Monday, November 21, 2016

pumpkin cranberry mini bundt cake with nutmeg spiked cream cheese glaze

It's finally here.  Thanksgiving week.  And I am so. very. thankful.

We have had two days of cleaning the house, doing laundry, cooking, decorating for Christmas, watching Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel and packing for Indiana.  It is has been a perfect weekend.  This afternoon we will pull into home, and it will feel so good.

I'm not sure what I'm looking forward to more... playing games, laughing with the kids, reading magazines I've saved for the trip, cooking, eating... I love every bit of it.  Every last bit.  And I'm promising myself I will savor it all.  I'm very hopeful the time will go slowly and somehow expand into long, lazy days and cozy, comfy nights.

This week is as special as they come.  It's Daniel's and Popie's birthday week, and it falls on Thanksgiving day this year.  Popies' been gone over a year now, but there are still moments that catch my breath.  I see him in a picture, or come across a memento, and it's almost as if he never left.  I still wish I could have him one more day.  I wish I could see him and Daniel blow out their combined birthday candles one more time.  Oh, how I'd given anything to look up on the deck and see him sitting next to Ma, having the time of his life, watching us all play our annual Thanksgiving/birthday football game in mom's and dad's backyard.  I know he's as happy and joyous as he can be, but I'm selfish.  And I wish I could have him back once more to "hug his neck."  That's how he'd say it.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, because there is nothing better to me than sitting around a big 'ol table of wonderful food with the dearest ones in life. Family.

Thank you, God, for loving me first so that I could know how to love others.  You have given such grace and mercy, hope and joy, to my life.  For all that You've done I will thank You, for all that You're going to do.  For all that You've promised and all that You are, is all that has carried me through.  I thank You.  In Jesus, Amen.

Pumpkin Cranberry Mini Bundt Cake 

with Nutmeg Spiked Cream Cheese Glaze

makes eight mini bundt cakes or two 9x5 loaves
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
For the glaze
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 tbsp milk
  • freshly grated nutmeg
1. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon three times; set aside.

2. Combine oil and sugar in a second bowl and mix well; blend flour mixture into oil mixture.

3. Add eggs and pumpkin; mix well.  Stir in cranberries.

4. Spoon into mini bundt cake molds or 2 9x5 greased and floured loaf pans.  If cooking mini cakes, cook at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  If loaves, cook at 350 for one hour.

5. Meanwhile, make glaze by beating cream cheese until very fluffy.  Add sugar and vanilla and mix well.  

6. Add milk until desired consistency is reached.  Grate nutmeg to taste.

5. Remove cakes/loaves from oven and cool.  Turn cakes loaves onto cooling rack.

6. For easy clean-up, place a piece of aluminum foil under cooling rack.  Pour or spoon glaze over cakes/loaves. If desiring a thicker glaze, spoon glaze mixture into baggie, snip off corner, and "pipe" glaze over cakes/loaves.  

Cake recipe adapted from Gooseberry Patch Comfort & Joy. 
Glaze recipe from The Lazy Daisy Kitchen.


Monday, November 14, 2016

ma's cornbread

Forever.  As much as I'd like it to, not much lasts that long.  Maybe that's why those few things that do are treasured so dearly.  This written recipe is one of them for me.  Although I've been eating it all my life, Ma just wrote it out a little over 16 years ago at my request.

I enjoy all kinds of cornbread, but Ma's Cornbread is most preferred.  With a buttery, tender crumb, it is my favorite alongside a bowl of beans and greens.  I remember the day she wrote this recipe down for me, we made a pan of it together.  I can still hear her strongly passing along two necessities needed in making it the best ever - a cast iron skillet and Hot! Hot! Hot! Crisco.  You can see on the recipe card:

"Hot Hot Hot Crisco." 

Word for word.  Just like that.

Ma's health is getting the best of her most days now.  She's written a couple of her dishes down for me, but I hope to get more from her.  It's a little tricky, because like many grandmas, she usually doesn't have a specific recipe.  It just comes from the heart along with a little of this and that.  You probably have a grandma just like that, too.  Aren't they the best?

You may want to try pairing this with my favorite chili, Ground Beef Chili, or this unique blend, Autumn Chicken Stew.   

Ma's Cornbread

makes one 10-inch pan
printable recipe
  • 1 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Crisco
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  

2. Place Crisco in cast iron skillet and place in oven while oven heats.

3. In the meantime, mix together all other ingredients and pour into skillet when Crisco is melted.

4. Cook 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

5. Let cool about five minutes, cut and serve.

Recipe from Ma. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

quick and easy fudge brownies

Everyone needs a good, dependable brownie recipe in their back pocket, and this is just the one. It is my go-to for any time we've made last-minute let's-have-friends-over plans, or if we've planned plenty of time in advance, but I've just tried to do too much beforehand and end up running short on time.  They are loved as-is, or they're easy to dress up.  I really like doing this simple dusting of powdered sugar.  It's so pretty, and this picture makes me think of... dare I say,.. snow?  I know. Record high temps are continuing nationwide, but a girl can hope, can't she?

I don't know about you, but I'm quickly settling in to the idea of another holiday season.  I had The Hallmark Channel on throughout my Saturday as I cleaned.  Every time a teaser for one of the Countdown to Christmas movies that involves baking or kitchen moments of any kind came on, I was completely sucked in and imagining what it would be like to have the bed and breakfast I desire and cook to my heart's content for all who visit.  I always have been, and always will be, a dreamer.  I would say, "Poor John," but he's actually beginning to dream with me.  I just love that guy.

*More of my favorite chocolate recipes: chocolate cobbler and flourless chocolate cake.

Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies

makes one 9x13 pan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup natural or Dutch-process cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt*
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
*Increase salt to 1/2 tsp if using unsalted butter.

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease 9x13 pan.

2. Put in all the ingredients in the order written.  Stir, and then beat until smooth.

3. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake the brownies for 25-30 minutes, or until they're barely beginning to pull away from the pan.

5. Remove and cool completely before cutting.  Store, well-wrapped, for 5-6 days or freeze for longer storage.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour.