Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chicken Soup for the Soul

One of my favorite things about the weather getting colder...
... is the chance to break out my Crock Pot and make homemade soups.

In the Crock Pot - Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup.

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 clove chopped garlic
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 can tomatoes
2 cups egg noodles
Chicken bouillon cubes
Bay leaves

1.) Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook for about 6 minutes
on each side, until done.

2.) In the Crock Pot, add 3-2 cups of water, place on low heat. Add 4-5 bouillon cubes.
(If you don't have a Crock Pot, you can easily make this on the stove with a big pot.)

3.) To the pot, add 2 bay leaves, sprinkle of oregano, salt, pepper, and the chopped garlic.
If you don't have fresh garlic, add garlic powder.

4.) Add the chopped celery...

chopped carrots...

chopped onion...

and chopped chicken to the pot.

5.) Stir in the can of tomatoes - juice and all!

6.) Cook on low heat for about 3-4 hours.
If you're in a hurry, let it cook for 1 hour on medium heat.

7.) When the soup is done, turn OFF the heat, and add 2 cups of uncooked egg noodles.

8.) Stir, and let the noodles cook for about 10 minutes.

9.) Dish up!

Perfect for a cold day, sick day, or any day.

10.) Serve with crackers and cheese or homemade bread.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls
(with Cream Cheese frosting!)

Need I say more?
Nope. Didn't think so.

The base of this recipe was taken from Good Life Eats ...
... but I made some changes, to suit my taste.
(* symbols = my change *)

If you love pumpkin pie, and love cinnamon rolls, you will MELT over this recipe.


Roll Dough:
1/4 cup warm water (not hot, about 110 degrees)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
1 large egg, beaten
* 15 oz. pumpkin puree, either fresh or canned *
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups (approximately) All-Purpose Flour
1 1 /4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 stick butter

2/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and ginger

* 1 cup chopped pecans *

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
* 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract *
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar


In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Let rest for 5 minutes before stirring.

Add milk, eggs, pumpkin, butter, 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Gradually add remaining flour (all purpose), a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead.

Start with about 1 1/2 cups and increase if necessary.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface.

Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.


Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.


Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger,
nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl, set aside.


Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough.
(It may seem like a LOT of butter, but trust me - you need it.)


Sprinkle sugar mixture on top.
Add slivered pecans.


Roll the dough into a log the LONG way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the log into slices.
(Depending on how thick you like your cinnamon rolls, it can vary between 8-15.)

Place slices in a greased baking pan.
Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45-60 minutes.


Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Bake the rolls till they're brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 20-30 minutes.


Prepare the cream cheese frosting.

Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to a small food processor.

(If you don't have a processor or mixer, you can easily stir it by hand.)

Blend until smooth.

Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well mixed.


Frost the rolls with the cream cheese frosting.

Serve 'em up!
Trust me, when you have one...
... you won't be able to stop.

Don't hate me :)

If you live in Omaha, I HIGHLY recommend you go to Hill of Beans near
145th and West Center Road, and buy a bag of their "Pumpkin Spice" coffee
to make along-side the Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls!

Perfect morning.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hanging Around

I am on the hunt for a great necklace holder!

Hoping to find something my dad could make me for Christmas.
If it could incorporate earrings, that would be a bonus.

(P.S. This cute necklace is from Etsy.)

I am in love with the way they used an old picture frame and a great print behind it!

Or this one, using burlap and some cute hooks.

These antique printer drawers can hold LOTS of necklaces and earrings.

This one uses a window screen, with a decorative frame.

I am in love with this one made from some fabric and a sheet of plywood.

How cute is this one for your earrings? Using a little bit of wire and a picture frame.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mini Muffin Pizzas

We all have those nights when we make our favorite food ...
... sit down, and enjoy our favorite TV shows.

Sunday night - is one of those nights for me.

And recently, one of my best friends (Sara Gude) passed along an
idea for a recipe I should try for my blog ...
... which I tested out on my "Sunday TV" night.

They are deep-dish pizzas made in a muffin tin!

1 roll of pizza dough
1 jar of your favorite pizza or spaghetti sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Your favorite pizza toppings
(I used ground beef, pepperoni, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, olives.)

First, cook 1/2 pound of ground beef with 1/2 a yellow onion.

Cut up your other ingredients.

Roll out the pizza dough on a FLOURED surface (otherwise it'll stick.)
Cut the dough into 8 squares.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, or rub with olive oil.
Place 1 of the "dough squares" into a muffin slot.
Put 1 tablespoon of your sauce in the middle.

Fill the muffin slots with ground beef, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, and olives.

Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
Put in a preheated 450 degree oven... for 10-12 minutes.

When you take them out, they are warm, with a golden crust.

Don't you just want to eat this right now?!

Put the remainder of the sauce in a "dipping bowl" and heat in the microwave
for 1-2 minutes.
Place on the table.
Perfect for dipping your mini muffin pizzas in.

Seriously, this is such a great TV night meal.
Feel good food, that is so easy to make!