Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull-Apart Muffins

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull-Apart Muffins
with a Chocolate Orange Glaze
I’ve realized that I like to do some very eclectic flavor combinations that don’t exactly make for the simplest names.  This hit me today at work when I told people I brought treats, and they’d ask what and I’d have to pause and say something like, “Um, it’s like a cinnamon roll but with pumpkin.  And chocolate.”


4T butter
1 cup milk (for sweeter bread, use sweetened condensed or evaporated milk)
2 envelopes (4 ½ t) yeast
1   29oz can pumpkin pie mix
2 ¼ cup sugar, divided
2t salt
6 - 7 cups flour
2 cups mini chocolate chips 

Proof yeast with ¼ cup warm water and ¼ cup sugar.  Wait until frothy. While proofing, warm milk and melt butter together in a small pan on the stove.  Add pumpkin to yeast mixture with 3 cups flour and salt and then add the milk and butter mixture.  Add flour 1 cup at a time until smooth and consistent and elastic.  Allow to rise in warm place until double.

Roll out like you would for cinnamon rolls.  Spread melted butter and sprinkle with a cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg mixture.  1 cup sugar, 2 t cinnamon, ½ t nutmeg.  Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.  Instead of rolling, cut into equal strips and stack strips on top of eachother.  Cut into pieces and place in greased muffin tins.
Allow to rise in warm place until double. 
Preheat oven to 350, bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then move to wire rack.


4t butter
¼ cup packed brown sugar
3T milk
½ cup cocoa powder
2T light corn syrup (this allows the glaze to harden instead of remaining gooey)
2T orange extract
1 ½  cup powdered sugar

Melt butter, brown sugar, milk, and extract together on stove top until boiling.  Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar.   Drizzle on top of muffins.  Serve warm or save for later. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

Bringing home the bacon

and sausage, and porchops, and ham, hamhocks, pork steaks and ham steaks.

One thing I LOVE about the farm life is that this:



Turns into this:

That's a 350 lb pig, turned into 245lbs of hanging weight of meat! I think we'll be good this winter.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Forget Not...

Sometimes when you hear a speaker it just speaks to your soul. 

The talk tonight given by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf at the General Relief Society Meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was one of those.

Being the visual person that I am, I had to put together a little reminder of his five main points, and I wanted to share it with you.  You can find some highlights of his talk here. 
I highly recommend it.

lds,president uchtdorf,forget not,forget-me-not

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Individual Coffee Cakes

A little note about this recipe.  I used honest-to-goodness REAL butter for this.  Not because I thought anything special about it, but because I had it and wanted to bake with it.  And OH HEAVENS!  It's good.  Now, I haven't made it without and taste-tested it with margarine.  But if you'd like to splurge and make it extra rich and buttery, try real butter!

Oh, and I've decided to make these as mini loaves for gifts. This may be one of my new signature breads!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 cups flour
2 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups milk

1 cup packed brown sugar
8 T melted butter
1 t cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375*. 

Cream together butter and sugar, beat in egg.  Add dry ingredients (flour, pudding, baking powder, salt) and mix.  Slowly add the milk until creamy. Place in paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full (or I also used the Pampered Chef mini muffin pans and small scoop - as it gave me just the right amount).

Mix together the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and nuts, place a small amount on top of each muffin.
*Note: The melted butter will create a more more glaze over the muffin than a streudel type topping.  Just use softened butter, and a little less of it and mix it w/ a fork for crumbles if you prefer.*

Bake regular sized muffins for 20-25 minutes, and mini muffins for 15-18 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test.

Cool briefly, then remove from pan and place on wire rack and let them cool.  If you can wait that long...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Delightful Indulgence - Baked Brie

Brie is a soft, creamy cheese that is rich with flavor.  It is often used as a dessert cheese and can compliment breads and fruit.  You won't find this near your every-day cheeses at your grocery store, so check in the deli area.

