Pumpkin Pecan Waffles

_MG_5353

Slightly cool breeze. Falling leaves. Cozy pumpkin spice lattes. Yes. All the signs that fall season is finally here! What better post than a pumpkin inspired one?

I’m really not too fond of how pumpkin only comes out seasonal… I can literally eat it any time, any day. Summertime pumpkin ice cream. Winter pumpkin spice hot chocolate. It is one ingredient that knows how to find its place everywhere haha. I guess the good thing about its seasonal character is that it gives you that excitement where you look forward to the pumpkin patches and what not.

With pumpkin, especially pumpkin, I really feel that there is a difference when you use the homemade pumpkin puree. It is the real deal and it’s pure pumpkin. A whole pumpkin can last you the whole year, depending on the frequency that you bake or cook using pumpkin puree. Last year I changed it up and made two pumpkins which I have still not used up. I probably have a cup or two left. My step-by-step recipe for homemade pumpkin puree can be found here.

Some of my past pumpkin inspired recipes include:

Epic Pumpkin Cake 

Pumpkin Rice Krispies

Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Spice Homemade Ice-cream

Nutella Pumpkin Pie 

Pumpkin Lattes

Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes 

Pumpkin Pecan Waffles 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Mix together the milk, pumpkin, eggs, oil, sugar, and vinegar
  2. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt
  3. Combine both mixtures until incorporated (stir lightly)
  4. Pour into your preheated waffle iron

Pecan Praline Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat
  2. Add in the evaporated milk, sugar, brown sugar, and lemon juice and heat until it boils
  3. After about a minute, remove the pan from the heat
  4. Stir in the baking soda until the foaming stops
  5. Mix in your pecans and serve along with your waffles

Recipe adapted from Heather Likes Food

Mason Jar Pecan Pies, Watermelon Bubble Tea, & More

pecanpie

Today’s lesson: You and only you have the power to turn your day into a great one.

My weekend was supposed to end with a relaxed swimming day with some friends. Nope. The stormy, rainy weather thought otherwise. My pool day was canceled and I was left with… A choice to either nap in, finish off some work, or host a cooking day instead. I chose the last option and sure was I glad that I decided to do so! Yes, I was pretty disappointed at the bipolar weather, but what better than great food and fabulous friends to spend your day with? Mason jar pecan pies. Watermelon inspired bubble tea. Soft & chewy chocolate chip cookies. Homemade mochi with mango and blood orange sorbet. My focus tends to be on the desserts, but I promise we ate some real food before all of this. Definitely can’t forget the chili cheese macaroni and buffalo chicken nacho pasta that was on the menu for entree.

filledpies

Mason jars just offer their own homey and special atmosphere. I have no idea what it is about mason jars, but I love them! These mini 4 ounce jars are just enough to satisfy you, especially if you have just eaten dinner or lunch. Not too much, not too little. And you know what’s best? You can use the lid and store them in your fridge for later, so no hassle of finding an empty Tupperware to store it.

pies

To top it all off: a scoop of classic vanilla bean ice cream. The cold creamy texture of the ice-cream perfectly balanced out the warm, chewiness of the pecan pie.

Mason Jar Pecan Pies 

Makes enough for 12 (4 oz) mason jars

Preheat: 350 F

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
  •  A ready made pie crust (store bought or homemade)

Directions

  1. Mix together the sugar, brown sugar, salt, syrup, vanilla, butter, and eggs.
  2. Get a round object (like a circle cookie cutter) that is a little wider than the mason jars to cut the pie crust
  3. Press the cut crusts into each of the mason jars so that they reach at least half way up
  4. Sprinkle some pecans in the bottom of each of the mason jars
  5. Pour your prepared syrup into each jar (about 3/4 full)
  6. Put your mini mason jars on a cookie sheet and bake for 50 minutes at 350 F

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman can be found here

watermelon

Any bubble tea fanatic will appreciate this drink right here. Once you’ve tasted a majority of the usual bubble tea flavors such as thai tea, green tea, jasmine, etc. you will find that you may want something new; something a little more exciting. Now, the classics never get old. I could legit order green tea or thai tea for days and still love it as much as I did the first day.

The bubble tea above is made of a honeydew base and topped off with a watermelon slush and tapioca pearls for the “seeds”.

