Tag Archives: Cook

Seasonal Food to Put You in the Spirit (and Fill Your Home with Heavenly Smells)!

There’s something nostalgic about the tastes and smells we encounter during this time of year. Smell alone can bring back vivid memories and feelings of warmth, happiness and family. We scoured Pinterest for some of the best recipes that can turn your house into a veritable potpourri of delicious smells.

Roasted Nuts

There’s a reason “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is a lyric in a holiday song, the nutty smell is absolutely delicious (especially mixed with the spicy aroma of cinnamon)! When I lived in Boston and experienced my first-ever snow, I remember walking in the Common and smelling  the comforting scent of roasting nuts mingled with the crisp freshness of a new coat of snow. These cinnamon sugar almonds from Something Swanky are fast and easy, and will quickly fill your home with that very same smell I encountered during my very first walk through the snow.

DSC_0205-edited-watermarked(Photo courtesy of Somethingswaky.com)

Freshly Baked Bread

Is there any better aroma than the smell of bread baking in the oven? No. There is not. Except maybe new baby smell, but that doesn’t count. Baking bread means not only that your house will smell homey but you will get a warm treat when it’s done! This beginner bread recipe from About.com is perfect for a first-time bread maker.

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(Photo Courtesy of The Pinterest Project)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Known as a secret weapon used by real estate agents everywhere, this is a seriously powerful aroma. Chocolate chip cookies are a classic throwback to delicious smells of special occasion bake-fests. Of course, you could go to the store and buy that pre-made stuff that you just throw in the oven, but if you plan on eating these after they’re done, it’s probably best to at least put in the work so you can appreciate them even more! You can’t knock a classic, which means two words: Toll House. The best chocolate chips cookies of all time.

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(Photo courtesy of Cooking for Engineers)

Hot Apple Cider

If you’re like me and not a huge fan of apple cider, adding caramel for this amazing caramel apple cider recipe from DIY Cozy Home makes the prospect heavenly. What is more seasonal than the smell of cinnamon and apples? Apples add a fruity sweet scent to the pungent smell of cinnamon that makes this juice warm you inside and out.

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Baking A Pie Isn’t As Scary As You Might Think!

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Now that it’s autumn, it’s time to let the baking bug take over. It’s wonderful to fill our homes with the scent of freshly made cookies, loaves, and pies… To smell the sweet perfume of some delectable treat just waiting to be cooled on the windowsill. Making your own pie from scratch may sound daunting. Today, a lot of people may go to the store to get a pie, or even get a frozen one from the grocery store. There’s no shame in admitting it! But making your own pie can be a lot easier than most people realize, and you’ll feel really proud of yourself.

The first step to making a great pie is a great crust. You can get frozen crust from the grocery store (we won’t consider this cheating as long as you make the filling yourself), or you can make your own. Again, it’s surprisingly easy and you only need flour, unsalted butter, salt, and ice water. I’ll explain how to make your own crust below, but I just want to remind those of you who may opt for crust from the grocery store to read the directions. Frozen crusts need to be thawed to roll out properly or they’ll break or crumble. If they fall apart though, don’t panic! You can kneed it back together into a ball and roll it out flat again.

Make your own pie crust:

(This recipe comes from “Dana” on Allrecipes.com, and I’ve personally used it many times.)

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, cubed (one stick)

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup ice water

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Directions:

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture looks crumb-like (you can use your hands to achieve this too). Cutting the butter into the flour is what makes those yummy flakey layers. Stir in water a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture forms a ball. Don’t just dump all the water in! You might not need it all, and then your dough will be too wet. Finally, wrap the pie dough in plastic and refrigerate. You need to use ice water and refrigerate the dough to keep the butter in the crust cool.

