Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prime Pumpkin Pick

My friend Melanie ran a contest on her blog recently. She was looking for some recipe ideas for the upcoming holiday season and decided a great giveaway would be a good idea for encouraging her readers to submit recipes to her inspiration folder. One of the prizes for the random winner was the opportunity for their recipe to be featured on my blog.

I liked the idea because it gave me the chance to cook with Mel in my new kitchen and it was one less recipe I needed to search out and research on my own. Plus, this particular winning recipe was a great way to use up some leftover pumpkin from the last holiday we just had! This recipe was very easy to pull together and everyone loved the results. I split the cake I kept (Mel took the other two for gifts) between my sister and Forrest and they both gave it glaring reviews! Give this one a try, you won't be disappointed. Thanks April!

Yummy Pumpkin Bread
From April T.

We used regular sized loaf pans and made 3 loaves.


3 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 cups white sugar
6 eggs
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 9x5 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves;

stir into the pumpkin mixture

until well blended.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes (we found our cakes were ready at 1 hour and 10 minutes. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.

Click Here for the Printable Recipe

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meal Time Mayhem

I fully intended to be the type of pregnant woman that had tons of previously prepared frozen meals stored in the deep freezer prior to delivery so that once baby was here all we had to do was defrost, heat and eat. I had visions of lasagnas, enchiladas, red beans and marinara sauce all perfectly packaged, lined up in the freezer with pretty labels just waiting to assist me in the early hectic days of new parenthood. I have been known to bring meals to my friends and family when they became new parents and I wanted to be ready with the same conveniences for my husband and me.

What I didn't anticipate was how miserable I would be at the end of my pregnancy. Just the thought of standing in my kitchen long enough to open a few boxes of Pasta Roni even wore me out. It was so hot, I was so swollen and the exhaustion was unimaginable. I did zero cooking towards the end and therefore I did zero preparation for what would happen at meal time after our little of bundle joy joined us in this world.

And as it turned out, the lack of frozen meals turned against us. In the early weeks of Rex's life, dinner time was by far his fussiest period of the day. Even though my energy was up, my feet were back to normal and I had the desire to cook again it wasn't exactly easy. It took everything we had for the two of us to calm the baby enough to even be able to have a 2 minute discussion about what we would have for dinner more or less cook an entire meal. To be honest, most nights we ate take out. But on the rare occasion we could pull off home made dinner, it was meals like this that really helped. Quick dishes do exist and if the mom of a 6 week old colicky baby could pull this one off, anyone can! This was delicious and surprisingly gourmet tasting for starting out frozen!

Bacon Pierogi Bake
Adapted from Cooking Light
December 2010

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 pierogies and 2 tablespoons sauce)

  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen potato and onion pierogies (such as Mrs. T's)
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup (3 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly diagonally sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped seeded plum tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Arrange the frozen pierogies in an 11 x 7-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Cook bacon in a saucepan over medium heat until crisp; remove from pan. Set aside.

3. Add garlic to drippings in pan, and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add 1/3 cup cream cheese to pan, and cook for 1 minute or until cream cheese begins to melt, stirring frequently. Gradually add chicken broth to pan, stirring with a whisk until smooth. (My cream cheese is almost completely melted in the picture below.)

Pour the cream cheese mixture evenly over pierogies.

Top evenly with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.

Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Remove from oven, and

sprinkle with bacon, green onions, tomato, and pepper.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe