Monday, November 23, 2009

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Oh yum!...this is a favorite recipe!  I don't remember where I got it, but it's probably another one that I came across, and just had to try!

 It's been published in the  (drum roll please)...

American Profile "Hometown Recipes for the Holidays" cookbook -

right across the page from my Poppyseed Bread recipe too. *-*  Pretty doggone exciting!

I think the cloves and the chocolate are an excellent combination.  The bread can be made ahead and frozen to help you get ready for Christmas, if you don't have time to make it for Thanksgiving!


1 cup packed (dark) brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened

3 eggs

1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin

1/2 cup milk or water

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

2-1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 5 - 6 " X 3" mini loaf pans, or 3 medium ones.  Combine the sugars, butter and eggs in a large bowl.  Using a mixer at medium-high speed, beat until creamy.  Add the pumpkin, milk, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves and beat at low speed until smooth.  Stir in the flour just until blended.  Fold in the chips.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake 35 - 40 minutes (A little longer if using bigger pans) or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

(I don't like dry bread either, so I usually begin checking it 10 minutes before time is up)

Hint - I don't normally have dark brown sugar, but you can use light brown, and just add 1 Tb. of molasses to substitute for the dark brown.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Spicy Pumpkin Pancakes

I love to get pumpkin pancakes when eating out during this season of the year, so I was tickled to find this recipe to satisfy my craving at home. Hope you enjoy every bite!

pumpkin pancakes


1 cup all purpose flour
3 Tb. brown sugar (lt. or dk.)
2 Tb. baking powder
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, separated
1 cup milk
4 tsp. margarine, melted
1/3 cup pumpkin puree (or solid pack pumpkin)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice into a large mixing bowl; set aside. Separate eggs. Stiffly beat the egg whites. Combine, in a separate bowl - milk, margarine, slightly beaten egg yolks, pumpkin and vanilla.  Add to sifted dry ingredients.  Stir, by hand with a spoon, only to combine and moisten dry ingredients.  Fold egg whites into mixture, but do not try to incorporate completely. Heat griddle to 380 degrees.  Grease griddle as needed and cook pancakes according to preferred size.  Turn when bubbles appear on top and begin to dry. Turn only once and complete the cooking process. Serve with warm maple syrup or powdered sugar.

A friend just shared this creation with me so I'm passing it along. I haven't tried it yet, but I trust her recommendation...


3 cups Aunt Jemima pancake mix
1 Tb. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 Tb. brown sugar 
1 cup pumpkin
chopped pecans

Mix dry ingredients together, then in a separate bowl, blend pumpkin with 1/2 cup water before stirring into pancake mixture. Add more water until it reaches the right consistency for pancakes. Before flipping pancakes to other side, sprinkle with chopped pecans. Serve with warmed maple syrup.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Yum-Pum-Pum Pumpkin Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

I prefer crispy cookies, but these are my all time favorite soft cookie. Very easy to make and oh-so yummy! Try ''ll like 'em. 

Top them with browned butter frosting???  Yes please!

pumpkin cookies

1 cup shortening (Crisco)

1 cup white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream together shortening and sugar; add pumpkin and beaten egg.  Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes. Frost when cool.

Browned Butter Frosting:

Heat 1/2 cup butter until golden brown.  Stir in 2 cups powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Stir in 2 - 4 Tbs. hot water until spreading consistency.

These are great with cream cheese frosting also.

Linked to Eat at Home Ingredient Spotlight
       Gooseberry Patch Roundup
Recipe of the Week
     Ingredient Spotlight - Pumpkin

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Make Ahead Meals With Taco Meat


I know some of you women are working outside the home, and it always feels good when you can get a few things done ahead for dinner. This is one of those ideas that can help you prepare some simple-to-throw-together meals.


2 - 2/1-2 # ground beef
1 - 2 pkg. taco seasoning, according to taste
1/3 cup water

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.  Break up the larger pieces with your wooden spoon and stir occasionally until no longer pink.  Drain - place back in skillet and stir in the seasoning.  Add the water and let it simmer a few minutes until liquid has evaporated.

When meat has cooled, place it in a container and refrigerate, or divide into 2 or 3 labeled freezer bags for use later. It can be frozen up to 3 months.  When ready to use - defrost in the microwave and heat through for a quick meal.


