Mommy Made From Scratch

Friday, September 30, 2011

Armstrong Family Fare Pumpkin Puree

Lately I've been wanting to make some pumpkin dishes but can't seem to find any pureed pumpkin anywhere. There isn't even a label on the shelf for it. The thought of not having any homemade pumpkin treats this year almost makes me want to cry. I love pumpkin.

So yesterday I had the chance to bring Asher over to my friend Willa's house to have a playdate with her kids. Willa just so happens to be an excellent baker, cook and fellow food blogger over at Armstrong Family Fare. She informed me that the pumpkin crop wasn't so great so the supply is down this year. That explained my pumpkin puree dilemma. Thankfully Willa knows her stuff and has posted today about how to make your own pumpkin puree. I'm hoping to head out to some local farms this weekend and pick up some pumpkins to try this out for myself. Please check out her post and let us know what you think! Happy fall!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

I've always wanted to try and make my own granola bars. My husband brings one to work for a snack everyday and I'll eat them sometimes for an on the go breakfast or to help out low blood sugar so we go through a lot of them on a weekly basis. I was looking for a good granola bar recipe when I came across this one over at Weelicious. I figured this lady must know how to cook; after all, she HAS cooked with Al Roker. I modified the recipe slightly to fit my family's tastes. For the original recipe, please visit Weelicious.

The first time I made these I used waxed paper instead of parchment paper. DON'T REPEAT MY MISTAKE!!! The wax paper stuck to the granola so we ended up turning the whole mass of waxed granola upside down and picking it apart until we couldn't get any non-waxy pieces anymore. The parchment worked wonders on the next go-around. USE PARCHMENT!! These granola bars are so much better than the store bought kind, they're cheaper and they make your whole house smell wonderful.

Crunchy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars 
(makes approximately 30 bars)

4 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 Tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Honey

Preheat your oven to 325 F then combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl. Recruit some help and if necessary, bribe them with chocolate chips.

Give your helper her well-deserved chocolate chips...and give a few to yourself because hey, you deserve it, too.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture and stir to combine.

It should look something like this. Yum....

Dump the granola mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. And remember, NO WAX PAPER!

Shape mixture into a rectangle or square about 1 inch thick.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into long rectangles.

 Once cooled, wrap individually to remain fresh for several weeks. Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Buckeye Pie

Okay, so I had what I thought was a genius original idea for a pie a few weeks ago. This pie would be like a giant buckeye, you know the kind made with chocolate and peanut butter, not the actual buckeye that comes from a tree. It was going to be full of peanut butter and chocolate goodness that would send your taste buds soaring straight towards heaven. Come to find out, there are several versions of buckeye pie out there but lucky for you, me and everyone that got to try it, none were quite like mine. So I figure my idea is still somewhat original since I had never heard of it before, mine is shaped like a giant buckeye and my recipe uses a few different ingredients than everything else that seems to be out there.

As it would happen, my church's annual Labor Day weekend picnic was coming up which included a pie baking contest. So with my confidence soaring, I made one and entered it in. Little did I know that the best pie bakers in the world would attend my church picnic last weekend. There were about 16 pies if I remember right and only three winners. Mine wasn't one of them. My husband swears that it was because one of the judges is a Penn State fan but I can't prove that. I could take this defeat to heart and let the devil win but I know just how good this thing is...and the caliber of pies submitted into the contest. So with that being said, prepare yourself for the most unbelievable thing to hit your taste buds in a long, long time...the non-awarding winning...Buckeye Pie.

Buckeye Pie

chocolate graham cracker pie crust
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1 c. peanut butter
1 1/3 c. confectioners sugar
3/4 marshmallow cream
1 c. chocolate chips

Melt 1/2 c. chocolate chips in microwave or double boiler then spread in the bottom of the pie crust. Set aside.

Add peanut butter, confectioners sugar and marshmallow cream to a medium bowl.

Mix until well blended as shown below.

 Pour mixture into pie crust and spread evenly with a spatula.

I tried to make it a little bit rounded to better resemble a buckeye. If you want a more obvious buckeye shape you could always make a double batch of the filling and round out the pie as high as you'd like.

Tatiana insisted on smelling the peanut buttery goodness...

Next, place a lightweight cup in the center of the pie. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips then pour onto the peanut butter filling.

Spread with a spoon or spatula to cover the surface evenly. Be sure to move quickly as the chocolate will begin to harden.

Carefully remove the cup to reveal the peanut butter filling.

And now for the moment of truth...

...almost perfect...

Smooth out any mistakes. (Yes, I do make them occasionally.)

Stick it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill. It's soooo much better if you can make this the day before and let it chill overnight.

Alas! Buckeye Pie! Enjoy.


This recipe is part of the Holiday Sweet Swap over at Pressed Down Shaken Together!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The end of summer...

I just read a blog post from Family Fresh Cooking talking about this summer and what has made her happy. I feel as though this summer has flown by.

What has made me happy this summer is the time I've been able to spend with my family. We got to go on vacation to Florida with Jon's brother and sister and their families and were also able to visit my sister and her family in Georgia on the way back home.

First time swimming in the ocean

On the road again...

At the Air Force museum

Jon and I took the kids to places locally such as the children's museum, to parks and out for ice cream downtown. As much as I don't like the heat and humidity, I love that the summer is more laid back than the rest of the year.

So now as the busyness of fall begins, I invite each of you to look back at the fun, laid-back moments you've been able to have over the past few months and share them below. I've linked up my Zucchini Brownies recipe to Family Fresh Cooking as it was our favorite recipe of the summer and a good memory for our family using the fruits of our first family garden. Be sure and check out all of the other delicious recipes over at Family Fresh Cooking!