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Megans Cookin: October 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Spooky Dinner and Devilish Treats

Kellie and her friend, both 13 years old, made some devilish delights.
They dipped some cake balls to make jack o lanterns.

And some pretzel sticks!

I love Christmas Crackers and couldn't resist when I saw these cute Halloween ones.

The half set dinner table!

My friend Janet was invited to dinner.

Bone chilling candles.

Mr. Pumpkinhead was invited too.

Dinner was black pasta (colored by sqid ink) and green pasta
(whitch didn't turn out very green. More pesto please)
and moldy bread.

Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Daring Bakers Strike Again! That's A'more

This months Daring Bakers Challenge was to make homemade pizza. Not really a challenge, your thinking. Well, how about trying to toss a pizza like an authinic Pizziolo. Or, try tossing said pizza and getting a picture. Or better yet, try tossing said pizza and get a GOOD picture! Now thats a challenge.

This months DB challenge was hosted by Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yum. She was to co host with Glenna of A Fridge Full of Food and Sher of What Did You Eat? Tragically, Sher died on July 20Th of a massive heartattack. Nine days before her death, she suggested to Rosa about doing pizzeria style pizza. Today, thousands of DB'ers are honoring Sher.

To prove I got into the spirit, I give to you my one and only decent picture of dough flying through the air. What fun and nerve wracking those first few tosses were. But after awhile I was tossing out pizza faster then could blink an eye. A real pizzaiolo would have watched in envy. They were going higher and higher with each crust I threw. What a site I had going on in my kitchen. O.K, not really. But it makes for a better story so just keep that image in your head.

My first pizza pie was a rip off of my SIL's idea. A couple of weeks ago, the darling daughter and I helped out at a wedding that my SIL catered. You see, she's the best caterer around. She served a Gorgonzola, golden raisin and honey foccica that I just loved.

So I put it on my pizza and served this as my bread to one of our lovely Sunday suppers. I think it was a Sunday. It doesn't really matter when, but it was a lovely supper. It was a hit!

My second pizza was a Mexican pizza. Salsa was my sauce, with seasoned taco meat, cheese, and a drizzle of sour cream. I was gonna put shredded cabbage on top but I forgot till it was cut and served. The Hubby said not to add it on his account, so I didn't. This was a success also.

So I still have my breakfast pizza and my dessert pizza to offer up to you, BUT, unfortunately, their unassembled in the fridge. But they are there. So the beginning of November, whan you are all eating leftover Halloween candy for your quick meal, I'll be enjoying fresh, tossed, homemade pizza. Just like the authentic Italian Pizzeria. Now that's A"more!


Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice
by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches).

4 1/2 Cups bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar -

1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).
2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water
NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time.The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.
3. Flour a work surface or counter. Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.
4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.
5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them. Gently round each piece into a ball.NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.
6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.
7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.
NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil (a few tablespoons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator..

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

My BBM Package and Taking Care of Buisness!

I got my Blogging By Mail package today! Katie of Cupcake RN sent me a lovely package of fun surprises. She sent a couple packages of silicone cupcake liners and some sprinkles. A cute list maker pad of paper that has a magnet on it that is stored on my refrigerator door. A little fun dessert book that is packed with inspiration and a tea towel to help me with the clean ups. Some monogrammed tissues and of course, what every girl needs, chocolate. Thank you so much Katie. It was a delight to be the recipient of such a fun package.

A big thank you goes out to Dawn of A Home In The Country for awarding me with the Kreative Award. I guess I better start getting Kreative, ya think? :) Thank you Dawn. You are so sweet and I love your blog.

Reeni of Cinnamon and Spice & Everything Nice awarded me this award. Thank you so much for thinking of me Reeni! I treasure it and appreciate it.

April of Abbysweets gave me an award also. The Beautiful site award. Thank you so much April and sorry it took me so long to acknowledge it. But I know, you know how it is.

Gloria of Cookbook Cuisine has given me the Excellent Award and tagged me for a fun food scenario. How fun and thank you Gloria!

Now Carla of Chocolate Moosey has tagged me for 7 random facts. I thought I would combine that with Gloria's tag for the foodie scenario.

You see...,

it's my blog so I can do that. :)

So... with that said..., here we go!


You are stranded on a desert island for an indefinite amount of time. You can bring along five food items and are allowed one sentence to justify your decision. It is an island, so assume plentiful fish, coconuts, and sea salt. Storage is not an issue, as you also have a large solar powered refrigerator.

Gloria is bringing coffee, hamburger (can't have enough beef), spatini, tomatoes, and Kahlua. Here's my list:

1. Pumpkin Spice Torino Syrup. I figure if Gloria is bringing coffee, I'll have some of my favorite flavoring, that way we wont miss a Starbucks.
2. Chocolate. A girl must have chocolate!
3. Cream. I could make coconut cream, pumpkin spiced cream. chocolate cream, and who knows what other kind of cream I would come up with; creamed tuna?
4. Red Wine. I'm sure it would find some useful applications.
5. Beef. It pairs well with red wine and it could be a really long time..

If you would like to play along, tag who you want, and link back to me. Be sure to let me know, I'll come visit!


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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vegetable Pot Pie

When I was first out on my own, pot pies were a staple in my little homes. They were cheap, easy, and I loved them. Then as I got older, they were dropped from the shopping list. I got a microwave and didn't have the time to bake a pot pie. I was single, stupid, and always had a place to get to. A microwaved whatever was quicker then the beloved pot pie.

I have never made a pot pie from scratch before,
so when I heard that Deb from Kahakai Kitchen picked Vegetable Pot Pie
for this weeks Barefoot Bloggers challenge,
I was thrilled. Thrilled I tell ya.
This would make a perfect Sunday supper.

