Monday, November 5, 2012

Pumpkin French Toast Bake

1/2 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch bread cubes (or about 4 cups crusty bread, cut into bite-size pieces) (I've used a store bread loaf as well - it just absorbs liquid more)
8 large eggs
1 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar for topping
nuts, like pecan or walnuts (optional)

Spray a 9x13" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and place bread cubes in the dish. You want enough bread to fill the dish almost completely full.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, syrup, spices, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar and pumpkin puree until well combined. Pour over bread and mix with the bread (I used my hands, but you could use a large spoon) until all the bread is mostly covered (it was easier for me to mix in a large bowl and then dump it into the dish). Cover with plastic cling wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight (if you wanted to, you could also bake it at this time instead of letting it sit overnight).

In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees, uncover and top with brown sugar and nuts (optional). Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and no longer wet.

Serve immediately with maple syrup, honey or agave nectar. You can drizzle syrup (I spiced my syrup up with melted butter and cinnamon) all over the top before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator covered for up to a couple days.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

6 eggs
3 cups pumpkin puree (one large can)
11/2  cup oil
5 cups sugar
6 cups flour
3Tbsp pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger)
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 cups cranberries, fresh, then chopped in food processor

Preheat oven to 350
In a bowl combine eggs, pumpkin puree, cranberries and oil. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add cranberries and mix well. Divide dough into 3 big loaf pans. Bake for 50 minutes and insert knife to see if done.

This is a big batch, can halve easily. Freezes great! And it's SOOOOO good! I also used one cup of oats in place of a cup of flour...just to make it more nutritious ;-) When I'm not giving as a gift, I'll use wheat flour as well. For more of a tang, you can also grate in some orange peel, and substitute 1/2 c. orange juice for two eggs.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Honey Butter Pork Tenderloin

Honey Butter Pork Tenderloin 

4 tbs butter
2 tbs honey
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In an ovenproof pot, heat butter and honey over medium heat until melted.  Sprinkle pork tenderloin with Cajun seasoning and black pepper.  Brown each side for 5 minutes.  Lower heat if honey begins to burn.

Place pot in oven and roast for 15 - 20 minutes*.  Remove pot from oven and transfer the pork to a plate. Cover with foil.  Add water to the pot and stir over medium heat.  Simmer for about 5 minutes, until sauce is reduced slightly.  Slice pork on the diagonal and drizzle sauce over top to serve. 

*NOTE:  May need to cook longer depending on the size and thickness of the pork tenderloin.

I made this the other night with baked's easy and delicious!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chocolate Mint Cake Cookies

(photo and recipe from

Cookie bottom: 
1 Devil's Food Cake Mix (I like the ones with pudding in the mix the best)
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs

Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs together (do not follow the directions on the back of the cake mix- disregard them completely). Drop spoonfuls of dough onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-9 minutes (don't cook any longer than that! You don't want them to be overdone!). Let cookies cool completely.

Peppermint Frosting: 

1/2 c. butter, softened
2 Tablespoons milk
2 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
Green food coloring (optional- I added about 8 drops to get the colors of green that I had)
Mix together all the ingredients (add more or less powdered sugar until you get the consistency you like). Spread on top of each cooled cookie.

Chocolate Topping:
2 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 c. butter
Melt chocolate chips and butter together in a double boiler OR in a microwave (I usually microwave for 30-second intervals, then stir and repeat until the chips are fully melted). Spread melted chocolate on each cookie- I have found that it works best to use the back of a spoon to spread the chocolate around.
*These little cookies are super rich! I think that if you didn't want them to be so rich, use a milk chocolate cake mix and milk chocolate chips.
Don't like mint? No problem! Just substitute vanilla extract for the peppermint extract . . . 
they still taste amazing!


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Orange Teriyaki Salmon

My new recipe of the week--SUCCESS!!!

This really was SO yummy. We always grill our salmon, so this was a nice change. Great flavor.

Recipe and photos from
about 2  pounds salmon; one large filet or 2 smaller ones
3/4 C orange marmalade
4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 C orange juice
3 Tbs bottled teriyaki sauce
6 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs worshershire sauce
2 Tbs vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/8 tsp ground red pepper, or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
several cracks black pepper
2 Tbs chopped dry onion, or 1/4 C minced fresh onion
3 Tbs dry parsley or about 1/2 C fresh

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Layer a piece of heavy duty foil over a large baking sheet  Lay on one more sheet in the opposite direction, leaving about 8″ of overhang on all sides.
Place marmalade and butter in a small microwave safe bowl and heat for about 30 seconds, or until butter is melted.  Whisk until smooth.  Combine this mixture with all ingredients (except fish) in a bowl and stir until smooth.  Rinse salmon in cold water and pat dry.  Place skin side down on baking sheet.  Pour marinade over fish.
Starting from one end, gather the foil overhang together and roll them together to seal a tent-like pouch.  Bake in oven for about 25 minutes. Fish should be opaque and flake easily with a fork.  Test fish and return pan to oven for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary.  Serve salmon with sauce spooned over top.
Grill instructions: Preheat gas grill to 325. Place foil pouch on upper rack if you have one, or on indirect heat on the main rack.  Follow the same baking instructions as if it were in the oven.
Fish can also be cooked in a foil tent over a camp fire. Season the fish as desired (you can also add a couple of tablespoons of water to help it steam in the hot fire) and close up your foil tent. Nestle your foil pouch into the glowing embers where the heat isn’t as intense as the flames. Cooking time may vary depending on the size and variety of fish, so check it after 10 minutes. If it’s not done, check at 2-3 minute intervals after that.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars

These are my new FAVORITE things to make.  SO easy and so much better than the ones in the stores.  AND without all the preservatives and fillers.  If I lived closer to you, I'd give you a sample.  SO GOOD!
1c raw cashews
4T coconut oil (melted)
4T honey
2c fresh medjool dates
3c thick oats

Place ingredients in food processor and blend for about a minute.  Pour contents into a bowl and mix in desired 'add ins' with clean hands.  (Trader Joe's sells the cheapest coconut's SO good)

My favorite granola bars have:
(and you can be creative, mixing in whatever you like)
1c chopped pecans
1/2 bar dark Belgian chocolate
(finely chopped)
1c shredded coconut

Place mixture in a large, glass baking dish (11x9) and press down with hands.  Stick in the freezer for about 10 minutes...cut into bars and place back in freezer for another 10 minutes.  Remove from freezer and place in individual snack bags and they keep best in freezer.  This pan above makes about 15 bars, perfect for my 3 school kids for 5 school days.  

Bon Bon

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012




  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans (traditional variety)
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can chopped green chiles, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice for avocado layer
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt
  • 3 avocados, halved, pitted, flesh spooned out
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup salsa (I used the homemade salsa from earlier this week)
  • 3/4 cup sliced canned black olives, drained
  • 1 cup grated pepper Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup thin sliced scallion greens, green part only


  1. Mix beans, chiles, 1 Tb. of lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. In a second small bowl, mash avocados with a fork; stir in remaining 2 Tbs. lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to make guacamole (I added a little  the fresh salsa to my guac). In a third small bowl, mix sour cream and mayonnaise.
  2. Spread bean mixture, then guacamole, then sour cream mixture, and finally salsa (i added diced tomatoes here too) over the bottom of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or similar size pan. Sprinkle with olives, then cheese. (Dip can be covered and refrigerated up to 2 days) To serve, sprinkle with green onions. (i skipped the green onions, didn't have any on hand)
  3. *TRULY*