Thursday, November 10, 2011

Baked Pear Oatmeal

Baked Pear Oatmeal

Serves:  6

1  29-oz  Pear Halves, 1 Cup Juice reserved
2  Cups  Milk
2  Tablespoons  Brown Sugar, divided
1  Tablespoon  Butter
1/4  teaspoon  Salt
1/4  teaspoon  Cinnamon
1 1/2  Cups  Old Fashioned Oats
1/4  Cup  Raisins, optional (I omit)

Cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350*.  Drain and dice Pears, reserving 1 cup juice and one Pear Half for garnish.  In a large saucepan, stir together the reserved Pear Juice,  Milk, 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar, Butter, Salt and Cinnamon.  Heat until simmering.  Stir diced Pears into milk/juice mixture.  Add Oats and Raisins (optional).  Heat until bubbly.  Pour into a greased 8x8 pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Stir.  Slice remaining Pear Half and place on top for garnish.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar.  Bake for 10-15 minutes longer.  Serve immediately in bowls, passing cream alongside.

Many, many thanks to my dear friend Rachel for sharing this yummy Breakfast dish!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roasted Acorn Squash with Barley -and- Inside-Out Pumpkin Pie

{Before I get started, if you know me, and know me well, you're going to want to stop reading right now and go get a spatula or some kind of scraper--any old kind will work.  You're going to need it.

And if you don't know me very well, I want to clarify one point:  I don't eat mushrooms.  Ever.  Let me repeat that:  I. don't. eat. mushrooms.  Ever.  I loathe them.}

Okay, now on to my post and recipes.

For the last four or so years, maybe longer, I have been a part of a Recipe Circle Letter.  There are seven of us spread hundreds of miles apart who participate, always receiving the Circle Letter from the same person, retrieving our old letter from the stack, inserting a new letter, and mailing it on to the next one on the list.  As moms we can all get stuck in a rut with our cooking ideas and when this "envelope of encouragement" shows up in the mail, well, I for one am always encouraged and receive new inspiration from these dear friends.

About two weeks ago this Circle Letter showed up and filled with fun fall recipes, notes, family photos, and faithful encouragement.  Shelly's two recipes piqued my interest on several counts:  I had never fixed Acorn Squash before, the Inside-Out Pumpkin Pies were adorable, and we were headed to the Pumpkin Field to glean!  What could be more perfect?  I was intending to make these for dinner Saturday night but ended up making them instead for my birthday dinner--they were a pleasure to the eye and to the palate!  Here are the recipes with my notes.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Barley

Serves 2

Olive Oil
2  small  Acorn Squash, about 3-4 inches across
1/2  Cup  Quick Pearled Barley, uncooked
2-3  Green Onion, chopped
1  clove  Garlic, minced
1/2  Cup  Mushrooms, chopped
Salt and Black Pepper
1  Cup  Vegetable Stock
Water as needed
1/4  Cup  Sliced Almonds

Preheat oven to 375*.  Add a small amount of Olive Oil to the bottom of a heavy dutch oven.  Cut the top off the Acorn Squash, reserving the top for another use.  Remove the seeds from the Acorn Squash to create a bowl, discarding seeds.  Place the Squash in the Dutch oven.

In a separate bowl combine the Barley, Green Onions, Garlic, and Mushrooms.  Add the Salt and Black Pepper to taste.  Stir the ingredients together and fill Acorn Squash bowls with the mixture.

Pour 1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock into each Squash bowl, filling to the top with liquid (use additional Water, if needed, to fill bowls completely.)  Sprinkle Almonds on top.  Cover the pot with a tight lid and roast for 35 to 45 minutes.  Squash should be tender and Almonds crisp.  Serve immediately.

Okay, if you know me, and know me well, and if you read that ingredient list thoroughly, red flags should be going up.

"She fixed MUSHROOMS??!!  On her Birthday??!!" 

Yes, I did.
And I ate them.
And they were good.

I'll give you time to get that spatula and scrape your jaw off the floor.

Maybe I am growing up.

Okay, back to the recipe now.  Here are my changes and adaptions:
  1).  I tripled the recipe.
  2).  I couldn't find 'Quick Pearl Barley' at the grocery, so I par-cooked about 1-1/2 cups regular Barley.   I ended up using 2 cups cooked Barley.
  3).  I used 1/4-lb sliced mushrooms and chopped them roughly. {So I could pick out the pieces, if need be.}
  4).  I was out of Vegetable Stock and used Chicken Broth instead.
  5).  My Acorn Squash were on the large side, so they needed longer to cook.  Also, I sliced them in half from top to bottom.

