Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

I've made a lot of different pumpkin bread recipes.  Most have been really good.  I've even claimed (a few times maybe) that I'd found the "PERFECT RECIPE" and I would love it forever.  Then I'd decide to try something different next time.  I recently tried out this recipe - I loved the moist, dense texture.  I swap out oil for coconut oil in most of my recipes - you should try it!  But just in case you don't have it on hand, or don't want to invest in any just to try my recipes, you CAN use regular oil or an equal amount of applesauce.

This recipe is wonderful - it gives you a loaf to eat and a loaf to share!  My husband's coworkers were lucky enough to get the second loaf of this recipe....but honestly?  I would have eaten the whole thing, given the opportunity!

This would make a terrific side to take with you if you are attending someone else's Thanksgiving Dinner...just saying... ;)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 c. coconut oil (can use reg veg oil -- but coconut oil is awesome!)
1/2 c. applesauce
2/3 c. water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. sugar
3 1/2 c. self rising flour (or ap flour + 2 tsp baking powder)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBS (yes, Tablespoons!) pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease/flour 2 loaf pans.
Cream together pumpkin, eggs, oil, applesauce, water, vanilla and sugar. Add dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Divide among two pans. Bake for 60-70 min until toothpick comes out clean (you may want to tent foil over them for last 10-20 minutes).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'd like to think of these cookies as a little bit healthy - they have coconut oil in place of some of the butter, white whole wheat flour, oats, and dark chocolate.  Can't go wrong with all that, can you?  PLUS, my kids loved them and they lasted less than two days in our house.  Okay, my hubby and I loved them too and may be part of the reason they didn't last very long!

These are a great after school snack.  Or a late evening snack.  Or breakfast on the run....?  Maybe (if you're not opposed to eating cookies for breakfast - which I am not!).  These are easy to put together, particularly if you have a good stand mixer.  

2 c. white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. coconut oil
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs milk
2 c. rolled oats
1 pkg dark chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder & baking soda.
Cream together butter and coconut oil until blended completely.  Add in brown sugar and cream mixture until fluffy.
Add eggs, molasses and milk and beat until fully combined.  Beat in oats.  Slowly mix in flour mixture until fully combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls (I used the large scooper from Pampered Chef) onto ungreased cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room for spreading - I put 6 cookies per tray.  Bake 14-15 minutes until golden and browned around the edges.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.  Keep in airtight container to keep soft and chewy!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin easy, so good.

I love all things pumpkin, in case that wasn't obvious already.  
Pumpkin Butter is SO easy to make, I don't know why I haven't tried it before!  It just takes a little time, maybe I'm just too impatient.  But I gave it a whirl this week and am pleasantly surprised at the ease of making it AND it's absolute deliciousness!!

1 (29 oz) can pure pumpkin
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. brown sugar
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg
juice of 1/2 lemon
Stir everything except lemon juice together in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and cover.  You'll want to prop the lid open just a little to let the steam escape (a wooden spoon handle works great). Let simmer for at least 35 minutes.  The mixture will pop and sputter and splatter a lot, just to forewarn you.  Stir occasionally.  Remove lid after 35 minutes, stir in lemon juice and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to heatproof container and chill.  Keep refrigerated.

This can be used on so many things - from toast, to beer bread, to oatmeal, to yogurt!  It makes anything taste kind of like pumpkin pie.  It is so yummy, you won't regret trying this tasty treat!  It is perfect for this time of year.  I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Muffins (No flour)

These are a perfect on-the-go breakfast option - or, as in my case, really easy to whip up for breakfast when you don't have any cereal, bread or milk, and only 2 eggs left!  Plus, you can whip them up in the blender, saving yourself a pile of dirty bowls.  They are pretty tasty, too - like a little cup of fruity oatmeal that you can eat without the spoon!  

2 super ripe bananas, mushed up
1 c. applesauce
2 eggs  
1/2 c. sugar 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 c. old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin pan with FOIL liners, or just spray the muffin tins with non-stick spray (paper liners don't work well with this recipe).  I chose to spray my foil liners and they came out perfectly!

