Tuesday, October 9, 2012

best pumpkin bread eva

pumpkin anything is a fall favorite in my home so this week-end i had planned on making pumpkin bread. then i remembered we had early morning soccer pics followed by a soccer game, birthday parties, two play dates (can i call them that anymore? my kids seem too big for that) corn mazes planned, pumpkin picking to be done, senior breakfast dresses to be bought, a new backpack to be purchased and a few school projects-i was feeling a little mommy maxed. ya feel me?

then on sunday when we were at fornier farms we purchased some of their pumpkin bread to take on their train ride- oh, p.s. their train ride is approximately 2.2 minutes long so by the time you get the plastic bag off the loaf it's time to disembark the train.

anyway, the kids were acting like they hadn't been fed in years, never mind the hot dogs and sub sammies and chips and lemonades and kettle corn remnants still stuck to their faces, they were literally stuffing this bread into their mouths oohing and ahhing about how this is the best bread ever.
ok. so i tried a small piece because i know my pumpkin bread recipe is freakin' good and had to see what this bread had on mine.
are you kidding me?? i mean, it wasn't bad. at all. but please! mine is sooo much better-less bland and more fall spicy!!

so, although i was super tired from conquering the maze, and hauling fat pumpkins, and driving all over the valley, going to parties, cheering at games, doing 1 not so successful mall trip, sitting in the petting zoo with a fancy chicken perched atop my head (not kidding) i was determined to make my pumpkin bread and show them what really darn good pumpkin bread tastes like.

these lil round pumpkin loaves are the perfect size

  • 2 tsp. baking soda

  • directions

    1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease and flour whatever pans you'd like to use. this recipe made 4 of the round pumpkin loaves, 2 mini loaves and 1 large loaf. i always try to make my breads in the smaller loaves because i feel that they cook better and are evenly moist all around whereas the larger loaf always seems to get hard corners that nobody likes.
    2. in a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar and blend. 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.
    3. bake small loaves for about 20 minutes, large for about 45-50 minutes. pop the loaves out of the pans right away and set on cooling rack.
    if you want to get the pumpkin pan they have them at oriental trading company right now for under 4 bucks!

    oh, and by the way, my bread is almost gone.
    and i really wasn't kidding about the bird on head photo...

    no, i don't feel stupid
    isn't it cute when your daughter puts a bird on your head then yells "don't move"!!
    all i could think of was to stay still and calm or i would either have bird crap on my head or it would freak out and tangle itself all up in my hair.
    this would have been the perfect day for me to be wearing a sock bun-or maybe it would have thought that it was a nest??? hmmm... thankfully there was no screaming, no tangling and no crap.
    now go make yerself some pumpkin bread!

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    dangerous mini pumpkin pies

    if you had been at my house this last week-end you would have had a mini pumpkin pie (or 8) and i would probably be filling out a restraining order against you right about now because i guarantee you would be hangin around waitin' for more.
    these things are that good. it's almost ridiculous! my new favorite to be exact.
    i wish i could virtually pop one in your mouth right now (i'm a sharer)  but i can't, that sucks, you lose.

    okay, so i bought the mini pie shells. you can make your own shells but why? buy them. that way you have more time to sit with your cup o' joe and eat them. hit up your grocery store, they are about 6 bucks for 16 or so.
    then just follow your fav pumpkin pie recipe, fill the cups full and bake at 375 for about 14 minutes.  present them on a pretty tray topped with whip cream and watch while people literally think of you as one of the coolest people they know. truth.

    here is the recipe i used:

    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

    *if you dont have pumpkin pie spice you can add the 3 ingredients below.
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    mix these together then add your egg.
    1 large egg

    add remaining ingredients and fill into pie shells
    1 cup libby's pumpkin puree 

    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 5-ounce can evaporated milk

    they look even better when you sprinkle with nutmeg but since my littlest little swears she is allergic i skip it.

