Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Curry Coffee Cake

Since I had so much good luck with my Fruit & Yogurt Coffee Cakes this Summer I decided to take a chance on trying to make a Pumpkin Coffee Cake for Fall.  To make things a bit more interesting I decided to modify my normal spices for Pumpkin desserts… and I like it!! So here it is… hope you enjoy!


  2 cups baked fresh Pumpkin
  1 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
  1/4 cup Egg Beaters
  1 1/2 cups Flour
  1 cup Sugar
  1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  1/2 tsp salt
  1 tsp Vanilla
  1 tsp good Cinnamon (I like Penzey's Vietnamese)
  1 tsp Sweet Curry

Pre-Heat oven to 350F.

Use an Immersion Blender to blend together the Pumpkin, Sour Cream, and Egg Beaters.

Make sure all the Pumpkin gets blended in well.

Mix in remaining ingredients.

Prepare an 8x8 baking dish with Bakers Joy or Spray Crisco.

Place mixture in prepared dish and place in oven for 45 minutes.

The top of the cake should be domed like shown.

Don't bother to check with a toothpick… it will still be (very) moist inside.

This cake is very moist & lightly sweet - more of a coffee cake than a traditional cake.  We like to have it topped with a dab of Fat Free Cool Whip.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Isn't She Lovely!!

Fresh bread doesn't last long around here, even with just the two of us… so guess what I needed to do again today, that's right…

Isn't she just a beautiful loaf??

Pretty on the inside too!!

I just had to try some with just a hint of butter… yum!!

Today's variation of my Basic Bread had the following Spices:
   Sage - 1 tsp ground
   Rosemary - 2 tsp whole dried - then ground with a mortar & pestle

Beautiful aroma & nice subtle flavors!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Baking Bread!!

It's Autumn here in Minnesota, that means I'm making lots of soups it also means I'm back to baking bread again!!

I added some dried spices to my bread (I usually do), and by varying the spices you can come up with all sorts of wonderful flavor combinations - I like to make breads that compliment the soups I've been making...

I’ve been making Artisan Bread for a while, I got started using Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio, but have since diverged into my own way of doing things (I can never just leave things alone).  If you’re new to bread making I suggest this book as a starting point, he gives excellent information and advice.

My Artisan Bread:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More Variations… yum, yum!!

Wonderful minor modification that made this very nice, subtle but wonderful…

It just looks like a typical Waffle doesn't it… but it's just a little different, what's the difference?
I simply added a couple pinches of Saffron to a 1/4 batch of my Sour Cream Waffle recipe (follow link to original recipe).  After it was baked I topped it with a little Fat Free Cool Whip - it was a subtle way to add sweetness without masking the Saffron flavor… the Saffron flavor & aroma came out very subtle & very nice.

Fun with Variations!

Yummy spicy & slightly nutty flavored Acorn Squash Pancakes!!

I tried a variation of my Pumpkin pancakes (follow link to original recipe), I simply substituted mashed up Acorn Squash for the Pumpkin, it came out really good - very similar to the Pumpkin ones but just a bit "nuttier" tasting… I'm going to have to try a couple other varieties of squash, yum!!

I ended up topping it with some fresh fruit, and just a tiny bit of lo-cal syrup… so tasty!!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Phyllo Crust Pumpkin Pie

This is actually 2 recipes but since I use them together I put them together in this post, you could certainly use either separately.

Phyllo Crust:

  Phyllo - enough sheets to make 8 layers
  Butter Flavored oil spray (like Butter Pam)

Spray your pie pan with the Oil Spray (I'm using a deep dish pan this time).

Place a layer of Phyllo, spray Oil Spray, Phyllo, Spray… Phyllo (for 8 layers total).  If you offset your layers a bit you'll make a better circular crust, after all the layers are in fold under the edges that are hanging over the sides.  Note: My Phyllo was old & falling apart, yours will look much nicer :)

Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.  Your crust is ready to be used for pie!!  Fill with desired filling & bake according to the need of the filling, cover the edges of the crust with foil to prevent burning.

Deep Dish Pumpkin Pie:

  1 cup Sugar
  1 cup Egg Beaters
  18 oz Fat Free Evaporated Milk
  3 cups cooked Pumpkin (I steam my pumpkins)
  1 tsp Vanilla
  1 tsp Cinnamon
  1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
  1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  1/8 tsp Ground Cloves

Heat oven to 375F.  Mix together in a bowl and then blend with either a Hand Mixer or an Immersion Blender (my preference).   Pour into prepared deep dish crust - I had a bit of extra filling today, partly because I had to fight to get enough Phyllo to make a pie.  If you end up with extra you can bake it in a ramekin or custard dish, I suggest spraying the dish first with some type of spray oil - I used Butter Pam.

