Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chris's Chicken

Hi all.  I was just looking at pictures of the devastation that Hurricane Sandy caused.  That bitch really tore through the East Coast.  My heart goes out to all affected.  I really think everyone should move to Nevada, or maybe Arizona.  We really don’t have much in the way of natural disasters here.  But like I said, my thoughts and prayers are with all affected.

So I am sure that if you are on Pinterest, you have seen the recipe for chicken topped with mayonnaise and parmesan cheese.  It is all over the boards.  I have made this for years, but I always add a couple more ingredients to jazz it up even more.  I call this Chris’s Chicken because it is his favorite when it comes to chicken.  Let me show you what I do differently.


I used a pack of breast fillets.  I find that these are thinner than regular “breasts” but not as thin as the “thin-cut” variety.  The fillets are also the same thickness all the way down.  Pretty much.  Of course, regular breasts will work too.

Besides the mayo and parm, I also use a pack of onion soup mix and bread crumbs.   Just use plain breadcrumbs.  This gives the chicken a great onion flavor and even more crunch.  And of course, the mayo keeps the chicken moist.  Chicken breasts, especially boneless skinless, can taste like cardboard.  They can be dry and tasteless….not with this recipe.  I solemnly swear.


So this is super easy.  I blend the mayo, parm, and onion soup mix in a bowl.  Don’t add salt.  The parm and the soup mix are already salty.  This will taste like a salt lick if you add extra salt.  That’s only cool if you are a deer.


I top each fillet with the mayo mixture, and then I sprinkle on bread crumbs and black pepper.  This bakes for 22 minutes at 425 degrees…..perfect every time.


This chicken is moist and delicious, with a crunchy, crusty yummy crust.  Seriously, this couldn’t be easier or more amazing.  You could easily pull this off on a regular week night….right?

Keep reading for my recipe.  Stay safe East Coasters!

Chris’s Chicken

1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken fillets (about 4)

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

1 packet onion soup mix

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1 ½ teaspoons black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.

Mix together mayo, parm, and onion soup mix until blended.  Lay chicken fillets on foil lines baking sheet.  Top each chicken fillet evenly with mayo mixture.  Sprinkle breadcrumbs and pepper evenly over chicken.

Bake at 425 degrees for 22 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Serves 4

Friday, October 26, 2012

Eyeballs, Brains, Bones and Graveyard Cupcakes

It’s almost Halloween!  Halloween is one of my favorite special days.  Actually, I love any holiday/special day, especially if they involve candy.  I also love to scare my kids.  Who doesn’t like to frighten small children?  Mine are pretty little, so I am still walking that fine line between scaring them a bit and scaring the pants off them.  I do want them to still be able to sleep at night.

Today I am going to show you a couple of super fun Halloween recipes.  The first is what I call “Monster Brains, Eyeballs and Bones”, and the second is “Graveyard Cupcakes”.  These are the perfect recipes to make for you family pre-trick or treating, or even for a Halloween party.  Are you having one?  You should totally invite me.

I start my “Monster Eyeballs” with ground turkey, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, garlic (to keep the Vampires away) and a few other goodies.  I form the meatballs into a lovely eyeball shape, and I use a pimiento stuffed green olive for the pupil.


If your kids, or guests, won’t eat olives…you could totally use a chunk of mozzarella cheese instead.

I baked the eyeballs until they were cooked through.  Then, I set them aside to start my brains.

For my brains, I used ramen noodles that I boiled in water that was dyed red with food coloring.  This will soak into the noodles and make them a beautiful shade of brainy pink.  Just pour some red food coloring into your water when it starts to boil.  I used about 10 drops.

I chose ramen noodles because they are curly, like what I imagine brains in a bowl would be.  Plus, they cook a whole lot faster than regular pasta.  You could always use spaghetti noodles if you are anti-ramen.

I made a sauce out of canned tomatoes, garlic, onion and basil.  You can follow my recipe for a quick and easy sauce, or you can use your favorite jar.  I won’t be offended.

