Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Coconut Pumpkin Bread

Back to recipe posting again!  This pumpkin bread is truly irresistable as long as you are a coconut lover.  I never would have thought that pumpkin and coconut would go well together but surprise - they do!  I also LOVE this glaze.  White chocolate baking chips. They are just so perfect with the bread.  Hope you give this a try and enjoy it as much as I did. My husband also loved it but I can't say the same about my son. He is not a fan of coconut, so this bread was a thumbs down from him!  I found this recipe at Betty Crocker.

1/2 cup butter, softenend
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice


1 cup white chocolate baking chips
2 tablespoons whipping cream
2 tablespoons flaked coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs, pumpkin and vanilla.  Stir in 1/2 cup coconut and the walnuts.  Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and pumpkin pie
spice;  gently stir in.  Pour batter into pan.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan about 10 minutes.  Remove from pan to cooling rack.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.
In a small microwavable bowl, microwave white chocolate baking chips and whipping cream on high in 30 second increments, stirring between microwaving, until mixture is smooth and creamy.   Drizzle over cooled loaf; sprinkle with coconut.  Let glaze set before slicing.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

Here are some pictures from yesterday when we visited Old Town Alexandria.  This is a really pretty town with old cobblestone streets and unique gift shops and restaurants.  Old Town is on the water and there are boats that will take you over to Georgetown and Washington, DC.  You can take a sightseeing tour on these boats and some of them have dancing and dinner on board.  Me, I like the shopping, eating and walking.....especially on a beautiful day like yesterday. It must have been near 70 degrees. On  Saturday there is a Farmers Market and always some type of music or entertainment down by the water.  This town is also very dog friendly.  There are bowls of water outside many of the stores and when the weather permits, many of the restaurants have outside dining where our canine friends are very welcome!   Pictured above are the Cherry Blossom that will take you on a dinner cruise.  The other is a typical Old Town restaurant all ready for Christmas.  To the right is my husband...although he looks like a tourist in this photo he was actually born right in Old Town (many, many years ago...!). So many in fact that the hospital he was born in is no longer standing!  Below to the left is a picture taken from the Visitors Center. You can see there are also many townhouses that must be over100 years old......and very pricey but beautiful!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Some Pics from Thanksgiving Weekend!

Here are some pictures form Thanksgiving weekend.....the handsome young guy is my youngest son with his grandpa and the little cutie pie is my granddaughter with me.....We had wonderful weather here in Virginia the past few days and I've taken advantage of it by staying outdoors  most of the time.  These pictures were taken down in Richmond.

More pictures from my day in Old Town Alexandria tomorrow.  Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pumpkin Pillow Cookies

This recipe is one that my husband made the other night.  This cookie is perfect with Thanksgiving coming up.  We had gone to the Farmer's Market in Alexandria, Virginia on Saturday and he saw these and they caught his eye.  He went online and found a great recipe for them.  I have no clue where the recipe came from but the frosting came from a site called Instructables.....Anyhow, they are soft just like pillows. I thought that maybe they had egg whites only in them or cake flour but that's not the case.  The are very, very light so they go down very easy. And they are addicting. Even if you are not a big pumpkin lover, these really just have a mild pumpkin flavor.  Hope you enjoy them! 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baker powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt ( if using salted butter leave this out)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin, canned or fresh
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease your baking sheets, unless you are using an air bake sheet.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt (unless you are using salted butter) into a bowl (not your mixing bowl).

Cream sugar and butter (in your mixer bowl) until blended.

Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract.  Mix until smooth.  Gradually beat in flour mixture, beat until blended.

Drop tablespoons (ice cream scoop works better) onto your baking sheets, approximately 1 inch apart.  The cookies spread a little.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firming up and the center is no longer jiggly.  Do not overbake - you want them to remain soft.   Cool the cookies on your baking sheet for a minute or two; then place onto wire cooling racks.

8 ox block of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter (4 tbs), softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Flavor Options
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp peppermint extract OR
1 tbs finely crushed peppermint candies
2 tbs lemon juice OR
2 tbs lemon zest

Let the butter and cream cheese soften at room temperature.

Cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla.  Add in any flavors now.

Gradually add in the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, until fully blended and smooth.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Praline Pumpkin Cake

I was going to post another recipe today but I thought with Thanksgiving coming up this would be more appropriate and some of you might like to make this for your Thanksgiving dessert. It is delicious!  It comes from Betty Crocker and starts with a mix but you add a few extra ingredients to really bump it up a notch.  It is so darn pretty too! 

