Chocolate Chip Peppermint Scones

Momma H here.  We are featuring a guest blogger this week, my daughter.  She did these without me setting foot in the kitchen.  Lovely.
<(^-^)> Hi. This is Momma H's youngest child. I am 13 years old and LOVE to bake. I finally got to try this yummy recipe and it's perfect for Christmas!!!! I hope you like it! <(^-^)>
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup crushed candy-canes
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Baking Time:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
Add chocolate chips and toss to coat with flour mixture.
Pour 1 cup heavy whipping cream into mixture, stirring until all ingredients are moistened.
Turn mixture out onto lightly floured surface.
Knead gently and pat dough out to about 1 inch thick.
Cut out into assorted shapes.
Place scones 1 inch apart on two baking sheets that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
Brush scones with remaining 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream and sprinkle with crushed candy-canes.

Bake 15 to 20 or until very lightly browned.
Serve warm and dusted with powdered sugar if desired.
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Kids Craft Apple Turkey

When I was a child, my mom would make these turkeys with us every year.  We would use them as decorations on our Thanksgiving table.  I have done the same with my kids.
The kids that live at home are now 18, 16 and 13.  When they saw the items on the table, every single one of them got excited and said "Thanksgiving turkeys?!" (or some variation.)  Good times.
You can use anything you want for the tail.  I usually use colored marshmallows, but I didn't have any.  I also think that the non-organic fruit/candy things would be easier (softer) and more colorful.  Use whatever you want.
First - get your ingredients.  You will need apples, toothpicks, raisins, craisins, marshmallows, and anything that you can stick a toothpick through.
Second - break 2 toothpicks in half.  Put 2 in a triangle shape for the base.  I know, I know.  A turkey only has 2 legs, but these turkeys will fall over without 3 legs.  Just call it "artistic license."
Third - make sure your turkey can balance.  I usually have the two toothpicks in the "back", the thicker part of the apple.  These might need to be pushed in a little further that the front one.
Fourth - make the tail.  Use 5 to 7 toothpicks, odd numbers work best for some reason.  Stick the gooey stuff on the toothpicks, leaving about 1/2 inch to insert into the apple.  I like to do each "feather" the same, I'm weird like that, but do whatever you want.  Let your kiddos do whatever you want.  We don't judge.
Fifth - stick the "feathers" in the wide part of the apple.
Sixth - Make the head.  For the head, I use a raisin and a sliver of craisin for the "gobble-gobble". (I don't know what it is called, that is what my mom always called it.)  Insert them on a toothpick, leaving a bit of point showing for the beak.  I partially broke my toothpick to bend the neck, but you don't have to.
Gobble. Gobble.


Pumpkin Creme Brulee

It's almost Thanksgiving here in the US of A.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Not because of the wonderful feasting (although that can't be discounted.)  I love Thanksgiving because you don't give or receive gifts.  I see your perplexed look.  Don't deny it.
I love Thanksgiving because you are thankful for what you already have.
It's not about the "Black Friday" sales. (I am proud to say that I have never participated in that tradition.)  It's not about the football games.  It is a day to give thanks for all of your blessings.
All that aside, I will post a couple of blogs about Thanksgiving worthy dishes.  This is one.
Pumpkin Creme Brulee
3 cups heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 can (12 ounce) pumpkin puree
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (or brown or granulated - it all works)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Place 8 ramekins in a baking dish.
In a medium sauce pot, over medium heat, add 1 1/2 cup of the cream, the spices, the vanilla and the brown sugar.  Bring to a light boil and remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks with the 1/2 cup granulated sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and the sugar is dissolved.
Add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture, gradually, whisking all the time.  This tempers the eggs.
Add the egg mixture to the sauce pot with the remaining cream mixture.  Add the rest of the cream and the pumpkin.  Whisk it up. 
Strain the whole mixture through a wire sieve so it is nice and smooth.
Divide the mixture evenly into the custard cups.  (I made 8, but my ramekins are pretty big.)
Add hot water into the baking dish to create a hot bath and put the pan into the oven.  Bake until the custard is starting to set, yet still a little wiggly in the middle, about 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Sprinkle each custard with the remaining sugar. 
 Heat the sugar with a butane torch until caramelized.  If you don't have a torch, preheat the broiler, and broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes.  Watch closely because it burns very quickly. 
If it starts to bubble, it is done - only takes about 1 minute.
My kiddos ate theirs in about a minute, too.

