Monday, October 31, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 31}: Top Five Recipes

Happy Halloween! Well, I did it! A whole month of recipes!  Thank you to everyone who read my recipes, printed them, tried them, and wrote comments. I hope you found something you liked!

Cooking and posting everyday was a challenge, but I'm so glad I participated in the 31 Days. While I've been cooking though, my other projects have suffered. I haven't been able to do as much sewing, crafting, and decorating as I wanted to. Therefore I've decided to post  three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)  through the end of the year. This will give me more time to really concentrate on producing some quality work.

Over the next two months I'll be writing about holiday baking, decorating, and gift ideas. Please join me as we celebrate the holidays!

In case you missed them, here are the most popular recipes from 31 Days of Autumn Recipes.

 4. Dirt Pops

See you Wednesday for a great Giveaway! Texas Cottage is celebrating! Over the weekend we hit the 200 Google followers mark and exceeded it. Thanks to all of you!

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Days of Atutumn Recipes {Day 30}: Pumpkin Praline Pie

Of course, pumpkin pie is the traditional pie for Thanksgiving. It's simple to make but kind of ordinary. I found a recipe for this delicious pumpkin pie with a twist in the local paper years ago.

Don't do what I did. Place foil or a baking sheet under the pie when baking. My kitchen was kind of smoky when Hubby arrived home. He didn't say a word. What does that tell you?

Pumpkin Praline Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie crust
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 large eggs
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In food processor, combine pecans, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and butter. Process until ingredients hold together like a paste, making sure the pecans are a fine meal. Press firmly into bottom of crust so ingredients will not float up during baking.
In bowl of electric mixer, beat eggs until frothy. With mixer on low, add 3/4 cup brown sugar, pumpkin, flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and milk. Beat until well mixed. Pour slowly into pie crust.
Bake pie 45 to 55 minutes, checking after 45 minutes. Cover edges of crust to prevent over browning. Pie is done when filling is set but jiggles slightly in center. Remove from oven and let cool until room temperature. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

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I can't believe that tomorrow is Halloween! I can't believe I still have candy left for the trick-or-treaters.

October has just flown by. Join me Monday for the last day of 31 Days of Autumn Recipes. 

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 29}: Homemade Marshmallows

Marshmallows are great! They are fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness! Well, they're supposed to be, but the marshmallows from a package don't quite cut it. If you've never eaten homemade marshmallows, you need to try them! Homemade is so much better than store bought. By a long shot!

Homemade Marshmallows

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (such as Knox)
1 cup water, divided
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar, for dusting
edible glitter

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Stir to mix with a spoon and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

With a sieve, generously dust and 8 x 12-inch nonmetal baking dish with confectioners' sugar. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan, smooth the top, and dust with more confectioners' sugar. Allow to stand uncovered overnight until it dries out.

Turn the marshmallows onto a board and cut them into squares.

Roll the marshmallows in a mixture of confectioners' sugar and edible glitter.

Put a lollipop stick in each, place in treat bag, and tie with ribbon. Makes 20 to 40 marshmallows depending on the size. 
Note: I realized after I made these I should have sprinkled the baking dish and the top with both confectioners' sugar and edible glitter. To get the marshmallow to release from the pan, rinse a knife in hot water and run around the edge.
Use caution!  The sugar syrup is extremely hot. Make sure the saucepan is large enough so that the syrup does not boil over. Be very careful when you pour the syrup into the mixing bowl. Keep the mixer on low, and pour slowly. When working with hot syrup, I always make sure the kids and the pets are out of the kitchen. 

Two days left of 31 Days of Autumn Recipes! Tomorrow I have a delicious pie that will be perfect for Thanksgiving.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 28}: 10 Soup Recipes

A bowl of hot soup on a cold day is just so comforting. Whether you open a can of soup or make your own from scratch, soup makes a great lunch or dinner. I made three different soups this month for 31 Days of Autumn Recipes: Chicken Tortilla Soup, Autumn Pea Soup, and Tortellini Soup. It's only been cool enough for soup a few days this month. I've seen several great soup recipes lately that I wanted to share with you.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup from Two Peas and Their Pod