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Next comes the filling. You can look up any recipe you want (I always recommend checking out Allreceipes.com because the recipes are rated by people who have tried making them, so you get a good idea of the best recipes out there), whether they be sweet or savory. The best part? You can pretty much put anything you like in a pie. I once read about a family that makes “Thanksgiving leftover pie’ with turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. I personally opt for a vegetable pot pie, where I just sauté whatever vegetables I want with garlic and onion, add seasoning, and pop the whole thing in the oven. Unless otherwise advised, it’s usually best to at least partially cook your savory filling before putting it in your pie, to ensure that everything is cooked properly when the pie is done (especially if you’re using meat).

When your filling is ready, get your dough and divide it in half to roll flat. A rookie mistake is rolling out all the dough, filling your pie, then realizing you forgot the top!If your filling looks very wet, you can bake your crust a little (about ten minutes) before you add your filling so it doesn’t come out gooey, wet, or under-baked. Some people brush egg white over the top of their pie before putting it in the oven so they get a glossy top, but you don’t have to.

Bake at 425 degrees for half an hour, and sit back and enjoy the wonderful smells that fill the house!

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What A Can of Pumpkin Can Do!

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Today, I looked in my pantry and saw a lonely can of pumpkin sitting by itself, most likely from last fall. I felt almost sorry for it, forgotten and lonely. It seems like everyone goes pumpkin crazy this time of year, so much so that one might pick up one of these little unassuming cans on a whim, but then comes the question: What do I do with it? Fear not, after these easy recipes, you’ll never find yourself with an orphaned can of pumpkin again!

1) Mix a Pumpkin Rum Shake. Don’t just fall back on making pumpkin pie, make this adult alternative from Bonappetite.com. Simply combine canned pumpkin, ground nutmeg, vanilla ice cream and rum for a tasty and totally naughty fall treat in a cup!

2) Pumpkin butter is a fast and easy way to add a little taste of fall to whatever you’re eating. Though it’s usually made with fresh pumpkin, TLC.com swears you can use canned pumpkin and no one will know the difference. Simmer canned pumpkin, brown sugar, apple cider, and spices (cinnamon and nutmeg suggested) for about half an hour, then store or gift in jars.

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3) Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese adds a little twist to a classic kid favorite. You can make it from scratch, adding a couple spoonfuls of pumpkin to your sauce after the roux and milk. However, after experimenting last year, I can confidently say that you can even just add it to a boxed mixed, but don’t be too heavy-handed with the pumpkin. Bake in a casserole dish with breadcrumbs and cheese on top for a crunch!

4) Pumpkin Pancakes or Waffles. This is easy, just add a little pumpkin puree to your batter. If you want to get fancy, you can add some cinnamon or ground nutmeg. Candied pecans make a great topper, along with plain old maple syrup.

5) Three words: Pumpkin Chai Latte. That’s all I’ll say. Check out this recipe from TexanErin.com.

6) Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes for pop-in-your-mouth goodness. These little guys are baked, not fried, and small so you can pace yourself. We’re not going to call them healthy, but they’re definitely a little better than grabbing a fried donut with tons of frosting.

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 7) Pumpkin Praline Pretzels! It’s not a tongue twister, it’s just delicious. I wasn’t going to include this because it looks a little complicated, but I ended up caving because it just looks too good to be true. Would you try it?

8) Pumpkin Soup is “soup-er” easy to make! It takes more than one can of pumpkin puree, but just add some garlic, onions, cream, and spices and you’re good to go! This is definitely a fall favorite!

9) Rachel Ray recommends adding some pumpkin to your morning oatmeal for a fast and easy pumpkin fix. Top with cinnamon sugar, maple, walnuts, or raisons!

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10) Last but not least, nothing goes better with pumpkin than cream cheese. Make this simple Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread for bagels, toast, or in a pastry puff a la Rachel Ray. Just blend equal parts cream cheese, powdered sugar, and pumpkin, then throw in some pumpkin pie spice to taste and voila! A decadent spread for any occasion!

Be sure to add any recipes you want to try to your SteerList grocery list app so you remember to pick up what you need the next time you pass the store!

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