You can fix this dish with complete confidence, knowing that yes, it is good.  Carolyn fixed mushrooms on her birthday, ate them, and called it good.  And for that matter, so did the rest of her family.  They said it was good, too.

Inside-Out Pumpkin Pie

Serves 8

3  small  Pie Pumpkins
1  Cup  Sugar
3  Eggs
1  12-oz.  Evaporated Milk
1  teaspoon  Vanilla
2  teaspoons  Ground Cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon  Ground Ginger
1/2  teaspoon  Fresh Ginger Root, grated
3  Tablespoons  Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350*.  Prepare the pumpkins by cutting off their tops.  Scoop out and discard the strings and seeds; place the Pumpkins on a greased rimmed baking sheet.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Sugar and Eggs until well mixed.  Beat in Evaporated Milk, Vanilla, Spices and melted Butter.  Blend well.

Pour the filling mixture into the prepared Pumpkins, dividing evenly between the Pumpkins, about 1 Cup filling per Pumpkin.  Bake filled Pumpkins for 45-60 minutes, uncovered, or until the filling is set and Pumpkin flesh is softened.

Stir it all together and enjoy with a friend!

Enjoy this last month of Autumn, my friends!

Monday, November 7, 2011

What a Pintresting Week!

Well, last week sure was Pintresting!  It was time to start being a Doer and not just a Pinner.  Here are some of the things I had fun doing; thought you might enjoy doing them too!

This is my Autumn Brittle via Adventures in Cooking; yum, yum!  If you make this be sure to follow the directions Very Carefully; I scorched my first batch.

These are the Cinnamon Roll Pancakes we had for breakfast on Saturday:

 I actually didn't Pin this one myself, so I don't have a link to it, but here's how I made them:

I mixed
1  Cube  Softened Butter with
1  Tablespoon  Cinnamon and
1  Tablespoon  Sugar
and spooned it into my pastry bag which was fitted with an open round tip (I used a #6).   After my Buttermilk Pancakes were on the griddle and starting to rise, I squeezed the Cinnamon Butter onto the pancakes in a spiral shape and finished cooking and flipping the pancakes.  This amount of Cinnamon Butter was the right amount for a double-recipe of pancakes which fed our family of 6.

I've also been having a lot of fun making these Reversible Headbands from Happy Together.  One ended up going in our Christmas Shoebox, one more is at school on Elder Daughter's head, and yet one more has already been lost.  This is a quick, easy project that uses minimal fabric scraps and is ready to wear in 30 minutes.  I did end up trimming down the pattern to fit a child's head; the original is sized for adults.

And I've had fun making this really yummy Caramel Pear Butter from Knit and Nosh via Beth at Aria Gardens.  I made a 6-times recipe on Saturday and ended up with 20 pints.  My only change was to cut the Nutmeg amount down by half.

And I made the Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls from Beantown Baker and forgot to take a picture.  These were yummy but I want to try to make the Blueberry filling a little thicker than the Baker makes it.  Hopefully I'll get to it before Christmas.

If you "do" Pinterest, you can follow me at carolyn_miller1.  If you want to try out this virtual cork board of ideas and would like an invite, send me your email address. 

Now, if only I could somehow get the Pintrest button to attach to my sidebar...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Had No Intention

I had no intention of decorating for Autumn this year.  None at all.  My one concession to the season was a wreath at the front door.  Sometimes, when I'm tired and overwhelmed, it's the little things, like decorating, that get set aside for the bigger necessities, like laundry and cleaning.

I still have no intention of decorating.

But sometimes best-made plans get changed.

Like when Daddy comes home and announces that one of his clients is finished picking his 12-acre pumpkin patch and that he (Daddy) has permission to glean a few pumpkins for the children to carve before the field is disked under.

So....  We all loaded up in the truck on Saturday to go glean a few pumpkins for the children.  I think the following photos will show how it's hard to stop at "just one" pumpkin a-piece.

(This was the Truck Bed)

We have had so much fun sharing all the pumpkins with Family and Friends.

And no, I still have no intention of decorating for Autumn.  My house is still just as messy as it was Saturday morning...  Must clean it up!

Happy Fall, Y'all!