December 24, 2012

Pecan Maple Scones with Maple Glaze

  • Very holiday tasting! These were easy to put together (15 min prep and 15 min bake) and make for a quick "what do you want for breakfast?" choice.
  • 1 c. oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned), processed in food processor until finely ground (took a few minutes in mine)
  • 1 c. all-p flour
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c. half-and-half
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c. chopped pecans (I didn't toast them but the scones would have had a more nutty flavor had I done so. To toast, heat a dry skillet over medium heat and toast nuts, turning them over by shaking the pan several times until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Do not let burn).
  • Icing: Mix in a bowl: 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, 2 tbsp maple syrup, and if needed, a little bit of milk or half-and-half. Keep it pretty thick (doesn't run off a spoon when lifted).
1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, finely ground oats, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter with two butter knives or a pastry blender until butter is in very small chunks.
3. In another bowl, beat egg with half-and-half, vanilla, & maple syrup. Add to dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just mixed.
4. Add pecans and mix just to incorporate.
5. Place dough on a floured surface, knead a few times then pat into an 8 to 10-inch circle. Cut into 8 wedges using a pizza cutter or dough/pastry scraper. Transfer to a baking sheet (I line mine with my silicone baking mats) and bake 10-15 min or until bottoms are just lightly browned (my tops did not brown at all when bottoms were lightly brown so watch carefully).
6. Remove scones to a wire rack and let cool 5 min before glazing. Mix the glaze ingredients and then spread over top of scones, topping with 1 pecan. Eat right away or let sit 15 min for glaze to set.

Cranberry Scones

  • These were delicious! They spread out a bit in the oven for me so I might add a bit more flour (1-2 tbsp) or reduce butter by 1 tbsp next time. I left the original recipe below.
  • Modified from Annie's Eats
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. plus 3 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 c. chopped fresh cranberries (chop by hand or pulse in your food processor)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • Additional sugar for sprinkling (I used a course raw sugar but regular white sugar would be fine)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 c. sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter and cut in with a pastry blender or two butter knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. In a small bowl, toss chopped cranberries with remaining 3 tbsp sugar then stir into the flour-butter mixture.
4. In another small bowl, combine egg, egg yolk, and heavy cream; whisk to blend. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently with a spatula or wooden spoon until dry ingredients are just moistened. Knead gently to be sure dough is evenly mixed, being careful not to overwork the dough.
5. To shape scones: either drop into heaping mounds onto a baking sheet, pat into a 8 to 10-inch circle on a floured surface and cut into 8 wedges with a pizza cutter or pastry/dough scraper, or scoop dough into a 2 1/2 or 3-inch biscuit cutter and pat down gently to form a 1-inch thick round.
6. Sprinkle with additional sugar and bake about 15 minutes or just until lightly browned. Cool slightly before serving.

December 16, 2012

Christmas Goodies

  • Working from the top around clockwise....

(click on link to get recipe)


  • Recipe modified from Celebrations at Home blog
  • My melted chocolate got a little thick so I googled how to thin melted chocolate and added a tsp or two of vegetable shortening which worked great.
  • 7 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 c. unsweetened flaked/shredded coconut
  • 50ish almonds
  • 20 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1. Toast almonds over medium low heat in a dry skillet for about 5-7 minutes, shaking the pan every once in awhile until nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted. Remove from heat to cool. Be careful not to burn them.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Stir in the coconut, until combined (it will be thick). Freeze the mixture for about 30 minutes so it will be easier to work with.
3. Remove the coconut from freezer and with clean hands, shape about one tablespoon of coconut into tight little balls and place on a cookie sheet.. You may need to wash hands every so often as they will get sticky. Place 2 almonds on top of each ball, pressing them in lightly. Place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill while you melt the chocolate.
4. Find a heat-proof bowl that will sit nicely over a saucepan with the rim of the bowl sitting on the rim of the pan, bowl part sitting down into the saucepan a bit. Fill the saucepan with a few inches of water (should be about 1 inch below the bottom of the bowl) and bring to a simmer.
5. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl above the simmering water and stir every so often as they melt. Once melted, shut heat off but leave bowl over warm water.
6. Remove the candies from the fridge and place one coconut almond ball on a fork. Use a spoon to scoop a bit of the chocolate over the top and then lower the fork into chocolate and spoon over candy to coat. Lift fork and let the chocolate run off a bit. Place on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with all candies. See my NOTES above if your chocolate gets too thick.
7. Let candy harden in fridge for 45 minutes or so then freeze and remove as desired or let store at room temp in a sealed container.


