Thursday, September 22, 2016

Miss Marian's Pumpkin Cookies

When I was a single girl, I purchased my first home next to a very nice older couple.  They were the nicest neighbors anyone could ever wish for.  Every year Miss Marian would bake these wonderful pumpkin shaped cookies for Halloween and give them out as treats.  Unfortunately today, you can't give such treats out because they will end up in the trash can.  After I got married and moved away from the neighborhood, I would take my kids to their house every Halloween for those treats. THEY wanted those cookies and looked forward to them every year!  Even though she shared that recipe, I never made those cookies. 

One day I decided to make them.  Well, well, well, I got bad reviews and scolded that they did not taste like hers!  I put the recipe away and never made them again.  Years went on, the kids got older and did not go out for Halloween any more, so no more cookies for them. We moved again and somehow that recipe got lost, the kids still always talking about her pumpkin cookies, and me telling them to be quiet about the pumpkin cookies.
 So it's Fall again, Halloween is right around the corner.  My husband, thinking like he always does, stops at their house as he is passing by one day, and asks her for the recipe.  He brings it home to me and asks me to make the cookies, again.  Here is the result, much better this time, as I am older and wiser about baking at least.  The kids (they're adults now) are enjoying their pumpkin cookies with milk.  Everybody is happy, it's Fall again!
Recipe below.
To print recipe click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

A few ingredients to start with. Almost everything you would have I'm sure, except the molasses.
Get the ingedients going in the heavy duty mixer, and you get this nice ball of soft, gingery dough.
Line baking sheets with parchement, you don't want them to stick.
 Cut them out with a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter.  Ms. Marion used the old Tupperware pumpkin cookie cutter that had a face on it .  I had the same cutter, but that too got lost when we moved.  I wanted sprinkles on the cookies, my daughter said no, they have to look like Ms. Marion's.  So she hand cut faces on the cookies and drew lines on some of them.
 So here they are, THE COOKIES. No pumpkin in them, just shaped like pumpkins.  These truly are the best Fall cookie, they're soft, not too sweet and full of the aroma's of Fall.  You get lost with them, a glass of milk, a cup of tea or coffee.  HAPPY FALL EVERYONE!
Ms. Marion's Pumpkin Cookies

3 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Grandma's Molasses
1 egg, beaten

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger and cinnamon, set aside.  Cream together the butter, sugar, molasses and egg.  When all is combined, gradually add the dry ingredients until a soft dough forms, scraping sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the flour mixture.  Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Dust your work surface with a little flour, so the dough does not stick.  Roll dough out to 1/8 inch thick and cut with cookie cutters into shape.  Place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  As always, all ovens vary, the cookies are done when they are no longer shiny, they retain their same color, they do not brown like other cookies.  Take out of the oven, let cool on sheet for 3 minutes, transfer to wire cooling rack.  Amount of cookies will vary with the type of cutter you use.  I used a big 4 x 3 1/2 inch pumpkin cutter, and the recipe made 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"We're Gettin' Sauced" Noodles

Trying new things is always hard for me, especially when it comes to food dishes.  Thoughts run around in my head the whole time I am putting new ones together, will the hubby like it, was it a waste of time, a waste of money for the ingredients, can I make it vegan if my vegan son is eating, and last, will I like it after putting so much time and effort standing in front of a hot stove cooking it.  Well, I can honestly say with this dish I had no fears.  It was awesome and can't wait to eat the little bit of leftovers, unless someone else gets to them before me!  Maybe I should hide them in the drawer in the fridge, no one ever looks in there. Hmmm...
Recipe below.
To print recipe click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

