October 13, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread

ITS FALL!!!!! My favorite time of year!! There is a crispness in the air, the sound of fallen leaves and the warm, cozy scent of hot cider and tea...its the best time of year hands down! So, since it is autumn that means only one thing....time to bake and cook with pumpkin!! There are so many pumpkin recipes out there! So I thought I would begin with a simple and easy one, a pumpkin cream cheese bread! I found this recipe on the evil site that is Pinterest, I seriously get lost on there for hours. This recipe was pinned from Lick the Bowl Good, which is a site I have gotten other recipe off of as well. So let's get this autumn season started!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
Yields 2 loaves


8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 T flour


1 cup toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
15 oz. can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans.

For the Filling: Beat the cream cheese until just smooth with a hand mixer, stand mixer or in a food processor. Add the sugar and process until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing until just incorporated. Stir in the flour. Set aside.

For the Pumpkin Bread: Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs until well lightly beaten. Whisk in the sugar and melted butter, then stir in pumpkin, water, vanilla and (optional) nuts.

Stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture, being careful not to overmix. A few streaks of flour is fine. Divide the batter in half. Take one half and divide it between two pans. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into each pan, then top with the remaining half of batter. Smooth the tops and bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool loaves to room temperature.

This bread is so moist, and dense with a light pumpkin flavor, it is the perfect fall treat! Not overly sweet and the cream cheese adds a nice smooth texture. With how moist and smooth this bread is, the addition of nuts is a welcomed crunch, and texture.

Now if you'll excuse me I am going to go make a cup of tea and enjoy my bread...bye now!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry....fall is here!!!


August 15, 2011

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Well, its been quite a while since I have posted anything or updated my blog!! Hopefully I will be doing more updates since I hope to be cooking a lot more since fall is coming. That means soups, stews and chilis are gonna be simmering in my kitchen!

But first I thought we would do something sweet that would be delicious for a nice cool, fall day with a nice hot cup of tea. And I found the perfect recipe for a Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread from Zoomy Yummy!

Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

for the dough:

2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp. (1 packet) active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla

for the filling:

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)
1/4 cup unsalted butter

In a large mixing bowl whisk 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl beat the eggs and set aside. And melt the butter and milk in a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the water and vanilla to the butter-milk mixture and slightly stir.

Pour the butter-milk mixture into the dry ingredient and stir together with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until eggs are incorporated into the batter. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with spatula for about 2 minutes. Then knead the dough to form a nice ball.

Grease a clean bowl and place the dough ball inside. Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place and let rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Deflate the risen dough and knead about 1 tablespoon of flour into the dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out into a 12 inch high by 20 inches wide rectangle.

Prepare the filling. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Use a pastry brush to spread melted butter across all the dough. Sprinkle with all the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Slice the dough vertically, into 6 equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stacks into 6 equal slices again. You'll have 6 stacks of 6 squares.

Grease and flour a loaf pan. Layer the dough like a flip-book into the loaf pan. Place a kitchen towel on top and let allow to rest for 30-45 minutes.

Before baking and after letting it rest

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30 minutes until a dark golden brown.

Remove from oven and let rest for 20-30 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the bread and invert on to a cooling rack ad then invert again onto your serving plate.

Look at the caramelly goo on the bottom! Yum!

Not gonna lie...this was a pain my butt to make! Came out great though!! Very delicious and not overly sweet. I didn't use quite all the cinnamon sugar filling cause it just seemed like so much! A whole cup of sugar! Seemed nuts to me to use that much. But it came out really delicious and went great with a cup of Tazo tea! Really looking forward to fall and all the yummy stuff I am gonna make! This is just the beginning!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


May 23, 2011

Lime & Raspberry Muffins

I don't know why I thought of this flavor combination, but I was out grocery shopping and thought how I wanted to make some muffins and then thought about the combination of lime and raspberry. I didn't even know if there was s recipe out there for lime and raspberry muffins, but I bought the ingredients and then searched for a recipe. I found one from Closet Cooking that looked really good and easy and I already had all the items needed!