Watermelon Honeydew Bubble Tea

Directions:

I really have no exact measurements for this, because it truly is best done without that. I will still give a general recipe as to how I made it. The bottom is a honeydew base. It is basically honeydew blended with a few ice cubes added and half a cucumber. The top is purely watermelon. No ice cubes there. Blend enough watermelon till your desired amount is reached and add a few scoops of lemonade powder as it complements it nicely. Add prepared tapioca pearls and you are done!

Tips:

-Recipe for Tapioca Pearls can be found here (My post about it is still in progress)

mochi

Mmmmmochi! I’ve always seen this delectable and chewy delight in frozen yogurt shops, yet I had never really tasted it by itself to appreciate it to its fullest. One of my friends brought the recipe for this with her and so we got to add it to our great menu of desserts for the day. It goes great with sorbet especially blood orange and mango (pictured above). I will have a special post dedicated to how to make this delicacy later with step by step pictures so keep posted :)

 

 

 

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake

reeses cheesecake

Have you ever liked Reese’s so much that you needed it in more than just your cereal or average candy bar? Don’t get me wrong, nothing can beat the original Reese’s peanut butter cups. You know something is good though when you leave a pack of it out on the countertop and return to find that it has disappeared. So if you are planning on buying the Reese’s and making it the same day, you may be fine. Those who are planning for later in the week, mmmm… You may want to store the Reese’s somewhere safe and hidden. Any who, I always love a good occasion to celebrate. Events = a chance to test out a Pinterest recipe or make some dessert that I’ve been craving. A few days before I made this cheesecake, I actually had made a Strawberry Glazed NY Style Cheesecake for some relatives who were visiting from out of town. I didn’t make the Reese’s flavored cheesecake for them, because it is a hit or miss flavor. People usually either hate or love peanut butter, so I decided not to take the chance. A few days passed and my brother took his LSAT, so I was like- hey, why not make some cheesecake- everyone loves it. It was a success. And you can only guess what I made when some friends came over for dinner a week later… Yes. Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake. In reality, I’d rather wait a few weeks before making another cheesecake again just so that it becomes that much more exciting to see a slice of cheesecake (rather than ugh, not again). And that, my friends, was the end of my mini cheesecake baking marathon.

Reese’s Cheesecake

Printable Recipe

Brownie Crust

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 whole peanut butter cups

Directions

Preheat: 350 °F

  1. Line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper
  2. Mix the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract
  3. Add eggs to the mixture and then stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt
  4. Pour and spread the brownie mix in the springform pan
  5. Bake for about 25 minutes
  6. Chop the peanut butter cups into pieces and place on top of the brownie crust
  7. Set aside while you prepare the cheesecake filling

Cheesecake Mix

Preheat: 325 °F

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces of cream cheese (4 of the 8 ounce packages), room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Beat the cream cheese until it is smooth
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, while beating on low
  3. Mix in the sugar, peanut butter, cream, and vanilla extract until well incorporated
  4. Before you pour the cheesecake mix into the prepared pan, wrap the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil so that water cannot get into it
  5. Fill a large glass or disposable baking dish (that will fit your springform pan) with about an inch of water
  6. Place your springform pan in the baking dish into the oven
  7. Bake at 325 °F for about 1 hr and 30 minutes
  8. Cool to room temperature before placing into the refrigerator and chill overnight for best results (3-4 hours will do though if you are in a rush)

If you are looking for other cheesecake recipes, check out my Original NY Style Cheesecake or even my Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake.

Recipe adapted from Hugs and Cookies Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake blog post here

reeses cheesecake

What is the most unique flavor of cheesecake you have tasted?

 

 

The Ultimate Macaron Tree

macaron tree

Finally accomplished one item off my long list of to-do projects with food: the macaron tree! I have always adored the ones I would see behind the glass windows of macaron bakeries. I love how people even use these for weddings in lieu of cakes and I find them just so creative! Some of the top flavors for the macarons I have tasted include: lemon, raspberry, and coffee. There are so many more flavors you can choose though- I’ve seen blogs where people make popcorn flavored macarons or the Girl Scout Samoa cookies flavored macarons. For my tower, I decided to go with a classic raspberry for the bottom and for the top I chose a more unique flavor, pumpkin spice. Now the inspiration that got me to finally make this beauty was my best friend’s marriage ceremony. I gave it to her the day before as a delicious gift because I was so excited for her :)

The assembly of the macaron tree was a bit complicated as this one was my first. I had to triple my recipe for the macarons in order to be on the safe side to have enough macarons. You can choose to draw the circles on the parchment paper as a template for the macaron sizing. You can also buy silicon macaron mats that already have grooves for each macaron. I did both methods and found the silicon mat a lot easier as all the macarons came out the same size. (I got my silicon mat from World Market- if you do not have this location nearby, you can buy it online as well)

