Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

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Finally fall is here!! That means pumpkin everything, including  coffees, teas, and lets not forget cakes!!! I love everything pumpkin spice, it’s honestly my favorite flavor around the holidays! If you love moist cake with a buttermilk glaze…then this recipe is for you!

I am now officially a cake-making maniac!! Pound cakes can be so effortlessly pretty if you have the right 10 inch non-stick pan!

Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

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INGREDIENTS:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk

Glaze:

  • 1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

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Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare the cake, lightly coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Spread pumpkin over 2 layers of paper towels; cover with 2 additional layers of paper towels. Let stand about 10 minutes. Scrape drained pumpkin into a bowl. Note: Make sure you take a good amount of time draining the pumpkin thoroughly in a paper towel. I kept squeezing the water out continuously for the best results.

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Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Lightly spoon 3 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and 3/4 cup buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

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I added a little cinnamon as well. About 1/2 teaspoon. IMG_2618

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.

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To prepare glaze, combine 1/3 cup buttermilk and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Drizzle cake with glaze.

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And Enjoy!!! It is delicious, moist, thick and buttery!

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Basil & Shrimp Risotto

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Hey guys, remember my first risotto video I did? Well if you don’t, go back and check the recipe out! The recipe was EXTENSIVE and it included video. If you have that recipe/base down then you’re all set. What I learned about Risotto is that the base is wine, cheese, and butter… all the rest is optional ( mushrooms, shrimp, pumpkin, asparagus, etc). This recipe will be quick, easy and to the point!

So I was inspired to do a risotto with fresh basil and shrimp. My basil plant is growing so beautifully, so I had to put it to good use! If you have a favorite herb, try making a risotto out of it! Maybe pair it with your favorite seafood- I think you will be pleasantly surprised!Basil

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • EVOO ( extra virgin olive oil)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 shallot, diced ( I like it better than regular onion)
  • 1 3/4 c. arborio rice
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 4-5 c. chicken stock, simmering
  • 12 basil leaves, sliced into strips

Heat oven to 400 and toss shrimp with few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, then place on baking sheet. Bake until cooked, 7-10 min. Set aside.

Put 1 T oil and butter in hot risotto pan and when hot, add garlic and onions, sauteeing 1 to 2 min. Add rice and stir 2 min. Add wine, deglaze pan and reduce heat to simmer until moisture is absorbed. Ladle in stock, 1/2 c. at a time, stirring almost constantly, until moisture is absorbed and rice just loses its grainy bite, roughly 20 min. Add shrimp, basil, 2 T butter.Stir to combine.

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Test for seasonings and serve.ENJOY!

Sweet N’ Spicy Habanero Chicken Wings

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These aren’t your traditional, run of the mill chicken wings! Sometimes you want a good, nontraditional, flavorful wing that doesn’t have the word “buffalo” in front of it! lol These wings are spicy, sweet, tender, with just enough crisp! These are probably my favorite wings right now…im all about the sauce!

I used two main sauces ( sweet chili & habanero) for this recipe, but I also created a marinade. If you like you can use this marinade, but if you want some wings- quick, fast and in a hurry then just combine the two sauces together. Ill explain…

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Prep: 5 minutes. Marinade time: 3 hours. Wings Cook Time: 2-3 hours on 350 degrees

MARINADE:

  • chopped red onion
  • 4-5 slices of ginger
  • 1 cup of cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1lb of chicken wings
  •  2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of habanero sauceIMG_2443 IMG_2446

Combine all these ingredients including the chicken wings in a zip loc bag. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours. IMG_2448 IMG_2449

Once you have nicely marinated chicken. Add them to a foiled pan with just a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to coat the pan. Take off any excess onion, cilantro,etc. from the chicken, we don’t want the herbs to burn! Once they’re in the pan, drizzle more sweet chili sauce and a few dashes of habanero.

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Bake 350 degrees for 2-3 hours. Note: I baked on 350 degrees for the first 2 hours covered. Then baked on 365 for an hour uncovered to get them a little crispy. And this allows for some of the juice to cook out a little.

