Savory Breakfast Cups

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I am sad to admit that I am not a planner.  I don’t usually have my meals planned a week in advance, I don’t keep a list of to-do’s on my bedside table.  I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants, starting a million tasks but finishing none because, well, that’s just how my mommy brain rolls.

Usually, when I wake up in the mornings, I stumble downstairs to the kitchen, make a coffee and a breakfast sandwich or some other quick breakfast for my hubby (occasionally, if I press snooze enough, this might entail ripping a banana from the bunch and serving it next to his coffee 🙂 ). Now, time to wake my little monsters (10 year old Wyatt and an 8 year old Henry).  There is usually a fair amount of scrambling to find this or that (i.e. searching for matching socks, because among the things I rock at as a mother, sock matching is definitely not one of them).  Couple all of this with some brotherly banter before the boys settle down with something that suites their simple tastes for breakfast that morning – usually a bowl full of mom-guilt (you know the kind, cold cereal, oatmeal packets, etc).

BUT, every once in a while, the stars align and I actually PLAN – pre-making our breakfasts BEFORE our week begins.  Such a novel idea.  SERIOUSLY!!! PURE BLISS! I am almost excited (I said almost) to wake up and pop something in the microwave for 30 seconds and have a delicious, protein filled breakfast for my family.

These breakfast cups are so delicious.  I created this recipe while my husband and I were on the Whole 30 diet. They tasted so naughty when we were accustomed to eating so healthy, but they aren’t, at all! They are packed with vitamins and protein. My husband always gets so excited when I make them and if I happen to make them on a day he is home from work, he will eat one or two for every meal.  He can not stay out of them.  I also made them for a catered brunch at our church for the community youth pastors and got RAVE reviews.   They are savory with a tiny touch of sweetness from the potatoes (which might seem a little odd, but its pretty fabulous).  I would highly suggest making a double batch of these if you have any big eaters in your family and are planning to have some leftovers for the week.

 

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes (the kind with light brown skin and white flesh)

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 package prosciutto (If you are wanting to stay Whole 30 compliant, be sure to check your ingredients -we found ours at Costco and Trader Joe’s with just pork and salt).

8-12 eggs (one egg per cup – most packs come with 8-12 slices of prosciutto)

1/4 cup milk (omit for Whole 30/Paleo)

Salt

Black Pepper

Garlic Salt

 

Directions:

 

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Preheat oven to 350F degrees.  Peel sweet potatoes.  Using a food processor, shred potatoes.  If you don’t have a food processor, chop the potatoes into small pieces.  Heat 2 tbsp. your favorite cooking oil (I LOVE avocado oil) in a large heavy-bottomed pan on Medium-high heat.

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Do a sizzle test to make sure that the oil is hot enough.  Add potatoes, peppers, garlic onions and seasonings. Wait for several minutes before checking the bottom of the potatoes to see if they are golden brown.  Once they are crisp and brown, go ahead and turn them.  The potatoes will not take too long to cook thoroughly.  You don’t want them to get mushy.  Be sure to taste them at this point. Season them until you feel like they would taste great alone.  Continue to stir the potatoes every few minutes until they have a good brown color mixed throughout.

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Next you will want to pull the prosciutto apart.  It is pretty hard to separate without tearing but if it does tear, now worries.  Lay one piece of prosciutto in each cup of your cupcake pan (I could not live without my Demarle silicone cupcake pan.  NOTHING will stick to it.  If you are using a regular metal pan, be sure to use  non-stick cooking spray or cupcake liners or those babies will never come out.)

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Place your cooked hashbrowns inside the cups on top of the prosciutto.  Fill the cup but don’t pack it down.

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Beat an egg for each cup you are planning to fill.  Add about 1/4 cup of milk (again omit for Whoke 30/Paleo) and a little salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, fill each cup almost to the top with egg.  The egg will sink down under the hashbrowns so you may have to come back and top them off.

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Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  Check to see if the centers of the egg cups are firm and not still runny .  If they are still runny, cook for 2 minutes at a time until they are firm (unless they are considerably runny, then add several minutes.)  Mine took 26 minutes total this last time but it will vary based on slight differences in oven temps and pan material so just keep your eye on it toward the end.

Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes until they are cool enough to handle.  Remove from pan and serve warm.  I usually put the leftovers in a big gallon Ziploc and then reheat them in the microwave for a fast, delicious breakfast.

