Mini Bread Loaves

Every year on the Sunday before Christmas, my mom has Christmas dinner at her house.  Her two brothers, their families, her parents, and her fiancee’s mom all come.  It is a great event full of joy and holiday festivities.

The older adults decided not to exchange gifts this year and decided to just buy for us younger folks.  I still wanted to do something nice for my grandparents and aunts and uncles, so I decided to make some mini breads for them.

My mom bought me a set of mini loaf pans a while back and I had been looking for an excuse to use them.

The first set of breads that I decided to make was Cream Cheese Pound Cakes.  Well, I had no idea how long to bake them (or how full to fill the pans) so they did not turn out very well.  I burned the edges and the pans overflowed.  Luckily, I set the mini pans on a baking sheet, so that they didn’t overflow into the oven.

Since they turned out so ugly (and the edges were definitely unedible), I decided just to keep these and will be using the middles of them for something, I just haven’t figured out what yet.

I’m not throwing away the recipe, because the middle of the loaves was really good, I just needed to work on baking times and the actual filling of the pans.

 

Cream Cheese Pound Cakes

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake ~ 50 minutes.

– 1 1/2 c butter, room temperature

– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

– 3 c sugar

– 6 large eggs

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 3 c AP flour

– 2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar; beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well until each addition.  Mix in vanilla.  With mixer on low, add flour and salt in two additions, beating until just combined.

Generously coat 5 mini loaf pans with cooking spray; immediately pour in batter (pans will seem full).  Tap pans on work surface to eliminate any large air bubbles.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out almost clean, ~ 50 minutes, check after 30 minutes.  If the tops begin to brown too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.

Cool 10 minutes in the pan.  Turn out the cakes, cool completely with top sides up, on a wire rack.

 

These turned out much nicer.  These actually looked like cute little mini loaves.

I wish I had taken a picture of how I gifted them to them.  Mom and I wrapped the baby loaves in saran wrap and put ribbon around them (and labels saying what they are) and put them in a little snowman gift bag.  They were adorable.

Plus, there is something so special about homemade gifts.

 

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

– 1 box yellow cake mix with pudding

– 1 (3.4 oz) pkg instant chocolate pudding

– 1/2 c sugar

– 3/4 c vegetable oil

– 3/4 c water

– 4 large eggs

– 8 oz sour cream

– 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine cake mix, pudding and sugar with a wire whisk to remove large lumps.  Add oil, water and eggs, stirring until smooth.  Stir in sour cream and chocolate chips.  Pour into greased and floured mini loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until done.  Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

These turned out the best looking.  Both the banana bread minis and the chocolate chip pound cake was very moist and fresh looking.

Everyone who got their little bread bags seemed to really appreciate them.  Seeing others happy because of stuff that I have made makes me so happy.

I love my family so much and am so thankful for them.

Banana Bread Minis

Prep: 10 minutes.  Total 50 minutes.

– 1 package yellow cake mix

– 1 package (3.4 0z) banana cream flavor instant pudding

– 4 eggs

– 1 c water

– 1/4 c oil

– 1 c mashed, fully ripe bananas (about 3)

– 1/2 c chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray 5 foil mini loaf pans with cooking spray.

Beat first 5 ingredients in large bowl with mixer 2 minutes or until well blended.  Add bananas and nuts; mix until just blended.  Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool completely.

Mom’s Birthday – 2 Cakes!

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday.  Her fiance, his mom, Zack and I took her out to dinner to celebrate.  I, of course, decided to make her a cake.

I had been so excited about making this cake and just knew it was going to turn out great, because it combined two of her very favorite flavors – peanut butter and banana.

I baked the cake part in the morning and it turned out great.  Then, I caramelized some bananas and put them in the middle of the cake as a filling. I made the peanut butter frosting… and that is when disaster struck.  The first batch I made, I added way too much milk.  It started running off of the cake.  I panicked a little, but scraped that off as best as I could and then made a new, much thicker batch.  It did not go on great, but it looked okay, so I stuck it in the fridge to crust up a little, so that I could smooth out the icing.

Well, when I tried to smooth it out, the icing started rippling.  It was the ugliest cake I had ever made… I knew that there was no way that I was taking that cake to a public restaurant, especially for someone’s birthday as important as my mom.

