Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

My father-in-laws favorite dessert is a Pumpkin Roll. Knowing that, I just had to make one while he was here. We only get to see my in-laws once a year, so I try and keep 'em happy!

I was up at 5am and decided to get a jump start on the pumpkin roll. By 6am it was ready to come out of the oven. "Yea!" I'm thinking in my head, I'll have the pumpkin roll all ready to go in the fridge, and my kitchen will be all cleaned up early! Yeah right. I should have went with my instincts and placed a large tray under the towel and flipped the jelly roll pan. No, no I had to follow the directions. I flipped the cake over onto the towel and it just crumbled into a big blob. It was a total disaster. Into the trash it went. So at 6am, I made the cake - again. This time I used a large tray and had much better results.

So now the cake is in the fridge, I'm putting away all my ingredients and I go to the large cupboards to put away the flour and sugar and I slam my finger into the cupboard while I'm closing it. Oh I cussed something fierce. My nail is now a lovely shade of red, which I'm sure will turn into a lovely shade of purple soon.

My day should brighten up soon. The first Trader Joe's to hit Rhode Island is opening in about an hour. I will be there when the doors open. I can't wait!

Enjoy your Halloween!

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling - from the recipe on the can of Libby's Pumpkin
Printable Recipe
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)

PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F. Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper or parchment. Grease and flour paper (I used Bakers Joy).

Spread out a thin clean dish towel on the counter and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar (you can use a mesh strainer to do this). Make sure the towel is bigger than your jelly roll pan. Set aside.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Stir in pumpkin. Add the flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan.

BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel *see note. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

BEAT cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Re-roll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

*Note - Take a large serving tray, put the towel on the tray, cover the jelly roll pan with the tray and flip the jelly roll pan over. Peel paper off cake. Results - perfect!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stuffing Balls 101


I know Turkey Day is just around the corner and you've stumbled upon my little blog and this recipe for Stuffing Balls, and I thank you for visiting  I first posted this recipe back in 2008. I did a follow up post a year later which you can see >>>>>here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Why do I giggle every time I say that? Funny as they sound, these stuffing balls of which we speak are one of my husbands favorite things on earth. If you are one of the people who loves the crunchy, crust part of the Thanksgiving stuffing, then this recipe is for you.

This is my mother-in-law Carol's recipe. The stuffing recipe is her Grandma's but she adapted it by rolling it into balls so her family would stop fighting over the crispy parts when it was cooked in a conventional pan. Thus was born Carol's Stuffing Balls. She has been making these for a very long time. Since Mom was here I decided this was the perfect time to do a photo tutorial on them so we can all share in the love of the great stuffing ball.

First you break up a buncha bread and let it sit and go stale.

We ripped up a bunch of stale buns and leftover bread the night before and just let them sit and dry out a bit.

Those hands belong to my camera shy mother-in-law.
Please note the gold and black Steelers bracelet that one of the neighborhood kids so graciously made for her and then turned around and charged her a buck for it! Huh!

The next day we cooked celery and onion in some olive oil and a half a stick of butter.

We cooked them until they were tender and translucent.

Now it's time to spice up the bread. We added:

Fresh parsley, fresh sage, Italian seasonings, salt, pepper and minced garlic.

You can add whatever spice you like, but Carol says you must, must, must always include sage.

Now take the celery and onions and add it to the bread mixture.

Heat up about 2 cups of chicken stock, just until it's warm.
Add the chicken stock to the bread. You want it moist but not soupy.

Then....mix it up....

...while your adorable pooch sits with his chin propped up inches away from the pan, watching your every move hoping that something will drop on the table.

Now get your hands in there and start making some balls baby!
They are about the size of a small baseball as you can see from the photo.

Keep rollin' till there's none left.

Then line them up on a baking sheet lightly greased and covered in foil. Bake for approximately 1 hour at 350, turning once at the half hour mark. You want them nice and brown and crispy on all sides.

Let those bad boys rest for about 5 minutes, then serve piping hot!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Seeds

Last night we carved pumpkins, so today we made pumpkin seeds!

I'm sure there are as many recipes for pumpkin seeds as there are for, oh say, chicken soup or lasagna. This is how I make pumpkin seeds, this is how I've always made pumpkin seeds for as long as we have been guttin' pumpkins.

