Thursday, September 25, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things....

I have to fill you in on a little "swap" I participated in recently. It was a "blog swap" -- yep, a blog swap! I know what you're thinking....what in the world?? Let me tell you, it was so much fun! Here is what the swap was about:

My friend, Allison, has a blog called The Pink Potpourri. Well, Allison decided to host a blog swap on her blog in which her readers were given a "buddy" to swap with. In order to participate in the swap, each person had to have either a blog or a website. Once you received your buddy you were to send that person a few of your favorite things, and vice versa. It gave the readers a chance to make a new "buddy" if you will, get a fun package in the mail, and learn just how much we had in common with each other. It is kind of like having a "pen pal" only instead of sending a letter we sent cool stuff. :)

My swap buddy is Jennifer (Jenna, Jenn). Check out her blog here! She is 30, lives in Paducah, and just recently got married! Woohoo, Jenn! :) She also loves to cook and loves trying new recipes (sound familiar?), and she is a receptionist at a church (ahem, secretary at a Seminary here...). So, needless to say we have a LOT in common!

Okay, now for the fun stuff. Here are some pictures of what my awesome swap buddy sent me!!

Oh my gosh!! I can't wait to open it!!

Hmmm...wonder what's in here???

Yumm-O! Haha, I love Rachael Ray's mag. :) YAY!! And I even got 2!!

Ooohhh...more goodies!! I just love church cookbooks!

Have you ever heard of Wind & Willow mixes? They are absolutely wonderful!! (I actually sent a box to Jenn as well -- how funny!)

And last but not least, one of my favorite fall scents -- Mulled Cider!

Doesn't having a swap buddy sound like fun! You'll have to check out Jenn's blog to see what I sent her. :) So what do you think? I may just start a "swap" of my own on this blog....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Pumpkin Time!!

That's right! Tis the season for the pumpkin! Pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cake, pumpkin roll, pumpkin dip....the "pumpkin possibilities" are endless.

Until recently, I was not a big lover of the large orange-fleshed squash. But then I found a wonderful recipe for Pumpkin Muffins (which I actually turned into a cake) in my Amish cookbook. The recipe sounded so easy I just had to try it.

Now don't think that I am one of those people who purchases a pumpkin, cleans out the seeds, scoops out the flesh, and uses it to make these wonderful concoctions...oh no...I am a "go to the grocery and stock up on canned pumpkin" kind of gal. Why in the world would someone go through the trouble of cleaning out all of those "guts" from the pumpkin when you can pay $1.50 (at most) for a large can of the yummy good-for-you orange stuff?? And with fall right around the corner, those cans just come in too handy. :)

So, I really want to do some experimenting with pumpkin recipes this fall. Right now, my specialty is Pumpkin Cake with cream cheese frosting. I don't care too much for Pumpkin Pie-- don't know why. I LOVE pumpkin roll -- and my sister makes the best. I have tried pumpkin dip with graham cracker sticks and it isn't too bad. Oh, and pumpkin bread is another favorite of mine. What are your favorites? Do you have any pumpkin recipes you'd like to share? I'd love to try them!!

In the meantime, enjoy this pumpkin recipe from that Amish cookbook I was telling you about.

Pumpkin Cake (or Muffins, if you prefer)

1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 20 oz. can pumpkin

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or spray a 9x13 inch cake pan. Mix all ingredients together (except for frosting ingredients). Pour into pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool.

For frosting, combine all ingredients and blend well on high speed. Frost cake gently (frosting will be very thick). Cut cake and enjoy!

*I like to keep this cake in the fridge due to the cream cheese and butter in the frosting.
*You can use a can of cream cheese frosting...but believe me...this homemade frosting is what makes the cake!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The easiest pie you'll ever make!

So, this was my first attempt at a Peanut Butter Pie. My mother-in-law told me what ingredients to get on Friday at the grocery but I was supposed to call her back to get the recipe on Sunday (the day before I was to make the pie). Unfortunately, it got too late on Sunday before I realized I needed the recipe and did not want to call at such a late hour.

Solution: I grabbed my cookbook from our former church (First Baptist Church of Pikeville, KY) in hopes that a similar recipe was hiding within the depths of the book.

Problem solved!!

Here is the recipe for the easiest, most scrumptious, richest peanut butter pie you'll ever make (in my opinion!):

Peanut Butter Pie

1 eight-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (or more, if you choose)
2 cups whipped topping
1 graham cracker crust

Mix all ingredients together except for crust. Pour into graham cracker crust, spreading evenly. Top with remaining whipped topping (if you use a tub of
Cool Whip, you will have about a cup left), also spreading evenly. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts or walnuts. Let set in fridge about an hour before serving. Makes about 10 servings (you want to cut it in small pieces because it is so rich!). Enjoy!!

**Hint: You can also substitute low-fat ingredients to make it semi-healthier. :)