Pumpkin-Pecan Spoon Cake

BakeLooking for a super easy dessert to make for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Look no further! This spoon cake combines a layer of smooth, creamy pumpkin pie filling, a layer of sweet yellow cake and a crunchy pecan topping. I like to call it a ‘spoon’ cake because it’s not rigid like a traditional pie or cake; rather, it’s more of a spoon-able dessert that combines the best of both worlds. Serve it warm with a big scoop of ice cream for the ultimate holiday dessert!

pumpkin pecan cake

Pumpkin-Pecan Spoon Cake
 
Ingredients
  • 1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
  • 1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ Tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (I may have used a little more because I love pecans!)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a glass 9 x 13 baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon and eggs until smooth.
  4. Pour the batter into the baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle the bag of cake mix all over the top of the batter.
  6. Next, scatter the pecans on top of the cake mix.
  7. Drizzle the melted butter all over the top of the cake. (Note: try to cover all of the cake mix with the butter or it won't cook evenly. If you notice areas of uncooked cake mix, melt some more butter and add it to the top while the cake is baking.)
  8. Bake for about 1 hour or until the the cake mix is cooked and the flayer of pumpkin is set. I used a toothpick to test the cake. If it comes out clean, it's done!

 

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Butternut Squash-Thyme Mac & Cheese

The Crafty Hostess: MakeI entertained a group of women this past weekend and made this comforting, fall/winter- inspired mac-and-cheese. More upscale than traditional mac-and-cheese and bursting with layers of flavor like white cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, butternut squash and fresh thyme, it was a satisfying, warming dish. I served alongside a platter of panini sandwiches and a salad of field greens, walnuts and sliced pears, but this tasty pasta can certainly stand on its own. Entertaining this long holiday weekend? Make this mac-and-cheese the day before and simply reheat in the oven until the cheese gets nice and bubbly. It’s the perfect side to leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

squashmac_cheese

 

Butternut Squash-Thyme Mac & Cheese
Serves: Serves 10-12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. of penne rigate
  • 2 12-ounce packages of frozen, pureed butternut squash (thawed)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped/minced
  • 4 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • Enough olive oil to coat bottom of pot, about 2 Tbsp.
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasoned panko breadcrumbs for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. Heat a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Salt the water then add the pasta and cook to al dente.
  2. While pasta cooks, heat a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the olive oil and butter. When the butter melts into the oil, add the thyme and onion.
  4. Cook the onion in butter and oil 1 to 2 minutes, then add flour and cook together 1 to 2 more minutes. Whisk in chicken stock, then add in the butternut squash until warmed through and smooth, whisking if necessary.
  5. Stir in cream and bring sauce to a bubble.
  6. Stir in cheeses and season with salt, nutmeg and pepper. Taste to adjust seasonings.
  7. Drain cooked pasta well; combine with cheese mixture, tossing well so all of the pasta is coated.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Pour the pasta mixture into a large lasagna pan. Sprinkle a good amount of panko on top of the pasta.
  10. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble and the panko is golden brown.

 

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Egg Nog-Espresso-Choco Holiday Cocktail

The Crafty Hostess: MakeAs soon as the grocery stores slash the prices of the leftover Halloween candy and begin stocking the dairy shelves with a variety of festive egg nog flavors, it begins to feel a lot more like Christmas (at least for me, anyway!). As a kid, my mom used to make an egg nog “punch” every year around the holidays. She served it in a big punch bowl, spiked with rum for the adults (non-alcoholic for the kids), with an entire container of frozen whipped topping floating in the center, all dusted with specks of grated nutmeg. The whipped topping slowly melted into the rich, creamy nog (look for this recipe on the blog soon!). Egg nog always seems to bring back fond memories of the holidays and each year, I buy at least one container to keep in my fridge.

This holiday season, our friends at International Delight introduced Classic and Vanilla Egg Nogs, in addition to their line of delicious, seasonal coffee creamers. Rich and sweet with hints of nutmeg and notes of light rum, this delightful beverage is lovely to drink just on its own, but also makes a flavorful and festive base for a variety of cocktails. In this coffee-inspired drink, I combined coffee, espresso vodka, and egg nog, along with rich chocolate and fragrant nutmeg, to make a holiday cocktail your guests are sure to love. Serve it ice cold in a pretty martini glass with grated chocolate on top. For more festive ways to serve your cocktails this holiday season, find my Crafty Tips after the recipe. And be sure to join ID’s online community for more holiday fun!

egg nog cocktail 1

egg nog cocktail 2

 

(Makes 2 cocktails)

Ingredients:

6 ounces of International Delight Classic Egg Nog

3 ounces of Three Olives Triple Shot Espresso Vodka

3 ounces of strong brewed coffee, slightly cooled

Hershey’s chocolate syrup

Freshly grated nutmeg

Bar chocolate for grating on top as garnish

 

How to:

In a cocktail shaker, combine the egg nog, vodka and coffee. Add freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Add ice cubes to the shaker, cover tightly, and shake vigorously until well combined.

