Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rainy Morning Breakfast

I woke up Tuesday morning to a dreary rainy morning, and what better for a rainy morning than a stack of fresh fluffy pumpkin pancakes?  So I got up and found a recipe and got to work, hoping to surprise Philip with a good breakfast.




While I was standing over the stove cooking 2 pancakes at a time I had this crazy thought.  I wished that I could capture the scent of these pancakes cooking and staying warm in the oven, and find some way that whenever you read this post you got a taste of that wonderful smell.  Knowing this isn’t possible the best I can do is tell you to make them so you can experience it for yourself.

I found a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pancakes over at Joy The Baker and decided they were what I wanted to make.  These were ridiculously simple to put together and absolutely delicious.  I would never guess just by taste that they have any whole wheat flour in them, they were flavorful and oddly enough fluffy and dense at the same time.

Philip got his serving of pancakes while I was still cooking, and I held my breath as he tasted, knowing that with the pumpkin dislike it might not be what he wanted.  He took his first bite and when asked how they were he made a face that I couldn’t quite decipher so I turned back to the stove worried that they were a bust.  When I turned around after flipping the ones still in the skillet he had just about finished his plate and I knew that they were, in fact, a hit, when I had to tell him to wait to have seconds till after I was able to eat my first serving.  So good even someone who doesn’t like pumpkin devoured them in a matter of seconds, I think that speaks for itself.


Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

From: Joy The Baker


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

pinch of ground ginger

pinch of ground cloves (omitted)

1 cup milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter


Whisk together dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients

Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined.  It’s ok to have a few lumps, you don’t want to over mix the batter.

Let batter sit while you heat the skillet.  (The trick I was taught for testing whether the skillet is ready is to sprinkle a bit of water on the skillet and when the water dances around a bit the skillet is hot enough)

Melt a bit of butter or oil in the skillet and drop on about 2 Tbsp batter.  Once the batter starts bubbling and the edges are firming a bit, flip.



Set the oven to 200* and have an oven safe plate ready to keep the pancakes warm until they are all eaten.


This recipe made about 23 pancakes for us, which we enjoyed them with maple syrup that first morning.  The leftovers made several appearances later in the week, several times I spread them with cranberry juice we had in the fridge and topped that with maple syrup, and that was delicious.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Pumpkin Puree

Before Sunday the only experience I had with whole pumpkins was gutting them and carving Jack-O-Lanterns and the last time I did that was years ago (unfortunately, I think I need to make sure I do it again next year).  I’ve also never really cooked much with pumpkin, growing up we never really had anything pumpkin except pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and our family Christmas celebration, and since moving out I didn’t try till last year because Philip has told me he hates pumpkin.  Last year, however, I decided I wanted to make some pumpkin baked goods and I didn’t care if he ate them or not so I bought myself a can of pumpkin puree and baked.  That actually was the spark that inspired me to start this blog, unfortunately I hadn’t saved the recipes I used.

So fall rolls around this year and I start seeing pumpkin recipes showing up all over the place, and decide that once again I need to cook with pumpkin this year, and as I recall, Philip didn’t complain about the pumpkin last year.  I wanted to take an extra step this year though, and decided that since I’ve been trying to eat fewer processed foods I would go ahead and make my own pumpkin puree.  So I looked at several blog posts about this, and I Googled it and everything I looked at said something different so I came to the realization that it didn’t really matter exactly how I did it as long as I baked the pumpkin until the flesh was soft.  That being said, here’s how I did it.


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Pumpkin Puree


1 Sugar Pumpkin (mine was about 4.5lbs)


Preheat the oven to 375

Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (since my Jack-O-Lantern carving days I’d forgotten just how difficult it can be to actually get all the seeds and stringy bits out, but I managed it with minimal amounts of pumpkin splattered all over the kitchen)

Cut pumpkin into chunks (I cut it into 8ths)

Place on aluminum foil lined baking pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  (I wasn’t sure how to put my pumpkin on the pan, flesh or skin up, and I put it flesh up.  I think I’d do that differently next time as the outside layer of flesh turned out a bit tougher than I expected.  I actually covered it with aluminum foil about halfway through the baking because I was worried about it drying out too much)

Once the pumpkin is baked so that the flesh is tender (tested with a fork) take it out of  the oven and let it cool enough to handle.

Scoop the flesh from the skin and put it in a food processor and blend till smooth.


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Find pumpkin recipes to fill your house with the aromas of fall.


I had my frustrations while making this, but mostly because I get impatient.  For example, it really is important to let the pumpkin cool before scooping the flesh out, as I nearly burned my hands several times trying to do this step too soon.  However, I found it rewarding and feel much better using this puree as opposed to canned because it came from my kitchen and I know that it is pure pumpkin with nothing added.