10-12 flour tortillas (taco size)
1 tomato, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
lettuce, shredded
cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ozs. sour cream
To make the tortillas more pliable, place the stack of tortillas between damp paper towels and place in the microwave for 10 - 20 seconds on high.  Fill each tortilla with meat mixture and your favorite toppings.

(I love tacos with a crunch, and love to use the hard shell inside the soft shell, for easier eating).


1 head of lettuce, torn into pieces
5 plum tomatoes, diced
8 ozs. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 - 12 oz. bag nacho cheese or taco Doritos, crumbled
Catalina dressing
Prepare tomatoes, lettuce and cheese a day ahead. (Don't use a knife to cut the lettuce - the edges will turn brown). Cover and store in refrigerator.  You may heat the meat a little, but not too much, because it will wilt the lettuce if added to the salad when it's hot. Yield 8 - 10 servings

I recommend keeping everything separate - once you mix the tomatoes, lettuce, cheese & chips together, the leftover salad does not keep well.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Clearance & Bargains & Sales - OH MY!

16 savings
I just LOVE my sales and bargains - one of my biggest 'kicks' in having to spend $$. (Or is it having $$ to spend?=) Just wanted to share some extra special things God has blessed me with recently. 

I shop at my local grocery store weekly, and buy mostly sale items and stock up that way.  They have recently begun printing out, not only coupon savings, but the savings on sale items as well, so I've really been thrilled over my savings.

This is what they've looked like the last couple of weeks....

I paid out $19.23 & saved $12.20.

Last week I paid out $19.63 and saved $16.13!


I had a 'mental health' day last week and got to spend the day away with a dear friend.  We shopped til we dropped and got lots of great deals then too.

I love Kohl's stores - their clearance racks are sensational!  Since neither of us had a coupon to take in with us, I decided to open a charge account, because they were giving 15% off when you do.  I did all my shopping at the clearance racks - plus the new cashier 'accidently' gave me a double discount...another 15% senior discount.  (Only to be told AFTER she rang me up, that they don't double discount...but since she had already given them both to me...well, OK. -Thank you Lord!) 

My receipt says I spent $66 & saved $255!  IT DOESN'T GET TOO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT NOW DOES IT???

kohls receipt

I praise the Lord for all the smiles & sunshine He sends my way - these last couple of weeks have been very trying for me, so these special deals are very meaningful and uplifting. No doubt - heavenly gifts to me at this time in my life.

TRYING to keep a Tidy Home


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Funny how it works isn't it?  The plumber's home needs plumbing repair...the mechanic  drives a broken down vehicle, and the housecleaner's home (certainly mine!) needs a good cleaning too.  I like having shortcuts and time savers to be able to clean, and wanted to share a few with you. Even if you try to add one new idea, you'll be better for it.

If at all possible try to spend 10 - 15 minutes first thing in the morning, tackling a specific task/chore. Wash up the sinkful of the vacuum...sort the laundry - whatever you can find time for, and homemaking won't seem so burdensome later in the day.

Every day, choose one task: a paper-covered desktop, a messy drawer, a disheveled closet. Now set your timer for 10 minutes and sort, toss and organize until the buzzer sounds.The goal isn't to finish the job in one session but to chip away at it in short, focused bursts known as "power organizing." Once you learn that, it won't be long before you notice dramatic results.

I have never ever liked going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.  It always seemed to affect my attitude first thing in the morning to face them, so I try to make that a habit so I can enjoy my morning coffee with ease.

I love the handy window cleaning wipes - I refresh my kitchen window often, so I don't have to keep looking at the world outside through drips, and bathroom mirrors using the same one.  They are great for tackling smudges, and don't leave streaks.   Put on some jazzy music and enlist your kids to help and they'll love cleaning too - the next hint is inviting for kids also.

If you don't have a hand swiffer - please invest in one.  They are so nifty for cleaning spots you can't reach with a rag, and make dusting fun - really!  Try it - you just might like it!  The long handled ones are wonderful for reaching vents up high - and mopboards down low.  You just toss the dirty one and get another - it's something no home should be without.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Better Baker - Leader Enterprise - November 2009 - Being Thankful

It’s that time of year when we stop and think about our abundant blessings and spend more time pondering our ‘attitude of gratitude’.People who are grateful are happy people.Learning to be thankful reduces stress and helps you to be less susceptible to illness.

Robert Louis Stevenson once stated,”The person who has stopped being thankful has fallen asleep in life.” Have you stopped to count your many blessings today?

