Monthly Archives: November 2011

Decadent Chocolate Fudge & Pumpkin layer bars


With Thanksgiving upon us- I am trying to break outta the mold with my pumpkin dishes.

Is there anything better than ooey gooey thick rich chocolate fudge?

Is there anything better than a velvety creamy pumpkin pie slice?

YES!  The marriage of both of them!

Decadent Chocolate Fudge & Pumpkin Layer Bars

(adapted from How Sweet it is)

9×13 pan

brownie layer

1/2 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

10 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 F.

In a small bowl, beat eggs and vanilla and set aside.

In a double boiler, add butter, cocoa, sugar and salt. Mix until the mixture becomes a batter –this will take some time….let it do its thing….it will all come together.

Remove the bowl from heat and whisk in the egg mixture (very slowly while whisking, so you don’t have scrambled eggs!) until combined. Stir in flour until batter is smooth, then pour in baking dish.

Remove from oven and let cool completely

pumpkin layer

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 large egg

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup egg nog

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a bowl, whisk together sugars and egg until smooth.

Add in pumpkin and spice, again mixing until combine. Finish by adding in heavy cream & eggnog stirring until everything is mixed, then pour on top of the cooled brownie layer and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 10 minutes  then reduce heat to 325 degrees F and bake for 18-20 minutes or until pumpkin layer is set. Let cool completely (ideally overnight, HA HA HA good luck with that !) then slice and serve.

Another wonderful way to bring these two guilty pleasures together!

Happy almost Turkey Day!  I have to get back to cooking!


Friday FoodGawker Favorites


Happy Friday Everyone!

I can’t believe how fast this week has flown.  It has been a super busy week but deep breath for some FoodGawker favs…..YUM!

Favorite Breakfast/Dessert

Apple pie is definitely the epitome of comfort food but this just takes it to a whole different level!


Favorite Healthy Veggie

These are from a Delicata Squash- what a pretty name!  Don’t they look like the butter ring cookies you used to get in Sunday school?  So pretty and just another wonderful and healthy way to get your vegetables in;)


Favorite Cocktail Pop-in-your-mouth-food

With all the holiday cocktail parties coming up- we all need new ideas!  Curry Roasted Chickpeas?!  Move over nuts!

Crispy, Crunchy – once you pop you can’t stop!


Favorite Dip

My mom has talked about this dip for years!  She had it when she went to a neighborhood Christmas party and has never forgotten it!  This recipe is also figure friendly too SCORE!  Also, if you can get the really good ginger snaps to dip they are fabulous- Nyaker’s Ginger Snaps can be bought at World Market


Favorite Pumpkin Roll

As you see I am a little obsessed with pumpkin but hey it’s Fall and we only have a few months a year to truly enjoy this heavenly squash!  I made pumpkin bread this week and it was great with just a little butter but add some cream cheese—-DROOL


Favorite Salad

The simplicity and freshness of this salad have me hooked!  I am not a huge fennel fan because I don’t like the anise (black licorice) flavor BUT with tart green apple, onion, pomegranate & goat cheese- YES PLEASE!


Favorite Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry + Pomegranate + Orange = never ever buy that jellied cranberry in a can gloop again!


Favorite Waffles

Pumpkin Waffles……I am taking a break to go make these NOW


Favorite Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Ooey Gooey Butter Pumpkin Cake…….there is no bad time to eat this but I am sure the most pleasure comes when you are in your pj’s in the dark with only the light of the open refrigerator


Have a fabulous weekend!  So excited to get ready for Thanksgiving!!!!!!

Knock Your Socks Off Fall Harvest Salad


Happy Tuesday Friends!

I have been busy combing the interwebs for Thanksgiving inspired recipes.  I have been obsessed with butternut squash lately but when I saw the gorgeous brussels sprouts and perfect pomegranate at the store, my focus shifted.  I wanted to create a beautiful salad using these components.  I was not at all prepared for how well it all came together and the barrage of compliments from my family last night at my Mom’s birthday dinner.

The layers of flavor in this one hit wonder will leave you wanting more.  The tender leaves of the brussels sprouts, bright bursts of the pomegranate, smokey peppered bacon bites, and the crunchy glazed walnuts all bathed in the peppery, mustardy vinaigrette dressing….oh my.

Here are the players for the salad base minus the bacon because I came up with that addition while I was making the salad:

Fall Harvest Salad

  • 1 1/2 lbs brussels sprouts
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 pomegranate, about 1/2 cup jeweled seeds
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced paper-thin on mandolin
  • small head of green cabbage
  • 3/4-1 cup glazed walnuts
  • 3-4 pieces peppered bacon

Before you dive into making the salad- go ahead and make the super simple dressing so it can come together while you prep the salad

Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (I like my vinaigrettes strong so you can use less if you don’t want a strong vinegar taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (use fresh if you can but I didn’t have any so the plastic lemon will do)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Penzey’s Country French Vinaigrette base (buy here)

Put all the ingredients into an airtight container and then treat it like the shake weight and get your workout


Let’s get started on the salad

Cut your cabbage in half and thinly slice around the core- 1 used about 3/4 of the cabbage- it was a small head- you want the star of this show to be the brussels sprouts

How cute is this?  A wittle bitty baby cabbage

You need to chop off the ends and remove and course/damaged/dirty leaves

Then place them in a bowl of water to open them up a little and it let me get all the pretty outer leaves off to place in the bowl with the sliced cabbage.  Then slice the brussels sprouts

Then you will thinly slice the apples- my fav blogger Kristen, IowaGirlEats, shows the perfect way to slice apples

Click here to learn how to perfectly slice your apples

You will also now want to slice your onions on your mandolin and if you don’t have a mandolin you can use a vegetable peeler- but please be careful!  The point is you want those onions paperthin….you don’t want them to overtake this salad

I am sorry I don’t have a picture but apparently my ginkgo biloba wasn’t working….maybe I should ask for my money back…hmm

This is point where you need to pour the Mustard Vinaigrette over the apples, onions, brussels & cabbage and let it marinate for at least 3 hours.  This process really helps the flavors come together and the cabbage & brussels soften a bit.