  • This is a modified recipe that Luke's grandma always made at Christmas. They are soo soo good. Cut into small squares as they are pretty rich.
  • 2 c. crushed graham cracker crumbs (put in a zip-lock and use a rolling pin)
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1.5 c. chocolate chips (or use a mixture of chocolate and butterscotch chips)
  • 1 1/3 c. flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 1 c. chopped nuts of choice (walnuts, pecans, almonds)

1. Preheat oven to 325. Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper and spray lightly.
2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of prepared pan. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over crumb mixture. Layer evenly with chocolate chips, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly with fork or lightly sprayed hands/palms.
3. Bake 15-25 minutes or until just lightly browned. Let cool a few minutes on a cooling rack then loosen from sides of pan while still warm. Finish cooling pan on wire rack then remove entire pan of bars to cutting board when cool. Cut into bars.

(click on link to get recipe)


  • These cookies have a brownie-like texture and are best eaten when still warm out of the oven. They do freeze fine.
  • A favorite Christmas cookie of mine from childhood.
  • Recipe from Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog
  • 2 c. plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (see steps 4 & 5 from the Mini Almond Joys recipe above for how to melt chocolate on the stove)
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar 

1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl beat butter and sugar well, and then add eggs beating until creamy and smooth.
3. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat well.
4. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just to blend.
5. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
6. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.
7. Shape heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and roll in powdered sugar. Place at least 1 1/2" apart on baking sheets.
8. Bake at 350ยบ (360 for high altitude) for about 10 minutes (8-9 min for high altitude) or JUST until tops are puffed and cracked. Take out earlier than you think you would. Do not over bake!


  • Tried these the first time this Christmas. I was going to make peanut butter blossoms but wanted to try these instead. A very tasty little candy that freezes well!
  • Recipe from Land O Lakes
  • 1/2 c.sugar
  • 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 30-40 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray miniature muffin pan with no-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Combine sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.
3. Add flour, baking soda and salt; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place each ball into prepared miniature muffin cup. Bake just 10-12 minutes or until just a little golden (they will continue to cook when you remove from oven so take out sooner than you think).
5. Remove from oven; press peanut butter cup in center of each cookie. Cool 15 minutes or so. Remove from pan to cooling racks and cool completely.


  • This is an easy and delicious fudge that tastes like an Andes mint. Yum!
  • My top layer did not "swirl" nice into the green layer like in the original recipe modified from because my chocolate set too fast. I ended up spreading the dotted chocolate over the green layer and adding some mini chocolate chips on top to make it look prettier.
  • Freezes well.
  • 2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces white chocolate (I used white baking chips)
  • 1 tbsp peppermint extract
  • few drops of green food coloring
  • mini choc chips for topping (optional, see NOTES above)

1. Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides.
2. Prepare to do steps 2 & 3 at the same time. In a double boiler (or a make-shift double boiler - see steps 4 & 5 from the Mini Almond Joys recipe above), melt chocolate chips with 1 cup sweetened condensed milk; add vanilla.
3. At the same time, melt the white chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water with remaining sweetened condensed milk. Add peppermint extract and green food coloring.
4. For this step, the faster you go the better because the fudge sets very quickly and you won’t be able to do the marble pattern otherwise) Reserve about 4 tablespoons of the dark chocolate mixture and spread the rest into the pan. Add the green peppermint mixture on top. Quickly dollop the remaining dark chocolate mixture over the green and then run a knife at the surface to create a marbled effect (see NOTES above if this is working for you).
5. Chill for 2 hours or until firm. Use the overhang to get the fudge out of the pan. Cut into small bite-size squares. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator or freeze them.

December 6, 2012

That Baking Frenzy...

I feel like a pregnant woman trying to prepare meals to freeze before the baby gets here....I can't help but keep a running list of all of the delicious holiday treats, cookies, candies, and chocolates I want to make this year! I'm limiting myself to 5 (maybe 6?) things to bake for holiday treat bags. I'll try and post as I bake.

