WOOO! It’s Thanksgiving food time! Now is the time everyone is planning menus, gathering delicious new recipes to try and calling their grandmas for the old tried and true recipes they just HAVE to have. So in honor of all that, I’ve decided to share a couple of excellent, easy Thanksgiving recipes with you this week. Starting with stuffing. Now, let’s get one thing straight- I am a Southerner. We don’t do ‘stuffing’; we do ‘dressing’. Made with cornbread. And we don’t put anything snooty in it, either. None of this Yankee-fied “chestnuts and sausage” business. Very straight-forward and very, very delicious. BUT, that doesn’t mean I can’t experiment with some delicious ideas before Thanksgiving! I do realize that the majority of my reader enjoy what my family calls “Yankee Stuffing”, and I need to stretch my boundaries a little, SO I made you some Yankee stuffing. It’s pretty good, too….for Yankee stuffing. ;)

Sourdough Stuffing with Caramelized Onions, Apples and Cranberries
-by me
(this only makes one 9 inch pan- you may want to double or triple it for a large crowd)

1 loaf sourdough bread, crusts removed and cut into cubes
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
1 small green apple, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoons dried, ground sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/4 cups chicken broth

In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the onions in a little olive oil for about 15-20 minutes, or until soft and caramelized. Stir in the apples and celery. Cook for about 5 minutes (you don’t want the apples to get mushy- just fairly soft).
In a large bowl, combine the bread, onion/apple mixture, cranberries, sage and salt and pepper. Pour into a greased 9×9 baking dish then pour the chicken broth over the mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes.

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Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Bread…

I think as food bloggers, sometimes we tend to try to improve everything. Put our own spin on it. “How can I make this recipe even better?” or “what can I substitute to make this even more delicious?” And that’s just fine! That’s why we have readers, of course- because we take things and make them our own. But sometimes, we tend to forget that some recipes are simply perfect as is. Like this recipe for pumpkin bread. It’s one of the most popular recipes on allrecipes.com; everyone makes it. And for good reason! It’s perfectly moist, has just the right amount of spice, the pumpkin flavor really comes out and….it’s always, always perfect! It’s the only recipe I use for pumpkin bread. So naturally, I had to stop myself when the normal urge hit to start substituting and adding (think butterscotch, caramel, crushed gingersnaps…). In the end, the only things I added were a few chopped walnuts and some fresh cranberries. No substitutions. :) And it was perfectly, wonderfully delicious. This bread always reminds what I love most about Autumn – baking. There’s just something magical about baking up a golden brown loaf of warm, spicy pumpkin bread. Your entire house smells warm and welcoming!

Pumpkin Cranberry Walnut Bread
-recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com (originally named “Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread”)

1/2 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1-1/2 cups white sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup fresh cranberries (frozen is fine too- no need to thaw)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Gently stir in the chopped walnuts and cranberries. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaf is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

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Strawberry Orange Sunrise Muffins…

Good mornin’, good moooornin’! It’s great to stay up late, good mornin’, good mornin’ to you! Sorry. Hope you don’t mind if I hit you with a little Debbie Reynolds this morning! A personal favorite of mine…Anyway, I’m particularly excited about these muffins- they’re the perfect way to wake up in the morning! They’re cheery, colorful and full of tons of juicy, delicious fruit – who wouldn’t want to have one of these first thing in the morning?! I got the idea for these from my favorite kind of yogurt – Yoplait makes a strawberry-orange-banana yogurt called “Strawberry Orange Sunrise” and it’s super delicious! I thought it would be fun to create a muffin based on these flavors, and while I’m at it, go ahead and add in a little fresh peach (YUM!). So I got in the kitchen with my Michael Jackson blaring (yes, there was indeed some booty-shaking involved…not gonna lie) and whipped these little babies up. They’re moist, fruity and just perfect with a cup of hot coffee bright and early in the morning! Enjoy!

Strawberry Orange Sunrise Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 medium-sized peach, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. In a small bowl, mash the bananas. Add the strawberries, orange juice and peach. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cooled butter, eggs and vanilla extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined (you’ll have a very thick batter). Gently stir in the fruit mixture. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes about 18 muffins.

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Tri-Berry Muffins…

There’s a store near our house that sells locally grown fresh fruits, vegetables and grains (and organic groceries) and every summer they’re literally bursting with ripe, delicious summer fruits and veggies. I go all the time and stock up on berries, peaches, corn on the cob, watermelons, etc. Every summer, I’m up to my ears in fresh berries and I love it! Luckily, I just happen to have some delicious blueberries, raspberries and blackberries and immediately, Ina Garten’s recipe for Tri-Berry Muffins pop into my head. What a fantastic way to use all three berries!

