Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Favorite Spicy Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Spicy Pumpkin Bread

This is delicious! 
Warning: Disappears Quickly! So hide some!

When the evenings begin to cool down and the mornings start with a certain briskness, I switch to "baking auto pilot" and begin baking sweet breads. I am not quite sure why this happens but making pumpkin bread in late August is (at least in this household) another sign of impending fall; just as sure as the leaves are turning into beautiful golds and reds, pumpkin bread is baking in my oven with the aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves wafting throughout the house.

  I posted  a delicious zucchini bread recipe the other day (Click here for zucchini bread recipe.) but my all-time sweet bread true love is Pumpkin Bread.

 This is hands down my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. 


2 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
1 C oil (I use Smart Balance but have used olive oil and canola oil with good results)
3 large eggs
1 can 16-oz pumpkin (my cans are 15 oz--I have searched high and low for 16 oz and no luck)
2 C all purpose flour
1 C whole wheat flour (I use unbleached white whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (I used 2 tsp)
1 tsp nutmeg (I used 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp cloves
Optional: 1 C walnuts--chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 loaf pans (9x5x3) Combine sugar and oil and mix well. Add eggs and pumpkin, mix well.
In another bowl add all dry ingredients except walnuts and mix well. You may sift or simply add ingredients to pumpkin mixture. Add walnuts and stir to mix. (I don't sift)

Divide batter evenly between the 2 loaf pans. Bake for approximately 1 hour. Check for doneness and if toothpick comes out dry and clean, remove bread from oven. May adjust baking time by adding an additional 5 or 10 minutes until done.

Cool, remove from pans and then ENJOY!

PLEASE NOTE: You can use 3 cups of all-purpose flour instead of using any whole wheat flour. This is also true with the sugars. You may use 3 cups white sugar instead of a combination of white and brown.
Also, I find it easier to use my kitchen-aid mixer as the batter can be difficult to mix well by hand.

Sometimes I double the recipe and throw 2 loaves and some mini pumpkin muffins in the freezer for later. It freezes very well, retains its' moisture and tastes freshly made.

Also delicious on the bread is a cream cheese/confectionary sugar glaze on the top. I have also made a streusal-like topping which was very tasty as well!

I love all the baking inspired by fall! Soon it will be all about apple pie! Love this time of year!

(For another Pumpkin Bread Recipe--easy and also delicious, click here)

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

To Do List: Quench Thirst, Bake Zucchini Bread, Catch up on Housework!

This is delicious!

I had a lot of catching up around the house today since I didn't spend too many hours at home this past week. There was laundry to do, lots to pick up, floors to vacuum, dishes in the sink and I had my heart set on making two loaves of zucchini bread!

After vacuuming the living room, I was thirsty and it was really beginning to warm up inside. I ran to the kitchen and made myself a pitcher of spiked water. (spiked with sliced strawberries, lemons and sprigs of mint) I immediately poured myself a glass of water over ice and refilled the pitcher and placed it in the fridge. 

For later.....

For right now!!!!

I continued to drink and then refill all day! 

I managed to get some chores done and baked the zucchini bread. It was delicious! I ate some within minutes of taking it out of the oven. It was yummy and warm with just the right amount of cinnamon flavor! I added twice the amount called for in the recipe. See recipe below.

My Zucchini Bread Recipe--Makes 2 Loaves

3 C flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon (I used 2)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt (I used a tiny bit less)
2 1/2 C shredded zucchini
1 C oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C sugar
I also added walnuts

Preheat oven to 325. Prepare 2 loaf pans (I spray lightly with olive oil spray.)

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Add oil and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Then stir in zucchini. To this mixture, add the sugars, beating well.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add walnuts if desired. Mix well until batter is smooth.

Pour into two loaf pans.

Bake for about 1 hr or until loaves are nicely browned.


....while still warm, you must slice a piece of this bread and add just a bit of butter and ENJOY! 

YUM! These zucchini loaves are nice to have on hand and freeze nicely. Double the recipe and freeze some for later. Always nice to have when unexpected company drops by.

