Friday, November 17, 2017

Turkey's Second Act

The Second Act
Reincarnate Leftovers to Brand New Dishes
Creamy Turkey and Gnocchi Soup (an adapted Olive Garden Copycat)
Recipe adapted from  and makes about 5-6 servings depending on bowl size.   
Look for gnocchi in the pasta refrigerated section of the store. The soup is thick and hearty and can be thinned out with milk or broth. The recipe has been lightened up using 2% milk.

  • 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 cup each diced carrot and celery 
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  (48 oz. ) box  chicken broth, low sodium
  • 1/2 tsp. each dried rosemary and thyme 
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • dash of nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cooked shredded turkey or chicken
  • 1 (12oz.) package potato gnocchi 
  • 3 TB. butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups 2% milk 
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 cups packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • Shredded Romano cheese , for serving (optional)
  • Heat 1 TB. olive oil in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add in onions, carrots and celery,sauté 5 minutes, add garlic sauté 1- 2 minutes longer. Pour in broth, add rosemary, thyme, nutmeg and bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cook about  10-12 minutes covered.
  • In another saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, cook and stir constantly 1 minute. While whisking pour in milk then continue to whisk to smooth out any lumps. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until mixture thickens and lightly boils. Whisk in cream and milk, remove from heat.
  • Add gnocchi to broth mixture, cover and simmer for recommend time directed on package, about 4 minutes. Stir milk mixture into broth mixture, add in chicken or turkey and spinach leaves. Cook, while stirring frequently on a low medium heat 15 minutes, uncovered.  Serve warm with Romano cheese if desired.

Classic Party Mix with a Thanksgiving Twist
Cook's Notes:  A great party mix flavored with savory spices like garlic and onion. But this Thanksgiving mix has some warming spices, pumpkin seeds, and sweet cranberries added that make it a special mix. You can swap the traditional cheese crackers for cheese bugles (pretend they are a cornucopia) or use whatever snacks, nuts, and spices you prefer as long as you keep the cereal and butter amounts the same.
Recipe inspired by and serves 10 to 12; makes 10 cups

  • 4 cups Corn Chex cereal
  • 4 cups Rice Chex cereal
  • 2 cups Wheat Chex cereal 
  • 2 cups pretzel sticks 
  • 2 cup cheese-flavored Bugles, mini breadsticks, mini crackers, or oyster crackers (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup honey roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp.ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1- 1/2 cups dried cranberries 

  • Place the cereals, pretzels, Bugles, peanuts, and pumpkin seeds in a 6-quart (preferably oval-shaped) or larger slow cooker. Using 2 wooden spoons, gently toss together, being careful not to crush the cereal.
  • Whisk the butter, Worcestershire, paprika, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour half over the dry ingredients and toss to coat evenly. Pour in the remaining half and toss again. Place a double layer of paper towels over the top of the slow cooker to catch condensation.
  • Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. When it is done, the party mix should look toasty and relatively dry.
  • Pour the party mix onto a work surface or baking sheets lined with parchment or paper towels. Spread into a single layer and sprinkle with the cranberries. Cool for 5 minutes before serving or storing. 
Recipe Notes:Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Cheesy Mashed Potato Puffs
Cook's Notes: An easy and flavorful idea to use up leftover mashed potatoes. Makes 12 to 24 puffs, depending the size of the pan used, Recipe from

  • Cooking spray or butter 
  • 2 cups cooked mashed potatoes 
  • 3 large eggs, beaten 
  • 1 cup grated cheese, such as Parmesan or Gruyère, divided 
  • 1 TB. each dried parsley and chives 
  • 1/4 cup diced cooked bacon or ham (optional) 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 
  • Sour cream, for serve (optional) 
  • Arrange a rack in the middle of oven and heat to 400 degrees, Lightly coat the cups of a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray or butter. 
  • Place the mashed potatoes, eggs, 3/4 cup of the cheese, chives, and bacon or ham in a large bowl and stir to combine. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper. 
  • Fill each muffin cup with the mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. 
  • Bake until the potato cups are set, browned on top, and heated through, about 20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a spoon or knife to gently release them from the pan. 
  • Serve immediately with dollops of sour cream, if desired. Recipe Notes: Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat and re-crisp, arrange the puffs on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (depending on size). 
More Flavoring Ideas for Mashed Potato PuffsLoaded Baked Potato: Cheddar cheese, cooked bacon, chopped green onions, served with sour cream and chives
Curried Potato Puffs: 1 teaspoon curry powder (or to taste), chopped red onion, chopped jalapeño pepper, served with yogurt and cucumber.
Goat Cheese & Spinach: Fine chopped spinach, minced garlic, crumbled goat cheese.
Italian-Inspired: Finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped basil, finely chopped shallots, served with a smear of tomato sauce.Last minute holiday decorating ideas

Printable tag for Christmas Cookies
Free Place Card Printables
My apologies for skipping two steps in the directions for Caramelized Pear, Onion, Bacon with  Gorgonzola Quiche posting Nov. 16th. I have added the necessary steps to the original recipe.    