I looked at the clock and realized we had to leave for the dinner in less than an hour.  I knew I didn’t have time to make another full two-layer cake.  Luckily, I had a recipe for a sweet potato crumb cake that I had been wanting to try that didn’t take that long.  I decided to make that for her (she loves sweet potatoes, too).  It came out of the oven just in time. I slipped it into a casserole carrier straight from the oven and off we went to the restaurant.

Mom, and everyone else at the dinner, really liked the cake.  I was really upset about the first cake, but at least I was still able to make mom a cake.

Happy Birthday to the best mom ever!

I am going to include the recipe for the peanut butter/banana cake because it was my own fault that it didn’t work out.  I added too much (and then too little) milk to the icing!

Here’s a shot of the caramelized bananas.

See?  It is SO embarrassing.  I’ve never made such a bad cake.  Compare this to Mermaid Birthday Cake or Beer Cake or even Fall cake.  I didn’t even want to put a picture of it on here, but I know everyone will be supportive.

Peanut Butter Banana Passion Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Cake:

– 4 T butter, softened

– 1/4 c creamy peanut butter

– 1 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1/2 c warm water

– 1 c buttermilk

– 1/4 t vanilla extract

– 2 c AP flour

– 1 t salt

– 1 t baking soda

Caramelized bananas:

– 3 or 4 medium bananas, cut into coin shapes

– 1/4 c granulated sugar

Frosting:

Yield: 2 1/2 c

– 1/3 c creamy peanut butter

– 2 c confectioners’ sugar

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 2 t honey

– 4-5 T milk

Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine the water, buttermilk, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Alternately add the buttermilk mixture and flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, beginning and ending with the buttermilk.  Mix well 1 minute.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans, then remove, and cool completely on wire racks.

Make the caramelized bananas:

Heat a well greased skillet over medium heat.

Put the sugar into a bowl or onto a plate and thoroughly cover the banana coins with it.  Place into skillet and cook until caramelization occurs, about 5 minutes.  Then flip and cook until the other side is done, about 1 minute.  Place on the bottom tier of your leveled cake. Maybe even have a bowl-like cut into the cake.

Make the frosting:

Combine the peanut butter, sugar, extract, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed.  When well combined, add just enough milk to make an acceptable spreading consistency.  For me, 5 T was too much and 3 T was too little!

Here’s the yummy cake that I was really pleased with.  Not the typical birthday cake, but it still made Mom happy.

Sweet Potato Crumb Cake

Cake:

– 1/2 c butter

– 1 c brown sugar

– 3/4 c sweet potato, boiled and mashed

– 2 eggs

– 1 t vanilla

– 2 t cinnamon

– 1/4 t ginger

– 1/4 t nutmeg

– 2 t baking powder

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 1/2 c flour

– 1/2 c oatmeal

– 1 c mini marshmallows

Topping:

– 1/2 c oatmeal

– 1/4 c brown sugar

– 1 t cinnamon

– 2 T melted butter

– 1 T flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all topping ingredients, mix well and set aside.

Over low heat, melt butter in a small skillet until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes and pour into a medium bowl.  Add brown sugar, mashed sweet potato, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, stir well until incorporated.  Beat eggs in, separately, making sure to mix well after each addition.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt, adding the 1/2 c oatmeal after the dry ingredients are mixed.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing well.

In a greased 9×13 baking pan, evenly spread 1/2 the batter over the bottom.  Smear marshmallows over the batter and spread the other 1/2 of the batter over the marshmallows.  Sprinkle the oatmeal crumble topping and bake for about 25 minutes.  Let cool before serving.

More Thanksgiving Desserts

I work for my parents at a place called Jenfab Inc.  (Yes, it is named after me and yes, my parents are still business partners even though they’re divorced).  It’s a really fun job.  I work in the office part-time doing odds and ends and help out the other office workers.

Every year Jenfab has a Thanksgiving dinner for employees.  It’s always catered, but this year I decided to make a cake and take it to the dinner.  It was a huge success!  The entire thing was gobbled up really quickly.  Plus, I got to practice my cake decorating skills which always makes me happy.

I think it turned out rather cute.

Fudge Cake

– 1/2 c shortening

– 1 1/2 c sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1 t vanilla

– 1/2 c + 1 T water

– 2/3 c cocoa

– 1 3/4 c AP flour

– 1 t baking soda

– 1 t baking powder

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 c sour milk (1 c milk + 1 T vinegar)

Grease bottoms and sides of 2 9-inch layer pans.  Cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; blend in vanilla.  Stir hot water into cocoa to form a smooth paste; gradually add to creamed mixture.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add alternately with sour milk to creamed mixture.  Pour batter into pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until take tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool completely.  Frost with homemade frosting.