For now, here's a few holiday-ish treats and baked goods (besides the 3 posts directly below this one) that I've posted in the past few years:

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

Peppermint Bark

Ginger Cookies

Cinnamon Rolls

Cranberry Orange Pancakes

Sweet Potato Waffles with Sweet Nut Topping

Festive Cranberry Orange Bread

  • This is really really good and pretty too! Perfect for a holiday playdate, breakfast, brunch, etc. I'll be making this again soon. The first two iPhone pics above don't do it justice so I added the pic that I modified the recipe from (Taste of Home). I had pulled the recipe out of the magazine from the October/November 2009 issue and have never made it until now!
  • The original recipe calls for fresh or frozen cranberries along with golden raisins. I did not use the raisins because I didn't think it sounded good and I'm glad I didn't - it was great with just cranberries!

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c. cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c. orange juice
  • If you like your bread really "orange-y", feel free to add 2 tsp. grated orange peel (I did not do this as my husband complains when there is citrus zest of any kind in a recipe!)
  • 1 1/4 c. chopped (use a food processor if you have one) cranberries
  • 1/3 c packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp all-p flour
  • 2 tbsp cold butter
Glaze (optional but good!):
  • 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tsp orange juice
1. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients then cut in the butter until crumbly (if you don't have a pastry cutter, use two forks or two knives).
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and orange juice then stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. 3. Fold in cranberries and transfer to a greased loaf pan (8 or 9-inch by 4 or 5-inch).
4. For streusel, combine brown sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Don't let it overcook or burn so watch carefully starting at 40 minutes. For high altitude, I bake at a little higher (at 360 or 365) and for less time (around 40 minutes).
5. Remove to a wire rack to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife if necessary then remove from pan to wire rack. Let cool another 15 minutes and drizzle with glaze if desired.

Best Sugar Cookies

  • I should have posted these when I made them - for Halloween! But Christmas is nearly here and sugar cookies are something I can't go without (of course, I'll use the appropriate color scheme).
  • These are sooooooooooo good. The trick is to just barely baking them. Take them out before the edges start to even get a little golden and the bottoms are maybe just a tiny bit golden - they will still be white on top. Then let them cool just for a minute on the pans before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Do not overcoook! Watch them closely.
  • Double or triple the recipe if you want extras or a few to give away.
  • Sugar cookie recipe modified from a Land o Lakes recipe and frosting is modified from a recipe found on
  • For those cooking at a high altitude like myself, I used 1 tbsp less butter and 1-2 tbsp less sugar. Found that this helps the cookies from spreading too much. Chilling for half hour or so before rolling out also helps.
  • These cookies freeze nicely, both frosted and unfrosted.
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 c. all-p flour
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
(this recipe will make enough frosting for a double batch of the cookies above)
  • 4. c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. butter (or shortening as in the original recipe)
  • Little cream or milk (2-5 tbsp), add slowly
  • Food coloring of choice


1. Heat oven to 375°F (I cook at 385 for high altitude). Combine butter and sugars in a large bowl mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour, cream of tartar and baking soda; beat at low speed until dough forms a ball.
2. Chill dough for 30 minutes to make it easier to roll out then roll out on a well-floured surface to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with desired cookie cutter and move (nudging a floured metal spatula underneath if necessary) and place on an ungreased cookie sheets. Bake around 5-8minutes (see my second bullet point above for directions on how to cook to perfection).

1. Frost cookies once they've cooled.
2. Cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.
3 Gradually mix in vanilla and a tbsp of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached (aim for a thicker frosting - it should not fall off a spoon when turned upside down).
4. Mix until smooth and stiff, about 5 min. Add desired food coloring, a few drops at a time. Let cookies sit out in a single layer (cover lightly with foil or plastic wrap) for a few hours while the frosting hardens a bit. Then you can place them in a container, placing wax paper between layers.

Holiday Gingerbread Waffles

  • Got these from Annie's Eats but original recipe is from Martha Stewart. Didn't get a picture of these for some reason. See here for Annie's picture.
  • I modified several things in the recipe so I included original recipe ingredients in parenthesis behind my edits.
  • These taste like Christmas. Serve with some real whip cream (mix in a little cinnamon and a little sugar (3 tbsp per 1 c. cream) in with the cream while whipping it for a real treat). Also taste delish with maple syrup.
  • We always make extra pancakes or waffles and freeze. They make for another great breakfast or easy snacks. If eating them for breakfast and you are thinking about them the night before, set them in the fridge to thaw overnight then bake on a baking sheet at 350 for just 5 minutes. You can always defrost them a bit in the microwave directly from the freezer then toast or put in oven.
  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 tbsp cooking oil (or 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled)
  • 1 3/4 c. buttermilk (or 1 cup milk & 1/2 c. sour cream)
  • 3 tbsp unsulfured molasses
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to blend. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, and molasses and whisk to blend well. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk to combine until all the dry ingredients are incorporated (it's ok if there are some lumps)2..
2. Preheat a waffle iron. Fill waffle wells and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Cook until golden but still a little soft. Serve immediately with desired toppings (see NOTES above).

