Breakfast Pumpkin Scones


breakfastpumpkin scones

I woke up this morning thinking pumpkin! Not pancakes, not muffins, but scones! It’s been awhile since I’ve made scones and being home today I thought it would be nice to have a warm, flaky, buttery scone right out if the oven, YUM! Scones can be bought at coffee shops, bakeries, and markets but there’s nothing like a homemade pumpkin scone, or any scone for that matter. The recipe is super simple, and you can prepare them in a matter of minutes.  Scones also make a  great grab and go breakfast.  I love my scone with a dab of butter, or cream cheese. You may also use jams, marmalades, nut butters, nutella and anything else spreadable you can think of.

Ingredients

2 cups flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons fat free or regular half-and-half
1 egg beaten
confectioner’s sugar for dusting

In a medium sized bowl, add your flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. Next add your cold butter. Use a pastry cutter to incorporate your butter until it appears crumbly. In another bowl mix your egg, pumpkin, and half and half. Add your wet ingredients to your flour mixture, and knead your dough onto a floured surface. Don’t roll it out too much, it should have a messy texture. Roll into a one inch thickness, and use your pizza cutter to cut triangle scones. Triangles are the typical shape of a scone, but you can make squares, circles etc. You can also make your pumpkin scones as big as you like. I made mini scones which gave me 16. Place your scones on a sprayed cookie sheet or silpat and bake at 425 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, they should appear golden brown on top. Dust your scones with confectioner’s sugar, or homemade icing. Enjoy!

pumpkin scone

breakfastpumpkin scones

Chocolate Graham Cracker Truffles

chocolategrahmacrackertruffles  So I’m getting into the spirit of the holiday season and to start it off, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! I can’t help but think of the holiday treats I want to make, there are so many. I was in charge of bringing a dessert to my sister’s house tomorrow, so I thought chocolate. After a big Thanksgiving meal, a luscious piece of chocolate in the form of a truffle would hit the spot. After all who doesn’t love chocolate? Well actually my husband, he’s nuts! My decadent chocolate graham cracker truffles are easy, and a dessert you can make ahead of time and store in your freezer until you need them. Mine will be in my fridge tonight for tomorrow’s feast!

Ingredients you will need…

3 cups confectioners sugar

3 cups chocolate chips, I used Ghirardeli

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

12 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs , plus more for coating truffles

zest of 1 orange

1/2 tsp ground ginger, optional

In a double boiler add your chocolate chips. You can also place a bowl over a pot with boiling water. Let them melt completely. I transfer my melted chocolate to a mixing bowl, you don’t have to. Add your confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, graham crackers, orange zest, and ginger. Mix well, and let sit and cool in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Once it has hardened, you can use a melon baller, or tablespoon and make rounded chocolate balls. Roll your chocolate in graham cracker crumbs and set aside. You may also roll your chocolate truffles in peanuts, sprinkles, mint candies, mini chocolate chips, and whatever you can think of. You may also swap out your vanilla extract for another extract, or add a little zing with some rum for the adults! This is a variable recipe. you can add more spices, and make these truffles as big or as small as you like. I made about 30 with mine. You can easily freeze your chocolate graham cracker truffles in Tupperware and place plastic wrap around it. I hope you enjoy these!

Julian’s Zucchini Pancakes

julianspancakes

I named this Julian’s Zucchini Pancakes because my baby boy Julian just loves zucchini! He gobbles up these pancakes like a champ! They are super easy to make and he loves them, that makes me smile :O)

Zucchini is one of those vegetables that’s very versatile. You can fry it like how I’m showing you today, my favorite… you can stuff it, make soup out of it, chop it with fellow vegetables, and so on and so on. It’s sweet and healthy, and always a staple in my home.

This simple recipe can also become breakfast, just add some toast. Or maybe just a side dish for dinner alongside some rice. It’s delicious no matter what time of day you make it. Just make it!  Here’s how easy they were to put together…

Ingredients

1 medium zucchini, shredded

1 egg beaten

2 tablespoons flour, this can vary

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon baking powder

olive oil for frying

butter for frying

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl, add your shredded zucchini. I used my box grater, you may use a food chopper as well. Next you must drain out your zucchini. If you don’t your pancakes can be too soggy. I literally squeeze the life out of my zucchini by hand. You can also place your zucchini after shredded in a colander and let the water drip down into another bowl. This takes more time. If your like me and you want it done now, squeeze it! Now, add to your mixing bowl along with your beaten egg, parmesan cheese, baking powder, flour, salt and pepper. I do a dash of each salt and pepper, then add more salt later on. Check out your batter. Is it too watery? If so, add more flour. Mix well, and now your ready to fry. To a frying pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and a pat of butter. Butter adds flavor, YUM! Use a spoon to make your pancakes. I used a tablespoon, and ended up with 10 zucchini pancakes.  My pan held about 5 pancakes, so keep adding more oil and butter for the next batch. After you are done frying, remove them from your pan and place on a dish lined with paper towel to remove excess oil. Sprinkle with more salt and that’s it! These are best if eaten right away. Why wait…Enjoy!