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

– 1/2 c butter, room temperature

– 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

– 1/2 c baking cocoa (here’s where I mucked with the recipe a little.  I didn’t have 1/2 c of baking cocoa left, so I filled the 1/2 cup measuring cup about 3/4 full and then filled it the rest of the way with hot cocoa mix.  It turned out perfect.)

– 1 t vanilla

– 4 c powdered sugar

Place butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.  Beat until combined – about 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides and add cocoa and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Add powdered sugar and mix until well combined.  Beat for an additional couple of minutes.  The texture becomes lighter if you beat for a few minutes.

~~~~

Every year my mom’s side of the family has Thanksgiving dinner together on Thanksgiving day.  The location varies, but this year it was at my Granny’s house. I volunteered to bring desserts…shocking. 

I decided on these desserts for a couple of reasons: 1) every Thanksgiving dinner needs a pecan dessert and an apple dessert.  2) no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a pie of some sort.  3) I recently discovered my uncle has a peanut butter obsession just like my mom and I. 

The entire peanut butter dessert was scarfed down.  It.Was.Amazing.  I ate so much of it that everyone thought I was going to be sick. 

My aunt said, “you should do this for a living…these are amazing!”  If only I could…

The highlight of everything occurred after the dinner, though.  My granny asked me for the recipe for my pecan squares.  I almost fell in the floor.  My granny is the stereotypical perfect-baking-everyone-asks-HER-for-recipes type granny.  Her asking me for a recipe was the ultimate compliment. 

I love the holidays!

Pecan Squares

– 2 c AP flour

– 2/3 c confectioners sugar

– 1 1/3 plus 1 T butter, divided

– 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 1/2 c honey

– 3 T whipping cream

– 3 1/2 c pecans, coarsely chopped

Sift together flour and powdered sugar.  Cut into 3/4 cup softened butter using a pastry blender or fork, just until mix resembles coarse crumbs meal.  Pat mixture on bottom and 1 1/2″ up sides of lightly greased 13×9 baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.  Cool.  In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 c butter and whipping cream to a boil.  Stir in pecans and pour into prepared crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into 2-inch squares.

Apple Crumb Pie

Pastry:

1 c AP flour

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/3 c plus 1 T shortening

– 2-3 T cold water

Mix flour and salt in medium bowl, cut in shortening, using pastry blender or crisscrossing 2 knives, until particles are size of small peas.  Sprinkle with cold water, 1 T at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl (1-2 t more water can be added if necessary).

Gather pastry into a bowl.  Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface.  If desired, wrap flattened round of pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes to firm up shortening slightly, which makes the baked pastry more flaky and lets the water absorb evenly throughout the dough.  If refrigerated longer, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Roll pastry on lightly floured surface, using floured rolling pin, into circle 2 inches larger than upside down pie plate.  Fold pastry into fourths and place in pie plate.  Unfold pastry and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side and being careful not to stretch pastry, which will cause it to shrink when baked.

Pie:

3 lbs granny smith apples

– 2/3 c light brown sugar

– 2 T flour

– 1 t cinnamon

– 1/2 t ground nutmeg

– crumb topping:

  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 c softened butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine apples (pared, cored, and thinly sliced) with sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Place in prepared pastry shell, mounding in center.

Prepare crumb topping.  In a small bowl, combine crumb ingredients and blend with fingertips until crumbs are formed.  Sprinkle evenly over apples.

Place pie in lower third of the oven.  Bake 50-60 minutes.  Cool.  If desired, dust with confectioners sugar.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Trifle

Prep: 10 minutes.  Total: 2 hr 50 min.  Makes 12 servings.

– 1 pouch Betty Crocker peanut butter chip cookie mix

– 1/3 c vegetable oil

– 1 T water

– 1 egg

– 1/2 c butter

– 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 1/2 c creamy peanut butter

– 1 1/2 c whipping (heavy) cream

– 4 T chocolate syrup

– 2 T chocolate covered peanuts

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Makes cookies as directed on pouch, using oil, water, and egg. Bake and cool as directed.  Cut each cookie into fourths.

Melt butter and brown sugar in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is smooth.  Stir in peanut butter until well blended.  Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Beat whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft.  Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture.

