Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I almost wore boots today, and it’s barely September. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, and I do everything I can to encourage its arrival. I had a school meeting of a few moms at the house last night, and being unprepared with a sweet treat of any kind to serve, I went digging around my pantry and found a can of pumpkin puree.


Ingredients

For filling:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick of softened butter
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For cookies:

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking pwder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a large bowl.
  3. In another bowl, beat together eggs, brown sugar, oil, and pumpkin puree.
  4. Combine wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and whisk together until fully incorporated.
  5. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Drop 1 1/2 inch rounded spoonfuls unto the parchment-lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan and let cool on rack.
  7. Beat together (with a paddle attachment on a mixer) cream cheese and butter. Add in powdered sugar, and beat until smooth. Add in vanilla and blend well.
  8. When cookies are cooled, sandwich about 1 heaping tablespoon of cream cheese filling between two (comparable sized) cookies. Slightly press and adjust so that the filling is even and to the edge of the whoopie pie.
  9. Refrigerate before serving if you’d like the filling to firm up a bit, or serve as is, ooey and gooey. πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

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And in my usual fashion, I hunted around for the perfect recipe and ended up pulling and combining several, and tweaked here and there to make it to my liking. You’ll see that I used white whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour. I also don’t care for shortening-based fillings, so I went with cream cheese. Enjoy…and may Fall come quickly…

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling

Cranberry Herbal Cooler

Summertime Beverage Series | gracelaced.com

I know this is part of the Summertime Beverage Series, but really, this is one of my faves all year round. One of our favorite local spots for good eats with good ingredients is Flying Star Cafe. This herbal cooler is a knock-off their signature drink, “Red Stuff.” At around $5 for 24 ounces or so, it’s an expensive habit that rivals the elusive venti Frappucinos. I think my version is pretty spot on, so go ahead and get you refresh and cool on.

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  • 64 ounces Cranberry juice/blend or cocktail (more if you like it sweeter, I tend to like mine on the lighter side)
  • 6 cups water 10 bags of Celestial Seasonings “Red Zinger” herbal tea
  • 4 bag of Peppermint herbal tea (I got mine at Trader Joe’s) Ice

Cranberry Herbal Cooler | gracelaced.com

Directions:

Boil water and steep your tea bags for an hour. Remove teabags when fully steeped. It will be strong!

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Fill a 4 quart pitcher half full with ice. Combine steeped tea and cranberry cocktail with the ice. Stir and enjoy! (You can add more cranberry juice/cocktail to taste!)

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Chipotle Grilled Corn Chowder

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This may sound strange, but I can ALWAYS eat soup. I don’t care what the temp is outside or what season we’re in, I’m always a fan of soup. I make my homemade tomato soup at least every other week– it’s so affordable, and it’s the kids’ favorite with grilled cheese. The other family favorite– Ugly Soup, which is pretty unsightly. Or butternut squash soup with ravioli and a drizzle of molasses? Yum. Then, there’s my family recipe for hot and sour soup, a menu must when making pot stickers. And, while we’re thinking globally, there’s the Moqueca (Brazillian fish stew) that I made my own. Goodness, I could go on and on.

So…naturally, after any summertime BBQ, leftover grilled corn on the cob gets turned into my favorite summertime salad…or this recipe I whipped up for corn chowder. Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce adds amazing flavor, while heat can be adjusted based on how much or how little of the actual peppers you choose to use. I’ve made it with bacon or ham, and the addition of potatoes would be delicious…but, a simple corn chowder is pretty much perfect paired with an easy french bread or artisan loaf. You’ll never regret grilling up a few too many corn on the cobs again.

Chipotle Grilled Corn Chowder | gracelaced.com

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Chipotle Grilled Corn Chowder

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Total time: 35 mins

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 6 ears grilled corn
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 4 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. garlic
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. salt and pepper
  • 1 c. half and half
  • 1 T. chopped chipotle pepper with adobo sauce (canned in the Mexican food aisle)

Instructions

  1. Cut grilled corn off the cob and set aside.
  2. In a large pot heated to medium-high, melt the butter, and add diced onions and grilled corn. Stir and saute until onions are translucent.
  3. Sprinkle flour over corn and onions, and stir, forming a roux paste over the veggies.
  4. Add chicken broth and continue stirring until smooth and has a consistency of gravy. Add milk.
  5. Stir in dry spices and simmer for 5 minutes at medium heat, stirring regularly.
  6. Add half and half and chipotle + sauce. (1 T. of chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce is just the right amount of heat and flavor for our family. The kids taste a bit of heat, but still eat it and enjoy it!)
  7. Serve with fresh cilantro, a dash of smoked paprika, and a dollop of sour cream if you wish! Enjoy!