Now I just have to keep finding recipes that call for pumpkin, not too difficult especially this time of year so expect some pumpkin goodies coming soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cornbread Deliciousness

First of all, I know I’ve been neglecting the blog.  Unfortunately it’s not just the blog that’s been set aside, I’ve been neglecting my kitchen a bit.  Between a weeklong vacation in June and two weeks staying with my parents in July I kind of stopped cooking for a while but I’m working on getting back on track with it, and the first recipe back is more bread.

Once again it was time for our Sunday potluck with out twenties and thirties group at church, this time I was a bit more prepared than last.  I knew a week in advance that the main dish was going to be chili and that I was going to bring cornbread, the question was what recipe to use.  I have made Ina Garten’s Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread for a choir dinner and it went over very well at that event (and we absolutely loved it), but I discovered we have a couple people in the group who don’t like jalapeno so that was out.

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I briefly thought about using that recipe anyway and omitting the jalapeno but decided against that partly because I was hesitant about the amount of butter her recipe calls for, and partly because I wanted to try a new recipe.  Now, I’ve had my fair share of dry, crumbly cornbread and was a little worried about randomly picking out a recipe to serve to a group and having it turn out poorly but I figured I’ll never learn unless I just go for it.

I decided that I’d go with a King Arthur Flour recipe, one of their guaranteed recipes at that, so I had a little bit of confidence that It would be pretty tasty.  This recipe was ridiculously simple to put together and start to finish, including baking time, was well under an hour.  I pulled it out of the oven and waited impatiently for the muffins to cool so we could try one before giving them to others.  As soon as they were barely cool enough to handle I grabbed one and ripped it in half to share and it looked delicious and we weren’t at all disappointed when we bit into it.  This recipe makes wonderfully moist cornbread that’s just a little sweet, and I will absolutely be going back to this recipe in the future.  There was also a general consensus among the church group that it was delicious.

Along with being an excellent side with chili I also enjoyed it warmed a bit, topped with butter and maple syrup which was also delicious.

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Source: King Arthur Flour


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg



Preheat oven to 375.  Grease your pan of choice (It calls for a 9-inch pan, I doubled the recipe and made 12 muffins then the rest baked in an 8-inch square pan).

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Stir in any extras you might want to add, you can add in herbs, cheese, corn kernels, green onion, jalapeno, etc. up to 1 cup.

In another bowl whisk together milk, melted butter, and egg.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and stir gently until just combined.

Spread batter in pan, or muffin pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges begin to pull away from the pan and a toothpick comes out clean. (I baked the muffins for about 18 minutes and the 8-inch pan for 25)

Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 5 minutes before cutting; serve warm.

IMG_1963 copy If you’re looking for a good cornbread recipe, I highly recommend giving this one a try.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Missing Ingredients...

A couple weeks ago we had a pot luck dinner to go to at church. Sunday morning I still hadn't decided what to make, but I was thinking I'd go with something simple like macaroni and cheese. That is, until I was told that someone else was planning on lasagna and I decided that lasagna and macaroni and cheese might be a bit much for one meal. I came home and was trying to come up with something by looking through recipes when a lightbulb went off.

What do you have to have with lasagna? Garlic bread!

OK, that will work, I guess I could just go pick up a loaf or two of french bread, slather it with garlic and butter and stick it in the oven but I decided that would be too boring, so I decided to look through my recipes to see if I could find something that I'd be able to make in the 3 hours I had.

I settled on the Cooking Light basic dinner roll recipe because the timing looked about right and I only had to pick a couple things up at the grocery store before I started baking.

After a quick run to the store I got to work mixing the dough. Working as quickly as I could because I had such a limited amount of time. I got everything mixed, stuck the dough in the dryer to rise, then got it back out to shape. I formed them into three different shapes and managed to find room in the dryer to stack 2 pans to let the rolls rise again.

Here is where I added the garlic. While the rolls were rising I mixed up some melted butter with a couple cloves of minced garlic and basted the tops of the rolls with it just before they went into the oven. They came out of the oven about 15 minutes before we had to leave so I let them cool briefly then piled them into a bowl to take with us. First of all, in this rush to get out the door on time I unfortunately was not able to get a picture of the rolls. Second, one of the rolls dropped on the floor as I was transferring them into the bowl, so we decided to split it before we left. I ripped it open and it looked so light and fluffy on the inside, albeit slightly overdone on the outside, and I was really excited about trying it because it looked so good.

We both bit into our chunks of bread, and something was missing. I have apparently developed a bad habit of forgetting to put salt in baked goods. They were still delicious rolls, just a little bland without the salt, and if I need rolls again I would be happy to make these again.

