Best Pumpkin Bread Ever

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So I don’t really remember where I got this recipe, but I found it about a year ago and it is amazing! Last year we carved a lot of pumpkins! Four for us and an additional three for a friend. We’ve really been getting into it the last few years, so she had asked us to carve a few for her Halloween party.

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See? An awesome pumpkin carving!
So I had a lot of pumpkin guts, and having my Pinterest addiction, I couldn’t just throw them away! I pureed the guts, without the seeds, to make my own pumpkin, even better than in a can! Then I found the following recipe:
•3 1/2 cups flour
•3 cups sugar
•2 tsp baking soda
•1/2 tsp salt
•1 tsp cinnamon
•1 tsp nutmeg
•2 cups pumpkin puree
•4 eggs, well beaten
•1 cup vegetable oil
•2/3 cup water
•2 tsp vanilla extract
You start by combining all of your dry ingredients and mixing them together.

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Chiara loves helping me make pumpkin bread. She gets really upset if I don’t let her help! After your dry ingredients are well combined, add the eggs, pumpkin puree, oil, water and vanilla. Make sure you get all of the flour from the edges of the bowl until it looks like this:

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This is usually where I have to watch it closely, Chiara tends to keep sampling it!
I have 4 mini loaf pans for making bread, the full batch usually makes 8 mini loaves. Be sure you don’t over fill the pans, or you will have a mess on your hands.

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Then you place them in your 350° oven for 45 minutes. After the baking, I usually dump them onto the counter to cool before sealing them in a Ziploc baggie. If you seal them while they’re still a little warm, they maintain that fresh flavor for up to two weeks. They stay good a little longer, but aren’t as squishy and yummy!
Happy baking all!

1 Hour French Bread

This was an interesting pin that I found a while back, and sadly, it’s been sitting on my bread board for a long time. We were having pasta two nights ago and my kids are so much more amenable to eating pasta when there is bread. I made the decision to try this. It’s come up before on my blog, I love bread a lot!
I’ve made banana bread, rosemary bread, beer bread, and that doesn’t even begin to cover the breadsticks and biscuits I’ve made. I guess you can tell I like bread, yes? Maybe it’s the French in me…..
Your ingredients will be
•2 1/2 cups warm water (borderline hot)
•2 tbsp yeast
•2 tbsp sugar
•1 tsp salt
•3 tbsp oil
•5 1/2 – 6 cups of flour
You’re going to start by putting your water in a bowl and sprinkle the yeast and sugar on top. Let that sit for about 5 minutes until it bubbles, like so:

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Next up, stir in the salt, oil and flour. Knead it together, adding flour as kneaded (haha), until it pulls away from the edge of the bowl. It’ll look a little like this:

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Best tip from here, again taken from the original blog, was to heat a cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes. Afterwards, cover your bowl with a damp towel and place in the microwave for about 15 minutes. It’ll rise faster, to look like this:

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From here, you form it into 2 loaves. In a moment of wisdom, I decided the dough was only enough for one loaf. 5 minutes into baking time, I split it. Trust me, make 2 loaves! Place the loaves on a greased cookie sheet for baking. Slice some cuts in the top of the bread also. Like so:

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Here’s where I cut them during bake time:

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They looked a little stupid, but oh well! Let your bread sit and breathe a bit while your oven heats up to 375°. After your oven is up to temp, bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

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The bread was amazing! Especially with my homemade dipping oil!

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It was crunchy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside. In essence, perfect! Happy baking all!

