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Friday, October 21, 2016

Cooking Show: Recipes for Halloween!

Our recent episode of the cooking show featured kid-friendly recipes for Halloween.

Thanks to the assistance of my nine-year-old sous chef, Lily, my counters were covered with spooktacular treats!

We mixed up a cauldron of Eyeball Punch.

Can you spot the eyeball ice cubes?
We then moved onto appetizers, beginning with Pretzel Broomsticks.  This turned out to be Lily's favorite recipe of the night!

Here's the printable recipe.

Next, we made Skeleton Veggies & Dip.  

Lily and I decided which veggies would best represent the bones from shoulders to toes!

Lily diligently went to work shredding string cheese for our Mummy Pizzas!

 Finally, for a sweet treat, we made Frozen Banana Ghost Pops.

Happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pretzel Broomsticks


Are you planning a Halloween party?  Or just looking for a fun Halloween-themed snack recipe? A quick to assemble, no cooking required, three-ingredient recipe?

Here you go:

Pretzel Broomsticks!  Made with pretzel sticks, sliced cheese and chives.   

I think they'd make a nice substitution for cheese & crackers at your next Halloween soiree!

Today's Playlist:
  • "Dead"...My Chemical Romance
  • "Perfect Situation"...Weezer
  • "Brown-Eyed Girl"...Lagwagon

Pretzel Broomsticks
  • pretzel sticks
  • sliced cheese (see note)
  • chives
NOTE:  Use a soft deli cheese that doesn't crumble when it's rolled, such as mozzarella or swiss.

Gather your ingredients.  I intentionally did not list any amounts in the ingredient list--it depends upon how many people you're serving. Each broomstick requires 1/2 slice of cheese, one pretzel and one chive.

Slice the cheese in half, and cut notches on one side (spaced approximately 1/4-inch apart, about halfway up the width of the slice).

Roll the half-slice of cheese around a pretzel stick, with the notches at the end.

Tie a chive around the top, securing the cheese to the pretzel.  

A single knot should suffice, it's not as if you will be using these snacks to play a tabletop game of broom hockey.  If you are going to use them to play broom hockey, however, I would suggest a double knot.  And perhaps you could use tiny olives as hockey pucks.

Snip off the long ends of the chives with scissors.

Serve immediately.

If you're preparing these in advance, refrigerate (covered with plastic wrap) until serving time.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Cooking Show: Fall Recipes!

Last week, we filmed a cooking show featuring fall-inspired recipes.

If you've been searching for a recipe or two that will take the chill out of these crisp, autumn days then you need not look any further!

We started off with Pumpkin Martinis.  If ever there was a martini that qualifies as comfort food, this is it.

Dan the Awesome Camera Man proclaimed, "When you get to the bottom, the marshmallows are delightful!"

Here is the printable recipe.

 We then prepared Chicken Orzo Soup with Fennel & Kale.  Bonafide comfort food!  Click here for the printable.

Then we moved on to Oven-Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes.  This picture simply does not do them justice.

How's this picture?  

I had made a batch before we started taping the show, I also made a double batch on camera and guess what?

They all disappeared by the end of the night.  Yes, they are that good!! Just peel and dice a sweet potato, mix it with olive oil and spices, pop it into your oven and that's it.

Here's the printable recipe.

And finally, our tasty finale, Pumpkin Gingerbread!

Click here for the printable recipe.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Pumpkin Martini

Okay, I'm going to continue along the pumpkin recipe path that I started last week...

and today we have a pumpkin martini.

It's creamy, it's pumpkin-y, it's cinnamon-y...and it has marshmallows!

Today's Playlist
  • "Rag and Bone"...The White Stripes
  • "On My Way"...Billy Boy on Poison
  • "Rhythm Doesn't Make You a Dancer"...John Fratelli
  • "Always Where I Need To Be"...The Kooks

Pumpkin Martini (makes 2 martinis)
  • 1 oz. vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz. Kahlua
  • 3 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon schnapps
  • 1 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
For garnish: cinnamon sugar, cinnamon sticks, mini-marshmallows

Gather your ingredients.

Place all martini ingredients into a cocktail shaker.  Add a handful of ice cubes, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.

Rim your martini glasses with the cinnamon sugar.

Strain your martinis from the cocktail shaker into your martini glasses.  Garnish with cinnamon sticks and mini marshmallows.  Cheers!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Chicken Orzo Soup with Fennel & Kale

Soup's on!

One more reason to be happy that cooler fall weather has finally arrived.  It makes me so happy to finally be able to simmer a pot of soup on the stove and not turn my kitchen into a steam bath, so I took a break from all the pumpkin recipes I've been trying out lately and made this soup!

I switched out a few ingredients from my usual chicken soup recipe, but if you're not feeling adventurous, go the traditional route and switch out the orzo for traditional noodles and use celery instead of fennel.

