Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread is another fall favorite at my house.  I make this from the first leaf falling off the trees and all the way through the holidays. You might find it hanging out up until Easter.  This gets made a lot.  This another recipe of mine that is well used, and stained.

I make it in large loaves, small loaves, and mini loaves.  I give it away and I also freeze it for later.  Small loaves make great food gifts to appointments during the holidays.  Wrap completely cooled loaves in holiday colored plastic wrap, and add a bow.  When doing this I like to add a small container of whipped butter and perhaps a plastic knife since most places don’t stock serveware like we do at home.

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Candy Acorns

Candy Acorns are a cute edible addition to the kids’ table at holiday meals.  This is an idea I have seen all over the internet.

They also make nice finishing touches to pumpkin pies and many other fall desserts.

The flavor can be changed by changing the flavor of chips used for the end of the acorn, as well as changing the flavor of the candy kisses use for the big portion of this decoration.

I have seen these made with milk chocolate kisses and pumpkin spice kisses.  I used caramel filled kisses for mine and butterscotch chips for the ends as well as the “glue” to hold it all together.

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Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares

Sopapilla Cheesecake Squares are like the perfect potluck dessert.  Delicious, easy, AND portable!

These are quick to make, and made even quicker if you are lucky enough to find crescent roll dough sheets.  It is hit and miss for me, one day there are what seems like millions of cans in the refrigerated section, but half the time there are none.  It only takes a few seconds to press the cut sheets back together, so either one works.

If you like your topping a little less thick, just reduce the butter by a couple of tablespoons.  Just make sure you cover it completely with sugar and cinnamon.  Either way, just keep sprinkling the sugar and cinnamon over the top until there are no more puddles of butter.  Basically, you want to make sure that your butter has absorbed as much sugar as possible.

While these can be eaten warm, I don’t find the flavor is at its best during this time.  Besides, it will be far too messy to eat with your hands.

I store mine at room temperature, I have never gotten sick nor have I had reports of people getting sick after eating these.  In my mind, these are no different than any coffeecake I have purchased with a cream cheese filling……….. I buy those at room temperature, except I have zero idea how long they have been sitting at room temperature.

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Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip

Our bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip is one of our absolute favorite party and tailgate food. It’s a crowd favorite and is perfect just about year round.

I absolutely love making cream cheese stuffed Jalapenos, wrapped in bacon, and tossed on the grill. The only problem with making my normal jalapeno poppers is that it’s a pain in the ass to make and cook. It also makes one hell of a mess on my grill, which is really annoying. Because of the work and mess it makes, I normally only make these once or twice a year during football season. This Bacon Jalapeno Popper Dip was invented more as a necessity. I was looking for a much easier way to create the flavors of my normal jalapeno poppers without all the fuss. This recipe also feeds a heck of a lot more people too.

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Bulgur Chickpea Salad

Bulgur Chickpea Salad saved the day for me.  Thanks to Jenn Segal over at Once Upon a Chef for the inspiration and base recipe to start with!

I needed a recipe that could easily serve quite a few people.  Normally, I have a difficult time deciding which recipe to make, since I have so many.  But this situation left me at a loss for what I could make.

You see, there were so many variables and criteria that needed to be met.  It was needed for a barbecue themed potluck that would be served over several hours because people would be getting their meal breaks at different times.  It would also be several hours between arriving at my destination and food service.

Refrigerator space was going to be severely limited, and carrying a crockpot to the destination was not possible.  There were a couple of factors that prevented this, but that really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I needed a dish to fit this criteria.

The last criteria was a new one for me.  There was going to be an ethical vegan eating at this potluck.  If you are wondering what an ethical vegan was, you aren’t alone.  I have asked many questions about this way of eating and still jut know the basics.

With my very limited understanding of this way of eating, I knew I needed to find something that had absolutely no animal products in the recipe.  No eggs, no dairy, and obviously no meat, but this also excludes honey.  If you have read any of our recipes, you know that there is a good possibility that I have no recipes beyond hummus that would fit that bill.  Hummus was not an option as I was committed to a side dish.

