Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Whenever fall finally rolls around (and it takes it's sweet time down here in Texas), one of the first flavors I crave is pumpkin. It never fails. Every fall I am consumed with the desire to add pumpkin to everything, especially baked goods. It's a very versatile squash, and has many applications aside from the standard pumpkin pie. It's got a sweet, earthy flavor unrivaled by any other winter squash, and when mixed with the right spice, the combination can be nothing short of amazing.

I can't remember where I got this recipe, but I am glad I wrote it down, even if my handwriting was rushed. I don't have any photos of the finished loaf as it was gobbled up too quickly, but believe me when I tell you it was pretty and it was good.

Wet ingredients: 1 cup pumpkin pie filling, 1/2 cup oil (I used Smart Balance), 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup molasses, 1 teaspoon vanilla. 
Dry ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
Spices: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (didn't have any cloves), 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 c. pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves (I subbed pumpkin pie spice and it worked fine)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin pie filling, oil, sugar, molasses, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet, stir until combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan, bake 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Serve warm with butter if desired. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gift Idea

The holidays are just around the corner! No, seriously, Christmas is only FORTY-FOUR days away! Can you believe it??? I know, it snuck up on me too.

For those of you who, like me, are freaking out over what to give people this year and wondering why you didn't start shopping in September like you always say you will, I've got a solution.

Here's my Gram thrilled with hers. I used it for her birthday gift, so I know people love it.
 Creole Seasoning Blend Jars! Now, I know it's not the most original idea ever, but this seasoning blend is so awesome that I had to share it with you. You can pretty much put it on anything for instant Cajun/Creole food.

Creole Seasoning Blend Recipe (from


  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 5 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons salt


  1. In a small bowl, combine onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika and salt. Store in an airtight container.

Super easy, super flavorful, and super awesome gift! Just put it in a cute little jar, maybe tie on a little cute measuring spoon, add a tag with the ingredients so they can make more if they run out, and you're done!

I got the little jars at Walmart:

I got my gift tags there too, but can't find them on the site. Any gift tag will do, as long as it has room on the back to write the ingredients!

I attached a decorative tea scoop I found at my local grocery store with raffia, but any decorative spoon or ribbon will do.

If you use this idea, or have a better one, let me know!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Almond Joy Balls

I made these for David's dad, Martin, at his request. I've made them before, but never blogged about them since I was sticking to just cupcakes at the time. These are so easy to make, and taste just like the real thing!

Firming up in the fridge before coating in chocolate.

Packed up and ready to go!

Almond Joy Balls (adapted from

5 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 t vanilla
2 C powdered sugar
14 oz shredded or flaked coconut
24 oz semisweet chips
1 cup whole dry roasted almonds


  1. Blend the condensed milk and the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time until smooth. 
  2. Stir in the coconut. The mixture should be firm. 
  3. Roll the mixture into ping-pong-sized balls, either topping each with an almond or inserting an almond into the center. Refrigerate until firm.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave (my preferred method) or in a double boiler. If using the microwave, be sure to use a glass microwave-safe bowl and check every 30 seconds so you don't burn the chocolate. You cannot save burnt chocolate.  
  5. Remove the coconut mixture from the refrigerator. 
  6. Set each coconut ball onto a fork and dip it into the chocolate. Tap the fork against the side of the pan or bowl to remove any excess chocolate. Place on waxed paper lined tray or wire rack above wax paper to set. Optional: top with sprinkling of chocolate jimmies.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Zucchini Bread

This was also brought to the family brunch. I made it out of necessity really, since I had a zucchini in the fridge that was about to go bad and David hates zucchini. It turned out awesome, super flavorful and moist, without a trace of zucchini.

2 cups of grated zucchini. IMPORTANT: Do NOT drain the zucchini! It adds much needed moisture to the bread!

3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 3 tsp. ground cinnamon

Mix dry ingredients together. The recipe says to sift, but I don't have a sifter, so I used a whisk. I'm terrible, I know. 

3 eggs, 1 c. vegetable oil (I used Smart Balance), 2 1/4 c. white sugar (mine is lumpy because I store vanilla beans in it), 3 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups grated zucchini

Mix wet ingredients together.

Add wet ingredients to dry, stir in zucchini.

Pour half into greased loaf pan, bake at 325F for 40-60 mins. Makes two loaves.

Mom's Zucchini Bread (from


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Nutritional Information 

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 223 | Total Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 26mg

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

These were so delicious. I made them for a family brunch we had yesterday and everyone loved them. They've got simple ingredients, and aren't terribly high in calories!

The real kicker was the streusel:
The batter came out nice and thick, and was easy to portion into the muffin tin. This recipe made 24 muffins. 

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins (from


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple (I used 4 Gala apples. Went a little over 2 cups, but no biggie.)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Nutritional Information 

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 249 | Total Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 26mg

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

CNN Photo Usage Update

So I went ahead and emailed CNN through their online form to request proper credit for my photo, and I actually received a response!
(Click to view since I know it crops weird)

I was so pleased with the fast response, but I still do not see any credit on the photo or the video description. I sent Jo another email this afternoon to let him/her know, but no response yet. We'll see where this goes.

Update: Just got another e-mail from Jo. Apparently the video was too old for them to go back and edit with credit to me, but they went ahead and expired it so it will no longer play. At least something was done, and glad this is over with!

(Click to view complete pic)

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