I made my filling but I omitted the saffron due to the spice was nonexistent in my cupboard.
I also left out the asparagus and the pearl onions.
Oh yea, and I substituted white wine for the Pernod.
I don't even know what Pernod is,
do you?

I rolled out the dough which came together very easy.
Then I made these adorable little pies.

So proud I was!

Pot pies take about an hour to bake,
so I took the opportunity to sample the wine.

Look at that flaky dough!

Want a little closer look?

See the filling bubbling through? It's done!

And dinner is served.

Time to dig in!

This was a wonderful recipe and got cheers from everyone.
The Hubby did ask where the chicken was. I thought about adding some, but, again, none in the house.

This recipe is not for the calorie conscience!
But... we wont go there. O.K.?

Vegetable Pot Pie
by Ina Garten

12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) I used one stick
2 cups sliced yellow onions (2 onions)
1 fennel bulb, top and core removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups good chicken stock
1 tablespoon Pernod I used white wine
Pinch saffron threads Didn't have any
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups large-diced potatoes (1/2 pound)
1 1/2 cups asparagus tips Skipped this one too
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced carrots (4 carrots)
1 1/2 cups peeled, 3/4-inch-diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions (1/2 pound) Guess what? I skipped this one too!
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
For the pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and fennel and saute until translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flour, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add the stock, Pernod, saffron, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the heavy cream and season to taste. The sauce should be highly seasoned.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Lift out with a sieve. Add the asparagus, carrots, and squash to the pot and cook in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain well. Add the potatoes, mixed vegetables, onions, and parsley to the sauce and mix well.
For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the sides, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.



Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

It's a cake, It's a cookie, No! it's...

Pumpkin Whoopie Pie!

This months Cookie Carnival choice was
Martha Stewart's Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.
Pumpkin spiked cream cheese filling sandwiched
between two devils food chocolate cookies.
It taste like a cake, it's name says pie, but it really is a cookie.
How perfect for Halloween!

I got 12 cookies, the recipe said 18. But the recipe also said mini. Oops!
There was nothing mini about mine.
Mine were big enough that one would do ya.
O.K, mine were big enough that half would do ya.

For a girl who loves chocolate and pumpkin, these didn't do it for me.
I got great reviews, but not on my list of *MUST MAKE*.
They were cute, perfect for the season and fun to make.
Just not my favorite. :(

Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies


* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
* 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
* 1 large egg
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
* Pinch of cinnamon
* Pinch of nutmeg

1. Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
3. Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
4. Prepare filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter and confectioners' sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
5. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.
Makes about 18-20 cookies.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Think Pink!

Yesterday was Think Pink day in Redding. This is a day when the community comes together in support of breast cancer awareness. MD Imaging held their annual pink carnation giveaway. I walked with the girls from the YMCA, all dressed in pink, down to get our bags and flower.

It's a huge event with thousands of bags given out each year. From corporate donations to the girl scouts stuffing bags, you can feel the community involvement. It's a drive up event where you don't even have to get out of the car. A whole block is reserved outside the mammogram building for just this purpose.

I walked with a group that consisted of young and old, a breast cancer survivor, a bald lady just ending therapy, a grand baby, and women who hope never to have to go through such an experience. Even the dogs get in on the action. I might be partial to dachshunds but look how cute this little Missy is. She wouldn't look at me for a picture. I believe she is camera shy.

Everywhere there is pink!

This is the information in the bag that is given out. Every year it is a little bit different but always full of cancer awareness information.

Here is my little part in helping breast cancer awareness. This is the contents of my pink box. I have a friend who sells pampered chef. (Hi Channon!) She told me of her idea for supporting the cause. Every year, Pampered Chef comes out with a few items for breast cancer awareness. A few bucks go into research with every purchase of these items. She, and now I, buy these items and put them into "The Pink Box" When our young daughters move out on their own, they will have some pink kitchen supplies and I've helped out a worthy cause. I keep telling the darling daughter I'll also buy her a pink Kitchenaid. :)
That was the color she wanted me to buy when I got mine.

Look, there is Miss Happy Spoon, herself! She is even wairing her pink ribbon. Well, Channon has created a monster. I didn't just stop at Pampered Chef items. If I find a good deal on pink, you know I'll get it.
For the box!

And what is a celebration without cookies you ask? My thought exactly.

So I made some pretty in pink meringue cookies with chocolate chips. Perfect for an occasion like this. Melt in your mouth goodness with chocolate for the cause. What can be better?

I'm serving these up to Ley of Cilantro and Lime

So I had a mammogram last month.
When was the last time you had the girls photographed?

*Breast cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the breast, usually the ducts (tubes that carry milk to the nipple) and lobules (glands that make milk). It occurs in both men and women, although male breast cancer is rare.

*cases of breast cancer in the United states (2007) are estimated to be 178,480 (female); 2,030 (male). Of these an estimated 40,460 (female) and 450 (male) will die from the disease. (National Cancer Institute figures).

*Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, aside from skin cancer.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Them Bones!

I bet you were thinking this post was going to be about chicken wings.
Or maybe you were thinking ribs .
these bones are made out of prepackaged bread stick dough.
Or in my case, garlic sticks from the take and bake pizza shop.

I found this adorable Halloween idea on one of my favorite blogs,
A Big Cup Of Tea written by Michele.

Just lay out your bread sticks and snip the end of each one.
Turn the ends out and around to resemble bone knobs

Shape, Rattle and Roll!

Pile them up.

Now wouldn't this be good with a big plate of earthworms
and some Eye of Newt!