Friday, November 23, 2012

Pumpkin Roll

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving day yesterday with their family and friends.  I spent Thanksgiving with my girls at my sister, Ann's house.  I want to thank Ann and her husband, Adrian for a great day.  I am extremely thankful for my children, friends and a job that took me a long time to get.  I am grateful for military personnel who put their lives on the line every day so that we may live with the freedoms we are so lucky to have.

When I think of the Fall or Thanksgiving, I automatically think of pumpkin.  I'm not sure why I don't think of pumpkin any other time of the year.  Maybe it's the spices that give that warm feeling and comforts of home. I made this for yesterday's dinner and it was delicious.  Even though it is perfect for Thanksgiving, please feel free to make it any time of the year!


 1/4 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup canned pumpkin


8 oz. cream cheese, room
1 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbs. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract

powdered sugar &
cinnamon - sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan (or cookie sheet with sides).  Line with parchment paper. 

Grease and flour paper.

 Sprinkle a thin, cotton dish towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl.

Beat eggs and granulated sugar in mixer until thick.


Beat in pumpkin.  Stir in flour mixture.

Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the top springs back when touched.  If using a dark pan, check after 11 minutes.

Immediately loosen and flip onto prepared towel.

Slowly peel off the paper. 

Starting with the narrow end, carefully roll the cake and towel together.

Cool completely on a wire rack.


In the meantime, beat powdered sugar, butter and vanilla bean until smooth. If it needs a little bit more vanilla flavor, add a little bit of vanilla extract.

Slowly unroll cooled cake.

Spread frosting evenly over cake, all the way to the edges. 

Cut off jagged edges on both ends with a serrated knife.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap for one hour or until ready 
to serve.

Sprinkle a small amount of cinnamon over roll.  Then sprinkle powdered sugar. The way that I do this is the old-fashioned way.  I use a very inexpensive small collandar with tiny holes.  Perfect!!!

I love that it is just enough of a good thing without being too much.  Try serving with a little bit of whipped cream on the side.  Enjoy, and not just for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Best Vanilla Cake Ever!

Full credit for the ultimate vanilla cake and vanilla frosting goes to Rosie from Sweetapolita.  Not only were the directions really easy to follow, but I made two batches on two different days and they came out exactly the same AND perfect.  I have never made a cake this way before.  It was backwards from the way I've usually done it.  It almost seemed like making pastry for a minute.  The only thing I did different was add 1 Tbs. of vanilla bean paste and then 1 Tbs. of vanilla extract.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Caramel Crisp - Halloween

Happy Halloween!!!!  I made a Halloween version of my Caramel Crisp (check out the original recipe here) for my work today.  Everyone loved it.  I used chopped Butter Fingers and Reeses Pieces for the candies.  I added food coloring to the white chips (it seized up in the microwave so I added a little bit of vegetable oil and put it back into microwave and it was okay, but still a little thick.  Since I could not drizzle it with a fork, I put it in a pastry bag and used a ribbon tip)  After drizzling the milk and white chocolate over the top, I topped it all off with some Halloween sprinkle decorations.  The funny thing is the only containers I had to put it in were Christmas.  Nothing like mixing two holidays together :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cashew Caramel Bars

It's still National Baking Week.  I volunteered to donate a baked good for a basket being put together for a 19-year-old boy who is in the military and is on his way to  Korea as I write this.  Chapel Guarnieri started a Facebook Group We Stand Behind Those Who Stand Up For Us.  It's an interactive group for people in Pepperell and Townsend, MA to recognize veterans and family and friends who put their lives on the line to allow us to live in this great country. Take a look at it and see if it's something you would like to be involved in.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