Chipotle Grilled Corn Chowder

Strawberry Mango Mojito

Summertime Beverage Series | gracelaced.com

Hello GraceLaced friends! I am Kirstin, half of the sister team that blogs at kojodesigns and Shiny Happy Sprinkles, and I am beyond thrilled to be here today. See, today three of my favorite things- summer, yummy drinks, and Ruth’s blog- are all wrapped up in one strawberry mango mojito recipe. It’s like a trifecta of fabulous!

Strawberry Mango Mojito

Besides summer, and Ruth’s blog, and yummy drinks in general, I should confess- I also love mojitos. Love them. I think mint and lime were made to go together. And I lo-ove adding fruit, like blueberries, to this yummiest of drink concoctions.

Strawberry Mango Mojito Recipe-

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup strawberries
  • 1 mashed mango
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 shot rum
  • 3/4 cup club soda

strawberry mango mojito recipe

DIRECTIONS- Add lime juice, mint leaves, strawberries, mangoes and sugar to the bottom of a cup. Muddle, mashing the berries, the mangos and the mint leaves. Add rum and club soda. Mix well and serve.

Also, and I highly recommend this, if you want to make a whole pitcher of strawberry mango mojitos, use this blueberry mojito recipe and sub out strawberries and mangoes for the blueberries. Deliciousness!

Thanks for inviting us Ruth! GraceLaced friends, stop by and say hi anytime!

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*Update: Friends, it is not my intention to offend or cause anyone to stumble. I do not take our Christian liberty lightly, and am not flippant about the issue of alcohol. Today’s guest post is a lovely recipe for a summertime celebration or dinner party. I’m sure it is delicious without alcohol (I make “mocktails” all the time!:) ). I realize we may agree to disagree on this issue, but please refrain from arguing about the issue of alcohol in the comments. Thank you, dear readers!

β€œThe end or purpose of Christian liberty is not to smoke or drink; liberty is given for the pursuit of holiness. Those who wave the banner of Christian liberty so that they might do whatever they might want to do have not understood the doctrine at all. The point is not to drink or smoke or dance according to our own whims, in the light of our own wisdom, but to do whatever we do before the Lord, with the increase of joy and holiness obvious to all. Our guide on how this is to be done is the Bible, and not our pet evangelical traditions. And this is why the mature may drink wine to the glory of God, and the same cannot be applied to young men who may be more concerned about looking cool than being holy.” -Douglas Wilson, Future Men.

Cherry Chia Kombucha

Cherry Chia Kombucha

I am such a quasi hippie.

I’d love to grind my own organic wheat, make my own cheese, and use only essential oils for all ailments. Time and money have been the biggest deterrents in this season of life. So, I do what I can when I can. I have become quite consistent about brewing kombucha, however. I think it’s weird enough that it makes up for all that I don’t or can’t do, like make my own deodorant.

Like most folks, I was first introduced to store-bought kombucha. The taste was fizzy and pleasant, and the health benefits sounded– and ultimately proved to be– fantastic. (We have the boys drink it for the pro-biotic benefits, but they think they are drinking soda…they’re so sheltered. πŸ™‚ ) But at over $3 a bottle, we knew we couldn’t afford such a healthy habit. So, we adopted a scoby (a starter) from a friend, and started brewing our own. You can find detailed instructions on how to brew kombucha here.

Cherry Chia Kombucha | gracelaced.com

My favorite store-bought kombucha, is G.T.’s Cherry Chia Kombucha. If you have texture issues, this may not be the drink for you.  However, once you embrace the tapioca-like texture of soaked chia seeds, you’ll find this flavor of kombucha addicting and delicious! I’ve only recently caught up with the health benefits of chia seeds– 6x the omega 3’s as salmon and digestable without grinding (unlike flax seed.) And, as I discovered this week, making cherry chia kombucha is really a piece of cake.

