Pumpkin Bread


Recipe adapted from Pumpkin Bread by Betty Crocker

published by Golden Press, New York, N.Y.

There’s nothing like pumpkin bread for brunch or snack time to remind you of how wonderful autumn is.  This recipe comes from the Betty Crocker cook book that I bought when Mark and I first got married, 30 years ago.  Usually I make a double batch and bake half into muffins and the other half into loaves for the freezer.  Be forewarned if you intend on making a double batch; this is a lot of batter.  The bowl of my Viking stand mixer holds 7 quarts and a double batch of this recipe fills the mixer bowl 3/4 of the way full.

Five years ago Mark’s Mom and Dad came to visit and the guys built our deck.  I knew Pepere meant business when he brought his very own jack hammer.  Talk about messy, our house was a construction zone for about 5 days.  However, the deck is a solid thing of beauty, and I’m so grateful to Pep for putting all his effort into its design and construction.  He added a lot of custom features into the design and I appreciate that very much.  He was in his glory leading a crew of men on a project, even though the crew only consisted of Mark and Bobby.  Plus, it was a great guy-bonding thing for all of them.  Mem and I were told to stay out of the way, and so we went shopping.  Hard to believe that it’s been five years.  Enjoy!


2/3 cup shortening

2  2/3 cup sugar

4 eggs

1-16 oz. can pumpkin

2/3 cup water

3 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon (I always use more)

1 teaspoon ground cloves (I always use more of this, too)

2/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts, optional



1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, or if using muffin pans, grease bottom of each cup or use paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, mix the shortening and sugar.  Add the eggs, pumpkin and water.


3. Blend in the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves.  Stir in the nuts, if using.

4. Pour batter into pans.  If making muffins, fill the cups a little more than half full ( I use a large scoop that holds 3 Tablespoons).


5. Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes.  If baking the bread in a loaf pan, bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly and remove from pans.  Store in refrigerator.



Building our deck


The guys are hard at work!


The crew at the end of a long day


It’s all done but the staining… great job guys!

Herbed Green Onion and Cheese Bread


Now that cooler weather is right around the corner, we need a good bread recipe to accompany our simmering soup pots.  I jotted this recipe down a long time ago and do not know of its’ origin, however, it is delicious.  Enjoy!


2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

2 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten

3 cups bread flour

2 teaspoons yeast



1. Saute green onions and herbs in the 2 Tablespoons butter until the onions are soft and the herbs are fragrant; cool.

2. Place ingredients in bucket of bread machine in the order listed.  Use the dough setting.

3. When bread machine cycle is done, remove dough from bread machine bucket and shape into a loaf or rolls.  Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise in a warm area for about 30 minutes, or until dough is doubled in size.

4. Bake in a preheated 350°F. oven for about 18-20 minutes for rolls, about 30-40 minutes for loaves.


Quick Cinnamon Buns


Recipe adapted from Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing by America’s Test Kitchen Television Show, 10th Anniversary Best Recipes

Founder and Editor- Christopher Kimball

This recipe intrigued me; the idea of making cinnamon rolls without yeast and in about one-quarter of the time of a traditional cinnamon roll was something that I wanted to investigate.  The dough is quickly mixed all in one bowl and it is patted out rather than rolled out.  The recipe is a sort of cream biscuit (according to the book), “with buttermilk used in place of the cream, baking soda balancing the acidity of the buttermilk and melted butter added to restore some of the richness lost by not using cream in the first place”.

The writers and testers of this recipe compared it to a homemade cinnamon roll and claimed that these were just as tasty as their yeasty cousin.  So I set out to see if it was true.   First of all, I love how fast and easy it was to put together, it takes about 10-15 minutes to mix, pat and roll.  The baking takes about 22 minutes, followed by about a 5 minute cooling and glazing session.  All in all, it takes about 35-45 minutes for the entire procedure, whereas making yeast bread cinnamon rolls takes hours from start to finish.

Then came the taste test.  I felt that the amount of sugar used to sprinkle on the dough was quite excessive.  Next time I make these, I will probably cut back about 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and a few tablespoons of the granulated sugar.  The glaze is quite sweet (and there is a lot of it, I had some left over) and will more than make up for the deleted sugar.

