Spiced Pumpkin Creamcheese Bars

baking, recipe

Spiced Pumpkin Bars

These are the type of bars that will make you friends with the first bite! It takes elements of pumpkin pie + pumpkin cake + cheese cake to make insanely moist, mildly spicy, and creamy conversation starters. Enjoy these easy to make bars!

 

 

Makes 2 dozen bars.

For pumpkin base:

 

    • 8 oz creamcheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup of raw sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup of butter, melted
    • 1 cup of raw sugar
    • 2 tsp each pumpkin pie spice & cinnamon
    • 2 cups pumpkin puree
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/3 cup of gluten free flour
    • 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp baking soda

For cream cheese topping:

    • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup of raw sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
  1. Prep: Soften cream cheese, butter a jelly roll pan (15.5″ by 11.5″), melt butter and let cool, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized bowl stir butter, 1 cup of sugar & spices together until smooth. Add in pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, gluten free flour, xanthum gum, salt, & baking soda.
  3. In a small bowl blend cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar, vanilla extract, and 1 egg until smooth.
  4. Pour pumpkin mixture into jellyroll pan, smooth top of batter, spread on cream cheese mixture.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes until until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before chilling in the refrigerator. Cut into 2 dozen bars.

Fall KAL: Amber Cardigan!

Knitting

Amber Cardigan by Jessica BolofAmber Cardigan by Jessica Bolof

It’s Time For a Fall KAL!

 

Mark your calendars! The KAL will run September 15th – October 31st!

Schmutzerella Yarns and I are joining together for a virtual KAL (Knit A Long) with my Amber Cardigan! Join in on the fun anytime during the KAL for chatter & prizes in the thread on Ravelry.com.

Who says a lightweight sweater must be knit on tiny needles? Not me! Use 2 strands of lace weight yarn held together for this quick but delicate looking sweater. It is knit bottom-up in one piece, has built in sleeves, rolled edges in the front, and the only seaming you will need to do is at the shoulders. If you want to knit a fingering weight version simply use 1 strand at a time and you will only need half the stated amount of yarn!

Sizes:
To fit a 28 (32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60)” /
71 (81, 90, 101.5, 112, 122, 132, 142, 152.5)cm bust

Yarn (remember that yarn is held double so that’s why you need so much!):

885 (1045, 1200, 1355, 1515, 1675, 1820, 2010, 2160) yards / 2248 (2560, 3048, 3442, 3848, 4254, 4623, 5105, 5486) meters of lace weight yarn

[Join in on the KAL fun here!]

[Flash Sale]

Knitting

Flash Sale until 8/1/13

Act now, sale is only until the 1st of August!
This is my first ever and super rare Flash Sale! All of my indie single patterns can be 50% off by using coupon code FLASH13 until end of day on 8/1/13. Thinking about Fall and the chill it brings? How about quick Christmas presents? Or will you still be sweltering in the heat for a while? Chances are that you will be able to find a pattern that you just have to have!

Is there a catch? Nope, but if you want to be a sweetheart you can forward this to a friend!

So grab some yarn, needles, and a pattern or two! Here’s my Ravelry.com store page: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/jessica-bolof

Happy knitting,
Jessica

Twist Headband

Knitting, patterns, Yarn

Twist Headband

Hello lovelies! I have a wonderfully simple summer pattern for you all!

Twist Headband by Jessica Bolof

After knitting and attaching ribbons simply:

::Center at back of Neck::

::Cross in front::
::Cross again::
::Tie::

Finished Measurements:
Length: 44” / 110cm
Width: 2” / 5cm

For more pattern info click on over to the Ravelry.com page. Pattern is available for free for my Rav group members and newsletter members.

USD $5.00

How to Eat Well for Under $200 a Month for 2 adults plus “Fried” Asian Takeout Chicken

Asian, Cooking, recipe

Hi everyone! I thought I’d do a blog post on how I eat well without using coupons since I’ve had so many requests the last few weeks. I hope you can find a tip or two that help you eat well while spending less! At the end of the post I’ve included my “Fried” Asian Takeout Chicken recipe. Enjoy!

