Sunday, September 28, 2014

Best Pumpkin Bread



I love fall, I love baking and cooking with pumpkin this time of year. I have a favorite pumpkin bread recipe that I like to make in fall. We eat for breakfast, snacks, desserts, or just whenever. This year I decided to change up the recipe a little to make a bit healthier. I reduced the oil and sugar and added applesauce to the recipe. This is by far the best pumpkin bread I have ever made. I will share both recipes with you. You choose which one you like. But honestly I think the less sugar/less oil bread is the best.
 








Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe 
(Updated with lower sugar, lower oil) ...

Ingredients:
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup walnuts and/or raisins,optional
 Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, applesauce, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Add and stir in chopped walnuts and/or raisins. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 60-70 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Note: This makes two loves, so I make one loaf with walnuts and one loaf without.

Best Pumpkin Bread Recipe
(original recipe) ...

Ingredients:
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup walnuts and/or raisins, optional
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Add and stir in chopped walnuts and/or raisins. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 60-70 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Note: This makes two loves, so I make one loaf with walnuts and one loaf without.



Enjoy!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Golden Grahams S'mores Bars




Golden Grahams S'mores Bars are a fun twist on rice crispy treats! Graham cereal, marshmallows, and plenty of chocolate are mixed in these easy bars for a delicious S'mores taste. They are easy to make, portable, and everyone loves them! Great treats for summer time get-togethers, picnics, parties, after school snacks ---  the best thing --- no campfire required. Honestly, I like these (tons) better than S'mores (just sayin'):



 
Golden Graham S'Mores Bars Recipe...

Ingredients:

8 cups Golden Grahams cereal
5 cups miniature marshmallows
1½ cups chopped Hershey chocolate bars (I used one Hershey Bar 6-Pack, each bar 1.55oz)
¼ cup light corn syrup
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups miniature marshmallows
 
Directions:

1. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish and line with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Place the cereal in a large mixing bowl; set aside.

3. In a large sauce pan, over low heat, melt the 5 cups of marshmallows, 1½ cups of chopped chocolate, light corn syrup and butter. Stiring frequently until the mixture is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

4. Pour cereal into saucepan. Stir until coated with the melted chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining 1 cup marshmallows.

5. Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking pan. Butter your hands or spray them with non-stick cooking spray, and press the mixture evenly into the pan, pushing it down into a flat, even layer. Let set at room temperature for about 1 hour or until firm (can put in the refrigerator to firm up faster). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-4 days.
 


  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

School Spirit Sugar Cookies


It's that time of year again and my kids have headed back to school this week (hard to believe, summer time always goes way too fast). The upcoming weeks require us to attend many school activities, sporting events, picnics, and fundraisers. All needing for the kids to bring a dessert. These sugar cookies are a great homemade snack or dessert to bring to any school event. Rather then rolling in white sugar before baking, roll them in colored sugar, matching your school's colors. Such as, our school colors, which are green and gold. They are easy to bake and easy to transport to any event. Kids love them!





Recipe for Sugar Cookies ...
Adapted from Taste of Home Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • colored sugar for rolling (I used green & gold)
Makes: 3 dozen

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture.
  2. Shape into 1-in. balls. Roll in colored sugar. Place on greased baking sheet (or use parchment). Bake 10-12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Note: Cookies may be frozen in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to two months.



Enjoy,
Have A Great School Year!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Chocolate Vanilla Cupcakes


Torn between chocolate or vanilla cupcakes? Go  with best of both worlds. These were made with my two favorite cupcake recipes which are basically doctored up boxed cake mixes. The vanilla frosting is an basic buttercream frosting while the chocolate is a rich cream cheese chocolate buttercream. Swirl these together and yum!

Two cupcake recipes makes a lot of cupcakes (approx 36 cupcakes). Therefore I had quit a bit of cupcake batter to play with. I went with making a pan of swirled / marbled vanilla and chocolate, a pan of plain vanilla, and a pan of plain chocolate. Then had fun decorating with different cake tips (Wilton Round 2A tip, Open Star 1M tip, and  French 4B tip)











Served up a mix  for a Saturday night teen girl sleepover. The girls loved them!
And there were even some leftover for the girls to bring home the next day.





