Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream and Candied Pecans

Sense of Home Kitchen

Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream and Candied Pecans
~from the Sense of Home Kitchen, adapted from Bon App├ętit, November 2003~

1 9-inch pie crust

2 cups pumpkin puree or 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out dough to form a circle for a 9-inch pie pan.  Place in pan and flute edges.  Pierce crust with a fork in several places, pour in pie weights, and bake crust for approximately 15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and cool on rack.  Turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk pumpkin, condensed milk, sour cream 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, vanilla, allspice, and nutmeg in a large bowl until blended.  Whisk in eggs.  Pour into crust, careful not to top the fluted edges.

Bake pie until filling is puffed around the sides and set in the center, about 55 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  Chill in the refrigerator.

Candied Pecans
1/2 cup whole pecans or pecan pieces
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter

Place the pecan pieces, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in a non-stick pan.  Turn the heat to medium-high and stir while the heat dissolves the sugar and thickens the sauce.  Let the sauce bubble while stirring for a minute or two and turn off the heat.  Candied pecans will harden as they cool.

Spiced Whipped Cream
3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat whipping cream, sugar and the 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon until peaks form.  Spoon over slices off the pie, decorate with candied pecans and enjoy.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Desserts

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pork Chimichangas with Adobe Sauce

Sense of Home Kitchen

Pork Chimichangas with Adobe Sauce
~from the Sense of Home Kitchen~
Serves 4

Adobe Sauce
4 dried ancho chiles, stem removed and seeded
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobe sauce
2 cups pork stock
1 medium onion, about 1 cup, chopped
1/4 cup Merlot, or similar medium body wine
3 large garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Salt, to taste

In a dry heavy bottomed pot heated on high, toast the ancho chiles on each side for about about 10 to 15 seconds. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the chiles.  Leave the heat on until the water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until the are soft, about 30 minutes.  Once the chiles are hydrated, discard the soaking water and place the chiles in a blender.  Saute the chopped onion until it is tender and translucent.  Add the chipotle chiles, garlic, sauted onion, cumin, oregano, allspice, wine and pork stock to the ancho chiles in the blender and puree.  The sauce should be smooth and thick.  Pour the sauce back into the, now empty, heavy pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Simmer for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and reduces by about half.  Add salt to taste.  Set aside.

Pork Chimichangas
8 small- to medium-sized tortillas, homemade or store-bought
1 tablespoon reserved pork fat
3 cups shredded pork
1 4.5 ounce can of chopped green chiles
1/2 cup adobe sauce (recipe above)
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro or 1 tablespoon dried
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Dried cilantro to sprinkle
2 tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix shredded pork, green chiles, adobe sauce, and 3 tablespoons of cilantro in a medium-sized bowl.  Place a small amount of the adobe sauce in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Heat a heavy skillet and place a small amount of pork fat on the hot pan.  Place tortilla on the skillet warming and lightly toasting on both sides.  Remove tortilla from skillet to a clean plate, place 1/3 cup of pork mixture in the center of the tortilla and fold one end in and both sides in, place filled tortilla in baking dish and continue filling flour tortillas until all 8 are filled and in the baking dish.  Sprinkle shredded cheese across the top of the filled tortillas and ladle adobe sauce around and across the top.  The sauce should not cover the tortillas completely, that way the tortillas can crisp in the oven.  Sprinkle with dried cilantro.  Place in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, until tortillas are crisp and lightly browned.

Serve with diced tomatoes, avocados, and a dollop of sour cream.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Main Dishes / Pork

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

Sense of Home Kitchen

Pumpkin Pancakes
~From the Sense of Home Kitchen~
Makes approximately 12 - 15 medium-sized pancakes

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey

Stir together all the dry ingredients.  Then make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and place the pumpkin puree inside, add the eggs and yogurt and mix together with the dry ingredients careful not to over work the batter. Add the honey, stir, and put one ladle full onto a hot, lightly buttered griddle.  Cook until several bubbles form and pop on the first side and flip to the other side to finish cooking.  Serve hot with honey or maple syrup.