Basics for reducing your food budget

  • Plan your meals so you have less stress, don’t throw stuff away, & save money by not running to the grocery store for a last minute trip. You don’t have to assign a specific day, just do 7 meals for each week. Plan on using leftover dinners for lunches.
  • Buy your basics in bulk. Rice, beans, meat (aim for 30-50% off, B1G1 free sales), onions, instant mashed potatoes, gluten free flours (try Asian markets for rice & tapioca flours), gf soy sauce, spices, raw sugar, honey, etc.
  • Always serve meat with veggies and/or sauce. It helps trick your eyes so you don’t eat too much. This is very important! When the hubby and I were first married I had him dish up our meal. He put 3 servings on each of our plates!
  • Eat fresh! Base your meals on veggies instead of easy to make carbs. Stir fries are fast and easy. Check out local farms, farmer’s markets, and Asian grocery stores for great deals.
  • If you eat dairy use it sparingly and reduce the meat. No need to overload on protein and overspend.
  • Eat meat free at least once a week. Try breakfast for dinner, Savory Asian Style Pancakes, beans & rice, sandwiches, soups & bread, stir fry with eggs, etc.
  • Have a price list so you know when an item is a good deal and when to pass.
  • Have last minute minimal prep meals on hand. I used to keep healthy-ish frozen pizzas to avoid eat more unhealthy (and more expensive) restaurant meals. Now I do stir fry bags, cooked meat, “Fried” Asian Takeout Chicken, & other easy prep meals. Planning ahead is the key. Yes you will save money if you add your own honey to a big container of yogurt, but will you? Or will you but a individual serving size or end up buying an entire breakfast?

Freezer Tips

Meat:

I personally buy meat only in bulk. I try to go as natural as possible when I can. When there’s a great sale on beef round steak I nicely ask the butcher to slice the meat into 1/4″ slices. I divide the beef into 3/4 pound and 1 pound freezer bags and pour in a few tablespoons of marinade (1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/3 gf soy sauce, 1 tablespoon powdered mustard, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and a few grinds of black pepper), press out all air, and distribute the meat so the bags will freeze flat. The meat will tenderize a bit from the marinade, and be sure to cut across the grain before or after cooking. The 3/4 pound bags go into a recipe that includes dairy, eggs, or nuts. While the 1 pound bags can be used on there own. Each bag has 4 servings of beef.

Chicken gets a similar treatment but I like to cut chicken into bite sized pieces. If you do so don’t even need to thaw for a stir fry, just dump into a hot pan. The marinade will thaw first separating the chicken pieces. Also you can make “Fried” Asian Takeout Chicken before adding the sauce, cool to refrigerator temperature, freeze until solid on a baking sheet with parchment, store in a freezer bag.

Make meatballs, cool to refrigerator temperature, freeze until solid on a baking sheet with parchment, store in a freezer bag.

Dairy:

Cheese can be bought in bulk, be divide,d and frozen into recipe sized portions. Extra pudding can be frozen into popsicles.

Stir Fry bags:

Chop up veggies such as onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, blanched broccoli, freeze in a gallon sized ziplock. . No need to thaw, just add to a hot skillet with a bit of oil. This will keep for about a month

Baked goods:

For quick breakfasts bake extra muffins, waffles, & pancakes, let cool, & freeze.

Sauces, stocks, & soups:

Many sauces, stocks, & soups can be frozen if there isn’t dairy or thickeners. Use minimal oil, & salt (the freezing process takes out some of the salt flavor). I use freezer safe pint canning jars, or quart sized freezer ziplock (freezer flat, & then you can store them easily) for the liquids after they are refrigerator temperature.

 Grains:

Freeze cooked grains as the same manner as sauces, stocks, & soups for quick sides or for fried rice. It’s so nice when you are short on time to have whole grains in minutes!

Casseroles, & baked dishes:

You can make wholesome freezer dishes like the ones from Once a Month Mom, my Pinterest page, or make an extra pan of enchiladas (freeze sauce separately), or lasagna to eat later.

Wrap up

Be sure to have plenty of resources to be on your team! Check out websites like: LemonMint (healthy, low-sugar), Healthful Pursuit (healthy, free of many allergens), 100 Days of Real Food (healthy), Budget Bytes (gourmet, fast, & many times healthy), and of course my blog!

