Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Balls

I'm not sure if it's because I have a job that can at times waste food or if it's the miser in me, but either way, when I'm faced with the option to throw out or re-purpose, I'm always going to go for the latter. I recently made a birthday cake for a friend that required a couple of cake donuts. I'm not sure if I was tired or desperate, but I settled on the only thing I could find in the store at that moment - a "value pack" sized container of old-fashioned glazed cake donuts. After making the cake, I ended up with ten leftover donuts. My family loves a donut once in a while, but getting rid of ten was a little harder than you would think. When it came time to decide if I wanted to throw them out or re-purpose, it wasn't hard to decide.

I had a half a can of pumpkin in the fridge and since this is the pumpkin pie season, I decided to create a little cake ball pie ball out of my extra donuts. I was surprised that when the dough was all mixed together, the consistency came out just like pumpkin pie filling. These pie balls are pretty sweet with the candy shell, but the shell holds the filling together. I think another option would be to roll the chilled balls in graham cracker crumbs and freeze if you wanted to do a frozen pie ball. Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Pumpkin Pie Holes

What you will need:

1 Dozen Old-Fashioned Glazed Donuts
1/2 Can Pumpkin Puree
2 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
4 Tbs. Melted Butter
1/3 C. Cream Cheese (softened)
1 Pkg. of White Coating Almond Bark
1/2 Cup of Pumpkin Spice flavored Candy melts
Additional Pumpkin Spice for garnish

In a food Processor, pulverize all of the donuts (may take several batches) until they are a fine crumb texture (like sand). Place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and work into a soft dough. It should be a cookie dough texture that will hold a ball shape. With your cookie scoop, make balls of dough (I used a 1-inch scoop but if I did them again I would use a smaller scoop) and place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Chill in a fridge for 3 hours or over night.

Melt the almond bark. Slowly dip each ball and shake off extra bark. Place each dipped ball on another parchment-lined cookie sheet. When all the balls have been dipped, melt the pumpkin spice flavored melts and drizzle over the white almond bark. Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Keep in fridge until ready to eat or give away. Should last for 3 weeks in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Baby Zen Sprinkle

Photo Courtesy of Rachelle Bendixon

Have you ever been to a Baby Sprinkle? They seem to be quite trendy now. It's a smaller scaled spin on a traditional baby shower, where a small group of friends and family can "sprinkle" the new mom with necessities.

I recently had the pleasure of co-hosting a sweet baby sprinkle for my friend and work partner Melissa Skorpil. She is due with her first sweet bundle of joy in November.

The idea behind this sprinkle was to allow the guests to eat, drink and craft in a relaxed environment. No crazy games like tasting baby food, keeping track of clothes pins, etc. Rachele B (our friend and photography assistant) was in charge of the crafts and gifts. She made little stations all over the living room where the guests could either paint, stitch or applique on onesies, create cute finger-tip art on mini canvasses, or decoupage letters onto a wall-hanging for the nursery.

I must say that this was by far the most relaxed baby sprinkle I have ever co-hosted or attended. Having four hostesses broke all of the jobs up, from invites to food to crafts. I highly recommend this when taking on any party. Jennifer B and Jennifer K (Melissa's long-time friends) were in charge of invites and all the "woodland animal" decorations that were sprinkled throughout the room. They also made probably (in my book) the cutest baby diaper bassinet ever (another spin on a diaper cake).

Of course, I volunteered to make the food. Yes, I was a bit nervous at first to create a menu for her, however, when I sat back and really thought about it, it made perfect sense that I was in charge of this task blessing honor. It's been two years now that I have been honored to work as Melissa's food stylist on photo shoots, and of course I know what she likes and how important attention to detail is with her. I also know that she is really good at letting me have creative freedom, so with that I created a simple yet nourishing menu for the day. As for the menu, I stayed with vegetarian and since Melissa likes sweets I spun it again from one traditional cake to several sweets to choose from. When it came to the favors, I wanted to do a spin on that as well. I found these huge pears and decided to put a seasonal spin on the caramel apple and make it into an edible favor. Wrapped up with little "zen" sayings was the perfect way to end on a sweet note of love for Baby Jack and his Mama to be.

*All photos taken by Rachele Bendixon unless otherwise stated.

The Buffet Table

Autumn Quinoa Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

3 C. Cooked cooled Quinoa
2 C. Diced Roasted Butternut Squash
1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
1 C. Thinly Sliced Sweet Peas
1/2 C. Thinly Sliced Red Onion
1 C. Goat Cheese Crumbles (Optional)
1 C. Pomegranate Seeds
4 C. Mixed Field Greens
Orange Slices for Garnish

Orange Vinaigrette 

1/2 C. Fresh Orange Juice
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
Salt & Pepper
1 Tbs. Honey
1/2 C. Olive Oil
Place all of the above in a mason jar, attach lid and shake vigorously until thick.

In a bowl, combine the quinoa, squash, bell pepper, peas and onion. Toss with 1/2 Cup of vinaigrette.
In a large salad bowl, lay mixed greens followed by the quinoa mixture. Sprinkle cheese and pom seeds over top. Serve remaining vinaigrette on the side. Garnish with orange slice.

Brussels & Apples Salad

In a bowl, combine the following

3 C. Thin Shaved Brussels Sprouts
2 Apples (thinly sliced)
1/2 C Blue Cheese Crumbles
1/2 C. Toasted Pecans

1/2 C.  Balsamic Dressing

Line a bowl with mixed field greens. Top the greens with the brussels salad. Garnish with Larger thin slices of apples. Serve the rest of the dressing on the side.

Caramel Dipped Pears with Melted Chocolate and Sea Salt. Photo By Kristina Wolter

Photo by: Kristina Wolter

Finished Favor

Cheese Stuffed Rolls and Pesto Palmiers

Using craft paper and fresh foliage from my yard, I was able to create an inexpensive "woodland animal" themed table.

Image courtesy of Melissa Skorpil

That adorable Diaper Bassinet

Our painted/appliqued onesies. Image By Melissa Skorpil