Think of some reasons to be thankful.If the only prayer you said your whole life was ‘thank you’ it would suffice. We often take for granted the very things that deserve our most gratitude.

I’m hitting the big “6-0” this week and I’m excited about it.I am in agreement with Mark Twain,who once said “Age is an issue of mind over matter.If you don’t mind,it doesn’t matter”.We can’t avoid birthdays,but they’re much better than the only other alternative.I’m planning a trip to the Caribbean in February and I’m taking along 4 girlfriends to enjoy a belated celebration.(After serving 3 tours in Vietnam,my hubby refuses to leave the good ole USA.)

I think we all need that special something to hope for.I recently read about an idea that we should use up each day,fill it to overflowing with good,and deliberately set out to enjoy life. It’s kinda like being inspired to have a ‘twinkle in our wrinkle.’ . Abraham Lincoln once said “It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.”

Our family is extra grateful this year for the many folks who have encouraged us along life’s journey with our grandson,Caden,who has leukemia.And we are still surprised by sweet gestures of care.The new Four Seasons Restaurant at Exit 2 will be open and serving holiday dinners on Thanksgiving Day,with all proceeds going to Caden and his family.It certainly makes us feel blessed beyond measure.

I’m excited to share some yummy recipes for you to try.

This pumpkin dip is easy to make and keeps well up to 2 weeks.It’s great for dipping gingersnaps,graham crackers or apple slices in.You can use reduced fat,or even fat free cream cheese,but I suggest not using fat free when you’re baking. It contains more water than regular,and you may end up with a runny or ruined dish.It shouldn’t be beaten well either-I suggest using a whisk when using ff cream cheese.


1-8 ozs. Pkg. Cream cheese,softened

2 cups powdered sugar

1-15 ozs.Can solid pack pumpkin

1 Tb.Ground cinnamon

1 Tb.Pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp.Frozen orange juice concentrate,thawed

In medium bowl, blend cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth.Gradually mix in the pumpkin.Stir in the cinnamon,pumpkin pie spice and orange juice concentrate until smooth and well blended.Allow to blend atleast an hour before serving.

This is a favorite cranberry salad that I’ve been making for several years.The topping is optional.It’s delicious without,but adds a special and yummy touch.I use sugar free jello.


2-4-serving boxes cherry jello

2 cups boiling water

1-15 ozs. Can whole cranberry sauce

½ (one half) cup crushed pineapple, drained

½ cup finely chopped celery

½ cup chopped nuts

Dissolve jello in hot water,add cranberry sauce and stir until mixed well.Cool to room temperature before adding pineapple,celery and nuts.Pour into a 2-qt.oblong dish-chill until set;cut into squares to serve.

Topping:(optional)Combine 1-8 ozs. Block of cream cheese,softened,with 2 Tb. Mayonnaise.Blend in remaining pineapple juice and spread over top after the jello is set. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

Since my SugarFull hubby eats SugarFree, I’m sharing this delicious recipe that I make for him all year long, and always for the holidays.

Crustless Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie

1-15 ozs. Can solid pumpkin

1-12 ozs. Can evaporated skim milk

2 eggs (or equivalent in egg substitute)

2 egg whites

1 cup Splenda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp.allspice

1/4 tsp.ginger

1/8 tsp.Salt

½ cup(reduced-fat)graham cracker crumbs

Lite Whipped topping

In a mixing bowl,combine the pumpkin,milk,eggs,egg whites,and sweetener;beat until smooth.Add the spices and salt;beat until well mixed.Stir in graham cracker crumbs. Pour into a 9-in. Pie plate that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray.Bake at 325 for 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.Cool.If desired,garnish with a dollop of whipped topping and sprinkling of cinnamon.Store in the refrigerator.Yield:8 servings-116 calories each(without topping).

Did you know you can bake squash whole in the microwave?It’s the only way I prepare it.Wash it,poke a knife in it several times to let the steam escape,place it on a microwavable plate and set the timer for about 10 minutes.Depending on the size of your squash,it can take up to 10-15 more minutes,but check it every 3 or 4 minutes.I let it stand for about 10 minutes to finish cooking through,then cut it open and let cool.Scoop out the seeds,and scrape out the pulp.It mashes easily-this is much easier than trying to peel it.

You can find my ‘famous’ Butternut Squash Bake recipe online at www.americanprofile/recipes-type in the name of the recipe at the search engine and you’ll have it.For more pumpkin recipes-my blog is

Enjoy a blessed and beautiful Thanksgiving season.