It snowed on Friday!

Yes, snow!

I know!

This is our 4th winter in Colorado and we’ve never had snow before November. I didn’t believe the weather people when they started saying we’d get snow. Mostly because we never get snow when they say we will. I think they just like to play with my emotions. And then it’s when they say that we’re gonna have an unseasonably warm day with absolutely no precipitation that we get half a foot of snow.

That’s just how it works here.

But yeah, I was so disappointed when I woke up and couldn’t see anything coming down because it was so dark. And then I let Penelope (the husky) in and she was covered in the white stuff! It was pretty exciting.

It didn’t stick and never really got heavy so both my kids in school had recess in it which always sounds really cool to me because I’m from Mobile, Alabama and the 2 times in my life it snowed, we just got sent home early.

It also made me incredibly aware of the fact that my kids have basically no pants. So at 6:30 on Friday morning I was ordering all the boys pants that H&M has and possibly a poncho for me. What am I going to do with a poncho? I mean, really?

I think I’m even more excited for fall and winter now. The kids and I went to an apple farm yesterday and bought 10 pounds of apples and 3 big pumpkins. The pumpkins are definitely not going to last until Halloween but, ugh, I couldn’t help myself!

I also made Pumpkin Swirl Bread because once again, I couldn’t help myself. This version is so yummy. It’s a typical pumpkin bread but has a layer of sweetened cream cheese in the middle. It also has raisins which I considered leaving out but I’m really glad I didn’t. I really enjoyed them in this!

Click for the full recipe

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Sweet cheese ball, right?

Corny joke. Sorry.

I never really understood the sweet cheese balls in the world. I thought the whole idea was weird and I definitely prefer my cheese balls to have lots of bacon in them.

But years ago my best friend Megan brought me a lemon cheese ball mix from one of those companies that’s like Avon… but for food. I’m drawing a blank but it was one of those companies that you go to the party and them you can buy soup mixes or, you know, cheese ball mixes. Things like that.

That cheese ball mix changed my life. I made it one night after my husband was asleep and ate the entire thing. At like 2 am.

I’ve loved sweet cheese balls ever since and any time I’m at a party and there’s a sweet cheese ball around, I pretty much pull up a chair and claim it as my own.

I made this Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball for my kids and you know how it goes, I ended up scarfing down the majority of it. Why is cream cheese so good?!

We had it with cinnamon graham crackers and it was awesome!

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball

Ingredients

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to stir in mini chocolate chips.
  2. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  3. Shape chilled mixture into a ball. Wrap with plastic and chill another hour.
  4. When ready to serve, roll cheese ball in pecans. Serve with graham crackers.
http://fakeginger.com/chocolate-chip-cheese-ball/

Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball - the most delicious dessert cheese ball! Serve with graham crackers for an irresistible snack!
5

Hummingbird Snack Cake is a twist on the Southern favorite. 

Despite the holiday weight gain that I told you guys about yesterday, I haven’t really been digging sweets. I’ve eaten my share of Doritos and Late Night Pasta but there really haven’t been many sugary sweets in my life recently. Except Coke. I have a Coke problem.

Well yesterday I spent all morning at the grocery store and this cake was probably the thing I was most excited to make. I made it as soon as I got home (in between doing a Color Oops on my hair which took me back to my natural color and then a “Light Golden Brown” which took me right back to the dark brown I’d just gotten rid of – omg) and then had way more than I should have for lunch.

If you’ve never had hummingbird cake, it’s usually a layer cake and it’s got banana and pineapple and pecans. Y’all know I’m not usually one for fruity cakes but hummingbird cakes aren’t overly fruity. Plus, anything with cream cheese frosting is okay in my book.

This little snack cake is made in one bowl and baked in a square pan so it’s really simple and can be whipped up in no time! My whole family went nuts over it!

One year ago: South African Meatballs
Four years ago: Tres Leches Cake

Hummingbird Snack Cake

Ingredients

2 large eggs
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large ripe banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can crushed pineapple in syrup
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup pecan halves, chopped, plus extra for garnish
For Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream (or milk)

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9- by- 9-inch baking pan.
  2. Whisk eggs, sugar, salt, and banana in a large bowl until completely combined. Whisk in pineapple (with liquid) until combined.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and chopped pecans to the bowl, and then whisk until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake until top is set and toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours.
  4. For Cream Cheese Frosting:
  5. Beat cream cheese and sugar until combined. Whisk briefly until smooth. Gently whisk in heavy cream (or milk). Spread over cooled cake and top with pecan halves.
http://fakeginger.com/hummingbird-snack-cake/

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Halloween is fast approaching, y’all. Ready?! I am. Kind of. I got the costumes months ago but I still haven’t been able to find all our Halloween decorations! I need to get on that. And I haven’t begun buying candy. Because I will eat all of it. In one day. I’m definitely that person that goes to the store on Halloween afternoon looking for whatever candy is left. I just can’t be trusted before then.