 

Savory Breakfast Cups (Whole 30 Friendly)

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized sweet potatoes (the kind with light brown skin and white flesh)

1 medium onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

1 package prosciutto (If you are wanting to stay Whole 30 compliant, be sure to check your ingredients -we found ours at Costco and Trader Joe’s with just pork and salt).

8-12 eggs (one egg per cup – most packs come with 8-12 slices of prosciutto)

1/4 cup milk (omit for Whole 30/Paleo)

Salt

Black Pepper

Garlic Salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Peel sweet potatoes.  Using a food processor, shred potatoes.  If you don’t have a food processor, chop the potatoes into small pieces.  Heat 2 tbsp. your favorite cooking oil (I LOVE avocado oil) in a large heavy-bottomed pan on Medium-high heat.
  2. Do a sizzle test to make sure that the oil is hot enough.  Add potatoes, peppers, garlic onions and seasonings. Wait for several minutes before checking the bottom of the potatoes to see if they are golden brown.  Once they are crisp and brown, go ahead and turn them.  The potatoes will not take too long to cook thoroughly.  You don’t want them to get mushy.  You will want to taste them at this point. Season them until you feel like they would taste great alone.  Continue to stir the potatoes every few minutes until they have a good brown color mixed throughout.
  3. Next you will want to pull the prosciutto apart.  It is pretty hard to separate without tearing but if it does tear, now worries.  Lay one piece of prosciutto in each cup of your cupcake pan (I could not live without my Demarle silicone cupcake pan.  NOTHING will stick to it.  If you are using a regular metal pan, be sure to use a good amount of non-stick cooking spray or cupcake liners or those babies will never come out.)
  4. Place your cooked hashbrowns inside the cups on top of the prosciutto.  Fill the cup but don’t pack it down.
  5. Beat an egg for each cup you are planning to fill.  Add about 1/4 cup of milk and a little salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, fill each cup almost to the top with egg.  The egg will sink down under the hashbrowns so you may have to come back and top them off.
  6. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes.  Check to see if the centers of the egg cups are firm and not still runny .  If they are still runny, cook for 2 minutes at a time until they are firm (unless they are considerably runny, then add several minutes.)  Mine took 26 minutes total this last time but it will vary based on slight differences in oven temps and pan material so just keep your eye on it toward the end.
  7. Let stand at room temperature for 5 minutes until they are cool enough to handle.  Remove from pan and serve warm.  I usually put the leftovers in a big gallon Ziploc and then reheat them in the microwave for a fast, delicious, hot breakfast.

 

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Aebleskivers – Dutch Pancakes

nutella filledjelly filledHappy New Year!!!  I hope you have all had an amazing time celebrating with family and friends. We spent the countdown at home this year with our 2 boys.  This was the first year that they actually made it until midnight (or technichally the first year that we haven’t tricked them with the East Coast countdown.. heehee).  We had a fondu night complete with cheddar beer fondu, beef broth fondu (for steak) and my favorite, chocolate fondu with lots of fruit and donut holes for dipping.  It was such a fun night full of games, music and of course food.

Breakfast consisted of bacon, eggs and these delicious gems called Aebleskivers [pronounced eb-el-skee-vers].  These Dutch pancakes do require a special pan if you want to make them round (you can technically just cook the batter flat on a skillet), but if you have the chance to pick one up, you are in for a treat! pan I purchased mine (actually my sweet momma bought it for me) from World Market.  I understand William Sonoma and Amazon also sell them.  These are to die for!  They are slightly crisp on the outside and dense yet fluffy on the inside.  Generally, they are served rolled in powdered sugar with some kind of fruit preserves (or Nutella).  You can also just serve with butter and syrup.  I like to pipe preserves or chocolate into the center of the pancake for a little extra wow factor.

Historically, Aebleskivers were made in hammered copper pans but today, the pans are generally made from cast iron or aluminum with a non-stick coating.  You will also want to have something to turn them with.

stick I used a little wooden stick I had for making caramel apples.  You can also use a chop stick, a fork or even a knitting needle if you really want to do it like  a pro.

