Come on in! Let's talk FOOD!

"Bacon grease makes pretty much anything taste better!" is the local philosophy and I grew up on good, down home country cookin'! Although I've ventured into a healthier way of eating (some of the time) I still enjoy many of the favorites of my childhood. I also have a passion for Italian food and I'm slowly but surely learning the pleasures of cooking with fresh herbs. Here I'll share with you a broad spectrum of recipes...some healthier than others, but all of them guaranteed DELICIOUS! : )

*I have imported posts from my other blog. These posts may involve topics other than food, but they do include recipes or food related information at some point in the post. Future posts to this blog will be more strictly food-related but I did want to include these recipes here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sausage and Peppers Penne

Oh how I love the wonderful aroma of fresh basil. I can be cooking with any other herb or spice and enjoy the scent, but there is something special about fresh basil. This dish contains just enough of it to have you salivating the second you enter the kitchen.

This was The Hubster's favorite meal on the Olive Garden menu. Of course, on their menu it was called Sausage and Peppers Rustica. Don't want any problems with my very favorite restaurant chain and since I've changed it up a bit, I'm also altering the name. It's still absolutely delicious, no matter what you call it!

Beware: This is another recipe where I simply don't measure. You can no longer find the original OG recipe on their website, but my recipe simplifies it somewhat and basically tailored it to suit the tastes of my family.

Sausage and Peppers Penne <-------Click here to print
5 links mild Italian sausage
Extra virgin olive oil
1 29 oz. can crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce (leave about 1/2" in the just don't need it all)
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (ditto on the amount; leave about 1/2" in the can)
2 large green bell peppers, sliced into strips
2 large onions, sliced into strips
Sea salt (or regular table salt, if that's what you have)
Several leaves of fresh basil (to taste...I tend to use a lot of this, too. We LOVE basil!), chopped
1 pound box of penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Slice sausage into chunks or discs, according to how you prefer it. Brown in a couple of tablespoons of EVOO until cooked thoroughly. Remove from skillet and drain. In same skillet, saute peppers and onions in additional olive oil until crispness is lost but not soft.
Now toss the sausage and a sprinkle of salt into the peppers and onions in the skillet, then add the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, 4 tablespoons EVOO and fresh basil. Bring to a light simmer, stirring gently.

Cook pasta and drain well. Spoon pasta onto plates, top with sausage/pepper/onion/sauce mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired. Serve with garden salad and hot bread. YUMMY! : )

Golden Pound Cake

Best. Pound. Cake. Ever.


This is it. LOVE this cake. Got the recipe from an issue of Southern Living back in 1990 and never shopped around for another because it is so doggone good. The flavor, the texture, the just can't beat it.

But I did, of course, add my own little touch. Just because I could. That would be the banana flavoring. DO try it! It won't taste like banana cake at all, I promise. It just adds a little something that makes everyone say "This has the best flavor! What's different about it?"

And of course you don't have to tell them if you don't want. ;)

Golden Pound Cake <-------- Click there if you want to print it. : )
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup solid shortening
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon banana extract (yes, banana)

Cream butter and shortening. Gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed of electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk,
beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (I add about 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 flour mixture, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 the flour mixture.) Mix just until blended. (*And notice that terrific apron I'm wearing! : ) Early Christmas present from my dear friend Sheryl. And the best part? SHE MADE IT HERSELF! : ) How cool is that? )
Stir in flavorings. (And notice how well I measure. ; ) Can't help it. It's just how I roll. ) Pour batter into greased and floured 12 cup Bundt pan. Bake at 325* for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a strand of spaghetti stuck into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove to wire rack.

And now for something that most bloggers would probably never share. But I feel that if I'm gonna share the good I also have to share the bad. So here's a little "What Not To Do" tip from Kelli's Kitchen:

THIS is what you get when you take the cake from the oven, set the pan on the rack to cool for 10-15 minutes.....and then forget about it. :( It ended up cooling completely in the pan and that is not a good thing. :( All that work and I end up with a really ugly cake because I got sidetracked. But all is not lost! It still tastes like a million bucks! : ) So no worries. At least I didn't bake it to take somewhere. ; )

(It's okay to laugh. Really. : ) )

