Have a Sandwich

sandwich

It’s National Sandwich Day

We don’t know who makes up these days. But today we’ll take advantage of it being National Sandwich Day.

Two places you can get a free sandwich are Subway, where you can get a free sub with the purchase of any sub of equal or greater value and any drink. Subway will also donate money for one meal to Feeding America. Visit the Subway website to find a participating location near you.

Schlotzsky’s is offering a free medium sandwich with the purchase of any medium sandwich of equal or greater value. Scholotzky’s has stores in 35 states. Visit their website to see if there’s one near you.

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It’s National Chocolate Cupcake Day

chocolatecupcakes

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

Today is National Chocolate Cupcake Day. What’s more fun and more delicious than chocolate?

Here are some great chocolate cupcake recipes to try:

Chocolate Cupcakes by Martha Stewart

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with Easy White Icing using a table knife or small offset spatula. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Try them with this Easy White Icing:

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 pound (3 2/3 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk (optional)

DIRECTIONS

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth.
Gradually add confectioners’ sugar; beat until smooth. If too thick to spread, beat in 1 to 2 tablespoons milk.

Rich Chocolate Cupcakes
Very Best Baking by Nestlé

INGREDIENTS

CUPCAKES:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
1 3/4 cups (11.5-ounce package) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Paper-line 20 muffin cups.

FOR CUPCAKES:
COMBINE flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with milk. Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each prepared muffin cup.

BAKE for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Frost with Milk Chocolate Frosting.

FOR MILK CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
MICROWAVE morsels, butter and salt in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 1 minute; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Transfer to large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in sugar alternately with milk. Stir in vanilla extract.
1/2 cup sour cream

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes by Betty Crocker

INGREDIENTS

Reynolds™ Baking Cups

Chocolate Shards
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips (1 oz)

Frosting
1 1/3 cups dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup whipping cream

Cupcakes
1 cup Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Have a favorite chocolate cupcake recipe of your own? Share it in the comments below.

It’s National Dessert Day

falldesserts

Today is National Dessert Day. What’s your favorite fall dessert?

Here are a couple of ours we wouldn’t mind enjoying right now. Sure there’s apple pie and pumpkin pie, and maybe even sweet potato pie. But why stop there? Try some of these.

Maple-Apple Upside-Down Cake
Food & Wine

INGREDIENTS
1 cup pure maple syrup
3 Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into eighths
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch round cake pan. In a large saucepan, bring the maple syrup to a boil over high heat, then simmer over low heat until very thick and reduced to 3/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Pour the thickened syrup into the cake pan. Arrange the apples in the pan in 2 concentric circles, overlapping them slightly.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the eggs with the buttermilk and vanilla. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the dry and wet ingredients in 3 alternating batches until the batter is smooth; scrape down the side of the bowl.

Scrape the batter over the apples and spread it in an even layer. Bake the cake for 1 hour, until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack for 45 minutes.

Place a plate on top of the cake and invert the cake onto the plate; tap lightly to release the cake. Remove the pan. Let the cake cool slightly, then cut into wedges and serve with crème fraîche.

Triple-Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
Delish

INGREDIENTS
1/2 c. butter, melted, plus more for buttering pan
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting pan
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. pumpkin puree (unsweetened)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-5″ loaf pan and dust with cocoa powder.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In another large bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, egg and egg yolk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until combined, then fold in chocolate chips and pumpkin puree.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes.

Make ganache: Place chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat heavy cream just until it bubbles. Pour heavy cream over chocolate chips and let stand 2 minutes. Whisk until completely smooth and no clumps remain.

Pour ganache over pumpkin bread, smoothing top if desired, and serve.

Pecan and Chocolate Tart with Bourbon Whipped Creme Fraiche
Epicurious

INGREDIENTS
1 Pâte Sucrée disk
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans plus
1 1/2-2 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons bourbon
Special equipment: An 11″-diameter fluted tart pan with a removable bottom

DIRECTIONS
Roll out Pâte Sucrée disk on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/8″-thick round, dusting with flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Transfer crust to tart pan; press onto bottom and up sides of pan. Trim dough flush with edge of pan. Chill for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread out chopped pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned and aromatic, 8-10 minutes.

Place butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook, swirling pan a few times, until butter browns and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Discard vanilla bean.

Whisk sugar, both corn syrups, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in warm brown butter, then eggs; whisk to blend. Spread chopped pecans in an even layer over prepared tart shell. Scatter chocolate over. Place pecan halves in concentric circles over chopped pecans and chocolate. Pour filling slowly and evenly over nuts.

Bake tart until filling is just set in center, 45-50 minutes.

Transfer tart to a wire rack; let cool for at least 30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Tart can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Beat cream, crème fraîche, and bourbon until soft peaks form. DO AHEAD: Bourbon whipped crème fraîche can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill. Rewhisk before serving.

Remove pan sides. Cut tart into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature with bourbon whipped crème fraîche.

Well, that’s enough to get started. After all, it’s National Dessert Day, not Week.

What are some of your favorite fall dessert recipes?

