Resolutions Smesolutions

Happy 2012!! I’m really looking forward to what I can accomplish this year! That being said, I’m not the biggest fan of New Year Resolutions. I usually like to set the bar pretty low, so I’m not too disappointed in myself when I don’t lose 50 pounds or go to the gym 7 days a week. I also like to make small decisions all year long on how to better my life, once I make one thing routine, I can move on to the next one. That’s the plan anyway :)

It’s been a while since I’ve made a positive change, so there are a few small things I’ve resolved to be better at this year.

Most importantly, I’d like to be consistent. In all aspects of my life: Schedules, attitude, making healthy decisions, personal growth, and blogging! I tend to have highs and lows throughout the year when it comes to my productivity and I’d really like to always be accomplishing something. By sticking to a consistent frame of mind I feel I’d be absolutely successful, in whatever I choose to do.

Another thing, is getting back to the basics. By this I mean, trying to remember and work on the building blocks of relationships, physical/mental health, cooking, and learning. I am always trying to go over the top with everything I do, which causes me to stress out and go bat-sh*t crazy, and often fail. So I’m going to focus on the basics. If I can accomplish those while staying relatively stress-free than I will move on to more fantastical things!

I hope that I can apply these “blanket-resolutions” this year. We shall see.;)

What are you resolving to do this year?

Sinful Scalloped Potatoes

These potatoes were so creamy I could barely refrain from taking one test bite. Luckily, I was cooking for a large group and that kept me from OD’ing on heavy cream. These scalloped potatoes are so easy, minus the prep time, if you don’t have a mandoline. Which I don’t, Nerd wants to “research” them to make sure we get a good one… Oh, Nerd.

Sometimes there is something kinda therapeutic about doing the same slicing action over, and over…and over. But mostly, I want things done QUICK! Anyway, just make sure you share these, and let the people you share them with know you didn’t use a mandoline, they’ll savor them even more.

Sinful Scalloped Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2 T flour
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced (use 4 if you really love garlic, as I do)
1/4 t cayenne
Salt and course ground pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cup finely shredded swiss
shredded cheddar – just enough to add something beautiful on top to brown. It’s already cheesy enough without!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the heavy cream, milk, flour, garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper together. Lay a thin layer of potatoes in your baking dish, pour about 1/8 cup of the cream over, and lightly sprinkle some swiss cheese over that. Repeat this until you have no more potatoes left. If you have more cream dump it in. It may look like you have a pool of cream they potatoes are swimming in, but that’s what makes this sinful.

Cover and bake 50 minutes or until a knife easily pierces through the potatoes. Nobody likes al dente scalloped potatoes.
Turn the broiler on. Uncover your dish, and sprinkle the cheddar on the top. Broil for a maybe 3 minutes, until the top is golden and bubbly!

SO GOOD. But do your heart a favor and share this with friends.

3 days until T-Day 2011! Are you prepared?!?! What are some tips for staying calm and not burning the house down this week?

Buttermilk Pie Anyone? Anyone?

Last weekend we had a glorious Faux-giving with all our friends. I went overboard, as I usually do. I made two of my favorite southern pies. Pecan, with a drunken twist (I’ll show you tomorrow), and Buttermilk Pie. Wait. Have you not heard of buttermilk pie?!! I was basically the only person at the party of 20 that had! I was completely surprised, even people from Texas didn’t “Mmmmmmmmm” at the mention of it. I hope they are now, just thinking of it.

When mixed with eggs and sugar, the typically sour buttermilk turns into a rich custard. And inside of a delicious buttery crust, it’s perfection. And speaking of crust, SK’s crust is the end all, it’s everything you’ve ever wanted in a crust, buttery, flaky, and easy to make!

I used this recipe last weekend, because my recipes are all strewn out as I work on a new compilation project… But, Homesick Texan’s recipe looks more like what I usually make (and prefer). I also like to add a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. Some like to add lemon zest. It’s up to you:)

Happy Turkey Week!

