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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mini-Jell-O Molds

I know, I know...The thought of Jell-O molds conjures up images of old-fashioned housewives at best, and that horrible cat-food-laden lime mold from Nat'l Lampoon's Christmas Vacation at worst.  But I am making individual Jell-O molds for Thanksgiving this year and I promise they are good!  And they are pretty.  :o)

Here's the recipe:

Cranberry-Pineapple Minis

1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple, in juice, undrained
2 pkg.  (3 oz. each) raspberry or cherry Jell-O
1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
2/3 cup  chopped walnuts
1 apple, chopped

DRAIN pineapple, reserving juice. Add enough water to reserved juice to measure 2-1/2 cups; pour into saucepan. Bring to boil. Add to dry gelatin mixes in large bowl; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved.

STIR in pineapple, cranberry sauce, nuts and apples. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

REFRIGERATE 2-1/2 hours or until firm. Remove desserts from liners before serving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Love

Below are some of my very favorite pumpkin recipes of all time. That is a pretty big honor, considering how much I like pumpkin and how much of it I have eaten over the years!  Enjoy them in good health. 

...and speaking of health, did you know that pumpkin is good for you?  It is.  And so is the cinnamon and nutmeg that are usually paired with sweet pumpkin desserts.  But these recipes include enough fat and sugar to negate any possible health benefits.  Sorry!!

Ginger Pumpkin Tart
This dessert is as impressive as it is delicious.  And it is worth buying a tart pan if you don't already have one.  Seriously.  But you can make it in a pie pan if you don't have a tart pan and don't want to buy one.  I will add that you can use regular gingersnaps if you can't find the recommended ones from the recipe.  ALSO, if you like plain simple desserts, leave the filling as-is.  But I find it benefits greatly from a capful of pumpkin pie spice stirred into the filling.

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
This one is something else.  A real crowd-pleaser and quite simple to make.  And NOT as gooey as you would think.

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
If you have one of those small ice cream scoops (about the size of a ping-pong ball), that is perfect for dishing these out.  Two words of warning:  1.) These are absolutely addictive.  2.) Do not store these is an airtight container; they are very moist and will turn into cake within a couple of hours.  Just loosely cover them.

Pumpkin (pie filling) Love

Ok, as much as I say that you need to cook your own food and as much as I *abhor* most prepared foods and canned products, there are a few canned products that are absolute winners.  Canned pumpkin pie filling is one of them.

It is cooked, pureed pumpkin that has been sweetened and spiced. But it doesn't have any dairy or eggs, so you can use it a MILLION different ways and don't ever have to cook it. And I love every single one of them!  Below are a few of my very favorites.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

1 cup pumpkin pie filling
1 cup milk (skim, 2% or whole)
1 cup cream (fat free, 1/2 & 1/2 or light cream)
1 capful of pumpkin pie spice

First of all, by choosing the milk and cream options that you prefer, you can customize the recipe based on your taste and your nutritional needs...or whatever you have available in the fridge.  However, I don't recommend a completely fat free version because it tends to go icy.  Likewise, I don't recommend the use of heavy cream because it has a tendency to coat the tongue - not delicious.  At any rate, combine the ingredients, pour into your counter top ice cream maker and churn until it stops.  **If using a larger ice cream maker, just triple or quadruple the ingredients. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Waffles

cinnamon or plain waffles (frozen is absolutely fine)
cream cheese
pumpkin pie filling
powdered sugar

Toast waffles until they are crisp.  Smear with cream cheese and top generously with the pumpkin pie filling.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Straight Outta the Can

pumpkin pie filling
gingersnaps or soft molasses cookies

I bet you can put this one together yourself:  it is good scooped straight outta the can with gingersnaps!  But unless you are alone, you might want to put it in a little bowl - for appearances.  ;o)


Several of my friends have suggested that I start a food blog.  I never imagined that anyone would want to read about my take on food, but maybe this will be a good outlet for me either way.

So, hi!  My name is Jennifer and I am passionate about food.  And I am passionate about the idea that in this post-modern world, we need the satisfaction, nutrition and peace that comes only through cooking your own food.  I am disturbed by how disconnected we have become from our food supply and think that regaining that connection could be the key to more centered, healthy, happy lives.

And I have a pretty radical foundational belief:  everyone can cook.  I know too many women who graduated from college and think that they cannot cook.  It may be a skill that they haven't set forth to master yet, but they have the ability.  Cooking your own food is as rudimentary and essential as personal hygeine or balancing your checkbook.

That said, I also *love* to go out to eat.  Trying new restaurants and new food preparations is a form of entertainment for me and one which I enjoy very much.  I am fortunate to be married to a man who is as much a foodie as am I.  He wasn't when we got married, but he has caught on quickly.  :o)

So, come with me as I share my passion!!