Kitchen Concoctions: October 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Family Fun

This month's magazine of the month is a non-traditional food magazine. But it is still a great source for recipes (especially if you have kiddos) non the less. Honestly I choose this magazine for one recipe I wanted to make and after looking a little more into it I found that it had easy and fun recipes for kids to make which helped me with some of my work with a kids cooking program.

Below is the review of Family Fun Magazine (from a foodie/recipe point of view)

Pictures: Yes!
Almost every single recipe in this magazine has a color photo to accompany it!

Prep Time, Cooking Time, and Number of Servings listed: No
Most recipes have servings listed but not cooking and prep time

Clear, easy to follow directions and ease of preparation: yes
All of the recipes are family friendly and most are geared towards kids being able to make them. So the directions and prep are extremely easy and some of the recipes (especially the one's for kids to make) have step-by-step photos.

Variety of recipes: yes
One thing that I love about Family Fun is that they have all kinds of recipes. From your standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner to fun holiday foods!
Easily available ingredients and budget friendly: yes
Again, since all of the recipes are family/kid friendly, there are no crazy ingredients

Special feature:
If you have a child interested in cooking or just a child that won't eat their veggies this is the magazine for you! All the adorable ideas for serving food in a fun way and easy recipes that will get kids excited to dive right into the kitchen, this is a great tool! Plus, since this is not just a recipe magazine you get all the extra features like kids crafts, birthday party ideas, etc.
Cost: $3.50 per issue or $10.00-15.00 for one year subscription (10 issues)

So in case you missed them, here are the recipes I featured.

Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes: I love sweet potatoes and they paired perfectly with these pork chops with apple jelly sauce, but if you make these make sure and read the directions or they will be cooking all night!

Goblin Feet Cookies: These cookies are too-freakin'-cute! I am now on a quest to see how many different cute cookies I can create out of a single Nutter Butter!

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls: Dinner rolls are a staple at pretty much, well every dinner! Change them up a bit with the addition of pumpkin!

Apple Pie Party Dip: This fruit dip is fun and healthy! Serve with some homemade tortilla crisps and you have a healthy snack that is loved by kids and Mother approved!

Pineapple Crush Smoothie: I love smoothies and this one with a tropical twist is no exception!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

False Advertising

I hate false advertising. “You’ll drop 10 pounds in 24 hours!” “Your hair will be free from gray for 50 years!” Yeah. You know.

I feel the same about cooking. Meals that can be conveniently completed in 30 minutes or less. Yeah, maybe the cook time is only 10 minutes but the chopping of a million vegetables beforehand? Really only takes 15 minutes after the 5 minutes you spent pulling every spice out of the spice cabinet looking for the 2 year old curry powder.

Or the $3, $5, or $10 dinners that call for red wine, plus beef, plus 3 different veggies. A bottle of wine will be half that budget!

Anyways, there are some real meals that DO fall into these categories (I even have a few labeled on this site). So I am just sayin’ that sometimes things aren’t exactly what they seem.

Like the picture below.

It is kinda like false advertising. This dish looks really good and healthy. And that is what it was, once it was finally fully cooked. You see the time this picture was taken the sweet potatoes were not fully cooked, they were actually pretty hard. But alas the life of a food blogger! I had to get my ‘prefect’ photo in the fading natural light and actually had to leave before this dinner was done cooking, because it took way longer than the instructions stated.


Then I realized that I had not read the instructions correctly and did not par-boil my potatoes beforehand. So in real life the potatoes in the pictures should look a little more ‘pruney’ and brown on the edges. This tasted wonderful when I was all finally cooked and I think this would be a wonderful meal prepared in the crock-pot in the future, to obviously avoid the whole par-boiling issue.

Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 40-45 minutes Serves 4

Salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
4 loin pork chops, 1 inch thick
2 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 sweet potatoes, chunked and par-boiled
2 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 cup apple jelly
1 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine salt, pepper and flour in a shallow pie pan. Dredge the chops in flour mixture and brown in hot oil in a frying pan. Remove chops to shallow baking dish and add sweet potatoes.