Rinse the seeds and remove as much of the pulp as you can. Spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet and let them dry for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight. Turn them every few hours so they dry evenly.

Preheat the oven to 250. Pour about 2 - 3 teaspoons of olive oil over the seeds and toss them with your hands. Generously sprinkle them with table salt and smoked paprika.

Pop them into the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes take a spatula and turn them. If the bottom side looks like it needs a little more salt & paprika, go ahead and sprinkle a bit more on.

Pop them back into the oven for another 30 minutes.
Grab them back out of the oven and test a few to see if they are nice and crunchy.

If they seem a bit chewy, put them back in the oven and check every 5 minutes.

Place in your favorite bowl or basket and much away.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

Oh the guts, the carnage, the knives, the gadgets, the seeds, the GOOP!

Tonight was pumpkin carvin' night with Gram G and Grampa Bub.

Oh did we have fun.

Jesse took the carving very seriously. He sketched and planned...

....and took his time drawing his face on
and carving.

Grampa Bub kept his a secret until the very end.

John was just being a total goof, as usual.

I told him he looks like a toothless old geezer in this pic.

Evan and I usually work on a pumpkin together.
This is this year's creation.

We call him Chester.

This is Grampa Bub's pumpkin who we named "Stink Eye".
He's sad isn't he??

We couldn't help but laugh when we saw him.

Here's Jesse's "Domo" pumpkin. Apparently Domo is a Japanese character that is all the rage with 13 year olds.

We had a creepy good time!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sleepin In Omelette

I thought it would be nice to have a nice big breakfast this morning to celebrate my in-laws arrival. I know some people don't get along so well with their in-laws but I happen to adore mine (lucky me, I nabbed a terrific husband who just happens to have equally terrific parents). Tati joined us and we had a great morning, just sitting around the kitchen table, eating and talking and enjoying each others company.

This is not a low fat recipe. It's one of those breakfast treats you have once or twice a year. I think it would be great for Christmas morning since it's made the night before and you can just pop it in the oven the next day.

Tonight Mom's making her famous baby back ribs with Kluski noodles (which we can't get here in RI!). My boys can hardly wait. Yeah for Grandma G!

Sleepin’ in Omelette - adapted from a recipe by the Pioneer Woman

Printable recipe
6 onion rolls
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1- 8 ounce package cream cheese
1 stick butter (PW used 1 1/2 sticks, but trust me, 1 was plenty!)
10 eggs
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chopped chives

Generously butter 9 x 13 baking dish. Tear onion rolls into chunks. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, then tear cream cheese into small piece and place over the top. Cut 1 stick butter into pats and place over the top.

Mix remaining ingredients and pour over the top of the dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.The next morning, bake at 325 degrees, covered, for 45 minutes. Then remove foil and continue baking at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Frosted Brown Sugar Cookies

It's been a hectic 24 hours. Yesterday we were busy cleaning up the house and finishing up last minute errands. I host my company annual dinner dance so I had to prepare for that also. We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off, then had to stop and get all gussied up for the dinner/dance. I always stress when I'm getting ready for a party. I was also going to be front and center stage for a few parts of the night too, so more stress. I'm not comfortable in front of large crowds.....but I did it. I'm not good with dressing up either. I hate heels, and the make-up - Oy! I wear eye makeup about once a year so it's always a pain for me to put that on to try and look presentable. I just never seem to know what color supposed to go wear, which is why I only attempt it once a year. Women who wear it everyday I give ya credit, I couldn't do it.

Anyway....the night went well. We had a comedy group called the Ocean State Follies that performed. I was picked on a few times by the Follies. Once calling me Rapunzel and another time a snide reference to Goldilocks. It was all in fun. We had a nice time and I even won one of the raffle prizes.....a digital picture frame. Cool!

Since I didn't have too much to do this morning I knew I had time to crank out one more recipe. I had bookmarked this Frosted Brown Sugar Cookie recipe in a Taste of Home Magazine that I picked up that's loaded with lots of great cookie and bar recipes.

Frosted Brown Sugar Cookies from Taste of Home's Best Loved Cookies & Bars
Printable recipe
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter (4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup confectioners sugar

In a mixing bowl cream the butter and brown sugar. Beat in the egg and sour cream. Mix well. Combing the flour, soda, and salt. Gradually add tot he creamed mixture and mix well.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 9 - 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire rack to cool.

