Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks & Davis Family Pumpkin Pie

There are days where I can just hear the sound of my voice like it is nails on a chalkboard. I'm tired. I don't want to go to work. I ate too much. My body is sore. My apartment is a mess. The list goes on. You get the idea, right?
I imagine you may be like this too. You are often considering the possibility that if you just had one more thing or one less responsibility, that you may be happy. If you got into your reach school or finally moved to your dream city all of your wants would be met.

You're wrong. You really are. When I came to Boston, I just knew it would be a fresh start. A time to redefine myself. To do new things. To meet different people. To grow.

A few weeks into my move I began to realize: Life was still challenging, I still get really sad from time to time, I still get into fights with people, I still didn't have my dream job, I still haven't made up with old friends, I still eat too much ice cream after dinner, I still don't have my perfect wardrobe, I still haven't found a way to do things I want to do...and then, it hit me.

We are never satisfied. We always want more and better and bigger. We want perfection and our own ideology. We want the comfort of a best friend and the excitement of a crowd. We want the newest version. Want. Want. Want. And seldom, do we give thanks. I mean really give thanks. So I challenge you to change your thoughts.

You are lucky you have a job to complain about, a body that is healthy enough to be sore from exercise, a schedule that is busy from leisure activities, friends and family you care enough to fight with, a roof over your head, the clothes on your back and so much more.

And if all else fails, well, at least you can have your pie and eat it too.

Davis Family Pumpkin Pie
Refrigerated Pastry Pie Crust
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp of white sugar (just for variety, we say)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (and a dash for love)
1/2 tsp of salt (but a little less because we're watching our sodium, says Dad)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (plus a dash for tradition)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup (and an extra tablespoon for good measure)
1.5 cups pumpkin (that's almost all of your 15 oz can)
1 cup evaporated milk

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 425. Prepare your pastry pie crust.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs slightly; Mix in remaining ingredients in order and pour into pastry lined pan.
3. Cover the edge of your crust with a 2-to-3 inch strip of aluminum foil to prevent excess browning. Bake 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.
1. Whip cream in a COLD mixing bowl until just before stiff peaks form. Add vanilla and sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Serve alongside pie.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Rolo Pretzel Bites

I like fancy dinners. I'm not intimidated by elaborate ingredient lists, long cooking hours or foods I've never heard of. I like a challenge. I like the satisfaction of enjoying something I've worked for. I like doing something that not just anyone can do. Well... that's most of the time.
Sometimes, however, I just want to be lazy. I want three steps, three ingredients and three minutes until I can dig in. When that happens, I'm going to continue to turn to this recipe. Sweet and salty and creamy and crunchy, this bite size treat is a cinch to make and is perfect for an easy entertaining treat. If you have five minutes, you can make it. So hop to it Hey-Zues (Jim Gaffigan, anyone?).

Rolo Pretzel Bites
24 square shaped pretzels
24 rolo candies, unwrapped
1 (1.7 oz) m&m candies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place pretzels on a baking sheet. Put one rolo onto each pretzel and place into preheated oven for 3 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and top each rolo with one m&m

(Yep, that's really it.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Frosted Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

I'm ashamed. It's been over a month? Have I really taken that long of a hiatus? It appears so. And I'm sorry, I am! I miss my baking and my writing and finally, finally I am ready to get back into it. I don't have time for a complete catch up and witty monologue to go with this dessert, but I made it for Alex's birthday, and it was a hit. That boy loves his cheesecake and he said it was one of the best he has had. But don't take it from me or my potentially biased man-friend. Whip this one bowl wonder up yourself.

Frosted Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
2 cups finely crushed Oreo cookies
6 tbsp melted butter
3 (8-oz) packages softened cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 (12 oz) package semisweet chocolate chips, divided
2 cups whipped topping

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a bowl, combine Oreo crumbs and melted butter into a bowl and mix well. Press onto the bottom of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Chill for 15 minutes in refrigerator or until set.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs in one at a time and beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips and pour into crust.
3. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Don't worry if it cracks a little. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. (My experience with cheesecake is it gets better the after sitting for an entire day).
4. For frosting, melt the remaining chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature. When cooled, gradually stir in whipped topping. Don't overmix. Remove sides of springform pan and frost top of cheesecake;