Christmas ambition

I confess, for years I’ve made fun of people and stores that begin rolling out Christmas stuff in November.  And now, Bertha help me, I’m one of ’em.  I have one undecorated Christmas tree in my living room, waiting for Blane and I to decorate today, one week before Thanksgiving.  I can’t help it – I am so psyched about the holidays this year.  I’m doing my Thanksgiving shopping today and I’m getting antsy waiting to start the cooking.

I’m famous at work for “the box.”  Every year I buy one Christmas themed box for each employee and then fill it with a variety of baked stuff.  I love coming in to work on Christmas Eve morning (or the day before) before everyone else arrives, and leaving a box at each person’s desk.  This year begins the box overhaul.  I’ve been baking some of the same stuff for years, and while they’re delicious, I’m ready to mix it up a bit.  I’ve got some really great ideas; I’ll let you know how it turns out.

No joke, I’m done shopping for both Blane and Lee for Christmas.  I can’t wait for family to get together and enjoy company, good food, and flying wrapping paper as the children lay waste to the tree.

So yes, go ahead, make fun of me…Santa hat and all.

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The lazy way to pumpkin pie bliss

I swear people, this isn’t a food blog.  But maybe now it is.  Seems that I’m baking and creating and thinking of food pretty darn frequently.  I’m ok with that. 

Anyhow, pumpkin pie is one of my favorite flavors.  I love that stuff – the warm spices are always reminiscent of chai tea.  It’s a comforting, soothing type of flavor, full of cinnamon, ginger, clove….and other yumminess.  Off topic (sorta) – why do we only eat pumpkin pie in the fall???  This seems kooky.  It tastes just as good in April as it does on turkey day. 

Whatever, so I found this great recipe online for pumpkin pie pudding, made in a crock pot.  It’s craziness.  Imagine, if you will, a nice vessel filled with nothing but pumpkin pie innards.  Yeah, I’d smack my momma for some of that, too.  And how easy – no crust, no stirring, no thought involved.   Yummy food made lazy.  

Click on the following link for the recipe, although I made a couple of changes:  I don’t do canned stuff (if you want to be bored with me ranting about the evils of canned stuff, just give me a call, but for now, I’ll spare you the details), so instead of evaporated milk, I used the same quantity of skim milk and added a few tablespoons of milk powder.  Also, no canned pumpkin, but I just make my own, so there.  Last but not least, no pumpkin pie spice, since it’s just a mix of spices I already had.  I made a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg and allspice and threw that in.  Also, you don’t have to cook it nearly as long as the recipe states.  Mine was perfect after about 3 hours. 

I recommend serving this good stuff warm, with a dollop of whipped cream spiked with dark rum.  Still tastes good cold, but the texture is more firm and the flavors just don’t sing quite so loud.  Do as I say and you’ll thank me later. 

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Pie-Pudding-2/Detail.aspx

An American Tradition

I’ve noticed that there are so many families that don’t make it a habit of eating together in the evening.  Sometimes we have so much going on that we don’t have time to sit, talk and share a nice meal.  Ergo, we have too many families eating food out and not getting proper nutrition, not to mention the connection that you get when you share that time together, talking about your day and what’s going on in your lives.

So, I’m bringing it back!  We usually eat dinner together anyway, but there’s a special dinner that I want to celebrate – Sunday dinner.  I like the idea that no matter what’s going on, we get together on Sunday evening for a comforting, family meal.  As big B grows up, I think this tradition will keep us close and connected.  We’ve been doing this for the last few weeks, and I love it!  I get to spend some quality time cooking  in the kitchen, and my family gets a special dinner.  This week – white beans n rice!  We splurge and have an actual dessert at the end, which is usually planned by me.  Apple crisp (which also happens to be my favorite dessert  – like EVER!!).

Anyone else do something like this?

I fought the dough….but I won

It’s been awhile since I tried my hand at cinnamon rolls.  Turns out, they’re surprisingly easy.  I made some dough last night using a recipe for Amish Cinnamon Rolls that calls for mashed potato.  But I used pumpkin puree.  Because I had some.  And, well, because I’m obsessed with the pumpkin right now.  It’s gotta go in everything, dangit.

Anyhow, I did that whole 1st rise thing, and then rolled out the dough.  It made close to 30 rolls, so most went into the freezer to take out at another time and use, and 6 went into the fridge.  This morning I took the rolls out and let them do the 2nd rise and then popped them in the oven.  Here be the rolls right before they met the fire –

I rigged up some cream cheese icing before they came out of the oven and then slapped that yumminess on while they were hot.  Here’s the finished deal –

They were horrible.  You shouldn’t eat any of those.  Just leave them with me and I’ll dispose them for you.  Go have a bowl of bran flakes or something truly delectable.