Unfortunately, my sweet hubby has been in Miami for two days training for a new software. Big time bummer (thank heavens he comes home tonight! Yippee!!). I had been planning all week to bake him something delicious to take on the plane (besides his travel-size bag of mini-Oreos), and these muffins were the perfect thing! Great for a snack and breakfast!

Tri-Berry Muffins
-adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups milk
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries, sliced in half
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Stir with your hand (or a whisk) to be sure the ingredients are combined. In another bowl, combine the milk, eggs and melted butter.

Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture, pour the wet mixture into the well, and stir until just combined. There will be some lumps but don’t overmix the batter. Add the blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and sugar and stir gently to combine (*be really careful when you do this, otherwise the batter will turn blue!)

Using a large spoon or scoop, spoon batter into the muffin cups to fill the liners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the tops are nicely browned.

Yield: 16 to 18 muffins

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Fresh Strawberry-Peach Bread…

It seems like I’ve been posting a lot of quick bread recipes lately- I just couldn’t help myself, though. There have been so many fantastic recipes floating around! Especially this one- fresh strawberry bread, courtesy of Jamie of My Baking Addiction. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had just found the perfect recipe for my stash of fresh strawberries. I also had 2 ripe peaches just begging to be used, so I threw those in too. Merciful heavens, this was some delicious bread! So moist and full of bright, fresh flavors- the strawberries and peaches were really prominent. This was just delightful; and so quick and easy to throw together. Thank goodness too, because this past weekend I dessert catered my first party (woot, woot!), so things were pretty insane for a while around here! I’m really glad I took the extra time to make this- it was a much welcomed snack amidst all the craziness!

About to pack everything up and deliver 3 kinds of goodies to a party!

Fresh Strawberry-Peach Bread
-adapted from My baking addiction

1/4 cup butter (half a stick), softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup strawberries, chopped
3/4 cup fresh peaches, chopped

Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
With electric mixer cream butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla.

In separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend flour mixture with butter mixture just until blended. Add buttermilk and only stir until just combined; do not over mix.
Carefully fold in strawberries. Dough mixture will be thick.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.

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Browned Butter Banana Bread…

Boy, just try to say that title 5 times fast! Maybe we ought to just call it ‘B4′ instead…..ok, maybe not. Sorry, don’t know where that came from, exactly.  Anyway, a mere 3.2 seconds after I saw this on Julia’s blog, Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body, I immediately printed it out and set out to make it. Frankly, I get tired of the same old banana bread recipes; I needed something new. And browned butter?? Um, yes, please! I love the stuff so much I could pour it over my cereal in the morning! It’s that good. You can’t imagine the beautiful, glorious aromas wafting through the house while this is baking- it’s enough to drive a girl crazy! I can’t wait to find other great recipes that use browned butter…especially since I don’t think people will take too kindly to browned butter over Cheerios. Don’t think the public is quite ready for that one yet….

Browned Butter Banana Bread
-Fat Girl Trapped In A Skinny Body

1 stick butter
2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch loaf pan.

In a medium saucepan over high melt the butter. Once it is melted lower the heat to medium and swirl the butter around the pan instead of stirring it. It will take about 5 minutes for it to brown. Occasionally swirl it. You will notice when it turns brown because it literally, turns brown. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool while getting everything else ready.

In a large bowl sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl whisk the eggs then add the mashed bananas, vanilla and the semi-cooled butter.
Add the liquid to the dry mixture. Mix just until incorporated, don’t over mix. Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes, until it is browned on top and a fork inserted comes out clean. Cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan before cutting and serving.

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Cinnamon Swirl Bread…

I recently saw this bread on Memoria’s blog, Mangio da Sola and knew immediately I wanted needed to try it. And boy am I glad I did – I found a winner! I actually ended up making this two weeks in a row we liked it so well! After making it twice, I discovered I had actually been doing it wrong (oops); instead of doing two layers of cinnamon/sugar, I just dumped it all in the middle. Well, I actually think I like it better that way – it makes for a nice, thick layer of gooey “cinnamony-ness”…mmmm, cinnamony-ness. Anyway, the bread part is actually more like a buttery, soft pound cake, and the layer of cinnamon/sugar adds the perfect amount of sweetness and flavor. We really loved this one…it will most definitely be in the regular rotation from now on! Great for company, too – absolutely perfect with morning coffee!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
-adapted from Mangio da Sola

1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Combine the 1 cup of white sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl or mixer bowl. In a separate bowl, beat egg. Stir in buttermilk, vanilla and oil. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg/buttermilk mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not over-mix.
Pour half of the batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat (obviously I didn’t do this and it turned out great). With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl mixtures together with a down and up circular motion.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Look, it’s smiling at us! :-)

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Jalapeno Cornbread Whoopie Pies…

Now here’s a little something different! We’re all aware of the popularity of the ‘Whoopie Pie’ – they’re popping up everywhere in the food blogging community! I’d say the most popular right now is probably the red velvet whoopie pies; those seem to really be making the rounds. However, I’m not a huge fan of ‘red velvet’….all that food coloring makes me uneasy. But goodness knows I love a good whoopie, so these turned out to be the perfect solution – Jalapeno Cornbread Whoopie Pies with Goat Cheese, Bacon and Scallion Filling. Doesn’t that sound just delicious?? Well it is!