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Caramelized Pear, Onion, Bacon and Gorgonzola Quiche

Let's see if Ever Ready can help with your holiday entertaining by posting this recipe on Twitter.
Caramelized Pear, Onion, Bacon and Gorgonzola Quiche
Cook's Notes: The unusual combination of ingredients always attract me to recipes. Pears sauteed with cinnamon and onions, adding in savory bacon make this one a winner in my book. And my neighbors all gave it their stamp of approval! 
White cheddar cheese can be substituted for Gorgonzola cheese. 
Cooking tips: Make sure unbaked pie crust is kept chilled and pear mixture is not warm before adding into the unbaked pie crust. Bacon can be fried ahead and crumbled. Bosc and Anjou varieties are best for baking as they hold their shape. 
  • 4-5 slices of thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 unbaked pie crust 
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 TB.brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 3 pears, cored and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup half and half or 1/2 cup half and half with 1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 3/4 cup Gorgonzola cheese or white cheddar, reserve 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. reserve 1/4 cup 
  • Cook bacon, drain on a paper towel lined plate, crumble and set aside.
  • Melt butter in a medium sized fry pan. Add in onions and saute 4 minutes. Add in pears, cinnamon and brown sugar. Saute 4 minutes.  Place pear mixture on a paper towel lined plate to drain juices off.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  • In a blender mix eggs, half and half, mustard and parsley flakes.
  • To the bottom of unbaked chilled pie crust, add 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and crumbled bacon.
  • Top with pear and onion mixture.
  • Place foil strips around outside rim of pie pan to prevent over browning. Oven rack should be placed on lower part of the oven. Pull rack out and place pie pan on it. Add egg mixture by  cupfuls and sprinkle with remaining cheese and nuts. 
  • Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce temperature to 300 degrees and bake 30 minutes longer. Insert a knife to the center to make sure it comes out clean for doneness. 

Turkey's Second Act

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fall Panzanella Salad

Panzanella or panmolle is a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, sometimes also onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar. Add a twist or two and turn this Italian salad into the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving full of autumn flavors.
Cinnamon and thyme roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash cubes nestled in a bed of greens with apple slices, topped with goat cheese and sunflower seeds, drizzled with an olive oil dressing make this one irresistible salad. 
Recipe inspiration from and makes four salads. 
Fall Panzanella Salad
Cook's Notes:Ingredients for salad and dressing can easily be increased. As a time saver look for pre-cut butternut squash cubes in produce. Italian bread can be substituted for Rosemary though not as flavorful. Advance planning makes assembly go smoother. Bread cubes can be toasted the day before and early in the day roast Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. I included two different vinaigrette dressings to choose from.  
Salad Ingredients:
  • 1/2 of a loaf of Rosemary bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2-1/2 cups butternut squash, cut in 1 inch cubes  
  • 2-1/2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved and quartered
  • 1-1/2 TB. olive oil  
  • 1/2 cup red onion, slices
  • 2 minced garlic cloves 
  • sprinkle of thyme and cinnamon
  • 3 cups mixed greens
  • 1 large Honeycrisp, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pepitas or sunflower seeds
  • crumbled goat cheese
Salad Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until the bread is toasted. Set aside.
  • Turn oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl add Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. Toss with olive oil. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone pad. Spread mixture out evenly. Sprinkle with cinnamon and thyme. Arrange onion and garlic among the cubes and sprouts. 
  • Roast 20-25 minutes until fork tender but not mushy. Stir once during roasting time. Cool to room temperature.
  • Assemble the salad- each was plated with mixed greens, Brussels sprouts and butternut squash mixture, apples slices, cranberries and crumbled goat cheese. 
Maple-Cider Vinaigrette Ingredients:
  • 3 TB. cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. apple pie spice 
  • 1/8 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp each kosher salt and pepper 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Maple-Cider Vinaigrette 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TB. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TB. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Each dressing is mixed in a blender. 

I found I could say things with color and shapes 
that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.

