Pumpkin Maple Pie

I like pumpkin pie, but I have never been able to eat very much of it because most of the pumpkin pies I’ve encountered over the years have been entirely too sweet. This year I decided to try to make my own, and I was most pleased with the results. I had TWO pieces over the course of the evening, and I could’ve eaten more! I might try reducing the ginger a little next time. I liked it, but then I like ginger more than a lot of people.

This is a very slight modified version of this recipe.

Pumpkin Maple Pie

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1 1/2 cu pumpkin puree (1 15 oz can, or about 1/2 a 29 oz can)
1/2 cu packed brown sugar
1 1/4 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 t ground nutmeg
1/4 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground allspice
1/2 t salt
2/3 cu maple syrup
1 1/4 cu half-and-half cream
1 t all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 9″ unbaked pie shell

1) pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2) in large bowl mix pumpkin puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt
3) stir in maple syrup, half-and-half, and flour
4) add eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition
5) pour mixture into unbaked pie shell.
6) bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean (middle may still be a little jiggly)
7) let cool on wire rack, for best results refrigerate at least 1 hour

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Easy Rolls

These are a nice, light dinner roll that I’ve made on several occasions. Alas, I don’t remember where I got this recipe.

Easy Rolls

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1 1/2 cu warm water
1 T active dry yeast
2 T sugar (or 1 T honey)
2 T olive oil
1 t salt
4 cu all-purpose flour

1) in large bowl, combine water, sugar, and yeast; let sit for 10 minutes
2) add oil, salt, and 2 cu flour; turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed
3) place in lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides; cover and let rise until doubled (~1 hour)
4) punch down and turn onto lightly floured surface; divide into 16 pieces and form into rounds
5) place rounds on greased cookie sheet 2″ apart, cover, and let rise until doubled (~40 minutes)
6) pre-heat oven to 350 degrees; bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown

Candied Yams

I have never liked candied yams. They often have too much sugar, and I could never get passed the look of marshmallows on top. It just looked and smelled…disgusting (apologies to anyone reading this who likes it). When I found out that candied yams was one of the Dearliest’s favorites, I was surprised. Very, very surprised. Then I discovered the candied yams he grew up with is entirely different than what I was used to, and I’m happy to say I really enjoyed these! Very unique flavor, not too sweet, just the right amount of tang, and oh yeah, nearly impossible to mess up.

Once again, the recipe is courtesy my dear sister-in-law! You can really use as much or as little concentrate as you want, and I suppose too it would vary depending on the size of your yams. We used two medium sized yams that covered maybe 2/3 of a 9×9 pan, and 1 cup of concentrate was just about perfect. Also, my yams started browning way too early, so I covered them with foil, took it off for the last 15 minutes, and they ended up a gorgeous golden brown.

Candied Yams

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2 yams
3/4 – 1 cu orange juice concentrate, thawed

1) pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
2) peel yams and slice 1 1/2″ – 2″ thick, layer in bottom of baking dish
3) pour orange juice concentrate over yams
4) bake 35-40 minutes, until fork easily pierces yams

Hungarian Green Apple Stuffing

This for me has always been a favorite at Thanksgiving, and this year I wanted to try something new so I asked my dear sister-in-law for some assistance. She provided me with a beautiful and tasty recipe, and it is by far the best stuffing I’ve ever had. I don’t know that I’ll be able to make anything else from now on! Even the Dearliest, who informed me before the fact that stuffing was on the bottom of his list, declared it a little more than tolerable.

I halved the recipe TW gave me, and I probably should’ve quartered it because this still made a LOT. Also, I didn’t have time to make my bread, so I ended up using a bag of bread cubes from a store bought stuffing mix.

Hungarian Green Apple Stuffing

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1 loaf homemade bread, sliced, toasted and cubed
1 1/2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
3/4 cu celery, sliced thinly
3/4 cu onion
1/4 cu chopped pecans or 1/2 cu chestnuts

1/2 cu water
1/2 cu pineapple or apple juice
1/4 cu oil
1 T sage
1 t salt
1 T fresh parsley or 1 t dried

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2) Combine first 5 ingredients in large bowl.
3) In separate bowl mix remaining ingredients.
4) Gradually drizzle liquid mixture into bread mixture, tossing well.
5) Pour into greased baking dish, cover and bake 20-25 minutes.
6) Remove covering and bake another 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Thanksgiving Fare

Thanksgiving this year was a good experience. It put my mind at ease, culinarily speaking, seeing as my attempt at Christmas dinner last year was, while good, Highly Stressful and somewhat fracturing of my mental stability. Of course, I was a few weeks pregnant at the time and mostly unaware of it, so that might have contributed something somewhere.

Yesterday the Dearliest and I made our Thanksgiving dinner for just us, as our Indiana trip earlier this month rendered us immobile for a little while. With an infant in the house, I decided it might be a smart move to start making things on Wednesday (stuffing and pumpkin pie), and boy did that ever turn out to be a life saver! Thursday was still very full of things to cook, but it wasn’t rushed or hurried and there was plenty of time for some house cleaning and even a short nap!

I don’t have a recipe for the turkey, as that was the Dearliest’s department, but it was really good. Moist, flavorful, and delicious.

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Oreo Cream Cheese Truffles

I was having a chocolate craving and wanted something I could easily pop into my mouth. I forget where it was I first heard about the idea of mixing Oreos and cream cheese, but I’m hear to tell you it’s a winner combination. Alas, it was difficult to stop eating these after the initial “taste test”, which I suppose is one of the cons of a dessert that can be “easily popped” into one’s mouth.

I didn’t measure the ingredients, so I shall make my best guess, but really these are so simple you can pretty much do it to your taste and liking and not be harmed.

I usually keep mine in the freezer. They’re great frozen, and they’ll keep a long time there.

Oreo Cream Cheese Truffles

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2 rolls Oreos (from a Costco box…I’d guess it worked out to about 2 cups crushed; I used regular Oreos, but you could easily use mint or whatever other flavors they’ve got out there)
1 cup cream cheese
1 cup chocolate chips
2 T olive oil

1) Crush the Oreos as you will. The finer you make it, the better, although chunky truffles are good too. I started out by placing them in a gallon freezer Ziploc bag and whacking/ rolling with a rolling pin, but that offered limited helpfulness. Then I tried smashing the cookies in a big bowl with a big spoon, and this works, but it hurt my hand and wrist. Opening my utensil drawer in frustration, my eyes landed on The Potato Masher. It was by far my favorite weapon.

2) Mix in cream cheese until it’s all uniform. Stick bowl in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Layer a cookie sheet with wax paper.

3) Pull Oreo mixture out of freezer, and working quickly roll about a tablespoon of dough in your hands to form a ball. Place the balls on wax paper (depending on the warmth of the room, you may find the dough too sticky and soft to work with after a little while, so simply return it to the freezer to harden again). Insert toothpicks into each ball, then place cookie sheet in freezer for at least 15 minutes.

4) Melt chocolate chips and oil in microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop. Stir to smooth it out, then again working quickly, remove balls from freezer and dip them half way (or entirely) in the chocolate. Return them to the wax paper.

5) Return cookie sheet to freezer, and once the chocolate coating has hardened enjoy or move to freezer Ziploc bag for longer storage!