The Best Spiced Pumpkin Bread


This is my go-to pumpkin bread recipe, from Epicurious – originally appearing in Bon Appetit. It makes two smallish loaves, perfect to freeze one. Or up your organization game by making 4 small loaves. Then you can give the illusion of being a great hostess by popping them out of the freezer anytime! They’re great with coffee and smeared with cream cheese (because life is short). My son gives this one the thumbs up!


3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

Can’t Resist Coffee Cake

This is an old standby coffee cake recipes that comes from my friend Sandy Parker’s mother’s bridge group. She says they go crazy over this one. If you have a stand mixer, it’s easy to make. Otherwise, I can’t imagine having the patience to mix the batter for 10 minutes.

Serves 12

1 package yellow cake mix
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz size)
5 eggs
3/4 cups Canola oil
1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar
5 t. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Mix batter for 10 minutes. Prepare (mix) the topping (sugar, cinnamon and nuts) in a small bowl. Butter your bundt pan. Pour 1/4 topping into the pan add 1/3 of the batter add 1/2 of the topping-stir with knife to “swirl” rotate with batter and topping. Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes.

Snow Day Monkey Bread

We discovered this recipe during the ice storm of 2011.  Chasidy posted it on Facebook and it grabbed us.  Why is it great for a snow day?  More than likely you have all the ingredients.   Enjoy the simplicity….and who could go wrong with biscuits, butter, and sugar?     My entire family loves this.    Chasidy knows good and simple,  she has 3 children and they are far from monkeys. 

Snow Day Monkey Bread

3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cans (7.5 oz each) Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits, regular not flaky
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 12 cup Bundt cake pan.
Mix sugar and cinnamon in 1-gallon bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake in bag to coat. Place in cake pan. Mix butter and brown sugar, pour over biscuit pieces.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Turn upside down, serve warm.

12 servings.

Banana Bread That Will Knock Your Socks Off

This is another popular breakfast item (or nap wake-up snack, if you have a toddler).  We will put this recipe up against any other banana bread recipe.

If you have been lucky enough to visit one of our favorite places, Seabrook, Washington, you have had this at Lil’s Market.  Pam is a sweetheart and shared her recipe.  We let her make it for us when we are visiting, but enjoy thinking of our favorite beach town while making it for ourselves back in Texas.   Eat this and you might just hear the ocean’s waves.

Best Banana  Bread

Banana Bread that will Knock your Socks Off


Makes 1 loaf

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a   9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, and beat to incorporate.

In a medium bowl, whisk together  flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture, and   mix until just combined. Add bananas, sour cream and vanilla; mix to combine. Stir in nuts, and pour into prepared pan.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.

Overnight Oatmeal with Almonds and Dried Cranberries

This recipe will change your life (and probably lower your cholesterol!). You can make delicious, steel cut oatmeal once a week and have it on the table in less than 10 minutes the first day and about one minute on subsequent days. I started my quest to speed up steel cut oatmeal after I had the Best Oatmeal Ever at a hotel in Portland with my friend Jessica. It was so good that I even gave her the ingredients as a gift. But I hate giving a gift that complicates life, so I was so happy to come across this speedy trick.

Just soak your oatmeal on Sunday night, and you have a whole week’s worth that tastes as good as the first day! Take time to find muscovado brown sugar if you can; it’s a special touch. I use sliced almonds and dried cranberries from Costco, but the hotel served hazelnuts, and of course you could use raisins for the fruit. Either way, yum! I found the recipe on The Bitten Word, adapted from Food & Wine in 2008.

Overnight Oatmeal with Almonds and Dried Cranberries

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
6 cups water
1/4 cup chopped salted roasted almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Brown sugar or pure maple syrup, for serving

In a large saucepan, boil the oats in the water for 1 minute. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.

The next day, uncover the oats and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the oatmeal is cooked and creamy but still a little bit chewy, about 10 minutes. Spoon the oatmeal into bowls. Top with the chopped almonds and dried cranberries and sweeten to taste with brown sugar or pure maple syrup.

Make Ahead: The prepared oatmeal can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Rewarm in a microwave oven and thin with water if necessary before serving.

Make-Ahead-and-Freeze Waffles

This isn’t an “old standby” YET, but I made them this morning and LOVED putting all of them in the freezer! Hudson loves a waffle or pancake for breakfast, and now I can serve it semi-healthy and homemade! This recipe is from Alton Brown’s cookbook and appeared on the Food Network before I saw it in the Statesman.

Make-Ahead-and-Freeze Waffles

This recipe makes about a dozen 8-inch waffles.

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. kosher salt

6 Tbsp. sugar

6 eggs, beaten

8 Tbsp. butter, melted

4 cups (or 1 quart) buttermilk (make your own by adding 1/4 cup white vinegar to measuring cup, then fill with 3 3/4 cup milk; let set for 5 minutes before using)

Preheat waffle iron. In medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In another medium bowl, whisk together eggs and melted butter until emulsified. Whisk in buttermilk. Combine wet and dry ingredients, but do not overmix. Let batter rest for 5 minutes. Cook waffles according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

To freeze: Let waffles cool completely and then freeze on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, place in a zip-top plastic bag, squeezing the extra air out before sealing the bag to help prevent freezer burn.