Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Fudge

This is one of my all-time favorite fudge recipes. I love just about anything with pumpkin. I make this fudge every year around the holidays. Give it a try and add it to your Thanksgiving dessert spread. It will definitely be part of mine.

Pumpkin Fudge
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
9 oz. white chocolate, chopped
7 oz. jar marshmallow crème
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
ground cinnamon, for sprinkling (optional)

Line a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with foil, allowing extra to hang over the sides of the pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large heavy saucepan, (I use the biggest one possible so I don't boil it over and get it all over my stove. I've boiled thing over about a hundred times. My stove takes a beating because things are always boiling over in my kitchen... I spend a lot of time cleaning up after myself.) Back to the fudge... In a large heavy saucepan, heat the sugar, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin puree, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice and bring to a boil. Heat to 234 degrees on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage if you're a pro like my mom and can just "tell" when it's at soft ball stage). Remove from heat and stir in the chopped white chocolate, marshmallow creme, and vanilla.

Pour the fudge into your prepared pan and sprinkle the top with a little ground cinnamon. Let the fudge sit at room temperature for about 2 hours or until firm. Lift the fudge out of the pan all at once using the foil overhang. Place on a cutting board and cut the fudge into 1-inch pieces using a sharp knife.


slightly adapted from

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kale, Pine Nut, and Ricotta Pizza

I am becoming a big fan of kale. It's so good for you and it can be quite yummy. One of my favorite ways to eat kale is as a chip. Yep - waaaaay healthier than a fried potato chip. Try this kale chip recipe for a great snack. Or if you're looking for a quick dinner - go for this delicious kale, pine nut, and ricotta pizza. You can throw it together in no time!

Kale, Pine Nut, and Ricotta Pizza
1 to 2 cups kale (washed, dried, and shredded into bite-sized pieces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup shredded mozzarella
pizza dough (I like to use the Pilsbury thin crust that you buy in a tube in the refrigerator section of the market)

Prepare your dough on a pizza pan. I grease my pan, then spread the refrigerated dough evenly on the pan. I pre-bake my dough for 5 minutes at 400 degrees to make it a bit more crispy.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and nutmeg. Drizzle the olive oil over the prepared crust. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella, spread the bite-sized kale pieces evenly on the dough. Drop little dollops of the ricotta mixture on top and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is starting to brown.


recipe slightly adapted from

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shrimp Pad Thai

I think my favorite style and flavors (aside from dessert, of course) would have to be Asian. Here's a simple Asian dish that's easy to put together (perfect for a weeknight meal), rather healthy, and very flavorful... delicious, in fact.

Shrimp Pad Thai
4 ounces dried pad Thai noodles (flat rice noodles)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
4 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 minced shallot
1 teaspoon dried lemongrass
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 large eggs
2 ounces cooked shrimp
2/3 cup finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons mung bean sprouts
lime wedges

Place the noodles in a medium bowl and cover with hot water; soak until softened, about 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, tamarind, fish sauce and vinegar and mix well to form a thick sauce. If you can't find the tamarind at your local market, sometimes you can find a Pad Thai mix in a pouch. Check the Asian aisle in your local market. In another small bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, shallots and lemongrass.

In a wok or skillet, heat the oil until it shimmers. Add the eggs and scramble them until just set and cooked through, but not browned. Add the shrimp, ginger mixture and noodles and mix until warmed through. Stir in the tamarind sauce and cook, stirring, until noodles are evenly coated (about 1 minute). Stir in the scallions.
Transfer the pad Thai to bowls. Garnish each bowl with peanuts, bean sprouts and a lime wedge.


recipe slightly adapted from

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pear, Parsnip, & Blue Cheese Tartines

These are such a delicious and easy appetizer or light meal. I paired these flavorful bites with some butternut squash soup (my favorite this time of year). They are decadent. They also feel kind of fancy, which I think is fun (Mark always says I'm also drawn to anything that sparkles - must make me feel fancy - like these tartines). Tartine: a French open-faced sandwich. Fancy, right?!

Pear, Parsnip, & Blue Cheese Tartines
1 baguette, sliced thinly along a diagonal*
1 pear
2 or 3 parsnips
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon sour cream or creme fraiche

*You can make this gluten-free by simply using a gluten-free baguette or gluten-free bread of your choice.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Shave the parsnips (they look like carrots, but they are white and don't taste like carrots at all) into very thin strips using a madolin slicer or vegetable peeler. (I just used a vegetable peeler because it meant I only needed to dirty one cutting utensil.) Rub the thin strips with the olive oil, place on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until starting to brown on the edges. Watch these carefully. If they are very thin, they'll burn easily. But making them thin also makes them crispy, so slice as thin as you can. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, spread a small amount of sour cream or creme fraiche on each little slice of baguette. Top with thinly sliced pear (I just used the vegetable peeler to slice thin strips of pear). Add a slice of blue cheese on top of the pear on each tartine. Place the tartines on a baking sheet and set oven to BROIL. Place the tartines in the oven and broil for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese starts to bubble. 

Remove the tartines from the oven and top with the crispy parsnip strips. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins


Oh I LOVE pumpkin!!!! I think I've mentioned this before. I could eat pumpkin everything this time of year... waffles, pancakes, cookies, soup, cappuccinos, bread, and MUFFINS! I found a recipe for a rather healthy pumpkin muffin - perfect for breakfast (from one of my favorite food bloggers - Annie's Eats). You don't have to feel guilty about these muffins. They have whole grains, fruit and veggies, and just a little sugar and oil (just a little won't hurt).

Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins
for the filling...
4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon honey

for the muffins...
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup canola oil
scant 1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

for the crumble topping...
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons quick oats
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cold, in pieces

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

First make the cream cheese filling. Whisk together in cream cheese and honey in a medium bowl until smooth (you can use an electric mixer to make it easier). Transfer the filling to a large ziplock bag or pastry bag and set aside.

Next make the crumble topping. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter in pieces and use clean fingers to blend the mixture into a crumble. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oil, and applesauce (you can use an electric mixer again for this part if you want). Blend until smooth. Add the flour, spices, salt, and baking soda to the mixture and blend until completely mixed.

Fill each muffin cup about 1/3 full with muffin batter. Snip a hole in the corner of the ziplock bag (or pastry bag) and squeeze a dollop of cream cheese filling on top of the batter in the center of each muffin cup. (I suppose you could also just drop it in with a spoon, but this method just seems much easier to me.) Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, topping each dollop of cream cheese with batter. Sprinkle the crumble topping on each muffin.


Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

I think these go perfectly with a cup of Chai Tea or a Pumpkin Cappuccino. Enjoy!

slightly adapted from

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

These are super easy to make and ohhhhhhh soooooo decadent. I made them gluten-free by simply using a gluten-free all-purpose flour. They're soft and gooey like a brownie with that delicious hazelnut flavor from the Nutella and the sea salt really adds the perfect kick to make it even more flavorful.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
1 cup Nutella
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips
sea salt

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except the sea salt. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle each cookie with a little sea salt. Bake for  8 to 10 minutes. Remove and cool slightly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.