Sunday, October 30, 2011

Feeling the fall spirit!

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How could this not be everyone's favorite time of year? I guess since we live in a hot zone of California I wish for the summer and then when we get days of 100+ weather I am ready for fall and winter. But I am cold generally if the temperature drops to about 65 degrees, ha! It's a Southern Cali thing!!!
This week has been a baking marathon with all the events and Halloween parties for the kids. I have been pretty addicted to Pinterest lately and it has helped me to venture into new territory with baking and try amazing recipes. These two I made in one day because if you buy the big can of pumpkin you only use a cup which leaves almost the whole half of the can left. So no time or food wasted, I decided to make both!!!!
The little pumpkin pies remind me more of a pumpkin pie mixed with cheesecake so if you're not into this you can use another regular pumpkin pie filling I am sure. But just so you know the texture holds up really well for small bites. I made these for Marco's class for their harvest party. From the mouth of my 6 year old son, "everyone loved those things!" Good enough for me cause the kids could be the biggest food snobs. It's also no secret that I give food sometimes to people I like to butter-up. Parent teacher conferences were held for my 7th grader and of course I brought his teacher two bigger sized pumpkin pies that I made from the leftover batter and pie crust in a bigger muffin tin! I'll let you know if it worked-
I did send a tub of whip cream for them to top and they forgot this step and still loved them. If you are having these for a party, make your own whip cream and heck just make your own whip cream all the time! It really ups the ante for any dessert or coffee. Watch out Starbucks, we made our own Whip cream, you're not getting our 4 dollars today!!!!

The muffins were really for us to enjoy, and I loved them for breakfast with my coffee. If you wanted to doll them up for a party you could add a crumb topping to the muffins so they bake with a great crumb crust!




 Perfect Weather Pumpkin Muffin
   Adapted from Pioneer Woman
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Spice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
1 cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
1 whole Egg
1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins, this is not an option, they will stick and be messy to get out if you skip this step!

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until it is completely crumbled in. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.Do not over mix!

Pour into a greased muffin pan. I Sprinkled mine with regular granulated sugar, but raw sugar would make a nice topping too.
Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. 








Little Face Pumpkin Pies
Recipe from Bakerella.com

2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature, almost warm
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 egg beat with 1 Tablespoon water for brushing crust
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
4'' round cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box. Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. Apply egg whites from the egg and water mixture to the top edges of each pie. To be honest I left this step out, I didn't have a ton of extra time so if you don't want to forget about it. Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into each mini pie crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool. 


Hope you are feeling the Love of the season too!!!!
Go out and enjoy a day on a nice hiking trail with some of these travel friendly snacks!!!!

God Speed

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mexican Chipotle Tofu Stir Fry

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If the title doesn't make sense, don't worry, most great things in life don't. I usually make stir fry with tofu when I want a quick, easy and healthy dinner. This time I decided to go away from Asian and try to make some Mexican food using tofu and a wok. Here's my take on it...

INGREDIENTS
-14oz. package of extra firm organic tofu
-1 tsp. of oregano
-4 cloves garlic
-chili powder to taste
-canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (1/2 tsp.-2 tbsp. of sauce only needed depending on taste)
-two small squash
-1/2 white onion
-garlic salt to taste
-salt & pepper to taste
-4 tbsp. mild taco sauce
-1/2 reed avocado

PREP
-First take a package of tofu (organic is best, non-organic uses chemicals to process that you don't want in your body). Firm tofu will work too, but extra firm holds up better. Take tofu out of package. Slice it in half width wise like you would a bagel. now slice into 1" cubes horizontal and vertical. Now you have a bunch of 1" cubes of tofu.

-Dice onion. White onions are best for Mexican food. Mince garlic.Slice and quarter small squash. Now you can also dice some potatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno, etc. if you prefer to add to this dish.

Ever see an avocado as perfect as this? If you live in San Diego you have. These are grown right here and are amazing. Reed avocados are more rich and creamy than Hass. They are large and round like a softball, try one if you haven't yet...


COOKING TIME!
Now you have all ingredients chopped, heat your wok to high heat with a couple tablespoons of oil in it. Once oil starts to smoke you know it's ready to go!

First dump in tofu and onions letting tofu sear for a few minutes before tossing or stirring to get a nice crisp crust on the tofu. Sprinkle tofu with oregano, salt and pepper as well as chili powder and garlic salt. Put as much or as little as you like depending on your taste.

After tofu starts to brown add rest of cut up veggies except garlic. Also toss in a 1/2 tsp. - 2 tbsp. of sauce from canned chipotle peppers. This stuff is potent, so if you've never used it or don't like really hot stuff just use 1/2 tsp. and not the peppers! The peppers are really hot! If you like hot stuff or know what to expect from chipotles then go for a couple tbsp. of sauce and even a whole pepper if you're loco! haha. The chipotle sauce adds an amazing smokiness and flavor to the dish. Save remaining chipotles/sauce in a small plastic container with a lid in the fridge, it keeps for a long time.

Once veggies are starting to brown add garlic. This is done so it doesn't burn from cooking too long or hot. Let cook for a couple minutes then turn heat off and pour mild taco sauce into wok and stir it into the mixture for a minute.

Stir frying some Mexican food, oh yeah!


Now it's done, top with your favorites like avocado, cilantro, lime, etc. Just serve it with your favorite sides like Spanish rice, beans, tortillas, or chips and enjoy with a cold cerveza and you're livin' life, or as Matthew McConaughey's character in Dazed & Confused would say...L-I-V-I-N.


Oh yeah! I put Juanita's chips on the bottom of stir fry mixture, topped with 1/4 of a sliced Reed avocado. L-I-V-I-N, haha!