Gingerbread Brownies


Now that Thanksgiving is done and over, we’re moving on to other delicious holiday treats.  Gingerbread is one of the many iconic holiday treats when snow begins to coat the ground.  From cookies, cakes and even coffee, we find gingerbread’s spice-laced flavor a holiday extravaganza.  These gingerbread brownies do not disappoint, but keep that in mind: they are hard to keep out of your hands.

Gingerbread is a versatile ingredient.  It can be incorporate into moist cakes or dense cookies.  Gingerbread is fragrantly flavored from ginger and sweetened with molasses or honey.  It posses a versatile spiciness from the ginger making the dishes a sweet and savory treat.  We see it most commonly used in cookies to form little men­–gingerbread men and women.  Today, gingerbread is used in coffee creamers, cakes, breads, icing, hot chocolate and other desserts.  The spiciness makes my taste buds come back for more.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used gingerbread cookies in place of the cake mix.
  2. DO NOT use the ingredients listed on the box keep to the recipe linked above.
  3. The powdered sugar adds a snow like quality to the brownies.  I added the powdered sugar because it’s necessary for that holiday feeling.gingerbreadbrownies2
  4. You can substitute the cake or cookie mix for a gingerbread recipe passed down from your family; however, you will want to use the dry ingredients only.
  5. The dough will be a little sticky and should have a firmer texture than normal brownies.
  6. I cooked mine for about 20 minutes.  They were the perfect consistency of ooey,
    gooey deliciousness.
  7. The longer the brownies set the firmer they will become.  They should be eaten within a few days of baking.
  8. I like to bake my brownies in one big pan rather than using individual slats because it keeps the edges gooey.  The centerpiece is the best!

By the end of this baking adventure, you will have a simple and delicious holiday brownie.  Gingerbread brownies work well as treats for neighbors or holiday parties.  Within 25 minutes, you have a unique treat that will be gobbled up in minutes.  They can be made with only three ingredients and little time.  The recipe is an easy cheat with professional results for those of us with little time or little experience baking goods.

Leave a comment with your favorite gingerbread treats.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.


Mushroom Hemp Burgers


Being a previous vegetarian, I have a love affair with garden burgers.  Finding a recipe that keeps protein in mind is an added bonus.  While these mushroom hemp burgers seemed alien and odd, the simple ingredients combined make a burger that is out of this world!

Hemp seeds come from a plant that is similar to the marijuana plant, but it has lower levels of psychoactive cannabinoid compounds.  Hemp seed extract has an unidentified compound in it that may help to promote learning, memory and immune function.  It may stimulate the brain enzyme known as calcineurin, according to the University of Michigan.  Calcineurin plays an essential role in some brain synapse activities.  Hemp seeds are rich in essential fatty acids.  The oil in the seeds is a source of the omega-3 fatty acid.  Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in your body.  They also may lower risk for cancer, heart disease and arthritis.  Hemp seeds can help you if you are constipated because they act as a
bulk-forming laxative.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used portabello mushrooms.  It was a taste preference and you can use any type
    of mushroom.mushroomhempburgers2
  2. Use dried dill.  Since it is such a strong spice, dried dill will last longer in your cupboards in ratio to how much you may actually use.
  3. I used breadcrumbs in place of hemp powder mainly because I failed to find hemp powder.  Either option works as a binder for the patties.
  4. Although I did not use the wine, it would be a great option for adding more flavors to your patties.  Mushrooms work well in absorbing liquid flavors.
  5. I nixed the oil.  I used Pam instead; not only is it less fat and calories, but you do not need all that grease.
  6. Be sure to chop the mushrooms into extremely small, fine pieces.  It will be easier to combine those pieces into patties.
  7. If your patties are too moist, add more breadcrumbs to the mix.
  8. Be careful adding the scrambled egg to the hot mushrooms.  You do not want the egg to begin cooking and literally scramble.
  9. I halved the recipe and made about nine total patties.  Keep in mind that the patties are small, so most individuals will eat two or three.

I admit that I was surprised at the development of flavor produced.  I enjoy the natural crunch of the hemp seeds; I enjoy deep flavors that develop; I enjoy the protein rich feature these burgers achieve.  You can replace any carnivore’s beef burger with these mushroom hemp patties and they will be pleased.

