Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

I can hear it now- “here she goes with another damn apple recipe!”. Yep. Sue Me. Another apple recipe πŸ˜› Actually, please don’t sue me. It would lead to a long drawn out court battle that the media would pick up on and things would come to light that would embarrass us both like my bad habit of eating ice cream in bed and then letting the partially eaten pint melt when I fall asleep and that habit of yours where…well, let’s just leave it as you really need to start closing your window shades at night. Just sayin.

I promise; I’ll move past apple recipes here soon (then I’ll annoy you with cranberry and/or citrus ones πŸ˜› ). But when this one popped into my mind after trying to use up some cranberry sauce, I knew I had to share it. You’ll thank me for this the weekend after Thanksgiving when you have a huge bowl of cranberry sauce in the fridge and you’ve already eaten 12 “day after Thanksgiving” sandwiches covered in that same sauce.

I love the way this turned out. It is rather like fruitcake, in that there is just enough batter to hold the fruits together and man, is it ever full of fruit, but without the dried and candied fruit peel. Not that I personally have any issue with those. I’m a fruitcake fan from way back. I can eat my weight in fruitcake, be it homemade or store bought.

This is wonderfully moist, full of both cranberry sauce and dried cranberries as well as a ton of diced apples. Add in some orange zest and warm spices and this is such a quintessential Fall and Winter style quick bread. It’s easy to throw together, with the most “difficult” part being dicing the apples (I’ll add a tip for how I do that quickly in the recipe instructions). And it makes your house smell SO good while it’s baking. This is the typical quick bread, in that it is even better the second and third days than it was when freshly baked.

You know the drill! <3

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil or orange extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 14 ounce can cranberry sauce (or 1 3/4 cup homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced, cored apple (about 2 mediumish apples; don’t worry about peeling) *note at bottom
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped, toasted pecans
  • Glaze-
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 inch loaf pan. If you don’t have a ten inch, use a 9 inch and a mini loaf pan or a couple of spots in a muffin tin. Just don’t try to load all of the batter into a 9 inch pan or it will overflow.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, spices and orange zest in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer on low speed, beat together the butter, sugar and extracts until light and creamy. Add in the eggs and beat until just mixed. Add in the cranberry sauce and beat just until mixed.
  4. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, add in the flour mixture all at once. Without stirring, dump theΒ  apples and pecans on top, then mix the batter (use a wooden spoon or spatula, not the mixer) together just until mixed and there are no flourly streaks in it. I say again, as I have before, do NOT overmix quick breads of muffins of you end up with tough bread with tunnels in it.
  5. Bake at 350 until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, with no moist batter, just a few crumbs, about 45 to 55 minutes, depending on what pan(s) you used. If you put some in a muffin tin or mini loaf pan, make sure to check those sooner, at about the 30 minute mark.
  6. Let cool in the pan for five minutes or so, then use a butter knife to loosen from the sides and invert onto a rack to finish cooling. When cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the loaf.

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Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

Spiced Cranberry Apple Bread

*Note- I’ve found that the easiest way to get a nice dice on fruit is to simply not try so hard. I used to stand over them and painstakingly finely dice each piece of apple. Now, I core them, give them a rough chop, then lay a large knife horizontally over the fruit and rock it back and forth, using the knife to scoot the pieces back into the pile as needed. It gets them diced in a minute or so and no backache from bending over a counter trying to make each piece perfect.

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Cider Braised Pork Tenderloin With Apples And Onions

Cider Braised Pork Tenderloin With Apples And Onions

Cider Braised Pork Tenderloin With Apples And Onions

Yay!!!! Halloween is over!!!! I mean…erhmmm, I’m so sad for those of you who enjoy Halloween and have to wait another LONGGGGGGG year for it to arrive again *grins*. I, on the other hand, am 816% ready to have it gone and to move on to Fall comfort foods and cozy cool evenings, crispy leaves under my feet as the puppy drags me at a run across the yard in a vain attempt to catch the cats on her 2 inch tall legs. I crave spiced cider (preferably spiked. I have a husband, kids, cats and a dog. Don’t judge), beef stew, driving home in the afternoon, getting to our driveway and smiling as I smell the scent of a fire going in the wood stove, and flannel sheets.

