Simple October

Monday, November 25, 2013

Caramels for the Holidays

During the Holidays, I always think it's nice to give special treats to those you appreciate.
This week I went for my final haircut of 2013. Since I knew I wouldn't be back until sometime next year, I wanted to treat my stylist to something sweet.
Enter the Homemade Caramels.......they are so amazing!

You can find the recipe here at Inspired Taste. This is the same recipe I used for the baby shower I co-hosted at the beginning of this year. Only this time I chose not to dip them in chocolate. Instead, I wrapped each piece in a small bit of wax paper. Perfect! These caramels practically melt in your mouth.
All wrapped up and sitting pretty in a mint blue mug from Target. The red and white polka dot cozy is handmade to add a little extra charm.
It's so much fun to come up with little gifts to give. What are some of your favorite things to treat your friends?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Sharing my version of cooking a pumpkin, roasting the seeds, and my recipe for mini pumpkin pies.
Oh, how I love pumpkin!

Cooking a Pie Pumpkin from the grocery store:

Wash your pumpkin and dry. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds and extra string-y-ness.
Wrap each half with foil, just like you would for a baked potato. Cook in a 350 - 375 degree oven for about an hour. Remove pumpkin from the oven and let cool enough to handle. Scrape out the soft, cooked pumpkin with a spoon and mash with a fork on a plate, or pulse through a food processor until it's the consistency you desire.

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Separate the seeds from the stringy core. Rinse pumpkin seeds under running water. In a small saucepan, add the seeds to water, about 2 cups of water to every half cup of seeds. Add a tablespoon of salt for every cup of water. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.

Spread about a tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a four sided sheet pan. Spread the seeds out over the pan, all in one layer. If desired, sprinkle seeds with a little kosher salt to give them a little extra crunch. Bake on the top rack for 20 minutes or until the seeds begin to brown. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Let the seeds cool all the way down before eating.

Mini Pumpkin Pies:

Crust recipe:
1 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. plus 2 T. shortening
3 to 4 T. cold water

In a medium size bowl, mix flour and salt. Add shortening and cut in using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles crumbs. Stir in enough water to make a nice dough and mix just until incorporated. Scoop out 1/2 T. size balls of dough and press into mini muffin pan to create the mini crusts for the pies. Repeat until you run out of dough. Set aside.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. carnation sweetened condensed milk
1 egg

Whisk all ingredients together until nice and smooth. Pour into mini crusts and bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and enjoy with whipped cream or all by themselves.

*NOTE: If you wish to make a larger pie, double the filling recipe. I only make half when making the mini pies since you don't need as much for them. The crust recipe above will create one large pie crust.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Giving Pies

Well, I'm down to the last three weeks before our third little one arrives. I'm overly excited that he will be here so soon and equally excited to be able to eat different things again. Ha! I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes the last 9 weeks of this pregnancy and had to completely change my diet. In an effort to keep my blood sugar where it should be, I've been making the same few meals that seem to work, over and over. My husband has been such a trooper about it but I know he is just as excited for me to start cooking more variety again.
I say all of this to preface why all the mini pumpkin pies had to be given away. So, I took the batch of them, wrapped so sweetly, to my OB doctor and staff. They were a hit! Points for the win!!! *wink

Knowing that I was giving them away, I NEEDED to taste test them to make sure they stood up and didn't give me a bad rep. lol They were amazing! I even went so far as to cook my own pumpkin for these. (We never did get to that craft using pie pumpkins that I had planned. Oops.)

The adorable chalkboard tag is from Lia Griffith. Make sure to give her some love, if you visit her awesome website.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Birthday Celebration Week

It's my birthday week and I want to celebrate by giving you some amazing sales in preparation for all the Christmas gift giving that will be happening oh, so soon!
To start this week off I've restocked the chapstick cozies. They make fantastic stocking stuffers, happy mail to a friend, or a great addition to a teacher's Christmas gift.
I don't know about you but with the cooler weather comes chapped lips for me. Which means I like to keep my chapstick with me where ever I go. With the key ring on top, you can slip it onto almost anything to make sure your chapstick is ready to hydrate your lips at any time.

Our super birthday sale means that you can get three (3) of our adorable cozies for $9 (plus shipping).
Don't wait, we have a limited number of cozies available and I would hate for you to miss out.
Check out our Facebook page for this amazing deal!