    lastly, and this is the most important part of all.
    get someone who will observe you while eating these and stop you before you eat them all.
    that's the problem with me and mini treats.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012

    not a fan of the cake pop, but i tried...

    i'm a pretty good baker. i'm just gonna go ahead and toot that horn for a minute.

    i by no means should have a baking blog-have you seen those? they blow anything i can do right outta the kitchen!

    i'm not so sure about my first try at cake pops.
    i've never had a cake pop before so maybe this is how they are? if they are, i don't like them.
    bummer too coz they are such a great invention.
    very smart! oh, and the variety you can make from the batter to the chocolate to the decoration, smart.

    my pops looked really pretty and my kids loved them (unfortunately that's not a very tough crowd...) but i really didn't.
    i don't think my hawaiian liked them either-although he wouldn't ever tell, he is smart, like a cake pop!

    i found a site that gave simple directions:

    bake a cake.
    let cake cool.
    crumble cake in bowl.
    add a tub of frosting (i only added half)
    form into your shape
    add stick by using melted chocolate
    refrigerate for 30 minutes
    dip pop in melted chocolate

    time consuming, but easy.

    here's what i didn't like about my pops. the centers were so creamy that i think it only needed maybe a quarter of the tub of frosting.
    i have a secret i do that makes the cake super moist and maybe if i hadn't done that then the cake would have needed more frosting- but a whole tub? i don't think so. i checked a few sites and most said they use a whole tub so it's pretty possible that's just a cake pop, therefore, i'm not a fan of the pop.
    if it was more "cake like" i would probably love them, and then we'd have a whole notha problem up in here!!

    i will alter this cake pop biz a bit and see what i can do because they are pretty dang cute, i hate to give up on them just yet!

    the heart was my fav

    why? coz they kicked some butt this week and they needed it from last week

    pink sparklies

    cupcake pop

    don't use the edible pens-they don't work as you can see....

    i wish my photos were brighter but here they are in all their cake pop glory!

    Monday, September 24, 2012

    crisp that makes you go mmmmm....

    saturday was "apparently" the first day of autumn.
    now maybe in parts of the states that is the case but here in southern cal we are still experiencing 90 degree weather. 
    oh, i'm not complaining-this seattle girl will never complain about the sun or the shine or anything of the sorts.
    but as i see all the fall decor out in the shops i kinda wanna ride that train too. so i decided to start with an apple crisp. i figure i got all kinds of time for pumpkin stuff (a fav up in my house for sure) and apple just sounded good. 
    no, not because it goes with vanilla ice cream. am i that transparent??
    when this bad boy was baking my whole house smelled like fall, and well, pineapples, i guess i should change out my scentsy scents huh? oh, if you want some fall scentsy wafting through your home you can get some here (she's my dealer- how thug does that sound??)

    *10 apples- i usually do 5 red delicious and 5 granny smith but if your son breaks the grocery bag open in the middle of the grocery store parking lot and 1 granny rolls under a car then you use 6 red and 4 granny-it happens.....
    *4 tbs dark brown sugar
    *3-4 tbs of maple syrup (i usually just do 3)
    *2 tsp cinnamon
    *1 tsp ginger

    you can use 1 tsp. of nutmeg too but if you have a daughter that swears she is allergic to the smell (imagine that, a smell allergy?) then you skip it for fear of a major allergy smell attack.

    crumble topping:

    2 1/3 cups flour 
    2 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
    1 cup old fashioned oats
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 cup room temp butter

    preheat your oven to 350.
    use an apple peeler (mine is from pampered chef, if you don't have one it is well worth it).

    in a large bowl toss sliced apples in the filling ingredients. 
    pour into prepared 9x12 baking dish. if you want you can cut all ingredients in half and make in a 9x9 or a pie pan but why would you want less? more i get, but less? 

    add all your crumble toppings in a separate bowl. cut in the butter until you have a coarse topping

    press topping over the apples
    bake for 35-40 minutes
    enjoy this:

    then heat some up again later-like every 4-6 hours. 
    it's totally dr. approved. its got all kinds of apples in it. you know the saying, "an apple a day"..... 