One meat I tend to use more often in the Fall and Winter is pork. I love pork, but something about it just seems too heavy for eating often in the Spring and Summer. I think part of it is that I grew up before they started breeding leaner pork and I still think of pork as heavy and fatty, even though that’s not the case most of the time anymore.Β  Apples are in season this time of year too and they play soooo nicely together. I like to think God planned all of those things, because, really, could you imagine using a Spring veggie like asparagus or a fruit like strawberries with pork? Nope. Those go with other meat dishes, but not so much with pork. Pork works better with Fall and Winter foods. Like apples. And onions. And apple cider. Can we say “yummy”, class?

This dish isn’t anything new. I’m not inventing the wheel here. It’s just one of my takes on the ubiquitous pork and apples. But it’s totally delicious, extremely easy, and doesn’t take hours. Did I mention that it’s delicious? Moist, fork tender pork tenderloin, spiced and browned, then finished in a bath of apple cider and surrounded with sauteed apples and onions. So good; so comforting.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Cider Braised Pork Tenderloin With Apples And Onions

  • 2 medium onions, sliced into half moons (about 2 cups)
  • 3 apples (use your favorites. I used a mix from what we got at the orchard a few weeks back), cored and cut into wedges (leave the peel. It adds color, flavor and fiber)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon neutral cooking oil
  • 2 1 to 1.5 lb pork tenderloins (tenderloins, NOT loins)
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon (the spice measurements for all the spices I’m giving are approximate for this recipe. You may like a bit more or less of one or another)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick Smokehouse Maple seasoning (easily found in the spice aisle of your grocery store)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • salt to taste (but be careful; there is salt in the seasoning blend)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in an oven safe large non stick pan (I used my largest cast iron skillet). Add in the sliced onions and apples; sprinkle with the 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook over low heat until they are softened and barely fork tender, stirring occasionally. When done, remove from the pan and set aside for now.
  3. Add the oil to the same pan and heat until just below the smoking point. Carefully add in the pork tenderloins. Brown on one side, then carefully flip over. Sprinkle half the seasonings evenly over both pieces of meat. Brown the next side, then repeat with the remainder of the seasoning.
  4. Mix the raisins in with the apples and onions, then spoon the mixture alongside and over the meat. Carefully pour the apple cider in the pan along the sides. If you can’t fit it all, that’s ok. Just use what you can.
  5. Carefully slide the pan into the hot oven, being careful not slosh all over yourself (don’t ask me why I felt the need to add that warning, please and thank you).
  6. Cook at 425 for about 15 to 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer stuck into the middle of the loins comes out at between 135 to 140 degrees (it will come up to 145 in the few minutes you let it rest after taking it from the oven; start checking at about 12 minutes just to be safe; nothing worse than overcooked pork).
  7. Let rest for about ten minutes to firm up and come to temp, then thinly slice the meat and serve with the apples and onions spooned over it. This is delicious with noodles or rice, with the fruits and pan juices served on top of the side dish also.
Cider Braised Pork Tenderloin With Apples And Onions

Cider Braised Pork Tenderloin With Apples And Onions

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Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

I, like so many people, have always had a fascination with the Amish lifestyle. I call it a lifestyle because, while I have read a good amount about their religion and respect 9and even agree) with a lot of it, it seems to be more than JUST a religion, but a lifestyle also. Especially in this day and age where so many of the Amish are forced by necessity to interact in the modern world, yet still choose to stay true to a life that forbids many of the things we all take for granted. There was a time in my life when I seriously considered trying to find a way to gain entrance into their world, but I came to realize that while I’m far less “modern” than many I know, I’m still probably too “of the world” to survive happily living as they do.

That said, I do, however, love what is considered the typical form of Amish cooking. Is what we do out here that is called Amish 100% accurate? I’ll probably never know. But it’s easy to find some foods that claim to be of the Amish spirit, at the very least. Add that into that category. Homey and comforting, using home canned goods (preferably) like my Spiced Apple Butter, generally made to feed a lot of people, and delicious. This recipe covers all those bases πŸ˜€ I adapted an old Amish apple butter bar recipe I had and this is what I ended up with.