1/2 green apple, diced
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1T packed brown sugar
1/4t cinnamon
1T melted butter

1 cup diced mushrooms
1 green onion, diced
1T oil

1 round of Brie

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Sautee mushrooms and onions in small saucepan.  Mix apples, craisings, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Add melted butter and mix until just moistened.

Slice brie in half lengthwise so you have two rounds.  Place one half in a small baking dish, rind side down.  Place half of the apple mixture, and then half of the mushroom mixture on this half and cover with the other half of brie, rind side up.  Place the other half of the apple mixture, then the mushroom mixture over the brie.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese starts to soften and melt.  Serve with all kind of deliscous breads, crackers, etc.

Topping variations
Personally, I like a mix of sweet and savory, so I love this blend.  You can always go without the mushrooms if you prefer a pure sweet version.  Or double the mushrooms, add a couple of cloves of garlic and maybe toss in some pesto for a more savory version.  I've seen the use of raspberry jam and almonds as well.  The ideas are endless, you know what you love - so experiment and find the right blend for you.

Or don't.  Because really, it could be dangerous.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Oven Baked Orange Chicken

After much request on my facebook page, I think I've finalized the receipe - I'd love to hear your thoughts after you try it.



4lb Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Flour & seasonings for breading
(I used garlic salt, asian seasoning, curry and pepper)
Eggs for batter

1 can orange juice concentrate (the type of orange juice you pick will affect the flavor)
1 Tbs corn starch mixed with 1 cup cold water, to disolve
1 Can pineapple chunks (add the pineapple to the veggies below, the juice to the sauce mis)
3 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 packet onion soup mix

2 peppers
4 carrots
(other veggies as desired)

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Dip in egg wash and then in flour mixture. I put them in our deep fryer for 2-3 minutes to brown them up as I have found that it allows the batter to stick better, but you can pan fry in vegetable oil or Crisco. Fry and allow to cool on plate with paper towel, pat to remove excess oil.

For a healthier (*patooie*) version, you can skip the breading, and just bake with the chicken.
Slice peppers, carrots and other desired vegetables (mushrooms, water chestnuts, celery, etc) and toss with chicken pieces and place in 9x13 pan that is sprayed with non-stick spray.

Mix sauce ingredients in small bowl. Pour over chicken and veggies, cook at 350 for 45 min to an hour, depending on how thick your pieces of chicken are. Serve over rice. 


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back with a Bang!

Yes, I know I've been noticeably absent lately.  It's been a crazy winter here on the Farmstead and I've been working on redoing my blog/website.  I was going to wait to post the recipes, etc that I have been doing until then - but it's taking longer than I expected. 

As always, you can follow me on Facebook or Twitter to get some mini updates.

I have a few new recipes to post this week, and will get them up.  I'm also working with a friend to start posting some crafting tutorials.  It's going to be a grand time!

Moving forward, I wanted to share a FUN event last week.

For Christmas I coordinated a Holiday Gift exchange at work.  The person I drew is a major Christmas Fan.  His entire cube at work had more decorations than my own home did last year.  I asked him if he collected anything in specific, and he said snowmen.

So, I put together my first Pieced quilt with appliqued designs as a wall hanging for him as a gift.  He loved it!

A week or so later, I was Window Shopping at Hancock Fabrics and noticed they had a "contest" section. They were partnering with Simplicty Patterns for a Holiday Contest.  They had 5 categories, 1 being crafts.  Since I had used one of their patterns as a template for the quilt, I entered the one picture I had of the quilt into the contest on a whim.

Last month, I received a call that I was one of the top 5 finalists in the country for my category.  Talk about being giddy that day.  I went to my co-worker and asked if I could borrow the quilt back to send in for final judging. Last week I got the phone call: I had won second place!

Yes, I'm extremely happy.  And I told my husbad that my prize winnings are MINE and will be invested back into my hobby. ;)

I'm sharing this for two reasons.  One, because I love to share good news in my life.  And two, embrace the things you love, put yourself out there and take risks.  Great things can happen!

