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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing

The calendar says fall but someone forgot to tell the temperatures.  It has been in the 90's still.  I know a lot of you are longing for some fall temps and fall foods and fall decorations.  Well I can help you with the fall foods.  This salad and dressing is a little touch of fall in each mouthful.  I hope you would be afraid to go out on that limb and try something a little different.  I think you will enjoy it.

This salad is so pretty.  It also has so many flavors layered within as well.
 A couple of things make this salad easy to put together.  Prepackaged salad greens is one of those things.
 The first thing you will need to do is peel and chop the butternut squash.  The recipe originally calls for acorn squash.  I have not had a lot of luck cutting into an acorn squash.  But on down in the recipe it says you can use butternut squash or even a small pumpkin in place of acorn squash.  Use what you like or in my case can cut.  We are going to roast that squash so it will have time to cool before adding to the salad.
 I find that it is easier to toss when in a zip lock bag.  Drizzle with olive oil.
 Drizzle with maple syrup
 Smoosh it around until well coated.
 Then spread out on a foil lined cookie sheet.  You don't have to use foil but I find it really makes clean up so much easier.
 Now sprinkle with cinnamon.
 Place in a preheated 400 oven and bake for 20 minutes.
 Now for the salad.  I added one bag of mixed greens.
 And another bag of mixed greens including broccoli slaw, shaved brussels sprouts and kale.  Those flavors scream fall.  They also give a nice contrast to the other greens.
 Add about 1/4 cup dried cranberries.  I didn't measure, just sprinkled some around.
 I thinly sliced an apple, coated it with lemon juice so it wouldn't turn dark, and added it to the salad. You could also add a pear if you like.
 Toast about 1/2 cup of pecans.  Let the pecans and butternut squash cool before adding to the salad.
 Now for the dressing.  I think there are other uses for this dressing, like using it as a dip for apples or even veggies for a different flavor.
 Start with 1 cup greek yogurt.  I used plain.
 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
 1 Tablespoon maple syrup.  I don't use my breakfast syrup I have a small bottle of pure maple syrup.
 2 Tablespoons olive oil
 1/2 cup sour cream or you can add another 1/2 cup of greek yogurt
 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.  I used a heaping 1/4 teaspoon
 1/2 teaspoon salt.  The recipe also calls for 1 teaspoon garlic and 1/4 teaspoon thyme.  I am not a fan of thyme so I left it out and didn't add the garlic either, but feel free to add if you like.
 I used my hand blender to mix well.
 It is such a pretty color.  Smells good too.
 Add the butternut squash and pecans and toss well.  Your salad is ready.  I would not put the dressing on it ahead of time either.
Doesn't that look so good? Dig in.

Fall Harvest Salad Recipe

1 butternut squash, or acorn squash, or pie pumpkin
1 thinly sliced apple
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 pkg salad greens, or broccoli slaw, or brussels sprouts, or kale

Roast the squash you use with a drizzle of olive oil, maple syrup and cinnamon.  Preheat oven 400.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Goddess Dressing Recipe

1 cup greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Chocolate Buttercream

The birthday boy requested vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream icing, so his wish was my command.  It also gave me a good excuse to make chocolate buttercream icing.  I think it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

A little Star Wars going on with the cupcakes.  
This was a good buttercream recipe that just basically added cocoa.  I might try it for regular buttercream sometime, just add more powdered sugar.
Start with 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) softened butter.  Whip that until nice and fluffy.  Also you can whip it until it is almost white in color.
Add 3/4 cup cocoa.  Whip that.  Be careful or you will have cocoa all over your counter.
A pinch of salt.
4 Tablespoons heavy cream or whipping cream
4 cups powdered sugar.  Add these one at a time or you will have powdered sugar all over the kitchen.
This is a new flavoring that I have found.  I heard about it or read about it.  Bakery emulsion.  It is a blend of vanilla, almond and a hint of citrus flavors.  It is suppose to make your homemade cakes taste more like bakery cakes.  You can add a little to a box mix to give it a little more flavor and use it in buttercream icing.  I really like the flavor of it in icings.  I found it at Hobby Lobby.  I think I saw where Walmart had it in the craft baking section.
2 teaspoons of vanilla.  This is what the emulsion loos like.
Whip well until nice and fluffy.
I used a large 1 M Wilton tip and a pastry bag to make a nice swirl on top.
Then I had these little Star Wars toothpick thingys that I added to the top of the cupcakes to make them festive.  The birthday boy was happy and that is all that matters.

Chocolate Buttercream Recipe
1 1/2 cups softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
4 Tablespoons heavy cream or whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch salt

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Crock Pot Potato Soup

I wanted to make potato soup for a friend that was not feeling well.  I have a recipe that I have used several times but wanted to try this new recipe.  This recipe did not have the Velveta cheese in it.  This one also uses shredded potatoes instead of the cubed potatoes.  I think you will like one too for a change.
It cooked up really pretty.  Add some extra cheese on top, some green onions and maybe a little more bacon.
You can make this pretty healthy with sodium free chicken stock and heart healthy cream of chicken soup.  I didn't use as much bacon as it called for.  I just put a taste of bacon.
While I was getting everything else ready I cooked the bacon.  I like to cook mine in the oven.  Very easy and it doesn't curl up as bad.  The recipe called for 3/4 cup of crumbled bacon.  I thought 4 pieces would be a nice taste.
Crock Pot liners are really good for recipes like this.  It makes for very easy cleanup.  Add 32 oz of shredded hash browns.
Add 32 oz chicken broth.
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz cream cheese.  I used either fat free or reduced fat.
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheese.
Drain the bacon slices well.
Chop up and add to the pot.   Cook the soup for 3 hours on High.  I don't usually cook on High but cooking it on High makes for a quicker meal.
It's ready to dip up and enjoy.  You don't have to wait for a cold winter night for a nice hearty potato soup.

Crock Pot Potato Soup Recipe

32 oz frozen shredded hash browns
32 oz chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheese
3/4 cup cooked chopped bacon

Cook on High for 3 hours.