My Favorite Comfort Food: Fall Pies and Tarts

Just coming off speaking at Food Blog Forum in Nashville this weekend, I woke up feeling so inspired. The talent of food bloggers across the globe truly amazes me. These are some of the hardest working people you’ll ever meet. If you’re not a food blogger, I can’t begin to describe the amount of time and effort it takes to put together just one post. Starting with the recipe concept, there is grocery shopping, cooking and testing, writing, photography, styling and then posting. Each post takes many, many hours. On that note, I wanted to start the week with comfort food at its best: Fall pies and Tarts. These selections have caught my eye in the last week, and I’m not sure which one to make first. This Pumpkin Pie Tart with Almond Crust (Gluten Free) comes from fellow blogger and friend, Marla Meridith of Family Fresh Cooking. I can’t wait to make this one with my kids. Hope you will enjoy looking at these recipes and photos as much as I have.

  

Fig Almond Tart from Gourmande in the Kitchen

Mini Apple Pies from Family Food Finds

Gingery Cranberry-Pear Pie with Oatmeal Streusel from Cooking Light

Tollhouse Pie from Completely Delicious

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie from How Sweet it Is

  

Maple Almond Tart from Better Homes and Gardens 

Southern Chocolate Brownie Pie for Alice and “The Help”

When I read Kathryn Stockett’s book, “The Help”, last year, I couldn’t put it down. I loved it. I must admit. It sort of hit close to home since I was raised in Alabama predominantly by my maid, Alice. Alice rode the bus to our house five days a week, and she took care of me from the day I was born until I was a teenager. I was the baby of the family with three other siblings. My parents traveled often, and since I was the youngest, I usually spent the majority of my time with her. Looking back, it’s really amazing that Alice didn’t own a car or have a driver’s license, and yet, I happily stayed at home with her all of the time. Unlike the book, we didn’t have separate bathroom quarters. Instead, my parents treated her as a part of our family. She was so loving, and she had the sweetest heart. She made the best fried chicken, fried okra and of course, desserts. Last night, I took my daughter, Leigh, to see The Help, and I highly recommend it.  In honor of this movie and in memory of Alice, I thought I would share a recipe for this Southern Chocolate Brownie Pie. It’s so easy, crustless and it’s one of my favorites. Cheers to “The Help” and great women like Alice and those in this fabulous story.

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls

I’ll admit it. I am not much of a bread or yeast cook. I’m usually too busy (or too scared). When I recently came across these awesome Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls from Cooking Light Magazine, I had to try them. For 209 calories, 3.7 grams of fat, 5.1 grams of protein, you can enjoy an amazing lightened-up Cinnamon Roll. They weren’t difficult to make, just more time-consuming than most of my typical recipes. However, they were definitely worth the work, and everyone loved having homemade Cinnamon Rolls at their fingertips. I think I really impressed the family with these (especially the kids).

Note: Thank you to Cooking Light for permission to share this recipe on my site

Oreo Cupcakes

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! This is my last dessert for a while, but I wanted to share this recipe for Oreo Cupcakes which has been lightened up. The cupcake part of the recipe comes from Cooking Light magazine. In their recipe, they sprinkled the cupcakes with powdered sugar, and they are great. I love extra chocolate flavor so I slathered mine with chocolate frosting and of course, an Oreo. If you don’t have time to make your own frosting, you can substitute the store-bought icing. The total calories per serving for the cupcake is 150 calories, 5 grams of fat and 24 carbohydrates. Enjoy and have a fun and wonderful Valentines!

Last Minute Holiday Gifts: Dark Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Cookies

Wow, cookies are in abundance this time of year, and instead of racking my brain trying to create something new to give as holiday gifts, I decided to go back to a tried and true favorite. Dark Chocolate Chip-Peanut Butter Cookies are so incredibly fabulous. This recipe is adapted from a “Cooking Light” recipe that I have made many times. What I love about it is that it is lightened up a bit since it has no butter. Instead, it uses Canola oil, water and egg whites. These cookies come out soft and moist with just a hint of peanut butter. Feel free to substitute semisweet chocolate chips or even mini chocolate chips if you like. These are great to give as gifts to neighbors and teachers as well as to leave out for Santa on Christmas eve.

Lightened Up Spiced-Sugary Pecans

Every December I try to find new ways to make spiced nuts. They are the perfect snack during the holidays (that my kids like too), and they make wonderful homemade holiday gifts. My friend, Caroline, gave passed me a version of this recipe earlier this summer when I was working on a recipe development project for a client. What I love about this newly created recipe for Spiced and Sugary Nuts is that there is no butter or oil needed. The pecans are tossed in the egg and water mixture and then drained. Next, you sprinkle with the sugar mixture. I have tried this recipe using cayenne and smoked paprika, and both are wonderful.

Cinnamon-Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Since we make the same traditional Sweet Potato Casserole every year on Thanksgiving, I thought I would try something a little bit different. These Cinnamon-Orange Glazed Sweet Potatoes came out wonderful. My 3 kids went nuts over them and finished them off before I could get a second helping. These are super easy to prepare, much easier than the traditional casserole I usually prepare. They are a perfect side dish for your holiday (or weeknight) dinner. This recipe is a wonderful recipe for Thanksgiving, or anytime with steak, pork or chicken. If your kids don’t normally eat sweet potatoes, have them try these.

Kids Friendly Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies

My kids are so excited about Thanksgiving this year, and our guest list is growing everyday. I thought I would share a fun cooking activity that the kids love: this Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies recipe. This recipe comes from Pillsbury, and you start with their refrigerated sugar cookie dough. It’s so easy, and your children will have a blast making these. These are also great to take to school to the teachers or share with the class, and they are always a big hit!

Thanksgiving Dessert: Cranberry-Pomegranate Granita

My kids are obsessed with Italian ices, frozen treats and popsicles. I thought, “Why not create a Thanksgiving dessert that would be refreshing, tasty and one that they would go wild over?” I started with Cran-Apple juice (which is their favorite), added some POM pomegranate juice (my favorite) and ginger-ale (everyone’s favorite). It came out great, and it was an instant hit. What a fun idea for Thanksgiving or anytime during the holiday season or year!

Holiday Bake-Off: Pecan Pie Bars Plus Awesome Bakeware Giveaway

I’m so excited to share one of my newest all-time favorite holiday recipes: Pecan Pie Bars. They are beyond amazing and are perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Honestly, they are better than pecan pie, and they are so easy to prepare with no-mixer needed. Perfect for holiday parties, holiday gifts or family dinners, these Pecan Pie Bars last several days so they can be made ahead of time. The secret ingredient in this recipe is  “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter“. Start the holiday season on the right track by choosing better for you foods that are delicious! Using “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” can make a difference as you add fresh, buttery flavor to the foods you love, while reducing saturated fat and cholesterol compared to butter.

This recipe is a part of the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” Holiday Bake-Off later this week where I will receive an all expense paid trip to New York City for a Test Kitchen Tour at Unilever. I will be competing against some of the most talented baking bloggers I know.  Also, I am announcing an awesome giveaway of some of my favorite baking products below. You can use some of these to make this recipe and enjoy year round. One lucky winner will receive all 3 of these products (see below) plus a coupon for a free “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter product”. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below. Entries close this Friday morning, November 12th. Part of the judging includes how many comments I receive so please enter the giveaway by leaving a comment below. This giveaway is to U.S residents only. Good luck and wish me luck too!

  • Dualt 5 Speed Chrome Hand Mixer

  • Le Crueset Enameled Stoneware Batter Bowl

  • Nonstick Baking Pan