Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My favorite Pumpkin Bread

Yay - it's pumpkin time!  I am definitely a summer person, but I do love seeing all the pumpkins on display this time of year ~ they are just so festive and cute.  I also love pretty much anything baked with pumpkin, so when I found a can of Libby's Pure Pumpkin in my pantry, I decided it was time to make some bread.
I used my Wilton Mini Loaf Pan so I could wrap up the cute baby loaves for Madison's lunch and to pass out to friends and co-workers.

I gave my first loaves to my friends at Sheetz.  It's pretty bad when I am so addicted to fountain Diet Coke, that I know most of the Sheetz Convenience Store clerks by name and they know me too.  But they are really nice, so I take them my baked treats from time to time. I put some more in the kitchen at work and saved the rest for me :)

My Favorite Pumpkin Bread
From The Larson Lingo

1 - 15 oz. can Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
3 C sugar
1 C water
1 C vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 C flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, water, oil and eggs.  Beat until well mixed.
In a medium bowl, add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nugmeg and cloves.  Whisk until combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, beating until smooth.  Spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with Pam.  Evenly divide batter into two pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes (or until toothpick inserted comes out clean).  Cool for 10-15 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Freakin' Fantastic Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Bars

Late this summer I decided to dip my toe into baking competitions by entering a few items in our county fair.
Baking was listed under Senior Homemaking ~ does that make me sound old or what!!
When I noticed that one of the categories was cereal bars I knew just the recipe to enter.  I think these cereal bars definitely live up to their name.  If you like the combination of peanut butter, chocolate and rice krispy treats then you'll probably think they are freakin' fantastic too.  The judges agreed and I won first place in the cereal bar competion ~ yay me!  I received a blue ribbon and a $2.00 cash prize - woo hoo!

Freakin' Fantastic Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Krispy Bars
(Adapted from Picky Palate)

6 cups Rice Krispy cereal
4 cups mini marshmallows
3 T butter
2 cups creamy peanut butter
Reese Peanut Butter Cups, chopped
melted chocolate to drizzle

Place cereal into a large mixing bowl, set aside.  In a large saucepan melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.  Remove from heat and add cereal.  Stir until well coated.  Pour into a well greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish and evenly press mixture into the bake dish.
Melt peanut butter in microwave for about 45 seconds and pour over cereal, spread to even it out.  Sprinkle crushed peanut butter cups on top of the peanut butter and then drizzle chocolate on top.  YUM!

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cupcakes In A Jar and Georgetown Cupcake

A couple of weekends ago I went to Washington, D.C. with eleven girlfriends for my friend Kristy's bachelorette party.  We had so much fun shopping, eating and dancing the night away.  We all brought some snacks and tasty beverages with us to enjoy before we went out that night.  Guess what I brought - Cupcakes!  
I was worried about how they would travel since we had a two hour drive, and the fact that each car held four women and all the stuff that women need to bring for a night in D.C., so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to make Cupcakes in a Jar.  I saw these all over blog land earlier in the year and I was reminded of them again when I was browsing on Joy's Hope. So I ran to Wal-mart and purchased a case of 8 oz. Quilted Jelly jars and these pretty pink forks.  I already had the fabric from Joann's, so I traced circles on the back of the fabric with a cereal bowl as my guide. I used the Salted Caramel Cupcake recipe I recently posted about and my go-to Buttercream Frosting recipe.  I put an unfrosted cupcake in the bottom of the jelly jar and then squeezed some frosting on top using a pastry bag with a star tip.  Then I sprinkled Heath Toffee bits on top of the frosting, drizzled salted caramel over the frosting and stuck another cupcake on top.  Easy peasy and so cute!

While we were shopping we tracked down Georgetown Cupcake.  I really wanted to try their cupcakes, but the line was so long and we had lots to see and do.

 I totally asked a stranger if I could take a picture of the cupcakes they just bought.  My teenage daughter would have died of embarrassment right then and there, but hey these cupcakes have their own T.V. show!

Wish we could have tried their cupcakes, but at least we had my Cupcakes in a Jar :)
Maybe the owners, Katherine and Sophie will read this and feel bad that I didn't get to try their cupcakes and send me some!  Wishful thinking!!!

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Easy Weeknight Roasted Veggie Pasta

This is what I made for dinner last night.  It was super easy, only took about 20 minutes to make and was delish!  I love late summer when my refrigerator crisper is filled with free veggies from my parents and neighbors!  The zucchini, onion and green pepper came from Mom and Dad's garden.  My neighbor Pam shared the cherry tomatoes with me and the fresh rosemary came from my own little herb garden. The great thing about this dish is that you can use whatever veggies or meat you have on hand.  I happened to have leftover grilled chicken breasts, but I think I will try grilled shrimp next.  I used whole wheat Orecchiette pasta I found at the grocery store ~ see the pic below. I love, love, love this pasta and the little hat shapes are so cute!

Here is how I made it:

Easy Roasted Veggie Pasta

Zucchini, large diced pieces
onion, diced
green pepper, diced
cherry tomatoes, cut in half
fresh rosemary
olive oil
Place veggies in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Spread veggies out on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. Place in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes. 
While your veggies are roasting, cook your pasta and dice your chicken breasts.
To serve, place pasta in individual serving bowls and top with chicken, roasted veggies and freshly grated parmesan cheese.  BAM - you're done!