Friday, September 26, 2008

Being Green...

So I figured I would try my hand at canning. It's truly amazing how easy it was. We went apple picking in Ellijay and I made some apple sauce, apple pie, and an apple cake. While I was doing the apple sauce, I gave thought to how our grandparents and great grandparents must have done this routinely in order to have food during the winter time. It's sad how some of these things get forgotten or replaced by "easier" means like going to the grocery store and buying it already made in a jar. How ironic that we as a society are trying to be "green" for the environment now, when our families were "green" years ago. They didn't have throw-away containers made of paper, cardboard or even plastic. I can still remember my Granny telling us how she would buy the flour in the big cloth sacks and then make shirts from the sacks for her sons or even dresses herself or curtains for her kitchen. And my mother-in-law tells the story of their first use of a paper towel. And how her mother couldn't believe you would actually use something like paper then throw it away when at the time cloth towels were in regular use.

My father-in-law has a pear tree in their backyard and we brought some of the pears home. I searched the internet over looking for an easy pear preserve recipe. My mother-in-law has one they use but I really wanted something a little different. So I came up with Ginger-Cinnamon Pear Preserves...and I'm hear to tell you these things taste so good. They taste like pear honey. Slather some on a biscuit or toast and I'd say you'd be done for the day:) I'll post a picture later on. They're a really pretty reddish amber color. Sad thing is I can't find my recipe now. I cross-referenced 3 different sources and came up with my own and when I do that, I almost always forget to write it down afterwards. Like yesterday afternoon, the owners at the Tea Room wanted some "fallish" items on the menu for the next couple of months and suggested things with pumpkin and cinnamon. So I looked through my gobs of recipe books and found a pumpkin cheesecake. But because we need them to be "bite-sized", I cross-referenced another petite cheesecake recipe from Pampered Chef. I finally came up with Petite Pumpkin Cheesecakes. Of course, I had to wait until about 8:30 in the evening to taste it. Momma is the taste tester and if she thinks it will be good enough, they serve it. Boy Howdy, it was yummy! Here is what I did:

Petite Pumpkin Cheesecakes
8 oz softened 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour
24 vanilla wafers

Preheat oven to 325. Prepare a mini muffin tin with 24 cup liners and place 1 vanilla wafer into the bottom of each one. (I used the new mini nilla wafers but my mini muffin pan is wide enough I could have used a regular sized nilla wafer if I had them on hand). In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with electric mixer until it's smooth. Then add pumpkin, sugar, molasses and pumpkin pie spice; beat well. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each. Sprinkle in the flour and combine. I used a small cookie scooper to put even amounts of filling over the nilla wafers. I did not use all the filling. I think there was probably enough to make one or two more. Bake for 20 minutes and remove from oven. Refrigerate once the they have come to room temperature. I think they would probably freeze well too.

Momma and I talked about how to garnish them. I think they are going to give them a squirt of Reddi-Whip and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. I think they will be a nice addition to the menu and I hope the owners love them!

We are off to Savannah to see Batman!

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