Lastly, I used a can of refrigerated breadsticks to make my “bones”. 


I cut slits about an inch down each end.  Then, I rolled the pieces outwards to make bones.  I baked them according to the package directions.  They will bake up just like a bone.  Gross for any other day but Halloween….probably always perfect for kids.


Is that not the most perfect bowl full of fright?  And the best part, it tastes good too.  The meatballs are amazingly tender and delicious and the sauce is perfect.  Your family will love it.

For dessert…who’s up for Graveyard Cupcakes?  I used a boxed devil’s food cake mix.  I am all for boxed caked mixes, as long as you jazz them up a bit.  I might make a cake from scratch if I was feeding the Queen, but she hasn’t RSVP’d, so boxed it is. 

To jazz my box up, I used buttermilk instead of water.  This gives the cupcakes a delicious flavor, and helps keep them moist.  I also added a smidge of vanilla extract.

For the frosting, I made a quick frosting from butter, powdered sugar and cocoa powder.  I like boxed cake mixes, not so much canned frosting.  Frosting is so quick to make, and this frosting is so good you will want to bathe in it.

To make my graveyard “dirt”, I threw a sleeve of chocolate wafers into my food processor and grinded the heck out of them.  Then, I raided my kid’s closets for various doll and monster arms.  You can also buy a bag of mini doll arms from most craft stores. 


How fun are those?  You just stick your doll or monster arms in the cupcake so they look like they are reaching out of the dirt, kind of zombie-like.  Your kids will love the cupcakes so much they won’t even mind that you desecrated some of their toys for them.

Monster Eyeballs

1 lb. ground turkey

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ a large onion, diced

½ cup parmesan cheese, shredded or grated

½ cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Pimiento stuffed green olives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place ground turkey, minced garlic, diced onion, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.  With your hands, mix ingredients together just until blended.

Form 2 inch in diameter balls with your hands.  With your finger, make a small divot to place olive in.  Press meat mixture tightly around olive.

Place meatballs on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.

Makes about 12 meatballs

Brain Sauce

1 Tablespoon olive oil

½ a large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

28 ounce can tomato puree, or chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup basil, torn


In a sauce pan, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil, over medium heat until onions are softened.  This will take about4- 5 minutes.  Add tomato puree and season with salt and pepper.  Simmer sauce for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in basil.

Makes enough sauce for 5 packs of ramen noodles or 1 lb. of pasta.

Best Ever Chocolate Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

5 cups powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat all ingredients together with a hand mixer.  Blend until desired consistency is reached.

Makes enough for 24 cupcakes

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Dip

I love pumpkin bread.  And pumpkin spice lattes.  And pumpkin scented candles.  Really anything pumpkin.  I really do love the fall because it is all pumpkin, all the time. 

I found myself with an extra can of pumpkin this weekend after baking pumpkin bread.  I could never let a good can of pumpkin go to waste, but I wanted something new.  I didn’t want anything sweet.  Chris was watching some sort of sporting game on TV (I really don’t pay too much attention), and he requested chips and dip.  I decided to throw together some stuff I already had and make a Pumpkin Goat Cheese Dip.  I figured it would be good.  I never figured it would be one of the best things I have ever eaten…..and it really was.  Holy cow, this dip was amazing.

I will show you how to make it in just a sec.  But first, I have to again tell you how good this dip was.  If it was legal, I would marry it.  I really considered bathing in it.  It was also easy.  Everything went in the food processor. 

You will love this dip.  It should have a spot at your Thanksgiving dinner.


I started by roasting a whole head of garlic, and one shallot.  I cut the top off the garlic, and then drizzled it with olive oil, salt and pepper.  I gathered the whole thing up in a foil ball and roasted it for 35 minutes at 400 degrees.

I also quartered my shallot (and peeled it….duh), and drizzled it with olive oil, salt and pepper.  I just let the shallot lie on foil….I didn’t bundle it up in a ball.  I roasted the shallot for about half the time of the garlic, about 15 minutes.


