Last night there was an event at my church for the women of my parish to celebrate “Advent By Candlelight”. It is truly a beautiful event filled with music, a speaker, meditation, refreshments and fellowship - all by candlelight – all in the preparation of Christmas. I decorated and hosted a table and baked a dessert to share.
This is actually the 4th year that I have hosted and each year it is so much fun to design a beautiful tablescape; changing the color scheme and finding décor that will glisten and illuminate by candlelight. This years table was classic white with shiny silver, gold and crystal accents and a little pop of red from the glittery angels. On the glass mirrors, cylinder shaped vases were filled with small glass balls and surrounded by white votive candles.
Unfortunately, I did not get a photo at night when it was candlelit. But this was just one of the many tables at the event – it was a special night!
Mini desserts are neatly stacked, stored and ready to transport to my family Thanksgiving feast tomorrow using Sweet Stackers!
Thanksgiving dinner is a feast of many different dishes and is VERY filling. It always feels like there is no room for dessert, but Thanksgiving desserts are just as traditional as the main course. Pumpkin pie, pecan pie…must eat one, tiny, sliver of pie, right?
Tiny bite-sized desserts are perfect for a huge feast like this because they allow you to sample many different treats. This recipe was inspired from a recipe on the “Created By Diane” blog, but I made the recipe even more bite-sized. This recipe is very tasty and combines the sweet from the graham cracker crust and filling with the tartness of fresh cranberries. Oh and don’t forget the hint of “a little something, something” (bourbon).
Aren’t they so dang cute and full of fall color?
Spiked Cranberry Pecan Pie Tarlets
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons of melted butter
- ½ flour
- ½ cup bourbon (I used a honey bourbon)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ½ cups pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup light corn syrup
Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease or lightly spray mini muffin tins (36 count total).
Mix the graham crackers, sugar and butter together. Place a heaping tablespoon of crust mixture to fill each mini muffin cups. Press firmly with your thumb for form a crust up the sides of each cup.
Toast the pecans for 3-5 minutes in a small fry pan over medium heat. For the filling, mix the flour, bourbon and cinnamon. Add the toasted pecans, cranberries and syrup and mix well to combine. Spoon another heaping tablespoon full of filling into each crust. Evenly filling with a good combination of nuts and cranberries.
Bake for 22-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan until the crust sets.
Yum! They are not too sweet and not too tart – a perfect bite-sized treat after a filling Thanksgiving dinner!
Hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Simply Savory are two words to describe this tart made with Acorn Squash, Caramelized Onions and Ricotta Cheese.
It is the season for winter squash and there are so many different ways to prepare them. This rustic tart is perfect for fall! Wouldn’t it even make an impressive side dish on the table for Thanksgiving dinner?
The tasty, crumbly crust was easy to make and only used a handful of ingredients. Using a food processor, the dough came together and was in my fridge within a couple of minutes – tops!
In the past, I have been turned off from buying winter squash because they can be difficult to handle, peel and cut when raw. Today, I softened the squash by piercing it 4- 5 times, then placing it in the microwave for about 7 minutes. The outside of the squash was slightly softened , which made it much easier to cut in half lengthwise. Once it was halved, the seeds and strings were removed. The squash could be sliced further and the skin removed.
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor and pulse 2 times to mix the ingredients. While the processor is running, drizzle the olive oil and water into the flour mixture. The dough will start to form a crumble. Remove and knead the dough together. Form a disk and wrap it in parchment or wax paper. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
1 acorn squash (or any winter squash)
1 red onion; thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 lemon squeezed
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
fresh thyme, salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°. Cut squash into large diced pieces. In a large mixing bowl, toss the squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet in one layer. Toss the sliced onion in the remaining olive oil and place next to the squash. Salt and pepper the squash and onions. Bake for 25 minutes.
While waiting, combine the ricotta cheese, lemon and thyme in a small bowl.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and press into a round 9″ tart pan. Spread the ricotta mixture over the dough. Once the squash and onions have been caramelized, remove from the oven, reduce the heat to 400°. Place the squash and onion on top of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
Bake in a 400° for 40 minutes until golden brown.