-Georgia O'Keeffe
American artist Georgia O'Keeffe is one of the 20th century's greatest painters. She was born in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin November 15, 1887. She grew up believing she would become an artist at a time when few women were encouraged to pursue their artistic talents.
Inspired by nature, she used shape, form, and color to create the idea of her subject and the way she felt about it.
Georgia O'Keeffe is renowned for her images of gigantic flowers, vibrant cityscapes and distinctive desert scenes.
Poppies were one of Georgia's favorite subjects. In this painting she shows two blossoms filling the canvas in symmetrical balance. She uses a palette of warm colors. The center of the poppies are a velvety dark shade to draw the viewer's eyes right into the core of the blossoms.

Deer's Skull 
O'Keefe loved the southwest landscape. On her long walks through the New Mexico dessert she often gathered bones to use as models for her paintings. Since she felt cattle were a major part of the American experience it was a way for her to pay tribute to her country through her paintings.

Georgia O'Keeffe died in 1986, Santa Fe, New Mexico. During her legendary life of 98 years she lived to see some of her 900 works of art exhibited in major art museums.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Beef Tamale Casserole with Cornbread Topping

I love the illustrations and this book is a fun read for K-3. It's not a traditional story but a version of The Three Little Pigs story set in Texas near Mexico. Kids will really enjoy it as the connection to the traditional story is close enough that they can predict what will happen, but different enough that they may giggle at the changes and enjoy it. Another fun part is how the author integrated the setting into the story; the horses are built from things you would find in Texas (ending with a house made of spiny cactus), and it also integrates some Spanish words. The words are occasional and are defined in the story as well as in a short glossary, but students, especially bilingual students, will really enjoy it.

Speaking of tamales how about this dish.
Beef Tamale Casserole is a real winner in my book. It's kid friendly taking comfort food to the max with layers of spiced beef, enchilada and tomato sauce,cheesy goodness topped with sweet cornbread. I skipped making cornbread from scratch and went for easy using a box mix. I substituted buttermilk for the milk. If you are a family of cheese lovers reserve some of the cheese and sprinkle over the cornbread before baking. Suggested cornbreads in my order of preference Famous Daves Cornbread, Krusteaz Honey Cornbread, 2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread.
You can vary the "hotness" of this recipe by increasing the spices or using hot enchilada sauce over mild.
  • 1 box cornbread mix
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup each diced onion and diced mini sweet red pepper 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. each chili powder, cumin, taco seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce mild
  • 1 can (10 oz.) Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 2 cups Shredded Mexican Cheese
  • Brown ground beef with onions, peppers, garlic and spices.
  • Drain and return mixture back to pan. Make sure beef is crumbled and add in enchilada sauce, diced tomatoes, corn and cheese.  
  • Pour into casserole dish. 
  • Make cornbread according to manufacturer's directions. Place large spoonfuls of cornbread over beef mixture covering as much of pan as possible. It will spread during baking time. 

  • Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Additional cheese can be sprinkled over the cornbread the last 5 minutes of baking time.   
November 14, 1840-December 5, 1926
Monet was the founder of French Impressionist style of painting. His works focused on landscape scenes and his favorite flower, the water lily.
Woman in Green Dress
This painting brought Monet recognition in 1866. It was one of the many works featuring his first wife Camille Doncieux.

These two paintings below are two of his most famous works on display at the Musee d' Orsay in Paris.

"It took me time to understand my waterlilies. 
I had planted them for the pleasure of it; 
I grew them without ever thinking of painting them. ”
- Claude Monet

Monday, November 13, 2017

Chocolate Mixed Nut Pie with a Sprinkle of Kindness

Imagine that-Chocolate Mixed Nut Pie With A Twist upstaged a planned Beef Tamale Cornbread Casserole Pie for today's posting!! 
But who could resist such a chocolate treat. And this is just not any traditional pecan pie but one with several twists-swap pecans for a mixed nut combo that gives the pie a sweet and salty flavor and crunch, Sweet Mexican chocolate that goes beyond the chocolate with hints of almond and cinnamon and a bit of espresso powder. Top the pie with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream and it's all piece de resistance
Recipe adapted from BHG November 2017
Chocolate Mixed Nut Pie
Cook's Note: Mexican chocolate such as Ibarra or Taza can be found Mexican markets or Hispanic sections of supermarkets. If not readily available you can substitute the following to the 3 oz. of bittersweet chocolate, adding in 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. almond flavoring.  

