Sweet Widdle Punkin'

LASDI©

LASDI©

This perfect crown jewel of the Autumn Season turned out BEYOND!! Look, even if you’re not a super-huge cheesecake fan OR if you hate all things pumpkin, I cannot tell you how much you need to try this recipe!! TRUST ME - no matter what - you will love this. You. Will. LOVE THIS……It looks daunting at first, but I promise it’s a cake walk! (No pun intended!!)

1 and 1/3 cups graham crackers crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

2- 8 oz okgs cream cheese , softened

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 cup (or one can) pumpkin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp clove

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

The very important part here is to preheat your oven; HOWEVER COMMA, you must preheat it lower than standard ovens start, which is typically at 350. YOU MUST PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 300 FOR THIS RECIPE SO AS TO SLOW COOK HIS BABY TO ITS RIGHTFUL BEAUTY.

Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, including up the sides as much as possible. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter in the 9x 13-inch pan prepared pan, and press to the bottom evenly. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, but do not over-blend. Spoon half of the mixture over the crust and carefully spread evenly. Add the pumpkin puree and all spices to the remaining cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth. Carefully spoon over mixture in pan.

Bake 45 minutes minutes or until just set. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Turn off the oven and leave the door barely open to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly, for about 45 minutes or until oven has cooled. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into desired shapes. They can be cut into bars, but in my case, I use a circular cutter. I whip some heavy whipping cream and freshly-grated nutmeg together and top the pumpkin cheesecake with a dollup. These SCREAM autumn!!!! (The DAUGHTS just informed me that it is actually National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day at the time of this blog post! How ya like them punkins??)

DROP IT LIKE ITS HOT

LASDI©

LASDI©

It is SO HARD during the holidays to eat healthy, isn't it??  What is it about the season that makes us (me included!) think that it's a free-for-all?  Well this year I have been super-intentional about making sure The Hubster and I don't constantly indulge, but rather try to make healthy foods that taste rich and delicious; like we're not missing out.

So for Meatless Monday (which does NOT sound rich and delicious, does it?) I decided to make something souper-rich (see what I did just there?) with an Asian flare.  And this low-almost-no carb meatless dish did NOT disappoint!  Hot soup on a cold day!  PS  This is so easy it shouldn't taste like the indulgence we experienced!

CARAMELIZED ONION AND EGG DROP SOUP

1 onion, halved, both halves sliced thinly

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

1 tsp sea salt

pepper

32 oz box chicken broth

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 green onion, chopped coarsely

3 eggs

1 tbs water

2 tbs sesame oil

Sprinkle evoo into a soup pot and heat on medium-high for about one minute.  Add onions, stir, and let them cook, untouched, for about three minutes.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste, stir, and let them cook, untouched, for another three minutes.  Stir, and let cook, untouched for another five minutes. or until caramelized and brown.  Pour chicken broth and soy sauce over onion and bring to a boil, add green onions then turn heat down to low.  Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes and turn heat back up to medium.  Whisk eggs and water in a separate bowl until well-blended and a little frothy.  Slowly pour into the soup mixture, whisking the soup as the eggs go in.  Cook an additional minute or two.  Turn off heat, add sesame oil and gently stir.  Serve with garlic sesame not-bread sticks. 

NOTES: I garnished with chopped parsley, but cilantro would also work here, or no garnish at all would still be yum!

GARLIC SESAME NOT-BREAD STICKS.

(a variation of Fat Head Dough)

3/4 cups almond flour

2 tbs cream cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 tbs garlic powder

pinch of sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 egg

1/4 cup sesame oil

sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl, add almond flour, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper.  Microwave for one minute.  Stir and microwave another 20 seconds.  Add egg and stir until egg is blended into dough.  place between two pieces of parchment paper (see notes) and shape into a rectangle about 1-inch thick.  Remove top piece of parchment paper and bake for about fifteen minutes or until just golden brown.  Spread sesame oil over top of baked dough, sprinkle with desired amount of sesame seeds and bake another five minutes.  Take pizza cutter and slice into bread sticks.  DIP INTO CARAMELIZED ONION AND EGG DROP SOUP!!

NOTES: Parchment paper is key here.  I've tried this with foil and it is sorely disappointing.  PARCHMENT PAPER.  Trust me.

This combo is PERFECT and comforting for this cold holiday weather as well!  Merry Christmas!

 

 

HAM IT UP!!

SHE2016©

SHE2016©

This was a Christmas catering job, and it was so much fun!  The menu was magical, and not only perfect for the season, but great for the cooling winter months!  There was Shiner Bock beer bread with sweet honey-cream butter, bacon-wrapped green bean almandine stacks, a honkin-huge bowl of salad with honey mustard vinaigrette, sweet potato casserole with home-made marshmallows melted on top,  red velvet stack cakes, and the most gorgeous ham with orange-balsamic-honey-mustard-and-clove glaze.  And that, Ladies & Gents, is the recipe that follows!

