Wednesday, May 15, 2013

announcing the newest member of our family...

Stationery Card
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

cheesecake-stuffed peaches

This is not my recipe-- I found it in the August 2011 issue of Better Homes and Gardens and knew I had to try it out. I made it once last year and couldn't wait for peach season this year to make it again. It's not only as delicious as it looks, it's also super easy. So here's the recipe-- all credit goes to Dee Guelcher who submitted this recipe to BHG so that you and I can make it ourselves...



ingredients
6 peaches
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp cinnamon sugar
1/2 of an 8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper (or silicone mat); set aside. Trim a very thin slice from the round side of each peach half so the halves will stand flat on the baking pan. Dip peach halves, cut sides up, in prepared pan. Sprinkle cut sides of peaches with cinnamon-sugar; set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Spoon cream cheese mixture into peach centers.

3. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until lightly browned and softened. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 servings.

[note] If you don't have cinnamon sugar, mix 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. To add crunch to this dessert, sprinkle with granola or candied almonds. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Arianna | my first year

Last year, Grace gave me a $50 Mixbook voucher for my birthday. After trying out MyPublisher, Shutterfly, and Picaboo, I have to say that I really liked Mixbook's user interface-- I liked that I didn't have to download a program and then upload my book after I was finished and I liked that it had a number of great templates and styles that I could adapt however I wanted. I haven't received the book yet, so I don't know how the print quality measures up with the others. So far, MyPublisher leads in print quality. Shutterfly leads in special offers (discounts, freebies, etc.).

If anyone's curious, here's how Arianna's baby book turned out...


Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Learn About Mixbook Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Monday, December 19, 2011

white chocolate-gingerbread trifle


Found this recipe in the December issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I usually stick to peppermint-themed Christmas desserts, but this one was so beautiful, I decided to give it a try-- that and the fact that I stocked up on strawberries over the summer and wanted to use them. Luke-- the picky texture diner-- was happy to report that the cream soaked into the cake, making it nice and moist. I was really pleased with this blend of sweet, spicy, and tangy. Yes, I think I will definitely make this again.

PREP: 50 min
BAKE: 25 min
CHILL: 2 hours

Homemade Gingerbread
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1 cup molasses
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9x2-inch square pan, then line bottom of pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
2. In a small saucepan heat the molasses, water, butter, and brown sugar until hot, stirring until butter and brown sugar are melted. In a large bowl whisk the 2 eggs until blended. Slowly whisk in the molasses mixture. Stir in flour mixture. Pour batter in prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted near center comes out clean. Cool gingerbread in pan. Remove from pan. Tear two-thirds of the cake into pieces (about 7 cups). Set aside until ready to assemble trifle. [For a cakier, denser trifle, you can use the whole cake.]

Lemon-White Chocolate Cream
4 egg yolks
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 cup whipping cream

3. In a bowl whisk together egg yolks, whole eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Transfer to a heavy medium-size saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until thickened. If mixture becomes lumpy, whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Whisk in white chocolate until smooth. Strain into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly on surface. Refrigerate until cold.
4. In a large mixing bowl beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Remove, cover, and chill 1/2 cup of the whipped cream to use as topping. Fold remaining whipped cream into cold Lemon-White Chocolate Cream; refrigerated until ready to assemble trifle.

Cranberry Compote
1 12 ounce bag cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/3 - 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons silvered candied ginger

5. In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, water, and sugar. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries are soft. Cool completely. Stir in strawberries

Trifle Assembly
LAYER 1 In a 7- to 9-inch trifle bowl or other container, spoon in half the Lemon-White Chocolate Cream.
LAYER 2 Evenly top with pieces of Homemade Gingerbread.
LAYER 3 Spoon remaining Lemon-White Chocolate Cream on gingerbread layer.
LAYER 4 Top with Cranberry Compote.
LAYER 5 Top with the 1/2 cup reserved whipped cream and slivered candied ginger. [I used white chocolate shavings.]