But since it’s getting so close to Halloween, I wanted to do a week of fun Halloween-y treats and we’re kicking off the week with Snickers! Because who doesn’t love Snickers?!

I’m not a candy maker, you guys know that, but I thought these came together beautifully. There are 3 steps – the nougat, the caramel, and then the coating. The nougat was fairly simple as long as you’re okay with a candy thermometer. Same with the caramel. It’s the chocolate that got me. I am just no good with melted chocolate. But it’s not appearance that matters, right?

They taste almost exactly like a Snickers. I think my caramel is a little chewier than the store-bought version but that’s to be expected with homemade caramel. They were a lot of fun to make and really upped my candy-making confidence.

Snickers

fromChow

Ingredients

For the peanut nougat:
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
½ cup natural crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar)
For the caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups roasted salted peanuts
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate coating:
2 pounds chopped milk chocolate or chocolate melts

Instructions

    For the peanut nougat:
  1. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side. Set aside.
  2. Place egg white in the base of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat. Stir mixture until sugar completely dissolves.
  4. Once sugar mixture is at 270F, add salt to egg white and beat at high speed to stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.
  5. Once sugar mixture reaches 275F, remove from heat. Keeping the mixer on high speed, very slowly pour 1 tablespoon of the hot syrup in a thin stream down the side of the bowl (avoiding the whisk) and let it completely incorporate before adding more. Repeat until you've added all the syrup; it should take about 2 minutes. Continue to mix until nougat pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute more. Turn off the mixer and, using the oiled spatula, stir in peanut butter; mixture should be thick and spongy.
  6. Immediately turn nougat into the prepared pan and, using the oiled spatula or your hands, spread mixture evenly. Let sit uncovered while you make the caramel, at least 5 minutes.
  7. For the caramel:
  8. Combine all ingredients except peanuts and vanilla extract in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat. Stir mixture until sugar completely dissolves, about 2 minutes. Wash down the inside of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization. Boil mixture, swirling pan occasionally (but not stirring), until syrup is at 248F, about 8 minutes.
  9. Immediately remove the saucepan from heat, stir in peanuts and vanilla extract, and mix until peanuts are evenly distributed. Pour caramel mixture over nougat and, using an oiled rubber spatula, spread evenly in the pan. Let cool until caramel is no longer warm to the touch and is opaque, about 70 minutes. Remove nougat-caramel mixture from the pan, transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator until caramel is cool and gives slightly when pressed.
  10. Remove nougat-caramel mixture from the refrigerator and place on a cutting board, caramel side down. Cut into 4-by-1-inch rectangles (you need at least 24). Return to the parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to harden while you melt the chocolate.
  11. For the chocolate coating:
  12. Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or the microwave).
  13. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove undipped candy bars from the refrigerator and drop them one at a time, nougat side down, into tempered chocolate. Cover caramel side with more chocolate, then remove candy bar. Use a fork to remove the bars to allow the excess chocolate to drip.
  14. Place bars on the baking sheet by tilting the fork(s) so the edge of each candy bar touches the parchment-lined pan, then smoothly pull the fork(s) out. Repeat until all candy bars have been dipped. Let sit at room temperature until completely set, at least 20 minutes.
  15. Trim any excess chocolate from edges of candy bars and place in an airtight container.
http://fakeginger.com/snickers/

13

One of my favorite things about cooking is being able to try new things. The problem with that is that I never really know if I’ve done it right and this was one of those meals. Halfway through cooking, I was furiously searching Flickr for pictures of curry to see if mine looked anything like it was supposed to. As it turns out, no two curries look alike so I still have no idea if I did it right!

What I do know is that it was delicious. You really can’t go wrong with curry and cumin together and they were especially great with the zucchini and the cashews. The sauce was spicy but not hot spicy, if you know what I mean. It was a little thin compared to curries I’ve seen at restaurants/on TV but I didn’t mind since I had the rice underneath.

Veggie & Cashew Curry

adapted from Vegetarian Classics

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juices
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large baking potato, peeled and finely diced
1 medium zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
3/4 cup raw cashews (plus more for serving)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
hot rice & plain yogurt for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and cumin and continue to cook for about 1 minute until garlic is cooked but not burnt. Add the tomatoes, water, salt, and pepper; bring to a boil, cover, and lower to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes; stir occasionally. After the 20 minutes, add zucchini and cashews. Cook, uncovered, until the zucchini is tender, about 10 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice. Serve over rice with a spoonful of yogurt and some chopped cashews on top.
http://fakeginger.com/veggie-cashew-curry/

 

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