The buns hold together well, the dough bakes up nice and plump and is tender and moist.  However, this is a biscuit dough and like most biscuits, these rolls must be consumed almost immediately (not usually a problem here) because biscuit dough does not keep well.  I have to say that they were pretty damn good.  The yeasty flavor is lacking, but after a bite or two you will completely forget about that.  Enjoy!

Filling Ingredients

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon butter, melted (see note below)

Dough Ingredients

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk  (since I rarely have buttermilk in the house I substituted with vinegar, you can substitute for the buttermilk with 1 Tablespoon and 1/8 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice and enough milk to equal 1 1/4 cup)

6 Tablespoons butter, melted (see note below)

Icing Ingredients

2 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened

2 Tablespoons buttermilk (I used 2 % milk)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

**note** Melted butter is used in the dough, filling, and to grease the pan.  The total amount is 8 Tablespoons (1 stick), melt it ahead of time and measure it out as you need it.



1. Move oven rack to the upper middle position in your oven, then preheat the oven to 425° F.

2. Pour 1 Tablespoon melted butter into a 9 inch cake pan and brush to coat the pan.


3. For the filling; Combine the sugars, spices and salt.  Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand.


4. For the dough; Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  Whisk the buttermilk and 2 Tablespoons of the melted butter together in a measuring cup ( if you use the vinegar to make your buttermilk, you will notice that the butter clumps up once you add it to the measuring cup-it still works and tastes fine).

5. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir until the liquid is absorbed.  The dough will be rough and ragged looking.


6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead just until smooth.  Do not overknead because it will make the dough tough.  I pushed and folded my dough only about 5 or 6 times.




7. Pat the dough with your hands into a 9 inch by 12 inch rectangle.  Brush the dough with 2 Tablespoons of the melted butter.  Sprinkle with the filling, leaving a 1/2 inch wide border of plain dough around the edges.  Press the filling firmly into the dough.

8.  Starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly to form a tight log.  Pinch the seam to seal.  Place seam on bottom and slice the log into 8 pieces.


9. With your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal the open edges and to keep the filling in place.  Place 1 roll in the center of the pan and the remaining 7 rolls around it.  Brush the last 2 Tablespoons of butter on the rolls.


10. Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 22-25 minutes.  Using a small off-set spatula, transfer the buns from the cake pan to the serving platter.  Cool for 5 minutes.


11. For the Icing; While the buns are cooling, whisk the cream cheese, vanilla and milk together until thick and smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and whisk until a smooth glaze forms.  Spoon the glaze over the rolls and serve.

Granola Pancakes with Bananas


recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

published by Golden Press, New York

This is another recipe that was inspired by our anniversary trip to Florida.  Our hotel served breakfast and every morning I ordered granola pancakes with bananas.  The pancakes were soft and fluffy, the granola was chewy, the bananas were sweet, and one morning they even put a scoop of peanut butter on top.

The granola I used is a store brand (read generic) cereal.  I bought the plainest one, without raisins.  The pancake batter is from the recipe I’ve used since Mark and I got married.  These are the only pancakes my kids know, they have eaten them their whole lives (and sometimes with chocolate chips in them).  I’ve had granola pancakes before and the bananas were in the batter.  At the hotel, the pancakes were served with sliced bananas on top of each pancake.  I think I like it that way better.

I had a few more vacation photos that I wanted to share with you.  The grounds of our hotel were beautiful, tropical and had a marina on one side.  Our first night at the hotel, we were eating dinner in the restaurant, looking across the marina.  We watched as a guy walked downstairs from his apartment, and dropped a fishing line into the marina which was about ten feet from his staircase.  About three minutes later he pulled up a fish and his wife/girlfriend came downstairs and brought the fish back to their apartment.  He continued to fish and about five minutes later he caught another one and went home with it.  The whole thing seemed unreal.  Enjoy!



1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

2 Tablespoons oil

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granola cereal

fruit, butter, syrup, peanut butter, etc.


1. Beat egg with whisk until fluffy, beat in all but the granola until smooth (for thinner pancakes, add in additional milk now).  Toss in granola and mix well.


2. Heat the griddle.  Drop batter onto the hot griddle with a large spoon, ladle, or pitcher.  Cook until puffed and dry around the edges.  Turn pancakes and cook other side until golden brown.

