Crock Pot Pumpkin Bread
I’ve never been much of a baker but the bread baking mood does strike me from time to time. A few weeks back I drew some late night inspiration from a can of pumpkin and a crock pot. I took to Pinterest and found a recipe for pumpkin bread made entirely in the crock pot. It was as easy as it was delicious.
Here is a link to the recipe I found on CDLlife.com.
The recipe was easy to follow and the paper towels are key. I assumed the bread would be soggy but the paper towels really do the trick so don’t skimp. I cooked the bread for approximately 3 hours and it was perfect but my crock pot has a tendency to run kind of hot. The cooking time could vary so just be careful.
I didn’t start baking until around 11 pm on a Saturday night so this served as a terrific Sunday morning breakfast surprise for my Wife and kids. We downed half the loaf for breakfast and damn near the rest of it after dinner.Pin It Tweet
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pumpkin Seeds
My kids love roasted pumpkins seeds. In fact, I think they were as excited by the prospect of eat pumpkin seeds as they were by the actual pumpkin carving last week. I usually toss the seeds in olive oil and coat them with a combination of sea salt and paprika before roasting them for about 40 minutes. This Halloween my Wife requested something sweeter. I split the seeds into two batches, put the salty seeds in the oven, and went to Google to find a suitable sweet pumpkin seed recipe.
I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com. I tossed the seeds in melted butter and topped them with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar, and a bit of salt then laid them out on a baking sheet. The total cook time was closer to 35-40 minutes than the 1 hour suggested in the recipe. I was afraid they would burn with all of that sugar. Every 10 to 12 minutes I took the seeds out and topped them with another round of sugar and brown sugar.
These were huge hit and easy to make, and I think my Wife enjoyed these more than the kids.Pin It Tweet
Apricot Butter Pancakes with Granola Topping
Honestly I didn’t even know that apricot butter was a thing until my wife purchased it a few weeks ago to use in an Easter dinner recipe. I was intrigued, and as I’m often wont to do, said “I’m gonna put that in pancakes!”
Well, I did just that on Wednesday night and they were awesome. Here’s the rundown of the recipe.
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1/2 cup Splenda
2 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of apricot butter
After putting together the batter I had the idea to crumble some granola on top of each pancake. I didn’t have any loose granola so I bashed a Nature Valley Oats & Honey bar into submission.
The kids scarfed them up and were really amused by the granola crumble. I get the feeling they’ll want granola crumbled on top of just about everything from now on.Pin It Tweet
Apple Butter Pancakes
My daughter requested apple butter pancakes for this week’s Pancake Wednesday festivities. It was a great suggestion, especially coming from a three year old, and one that I hadn’t previously considered. I’ve used apple sauce in pancakes plenty of times but I must say that apple butter pancakes whoop up on apple sauce pancakes. I made this recipe up on the fly so feel free to experiment. Here’s what we came up with:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup of brown sugar
3 heaping tablespoons of apple butter
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 cups of milk
1 golden delicious apple, peeled and diced
Next up … peach butter pancakes.
Enjoy.Pin It Tweet
Making Homemade Ravioli with a 3 Year Old
My Italian mother has been making homemade ravioli for as long as I can remember. We’d throw flour on the kitchen table one Saturday afternoon in early December and my dad would roll dough until his arms were set to fall off. As a youngster I was in charge of using a fork to seal off the edges. We’d make what seemed like hundreds of ravioli which would be frozen until they were either cooked for Christmas dinner or passed out to some anxiously awaiting friends and family.
I got the flu the day after Christmas 2012 which delayed our family trip down to the beach to visit my parents. When we finally made the trek, in early February, the ravioli were long gone. Thankfully my mother saved some of the filling for us. She suggested we use it to make a lasagna or stuffed shells. I had other plans.
My wife went to visit some college friends last weekend. She was set to return home on Sunday, which just happened to be her birthday. My plan, with a little help from my kids, was to make ravioli for her birthday. After a quick breakfast on Sunday morning I turned on Scooby Doo and went to work.
Having never made pasta before I was pretty nervous about the process. I had no idea what time my wife would be getting home, which only added to my apprehension. I got the dough mixed and into the fridge with no issue. A half hour later I was rolling dough and forming the start of a decent one man assembly line. My three year old daughter strolled into the kitchen, pulled up her foot stool, and insisted on helping. I put her in charge of the egg wash and gave her a crash course in my old job of pinching the ravioli with a fork. Thankfully she was a natural. She helped with minimal supervision for about 15 minutes before declaring that she was done and was “going to play babies.”