~~2 1/2 hours later~~

Over low heat cook a couple of slices of peppered bacon.  The low heat helps with too things 1) it does not splatter all over your cooktop 2) allows the bacon to caramelize – drool

Here is the best peppered bacon I have ever had –  BACON 

Now is Nueske’s Peppered Bacon a requirement?  No, but I couldn’t very well go on in life harboring that secret…whew, I feel cleansed.

p.s. you will want to make extra as a BLT may be in your future after making said bacon

Look at this beautiful pomegranate

If you have never had a fresh pomegranate- you must run out and buy one NOW!  They are a lot of work to get the beautiful jeweled seeds out and the juice will stain everything…but my friends it is beyond worth it!!

I want to make these into jewelry for me to wear they are so so beautiful

And the burst of sweet flavor- OH MY GOODNESS

To finish assembly of the salad- chop up the bacon and toss it with the salad.  On top sprinkle the glazed walnuts and the pomegranate and it will look freaking AWESOME!

The looks will get you in the door but the flavor will have them asking for more at your next get together!

This is going to be on our table for Thanksgiving~ hope to see it on yours:)

Are you trying out any new dishes for Thanksgiving this year?

Friday FoodGawker Favorites


Happy Friday Everyone!

It’s a chilly one out there this morning ~39 degrees but it is warming up quickly and should be ~70 today.  It’s a Texas Fall!

So a lot of my blogger friends present a Friday Favorites on their blogs about their favorites they have found during the week on the interwebs.  I thought I would put a twist on it and post my FoodGawker favorites each week since I spend countless hours pouring over the pictures and recipes on this favorite site of mine.

For those of you that have been the dark about FoodGawker- please let me introduce you:

FoodGawker – click here to check it out

All the Gawker sites are a  network of inspirational, user-submitted photo gallery sites:


It is my favorite guilty pleasure and I am so excited to share it with you! 

Let’s get started!

Cauliflower Breadsticks

I have been on such a kick to discover new ways to use veggies- I am all over this!


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

First of all- anything with frosting in the middle gets my vote but the luscious maple frosting with pumpkin cake around it?! Sign me up!


Spiced Honey Cranberry Cream Cheese

I have been a little crazy about butter and cream cheese lately because they are the perfect base for mixing ANYTHING in!  I want to make popovers for Thanksgiving and what would go better than vanilla bean butter?!  I’ll let you know how that turns out!


Snowman Cake Pops

How cute are these?!  I am always on the lookout for fun & cute things to take for Bella’s class when they have their parties- this seems totally doable!


Lasagna Cups

L.O.V.E this idea!  Perfect for the upcoming Christmas parties!


Pizza Buns

What a fun idea!  You can fill them with anything and then don’t forget your cheesy topper!


Mini Salted Chocolate and Hazelnut Pies

Jenelle from One Apron said it best about having a horrible-no-good-very-bad-day “Often wine is the solution. But chocolate is always the answer!”


Roasted Tomato Soup w/ Grilled Cheese Croutons

It’s the classic combo with a twist – FABULOUS!


 Wishing you and yours a fabulous weekend!

Do you have any websites that you camp out on a couple of times a week?


French Fries – the healthy way


Ever since I saw a picture on FoodGawker of these french fries- I was mesmerized


not only did I LOVE the presentation….I wanted to eat them off the screen and then I found out the REAL kicker…..

They were NOT potato…..they were NOT even sweet potato…..they were


I can’t believe how amazing these are- honestly.  The prep time is a little lengthy but WELL WORTH the wait

Here is the prep:

Cut the long trunk off the squash- use the bulb for soup or hash

Then peel it – you have to put some muscle in it cause it is a thick skin but I have faith in you…

Then cut and dice it into strips

try to keep them as uniform as possible so the cooking time will be the same

the biggest step that you absolutely can not by any means miss is drying these out….they are full of water so in order to get that crispy, french fry texture you have to let ’em sweat!

There are 2 ways you can do this- lay them on a paper towel for 2-3 hours or a faster method is to sprinkle them with salt and in about 30 minutes they will be ready!

Make sure you dry them off before you get ready to use them

Toss in a bowl with a teaspoon of olive oil, some Penzey’s smokey seasoned salt & Penzey’s ground cumin

Place on a lined cookie sheet and place under a low broiler

They will take some time but keep a eye on them.  I can’t give you exact times because it really depends on your oven.  I would say they took about 10 minutes on one side and then I flipped them to ensure even browning.

When they came out they looked like this

Crispy on the outside….like buttah on the inside….

You see how many I made?  They lasted 3.5 minutes and now sadly they are gone

but the memories are still there

They really are that good….in fact I want to make them again tomorrow

Thank you to FoodGawker for posting this wonderful recipe I adapted from Urban Poser , who by the way has a lot of grain/dairy/egg free recipes on her site for all my friends who have those dietary needs.

Please go make these to go along your hotdogs & hamburgers!  All the pleasure– NONE of the guilt.

Off to eat homemade white chocolate macadamia nut cookies with vanilla bean ice cream….HEY Butternut Squash is one of the TOP TEN BEST foods you can eat so I can indulge LOL!

Happy Monday Friends!