It’s back-to-school time again. And it’s kinda a big year for us. No, no little ones on the way. It’s Kevin’s (aka graduate school husband) last year of graduate school. Next year, we leave for internship. Time flies. Three short years ago, we married, moved to Chicago, and Kevin started graduate school in hopes of becoming a clinical psychologist. Hopes are beginning to turn into realities. And I’m gonna have to rewrite the first paragraph of my bio. One year closer to dropping the sugar momma title! Read more
Remember when I redid my post on Spinach Quiche a couple weeks ago? Well, I’m at it again. But I promise this is the last re-do for awhile. Brand spanking new content is on the way.
By the way, sorry I’ve been MIA this week. I’ve been working on a couple freelance design projects. Not only have I neglected the blog, but I’ve neglected dinner. We’ve been ordering pizza or scrambling eggs every night. Don’t judge. This week will probably be no better. I’ll be spending the week at the HOW Design Conference.
Enough about work. Let’s talk about Baked French Toast. It’s a classy breakfast casserole in my book, if you can even call it a casserole. It’s wonderfully versatile. The best part about baked french toast—you prepare it the night before and bake it in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a morning person. The less work I have to do in the AM, the better. How do all you mom’s do it? I can barely get myself out of the door in the morning. Needless to say, baked french toast makes my mornings easier. And on the weekends, it lets me sleep in longer. Baked French Toast, I love you.
This recipe has a simple nutty orange flavor. I am a little obsessed with orange right now. I think it may be the new lemon. May I suggest that you serve it with 100% pure maple syrup? I made the switch a couple years ago. Once you go pure, you’ll never go back. And yes, that is a Coke bottle I’m serving the syrup in. It’s time invest in a syrup dispenser.
The temperature has turned to cold. Family and friends are gathered in droves. Thanksgiving is in a couple of days and you’re probably wondering what to serve all those people for breakfast. First thing that comes to everyone’s mind—breakfast casserole. Over done. High in calories (save those precious numbers for your turkey dinner). Heavy on the stomach. Try something new this year—Baked Oatmeal. If you have to, think of it as Oatmeal Casserole. Original. Low in calories. Light on the stomach. Best of all, it feeds lots of people! Read more
Whoopie Pies are the new cupcake. Okay, maybe that’s not true but it might be after you try one. Upon eating, it’ll leave you exclaiming, “Whoopee!” Literally.
Whoopie Pies stepped onto the scene through the Amish tradition. As the story goes, Amish wives used their extra cake batter to bake mini cakes. Thou shalt let nothing go to waste. They’d plop some icing in between two small cakes and pack it into their husband’s lunch box. After biting into these little gems, a common response from the male would be “Whoopee!” And there you have it—the Whoopie Pie was born.
Since the previous post tells you how to make homemade pumpkin puree, let’s go ahead and make Pumpkin Whoopie Pies! ‘Tis the season.
FOR THE PIES 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used half AP flour, half whole wheat flour) 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger (original recipe calls for 1 tbsp) 1 teaspoon ground cloves (original recipe calls for 1 tbsp) a dash of nutmeg 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar 1 cup canola oil 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING 3 cups confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Make the pies: Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside. 2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. 3. Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until pies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each pie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan. 4. Make the filling: Sift confectioner’ sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, beat just until smooth. (I only used about 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar.) 5. Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When pies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the pie. Sandwich with remaining pie, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate pies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.
TIPS: • Runny batter is not your friend. If you find yourself in this situation, you may need to add a little more flour to help a batter out. • Make sure to bake an even amount of pies. • Mini Whoopie Pies make for a good portion size! And they’re cute.
Dear Blog, Please excuse my absence. I had to get a ganglion cyst removed, was in a cast, and couldn’t really bake or type for that matter. But now I’m back! Yours Truly, Fauxmartha
It’s pumpkin time. Well, maybe it’s on the tail end of pumpkin time, but it’s not too late. Too late for what? Duh, roasting your own pumpkins. This year, try forgoing buying that canned pumpkin. Not that it’s bad, but this is so much better. I promise.
The best pumpkins for baking are known as cheese pumpkins or sugar pumpkins. You want to stay away from using the big carving pumpkins (pictured above in the middle). They make for a stringy and watery puree. Unknowingly, I did this last year. And it’s true—watery and stringy. This year, I went with sugar pumpkins. They are small. Decently smooth to the touch. Some may call them cute. And guess what, they’re orange. (Cheese pumpkins are not true orange. Read here to find out more about pumpkin varieties.) You can buy them at specialty grocery stores (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, etc). I bought mine at the Farmer’s Market. The look tiny but produce plenty of pumpkin meat.
There are several ways to turn a pumpkin into pumpkin puree. Some people cut the pumpkin into chunks and steam them. Others do the same thing, but microwave instead of steam. I prefer the roasting method. In my opinion it’s the easiest and tastes the best, but others may disagree.
Roasting Sugar Pumpkins adapted from MarthaStewart.com 1. Preheat oven to 400°. 2. With a sharp knife, cut slits in the pumpkin so it can breathe while roasting. 3. Place pumpkin(s) in a baking dish with about 1″ of water. 4. Bake for about 1 1/2 hr, until skin is easily pierced. 5. Peel off skin of pumpkin. If needed, use a peeler. 6. Cut pumpkin in half and allow to cool for about 15 min. 7. Scoop out seeds. I used a melon baller to do this. 8. Throw the “meat” of the pumpkin into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. 9. Allow to cool and add to your recipe in place of the canned stuff; or refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze.
Stay tuned to hear where this puree made it’s debut. It’ll leave you saying Whoop-ee!