Monday, November 25, 2013

Pumpkin Cookies

I don't know about your family, but every year, in my family, each person has a specific thing they bring.  I usually bring something with pumpkin in it, or 4 things.  Although I had to tone down my pumpkin love, Kent was over having something with pumpkin in it every day.  

One of my favorite recipes is pumpkin cookies.  I can remember making these in high school, I have no idea where my mom found the recipe, but it is a keeper!!  It is easy to make and hard to mess up.  


Pumpkin Cookies

1/2 of a small can of canned pumpkin 
2 cups all-purpose flour (not self-rising flour)
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Icing
   5 tablespoons butter or margarine
   2 cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1/8 cup milk (just enough to make the mixture spreadable)
chopped pecans or other nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Lightly grease two cookies sheets or line with
parchment paper.

Prepare the icing:
Carefully, lightly brown the butter in a saucepan over medium-low
heat. Be careful not to burn it. Remove the browned butter from heat.
Then blend in the confectioners sugar and the vanilla extract. It will start off think and lumpy, until you add the milk in the next step. Mix in just enough milk to make the mixture smooth and spreadable.  It probably will only take a small amount, like 1/8 to 1/4 cup, set aside.  
   Preparing the Cookies:
 In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar together until light and smooth. Mix in the eggs, pumpkin and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices (cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg). Combine the two bowls (just pour the smaller bowl into the larger) and stir. Drop the cookie dough onto the greased cookie sheet.  Bake pumpkin cookies in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool, then (I use the back of a spoon) spread icing on the cookie.  


I'm not going to lie, they are also good with a cup of coffee in the morning!  

The other food item Thanksgiving would not be complete without is Pumpkin Bread Pudding. I blogged it about 2 years ago, it is divine.  Yes, I think there will be pumpkin bread pudding in heaven! 

Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays because I love the food.  The moist turkey, my own crunchy (almost burnt) stuffing (my mom cooks my pan longer),  the sides and of course, the desserts.  I am definitely looking forward to Thursday! 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Topeca's Gourmet Coffee

We have been trying to figure out the best way to bring coffee to the mini-donut trailer. But we knew we couldn't just have run of the mill coffee, we needed something special and more importantly something local. One week at Guthrie Green, we met a fine gentleman named Mitchell, who works for Topeca Coffee. He began talking with us about equipment and coffee, and what Topeca had to offer.  After scheduling a meeting with him, we recently had the privilege of touring Topeca Roastery.

I have been into Topeca coffee shop a few times and always purchase their bags of coffee at Reasor's, but that is all I knew about them.  Topeca is not your average coffee company, there is definitely more than meets the eye!

As we were getting out of our car, we could smell the coffee roasting, and it smelled heavenly!  When you walk in The Roastery, this is what you see, the Coffee Lab! Our guide for the day was Ian Picco, the Director of Coffee for Topeca.


I was in awe of all their equipment and supplies! Their Roastery has a rustic-warehouse type atmosphere, with pallets hanging from the ceiling and of course burlap sacks galore.  As you walk to the back of the building, you can't help but get the feeling that this place is something special.

In the back you find a huge coffee roaster hooked up to a computer, closely monitoring the roasting process of the coffee beans. Ian then explained the detailed roasting process, and how the coffee bean metabolizes as it is heated. The longer the bean is roasted, the more the sugars are broken down. There was also a packaging station with coffee bags and thousands of stickers, they package all of the coffee that is roasted that day, to maintain quality and freshness.

       He then led us to another room, behind closed doors that was warm and humid.  This was the room where the beans are kept, just like cigars, they have to be kept at a certain humidity and temperature.  

       Ian educated us on the extraordinary history of Topeca.  Topeca is a Seed-to-Cup company.  The Owner of Topeca and his family have a coffee plantation that was established in 1872 in El Salvador.  This means, the same company that actually plants the coffee seeds is the same that pours your cup of coffee. To learn more about their awesome philosophy, you can click here.  It was very interesting learning about their relationships with the farmers in El Salvador, it is not just business and worrying about the bottom dollar, you can tell they truly care for the people and coffee.  

