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Two Peas and Their Pod: October 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds and Caramel Apples

Happy Halloween!

What is everyone doing to celebrate???? We don't have huge plans, we are staying home to pass out candy. Our new neighborhood has a lot of kids so hopefully we will get a good turnout. My niece is coming over to trick or treat too. I can't wait to see her in her angel costume! I am sure we will take her around to some houses. She has b
een practicing "Trick or Treat." Josh might dress up but I am going to be my boring old self.

Earlier this week we carved pumpkins at my sister's house. It was a fun night with the family. Aubrey helped carve her first pumpkin. Josh did ours...he loves carving pumpkins. He usually takes forever but he had a time limit this year so he couldn't do anything too fancy! I roasted the pumpkin seeds and made caramel apples. Everyone had a great time.

Crissy and Aubrey carving their pumpkin!

Josh cleaning out the guts!

Josh's pumpkin. He didn't want me to post this picture because he thinks he did a terrible job, but I like it!

Roasted pumpkin seeds with a bit of salt! A great snack!

We also did a cinnamon and sugar version! YUM!

I made caramel apples with Heath bar chunks!

We didn't have time for them to cool so we ate them warm.

Gooey and Delicious!

Aubrey kept shouting, "Best Ever!" She loved the apples!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Clean out the seeds from your pumpkin of choice. Wash off the "guts" and pat them dry with a paper towel.
Spray a baking sheet lined with foil and spread out the seeds. Season with salt or cinnamon and sugar. Both are tasty!

Bake at 400 degrees for about ten minutes, turn them. And bake another five minutes or so. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn. They don't take that long. Let them cool and enjoy!

Caramel Apples with Toffee Chunks

Wash 5 apples, we used Granny Smith. The tart apples are so good with the sweet:)
Jab 5 sticks into the tops-they came with our caramels.
Get out a sheet of wax paper or foil. If using foil lightly spray with cooking spray.
Open up a bag of caramels and unwrap them.
Heat them on medium low in a medium sauce pan with two tablespoons of water. Stir frequently until melted.

Dip the apples in the caramel. You may need to use a spoon to get the apples completely covered in caramel. Set them on the wax paper or foil.

Chop up Heath bars or candy/topping of your choice and stick them on the apples.
Let cool if you have time or enjoy right away like we did!!

Have a SPOOKY DAY!!!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Baked Vegetable Pasta

Last week I mentioned that pasta is a great "go to" meal for us. Well, last night I threw together a baked pasta dish and it was terrific! Baked pastas are so easy, but can still impress the guests.

Luckily, I had some homemade vegetable pasta sauce in our freezer. So I took that out and boiled up some whole wheat penne pasta. I know some people dislike the whole wheat stuff, but we love it. It doesn't cost much more and the extra fiber and nutritional benefits are so worth it!!

I grated some mozzarella and parmesan and also chopped up some fresh basil. I layered everything in a casserole dish and waited for the bubbling to begin!! We had a scrumptious meal in no time.

Baked Vegetable Pasta

1 box of whole wheat penne pasta
Homemade vegetable pasta sauce or your favorite sauce
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

4 ounces shredded parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh basil

In a large pot bring water to boil. Add in salt and boil the penne pasta. You don't want to cook it all of the way because it will finish cooking in the oven. I did mine for about 7 minutes.
When the pasta is done, mix it with your sauce of choice in the pot.
Add half of the pasta to a casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
Add the rest of the pasta/sauce and then finish it off with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes...or until the pasta is bubbling!!

Let cool for 5 minutes, then serve.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

When I went to Italy a couple of years ago I fell in love with hazelnut everything! I tried several cookies and pastries that were hazelnut based...and of course there was the hazelnut gelato, my absolute favorite treat of all time! So when I saw Giada's recipe for Hazelnut "Biscotti" in her new book, I couldn't wait to try them.

Giada calls these cookies "biscotti" because her grandmother used to call them that, but they are really a drop cookie. Not the traditional slice and bake biscotti. The cookies have Nutella and chopped hazelnuts in them...and I also added a drop of hazelnut extract since I had it on hand. The hazelnut flavor is very nice and you get the chocolaty goodness from the Nutella. I just love that stuff! I buy it from Costco because it is MUCH cheaper. You can get two big jars for about $8. That is a bargain!!

In the recipe Giada says to drop the cookie dough on the sheet and flatten them with a fork, but I didn't. The cookies spread out and were thin enough without mashing them down. They are a crisp cookie, similar to a biscotti, but not so hard. These are buttery and moist and perfect for dunking!!

Josh couldn't try these because he is allergic to nuts, so I brought some in to my co-workers for a taste test. They all approved!!

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

Adapted from Giada's Kitchen

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Drop of hazelnut extract (I added this, use if you have it!)
3/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl combine the butter, chocolate hazelnut spread, sugar, and brown sugar. Using an electric mixer, cream the ingredients together, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and drop of hazelnut extract if you are using it and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Add the hazelnuts and stir until just combined.