Caprese Garlic Bread

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I saw this picture on Pinterest and thought,  oh wow, yummy! We love garlic bread in our house, sometimes to the point that Chiara would rather eat bread than pasta!
The original pinner said to start with a loaf of ciabatta bread and slice it length wise in half. I used French bread because it’s what Walmart had in stock. I ended up slicing a couple of pieces out of my two halves, just to make it easier to prepare.
Take four tablespoons of butter and stir in three cloves of minced garlic. I used two tablespoons of garlic powder because my mincing skills are not that great. Stir until it’s well combined then spread on your bread. (Haha for rhyming) Take some block mozzarella cheese slices, whether you cut your own from a block like I did or buy pre-sliced, and place on top of the bread. Make sure the top of your bread is covered with the cheese. Place your bread in your preheated 400* oven for 12-15 minutes. While the bread is in the oven you should begin your basalmic vinegar reduction. I didn’t complete this step and it turned out fine. Maybe next time I’ll try this. You start with 1/2 cup basalmic vinegar in a saucepan, bring it to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the vinegar is reduced by about half.
When your cheese is melted on your bread, slice some tomatoes and place them on the bread.
The recipe called for fresh basil, which my kitchen doesn’t quite run to. I used basil out of my spice rack and drizzle with your basalmic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. We didn’t use any s&p and it still tasted amazing!

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Arthur ate all of his. At first he wasn’t too keen on the idea, but I told him to think of it as a little pizza and he devoured it.

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Chiara devoured the cheese, she is a cheese hog, picked the tomato off and nibbled the bread until it was gone. She is such a goober.
Tony had two slices and I made a pig of myself and ate three slices. I was so full afterwards, but I can’t even feel bad about it because it was so tasty! Must try!
Happy dining!
Original pin came from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/caprese-garlic-bread/
Be sure to check it out. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, under Stephanie DeSantis, and maybe suggest what pin I should try next…..

Banana Bread

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This isn’t a Pinterest item, but my love of bread has overtaken me today, and luck was on my side because I had bananas in the house! If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know I’ve done a lot of bread recipes! This is a recipe that I got from a dear friend of mine from New York. Tom Page, thank you for the many delicious servings of this that I have consumed!
You start by beating 5 large bananas, the more overripe, the better the bread will be, until they are almost liquefied. Beat in 4 eggs until the mixture is well blended. In a separate bowl, cream together 1 cup of shortening and 2 cups of sugar. Once it’s a fluffy combination, add it to the banana and egg mixture. Add in 2 tsp baking soda, 3 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tsp salt. 1 cup of walnuts is optional, I used to leave them out because Tony doesn’t like them, but he hasn’t been eating a whole lot of my last few batches so the kids and I are adding walnuts!
I used to do 1 big pan of bread and that cooks at 300* for 1hr and 15min. Here lately, I’ve been doing 4 small loaves which I bake for 45 minutes at 300*.
You can probably tell by the picture that my bread overflowed a bit. It’s the first time I’ve had that happen, and I’m not really sure why, but we will still eat the heck out of it.
This is the most delicious banana bread I’ve ever had, and that includes the stuff they sell at Starbucks! It’s a great breakfast item too. Slice a little piece off and slather on some butter and you are in for a treat!
Happy Baking!

Rosemary Bread

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I’ve had this one pinned for a while, but no real ambition to make it. Then tonight, I was making Zuppa Toscana, yummy, and I wanted some bread to go with it!
The whole time this was in the oven, I was salivating because this smells amazing! Then again, even a rosemary plant smells great, so I knew this would at least smell divine.
You start by taking 1 cup of warm water, adding 1tbsp sugar and 2tsp of yeast. Mix them together and let sit for 10 minutes. It’ll froth up a bit. Add in 1tsp salt, 2tbsp rosemary, 1/4tsp Italian seasoning, 1/4tsp pepper, 2tbsp extra virgin olive oil and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Knead all of this together for about 5 minutes. Add in a little flour to reduce stickiness. You want a smooth ball of dough. Place this is a lightly greased bowl and cover. Let it rise till it doubles in size, about an hour. Punch the dough back down and form a round loaf, place on floured or lightly oiled pan. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400*. Coat your loaf with an egg wash made of one whisked egg and 2tbsp of water. Sprinkle with dried rosemary. Bake for 20-25 minutes. You’re aiming for golden brown and a hollow sound when you tap it. The kids and I ate most of this round ourselves. It’s amazing! Especially when you dip it in Zuppa Toscana!
I told you guys I was a fan of bread! Happy baking!
Original recipe can be found at http://www.ahintofhoney.com/2011/04/rosemary-olive-oil-bread.html?m=1