These are such a fun treat! They are a blast to make and even more fun to eat.  There are several different recipes online, most call for either yeast or baking powder as the leavening agent.  I can’t wait to try the yeast ones but the baking soda ones apparently require a little less effort.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 Tablespoons sugar

5 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 cups milk

4 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

dry ingIn a mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt).  wet into dry ingIn a separate bowl, whisk butter, milk and eggs together.  Add liquids to dry ingredients until evenly moistened.

butter panfill cups

Place aebleskiver pan over medium-low heat.  When pan is hot enough to make a drop of water dance, brush pancake cups lightly with melted butter and fill each to slightly below the rim with batter.

first turn

Cook for approximately 1 minute then poke your dowel (or whatever you are using) into the center of the batter and pierce the bottom.  Gently pull shell to rotate pancake until about half the cooked portion is above the cup rim and uncooked batter flows down into the cup.

turn all

ballsCook until crust on  bottom of ball is again firm enough to pierce then rotate ball with skewer until ball is closed.  Continue cooking, rotating the ball if needed until the batter in the center is completely cooked.  You will want to pull one of the pancakes apart slightly to test the center.

fill nutella

rolled in psAt this point, you can pipe filling into the center.  Roll in powdered sugar if desired.  Serve warm.

Aebelskivers

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 Tablespoons sugar

5 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 cups milk

4 Tbsp melted butter

Directions:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Mix all wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined.
  4. Heat pan on medium-low heat until hot enough to make a drop of water dance.
  5. Using a 1/8th measuring cup or ladle, fill each half sphere in your pan almost to the top.
  6. Let cook for approx. 1 minute or until a good crust forms on the bottom of the pancake
  7. Pierce your skewer into the bottom of the pancake and swipe it up, turning it 1/4 of a turn so that the batter once again fills the half-sphere.
  8. Let cook for at least another 30 seconds before turning again to complete the ball.
  9. At this point, you will just keep cooking and turning until the inside of the ball is completely cooked (you can test this by poking with a toothpick or splitting one slightly and peeking inside.
  10. Remove from pan.
  11. Pipe with filling if desired.
  12. Roll in powdered sugar.
  13. Serve warm.

I found this recipe here http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/danish-pancake-balls-aebleskiver.

 

Baklava

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I am so exciting to be blogging right now!  For Christmas, my sweet husband bought me a laptop!  I have been dreaming for years about being able to blog from my couch or kitchen table or even my bed instead of in our chilly office where our family PC currently sits.  I knew exactly what recipe I wanted to bring you first because I have been so anxious to share this recipe with you!  Prior to making Baklava myself, I always assumed that it would be extremely difficult and time-consuming to make.  I was so wrong!  I have made this recipe 2 or 3 times now and anyone who tastes it raves about it and can’t believe that I actually made it myself. It is such a beautiful, delicate treat and it really is not difficult! The hard part is already done for you (the phyllo dough). You just have to slap it in a pan with some butter, nuts, and cinnamon, pour a homemade syrup over the top and voila’! – crispy, chewy, sweet, nutty homemade Baklava.  Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

1 (16oz) package phyllo dough (also spelled fillo, filo or phylo)

1 lb chopped nuts

1 cup butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

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First, you are going to want to visit your local grocery store freezer section and pick up some Phyllo (sometimes spelled Filo or Fillo) Dough.  It should be in a long rectangular box somewhere near the Cool Whip.  Defrost the dough according to the package directions (in the fridge or on the counter).  It shouldn’t  take too long to defrost.  A pastry brush will also be a necessity for this recipe.

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Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.  Once defrosted, open the box and unroll the dough onto your counter or onto a cutting board.  The dough will be approximately twice as wide as you will need it to be, so you will want to use a sharp knife and cut the length of the rectangle in half, leaving you with two piles of dough that will fit perfectly into your 9×13 pan.  Keep the dough covered with a damp cloth throughout the assembly process so it doesn’t dry out.

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Next melt butter in a bowl.  Make sure you are using real butter, not margarine.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan using your pastry brush.

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Place 2 sheets of phyllo dough down onto the buttered pan.  Butter the entire top sheet.  Place another 2 sheets of dough on top of the already buttered sheets.  Brush butter on top sheet.  Repeat this step until you have at least 8 sheets (4 layers of 2).

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Now you will want to place a mixture of nuts (I used pecans and almonds. Some other good choices are pistachios or walnuts.  Just don’t use peanuts!) into a food processor (if you don’t have one, hand chopping will work, it will just require that you chop them very finely).

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Stir in cinnamon.

