Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These cupcakes were the perfect Christmas treat! They are so pretty and taste delicious. The flavor combination of the red velvet cupcakes with a white chocolate cream cheese icing with just a hint of peppermint is incredible. I hope you enjoy these as much as my family and I do. 

Red Velvet Cupcakes




Cupcake Ingredients: 
1 box German chocolate cake mix (or red velvet if you can't find German chocolate) 
1 box vanilla pudding mix
1c sour cream
1/2c oil
1/2c water
1 bottle (1oz) red food coloring
3 large eggs
1c mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

To Make Cupcakes: 
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Mix together all ingredients, batter will be thick. Use a cookie scoop to place heaping tablespoons of batter into each cupcake liner. Bake 18-20 mins. Allow to cool 5mins in pan, then remove to a wire rack and let them cool completely before icing.

Frosting Ingredients:
6oz white chocolate (6 -1oz squares)
4oz cream cheese
4 tblsp (1/2 stick) butter
1 tsp peppermint extract
2-2 1/2c powdered sugar
24 mini candy canes

To Make Frosting:
Melt chocolate in a microwaveable safe bowl on high for 1 minute. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside. Beat together cream cheese and butter. Add chocolate and peppermint extract and mix well. Blend in the powdered sugar until spreading consistency. Frost cupcakes and top each cupcake with one mini candy cane.  




So Easy Homemade Donuts

Donuts? Homemade with canned biscuits? YES! I'm not sure I'll be going to the donut store anymore! These were so easy and yummy! It would've been more effort to get out of my jammies, put shoes on, and drive to the donut store and back! Partially because we live in the country and the closest donut store is 7 miles away! 

Homemade Biscuit Donuts


What you'll need: 
1-2 cans of Grands biscuits (I used the whole wheat, but any kind will do) 
Oil for frying (I used Canola Oil, but Peanut Oil would also do) 

Preheat oil to 350 in an electric skillet. 
Step 1: Open up the canned biscuits. Flatten each biscuit out and cut a small hole in the middle. I used a small shot glass. Make sure to save the middles for donut holes. 


Step 2: Fry the donuts in oil until golden brown, flip with tongs and fry other side. 


Step 3: Place fried donuts on paper towels. 


For cinnamon sugar donuts: 
Mix 1tsp cinnamon and 1/4c sugar in a small bowl. 
Melt 1/4c butter in another bowl. 
Dip donuts in butter and then cinnamon sugar. 


For Glazed Donuts: 
Mix 1c powdered sugar with 2tblsp of milk and 1/4tsp vanilla. Dip donuts in glaze. Also try adding 1/4c cocoa plus 1 additional tablespoon of milk for a chocolate glazed donut! Add sprinkles if desired. 





Thursday, December 22, 2011

My first dessert for the Holidays: Starlight Mint Cake

I warned you that I was big on pumpkin  in the fall and peppermint for the winter, so it should be no surprise that my very first dessert post for the holiday season is a white chocolate, cherry, peppermint cake!! 

Starlight Mint Cake



what you need:
1 pkg. (2-layer size) white cake mix
1 cup  boiling water
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Cherry Flavor Gelatin
28   starlight mints, divided
3 squares BAKER'S White Chocolate, melted
2 Tbsp.  BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
2 drops red food coloring
2 cups  thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping

To Make:
PREPARE 
cake batter and bake as directed on package for 2 (9-inch) round cake layers. Cool cakes in pans 15 min. Pierce cakes with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals. Add boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Pour over cakes. Refrigerate 3 hours.
HEAT oven to 350ยบF. Reserve 5 mints for later use. Place 12 of the remaining mints, about 4 inches apart, on parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake 5 min. or until mints are melted and each spreads out to 1-1/2- to 2-inch circle. Remove from oven; cool completely before removing from parchment paper. Meanwhile, repeat with remaining 11 mints.
BLEND 5 reserved mints in blender until finely crushed; place in small bowl. Stir in melted chocolate, sour cream and food coloring.
DIP bottom of 1 cake pan in warm water 10 sec.; unmold onto serving plate. Spread cake with chocolate mixture. Unmold second cake layer; place on first layer. Frost with COOL WHIP. Decorate with melted mints. Keep refrigerated.
.