For the dip part of this, I used cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic salt, black pepper and the canned pumpkin I kept talking about before.


Once my garlic and shallots were roasted, I tossed them in the food processor.  It’s almost dip time.


I also added my cream cheese and goat cheese, which were both at room temperature.  The pumpkin went in, along with some more salt and pepper.

I blended this until everything was smooth.


My final step was to toast up some slivered almonds for the top of the dip. I always feel that a smooth dip needs something crunchy on top.

I toasted these in a dry skillet until they were toasty and brown.  You will smell them when they are done.


I can’t say enough good things about this dip.  Chris and I were licking the bowl, and we might have had a slap fight over the last bite. 
The goat cheese and cream cheese go so well with the pumpkin.  It is creamy, smooth and full of roasted garlic goodness.


The best fall appetizer ever?  I think so!


Please make this.  Please.  I want you to share the joy.

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Dip

1 head garlic

1 shallot

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt, divided

½ teaspoon black pepper, divided

6 ounces goat cheese, room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup canned pumpkin

¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the top off of the head of garlic, and peel and quarter the shallot.  Place both on a foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Gather foil around garlic to create a ball.  Roast at 400 degrees.  Shallot will roast for 15 minutes and garlic will roast for 35 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Squeeze roasted garlic into the bowl of a food processor.  Add shallot, goat cheese, cream cheese, pumpkin and remaining salt and pepper.  Blend until smooth.

Top with toasted almonds and serve with crudité and crackers.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pizza Party!

My family, like every other red blooded family in America, loves pizza.  Thankfully, we now live in an area where we can pizza delivered when mama doesn’t feel like cooking.  But….we used to live where you couldn’t get anyone to deliver a pizza.  It was like torture.  How is it possible in this day and age to live somewhere in the USA and not be able to get pizza delivered?  I asked myself that question frequently.

Since I couldn’t have someone bring my lazy butt a pizza, I had to make my own.  Yes, I could have driven down the mountain and picked one up, but re-read the first sentence of this paragraph.  Yep, lazy.  Too lazy to drive anywhere. 

On the bright side, I got pretty good at making pizza.  Don’t get too excited…I don’t make my own crust or anything.  My Raley’s has fresh pizza dough that you can buy.  It is great!  It the perfect size and couldn’t be easier.  Today I am going to show you how to make two of my favorites….a stuffed crust pizza and a Roasted Garlic White Pizza.  Yum!


I will start with my stuffed crust pizza.  I rolled out my pizza dough first.  And I didn’t do such a hot job, but with homemade pizza….shape isn’t that important.


As you can see from the picture above, I am using string cheese to stuff m crust.  It is the perfect thing to use.  I cut each piece in half lengthwise and then in half across.

String cheese is the perfect shape, I had it on hand, and it melts beautifully.  This really is the easiest way to make stuffed crust pizza.


I used a smidge of water to seal the edges after I flipped the edges of the dough over the cheese.


For this pizza, I just topped it with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese.  This one was for my kids and they love plain cheese pizza.  Kids are really boring.


This baked up perfectly!  Although you can see one part on the top where the string cheese leaked out….no biggie. 


Yummers!  The kids love when I make this.


See the cheese in there?  Like I said above, string cheese really is the perfect cheese to use here.  This makes the pizza so much more exciting.  Yep, it doesn’t take much to excite me.

On to my white pizza…..


I started by roasting a whole head of garlic.  I cut the top off, placed it on foil, drizzled it with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then I wrapped the whole thing up in a big foil ball.  I roasted this for 30 minutes on 400.


Once the garlic was roasted, I squeezed it out of the shell (that doesn’t sound right…the head?) and mixed it with a container of ricotta cheese.  I also added a smoosh more salt and pepper.


Once again, I imperfectly rolled out a pizza crust.  This time, I smeared a little olive oil on the top and popped this in the oven for a few minutes to brown the crust up.  This is different than my stuffed crust pizza which didn’t cook until AFTER it had its toppings.


