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Posts from ‘October, 2012’

Pumpkin Crunch

I made a tasty new dessert featuring pumpkin last week. I found many versions of this recipe on line and sort of combined a few to come up with this one. Unfortunately I did not get a picture before I cut into it and it was looking rather messy. This is the kind of dessert which is best the day you make it while the topping is still nice and crunchy.

Pumpkin Crunch

1 package yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 large can pumpkin pie mix *
3 eggs
2 tsps. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup melted butter
Cool Whip or whipped cream for garnish, if desired

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the pumpkin pie mix, eggs, sugar, salt, and spices using a whisk. Then add the evaporated milk and mix well. (By adding the milk last the spices incorporate better and will not float to the surface.) Pour into a 9" x 13" pan which has been greased or sprayed with pan spray. Sprinkle the dry cake mix on top of the pumpkin mixture. Top with the pecans and then drizzle with the melted butter. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until it tests done. Serve with Cool Whip or whipped cream.

* This version of the recipe calls for Pumpkin Pie Mix but if you would prefer to use regular pumpkin here is a similar recipe and a picture. 🙂

We really enjoyed this and I'm thinking of serving this instead of pie for Thanksgiving.

Hope all my readers are safe and warm and out of harm's way from the recent storm.


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Do you pin?

I enjoy looking around on Pinterest from time to time and have tried several tips and recipes I have seen there. I was intrigued recently by a pin which told how to bake Artisan No-Knead bread in the crockpot. I went right to the Artisan Bread in Five site and read the article there and was even more interested in trying this technique. I mixed up a batch of Peasant Bread dough (page 46 in the book) and refrigerated it overnight. The next afternoon I cut off a piece of the dough, shaped it into an oval and placed it in my parchment lined crockpot. After it rose and baked for about an hour and fifteen minutes it seemed to be done when I touched it and took its temperature. 🙂

After the initial baking in the crockpot the loaf of bread looked pretty pale and anemic. It reminded me of brown and serve rolls if you are familiar with those. The older Betty Crocker cookbooks actually have directions for making brown and serve breads. To brown the bread the recipe recommends that you put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes. I was afraid that might be too hot so I just baked it at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Next time I will try the broiler method.

This wasn't a great time saving technique, but there are several advantages to this method:

1. No fiddling with a screaming hot dutch oven.

2. The dough rises and bakes in the crockpot.

3. The bread can be baked in the crock and then browned later if desired.

4. The shorter baking time in the real oven would help keep the kitchen cool on hot summer days.

We really enjoyed this bread and I plan to use this technique again in the future. The outer crust of the bread is not as crisp as bread cooked in a Dutch oven, but the interior of the bread was moist, chewy, and had a very good flavor. The leftover slices made great sandwiches the next day.

Another idea from Pinterest that I have tried recently was freezing buttermilk in an ice cube tray. I have been freezing it in one cup containers for a while. Many recipes such as biscuits, pancakes, waffles, etc. call for buttermilk in one cup increments. Our favorite Ranch Dressing calls for just 1/4 cup of buttermilk. I saw a pin recently that suggested freezing cream in an ice cube tray and thought that this would work great for buttermilk too. Just two cubes will be enough for a batch of dressing. DD Megan told me about these lidded ice cube trays which she has been using to make baby food for little Maddie.

Have you tried any ideas you have read about on Pinterest?


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Links to a few more new recipes


Today we have so many sources for new recipes -- magazines, newspapers, blogs, Pinterest, etc. Since I cook for just the two of us most of the time I often find I have small amounts of various ingredients leftover. When I saw this idea for making Mini Lasagnas I thought it would be perfect for using up some ricotta cheese that was in the freezer. DD Nora gave me some leftover wonton wrappers that she had in her freezer and I had everything else on hand. They go together quickly and are very tasty. I baked these in silicone cupcake liners, but they are not essential if you spray the muffins tins thoroughly.

Do be sure to let them cool a few minutes in the pan before you try to remove them or they will be difficult to unmold.

A friend from church recently posted on Facebook a picture of this recipe which she had tried. I had everything on hand for this one except the enchilada sauce. I found this recipe which made enough sauce for two batches of the soup. I froze one portion for future use. Both Rob and I really liked this. If you make the sauces ahead of time this goes together very quickly. I didn't have Rotel tomatoes so substituted regular tomatoes with a pinch of red pepper flakes.

This summer friends took us to a Chinese restaurant and we had some delicious lettuce wraps as an appetizer. Aldi has recently started carrying fresh ground chicken and when I saw this recipe I decided to try making some lettuce wraps at home. Once again I substituted a few red pepper flakes for the chili garlic sauce. Can you tell I'm a wimp when it comes to hot, spicy foods? We both really liked these wraps and I plan to make them again.

What are some of your favorite sources for recipes and cooking inspiration?


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A couple of good recipes

My DH Rob had a birthday this week and we had two celebrations to commemorate this event. I had seen this recipe for Buckeye Brownies that my friend Kristen had pinned on Pinterest and decided that it would be the perfect birthday dessert which could be served at both events. These brownies are very rich and very scrumptious. I recommend that you try them at your next special event.

I have been wanting to post the recipe for this salad for quite some time. The problem was I didn't really have a recipe--it was sort of a compilation of several recipes. A few weeks ago I finally analyzed how I made it and came up with this recipe. Be sure to try it, it's really good!

Couscous Salad

3/4 cup couscous (dry)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup diced tomato or red pepper
1 cup diced peeled cucumber
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped green or red onion
2 Tbsps. lemon juice
2 Tbsps. olive oil
2 Tbsps. crumbled feta cheese
dash of black pepper
pinch of thyme

Heat broth to boiling and then add couscous. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl whisk together the oil and lemon juice and then add the hydrated couscous and the vegetables. Mix and then fold in the cheese. Season with pepper and thyme. You will probably want to double this because it is so good. 🙂

Have you found any new favorites recently?


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