The recipe is here at, if you're looking for easy dinner rolls, these are good.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Comfort Foods

We all have our comfort foods, those dishes that you turn to when you've had a bad day or just need something, well, comforting. We all know that frequently comfort foods aren't the healthiest of options, in fact most of my comfort foods are full of gooey cheese. What I have for you today is a slight spin on the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup.

Grilled cheese has been one of my favorite foods for quite a long time, but there are different ways to make and eat it. Eating in the dining halls in high school and college grilled cheese day was always one that I looked forward to, the slightly soggy grilled cheese with melted orange cheese that can be ripped up and dipped into tomato soup. Delicious.

Eating grilled cheese at home was an entirely different story. At home we used white extra sharp cheddar (it's always white, orange cheddar just doesn't taste right to me) and put it on the griddle until the cheese was running out from the bread and the bread was nice and toasted and crispy.

Now we come to todays grilled cheese, which may in fact be the the better of these three. This is my open faced grilled cheese, today with sliced tomato. I only make this version when I have a good fresh tomato, because that's what makes it. Occasionally I'll add bacon or avocado in addition to the tomato, but the tomato is a necessary part.
Here's what you need:

Bread (for however many sandwiches you need)
Cheese (I generally use white extra sharp cheddar, but have occasionally put slices of swiss on top, it really is your preference)
Tomato, sliced
Avocado, sliced (optional)
Bacon, cooked to almost done (optional)

Toast the bread lightly, it will toast more in the oven. Top the toast with a layer of cheese and then top that with tomato, avocado, and bacon, as you like. Put one more thin layer of cheese on top of that, place on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese is melted.

Just look at that warm gooey melted cheese, just slightly browned on the top. It's a great easy meal good for either lunch or dinner. This does come in second to homemade Macaroni and Cheese, but it's a close second, and I'll post that recipe later.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

I was looking for a quick and easy but delicious recipe that I could have mostly prepared when Philip got home about a week ago. I found this recipe on Stephanie Cooks and knew that it would be perfect, and I had everything I needed on hand. I actually started it earlier than I should have so before I put the brown sugar on the chicken I added some chicken broth, covered the pan and let it simmer a bit, I also let it continue to simmer just a little longer covered after putting the sugar on. This was the perfect simple weeknight dinner, absolutely delicious and i will definitely be making this one again.

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken
4 Servings, I halved the recipe for just the 2 of us.
As found on

Brown Sugar, 4 tsp unpacked
Chicken Breast, no skin, 12 ounces
Garlic, 1 clove
Butter, salted, 2 tbsp
Salt, 1 tsp
Pepper, black, 1 dash
1. Melt the butter in a frying pan
2. Brown the garlic in the butter
3. Add chicken breasts to garlic and butter and cook thoroughly, adding salt and pepper as you like it. (This is where I added chicken broth and simmered)
4. When chicken is fully cooked add brown sugar on top of each breast (1 tsp per breast)
5. Allow the brown sugar to melt into the chicken (about 5 minutes)
6. Serve, we ate it with green beans with slivered toasted almonds.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I made this Rhamkuchen, also known as German Cheesecake, for a dinner with 4 other couples 2 weeks ago and only now am I finding the time to sit down and blog it. When I was little I didn't like cheesecake, it just didn't appeal to me at all. When I was about 11 or 12 I decided that I did, in fact, like some cheesecake, but only the Jello no bake kind. It may have been a couple years after that when mom made this cheesecake and I discovered that I now really like cheesecake, no matter what kind. Since that this has been my favorite cheesecake and it's one of my favorite desserts to make for a crowd because it's simple and usually goes over well.

As usual, when I offered to make dessert for this dinner I knew exactly what I was going to make, and it went over as well as always. I actually had most of them tell me that I'm welcome to bake for them anytime. On that note, on to the recipe:

Rhamkuchen (German Cheesecake)

Source: Mom-beyond that, I don't know

1½ cup rolled Zwieback crumbs
3 Tbsp butter (or margarine)
2 Tbsp sugar

1 lb cream cheese
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
rind of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs, separated
1 cup thick sour cream
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Blend the rolled crumbs with melted butter and 2 Tbsp sugar. Press into the bottom of a 9-inch spring pan. Place in warm (150-200˚) oven for 5 minutes to set the crust. Cool.

Warm the cream cheese to room temperature and break up with a fork. Blend in the sugar and lemon juice, rind and vanilla. Drop in the egg yolks, one at a time, and beat well after each one. Beat the egg whites stiff and fold into the mixture with a spatula.

Pour over the crumb base and bake for 45 minutes at 300˚.

Mix 1 Tbsp sugar and the vanilla into the sour cream. Spread lightly over the top of the cake and return it to the oven to bake 10 minutes more.

Let the cake cool and remove the rim of the spring pan.