Tag Archives: featured

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread and Mini Loaves

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I’ve been wanting to make pumpkin bread with chocolate chips in it for quite some time and I thought while I was at it, I’d make some mini-loaves too. Mini-loaves make great food gifts for the holidays, and just about everyone I know loves pumpkin bread and chocolate chips. So you can’t go wrong when you put them together! This Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread is so good and moist, with lots of chocolate chips in every bite, so if you’re a chocolate lover you won’t be disappointed! Be sure to use the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips–they work really well in this recipe. It makes either one large 9 x 5″ loaf or three 5 x 3″ mini loaves–or you can double the recipe and make both sizes–that way you can keep one for your family and give the rest as gifts–a win-win for everyone! 🙂 Use an extra-large bowl for mixing if you do decide to make a double batch!

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BREAD AND MINI LOAVES by NancyC

Makes one 9 x 5″ loaf or three (5 x 3″) mini loaves

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour one 9 x 5″ loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans; set aside.

In large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and granulated sugar, blending well; then add the spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, blending everything well.

In medium bowl, blend the pumpkin puree and softened butter, and then the eggs, mixing well. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients in large bowl, blending well. Fold in mini chocolate chips, stirring until evenly distributed in batter.

Spoon batter into prepared 9 x 5″ loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans.

For 9 x 5″ loaf: Bake at 350˚F for 52 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For 3 mini loaves: Bake at 350˚F for 32 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in pan or pans for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack.

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If you’re giving these loaves as gifts, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and add a ribbon around them tied in a knot or bow to make them look extra special–just like little mini-gifts! I always seem to have ribbon on hand and I also save pretty fabric ribbons from gifts I’ve received–these usually are the perfect size for tying around homemade loaves!

Do you make food gifts for the holidays? What do you like to make?

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy and Inspiration Monday at Your Homebased Mom.

10 Sweet Potato Recipes

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Sweet potatoes recipes are perfect not only for Thanksgiving, but all holiday season long–and actually, some are great year-round! This Thanksgiving, I had made Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie, which was really good, and I thought I’d share a roundup of some other yummy Sweet Potato recipes I’ve made with you!

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These Sweet Potato Biscuits are just the thing for breakfast, with eggs, and they’re also great for lunch or dinner with your main dish and sides!

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Same for these Loaded Sweet Potato Muffins–good any time of day!

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Sweet Potato Bread is nice for breakfast, too, or later in the day as a snack.

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For a delicious side dish, these Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes are wonderful!

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Another side, Baked Sweet Potato Fries, are really tasty, and there are a variety of ways you can make them!

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I really like these Roasted Italian Potatoes, which are made with both sweet and regular potatoes.

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This Sausage Potato Bake, a yummy dish for lunch or dinner, is also a two-potato recipe, made with both sweet potatoes and red new potatoes.

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When you’re ready for dessert, you need to try this decadent Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

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And this Sweet Potato Pound Cake is pretty amazing, too!

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Last but not least, here’s the Never Fail Sweet Potato Pie I made this past Thanksgiving–a very easy recipe and so good!

Hope you enjoy trying these sweet potato recipes out!

Linked to I’m Lovin’ It at Tidy Mom, Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Teatoxy Detox Tea

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Some of you are devoted coffee drinkers, while some of you prefer tea. And then there are some who love both, which is the category I fall into. I’ve been drinking a little more tea lately, though, since coffee tends to keep me up at night!

Recently I received a package of three Teatoxy Detox Teas to try. These teas are created in Thailand from organic ingredients that have detox benefits. As you can see from the photos, they’re really pretty teas–almost as pretty as potpourri!

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The Morning Blend, designed to boost metabolism and increase alertness, is a blend of lemongrass, rose hips, peppermint, apples, rooibos, blackberry leaves, hibiscus, and marigolds. The soft peppermint flavor is refreshing–a nice way to start the day.

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The Energize Blend is an organic blue detox tea blend created with lemongrass, Pandan leaves, Moroccan Rose Petals, Bluechai, and Lavender, which is designed to increase energy, fat burning, and suppress your appetite. It has a nice mild flavor and a pretty blue color which turns purple if you add some lemon juice.

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The Calm Me Blend includes organic hops, hibiscus, peppermint, cornflower, marigold, goji berries, and dried lemon slices. It’s supposed to help promote better sleep and is rich in antioxidants. I liked the light lemony flavor of this tea–it’s very soothing. I think this blend was my favorite!