ORANGE BALSAMIC HONEY MUSTARD & CLOVE GLAZE

juice and zest of a large orange

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/2 cup honey

2 tbs ground clove

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.  Baste ham as it bakes, and pour remaining glaze over the ham as soon as it comes out of the oven.  Let rest.

NOTES: I used organic aged balsamic and orange blossom honey, but I'm certain any variation on this recipe with similar ingredients would taste just as amahz!!

On the Third Day of Christmas - I Got Goosed!

SHE©

SHE©

Our tradition after Christmas Eve Service is Chinese Food takeout because we have usually worked the service somehow, whether I'm leading worship or we are managing the Guest Services Team; this year, I catered with 600 cake ball truffles.  Soooooo, no cooking on Christmas Eve!  Of course, that changes come the next morning when we make the traditional Christmas goose.  So by day-after-Christmas, it's time to figure something out for leftovers!  I took the leftover goose and stir-fried it with veggies in the fridge needing to be cooked, and put it over the leftover fried rice.  It was pretty dang good!!

canola oil

1 pnd leftover Christmas goose (or any comparable meat like chicken or turkey)

1 crown broccoli, chopped

1/2 bok choy, choppped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1 cup red cabbage, chopped

1 cup cilantro

1/4 cup peanut butter

3 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs brown sugar

2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

sesame oil

leftover fried rice (or your own home-made!)

In a wok or heavy pan, coat the sides and bottom of pan up to about 1/2 inch and heat on medium high for about a minute or so.  Add all ingredients up to peanut butter and cook through, about three minutes, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic cloves.   Add to the wok, stir through and let cook for one more minute.  Remove from heat.  Serve over reheated (or fresh) fried rice!

NOTES:  Want low-carb?  Simply omit the rice!  

YOUR (CHRISTMAS) GOOSE IS COOKED! (With Hanukkah Flair)

SHE©

SHE©

Every year for Christmas dinner, we make a traditional Jewish feast.  Though we are not Jewish, I think it turns out pretty authentic.  It consists of braised brisket, smoked goose, a noodle kugel, a vegetable side (this year was Parmesan-crusted baked green beans) and a rugelach for dessert.  It's truly amazing and we always take our time eating so we can savor every single, beautiful bite.  For the sake of this blog post, I am going to offer you the Christmas-inspired brine recipe I used on the goose prior to The Hubster smoking it.  It made for the juciest and most-moist goose EVER.  Shepen naches!

CHRISTMAS GOOSE BRINE

1 goose!

6 quarts cold water

One 12-ounce bottle amber beer, preferably Christmas blend, room temperature

1 cup kosher salt

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 pkg poultry seasoning (fresh thyme, rosemary and sage)

1 pkg star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup pumpkin pie spice

In a large pot, bring 1 quart of water to a boil over high heat. Add the beer, salt, sugar, fresh herbs and spices.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.   Pour the hot brine into a container large enough to hold the turkey (I use a clean and sanitized igloo cooler) and add the remaining quarts of cold water to cool the brine. Place the turkey into the brine, making sure it is entirely submerged. Cover the container tightly with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  When you're ready to cook (or smoke) the goose, remove from the brine and pat dry with paper towel.  

 

 

Let's Be Brie(f)

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

Oh, man.  I cannot TELL you how much this catering gig lit a fire under me!!  I had SO MUCH FUN doing this particular one because instead of a meal, it was a ton of apps for a ton of people.  And it was a SUCCESS!!  Among (many) other things, there was Teeny Tacos, Creamy Cake Truffles, Barbecued Meatballs, Stuffed Mushrooms, Pesto & Goat Cheese Stuffed Cherry Peppers, Shrimp in Texas Red Sauce, and so, soooooo much more.  One of the faves seemed to be the Streusel-Topped Baked Brie I made.  Considering the holidays, this is the recipe I'm sharing today.  It's so easy and very fast to make, but seems so sophisticated and like you spent all day in the kitchen!  I served mine with really hearty and rustic wasa crackers, but you can serve with whatever you like!  Happy Holidays indeed!

STREUSEL-TOPPED BAKED BRIE

1 full round of brie

cooking spray

1 cup pecan pieces

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 sugar

2 tbs pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Gently cut the top of the brie round off and lay it back on top of the cheese from where you cut it from.  Spray a circular baking sheet with cooking spray and place the brie in the middle.  Bake for exactly twelve minutes.  While the brie is baking, combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and set aside.  After twelve minutes, take the brie out of the oven and sprinkle streusel mixture all over the top.  Bake another five minutes.  Take out of the oven and let cool completely.  Serve with crackers or just eat it with a spoon!  

NOTES: If any cheese runs out onto the baking sheet while cooking, you will be able to scoop it up in its entirety if you want to place it on a platter.  Simply place the crackers over it or for a rustic look, don't cover it up.  Let that melty-cheese look do all the talking!