pumpkin pie bake off

I've been put in charge of two pumpkin pies and in wanting to impress the guests at the table I did a little taste taste bake off this weekend. I compared the recipe I usually make, and the recipe from Grandaisy bakery care of my friend Anne that works there. The winner was the Gingered Pumpkin Pie with gingersnap crust and well....I can't compete with a pie my friend bakes daily!

brown rice and edamame

I got some brown rice from tj's- great, frozen, cooks in 3 min. and added about 1 1/2 cups edamame, some white onion chopped, and the dressing of: 1 T lime juice, 1 T rice wine vinegar, 1 1/2 t. toasted sesame oil, 1/2 t sugar. it was great hot but I've also enjoyed it cold in salads.

Southwestern Corn Chowder

I have good memories of my mom's chicken corn chowder so I decided to have a go at this recipe from Martha's New Classics. The results were not as thick and creamy as I was thinking they'd be, but that was a good thing. I was able to eat this time and time again and not get sick of it, or have it seem to heavy, and the spice had quite a kick that it was really flavorful and tasty. Enjoy!

Southwestern Corn Chowder
5-6 slices bacon (not necessary if you're veg but good for the base)
1 med. onion cubed
1 large carrot, med chop
2 celery stalks chopped
1 small pablano, or I chopped up some pickled jalapeno
1/2 t. cumin
pinch cayenne or red pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound cooking (Yukon) potatoes peeled and cubed
5 cups veg or chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream

Heat dutch oven- saute bacon until crisp. remove and drain on paper towel. add onion to pan and cook until softened- add carrot, pepper, celery and cook 5 min. add spices, raise heat to high and add wine. cook until most liquid has evaporated- 2-3 min. add potatoes and stock and let simmer about 20 min. stir in corn and cream- do not let boil but cook another 5 min. garnish with bacon if desired.

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

These are real easy and real good. I got the recipe from my friend Kara but made a few alterations based on not wanting to go to the store- I used semi sweet morsels, no nuts, and mostly whole wheat flour with the last 1/4 c. of self-rising. I also didn't add the salt and used salted butter. Friends came over and based on only having a few left, I'd say they went over well.

Pumpkin Muffins
1 c. whole wheat flour
2/3 c. self-rising flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
4 oz salted butter, melted
6 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients- mix wet ingredients. Add wet to dry until combined. Fill muffin tins. Bake for 20 min or until they spring back a bit. Delish.

go warriors

To get in a good read about Westmont post Tea Fire, check out this article. Makes me proud to be a Warrior.

chocolate chip cornbread

The windows were closed and the air was not safe to breathe outside, so you can guess what I did. I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit and considering the amount of Mexican inspired food we eat around these parts, it seemed like a worth while recipe to try out. The recipe comes from Casa Luna Bed and Breakfast. It was best fresh out of the oven, or heated a bit.

Chocolate Chip Corn Bread:
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. semisweet choc. chips
1 c. milk
1/4 c. canola oil
2 eggs

Preheat to 375. Spray loaf pan. Whisk dry ingredients- stir in choc chips. Whisk wet ingredients and add to dry. Stir just until blended. Bake until done, about 35 min. Cool 10 min. then invert and transfer to rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Thanks to all of you who expressed concern over the past few days. It's been a very humbling and heavy time in Santa Barbara with the Tea Fire that unfortunately engulfed a few friends' homes, and also through Westmont College. Thankfully many areas were spared however there is a lot of damage, and may hearts and homes that need restoration right now. For the best updates and ways you can help I recommend going to Westmont's website as they have been great with updates and how you can donate.

Pray for Westmont and Santa Barbara


and the heavens shall declare the Glory of the Lord

chicken stew with carrots, chickpeas, and raisins

I love having time on the weekends to cook and not care if a recipe is going to take a few hours to prepare and/or cook. I came across this recipe in my New Classics cookbook by the one and only Martha Stewart and decided to give it a go. It cooks in an oven bag so the chicken came out really tender and great over the quinoa I substituted for couscous. I'm not sure I'd make it again out of desire to try try try new things, but it was a good slow cooked weekend meal. I only used about 1/2 chicken thighs and the rest skinless boneless breasts. Thanks Martha.

brandied pearl onions

In excitement for the new James Bond, Hil and I prepared a classy dinner and watched Casino Royale. Steak, acorn squash, and really great pearl onions. Blanch the onions for a minute, peal skins, toss in some evoo and garlic, add a few splashes of brandy, some s&p and a dash of worcestershire sauce. So good.

chicken curry in a hurry

I've been really into exploring big flavours and during the work week find myself with less time than I'd like. This recipe from Martha is easy and rather tasty. You should have these items on hand- dijon, curry powder, honey. A good week day try I'd say...Link

why limit happy to an hour

Yesterday morning we drove down to Virginia wine country to go to Bluemont Vineyard. The view was really beautiful as we sat on the porch to eat our picnic lunch and a bottle of wine from them. I was admittedly a tough sell, but it was a good time and nice try on VA's part.


Yesterday Matt and I went to Good Stuff Eatery, the burger joint Spike from Top Chef owns. I was really excited this got to make my list of things I did in DC and even more star struck when we walk in and there he is flipping burgers. As much as I wanted to pull a Ruth and break out the camera I held back so that Matt could one day friend him. Matt got the Obama Burger in true DC form and I got the Smoke House. We shared Village Fries. Tasty Spike, Real tasty.

Home Cooking

I got to stay with the other Mr and Mrs Hall in Philly which was a real treat. Kristen made a great dinner and we watched the Phillies until rain got the best of them.

around the world

Sat night was spent at an Ethiopian Restaurant, Salsa Dancing, and then Thomas Sweets. An around the world experience spent with old and new friends.

you're never too old

....To carve a pumpkin. This year we decided on Sarah Palin, which was a great idea. A lot of thought went into her and I think she came out pretty good. We should have purchased a smaller guy to go on top for her high hairdo, but all in all a good decision.

good to be back

It's been good to have some time back here to catch up with old friends and walk around the lovely mall. I think I like DC more on a visiting basis than living basis, but still a great city and fun to know my way around it more and more. Thankfully last weekend Jason and I were able to walk around some of the monuments before it started to rain.

Founding Farmers

early on in my trip I got to meet up with Kate, Sam and Matt at DC's new and only "Green" restaurant, Founding Farmers. It was a pretty wonderful atmosphere, completely packed, and really great menu. It seems people are catching on to the idea that healthy, eco friendly things don't have to look or taste like cardboard.