So the moral of this story is....PAY ATTENTION! Take it out of the pan within 15 minutes of it coming out of the oven or your cake will look like it has leprosy, too! ; )

*Tips and Tricks*

*Even if you own a Kitchen Aid (and I do) do yourself a favor and pull out the hand mixer for this cake. I have a handy little Krups that I love and adore and I refused to get rid of it when I received my Kitchen Aid for Christmas several years ago. I'm so glad I held onto it! I can honestly say I've never mixed this cake with my KA and had it turn out well.
And that's an expensive baking error.
I think there are two reasons:
1. You tend to over mix when using the KA.
It's just too darn easy to walk away for 'just a second'. Or you simply underestimate the power of the thing and get carried away.
2. That little hump in the bottom of the bowl means you have to work extra hard when scraping down the bowl with your spatula during mixing, and you almost never get all the stuff down there to mix evenly into the rest of the batter.
This cake isn't difficult or temperamental, but you do need to show it a little love. : )

*If you can stand it, seal this cake in something airtight and hide it for a day.
At least.
If you're really full of self-control, leave it for two.
The longer it sits, the better it gets. Two days after baking this cake is manna, I tell ya.

Cookies for Christmas....or any other time of the year!

I've spent a good part of the day in the kitchen mixing up cookie doughs and even baking a few cookies. Thought I'd share with you some helpful little secrets that make it all a bit less hectic and a little more enjoyable, especially this time of year when we have SO many other things keeping us busy! I'm always looking for ways to simplify my life. You know, a little less hectic and a little more organized.

First of all I choose which recipes I want to use and I prepare all of my ingredients. My island is the perfect workspace for getting it all set up, measured and mixed.
You'll notice in these pics that I also get out several measuring cups and spoons. I have so many partial sets but I refuse to toss any of them because they all come in so handy when I'm on a baking spree! It's always good to have different cups for wet and dry ingredients.

Another little thing that will make your life easier is to be sure you have plenty of Reynold's Non Stick Foil on hand. As you can see, I had NONE. Not good. Reynold's Non Stick makes your life so much easier! Typically I cover my cookie sheets and just wipe them off with a paper towel in between batches. You can reuse it many, many times! *And a question for you: If any of you know why they changed the name from Reynolds Release to Reynolds Non Stick, please let me know! I noticed the change a little while back and just can't figure it out. It still has 'Reynolds Release' imprinted on the foil itself, but the name is changed on the packaging. Go figure.

Pretty much all the cookies I make have basically the same directions:

Combine your dry ingredients.
Combine your wet ingredients.
Add the dry to the wet and mix well.
Add chips, nuts, candies, raisins, etc.
Bake and cool.

Because the two doughs I mixed today have the same basic directions, I'm not going to break them down separately. Complete instructions will be included in the printable version for your convenience.

The Scotchies are the Nestle recipe off of the butterscotch chips package. Been around for years and years and I've never met a person who didn't love these cookies. :) They're pretty doggone good.

The Oatmeal Raisin recipe I got from my childhood friend, Kay. I had tried many recipes but they were either too crispy/crunchy or too cakey to suit my taste. I like my oatmeal raisin cookies to be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

That, my friends, is a little bite of perfection. :)


becomes this:

And this:
will soon become this:

If you like your cookies to bake up a little flatter, just press down the dough gently with damp fingers. Alter your baking time accordingly. A cookie that isn't as thick doesn't need to bake as long. And if you like a crunchy cookie, simply let them bake a couple of minutes longer.

Just click on the name of the cookie to print the recipe! :)

Oatmeal Scotchies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

*Tips and Tricks*

Be choosy when it comes to the sugar you use for baking. I'm not saying you have to buy the most expensive sugar on the shelf (I use my store brand more often than not) but be aware that many generics or store brands are a mixture of regular granulated sugar and super fine sugar. This combination is fine for sweetening tea or coffee, or even in some recipes that don't require baking. But I have learned the hard way that it isn't always the best choice for baking. My cookies and cakes never turn out very well when I use it.

*Don't use whipped margarine. In many recipes it is not a good idea to use a reduced fat margarine, but it is never a good idea to use whipped when baking, unless the recipe specifically calls for it.