Leave a comment with your favorite mushroom ideas.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Pumpkin Pie


Pumpkin pie is a glorious tradition for every Thanksgiving.  It is a great fall treat that I look forward to annually.  I may be boring when it comes to desserts, but this perfect pumpkin pie is a delicious treat you won’t be able to put down.  On Thanksgiving or any special holiday, pumpkin pie always has a prime spot on my plate.  I am a fanatic for pumpkin.  It’s moist; it has a touch of spice; it creates a smooth texture.

This perfect pumpkin pie is the first pumpkin pie that has yet to split after setting.  It stayed smooth along the top and moist on the inside.  If you have not made pumpkin pie with homemade pumpkin puree, I highly suggest giving it a try.  It creates a huge difference in flavor and texture.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used homemade pumpkin puree.
  2. You can make your own pie crust or use a premade one like Pillsbury.
  3. If you are using pumpkin pie filling, this recipe is not for you because the can has done all the work. Cheater!!!
  4. THIS IS A DESSERT FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!! DO NOT SKIMP ON SUGAR! If you are really worried about the sugar amount, use stevia and truvia.  But, know that the flavor won’t be the same.
  5. I’m a pumpkin pie snob, and I fell in deep love with this recipe!
  6. The pie can be made the night before and left to set for the following evening.
  7. Let the pie set uncovered away from the stove.
  8. Using fresh pumpkin puree keeps the pie from splitting because it is moister than
    canned pumpkin.
  9. Use foil around the edges of the pie crust until the last ten minutes of cooking to keep the edges from burning.
  10. The pie must be eaten with Cool Whip! OH YA!

Pumpkin pie–enough said.  This recipe cannot get any better other than making your own pie crust.  Keep on stuffing yourself with pumpkin while I work on making another batch!

Leave a comment with your favorite holiday pies.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Rosemary Cornish Hen


Holiday meals are a great time to experiment on new recipes and enjoy family.  However, some families, like mine, are smaller than others.  Other families, additionally like mine, can have dietary restrictions: vegetarians, paleo, gluten intolerance or veganism.  Cornish hens are a great treat for meat eaters without having a mound of uneaten leftovers.  The hens come in packages of two with one hen per serving (about four+ ounces).  The rosemary Cornish hens divulged here add an extra holiday flavor.

A Cornish game hen–sometimes called a Cornish hen, poussin, Rock Cornish hen or simply Rock Cornish–is a hybrid chicken sold whole. Despite the name, it is not a game bird but a type of domestic chicken. Though the bird is called a “hen”, it can be either male or female. The Rock Cornish game hen or Rock Cornish hen is a cross between the Cornish Game and Plymouth chicken breeds. This breed develops a large breast over a short period of time compared to game hens. In addition to commanding a higher price, the game hens have a shorter growing span of 28 to 30 days as opposed to 42 or more for regular chicken.  Rock Cornish game hens weigh about 2.5 pounds after four to six weeks, at which time they’re slaughtered.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I made six Cornish hens; so, it took about two hours to bake fully.
  2. Stuff the butt with a garlic clove, shallot, spring of thyme and rosemary.
  3. Before rubbing butter on the hens, salt and pepper them.
  4. Continually baste the hens with butter every 20 minutes.
  5. Basting is a cooking technique that involves cooking meat with either its own juices or some type of preparation such as a sauce or marinade. The meat is left to cook then periodically coated with the juice.
  6. Elevate the Cornish hens when cooking.  If left to sit in the juices, the hens’ skin will become soggy, and they will take longer to cook.
  7. When the hens are cooked, pierce the breast or meatiest part.  It should run clear.  They should also be at a temperature range of 160-180 for ultimate juiciness.

I enjoy Cornish hens because they present just the right amount of meat without hours of time.  Unlike turkeys and large hams, they cook in roughly one to two hours.  The hens can still be stuffed with Mom’s stuffing recipe or other herbs to bring out various flavors.  Whether cooking for a late Thanksgiving or planning for Christmas, have this recipe on hand to cater to all of our small family meals.

Leave a comment with your favorite holiday meat recipes.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.