I had about a dozen ravioli on a tray when I heard the garage door open. My wife was home and I was hoping she was hungry. She seemed pretty shocked to find me covered in flour and our kitchen looking like a scene from Worst Cooks in America. The birthday surprise was well received.
Here’s the recipe I used for the dough. I can’t give you the filling recipe because it’s a closely held Costantini family secret that I haven’t been given yet.
I did add about two tablespoons of water but other than that I followed the recipe as written. I cooked the pasta within an hour of making it so I have no idea how this would be frozen. It was simple to follow and the experience brought back some good childhood memories, and hopefully made some for my daughter. She told me that now she’s ready to help MomMom make ravioli; looks like I may have to permanently turn over my fork.
Bacon Related Update: Sodolak’s Chicken Fried Bacon
My wife and I were watching one of the Travel Channel’s many pig out shows during our snow day this week when we stumbled upon this gem. Sodolak’s Country Inn in Snook, Texas offers chicken fried bacon as an appetizer. Oh yeah, they’re served with a side of gravy. Of course they are. As much as I’d love to try them I’m actually thankful that I don’t live within 100 miles of Snook. Nothing against Texas I just don’t think my arteries could handle too many trips to Sodolak’s.Tweet
Strawberry Cream Cheese Pancakes
In my continuing effort to up the ante on Pancake Wednesday, and aided by an unplanned day off thanks to the blizzard that wasn’t, I went searching through the fridge yesterday to see what I could whip together. I found some cream cheese and having made ricotta pancakes figured I’d give cream cheese a try. I found this recipe and went to work.
The recipe calls for the cream cheese to be mixed into the pancake batter. I was skeptical at first as I rolled the clumps of cream cheese around the bowl of flour, egg, and milk. I worked out fine but next time I’ll set the cream cheese on the counter for a half hour before I start.
After mixing the batter I remembered that we had frozen strawberries in the freezer. I dumped some strawberries in a bowl, zapped them in the microwave for a minute, quickly diced them, and dumped them into the batter.
I was a little nervous about how this concoction would go over with the kids. My daughter loves strawberries so I figured she’d be fine but my son can be very picky and sometimes doesn’t like curveballs thrown his way; cream cheese pancakes was a definite curveball.
He took the first bite and said “Dad these are good. Did you know there’s sour cream in here?”
"Actually it’s cream cheese. So you like them?"
"Yep, they’re like regular pancakes only better."
So there you have it, a full fledged endorsement from a picky six year old.Pin It Tweet
Maryland Crab Cakes
I try to make dinner on Sundays a couple times a month to give my wife a break from the kitchen and to give myself a chance to try out some new recipes. Last week she requested crab cakes for Sunday dinner. I was hesitant to oblige because I’d never made crab cakes before, despite the fact that I’m Baltimore born and raised, and I know how deflating it can be to eat a bad crab cakes. I was afraid that I was going to make bad crab cake which would be doubly crushing after spending $15 for a pound of jumbo lump.
I looked for a real crab cakes recipe, and when I say “real crabcake” I mean a Maryland crab cake. If the recipe calls for shallots, or diced red peppers, or ends with you smothering your cake in remoulade sauce I’m out. I was looking for three key ingredients; Old Bay, Worchestershire sauce, and dry mustard. I found that holy trinity in this recipe.
The recipe was simple enough to follow. I broiled them instead of frying, at my wife’s request. I always prefer a good fried crab cake to the broiled version. I broiled them on each side for about five minutes. The recipe made nine crabcakes, though one of them was a mini for my daughter. These were easy to make though I would suggest mixing and forming them then refrigerating for a few hours before cooking.Pin It Tweet
Strawberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes
My 3 year old daughter requested strawberry pancakes for this week’s edition of Pancake Wednesday. I wanted to do something a little special with Valentine’s Day coming up so I went to the Google machine to find a recipe. I found a recipe for strawberry chocolate chip pancakes on Justapinch.com and went with it.
Lulu insisted on “helping” and quickly pulled a chair up to the counter as I raced to get the ingredients from the pantry before she dumped the two pound bag of flour on the dog. She mixed the chocolate chips and flour together while I searched for eggs.
Crap. No eggs.
I improvised and used a 1/4 cup of applesauce in place of the eggs. I also added a tablespoon of vanilla and two tablespoons of melted butter to the Justapinch.com recipe. The pancakes were delicious and pink, which made them a big hit with both kids. These are a fast and easy Valentine’s Day treat for your little onesPin It Tweet