Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shhh... it's a secret!

This was the second installment of the Secret Baker shipment I mentioned in an earlier post. This time, our theme was Fall... whatever we baked & sent had to be fall inspired!

I chose to make Pumpkin Streusel Bread. Since the recipe I used makes a ton of bread, I ended up with 2 loaves and 9 good sized muffins. I love how this bread/ muffin recipe turned out... so moist and tasty. The streusel topping is really the highlight (or so I think!). I will absolutely be making this again very soon!

Enjoy :)

Pumpkin Streusel Bread/ Muffins




  • 15 oz can pumpkin puree

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 2/3 cup water

  • 3 cups white sugar

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Streusel topping

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 5 tablespoons white sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans or prepare muffin pans with paper liners.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix streusel of flour, sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle onto loaves.

  4. For loaves, Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. For muffins, Bake for about 20 minutes in preheated oven. Bread/ muffins are done with a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Light & fluffy pumpkin!

For my girls night dessert, I decided to make a pumpkin infused mousse. I could not stop eating this dessert... it is so light, airy, spicey, and pumpkiny (is that even a word?).

Enjoy :)

Pumpkin Mousse



  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

  • 3 cups heavy cream

  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar

  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • Ginger snaps, for garnish


Combine pumpkin, 1 cup cream, sugar and spice in a medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Cool fully.

Whip remaining heavy cream and vanilla to soft peaks and fold into cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour into a serving dish and crumble the ginger snaps over top before serving.

Girls just wanna... eat goooooood!

This past weekend was our monthly girls night with 3 of my bridesmaids and myself. This month I had the honor of hosting for the first time at the new love nest of the husband and I!

Since it is a chilly October here in Rhode Island, I decided to use a fall theme for the meal... lots of warm flavors with a hint of spice and lots of yummy goodness!

Enjoy :)

Apple Cider Martinis



2 oz vodka

1 oz butterscotch schnapps

1 oz apple cider


Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice until chilled.

Serve in a cinnamon sugar rimmed glass.

Apple Butter Pork Loin, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Baked Acorn Squash




  • 1 ½ pound pork tenderloin

  • s&p to taste

  • 2 cups apple juice

  • 1/2 cup apple butter

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Place pork in bottom of crock pot.

  2. Mix juice, butter, sugar, water, and spices together in a bowl and pour on top of roast.

  3. Cook on low for 8 hours.

  4. An hour before serving, stir in a slurry of cornstarch & water to thicken sauce.



3 lbs yukon gold potatoes

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

2 heads of garlic


S&P to taste


Begin by roasting the garlic: preheat oven to 375, slice tops off garlic so bulbs are exposed. Place garlic in baking pan, drizzle with evoo and season with S&P. Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool completely.

Peel and cut potatoes into small cubes. Boil until soft.

Place cooked potatoes and butter in mixing bowl. Combine. Add peeled garlic cloves. Combine again. Add cream until you reach desire consistency. Season with S&P to taste.



2 acorn squash, sliced in half and seeds removed

4 tbsp butter

4 tbsp brown sugar (light or dark)

Pam cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray cookie sheet with Pam and place squash halves cut side down. Bake for 45 minutes or until soft to the touch.

Remove squash from over, flip so cut side is up. Fill the hole of squash with 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp brown sugar each.

Return to oven for 15 minutes, to melt butter and combine sugar.

All those in favor of tasty & quick Mexican flavored soup say "Aye"!

Aye Aye!

I love Mexican food... so much so that I dream of visiting Chicago one day just to go to Rick Bayless' restaurant!

I adapted this recipe from one I found on a website that is put together by the local Nest board and it is certainly a great resource for all sorts of deliciousness!! I'm always looking for good slow cooker recipes since I work late and the husband's idea of cooking a good meal is calling for takeout.

Enjoy :)

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup



  • 1 pound shredded, cooked chicken

  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed

  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chile peppers

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn

  • vegetable oil


  1. Place chicken, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onion, green chiles, and garlic into a slow cooker. Pour in water and chicken broth, and season with chili powder, salt, pepper. Stir in corn. Cover, and cook on Low setting for 6 to 8 hours or on High setting for 3 to 4 hours.

  2. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and avacado slices.

Here fishy fishy fishy!

Fish is one of my favorite things to make... This recipe is a super simple way to jazz up some plain old white fish.

Enjoy :)

Parmesan Baked Fish



1/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons salt

2 pounds thawed fresh or frozen fish fillets

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

melted butter


Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 x 2-inch baking dish.

Blend together the milk and salt in a shallow bowl. Combine bread crumbs, paprika, and Parmesan cheese in another bowl.

Dip fish fillets into milk mixture then into crumb mixture. Arrange in the prepared baking dish. Drizzle melted butter over fillets. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Fish should flake easily with a fork when done.

Let's pop some bubbley!

Risotto is a labor of love... lots of stirring, and adding liquid, and more stirring. But once the creamy texture forms, and the smell of parmesean cheese is oozing from the pan, it makes it all worth while!

After our wedding in May, I found myself starring at 5 bottles of champagne... 4 were gifts, 1 was leftover from my bridal shower. I quickly went on a hunt to find recipes in which I could put some of the champagne to good use (I didn't use all of it, of course... I had to save some to sip out of the beautiful Tiffany flutes we were given :)). I adapted this recipe from allrecipes.com and it was a huge hit with our dinner guests! I added the asparagus for a bit of bite and color & some mushrooms too (to be able to tell myself it had veggies in it!!).

Enjoy :)

Champagne and Asparagus Risotto



8 thin slices prosciutto

6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

24 asparagus spears, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

portobello mushrooms

4 tablespoons butter, divided

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 ½ cup Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice

1 ½ cup Champagne

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the slices of prosciutto on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake until the prosciutto slices are almost completely crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes. The slices will crisp up even more as they cool. Reserve for garnish.

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Blanch the asparagus in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon. Set the asparagus aside and keep the chicken stock at a low simmer.

In another medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Arborio rice and stir to coat in the butter. Continue toasting the rice, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes more. Add the Champagne and simmer until the liquid has almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still firm to the bite and the mixture is creamy, about 20 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the asparagus, remaining butter, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Spoon the risotto into serving dishes and garnish by breaking the crisp prosciutto into smaller pieces over the top of the risotto. Serve immediately.