Now back to more housework......

Monday, August 19, 2013

Perfect Day for a Wedding!

It was one "heckuva" busy week last week which was why I was not able to spend much time in blogville . I was out of town three of the days and attended a funeral Friday morning. 

After the funeral, at around 1:00 pm I began helping my neighbor decorate for her backyard, ocean themed wedding which was Saturday. We spent the afternoon and early part of the evening decorating the ceremony area with with tulle and making centerpieces for her tables under the big white tent. Later that evening I enjoyed a girl's night out with the bride and two of her friends. It was a lot of fun, laughs and margaritas!

We made 4 of these centerpieces which later held battery operated floating candles. They looked beachy and beautiful sitting on burlap runners on each of the round dining tables and so pretty lit up after dark.

I got home at 10:30pm and began cutting up various cheeses for the cheese and cracker platter I was bringing for an appetizer. I had two kinds of cheddar, some brie, colby-jack, swiss and a cheddar nut cheese ball. I added an assortment of crackers and some green and red grapes. In the morning I put it together before heading back over to finish setting up.

The weather for the wedding was PERFECT! We could not have ordered a more beautiful day! It was sunny, warm, lots of blue sky and no humidity!

It was a small gathering of about 40 people and very casual. The buffet following the ceremony had some catered dishes as well as some dishes that were prepared by the bride and some of her friends. It was delicious!

It was one of the most enjoyable weddings I have ever been to because of the number of guests and the casual, intimate atmosphere. No uncomfortable shoes or pantyhose either!!! I wore flip flops!!!!

I am so happy for my neighbor! We have lived next door to each other for over 20 years! We have walked many miles together, swam many laps together and laughed many laughs together. I will admit I got a bit teary-eyed when the music began to play. The bride, escorted by one of her sons, walked down the aisle to A Thousand Years. Just beautiful!

The bride and groom seem to be meant for each other and I wish them all the happiness in the world! So, to them....Cheers!...and a thousand more years!

"I think a lot of people get so obsessed with the wedding and the expense of the wedding that they miss out on what the real purpose is. It's not about a production number, it's a meaningful moment between two people that's witnessed by people that they actually really know and care about."
Jane Seymore

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fire in the Sky


One of the blessings of having a family member on Martha's Vineyard is that it is a beautiful place to visit and the welcome mat is always out for Mom! I hope to visit my middle daughter on the island in September once my youngest is off to college.

 I have posted images of sunsets on my sidebar of some favorite sunsets I have seen on Martha's Vineyard. I even promised that the third sunset photo on my sidebar would be the last I would post. I lied. 

My daughter snapped this amazing sunset on her phone and she posted it to Facebook. When I asked her if I could steal it for my blog, she told me she had a few more photos on her phone that she could send me. 

Here they are:


Sunburst! This sunset looks like the sun exploded as it sunk into the ocean! 

Here is my favorite! Shades of blue, purple/lavender, peachy oranges and yellows.....I do love the colors of the evening sky!

Thanks Em for sharing some of the Island sunsets with me until I can get there and see them for myself. Until I get there, keep your phone handy! 

I may have to add these to my sidebar under my favorite things!

"There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them!"
Jo Walton

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Just In Time for Your Sunday Brunch

A Side of Toast, a Cup of Coffee and Some Orange Juice Please!

Tonight I decided to try these little eggs baked in a muffin tin. I have seen photos of them all over Facebook and I am sure they are on Pinterest too. They looked delicious and seemed easy enough. It was a perfect time to try them, as we wanted something simple for dinner. Sometimes we just love to have breakfast for dinner! 

 Essentially, you place a slice of ham in a regular-sized, greased muffin tin to act as a "crust".  Then you drop an egg on top of the ham and then add whatever little extras you happen to have on hand. I happened to have red and green peppers, I shredded some cheese and of course added a little salt and lots of pepper. I was bummed that I used my last onion in last night's tossed salad. Next time! And there will be a next time because these little eggs baked in a muffin tin were very tasty!