Using a tablespoon measure, spoon out the cookie dough onto a cookie sheet, spacing the mounds about 4 inches apart. Bake until lightly golden around the edges, about 10 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool.

**To toast hazelnuts-spread nuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. Bake for about ten minutes at 350 degrees. Stir them a couple of times while they are baking.**


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Caramel Corn Recipe

I have had several requests for my caramel corn recipe so I thought I would share it today! I think caramel corn is the perfect fall snack. We used to make it every Halloween when I was a kiddie! It is great to munch on while watching scary movies:) So grab a big bowl, fill it with some homemade caramel corn, and turn on a scary flick. I will warn you though, this caramel corn is very maybe grab a small bowl if you don't want a stomach ache later:) Enjoy!!

Caramel Corn

(Print Recipe)

1 cup butter
1/2 cup corn syrup
4 quarts of air popped corn
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 250F.

Pop popcorn using your air popper! Spread popcorn out onto two large baking sheets. Make sure it is evenly spread between the two pans.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar, corn syrup and salt; stir until well combined. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once the mixture comes to a rapid boil, let it boil for 5 minutes without stirring.

Gradually pour the caramel mixture over the popped corn, mixing well on the pans. You can do this in a bowl but why dirty more dishes? I do it right on the pans.

Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, make sure you stir it often. Maybe every ten minutes or so. Remove from pan and break into pieces.

Store in an air-tight container if you have any left. It is addicting!!

You can jazz it up by drizzling it with white, dark, or milk chocolate. Sometimes I add in M and M’s or Milk Duds. For the holidays I throw in Craisins, almonds, and drizzle it with white chocolate. Get creative!!!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

I am never a fan of Mondays. The weekends always go too fast!

Last night we made enchiladas for dinner. We did black bean/cheese enchiladas and Josh added some of his cilantro lime chicken to his side. I made sure they were divided in the pan, no chicken for me please!! It was easy to tell whi
ch ones were Josh's, he likes a ton of cheese and I don't like very much:)

We rolled up the enchiladas in no time and then baked them until the cheese and sauce was nice and bubbly. I also made some gua
camole for an appetizer. I don't know why we haven't been making these more often. They were awesome!!

Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
(Chicken too if you want to add it!)

10 corn tortillas
1 big can of red enchilada sauce
1 15 ounce can of black beans, low sodium, rinsed and drained
1 small can of diced green chilies
1 small onion
Chopped fresh cilantro
Shredded marbled cheddar and pepper jack cheese (or whatever kind you like) Use whatever amount you want. We didn't measure!
Cilantro Lime Chicken-optional. Josh used his leftovers!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small bowl mix the black beans, green chilies, onion, cilantro, salt, and pepper together.

In a small casserole dish, spread some of the enchilada sauce on the bottom. Dip the corn tortillas in the sauce as you go to keep them moist. This will prevent them from breaking. Fill the tortillas with the bean mixture, sprinkle some cheese on top, and add chicken if you are using it.
Roll up ten tortillas with filling.

Pour the remaining sauce over all of the tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. We added extra green chilies and cilantro on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008


Josh loves snickerdoodles, so I decided to make them for him, but I kicked them up a notch. I added in some cinnamon chips to a basic recipe. The chips, in my opinion, raised these cookies to a whole new level. Don't get me wrong, I like snickerdoodles, but with the added bursts of cinnamon, HALLELUJAH! These cookies are even more delightful. Make sure you under bake them a bit, they will set up. You want the edges to be crispy and the centers soft. I think I will make these for the holidays...they are CINNADOODLY GOOD!

My dad and stepmom are coming to visit from Illinois. They are arriving this afternoon! I am super excited. My dad is an amazing baker/cook so I am sure we will be having some fun in the kitchen. They will be in Utah for a whole week. Yahoo!! Well, keep having a great weekend everyone!


Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
About a half a bag of cinnamon chips

3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon-more if you love it!

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Put butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low; gradually mix in flour mixture. Add in cinnamon chips.

2. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into round balls; roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.

3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Don't overbake. Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute or two, then transfer to a cooling rack.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Cilantro Lime Chicken Quesidillas

Quesidillas are always a hit at our place. We made them the other night when Josh's brother and his friend came over. Josh grilled up some chicken with a cilantro lime marinade. I don't partake of any meat products, but they all loved it! We also had black beans, pepper jack cheese, cilantro, red onions, tomatoes, avocado, and fresh salsa!! They were down right tasty. I made a salad with green apples, craisins, and feta with a balsamic dressing too. Another easy breezy meal at the Lichtys'!

I am not sure on Josh's exact marinade recipe, he never measures, but these
are the ingredients he used:

Olive oil
Lime zes
t and juice
Chopped cilantro

He whisked the ingredients together in a bowl and brushed it on the chicken. Let the breasts sit for 20 minutes or so to soak up all of the goodness. Grill to perfection! Chop and enjoy inside a quesidilla with other tasty toppings! Or go the veggie route like I do:)

Also a big thanks to Nicole at Test Kitchen Recipes for the Kreativ Blogger award. We appreciate you thinking of us!