I started with Italian sausage, and removed the casings.  Break it up in a frying pan in smaller chunky pieces.
 In another larger pan,  some olive oil, garlic, onion and seasonings.  Caramelizing the onions, gives great flavor.
 Next up , colorful peppers!
 Add 1 can of crushed tomatoes and a can of diced, and don't forget to add some of the good stuff, white wine!  Add the sausage and some of drippings from the pan.  Stir it up and let it go! 
These are my favorite Pappardelle from Trader Joe's.  They are perfect for this dish, catches all the sauce, but you can use any brand you like.
Cook them up to your likeness and drain. To me, fully cooked is best, not al dente.
Slowly add them into the sauce a little at a time, mix them in good. And here it is, look how luscious this looks!
These are not dripping with sauce noodles, there is a lot of sauce, but covering the wide noodles
 uses a lot of it. But no worries, they're not dry, just very tasty. 
As always, don't forget the grated cheese! Oh, and the bread too.
"We're Gettin' Sauced" Noodles

Olive oil
6 4-5" Italian sausage links, remove the casings, can also use a mix of hot and sweet 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large sweet onion, cut in half then sliced thick
1 red bell pepper, cut in 1" chunks
1 orange bell pepper, cut in 1" chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, more if you like heat
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3/4 cup of white wine
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 15 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
8-10 leaves fresh basil, rolled up and sliced
2 8 oz packages Pappardelle noodles

In a heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium - high heat.  When oil is hot, add the sausage and break it up into smaller chunks, but not like ground beef.  Cook until no longer pink. Set aside.

In another larger pan, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium - high heat.  Add the garlic, onion, bell peppers, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning.  Cook and stir until onions and peppers are caramelized. Turn the heat off, and add the wine. Stir in wine, turn the heat back on.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and sugar; add the sausage and a little bit of the drippings from the pan, parsley and basil, then stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, let the sauce simmer for 11/2 hours.

When ready to cook noodles, fill a large pot 3/4 of the way full with salted water.  Bring to a boil, add the noodles and cook to your liking. I think fully cooked noodles are better with this dish, instead of al dente. When noodles are done, drain them, add to the sauce slowly, tossing them in after each addition.  Serve immediately. Garnish with grated cheese or grated cheese shavings.  Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Blueberry Hill Muffins

Stocking up on the last of this season's blueberries, we go through a lot of berries in this house all year long.  Whether fresh or frozen, everyone here is always looking for berries to eat.  I just purchased 2 big containers of them at the grocery store, and before they disappeared I wanted to use some of them to make blueberry muffins.  These muffins are light, moist, packed with blueberries in every bite, and the secret, they're vegan.  Muffins are not just for breakfast anymore people, the worlds eating habits are changing, you can now eat them for a snack or dessert too, enjoy!
Recipe below.
To print recipe, click on it, highlight and print.
To view photos in a larger format, click on them.

With just a few ingredients I made delicious muffins, and no mixer was required.
 I use this handy dandy tool for making perfect rounded muffins.
 Baking up just right.
 Makes 12 muffins, but I'm sure that will not be enough. Wow they look fantastic!
Let them rest for about 5 minutes in the pan, then loosen them a bit, and pop them out.  Look nothing stuck!
 Just the right size for snacking.   I love when blueberries burst open, they are so juicy!
 Couldn't wait for them to cool, so I broke one in half and shared it with my daughter.  We were taste testing to make sure they were good for everyone else to eat, hahaha.....and they were!
 Perfect little muffins, not overly sweet and they're vegan, a plus! Don't be afraid of the vegan label, all that means is I did not use dairy or eggs in the batter.
 Blueberry Hill Vegan Muffins
2 tablespoons Earth's Balance vegan butter, for greasing the muffin tin
2 cups unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest from 2 small lemons
3/4 cup cane sugar
1 cup almond milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Thoroughly grease the muffin tin with the 2 tablespoons of vegan butter.  Be sure to coat every cup so the muffins do not stick, and remove any large clumps of butter.  

In a medium bowl,  whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest, set aside.  In a larger bowl, whisk together the sugar, milk, oil and vinegar, mix well.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.  Do not over mix the batter, you will have tough muffins.  Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula.  With a small ice cream scoop, fill each cup in the prepared muffin tin. You will have enough batter to make 12 muffins.

Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of each muffin comes out clean, about 22 - 25 minutes depending on your oven.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Pop them out on a wire rack, turn them over and let them cool completely.