We then went back into the Coffee Lab and he explained the different way the beans are washed.  The method in which the beans are washed effects the overall taste of the coffee.  After the beans are washed, the way they are dried also effects the taste of the coffee.  There are numerous other variables that can factor into how coffee will taste and to truly learn more, I highly recommend attending a cupping of your own. The picture below is showing the different methods of washing then, and the outcomes.  



Different types of Coffee Beans from different origins
Before tasting the coffees, he went through all of them and explained their origin, the altitude in which they grew, the method in which they were washed and the type of roast.  We then went through the coffees and smelled each one.  Some of them were very fragrant, others were spicy or fruity while a few had earthy smells to them.  

Ian then poured steaming hot water into the coffee cups and let them set for 4 minutes.  He then scraped off the top and we began our coffee tasting (or more specifically our slurping…we learned to slurp our coffee to allow the coffee to cover our whole pallet and experience everything each coffee had to offer our senses).


 We tasted 8 different coffees.  I liked the coffees that were naturally sweet while Kent liked the smooth Brazilian coffee.  There were a few that were too acidic for me.  

This was poster in The Coffee Lab, explaining all the different flavors coffee can have.  

A few things I learned:

-Oxygen is coffee's number 1 enemy, it starts aging as soon as it is ground.    
-The coffee world is completely different than is was 20 years ago mainly due to new technology and research.
-The seed-to-cup process for coffee is a lot like a vineyard and wines. Just like wine, coffee can pick up different flavors throughout all the different processes it goes through.
-Coffee is the second most traded commodity, lagging only behind oil.  

-But most importantly, Gourmet Mini-Donuts and Gourmet Coffee are the PERFECT marriage!

We will be debuting the Lick Your Lips Coffee blend soon! 

We were very impressed with this company.  Their local coffee company employs many people and creates a sustainable life for farmers and their families in El Salvador.  We were in awe of Ian's knowledge, we asked him a lot of questions and we did not stump him once.

Topeca offers cuppings the first Friday of each month, it is free and open to anyone.  You will get a tour of The Roastery, and get to taste some of the different coffees Topeca roasts.  They said they usually fill up fast, so make reservations early!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

60 is Foxy

My mother-in-law, Peggy, recently turned the BIG 60, but don't let the number fool you! She is busier than anyone I know, whether it is chasing after her grandkids or an escaped animal, she is always on the go. She is also one of the most positive, happy people you will ever meet. Peggy loves all her animals (horses, mules, donkeys, dogs, chickens, sheep, goats, pig, barn cats) like they are her children. Well...except when it comes to foxes. 

One of her favorite hobbies is fox hunting. She loves riding horses and having fun with her friends every weekend in the fall chasing those elusive critters over hills and through the woods (although truth be told, they mostly chase coyotes). So what is fox hunting?  Here is a link from a local blogger,MC Swab of Fly the Coop, who joined them on Opening Hunt.   

So, when Kent mentioned her birthday was coming up, I immediately started thinking about hosting a party. Of course, who are we kidding, I don't need an excuse to plan for a party, but what better for a reason than to celebrate Peggy's birthday. Naturally I settled on a fox theme, as any left over decorations would tie in rather nicely at Peggy's Creek House (this is where they hunt out of on the weekends in beautiful Eastern Oklahoma. It is also reminiscent of where we summer in the mountains of western NC). We already have some fox memorabilia on hand because of my son's obsession with the movie, The Fantastic Mr. Fox. 

I saw cute Fox lights on Etsy and made similar lights from battery powered Christmas lights, felt and embroidery thread.  
What's a party without donuts? Baked Gingerbread donuts with orange glaze. 
 Almond Flavored (her favorite) Fox Cookies
Fox Christmas Ornaments, and Foxglove Wine. 
Fox Barrel Hard Cider has been my go to drink since this summer. It's so good, and it is gluten free. 
 I was trying to think of something to make, that looked like a fox, and this is what I came up with, a Fox Cheese Ball. 
This is a Bacon, Cheddar and Ranch Cheese Ball Fox (I know it's cheesy, haha).  It is super easy to throw together, and tastes delicious!