I love my Pampered Chef cookie dough scoops. I have two in different sizes and they are wonderful, especially when the dough has been refrigerated. Just scoop up the dough, squeeze the handle and out pops the perfect little ball onto your baking sheet. I'm not endorsing Pampered Chef brand with the expectation of being compensated in any manner. Pampered Chef just happens to be the brand I own and I like their durability, therefore I'm passing that info on to you, my dear reader. :)

*Mix up your dough days or even weeks early. If you want to prepare it as much as 8 weeks ahead of time you absolutely can. Especially if you have a vacuum sealer! Brie just tried this out with a few recipes (including Snickerdoodles and a variation on a chocolate chip cookie recipe) and it worked beautifully! Just mix it up, make a packet with your sealer, spoon in your dough then seal the packet. Mark it with the name of the cookie, oven temperature and how long it needs to bake and then pop it in the freezer. When you're ready to bake, simply take the dough from the freezer, thaw it in the fridge for a day, then shape and bake as directed. You can make it up to 2 weeks ahead of time and simply store it in the refrigerator in airtight containers. I often do this so we can have hot, homemade cookies any day of the week.
If you don't have a vacuum sealer, I would assume you could put it in freezer safe, airtight containers. I've never done this because we use our vacuum sealer any time we are freezing foods.

This is how I store it in the fridge short-term:

Just write the oven temp and baking time on the Ziploc bag and you're set!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Homemade Pizza

[This is a very long post, but it is the only way I know to communicate all those little details that make this easier and more delicious.]

Until just a few years ago, the closest I had ever come to making homemade pizza was when I tore into a box of Chef Boyardee. Nowadays I have a son-in-law who begs for my stone-baked pizzas on a regular basis. : ) I'm actually getting much better at handling the crust (see here) so I don't mind making them a little more often nowadays. But not TOO often. I need to have something to bribe him with when it's time to hang them Christmas lights. ; )

To really enjoy this recipe, you need a pizza stone and a pizza peel. Really. You can pat it into a pan and bake it but it just isn't the same and not nearly as delicious.

Today I'll give you the recipe for my crust, an almost recipe for my sauce (you know what this means...I don't measure anything! Just have to wing it.) and complete instructions for putting it all together. However there will be no pics of the mixing process because I had no one here to operate the camera at 6:30 this morning when I was preparing the dough and I confess...I just can't do it all! ; ) Dough is messy business. Didn't think it was a good idea to coat my camera in all it's gooey stickiness. But I do promise to give thorough instructions. And one of these days when my daughter is here I'll see if she would be willing to photograph or maybe even *I shudder at the very thought* video the process for you. One of these days.

Before you get going allow me to give you a little advice, please. FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS TO THE LETTER. This isn't the time to attempt shortcuts or give it your own twist. It has taken me a very long time to get this down to a science and I had to deal with many, many failures along the way. That's no fun, it's wasteful, and trust me when I tell you it makes you very angry when you have to toss all that hard work into the trash. :( So try it my way first, see if it works for you, and then make any adjustments you feel necessary. It'll save you lots of headaches. ; )

Homemade Pizza

For one crust:
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
corn meal for baking

For two crusts:
Simply double everything. : )

For three crusts:
2 pkgs. active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 3/4 to 4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
corn meal for baking

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in water. Stir in sugar, salt, 1/2 the flour and the olive oil. Add enough of the remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Use additional olive oil to generously grease a large bowl and place dough in bowl. Turn dough over so greased side is up and then place bowl in a warm place for 20 minutes. (I set my oven to 100* and place the bowl in it. Works beautifully.) Punch down dough and cover bowl loosely with oiled plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours and no more than 48 hours. You will need to punch down dough from time to time, and at least once during that first two hours.

When you're ready to bake off the dough, place your pizza stone in the oven and heat to 500*.

Now here comes the fun part. : )

{The instructions I'm about to give you are for small (roughly 6-8") individual pizzas. I never make family sized pizzas because everyone likes different toppings and this just makes it simple.}

Pull off a small ball of dough, about like this:

Work it in your hands until you have a smooth, elastic ball. Like these:

Continue making these little balls until you've run out of dough. Then cover them with the oiled plastic wrap you used to cover the bowl of dough.

Now, the hard part.

Walk away.