Here are previous posts where I have made macarons:

-Chocolate Macarons with a variety of fillings

-Pistachio Macarons

-Peppermint Macarons

A few tips for assembling the macaron tree:

-The styrofoam cone can be found online or at local craft stores such as Hobby Lobby

-For the toothpicks, angle them at a 45 degree angle to the cone so that they are slanted and can hold the macarons better

-If you are transporting this, I would recommend bringing along a few extra macarons in case any fall off

-Flowers add a nice touch of elegance so I highly suggest adding these (I would have preferred larger flowers, but the store I got them from didn’t have any of the size I was looking for)

-You can use the Wilton colored edible sprays to create a sort of ombre effect for your tower or even to add a touch of gold/silver

-Another idea is to package it using cellophane wrap and top it off with two large artificial flowers or even a bow

 

Have you ever assembled a macaron tree and do you have any tips for me as well?

 

 

Houston Bites: Slices & Ices

Back to another post of Houston Bites!

Today’s special is a pizzeria that just recently opened in the Clear Lake community of Houston, Slices & Ices. Offering specialty pizza flavors by the slice is what makes this unique foodie find stand out. The “Ices” that they serve as well include an array of Italian Ice flavors such as strawberry lemonade, cappuccino, and even classics like cherry and vanilla. One of the nice features is that they also conveniently deliver throughout the League City and Clear Lake, TX areas making delivery a nice option for people who work nearby and don’t want to leave the office.

For those wondering about the atmosphere, Slices & Ices has family-friendly seating. It has a very modern and sleek design and even has the menu displayed on large flat screen TVs. There are also TVs for sports fanatics and individuals who like to keep up with the current news.

big white pizza

Pictured above is a normal slice of the White pizza. It is larger than your average slice from the usual pizza store, so I was really excited when I saw this. The first bite was heavenly and I quickly finished it off (secretly wanting another slice haha so I will be back). If you love alfredo pizza then this pizza is definitely for you! For a light lunch, one slice would do, otherwise I would have gotten two. Other interesting pizza flavors they offer include taco pizza, grilled chicken caesar salad pizza, and chicken marsala pizza amongst other dizzying choices.

italian ice

Do not let the small size of the Italian Ice cup fool you. You will find it quite satisfying after a meal or even alone for a tasty and simple dessert. Pictured above is the Cotton Candy flavor on the left and Mint Chocolate Chip on the right. It is not dense, but rather light and fluffy making for a dessert that you won’t forget. They were very patient with me as I sampled multiple flavors until I found the perfect one for me, so no worries if it takes you three or more samples to find your favorite!

Slices & Ices

Location:

300 w. Bay Area Blvd.

Suite 800

Webster, TX 77598

832-932-5747

http://www.slicesandices.net/

Liebster Award

Today’s special news:

Kat & Kloh from StateEats nominated Simply Delicious for a Liebster Award!

liebster

This award is given from bloggers to bloggers to help promote their blog and get their names out there!

Once you are nominated, you have to meet the following criteria:

  • Answer the 10 Liebster questions give to you by the blogger who nominated you
  • Select 10 blogs with a small following to nominate for the award
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees
  • Link back to your nominator
  • Inform each of your nominees of your nomination

Thanks StateEats for the nomination! If you love traveling and food, be sure to check out their blog for a variety of mouthwatering recipes from their travels to all 50 states.

Here are Kat & Kloh’s Questions

1. What’s your favorite comfort food?

A large bowl of cheesy broccoli cheddar soup with a loaf of soft French bread on the side

2. Where would you like to travel that you’ve never been?

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania- the challenge of climbing one of the Seven Summits is something I’ve always wanted to do

3.  What is a killer-good dish that you make that impresses everyone?  

Cheesecake. New York Style. Caramel Pecan. Chocolate Hazelnut. Any flavor is to die for.

cheesecake      hazelnut cheesecake

4. What song whisks you right back to high school when you hear it?

I Gotta Feeling by Black Eyed Peas

5. What is a food or dish you never eat?  

Not a picky eater but mustard is one condiment that I’m not very fond of

6. Who has served as a role model for you?

My mother, she always turns to be right regarding her advice and everything

7. Name one ingredient you cannot live without.

Butter. Somehow it always manages to find its way in every recipe…

8. What have you discovered about blogging that you didn’t know when you started?

There are so many ways you can customize your blog, one of my favorite is including a printable recipe link

