Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal….Yum!

My cousins daughter Christine is one of my Facebook friends! She happens to be a very talented cook, who should have her own food blog.  A few weeks ago, while perusing Facebook, I saw a recipe on her FB page for pumpkin pie oatmeal.  Hmmm...that sounded so delicious! I love oatmeal and pumpkin! I had oatmeal in the house but, no pumpkin so, I made a trip to the store and looked for pumpkin pie filling. Would you believe none of the stores I visited had any? So, I picked up a can of just plain pumpkin and added my own spices, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. This oatmeal was such a nice morning treat. Perfect for pumpkin season!  I know I’ll be making it quite often over the fall and winter! Delicious! Thank you, Christine!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Cook Oatmeal according to package directions
add to the pot 1 to 2 tablespoons (or to taste) of Libby’s canned Pumpkin Pie mix
(I used plain canned pumpkin and added the spices)
Toppings could include chopped walnuts or pecans, mini chocolate chips, raisins or dried cranberries.
This was quite easy and wonderfully delicious!  A great way to start your morning!

Oatmeal and pumpkin makes for a warm and comforting breakfast
I added about 2 Tablespoons of pumpkin to the cooking liquid along with spices
I also threw in raisins…we love our oatmeal with raisins or cranberries
Now enjoy….I garnished with some chopped nuts….a perfect way to start your day

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

TWD ~ Baking with Julia ~ Bagels

Beautiful bagels with cream cheese…fresh from the oven

So here I was in Florida! It’s 5:15 a.m., the sun is just coming up over the Gulf, and I’m baking bagels!!  I was seriously thinking of skipping this one but, I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making this wonderful bread!

The sun coming up over the beautiful Gulf at 5:15 in the morning
These were much easier than I anticipated.  Yesterday afternoon, while my husband was getting ready to go to the beach, I mixed the dough for the bagels. This was quite straight forward and I was done in about 15 minutes…not bad! I put the dough in a buttered bowl and left it to rise, while we took a nice long walk on the beach.  When we got back, about 2 hours later, the dough had risen quite nicely.  I deflated it and put it into the fridge overnight.
That brings us to this morning.  After I had my first cup of tea, I pulled out the Baking with Julia Book, along with the dough, and started the process of bagel baking. First, I divided the dough in half. I then cut one half into five pieces and placed the other half back into the fridge. Shaping the bagels was a bit confusing for me; until I reread the directions for a second time.  Once I had that process down, the rest went quite well. Filling a pot with enough water for a boiling water bath, I added sugar and baking soda to the pot. I then dropped the shaped bagels into the water bath for a minute on each side. When removed from the water bath, I  placed them on a towel to drain. It was then time to place them on the baking sheet, brush with an egg white wash, sprinkle with toppings and bake!
These were incredible! My husband and I both enjoyed them for breakfast! What could be better than fresh baked bagels from the oven?  The start to a wonderful day! Happy Tuesday everyone!

Todays recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie, was by contributing baker Lauren Groveman. You might want to check out this video on PBS,  where you can see Lauren Groveman and Julia making these bagels.  Our host this week is Heather of Heather Byte´s where you can find the complete recipe.  

Sesame seeds, kosher salt, cornmeal and a wonderful sesame seed blend 
Shaping the bagels…getting them ready for a water bath
The water bath…1 minute on each side
Placed on a baking sheet and ready for the oven. Oven is preheated to 500〫
then turned down to 450〫….throwing a few ice cubes and ¼ cup of water onto the oven floor to promote steam. 
Wonderfully delicious bagels…not bad for a first try!
I can’t wait to give these another try…now that I’ve got the process down….I see a cinnamon-raisin bagel in my future!

Friday, October 12, 2012

FFWD ~ Crispy Crackly Apple Almond Tart

Crispy Crackly Apple Almond Tart
Treats come to us in different ways! For my husband and I, our treat was staying with our wonderful grandsons for the week; while my son and daughter-in-law were in Paris.  Getting to know our grandkids on such a personal level was so rewarding.  Our days were filled with getting them to school, picking them up from school, sports and bedtime routines.  My grandsons love playing basketball with their grandfather…they play PIG ( another version of HORSE )!  Helping with homework this week, my husband invented a new kind of PIG by using my younger grandsons spelling words. He got 100% on the test!! Yea!  C plays football for his middle school and R plays little league. Everyday was quite busy, except sunday! So we decided to visit the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.  A suggestion made by my older grandson.  We had a great time browsing the huge mineral collection.  My younger grandson was quite taken by the dinosaur poop in the dinosaur section. Go figure, he’s eight!  They both loved panning for gem stones. We all got to dig for sharks teeth and fossils at the museum dig site. This was a really lovely museum with a lot of hands on activities for kids. If you’re ever in the Atlanta area you should check it out!!
Checking out the dinosaur poop….a huge hit for R
The sign said “Do Not Touch"
Panning for gems

Oh, and lets not forget about “Ice Cream Fridays”.  Something we started a few years ago while watching the kids.  So after watching my youngest grandsons flag football game, we headed to Menchies Frozen Yogurt store. This store is fun! You get a big cup to fill with whatever flavors of yogurt you want and then, pick your toppings to make your own sundae. Something my younger grandson needs to be guided through, or he would be eating a quart of frozen yogurt.