These bars are utterly delicious. You have a streusel style crust covered with a rich cheesecake style later, then topped with large dollops of apple butter and more streusel. You go from sweet and creamy to crunchy and nutty to tart and fruity in each bite of these. They are perfect for the family and after school snacks, perfect for a potluck or church dinner and great for a family dessert topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

You know the drill… πŸ˜€

Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts, (10 minutes, 350 oven)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 sticks ( 1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 8 oz packages cream cheese, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups apple butter
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil and butter the foil or spray it with non stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, 2 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Use a wooden spoon or your clean hands to mix in the butter, combining until it is a crumbly mass and no dry flour mixture remains.
  3. Set aside 1and 1/2 cups of the streusel and then press the rest of the streusel firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the crust is just a light golden brown.
  4. While the crust bakes, make your filling- in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese together with the sugar until light and creamy. Add in the milk and vanilla extract and blend just until combined. Beat in the eggs just until well combined. Sprinkle the flour/cinnamon mix over the top and stir that into the cream cheese mixture.
  5. When the crust is ready, pour the cream cheese batter over the top of the crust and smooth. Evenly dollop the apple butter over the cream cheese filling, then use a spoon or butter knife to gently swirl it into the filling. Sprinkle the reserved streusel over the top.
  6. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Place the pan on a rack to cool completely. You can cut if then, but I found it slices better if chilled. Either way, cut into squares and serve. Keep refrigerated for storage.

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Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

Amish Apple Butter Streusel Bars

Spiced Apple Butter

Spiced Apple Butter

Spiced Apple Butter

I remember when I was a kid (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and all children wrote on rock tablets and walked five miles to school, uphill both ways), sometimes for a few days during the Summer, we would go visit my mothers family in Alabama. I loved going to see mommer and popper. It was a totally different world in Alabama than it was on the south side of Chicago. I had cousins to play with, aunts who seemed so much more lighthearted than my mother, though I know now that that was just the viewpoint of a child, and a grandfather who seemed to adore me (that was Popper).

Back then, once breakfast was over, the leftover food was simply covered with a tablecloth to await the next meal. Two of the things that were always on that table were what they called hoecakes (simply a large skillet made biscuit that everyone tore pieces off of) and apple butter. It was just store bought apple butter, but it was something Popper loved, so it was always there. It wasn’t something our mom bought often, and I loved it myself, so I would pig out on it. I recall one time finishing off the last of the hoecake and apple butter and popper laughing his butt off about it, though the aunts were horrified because you just didn’t eat up all of Poppers hoecakes and apple butter.

When I grew up and started canning, one of the first things I made was homemade apple butter. That was one of my first experiences with how much better home canned goods are than then their store bought counterparts. Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe I originally found into the one I use today. It is sweet but not cloying like some I’ve had and has a nice kick of spice to it, but not enough to overwhelm the fresh apple flavor. I have been known to stand in front of the jar in the fridge with a spoon. What? Don’t judge.

If you’re new to canning, don’t stress it. If you can boil water and put a lid on a jar and just be smart and clean, you’ll have no problem. The hardest part of this apple butter is cutting the apples and if you use an apple corer/slicer, it goes quickly This apple butter is totally worth it. Sweet, thick, spicy, it’s delicious spread on a warm biscuit, in a PB&J sandwich, used in baking, or just from a spoon as you stand in front of the fridge πŸ˜€ This is a wonderful way to use some of Autumns best apples.

You know the drill… πŸ™‚

Spiced Apple Butter

  • 8 lbs fresh apples, sliced and cored (no need to peel)
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (use light or dark; you choice. I prefer dark)
  • 1 rounded tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  1. Pour the cider and cider vinegar into a large pot. Over the years, I’ve found that a tall, narrow pot works better than a short wide one. You get less splatter on the stove and as apple butter thickens, it DOES splatter.
  2. Dump your apple slices into the cider/vinegar mix. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, until completely soft and limp. Give it a stir a couple of times to make sure the apples on top get down in there. A little while in, the apples will start releasing a lot of juice and all of the slices will soften up.
  3. At this point, I let them sit for about an hour to cool down. You can do this, or if you’re brave (translate; foolhardy πŸ˜› ), you don’t need to. Either way, next step is just pureeing the apples. I scoop them up in my 4 cup measuring cup, blend them on puree in my blender, transfer each batch to a large bowl until I get them all done, then just transfer them back to the pot.
  4. Once back in the pot, add in the two types of sugar and all of the spices. Stir well to break up the brown sugar.
  5. Cook the apple butter on low heat, stirring frequently, until it is thickened. You want to be able to take a spoonful of it, put it on a chilled plate and not have it get surrounded by a puddle of liquid. It’s ok if there is some, but you want thickened butter with just a bit of liquid around it. This is going to take a few hours. You don’t want to raise your heat to try and make it go faster, because once it starts to thicken, it will burn to the bottom of the pot pretty easily. Another way to check doneness is if you spoon up a spoonful and it doesn’t leak off of the spoon, but stay mounded.
  6. When it’s ready to go, ladle it carefully into sterilized (I get 6 to 7 pints) pint jars, to a quarter inch of the top. Clean the rims with a clean, hot damp cloth and place the lids and rims on the jars, finger tight. Don’t tighten the bands or they could cause the jars to break when boiling.
  7. Boil in a boiling water canning bath for 10 minutes. Carefully take out of the pot and set on a clean towel to cool. You’ll hear the pop of the lids as each one vacuum seals. When completely cool (always give about 24 hours), label the jars and transfer to a cool place for storage.
  8. The following if a canning tutorial if you’re new to canning. I promise; canning is easy. Just stay away from the sites that say it’s ok to just invert your jars once you add the hot contents or any other practices that could cause safety issues. Your health and that of your family isn’t worth the risk. canning tutorial Now go make some biscuits for this!