Our Centerpiece Christmas Tree

We made a Thankful Tree at Thanksgiving and the kids really enjoyed it. It served as the centerpiece on our table and we talked about it most nights at the dinner table. The kids were very sad when it was time to take it down to decorate for Christmas. So, we made a Cupcake Christmas Tree to take our Thankful Tree's place. The kids had a blast making it, and they enjoy seeing it every time we sit down to the table to eat. 

Mini Christmas Tree



What you'll need: 
Styrofoam cone 
small package of tidy pins
tinsel, your choice of color
small ornaments, your choice of color/theme
topper of your choice (optional)
(I found cute little pink and purple cupcake ornaments at Wal-Mart, that even including a fun topper)



To Make: 
Start by wrapping the tinsel around the cone, holding it in place in several places with tidy pins. 


Next, use the tidy pins to secure your ornaments around the tree. Top with topper. 



It was fun to take pictures of the kids at each step, they really "cheesed" it up for the camera! 



Creamy Chicken & Cranberry-Pecan Rice

 This little tasty dish is a perfect combination together and would make a great addition to your dinner menu, or even your holiday menu.

Creamy Chicken & Cranberry-Pecan Rice


What you'll need: 
2tbsp flour
1/2tsp each: dried thyme and black pepper
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp oil
1/2c dried cranberries
1/2c pecan pieces
1pkg (6oz) long grain & wild rice side dish, prepared as directed on box
6 green onions, sliced
1c chicken broth
6oz cream cheese

To Make: 
1. Mix flour, thyme and pepper together. Coat chicken in flour mixture. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and cook 6-8mins on each side, or until cooked through. Set chicken aside. Reserve the chicken drippings in skillet. 
2. Stir cranberries, pecans, and 1/3c of the onions into the cooked rice. 
3. Add broth to skillet, stir to break up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add cream cheese, cook 2-3 mins or until cream cheese is melted and starts to thicken, stirring constantly with wire whisk. Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with remaining onions. 
Serve chicken over rice and enjoy! 


Baby It's Cold Outside: Chicken Enchilada Soup


It's been too long since my last post, so today I will play a little catch up. First up, on this beautiful winter day, is some yummy soup to keep you warm. 

Chicken Enchilada Soup




What you'll need: 
4 corn tortillas (cut into small strips)
1tsp oil
1lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 tub (10oz) Sante Fe Blend Cooking Creme (found by the cream cheese) 
1c milk
1 can black beans
1 can mexicorn
1 can diced tomatoes ( I used Rotel) 
1/4c fresh cilantro

To Make: 
Preheat oven to 400. Toss tortilla strips in oil and place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 mins until crisp. 
Meanwhile, cook chicken in a large non-stick saucepan sprayed with cooking spray until the chicken is cooked through, about 10-12mins. Stir in the cooking creme, milk, beans, corn and tomatoes. Simmer 6-8 mins, stirring frequently. 
Serve soup topped with cilantro and tortilla strips, maybe even a little shredded cheese if you like. 







Thursday, December 1, 2011

One Pot Chili- Perfect for a cold weeknight!

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned before that I do NOT like doing the dishes! I had a recipe for chili that I was ready to try, but the directions called for 1 skillet and 2 saucepans, and that's way too many dishes for a weeknight dinner. So I decided to make it into a one pot meal, and I'm sure glad I did. It was delicious! The perfect meal to eat wrapped up in a blanket, sitting on the fireplace next to a warm fire.

One Pot A.1. Chili


What you'll need: 
1lb lean ground beef
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3tblsp chili powder
1 can light Kidney beans, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2c water
1/3 A.1. steak sauce

To Make: Start with a large, heated 2qt saucepan. Add the meat and seasonings and cook until almost all of the meat is browned, crumbling into bite size pieces as it cooks. Add in the bell pepper, onion and chili powder and cook another 5 mins. Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer for about 15mins. Enjoy! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh my gosh Ganache!!

This cake was inspired by an amazing local baker, Stir Crazy Baked Goods! If you are in the area, you have to stop by Avoca Coffee and taste some of her unique and delicious items, you will not be disappointed. I made this cake for my husband's family Thanksgiving and they loved it. It was one of my prettiest cakes so far. At first no one wanted to cut into it, but after the first slice was cut it seemed to disappear fast! I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we did.

Chocolate Chip Cake with Buttercream Icing AND
a Chocolate Ganache Topping


Cake: 
1 box of butter golden cake mix
1 pkg vanilla pudding mix
1 c milk
1/3c unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 c milk chocolate chips

To make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350. Mix all cake ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into two 9" round cake pans. Bake for approx 25mins, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Let stand for 10 mins to cool.