Friday, October 5, 2012

FFWD ~ Hummus bi Tahini

Delicious Hummus bi Tahini

This recipe is probably the easiest I’ve done for French Fridays.  Hummus is an Arabic word meaning “chickpeas”.  Hummus is something I grew up on…well kind of.  I don’t remember my grandmother making it.  Maybe because; back then there were no blenders or food processors.  However, my Auntie Mary was the hummus maker in our family. She would make it for parties and get togethers. The first time I remember eating this wonderful concoction was while visiting my three aunties with my mother. I guess I was in my early teens. Hummus is a national dish in Lebanon along with tabouleh. They even have contests with Israel to see who makes the best and biggest!

In May 2010, the Guinness World Record for the largest dish of hummus
in the world, returned to Lebanon. The winning dish, cooked by 300 cooks
in the village of al-Fanar near Beirut, weighed approximately 10450 kg (roughly 23000 lb)

When I was a young bride, I started to make it myself to bring to family gatherings. After one such event, my sister asked me how hard it was to make. She wanted to make some herself.  I gave her the recipe from a Lebanese cookbook my mother had given me when I got married.  I told her how easy it was. Just put everything into the blender jar.  A few days later my sister called, telling me she would never make hummus again…it took her forever to peel all those chick peas!! My mom and I laughed so hard at the thought of her peeling each and every chick pea in the Progresso can. My sister and I still laugh about it today!
So I made my hummus, but I don’t mess with a good thing. Sorry Dorie but, you can’t improve on our recipe.  However, Dories recipe is quite close.  I would never put cumin in my hummus! It’s done quite often, but not by me.  I also use more lemon juice…about a ¼ cup or to taste. Always from fresh lemons.  If it seems too thick, you can thin it with about ½ cup of water.  Sometimes I add other ingredients, to change it up a bit, like roasted red peppers. That’s what I did with this one!  In my house, you can’t have a holiday appetizer table with out hummus and pita chips. I often make it for myself to eat during the week for lunch, with veggies or pita.  My four year old grandsons love it for lunch sometimes eating it by spoonfuls! Hey it’s healthy…so why not enjoy!!  Happy Friday everyone!!
This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspans cookbook “Around My French Table”.  To see what my fellow Doristas are doing check it out here.
I always use Progresso chick peas,  fresh lemon juice, fresh garlic cloves and tahini…some times I add roasted red pepper
or sun dried tomatoes.
It’s so easy in the food processor
A wonderful concoction…yum!
I always drizzle olive oil on mine

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

TWD ~ Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves

Baking with Julia ~ TWD ~ Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Loaves
It's pumpkin season! Halloween is near and our recipe for this weeks Baking with Julia is a spectacular Cranberry-Walnut Pumpkin Bread! An ode to fall!  It’s not your baking soda quick bread version, rather a wonderfully aromatic yeast bread that is moist, rich and so delicious! A Pumpkin bread that is reminiscent of a brioche and, is so perfect for this time of the year. 
I found this recipe easy to mix…first whisking the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together…set aside. In a small bowl, mix water with yeast and rest for about 5 minutes.  In a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar till creamy.  Then add the pumpkin and egg and beat until blended. I had pumpkin in my freezer left over from last years crop of pumpkins so, I thawed it the night before I intended on baking my bread. A perfect use of my frozen pumpkin and so much better than the canned stuff.Add the yeast to the mixer and then start to add the flour.  Change to a dough hook and mix and knead for about 10 to 15 minutes.  It took me about 5 extra minutes to get a good dough.  This dough is treated similarly to a brioche. It is left to rise till doubled in size, then deflated and refrigerated overnight.  The next day the dough has to rest at least  3 to 4 hours.   Divide the dough into thirds and place in three small 5¾ inch by 3¼ loaf pans.  Let rise 1½ to 2 hours till doubled in size, then bake.  Now be ready to enjoy this wonderfully delicious bread.  I cut the first loaf while still warm and, enjoyed it with some butter…Incredible!! I think next time it would be wonderful to make a spiced butter with some ginger or cinnamon.  I know there will be a next time. This will definitely become part of my fall baking repertoire! 
When I left to visit my son in Atlanta; I packed up the two remaining loaves and we made some french toast with it in the morning…delectable! This was a great pick and I’m so glad I was able to squeeze it in before I left for vacation!  Happy Tuesday, everyone!
This is posted in participation with the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group. The recipe for Cranberry, Pumpkin & Walnut Loaf can be found on the site of this week's host ~ Rebecca at This Bountiful Backyard.

Yeast mixed with water
Pumpkin and eggs added to butter mixture
 Starting to form a dough…it took me about 20 minutes of kneading
Adding the fruit and nuts
Mixed and ready to rise
The next day, after the dough has warmed and risen….divide and place into prepared pans
Beautiful and ready for the oven
I brushed each loaf with a bit of milk to give them a shine and let them cool
A spectacular delicious bread….welcomes Autumn 
Delicious with butter or just plain…I enjoyed mine with my cup of tea!