In a saucepan, stir together the butter, jelly, orange juice, lemon juice and zest, mustard, paprika and ginger and simmer 3 minutes. Pour half of sauce over the chops and potatoes and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees, for 40 to 45 minutes. Baste with the remaining sauce during the cooking time.

adapted from Family Fun Magazine

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A How To Guide To Cooking With Fish

Besides chicken and ground turkey the next most popular protein we eat in my house is fish. I love that fish is a lean protein, cooks up very quickly and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Today I am sharing an article that I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table with tips on how to select and cook fish. I am also sharing an easy and flavorful recipe for Mahi Mahi.

While Dr. Seuss describes fish in a colorful light in his popular children’s book, cooking fish is very intimidating for most people. However, in all actuality fish is one of the quickest cooking and healthiest proteins available. Fish is full of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential to maintain low blood pressure, a healthy heart and healthy brain function.

Purchasing quality fish is the first step in having a successful fish dinner. When purchasing fish make sure you are buying from a reputable vendor. Fresh fish fillets should be bright and vibrant in color with firm but moist flesh. If the fish still has the skin on, it should look shiny and metallic. Fresh fish should have a sea aroma, but never smell fishy or like ammonia. While fresh fish is always best, with modern day conveniences quality fish fillets can be found frozen. However, if purchasing frozen fish avoid open or tampered packaging and fish covered in ice crystals or off in color; a sign that the fish has been thawed and refrozen.

Fish should be used almost immediately after purchasing. If unable to be used immediately, fish can be stored in the coldest part of the fridge for two days and then wrapped in freezer safe packaging and frozen for up to one month. Once cooked, fish will keep refrigerated for three days.

Due to its delicate nature, fish cooks very quickly and can be prepared in a variety of ways; from grilling, deep-frying, baking, pan frying, to sometimes even eaten raw. To remove the skin from a fish fillet before cooking, simply place a sharp knife at the end of the fillet and slide it under the meat along the skin. The blade should be kept flat and parallel to the counter top to avoid cutting into the meat. If preparing fish with the skin on, cook the fish fillet starting with the skin side down.

If you are trying to incorporate more fish into your diet, mahi mahi is a great fish to try with its firm white meat and delicate flavor.

Mahi Mahi Maui Style
Printable Version
Prep Time: 5 minutes Wait Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 8-10 minutes Serves 4

1 1/2 pound mahi mahi
2 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
2 lemons, juiced and zested
2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoon olive oil

Mix teriyaki, lemon juice and zest, honey, garlic and sesame seeds. Place fish skin side down in a large dish and pour marinate over fish and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Place fish skin side down in skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip fish once and continue cooking for an additional 4-5 minutes, basting with marinade.

adapted from Food on the Table

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Little Home Video

Heeeyyyy yoooouuuuu guys! (A little too much Goonies’ in my life time? Yes? No? Totally random??)

I was recently asked to create recipe using a Newman’s Own product. Not only was I asked to do create a recipe but prepare it and film myself demoing the recipe. I had really fun doing this little project, I love creating new recipes, and was at first a little nervous about filming a little ‘homemade’ cooking show. But then I realized that I was at home, cooking in my own kitchen, and it was Eric behind the camera. And even though I stumbled upon my words a teeny, tiny bit, it was WAY easier than my last recorded video cooking segment.

(So here is my 'homemade cooking show premiere:)

But I digress. On to the food. I chose to make a Southwestern style chicken Caesar salad wrap. To build upon that Southwestern flavor I ‘doctored’ the bottled salad dressing, to create a creamy, slightly spicy Caesar dressing. This meal comes together in less than 30 minutes (minus the marinate time) and costs less than $10 dollars to make. Add in tons of flavor and you’ve got a great meal that will become a family favorite.

Southwestern Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Wait Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes Serves: 4

1 ½ cup Newman’s Own Lighten Up Caesar Dressing
¼ cup chicken broth (or water)
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1 tablespoon chicken fajita seasoning
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cut into bite size pieces
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
3 cups torn romaine lettuce
4 burrito size flour tortillas

Additional Optional Mix-ins:
Black beans
Parmesan cheese

Combine the first five ingredients in a blender. Puree until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
In a large bowl toss raw chicken pieces with fajita seasoning and 2/3 cup salad dressing mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After chicken has marinated, heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until heated through, approximately 10 minutes.
Heat tortillas in microwave for 10 seconds. Top each tortilla with some lettuce, cooked chicken, corn, and bell pepper. Drizzle with reserved salad dressing, wrap up and serve.