Once the crust came out of the oven, I spread the ricotta/garlic mixture all over.  Then, I placed fresh mozzarella strategically over the top.  I say “strategically” because I really do want prime melty cheese coverage.


Next came tomatoes and parmesan cheese.

I baked this, again, for just a few minutes.  I just wanted to melt the cheese this time.


Once the pizza was done, I topped it with some basil.

This was the perfect “grown-up” pizza, although to be honest, I am pretty sure that Chris ate the majority of both, grown up or not.  But I can see why.  Both pizzas were delicious.  Personally, I loved the roasted garlic in the White Pizza…..

These recipes helped me through the dark days of no pizza delivery.  I hope they can help you too;)

Roasted Garlic White Pizza

One ball of pizza dough

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 head of garlic, roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper

15 ounces ricotta cheese, part skim

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

8 ounces fresh mozzarella

2 tomatoes, sliced

¼ cup parmesan cheese

¼ cup basil, torn

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, or follow directions for pre-heating on your pizza dough’s package.

Roll out pizza dough to desired shape.  Place on lightly oiled pizza pan.  Drizzle remaining oil over the top of the crust.  Bake at 425 for 11 minutes.

Mix ricotta cheese with roasted garlic, salt and pepper.  Smear over baked crust.  Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes at 425.

Top baked pizza with basil.

Serves 4-6

Friday, October 5, 2012

Apple Cider Pork...In the Slow Cooker!

Huge news….I’m wearing a sweatshirt.  Now that might not sound like huge news to you, but it is to me.  It means that it is no longer 185 degrees out.  By no means is it chilly, but at least I am not sweating like a you know what in church.  It also means that I feel a little bit better about putting up Halloween decorations.  It always feels weird to put them out when it is still summer like weather.  Apparently Mother Nature knew I wanted to get my decorate on this weekend, and she took pity on me.

I celebrated this minor drop in degrees with a pork roast in the slow cooker.  More specifically, my Apple Cider Pork Sandwiches.  I cooked a pork shoulder in the slow cooker with apples, onions and apple cider.  I shredded the pork and served it with a honey mustard spread, Gruyere cheese, all on pretzel rolls.  Crazy good, but really easy.  This recipe is just a few ingredients, and since it is a slow cooker recipe, it essentially cooks itself.

Let me show you how I did it, so you can do it too.


For the pork, I used a small pork shoulder, an onion, chicken broth, apple cider, garlic salt, black pepper and sliced green apples.

I didn’t use a spiced cider in this recipe, but you absolutely could.  My cider was just a mix of three apples.  I also chose green apples, but you can use whatever you have.


I started by seasoning my pork.  I seasoned both sides with garlic salt and pepper.


Browning your meat on the stovetop is an essential step to slow cooking.  I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary….you have to do this.  You cannot just drop your meat directly in to the slow cooker, usually.  A cut of meat like a pork shoulder or a beef roast must be browned first.  Otherwise you end up with a weird, greyish piece of mushy meat.  Browning the meat adds flavor and helps the texture of the meat.

So yeah, I browned my pork in a smidge of oil.  I just did a few minutes on each side.


I sliced my onion and placed it in the bottom of my slow cooker.  My pork will lie on a nice soft bed of sliced onions.  Comfy?  No.  Tasty?  Yes.


I added my browned pork and my chicken broth/apple cider combo.  I have tried this with straight apple juice.  The end result was too sweet for me.  I prefer the chicken broth/apple cider combo.

This cooked on low for 8 hours. 


After 7 hours, I added my sliced apples.  I did this because I wanted the apples to keep their shape and not turn into complete mush.  I realize this is hard if you are setting your slow cooker and then going to work, expecting your dinner to be ready when you get home.  If this is the case, add your apples when you get home and then wait as long as you can, even if it is just 30 minutes.


When the 8 hours was up, I removed my pork and it pretty much fell apart on its own.  I help it along with 2 forks.


Then, I added my pork back into the slow cooker.  The shredded meat will soak up all the juices in the pot. 