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

So this is by far the yummiest and easiest of all the bread recipes I’ve posted! Tonight was all about the yummy-ness. Tony has been waiting for a beautiful day because he wanted to grill the steaks we picked up. Luckily the rain held off and he was able to fire up the grill.
I had told him I wanted to try the stuffed baked potatoes and cheddar bay biscuits with the steaks, so tonight was a joint effort. I got started on the biscuits fairly early, knowing I would need the oven for the potatoes.
I could’ve thrown these together after everything else, because these were done in no time!
2 cups Bisquick Mix (I used Hungry Jack and it turned out just fine)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2/3 cup milk
Mix all of the above ingredients together. I used my hands and it gets extremely sticky, but that’s good! Once it’s well combined, drop fat dollops of it onto a greased baking sheet (I just foil lined one). Place your biscuits in your 400* oven for 10 minutes. Pull out and brush the following mixture over the top
2 tbsp melted butter (I don’t know if I slathered too much, but I ended up melting probably double this amount of butter)
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic salt
Mix these all together and slather over your biscuits and place them back in the oven for another 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown.
These were absolutely wonderful. My favorite part is that you don’t have to wait, or let them rise, or anything like that! Easy Peasy are my bywords in this house and this tops my list so far!
The do crumble fairly easy, but the ones I’ve had at Red Lobster do as well. I can deal with that because they are do very yummy!
MUST TRY THIS PEOPLE! Enjoy!
Original pin is located at http://onsugarmountain.com/2012/08/15/homemade-red-lobster-biscuits/
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Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread

Little Caesar's Crazy Bread

When I started making this, my husband asked me why I’m gathering so many recipes for breadsticks. My response, I’m trying them all out so I know which ones are the easiest to make and which come end up being the yummiest! He decided that was ok.
This was really easy, probably the easiest one yet. We make our own dough for pizza, so it was a matter of just making a little extra. Apparently I didn’t make enough though, so our pizzas ended up medium sized instead of large. But it’s a live and learn world out there! I know I’ll be making this one again.
I know I’ve told you all about my love of bread, so please don’t think it’s my love of bread talking, but please try this one out. If you don’t make your own dough, there is always the canned stuff the recipe actually calls for to try.
The picture is my sweet boy Arthur enjoying the yummy-ness. Him and I sat and ate about half the tray before I finally put them away till dinner time!
Ingredients:
1 (10 ounce) can pizza dough (I just made extra on pizza night since we make our dough from scratch)
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Unroll dough on a clean surface. Cut dough in half lengthwise, and then cut 8 strips vertically (making 16 small bread sticks). Place each strip onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. While bread sticks are baking, melt the butter and stir in garlic salt. Remove bread sticks from the oven and brush on garlic butter mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
Original directions found here

Homemade Beer Bread

Homemade Beer Bread

I’ve recently discovered a deep and abiding love of Beer Bread! I ordered some mix from a friend, Jenna Salamon’s (Check out her blog here) Tastefully Simple party. Don’t get me wrong, really yummy mix, but I am much to thrifty (cheap) to keep buying mix, so my answer was to raid Pinterest. I found this yummy recipe that when I made it using my husband’s Bud Light (he was really upset about my using it) all 4 mini-loaves were gone in 2 days!
Now when I originally made the Tastefully Simple stuff, I used Sprite, and it was really yummy. I have tried this recipe with Sprite, but I am still experimenting with the cook time, so my Sprite version was not the best.
Basic directions:
Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour (if using self-rising, omit baking powder and salt)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
12 ounces beer
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; add the sugar and whisk until all dry ingredients are well combined.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour beer into the well; stir to combine.
4. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and brush the top of loaf with butter; return to oven and bake 5 more minutes.
6. Remove bread from pan and allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.
Now the first time I made this, with Bud Light, I started doing the recommended cook time, however that time is for a full size loaf pan and I was using mini-loaf pans. Needless to say, I had to cut the crust off completely! Second try, with Sprite, I tried the cook time I use for banana bread, which is 300* for 45 minutes. I think I still overcooked a little, so I am playing with it.
This was not part of the original pin, but something I was playing with and it was yummy. No specific instructions, but I took some sour cream and mixed in some garlic powder to taste. Can we say yummy?! I fully recommend it. Keep in mind too, even if you use beer, baking removes almost all of the alcohol content, so as long as you don’t let your kids sit and eat the whole batch, it’s fine. My kids haven’t started stumbling yet!
Original pin can be found here