A friend suggested I make tabbouleh, but I really dislike that much parsley in any one dish.  I can’t get past the overwhelming feeling that I am eating lawn clippings.  Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh parsley and grow my own during the summer.  It brings great fresh flavor to my dishes, but I guess tabbouleh is just too much freshness!  I needed an alternative.

This side dish salad was the perfect fit.  Bulgur and chickpeas combined with sturdy vegetables like red peppers, onions, and cucumbers would hold up to the acidity of the lemon juice.  I have left out the dill and the cumin, personal preferences here again.  This recipe kind of reminded me of a Portuguese chickpea salad a friend used to make and it only had parsley in it.  So I stuck with just the parsley, and did not use nearly the amount most tabbouleh recipes call for.

Sweet Chips and Fruit Salsa

Fruit salsa is a favorite dessert at our house.  Although there is not much healthy about the fried chips, it feels healthier than some of the other things we eat for snacks and desserts.

There are a lot of ways to make cinnamon-sugar tortillas listed all over the internet.  While these are tasty, they all seem to be too big, too hard, or do not hold the fruit very well.

For sweet chips I find what works the best are fried wonton wrappers or even eggroll wrappers cut down in size and fried.

The best part about Asian wrappers is that they stay crispy after frying and coating.  They never turn into moon rocks like some baked tortillas can.  They are also way less work than buttering and coating each side prior to baking.

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Lazy Cream Horns

Lazy Cream Horns were just an experiment in the kitchen to recreate cream horn flavor without having baking tubes handy.  I could have ordered them online, and maybe one day I will, but for now I do not own any.

It is kind of like a Napoleon pastry, but instead of being filled with whipped cream or pastry cream, it is filed with a cream horn filling.

I had never heard of a cream horn before I met my husband.  I never ate one until our first trip to Florida together.  If I remember right, he found them at a gas station, wrapped individually.  They seemed to be pretty elusive back then.

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Dark Chocolate Cherry Bark

Dark Chocolate Cherry Bark is an easy, last minute treat that is perfect for Valentine’s Day.  It is also great for any other day you want to give a sweet something as a way to say thanks to someone.

I make a lot of different bark recipes because it is so easy.  Peppermint Bark is my go-to quick recipe for last minute Christmas and holiday gifts.

If I don’t happen to have almond bark or melting wafers laying around, I generally have chocolate chips of many varieties in the pantry and those can also be used to make bark.

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Dijon Chicken Salad Spread

I had never eaten a chicken salad that was heavy on Dijon mustard until I ate it in a restaurant for lunch one day.  It was a shock since I had been expecting the standard fat laden chicken salad you usually find.  I had asked about fruits or nuts in the salad, as I am a puritan in that arena.

The salad was different and interesting, not in a bad way though.  I found myself thinking about this chicken salad sandwich a few days later.  I had some boneless chicken breasts in the freezer and thought I might give it a try.

It has taken a few tries to get the Dijon mustard to mayonnaise ratio right for the way I like it.  Because Dijon can be overpowering, even when you like Dijon, there needs to be a bit of mayonnaise to cut through the mustard and finish moistening the spread.

Dijon Chicken Salad Spread is a tasty way to eat chicken salad that has a lower fat and calorie count than my basic chicken salad recipe that has mayonnaise and sour cream.

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Sweet Bacon Crackers

Sweet Bacon Crackers are an idea that have been running around the internet for quite some time.  Lord knows, I have looked at a few of them, so it is hard telling which onse was the first one I saw.  It is also hard to tell if there was any one recipe that I have used so I apologize to any other blogger out there who believes this recipe may belong to them.

This can be made any type of cracker that you would like.  I prefer the buttery small rectangles, only because I like the shape that this cracker becomes.  All of the cracker types will shrink somewhat in the general area the bacon is wrapped.

The key to keeping your crackers together is to keep the heat high in the oven.  If you cook these too slow, there is more time for the grease to absorb into the crackers and they will be soggy in the middle.  But if you like your pork fat, this might be the way you want to cook them.

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