Baked Potato Soup from Two Peas and Their Pod

Italian Chicken Soup from The Pioneer Woman

Roasted Vegetable Minestrone from The Pioneer Woman

White Bean with Bacon Soup from Centsational Girl

Curried Sweet Potato-Apple Soup from Food Network

French Onion Soup from Paula Deen 

The Lady's Chicken Noodle Soup from Paula Deen

The Lady and Sons' Beef Vegetable Soup from Paula Deen

Panera Bread Black Bean Soup from

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 27}: Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

The aroma of baking bread. Mmmm! It always makes the house smell so good! I love home baked bread, but I don't get the chance to make it very often. I found this recipe in Taste of Home Best Holiday Recipes 2011 and decided to give it a try.  These slightly sweet rolls will be perfect  for Thanksgiving dinner.

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, brown sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, and salt to 110 to 115 degrees; set aside.
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in the milk mixture. Add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, wheat flour, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Beat until smooth. Add enough remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in  a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough. Divide into 20 pieces, shape into balls. Place in a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.
Melt remaining butter; brush over dough. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 20 rolls.

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I've made several pumpkin recipes this month, but not pumpkin pie. I plan on making one that's not your ordinary pumpkin pie, and sharing it before the end of 31 Days of Autumn Recipes. Don't miss it!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 26}: Pumpkin Spice Latte

I absolutely love Starbucks anytime of the year. During the fall, I enjoy their Pumpkin Spice Latte. A Grande (16 ounce) has a whopping 410 calories when made with whole milk and whipped cream.  If you order a nonfat, no-whip latte the calories are cut to 260. To avoid the calories and the expense, I decided to try making my own Pumpkin Spice Latte. You don't need an espresso machine or steamed milk to make this delicious coffee. I found the original recipe at Renaissance Mama and adapted it to my tastes.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 cups milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Strong brewed coffee

Combine milk, sugar, and pumpkin in a saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring constantly, until steaming. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. 
Fill mug about half full with milk mixture; top with coffee. Garnish with whipping cream and pumpkin pie spice.

Printable version

The latte was delicious with  Maple Pumpkin Muffins!

 Wow, only 5 days left in 31 Days of Autumn Recipes! Don't miss the last few days. Subscribe, become a Google Friend, or like Texas Cottage on Facebook.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 25}: Tortellini Soup

When you spend your day working (at home or not), blogging, crafting, or caring for the kiddos, you want something quick and easy for dinner. It needs to taste great and be nutritious. I found this Italian soup that is super-quick to make. Make extra and freeze the leftovers for another day.

Tortellini Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 strips bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (48 ounce container) chicken broth
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 (9 ounce) package refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) package fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon; cook until crisp. Add onion; cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add broth and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook tortellini according to package directions; drain. Add cooked tortellini to soup mixture. Stir in crushed tomatoes and simmer 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook just until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Parmesan cheese garnish and garlic bread. 
 Makes 8 servings.

Note: I used microwave bacon that comes 4 strips per package. I microwaved it, chopped it, and added it to the pot with the onion.

Have you seen the other recipes from 31 Days of Autumn Recipes?

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Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 24}: Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake Bites

I hope you had a great weekend! We spent most of our time working around the house and watching football. Nothing too strenuous, just  catching up on chores. I made these cheesecake bites to take over to our oldest son's future in-law's. We had a wonderful Saturday evening visiting with them.

For your next party, try these cheesecake bites. They are sure to be a hit. Each bite is only 95 calories.

Caramel-Pecan Cheesecake Bites

Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup whipping cream
3 eggs
1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/3 cup caramel topping

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil. In small bowl, mix crust ingredients. Press in bottom of pan using fork. Bake 8 to 10  minutes; cool.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar, and the vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in whipping cream. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Pour over crust.
In small bowl, stir pecans, brown sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, and the caramel topping until mixed. Drop mixture by spoonfuls evenly over filling.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set and light golden brown around edges. Cool on rack 30 minutes. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours, but not longer than 48 hours.
Cut cheesecake with 1 1/4-inch round cookie cutter; place on serving plate. Top with additional pecan halves and caramel topping, if desired.