Here's a picture of the quilt!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Crafting - Fleece Hats

We had a very nice, productive Saturday, so I was able to get some projects done.  I had made the horse hat for my daughter for a contest with Hancock Fabrics (unfortunately, I didn't win at my local level).  But, of course, I had to make some for the other kiddos.  And a friend asked for some mouse-ear themed ones so a sewing I went!


Brainy Farm Wife,Fleece hats

Brainy Farm Wife,Fleece Hats

Brainy Farm Wife,fleece hat

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mexican Tater Tot Casserole

This is a great freezer recipe!  It's one I came up with to give a little bit of a mexican flavor to a staple - the tater tot casserole.  My family definitely prefers this version!


2 lbs ground beef
2 packets taco seasoning
1 can corn
1 can kidney beans
1 can sliced mushrooms, stems and pieces
1 can sliced olives
Tater tots
Shredded cheese (I use a combination monterey jack and cheddar cheese)

Brown beef, drain.  Add taco seasoning and water according to packet, simmer until water is absorbed. 

Open and drain cans.  Remove meet from heat, add ingredients from can and mix well.

Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick spray, put one layer of tater tots on the bottom.  Add meat mixture.  Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese.  Add another layer of tater tots.  You can cover the entire top, or just a row or two as a border.  Sprinkle with more cheese.

Cover with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for about 50-60 minutes, remove foil the last 10 minutes.

Serve with salsa and sour cream.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Supporting Autism!

Not too long ago I read an article about how iPads and iPhones have been helping Autistic kids in a variety of ways.  My son is in 5th grade, and the organization apps alone would help him tremendously.  I know he's feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated as he is starting to change classrooms for subjects, and I'm nervous about the middle school years.  So I wondered how I could possibly get one for him.

Then a friend showed me this website that is doing fundraisers for INDIVIDUAL kids to allow them to get an iPad.  All that I need to do is a fundraiser selling $20 keychains or necklaces. 
I am getting one of each, and I'm taking the Key Chain to get engraved with my son's name on it as well!

That's only 58 more to go!  What one would you like?  Two ways to order.

* If you live close to me and would like me to deliver it to you, just email me at brainyfarmwife@gmail.com and let me know.  I will then respond and give you my address.  I can place the orders once I have received the money, and will send them in batches.

* If you would like it shipped to you directly, go to The Puzzling Piece's website  you will just need to put my name in the comments section when you check out in order for us to receive credit.  Teresa Sharp

Oh, and I'm hoping to get 120 (or more!) so I can donate an iPad to my son's school as well!

Thank you for your support!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cream Puffs


I made these for a NYE party, and was told by several of the guests that I would be the first person on the invite list next year.  At the risk of not being invited back again since they'll be able to make their own, I share this recipe modified from one recieved from a friend of mine.

1 cup butter
2 cups water
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
8 eggs

Melt butter in large saucepan, add water and bring to roiling boil.  Reduce heat to low and add flour and salt. Stir until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball, remove from heat.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Using tablespoons, place desired sized ball on well-greased cookie sheet.  (I used a large cookie scoop).  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack.

1 pkg instant vanilla pudding (5.4oz)
2 1/2 cups milk (per package)
1 1/2 cups cool whip
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Mix pudding with milk, fold in cool whip and powdered sugar.  Refridgerate until set. Fill cool shells, I use the Pampered Chef pastry Easy Accent Decorator with the tip to fill stuff.  If you don't have that, then you can cut the tops of the puffs off and fill with a spoon.

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbs butter
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbs light corn syrup
2-3 Tbs warm water
1/2 Tbs vanilla

Melt butter, add chocolate chips and stir until melted over low heat. Add powdered sugar, 2 Tbs warm water, vanilla and corn syrup.  Mix until smooth. You can spread over cream puffs, I tend to dip the puffs right into the icing.

Chill until ready to serve.