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Spiced Apple Butter

Spiced Apple Butter

 

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Cinnamon Spice Apple Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Spice Apple Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Spice Apple Coffee Cake



Growing up in Chicago, places like apple orchards weren’t exactly on the list of weekend getaways. When my dad lived in one of those old hotels in Hyde Park, this one called The Saranac, he used to take me to The Museum Of Science And Industry or maybe The Field Museum when I visited him. On rare occasions during the Summer, we might head out to the Indiana State Dunes and spend the day getting sunburned…I mean, playing in the lake. Nahhh, I mean getting sunburned. Nobody worried about sunscreen back then. By all rights, none of us who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s should have any skin left. I remember a sunburn I got when I was 17 that left me the color of a Coke can and blistered. My dad wanted me to go to the ER, but I refused.

But I digress. Imagine that. Me. Going off on tangents.Β  As I was saying, there were no orchards in the middle of Chicago. Since living in KY (half my life now, actually), and raising my kids here, it has never failed to make me a bit jealous when my kids would go on field trips to apple orchards or “pick your own pumpkin” spots. It was always just so…. southern to me. In a wonderful way, mind you. So when the idea to go to an orchard with the boys popped into my head, I ran with it. The one we went to is so cool. The apples were fairly well picked over this late in September, but we still got some. But there was also a huge play area that Joshie and Jordan loved, a cafe that we hope to eat at next time and tons of homey apple and “countryish” products at a store there. I hate that it took me until I was this ancient to discover orchards!

So what did I make with what apples we got? Not a darn thing. We didn’t get enough to spare for anything but out of hand eating. It was just coincidental that I had made this cake Saturday.

This is one awesome coffee cake, if I do say so myself *preens a little* It’s a tamer version of a crumb coffee cake. I stuffed this with apples, cranberries and cinnamon chips, as well as a crumbly mixture on top and in the middle. This is ultra moist due to the apples with a lovely flavor due to, well, all the varied ingredients. This is such a perfect Autumn cake. Typical of many coffee cakes, this is even better in the days following baking it, as opposed to fresh from the oven. The flavors need time to meld and then it is spectacular. The recipe was very loosely based off of one I got from a yahoo groups newsletter over a decade ago. Anyone else remember those groups fondly!?

This is a tiny bit more involved than “throw and dump”, but nothing you can’t handle. Trust me.

You know the drill….

Cinnamon Spice Apple Coffee Cake

  • Filling/Topping-
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted, finely chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • Cake-
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup of either fresh apple cider or (preferably, if you have it) boiled cider**
  • 2 1/4 cups of peeled and chopped apples (about 4 small apples)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, soaked for 20 minutes in 3 tablespoons hot water, then drained
  • 1 bag Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips (you COULD make this optional, because I know these can be hard to find, but please try to find them!)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a tube pan. Alternately, spray it with a flour/oil baking spray such as Bakers Joys Or Wiltons (which is my favorite) Set aside
  2. Make your filling- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nuts. Add in the melted butter and mix until it is thoroughly moistened and crumbly. Set aside.
  3. For the cake, in a large bowl, combine the butter and the sugar. beat on low speed with a hand mixer until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl down and add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  5. Combine the buttermilk and apple cider/boiled cider in a measuring cup.
  6. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the butter, starting and ending with the flour (1/3 of the flour, 1/2 of the buttermilk, 1/3 of the flour,Β  remaining buttermilk, remaining flour), beating on low speed JUST until combined after each addition.
  7. Gently fold in the apples, cranberries and cinnamon chips.
  8. Spoon half the batter into the prepared tube pan. Evenly top with half the crumb mixture, then the other half of the cake batter. Then top with the last half of the crumb mixture. Gently pat it down to help it adhere to the top.
  9. Bake at 350 for 60 to 70 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, no loose liquidy batter. Let it cool in on a rack in the pan for about ten minutes, then carefully run a butter knife along the sides of the pan and around the center hole. Do this a couple of times just to make sure it’s completely loosened.
  10. Carefully (use pot holders and/or a towel. This is till gonna be hot) invert the pan over your (protected) hand (works even better if you can use two hands and someone else does the inverting and shaking. Don’t ask me how I know this. Ahem.) and carefully shake the cake out. Invert it immediately back onto the rack to finish cooling.
  11. Let cool until completely cool before slicing, about two hours. Like I said above, this is even better the next day.