We would like to pass this award on to two fabulous blogs: Live Love Eat and Culinary Wannabe.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hearty Tomato Soup

Is everyone enjoying Giada's new cookbook, Giada's Kitchen-New Italian Favorites? I sure am! I picked it up at the library and so far I am pleased. (I usually don't buy books until I preview them from the library first, I am cheap.) The photos are fantastic and the recipes look pretty easy and tasty. I love Italian and Giada has some new twists on the classics. I can't wait to try them all!

We did try the Hearty Tomato So
up this week and boy oh boy I am glad we did. This soup is so comforting and delicious. You start with the basics, onion, carrots, and garlic, but then you add in white beans with the tomatoes! When you puree the soup, the beans keep the soup nice and thick, plus they add some hidden protein. I love it. The rosemary is wonderful as well. All of the flavors are perfect! Giada adds whipping cream and lemon zest to the top but we opted out for this one. I am sure it is amazing, but we try to eat healthy on most days:)

Josh made a grilled cheese to go with his
soup. He downed them in no time. He said this is the best tomato soup he has had. So give it a whirl. I am sure it will be a staple in your house this winter. I know it will be in ours!

Hearty Tomato Soup

Adapted from Giada's Kitchen-New Italian Favorites

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, low sodium
3 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, covered.

Puree the soup in a blender in batches, being careful to remove and discard the bay leaf. We used our immersion blender and it worked wonders!

Return the soup to a soup pot and keep warm over low heat. Season with salt and pepper to your likings. Serve immediately.

Also, a big thank you to Mikky at My Finds...she recently gave us the Butterfly Award!

We are going to pass it on to Erica at Itzy's Kitchen and to Katie at Good Things Catered.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Presto Pasta

Josh and I both work so some nights we don't feel like making anything fancy...ok, a lot of the nights we don't. So thank goodness for cereal and pasta, two staples in our house. The other night we went with pasta.

Have any of you tried some of the flavored pastas out there? I boiled up some basil linguni and was pretty impressed. The basil flavor was nice, not too overpowering, and it tasted great with my fresh veggie sauce. I topped it off with fresh basil and parmesan. This was a great meal in minutes.

I also made a quick salad, the more veggies the better:) So if you are tired from work, school, kids, life, etc. make pasta for dinner. We are always pleased and full when we do:)

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Syrup

If you are a pumpkin lover and enjoy a special breakfast treat, these are the pancakes for you! Pumpkin is everywhere this time of year so why not add it into breakfast too?

I created a pumpkin/buttermilk pancake with some cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla. All the great fall flavors in one! I used half whole wheat flour so they were nice and hearty but still really fluffy.

Now let me tell you about the syrup. You might need to sit down for this one. The syrup is absolutely amazing. I think I could drink the stuff by the gallon! It was so easy to make too. A little sugar, cinnamon, flour, vanilla, water...boil it, whisk it, and ta have the best homemade syrup ever. Pour it over pumpkin pancakes and indulge.

The cinnamon syrup goes perfectly with the pancakes. I think they are a match made in heaven. So wake up early and enjoy a delicious fall breakfast. Your tummy will thank you!

Pumpkin Pancakes

(Print Recipe)

Makes 13-15 pancakes


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of ground cloves
Dash of nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted

Mix first 9 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Whisk buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and melted butter in medium bowl until well blended. Add to dry ingredients and whisk until smooth.

Spray a skillet or griddle with cooking spray. Working in batches, drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls into skillet or griddle. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top and bottoms are golden brown, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn pancakes over. Cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve pancakes hot with cinnamon syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Cinnamon Syrup

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup water

Stir together dry ingredients in a small saucepan. Then add water and vanilla. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring often. Continue boiling and stir until mixture thickens to syrup consistency. About 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand a few minutes before serving. Serve with warm pancakes!

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Weekend in Boulder Colorado

We had a great weekend in Boulder. Josh's cousin, Rob, flew us out to Colorado for our wedding gift. It was so fun spending time with him and his girlfriend, Oriana. They spoiled us the whole weekend. Rob got us a suite at the Omni hotel and great seats for the Colorado vs. Kansas State game. It was a great game and luckily they pulled out a victory!

We also had fun touring Boulder, eating out at tasty restaurants, and just relaxing. We got to meet up with my good friend Rebecca too. She had a baby in May so I got to see little Cade. He is a cutie!! It was a fun weekend from start to finish!

Me and Joshua

The Omni hotel outside of Boulder. It was super nice!

Folsom Field. We got to go on the sidelines since Rob is a coach.

Ralphie the mascot!

Run Ralphie Run!!

Go Buffs! The game was close until the end! I am glad they won!

Josh, me, and Rob overlooking Boulder. The weather was perfect!

Josh and Rob

Me, Rebecca, and Cade. I am so glad we got to see each other!

What a cutie! He was good the entire visit.

Oriana, Rob, Jersey, Josh, and Me

Thanks for a wonderful weekend!

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