Disclosure: I received a package of Newman's Own products and a Flip video camera to participate in this project as part of a Tastemaker program with Newman's Own and Foodbuzz. All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Second Annual Ghoulish Grub Week (a recap) and Other Halloween Eats

I had so fun creating all these Halloween recipes this past week. And even though Halloween is still a week away I am already plotting some fun Halloween recipes for next year! But no need to wait till next year, make some of these spooky treats this year!

This Bloody Eyeball Soup is a sure fire way to get the kiddos to eat their dinner. Plus check out the tips I shared on how to host a haunting Halloween party on a budget.

Who says you can't have candy for breakfast? These Candy Corn Breakfast Parfaits are perfect for this time of year!

Who knew one little peanut butter cookie could be transformed into four ghoulish treats: Ghost Cookies, Eyeball Cookies, Witches' Finger Cookies, and Goblin Feet Cookies.

Everyone loved these adorable Pumpkin Spkied Sugar Cookies that even tasted soft and pumpkiny.

Still looking for more Halloween recipes? Check out some of my favorites from yester years:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cutie Cookies

I have had fun all this week creating festive and spooky Halloween eats. In fact, I already have a list half a mile long, of ideas for Halloween treats for next year’s Ghoulish Grub week (or heck, maybe even a month’s worth of crazily, creative Halloween eats awaits!).

This last recipe could have been featured last week as part of pumpkin week, but these cookies turned out just too darn cute NOT to be part of a Halloween spread of food.

Not only are these homemade sugar cookies soft and slightly sweet, they are adorably decorated (inspired by these cookies seen here), and they even taste like the flavors of fall! They were loved by all and will defiantly become a tradition!

One Year Ago: Cookbook Review: Giada's Family Dinners
Two Years Ago: Z'tejas Cornbread

Pumpkin Spiked Sugar Cookies
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version
Prep Time: 20 minutes Wait Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 8-10 minutes Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
½ cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Buttercream frosting, for decorating (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Mix in pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.

In a spate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft.
Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.

To make cookies, dust counter with flour and roll the dough to desired thickness about 1/4-inch. Cut the dough into desired shapes. Place the cookies on baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to over bake.
Allow cookies to cool before frosting and decorating.

Buttercream Frosting
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes Yields: approximately 2 cups

4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 tablespoons half-and-half cream or milk (plus more, as needed)
Red and yellow food coloring
Tootsie Roll Midgets and Green Gum Drops, cut in half, for decorating

In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond extract, and cream/milk. Mix until very smooth and light and no lumps remain. Stir in food coloring.

Frost with orange tinted food coloring and Tootsie Roll Midgets and Green Gum Drops, cut in half.

recipes Kitchen Concoctions originals, inspired by Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Still need ideas for those Nutter Butters?

Today I have two more freakin’ adorable and easy Halloweenie cookies using Nutter Butters. What would be more fun than a platter full of Ghost and Eyeball Cookies as well as these Witch Finger and Goblin Feet cookies brought to a Halloween party or dropped by the neighbor’s?

Like the cookies of yesterday, these start with Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Cookies dipped in candy melts. Here are a few of my tips to help you make your cookies turn out boo-tiful!

• Melt candy melts or almond bark according to package directions, making sure chocolate is completely melted before dipping cookies.

• Dip one side of the cookie first. Shake the cookie slightly to make sure melted chocolate covers the entire cookie. Place cookie, chocolate side up, on waxed paper. Let chocolate harden and repeat dipping process on opposite side. Place cookie back on wax paper to set up. Using finger spread melted candy melts over place where fingers were.

• Hard candies, nuts, etc. will stick to the cookie better when it chocolate is slightly hardened but not set.

• For one (16 ounce) package Nutter Butter cookies, use two (14 ounce) bags candy melts or one (24 ounce) package almond bark or melting chocolate.

Now go make yourself some spooky cookies!

One Year Ago: Penne with Spinach Sauce
Two Years Ago: Restaurant Review- Z'tejas

Goblin Feet Cookies
Printable Version

green candy melts
Nutter Butter cookies
cashew halves

Melt melts according to package directions.

Once melted, dip Nutter Butter Cookies in melted candy. Place dipped cookies on wax paper and allow to hardened partially. Place three cashew halves on the cookie for claws. Let the cookies set at room temperature.
adapted from Family Fun, 2011

Witch Finger Cookies
Printable Version

green candy melts
Nutter Butter cookies
Black or purple gum drop candies, cut in half

Melt melts according to package directions.

