Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins

My Bear absolutely loves sweets.  I’m currently still in the transition of going paleo and eating clean, however, one can indulge every now and then, right?  Last Thanksgiving, we hosted both our families and I was stressing to figure out what to prepare.  I have minimal baking experience.  So I needed something easy and straightforward and most of all tasty!  I stumbled upon this recipe and it was a hit.  It’s one of my Bear’s fave fall recipes — and he loves cream cheese.  It was a great compromise for flavor (cheese cake is appalling to me, but it’s my Bear’s fave) and texture.  For all the new bakers out there, give this recipe a try (see link at the bottom: huge props to The Novice Chef for this outstanding recipe!).


PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE SWIRL MUFFINS

yield: 18 MUFFINS

prep time: 12 MINUTES

cook time: 18 MINUTES

total time: 30 MINUTES

pumpkin-cream-cheese-swirl-muffins-1-sm

INGREDIENTS:

  • FOR THE MUFFINS
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin (pure pumpkin puree)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • FOR THE FROSTING/SWIRL
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place paper baking cups into muffin pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, sugar and brown sugar.
  4. Beat in eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps. Fill muffin tins 3/4 full.
  5. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
  6. Top each muffin with about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese mixture and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter. This will not look smooth, but it will bake up much prettier.
  7. Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Crockpot Exploration!!

These are the recipes I’d like to try since borrowing my aunt’s crockpot!!  🙂

Apple Chicken Curry

Cook Time

6-8 hours on LOW
3-4 hours on HIGH
Slow Cooker
4 – 4.5 Quarts
Yields
4 servings
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Ingredients
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound small red potatoes, quartered
1 large tart cooking apple, chopped
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
Directions
  1. In a small skillet, sauté the sliced onion in the olive oil on medium heat, about 7 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon of the curry powder.
  2. Season the chicken with the remaining curry powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Place the potatoes, apple and raisings in the Crock-Pot® slow cooker, and add the seasoned chicken and onions.
  4. Cover; cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours (or on High 3 to 4 hours).
  5. Prior to serving, remove the chicken and potatoes and set aside, covering to keep warm.
  6. Add the sour cream to the remaining juices in the stoneware, whisking until smooth. Cook on High for 10 minutes or until warmed throughout.
  7. To serve, spoon the sour cream sauce over the chicken and potatoes and garnish with the cilantro.
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Basil_Garlic_Whole_Chicken_with_Vegetables_H1

A whole chicken in the crock pot is a simple main dish that can be served with anything. This recipe isn’t fancy, but it is tasty!

Ingredients:

3 raw carrots, thickly sliced
3 raw celery stalks with leaves
2 medium onions, chopped
One whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons dried basil

Directions:

1. Spread carrots, celery and onions evenly into the bottom of the crock pot. Place the whole chicken on top.

2. Slowly pour the chicken broth over everything. Season with garlic powder, salt and black pepper.

3. Sprinkle basil on top, crushing the dried herbs between your fingers as you do (this releases more flavor).

3. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours, until chicken is no longer pink inside.

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Pulled pork sandwich

Pulled Pork (Crock Pot). Photo by lazyme

Photo by lazyme

22 Photos of Pulled Pork (Crock Pot)

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Total Time:

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

18 hrs 30 mins

30 mins

18 hrs

duonyte‘s Note:

I found this pulled pork recipe years ago, and it’s a favorite at potlucks. Freezes well for easy quick meals.

Ingredients:

Servings:

10

Units: US | Metric

Directions:

  1. 1
    Slice one onion and place in crock pot.
  2. 2
    Put in the roast and cover with the other onion, sliced. Pour over the ginger ale. Cover and cook on LOW for about 12 hours.
  3. 3
    Remove the meat, strain and save the onions, discard all liquid. With two forks, shred the meat, discarding any remaining fat, bones or skin. Most of the fat will have melted away.
  4. 4
    Return the shredded meat and the onions to the crock pot, stir in the barbecue sauce. Continue to cook for another 4 to 6 hours on LOW.
  5. 5
    Serve with hamburger buns or rolls and additional barbecue sauce. Any leftovers freeze very well.
  6. 6
    TIP: freeze ready-made sandwiches – a scoop of meat on a bun, well-wrapped. These make a great quick meal or snack. To reheat, remove wrapping, wrap in a paper towel, and zap 1-2 minute in the microwave.
  7. 7
    Note: Shoulder or butt are recommended because the meat shreds very well. Other cuts do not shred as readily. It is a fattier cut, but the fat melts away in the cooking and is poured away when you discard the liquid.
  8. 8
    Note 2: I have an older, smaller crock pot. The above times work perfectly for me. But if you have a newer or bigger crock pot, you may need to revise times downward, esp. after the bbq sauce is added. I think you need at least a couple of hours for it all to meld, but that may be all you need. Update: I recently bought a bigger crockpot, I think 5 or 6 qts. I cooked a 6 lb pork shoulder in it for 8 hours and it was shreddable at that point. Shredded, added the sauce, and cooked for another hour or so to meld everything. So use your best judgment on timing!
  9. 9
    Note3: You might want to turn your roast over after it’s cooked a while, to ensure more even cooking. I think this may depend on the size and shape of your roast and the size of your slow cooker. Remember that each time you remove the lid you lose heat and be careful, as turning a large piece of meat is awkward.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/pulled-pork-crock-pot-131018#ixzz1y76z0h1h