Today's Playlist:

  • "50 Ways To Say Goodbye"...Train
  • "Hey There Delilah"...Plain White T's
  • "Revolution"...The Beatles
  • "In the Next Room"...Neon Trees
  • "Paint It Black"...The Rolling Stones
  • "Warning"...Green Day
  • "Have Love Will Travel"...The Sonics
  • "Got To Move"...Cake
  • "Hate To Say I Told You So"...The Hives

Chicken Orzo Soup with Fennel & Kale
  • 2 stalks fennel, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 large or 3 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup uncooked orzo
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Gather your ingredients.

Chop the carrots, onion and fennel.  I pulled off a few of the fennel fronds and set them aside to use a garnish when serving.

In a large (6 to 8 quart) pot, heat the olive oil over medium/high heat.  Add the fennel, carrots and onions.  Crush in the garlic.  Add salt and pepper.  Saute the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften and get a little bit of color on the bottom of the pan.

Add the cooked chicken, bay leaf, rosemary and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Allow the soup to simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the orzo and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the orzo is cooked.  Finally, remove the bay leaf, add the chopped kale and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.


Friday, September 23, 2016

Oven-Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes

If you're looking for an easy recipe for a spectacular side dish, look no further!!

I'll sum up this recipe for you in one sentence: wash, peel and dice a sweet potato, stir with olive oil, cumin and paprika and bake for 25 minutes at 425 degrees.

How do they taste, you ask?

Out of this world. To-die-for. 

Yes, they are that good.

Don't just take my word for it.  Make some today!!

Today's Playlist
  • "The Girl Got Hot"...Weezer
  • "Ball and Biscuit"...The White Stripes
  • "Last Night"...The Strokes
  • "Joker and the Thief"...Wolfmother
  • "Where Is My Mind"...Pixies

Oven-Roasted Spiced Sweet Potatoes (4 servings)

  • 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Gather your ingredients.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a large (10" x 15") baking sheet with parchment.

Wash and peel your sweet potato.  Cut it into 3/4-inch cubes.  You should have about 3 cups of cubes.

Place the cubed sweet potatoes into a medium bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.  Stir to coat the potatoes with the oil.

Combine the cumin, paprika and salt in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes.  Stir to coat the potatoes with the spices.

Spread the potatoes into a single layer on your parchment-lined baking sheet.  Roast the potatoes for 25 minutes, until tender and easily pierced with a toothpick.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pumpkin Gingerbread

Happy first day of fall!  How should we celebrate?

With another pumpkin recipe, of course!!

This Pumpkin Gingerbread is so good.  The flavor-- though still predominantly ginger-- isn't quite as intense as typical gingerbread.  The addition of pumpkin tones the ginger flavor down a bit while adding lots of substance and body.

Add a drizzle of maple's a perfect celebration of fall.

Today's Playlist

  • "Rebel Rebel"...David Bowie
  • "Troublemaker"...Weezer
  • "I'm Yours"...Jason Mraz
  • "Dani California"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)"...Green Day
  • "Love Interruption"...Jack White
  • "In One Ear"...Cage the Elephant
  • "What A Wonderful World"...Joey Ramone
  • "Story of My Life"...Social Distortion
  • "All Day and All of the Night"...The Kinks

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Maple Glaze (makes one loaf)

Gingerbread ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 10 tablespoons melted butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
note: additional butter and flour needed for greasing the pan (or use non-stick cooking spray)

Maple Glaze ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • pinch of salt

Gather your ingredients.  Preheat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

Butter and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, or use nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, ginger, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl until combined.

In a large bowl, stir the melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, eggs and vanilla together until thoroughly combined.

It will be very liquidy and runny.

Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture just until incorporated.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan.  Bake for one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with only a few moist crumbs).

I can say from experience that this gingerbread takes about an hour and ten minutes in my oven, but I usually set the timer for one hour just in case.

And then I stick a toothpick into it, which comes out completely coated in wet batter, so I put it back into the oven for an additional 10 minutes.  

I just can't bring myself to bake it for one hour and ten minutes right from the get-go!  

While the gingerbread is baking, prepare your maple glaze.

Gather your ingredients.  You can see that there is some crystallized ginger in the photo. 

 I was thinking that I would chop the ginger and sprinkle it over the glaze, but a lot of thoughts went through my head as the gingerbread baked and by the time it came out of the oven I wasn't in the mood for crystallized ginger anymore.

Feel free to sprinkle your gingerbread with crystallized ginger if you have it. Or chopped pecans.

To prepare the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium/high heat until it's bubbly.  This will take about a minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla until combined.  It will bubble at first, but as you whisk it will calm down.

Whisk in the confectioners sugar and a pinch of salt until smooth.  Set aside until your gingerbread is finished baking.

Ta-da!  It finally passed the toothpick test.

I let the gingerbread cool down for about 10 minutes and then place it onto a serving platter.  Serve it while it's still warm, or after it's cooled.  Either way, it's out-of-this-world delicious!

You can either drizzle the glaze on top of the loaf (like the photo at the top of this post), or drizzle it over the slices as you serve them.