DIY Cherry Chia Kombucha

Here’s all you need:

  • kombucha

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  • cherry juice

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  • chia seeds

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I usually bottle my kombucha individually for refrigeration. To make the cherry chia flavor, I simply leave a little extra room at the top, and add a small amount of cherry juice to taste, a tablespoon or two of chia seeds (depending on size of jar/bottle), shake, and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. Chia seeds will expand and become gelatinous when soaked in liquid, and taste fun and add protein to your morning kombucha! Take note that some of the chia seeds can clump together when expanded. You can break them up with a fork or simply remove unwanted clumps if you find it unpleasant.

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Please try it! I’ve been thoroughly pleased…and will likely never buy from the store again!

That One-Pot Pasta Dinner That Really Works

I have a recipe for you to make tonight. Or this weekend. Or whenever you need a delicious meal in under 30 minutes and just one pot to clean up. I first saw this recipe in a recent Martha Stewart Living magazine. It caught my attention with it’s vibrant colors and delicious ingredients. But, ultimately, it was the no boil-ahead noodles part of this recipe that intrigued me. One pot meals are pure genius.

That One Pot Pasta Dinner That Really Works | gracelaced.com

I tweaked Martha’s one-pan pasta recipe and added artichokes, lemon slices, and increased the portion to suit my family. I also used canned tomatoes with juice rather than fresh tomatoes. Once all my tomatoes and basil come in in the potager, I will definitely make this with fresh picked ingredients!

That One Pot Pasta Dinner That Really Works

Ingredients

  • 24 oz. pasta
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts
  • 2 slices lemon with rind
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • good helping of salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Boil mixture on high, stirring and turning pasta regularly with tongs, until pasta is al dente and water has mostly evaporated, about 15 minutes. (Once cooled, the pasta will soak up more liquid, so consider don’t worry if there’s still liquid in the pot after noodles are cooked.)
  2. The starch in the noodles combined with the rest of the ingredients, make a delicious creamy sauce. Remove lemon slices if you’d like.
  3. Serve up with some parmesan, and enjoy!

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One Pot Artichoke Pasta | gracelaced.com

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There are so many variations you could create with this recipe. Just make sure your total amount of liquid is comparable to boil the noodles, but play around with the rest of the ingredients. We really enjoyed the artichokes and the brightness of the lemon…what will you add?

Have a great weekend!!

Homemade Cherry Limeade

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I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where it was always June.— L. M. Montgomery

Let’s talk about cherry limeade. Real cherry limeade is summertime in a glass, don’t you think? And, maybe cherry limeade conjures up feelings of nostalgia over Happy Hour at Sonic. But after making it from scratch, I’m not sure the artificial flavoring at the drive thru will ever quite do it for me again. Making your own limeade is significantly more affordable and absolutely more delicious. And yes, it is more work. πŸ™‚ If you have littles, you can enlist helpers, or train them to make a batch for the whole family on their own. Perfect cure for summertime boredom! For our size of family, we generally double this recipe…even then, it doesn’t last long. And, if you are still looking for the zing you get from a Sonic cherry limeade, get yourself a bottle of sparkling water, and substitute it for the water in the recipe. I promise…it’ll be Happy Hour at your house all day long.

Homemade Cherry Limeade

  • 1 cup lime juice Simple syrup (1 cups sugar + 1 water)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup frozen cherries ice

Start by pressing gently on the limes to soften them.

Homemade Cherry Limeade | gracelaced.com

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Make simple syrup by combining the sugar and water. Dissolve in microwave for a minute, stir, and set aside. Juice them in whatever method is easiest for you…I usually get all the kids involved and have several juicing tools. My favorite is this lemon reamer.

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Combine juice, syrup, water, and frozen cherries in a large pitcher. Gently crush about half the cherries with a long wooden spoon. Add extra ice cubes. Taste and add water if needed. That’s it! Enjoy!

Join us for the rest of the Summertime Beverage Series for more refreshing ideas!