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Nice and crispy.IMG_2459

Once your chicken is finished. Serve and garnish with cilantro.

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Drooling!!IMG_2461

Yum!IMG_2462

Halloween Treats- Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks

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Ok I said I was not going to post this mainly because it was out of pure experimentation LOL but I decided to share it anyway! I wanted to see if I could create some fun and easy Halloween Treats. I really wanted to find some pretzel sticks and roll them in something!! So after an EXTENSIVE and STRENUOUS search ( not really) lol I took myself on over to Cost Plus World Market and picked up these fun things:

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The sprinkles were all in one bottle!! I thought that was pretty cool and convenient.

So I melted the chocolate ( white and dark) in two separate pots with a little heavy cream ( about 2 tablespoons) and dipped my pretzel sticks and added the sprinkles. I placed them in a glass dish and lined them all up. I popped them in the fridge for 30 minutes for the chocolate to harden/solidify.

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They came out perfectly!

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Shrimp Scampi

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This is my take on shrimp scampi. I love spice so I had to incorporate a habanero chile in with the mix! If you haven’t had a habanero chile, i can honestly say its one of the few peppers that has spice AND flavor! If you’re on a diet, im so sorry…because I used a lot of butter for this recipe! lol

I had this over angel hair pasta with fresh spinach on the side….AMAZING and I recommend trying it that way!

Prep: 5 minutes. Cook time: 10 minutes. Total: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1-2lbs of shrimp peeled and de-veined
  • 1 whole lemon- sliced.
  • 1/2 habanero chile diced finely
  • 1/2 cup of white onion diced finely
  • 1 cup of chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup of chopped tomato ( optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of bread crumbs ( optional)

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Directions: In a skillet add olive oil ( about 1 tablespoon or enough to coat the pan) and add butter, garlic and onion and saute on medium heat. Have your parsley, lemon and habanero ready.

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Next squeeze in lemon. I cut it in several slices, squeezed juice and threw the rest in the pan. I also added my habanero.

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Now add your parsley. Continue to saute over medium heat.IMG_2353

If you like, add tomatoes. I think adding tomatoes cuts a little bit of the heat from the habanero and gives the scampi some freshness.IMG_2354

Then I added a little bread crumbs just for some extra BITE. But this is totally optional as well.

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Once your shrimp is pink, you can eat it with any kind of pasta you like, or have it with some fresh baked bread or a baguette! IMG_2356

I decided to have it over angel hair pasta and some fresh spinach on the side!

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Hearty Beef Stew (crockpot recipe)

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I really enjoyed this recipe..mainly because it was easy! lol Sometimes you just want a really hearty stew without having to stand over a boiling hot pot all day! I cooked this beef chuck roast down in the crock pot for a total of 7 hours! It was extremely tender and moist.

Prep: 5 minutes. Crock pot cook time: 7 hours

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs of baby carrots
  • 1 beef chuck roast ( 2lbs)
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 3 stalks of celery diced
  • 1/2 white onion coarsely chopped
  • 6 potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 3 cans of beef broth ( or you can use beef bouillon and water)
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: I combined the beef broth, garlic, and onion and beef chuck roast in the crock pot and cooked them down for 4 hours before adding the vegetables. Once that has cooked down, add all your veggies and cook down for another 3 hours. I recommend also adding the thyme, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper just to give the veggies a good flavor.

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Once your veggies are cooked through, serve- add parsley or thyme for garnish if you like. Simple as that!

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Chicken Parmesan

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This dish was done on the fly! It was so unplanned, but that’s how easy it is! If you got some sauce, breadcrumbs and chicken breasts, you can whip up a quick and easy chicken parm in no time! I paired my chicken parm with whole grain penne pasta. I opted to do the penne pasta because I think the nice bite of the pasta compliments the chicken but you can have it with any kind of pasta you prefer.