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BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

13 Photos of Easy and Tasty Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches in the Crock Pot

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Total Time:

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

8 hrs 10 mins

10 mins

8 hrs

Kree‘s Note:

This is almost too easy to be called a recipe, but I had to share it anyway. I came up with it one night when I wanted a nice meal but …

Ingredients:

Servings:

4-6

Units: US | Metric

Directions:

  1. 1
    Remove all visible fat from the chicken and toss it in the crock pot.
  2. 2
    Place the onion slices on top of the chicken.
  3. 3
    Pour the barbecue sauce over top.
  4. 4
    You may not need the entire jar, just enough to cover the chicken.
  5. 5
    Cook it on LOW for 8 hours or until the chicken is nice and tender.
  6. 6
    Shred the chicken with a fork and knife; scoop the mixture onto the bottom buns and top it with the top buns.
  7. 7
    Or, if you’re like my dad, you might prefer leaving the breasts whole and eating it that way.
  8. 8
    Voila!
  9. 9
    An easy weeknight meal that doesn’t heat up your kitchen in the summertime!
  10. 10
    I love this with potato chips and a carrot and raisin salad.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-and-tasty-barbecue-chicken-sandwiches-in-the-crock-pot-95569#ixzz1y77UM6tW

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Chicken Taco Meat

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Meat. Photo by ms_bold

Photo by ms_bold

10 Photos of Crock Pot Chicken Taco Meat

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Total Time:

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

6 hrs

0 mins

6 hrs

* Pamela *‘s Note:

I adopted this recipe from the Recipezaar account, and I’m so glad that I did. This has become a regular addition to my OAMC and I have …

Ingredients:

Servings:

8

Units: US | Metric

Directions:

  1. 1
    Dissolve taco seasoning into chicken broth.
  2. 2
    Place chicken breasts in crock pot and pour chicken broth over.
  3. 3
    Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. 4
    With two forks, shred the chicken meat into bite-size pieces.
  5. 5
    To freeze, place shredded meat into freezer bags with the juices.
  6. 6
    Press out all the air and seal.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/crock-pot-chicken-taco-meat-4957#ixzz1y77j28KL

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Peach Cobbler

3 Photos of Crock Pot Peach Dump Dessert

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Total Time:

Prep Time:

Cook Time:

3 hrs 5 mins

5 mins

3 hrs

yooper‘s Note:

A very simple recipe that yields fabulous results! People won’t believe this came out of a crock pot!

Ingredients:

Servings:

8

Units: US | Metric

  • 2 cups frozen peaches, sliced (undrained)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 -9 ounce Jiffy white cake mix (or 1/2 package of a 2-layer size cake mix)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter

Directions:

  1. 1
    Lightly grease the slow cooker/Crock Pot; place peaches in the bottom.
  2. 2
    Sprinkle with cornstarch; toss.
  3. 3
    Drizzle with vanilla and sprinkle brown sugar over all.
  4. 4
    Sprinkle with cinnamon then cake mix.
  5. 5
    Drizzle melted butter evenly over cake mix.
  6. 6
    Cover and cook on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Read more: http://www.food.com/recipe/crock-pot-peach-dump-dessert-20287#ixzz1y77s20NO

 

Pics of my experiment today

Breakfast: garlic-ginger tofu in peanut sauce over rice noodles

Lunch: sauteed Bella mushrooms with smoked ham Alfredo sauce topped over whole wheat noodles

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Fish tacos with lime-cilantro sauce

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San Diego’s fish tacos are phenomenal. A delectable treat that truly is California’s own.  So, again, I’m experimenting (more like pushing my culinary envelope) with my version of fish tacos.