Sweet and Tangy Turkey Meatballs

swet and tangy turkey meatballsGrowing up Italian, I’ve had my share of mama’s meatballs! They are scrumptious! I still love them til this day, especially when my mom brings them over already made,  with extra sauce and all! My meatballs are definitely different then my mother’s. They are sweet and tangy, and not a typical red sauced Italian style meatball. I lightly fry in olive oil to seal in flavor like my mother, but at times I slow cook mine in a crock pot instead of on the stove top. My recipe goes well with a side of rice, noodles or some wholesome veggies. Here is how I make my sweet and tangy turkey meatballs!

Ingredients

1 1/4 pound ground turkey, I used Jennie-O

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup breadcrumbs, seasoned

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons barbeque sauce, I love Sweet Baby Rays ( plus 1/2 cup more for crockpot)

2 tablespoons apricot preserves (again, 1/2 cup more for the crockpot)

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash of pepper

1 egg

olive oil for frying

1 cup chicken stock

Directions

In a large mixing bowl add your turkey, egg, onion, breadcrumbs, parmesan, barbeque sauce, apricot preserves, salt, and pepper. Mix well and shape into mini meatballs. For my 1 1/4 pounds of turkey I got 33 meatballs. I used a tablespoon measure to make them even. You can make them whatever size you like, big, small, extra large! Make ’em your own. Just know that the bigger the meatball the longer cooking time.

After they were measured out, my 33 little tangy meatballs went straight into my non stick pan with a little olive oil. Cook on medium low until browned on all sides. You do not need to cook them through. Next, in your crock pot add 1/2 cup barbeque sauce, 1/2 cup apricot preserves and a little chicken stock to loosen it up a bit. I used 1 cup. Add your meatballs, and cook on low for at least 2 hours. You can cook them longer too. Mine were minis so they cooked pretty fast. Check on them, give them a shake, stir them around. If you need more sauce just add it. You may also add more sauce to a serving bowl and serve them that way.  Make some rice on the side for a quick meal, or serve as party appetizers with tooth picks at your next event! Enjoy!

You May Also Like…

apricot glazed chicken meatballsMini Taco Meatballs

How To Bake A Fresh Pumpkin

pumpkincookingFor the past few weeks my porch has been decorated will all things Fall, especially bright orange pumpkins! They have definitely served their purpose in making my house look festive, however I am ready to use them for some traditional Fall recipes.

I’ve chosen a smaller pumpkin to bake today to use in a future pumpkin pie recipe. I will puree and store it in the freezer until I need it.  Let me say that first off fresh pumpkin if very different from canned pumpkin.

Here’s what you will need and how I baked my beautiful pumpkin.

1 pumpkin, any size

1 cup water

1 large baking pan

Start by rinsing your pumpkin under cool water to clean the skin of any dirt or possible bugs. Preheat your oven now too, at 450F.

Next slice your pumpkin in half carefully with a sharp knife, watch your fingers!

Slice your pumpkin in half.

Next scoop out any pumpkin seeds with a spoon or ice cream scoop. Save your seeds for roasting and enjoy them as a snack!

Face pumpkin cut side down adding 1 cup of water to keep your pumpkin from drying out You may also wrap your pumpkin in aluminum foil if you wish. This will help steam your pumpkin.

Cooked Fresh Pumpkin

Once your pumpkin is cooked through after at least 45 minutes, it will seem darker in color. It will have a rich rusty orange color. You can piece your pumpkin with a knife to check for doneness. Your knife should easily poke right through your cooked pumpkin.

cooked pumpkin scooped out

Next, scoop out your cooked pumpkin with your ice cream scoop or spoon, and add to a bowl. You can see the steam coming out of my pumpkin!

mashing your pumpkin

At this point, you’ll want to mash your pumpkin, at least I like to. You can use a potato masher, a food mill, (this green one was used for making baby food) a blender or I chose to use my mini Cuisinart food chopper to get a really smooth consistency.creamed and pureeed pumpkin I pureed my cooked pumpkin in batches since I have a mini food chopper. You can do it all at once if you have a large one.

storing your cooked pumpkin

These are just some of my many baby food containers that I have used for making my own baby food. They come in handy for my pumpkin. They each measure out 2 ounces. My cooked pumpkin has accumulated a full 2 cups, so I will be using 8 of these containers. Just ignore the engraved veggies on the lid, you know you’ve got pumpkin in there!stored pumpkin in cute containers.