Leave it alone for a little while. Like, 20 minutes or so. It'll rise just a little but you're gonna work that out of it as you shape it for baking. And while I don't know the science behind it, I do know that I've learned that this resting period helps me IMMENSELY when it comes to handling the dough. Trust me. This took a looooooooong time to learn. No recipe that I had found called for this resting period but THIS DUDE did. :) It's one of the reasons I love him so.

Now twiddle your thumbs for a bit, or you could do something useful like chop some veggies for topping these masterpieces you're creating. Or you could mix this sauce:

1 large can tomato sauce
Italian seasoning
Sea Salt

Add about a tablespoon of the Italian seasoning and maybe a teaspoon of the salt. Mix it well and taste it. Add some garlic powder, if you like. Fresh basil is good, too. Or just add more of the Italian seasoning or salt. Experiment a little and see if you don't come up with a combination you really love.

*TIME LAPSE OF 20 MINUTES.....or so* ; )

Let's get to baking! I prefer to prebake my crusts. This makes me happy when the whole family is here and I can just grab a crust, spoon on some sauce, throw on the toppings to please each individual palate, and stick it in the oven. You can prebake them as much as a day ahead of time if you choose, but I typically just bake them a few hours ahead of time. You can also prebake them and immediately add sauce and toppings, pop them back onto the stone and bake for another 5 minutes.

Now bear in mind that it is extremely difficult to photograph the process I go through working the dough. VERY difficult. But I'll give you the best explanation I can.

Take a ball of dough and on a lightly floured surface, roll the ball around to coat it. Press it down and then start working it into a disc. Leave a little thickness around the edges and in the very center of the disc. If you toss the crust, the thicker edge helps pull it out evenly from the center. Even if you don't toss it, this little lip around the edge will help contain your sauce and toppings.

I know this is a really bad pic, but notice how my knuckles are spread apart under the dough. You begin with the fingers together then spread the knuckles to stretch the dough, turning the entire disc as you go. Eventually you'll have this:Tossing is the ultimate trick, but I doubt I can explain the process with words.
That video might end up being a necessary evil.
Place the crust on the lightly floured or corn meal coated peel. Flouring or sprinkling with corn meal is what keeps the dough from sticking and allows it to slide off the peel and onto the stone.

Then slide it onto the hot stone...

(Yes, the stone looks yucky. That's just a sign that it's well loved. :) )

Bake for 3 minutes. If it begins to puff, simply press it down with a spatula (don't keep the oven door open any longer than is absolutely necessary) and allow it to continue to bake. Remove to a wire rack. Continue this process until all crusts are ready for toppings. Store any unused crusts in gallon Ziploc bags until ready to use.

Now add the sauce, spreading almost to the edge of crust with the back of spoon or ladle.

Add desired toppings.

Finish up with shredded cheese.

Return it to the oven for 4 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Plate it.

Serve it.

Watch 'em smile.

But don't expect too many compliments right up front.

Be patient until they're done eating 'cause they won't take a minute to speak until they're done.

: )

Printable version here.

Tips and Tricks

This was one of those recipes where I needed to give you most of the tips and tricks in the body of the recipe, but let me add just a couple of things.

*We all love the corn meal coated crust except for Brie. I bake her crusts first using flour because once you use the corn meal, it gets on EVERYTHING. So if you have a picky eater, I suggest baking off the flour ones first.

*Coarse corn meal is difficult to find. Most of it is milled to such a fine consistency these days and you really need a coarser texture for this. If you are unable to purchase locally milled corn meal (which is usually not as fine) then I suggest Aunt Jemima Yellow Corn Meal. I've tried every brand available around here and it is by far the best. And whatever you do, don't try to use corn meal mix for this.

*When you put corn meal into a 500* oven, you can expect some smoke.
All of the corn meal doesn't stick to the crust and ends up staying on the hot stone.
The Hubster is always on standby with a towel for fanning the smoke detector.
Keep this in mind. ; )

*The best spatula EVER MADE for lifting these pizza crusts from the hot stone is one intended for use on a grill. The handle is a little longer and it is overall a little stronger than most.
I have one of these

and it is perfect for the job.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jelly Roll

So many things remind me of my Mama Jones. She absolutely loved red currant jelly rolls and I used to make them for her, starting when I was still a teenager. My little Tucker Man had his first jelly roll last year and I suppose he got to thinking about them again recently because he put in a request for one. So today I made this one and I thought I'd share the recipe with my favorite folks in Blogland. : )

*I copied this recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook (at least I think it was Betty Crocker) many, many years ago. I know that sometimes recipes get altered over the years and I have no idea if this is how it appears in the latest edition, but I tend to stick with the tried and true anyway. ;)

Jelly Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup jelly (any flavor you like), beaten with a fork
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375*. Lightly grease a 15"x10"x1" pan. Line with waxed paper and lightly grease waxed paper, too.

