Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Donuts

Today has been such a lazy day. After three days of conferences at school I was really ready for some down time. It felt so good to lounge in my pj's this morning until 11:00. I don't get to do that very often.

The next couple of days are Education Minnesota Conference days. Days when I should go and check out some new teaching tips.  I was going to go today, but I needed to get my oil changed in my van and have a funky noise checked out, so I decide it was best to take the 3:00 appointment today.

Since I had vast amounts of time today I decided to try out a new recipe. The weather is wet and cold out and feeling very fall like. I also have pumpkins on my mind so I decide to try and make some pumpkin donuts.

I have already invested in the donut pans from Wilton and I've tried doing this before, but the donuts were only ok. This time I attempted to make pumpkin donuts. I didn't think I could go wrong with this flavor and I was right. These donuts are super good. It is hard to eat just one.

You could use this batter and simply make muffins if you want. You would have to bake them a little longer, but if you have these donut pans I say go for it.

After baking these donuts you can shake them in a sugar mixture, frost them or simply eat them plain. They are good no matter what you do.

If you are going to buy these pans I would suggest waiting until Michaels has a 50% off coupon on bakeware. They tend to have these coupons often and I don't know if it is worth paying full price for a specialty pan that you might not use a lot. That's what I do on all my bakeware pans for cake decorating and such.

Give this recipe a try whether you want to do donuts or muffins they taste great and make the house smell wonderful!

Pumpkin donuts

 Preheat oven to 350 and spray donut pans with cooking spray.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Beat everything together until smooth.

Add 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) flour, stirring just until smooth.

Fill donut pans about 1/2 full with batter and bake 15 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing and cool on a rack. While still slightly warm shake in a sugar,cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg mixture. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Well we've had some really nice fall days here lately, but the weather is about to change starting tomorrow. From what I hear the temps are going to be very chilly and that is not appealing to me at all. I've really enjoyed sitting outside with a little fire on these cool evenings, but I fear these nice nights will be gone for a while and I'll have to be happy with sitting by the wood burning stove inside keeping warm in my family room.
Cozy fire on my front patio.

Well another way to keep warm is having a nice warm bowl of soup at dinner time. I found this amazing recipe for Tomato Basil Parmesan soup. The recipe originally was to be made in the crock pot, but when I found the recipe it was about three in the afternoon and I did not have the time to throw it all and the crock pot and let it cook. So I decide to make it on the stove top and it turned out great. My husband and I ended up taking our soup outside by the fire and enjoying it under the stars.

I did kind of change the recipe a bit, but nothing drastic. One thing that I changed was how to make the roux and add it to the soup. The original recipe had one adding soup to the roux and then pouring it back into the soup. I don't have time for that, nor do you need to do that if you are careful with adding the roux to the already cooking soup.

Well on with the recipe. Enjoy this soup on the upcoming cold days and nights ahead of us.
Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
2-14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes with juice
1 C finely diced celery
1 C finely diced carrots
1 T fresh oregano or 1 t dried
4 C chicken broth
1/2 C flour
1 C Parmesan cheese
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 C finely diced onions
4 T fresh basil or 1 T dried
1 bay leaf
1/2 C butter
2 C half and half
1 t salt

  1. Heat oil in 4 quart soup pot. Add celery, onions and carrots. Saute 5 minutes. Add basil, oregano, bay leaf, tomatoes, and 3 cups chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. While soup simmers, prepare the roux. Melt butter over low heat, add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes.  Slowly add 1 cup chicken broth the flour mixture. Add this mixture to the soup stirring it slowly into the soup mixture.
  3. Simmer, stirring constantly, until soup begins to thicken. Add Parmesan cheese and whisk to blend. Stir half and half, salt and pepper into the soup. Simmer over low heat 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.