Gingerbread

Every year Nerd begs for gingerbread men, and every year I make this bread. Sometimes I make gingerbread men. As long as he is the cookie cutter. This is a delicious light and fluffy bread. I found the recipe 3 or 4 years ago in a Holiday issue of Cooking Light and it’s still one of my favorites!
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  • 11.25  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2  teaspoons  baking soda
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  ground ginger (I used 1 t fresh shredded/squeezed ginger and 1/2 t ground)
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  canola oil
  • 1  large egg
  • 2/3  cup  molasses
  • 1  (4-ounce) container unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2  cup  nonfat buttermilk
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cloves) in a bowl, stirring well.

3. Combine sugar, oil, and egg in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Stir in molasses and applesauce.

4. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and dust with powder sugar.

Best Pumpkin Roll Ever

The Holidays are here y’all!!! I’ve been super busy, so I’m going to repost some favorite holiday recipes from kristacooks from a few years ago. They have withstood the test of time, and I hope you add them to your recipe box!

I found this recipe several years ago on my friend Anna’s site, Cookie Madness. She has everything, EVERYTHING, you could ever imagine baking. So if you need some inspiration give her site a visit! This is my favorite baked gift! It’s so simple, delicious, and aesthetically pleasing! Plus you can make it ahead and seriously the longer it sits in the fridge, the better it tastes (within reason of course).
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Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. cream cheese
6 T. soft butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 15×10 inch jelly roll pan and line with wax paper. Butter the wax paper.

In on bowl, beat eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy. Mix in pumpkin.

In another, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, then stir into batter.

Pour into lined cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees 13-15 minutes. Spread a clean linen dish towel on counter. When pumpkin bread is removed from oven immediately spread powdered sugar all over it and flip the cookie sheet onto the towel quickly. Remove wax paper from bottom of bread. Roll the bread along with the towel into log shape and try not to break it as you curl it (It’s easier than you might think). Allow to cool at least an hour (I usually move on to another batch while it’s cooling). This will give the bread the tendency to curl after it has cooled off.

Mix all ingredients for the filling.

After it’s completely cooled, unroll the dish cloth and bread and spread the filling onto the bread and roll the bread into the same direction. Now cover with wax paper and chill to set for a few hours. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before cutting into slices. It really tastes good after sitting in the refrigerator for a day or so.

So very yum and festive! Enjoy!

Quick Bean Chili

Sometimes you just need something spicy to warm you up and you need it now. This quick bean chili made from ingredients that should be in everyone’s pantry is a quick fix for the spicy comfort you need. Now. Well in 45 minutes. I also had 1/2 of the portion the next morning scrambled with an egg for only 4 Points+. Win-Win!

Quick Bean Chili
Yields 6, 1/2 cup portions, ~45 minutes cooking time

1 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 poblano, seeded and diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
salt to taste
2 oz diced green chiles
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans, rinsed
1 can (15.5. oz) pinto beans, rinsed
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup water

In a large pot, heat the oil then add the onions, poblano, garlic, and salt. Cook until onion is just tender. Add green chiles, chili, and cumin powder; cook for 2 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes and juice, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the chili is thickened.

1 serving = 4 Points+

Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

2 weeks ago at the farmer’s market, I bought the smallest butternut squash I could find. It weighed 8 pounds and gave me approximately 20 cups of diced squash! This soup used another quarter of the squash that the Squash Orgy didn’t last week… and I still have 4 cups left! D:

This soup is so easy, yummy, and has a low Points+ value, so I may make it again with the last of my squash.

Butternut Squash and Sage Soup
Adapted from Monastery Soup and Everyday Food magazine
Yields ~ 12, 8 oz servings

1 T butter
1 medium yellow onion, roughly diced
2 T sage, chopped
2 lbs butternut squash, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water (if you like thicker soup you can omit)
1/4 ts cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1 cup fat free greek yogurt (or sour cream)

Melt butter in a large pot, add the onion and sage. Cook until just tender, and add squash, cayenne, broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Add the yogurt and salt, then blend. You can either use an immersion (stick) blender or carefully(!!) move the soup into a blender.

1 serving = 2 Points+

Soooo good! Enjoy :)

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