Mmmm….soup…

It’s officially autumn and here in Central Virginia post Matthew leaves are falling and temperatures are dropping. A great time for soup, right? We thought about posting a few of our favorite recipes, but then thought why limit the list?

Here are some great sites with tasty recipies for fall soups.

The 59 Most Delish Fall Soups
Cold, stormy night? There’s a soup for that.
Delish.com

32 Cozy, Warming Soups to Make This Fall
Bon Appétit

Fall Soups and Stews Recipes
Allrecipes has more than 120 trusted fall soup and stew recipes complete with ratings, reviews and cooking tips.

18 Hearty Fall Soups
Nothing’s more comforting on a chilly day than a bowl of soup
Saveur

10 Fall Soups That Will Warm Your Insides
Slurp your way through fall with these creative soup recipes.
CountryLiving

Hungry yet?

The days of wine and leaves

virginiawine

“Wine … the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.”

Thomas Jefferson

October is Virginia Wine Month. It’s also a perfect time to get out to view the leaves in all of their fall splendor.

Thomas Jefferson first sought to grow grapes for Virginia wine, but while he cultivated European grapes for thirty years he never really had any success. Read more about Virginia Wine History.

And read more about Jefferson and his love for wine here.

Why not take a trip to some of Virginia’s wineries to get the best of both?

Here are some suggestions for where you can celebrate Virginia Wine Month.

And here’s the fall foliage report for the leaf viewing.

Get out and enjoy.

Have an apple today..with some crust and ice cream.

apples

Today is National Apple Betty Day.

We don’t know who makes these things up but we’ll gladly join them for dessert.

Apples seem to be a part of fall, whether it’s bobbing for apples, or candy apples from the fair, or warm apple pie or apple crisp.

So let’s talk about Apple Betty.

An Apple Brown Betty is similar to a cobbler or apple crisp. The fruit is baked and crumbs are layered in between the fruit. The dish was a favorite of Ronald and Nancy Reagan when they lived in the White House.

Here are some recipes you can try.

From Betty Crocker

Ingredients

4 cups soft white bread crumbs (about 6 slices bread)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 large apples, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup apple cider

Directions

1 Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
2 In medium bowl, stir together bread crumbs and melted butter. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon.
3 Place half of the apple slices in casserole; sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture and half of the bread crumb mixture. Repeat layers. Pour cider over top.
4 Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is browned. Serve warm.

From Martha Stewart

Ingredients

4 to 5 slices white sandwich bread (about 4 ounces total), torn into large pieces
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 pounds Gala apples (about 6), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup packed light- or dark-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, pulse bread until coarse crumbs form (you should have about 2 cups). Spread breadcrumbs on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Transfer to a bowl, add butter, and toss until coated.
Meanwhile, place apples in a large bowl, and toss with lemon juice. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and half the breadcrumbs. Transfer mixture to an 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake until fruit mixture is bubbling, about 40 minutes. Then remove foil, and continue baking until breadcrumbs have browned and apples are easily pierced with a paring knife, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving. Top, if desired, with vanilla ice cream sprinkled with cinnamon.

From Paula Deen

Ingredients

8 cups peeled, cored, and sliced Granny Smith apples (about 4 large)
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter, melted
Butter pecan ice cream
Garnish: caramel ice cream topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a large bowl, stir together apples, cider, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour mixture into a 2-quart baking dish.
In same bowl, stir together oats, flour, brown sugar and melted butter until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle onto apples.
Bake until apples are tender and topping is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Serve warm with butter pecan ice cream. Garnish with caramel, if desired.

“It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.”

― Henry David Thoreau, Wild Fruits: Thoreau’s Rediscovered Last Manuscript

Everything Pumpkin Spice

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You know the approach of fall is upon us when the Pumpkin Spice Lattes appear at Starbucks.

We’re well into the fall season now and Christmas decorations and recipes and coffee drinks are on the menu.

But it’s not quite Thanksgiving, so there’s still time to enjoy some delicious pumpkin. Whether it’s pie, or cheesecake, or soup that you crave, nothing quite says fall like the flavor of pumpkin.

Here are some favorite recipes you might want to try. And remember, these are just a sampling. The choices really are endless.

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie
Simply Recipes offers up a made from scratch recipe with pie made from a fresh pumpkin or pumpkin purée from a can. The choice may be a taste preference, but either version sounds delicious.

Savory Pumpkin Soup
Minimalist Baker has a simple, but tasty, recipe for pumpkin soup. Try this seven ingredient soup that starts with sugar pumkins.

Pumpkin Bread
Once Upon a Chef shares memories of her grandmother’s pumpkin bread recipe and, best of all, shares the recipe. It’s a delicious family tradition.

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
Martha Stewart says these cookies “transform pumpkin pie flavors into portable treats.”

Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake
It’s hard to go wrong with a recipe from Southern Living. This one combines the best of Thanksgiving dessert favorites topping the pumpkin cheesecake with a sweet praline topping.

We haven’t tried all of these. If you do, let us know how they turn out, or post your favorite recipe (or link to) in the comments.

photo credit: Pie via photopin (license)