Once melted, dip Nutter Butter Cookies in melted candy. Place dipped cookies on wax paper and allow to hardened partially. Place gum drop candy half on the cookie for finger nail. Let the cookies set at room temperature.

Note: Left over melted candy melts may be drizzled on cookie to create finger lines.

inspired by cookies seen on

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Eyeball Obsession Continues

I’ve had an off week this week. I had all my ghoulish grub recipes made up and ready to go but just have not felt well this week and have been going to bed WAY early and sleeping much later than I should. I guess constantly burning the candle at multiple ends of the wick is eventually going to catch up with me and my flame is only expected to go out. Be sure and check back over the weekend to get the 3 remaining Halloweenie recipes I have brewed up (and check below for the winner of the $25 Walmart Gift Card).

But on with today’s recipe, which by the way is a twofer. I don’t know what my obsession is with making food look like eyeballs but it seems to be a common theme. The first Halloween recipe I ever blogged about (geez a whopping 3 years ago) was some Deviled Egg Eyeballs (side note check these totally cute Deviled Egg Spiders featured on The Sister’s Café today). Then last year as part of the first ever Ghoulish Grub week I made eyeballs out of powdered donuts and chocolate covered Oreos. This year a Bloody Eyeball Soup (it just darned on me how gross that sounds).

And today more eyeball cookies! I am sure you are all aware of the white chocolate dipped Nutter Butter cookies topped with two mini-chocolate chips to look like ghosts (well if you are unfamiliar with these cookies check out the second recipe below). Those cookies are so cute (who ever thought of that idea is a pure genius) but I decided to come up with my own version and of course my natural tendencies were eyeballs. Still super easy and of course eerie enough for Halloween!

One Year Ago: Espresso Brownies
Two Years Ago: Sesame Crackers

Eyeball Cookies
By Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version

Nutter Butter cookies
White chocolate almond bark OR white candy melts
Gummy Life Savers
Skittles candies
Red decorator’s frosting

Melt almond bark or candy melts according to package directions.

Once melted, dip Nutter Butter Cookies in melted chocolate. Place dipped cookies on wax paper and allow chocolate to partially hardened and place two Life Saver candies on cookie. Place small amount of decorator frosting on Skittle candies and adhere to Life Saver. Using remaining decorator frosting, draw red lines around candies.

Ghost Cookies
Printable Version

Nutter Butter cookies
White chocolate almond bark OR white candy melts
Mini-chocolate chips

Melt almond bark or candy melts according to package directions.

Once melted, dip Nutter Butter Cookies in melted chocolate. Place dipped cookies on wax paper and allow chocolate to partially hardened and place two mini-chocolate chips on cookie.

recipe adapted from recipes as seen all over the web

P.S.: The winner of the $25 Walmart Gift Card, chosen by is comment number 7, Emily. Congrats! Please contact me at kitchen_concoctions at hotmail dot com within 72 hours to claim your prize. If winner has not claimed prize within 72 hours then a new winner will be notified. Thank you to all those who entered!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Candy Corn For Breakfast

Remember when you where little and the day after Halloween all you wanted to do was finish off the rest of your Halloween goodies.

For breakfast.

At seven a.m.

I mean seriously after gorging on Kit Kat Bars, Starbursts, Ring Pops, and Snicker Bars (no wait my Mom always finished those off for me. Hi Mom!) until you made yourself sick, then woke up and the first thing you can think of is more candy.

Tell me I wasn't the only one?

Anyways, today I have a breakfast that LOOKS like a popular Halloween candy but is full of all that stuff your body needs, like um fruit and calcium.

These Candy Corn Breakfast Parfaits where perfect in my head, but did not turn out quite as vibrant on camera as they did in real life in my creative little mind. I swear all the candy corn colors are there, orange, yellow, and white, but it is kinda hard to tell. Soooo if you what your parfaits a little bit more on the bold side (rather than my pasty pale pastel version) I would recommend the addition of some food coloring (which I include as optional below).

One Year Ago: Chicken Carbonara
Two Years Ago: Red Bell Pepper Hummus

Candy Corn Breakfast Parfaits
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version
Prep Time: 10 minutes Serves 2-4

1 (6 ounce) container vanilla yogurt
1 (6 ounce) container orange yogurt
1 (6 ounce) container lemon yogurt
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges
1 cup diced pineapple
Orange and yellow food coloring, optional mixed in with the yogurt

Place a layer of pineapple in the bottom of a glass serving dish. Top with a layer of lemon yogurt. Top lemon yogurt with layer of mandarin oranges. Top with mandarin oranges with orange yogurt. Finish off with a layer of vanilla yogurt.

