Nov 30, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Hope you had a good thanksgiving!  We spent it at home, then went out to brave Black Friday in Delaware (no taxes!).  Got a lot of deals on stuff for ourselves, notsomuch for Christmas gifts.  Terrible.

We started out our Thanksgiving with Murph.  If you aren't familiar:
1 mile run
100 pullups
200 pushups
300 squats
1 mile run

I finished in an hour, with modified pullups and pushups.  Sean got in under 56 minutes, RX'd with the hands to prove it.

After we laid on the ground for awhile, we had some mimosas and MANmosas.  And finished the entire bottle of champagne.  Oops.
I made the most delicious thanksgiving turkey EVER.  No lie.  I made a sweet tea brine and left it in there for a day and a half.  We're still eating the leftovers. nomnomnom

So good.

And I kicked off the baking season with some oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies.  With mini oreos.  I didn't feel like having monsterous cookies laying around the house. ;)

Got to meet our new nephew, and hang out with this cutie on Saturday.
That doll had the worst hair.

If you are religious, please pray for this little one.  She's been in the hospital having seizures since Wednesday night.  The doctors are still trying to figure out what is wrong with her so they can treat it.  :(

Nov 7, 2012

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Pierogies

If it's not obvious by now, in this household we love everything pumpkin.  I think that the food manufacturers may have gone a little crazy with that obsession this season, but that's neither here nor there... And it's not an issue we really have to deal with, since I avoid all that processed crap anyways.  ;)

I'll stick with my pumpkin beer and homemade pumpkin baked goods, thankyouverymuch!

I had seen Mrs T's sweet potato pierogies in the store last month, and this prompted Sean to ask if I could make pumpkin pierogies.  Hmm.  Never heard of such a thing!  Wheels started turning, I stumbled upon a recipe for pumpkin raviolis, how about that?  Nope, had to be pierogies.

Okay then.  Pierogies it is!  Inspired by Mrs T's, I used sweet potato instead of regular potato worked beautifully.  And roasting the garlic really puts this over the top.  I have the other half of the batch frozen, waiting to be eaten.  Thank God Hurricane Sandy didn't knock out our power!  Would have been forced to toss 'em or grill 'em.  Hmm, but then again... grilled pierogies wouldn't be the worst thing in the world!

This recipe may seem intimidating, but it's really pretty simple.  Possibly a little time consuming, definitely a little messy, but from someone who's never made homemade pierogies/ravioli/NOODLES in my life, it was definitely easy enough.  And ABSOLUTELY worth the time/mess/cleanup.  You won't regret it.

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Pierogies
(makes about three dozen)

For the dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (low-fat or fat free.. it’s runnier, and makes the dough easier to work with)
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 tsp. salt

For the filling:
1 cup of canned pumpkin
1 cup of roasted sweet potatoes (about 2 small or 1 medium potato)
6 pieces of bacon, cooked + the grease yielded from frying
2 whole heads of garlic, roasted until soft and dark golden
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Salt, to taste

Roast the sweet potatoes and garlic in the oven before starting.  I put the oven on 400 degrees and just tossed them in there on a cookie sheet.  To make it easier to get to the roasted garlic once it's cooked, cut the tops off, so all the cloves are exposed.  When the potatoes are finished, the skin will peel right off.  The potatoes took an hour, the garlic was done around 30 minutes.

Make the dough:
Combine all your dough ingredients in a large bowl, and stir until a dough is formed. Get in there with your hands and mix well.  It will be a stiff dough, and you will need to knead it at first.  Knead for about two minutes, then let rest in a bowl covered with a dish cloth, for about an hour. The goal here is for the flour to absorb with the moisture of the wet ingredients, and to bring the dough to room temperature, making it easier to roll out.

While the dough rests, make the filling:
Combine all filling ingredients (pumpkin, sweet potato, bacon, grease, roasted garlic, parm cheese, pepper, nutmeg) in food processor.  Pulse until smooth, then taste. Add salt or more seasonings if needed.

Once it's at room temp, divide the dough into two pieces, rolling the first out until it’s about 1/8-inch thick, same as a pie crust.

Using a cookie cutter or a glass (about two inches in diameter), stamp out rounds of dough.  You can do this multiple times to get the most out of the dough.  Do the same with the second half.  I got about 32 rounds, total.

Stretch each round out a little bit, and then let it sit like a taco in the crook of your hand. Fill each round with about a teaspoon and a half of filling.  Pinch it together along the outside, but don’t squeeze the middle. Your first couple of attempts at this might be messy – that’s okay. Just freeze those ones.

To cook, caramelize some onions in butter with some bacon.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then drop your pierogies in. They’ll be ready when they float to the top. It won’t take long--5 minutes or so.  When they’re done, drop them into the onion pan, and coat with the butter/onion/bacon sauce.

Enjoy!  Since this makes a lot, you can freeze the rest.  To cook from frozen, you can either fry them in butter until the outsides are crisp and golden, or bake them at 425 for 15 minutes.  Spray/brush with melted butter first.


And, for the record, this is how we spent our days off due to Hurricane Sandy:

Snuggles with Yankee.  No complaints here!  :)