Serving: 4

Ingredients:
See SoupAddict’s entry for fish taco sauce

1 packet organic fish taco seasoning
1 shredded cabbage mix
1 package shredded cheese
1 lime
2 Orange roughy fillets
(2 chicken breasts) for people who don’t like fish or just to soak up that extra fish taco seasoning
1 package of corn tortillas

1.  Follow directions for fish taco sauce.  Make this first so there’s time to chill.
2.  Place 2 fish fillets in a plastic bag with fish taco seasoning (made according to packet) and coat all sides evenly.  Place fish on grill at medium to med-high heat and remove when fish starts to become flaky.
3. With the optional chicken, throw into seasoning bag with fish taco seasoning and coat all sides.  Place on grill and flip every 3-5 minutes. Cut into center to make sure there’s no pink left.
4. Warm corn tortilla. Place 1-2 tbsp chilled fish taco sauce onto tortilla. Place 1 handful of shredded cabbage next. Top the cabbage with seasoned fish (or chicken). Drizzle small amount of chilled fish taco sauce over fish.  Top with cheese and cilantro and a squirt of lime.

You and your friends will be wowed!

Red Thai Curry

 

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On my quest to learn to cook… and my craving for curry….  I created a recipe to cater to my taste.  Here’s what you’ll need:

Makes 4 servings:

  • Trader Joe’s Red Thai Curry
  • Pre-cut asian stir fry veggies (mushrooms, snowpeas, red bell pepper, white onion, etc)
  • Whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salt, pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • 1 stalk green onion
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro

Directions:

  1. Cut chicken breasts into cubes, roughly equal in size for even  cooking.  Season with salt and pepper (or use Montreal steak seasoning — what I used as I had it easily on hand) to taste.  Heat skillet on medium heat.  Drizzle olive oil into pan when it’s hot.  Place chicken cubes into pan.  While that’s heating up, we’ll boil the noodles and cut the green onions and cilantro.
  2. Place pot onto stove…half filled with water for boiling the noodles.  place half bag of spaghetti noodles into pan once water is boiling.  Leave half covered for about 10 minutes…stirring occasionally.
  3. Dice green onions and cilantro.
  4. Once chicken has started to brown, add splash of soy sauce and splash of sesame oil and red pepper flakes.  Add stir fry asian vegetables.  Stir occasionally.  Once chicken is browned and no longer pink on the inside, add red thai curry sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Strain spaghetti noodles into a strainer.  Place noodles on a dish and top with meat, vegetables, and curry sauce.  Top with fresh cilantro for presentation.

Peanut glazed Tofu and Noodles

Soy Sauce

Image by kyle tsui via Flickr

Makes 4 servings:

1/2 package wheat spaghetti noodles

Soy sauce

Sesame Oil

1 pkg firm or super firm Tofu

Scallions (3 generous stems)

Garlic (4 cloves)

Ginger powder

Chili powder

Peanut Butter

 

Set non-stick skillet on medium heat.  Drain water from tofu.  Cut tofu into small bite size squares.  Place 1 tablespoon olive oil onto pan (or can substitute with sesame oil).  Place all tofu squares into skillet.  Stir occasionally.  While tofu is starting to brown, place 1 large pot of water on high heat for the spaghetti noodles.  Once this is boiling, add noodles…stirring occasionally.

Back to the tofu cooking in the skillet: as tofu continues to brown on both sides and water has mainly cooked off, add 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 3 tablespoons sesame oil for flavoring.  Dice up scallions and add to dish.  Mince or chop the garlic and add to dish.  Add 1/2 tablespoon ginger powder and 1/2 tablespoon chili powder.  Stir in and make sure it coats both sides of the tofu.  Add 3-4 tablespoons peanut butter, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons sesame oil making sure it’s distributed evenly.  Turn off heat — heat/cook longer if want a thinner sauce.

Remove noodles from pot and empty into strainer.  Add noodles to plate and top with tofu and sauce.  Garnish with lime and cilantro.  Enjoy!

 

Other varieties I find tasty:

http://www.kitchenilliterate.com/2007/09/12/tofu-noodles-and-peanut-sauce/#axzz1eJ3Kg8rV

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/cold-noodles-with-tofu-in-peanut-sauce

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/prevention/nutrition/recipes/heart_healthy_recipes.aspx

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/emeril-tofu-peanut-noodles.html

 

Experimenting with cooking

Guy Fieri is a cook, TV personality and the wi...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m not sure why I didn’t take a liking to cooking growing up.  I love to eat…it would only make sense to love to cook something to eat.  But, I’ve never really spent any significant time in the kitchen.  Whether that be from lack of interest or lack of time…I think I’m exploring a whole new curiosity that is COOKING!  Or rather, preparing meals that will be tasty!  I still enjoy my partly raw side of life. 🙂

Today, I experimented with a dish from Guy Fieri:

Next will be a series of photos that shows what my steps looked like along the way!

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The biggest problem I had was NO TOOTHPICKS!  So, I tried to get the lil pinwheels to stay, but to no avail except 1.  The chicken actually came out pretty moist.  The topping was my favorite part of the dish.  You could eat that on bread as an appetizer.  So delicious!  Overall, I was happy with the way it turned out, but it did take a lot of work and time.  From start to finish, this dish took me 2 hours to prepare and cook.  It could easily feed 4 people.