Recipes for Cupcakes and Buttercream Frosting ...

Vanilla Cupcakes:
  • 1 Box white cake mix
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pan with cupcake liners.
  2. In a large bowl, gently combine oil, egg whites, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract.
  3. Sift in cake mix and stir.
  4. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until and inserted knife comes out clean.
Chocolate Cupcakes:
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate  cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and espresso water mixture. Beat on medium speed until well combined, approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Fill cupcake liners with about 3 tablespoons of batter.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched.
 
For Chocolate Vanilla Layered / Marbled Cupcakes: 

Fill each cupcake liner with 2 tablespoons of vanilla cupcake mix, then on top of each vanilla filled cupcake liner, add 2 tablespoons of chocolate cupcake mix. To make a marbled cupcake, lightly swirl the cupcakes with a knife. I chose not to swirl and just left them layered.


Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
  • 1/4 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups (10 to 12 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons (1 to 2 ounces) milk
Directions:
  1. Cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. Beat in the salt  and the vanilla. Add the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons of the milk, and mix well. (Don't over mix). Adjust the consistency of the frosting as needed by adding more confectioners' sugar or milk.  Yield: 2 1/2 cups. 

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • milk if needed
Directions:
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese until mixed well, about 2 or 3 minutes, scrape down bowl as needed. Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract and slowly add powdered sugar. If your buttercream becomes too thick, add 1 tablespoon of milk. .

To decorate cupcakes, frost or pipe buttercream onto cool cupcakes using your favorite cake tip(s). For a great tutorial on cupcake decorating tips and tricks head over to Glorious Treats.


Enjoy!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Buffalo Chicken Burgers



These spicy chicken burgers taste just like Buffalo wings! These burger deliver the bold flavors of Buffalo wings minus the mess and calories. Serve with additional hot sauce and blue dressing on the side.


Served these Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Red Robin Seasoned Fries & Campfire Sauce (yes, fries were from the grocery freezer section), Celery, and Fresh Cherries! Yum!
 

Buffalo Chicken Burgers ...


Ingredients:
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery (or 1 tsp dried celery flake)
  • 1/4 cup Frank's hot sauce
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 dash ground cumin
  • 1 dash chili powder
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 dash crushed red pepper
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together. Form into 4 patties. Cook on a hot skillet, grill pan, or outdoor grill, 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.
 Optional Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, chopped celery, hot sauce, blue cheese dressing



Enjoy!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Watermelon Granita


Hot summer days call for watermelon, and this icy treat makes the most of a juicy ripe watermelon. Watermelon Granita is the perfect ice cold refreshment for any hot summer day. Granita is just a fancy name for 'slushie'. 
It's super easy to make and you don't have to feel guilty eating this sweet frozen treat!


Watermelon Granita / Watermelon Shaved Ice ...


Ingredients:
  • 8 cups seedless watermelon chunks, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 9x13 baking dish or other dish that can be put in the freezer
  • Blender, Food Processor, or *NutriBullet
Directions:
  1. Place half of watermelon, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 tablespoon lime juice, in a food processor, blender or and process until smooth. Pour into a 9x13-inch glass baking dish.
  2. Repeat above step with remaining watermelon, honey and lime juice.
  3. Once you have poured all the watermelon puree into  the baking dish, stit until combined and place uncovered in the freezer. Freeze until ice begins to form around edges of pan, about 30 minutes. Rake with a fork or spoon to break up large ice clumps; return to freezer; continue stirring about every 30 minutes until all liquid is crystallized, about 3 hours total.

*NutriBullet Notes - if using a NutriBullet, you will need to do this in 4 batches using approximately 2 cups of watermelon in each batch.

Watermelon, Honey, Lime, NutriBullet (or Blender or Food Processor)
Chop Watermelon into 2 inch Chunks
Place Watermelon Chunks and Lime Juice into the NutriBullet blending Cup
Add some Honey, Blend until Smooth
Pour into a Glass Baking Dish (I used two 8x8 baking dishes, you can use one 9x13)
Stir, Place in Freezer uncovered
Scrape with spoon or fork. Serve and Enjoy!






Enjoy