Monday, October 17, 2011

How to: Host a Haunting Halloween Bash on a Budget

It's finally here! It's finally here! Kitchen Concoctions' Second Annual Week of Ghoulish Grub! I had so much fun last year creating and sharing a week's worth of Halloween recipes that I wanted to do a repeat.

First up an article I wrote for meal planning/recipe site Food on the Table, with tips to host a Halloween party on a budget. And today's ghoulish recipe is a good one. Full of flavor and spooky to look at, who wouldn't want to eat some Bloody Eyeball Soup!!!!

October is here and that means cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, and of course tons of tricks and treats! Halloween is just weeks away and you may be wondering how you can help your child stay safe but have a haunting good time on fright night. A home brewed Halloween party will have every ghoul and goblin screaming and laughing in fun delight!

Here are four tips to have a fun filled Halloween party on a ghostly budget:

• Decorations: Keep things simple and stick with a classic orange and black color scheme. Plates, napkins, tablecloths, balloons and streamers can be bought in these colors at a fraction of the cost of those specific Halloween decorations. Look for these items not in the seasonal isle, but where all the other colored decorations are found.

• Entertainment: Go for a pumpkin theme and play pin the nose on the pumpkin. Afterwards have children decorate small pumpkins using stickers and markers. Or, simply host a Halloween movie night and watch some kid-friendly ‘horror’ films.

• Make it a neighborhood event: To help keep costs low, organize a Halloween block party. Ask each neighbor to bring some ‘scary’ treats. After tummies are full, allow all the children to go from house to house as group trick-or-treating together.

• Ghoulish Grub: Simple party food can easily be transformed into an imaginative Halloween dish. Slice hot dogs and place in boiling water and watch them curl into ‘worms’. Add dry ice to a classic green party punch to make an instant witches brew. A few Halloween shaped cookie cutters can transform sandwiches into instant Halloween art. For dessert, top chocolate pudding cups with crushed chocolate wafer cookies. Add gummy worms and instantly you have edible ‘dirt and worms’. Other fun themed party foods is black bean chili with pumpkin corn bread or movie trail mix with pumpkin seeds, candy corn or black and orange chocolate candies.

Speaking of Halloween grub, party goers will want to gobble up this tasty but fun Bloody Eyeball Soup!

One Year Ago: Ranch Dressing
Two Years Ago: Red Bell Pepper Hummus

Bloody Eyeball Soup
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Serves: 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 (28 ounce) cans diced Italian tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh parsley
1 ½ cup half-and-half cream
1 batch meatball eyeballs (recipe below)

In a large sauce pan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Stir in tomato paste, broth, diced tomatoes and juice, and parsley. Allow soup to simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let soup cool slightly.

Working in batches, carefully puree the tomato soup mixture in a blender.

Add pureed soup back to sauce pan. Stir in half-and-half cream and heat through. Serve topped with eyeball meatballs or other toppings such as cheese or croutons.

Eyeball Meatballs
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions:
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 30-35 minutes Serves: 6

1 ½ pounds ground turkey
¾ cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
12 green olives

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients, except olives, in a large bowl. Thoroughly mix together and form into 12 meatballs. After meatballs are formed, press one green olive into the top of each meatball.

Arrange meatballs in large baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through. Serve meatballs in tomato soup.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Week (A Recap)

All good things must come to an end and unfortunately pumpkin week is over! Boo-hoo! But not to fret I have one more secret pumpkin recipe coming up this week. In the meantime here's a wrap of all the recipes I featured this week.

Black Bean Pumpkin Quesadillas, healthy, flavorful, and easy! I totally fell in love with how these turned out. PS if you are wondering WHY you should eat pumpkin (besides the obvious that it tastes great) check out this post for some interesting pumpkin facts.

If you are looking for a fabulous dessert to bring to a fall gathering, look no further. This Pumpkin Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting is THE ONE!

Transform your morning breakfast into a fall delight with this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread. A wonderful topping for bagels, add pumpkin seeds for extra pumpkin flavor and crunch!

Show your furry friend some love and make some pet friendly Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats.