November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving and holiday revisits

Cooking a turkey? See here for an easy turkey "how-to" from 2010.

Use the pan drippings from your turkey for your gravy!

What to do with turkey leftovers?

  • This is a great slow-cooker soup for that leftover turkey: Fiesta Turkey Soup (scroll down to recipe 5 of that week - this was before I started posting each recipe separately)

Other fall/holiday food:

Crusty Dutch Oven No Knead Bread


  • Don't be scared! It's a bread recipe but it literally requires NO kneading!
  • I've been wanting a dutch oven for a long time and finally used a birthday gift certificate to Amazon and bought a middle-of-the-road cast iron, enamel coated dutch oven. It goes from the stove top (think stews, roast, etc.) directly to the oven but more importantly bakes this AWESOME loaf of crusty-on-the-outside, soft, chewy, and delicious-on-the-inside-bread. I made this simple bread for the first time mid-October and have probably made more than 10 loaves since then. It's that good.
  • Go ahead and double the recipe. Whatever you don't eat fresh will make great french toast!
  • Found the recipe on a blog called Alaska from Scratch

  • 3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. warm water
1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Add water and stir with a wooden spoon until flour is mixed in (mixture will be sticky; this is what you want). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours (up to 24).  I have found that 12-16 seems ideal
2. Preheat oven to 425. Place a cast iron dutch oven with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  While the dutch oven is getting hot, dump/scrape the risen dough onto a heavily floured surface (mixture will be sticky) and lightly shape into a round loaf (you can knead it here a few times if you want). Cover the bread with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
3. After dutch oven has been preheating for 30 minutes, remove it from the oven and carefully set in the dough. Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes. Carefully remove bread from oven and from pot and place on a cooling rack.

November 12, 2012

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with Ginger Pecan Crust

  • Great dessert for fall and Thanksgiving! It's relatively easy to make and is so much better than the regular old pumpkin pie.
  • Recipe is modified from Taste of Home
  • You will need a spring form pan or I would suggest cutting the recipe in half and using a pie plate if you do not have a spring form.
  • This can easily be made g-free by using g-free ginger snap cookies.
  • You make this ahead of time (needs to refrigerate at least 10 hours) and pull out right before serving so it's perfect for those who like to cook after the kids are in bed like me. :)
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies (about 20 cookies) plus extra for topping (place them in a ziplock bag and crush with a mallet or use a rolling pin to roll back and forth across the bag)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • Topping of choice: caramel syrup, whipped cream (my favorite is to whip 1 c. of heavy whipping cream with 3 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice...use a chilled mixing bowl and whisk attachment for the best whip).

    1. Wrap a greased springform pan with two layers of foil (you are trying to make the bottom water proof). See notes above if you don't have a springform pan and want to use a pie plate.
    2. In a small bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, pecans and butter. Press onto the bottom of prepared pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.
    3. For filling, in a large bowl, beat 1 package of cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in remaining cream cheese, one package at a time until smooth. Add remaining sugar and vanilla. Add 4 eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.
    4. For this next part you will need 2 more bowls (besides the mixing bowl with your plain filling). In bowl #1, place 2 cups of filling and stir in the pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In bowl #2, place 3/4 cup of the pumpkin filling that you just made and set aside. Pour the remaining pumpkin filling in bowl #1 over the crust then top with remaining plain filling left in your mixing bowl. Using a butter knife, swirl the two layers together. Then drop by spoonfuls the rest of the pumpkin filling in bowl #2 by spoonfuls over cheesecake and swirl with the butter knife.
    5. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of hot water to larger pan. Bake at 350° for 55-65 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer and refrigerate overnight. If using the springform pan, keep the cheesecake in the pan until ready to serve. Before serving, top with extra crumbled cookie crumbs and make cinnamon whip cream (see NOTES above).

