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 😛 ) 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.  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. 😛 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. 😛 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.


Reinventing The Wheel…Or Biscuit

Can you see all the little layers?? Huh huh huh?

We’ve all done it. Or at least if you’ve cooked for any length of time and are more than a casual “I HAVE to cook so I do” sort of foodie you’ve done it. What the heck am I talking about? Food reinvention. Aka the times you want to make something you’ve made before but just want to do it differently. You want something traditional but you want something new. That train of thought has brought us so very many of the foods we all love. Though I doubt Twinkies and Cheetos were somebody’s brain child as to how to reinvent cheese and cake. Mores the pity. 😛

I have been wanting biscuits. I have also been wanting croissants. But biscuits were boring and croissants are a pain in the proverbial tushie. I can make both with no problem. You can’t live in the south and cook without learning to make good buttermilk biscuits or you may as well hide in a hole. And I taught myself to make croissants years back just cause I wanted to prove I could do it. But neither was exciting me yesterday when I was contemplating today’s post. So I figured I’d make Angel Biscuits- those biscuit/yeast roll hybrids. But I wanted to play with them and see if I could get them to be more akin to croissants with out all the trouble and time that croissants take. I have to say; I’m pretty tickled with how they turned out.

Hours before I started the dough, I cut two sticks of butter in half. Then I rolled out each half in between sheets of waxed paper and froze them. After I got the dough finished later, I did the rolling and turning technique (more or less) that you use when making croissants after inserting the sheets of butter in them. After baking, I tried one (I wanted to eat more but controlled myself lol) with some of my home made Apricot Honey Jam. All I can say is… oh my. These turned out fantastic. Are they the prettiest rolls in the world? Nope. But I couldn’t care less nor will you. I promise. These are tender and buttery and the tops and bottoms get a slight crispy almost fried taste and texture due to the butter. You can see the layers in this and they are reminiscent of the flaky biscuits you can make from a can (the ones where you can peel apart the layers) but without the canned taste, thank God and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. So give these a try. They aren’t time consuming at all and taste so darn good!

Croissant Style Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 2 sticks butter (1/2 pound), room temp, cut in half (preferably salted for this recipe contrary to what I usually advise)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) regular yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk (you may need a touch more if the dough is dry)
  1. Put one of your pieces of butter onto a large piece of waxed paper. Fold the paper over it and smoosh the butter down. Then roll the butter out flat into a thin sheet. Do this with each of the four pieces. Put into the freezer for at least an hour.

    See? The butter doesn’t have to look pretty. Just nice and thin and flat. 🙂

  2. When the butter has been in for about 50 minutes, preheat your oven to 400 and start your dough.
  3. Mix the yeast with the warm water in a small container. Set aside.
  4. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk, then the yeast. Mixture should leave sides of bowl and be a cohesive mass. If not, add a little more buttermilk at a time until it does.
  5. Place the dough on a generously floured board. Knead until it comes together smoothly. Gently roll out the dough into a rectangle. It doesn’t need to be perfect.
  6. Place one of the frozen butter sheets on it and fold the dough in half, enclosing the butter. Seal the edges well.  Gently roll back out into a rectangle large enough to insert another sheet of butter.
  7. Do this three more times with each of the other pieces of butter. Make sure your board stays decently floured. Seal the dough well after inserting each sheet of butter using fingers moistened with a bit of buttermilk if necessary. Cover any cracks with a light sprinkling of flour and just continue on as you have been doing. Work quickly so that the butter doesn’t have time to soften up too much. The steam is what helps create the layers and warm butter won’t steam as well. When you have all the butter rolled in, you will end up with a thick fairly heavy piece of dough that looks more or less like this:
  8. Roll out a LITTLE bit. You’re not trying to flatten it out again just make it a touch bigger. Once you have this done, cut the dough into 16 pieces. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve with jam or preserves or chocolate sauce if that makes you happy. But you won’t need butter on these I promise you. 😛


I STILL Don’t Like Peanut Butter But…


My family does. I have kids still at home including a two year old who eats his weight in peanut butter on a weekly basis. To me, peanut butter is that stuff they put in Reeses Cups, Butterfingers and Nutter Butter Cookies. Oh, and a PB&J maybe two times a year. But I’ve never had the obsession with it that many people do. I have other obsessions thank you very much 😀 (cough cough Twinkies and Cheetos)

I have said that I will never make peanut butter cookies and I have stuck to that. They smell ick to me. But I still sometimes make treats with peanut butter for my husband and kids. And with Russ’s kids being here too, it seemed like a good time because I knew there would be no leftovers 😀

I am currently reading the King Arthur Whole Grain Cookbook (yes reading; not scanning; doesn’t everyone do that? 😛 ) and they have a recipe in there for peanut butter chocolate chip waffles. I saw that and knew it would perfect for both my family and the peanut butter loving blog community. This also takes it into the Elvis realm with a banana topping. Now THAT I liked. With a spoon. In my mouth. by itself. YUM! The recipe didn’t call for the following but to up the “OMG” level for everyone I made a chocolate/peanut butter sauce to put on top also.

If you like waffles, or like peanut butter or like chocolate or like bananas, you will like this 😀 As they cooked the whole kitchen smelled like a peanut butter factory lol. The original recipe calls for spelt flour so feel free to sub that if you want. This is a long list of ingredients but very quickly put together.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Waffles

With Banana Cream And

Peanut Butter/Fudge Topping

  • For the waffles-
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • For the banana cream-
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • For the Peanut Butter/Fudge Topping
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup hot fudge sauce
  1. Banana Cream- Mash the bananas in a small bowl with the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. In separate bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the banana mixture into into the heavy cream and refrigerate until the waffles are done.
  2. Waffles- Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream the peanut butter and sugar together until the peanut softens up. Pour in the melted butter.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until well blended and mixture is smooth. Add the milk gradually. The mixture will be very soupy.
  5. Add the flour all at once and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.  Set aside to rest for at least ten minutes while you preheat your waffle iron and make the fudge sauce.
  6. Peanut Butter/Fudge Sauce-
  7. Mix the peanut butter and hot fudge sauce in a small bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well. Microwave again until mixture is smooth.
  8. Pour about 1/3 to 1/2 cup waffle batter (depends on the size of your iron; mine took close to half a cup) in the waffle iron and cook waffles until are golden brown. Top with some of the banana cream and peanut butter fudge sauce. This will make about 5 waffles.