Icing: 
2 sticks butter, softened
1 stick shortening
2tsp vanilla
8 c powdered sugar
6-8 tblsp milk

To make the Icing: Cream the butter, shortening and vanilla together. Add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping sides with each addition. The mixture will be dry. Add in the milk a few tablespoons at a time until the icing is a creamy, spreadable consistency. Cover one cake, top and sides with about 1/3 of the icing. Then layer on the second cake on top and cover tops and sides with remainining icing.

Ganache: 
1 1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 tblsp light corn syrup
3/4 c heavy cream

To make the Ganache topping: Place the chocolate chips and the corn syrup in a heatproof bowl, set aside. Bring the heavy cream to a full boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate mixture and whish together until smooth and all chocolate chips are melted. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake and smooth the top of the cake, allowing the ganache to spill over the sides. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving.



Chocolate-Filled Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I found this recipe in a Better Homes and Garden magazine and had to try it. Using sweet potatoes instead of oil and the combination of dark, semi-sweet and milk chocolate together was something I couldn't resist. I was very impressed with these cupcakes and my family enjoyed them too, I took them to my Thanksgiving Day feast. They were yummy spice cupcakes with a creamy chocolate icing, I placed an extra dark chocolate kiss on top, just for fun. My mom has already requested that I make these for Christmas!

Chocolate-Filled Sweet Potato Cupcakes


Cupcakes:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 large sweet potato, cooked at 425 for 45-50 minutes until fork tender and cooled to room temperature
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
24 chocolate kisses (I used dark chocolate kisses)
Steps: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. Peel baked sweet potato and mash it up in a small bowl. Set aside. 
Combine butter and sugar in mixer with flat beater attachment at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat again to combine. Add  milk, vanilla extract and sweet potato and beat again, scraping down the sides of the bowl to get everything fully incorporated. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined. Do not overmix. Spoon batter into muffin tins and place in the oven for 5 minutes. 
Place chocolate kiss in the middle of each cupcake and press down into the center. You want the kiss to be completely covered by the cupcake batter.


Bake cupcakes for another 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Let cupcakes cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.  
Frosting:
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup minus 2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk (optional)
Steps:
Melt chocolate in the top bowl of a double boiler. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave by heating it up in 30 second increments until it is melted and smooth, stirring often. Stir until chocolate is completely melted,then pour chocolate into bowl of electric mixer to cool for 5-10 minutes. Beat chocolate with flat beater attachment of mixer for 30 seconds, then gradually add butter, one tbsp at a time until fully incorporated. Add powdered sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy. If frosting is too thick add milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until it is spreadable.
Pipe 2-3 tbsp frosting onto each cupcake, or smooth frosting onto cupcake with offset spatula. 


Cupcakes will stay fresh for 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator. 
Makes 24 cupcakes. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A time to be thankful

Thanksgiving is the time that we take a step back, take a look around, and stop to appreciate the things we have. It's a time of family, friends, food, and football! There are so many things to be thankful for- little things that we often times take for granted, the things we don't realize we have until they are gone, and the memories we create and share with one another. In the tradition of giving thanks, I decided to have the boys make a thankful tree. It was so much fun. I mean what boy isn't going to have fun running around the yard picking up rocks, leaves and big sticks!? Then we came inside and talked about the things we were thankful for and why we were thankful for them. The boys made sure that each family member and each friend was listed out, by name. I just thought that was so sweet and thoughtful, oh how I love these boys!

Thankful Tree

What you'll need: 
a mason jar
small rocks
leaves
big sticks
construction paper
markers/crayons
scissors

To Make:
Let your kids run around outside and pick up small rocks, leaves and big sticks for you. Gather all your items up and layer them in your mason jar. Put the rocks on bottom, then some leaves, then your sticks. Make sure you have long enough so that they hang over the top of the jar. 



Then let your kids color on some construction paper. If you have older kids you can have them write down the things they are thankful for on the paper instead of coloring. For the younger ones, just let them color to their hearts content. 

As we colored, we talked about the things we are thankful for. I wrote the words on the paper after the boys were finished, that way their artwork would be displayed on each leaf of our thankful tree. To make the leafs, cut out each word, cut a small hole at one side, and hang on the sticks of your tree. 