  • 1 single pie crust
  • 3 large eggs,slightly beaten
  • 1 cup dark or light corn syrup 
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder 
  • 1-1/2 cups mixed nuts combo, coarsely chopped, reserve 1/4 cup for topping
  • 3 oz. sweet-style Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. almond flavoring
  • In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and espresso powder until well combined. Stir in 1-1/4 cups mixed nuts and chopped chocolate mixture. Set aside. 
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Prepare pastry and fit into a 9 inch pie pan.  Crimp edges and place foil strips around the outer rim to prevent over browning.  
  • Place pie pan on oven rack and carefully pour filling in by the cupfuls into the pie pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of reserved nuts. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 425  degrees. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.
  • Bake 25 -30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean from the center.
P.S. Beef Tamale Cornbread Casserole will make an appearance next.
World Kindness Day November 13th need not be just one day but should be practiced every day. Here's some ideas to keep the kindness going... 

30 Acts of Kindness : November Challenge
1. Donate to a local food pantry
2. Volunteer for a worthy cause
3. Start a gratitude journal
4. Shop handmade on Black Friday
5. Make someone their favorite meal
6. Donate a coat
7. Compliment a cashier
8. Give yourself a yes day
9. Pay for someone’s meal
10. Thank a veteran
11. Show your gratitude to a loved one
12. Jot down 30 great things about yourself
13. Give something to a homeless person
14. Let someone else have the parking spot
15. Donate to Toys for Tots
16. Invite someone new over for a meal
17. Make someone a handmade gift
18. Email an old friend
19. Donate to a local rescue or animal shelter
20. Thank you local police or firemen
21. Thank your delivery drivers
22. Leave unused coupons at the store
23. Let someone checkout before you
24. Bake something for a friend or loved one
25. Return someone’s cart for them
26. Compliment a loved one
27. Send flowers to someone
28. Hold the door for someone
29. Celebrate world kindness day (Nov 13)
30. Leave kind notes in library books

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Weekend Round-Up

Spotlight on Native American Heritage Month

Dr. Anton Treuer is an American academic and author specializing in the Ojibwe language and American Indian Studies and is a cultural preservationist. He is a professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University Minnesota and a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities award winner.  His mother Margaret Treuer is an enrolled member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation and a lifelong resident of the Leech Lake Ojibwe Reservation. She is a retired tribal judge and was the first female Indian attorney in the State of Minnesota. 

Dr. Treuer grew up in and around the Leech Lake Reservation and has authored or edited 14 books. He is also widely known for his volunteer work at Ojibwe ceremonies, where he helps officiate at medicine dance and ceremonial drums in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Dr. Treuer is a dynamite speaker who relates well to his audience. I had the pleasure of hearing him speak at a recent event called "Let's Talk" in Walker MN. He was part of an informative presentation that was held to facilitate discussion between the community and members of the Leech Lake Reservation.  I would highly recommend Dr. Treuer's book "Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask " published by St. Paul Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2012.
In his book Dr. Treuer answers the most commonly asked questions about American Indians, both historical and modern in a question and answer format.  The book is factual,  frank and written with a sense of humor. 
I thought this succinct review I found summed up the book quite well... 
 It touches on Native American history, culture and language, tribal organization and relations with the US government, land theft and its continuing legacy of poverty, the history of oppression and the destruction of Indian culture, cultural practices such as powwows and ceremonies, ongoing challenges such as alcoholism, crime, and unemployment, and a grab-bag of stuff oblivious outsiders don't get, like casinos, the significance of eagle feathers and Indian names, whether Natives have a "mystical relationship with the land," and the appropriateness of the word "Indian".

A book review previously posted in Star Tribune paper

and a NPR interview
Have you ever heard of Pie Crust Crackers? 
Well neither had I until I came across a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie Soup from 
These crackers are so simple to put together with lots of creative variations.
You will need one prepared refrigerated pie crust.   
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Unroll crust to a sheet of parchment paper and gently roll out a few times. Transfer crust on parchment to a baking sheet.
  • Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Use a pizza cutter and cut lengthwise  into 2 inch strips.
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until pie crusts crackers are  golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and cool to room temperatures. 
  • Break into pieces and serve with soup.
  • Other variations include a sprinkle of  sesame seeds or try a sprinkle of cinnamon and you have a mid morning snack with your cup of coffee or tea. 
Pie Crust Crackers can be served as a side 
or topped on the soup. 
Chicken pot pie is ultimate comfort food and this creamy, chunky soup is loaded with chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, corn, peas, carrots, corn, celery and onions in every bite. You can modify this soup with vegetables you like to suit your taste. Milk and a little cream add to a lightened version of the soup. Use more chicken broth on the second day if needed reheating.

Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Cook's Notes: Advance planning will help make the soup assembly go faster. All veggies can be prepared ahead and placed in a zip loc bag until needed. Use a rotisserie chicken which adds to flavor and ease of the recipe. The soup will be thicker on the second day as potatoes absorb the liquid. I actually liked even better the second day for soup consistency and enhanced flavors. While the soup is on simmer make the Pie Crust Crackers. Another option for soup is adding 1 cup cooked wild rice in towards the end of cooking time. Recipe makes 4-6 bowls depending on the size.

  • 2 TB. butter 
  • 1 cup each diced yellow onions, celery, carrots, cubed without skin Yukon gold potatoes and mushrooms 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 1 TB. Dijon mustard 
  • 1 32 oz. box chicken broth low sodium 
  • 1-1/4 cups 2 % milk 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence 
  • 2 tsp. parsley flakes 
  • 1/2 cup each frozen corn and peas 
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey 
  • In a large soup pot melt butter over medium heat. Add in onion, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Saute 2 minutes and add in garlic, potatoes and bay leaves. Saute 2 more minutes, reduce heat to medium low, cover and sweat mixture 10 minutes stirring occasionally. 
  • Uncover and sprinkle with flour and stir until veggies are coated and flour starts to dissolve. 
  • Whisk in chicken broth, milk, cream, mustard and spices. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until all veggies are tender. 
  • Stir in chicken, peas and corn and simmer uncovered another 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Monday Night Dinner Celebrating

with a few resources, tips and Beef Tamale Pie.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Showstopper Pumpkin Pie

This was one of my favorite issues of 
with so many enticing recipes. Bobby Flay's Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream and Cinnamon  Crunch caught my immediate interest. I wanted to test it out before Thanksgiving to make sure it would be manageable as we are hosting dinner. The ingredients and directions were 3/4 of a page so my mission was to streamline the recipe. I am aware probably 99.9% of those cooking would be happy enough with a prepared pie crust and using Libby's Pumpkin Pie Filling but I am always up for  challenge. The end result was fantastic and so well worth the effort. Indeed it was a show stopper dessert and I would definitely make it again using my adaptations. 

Cook's Notes: Since I made multiple adaptations to get the recipe just right (sorry Bobby) I will include the original recipe link.

I will admit there were a few puzzling things about the recipe as I worked through it but I just kept saying to myself it's a Bobby Flay recipe so it must be right.
The recipe called for miscovado sugar. I had never heard of it so looked it up to find a substitute. I used dark  brown sugar. 
Muscovado - Another cane sugar, this one has a very moist texture and a strong molasses flavor. 
The cinnamon crunch was quite tasty but that part of the recipe was enough for many pies so I bagged the extra up. I found it's perfect as topping for oatmeal and yogurt. 

My sister was surprised I even had bourbon for whipped cream.  Only 1-2 teaspoons were  needed but a small airline size bottle from the liquor store come to the rescue for this topping.  
Lastly, I would suggest if you are up for this scrumptious pie consider some advance  planning. The crust and cinnamon crunch can both be baked the day before.  
Cinnamon Crunch
  • 1/2 cup each flour, oats, muscovado sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 7 TB. of cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon in the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add in butter and pulse a few times to mix. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread crunch evenly out and bake 20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Let cool and chop into small pieces. Set aside. 
  • If making ahead cool completely and then spread out on a dinner plate. Place a sheet of wax paper over it until serving or place in a plastic bag though do not seal it
Graham Cracker Crust
  • 2 packages of graham crackers (9 come in a sleeve-so 2 sleeves) 
  • 5 TB. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • Combine the graham crackers and cinnamon in a food processor. Mix until there are fine  crumbs. Add in melted butter and mix well. 
  • Press evenly into bottom and up sides of pie pan. Bake until golden 10 minutes.   
  • Cool on a rack.
  • 3 large eggs and 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup muscovado sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 TB. molasses
  • 1-1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree not pie filling 
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk 2% or whole
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 tsp. melted butter
  • Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Make filling by whisking eggs, egg yolks, sugars, and molasses in a bowl. Whisk in pumpkin puree, cinnamon, pumpkin spice mix and salt. 
  • Whisk in cream, milk and vanilla and melted butter. Pour mixture through a strainer into a bowl. 
  • Place pie pan in  a baking sheet. Pour the pumpkin filling into crust. Bake until the filling is set around the edges and knife inserted comes out clean about one hour and ten minutes. Cool before cutting.
  • To serve add 1 large tablespoon of cinnamon crunch to each serving topped with a  dollop of whipped cream.   
Whipped Cream
  • 1 pint heavy cream 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 TB. maple syrup
  • 1-2 tsp. bourbon
  • Chill beaters and bowl. Combine all ingredients and whip until soft peaks form.
 Spotlight on Native American Heritage Month with Some Suggested Resources