Already thinking of Thanksgiving? Add these Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls which will quickly become a fall favorite.

Need more pumpkin? Check out these recipes!

Seasoned Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Breakfast Rolls

Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Streusel Topping

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

I used to not be a very patent person.

Being the oldest of four kids I would get very annoyed with my younger siblings when I was growing up. My Mom would always remind me “Patience is a virtue.” Being the stubborn person I am I would argue back, “well that’s one virtue God did not grace me with!” and then storm off. Not my brightest moments but hey it is something that I have consciously worked on over the years and continue to work on to this day (because I am far from perfect).

I am a much more patient person now that I am an adult, but there are still certain things that I struggle with. Take baking. I love baking cookies, cakes, brownies, etc. but anything with yeast makes me want to scream! Not that I am afraid of yeast or don’t know how to work with it (I don’t know why yeast scares people so bad) I just don’t want to wait for dough made with yeast to rise. I love the instant gratification cooking/baking brings and I don’t have the patience to wait for that darn yeast work its magic.

Plus I am never on top of things enough to think about making homemade rolls in time for dinner.
But today I harnessed that inner patience. Took one for the team and made this fall version of the classic cloverleaf roll.

Soft and buttery, with a slight pumpkin flavor, these rolls are the perfect accompaniment for all those fall meals, I’m thinking stews, chilies, and that little dinner called Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Cloverleaf Rolls
Printable Version
Prep Time: 15 minutes Wait Time: 2 hours Cook Time: 15-20 minutes Makes: 1 dozen

2 1/3 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/3 cups whole wheat flour
1 package or 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or bread machine yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons herbs de provence
1/3 cup butter

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt, and set it aside.
Pour the milk and water into a microwave-safe bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 1 minute. Whisk in the honey, squash, and egg. (The liquid mixture should be less than 110º; anything hotter might kill the yeast.)
With a fork, blend the squash mixture into the flour mixture until you have a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Two hours before baking, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 1 tablespoon herbs de provence into the dough. Melt the butter and set it aside in a small bowl. Divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 6 portions. Divide each portion into 3 pieces. With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and dip it into the melted butter. Place 3 balls in a muffin cup. Continue until 12 muffin cups are filled.

Drizzle or brush each roll with 1/2 teaspoon of the leftover melted butter and then sprinkle them with the rest of the herbs de provence. Let the rolls rise in a warm spot (at least 70º) until they're double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The 3 balls of dough will rise together to form a cloverleaf shape.

Heat the oven to 350º. Bake the rolls until golden, about 15 to 20 minutes.

adapted from Family Fun, November 2008

Friday, October 14, 2011

Give a dog a bone

Update: The winner of the $25 Sam's Club Gift card (chosen by was comment number 43, Shawn. Congratulations to Shawn and thank you to all who entered. Shawn please email me within 72 hours at kitchen_concoctions at hotmail dot com with your contact information.

I have a dog. His name is Mojo.

Eric had him before we got together, but Mo definitely loves me most.

I take him on long walks on the beach in the neighborhood, to the dog park, and pet him all the time.
Eric takes him to the vet, cleans up after him and makes him eat yucky diet food because Mo is a 'tad' bit over weight.
So I made Mo some yummy treats.

No wonder he likes me best. Wink. Wink.

I have been wanting to make Mo dog treats for quite sometime. Store bought treats are SO expensive and just like any processed food who knows what's in them! These treats were actually pretty darn easy to make, probably only cost around a dollar (if that!) for about 40 treats and had good wholesome ingredients like pumpkin and whole wheat flour. And guess what? Mojo LOVED them (and loved me too!)!

Also I think these treats would be PERFECT packaged up in a cut cookie jar or tin and topped with a bow. A unique and special gift for the holidays, when everyone is overloaded on 'people treats' what a nice surprise when you show up with treats for their much beloved pooch!

PS: I shared Monday that pumpkin helps promote a healthy digestive system and the same goes for your furry friend too! Many vets recommend mixing 1/2 cup pumpkin or yogurt in with your dog's dry food to help with any tummy issues they maybe having!

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats
Printable Version
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 35-40 minutes Makes: approximately 40 medium treats

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Whisk together the flour, eggs, pumpkin, peanut butter, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add water as needed to help make the dough workable, but the dough should be dry and stiff. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick roll. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Bake in preheated oven until hard, about 35-40 minutes.

adapted from
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