My containers are filled and ready to go into my freezer. I just want to make sure they are at room temperature first. As you can see I have cleaned my pumpkin seeds. I will roast them and save them for snacking and salads. Enjoy!cleaned pumpkin seeds ready for roasting.

Pinto Bean Chicken Soup

beansoup

It’s a cold day here in New York, so I decided to make something to warm the heart and the stomach! This hearty pinto bean chicken soup is my take on soup meets chili. You can eat this by itself, or how I like it with a side a tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream. It’s a recipe that can be made ahead of time, and be reheated when ready to use. You may store it in batches when you need a quick lunch or supper too!

Here’s what you’ll need to make this heart warming meal…

2-tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion

2 cloves of garlic chopped

3 carrots

2-3 small potatoes of your liking

1-15 ounce can of pinto beans. You can substitute for cannellini

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

2 cups low sodium chicken stock, I used organic free range

1/2 cup water

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder

3 tablespoons cilantro chopped, or as much as you like

sour cream, low fat, non fat, or FULL Fat!

Tortilla chips

( some people add in celery, since I’m not a big fan I didn’t add any in)

In a large pot, heat up your olive oil. Add in onion and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes until softened. Then add your potatoes, and carrots. Stir well and add your chicken stock and half a cup of water. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parmesan, and add bay leaves. Let simmer until your potatoes and carrots seem to soften a bit. Add your drained pinto beans and cooked chicken to the pot, stir occasionally. Let the soup cook on low for 30-40 minutes. Since your chicken is already cooked and the beans are right out of the can, they just need to be warmed through.  Check for salt. The chicken stock I use is always low sodium, so you may need a touch more salt. Add your cilantro just before serving as a garnish on top of each bowl. Break out the tortilla chips, and sour cream and you’ve got a really good one pot meal! Enjoy!

How To Dry Fresh Sage and Oregano

Dried Sage and Oregano

Dried Sage and Oregano

I love using fresh herbs, but buying them can be expensive and wasteful at times. Drying them out provides a longer shelf life and lots of savory flavor.  Over the past 3 years once the frost has gone, I planted some of my own herbs in my garden.  Oregano, sage, parsley, mint, chives to name a few are the ones I most use. This and every year I have dried them so I can have them for months on hand to use in my recipes.  Here’s how to dry sage and oregano straight from your garden!

First I went outside and clipped my sage and oregano with kitchen sheers. I then took them inside and rinsed them with cool water. Many people don’t rinse their herbs, and just shake them off. I feel since there are animals outside, like those cute little squirrels I’ve seen in my garden, I do the not want to take a chance in contaminated herbs! After you rinse them well, place them flat on a paper towel to dry up the water a bit. I have bundled the sage and oregano up separately with a rubber band to hold them together. You can use twine, string, or aluminum foil to wrap around too. Just keep the end tight because next your going to hang the herbs up to dry. From the rubber band I attached a paper clip to make a hook for hanging.  You can see in the picture above how I did it.  I then hung up my sage and oregano to dry by my kitchen window. I hung mine for a week, and they seemed ready. Some people hang theirs in a brown paper bag, this is optional.IMG4787

You may also use a food dehydrator

You can hang yours anywhere, just make sure they are tied well, and hung upside down like this pic.

When they are completely dried out, they will seem crispy and crackly! They are ready for you to crumble and place in jars for future use.

Here’s how I did it…

I’ve already started to crumble my herbs above. You can do this on a cutting board, or paper towels between your hands. They herbs give off such an amazing scent! You’ll want to start using them right away.

IMG4797IMG4800

Since becoming a new mom, I had managed to save up those little glass baby food jars. I know one day they would come in handy for something. This is a great way to store your dried herbs. On the right I have a plastic baby food storage cup that can be frozen. On the left I have a glass jar, both I have labeled and ready to go in my kitchen pantry! You can buy some glass jars if you don’t have any on hand. Don’t let your herbs go to waste, dry them, store them, and use them well! Enjoy!