Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Carving

We carved our pumpkins tonight since we didn't have any other Halloween plans. Justin didn't feel like using a pattern this year and just drew a face and carved it out. I found a free dog pattern online and printed it out. I was expecting it to be a big fail, but I think I did pretty darn good! I have never done a pattern that require shading before so that was new to me.

Here they are!

Justin's scary face and my dog

Justin wondering why I always insist on taking his picture

Happy Halloween!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies were posted in a community I frequent and since I love everything pumpkin, I decided to give 'em a go. They are great! I don't know if they are meant to, but mine came out melt in your mouth soft. So good!

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
2.In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
3.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.
4.To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.

Original Recipe here!

Chili & Cornbread

I made chili for dinner tonight and I think it is the best recipe I have found yet! It is simple and delicious. The cornbread was my first attempt at homemade, and it came out OK, nothing to write home about though.

Blue Ribbon Chili

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1 (8 ounce) jar salsa
4 tablespoons chili seasoning mix
1 (15 ounce) can light red kidney beans
1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans

1.In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ground beef and the onion and saute for 10 minutes, or until meat is browned and onion is tender. Drain grease, if desired.
2.Add the ground black pepper, garlic salt, tomato sauce, salsa, chili seasoning mix and kidney beans. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least an hour.

Recipe found here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

4 Years Together!

Today was our 4 year anniversary! I almost thought Justin wasn't going to do anything, but then he brought home these beautiful flowers. :)

We had a nice dinner together and are just relaxing around the house. We both had to work this weekend, so we didn't plan anything too exciting.

On a less happy note, Pinky took it upon herself to go for a run through the woods last night. The result was this:

Some pretty nasty scratches! She had some up her side too, but her fur is mostly covering them. We cleaned her up and put some Neosporin on them. They looked quite a bit better today, so hopefully they heal without any problems.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's all the hype about pumpkin beer?

I have heard tons of hype about pumpkin beer from at least a dozen people this fall, so I decided to give it a try. To be fair, I grabbed two different brands(one that is raved about and one from a local brewer) to make sure I was getting a full picture.

The contenders:

I was a little nervous because the last flavored beer I tried was Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, and let me tell you, that was vomit inducing with just one sip!

Of course, I made Justin taste each one first. His opinion was "tastes like beer". I thought I would try to be the sophisticated one and point out the spices or "autumn tones"...but nope, he was right. Tastes like beer!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Reese's Cake

I was trying to decide what kind of cake to make for a coworkers Birthday, and stumbled across this.

The cake was for an older man that is "retired" but still works part time. When I asked him how old he was turning he told me 21, but I think it's more like 68-70. His wife has been in and out of the hospital, and he has just had a rough time lately. He is a total chocolate and candy addict, so I thought this cake would make him smile.

I admit, mine did not come out nearly as pretty(probably not as yummy either) as the one I linked to, but overall I think I did decent. I have never made a cake from scratch so this was a complete first. Hopefully I get better at it with more practice!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Swiss Chicken Casserole

I tried this casserole for dinner tonight. It was quick to throw together, and tasty!

Swiss Chicken Casserole

6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 slices Swiss cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 cup milk
2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1/4 cup butter

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Arrange chicken in a greased 12 x 8 x 2 baking dish. Top with Swiss cheese slices.
3.Combine soup and milk and stir well. Spoon mixture over chicken and sprinkle with stuffing mix. Drizzle butter or margarine over crumbs.
4.Cover and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 minutes.

Original Recipe

Spicy Pumpkin Bread

I got off work early today, so I decided to make some pumpkin bread. I could only locate one of my loaf pans, so I ended up making a pan of muffins as well. I'm not sure where the original recipe came from because I copied it from an email quite some time ago.

This bread is awesome! It has just the right mix of spicy and sweet.

Pumpkin Bread
*Don't forget to adjust cooking times for size of loaf pan or muffins

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
2.In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
3.Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

This is another recipe I found on I think it came out pretty well. I mean, it wasn't amazing, but it was good.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tart apples - peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons pecans (optional)

1.Preheat oven to 175 degrees F (80 degrees C). Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.
2.Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until done. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.
3.In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.
4.Continue cooking sauce uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops. Sprinkle with pecans.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Eventful Sunday

It was a very busy Sunday! I got to sleep in with Justin and the dogs, which is a very rare occurrence between work and school. I didn't roll out of bed until almost 9 A.M. and then jumped in the shower to get ready to go out with the girls. My friend took us out to the venue where she will be having her wedding, so we could check it out and take pictures for decorating purposes. We then headed to the bridal show at Crystal Gardens. I can't say we got many ideas for her wedding, but we did sample entirely too much cake, and threw back some mimosas during the food tasting!

When I got home I surprised Justin with a super delicious ice cream cake.

The Birthday boy and his cake!

I think the spiral candles are super cool...dorky, I know

We stuck the cake in the freezer for later, and went to Outback for dinner.

Justin enjoying a blooming onion and a beer

We ran the leftovers home and went to the movies and saw Easy A. It was a surprisingly good movie, and a relaxing end to an awesome day!