1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 box Betty Crockert SuperMoist yellow cake mix
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  In 1 quart heavy saucepan, stir together butter, whipping cream and brown sugar.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, just until butter is melted.  Pour into two ungreased  9 or 8 inch round cake pans; sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup pecans.

In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed until moistened, then on medium speed for two minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.  Carefully spoon batter over pecan mixture in each pan.

Bake 41 to 47 minutes of until cake springs back when touched lightly in center.  Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack.  Cool completely, about 1 hour.  (I removed mine after 10 minutes).

Frosting (my recipe)
2  (8 oz) packages of cream cheese, softenend
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups confectioners's sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
caramel topping, if desired
additional chopped pecans, if desired

Mix together on medium speed cream cheese and butter.  Sift sugar and pumpkin pie spice and add gradually to cream cheese mixture.
To assemble cake, place 1 layer, praline side up, on serving plate.  Spread with half of the frosting.  Top with second layer, praline side up; spread remaining frosting to edge of layer.  Drizzle with caramel topping and additional pecans.  Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cherry Coffee Cake

This comes from Coleen's Recipes.  It is one delicious cake.  I had never used tart pie cherries before and I have discovered that I love them.  This is a great after dinner cake to have with coffee and goes well with some whipped cream or ice cream on the side too.  You don't remove this cake from the pan so Coleen suggested (and I agree!) to use a nice looking pan.  I will HAVE to make this again soon. Easy and delicious.......

I'm home from work today and I'm sooo glad about that.  You know that feeling when you just need a break from work?  I have been feeling it big time here.  My youngest son is also home from school today and if any of you mom's out there have sons I would say 12 years and older, I'm sure you know that Modern Warfare 3 was released today....So you all know what my son is doing!  If you don't know what Modern Warfare 3 is consider yourself lucky.  All I've been hearing all day are gunshots.....is it bedtime yet????

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

Put all of the above ingredients into an electric mixer and beat on high 2 minutes.  Spread evenly into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan and set aside.

2 (14 oz) cans pitted tart pie cherries (save the juice) DO NOT USE CHERRY PIE FILLING
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup reserved juice from pie cherries
1/2 tsp almond extract

Drain cherries, saving the juice.  Arrange cherries on top of the cake batter.  Sprinkle  1/2 cup of sugar over the cherries. Set aside.  Heat 1 1/4 cup of reserved cherry juice and almond extract until it simmers and then very gently spoon over the cherries and batter.  Bake in oven  35-45 minutes.  Do not remove cake from pan.  Slice from pan when still slightly warm and serve by itself or with some whipped cream or ice cream.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yep, it's another banana cake post!  This one was not baked by me but by my husband instead. Guess I am not the only banana cake lover in the family.  This banana cake was so delicious that I ended up having to bring it to work with me so I would not keep eating it as if it was the last cake on earth.  The night before I brought it to work I was having some beef stew for dinner.  Instead of having a bowl full of stew I decided to have only half a bowl for dinner and a big slice of cake. After doing that I just thought "this is no good - the cake HAS to go!"  It was a big hit at work and didn't last long. He found this recipe at Evil Shenanigans.  It looks like I will have to be sharing my blog with my husband.  He has been cooking and baking so much lately and he is so good at it!  Better than me....so I think it will be fun to share his dishes too! 

1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla

Frosting (my husband's recipe)

2 bars (8 oz each) cream cheese, soft
1 stick butter, soft
2 cups sifted powder sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (coconut is good too)
coconut flakes (if desired on outside of cake)
chopped walnuts (if desired on top of cake)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare two 9" cake pans with non stick spray.

Peel your ripe bananas and mash them with a fork.  Pour the buttermilk into the bananas and mix well.  Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar until well combined and lighter in color.  Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla.  Mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and the banana mixture in three installments, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter between the two prepared pans.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and pulls away from the sides of the pan.  Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then turn out to cool completely on racks.

While the cake cools prepare the frosting by creaming the cream cheese with the butter, then adding the powdered sugar and vanilla. 

Fill and frost the cake, then chill for one hour before slicing. (Note:  this cake tastes better the next day.  Make sure to remove from refrigerator about one hour before eating since banana cake is heavy and tastes much better at room temperature.)