Pumpkin Face Cookies

DSC_0162In Arizona our Pumpkins may last three days on the front porch.  Between the heat and the Javelina’s it’s nearly impossible to set one out like the rest of the country.  In our house we make Pumpkin Face Cookies.

Nordic roll-out Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups raw sugar
¼ Cups Agave Nectar
4 cups Unbleached flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cardamon
½ orange Tablespoons orange zest/oil
½ scraped vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 350

Fit mixer with paddle attachment. Cream butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add agave and combine.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Add zest and vanilla to and egg to butter mixture and beat until smooth.

Add dry ingredients but do not over mix or cookies will be tough.

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Divide dough in half and llay dough on plastic wrap; refrigerate at once. Can be in fridge for a number of days.

 

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I use these great cookie spacers on my rolling pin to ensure the same thickness each time.  Once you cut your cookies out place in freezer for 10 minutes before  baking.

Since I had little and not so little cookies the oven time varied.  I checked them every 5 minutes until done.  The larger ones took close to 15 minutes.

Now it’s time to let them cool.

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I like using drying racks in order to ensure the cookies aren’t moist on the bottom sides or sticking to counter.

ICING

If you have a recipe you favor,  please use your favorite one. Royal Icing is hard to work with and I use what works for me.

Royal Icing

2 Tablespoons Crisco
2 Tablespoons Light Karo Syrup
7 Cups Powdered Sugar
4 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1/2 Cup Water
Flavoring of your choice
Color of your choice

I used a variety of colors for these Pumpkins however I wouldn’t be afraid to whip up some Pink ones since October also is Cancer Awareness month. Be creative!

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Here’s the cutters I have used for several years now.

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Here’s what they will look like once you glaze them.  Allow the icing to dry for 8 to 10 hours before bagging them.  They will keep for several weeks once bagged.

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I scored some 70% off Trick of Treat Ribbon from Michaels and am using two varieties of treat bags.  The standard one holds the pumpkin heads and the small narrow one holds the eyes, nose and mouth.

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The kids love to make different faces.  They also love to eat them, these are my son’s favorite cookies.

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We are off to the fall carnival with some treats in tow for his friends.

Southwest Loaded Potato Soup

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Fall in Arizona!  That means any day below 70 degrees for those of you that can’t relate.  We eat a ton of soup from October through March.  Here’s a great soup that is silky, and hearty all in one.

1/2 pound bacon, baked and tore into pieces
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 medium-sized sweet onion, diced
3 tablespoons flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 red potatoes, quartered
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups 1% milk
3 Jalapeños
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onion, left over jalapeño slices
Instructions

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Bake your bacon at 350 degrees until  crisp, place on paper towel to cool then tear in pieces.

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Place pot over medium heat and sauté onions in 4 TBS butter. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

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Sprinkle flour over onions and cook, stirring constantly, about a minute (this will remove the “raw” flour taste).

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Slowly pour in chicken stock, whisking constantly until smooth. Add potatoes, bring to a boil then simmer until potatoes are very soft (15-30 minutes, depending on size of potatoes).

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Using a smoothie cup process about 2 cups potatoes with some broth. Add to soup to thicken base.

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Add milk.

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Then cheese and bacon and simmer for 5 minutes.

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Add sliced jalapeños and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

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Add sliced green onions, a spoon of sour cream and additional cheese.  Enjoy this soup Ladle soup into bowls and top each as desired.

Date Energy Balls

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I have a problem!  My sister sent me home with 20 lbs. of dates.  What does one do with that many dates?  I’ve given some away and been on google.  I ran into this great energy ball recipe that is super quick and quite delicious.  No to not eat all of them at once.

Date Energy Balls

1/2 cup Almond Butter

1/4 Cup Honey or Agave

1/2 Cup Chopped Dates

1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts

1 TSP. Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup Coconut Flakes

1 Cup Chocolate Chips for dipping

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Mix first 5 ingredients in a mixer until well blended.

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Stir in your Oats and Coconut.

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Scoop into balls with small scoop.

DSC_0016Place in refrigerator for one hour or until firm.  

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Once firm roll into balls and dip into melted chocolate chips. 

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These little energy balls are so yummy.

 

 

 

 

 

Cabbage and Pepitas Salad

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I apologize for the ugly shot of the disposable pan.  I was prepping baked goods for a family reunion only to hear at the last minute that what they needed was side dishes.  So needless to say I didn’t have time to take shots worth much, but this side salad is worth making if you are serving items with a Latin Flare. Oh, and by the way it also needs to travel several hundred miles and taste good the following day.

1/2 cup unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
4-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tsp. Red Pepper flakes
1 tsp. chili powder
Kosher salt
2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
2 Tbs. agave syrup or honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium head green cabbage, sliced in thin strips
1 small red bell pepper
6 green onions thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
6 ounces crumbled Cotija mexican cheese

Put the pepitas in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pepitas start to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 Tbs. of the oil, 1/2 tsp. of the chili powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, agave, the remaining 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Use a fork to whisk in the remaining 4 Tbs. oil. Set aside.

In a large serving bowl, combine the cabbage, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeño, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro.

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Add the vinaigrette and toss well.

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the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, cheese, and half of the spiced pepitas, and toss to combine. Serve topped with the remaining pepitas and cheese.

 

Southwestern Potato Cheese Soup

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Anyone that has lived or spent much time in Arizona knows we enjoy spicy food.  This is a great twist on a potato cheese soup.

1/4 cup butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
3 TBS Poblano sauce (see bottle below)  Oh and we all know I add around 1/4 to 1/3 cup but I’ve adjusted it for some of you!
1/2 (20-oz.) package refrigerated hash brown potatoes *****If you have a family member that has texture issues go ahead and used sliced potatoes instead
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
20 ounces Chicken Broth
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups 1% milk
2 Cups Sharp Cheddar

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high add diced onion till tender.

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Add potatoes and cumin, and sauté 5 minutes or until browned and tender.

 

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Now add our secret ingredient.  Poblano sauce, it’s delicious.

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Gradually stir in broth, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of Dutch oven.

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DSC_0019Bring to a boil; cover, reduce  to low, and simmer 20 minutes.
Blend your flour and half and half in smoothie cup.

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Whisk together flour and next 2 ingredients.

DSC_0013Stir into potato mixture

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and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Reduce to low.

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Add cheese, and cook, stirring constantly until cheese melt and mixture is thoroughly heated.

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Serve with desired toppings that you desire.

DSC_0032 It’s great just by itself.
*Monterey Jack cheese may be substituted.