With a hand mixer beat the eggs until light and lemony in color, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar. Mix in vanilla and water on low speed. Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix in by hand. Pour into waxed paper lined pan and spread evenly. Bake at 375* for 12-15 minutes. (Bake only until you see no wet spots in cake. It will still be very light in color.)

While cake is baking, sprinkle a light kitchen towel or cheesecloth generously with powdered sugar. When cake comes out of oven, immediately invert onto towel. Remove pan and then gently peel waxed paper off of cake. Roll up with towel and place on cooling rack until cooled. (App. 30 minutes.) Unroll, spread with jelly and re-roll without towel. Place on serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cover and chill if not serving immediately.

And seriously, please pardon these pitiful pics. They were taken with my phone and they stink.

For illustrations as to how to handle the rolling and unrolling of this cake, please refer to this pumpkin log recipe. It uses the same technique.

Tips and Tricks

*Red currant jelly is a favorite with old timers.
It is very tart and is balanced nicely by the sweetness of the powdered sugar.

*Jams and preserves work for this recipe as well. I've used them all at one time or another. But do take into consideration the fact that preserves (such as the raspberry I used here) contain seeds and may not please some palates.
*Typical favorites are strawberry, raspberry, red currant,
and I'd love to try peach but never have. : )

*This is basically a sponge cake baked thinly enough to allow for rolling. While you don't have to handle it as if it is fragile, you also don't want to be overly rough with it. It will crack. (Which won't hurt the flavor but it won't be as pretty.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bread Pudding and Vanilla Sauce

First a little history lesson...

It was the early 1930s in the small coal town of Hugheston in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia. Times were tough and money was tight. Very few coal miners' wives didn't know how to pinch a penny until it squealed, and they were always looking for new ways to make that paycheck stretch just a little further. Clothes were mended until they were more patches than solid fabric and they were passed down from one child to the next. Groceries were bought with great care and planning so that nothing went to waste. Nothing.

Frona Jones was a coal miner's wife raising three children on her husband's meager salary. They weren't exactly poor, they could make ends meet, but there was nothing extra left at the end of a pay period. They were in no worse shape then any of the other families in Hugheston and were probably better off than some, but it took constant diligence on Frona's part.

One day while doing her housework, Frona looked up to see her oldest son, TJ, coming in the door. "Mommy, can I go up the holler to play? I promise to be home by supper." TJ was 11 or 12 years old and he knew to be polite and mannerly because Frona expected it of him, his brother and his sister.

As she went about her housework she proceeded to question him as to exactly where he would be playing, what he would be doing and with whom. TJ politely answered her questions but Frona soon realized that it sounded as if he might be eating something. When she looked up she saw him pull something out of his pocket and pop it into his mouth. She was appalled!

"TJ! What on earth are you eating out of your pocket?" she demanded to know.

"Pudding, Mommy." TJ's reply was somewhat muffled by whatever it was he had in his mouth and Frona once again demanded to know what it was he was eating.

"Pudding, Mommy! It's pudding!"

When she was certain that he had indeed said 'pudding', Frona decided that young TJ had a smart mouth. Who on earth would put pudding in their pocket?

"Young man, don't you be smart with me!"

"No, ma'am. I'm not! It really is pudding!" TJ said, and he went on to tell her how the mother of one of his friends offered him something called bread pudding and that it was delicious and he could even carry it in his pocket! He went on to show Frona the small piece that remained and even let her taste it. That's when she told TJ that he could go play, but only after he returned to his friend's house and asked his mother for that recipe. It ended up being a great way to use bread that was too stale for sandwiches and it took very little sugar to make this special treat for the entire family.

And that, my friends, is how bread pudding became a favorite of my family. You see, Frona was my grandmother and TJ my uncle. Mama Jones shared this story with me the first time I made bread pudding for her. She came up with the sauce recipe elsewhere and made it occasionally to serve over the pudding.

