timer so I don't know how long it baked).

On another note, you may have noticed I didn't post a single thing about Thanksgiving.  How can a food blogger not blog about a holiday dedicated to gluttony?   Easy: the blogger didn't cook a thing but instead held, fed, and loved Baby while other cooked for her.  Brilliant.

Everyone is ready for the feast, including Tina!


Cruising up the stairs, much to his parents dismay who had to constantly follow him up since he hasn't figured out how to come down.  Thankfully Grandpa took a turn following him up the stairs, giving Desmond's parents a break.