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Sprinkle a light coating of nuts onto the top buttered layer of dough (approximately 1/4 cup)

Place another 2 sheets of dough over nuts and brush with butter.  Sprinkle with another layer of nuts. Repeat dough, butter, nuts for several more layers until you reach the desired thickness.  (Please keep in mind that you will need to save 6-8 sheets for the top layers that don’t contain nuts.  I also had approximately 8-10 sheets of dough left over that I cut in half again and used an 8×8 pan to make another small batch. Feel free to make it as thick as you want it).

Now layer 2 more sheets of dough then brush with butter 3-4 more times to make your top flaky layer.  Brush the top layer with butter.

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Using a sharp knife, cut all the way through the Baklava cutting it into triangles.  You can see I cut 4 long rows then cut diagonally and then diagonally again across to make smaller triangles.

Bake at 350 degrees 50 minutes until Baklava is golden and crisp.

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While the Baklava is baking, make your sauce/syrup.  Boil water and sugar until dissolved then add honey.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add vanilla.

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Remove Baklava from the oven and immediately pour syrup over the top.  If you let it cool completely before removing from the pan, it will really stick.  So, when it is still a little warm and pliable, remove each triangle and place in a cupcake liner or parchment paper square.

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These make really great teacher gifts, or party hors d’oeuvres – IF you decide after eating one that you even want to share them.

I found this gem of a recipe on allrecipes.com by NEONWILLIE.

 

 

Baklava

  • Servings: 28-30
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

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Ingredients:

1 (16 oz) package Phyllo Dough

1 cup butter

1 lb chopped nuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Thaw phyllo dough.  Remove from box and unroll.  Cut in half so that sheets will fit in a 9×13 pan.  Cover with a damp cloth during preparation so it won’t dry out
  2. Melt Butter.  Using a pastry brush, butter bottom and sides of  9×13 pan.  Place two sheets of dough flat into buttered pan.  Brush top sheet thoroughly with butter.  Now layer another 2 sheets and again brush with butter.  Do this until you have 8 sheets layered in the pan.
  3. Chop nuts finely in a food processor (or by hand).  Stir in cinnamon.  Sprinkle a layer of nuts onto top sheet of phyllo dough (approx. 1/4 cup).  4.  Top with 2 more sheets of dough, butter then sprinkle with nuts.  Repeat these steps several more times until you reach the desired thickness.
  4. Top with 2 sheets of dough.  Butter top then repeat this (with no nuts) 3 times until you have 6 sheets (3 layers) of dough on top.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 long strips, then cut diagonally in both directions to make triangles.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. While Baklava is baking, make your sauce.  Boil 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar until dissolved.  Add honey.  Simmer for 20 min.  Add vanilla.
  7. When baklava is done baking, remove from oven and pour sauce over the top.  Let cool almost completely then remove pieces with a stiff metal spatula while still slightly warm.   Place each individual piece into a cupcake wrapper or parchment square. Do not cover. You don’t want any moisture to build because it will change the flaky texture.  Enjoy!

 

Delicious 5-Minute Ranch Dip/Dressing

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Confession… I am not a veggie lover, especially cooked veggies.  I have PTSD from my parents making me sit at the dinner table until all of my veggies were eaten.  I would gag several times while trying to swallow them and would eventually have to wash them down with milk.  As an adult, I have learned to eat them, but have never really enjoyed them much. That being said – I LOVE raw veggies dipped in Ranch! Not just any ranch… It has to be the ranch dip in the little packets mixed with sour cream.  I can eat raw broccoli all day long as long as it’s dipped in ranch.  Our youngest son unfortunately has not yet acquired a taste for veggies either, so I always have a baggie of fresh, cut up veggies in the fridge.  I make him take at least one bite of whatever vegetable we are having with dinner and if he doesn’t like it, he is allowed to grab a handful of raw veggies out of the fridge to eat them.  And he does.  He really likes them raw, dipped in ranch, just like me. And as long as he is getting the vitamins, I really am not too concerned with him gagging down the ones I have prepared for dinner.

So, after years of paying the “Hidden Valley” prices ($2-3/pack), I stumbled upon this recipe from http://www.thedailyblarg.com/2013/01/simple-homemade-ranch-dip-recipe.html  and now I make my own!  This recipe is even better than the little ranch packets and probably costs less than $.25 to make.  I always have all of these spices on hand, so, as long as I have some sour cream, I’m in business! I use the low-fat sour cream too so I can feel better about eating an entire tub of dip :).