We talked about A LOT of things and people that we are thankful for. I decided, especially having younger boys and the fact that they were done running around and coloring so I was beginning to lose their interest, to only do a few leafs. We focused on the big things in life that we are thankful for everyday - Family, Friends, Love, Teachers, Home, Jesus, oh and of course Toys! 

What are you thankful for?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Yep! Another Pumpkin Recipe: Pumpkin Pasta

I'm sure you are all sick and tired of all these pumpkin recipes I've been posting, but I warned you, I'm in FULL Pumpkin mode and it will last until Thanksgiving! This pumpkin phase will last through Thanksgiving! I just love this time of year. I love the weather change, even though it usually means I get sick. I love the time off we are given from work to spend with our family. I love the time with my extended family. And I love all the wonderful food that is shared! This original recipe was for a side dish, but I decided to add some chicken and zucchini to make it an entree, you could make it either way. Without the chicken, it would be a great side to add to your Thanksgiving Day spread!

Chicken Penne with a Creamy Pumpkin Sauce



Recipe adapted from KraftFoods.com
What you'll need: 
1pkg boneless skinless chicken breast or tenders, cut into bite size pieces
2 zucchini, sliced
1 pkg (16oz) penne pasta
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
1/2c Parmesan cheese
1/2c (1 stick) butter
1/2c milk
1c canned pumpkin
1/2tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
Ground nutmeg to taste

To Make: 
Cook pasta as directed on package. 
Meanwhile, cook the chicken pieces in a large skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium-high heat for about 5 mins, then add in the sliced zucchini and cook an additional 5-7 mins. Add in the cream cheese, butter, Parmesan and milk and continue cooking until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through. Stir in the pumpkin and seasonings, and cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta, add to chicken pumpkin mixture. Toss to coat. 

My whole family enjoyed this recipe. Here are some pics of the boys, showing you that at it ALL gone! 





Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Breakfast Rolls

Another pumpkin post!? I know! I LOVE, absolutely LOVE pumpkin in the fall. And I will forewarn you, I LOVE peppermint in the winter! So be prepared. Until then, here's another yummy pumpkin recipe. 

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Breakfast Rolls



Ingredients for Rolls:  
2 (8-count cans) of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (I used the Big & Flaky kind)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 Cup light brown sugar
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Butter or canned pumpkin

If you use the canned pumpkin, also add: 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg


To Make Rolls: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On parchment or wax paper, unroll each can of crescent rolls to form 4 rectangles placed side by side. Pinch seams together to form one long rectangle. Place cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg into a mixer; beat until well combined. Spread mixture over your two crescent-roll rectangles, leaving a 1/2 inch border around edges. Starting at long end, roll up then cut into 1 inch pieces. Place on a sprayed cookie sheet, or in 2 9in round cake pans.
Bake for 30 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting recipe below.

Frosting:
4 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon Pumpkin Butter or canned pumpkin
 

To Make Frosting:
Mix all ingredients into a large bowl until smooth. Spread over warm rolls. Serve rolls warm.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Even More Pumpkin: Pumpkin Angel Food Cake with a Salted Caramel Glaze

I had a box of Angel Food Cake mix in my pantry and when I found this recipe I had to try it out! I, however, I am sticking to my no sweets til Thanksgiving challenge. So I made it, had my husband taste it, and I will be taking it to work tomorrow. My husband is very upset about that. He wanted to know when I was going to start baking us some good stuff. He'll be so happy come Thanksgiving when I will be baking for us again.


Pumpkin Angel Food Cake 




(Adapted from Betty Crocker)
1 box Betty Crocker white angel food cake mix
1 tbsp. Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
¾ cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup cold water

Move oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 350°F. In extra-large glass or metal bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 1 minute.
Pour into ungreased 10-inch angel food (tube) cake pan. Bake 37 to 47 minutes or until crust is dark golden brown and cracks are dry. Immediately turn pan upside down onto heatproof funnel or glass bottle. Let hang about 2 hours or until cake is completely cool. Loosen cake from side of pan with knife or long metal spatula. Turn cake upside down onto serving plate.
I acutally baked mine in a 13x9 pan for 35 minutes. I poked holes in the top, allowed it to cool for 10 mins and then poured the glaze over the top.

Salted Caramel Glaze 
¼ cup butter, salted
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup whipping cream
¼  tsp. sea salt
2tsp. cinnamon

In heavy small saucepan melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter over medium-low heat. Stir in 1/4 cup packed brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly.
Add 1/2 cup whipping cream and return to boiling. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 to 3/4 tsp. sea salt and cinnamon. Cool completely.