Sense of Home Kitchen / Recipes / Breakfast

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Frugal Kitchen and Home

Sense of Home Kitchen

We have always tried to live a simple, frugal life.  Thinking before purchasing, never spending more than we have saved for an item, always conscious of turning off lights and keeping the heat low and so forth, but we have never been more aware of living frugally than we are now.  In May we made the decision together that I would quit my well-paying, full-time job; step out of the rat race and live a slower, simpler, more purposeful life.  Best decision we ever made.  The decision was made in May, I gave notice at work the end of June and my last day was August 31st. We did not rush into the decision, it was a life changing decision to make, I had been at that job for 20 years and the decision needed to be made carefully.  We wanted to pay off our car and we had drain tile to install and wanted to save to pay off that bill as soon as the work was done, so those were two large bills that were paid for with my summer checks.  We are completely debt free and well prepared mentally and physically to keep our expenses low and me working only part time.  I now work part time managing my parents health food store and will continue to do so until they sell their business.  

In order to keep our life simple and less stressful we must live frugally and not be side tracked by the many gadgets and pretty things there are to purchase or by thinking we need to be going and doing all the time.  We actually prefer time spent at home and a home cooked meal, some people may not, but we have come to appreciate a quieter, home-based lifestyle. We now have just basic TV and cell phones (no land line), saving ourselves about $75 each month.  These simple changes really add up, there is a mindset that we "need" these items, but they are not at all necessary and are really a distraction.  We are not only saving money, but time as well.  I started thinking about how we could cut our budget even more, so that more of our income could go into savings for when the unexpected occurs.  We are not foolish enough to think that unexpected repair or medical bills will not occur from time to time.  I made a list of things we do to keep expenses low and hope to expand this list as time goes on.  No doubt there are many things I have forgotten to add to this list, I always seem to think of things shortly after I have published a post, but here is a start and perhaps I will add to it as more are remembered.  I also hope that if you have a way of living frugally you will share it in the comments so that we can learn from each other.

A local grocery store was recently bought out and they marked all their goods down, so we stocked up on the items we use regularly and a few splurge items for the occasional indulgence, such as chocolate and that coke my husband likes.  We have one freezer full of summer fruits and vegetables and one full of the fall butchering meat, just as we did last autumn, so after I add a few more items to our pantry, our pantry and freezers will supply us with the majority of our grocery needs over the next year.  Not going to the grocery store so often saves money on impulse buys and gas, not to mention wasted time.  Now for that list.

The Frugal Kitchen and Home List

  • Buy ingredients, not prepared foods
  • Stock up during sales
  • Make dinner at home from scratch, not eating out or ordering in
  • Make simple homemade breakfast foods such as oatmeal, muesli, yogurt or granola 
  • Buy bulk, less packaging
  • Buy off brands
  • Live healthy and use home remedies to avoid Doctor visits
  • Preserve foods from the garden or farmers market
  • Make your own coffee or tea and take it in a well-insulated travel mug
  • Bring a sack lunch from home to work or while running errands
  • Use vinegar, baking soda, homemade cleaners and homemade deodorizers
  • Mend our clothes
  • Make homemade hand soap and antibacterial spray
  • Borrow books from the library rather than purchasing
  • Use hankies instead of tissues and cloth napkins instead of paper
  • Take care of possessions so they last longer
  • Dry clothes on the line as long as possible (it was below freezing when I hung them out this morning)
  • Buy second hand items
  • Trim bangs to lengthen time between haircuts
  • Use homemade dish cloths and scrubbers
  • Keep the thermostat at 62 now and 65 when it dips below zero outside this winter (and keep those wool socks handy)
  • Turn off unnecessary lights and unplug unnecessary appliances
  • A hankie and a pinkie rather than a Q-Tip (little things add up over time)
  • One part vinegar to one part water in a spritz bottle to clean eye glasses
  • Be generous (it will come back around when needed)

Sense of Home Kitchen / Homemade Living / A Homemade Life / Kitchen and Pantry