Here is the recipe adapted from allrecipes.com: 

2 packages softened cream cheese
1 pack Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked and chopped Bacon (I don't think I used that much, but you can never have too much bacon)

Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add the Ranch mix, blend until incorporated then add the shredded cheese.  I poured mine into plastic wrap and made it into a  ball.  I chilled it in the fridge for a couple of hours, so I could "mold" it.  I then tried to get it into a fox shape.  If you are not going for a particular shape you can roll it into a ball then roll the ball in bacon and cover it.  I cut this recipe in half and it was more than enough.)

From Ritz to Garlic Bagel Chips, the options of nearly limitless for pairing crackers with this dip.  There are many variations of cheese balls online, I just found one that looked the easiest.

So there you have it, my own little Fox Hunt. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

WHOISMOTCOT Winner and Eat Street Tulsa

If you live in Tulsa, you probably have seen "Who is MOTCOT" everywhere and wondered what it is all about.  Well…here is what it is, directly from their Facebook page.  

This nonpartisan campaign is designed to reverse low youth voter turnout in Tulsa by making civic service relevant through public art and social engagement.

Who is MOTCOT (Mayor of the City of Tulsa) is a six-week social media and public art campaign designed to encourage young adults to register to vote and participate by voting in the November 12, 2013, mayoral general election in Tulsa.

This nonpartisan "get out the vote" campaign (#whoismotcot) is designed to (1) encourage eligible 18- to 29-year-old young adults to register to vote, and (2) allow them to interact with the two mayoral candidates, Mayor Dewey Bartlett (R) and former Tulsa Mayor, Kathy Taylor (D).

The youth vote of Tulsa has the power to determine the next MOTCOT ... if registered voters between the ages of 18-29 vote in the general election on November 12, 2013.

We wanted to be a part of an important movement and tried to think of a way to help encourage young people to vote, so we decided to encourage them through their taste buds.  This is what we came up with…

 
"The Dewey" Mini-Donuts covered in Mountain DEW cream sauce (think Key Lime Pie), whipped cream and white chocolate chips. 


"The Kathy" Kit KATs, potato chips and sweet caramel drizzle. 

We tweeted both candidates and WHOISMOTCOT to get the word out about our WHOISMOTCOT mini-donut campaign. Below, Kathy Taylor took some time out of campaigning to visit us at Guthrie Green and tried "The Kathy".  


The campaign continued at Eat Street Tulsa, Tulsa's Food Truck Festival. Keep reading to find out the winner! 



We had a great time at Eat Street, we stayed busy the entire time! We appreciate all of those people who came out to Eat Street and tried all of the delicious food, making it a huge success for the food trucks. We loved meeting so many people and watching them try our donuts. (Thanks to Jeremy Moore for the Eat Street pictures.)


In the end, we sold out for the very first time and we were crowned the "Crowd Favorite." 

We cannot wait until next year! A very special Thank You to the organizers (Jo and Chris Armstrong and Josh and Tammy Lynch), they did an amazing job!

As for our WHOISMOTCOT Mini-Donut campaign winner...believe it or not, it came down to a tie. Both were scrumptiously delicious in the stomachs of the voters, so now it comes down to you Tulsa! Research the candidates and issues and head to the polls on Tuesday to make your voice heard. 

                                                                         GO VOTE!  
  






Monday, November 4, 2013

Maple Bacon Rice Krispy Treats


One of our most popular mini-donuts is the Maple-Bacon donut.  The mini-donuts have fresh, crispy, hot, savory bacon and then are drizzled with Pure Grade A Maple Syrup.  They are quite delectable!

Recently, when I was asked to help prepare food for a baby shower, I was listing all of the different things I was going to make and trying to come up with something different. I had all of the ingredients for Rice Krispy treats, so I decided to put a "gourmet" spin on them and try something new!  I have made Maple Bacon ice cream a couple of times and it is always a hit!

This is a super easy recipe and took very little time (adapted from the Kellogg's website).

Ingredients:

1 tsp. maple extract (more if you want a stronger maple flavor)

5 slices of cooked bacon, chopped into fine pieces (more if you would like)

1/2 cup chopped Knight Creek Farms pecans (optional)

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows OR 1 Lg. can of Marshmallow cream
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
Directions:

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add bacon and stir.  Remove from heat, then add maple extract. 

2. Add rice krispies cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares.

They turned out great, the perfect sweet and savory combination!


Stay tuned for the next donut-inspired creation!