Look at the brown marks on the side of the slow cooker.  I sure am looking forward to cleaning that.  As of now, it is soaking in the sink where it will probably be till Monday.

So the pork is ready.  Now it is time to get the sandwiches ready.

Of course, you could eat the pork just like this.  You could serve it with potatoes, noodles or rice and be good to go.  I like this pork in sandwiches.  It is amazing with the honey mustard, cheese and pretzel rolls.  It is like Oktoberfest on a bun.


I used Gruyere cheese for my sandwich and Mr. Rooster’s sandwich.  My kids don’t like Gruyere because they have no taste.  I used a sharp cheddar on their sandwiches.


I also made a sauce out of mayo, mustard and honey.  Simple, simple.


This sauce is good with pretty much anything.


I sliced my pretzel rolls in half and threw them under the broiler to toast up.

I found my pretzel rolls at Wal-Mart, but I know you can also get them at Costco.  I think they are pretty much available everywhere.


Did I forget to mention that I put cheese on the rolls before I popped them in the broiler?  Well, I did.  I love getting the cheese all melty and gooey.


I made sure each sandwich had plenty of sauce, cheese, apples, onions and pork.  This sandwich will be messy.  Like “drip down your to your elbows” messy.


Yum!  This sandwich is sweet and savory at the same time.  Apples and pork are meant to be, and the cheese and sauce is the icing on the cake, so to speak.

I hope you try this recipe.  You will love it!  And then come over and clean my slow cooker.

Apple Cider Pork

3 lb. pork shoulder, boneless

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 large white onion, sliced

3 cups apple cider

1 cup chicken broth

2 apples, sliced

In a large deep sided pot, brown pork shoulder on all sides in oil, over medium high heat.

Place sliced onion in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add browned pork shoulder.  Pour apple cider and chicken broth over pork.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

After 7 hours, add apples and cook remaining hour.

Shred pork and return to slow cooker.

Serve on pretzel rolls topped with Gruyere cheese and honey mustard sauce.

Makes 12 sandwiches

Honey Mustard Sauce

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons yellow mustard

2 tablespoon honey

Whisk ingredients together until smooth

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pumpkin Fudge and Apple Cider Fudge!

Hi guys!  Is it still crazy hell-fire hot where you are even though it is October 2nd?  It is supposed to be 91 here today….which is ridiculous.  But it does cool off at night, so at least I don’t wake up in a pool of my own sweat at night anymore.  TMI?  Sorry.  It’s just that I feel so close to you.

Last weekend was the Candy Dance in Genoa, NV.  It isn’t really a dance at all, but actually a kick ass craft fair.  Wait, there is still a dance one night, but the craft fair is what it is all about.  I have been to it twice before and it is amazing.  It really is the biggest and best craft fair I have ever been too.

I guess the story behind it is…..a long, long time ago, like 1919…..the women of Genoa made and sold candy, and had a “Candy Dance” to earn money for the town to buy street lights.  Somewhere along the line, it evolved into a craft fair, but they do still sell candy.

I didn’t get to go this year.  I was pissed.  So I made my own candy to make up for it.  I might sell it for streetlights.  What kind of candy, you ask?  I made fudge.

It seems like everywhere you go in Northern Nevada, they make their own fudge.  Virginia City, Scheels, The Chocolate Nugget, even the candy store in the Grand Sierra makes their own fudge.  They always have crazy flavors too.

I have never made my own fudge the “real” way.  I have made fudge the cheater way which involves marshmallow crème, but never the authentic way which involves a candy thermometer.  It was easy, but it did take some time.

The flavors I chose were Pumpkin Spice (duh) and Apple Cider Fudge.  I am going to be honest here….the Pumpkin Fudge recipe is not mine.  I poached it right off the interwebz.  I used Allrecipes.com.  Here is the link: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/pumpkin-fudge-2/detail.aspx.  Fudge is very scientific, and I just wasn’t comfortable coming up with my own recipe.  I don’t excel at science.  But…..I did come up with the Apple Cider version.  Sort of.  It is based on the Pumpkin Fudge recipe….You’ll see.