If you like tea, you may want to try these out. They would also make a great gift for any tea drinkers you know!

So which category do you fall into…coffee drinker, tea drinker, or both?

Apple Almond Coffee Cake

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Do you like breakfast pastry? Or how about coffee cake? If you do, then I think you’d really like this recipe, because it’s a combination of both. It has a thin, rich cakey layer that’s topped with apple pie filling and drizzled with a creamy glaze, which gives it that pastry touch. So it’s the best of both breakfast worlds!

This Apple Almond Coffee Cake is great if you need to make something that serves a larger group of people, too, because it’s made in a 10 x 15″ pan. If you’re not crazy about apple pie filling, you can substitute another fruit pie filling like cherry or peach–I thought apple would be good for autumn. This would be great for a special breakfast or brunch any time of year, but since the holidays are coming up, you may want to keep this in mind for a holiday weekend brunch. It could also work as a dessert too, served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream on top.

APPLE ALMOND COFFEE CAKE by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes a 10 x 15″ pan, about 16-20 servings

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 (21-ounce) can apple pie filling
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

ICING:

  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 Tablespoons Half & Half (light cream)
  • 4 Tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted or untoasted, for sprinkling on top of icing
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The coffee cake before it goes in the oven (left) and after it is baked and glazed (right)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease or line a 10 x 15″ rimmed baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder; add to the creamed butter/sugar mixture and mix just until combined. Spread 3 3/4 cups batter evenly into prepared 10 x 15″ baking pan.

Spoon pie filling into a medium-size bowl and cut apples into smaller chunks with a knife. Stir in cinnamon, blending well, then spoon and spread filling, in a thin layer, onto the batter to within 1″ of edges. Spoon remaining batter in small dollops over the filling.

Bake at 350˚F for 22 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool coffee cake in pan on a wire rack.

In small bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar, almond extract, and Half & Half (light cream). Drizzle over warm or cooled coffee cake (you don’t have to use all the glaze if you just want a light drizzle). Sprinkle glazed coffee cake with sliced almonds. Let glaze set at least 10 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.

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Did I mention this coffee cake was especially good in the morning with a nice hot cup of coffee? It helps make getting out of bed a little easier on a chilly morning! 🙂 Do you have a favorite coffee cake recipe you enjoy making this time of year?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, Show and Share at Coastal Charm, and Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner.

Fresh Pear Crisp

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It was nearing the end of summer when Sylvia told me her pear trees were going to produce quite a bit of fruit. She didn’t like pears, so asked if I could use any when they were ready to pick. Of course I said yes, because it would be the perfect opportunity to use them in a fall recipe! I love eating pears, but don’t bake with them that much, and I’m not sure why–I guess I think of baking with apples more than pears. So I was inspired to bake something with Sylvia’s pears. And it’s always nice being able to use fresh-picked, organic fruit in a recipe!

This Fresh Pear Crisp is what I ended up making. It’s very yummy and the crumbly, buttery topping is so good! It actually tastes a lot like apple crisp, so apple–lovers will like this too. If you have any fresh pears on hand, this is a good recipe to use them in. Or, if you just have apples, substitute those instead. Or use some apples and some pears and make an apple-pear crisp. It’s very easy to make–the most time-consuming part is peeling and chopping the fruit, but it’s definitely worth it!

FRESH PEAR CRISP by NancyC

Makes a 9″ deep dish pie plate or 9 x 9″ square pan

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 cups peeled and chopped fresh pears (about 7-9 medium–size pears; or substitute apples for apple crisp; or use both pears and apples for an apple-pear crisp!)

Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9″ deep dish pie plate or square pan well; set aside.

In large bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, blending well. Toss the chopped pears in this sugar mixture, coating pears evenly, then place in your greased 9″ deep dish pie plate or square pan.

In another bowl, blend flour, oats, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans; stir in melted butter with a fork to get a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle this crumb topping mixture over the pears and bake at 350˚F for 35 to 40 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Serve warm by itself or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

As I mentioned earlier, this pear crisp tastes a lot like apple crisp. If you’d like it to have more of a pear taste, just use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and no nutmeg in the fruit mix–and add a little lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon (the lemon juice tip is from my friend Davin who is a great cook and baker, but I have not tried that myself yet in this recipe). Have you been using pears much in your fall baking?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, and Show and Share at Coastal Charm.