Friday, October 28, 2011

Spicy Bean Salsa

This is a dip I make sometimes when I am taking a dish to potluck gathering. It makes a lot, and you can't really half it because it calls for one can of practically everything. We like to eat it with Tostitos scoops or Fritos scoops because you can get a good pile of the dip onto your chip.

Spicy Bean Salsa
 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeno peppers
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup Italian-style salad dressing
1/2 tsp garlic salt

In a medium bowl, combine black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, onion, green bell pepper, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes. Season with Italian-style salad dressing and garlic salt; mix well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight to blend flavors.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I love this pumpkin bread! I got this recipe last year from my friend Kristy (and she actually got it from my dentist's wife). I like it because it's very moist, and has white chocolate chips, which is kinda different. The white chocolate chips inside the bread melt and make these little pockets of gooey sweetness. This time when I made it I cheated a little with the spices and used 3 tsps of McCormick's Apple Pie Spice (which is cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice) plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon. This recipe makes 3 regular sized loaves. I've also made mini loaves.

Pumpkin Bread
5 ¼ cups flour
3 tsp soda
1 ½ tsps salt
1 ½ tsps cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
3 cups plus 7 TBSPs sugar
1 cup water
3 cups (1 large can) pumpkin
1 ½ c oil
6 eggs
12 oz. bag white chocolate chips

 In a large bowl, mix together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sugar. Make a well. Add remaining ingredients to well. Add white chocolate chips. Mix until combined. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Makes 3 regular sized loaves.

Mini Loaves

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Candy Corn Mix

If you're a candy corn lover, and you also like the combination of sweet and salty, you should try this fun Halloween treat! Just combine candy corn and salted peanuts. You will love it!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mini Pavlovas

I made these for my friend's baby shower recently. A pavlova is crispy meringue with a soft center. You typically serve it with whipped cream and fruit on top. Berries are usually the preferred fruit topping which makes this more of a summer dessert, but you could really put anything on top. They make a beautiful presentation and are really not very difficult to make.

Mini Pavlovas
adapted from
4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 TBSP cornstarch

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw 12-2 1/2 inch circles on the paper. Turn the parchment paper over so the circles are on the reverse side.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in.

3. Spread the meringue inside each circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.)

4. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the outside is dry and is a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.

To serve: Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate. Whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form. (Or you can use cool whip.) Mound the whipped cream into the center of the meringue. Arrange the fruit randomly, or in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream. Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours.
Makes 12 mini pavlovas
Note: You can also make one large pavlova using the same recipe and baking method. Just make one 7 inch circle.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Frosting

I got this idea from my brother's wife, Amber. It's the easiest and most yummy peanut butter frosting ever. It reminds me of my peanut butter fudge. Here's the attention or you'll miss it.
1 can of vanilla frosting
1/2 cup of peanut butter
Combine and mix well.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Sandwich Cake

I'm always excited to make this cake once it starts feeling like fall. Pumpkin with a creamy filling, and ganache on top. It's a very impressive looking cake, but it's actually pretty easy. I made this for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, so we would have an option other than pie, and I've loved it ever since. I tweaked the original recipe a little, adding more filling and more chocolate icing. :) This cake is not tall, so if your cake layers seem a little's normal.

Pumpkin Sandwich Cake
adapted from
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup whipping cream
8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups bittersweet or semisweet chocolate pieces

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour 2-8in. round cake pans. In bowl combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. In a second bowl beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in pumpkin. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Spread cake batter in prepared pans. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted near centers come out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes; remove and cool thoroughly.
3. For filling, in a chilled mixing bowl beat whipping cream to soft peaks; set aside. In a second mixing bowl beat cream cheese until smooth; beat in powdered sugar. Fold in whipped cream. To assemble, place one cake layer on serving platter. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over bottom cake layer. Top with second cake layer. Refrigerate while preparing ganache.
4. If ganache is too thin, cover and chill 30 minutes until of spreading consistency. Too thick, add a teaspoon of milk or cream. Spread over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle lightly with pumpkin pie spice, if desired. Chill cake at least 1 hour before serving.
5. To make ganache, in small saucepan bring whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Pour over chocolate pieces in medium bowl (do not stir). Let stand 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Cool 15 minutes. 6. Store cake, loosely covered, in refrigerator. Makes 8 servings.