These are just wonderful alongside a big bowl of stew; the perfect combination! Definitely a nice change of pace from regular old cornbread. And don’t get me started on the goat cheese filling….oh MAN, was it good!! I’d suggest making extra filling, as it is completely delicious spread on a cracker. So, the moral of the story is, if you’re tired of the same old sweet whoopie pies – try savory! You won’t be sorry!

Jalapeño Cornbread Whoopie Pies
Makes about 10-12 pies

For the Cornbread:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking  powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter , at room temperature
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and finely chopped
Goat cheese filling (recipe follows)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar , baking powder, and salt. In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the buttermilk, butter, and egg on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture and the chopped jalapeno to the batter and beat on low until just combined.
Using a spoon, drop about 2 tablespoons of batter onto one of the prepared baking sheets and repeat, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for about 12 minutes each or until the cakes begin to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

To assemble: Spread filling onto the flat side of one cake using a knife or spoon. Top it with another cake, flat-side down. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling. You can also use a pastry bag with a round tip to pipe the filling onto the cakes, which will give you a smoother, neater presentation.

Goat Cheese, Bacon and Scallion Filling:
6 slices bacon
4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh scallions

In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and cool. When cool, crumble into small pieces.
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together goat cheese, cream cheese and milk on low speed until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the crumbled bacon and the scallions and beat on low until combined.

-Adapted from the Star Telegram Newspaper

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Tuesdays With Dorie…Coco-Nana Bread

coconana1

This week’s TWD recipe, Coco-Nana Bread was chosen by Steph of Obsessed With Baking. I was toying with the idea of skipping this week, but I heard so many great things about this bread, I decided to give it a shot. Really glad I did; it eats almost like cake- really moist and tender, and the banana is barely noticeable. The best part, though, is how chocolaty it is – the chocolate chunks throughout the bread make it super moist and gooey. Yum!

coconana2

This bread is pretty much more of a dessert than a breakfast food, but genius that she is, Dorie is trying her best to make all things chocolaty accepted as breakfast food. I vote yes. And I’m betting that this stuff will taste pretty darn good with your coffee in the morning. If you’d like the recipe, check out Steph’s blog – she’s got it posted.

coconana3

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Our Favorite Coffee Cake…

I hope everyone had a wonderful, happy Christmas! We certainly did – we witnessed our very first White Christmas (in Texas!)!! It was totally wonderful (except the part where we had to drive home on frozen highways…not so much fun…). The weather lately has been totally unbelievable and completely wonderful – I’m sitting here typing this post watching the snow fall outside again! It’s SO cool! And this time I’m very thankful to be watching it snow from the comfort of my home, instead of driving in it.

Anyway, this post is all about a wonderful tradition. Coffee cake. The coffee cake my family has eaten for breakfast every Christmas morning since the 80’s (at least!).  It absolutely wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Yuuuuummmm.  And yes, I realize Christmas is over, but I wanted to share the recipe because really, there’s nothing “Christmasy” about this cake. It’s just a simple, normal coffee cake that can be enjoyed any day of the year – we just choose to eat it on Christmas. But that doesn’t mean you have to!

coffeecake1

(If you’re wondering why only half of it has pecans, hubby hates nuts, so I made it half and half….silly boy!)

This couldn’t be easier to make – 5 ingredients total. Just assemble the night before, let it sit out overnight and bake it the next morning, and you’ve got delicious, gooey, coffee cake! Too easy! You’ve got to try this one!

Overnight Coffee Cake

1 package frozen white dinner rolls (I use Rhodes brand)
1 package butterscotch pudding (not instant!)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar

Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and sprinkle chopped pecans over the bottom of the pan. Arrange the frozen rolls in the pan and sprinkle with the butterscotch pudding mix. Mix the melted butter and brown sugar together in a small bowl and pour over the frozen rolls. Grease a piece of foil and cover the pan; let sit out overnight (do not refrigerate).

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the coffee cake for 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil. Let sit out for 10 minutes before inverting on to a platter and serving.

coffeecake2

I really don’t recommend omitting the nuts – it just doesn’t turn out the same (as you can see on the left side of the cake…) – they’re really necessary, in my opinion. This is a wonderfully delicious breakfast treat – give it a try this weekend! It would make a great New Year’s Day breakfast!

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