Lime & Raspberry Muffins
makes 12 muffins

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1/2 cup icing sugar

1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
3. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract and lime zest.
4. Mix in the milk.
5. Mix in the dry ingredients.
6. Gently fold in the raspberries.
7. Spoon the mixture in to a greased muffin pan.
8. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
9. Mix the lime juice and zest with the icing sugar and pour over the muffins.

Original recipe from Closet Cooking

This muffins were...DELICIOUS! I wished there was more of a lime flavor cause the only lime going in the batter itself was 1/4 tsp of lime zest. Also I made my glaze too runny...so there might have been more lime flavor if I had made it thicker so it would have stuck easier to the muffins. Also when I added the glaze I used a baggy cause I wanted a zig-zag effect, but like I said it was too runny so it didn't really add much. But the raspberries are amazing in there and they add a nice mosit-ness to the muffins. These were great for a nice spring time treat in the morning or in the afternoon with some tea!

Definitely try these muffins, they were easy to make and taste great!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


May 18, 2011

Cookies: Brown Sugar Cookies and Orange Ricotta with Dark Chocolate Drizzle for the Youngblood's Birthday

It was our dear friend John's birthday and he asked his fiance. Just A Girl Baking, not to make him anything, so I said I would make cookies. I love sugar cookies, but I love brown sugar more than white, so I found a recipe for some Brown Sugar Cookies and decided to give those a go. They called for dark brown sugar which I never bought or had before so this was going to be fun! Then I also already had saved, a recipe for some Orange Ricotta Cookies. I have made Lemon Ricotta Cookies before, but these were orange with some dark chocolate drizzled on them, they are super good and easy, a little time consuming, but easy!

Brown Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, room temperature
2 T vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars. Add egg, vegetable oil and vanilla and mix until incorporated.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Add flour mixture to the wet indgredients and mix together until combined. Dough with be crumbly and moist.

Portion dough into 18 balls, a little bigger than a golf ball, and place on lined baking sheets 2 1/2 to 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes for chewy cookies and 16-18 minutes for crispy cookies. Remove from oven and cool on pan for 5 minutes before moving to wire rack to cool completely. Store in air tight container.

Original recipe from Furey and the Feast.

These cookies are amazingly chewy and full of a nice caramel flavor from the dark brown sugar. I really love these cookies! And because you make some rather large cookies you have just enough to cookie to last you a whole cup of tea or coffee! And they get the perfect crackle top and look amazing!

Orange Ricotta Cookies with Dark Chocolate Drizzle

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 T fresh orange juice
1/2 orange, zested


3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 T orange juice
orange zest

1/2 cup dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk until ingredients are combined and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, orange juice and orange zest. Beat to combine.

Stir in the dry ingredients. Spoon the dough, about 1 T per cookie, on to lined baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden on edges. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

To glaze the cookies: combine the powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon about a 1/2 tsp. of glaze onto each cookie and use the back of spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 5 minutes. Drizzle cookies with dark chocolate and let the cookies set.

I made a half batch from the original recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod

When I made these it was quite humid here, and even when I took them over to our friend's place it was quite humid and they were left out and they got a little...sweaty. I think the glaze sort of melted off the cookies from under the dark chocolate so they were a little sticky...but otherwise quite good! I love the combination of the light orange flavor and the dark chocolate drizzle. And the drizzle adds a nice snappy texture to the otherwise soft and spongey cookie. I really do enjoy these ricotta cookies and I think either cookie recipe makes a great gift for a loved one!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


March 17, 2011

Cake Pops *Updated*

I have seen cake pops around on food blogs and on Bakerella and never really thought about making them myself. My Hubsie and I just visited my eldest brother in Chicago and we stopped at a Starbucks and they had them there and it was some sort of "happy hour" so we got free cake pops with our drinks...omg totally yum! So now that I had a cake pop I thought it was time to make them, since really they are quite easy, and St. Patrick's Day is upon us and they seemed like a fun friend-get-together treat. So I tried my hand at making cake pops.