To serve, squeeze about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chocolate syrup into the bottom of each martini glass. Using the ice strainer, pour the cocktail into each glass. Garnish with freshly grated chocolate on top. Serve immediately.

 

Crafty Tips:

Here are a few festive ways to garnish and present this cocktail during the holiday season!

  • Serve with a bowl of chocolate-covered espresso beans
  • Tie colorful ribbon around the stem of each glass; thread a jingle bell die-cut paper snowflake or small glass ball ornament through the ribbon
  • Dip the rim of each glass in red, green or gold sugar crystals

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Handmade Holiday: Little Girls’ Crocheted Coin Purse

CreateDo you crochet or are you interested in learning? My cousin, Marguerite, made this for my daughter and I thought it would be perfect as an easy and adorable holiday gift or stocking stuffer for that special little princess in your life! Depending on your skill level, you can make these coin purses in a rainbow of colors (my personal favorite!) or keep it to one or two colors. Finish by adding a dangling charm for a bit of whimsy. Give this handmade purse just as it is, or fill it with tubes of fruity lip gloss, candy or loose change for her piggy bank!

coin purse

(Project details courtesy of libertycrochet)

 

Materials needed:

Small amount of Lion Brand cotton yarn

G (4mm) hook

Kiss clasp (these can be found on Etsy, craft/sewing stores)

Dangling charms (optional)

 

How to:

Start with 6 sc in a magic ring, pull tight. Do not slst or join (pattern is worked in the round).

Round 2: 2sc in each stitch around. (12sc)

Round 3: sc in first sc, 2 sc in next sc, repeat around. (18sc)

Round 4: sc 2x, 2sc ss, repeat around. (24sc)

Round 5: sc 3x, 2sc ss, repeat around. (30sc)

Round 6: sc 4x, 2sc ss, repeat around. (36sc)

Round 7: sc 5x, 2sc ss, repeat around. (42sc)

Round 8: sc 6x, 2sc ss, repeat around. (48sc)

Round 9: sc 7x, 2sc ss, repeat around. (54sc)

Round 10: sc 8x, 2sc ss, repeat around. (60sc)

Round 11: sc 9x, 2sc ss, repeat around. (66sc)

Rounds 12-17: sc in ea st in the round. (66sc)

Round 18: sc, sc2tog, repeat around.

Round 19: sc 8x, sc2tog, repeat around.

 

Notes from libertycrochet:

Simply sew your crochet work into the kiss clasp. This can be tricky since there is no way I’ve found to pin them together. Also, be careful when purchasing the clasp. Some have misplaced holes drilled around the top. Some holes are not a consistent diameter. On both coin purses, the holes were too small to use yarn. I used a heavy-duty carpet thread I had saved from a past project.

 

 

 

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Butternut Squash & Spinach Soup

MakeDuring the fall and winter seasons when squash varieties like Butternut, Kabocha and Delicata are at their peak, there’s nothing more satisfying than a big bowl of this silky, pureed soup to warm you up after a long day. Perfect for any night of the week, Sunday dinner or even Turkey Day, the combination of squash, carrots and potatoes makes for a vibrant color and delicious taste. This soup couldn’t be easier to make; everything gets boiled together in a large pot, then pureed with an immersion blender. Best of all, you can make it ahead of time, then add the baby spinach when you reheat just before serving. The recipe makes a very large amount, so it’s perfect for a holiday dinner or big gathering. And, it freezes well, too!

butternut squash soup

5.0 from 1 reviews
Butternut Squash & Spinach Soup
 
Ingredients
  • About 2 lbs of butternut squash, inner flesh removed from the skin and chopped into large pieces (I like to buy it already removed and ready to go)
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • Half a bag of carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped into large pieces
  • ⅛ cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 bag pre-washed baby spinach
  • Potato flakes for thickening (if desired)
Instructions
  1. Combine the squash, potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic in a large pot.
  2. Fill with water until the vegetables are covered. Add the oil.
  3. When everything is tender and soft, puree right in the same pot (with the water) until everything is smooth and blended.
  4. Season with salt, both peppers and nutmeg, if using.
  5. Just before serving, add in the bag of spinach and cook until the spinach is just wilted.
  6. If you want the soup to be thicker, stir in a little of the potato flakes until it reaches the desired thickness.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy!