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    baked s'more bars

    did you know that last friday was national s'mores day and i missed it?
    me- the girl with about 20 different s'more recipes?

    i'm so disappointed in myself!
    feel free to talk behind my back.....

    anyway, today i make up for it.

    in southern cal it's still that time. time to sit by a campfire, time to roast your marshmallows, time to lick melting chocolate off your fingers, time to make a big sticky mess.

    or..... you can preheat your oven to 350 and follow the recipe below.
    this is a very easy recipe and really really good. i thought maybe after they cooled like the next day that they wouldn't be as good but shane liked them better the next day and the kids, well, the kids will eat them morning noon and night.
    grease a 9x9 pan
    in a large bowl cream together:
    1/2 cup butter
    1/4 brown sugar
    beat in:
    1 egg
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 1/3 cups flour (you can use wheat flour)
    1/4 tsp. salt
    3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
    1 tsp. baking powder

    -divide dough in half and press one half into the bottom of the 9x9 pan.
    -take 2 large hershey bars and lay on top of the cookie dough layer. (next time i will use the smaller thinner hershey bar and layer with those so it's not so chocolaty even though my family loved it)
    -spread 1 jar of marshmallow fluff (don't over analyze what is in marshmallow fluff or you will waste at least 7-8 minutes like i did-it's one of those "better not to know" things) over the chocolate bars. regular marshmallows don't work the same.
    -place remaining dough over the marshmallow layer. because it will be hard to layer put this last part of dough into a large ziploc or plastic bag and roll out by using a rolling pin. cut open two sides of bag, carefully peel it back and place your dough layer on top.
    bake for about 30 minutes or until lightly browned on top.


    * recipe courtesy of baked perfection. yep! it's perfection alright!!

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    waffle maker cinnamon rolls

    man. i have really been trying to eat good. really.

    i found this waffled cinnamon rolls recipe while blog hopping and couldn't wait to try it.
    i mean, dontcha just bow down to this mom?

    i will try anything to save time in the morning with 3 kids rushing to greet the bus by 6:45am and one bleary eyed mom i really am game for all the tips that help make my morning routine easier.
    this definitely deserves a  5 second hug from mama to mama so i am sending it virtually and i sure hope she can feel it. heck, you're all getting one too-just coz. feel it? good. okay, so.....

    i gave my belgium waffle maker away.
    do not make the same mistake.
    it was a novelty item for us that i used a few times then went back to eggo's-why?
    time of course! only martha stewart has it so some of us gotta get real up in here!
    i do however have a panini press which i thought can't be too different.
    it worked.
    it was awesome.
    i, uh, ahem, i mean, they ate them right up!

    i dug up the old panini press

    you just buy regular old (well don't actually buy old one's-gross) pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the tube and lay them on the griddle. be sure to grease the griddle and although the cinnamon roll baking directions say 400 degrees i put my panini press on 300 degrees.

    you can lift the top griddle up on the hinge side of the panini press so the rolls don't flatten on one side. i kept the press down for approx. 3 minutes.

    take off press and frost.

    best 3 minute breakfast eva'!! yeah!!! lick your fingers!

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

    date night pb muffins with chocolate chips

    friday is my day. friday night...not so much. i kinda fall apart somewhere between 7pm and 8pm. like, put a fork in me coz she's done!

    it became pretty apparent somewhere around 6pm that it was gonna just be me and the littlest little for the night. the biggest little was on a date with her bf, the middle little was at six flags and shane was brawlin with his sinuses. 

    we decided to go on a lady date. it was a perfect mix of what she wanted to do and what i wanted to do.

