Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cookies

DSC_0448Happy Halloween!!

Soon we’re heading out to trick or treat in the neighborhood with my cousins and their three year old pirate.  William is going to be snug in the stroller in his koala bear costume.  In addition to it being my first Halloween as a mom, this is also the first year I’ve lived somewhere that kids trick or treat!  I’m stocked with candy and ready for the cuteness and Frozen overload.

We haven’t carved our pumpkin yet but I did make these pumpkin cookies yesterday.  They’re not cakey but are soft and loaded with plenty of white chocolate and semi-sweet chips.

What to buy:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used the miniature kind)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

What to do:

  • whisk the melted butter, sugars, pumpkin and vanilla until smooth
  •  in another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
  • pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix together to form a soft dough
  • fold in  semi-sweet chocolate and white chips
  • chill dough for 30 minutes or a few hours
  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or spray
  • roll the dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons of dough for each
  • bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, they’ll look a little under baked but you want this so they don’t get too dry and cakey
  • cool cookies for 10-15 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to a wire rack
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Baked Goat Cheese and Tomato Dip

A recipe for Baked Goat Cheese in the October issue of Food Network magazine inspired me to make this dip last night for my book club.  It’s very easy to put together and only needs to bake for 15-20 minutes before it’s ready to eat. I served it with crackers but it would be great with baguette slices, apples or crudités.

What to buy (serves 6-7):

  • 1, 10 ounce log goat cheese with herbs and garlic, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  •  salt and pepper
  • 8 small cocktail tomatoes (about 10 ounces), quartered
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • crackers or toasted baguette slices, for serving

What to do:

  • preheat the oven to 400
  • combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper to taste and 2 tablespoons olive oil until smooth
  • brush a small baking dish with olive oil, then spread the cheese mixture in the dish
  • in another bowl, combine the tomatoes, vinegar, garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • spoon the tomato mixture on top of the dip and bake until heated through, about 15 minutes, serve hot

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Beef Stew {in your Crockpot}

DSC_0261I made this stew on Sunday and have been re-heating and eating for lunch almost everyday.  It was delicious on Sunday but it’s gotten even better after a couple of days in the fridge.  Traditional beef stew recipes usually call for mushroom and potatoes but I left these out as Joe isn’t a big fan and I used a beer to add liquid and flavor.  Serve with bread, over rice noodles or mashed potatoes to soak up the rich sauce.

What to buy:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 beer, the darker the better
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup yellow onions, diced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

What to do:

  • add 1 tablespoon of butter to a pan over medium high heat
  • season beef with salt and pepper
  • add beef to saute pan and sear, about 2 or 3 minutes per side
  • add remaining butter, onions, flour, stock, tomato paste, herbs, spices, carrots, onions and browned meat to crockpot
  • cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 2-3 hours
  • before serving stir in the peas and serve immediately

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Five Minute Pumpkin Spice Latte #PSL

DSC_0232While I agree that the pumpkin craze that starts in October and whips into a frenzy by Thanksgiving is a bit ridiculous, I usually join in the fun and pick up a few cans of pumpkin puree at the grocery store.  Yesterday I posted a recipe for Pumpkin Pork Tenderloin {in your Crockpot} and today I’m continuing the pumpkin love with a simple recipe to make the Starbucks’ classic Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Starbucks debuted this drink in 2004 after, according to their company legend, the recipe was born in a lab when testers tried espressos with pumpkin pie.   If you’ve got a little extra time you can skip Starbucks and make this delicious and easy drink first thing in the morning or as an after dinner treat.  Take it up a notch by spooning on some whipped cream and sprinkles of nutmeg and cinnamon before serving!

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 2 and 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup hot espresso or strong brewed coffee
  • whipped cream, optional

What to do:

  • combine all of your ingredients (except whipped cream) in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat
  • pour into mugs and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pork Tenderloin {in your Crockpot}

DSC_0090If you’re a food blogger and it’s October you’re obligated to post a recipe that features pumpkin so before October slips away from me, here it is! I love baking with pumpkin but wanted to try something new so I experimented with using it a savory way.  The results were great; this is a recipe that will make your kitchen smell wonderful and will taste as good as it smells. The vinegar and hot peppers balance out the maple syrup and brown sugar to keep the pork from being too sweet.

What to buy (serves 3-4):

  •  2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

What to do:

  • combine pumpkin, vinegar, brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, cinnamon, salt, pepper and chipotle peppers in a bowl
  • add pork to slow cooker and spoon pumpkin mixture onto pork,
  • cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high, cut or shred before serving hot

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