In closing I just wanted to say that once you get the hang of it, you can make a game out of it! Thanks to my mom it’s almost like second nature to me. Thank you mom 🙂

"Fried" Asian Takeout Chicken. Gluten and dairy free!

“Fried” Asian Takeout Chicken w/ Orange Sauce

Notes: This recipe serves 6 but is easily doubled. The sauce has a nice orange flavor without being overly sweet. I top mine with siracha 🙂 Try the chicken with different sauces and veggies, be creative!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Combine 1 cup of tapioca flour, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (or ground almonds), 1/2 teaspoon each of baking powder & salt in a medium bowl, set aside. Whisk 3 eggs together in a medium bowl, set aside. Cut 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken into bite sized pieces (Tip: cut the breasts of off a whole chicken before you roast it to save even more money). Dip chicken in flour, then egg, brown in medium hot skillet with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. When chicken is browned transfer into a large baking pan. Repeat for all of the chicken pieces. Bake for 20 minutes, flip chicken pieces over, baked for another 20 minutes or until cooked through. Meanwhile prepare sauce & veggies, cook rice separately.

Sauce & veggies: Add 1 peeled orange, 1 2″x2″ /5cm x 5cm piece of orange peel (no white pith), 2 cloves of garlic, 1/3 cup each of gf soy sauce & rice vinegar, 2-3 tablespoons of raw sugar to taste to blender. Blend until smooth.

Add 1 tablespoon coconut oil to a medium hot skillet. Add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped bell peppers, stir fry for 2 minutes. Pour in sauce, after 1 minute add chicken to pan, heat through. Serve over rice.

Cranberry Walnut Variation

Add 1/4 cup of raw cranberries to blender, increase sugar to 1/4 cup. Add 1/3 toasted walnut pieces to stir fry.

Tropical Thai Variation

Replace orange sauce with following sauce: Blend 2 tablespoons of tamarind paste (seeds removed from paste) with 1/4 cup of fish sauce,1/2 cup of lime juice, and 1/2 cup of raw sugar. Top with chopped cilantro, and diced fresh tomatoes.

Effortless Lace Tank

Knitting, patterns, tank top

Effortless Lace Tank by Jessica Bolof

This tank will effortlessly fit into your summer wardrobe with capris or denim shorts, or Spring & Fall with skinny jeans and a cardigan.

Effortless Lace Tank by Jessica Bolof

Choose a size with at least 8” / 20cm ease for maximum style.

Effortless Lace Tank by Jessica Bolof

This stitch pattern is fun to work and easy to memorize. I hope you enjoy knitting it as much as I did designing it!

Effortless Lace Tank by Jessica Bolof All photos (c) 2013 Shawnie Krauter


Sizes: XS (S, M, L, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X)

Finished Measurements
Tank Circumference:
40.5 (43.25, 46.25, 49, 52, 60.5, 63.5, 66.5, 69.25)” / 103 (110, 117.5, 124.5, 132, 154, 161, 169, 176)cm

Tank Length:
18.5 (19, 19.5, 19.5, 19.75, 20, 20, 20.5, 20.5)” / 47 (48.5, 49.5, 49.5, 50, 51, 51, 52, 52)cm

Yarn: 5 (5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 8) balls of
Schulana’s Merino Cotton (148 yards / 135 meters per 50 grams of 53% Merino & 47% Cotton)

610 (660, 770, 825, 917, 985, 1034, 1110, 1156) yards / 556 (600, 700, 753, 836, 898, 943, 1012, 1055) meters of dk weight yarn

USD $6.00

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

baking, Cooking, recipe

GF Buffalo Chicken Pizza

This is a bold and fun take on pizza that you will want to make again and again! All toppings can be prepped in advance 🙂

  • Double crust recipe, add 1 T of dried minced onion, & 2 T of chia seeds to crust. Divide in half.
  • Pre bake crusts at 425°F for 5 minutes.
  • Toss 2 cups of shredded chicken with 1/2 cup of hot sauce, set aside.
  • Mix together 1/2 cup of softened cream cheese & 1/4 cup of ranch dressing, set aside.
  • Seed & dice 1 tomato & 1 green bell pepper, set aside.
  • Mince 1 bunch of green onions, set aside.
  • Spread 1/2 of cream cheese mixture on 1 pizza. Top with mozzarella cheese, 1/2 each of the chicken, tomato, and bell pepper.
  • Lightly cover the pizza with 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar jack cheese blend.
  • Bake until cheese melts and crust is baked through.
  • Repeat for other pizza and enjoy!