3. Serve pancakes hot, stacked with sliced bananas (or other fruit of choice), and drizzled with syrup.


St. Petersburg, Florida


hotel grounds


hotel marina


St. Petersburg Beach



My grandmother made the best biscuits.  She did not use a recipe, she just poured a bunch of goodies in a bowl, and viola!…out came these morsels from heaven.  We impatiently waited and when those biscuits came out of the oven, we mobbed her; five kids armed with a stick of butter.  This is the closest thing that I have ever found to Granny’s biscuit recipe.  They are delicious served hot with butter and homemade jam, or split open and covered in sawmill gravy.

This recipe is one that I found in a magazine many years ago (don’t remember which one), and tweaked a little.  I applied the Alton Brown (author of Good Eats) theory of southern baking to the recipe. Alton says that soft flour, such as White Lily, contains less protein and makes a better biscuit.  If you can’t find a good southern flour, you can approximate the protein levels by mixing 3 parts all-purpose flour with 1 part cake flour.  Enjoy!



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup buttermilk

melted butter (optional)



1. Preheat oven to 400°F.


2. Whisk together flours and baking powder in a large bowl.


3. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender (or by hand) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.



4. Make a well in the mixture and pour in the buttermilk.  Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Knead in the bowl until all the flour has been absorbed.




5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead about 3-4 times.




6. Roll the dough out to about 3/4 inch thick, cut out biscuits using a 3 inch cutter.  Place biscuits on a  greased baking sheet, brush with melted butter (optional), and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.



Everyday Granola by Molly Wizenberg

courtesy of Epicurious.com

This is a basic recipe that can be varied to suit your family’s taste simply by changing the nuts, spices and fruits.  I made this batch using pecans and raisins.  However, it would be equally good made with walnuts and dried cranberries, or even slivered almonds and dried cherries.  Next time I make it I’m going to try peanut butter powder and peanuts (that is Bobby’s favorite flavor).  There are so many options.



3 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon (the recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ginger, but I wanted to keep it simple)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup honey

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup dried fruit



1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a rimmed baking stone that has been sprayed with Pam.


2. In a small saucepan, combine the honey and the oil.  Combine all the other dry ingredients, except for the fruit, in a large bowl and stir to combine.

3. Heat the honey and oil over medium heat until it is smooth.  Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and toss well to combine.


4. Spread the granola on the prepared baking sheet and bake until it is golden, stirring every 10 minutes, for about 40 minutes.

5. Place baking sheet on a rack.  Stir the granola and allow to cool.  Add in the fruit. (I add my fruit in after I remove it from the oven, but before it is cool).  Store the granola in an airtight container, it can be made up to one week ahead.

*In the past I have added wheat germ to my granola, it imparts a nice nutty flavor.



Pepperoni Bread


Recipe courtesy of Game Day Fan Fare

by Gooseberry Patch

To me, sports are the ultimate reality TV;  Thrills, chills, passion, joy, elation and heartbreak all rolled into one, plus the whole thing is live! We are total sports nuts at this house and I’m always looking for new recipes to serve during football, baseball, and hockey season.  This Pepperoni Bread was easy to make and tasted delicious.  I used bread dough, but it was suggested that you could also use pizza crust dough.  I used a three-cheese blend of shredded cheese, instead of using chopped Provolone, and it was still great.  You could probably put all kinds of goodies in this bread.  Enjoy!



1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (or you can substitute Italian Seasoning for the parsley and oregano )
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt (I used granulated garlic)
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 pound pepperoni, sliced
1/4-1/2 pound provolone cheese, sliced (I used a shredded 3-cheese blend)




1. Let dough rise according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine egg, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.



2. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Divide dough into 2 equal pieces.



3. Roll out one piece of dough into a 10 inch by 8 inch rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick.



4. Spread dough with half of egg mixture.  Evenly arrange half the pepperoni and half the provolone cheese over the egg mixture.



5. Roll up dough, starting at a long side, pinching seams together to seal.  Repeat process for remaining ingredients.  Leave more space between them than I did, though, because as you will see in the next photo, my loaves fused together a little as they baked.



6. Transfer loaves to an ungreased baking sheet, seam side down.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden.



7. Slice and serve with pizza sauce.