Candy-filled Santa Sleigh — Ho Ho Ho!

During the recent ice storm, Mrs. Claus and her elf (AKA  Mom and Me) had some time to work on Christmas projects. Following the directions (with a few modifications) in the winter 2015 issue of Kansas Living, here's what we made . . .

Candy-filled Santa Sleigh
Ingredients:
   2 candy canes
   1 Kit Kat bar
   7 small bite-size candy bars
Equipment/Supplies:
   Hot glue gun
   3 ft. piece of holiday ribbon

  1. Turn the Kit Kat bar so that the underside is facing up.
  2. Run a bead of hot glue across one of the long sides of the candy bar and immediately adhere a candy cane (see photo below). Repeat on the other side.
  3. Once dry, turn the Kit Kat over. Then add a dot of glue to 4 bite-size candy bars and adhere to the top of the candy bar (see photo below).

  4. Position 2 more bite-size candy bars on top of the 4, running these in the opposite direction; glue in place (see photo).
  5. Divide a 3' length of ribbon in half; position over the stack of candy bars so the ribbon is running over the length of the sleigh. Then run ribbon under the sleigh, crossing it underneath the sleigh; bring the ribbon up the sides and tie a bow.

Instructions without photos . . .
Candy-filled Santa Sleigh
Ingredients:
   2 candy canes
   1 Kit Kat bar
   7 small bite-size candy bars
Equipment/Supplies:
   Hot glue gun
   3 ft. piece of holiday ribbon

  1. Turn the Kit Kat bar so that the underside is facing up.
  2. Run a bead of hot glue across one of the long sides of the candy bar and immediately adhere on candy cane (see photo below). Repeat on the other side.
  3. Once dry, turn the Kit Kat over. Then add a dot of glue to 4 bite-size candy bars and adhere to the top of the candy bar (see photo below).
  4. Position 2 more bite-size candy bars on top of the 4, running these in the opposite direction; glue in place (see photo).
  5. Divide a 3' length of ribbon in half; position over the stack of candy bars so the ribbon is running over the length of the sleigh. Then run ribbon under the sleigh, crossing it underneath the sleigh; bring the ribbon up the sides and tie a bow.

"Drunken" Brandied Cranberries

As I turned the pages of the Salina Journal's insert (11/15/15), Gifts, Goodies & Recipes, 2015; a photo of this cranberry sauce caught my eye. After reading the recipe, I was sure I wanted to give it a try! However, my friend Mary Amess beat me to the kitchen—she prepared it for Thanksgiving dinner. So, I had got to try this delicious dish without doing any of the required work. The recipe is definitely a keeper so thank you to Sandy Wolbert (Salina) for submitting it for publication.

Brandied Cranberries
4 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 to 2/3 cup brandy (use the best you can afford as the alcohol content is heated away; only the flavor remains)

  1. Combine cranberries, sugar and brandy. Mix well.
  2. Place mixture in a 9" x 13" oblong glass baking dish. 
  3. Cover with foil and baked for one hour in oven preheated to 300°.
  4. Let cool on counter, then refrigerate until cool. 
  5. Serve as an accompaniment with poultry or ham. Can also be used as a dessert sauce over pound cake or ice cream.

Truffled Mashed Potatoes—WOW!

Truffle Oil infused mashed
potatoes for Thanksgiving
dinner.


We tasted Truffled Mashed Potatoes at the Culinary Center of Kansas City last time we taught a class there. Their executive chef was in the process of preparing for a catered event and offered us a sample of these mashed potatoes. One bite—that's all it took and we headed to The Tasteful Olive (which is just down the block in old Overland Park) to buy a bottle of this liquid gold. It adds a WOW factor to one of our favorite comfort foods.



White Truffle Oil is available at The Tasteful Olive (locations in KC & Topeka).
Truffled Mashed Potatoes     
6 to 6 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peel & chunked
water until tender
About 1/3 to 1/2 cup buttermilk—more if needed (use regular milk if you prefer) 
1/2 to 1 stick butter
About 1/2 cup sour cream 
Salt and white pepper to taste
Truffle Oil — about 1 teaspoon
Paprika 

1.  Add potatoes to salted water; turn heat on and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender
2.  Drain potatoes, saving about 1/3 to 1/2 cup potato water.
3.  Stir in buttermilk and butter, if desired. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

4.  Drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle with paprika.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal for breakfast!





It's Thanksgiving morning and pumpkin is on my mind -- pumpkin pie oatmeal that is! Not only is it a great way, it's also a way to use up a little leftover pumpkin puree.




Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal   1 serving
1 helping cooked Ten-Minute Steel Cut Oatmeal
Pumpkin puree -- about a spoonful
A pinch of pumpkin pie spices -- cinnamon, ginger, cloves
Real maple syrup -- a squirt or two
Walnuts -- 2 or 3 broken into pieces
Almond milk or regular milk

  1. Add cooked oatmeal to a bowl.
  2. Top with pumpkin puree, spices, maple syrup and walnuts.
  3. Add milk.

Traditional Pumpkin Pie made with pumpkin puree

I used excess pie dough and cut it into
seasonal shapes. These were baked separately
(with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled over
the top) and then added to the baked &
cooled pie.
A1950's era recipe in combination with our pumpkin puree yields a traditional Thanksgiving pie . . .







