Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pecan Pumpkin Bars

Fall is definitely here.  We finally had a chilly night last night, and I had to dig in to my cool weather clothes!  I know y'all up north already got snow, but cold weather down here is something to get excited least for me! :)

We took Chance to a pumpkin patch last night to let him pick out a pumpkin.  The patch wasn't too exciting, just a bunch of pumpkins tossed out on a hay strewn lawn, but it was the closest thing we had.  He couldn't make up his mind, so we ended up with three pumpkins that I am going to process and freeze for future use. 

Like making these little treats...

Like I said last week, Chance found a recipe for an old fashioned pumpkin pie in a magazine and wanted to make it.  (He is already reading cookbooks, etc..."Mmm, this looks good!", "This is making me hungry!", "Mommy, I want to make this!")  So we ended up making a pumpkin pie, and had extra filling.  I created these yummy pecan pumpkin bars that are kind of a combination of pumpkin pie and pecan pie.  These would be great to bring to a fall get-together!

Pecan Pumpkin Bars


 2 cups flour
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar


2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup millk
1/2 cup cream


1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter

Mix crust ingredients together. Press into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from oven. Mix eggs, sugar, molasses, and pumpkin together. In a seperate bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Add to the pumpkin mixture. Add milk and cream. Pour over crust. Mix together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over pumpkin mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, or until mixture has set.  It is normal for the topping to bubble up, and it will set back down when it cools.

These are really yummy when they are still warm from the oven!  And they are good cold too. :)  I keep them in the fridge, because they are made with eggs.  I hope you enjoy them!  Happy fall!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Not Your Typical Tuna Salad

This morning I woke up and thought it would be a lovely day for a picnic!  I opened the door and checked the temperature.  About 70 degrees, slightly overcast...perfect!  And then in the middle of preparations, it started to rain.  My picnic turned into a front porch picnic, but that was fun too!

I've been making quite a bit of rich food lately.  Chance didn't help that much, since yesterday he was looking at a magazine and found a picture of a pumpkin pie and wanted me to make it.  We had everything on hand, so he helped me make the pie.  There was quite a bit of extra filling, so I made up a pumpkin bar recipe that turned out to be a winner!  I'll post that recipe next week.  But because of all the rich food we've been eating lately, I wanted something light and healthy.  This tuna salad fit the bill!

Shoestring Potato Tuna Salad

1 large can tuna (or two small cans)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup carrots, grated
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
4 boiled eggs, grated or finely diced
shoestring potatoes

Mix first 6 ingredients together at least 1/2 hour before serving.  Refrigerate.  Right before serving, stir in shoestring potatoes.  Or, serve them on the side and let each person add as much as they wish.  If you don't plan to eat the entire salad, reserve some without potatoes, as the potatoes get soggy.

It's a great way to get your family to eat their vegetables!  The carrots add sweetness, and you can hardly taste the tuna.  I've also added boneless, skinless sardines to give it even more of a nutritional kick.  Even a three year old will eat it...

Give it a try! :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Recipe Index Page

The way this blog is set up, it is a little bit hard to find the recipes I posted a couple months ago.  I figured I would try to set up a index page with links to all the recipes, so all you have to do is scroll down the list and click on the recipe you want!   The recipes are listed in alphabetical order, with non-food recipes in a separate category at the bottom.  I will add new links for all the new recipes I add.  I hope this makes it easier for you all!

Non-food Recipes

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Penne ala Pesto

My husband took me out to eat at a favorite local Italian restaurant the other day.  (Wasn't that sweet of him?) Their special of the day was Penne ala Pesto (Penne noodles in a creamy pesto sauce with chicken).  I love pesto, so I thought I'd give it a try. :)  This dish was really good, but I thought it didn't have quite enough pesto, since I really like to taste the basil flavor.

Imagine my delight, when upon going out to my garden, I found that my basil plants had put out new leaves after the heat of the summer!  I had given them up for gone long ago.  Last spring I had planted a bunch of basil plants so that I could make pesto.  I made several batches and froze them in the spring before the weather got too hot.  After the plants went to seed, I figured that was the end of them.  So I was surprised and pleased when I found my plants had put on new tender growth!

So I set off to make pesto and to recreate the restaurant recipe to my liking.  I use a very basic pesto recipe.

Basil Pesto

1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 large clove garlic, quartered
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients except oil into a blender or food processor.  Blend using the pulse setting, stirring often and scraping down sides until coarsely chopped.  Turn blender on a low setting and gradually add olive oil until everything is chopped and is the consistency of soft butter.  Use or put into a sealed container right away.

After I made the pesto, I put water on for the noodles and started making the cream sauce, which is basically like an alfredo sauce with pesto added.

Creamy Pesto Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1/2 teaspoon salt
grilled chicken slices, optional

Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add minced garlic to the butter and saute for about a minute.  Pour milk into a measuring cup and add flour.  Blend well.  Add milk mixture to the butter and garlic in the pan.  Add cream.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Add pesto and salt.  If desired, add chicken and continue to cook until everything is heated through.

By the time the sauce and chicken were done, the noodles were done, and we had a great supper!  I confess, it may not be the healthiest, but I have a weakness for cream. :)

Note: You can also buy pesto in a jar or in the refrigerated section of your grocery store.  Buying basil at the store can be expensive!  If you find you really like pesto, it is not hard to grow a basil plant!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I've Been Gone Too Long

Well, I am finally home after a very long trip!  It was wonderful to see everybody and to be up north again and get a small taste of fall, but it is also wonderful to be home again! 

As soon as I got home I felt an urge to 'fluff up my nest' after not homemaking for such a long time.  One of my first projects was to organize my storage container drawer.  On my trip I found a good deal on Pyrex glass storage containers with lids.  (I think some stores still have a $10 dollar rebate deal)  I believe glass is much healthier for us than plastic.  They last longer and don't absorb food odors or stains.  Also, my husband is always preaching to me about 'dish economy'. :)  With these, you can cook the food, store it in the refrigerator, reheat in the oven/toaster oven or microwave,  or even put them in the freezer.  So hopefully I am phasing out plastic.

This is a photo of before.  It had been a while since I had organized!

Here is a picture of after...and it left my top drawer completely empty for something else!

I think it's an improvement, don't you? :)

Another reason I am glad from being done with traveling for a while is trip food!  I knew we'd been on the road too long when Chance was saying grace and said, 'Thank you for my daily corn dog.'  :)  I think the poor boy needs some good home cooking!  So hopefully I will be posting more recipes soon and often again!

Thanks for your patience with me!  Have a great day!