Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Bars

I had my glucose tolerance test yesterday and am waiting for the results. It wasn't nearly as awful as some of the stories I had read. The drink tasted like super sugary Hi-C and I had a good book with me so the hour flew bye. I'm really hoping I pass because my life will be over if I have to give up sweets, especially during the holidays.
Like these Pumpkin Pie will I survive without them?

The recipe was something I had pinned on Pinterest a few weeks ago and decided to use my homemade pumpkin puree in. Delicious! I have a little sliver every night after dinner and possibly one morning for breakfast.

If you took the glucose tolerance test, did you pass the first time of fail? I'm not looking forward to the 3 hour one if I failed this time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

MWF Seeking BFF

I just finished reading MWF Seeking BFF. Have you read it? I picked it up because the title was intriguing and maybe the author would have some good advice on making friends as an adult. Since high school most of my friends have moved away and making friends outside of work is difficult at best. There are so many people, myself included that are suspicious of even a friendly "hello" from a stranger. My first thought is- what do you want to sell me? Isn't that awful? I've been assured that once my daughter is born, I'll naturally develop other mommy friends that I meet through activities and such but what about making friends on my own?
So, did the author have good advice? Overall- yes. Although, I would never try Improv classes or speed dating, I do find myself being friendlier. Smiling and chatting more often rather than being hurried and distracted. Who knows, my next best friend could be in line at Trader Joes.

The author Rachel Bertsche also has a blog

Do you have trouble making friends?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin puree is one of those ingredients I'd been meaning to make every year with my leftover pumpkins and this year I finally did it. I had a sugar pumpkin leftover that hadn't been carved for Halloween and a quiet house Saturday morning to do whatever I wanted.

First apologize to the pumpkin for leaving it out of the Halloween carving festivites but promise it will be just as loved in pumpkin pie. Then remove the stem/seeds and cut into 4 equal parts. Place in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake at 325 deg until the pumpkin is tender. This took about 45 minutes for me.

 It will look similar to this when done. Allow to cool.
Then you get to use one of my favorite kitchen tools.....
FOOD MILL- oh how I love you.

Scoop the pumpkin from the skin and plop into the food mill. You'll want to use the smallest holes attachment that you have.

Then mill the heck out of your pumpkin and maybe sing a little folk song while you do. I always feel like I'm living on a prairie and churning butter or something when I use it.

And there you have it- perfect pumpkin puree. All the stringy bits stay behind in the food mill unlike a food processor which just doesn't do the job properly.

So, what did I use my pumpkin puree in? Pumpkin pie bars! A delicious recipe I found on Pinterest. I'll share that later.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake

What do you get when you throw everything but the kitchen sink into a batter? Carrot Cake. And a super delicious one at that.
Since I'm pregnant, I resisted the urge to lick the spatula, bowl and my fingers but oh it was tough not to sneak a taste.
Then I had to stare at it all day and wait for after dinner with the family to dig in. Although I may have tried a little piece before I frosted it....shhhhhh don't tell anyone.

Yum, I may have to make another one just for myself.

Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake
by Joy The Baker


3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 3/4 cups vegetable oil

1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)


Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10- or 12-cup Bundt pan or two 9-inch round pans and set aside.

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolk, and sugars. Blend with a whisk until well incorporated and slightly thickened. Add the oil and carefully incorporate. This part could get a little splashy. Add the crushed pineapple and vanilla, and stir until incorporated.

Add the pineapple mixture, all at once, to the flour mixture. Fold together with a spatula. When almost incorporated, fold in the carrots, coconut, and (if desired) raisins or cranberries and nuts. Fold until evenly blended. Pour cake batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting. Bake cake layers for 28 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake Bundt for 45 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Makes enough to frost one 2-layer 8- or 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

Pinch of salt

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1 vanilla bean

1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

1 tablespoon lemon juice plus 2 teaspoons lemon zest

Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat the cream cheese for about 1 minute, ensuring that it is soft and pliable. Stop the mixer and use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the butter to the bowl. Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute, until thoroughly combined.

Turn the mixer on low and add the salt and powdered sugar followed by the vanilla extract. Beat until almost incorporated.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl. Beat on medium speed until all of the powdered sugar has disappeared and mixture is velvety soft.

Use immediately by spreading on a layer cake or cupcakes. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before spreading on cakes. Frosting will last, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

From JOY THE BAKER by Joy Wilson. Copyright (c) 2012 Joy Wilson.