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Prep: 10 minutes if you include pounding out and breading the chicken. Cook: 30 minutes. Total: 40 minutes

Preheat oven on 350 degrees.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-4 chicken breasts pounded out thinly
  • 1-2 cups of flour if you want some extra crispiness ( which is what i did)
  • 3-4 cups of Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of white onion diced
  • 1 jar of your favorite sauce  for a quick recipe I used Classico brand Roasted Garlic flavor
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 pack of Parmesan cheese ( i opted to use the Kraft 5 cheese blend which included Parmesan, mozzarella, asiago, etc)
  • 1/2 cup of parsley chopped
  • 1 box of your favorite pasta

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Directions:

Once you pound out your chicken breasts, in a bowl combine bread crumbs and chicken breasts. Make sure you coat the breasts thoroughly before you add the flour ( this gives the chicken an optimum crunch and makes the flour and breadcrumb stick together). Then add flour.

In a skillet drizzle about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, or at least enough to coat the pan. Add your chicken and cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until chicken is golden brown. Flip over and brown the other side. In a separate pot, begin cooking your sauce down on low heat. We will add the sauce later.IMG_2250 IMG_2254

Once the chicken is golden brown, remove it from the pan and set it aside. Don’t worry if the chicken is not cooked through, it will finish cooking in the oven. While the pan is still hot, add your onion and garlic. Let all the drippings from the pan soak up! Cook until your onions are translucent. While your onions are cooking, begin the water for your pasta so you can have that ready!

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Now its time to add your sauce to the pan! Pour it over the garlic and onions.

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While your sauce is cooking on low, finish up your pasta. Get a large casserole dish, coat it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and pour your pasta in the dish.

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Add 1 spoonful of sauce and mix it around, then add 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley.

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Lay chicken breasts on top of pasta… Are you getting excited now? lol

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Next, pour your sauce over the chicken breasts!

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Next add the cheese and a few more sprinkles of parsley. Then bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese is brown and bubbly.

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Perfecto!!! We are ready to chow down!IMG_2271 - Copy IMG_2274 - Copy

Tender, juicy, moist…everything you want it to be! Enjoy!IMG_2280 - Copy

Cajun Lemonade

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My homage to the authentic and delicious flavors of New Orleans. The combination of flavors will knock you on your butt!!

  • 12 ounces white rum or vodka
  • 4 ounces Pimms No. 1
  • 8 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces Simple Syrup ( or you can use Simply Lemonade)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Tabasco
  • Ice
  • 8 ounces chilled 7-Up
  • Thin lemon wheels, for garnish (optional)

In a large resealable container, combine all of the ingredients except ice, the 7-Up and the lemon wheels. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Cover tightly and shake, then pour into an ice-filled pitcher. Strain into ice-filled rocks glasses, stir in the 7-Up and garnish with lemon wheels.You can also omit the Tabasco and add a little dash at the end in your own glass which is what I did.

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GUMBO w/ Chicken, Andouille Sausage and Shrimp

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This is my specialty, if i do say so myself!! I pride myself on having creole blood running through my veins. I LOVE creole and Cajun food- it is my favorite style of food to cook. I enjoy the spicy, the zestiness, the flavor, and of course seafood. In this recipe, I created a chicken stock and a seafood stock to add to my gumbo.

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First, you need to make a chicken stock. This will be the base. I don’t like to use chicken broth in a can because it is not enough flavor. Good gumbo requires a layering of flavors, quick gumbo is not good gumbo!

Chicken Stock:

  • 5 drumsticks and 1 chicken breast ( I used this to create a chicken stock-recipe will follow)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 2 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of creole or cajun seasoning.
  • 1/2 gallon of water.

I seasoned and seared my chicken in the pot first with extra virgin olive oil just to seal in the flavor. Then I added onion, celery and water.You may need to add water as you go along. Just make sure the chicken is always covered with water, cook this in a pot on low heat for atleast 4 hours. I cooked mine for about 5 hours on low.

