Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin Carrot Bars with Orange Icing

I can't wait for every October for two reasons: 1) Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, 2) I can't wait to make these sweet treats!

2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely shredded carrots (about 1-2 large carrots)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 -2 Tbsp orange juice
walnut or pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 15x10x1-inch baking pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, orange peel, baking soda, and salt. Set the flour mixture aside.

In a medium bowl combine eggs and brown sugar. Stir in pumpkin, oil, milk, and vanilla. Then stir in carrots and chopped nuts. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined. Spread batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

For Orange Icing:
In a mixing bowl combine powdered sugar and enough orange juice to make an icing that is easy to drizzle.

Spread with icing; cut into triangles or bars. Top each piece with a walnut or pecan half.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rice Krispies Jack-o-lanterns (Rice Krispies Pumpkins)

I’m a mentor for an 11 year old girl through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and last Saturday she came over for a pumpkin extravaganza! We painted real pumpkins, and then made these tasty Rice Krispies Jack-o-lanterns. This was a fun thing to do together, messy, but fun. Afterwards, she decorated each little pumpkin with a different face.
These would be fun  to bring to any Halloween party.

Makes about 12

6 Tbsp butter (1/2 stick)
½ tsp vanilla extract
10.5 oz mini marshmallows
Orange or red and yellow food coloring
6 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
Tootsie rolls for pumpkin stems
Icing for decorating

In a large microwave safe bowl, add butter, vanilla and marshmallows. Cook on med-high for 1 minute. Stir and add food coloring to make orange. Cook for another 1 minute. Quickly mix in cereal until coated in marshmallow mixture.

Let mixture cool a little so they are easier to handle. Using slightly wet hands, roll into little balls. Set on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Allow to cool completely before decorating. 

For stems, roll tootsie rolls between your fingers and stick into top of each pumpkin.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Grilled Bruschetta and Salmon

A grilled lunch for a perfect Saturday.
1 ripe tomato, diced
4 large basil leaves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp or so of freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 large garlic clove, pressed
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Loaf of crusty sourdough bread, cut into thick slices
2 5-oz salmon filets, with skin
Tajin seasoning (we put this on everything!)

Preheat grill to high, about 450˚.

In a small bowl, combine tomato, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with EVOO and mix; set aside. Prepare toast by brushing both sides of bread slices with EVOO; set aside.

Season skinless side of salmon with Tajin. Place skin side down on grill, allowing to char, about 3-4 minutes. Flip salmon and carefully remove skin. Allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes. Flip filet again and grill 1-2 minutes. Filets should easily flake, do not overcook.

Grill bread for about one minute. Flip bread and move to top rack of grill, away from direct heat. Spoon tomato mixture onto each slice and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Plate salmon over a small bed of baby kale and serve with the bruschetta.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Here's an idea for some leftover grilled chicken.

1 cup of cooked chicken, diced (I used some leftover grilled chicken from the night before)
Frank’s Red Hot sauce
Pizza dough (usually in the deli section of the grocery store, or you can buy some from your local pizza joint)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
¾ cup sliced celery
Blue cheese crumbles
1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
1 small carrot, peeled into ribbons and roughly chopped
Ranch dressing
Jalapeno slices, optional

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, toss chicken with hot sauce and set aside.

Roll out dough and using your palms press onto a flat pre-greased baking sheet. I usually make a rectangular shape with rounded corners. Gently brush with EVOO. Top with chicken, celery and blue cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until crust is crispy and brown. Remove from oven.

Top with carrots, chives and drizzle with ranch dressing and extra hot sauce. Top with jalapenos if desired.