October 15-19 is National Baking Week.  I had great intentions to bake and blog every day this week.  The only problem is I am in week three of my new job and it is kicking my behind.  I have been exhausted.  I actually baked this four days ago and I'm just getting around to blogging it.  It is another recipe from Pinterest and I give full credit to:  Elizabeth's Edible Experience (who credits Southern Living Magazine 2009).  I brought it into work and everyone loved it.  I love pound cakes because you can have a small piece and, yet, it is still very substantial.  There is just something about a piece of pound cake.  You can enjoy it plain, you can add fruit and whipped cream or you could toast it and it tastes fantastic any way you serve it.  The other thing I love about this recipe is that it is really quick to make, though it takes a long time in the oven.  Enjoy!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Crock Pot Spiced Nuts

Have you ever bought hot nuts from a street vendor in New York City?  It's the best!  My daughter, Megan, LOVES nuts, especially sugar-coated ones.  I found this recipe on Pinterest and I made a few changes here and there.  I won't say it's the fastest way to make these type of nuts, but it certainly is easy.  Make sure you are going to be home for several hours, though.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Strawberry Loaf

This is one of the quickest breads to mix together.  As long as you know ahead of time that you are going to make it, you can pull out the frozen strawberries to defrost.  I found this recipe in the newspaper over 30 years ago.  I love strawberries so I thought it would be something interesting to try.  It is certainly a different way to use strawberries in a baked good.  I love that it makes two loafs and I don't have to double the recipe.  If you go strawberry picking, make sure you save some for this bread.   Place 20 oz of strawberries in a freezer zip-lock bag and store until ready to use.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fudge-Topped Shortbread

This is absolutely the best of both worlds.  Shortbread and fudge.  Sometimes you just want a piece of shortbread with a cup of coffee or tea.  Then there are other times you just need some chocolate.   But this is the goodness of shortbread and chocolate together.

Lemon Poppy Seed Bread

I love this bread.  It's quick to whip up if you happen to have some lemons around. If you don't, you can use dried lemon peel and lemon juice.  As I have mentioned before, I love the taste of lemon.  The glaze on the top of this bread definitely makes it!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bake-and-Take Cupcakes

I have this idea pinned on my Cool Ideas bulletin board on Pinterest.  It is such a great idea, that I have already used it twice.  The first time was for Megan's guests to take leftover cupcakes home from her 16th birthday party.   The second time was for a bake sale.  It is perfect for a bake sale.

You will need a 9-oz, clear-plastic solo cup, 4" x 9.5" bag, twist tie or ribbon.

Here is a really cool tip:  Place an undecorated cupcake into the cup.  Fill a decorating bag with large tip with frosting.  Frost cupcake while it is in the cup.  Try not to touch the edge of the cup.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Banana Bread

I have made a million different banana bread recipes.  When I came across this recipe, I thought, FINALLY. The reason why I love this recipe is because it is so soft and moist.  It tends to look a little darker, but that does not mean it is over baked.   I love to put a piece of  banana bread in the toaster with margarine or butter.  Yum.  I also love the fact that you can whip up this recipe without a mixer.  All you need is a bowl, a couple of smaller bowls, a wooden spoon and a loaf pan.  Sometimes when you don't have to bother with the big mixer, it's 3 or 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Orange Delight Muffins

I love the taste of citrus. These muffins are so moist and delicious.  They are the perfect compliment to a breakfast buffet.  Hope you enjoy them!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Nutella Banana Bread

This is an out-in-out steal from this site:  Nutella Everyday.  Can you imagine?  Recipes that only use Nutella?  The thing I love about Nutella is that it is pretty much the same amount of calories as peanut butter.  Just think about it for a minute.  Chocolate AND a hint of hazelnut!  Heaven.  

I'm always looking for a twist on banana bread and here it is.

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter,  
  room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups mashed, ripe bananas
1/3 cup skim milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 heaping cup Nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.  Mix together flour, baking soda and salt.  Let's be honest, does anybody do this anymore?  I know they say it incorporates better into the batter.  I just don't see the difference.  This is what I do.  In a mixer, beat butter and sugar until blended.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.  Mix in mashed bananas and milk. Now, I add the dry ingredients - ALL AT ONCE.  So, add flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix on medium speed until everything is mixed well.

