Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

This may be the best thing on the planet. The moment I tasted this yummy dip, I was in love. I think in the past week or so I’ve eaten it almost every day. It’s super yummy on apple slices, celery sticks, carrot sticks, toast, fingers, spoons, pretty much anything.  This recipe came from a sweet lady by the name of Fran Emory.  Fran’s Baked Goods will be a vendor at the Duke Farmer’s Market this coming season. So, if you happen to be at Duke on a Friday this spring and summer and need a yummy snack, she will be selling this dip partnered with some local produce.

This is the whole recipe, but I actually made it with about 1/2 cup brown sugar and it was still super yummy! Nutritionally  you get the healthy fats and protein from the peanut butter plus loads of beta carotene from the pumpkin. Perfect!

1 cup creamy peanut butter (Trader Joe’s is my favorite, just peanuts and salt)

1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Mix it all together till smooth.

It’s that easy!

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This was a great meal! I started brining the turkey a few years ago, and will never go back. The turkey always turns out juicy. It’s wonderful, definitely worth the extra effort. The recipe I use is from Martha Stewart.

The turkey needs to soak in the brine for about 24 hours, so plan accordingly.  You will also need to make room for a large container in your fridge.  I use a 5-gallon bucket lined with a brining bag.  This recipe makes enough brine for one 18- to 20-pound turkey.


7 quarts (28 cups) water

1 1/2 cups coarse salt

6 bay leaves

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

1 tablespoon dried juniper berries

2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds

1 fresh whole turkey (18 to 20 pounds), patted dry, neck and giblets reserved for stock

1 bottle dry Riesling

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bunch fresh thyme

Bring 1 quart water, the salt, bay leaves, and spices to a simmer, stirring until salt has dissolved. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Line a 5-gallon container with a large brining or oven-roasting bag. Place turkey in bag. Add salt mixture, remaining 6 quarts (24 cups) water, and the other ingredients. Tie bag; if turkey is not submerged, weight it with a plate. Refrigerate for 24 hours, flipping turkey once.

Giblet Stock

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Neck, heart, and gizzard from turkey

3 celery stalks, halved crosswise

3 carrots, halved crosswise

1 medium onion, quartered

8 ounces white mushrooms, halved

4 quarts (16 cups) water

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1/2 bunch fresh thyme

12 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs

1 tablespoon coarse salt

Heat oil in a stockpot on high. Add turkey parts, and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover partially. Simmer gently, skimming foam from surface as needed, for two hours.

Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.  Stock can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Baking the Turkey

Remove turkey from brine. Discard brine (remember this has raw turkey juice in it, think food safety). Pat turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Place, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature for up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Tuck wings underneath the turkey, and tie legs together with kitchen twine. Brush turkey all over with butter, and season generously with pepper.

Roast turkey, basting with pan juices every 30 minutes and rotating the pan after 2 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the thigh registers 165 degrees, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Transfer turkey to a platter, reserving pan juices for gravy. Let turkey stand for 30 minutes before carving.

Riesling Gravy

1 cup dry Riesling

4 1/2 cups Giblet Stock

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

Pour pan juices into a glass measuring cup or a gravy separator, and let stand until separated, 10 minutes. Pour off fat.

Add wine or stock to the roasting pan and scrape off anything left on the pan. Pour this into a medium size pot, add the reserved juices and stock, and bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 1/2 cup stock and the flour in a bowl until smooth. Whisking constantly, slowly add flour mixture to the pan. Simmer until gravy is reduced by half and coats the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remove from heat, add butter, and swirl pan until it has melted. Pour through a fine sieve, discarding solids. Serve immediately or keep warm over low heat. (Gravy can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)

Classic Cranberry Sauce

This is my favorite cranberry sauce, simple but with hints of ginger and orange. This is from Cooking Light November 2008.

1 1/2  cups  sugar

3/4  cup  fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)

1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon

1/4  teaspoon  ground ginger

Dash of ground cloves

1  (12-ounce) package fresh cranberries

1  tablespoon  grated orange rind

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 12 minutes or until cranberries pop. Remove from heat; stir in rind. Cool completely. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Grandmas Rolls

These are called Grandmas Rolls because this is the recipe my grandma always made on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The best rolls!

1 ¾ c warm water

2 pkg active dry yeast

½ cup sugar

1 Tbsp salt

1 egg

¼ cup butter

6 cups unbleached flour

1 Tbsp butter

Pour warm water into large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water, add sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve.

Add egg, butter, and 3 cups flour.  Beat very hard for 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup flour beat hard. Add last 2 cups by hand, knead until smooth and elastic.

Brush top of dough with melted butter. Cover and let rise in fridge for 2 hours or until double.

Punch down. Can make ahead and punch down once per day up to 3 days.

Butter your baking pans and roll the dough into small balls, place in baking sheet. When all the dough is gone (typically I will fill a 13 x9 pan and a 8 x 6 pan).  Bake at 350-375 for 10-15 min until golden brown.

Carrots with Ginger and Honey

2 pounds baby carrots


2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or less)

2 two-inch pieces fresh ginger, grated

3 tablespoons honey

Trim stems of carrots to 1/2 inch. Scrub carrots well.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Salt water, add carrots, and reduce heat. Simmer until carrots are almost tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove carrots from heat, and drain. (Carrots can be prepared earlier in the day to this point.)

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, and saute, stirring, until transparent, about 2 minutes. Add carrots and honey, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until carrots are glazed. Serve immediately.

Roasted Brussel’s Sprouts

If you think you don’t like brussels sprouts, try them this way.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Oil a large baking sheet (olive or canola). Cut each brussels sprout in half and remove the outer leaves. Place each one face down on the sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pour 1-2 Tbsp water or stock over the top. Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Stir or shake them around and continue to roast until they are very well browned.

I also made mashed potatoes, and baked winter squash. Both are very simple. Simple mashed potatoes are my favorite (butter, milk, salt, pepper. yum). The baked squash only had a little salt on it.

And of course, dessert…

Pumpkin Cheesecake

8 ounces ginger snaps (Trader Joe’s are my favorite)
1 1/2 tablespoon butter, melted 

2 ½ pounds cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
 Dash of allspice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare crust, place ginger snaps in a food processor; pulse 2 to 3 times or until finely ground. Add butter; pulse 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal. Firmly press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes; cool on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

To prepare filling, beat cheese with a mixer at high speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and next 8 ingredients (granulated sugar through vanilla), beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add pumpkin; beat well.

Pour cheese mixture into prepared crust; bake at 325° for 1 1/2 hours or until almost set. (Cheesecake is done when the center barely moves when pan is touched.) Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around outside edge. Cool to room temperature; cover and chill at least 8 hours.  


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Today was the last day for the Western Wake Farmer’s Market. I purchased some beautiful produce today. I got baby carrots, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes from Redbud Farm. From Fickle Creek Farm I got a pork loin, eggs, and some kale. I also got some local honey from another farm. I’m going to miss my Saturday morning trips to the farmer’s market. They open back up early April.

Weekly Menu:

Saturday: 3 Sisters Stew

Sunday: Kelly’s Famous Pizza with Goat Cheese and Sausage

Monday: Eggs with roasted potatoes and kale

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Tuscan Pork with roasted cauliflower and broccoli

Thursday: Thanksgiving! Roasted Brined Turkey, Mashed Potatoes with Reisling Gravy, Ginger Honey Carrots, Roasted Brussel’s Sprouts, Baked Winter Squash, Classic Cranberry Sauce, Grandma’s Rolls, Pumpkin Cheesecake

Friday: Spicy Turkey Soup

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