Traditional Pumpkin Pie made with pumpkin puree    Makes one 9” pie
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  1. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in a large bowl.
  2. Add eggs and stir to incorporate.
  3. Stir in pumpkin puree.
  4. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  5. Pour into pie shell.
  6. Bake in preheated 425° oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°. And bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.
  8. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Recipe without photos . . .
Traditional Pumpkin Pie made with pumpkin puree    Makes one 9” pie
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
  1. Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in a large bowl.
  2. Add eggs and stir to incorporate.
  3. Stir in pumpkin puree.
  4. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.
  5. Pour into pie shell.
  6. Bake in preheated 425° oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°. And bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  7. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours.
  8. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Just in time for the holidays—Pumpkin Coffee Cake





Knowing I have several portions of pure pumpkin puree in the freezer, my thoughts turned to a seasonal coffee cake . . . 

Pumpkin Coffee Cake   Makes one 9” x 13” cake (instead of using this size pan, I used to smaller sized pans instead)
Crumble Topping
½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
½ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup old-fashioned or quick oatmeal
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 scant tsp. ground cinnamon, ½ tsp. ground ginger, scant ½  tsp. ground allspice, ¼ tsp. nutmeg)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
Cake
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ½  scant tsp. ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. ground ginger, scant ¼ tsp. ground allspice, pinch nutmeg)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups evaporated milk (or use half and half, or whole milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ⅓ cups pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray a 9” x 13” cake pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Crumble Topping: Mix together butter, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal pumpkin spice, and cinnamon until coarse crumbs form. Set aside along with the pecans.

  4. Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, soda and flour.
  5. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated.
  7. Add milk and vanilla; stir to combine.
  8. Add pumpkin puree.
  9. Slowly pour dry ingredients into the wet and stir until fully combined.
  10. Pour half the batter into the prepared baking pan. (I divided my batter between 2 pans.)
  11. Top with half of the crumble topping and pour remaining batter on top.
    Note: Rather than making one large coffee cake, I divided the batter and topping between a 9" square pan & another smaller one.
  12. Sprinkle with remaining crumble mixture and pecans and place in the oven.
  13. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  14. Let cool before cutting into slices.
Recipe without photos . . .
Pumpkin Coffee Cake   Makes one 9” x 13” cake
Crumble Topping
½ cup cold butter, cut into pieces
½ cup packed brown sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup old-fashioned or quick oatmeal
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 scant tsp. ground cinnamon, ½ tsp. ground ginger, scant ½  tsp. ground allspice, ¼ tsp. nutmeg)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
Cake
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or ½  scant tsp. ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. ground ginger, scant ¼ tsp. ground allspice, pinch nutmeg)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups evaporated milk (or use half and half, or whole milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla 

1 ⅓ cups pumpkin puree
    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Spray a 9” x 13” cake pan with nonstick spray.
    3. Crumble Topping: Mix together butter, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal pumpkin spice, and cinnamon until coarse crumbs form. Set aside along with the pecans.
    4. Cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, soda and flour.
    5. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars.
    6. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated.
    7. Add milk and vanilla; stir to combine.
    8. Add pumpkin puree.
    9. Slowly pour dry ingredients into the wet and stir until fully combined.
    10. Pour half the batter into the prepared baking pan.
    11. Top with half of the crumble topping and pour remaining batter on top.
    12. Sprinkle with remaining crumble mixture and pecans and place in the oven.
    13. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
    14. Let cool before cutting into slices.

    Southwest Pumpkin-Potato Soup

                                                                                                                                                               


    After making pumpkin puree from our Fairy Tale pumpkin, I was ready to try out some new recipes. First on my list—pumpkin soup! Even though this recipe calls for jalapeño pepper + other spicy seasoning, it is really quite mild . . . due to the added potato and milk. Of course, you can add additional jalapeños, chili powder and cumin if you prefer a spicier flavor. Or, for a more intense flavor, use chicken broth (or part chicken broth) in place of the milk.
    Note: The potato helps thicken this soup.

    Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup   Makes 10 cups
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    About 2 cups chopped leeks or 1 large onion, chopped
    1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    5 cups chicken broth
    1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
    1 ¼ teaspoons Kosher salt
    ½ teaspoon chili powder
    ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    15-ounces pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (without additives)
    2 cups whole milk or use part heavy cream for a really rich soup (1 ½ cups milk + ½ cup cream or use 2 cups chicken broth
    Garnishes: sour cream, sprinkling of chili powder &/or cumin, fresh cilantro or parsley
    1. Heat olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.
    2. Add onion, jalapeño pepper, and garlic; sauté until tender.
    3. Add chicken broth potato, salt, chili powder, cumin and pumpkin puree; cook, stirring often, 30 minutes or until potato is tender.
      Ingredients added to the Dutch oven.
      After about 30 minutes.
    4. Process soup mixture using an emersion blender (or cool soup mixture for about 10 minutes and then blend in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides).
    5. Return to Dutch oven; stir in milk (or milk-cream), and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
    6. Garnish as desired.

    Recipe without photos . . .
    Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup   Makes 10 cups
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    About 2 cups chopped leeks or 1 large onion, chopped 
    1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    5 cups chicken broth
    1 large baking potato, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
    1 ¼ teaspoons Kosher salt
    ½ teaspoon chili powder
    ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    15-ounces pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (without additives)
    2 cups whole milk or use part heavy cream for a really rich soup (1 ½ cups milk + ½ cup cream or use 2 cups chicken broth
    Garnishes: sour cream, sprinkling of chili powder &/or cumin, fresh cilantro or parsley
    1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.
    2. Add onion, jalapeño pepper, and garlic; sauté until tender.
    3. Add chicken broth potato, salt, chili powder, cumin and pumpkin puree; cook, stirring often, 30 minutes or until potato is tender.
    4. Process soup mixture using an emersion blender (or cool soup mixture for about 10 minutes and then blend in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides).
    5. Return to Dutch oven; stir in milk (or milk-cream), and simmer 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
    6. Garnish as desired.