You will need to soften the Nutella.  Microwave in a glass measuring cup for 30 seconds on high.  Mix one cup of banana batter into the Nutella and mix well. Make sure you lick the spoon when you are done.  Delish.  If it weren't for the raw eggs in the batter, I could eat this like fudge.

This is the fun part.  Drop spoonfuls of banana and Nutella batter into the loaf pan, alternating. Swirl with a knife.  I like to swirl the long way and then cross over it to make a pattern. I suggest you drop by small spoonfuls.  Otherwise, it doesn't mix as well and is pretty delicate after baked and prone to fall apart.

Bake 50-60 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  Remove from pan.  It will be a little gooey inside, but that is sort of the point.  Enjoy!!

I had too much banana batter, so I put it in an individual cheesecake pan and it came out perfect at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Caramel Crisp

I have a new obsession and it is called Pinterest.  It's been great in helping me organize my daughter's 16th birthday party.  The best part about it is discovering so many new recipes. This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I found on Nikki's chef in training website: Better than Sex Chex.  The great thing about this recipe is, once you make the cereal (you can use any cereal), you can add anything to it and use your choice of melted chocolates.  I plan on giving this away to my kid's choir directors as a year-end gift. 

I also plan on bringing a big batch with me tomorrow to my fellow volunteers at our high school's Project Graduation.  My kids will be graduating the next two years, but this will be my third year volunteering at Project Graduation. It's a great way to keep kids safe graduation night.   For more information about Project Graduation, check out this web site: North Middlesex Regional High School Project Graduation.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Chocolate Sheet Cake for a Crowd

April 20-29 is National Dance Week. I brought this cake to my kid's dance studio tonight and I think it went over pretty well.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Italian Anise Cookies

An old friend, who I don't really see much anymore, just experienced the passing of his father.  I have fond memories of spending time, years ago, with his family at various events and how small all of our children were.  It's hard to believe that those small children are now in high school and planning to go to college.  My heart goes out to his family.  These cookies remind me of the kind Italian man I had the pleasure of meeting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chocolate Bonanzas

I tried to post this last night but I'm having horrible problems getting onto blogger with my computer.  So, I am now using my daughter's laptop.  Yesterday was National Chocolate Caramel Day.  We will now be celebrating it today!

These candies are delicious and so simple to make.  You can add any type of nut you want to and also anything else that peaks your interest, i.e., raisins, coconut, etc.  Make sure you decrease some of the other ingredients or increase the caramel ingredients.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Soda Bread

I found this recipe in a newspaper at least 25 years ago and have made it too many times to count.  The reason I was interested in this particular recipe is because it didn't have caraway seeds in it.  Now you can find many recipes without it, back then it was harder.  Of course, you could always add caraway seeds to this recipe if you want to.

The casserole dish that I bake my Irish Soda Bread in is 34 years old.  Yikes!  I was living on my own and working in Burlington.  One day a truck pulled into the parking lot and was selling all kinds of household items.  I bought a huge box of different shape casserole dishes (most of which I still have) and lots of other things.  I wish I could remember how much all of that cost.  I do know that it was extremely cheap, which was good for me as I was probably making $3 or $4 per hour way back then.

This Irish Soda Bread is phenomenal.  I make it many times during the year, not just for St. Patrick's Day.  Once you make it, you will probably do the same.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Magic Bars with a Twist

Today is National Potato Chip Day.  To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to throw potato chips into a bar that already has a lot of ingredients for a salty/sweet goody.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Traci's Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake is my favorite dessert.  It was also my niece, Traci's.  Traci died in an automobile accident at 18 years old.  I miss her every day.  She was a beautiful, vibrant girl and it's hard to imagine God's plan for her. I can see her up in Heaven taking charge of all the young ones and having a good time.  Traci was always great with kids.  I should know.  My kids adored her.