Place half of the cookie pieces in bottom of 2-quart glass bowl.  Drizzle cookies with chocolate syrup.  Spoon half of peanut butter mixture over cookies.  Top with remaining cookies, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter mixture.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 12 hours.  Sprinkle with peanuts.

 

Our First Thanksgiving Dinner Party

AAHHH… That’s my sigh of relief and happiness.  Our dinner party couldn’t have gone any better.  I am so pleased.  My dad, mom, stepdad, Zack’s parents, two brothers and his brother, Caleb’s, girlfriend all came!

We have tons of leftovers, though.  I sent two whole trays of food home with my dad.  Next year, I won’t double the recipes like I did this time.

Everyone said everything was really good.  I’m so thankful for both of our families and for the fact that everyone gets along so that we can have dinners like this.

I spent all of today and yesterday cooking.  I am exhausted.  It feels so good to be sitting on my couch with my Zack doing nothing right now.

I’m just going to share all of the recipes from today in this post.  I hope you enjoy.

Be thankful for your families and for the time you get to spend with them.  I know I am.

Appetizer Course:

Here’s our appetizer table:


No Bones Chicken Wing Dip

Prep: 15 minutes

– 1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

– 2 c (16 oz) sour cream

– 1 c ranch dressing

– 1/2 c buffalo wing sauce

– 2 1/2 c shredded cooked chicken

– 1 block (8 oz) Monterey jack cheese, shredded

– baby carrots, celery ribs, and crackers

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, salad dressing, and buffalo wing sauce until blended.  Stir in chicken and Monterey jack cheese.

Transfer mixture to a greased 2-qt baking dish.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Serve dip warm with baby carrots, celery, and crackers.

Yield 6 1/2 cups.

Main Course:

Our main table.  We used the oreo turkeys and little name cards as place cards.  I think it turned out adorable.


Roast Turkey

– 1 large turkey, neck and giblets removed

– 1/2 c butter, melted

– 2 large onions, peeled and chopped

– 4 carrots, peeled and chopped

– 4 stalks celery, chopped

– 2 sprigs fresh thyme

– 1 bay leaf

– 1 c dry white wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thoroughly rinse turkey.

Brush turkey with melted butter.  Place breast side up on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan.  I cooked mine in an oven bag in a roasting pan.  Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, 1/2 the carrots, 1/2 the celery, 1 sprig of thyme, and the bay leaf.  Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan (in the bag for me) and cover with white wine.

Roast uncovered 3 1/2 – 4 hours in preheated oven until internal temperature of thigh reaches 180 degree.  Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving.

 Side Dishes:


Butterflake Rolls

1 t yeast

– 3/4 c very warm water

– 1/4 c sugar

– 1 egg

– 2 egg yolks

– 3/4 t salt

– 1/2 c buttermilk

– 2 1/2 – 3 c AP flour

– 1 stick butter, softened

Prepare a muffin tin for baking by spraying it with nonstick cooking spray, or tossing a small pat of butter into bottom of each cup.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix yeast in 1/4 c warm water until dissolved.  Add the sugar.  Whisk in the salt and eggs.  Beat in milk and remaining water until well mixed.

Use a wooden spoon to stir in about 2 1/2 cups of flour, adding more (up to 3 cups) as necessary to make a soft dough.  You want to be able to knead the dough and not have it stick to your fingers, but still have the dough be soft and pillowy.  Less is definitely more here.

Knead dough a few times.  Roll out dough to 1/2″ thickness and spread with a thin layer of butter (it should be about 2 tablespoons).  Fold dough in half, then spread with butter.  Repeat this 4 more times.

Once you’ve finished buttering, roll into 1/2″ thickness and cut dough into 1×1 inch squares.  Place 3-4 squares in each non-stick sprayed muffin tin.  Let rise about 45-60 minutes or until well-risen.

Bake in middle rack at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.


Stuffed Ham & Provolone Rolls

– 2 c herb flavored stuffing cubes

– 1/2 c boiling water

– 2 T + 2 t butter, divided

– 8 slices deli ham

– 8 slices provolone cheese

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1 T water

– 1/2 c dry bread crumbs

Combine stuffing, boiling water and 2 T butter.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Top each ham slice with a cheese slice.  Spoon 1/4 c stuffing mixture over center of cheese; roll up and secure with a toothpick.  Whisk eggs and water together.  Roll ham rolls in egg mixture, then roll in bread crumbs.  In a large skillet over medium heat, saute ham rolls in remaining butter for 4-5 minutes, or until golden, turning only once.  Discard toothpicks before serving.

Yield: 8 rolls

Turkey Gravy

Prep: 10 min.  Cook: 7 min.

– 3 cans (14 oz each) chicken broth

