Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Shots

After all the kids have passed out from their sugar high is the perfect time to celebrate Halloween "adult style" by popping a couple of these Pumpkin Pie Shots.  But then again, maybe you'd like to take one or two before the long night of trick or treating.  ;)  This festive shot will warm you right up from its creamy mixture of Bailey's Irish Cream, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spices.  And of course... the pie crust rim of crushed ginger snap cookies!  My new home and I are hosting Thanksgiving this year.  Mom will be ending the night with the real pumpkin pie, but I might just have to kick off the evening with a tray of these to get the family funnies rolling.

What you'll need: makes 4 - 6 shots

2 jiggers Bailey's Irish Cream
2 jiggers Vanilla Vodka
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
1/4 cup crushed ginger snap cookies (gluten free from Trader Joe's)
 1/4 cup coconut milk

To start, prep your shot glasses by dipping the rim in coconut milk and then crushed ginger snaps.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Set aside.  In a cocktail shaker filled with 3/4 of ice, pour in the Bailey's, Vodka and spoon on top the pumpkin puree mixture.  Close and shake for about 30 seconds or until all is evenly incorporated and lump free.  Pour the mixture into the shot glasses and bottoms up!

Monday, October 22, 2012

DIY Autumn Wreath

I'm so excited to share with you my first craft for the new home - An Autumn Wreath!  I think I may have ingested some glitter on this project, but the end result was rewarding, fun and festive.. and in a way symbolic in the sense that "I did it"!  Even though the home is still not quite liveable, the front door at least says, there's someone new in town and she plans to stay a while.  Is that bad that I'd rather work on crafts and buy new things for the new place than pack and finally fully move in?  I guess I haven't quite mustered up the guts to pack the things that have been building over the years in my childhood home.  And I think, maybe if I always have something back home, then I never really left and things will always be the same.  But that's not how life works and it's time for me to buckle down and do the dirty work as hard as it will be...

But on a lighter note, let me show you what a cinch this wreath is to make.  Mine screams Fall, but you can easily do this for the Winter Holidays, too, by just changing the color of the rafia.

What you'll need:

1 medium (12in) styrofoam wreath
2 or 3 spools (8ft) rafia (depending on the width of the rafia) get a third just in case
scotch tape
Christmas Picks (floral glitter stems, birds) 30% off at Michaels, this week!
glue gun
 floral wire
scissors/pliers (for cutting floral wire)

Step 1: Wrap the rafia around the wreath tightly, slightly overlapping to cover the green styrofoam as much as possible.  When you get to the end, just tape it down with a small piece of scotch tape.  You'll never see the tape once the floral pieces go over it. 

Step 2: Arrange your floral pieces before you start gluing to get an idea of the exact placement you want.

Step 3: With the glue gun, glue down each floral piece, layer upon layer.  To further stabilize them, cut 2 inch pieces of the floral wire and bend them in half.  Along the stems, push the floral wire all the way through the rafia and into the styrofoam.  The glue might not hold up over time, but the wires will.  The bird piece was attached to a long stick.  Cut the stick but leave 1 inch to allow room for pushing it into the styrofoam.  Use some glue at the base of the bird for reinforcement.

Step 4: Tie a piece of rafia at the top and hang on a nail or tac. 


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin Mousse

Everyone is talking about Pumpkin Lattes and Pumpkin Soup, but it is still 90 degrees down here in So Cal.  It's like having to watch all the pretty Fall sweaters that I purchased over two month ago just sit in the closet while I patiently wait for cold weather to roll around.  But when it comes to pumpkin, I can only be patient for so long.  So I've been spooning a chilled Pumpkin Mousse, instead.  It tastes just like pumpkin pie but without the crust.  This treat is smooth and creamy from the pumpkin puree and coconut milk but is also light and fluffy from the whipped heavy cream and vanilla pudding mix.  It's going to be hard going back to making pumpkin pie, because this took hardly any time to make and it is just as tasty.  Easy Thanksgiving, here I come.

What you'll need: serves 6, 15 min prep time

1 cup cold heavy cream
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + extra for garnish
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 (3.4-ounce) box vanilla pudding mix
1 tbsp coconut rum
Pecans for garnish

Either using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, whisk the heavy cream until soft peaks (1 - 2 mins).  In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and coconut milk.  Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Add the pudding mix and coconut rum, whisk until combined.  Fold in the whipped cream until thoroughly combined.  Cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to four hours.  Spoon into bowls, top with a pecan and dusted cinnamon and serve cold!

