Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I am in the mood to bake

Last night DH (Dear Husband) and I went to the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at Santana Row.  If you are not familiar with Santana Row, it is a ritzy shopping center.  Some stores include Gucci (my fave), Burburry, Juicy, etc.  The ceremonony was okay, and they had American Idol contestant Thia Maggia perform.  She has an amazing voice and she is a beautiful girl.  After the performance she passed right by us, we were starstruck. 

Anyhow, let me get back on track.  As we were getting ready to leave we passed by Kara's Cupcakes and purchased a pumpkin cupcake.  We didn't get to try it until we got home later that evening.  Well let me tell you...I was disappointed!  I first tried the frosting and it was yummy.  Then I got to the cupcake itself and it was not very good.  The cupcake was dense and was bland.  I know I can make a better cupcake than that, and the challenge was on.

So the plan is to find the perfect cupcake recipe.  There are so many recipes out there.  Should I cheat and make a semi-homemade cupcake (Real Simple Pumpkin Cupcakes) or should I make them from scratch.  Decisions, decisions.  I still have a few days to decide since I'll be making them this Saturday.  DH has to work all day so in addition to getting my Thanksgiving shopping done, and watching Breaking Dawn (Eeek) I will have plenty of time on my hands.

Will keep you all posted...

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's been a year

So I realize that it has been nearly a year since I blogged.  So what are my excuses?  I really have no excuses!  Why oh why did I neglect my bog?  Woe is me.  So I promise that I will try to post more regularly, especially with Thanksgiving coming up in two weeks. 

Oh how I <3 Thanksgiving.  I must say this is my favorite holiday.  Why?  Well obviously because I have a lot to be thankful for.  Yes, things could be better.  I could have a bigger house, more money and be 30 pounds lighter, but overall I have a great life and wonderful husband and family so I am thankful for those things.  Secondly, I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  I've been cooking Thanksgiving dinner since I was about 13 years old.  Yes, 13 years old.  Thanks in part to a mother who was MIA most of the time, I learned to cook Thanksgiving dinner. 

My menu now is more complex than when I was 13, and I am glad for that...LOL.  I used to put pickles in my stuffing...don't ask me why.  So what is on the menu this Thanksgiving?  Well this is what I have so far:

- Cheese and Crackers
- Pear and Bleu Cheese Tarts
That is all.  I'm am trying to keep the apps light.

- Red Mashed Potatoes with BACON
- Corn
- Roasted Green Beans w/Slivered Almonds (because the hubs has to have almonds with his green beens)
- Alton Brown's Best Gravy (I've been saving a bottle of Charbono for this)
- Brown Sugar and Nutmet Carrots
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Savory Stuffing w/Sauteed Mushrooms (another request from the hubs)
- Cornbread Stuffing (because it would NOT be Thanksgiving without it)
- The Roasted Good Eats Turkey (Oh thank you Alton Brown!)
- Spiral Ham (Still need to find a good glaze recipe)

- Pumpkin Cheesecake

I hope this will be enough food for 15 people.  My aunt is also bringing rolls (since I can't bake rolls to save my life) and Martineli's Apple Cider.

Well, that is all for the day.  I will be sure to post an update soon!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with a Pecan Glaze

I was putting together my Thanksgiving menu and I got to the dessert part.  Hmm...what was I going to make for dessert? Although I love pumpkin, I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, so that was out.  I then thought of two options, either a pumpkin bundt cake with a pecan glaze or pumpkin cheesecake also with a pecan glaze.  Pumpkin and pecan, could there be a better combination?  So which would I make first?  Well, since I couldn't find my springform pan I had no other option but to make the bundt cake first. 

Next, I started searching for a pumpkin bundt cake recipe, and oh boy, were there plenty.  I narrowed my choices down to one, which was from Libby and on   I wasn't crazy about the glaze that the recipe included and I knew I wanted a pecan glaze so I searched for a glaze that would be perfect.  I found the recipe for a glaze on and although it did not include pecans, I figured I could just add the pecans in the glaze and I can have a pecan glaze.

Prep Time: 15 Mins
Cook Time: 35 Mins
Cool Time: 30 Mis
Yiels: 12 to 16 Servings


  • 1 Package (18.25 ounce) Yellow Cake Mix (I prefer the Pillsbury Butter Recipe Mix)
  • 1 Can (15 ounces) Libby's Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix (if you can't find a 15 oz can buy the 30 oz can and you can make two bundt cakes)
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable oil or butter (if using an oil based cake mix use oil, if using a butter based mix use butter)
  • 1/2 Cup of butter
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 Package Pecans (4- 6 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease 9-1/2 inch bundt pan.
2. Beat cake mix, butter or oil, and eggs.

3. Add 15 ounce can (or half of 30 ounce can) of pumpkin pie mix

4. Mix for 2 minutes until mixed well.  Spoon mixture into prepared pan.

5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into cake comes out clean. 

6. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. 

7. To prepare Carmel glaze combine butter, milk and sugar into sauce pan. 

8.  Bring to boil. 

9.  Then reduce heat to simmer.  Add pecans.

10.  Simmer for 20 minutes stirring often.

11.  Once glaze is prepared and slightly thickened, remove from heat and top cake with glaze. 

12.  Let glaze cool for 15 to 30 minutes (if you can wait that long).  The longer the glaze sets, the better it taste!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Apple Crumb Pie

Prep Time: 20 mins
Ready In: 1 hr. 20 mins
Servings: 8

This is the first night Richard had to work the evening shift, so I wanted to bake something to keep me busy.  I am subscribed to's/ 25 pies to Thanksgiving countdown in which they send you a new pie recipe each day.  Today's pie recipe was the Apple Crumb Pie.  I figured, what the heck, why not bake it.  I tweaked the recipe, so here goes:

  • 1 9 inch pie shell ( I used Pilsbury)
  • 4 to 5 Granny Smith Apples Cut into chunks (I wanted to do chunks, but you can use slices)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (optional, I did not use it since I forgot to buy the lemon)
  • 3/4 Cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to0 375 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Place apple chunks into large bowl.  If using lemon, sprinkle apples with lemon juice.  In a small bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 Tablespoons of flour, 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Sprinkle this mixture over the apples making sure that the apples are evenly coated.  Spoon mixture into pastry shell.
  3. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup of flour, brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle mixture over apple filling.  Cover top loosely with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.  Then remove foil and bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.
This recipe was fairly easy to make.  Our house smelled great while the pie was baking.  I will take a picture and post it as soon as I can since my dear husband has the camera in his car, that is if there is any pie left tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies

I had some left over chocolate chips from the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies I made on Saturday.  I thought, what would be better than a good old fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookie?  So I decided to make them and instead of adding walnuts I would add Macadamia nuts.  The nuts we brought back from our honeymoon in Kona, HI.  I searched and searched for the perfect recipe.  I still think that the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in The Pilsbury Complete Book of Baking is the best, but this recipe is pretty close.  I found the recipe at

Prep Time: 20 Mins
Cook Time: 10-12 Mins
Ready in: 1 Hour
Servings: 48

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts, or other nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees for a soft chewy cookie.  If you do not want a chewy cookie (these are my favorite) preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
  3. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts.
  4. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
  5. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
Voila!  Finished product.  These are so good, I guarantee they will disappear faster than you can bake them.