– 1 (10 3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup

– 1 t poultry seasoning

– 1/2 t black pepper

– 1/4 t garlic powder

– 1 c milk

– 1/3 + 2 T AP flour

– 2 T corn starch

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan.  Stir in soup and season with poultry seasoning, pepper, and garlic powder.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer.

Warm the milk in the microwave and whisk in the flour and cornstarch with a fork until there are no lumps.  Return the gravy to a boil, and gradually stir in the milk mixture.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until thickened.  Be careful not to let the bottom scorch.


Stuffing

– 4 T butter

– 1 medium onion, chopped

– 3 celery stalks, diced

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 t ground sage

– 1 t dry thyme

– 10 c dried unseasoned bread cubes

– 1 1/2 c chicken broth

– 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a large pan.  Saute onions, celery, salt, sage, and thyme for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Turn off heat.  Add bread cubes and gently stir them into the onion mixture.  Slowly pour chicken broth over the bread cubes folding everything so the bread cubes do not break apart too much.  In a small bowl, gently whisk the egg and add it to the stuffing mix.  Continue to fold everything until the egg is incorporated.  Scoop uncooked stuffing into a medium casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until nice and toasty on top.

 

Creamy Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

– 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

– 3/4 c evaporated milk

– 1/4 c butter

– 1 c (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese

Place potatoes in a large saucepan.  Cover with water; bring to a boil.  Cook over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes or until tender; drain.

Return potatoes to saucepan; add evaporated milk and butter.  Beat with hand-held mixer until smooth.  Stir in cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.



Sweet Potato Souffle

– 6 c mashed sweet potatoes

– 2 c sugar

– 1 t salt

– 4 eggs

– 2/3 c stick butter, softened

– 2/3 c milk

2 t vanilla

Combine with mixer and pour into greased casserole dish.

– 2 c brown sugar

– 1 c flour

– 2 c chopped pecans

– 1 stick melted butter

Mix well and distribute over potatoes.  Bake 30 minutes at 325 degrees.

 Deviled Eggs

See Deviled Eggs for recipe.

Green Beans

Just take some green beans, I used about 3 lbs here and then add a bouillon cube (1 per lb).  Bring to a boil then simmer.  The longer you let it simmer, the better they are.

Desserts:


Pecan Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 50 minutes.

– Pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2/3 c sugar

– 1/3 c butter

– 1 c corn syrup

– 1/2 t salt

– 3 large eggs

– 1 c pecan halves broken halves

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt and eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater until well blended.  Stir in pecans.  Pour into pastry lined pie plate.  Bake 40-50 minutes or until center is set.

 


Colossal Caramel Apple Trifle (COLOSSAL = key word)

Prep: 40 minutes

– 1 package yellow cake mix

– 6 c cold milk

– 3 package (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix

– 1 t apple pie spice

– 1 jar ( 12 1/4 oz) caramel ice cream topping

– 1 1/2 c chopped pecans, toasted

– 2 cans (21 oz each) apple pie filling

– 2 cartons (16 oz each) frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare and bake cake according to package directions using 2 greased 9-inch round baking pans.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk milk, pudding mixes and apple pie spice for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.

Cut one cake layer if necessary to fit evenly in an 8-quart punch bowl.  Poke holes in cake with a long wooden skewer.  Gradually pour a third of the caramel topping over the cake.  Sprinkle with 1/2 c pecans and spread with half of the pudding mixture.

Spoon one can of pie filling over pudding; spread with 1 carton of whipped topping.  Top with remaining cake and repeat layers.  Drizzle with remaining caramel topping and sprinkle with remaining pecans.  Refrigerate until serving.


Pumpkin Pie

Prep: 20 minutes.  Bake 1 hr 10 minutes.  Cool 2 hours.

– pastry for 1 crust pie

– 2 large eggs

– 1/2 c sugar

– 1 t ground cinnamon

– 1/2 t salt

– 1/2 t ground ginger

– 1/8 t ground cloves

– 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin

– 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

– whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Make pastry for unbaked one pie crust; before adding filling, partially bake pastry (carefully line pastry with double thickness of aluminum foil, gently pressing to bottom and sides of pastry. Let foil extend over edge to prevent excess browning.  Bake 10 minutes; carefully remove foil and bake 2-4 minutes longer or just until pastry begins to brown and has become set.  If crust bubbles, gently push bubbles down with back of spoon..

Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl with wire whisk or hand beater.  Beat in remaining ingredients except whipped cream.

Cover edge of pie crust with 2-3 inch of aluminum foil to prevent excess browning; remove foil during last 15 minutes of baking.  To prevent spilling filling, place pie plate on oven rack.  Pour filling into hot pie crust.

Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake about 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack 2 hours.  Serve with whipped cream.  After cooling, pie can remain at room temperature up to an additional 4 hours, then should be recovered and refrigerated.


Oreo Turkeys

– Double Stuff Oreo Cookies

– Candy Corn

– Whoppers

– Peanut Butter Cups

– Chocolate Frosting

– Writing icing (any color) for eyes

Grab a cookie and put some chocolate icing in the edge.  Stick some candy corn in.  The icing makes it stick better.  It’s easier if you do all the cookies through this step.

Next, secure the opposite end of those cookies to a bottom cookie with a gob of icing.  If they are not sturdy, you can set them against the wall until the icing hardens a little.

While they are drying, unwrap the peanut butter cups.  Take a sharp knife and cut a sliver off of one end.  It helps to gently cut in a sawing motion so you don’t break the peanut butter cup.  Cut from the bottom.

Place a gob of icing on the peanut butter cup and place it on the bottom cookie.

Glue a whopper on top of the peanut butter cup with icing.  I put frosting on the side of the whopper touching the peanut butter cup and the cookie.

Use another gob of icing and glue on the white tip of a candy corn for a beak.  Put two dots of your writing icing for eyes.


Hot Mulled Cider

Float a few apple slices and some cinnamon sticks in the drink as it warms.

– 2 qt apple cider

– 1 orange, quartered

– 1/4 c brown sugar, packed
– 1/4 t pumpkin pie spice

– 2 (4-in) cinnamon sticks

– 6 whole cloves

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart slow cooker; cover and cook on low 2-4 hours.  Remove orange sections and spices before serving.

 

Bacon, Egg, Cheese, and Toast Cups

I’ve had this recipe laying out for weeks, just waiting to get time so that I could make it for Zack.

We finally got to be home together for breakfast last weekend and I seized the opportunity to make him some of these cups!

I have such a thing for cute little packaged foods like this.  My muffin pan rarely gets used for actual muffins or cupcakes – it’s always food that you wouldn’t normally make in muffin form.

FYI – the yellow on top of the cups is cheese, not the yolk.  I didn’t look at the pictures and notice that it looked like a disgusting busted egg yolk until after Zack had eaten them.  Oh well, you get the point.

I really enjoyed making these, because I rarely get to make breakfast.  As I said before, Zack and I are barely ever home for breakfast together.  He works Tuesday-Saturday mornings from like 4 am until 10 am and I work/go to school Monday-Thursday all day.  Sunday is our one breakfast together morning and I savor it.

Enjoy this recipe, it’s fun and your family will thank you.

Bacon, Egg, Cheese, and Toast Cups

Makes 6 cups.

– 3 T butter, melted

– 8 slices whole wheat sandwich bread

– 6 slices bacon

– 6 large eggs

– coarse salt and ground pepper

– cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups.  With a rolling pin, flatten bread slices slightly and with a 4 1/4-inch cookie cutter, cut into 8 rounds.  Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to the edge of the cup.  Use extra bread to patch any gaps.  Brush bread with remaining butter.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, until almost crisp, 4 minutes, flipping once.  It will continue to cook in the oven.  Lay one bacon slice in each bread cup and crack an egg over each.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and put back in the oven for 5-10 more minutes or until egg whites are just set.  Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts.  Serve immediately.

Basic Southern Cornbread

What kind of Southern gal would I be if I didn’t serve my boys cornbread?

Last night, my dad came over for dinner before we went to the races (see Better-Than-Grandma’s Apple Pie).  Not only did I make cornbread, but I made it in a cast-iron skillet! You can’t get much more authentic than that.

It was really easy to make and Dad and Zack both seemed to like it.

Basic Southern Cornbread

Yield: 8 servings

– 2 cups plain cornmeal

– 1 T baking powder

– 1 t salt

– 1 3/4 cups buttermilk

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Place a greased 9-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to heat while the desired temperature is reached.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, egg, and oil, blending well.  Pour the batter into the preheated skilled.

Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Transfer to a serving plate (or serve right from the skillet!).  Cut into slices and serve warm.


Cornbread is another one of those cold-fall-day foods.  Today was pretty chili and this just makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.