Friday, October 22, 2010

Gingersnap Pumpkin Pudding-tastes like pumpkin pie!

As promised in my last post here's an easy pumpkin dessert recipe which uses pumpkin pie spice. It's a light, fluffy pudding that tastes like pumpkin pie! It took me about 10 minutes to make it. It's great if you are in the mood for something light at the end of a meal. The recipe is from the September-October 2004 issue of Quick Cooking Magazine.

Gingersnap Pumpkin Pudding
1-3/4 cups cold milk
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant cheesecake or vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
10 gingersnaps
1 cup whipped topping

In a large bowl, whisk together milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and pie spice. Let it set for 2 minutes; it will thicken up a bit. Set aside three gingersnaps. Crush the remaining seven cookies. (A neat, easy way to do this is to put them in a plastic zipper bag and mash them with the bottom of a soup can.) Set aside. Fold whipped topping into pudding; spoon into three dessert bowls. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Garnish each serving with a gingersnap. Serves three.
Enjoy! *Smile* Sherri

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Spice-Herbs & Spices

Have you ever visited the grocery store and stood in the spice aisle looking at what seems to be hundreds of herbs, spices, and blends? I was in my local grocery store, Country Mart, the other day and found myself staring at all those herbs and spices thinking "What is this spice? That looks interesting. I wonder what you put this in? I wonder where this herb comes from? How does this taste?"

Well, I decided it was high time I learned more about these mysterious concoctions. Will you join me? I will choose an ingredient from the spice aisle every few weeks or so and write about it. Never fear, I will be learning right along with you...

Pumpkin pie spice is a spice blend used often during the fall and winter holiday season. It is used in pumpkin pie of course, but it's also used in pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin bread, spiced nuts, pumpkin cookies, scones, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cheesecake, and many other goodies. It smells heavenly in the jar, just like the holidays!

Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Sometimes ground cloves are added too. You can make your own blend if you have spices on-hand. The recipe below is from the 1995 Nov-Dec issue of Country Woman magazine.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe
4 tsps ground cinnamon
2 tsps ground ginger
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Mix all together. Store in an airtight container.

Next time I will post a recipe for a quick-as-a-wink pumpkin pudding.
It's easy and uses our pumpkin pie spice. *Smile* Sherri

Saturday, October 9, 2010

School Brown Bean Chowder, Bean Recipe

When I was kid in the 1960s, the cafeteria at my elementary school served the most delish brown bean chowder for lunch. It was a big hit with the students, including me. When it was announced that it was "Bean Chowder and Cinnamon Roll Day" it was THE big news of the morning. I still remember coming in from recess, chilled to the bone, and this chowder really warming up my insides. I'm not sure why the bean chowder was always served on the same day as the homemade cinnamon rolls but I never complained!
This recipe is similar to a mild chili but a little more soup-like. Perfect for fall weather. I like making it with coarse-ground hamburger so you get big, meaty pieces in every bite. The original school recipe was for a crowd and required soaking the dry beans. I adapted the recipe to serve eight and to use canned pinto beans, saving time. Try it and tell me what you think!
School Brown Bean Chowder
2 pounds hamburger (regular or coarse-ground)
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
1 can tomato puree (10 3/4 oz.)
3 cans pinto beans, drained (16 oz.)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/3 cups water
Brown hamburger, onion and garlic powder together in a large dutch oven. Brown it until the onion looks transparent. Drain off fat. Add the meat back to the dutch oven. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir together all. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to serving bowls, sprinkling extra chopped onion on top if you like. Serve it with cornbread for a tummy-warming, rib-sticking meal. Serves 8. Yummy with my prize-winning sausage muffins. *smile*

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The holidays are coming...check your spices!

Ahhh...the weather has finally cooled off here in Oklahoma and the exciting part is it's that time of year for holiday cooking and baking. I'm looking forward to making spice cookies, pumpkin pie, caramel apples, spiced cider and all that yummy good stuff!
Also, it's a good time of year to check the expiration dates on your spices, herbs, and those leavening agents such as baking powder, baking soda, and yeast.
The expiration date is usually located on the bottom or side of the container as shown.

One of my favorite sites, McCormick, has some really great in-depth info on the subject. At McCormick, if you have a McCormick product with a code you can type the code into their Fresh Tester to see if the product is past its prime. Very handy! Remembering to check expiration dates will ensure that your spice cookies will have just the right amount of spice and your dinner rolls will "rise" to the occasion. *Smile* Sherri