    Pumpkin Cream Cheese-Filled Muffins (a must make!)

    • These are so worth it!! A friend (thanks Emily!) brought these over along with dinner after having my second baby last fall and I have been wanting to make them since!
    • The recipe makes 24 regular size muffins but if you're up to it, double the recipe and make enough to freeze. They are great thawed and then reheated just for 10 seconds. Keep them around for the holidays and special mornings....they are so good!
    • Recipe from Annie's Eats
    • For muffins at high altitude, I have been successful following the recipe exactly but baking at 10-15 degrees hotter and removing from the oven 5-15 minutes sooner.

    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 1 c. powdered sugar

    For the topping:
    •  ½ c. sugar
    • 5 tbsp flour
    • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    1. Prepare filling: combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours. The other option, as read in the reviews of the recipe, is to fill a baker's decorating bag with a regular round tip (or use a ziplock bag then cut the bottom corner off) with the cream cheese mixture...I think this would be much less time consuming than the freezing method.
    2. Make muffins: preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda and whisk to blend.
    3. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
    4. Make topping: combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
    5. To assemble muffins: fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter (like 1-2 tbsp). Slice the log of cream cheese into 24 equal pieces and place a slice/chunk into each muffin well (or squeeze about 1 1/2 tbsp from your baker's bag or ziplock bag into each muffin well). Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.
    6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they are just golden.Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

    Pumpkin Pancakes

    • Yum! Perfect for this time of year. Make a double batch and freeze leftovers once cool. To reheat, thaw overnight in fridge, then heat on a baking sheet for 5 minutes at 350.
    • Serve with butter and syrup or try beating on high 1 c. of heavy whipping cream mixed with 3 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Beat until stiff peaks form and it has the consistency of whipped cream (about 2-4 minutes).
    • Recipe modified from
    • 1 1/2 c. milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla

    1. In a large bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, oil, vanilla and vinegar.
    2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a separate bowl. Mix dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just combined.
    3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle, electric skillet (my personal favorite for cooking pancakes!) or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

      October 16, 2012

      Fall is here!

      Make these delicious cinnamon waffles with apple topping for dinner or breakfast! You'll also find pumpkin french toast and other main-dish recipes from this same post back in November of 2010. Just scroll down to the bottom of the post to find the recipes.

      September 20, 2012

      Triple Chocolate Brownies

      • You won't be disappointed. These were DELICIOUS. Double the recipe and bake in a 13x9 inch pan instead of a square pan.
      • The only thing I would have modified is that I should have pulled them out 3 minutes earlier than I did so watch them closely. You want there to still be a few wet chocolate crumbs on a toothpick stuck into the middle of the pan when you take it out.
      • Recipe from Annie's Eats
      • 5 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (use a baking bar)
      • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (use a baking bar)
      • 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into quarters
      • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
      • 3 large eggs
      • 1¼ c sugar
      • 2 tsp vanilla extract
      • ½ tsp salt
      • 1 c all-purpose flour
      1. Place an oven rack in lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. (Double the recipe and do it in a 13x9 in pan if you want).
      2. In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. This will take about 10 minutes. Whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Set aside to cool.
      3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt; whisk until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk in the warm chocolate mixture until incorporated.
      4. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a spatula to make an even layer.
      5. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 30-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 1 1/2-2 hours. I removed the brownies by lifting the foil on either end and transferring to a cutting board. Once cool, I cut into squares and stored in an airtight container. However, they got stale quickly so next time I make them I will probably forgo the foil and just lightly oil the pan then once cool, cut brownies out of the pan as we want to eat them.