 

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Marshmallow & Caramel Popcorn Balls

MakeEverything tastes a little better wrapped in smooth, creamy caramel! From desserts and treats to ice cream and coffee, the addition of caramel not only takes a recipe to the next level, but it makes it memorable and leaves a lasting impression. For years, Werther’s Original has been known for their traditional hard caramel candies. Now, the company we’ve loved and trusted for decades offers a full line of caramel products, including Chewy Caramels, Creamy Caramel Filled Hard Candies, Green Apple Filled Hard Candies and my favorite — Caramel Popcorn! As a member of the Mom Bloggers Club, a social network dedicated to connecting moms who blog, I was recently invited to sample these delicious Werther’s Original products. Yum! If you’d like the chance to try some of the delicious caramels from Werther’s, leave me a comment at the end of this post sharing your favorite way to enjoy caramel during the fall season, and you could receive two product coupons!

The Creamy Caramel Filled Hard Candies are rich and smooth; I just love how the creamy center offers a sweet caramel surprise in every little gold-wrapped candy. Perfect for the fall season, the Green Apple Filled Hard Candies deliver just a hint of authentic apple flavor without overpowering the taste of the caramel. As much as I enjoyed these candies, my favorite product was the Caramel Popcorn. I could have easily devoured the entire bag, but instead, I decided to make a fun, festive Halloween treat for my three kiddos — Marshmallow & Caramel Popcorn Balls. Studded with bright orange candy corn, they make the perfect treat to serve for a Halloween party. Give them as a homemade goodie to neighborhood trick-or-treaters by wrapping each ball in a clear bag and tying with orange and black curling ribbon. Here are a few more fun ideas for these gooey popcorn balls:

  • They’re a great way to use leftover Halloween candy, just add in your favorite candy;
  • The perfect treat all season long makes a festive party favor;
  • Enjoy them on a stick as a fun alternative to a cake pop!

popcorn balls

Marshmallow & Caramel Popcorn Balls
 
Ingredients
  • About 8 ounces of Werther's Caramel Popcorn
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • About 10 ounces of mini marshmallows
  • About 1 cup of candy corn, roughly chopped
  • Nonstick butter-flavored spray
Instructions
  1. In a heavy pot, melt the butter over low heat. when the butter is almost completely melted, stir in the marshmallows. Stir continuously until the marshmallows melt into the butter. Remove from the heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the popcorn, melted butter mixture and chopped candy corn. Using a silicone spoon, stir the mixture to ensure that all of the popcorn is coated with the butter-marshmallow mixture.
  3. If using a molded pan, spray the cavities with the non-stick spray. Spoon the mixture into each cavity. If using your hands to mold into balls, spray some of the non-stick spray onto your hands before rolling so the mixture doesn't stick to your fingers.
  4. Allow to set for about 30 minutes before serving. Keep in an airtight container or place each ball in a plastic treat bag that's been tied with ribbon.
Notes
I used a Wilton non-stick pumpkin cavity pan, but you can use a regular cupcake tin or just simply roll the popcorn mixture into balls.

 

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Warm Apple Cider with Amaretto

The Crafty Hostess: MakeThis past weekend, I got together with two of my closest girlfriends and their kids for a fun afternoon of pumpkin picking, candy apples and cider donuts. Back at my girlfriend’s house after our trip to the farm, she served us a cup of warm apple cider spiked with one of my favorite cordials, Disaronno Amaretto. It was delish; the perfect beverage to warm you up on a brisk fall day! Here’s my version, steeped with a cinnamon stick and freshly grated nutmeg. Happy Fall!

apple cider

Warm Apple Cider with Amaretto
 
Ingredients
  • About 5 ounces of apple cider
  • About 1½ shots of amaretto
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, pour apple cider.
  2. Add cinnamon stick and about 2-3 gratings of fresh nutmeg.
  3. Bring to a slow boil, then immediately remove from heat. Cover and allow to steep for about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove cinnamon stick and discard.
  5. Pour into a mug or cup and add in the amaretto.
  6. Stir with a spoon and enjoy!

 

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Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding

BakeThere’s nothing quite as warm and cozy on a chilly fall night than curling up on the couch with a shiny, new magazine that you’ve been eager to dig into and a big plate of this delicious, fall-inspired bread pudding. Cubes of buttery challah bread are brimming with the flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, all held together with a silky, smooth custard made with eggs, cream and rich, delicious International Delight Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer.

Perfect as a comforting dessert or lovely for a fall breakfast or brunch, serve it warm with a generous dusting of confectioners’ sugar on top (and maybe a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, too!). This recipe makes a very large pudding, so it’ll certainly feed a crowd. If you’re having overnight guests for the holidays, this is the ideal breakfast dish to make ahead (it actually tastes better the longer it sits in the fridge!). Make it the day before, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you’re ready to reheat and serve. Breakfast couldn’t be easier — and your guests will be in for a real treat!