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**If you want to make your own quickie version of boiled cider (boiled cider has a much more intense apple flavor than regular cider, so is worth the trouble.), take 1 cup of fresh cider and pour it into a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat a bit and continue boiling until the cider has reduced down to about 1/4 cup. Let it cool before using.

Cinnamon Spice Apple Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Spice Apple Coffee Cake

 

Spiced Pumpkin Latte

Spiced Pumpkin Latte

Spiced Pumpkin Latte



Do you see the difference in the name there in comparison to a certain company that makes a pumpkin spice latte? That, my friend, is because this one has *GASPS* actual pumpkin in it, first and foremost. So the name reflects that. You have no idea how irked I was the first time I got the big name companies pumpkin spice latte and realized that there was no pumpkin in it. What a gyp!

So I, like 14,382 other bloggers, created my own version. Yeah, yeah, I know. This is ubiquitous online and I’m just one more hack posting it πŸ˜› But ya know what? There may actually be one or two people besides my husband and kids who don’t read a ton of food blogs and just read little old me cause I’m special or something. Work with me here. I’m having a low self esteem day. Tell me I’m special. Maybe buy me some roses, take me out to dinner and a movie and tell me I have purty eyes. So this is for the people who may not have seen this on those other 14,382 blogs.

When you’re done doing all that (I like dramas or documentaries and prefer Italian or Indian food, btw), make this latte. Well, make the latte syrup and THEN make a latte. The syrup will last weeks in the fridge. Pour it into a squeeze bottle or just put it in a covered container. And if you live in my household, keep it away from the 19 year old, who seems to think he needs 1/2 cup of this in one cup of coffee that is then covered with 3 cups of whipped cream.

You know the drill… get to cookin’. Or, erhmmm, simmering…and latteing.

Spiced Pumpkin Latte

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. In a medium pot, whisk together all the ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then immediately turn down to low. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Now you can either strain this if the sight of the spices in your cup will bother you (I can be pretty anal, but I don’t strain it. The spices settle to the bottom and don’t cause any issues.) or just store this, covered, in the fridge without straining. Either way, refrigerate it..
  4. To make a latte, use 2 to 3 tablespoons of this per cup of coffee; less if you only want lightly sweetened, more if you’re working towards a restful diabetic coma. Add cream and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Thank me… preferably with big bills or that dinner and a movie.
  5. You’ll notice mine is rather light colored. I was drinking it later in the day so cut the amount of coffee in half for this one. Expect a stronger coffee color in a typical cup.

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Psssstttt…. Remember Me?

Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Pie Parfait

 

Hey there everybody! Did you all have a good Summer? ready for Autumn? Me too. You back there in the corner saying “no, I want it to be 95 degrees still”… please leave. You scare me. πŸ˜›

I had to gasp a little bit when I saw that it had been almost 2 months since my last post. Sit back with a hot drink while I try to explain. In a nutshell… life just got a bit overwhelming and I needed to prioritize a little. Those of you who also blog can empathize when I say that at times you get so involved in the blogging world that the real one tends to fade away. And while that can be fun, it also isn’t healthy.

What also isn’t healthy is having a blog known for decadent treats and having to taste test all of it before you post lol. Mind you, I’ve always been good about not eating much of what I made for the blog but it was difficult having it around. The reason being, I was on a personal journey of my own to lose some of my excess weight. Have I succeeded you ask? Well, when I started I was a tight size 16 verging on 18. Now I’m more or less comfortable size 12 (depends on the brand of clothing). Almost 50 pounds of me gone with the wind…or the scale…or the Twinkies. Whichever πŸ˜› Had I kept posting the things I normally made, I’m not positive I could have done this. Now however, I have the confidence to get back to work here.

Will everything I make now be low cal, healthy and boring? Hell no! I will still be posting decadent treats full of fat and calories. But… I will also be posting things that taste great but won’t make you need to pull out your fat girl pants.