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Here is another butternut squash soup.  It has a slightly sweet flavor and would be great for Thanksgiving.  We eat it as a main dish soup.  It freezes well and is even better the next day!
Butternut Squash Apple Soup
4 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, diced
1-2 butternut squashes, peeled, seeded and diced (I always use 2)
3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
1 Tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 quart chicken broth
1 package cream cheese
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (if you don't have the real stuff, leave it out)
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Garnish (optional)
1 apple, peeled, seeded and diced
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Pinch of salt
Pinch (2 grinds) of pepper
sour cream
Melt the 4 T. butter in a large sauce pan.  Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the squash and cook until soft, 10 minutes.
Add the apples and spices.  Cook another 5 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and enough water to just cover the veggies.
Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the veggies are very soft, about 30 minutes.
Add the cream cheese and stir to melt.  Puree with an immersion blender until smooth.  If you don't have an immersion blender (you really need to get one) blend in batches in a blender or food processor.
In the meantime, while the soup is simmering, prepare the garnish.
In a small saute pan, heat the butter.  To this add the apple and saute until soft.  Add the vinegar and salt and pepper.
Garnish each bowl of soup with a dollop of sour cream and the sauted apples if desired.


Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

I know, I know, you are thinking "Not another slow cooker recipe."  "Enough, already."  Don't judge me.  I had no choice.  I had no power for a whole week, no stove and only had a few outlets that worked thanks to Electra, our generator.
Slow cooker recipes are good, healthy and convenient, so here you go.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
1 chicken, whole or cut up (that's for you Lisa)
1 lemon (optional), cut into quarters
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 onion, cut up
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 cups baby carrots, just dump them from the bag
1 pound fresh green beans
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
5 Tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
1 1/2 cup milk
Wash the chicken and stuff the cavity with the lemon, thyme and half the salt.
Place the onion, celery and carrots in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Place the chicken on top of the veggies and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt and the pepper.  Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is done.
After 5 1/2 hours, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter until it looks like flour with pea sized chunks.
Add the milk and stir until you have a shaggy dough.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and cover with foil to keep warm.
To the remaining veggies and liquid in the slow cooker, add the green beans.
On top of the veggies and liquid, add the dough by scoops.
Replace lid and continue to cook for about 1/2 hour, until the dough is done. 
It won't turn brown, but if you lift a corner, the dough will be done.
Serve with the sliced chicken.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

I recently became very close to my slow cooker.  We have officially bonded.  It was an arranged relationship, but we made it work.
This is one of those "throw together" recipes that would work for almost anyone that eats pork.  It was juicy and flavorful.  And easy.
Slow Cooker Pork Roast
2 teaspoons dried (or fresh, I'm not biased) rosemary
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 boneless whole pork loin roast (mine was about 4 pounds)
3 medium to large potatoes, cut into chunks
3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large sweet onions, cut into eighths
1/2 cup chicken broth (I used Better that bouillon)
Combine the rosemary, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. 
Rub the spices over pork.
Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
Place potatoes and onions in a 5 quart slow cooker.  Top with pork. 
Pour broth over meat.  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender.
Let meat stand 10-15 minutes before slicing.
While you are waiting, you might as well make some gravy.
Remove the veggies to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
In a medium saucepan, melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter.  To the butter, add 1/4 cup of flour.  Stir.  Strain the liquid from the slow cooker into the saucepan, stirring all the while.  Cook until thickened.  Taste the gravy and salt to taste or add another 1/2 teaspoon of Better that bouillon.  Add about 1 cup of milk and heat through.