Thursday, November 24, 2011

[happy thanksgiving!] pumpkin chocolate cheesecake pie

Well, yesterday was dessert day, which was why I never got around to posting a recipe. By the end of the day, our total dessert tally included Grandma Ople's Apple Pie, Maple-Pumpkin Cheesecake, Triple Berry Pie, Luke's Garbage Lid Pumpkin Pie, and new this year: Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Pie. Since Luke's recipe is still a family secret, I'll share the cheesecake pie recipe with you instead...

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Pie [bhg.com]

I made this pie earlier this fall to test it out. I have to admit that I was really pleased with how it looked, but not as thrilled with how it tasted. It tastes fine, of course, but just not WOW. I tried some modifications for tonight's dinner, so the modified recipe is still in the works. I can tell you that the first time I made it, however, the crust was kind of tough, so I tried my go-to pie crust recipe instead this time, and it was way too soft to bake on its own, so I until I figure out something different, this recipe is stuck with a pretty tough crust. Here's what our Thanksgiving guests tried tonight...

Ingredients



1 recipe Deep Dish Pie Pastry, below
12 ounces cream cheese, softened (1-1/2 8-oz. pkgs.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate or miniature chocolate pieces
1 15 ounce can pumpkin
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup half-and-half or light cream
Chopped chocolate (optional)

Directions 
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare and roll out Deep Dish Pie Pastry. Transfer pastry to a 9-1/2- to 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Trim crust edge 1/2-inch beyond pie plate. Flute edge high. Line pastry with double thickness of foil. Bake 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 6 minutes more or until golden. Cool on wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
  2. In medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 egg; beat on low speed until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture in cooled pastry shell. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate.
  3. In bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar, and spice. Stir in 4 eggs. Gradually stir in half-and-half. Slowly pour pumpkin mixture on chocolate layer. To prevent overbrowning, cover pie edge with foil.
  4. Bake 60 to 65 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Remove foil. Cool on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hour. Top with chopped chocolate.


Pastry for Deep-Dish Pie
In a medium bowl stir together 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in 1/2 cup of butter until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the flour mixture; toss gently with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat with additional cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour mixture is moistened (about 4-5 tablespoons). Shape into a ball.


And today, I am thankful for the community we have in God's family-- that even though we couldn't be with our own families this year, we still had brothers and sisters join us for our Thanksgiving feast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2 days till Thanksgiving! [pumpkin bread]

Moran's Famous Pumpkin Bread [Rachel Moran]

Well, I discovered that getting sick and having a daughter who's teething will pretty much wipe me out now, hence the absence of 2 pumpkin recipes. Oh well. Rebekah Martin posted this recipe earlier this fall, and since it uses applesauce instead of oil, I decided to give it a shot. The result? I probably shouldn't divulge how many loaves we've already consumed this year... :-P

Ingredients (my modifications in italics...)

3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar (original recipe calls for 3 cups)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup applesauce
4 eggs
20 oz pumpkin puree (about 2 1/2 cups)

Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, spices, chocolate chips). Make a well.
  2. Add wet ingredients (applesauce, eggs, pumpkin). Mix and divide batter into 3 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Today I'm thankful for sleep and Zicam! Getting more sleep has definitely helped me the last couple days. I need to get better before we host our first big Thanksgiving dinner...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

5 days till Thanksgiving! [pumpkin cornbread]

Pumpkin Cornbread [allrecipes.com]

If you're making chili, you need cornbread! This picture is actually of "Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread." I experimented with that recipe to get this recipe, but I wasn't sure if it would work, so I never took a picture. This recipe is awesomely easy and adaptable-- the only thing I wouldn't compromise is the buttermilk: it is the secret to all things moist and fluffy.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Mix in pumpkin. Stir in cornmeal, flour, salt, and pumpkin spice until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
I'm thankful that Luke didn't have to work today-- it means we get a little more sleep and can enjoy a Saturday morning brunch. Today we're having waffles!