Pizza Hut Breadsticks

Pizza Hut Breadsticks

I’m a fan of bread. Yes, this is only my second blog about bread, but as time goes on, I’ll definitely have more! It’s been a long time since I’ve had Pizza Hut breadsticks because I’m not a big fan of our local once. I am however a big fan of their breadsticks!
Directions are as follows: Mix together 1/2 cup warm water, 1/4 cup warm milk, 3/4 tbsp sugar and 1 1/4 tsp yeast. (I used a whisk) and let it ‘froth’ for 3-4 minutes. In bowl or stand mixer add 2 cups flour and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Add in 2 tbsp butter and 1/2 tsp salt to the mix. Let it mix till there is no loose flour (I used my hands for the last little mixing bit). Pour 4-5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil onto a 9×13 pan and spread your dough flat. Cover with plastic or damp cloth and let rise for 1 – 1 1/2 hours. Once risen, slice into sticks and brush top of sticks with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with spice mixture. Spice mixture consists of 1/2 tsp oregano, 1 tsp garlic powder, 2-3 tbsp parmesean cheese, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Heat oven to 450 degrees and bake for 12-17 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve hot with dipping sauce consisting of 1 cup pureed / canned tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt and red chili flakes to taste.
I didn’t make the sauce since we were having our breadsticks with pasta, so we used that sauce. I used my Pampered Chef baking stone, so mine ended up a little overdone. We still scarfed them down, but will definitely have a shorter cook time when I make these again. The prep time on these is much shorter than the Olive Garden breadsticks, so we will definitely be having these again!
View the original pin here

Olive Garden Breadsticks

Olive Garden Breadsticks

So, I wanted to start a blog for several reasons. I’ve tried in the past, but didn’t have a good topic to blog about so it kind of fell through. I think I’ve hit on a winner finally! I loved the movie Julie and Julia, but it’s already been done, so who wants to repeat something? Cook your way through a cookbook, sure, but why repeat a blog? So I twisted it to Pinterest! I love Pinterest! The recipes, the crafts, I love it all. So I will blog about my experiences with tips, tricks, crafts and recipes.
I figured I’d start with something super yummy! Olive Garden Breadsticks! Ingredients include: 1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water, 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, 2 tbsp granulated sugar, 3 – 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, 1 3/4 tsp salt, 3 tbsp vegetable oil. For the topping you’ll need: 2 tbsp margarine or butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder.
Now the only complaint I have with this recipe is that it takes FOREVER! I can only make them when I’m off work for the day because there is simply no time after getting home from work!
Directions: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whisk together warm water, yeast and 1/2 tsp granulated sugar until yeast has dissolved. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Add in remaining 1 tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp granulated sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 3/4 tsp salt and vegetable oil. Fit mixer with paddle attachment and blend mixture till well combined. Switch mixer to dough hook attachment. Add in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour and knead mixture on low speed, adding 1/4 cup additional flour as needed, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but should still be slightly sticky) Transfer dough to a large buttered mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest in a warm place free from draft until double, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch risen dough down, divide into 12 equal portions, keep covered with plastic wrap as you work. Roll each piece into a 9-inch rope on a lightly floured surface, then transfer to cookie sheet.
I had the kids help me roll out the breadsticks, so mine were a little less than perfect, but we had so much fun!
Cover and let rise for an hour. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Bake in preheated oven 11-13 minutes until golden. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Once breadsticks are done, run the butter over the crust then sprinkle the garlic powder / salt mixture over the top. Eat warm or let cool, they are divine either way!
Like I said, so very time consuming! But they are worth it, at least once or twice a month!

View the original pin here