My "Birthday Cake Pop" from Starbucks

Basic Cake Pops
(from Bakerella)

1 box cake mix, made according to directions for a 9X13 cake pan
1 (16 oz.) can frosting
1 lb. package chocolate candy melts
Lollipop sticks
Wax Paper

  1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (I use the back of a large spoon, but it may be easier to use fingers to mix together. But, be warned, it will get messy. Also, you may not need the entire can of frosting, so start out by using almost the entire can and add more if you need to.)
  3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50) (Mine made 30 cause I made them bigger.)
  4. Melt chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. (30 sec intervals, stirring in between.)
  5. Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the cake balls. (Insert a little less than halfway.)
  6. Place them in the freezer for a little while to firm up. (About 15-20 minutes)
  7. Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too.
  8. Place in a styrofoam block to dry.
I think the best thing about these cute cake pops, besides them being really yummy, is you can change it up and make whatever kind of cake you want and use different frostings or even flavor the candy melts to taste however you want it to taste. I used a marble cake mix with chocolate frosting, I know the Birthday Cake Pop from Starbucks was yellow cake. So you can make it however you want, with whatever your favorite cake flavor is. I think these would be super cute for a bridal shower or baby shower, make wedding cake pops with white cake and use pretty non-perils on them for decoration, so fun! You can do anything with these!

Check out Bakerella, she makes tons of different shapes and uses all kinds of cake mixes and whatnot. She even has a cookbook about them called Cake Pops!


Classy Cake Pops

I made some new cake pops for a get-together with Funfetti cake and Cream Cheese frosting. I used dark chocolate and vanilla flavored candy melts to dip them and some non-perile sprinkles to make them look classy and fun for a party!

Next time you are having a shindig, think about making some cake pops! Your guests will think they are super fun...cause they are!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


February 2, 2011

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

Since I live in Northeast Ohio there is freezing rain and tons of snow blowing around today, so it seemed a good time to bake some cookies. Especially some cookies with a nice refreshing and uplifting flavor, like lemon. I had half a container of ricotta cheese in the fridge and thought I could work with that so I looked up recipes. I came upon this great cookie recipe and I think you all will enjoy it.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 container of ricotta cheese
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 lemon, zested


3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 lemon, zested

Preheat oven to 375.

In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl beat together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat to combine. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well. Stir in the flour mixture until all is smooth and combined.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough, about 2 Tablespoon for each cookie onto the baking sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the edges turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cookies rest on baking sheet for 20 minutes.


Combine the powedered sugar, lemone juice and zest in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 tsp. onto each cookie, using the back of the spoon to spread the glaze evenly. Let the glaze harden for 2 hours. Store cookies in a container.

This makes a half batch of the original recipe.

These cookies are wonderful! The have that fresh lemony scent and flavor that is reminiscent of spring and summer...nice for a cold blustery day like today! We need that reminder of warmer weather and outside fun!

They have a great texture and are light and airy. I normally don't like glazes on things, there is something about the powdered sugar...but these are really delicious with or without the glaze. I think I prefer them with it. Its not overly sweet, I think these cookies are just right! Plus I love the little specks of the lemon zest sitting on top of the cookies, looks so fresh and yummy!

I hope you get a chance to makes these cookies, make them for someone you love, they will love you for it! They would be great boxed or bagged up as a treat for a relative or for a good friend.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry....dream of warmer weather and cool breezes


January 29, 2011

One-Pan Chicken and Veggies with an Apple Gravy

I haven't had a "dinner post" in quite awhile and I made this one-pan meal the other night and it was truly delicious and needs to be shared! I recieve Rachael Ray emails and newsletters and in one of the latest ones I got it had a one-pan chicken dinner and it looked amazing. I had another recipe from here with chicken and an apple gravy with homemade rice pilaf that I have been wanting to make, or at least the apple gravy part, so I combined the one pot meal with the gravy and it was a nice hearty and satisfying meal with a nice hunk of grainy bread to mop up the yummy gravy.

One-Pan Chicken and Veggies with an Apple Gravy

4 pieces bone-in chicken (2 leg quarters and 2 breasts)
1 small acorn squash
1/2 pound small Yukon gold potatoes, cut in halves
2-3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
1 small onion, quartered
1 large, or 2 small heads garlic, cut in half
salt and pepper
1 tsp. thyme
1 T butter
1 T flour
1/2 cup apple cider
1 cup chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425.