      Homemade Pesto Focaccia

      • This was really good and enjoyed by all at the dinner I took it to.
      • Don't let the "homemade" part of the focaccia scare you! It's as easy to make as pizza dough.
      • The focaccia recipe is modified from
      • 2 tsp rapid-rise dry yeast
      • 1 c warm
      • 2 tbsp sugar
      • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 tbsp salt dissolved in 2 tbsp water
      • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
      • Pesto - make your own or use store bought. You'll need about 3/4 cup
      • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
      1. In the bowl of your standing mixer, combine the yeast, water and sugar. Stir to dissolve, and let sit about 3 minutes or until frothy.
      2. With the mixer fitted with the dough hook, turn the mixer on low speed and slowly add 3 1/2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Add the dissolved salt (doesn’t have to be completely dissolved) and slowly pour in the olive oil. When the dough starts to come together, increase the speed to medium and mix for about 8-10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Add the remaining flour a tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky. You want the dough to stick to your finger if you press it but then it should pull away cleanly.
      3. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter and knead a few times before forming the dough into a round ball. Place the dough ball into a large oiled bowl, turning it so that it is coated with olive oil. Leave the dough ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.
      5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and coat a sheet pan with olive oil. Turn out the dough on your work surface. Roll and stretch the dough roughly into a rectangular shape; the dough should be about a 1/2 inch thick. Transfer the dough to the oiled sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 15 minutes.
      6. Uncover the dough and use your fingertips to make dimples in the dough. Brush the dough with extra-virgin olive oil and then brush the dough lightly with 1/2 of the fresh pesto. Shred some Parmesan over the top. Bake the bread in the lower third of the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden. Once removed from the oven, dot the bread with more of the fresh pesto.

      September 18, 2012

      Week 59, Recipe 1: Grilled Eggplant Sandwich

      • A vegetarian but totally satisfying meal. We used herbed ciabatta rolls for the added flavor. Plain ciabatta or a plain/herbed foacaccia would also be good.
      • I've been salting and letting my eggplant sliced sit/drain before grilling or sauteing. It seems to remove some of the moisture and bitterness. Recipes say to let it sit for anywhere between 40 minutes to 2 hours so note that in your prep time.
      • Focaccia or ciabatta rolls (see NOTE above)
      • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch slices
      • 1 large tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
      • 1 red onion, cut into sliced
      • Jarred roasted red peppers or roast one in your oven (optional)
      • 1/2 c. mayo
      • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
      • olive oil
      • Italian herbs (dried), about 1 tbsp
      1. Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch sliced. Spread out on counter/tray and sprinkle both sides of slices with salt. Layer in a colander and then place a large ziplock bag filled with water over the eggplant (to weigh them down). Let sit for 40 minutes or more. Remove bag of water and press down on eggplant with hands to squeeze out any extra moisture. Rinse eggplant then pat dry with paper towels.
      2. Meanwhile, mix mayo with chopped basil and refrigerate until ready to use.
      3. Lightly brush dried eggplant with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with Italian herbs. Slice your rolls and brush both cut sides with olive oil too.
      4. Grill the eggplant until slightly browned on the bottom and turn. Top the grilled side with cheese and grill another few minutes, or until tender. Grill the bread, cut side down, just until lightly toasted.
      5. To assemble sandwiches, spread both cut sides with the basil mayo then layer the eggplant and cheese, sliced red onion, sliced tomato, and roasted red peppers, if using. If desired, drizzle a little balsamic and/or red wine vinegar over the veggies before topping with bread.

      Week 59, Recipe 2: Better than Take Out Chicken Stir Fry & Veggies

      • I combined 3 different recipes to come up with this and then added the veggies I had on had. It was delicious! I would double the recipe below if you want any leftovers.
      • 1 - 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I think they're tastier than breasts in stir-fry but chicken breasts will work), chopped into bite-size pieces
      • For marinade:
        • 2 tsp fresh ginger juice (grate a chunk of fresh ginger then squeeze it between your fingers to get the juice)
        • 2 garlic cloves, minced
        • 2 tbsp soy sauce
        • 2 tbsp white cooking wine + 1 tsp sugar (or 2 tbsp Japanese sake)
      • For stir-fry sauce:
        • 1/2 cup soy sauce
        • 1/2 cup chicken stock
        • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
        • 1 tablespoons brown sugar
        • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
      • For stir-fry
        • Grated ginger, about 2 tsp
        • Grated/minced garlic, about 2 cloves
        • Cut veggies of choice - I used broccoli, diagonally sliced carrots, green pepper and green onion
        • Hot, cooked rice (jasmine is my favorite for stir-fry) - we usually cook about 1 1/2 - 2 c. which is enough for dinner, not leftovers. Cook at least 2 c. if you want enough for leftovers.
        • Chopped green onions, for topping
      1. Mix marinade in a large container and stir-fry sauce in another. Be sure to grate enough garlic and ginger for marinade and then about 2 tsp grated ginger and 2 cloves garlic for the stir-fry.
      2. Add chopped chicken to the marinade and let sit for at least 30 minutes, up to all day in the fridge.
      3. Heat a large sauce pan or wok with about 1 tbsp canola oil over medium heat. Remove chicken from marinade spread out evenly in pan/wok. Cook, undisturbed for about 5 minutes (or until starting to brown on the bottom) then stir and cook another 3-5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate/bowl.
      4. Add a little more oil if necessary and stir-fry grated ginger and garlic until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add veggies - start with broccoli and carrots first then add peppers, mushrooms, etc. after a few minutes. Stir fry until just crisp tender (about 5 minutes or so). Add chicken back in along with stir fry sauce. Bring to a light simmer and cook for a minute or so until sauce has thickened. Serve over rice and sprinkle with green onions.