Remember to put foil around the edges to protect the crust (whoops!  I forgot initially), bake for 65-75 minutes - the very center should be just a teensy bit jiggly, adjust time as needed, it will set up while cooling.

As it came out of the oven, foil in place...

With foil removed...

After resting / cooling… don't be disappointed, they all sink - that's just the way they are!

We like to top ours with a dab of fat free cool whip… Mmmm!!

Tomatillo Chicken Soup (Vegan variation suggested)

Here's the Math: Bumper crop of Tomatillos + Sick Hubby = Tomatillo Chicken Soup

I said "Bumper Crop" & this is just a tiny portion of my patch of Tomatillos!
This recipe is something completely new, I just felt like branching out and doing something I'd not done before, playing with ingredients in odd combinations, & playing with spices in soup that I'd not played with before, and it came out nice… that said its kinda hard to mess up soup, such basic stuff.  Truth be told I was hoping to have the chicken separate from the soup… hmmm… read on...

  6 cups Rough Chopped (RC) Tomatillos
  1 cup RC Bell Pepper
  1 RC medium Onion (mine was purple)
  1 cup RC Carrots
  1 RC cooking Apple (I used McIntosh), cored but not peeled
  2 cloves Garlic (whole)
  4 cups Vegetable Stock (I used Better Than Bouillon Vegetable + Water)
  1 Tbl Sea Salt (plus more for cooking the chicken)
  1 Tbl Celery Flakes (or sub in 1 stalk of RC Celery)
  1 tsp Caraway Seeds (whole seeds)
  1/2 tsp dried Orange Zest
  1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds (whole seeds)
  1/2 tsp Rubbed Sage
  1/4 tsp ground Ancho Chili
  Spray Olive Oil
  2 Boneless / Skinless Chicken Breasts

Directions: throw everything but the Chicken into a pot, bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes - you want the apples to be falling apart.

Once cooked well remove from heat and use an Immersion Blender to blend it into a smooth concoction.  Return to the heat, cover and to continue to simmer.

At this point in my experiment the soup tasted pretty good but was "missing something".  It needed something more Savory… so I added in the sage (which it didn't have originally) and decided to add the chicken directly into the soup.  In hind sight I'd have still added the sage, but might have opted to try Bacon Salt instead of adding in the chicken - to have a vegan/vegetarian option (feel free to try this if you like).

Take the chicken breasts and cut into thin slices, brown in a non-stick skillet sprayed with Olive Oil & seasoned with finely ground Sea Salt.  You want the chicken to get a little golden, don't worry about the golden stuff stuck to the skillet - you'll be using it.

Remove the chicken & golden bits from the skillet onto a cutting board, dice into very small pieces, add the chicken bits into the soup, cover and continue to simmer.  I suggest letting it simmer for at least another 20 minutes.

Feed to sick hubby & enjoy… we did!  We decided it reminds us a bit of Hot & Sour Soup, that's the sort of flavor it has & the chicken bits reinforce that impression.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Salmon with Roasted Squash & Asparagus

This recipe cooks up in 1 covered casserole, takes advantage of some seasonal squash, and filled up two hungry adults.

  Spray Olive Oil
  1 Sweet Dumpling Squash (or use Acorn, Carnival, Delicata, …)
  1 bunch Asparagus Tips
  1 nice Salmon Filet (ours was 3/4 pound)
  Spices of your choosing (I'll tell what I used later)

Also needed: 1 good sized Casserole dish with a good fitting lid.

I started by washing my squash & setting my oven to 400 F.



Cut each half into quarters, sprayed casserole with Olive Oil spray, placed squash pieces into dish, sprayed squash with Olive Oil spray.

Here's where you can vary things quite a bit, choose whatever spice you like but keep in mind the spices are all in the same dish!  I simply shook on some of my custom Moroccan Spice blend, then salted.

Lid on, and in the oven for 1/2 hour, meanwhile...

Rinse and trim some Asparagus Tips, spray with Olive Oil (tossing a couple times), add spice of choosing - same warning as given before applies.  I used Penzeys Sunny Paris, a good herb blend for vegetables, and Salt.

When the squash has cooked for 1/2 hour remove from the oven (careful its HOT), place Asparagus on top of the squash.

Cover and cook for 1/4 hour, meanwhile...

Rinse and portion the fish, after the asparagus has cooked for 1/4 hour remove from the oven (yep, still HOT).  Place Salmon on top of the Asparagus, spice the salmon (yep, same warning applies) - I used Rub With Love Chinese 12 Spice Rub.

Cook Uncovered for another 17-25 minutes, time varies due to thickness of the Salmon - rule of thumb I use at 400F is minimum of 17 minutes for everything up to 1" thick, add 15 minutes for every additional 1" after that.

Hope you're hungry!!