What I am coming back with today is a mix of the two. Like I said up top, I’m ready for Autumn. To me, Autumn means pumpkin. Then I have a side of pumpkin and follow it up with some pumpkin to make it a nice rounded meal. πŸ˜€ Yeah, I kinda like pumpkin. I also like fitting into those size twelves. So that means that the decadent pumpkin treats have to be doled out carefully. Mind you, this isn’t exactly low cal. But neither is it a slice of pumpkin pie covered in home made whipped cream. And there is actually nutritional value in this. Go figure huh? Me… posting something semi good for you.

This also tastes amazing. It will take care of that pumpkin pie craving quite nicely at about 210 calories per serving. It’s also rich, creamy and decadent but made with Greek yogurt. I have this showing as one parfait but in truth that’s because I had no small glasses. This is easily enough for two people (thus the 210 calories). So go get some yogurt and open up a can of pumpkin. I think you’re going to like this.

Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Pie Parfait

  • 1 6 ounce carton vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canned pumpkin (NOT pie filling)
  • 1/3 cup granola (just use your favorite)
  • 3 tablespoons + one teaspoon lightΒ  non dairy whipped topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, brown sugar, pumpkin and 3 tablespoons of whipped topping by folding them together gently. Fold in the spices.
  2. In 1 regular sized or 2 small parfait glasses (or any glass…or bowl…or dog dish; up to you) sprinkle down half of the granola. Top with half the yogurt mixture. Top with more granola, holding back some for garnish if desired. Top with the remaining yogurt. Garnish with the remaining granola, the teaspoon of whipped topping and some cinnamon. Refrigerate for about an hour to soften up the granola.
  3. Dive in
  4. Put away your fat girl pants.

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Still Craving Autumn

I don’t like Summer. There. My shameful secret is out. I don’t like tank tops (if you had my body, you wouldn’t either πŸ˜› ) or shorts, I don’t like laying in the sun (I prefer no wrinkles and no invasive surgeries to cut out skin cancer) dripping sweat to obtain a skin color that isn’t what I was born with. I don’t like mosquitoes and I don’t like opening my back door on a Summer night only to have 3,897 bugs fly in the house and into my hair while I screech like a three year old who has just been shown a clown picture.

I DO however like beaches or pools and I love to grill out. But then I do that in January because I’m weird that way and unfortunately, until I can win the lottery and build a house with a very very large heated pool, I can only swim during those hot months. Darn it all anyway.

I like Autumn. I also like Winter but I KNOW that’s strange so I won’t ruin my rep too much here.Β  I like shorter days and longer nights. I like the smell of a wood burning fireplaces (gas logs are the devil and should be banned from the face of the earth). I like sweaters and cozy blankets to cover up with as I sit with my family in the nice warm house watching TV; preferably Christmas specials like The Grinch or Charlie Brown. I like soups and stews and fresh baked breads. I love anything made with pumpkin or cranberries and anything that smells spicy and…well… Autumnish.

I like this bread. I found the original recipe somewhere on line years back and when I made it, it was dry and heavy and just not a lot of flavor. So I played with it. Because that’s what I do. πŸ˜› And now it is sweet and moist and bursting with the flavors of Autumn. Pumpkin and cranberry sauce and spices all meld together into a bread that tastes of Fall and football games; fireplaces and steaming cups of hot cocoa shared with those you love. It’s one of my favorite quick breads and it is oh so easy and gives you something that tastes amazing. So give this a try and then close your eyes and imagine that it’s NOT 90 degrees outside. And yes; this really IS the worlds most awesome. I took a poll. πŸ˜› No, btw, it’s not a typo. There are no eggs in this. Yet it is still incredibly moist.

Worlds Most Awesome Pumpkin Cranberry Quick Bread

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling; just pureed pumpkin)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease two 9 inch loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients thoroughly.
  4. In second large bowl combine all wet ingredients; mix thoroughly.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into bowl of dry ingredients. Mix just until thoroughly combined. Do not over mix as this will cause tough bread with lots of little peek a boo holes all throughout it.
  6. Bake at 350 for approximately 60 minutes or until sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean. If necessary, cover lightly with foil during the last 20 minutes to prevent the edges from burning.
  7. Let cool in pans for ten minutes then turn out onto racks to finish cooling.
  8. This is yummy spread with cream cheese or, like I like it, with a ton of butter. But it’s also so good that leftover a couple of days later, at room temp is still pretty awesome.