Note: To make the cutting easier, dip cookie cutter in hot water. When cutting cheesecake, wiggle the cookie cutter back and forth. This will make it easer to remove the bite from the cutter. I used homemade caramel dip instead of caramel topping. It may have made a difference in appearance, but not in taste.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipe {Day 23}: Squash Dressing

My dad taught me how to make cornbread dressing years and years (and years) ago. When we have Thanksgiving at our house, I always make it just the way he did. Here in Texas we eat dressing, not stuffing, and we make it from corn bread.  I make a huge roasting pan of it so there is enough for leftovers.
The other day I bought one of those delicious-smelling roast chickens at the grocery store. I wanted to try a new dressing recipe with squash. I don't think I'll make it for Thanksgiving (I don't mess with tradition), but it's great for a Sunday dinner.

Squash Dressing

1 (8 1/2 ounce) package corn bread/muffin mix
1/2 cup water
4 cups chopped yellow summer squash
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Prepare corn bread according to package directions. Cool and crumble; set aside.
In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil; add squash. Reduce heat. Cover and cook until squash is crisp-tender; about 6 minutes; drain well. In a large skillet, saute onion, celery, and bell pepper in butter until tender. Stir in corn bread and squash.
Combine the soup, milk, salt, and pepper; add to squash mixture. Transfer to a greased 11 x 7-inch basking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F or until golden brown.
Makes 6-8 servings.

Note: I made the corn bread using the following recipe and used half for the dressing. I put the other half in the freezer.

Corn Bread

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease or spray 8 or 9-inch pan with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 22}: Maple Pumpkin Muffins

Saturday morning is muffin morning in our house. When Hubby makes them, he uses a mix. When I make the muffins, I make them from scratch. Now it's cool enough in the mornings to enjoy our coffee and muffins outside on the deck. This morning we are enjoying these warm from the oven.

Maple Pumpkin Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Whisk the eggs, pumpkin, milk, oil, and 1 tablespoon syrup in a small bowl; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans.
In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons syrup until smooth. Gently stir into batter until mixture appears swirled.
Filled greased or paper-lined muffin cups about three-fourths full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Note: You can substitute walnuts for the pecans. When scooping the batter try to include a small amount of the cream cheese mixture in each muffin. 

I hope you have time to enjoy the cool mornings!

Only 9 days left in 31 Days of Autumn Recipes! Don't miss out!

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Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 21}: 10 Squash Recipes

I baked acorn squash for the first time a few days ago. Hubby and I both enjoyed it so much that I've been looking for new recipes using different types of winter squash. I've found quite a few that look delicious for the fall season. Here are some that appealed to me.

Wintergold Stew from

Butternut Squash Soup from

Rice-Stuffed Acorn Squash from Kraft Foods

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash from Kraft Foods

Slow-Cooker Squash Stew from Food Network

Butternut Squash Tamales from Food Network

 Twice-Baked Squash from Pillsbury

Only 10 days left in 31 Days of Autumn Recipes. Make sure you don't miss a recipe by becoming a Google Friend. When Texas Cottage reaches 200, I'll have a exciting giveaway!
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days of Autumn Recipes {Day 20}: Caramel Dip

Autumn means apples and caramel! I absolutely love those fancy apples such as the ones from Mrs. Prindables! For a quick, inexpensive treat, though, I like apples and caramel dip. You can buy caramel dip in the grocery store. You can even buy the fat-free kind. But homemade caramel dip is so much better and so easy to make. The only thing that takes time is unwrapping the caramels (Kraft, of course). Make it a fall tradition, and get the kids or grandkids to help. Just try not to eat too many.

Caramel Dip

1 (14-ounce) bag Kraft caramels (about 50)
2/3 cup  half-and-half

Microwave caramels and  half-and-half in large microwavable bowl on high 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after each minute.
Serve warm or at room temperature as a dip with fresh fruit, cookies, or pretzels or drizzle over cake or ice cream. Store leftover dip in tightly covered container in refrigerator. 
Makes 1 1/2 cups. 

Note: I didn't have half-and half, so I used heavy whipping cream. It worked just fine.
To use the stove top, place caramels and half-and-half in heavy saucepan. Cook on low heat until caramels are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently. 

I didn't get paid by or receive free products from Mrs. Prindables's or Kraft Foods. I just love their products.

So far during the 31 Days of Autumn Recipes, I've made six recipes with apples. Check out the other five:
Apple Cake
Apple Pecan Cobbler
Apple-Stuffed Pork Chops
Cracker Barrel Fried Apples
Baked Apple Oatmeal

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