9. What is a weird food combination that you love that doesn’t sound appealing but is really delicious?

Red Velvet Cake with Beets. You don’t even taste the beets in it and the best thing is that the color is 100% natural

10. What is the last book you read and loved?

Divergent by Veronica Roth

My deelish food blogger nominations:

A Dash Of Razan- words of wisdom in the arts of cooking, fashion, and everyday life

Thirsty for Tea- A blog dedicated to tea, tea foods, and modernizing a time-honored tradition

A Distinguished Palate- Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, you name it

Ocean View Kitchen- Real Food Recipes

That Damned CanAsian-Tips and tricks, recipes, along with travel tidbits

Delicious Delicious Bagel- Baking and delicious bites to share

Miss Wu Kitchen- Food makes me smile. I’m on a “seafood” diet. I see food & I eat it

HappyLife.HealthyLife – Keeping You Happy & Healthy In Today’s Crazy World

Leni & Viv- Recipes, Cooking Tips, & Food Inspiration from Our House to Yours

Food 4 Your Mood- A Journey to the Gastronomy Universe

Here are my Liebster Questions:

  1. What is your favorite, easy to make dessert for parties?
  2. What is the weirdest drink flavor or combo you have ever had?
  3. What dessert flavor do you always end up ordering?
  4. Describe one of your biggest cooking/baking fails.
  5. Which Food Network show is your favorite?
  6. Have you ever been to a Man vs. Food restaurant or bakery?
  7. Do you prefer baking solo or with other people?
  8. Who/what inspired you to start your food blog?
  9. What is a dish that you’ve always wanted to make.
  10. What is your favorite fried food?

 

Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake

pecan cheesecake

Cheesecake. A delightful and creamy dessert, that has the ability to turn your day into the perfect one. Although, many are horrified at the task of making one, it is actually pretty simple. The wait can be quite painful though, as you have to leave it in the fridge overnight. Patience is definitely one of the top lessons learned after baking one of these. There’s just something special though about making mini versions of anything, especially cheesecake. They are best shared by two after a meal or can be eaten alone for a filling dessert. Pecan flavored desserts are a classic so I ventured to make a mini cheesecake in this flavor and it was a success!

Printable Recipe here

Chocolate Cookie Crust

Length of Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 18 Oreos, without the creme filling
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, melted (1/2 stick)

Directions

  1. Crush the chocolate cookies in a food processor until they are fine crumbs
  2. Add the crumbs to a small bowl along with the melted butter
  3. Mix well and press the crumb mixture in your spring form pan evenly
  4. Refrigerate the crumb lined springform pan while you make the cheesecake mixture

Chocolate Pecan Cheesecake Filling

Length of Time: 20 min preparing, 1 hr 35 min in oven, 1 hr cooling, & overnight in fridge

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese until smooth
  2. Stir in the brown sugar, corn starch, and corn syrup
  3. Add the eggs, one egg a time, mixing well after each addition
  4. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla extract
  5. Lastly, mix in the melted chocolate and chopped pecans
  6. Pour the filling into the chocolate crust
  7. Fill a large baking dish with an inch of water
  8. Cover the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil so water can’t enter and place in the water bath
  9. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees
  10. Reduce the heat to 250 and bake for an hour and 20 minutes (or until the center is almost set but jiggles slightly when you shake it)
  11. Wait for it to cool and refrigerate overnight before serving

Toppings

Sprinkle chopped pecans and drizzle melted chocolate over the finished cheesecake

Tips

  • For the crust, any type of cookie will do. Sometimes when I run out of Oreos, I will make half of the crumbs from graham cookies or even animal crackers!
  • If you are not a fan of chocolate, simply do not mix in the melted chocolate chips
  • You can make a marbled version of this cheesecake (pictured below is one that I made- I split the cheesecake filling in half and flavored half with chocolate and left half of it vanilla flavored, and then I filled the mini springform pan with both mixes)
  • For other combinations, you can try making a Nutella flavored cheesecake but subbing Nutella for the melted chocolate chips
  • You can order the mini springform pans from Amazon or get them from a local store like Target

pecan cheesecake

pecan cheesecake

What’s your favorite kind of cheesecake? What are some unique variations that you have tried?

Feel free to share any tips you have learned along the way while making cheesecake :)