Place all cut up veggies in a roasting pan. Season with salt, pepper and the thyme, drizzle with olive oil and mix together with your hands. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Nestle the chicken into the roasting pan on top of the veggies and roast for 40-50 minutes until juices run clear. Let sit for 10 minutes to cool and to let meat rest.

In a small sauce pan melt 1 T butter. Add in 1 T flour and whisk into a roux. Whisk in the apple cider to avoid lumps. Whisk in chicken broth and bring to a bubble and allow to thicken. Season with salt and pepper and serve over chicken and veggies.

Recipe inspired by Rachael Ray

This dinner was so delicious and easy to make and prepare! I mean, you throw everything in a roasting pan and that's about it. The gravy takes no more than 5 minutes to make and its full of apple flavor and is great with the chicken and veggies and especially good just being dipped in with a piece of hearty bread. So yum! I really think anybody can make this and it would come out fantastic. And you can cater it to your tastes, use whatever hearty vegetables you like and you can make it your own by adding other spices or herbs that you like!

Please excuse my food photos...by the time dinner is ready it is dark outside therefor I have no light to do my photos by. Makes me a sad food blogger...oh well! Please enjoy anyway!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


January 5, 2011

2011: A New Year

We are 5 days into the new year and for me this New Year came in without a bang, but I really liked that. I feel more relaxed and more calm about this new year and I feel it's going to be a good one!

2010 was a very changing and interesting year. I don't know if I feel as though I, myself, have changed much, but things about my surroundings and other people close in my life have changed, and therefore affected me and brought new experiences to my life. Also over the past year I am grown much closer to some friends and further apart from others. Friendships come and go and you really get to learn who your friends are and who are gonna stick with you for the rest of your life as you grow and change as a person...and I think I really got to discover that over the year of 2010.

This past year I turned 25! That seems like one of those ages that really MEAN something, but overall I just feel like the same little girl. I still act like I am 17 and I am still dealing with real-life adult stuff and it all seems weird and foreign, yet right. I don't know. I think 25 is just one of those ages where you really realize you are an adult and not a kid anymore...

One of the biggest experiences for me was taking our first trip our to California from my brother, Jim's, wedding. It was mine and my husband's first time EVER flying and our first big trip to anywhere, and what a better excuse than to be there for my brother's wedding?! It was an amazing trip full of family, great food and some of the best memories I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I couldn't believe how as a family, we all came together and all flew out for Jim and Joan and how close it made me feel to my family. And now being older, I can really, truly appreciate the time I get to spend with my brothers and being able to go out with them and just hang out and have a good time. Like I said, memories I will cherish forever.

Whole Family together for the Wedding

And to experience all of that with my husband meant the world to me, I love that I was able to share the whole trip and adventure with him.
Hubsie and I at the Golden Gate Bridge!

Another big event was that of my husband's sister changing her entire life and getting divorced, remarried and moving to Germany with our nephew Griffin. It was something that while shocking, was almost, understandable. It was something she needed to do for herself and for her to be happy and live the life she wanted. Also, I got to do my first try at wedding photography so that was sometime new I got to do! I am not normally the one taking pictures of people so it was interesting and harder than it looks!

Rudy and Missy at their wedding

While we obviously miss her dearly, now that she is overseas, we support her and her new husband and all the good things coming to them is well deserved! They are expecting their first baby together which is very exciting, but kinda on the sad side because we won't be able to see them for much longer now because she can't travel while pregnant, and we won't see the baby in person other than over Skype. We try to Skype with her when we can and with the time difference its hard, but we still email and keep in contact with all that is going on.

Missy and Griffin at the airport on their way to Germany

Hubsie and I celebrated 1 year of marriage in 2010 which was crazy! That first year really flew by fast and I couldn't believe our anniversary was already happening! We had a wonderful day of going to the Art Museum and having lunch there and then going out to dinner later that night. It was an amazing day and I it was really truly magical and I just can't believe how fast that year went by!
September 26, 2009

I feel like, for me, 2010 was all about family and experiences. I got to truly realize and appreciate the time I get to spend with my family and I got to do and experience things I didn't think I would have. So all in all, 2010 was a great year and I feel like 2011 will be a good one as well!

Hope everyone had a wonderful 2010 and are looking forward to their 2011!

Bye, Bye 2010! Bring it on 2011!!!!