Place the bananas, applesauce, eggs and sugar in the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add in baking powder, soda and oats and blend until mixed thoroughly.  You may have to use your "pulse" button once the oats hit the bottom, but just keep blending until you have a very smooth consistency (will have SOME small lumps).  

Pour directly from the blender right into each cup - you'll be able to fill them at least 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and done all the way through.  

I think these would be really good with some cinnamon chips, or peanut butter chips, or maybe some walnuts and brown sugar on top!  But we ate them as-is and they were perfect. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Two of my favorite things together: Pumpkin and Snickerdoodles!  If you know me even a little, you know I'm pretty much a pumpkin fanatic.  And Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie ever.  I don't know why I don't make them more often...maybe because you have to chill the dough then roll it in the cinnamon sugar.  It's always worth it though.  And these are not exception.

I got this idea from A Bitchin' Kitchen

3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and spice.
In mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add in pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth and fully combined.  Slowly add in flour mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill dough (freeze at least 30 minutes or chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour). 

While the dough is chilling, mix together 1 c. white sugar with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice in a gallon-size ziploc baggie.

Shape chilled dough into balls (I used my medium scoop from Pampered Chef - it holds about 1 Tbs, give or take).  Toss each ball in the sugar mixture in the baggie.  Place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.  Cool on pans for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack.  TRY to wait until they're mostly cool before you test them!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Beer Bread

Do you know how easy it is to make your own beer bread?!?

Super. Easy.

Especially if you get yourself a bag of self-rising flour (if you don't have it, or don't want to buy an extra bag of flour, you can make regular flour "self-rising" by adding 1 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp of salt to each cup of all-purpose flour).

Okay, onto the beer bread recipe.  Remember how I said it was super easy?  I did not lie - you just need three things.  Okay, four if you count the butter you're going to brush on top after it's baked.  

Brown Sugar.
Bottle of Beer.
Self-Rising Flour.

That's it!  

In a bowl, combine 2/3 c. brown sugar with 12 oz. beer until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in 3 c. flour, until fully combined.  Pour into a greased loaf pan.

Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes.  Immediately coat top with butter (I just take a stick of butter and rub it across the entire surface a few times).  Let cool in pan about 5 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.  

Experiment with the types of beer you use.  My husband likes to try all sorts of beer - the darker, the better for him.  But there are also some with coffee, some with pumpkin, some with cider...You really can't go wrong here.  This time, I used Wisconsin Amber (kind of an homage to our new home, if you will).  And the taste is really, really good! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pumpkin Donuts: Baked, Not Fried

Baked Pumpkin Donuts

Updated 9/17/2012: it was brought to my attention that I left out the most important ingredient of these delicious donuts - the pumpkin!!  I have no idea how that happened, but it is now corrected below.  Please make sure you make these WITH pumpkin...they're much better that way.  I'm going to go hide in embarrassment now.  Thanks!  :)

These beautiful gems showed up in my Pinterest feed the other day.  The original recipe can be found on the King Arthur Flour website.  I adjusted a few things to make them "mine."  Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that if it's got pumpkin in it, I'm probably going to make it.  And eat it.  My kids are HUGE pumpkin fans as well - probably because I make everything with pumpkin from September until December.  

I happened to have a large donut pan for baking, and a mini one.  Which is kind of a funny story -- I had insisted on getting them years ago, then never used them and ended up putting them in a yard sale or something.  Then last year, a friend of mine brought these two pans to me and said someone had given them to her as a gift but she never used them and since I'm always baking I should have them!  I'm kind of glad I took them, too, it makes recipes like this so much fun!  And my kids love having donuts for an afternoon snack :) 

Now, if you do not have donut pans, these can be made in a mini muffin pan (think of them as donut holes if you want to), or even regular muffin tins - just don't fill those all the way to the top, and adjust your baking time accordingly.