See how the ham becomes the "crust". I use one slice of black forest ham for each egg.

I made six of them and put them in the oven to bake  at 350 degrees while I prepared blueberry pancakes on the stove. I really had no idea what temperature to bake them at or for how long (I never did read the recipe--just saw the photo) but they were done in about 20 minutes! The best part is that they slid right out of the tin and they looked presentable. Picture perfect actually!

I might just be adding this to my Christmas morning brunch menu! They are so easy to prepare! I will be sure to have an onion on hand for the next batch, some chopped spinach and some diced tomatoes. I imagine that chopped asparagus would be delicious in these as well. The possibilities are really endless....YUM!

This turned out to be eggcellent choice for our "breakfast for dinner" tonight. I can't wait to make them again!

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Victorian Ribbon Dolls

Three Lovely Ladies

These lovely framed Victorian, ribbon, paper dolls belonged to my Grandmother. I don't know the history of these paper dolls--whether or not she made them or they were given to her--but I sure do remember admiring them when I was a little girl. I still could look at them all day! They are beautiful!

I apologize for the glare; at times I had to photograph using a flash and there is sometimes a reflection in the glass. (It is a very dark and rainy day here.)

I have a set of three, all framed, though all are in various stages of disrepair and I would love to have them restored.  

The pink lady on the right is in the worst shape. She is no longer attached inside the frame and the frame itself is in pieces. This will allow me to show you how she is made.

First, take a look at how beautiful she is. I love her floral bouquet made of ribbons and the very dainty ribbon flowers in her hair.

You can see that the background she should be attached to is bubbly if you look closely.

Here is a closeup of the upper portion of the doll. She even has a wave in her hairdo.

Isn't she lovely?

This is her backside--no disrespect intended! It is made from a piece of cardboard and the ribbon ruffles are just rows of sewn on ribbon. Hmmm, giving me some ideas for future projects!

Another photo of the back.

I love the lavender in this one! Not sure which one is my favorite.

Here is a closeup of the floral bouquet. Looks like a lot of intense, close hand work! Not sure my eyes can handle it. At the very least, I will need new glasses before trying my hand at this. But I would sure love to try!

This lovely pink lady is wearing a hat. I just love the lace pantaloons. Very pretty!

Which is your favorite?

This one?

This one?

...or this one? I do love this one but I think... 

this pretty lady is my favorite!

These are too beautiful to be sitting around collecting dust. I would like to have them restored so that I can admire them once again hanging on the wall. Looking at these framed Victorian beauties takes me right back to my childhood and conjures up fond memories of spending the night at my grandmother's house.
 Certainly gave me something wonderful to dream about. I mean, what little girl would not dream of wearing such elegance? 

Linking this post up with:

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to visit this wonderful blog! A lot of eye candy there believe me! The bouquet of roses is exquisite!

Fishtail Cottages's Cottage Garden Party #15, Click Here to join the party or just to explore a new blog. Just a quick glance tells me there is lots to look at here. Beautiful gardens, tea cups and I just found the most beautiful candles made using old rusty tin cans, paper and vintage inspired pictures. Check it out!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blueberry Cake Plus!

Kit's Blueberry Cake

This started out as a blueberry cake baking project but in the end, it turned out to be a triple berry cake.  I remembered that I had blackberries and raspberries in the fridge in addition to blueberries and I just could not resist throwing in a handful of each along with the cup of blueberries called for in the recipe. That is how I roll.....

I started by getting out my trusty cook book with some of my mom's handwritten recipes.  (She gave this to me as a gift and I have posted from this cookbook before) I love this book! 

But mom, if you are reading this, there are still a lot of empty pages.....just sayin'.

Opened up to this page....oops a little difficult for you to see. I can fix that!

Gather up all of these ingredients.....remember that I also tossed in a good-sized handful of raspberries and blackberries.

Above are the directions and about 45 minutes later......

This wonderful concoction of cake and berries! Absolutely delicious, especially while still warm. To quote the words of my daughter after her first bite,"OH MY GOD!"

Look at that! You really have to try this!

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