    we started with a bike ride (my choice)

    then discussed where to go to dinner. decided on johnny rockets (her choice) where we sat up at the bar coz we weren't rollin our normal 5 deep. it was just us two girls. so we did. we sat up at the old fashioned bar and swiveled our way through dinner talking about school and summer and hair and of course, boys!

    we chose a few songs from the 1950's on the table top juke box but then maile decided last minute that the machine might eat her nickels so she allowed everyone else in the restaurant to gamble with that right there.

    after dinner we went to michael's, (our choice) where we put all kinds of little things into the cart that of course I will use (eventually) but probably don't actually need.

    we got home (before dark coz we are crazy like that) where mini peanut butter muffins with chocolate chips were baked (my choice) and green smoothies were mixed (her choice) then we listen to music and took fun computer pics.

    it was a good date, i will probably ask for a second one....i got her number.

    peanut butter muffins with mini chocolate chips

    1 3/4 cup flour
    2/3 cup packed brown sugar
    2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder ( this seems like a lot-i think it can be cut some)
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 egg
    3/4 cup 2% milk (i used nonfat)
    2/3 cup of chunky peanut butter (we are a smooth family)
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

    in a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients and set aside.

    in another bowl whisk the egg, milk, peanut butter, oil and vanilla.

    stir in the dry ingredients then fold in the mini chips.

    fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full and bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes.

    i defy you not to love these.

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    key lime mini tarts

    i always make these around easter but am running a little later this year.
    they are also great for summer and are the perfect two-bite treat.
    this time i also made lemon which we all thought were pretty great but nothin beats the key lime in my house....so far.

    you can make your own pastry but to save time i usually buy pre-made pie dough and just roll it out. i use a round cutter just a bit larger than the mini muffin tin.

    bake following the pie dough instructions but cut the time down and watch them. poke holes in the bottoms so they don't puff up too much while baking.

    make your curd filling:

    1/2 cup sugar 
    1/2 cup bottled key lime juice  
    5 large egg yolks 
    1 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

    combine first 3 ingredients in a medium, heavy saucepan. cook over medium heat 7 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. remove from heat. add butter; stir with a whisk until butter melts. place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 20 minutes or until lime curd comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally. cover and chill.

    you can make this ahead of time if you wish OR if you choose to make life easier on yourself you can go buy a jar of curd. i won't judge.

    make your filling:

    1 pkg. cream cheese (softened)
    1 cup yogurt
    3 tbsps. powdered sugar

    mix in 1/2 cup of curd to cream cheese filling. because i made lemon and key lime i split the cream cheese filling mixture in half then added 1/4 cup of each curd flavor.

    spoon into cooled mini tarts. top with whipped cream and a lime/lemon wedge.
    consume quickly because if you blink-my kids will eat them.

    Thursday, May 24, 2012

    green bread...that's not moldy

    after my friend suzie posted that she was making zucchini bread (with secret sneaky healthy ingredients) on facebook awhile back it sounded so good i had to make some. i had been craving my sister tory's acorn squash bread for quite some time so this felt like it might hit the spot.

    because shane has been all up in my kool-aid about us all eating organic as much as possible i went and bought all organic ingredients so he would eat it and i wouldn't have to get the look  and the shrug that says, "well, it's your body"....hate that look.
    can someone please come up with an organic donut? it'd be helpful for my conscience on saturday mornings.

    so, i took the original recipe by paula dean (thanks suzie for posting and thanks paula for knowing good food) and adapted it to make it my own and to try to make it as healthy as possible but still edible.