Recipe adapted from here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Housewarming Registry: Do or Don't

No food today, all.  The past couple of weeks have been nothing but house stuff as I try to fill an empty space with my own taste and flare.  It's going to be a long process due to an almost wiped out savings account but the goal is to grab the essentials and make it as livable as possible for the time being.  I've learned that trying to furnish an entire home as a single woman is hard to do!  No husband here to help pay for the bed, couch, dining table, fridge, washer and dryer.  But I am constantly reminded to take baby steps and luckily I have a very supportive family to help in this overwhelming but fun process.  Which takes me to the controversial question: 

Is a Housewarming Registry acceptable in today's society?

It's perfectly acceptable for a newly wed couple to have a registry, so why do we still see slight cringes when a housewarming registry is brought up?  We shower a bride and groom with presents, because we are celebrating their new journey of love and adulthood (usually).  But in today's society it is becoming more common to see people like me who are trying to find and establish their own life before building it with someone else.  Young women (and men) are becoming more independent and I believe THAT is also something to celebrate.  You obviously know which way I would go, but I want to hear your thoughts.  Yay or nay on housewarming registries?  Do you find them acceptable or tacky?

Here is a sneak peek of the living room and bedroom:

Ashley Furniture - Danielle Eggplant Sofa, World Market - Woodsland Lamp

Pier 1 - Red Rose Rug, World Market - Dove Grey Draper Upholstered Bed, Ikea - Alvine Kvist Duvet

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy 1 Year Anniversary, Because of Madalene!

I can't believe it has been a whole year since I created my little diary/recipe index.. that I thought would have petered out by month three.  There have been some changes along the way but good reflections on how much I've grown since last year.  I've recovered from a difficult break up with my first love (which catapulted the start of the blog in the first place), made a life changing diet toward gluten free (that has helped me feel miraculously better) and have purchased my first home (a new journey that I'd like to share with you in the upcoming months)! 

I had a good feeling about this blog adventure and never knew how much it would shine a light on new discovered passions such as food, writing, story telling, etc.  And I have all of you to thank, for continually supporting me with your kind comments and encouragement to "keep it up".  I plan on blogging a while longer by sharing more recipes, home projects and family history.  I'm excited to see where this can take me in the future whether it's a career change toward food or continues to be an enjoyable hobby that gets me through the week.  Thank you, Grandma Madalene, for watching down on me and reminding me that family and creativity will help you find your way.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fig and Brie Bruschetta

Congrats to Leah for winning the Food and Wine Magazine Giveaway.  Leah, contact me on my facebook page and I'll get back to you through there with details. 

Recently my mom was reminiscing about her childhood and how she, Madalene and the rest of the family would take a dried fig and stuff it with a walnut for a quick and easy snack.  This got me thinking about how I could reinterpret that fun memory into a small meal or dessert.  So I picked up some dried figs and plumped them up (by re-hydrating them in a pot of hot water for 30 mins) for a Fig and Brie Bruschetta.  I love finding new ways to enjoy Bruschetta without having to stick with the traditional tomato topping.  So with this dish, I went a sweeter route by pairing a creamy and buttery brie cheese with the sweet figs, a drizzle of honey and crunchy pecans.  Filling and loaded with lots of different textures and simple flavors, this easily became a rustic Italian treat that satisfied that fig craving I've been having all summer long.

What you'll need:  serves 4 - 6

Udi's Gluten Free white bread (cut in half)
drizzle olive oil
1 lb dried or fresh figs (cut in half) I used Calimyrna and Black figs
small wedge brie cheese (sliced 1/4 in. thick)
1/4 cup chopped pecans
drizzle honey

On a foil lined baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil, lay out the bread slices and drizzle with a light layer of olive oil. Toast them under the broiler until they are golden brown, about 3 mins.  Layer on the sliced brie cheese, halved figs and chopped pecans.  Bake (on the middle rack) in a 400 degree oven for about 20 mins or until the cheese has begun to melt.  Place on a plate and drizzle with honey.  Eat hot!