We have already seen our first “real” snowfall and the mornings are dark, chilly and getting hard to get out of bed. Tomorrow, I will have a warm comforting breakfast awaiting me in my fridge. Yes, I said warm, because you can heat this up so quickly – being convinced that you have made a comforting homemade breakfast even though you baked it last night.
Baked oatmeal can be made in an 8×8 pan, but I prefer to bake it in a 12 count muffin tin. This produces these cute little portions of oatmeal that are easy to refrigerate and heat up in a pinch.
Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
- 1 – 15 ounce can of pumpkin
- 2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup sliced almonds (optional)
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 12-count muffin tin with cooking spray.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using an ice cream scoop, evenly fill each muffin cup with a scoop of the oatmeal mixture.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes. Serve hot right out of the oven or refrigerate the baked oatmeal portions. A quick breakfast for days to come!
The oatmeal can be served warm with a drizzle of milk or maple syrup.
Happy Halloween! It was a fun and festive day to spite it raining…all….day…long! A backup plan was needed just in case we couldn’t go trick-or-treating. I wanted to make a quick festive treat that my kids could enjoy if they weren’t going to bring home a huge bag full of treats. There was only one hour until the school bus would arrive home.
My preference is to bake from scratch, but I usually keep a couple of box mixes in my pantry for a spur of the moment dessert. I found a box of brownie mix and placed the brownie batter in a mini-muffin tin to make brownie bites.
While they were baking in the oven – I whipped up a white glaze using 1 cup of confectioners sugar and 1-2 tablespoons of water. Once the brownie bites were slightly cooled, pipe a dot in the middle surrounded by two circles. Then using a toothpick, pull the glaze from the center to the outer circle. This formed cute little spider webs.
But wait…the sun poked out of the clouds for just a few minutes to produce the most beautiful rainbow! It soon got ominous out again, but we were able to make it around the block to trick-or-treat. Then came home to a yummy treat!
Hope you had a Happy Halloween!!
Such a cold dreary fall day and some comfort food is needed to break the mood.
A Roasted Chicken can be made a bunch of different ways and I find that there can be some strong opinions out there as to which way is the best. But, I have made chicken a few different ways and I think this one is the best, hands down!
This idea from this recipe came from Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Cookbook. The key ingredient that I now swear by…is the whole lemon. It not only makes my chicken look absolutely gorgeous, it gives it great flavor and makes the house smell wonderful.
Here’s what I do…
Preheat oven to 400°.
Chop 2 medium-sized yellow onions into quarters and place in the middle of a shallow roast pan. This becomes a “rack” for the chicken to sit on.
Take one lemon and pierce it several times with a knife. Place it in the microwave for 40 seconds. (already smells good…)
Place the lemon and a bunch of fresh thyme inside the cavity of the chicken. (thyme + chicken = yum)
Rub the chicken with olive oil and salt and pepper the surface. I like to use coarse sea salt for my roasts (if you have it).
Sit the chicken on the onions. If I am roasting other veggies like carrots and potatoes, I place them around the chicken.
That’s it! Place it in the oven and roast. A 3 ½ to 4 pound chicken should take 2 to 2 ¼ hours, but test for doneness.
What is your favorite way to roast chicken?
Muffins with only two ingredients? I saw this recipe on Pinterest and was totally skeptical! So now that I tried it – get out that healthy can of pumpkin and celebrate autumn!
Kid & Mom approved – great snack for a lunch box or afterschool treat.
For this batch, I used a chocolate cake box mix and one 15 ounce can of pumpkin. With an electric mixer, combine the ingredients. Add a couple of tablespoons of milk to moisten the batter if needed. For kicks, add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice…spice it up! With a little research you can use any flavor of cake. I am sure that spice cake would be pretty yummy.
For mini-muffins: Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Store these moist cupcakes using Sweet Stackers stackable food storage trays. The trays separate and divide your food items in one container without a mess – visit sweetstackers.com!