My best advice is this: If you want to eat it with the sauce, you're better off to put it on a saucer or in a dish as opposed to in your pocket. ; )

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 or 4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 can evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed) + 1 can of water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Stale bread

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease a 13"x9" metal or glass cake pan.

In medium size mixing bowl, use a whisk to beat two eggs just until well mixed. Add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat with whisk until thoroughly combined, then add milk and vanilla. Whisk together then add can of water and mix again.
Tear bread into small chunks and drop into milk mixture.

Add bread, stirring occasionally with a spoon or spatula (not the whisk), until most (but not quite all) of the liquid is absorbed.

Pour into greased pan and spread it out evenly.

Put in 350* oven. Pudding is done when it no longer 'jiggles' when touched in the center.

Depending upon the staleness of the bread, this can take anywhere from 45 minutes to one hour. Cut into squares, drizzle with sauce and serve warm or cold.

Vanilla Sauce
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons margarine
App. 1/2 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla

In 2 quart saucepan combine sugar and flour. Drop margarine in small pats on top of mixture.

Add boiling water and set over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture begins to bubble around the edges. Turn heat to low and continue to cook and stir until all sugar granules are dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

If sauce becomes too thick as it stands, you may add a little more water to thin.
Store leftover sauce and pudding in refrigerator.

Tips and Tricks
*The staler the bread, the better. Also, the more buns and crusty bread, the better. We love this made with wheat breads, hamburger buns and hot dog buns.*
*When you're down to a couple of slices of bread in a loaf or a couple of buns in the package and you know they're just a little too stale to enjoy, put them in the freezer. Whenever you have a couple slices more, add them to the package. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate enough stale bread to make a batch of bread pudding!*
*The amount of bread you'll need depends upon how stale it is. The staler the bread, the more liquid it will absorb, therefore the less bread you will use.*
*If your bread isn't quite stale enough and you really want a pan of pudding, all you have to do is put the slices and buns on cooling racks and leave them out for a few hours. Doesn't take long to make bread go stale!*
*Bread pudding made with bread that's too fresh really isn't all that great, in my opinion. So be patient and let the bread go stale. The drier, the better.*
*Many recipes say that if you're baking in a glass dish you should drop the temperature by 25*, however I have never done this for bread pudding. Just bake it at 350* and it will be fine.*


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pumpkin Log

There are lots of recipes out there for pumpkin logs or rolls. Whatever you may call them, they're all SO delicious and they're definitely a staple of the fall menu around here. I found this version in an old church cookbook and I've been using it for a couple of years. Haven't really taken the time to tinker with the ingredients much to see if there is something I might add or change to make it any better because it's pretty good just the way it is. : )

Pumpkin Roll

For the cake:
3 eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup flour

For the filling:
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
2 tablespoons margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
Extra powdered sugar for sprinkling.

Heat oven to 375*. Lightly grease a 15" cookie sheet (the kind with shallow sides) or jelly roll pan. Line pan with waxed paper and then lightly grease the waxed paper. (Waxed paper should go up the sides of the pan as well as over the bottom.)

Combine all cake ingredients and spread evenly on waxed paper lined pan. Bake at 375* for 15 minutes. While it's baking, spread out a piece of cheesecloth or a linen towel and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar. When cake is baked, immediately turn onto the towel (waxed paper side up) and peel off the waxed paper. Roll up in the towel (like a jellyroll) and cool on a rack for 1 hour.

Combine all filling ingredients. Unroll cake and spread on the filling evenly.

Re-roll the cake, minus the towel (of course!).
Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill until time to serve.

Place on a plate or tray and sprinkle with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.


*This recipe calls for chopped nuts to be sprinkled on the batter before baking, but due to allergies we are a nut-free family. You may sprinkle on 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts.*

*Okay, so I did mess with the recipe a little. If you aren't a huge fan of cinnamon, decrease cinnamon to 1/2 teaspoon. I doubled the amount because we LOVE it. : )*

*Don't use canned pumpkin pie mix as opposed to canned pumpkin.
It just isn't the same and you will not get the same results.
One small can of pumpkin will make at two rolls/logs,
so make one for yourself and another for a neighbor. : ) *