Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies

Chocolate and pumpkin is probably my favorite combo ever. It's the best!

I thought these brownies were just ok, but everyone else loved them. I thought something wasn't quite right with the texture so I need to try them again soon. I'm tempted to try this cheesecake version instead.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Salt Cellars

Isn't this little apple jar with spoon so adorable? Unfortunately it's no longer available. I have been looking for a little white salt jar with a wooden spoon and this one seemed so perfect. I first saw it on Apartment Therapy a while back. It was designed exclusively for the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) online store by a Japanese artist named Tatsuya Okazaki. If you have never heard of MoMA before you must check out their site, tons of amazing pieces!

I love this little salt pig too, but I think I prefer something with a lid.

I decided on these cute white spice jars from IKEA because I really loved the wood lids. Now I want this little spoon to match from Live Wire Farms. They have the best hand sculpted spoons from Vermont timber. It's exactly what I've been looking for!

Apple Crisp

I rarely ever use my Betty Crocker cookbook except when it comes to classics like good old fashioned apple crisp. This has become my "go to" recipe that I use all the time. It's just so simple and delicious.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Butternut Squash Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Well Fall is officially here and I'm so excited! Fall is my all time favorite season and it's when I go crazy stocking up on pumpkin spice coffee, canned pumpkin, and an absurd amount of baking supplies. I have so many pumpkin recipes I can not wait to try so look out in the months ahead.

Up until today, I have never cooked or baked anything using butternut squash. I don't know why, they are so amazingly good.

These squash are also called butternut pumpkins and actually have the same sweet, nutty taste as regular pumpkins. They are both part of the squash family so there are a lot of similarities and can be used interchangeably. And did you know that squash are considered a power food because they are high in fiber, vitamin A, and especially beta carotene?
So in case you haven't tried it before, you must! Anyway, on with the recipe...

I have been craving something really special and creamy using the squash and the fresh ricotta I picked up at Trader Joe's last week. It came down to either lasagna or risotto. But then somehow I found this mac-and-cheese recipe and it won!

I cut the recipe in half and we still had a ton left over. Also, I only used the butternut squash, no acorn. Oh and if you can't find amaretto cookies you can use Italian almond cookies or biscotti-that's what I used.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ooh La Le Creuset!

I am officially the proud owner of a beautiful White 7 1/4 Quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven!

Ever since watching the Food Network I have dreamed about one day owning my very own cast iron French dutch oven. The original retail price for one of these particular pieces is $260 and being the bargain hunter that I am would never ever pay that price for a piece of cookware.

The white dutch oven is always pictured in my Everyday Food magazines and on my fave Everyday Italian. I just love it. I also adore the red. I'm not sure why but Le Creuset discontinued white so it is nearly impossible to find except if you get lucky and score one on ebay. That is how I got mine! A few weeks ago I randomly came across a seller who was selling a bunch of used white pieces that were in pretty good shape. The pictures and description for the 7 1/4 oven showed a bunch of light scratches on the inside, but other than that it was as good as new. So I waited for 5 days until the auction was about to end and in the last 20 seconds I bid and won it for $64! Just wait, it gets better....

Five days later my prize arrived in the mail. It was a little dirty, but looked way better in person. I used my trusty Magic Eraser on the inside just to see if the scratches would rub off. And they did! So they weren't scratches after all and now my Le Creuset is perfect!

I know most people don't get this excited about cookware, but nothing can compare to the versatility of these dutch ovens. You can use them stove-top, in the oven and then store the leftovers right in the refrigerator. The high quality enamel lining is gorgeous and is actually very easy to clean. And if you are low in iron like me, the pot actually releases iron into your food. The best part is that there's a lifetime guarantee so if anything happens the company will replace it with a brand new one for free!

Now if only I could score one of these red buffet casseroles.