    3 1/4 cups flour ( i used 3 cups of whole wheat flour)
    1 1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. nutmeg (daughter hates nutmeg so for whatever reason i decided to use cloves-meh)
    3 cups of sugar (i only used 2 cups because i added a mashed banana and remember the whole healthy thing)
    1 cup vegetable oil
    4 eggs, beaten
    1/3 cup water
    2 cups grated zucchini
    1 tsp. lemon juice
    1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans (i didn't use either)

    secret ingredient:
    purple puree

    3 cups raw baby spinach leaves *don't use frozen (next time i will only use 2 cups)
    1 1/2 cups blueberries
    1/2 tsp. lemon juice
    1-2 tbsp. water (i used 1)

    put in food processor to get as smooth as possible. you only need 1 cup of this so if you have extra like i did you can freeze the remainder and use it in a smoothie later.

     oh, the puree looks like all kinds of gag but it tastes really good.

    preheat oven to 350 degrees f. in large bowl combine dry ingredients.
    mix all wet ingredients together- including puree (this is where i added a mashed banana) then slowly add dry ingredients.
    fold in nuts. 

    i baked 4 mini loaves for about 25 minutes each and 1 large loaf for about 35 minutes. this baked much faster than the original recipe stated-maybe it's my over acheiving oven??
    my son thought it would be good on st. paddy's day-yep, it's definitely green.

    very good. kids wouldn't eat it coz it was green and brown. might as well feed them spinach by itself coz they will happily eat that. (throws hands up in the air)
    shane and i loved it. it tasted like a morning type muffin but better.
    my neighbors got 2 loaves coz it sure made lots.

    Saturday, May 5, 2012

    cinco de mayo pinata cookies


    these are fun but beware-you gotta be committed coz this is lots and lots of work. i tried to keep it all real up in my kitchen but honestly mustaches are itchy and the sombrero kept slipping and covering my eyes. its really tough being all authentic and stuff.....
    this is a basic sugar cookie recipe until all heck breaks loose....

    1 cup sugar
    1 cup powdered sugar
    1 cup butter
    1 cup vegetable oil (i know-this is alot of oil, this freaked me out too. i'd use less.)
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. cream of tartar
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. almond extract
    1 tsp. baking soda
    5 cups flour
    1 tbsp. vanilla
    mini m&m candies

    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    2 tsp. milk
    cream sugars and butter. beat in eggs. add oil.
    add your dry ingredients.
    mix in vanilla and almond extract.
    split and color:
    split the dough into 5 even balls and 1 smaller ball (this small one will be the black)
    add your food colorings. i wished i had some more vibrant colors like for the purple for instance but eh, whatcha gonna do?!
    use a container that is about the size (width AND height) of your donkey cookie cutter and line it with plastic food wrap.split all of your colored dough balls in half except for the black. start to layer the colors starting with the black dough on the bottom. alternate the colors so that you end up with two layers of each color by the time you are done.
    wait it out:
    cover the layered dough and freeze for four hours or overnight. i suggest when you take the container out of the freezer wait a few minutes before slicing or use a very sharp knife because this can get hard to slice evenly or may crumble. cut slices approximately 1/4" thick. place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes.

    cut the donkeys: (doesn't sound right, i am aware of this but, cut the donkeys)

    immediately after you bake the cookies you have to take your donkey cutter and working in sets of 3 quickly cut out 2 donkeys in the same direction and one in the opposite direction.  this way when you go to assemble the finished cookie will be pretty on both sides because the baked bottom sides will be hidden.

    create the pinatas:
    for the middle cookies in each set cut off the ears and the legs and cut out the center where the m&m's will be. if you have a small round or square cutter this works well but you can use a knife too.
    try to work quickly because as the cookies cool they will become more likely to crumble. let the cookies cool on the sheet completely once you have them prepared before you remove the excess outer cookie.
    take the first pinata cookie and lay it upside down so that the baked side is facing up. outline the center of the pinata body with the "frosting glue". put the middle cookie on top of the frosting glue, fill the pinata then place the opposite side cookie on top with more frosting glue.
    let this sit and harden so they wont fall apart. i waited 30 minutes. well, i tried.

    this is a lot of work but pretty darn cute-it only makes about 6-8 cookies but thankfully may 5th only comes once a year!

    your pinata!!
    i do realize this looks a little morbid but its a pinata-how awesome!
    *originally found on sheknows.com. she DOES know!