      Week 59, Recipe 3: Marinated Steaks with Pepper Rub & Zucchini Saute

      • A great grilled steak and zucchini recipe. Perfect for the end of the summer!
      • Note that the steaks are marinated for 2-8 hours so they can be done ahead of time.
      • For rub:
        • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
        • 2 teaspoons salt
        • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
        • 2 teaspoons chili powder
        • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
        • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
        • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
        • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
      • Steaks of choice
      • For zucchini saute:
        • 1 green zucchini, sliced
        • 1 yellow squash, sliced
        • 1 small onion, sliced
        • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
        • 1 ear fresh corn, cut from the cob
        • Salt and pepper, any fresh herbs you have on hand - chopped basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, etc. (optional)
      1. Mix the rub ingredients and rub over steaks. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and marinate in fridge 2-8 hours.
      3. To make zucchini saute: saute zucchini, squash and onion over medium heat in olive or canola oil or until zucchini are starting to brown a little. Stir, add corn, and saute another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and throw in freshly chopped green onions and any other herbs you have on hand (optional).
      4. Grill steaks on a oiled grill grate until desired doneness is reached.

      Week 59, Recipe 4: Healthy Homemade Chicken Nuggets

      • I was skeptical of the flax seed but these turned out great! Even my husband wanted more!
      • Mix the panko ingredients together ahead of time and store at room temp until ready to use. Chop up the chicken and store in the fridge ahead of time as well for a quick prep.
      • Recipe modified from Deceptively Delicious
      • 1 c. panko breadcrumbs (put in a ziplock bag and roll a rolling pin across them several times to make them finely crushed)
      • 1/2 c. ground flax seed
      • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan
      • 1/2 tsp paprika
      • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
      • 1/2 tsp onion powder
      • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
      • 1/2 c. flour
      • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small chunks
      • cooking oil
      1. Place flour in one shallow bowl, lightly beaten egg mixed with 1 tbsp water in another shallow bowl, and the panko with the next 5 ingredients (through the onion powder) in a third shallow bowl.
      2. Heat a layer of cooking oil in a skillet.
      3. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt then dip them, one by one, into the flour, then egg mixture then the panko mixture. Fry in a single layer, being careful not to crowd the pan, and cook until crisp and golden on one side (3-4 minutes0. Turn, and cook until golden brown all over, 4-5 minutes longer.

      Week 59, Recipe 5: Ham & Mushroom Quiche

      • I love quiche. They are easy to assemble and make great leftovers. Double the recipe and make 2 if you want!
      • 1 pie crust
      • 6 eggs
      • 1 small container white mushrooms, sliced
      • 1 c. diced ham
      • 3/4 c. shredded cheese (I used Swiss but Cheddar would also be good)
      • 1/2 c. whole milk or half-and-half
      • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
      • Salt and pepper (approximately 1/2 tsp each)
      • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
      1. Preheat oven to 425 and place a cookie sheet on the oven rack in the lower middle position. If using a frozen crust, let thaw at room temp about 10 minutes. Prick several times with the tines of a fork and cook for about 8 minutes or until starting to look dry.
      2. Meanwhile, saute mushrooms in 2 tbsp butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Add chopped green onions and saute 1 minute.
      3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk. Add salt, pepper, and dry mustard.
      4. Remove hot pie crust on the cookie sheet. Lower oven temp to 375. Layer half of the cheese on the bottom of the crust then add the ham and mushroom mixture. Pour the egg mixture over top and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
      5. Return pie on the cookie sheet to the oven and bake 40-55 minutes or until top is browned and puffy and egg is set. If the top starts to brown too much before egg is set, cover with foil.