These are moist, pumpkiny treats coated in a generous shaking of sugar mixed with pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have any on hand, you can make your own by combining 1 tsp of cinnamon with 1/2 tsp each of nutmeg and ginger - this will make you 2 tsp, increase accordingly to what you'll need!)

Pumpkin Donuts
1/2 cup *coconut oil (in liquid state)
3 large eggs
1 (15 oz.) can of PURE Pumpkin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

(*regular oil or melted & cooled butter can be used in place of the coconut oil.  I have been using the coconut oil in place of oil and butter in many of recipes with great success - and no, it does not make everything taste like coconut!)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Lightly grease your donut (or muffin) tins.
Place your oil, eggs, pumpkin, sugar, spices, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.  Beat together until fully combined and smooth.  Slowly add in the flour, stirring just until combined.

Spoon into wells, not filling them more than 2/3 full.  Bake regular sized donut tins for about 15-18 minutes (mini donut pans for about 13-16 minutes, regular sized muffins for 22-25 minutes), use cake tester or sharp knife in center to test doneness.

Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes so they can be moved easily.  Remove from pan and cool on rack a little bit longer.  While still warm (but not so hot they'll fall apart when handled), toss with the pumpkin spice cinnamon sugar coating:

1 c. white sugar
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
Add both to gallon size ziplock bag.  Close and shake well, until spice is even distributed.  

Toss donuts one or two at a time in bag.  

This recipe made 12 regular sized donuts (yes I had to wait until the first 6 were done before and out of the pan before I could make the rest of them) AND 12 mini donuts.  
And they all disappeared as soon as the kids were home from school...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Back to School, Back to Blogging!

Yes, it's been a while.  A long, long while.  But lots of changes have been occurring, and I'm ready to relaunch this blog!  I have missed it.  I haven't stopped baking and I haven't stopped taking pictures of my food...but I have not been blogging about ANY of it, and if you know me at all, you know I use recipes more as "guidelines" and if I don't write it down right after I change it, I probably won't remember what I changed!  So I am going to do my best to get this back up and running and bring you something yummy to try each week!  Feel free to leave comments, tips, suggestions...or just drop in to say hello!

So our biggest change is that we have moved - from Northern NY (where there are more cows than people) to a city in Wisconsin!  We have stores and restaurants and parks - all within walking distance of our new house!  Our older two kids have started their new school (also within walking distance) and are really enjoying their second grade classes.  For their first day of school, I took a page from my friend Chris's book and made them a Giant Cookie to celebrate!

I got the original recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe and of course tweeked to for what I had on hand.


1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup *coconut oil, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (you can use chocolate chips or whatever you want here; I happened to have pb chips so that's what we used!)

Buttercream Frosting

*You can use butter (melted & cooled) instead - I have started substituting coconut oil for butter and oil in recipes with great results!

Cream together sugars and coconut oil.  Add in egg, soda, salt and vanilla; mix well.  Stir in flour until fully combined; fold in chips.

Pat into a circle shape (about 1/2" thick) onto a parchment paper lined pan, or a baking stone.  It will spread while baking, so make sure there is room so it doesn't outgrow the pan!

Bake at 350 for 13-16 minutes until lightly golden.  Let cool COMPLETELY on pan.  Decorate with Buttercream frosting if desired.

Here is the recipe for the frosting I made:
1 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese
2 sticks butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb confectioners sugar, more or less for desired thickness
1 Tbs milk or cream, more or less for desired thickness

Cream together cream cheese and butter until fully combined and fluffy.  Add in vanilla and add confectioners sugar a cup at a time.  Add 1 Tbs of cream.  Beat on high until nice and fluffy (you can adjust the amounts of sugar and cream to get your desired taste and texture).

To decorate, put frosting in gallon size baggie, squeeze into corner, snip off corner and pipe frosting onto cookie.  You can color the frosting with food coloring (paste is recommended).

Kids love the huge cookie (my kids are already asking for one instead of a birthday cake!)...keep it in mind for your next special or fun occasion!