For the pumpkin fudge, I used milk, corn syrup, sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, canned pumpkin, butter and my own little touch was mini chocolate chips.  The recipe called for walnuts.  Gross.


The recipe starts with putting the milk, pumpkin, sugar and corn syrup into a pot.  This will boil up, so use a pretty big pot.  I’m not saying you have to use a pot that you would boil lobsters in, but a pretty good sized one is a good idea.


So I brought this to a boil over high heat, stirring the whole time.  Then, I reduced the heat to medium and let the mixture come to 235 degrees, which is “soft ball” stage.  Don’t try to do this the old-fashioned way….use a candy thermometer.

And oh yeah, during this part, you don’t stir. 

This took a good 30 minutes to come to temperature.  The good news is that since you aren’t stirring, feel free to go do something else.  I watched Homeland. 


Once the mixture came to 235 degrees, I removed it from the heat and whisked in some butter, and the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Now, the mixture has to sit until it is down to 110 degrees.  This took FOREVER.  So, I watched another episode of Homeland.


Once the mixture was lukewarm, I beat it with a hand mixer until it was thickened and less shiny.  The mixture will come together in a big mass in the middle of the bowl.  It won’t stay loose like cake batter.

This takes about 5-10 minutes.


Lastly, I stirred in my mini chips.  Since the mixture was still slightly warm, the chips melt in and get all swirly and pretty…..


Like so.  I poured this into a greased 8x8 pan.  This will harden within a couple of hours.


Yum.  Those ladies in Genoa could sell a ton of this and buy a boatload of lights with this stuff.

I decided to try another version of this, using my own ingredients.  I decided to mimic the flavors of apple cider.  It was probably one of the best ideas I have ever had.  Let me show you my version.


For my version, I used sugar (but ½ cup less than the pumpkin version), milk, corn syrup, apple sauce, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, butter, dried apples and cinnamon chips.

Cinnamon chips are pretty readily available near the holidays.  I got mine at the Walmartz.  If you can’t find cinnamon chips, try butterscotch chips.  That would be pretty good too.


I started the same way, with milk, corn syrup, sugar and apple sauce.


I brought this to a boil over high heat while stirring, then I reduced to medium and brought the temp to 235.  And I watched more Homeland. 


Then, I removed it from the heat and whisked in the butter, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  I had to let it sit again to get it to 110.  I would have watched more Homeland, but by this point I had finished the first season.  So….I took a nap.


I woke up to chop my dried apples.  These are sticky little buggers, so be careful.


After the mixture had sat and cooled off, I beat it with the hand mixer until it was thick and less glossy. 


Then, I stirred in my dried apples and cinnamon chips.  I almost ate the whole thing right here because it smelled amazing.  Like Christmas, Thanksgiving and fall all rolled into one.


Greased 8x8 again…..and this sat for a couple of hours.


No offense to Ginger from AllRecipes….this one was better than the pumpkin.  The Pumpkin Fudge was no slouch, but this one was rad.  I’m trying to bring that word back.  Is it working?


Yum!  Who’s coming over since I now have two pans of fudge?

Please click on the link I posted above for the Pumpkin Fudge recipe;)

Apple Cider Fudge

2 ½ cups sugar

1 cup whole milk

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

½ cup apple sauce

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ cup butter (one stick)

½ cup dried apples, chopped

¼ cup cinnamon chips

In a large sauce pan, bring milk, sugar, apple sauce and corn syrup to a boil over high heat, stirring the entire time.  Once the mixture boils, reduce heat to medium and bring mixture to 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Do not stir mixture.

Once mixture hits 235 degrees, remove from heat and whisk in butter, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Let mixture sit until it reaches 110 degrees.

After the mixture has cooled to 110, beat with hand mixer until mixture is thickened and loses shininess.  Stir in dried apples and cinnamons chips and pour into a greased 8x8 pan.  Let sit for 3 hours.