Ingredients:

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayo (I leave this out and add 1/2 cup extra sour cream and it is still wonderful, your choice)

1 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dill weed (Some of you may not have this in your pantry.  Get some because you are going to be making this a lot! And it’s wonderful on fish too!!!)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1 tsp salt (I find that 1/2 tsp is plenty salty  so start off with 1/2 tsp and add more if needed)

Directions:

ingredients

If you have time to let the dip rest in the fridge for an hour or more, you can just combine all of the ingredients and you’re done.

Herbswet herbs

If you are wanting to have it right away, mix the dill, salt and parsley with two teaspoons of hot water.  This will allow the flavors of those herbs to bloom.

mix with sour creamdipping cucumber

Let stand for one minute and then mix with the rest of the spices and sour cream (and mayo of you prefer it).    That’s it! Way too easy, right? Enjoy with your favorite fresh veggies!

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Pancakes

Maybe I should have called this Pumpkin Month since it seems like it is going to take me a whole month to get around to blogging a weeks worth of recipes.  Thanks everyone for always being so loyal in following my blog even though my life gets busy and I have to put it on the back burner sometimes.  I love blogging so much and wish I had more hours in my day so I could have a daily recipe for you.  Oh well, we do what we can I guess.

It has been so hard deciding which pumpkin recipes to make for this series.  There are so many good ones!  One thing I knew for sure was that I had to blog pumpkin pancakes.  Nothing says fall like pumpkin pancakes on a crisp Sunday morning.  These are super fast to make and are always a huge hit! The beauty of pancake mix is that you can play around with so many different ingredients.  For example, instead of adding pumpkin and spices you can add mashed ripe bananas, cooked oatmeal and cinnamon OR applesauce, oatmeal and cinnamon.  Just always reserve some of the liquid recommended on the package recipe until the very end so you can be sure to accommodate for the extra moisture from the added ingredients.  Pancake mixes are very forgiving so if you find it’s too thick, add more liquid, if it’s too thin, add a bit more mix.

Ingredients:

3 cups Bisquick (or your favorite pancake mix, *see below for tips*)

3 eggs

1 and 1/2 cups milk

***** these are the Bisquick package directions, you will add the following ingredients below to the mix of your choice along with any other ingredients called for on the package directions)

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients.  Add eggs, milk, pumpkin and vanilla, reserving some of the milk (or water) until the end so you can get the consistency you desire.  I prefer my pancakes thick and fluffy, you may prefer to add a bit more liquid for a thinner pancake.

Heat pan or skillet over medium heat for several minutes to evenly heat the pan.  If you start your pan too hot, your pancakes will brown too quickly and result in a gooey center.  Flip when undersides are golden brown and repeat on other side.  Serve with a slab of butter, a dusting of powdered sugar and some real maple syrup…. MMM.. MMM.. MMM! Breakfast is served!

These also freeze well so if you have extras, throw them in a freezer bag and then pop in the microwave for a quick, yummy breakfast.

How exciting! This recipe has been featured on some awesome blogs.  Stop by and check them out!

topdreamer.com/irresistibly-delicious-pancake-recipes/

canopi.com/content/2013/9/25/15-mouth-watering-pumpkin-recipes/

bust.com/10-quick-and-easy-meals-to-make-with-pumpkin-bigpumpkin.html

diycandy.com/2013/09/20-delicious-pumpkin-recipes-fall/?pid=302

http://homeandheartdiy.com/pumpkin-pancakes/

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Pancakes

  • Servings: 5-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

pumpkin pancakes

Ingredients:

3 cups Bisquick (or your favorite pancake mix, *see below for tips*)

3 eggs

1 and 1/2 cups milk

***** these are the Bisquick package directions, you will add the following ingredients below to the mix of your choice along with any other ingredients called for on the package directions)

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients.
  2. Add eggs, milk, pumpkin and vanilla, reserving some of the milk (or water) until the end so you can get the consistency you desire.
  3. Heat pan or skillet over medium heat for several minutes to evenly heat the pan.  If you start your pan too hot, your pancakes will brown too quickly and result in a gooey center.  Flip when undersides are golden brown and repeat on other side.
  4. Serve with a slab of butter, a dusting of powdered sugar and some real maple syrup.