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Once your stock has cooked down. Remove all of the bones. Your chicken should easily fall off the bone. Set aside. ( I poured mine in a separate bowl because I wanted to use the pot to begin the roux).

Making the roux is important as well in gumbo! A good roux adds to the flavor of the gumbo and is also essential! In New Orleans, it is the HOLY TRINITY ( bell pepper, onion and celery).

Gumbo Ingredients:

  • Andouille Sausage sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • 5 celery stalks chopped
  • 1/2 white onion diced
  • optional: get a handful (1/2 lb) of crayfish and add it for flavor, or use it for a seafood stock.
  • Chicken ( with chicken stock)
  • 1 lb of shrimp, peeled and de-veined

Seafood Stock

  • Crayfish heads
  • Shrimp shells
  • 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of creole seasoning
  • 4 cups of water

cook covered on low heat before you start making your roux. I began this seafood stock after my chicken stock was already completed. I only cooked my shells down for about 40 minutes. That was enough time for me to extract the seafood flavor to pour into the gumbo.

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Now it is time to begin preparing your roux!

In a pot, add 1 cup of flour and 3 tablespoons of oil. Have your vegetables diced and ready. I like to cover the diced onions, green/red pepper and celery while the roux is cooking so they stay fresh. You will need a spatula or wire whisk and a large spoon by your cook top.

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At your cook top turn the heat on high, place your pot on the burner and put in the oil and flour. Stir until this is mixed well. When the oil and flour start to bubble stir constantly for 5 minutes then turn your heat to down to medium high. Keep stirring.

In a few minutes the flour will start to darken. When you see a caramel color developing turn the heat down to medium. Keep stirring using your spatula or whisk taking care to scrape every part of the pot bottom. Don’t stop. Relax. A traditional roux takes a little time!

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When your roux is red brown or the color of milk chocolate put in the diced vegetables. When the onions, green pepper and celery (known as the trinity) go into the roux there will be a lot of hissing and steaming. This is normal. Use your spoon to stir and blend in this mixture. Keep the heat on low. Keep stirring and scrape the bottom of the pot.

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Cook down for 10 minutes or until veggies are transparent. Then add your chicken stock and shrimp stock.

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Psssst!! Here is a little trick, I also add 1 cup of this mixed with 1/4 cup of water in a bowl, whisk together and add this to the gumbo for OPTIMAL flavor! This gives the gumbo an even darker, richer color!

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Cook down for 15-20 minutes- While you are waiting for it to cook down, prepare your white rice in a separate pot. Once your rice is finished, set it aside. Then add the shrimp to the gumbo pot. It wont take much longer before you’re ready to serve and ENJOY!

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Chicken Marsala

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My husband made this for me when we were dating, then I took this recipe, modified it and made it my own! lol But this is a great recipe, you can make as much or as little as you want.  Since it myself and my husband I only prepared two breasts. This dish can also be paired with potatoes, rice or even pasta. I opted to do it with a homemade red potato mash.

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Prep: 10 mins.

Cook : 25 mins

 Total: 35

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts pounded out and floured. ( 2 cups of flour)
  • 2 tablespoon of seasoning salt, pepper and sea salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of Emerils Essence Seasoning ( i recommend it)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1 cup of Marsala wine
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic
  • 2 cups of mushrooms
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
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Directions:

  1. In a skillet combine 2 tablespoons of butter and a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken. IMG_2048 IMG_2050
  2. Sizzle for 5 minutes or until brown. You will notice the butter will start to brown. This is a good indicator to flip. IMG_2051
  3. Remove chicken breasts. In the same skillet add mushrooms and de-glaze the pan by adding Marsala wine. It will sizzle up so be careful! Next add broth, parsley and green onions. IMG_2056 IMG_2057
  4. Cook down for 10 minutes on low heat. Then add chicken breasts. Turn up heat on medium/high heat and cook down for another 10 minutes.
  5. Once it is cooked down to your liking, garnish with green onions, serve with pasta, potatoes or rice and enjoy!

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