More Pumpkin! This time it's Waffles!

We are always in such a rush on the weekday mornings that we like to take things a little slower on the weekends. We had a very special guest for breakfast this past Sunday morning, Grannie (my mom). I think the best way to start the day is with family and a good meal, and it was. These are sure to please your family and guests too.

Pumpkin Waffles





2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
4 eggs (separate yolks from the whites)
1 ½ cup milk
1 cup Pumpkin Butter
¾ cup (12 tablespoons) butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla

Directions: 
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

Next, separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. *If you have a stand mixer, you can start beating your egg whites while you prepare the rest of the batter (or just beat them later with a hand mixer). Beat egg whites until they form peaks. Reserve for later.

In a separate bowl, add the egg yolks, milk, pumpkin, melted butter, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add the dry mixture slowly until incorporated using a mixer.

If you haven't already, take the egg whites and beat with a mixer until they form peaks. Fold beaten egg whites gently into the pumpkin batter. Spray waffle iron with cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron and cook according to waffle iron instructions. Makes around 8 Belgian waffles.

Pumpkin Butter

I originally made this for the Pumpkin Yogurt Cheesecake Cups, but I am so glad I did. It is yummy on Cinnamon Raisin toast, delicious mixed into Waffle and Pancake batter, I'm even thinking of adding it to my yogurt with a little gronola as a snack tomorrow, or maybe even adding it to my oatmeal. There are so many tastey ideas.

Pumpkin Butter



Servings: 14 • Serving Size: 1/4 cup • Old Points: 1.5 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 88.2 • Fat: 0.3 g • Protein: 1.0 g • Carb: 27.3 g • Fiber: 2.5 g

Ingredients:
By Skinny Taste
3 1/2 cups pumpkin puree, or 1 (29 ounce) can (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup apple cider or juice
1 cup packed brown sugar
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Directions:
Combine pureed pumpkin, vanilla, apple juice, spices, cinnamon sticks and sugar in a large saucepan; stir well. Bring mixture to a boilReduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently. Adjust spices to your taste. 

Pumpkin Turkey Chili in Bread Bowls

Fall is officially here and with Thanksgiving just around the corner I am full Pumpkin mode! Over the top- Pumpkin Everything! By the time I went to the grocery store I had EIGHT recipes that called for Pumpkin. I had a awesome pumpkin filled weekend. First up, Pumpkin Yogurt Cheesecake Cups , second is:


Pumpkin Turkey Chili
in Bread Bowls

You HAVE to try this, it was amazing! Super easy to make! My husband had to ask me twice what was for dinner because he did not believe what I said the first time. He was apprehensive, but he was very impressed with the outcome. He said, "WOW, you did a great job honey, that was very good!" 


What you'll need:

·                     cooking spray (I use Olive Oil spray)
·                     2 lb 99% lean ground turkey
·                     1 small onion, chopped
·                     3 garlic cloves, minced
·                     1 tsp chili powder, to taste
·                     2 bay leaves
·                     2 tsp cumin
·                     1 tsp oregano
·                     2 (15 oz cans) of white northern or navy beans, rinsed and drained
·                     15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
·                     4.5 oz canned chopped green chile
·                     2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
·                     fat free sour cream for topping (optional)
·                     chopped cilantro and chives for topping (optional)
·                     salt and pepper to taste

To Make:
Heat a large heavy saute pan over high heat and lightly spray with oil. Cook meat, salt, pepper onion, and garlic, breaking into small peices. I like to use my Pampered Chef Mix n Chop, add in chili powder, cumin and oregano and saute another 3 mins. Add 
to crock pot. Add beans, pumpkin puree, green chilies, and broth. Stir together. Place bay leaves on top. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
Remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste before serving. Enjoy!

Bread Bowls

These were so much easier than I thought they would be. All you need is one can of Pillsbury's refrigerated Crusty French Loaf, 4 custard cups or ramekins, a cookie sheet and some cooking spray.   



To Make: 
Preheat oven to 400. Place the custard cups or ramekins upside down on the cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Cut the loaf into 4 equal sections. Roll each section into a 6" circle. Place each circle onto cups and shape to fit, dough should not touch cookie sheet. Bake 11 to 13 mins. Allow bowls to cool 5 mins before removing from cups. Ladle your soup of choice into each bread bowl.