Now that the holidays are upon us, be sure to check out all of the seasonal flavors from International Delight. Experiment with them in your kitchen; they are a fantastic and flavorful substitute to milk! And don’t forget to become a member of their online community, which will give you access to dozens of recipes, offers, giveaways and more. Sign up today!

bread pudding 1

 

bread pudding close up

 

Ingredients:

Softened butter for the baking dish

2 15-ounce cans of Libby’s pure pumpkin

2 cups International Delight Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

8 large eggs

1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

2 Tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 Tsp. fine sea salt

1 large, round challah bread, cut into cubes

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Ice cream or whipped cream for serving (optional)

 

How to:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in center. Butter an 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

Whisk the pumpkin, coffee creamer, heavy cream, sugar, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a very large bowl until well blended. Fold in the bread cubes and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes so the bread can absorb the custard. Re-toss gently and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and top with ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Harvest Chicken Salad with Lemon Aioli

MakeThis elegant, fall-inspired twist on the classic Waldorf salad, is perfect on a sandwich or piled atop a bed of greens. For an upscale, yet easy appetizer, scoop some into pre-baked phyllo cups, or just serve as a simple cracker spread. For this recipe, I used a lemon aioli to bind everything together instead of mayonnaise (however, plain ol’ mayo would work just fine). I like how the flavors play off of each other; the tartness of the lemon is balanced by the sweetness of the apples and cranberries. And the nuts and apples provide a nice texture in every bite. However you choose to enjoy this sweet and savory dish, it’ll become a staple at your fall table!

 

chicken salad

Harvest Chicken Saladi
 
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (skin removed)
  • About ¼ cup dried cranberries, like Craisins
  • About ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • About ½ cup of lemon aioli (you can also use regular mayonnaise if you prefer)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • For the lemon aioli (recipe courtesy of Havens Kitchen):
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Cold water, as needed
Instructions
  1. Make the aioli: combine the egg yolk, mustard and lemon zest into a bowl. Whisk to combine, then start to slowly add the vegetable oil in a slow, steady stream until a thick emulsion has been created. When it becomes too stiff and looks like it’s starting to split, add some lemon juice or water. Continue to add the oil. Season with salt and lemon juice.
  2. In a bowl, combine the shredded chicken, cranberries, apples and pecans. Add the aioli. Mix well.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

 

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Rustic White Bean Soup with Prosciutto & Pasta

MakeAs soon as the weather turns a bit chilly, I crave a hearty bowl of comforting soup. It’s been said that soup is good for the soul and I’m definitely a believer. As a young girl, I remember my great-grandmother making soup every Monday night as soon as the weather began to turn. The family would enjoy a hearty bowl of homemade soup for dinner, usually accompanied by a simple green salad and lots of Italian bread. Today, my mother continues the soup tradition for my three children. This flavorful melange of creamy white beans, tender carrots and celery and salty cubes of prosciutto, is the perfect way to welcome dinner guests to your table or help you unwind after a long day. I like to serve this Tuscan-inspired soup with crusty bread and lots of grated Italian cheese on top.

Crafty Tip: this recipe yields a very large amount of soup, so be sure to have plastic soup containers on hand to freeze for another meal!

bean  soup

Rustic White Bean Soup with Pasta & Prosciutto
 
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. dried cannellini beans (soaked overnight)
  • 4 oz. diced prosciutto (I like to use the Citterio brand; it's already diced)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large carrots, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 32-ounce containers low sodium or unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 lb. of ditalini pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Soak the beans in a large pot of cold water, preferably overnight. Drain off the water and rinse the beans under cold water.
  2. Add beans back to pot, cover with water by two inches and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from the heat; allow to stand in the hot water for 20 minutes, then drain. Set the beans aside.
  3. In the bottom of the same pot, heat some olive oil. Add the onions and garlic. Allow to soften, but you don't want them to get too brown.
  4. Add in the carrots and celery. allowing them to soften just slightly.
  5. Add in the prosciutto.
  6. Return the beans to the pot. Pour in the chicken stock. If you need more liquid, you can add more stock or water.
  7. Place the bay leaves in the pot. Season with salt and pepper; cover and bring to a boil.
  8. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, keeping covered. Allow the soup to slowly simmer for at least one hour or until the beans and vegetables are soft.
  9. In a separate pot, cook the pasta to al dente.
  10. Once the pasta is done, drain off the water and carefully add the pasta to the pot of soup.
  11. Stir and taste; if necessary, adjust the salt and pepper according to your taste. Simmer for just a few minutes longer and remove from the heat.
Notes
- This makes a very large amount of soup. Freeze in airtight plastic containers for future use.

- If you prefer to use canned beans, rinse under cold water and drain. Add the beans to the soup towards the end or they will get too mushy.

- Remove the bay leaves before serving.

 

 

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