Snazzy Hat

Knitting, patterns, Ravelry
Snazzy Hat by Jessica Bolof

(c) 2013 Shawnie Krauter

I was amazed how this hat looks good on everyone that has tried it on. First it was a friend with a bobbed haircut, then my musician brother in-law, and finally my brother who isn’t much of a hat person is requesting one. He didn’t want to give it back after the photo shoot!

Snazzy Hat by Jessica Bolof

(c) 2013 Shawnie Krauter

A simple 3×2 brim kicks off the simple slouchy nature of this hat. The addictive eyelet pattern is easy to memorize, so you can work on it at social events, watching your favorite tv show, or even at a sporting event without worrying about shaping until the end.

Finished Measurements
Note: Finished hat is very stretchy and will fit up to a mens large.
Hat brim circumference: 15.5” / 39.4 cm
Hat length: 10” / 25.4 cm

Our photos are a mixture of us messing around and trying to be serious with photographing the collection. As it turns out we are quite silly people 🙂
For more pictures please see the Ravelry page here.

$5.00 USD 

Buffalo Chicken Dip Inspired Pasta

Cooking, recipe

Buffalo Chicken Dip Pasta

Have you had buffalo chicken dip? That wonderful concoction of creamy, spicy, and chicken-y amazingness? I’ve made a meal out of it (mind you I only used veggies like carrots & celery, no crackers) only to feel sick later (no duh).

I decided that it needed to be a pasta and to be lightened up while still retaining that creamy goodness. Using rice flour to thicken the chicken broth gives a smooth mouthfeel to the sauce base without adding fat so we can still add cheese! Use leftover roast chicken or one from the rotisserie if you can find a gluten free one for a meal that comes together fast! Don’t we all need recipes that come together with a side in under 30 minutes? I know I do.

I like to serve this pasta with coleslaw to provide balance to the spicy flavors (and to get some veggies ins!).

 

For the pasta

In a large saucepan cook 4 servings of gf pasta as package directs (I used the penne from Costco). Drain.

Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, whisk together 2 cups of chicken broth, & 2 T of rice flour (or tapioca starch, or arrowroot powder). Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened (about 1-2 minutes). Stir in 3 T of Franks hot sauce, 2 T of cream cheese, 2 cups of shredded cooked chicken, and 1 tsp of ranch seasoning. Simmer and stir until heated through. Stir in 1 cup of cheddar jack cheese blend. Toss with pasta, adding more hot sauce as needed.

For the coleslaw

Mix 1 tsp of poppy seeds, 4 T of plain yogurt, 2 T of honey, 2 T of French’s dijon mustard, and salt to taste. Toss with shredded green cabbage, and add-ins such as: shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots, sliced celery, or chopped green onions.

 

We made a roast chicken earlier in the week. The first meal from it was roast chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, & veggies (dinner & lunch), the second was this meal (dinner & lunch), and the last one was buffalo chicken pizza (dinner, lunch, & leftovers). The point is that one chicken can make a lot of easy meals! Oh and that next week I’ll have the recipe for the pizza up!

 

xoxo Jessica

Amber Cardigan

Knitting, patterns, Ravelry

Amber Cardigan by Jessica Bolof

Who says a lightweight sweater must be knit on tiny needles? Not me! Use 2 strands of lace weight yarn held together for this quick but delicate looking sweater. It is knit bottom-up in one piece, has built in sleeves, rolled edges in the front, and the only seaming you will need to do is at the shoulders.

Sizes

To fit a 28 (32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60)” / 71 (81, 90, 101.5, 112, 122, 132, 142, 152.5)cm bust

Yarn (remember that yarn is held double)

885 (1045, 1200, 1355, 1515, 1675, 1820, 2010, 2160) yards / 2248 (2560, 3048, 3442, 3848, 4254, 4623, 5105, 5486) meters of lace weight yarn

 

 USD $5.00 

 

For more details & photos please hop on over to the Ravelry.com page!