 

 

Pumpkin Week! Pumpkin Bread Perfection

Your search for the perfect pumpkin bread recipe is over! This is the epitome of sweet bread perfection.  It is really moist and dense and has a delicious crusty cinnamon-sugar topping….mmmm. I can never wait until fall for my first batch of pumpkin bread.  I usually make some for the neighbors too because it’s just too good not to make a loaf for everyone.

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour (or substitute with whole wheat)

2 cups white sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups pumpkin puree

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

Topping

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Mix all dry ingredients together.  I recommend either sifting them or using a whisk to mix them, there are so many spices and additions to the flour that it is a good idea to get it mixed really well.

Add pumpkin, vanilla, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Mix until no streaks of flour are visible. Confession time… I got completely distracted while making this batch (doesn’t take much) and l forgot to put the oil in!  Seriously, who does that? It’s the oil! The bread STILL came out fabulous! It was not quite as moist as usual but I was shocked at how little difference the oil actually made in this recipe.  As a result, your batter will appear a bit thinner than mine in the above pic, unless of course you decide to leave it out too. 🙂

Pour into two greased bread pans (8″).  Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar topping over each loaf. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until the top no longer appears wet and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Cool on for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Cool on wire rack until you just can’t stand it anymore and you have to bust into one.

This recipe has been featured on the following awesome blogs.  Stop by and check them out!

justimagine-ddoc.com/food-and-drink/fall-inspiration-pumpkin-recipes/gallery/image/pumpkin-bread-perfection/

http://ladyslittleloves.com/2013/09/pumpkin-streusel-bread-muffins.html

Pumpkin Week!!! Homemade Pumpkin Puree

I can’t wait for each and every recipe I have coming up for you this week.  I am a huge fan of pumpkin everything so I have more than enough FABULOUS recipes to give you a full week’s worth of pumpkin heaven.

With my hubby gone hunting and the rainy season started, the boys and I decided we would head down to our local farm stand and pick up some sugar pie pumpkins for a day full of baking.    They had so much fun getting all of the “guts” out of the pumpkins and separating all of the seeds so we could roast them.

Now, I can honestly say, I cannot taste a HUGE difference in flavor between canned pumpkin and fresh pumpkin puree, but if you are looking for a really fun, cheap fall activity to stock up on puree (which is generally pretty expensive otherwise) for the season, this is definitely worth it the effort.

Ingredients:

1-2 sugar pie (or baking) pumpkins – your local farmer or grocer will be able to point you in the right direction.  They are generally small, round, pretty smooth pumpkins with little speckles on them.
I roasted 2 pumpkins and got 10 cups of puree (which is equivalent to 5 cans of puree) and at $2/pumpkin, it is much cheaper.

Directions:

Cut pumpkin in half, vertically.  These pumpkins are generally pretty firm so be careful.  I find that a bread knife or serrated steak knife work better than my big sharp chef knives.  Cut right up to the stem on both sides then break apart with your hands.  You should then just be able to grab the stem and break it off pretty easily.

Remove the “guts” as my boys would call it.  Be sure to scrap the inside well with a spoon to remove any of the stringy pulp.  Separate the seeds into a bowl and rinse. If you fill the bowl with water, the seeds will float and the pulp will generally sink to the bottom.  Lay on a paper towel to dry.  We will be roasting them later this week 🙂

Line large cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Place pumpkin halves face down on cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 for approximately 90 minutes or until pumpkins are soft.  As you can see in my pictures, one of my pumpkins cooked much faster than the other so it was extra soft after it was baked.

Cool until you can handle them safely.  The skin of the pumpkin should peel off very easily.  After you have them peeled, cut into chunks and place into a food processor or blender.

Puree until very smooth.  Using a fine mesh strainer, strain excess liquid from puree.  It seems like the puree will just run right through but it won’t.  Don’t force it through the strainer, just let it drain naturally.  Let each batch drain for several minutes. *One of my blog followers recommends in the comments below to let the puree sit in the fridge overnight.  The liquid will all come to the top while the puree sinks to the bottom so if you are not planning on using it right away, this would be a really easy option. *

If you aren’t planning on using all of your puree now, divide it into freezer bags in 2 cup portions.  I like to fold the top of the bag over before I start measuring.  This will keep the top of the bag where you need a good seal from getting all gunky.  Press the excess air from the bag, label bag and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.