For frosting: In a small saucepan milt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in confectioners sugar. Cool for 20 minutes. Frost cooled cookies.

I added a few drops of maple flavoring to my frosting cause...well..I love maple and I thought the flavor would go great with this cookie. It's a very buttery brown sugar taste. Really nice with a cup of tea or coffee.

I'm hosting a big breakfast Monday morning and I thought these would go well with my menu. They taste great even without the frosting.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

No Peel Apple Cake

Yes you read that peel. Last week I was busy planning all the menus that I'm having this week. My in-laws are flying in tomorrow for a week long visit so I wanted to make sure that I have lots of great meals to feed them. I decided to make a pot roast for Sunday. It's supposed to be a rainy damp day tomorrow so I thought they might appreciate a home cooked meal after a day of traveling. Then I went searching for dessert. While I was scanning across so many of the blogs I read I came across this recipe on the 4 Reluctant Entertainers. I'm always looking for new apple recipes and this one looked easy (and it was) and the fact that you don't have to peel the apples really "appealed" to me.

(huh I made an apple pun).

I used my apple/peeler/corer machine, which takes off most of the peel, but not all of it. So it was really nice not to have to go back and remove some of the peel after. It smelled so good while it was cooking, like a cross between a cinnamon bun and apple pie.

No Peel Apple Cake
Printable recipe
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup applesauce - like Sandies original recipe, I used my apple butter in place of the applesauce.
1 ½ cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
4 cups chopped unpeeled apples, cut into ½” pieces (About 4 large apples)

1/4 cup sugar & 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat he oven to 350. Combine all the ingredients except the apple and mix with an electric mixer until just combined. Stir in the chopped apples. Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan and spread out evenly in pan. Sprinkle on topping and bake for 55 minutes or until cake tests done.

That's it! So easy and so good. The apples are soft and sweet and the cake is moist and delicious. The topping gives it a nice sugary crunch. Perfect for breakfast and snacking. Make this and share it and people will be happy.

Friday, October 24, 2008


You all know what a huge lover of Fall I am. I can't wait to pick apples, and cook with pumpkin, get my soups and stews simmering, and I can't wait until the pomegranates start showing up in the stores. Out here in New England we don't have them year round. They only start to appear around mid October. I saw the big cardboard bin piled high with them in the grocery store this week and they were only 2 for $3! Bargain!

I've been eating pomegranates since I was a little kid. My Dad always ate them, so he got me eating them too. No one else in the house liked them except us, which was good in a way cause we knew when we bought them that we wouldn't have to share with my Mom or brothers. We're like that with chestnuts too. (that post will come closer to Thanksgiving).

I'm always surprised at how many people have never eaten a pomegranate, or even seen one. I've brought a bag of arils (the seeds which you eat) into work quite a few times, and I get he strangest looks. "What the heck are you eating???". I always offer them some, then they ask me what they taste like. "Well kind of tart like a cranberry, but a bit sweet too, it's hard to explain, just try some". Some people will, some won't cause it's too "strange" for them. I just can't get enough of them and I will buy them almost every week until they disappear from the stores for another year. *sniff*

For those of you haven't eaten a pomegranate before, I decided just cause they look so darn intimidating, I'd offer up few helpful tips. Here's how you tackle one of these beauties.

Fill a big bowl with water. Score the pom with a sharp knife then break open it open with your hands into sections. Drop the sections in the water and pull the seeds away from the pulp (the white papery stuff). The pulp will float and the seeds will sink.

Strain out as much of the pulp as you can.

Then run the seeds through a colander to get any remaining pulp that is left and you will have....

A big buncha beautiful pomegranate arils. Yum. I eat them like peanuts or popcorn. Just fill up a bowl and pop 'em in the pie hole. Oh and another good thing about pomegranates...don't tell the kids....there good for you too!

So if you've always wanted to try one, or you're the person who picks it up at the store only to put it back cause ya wouldn't know what to do with it when you got it home.....I hope you pick it up and take it home and try one.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


(minus the blowfish).
Isn't his little primitive owl adorable??

I'm a sucker for anything country/primitive/grungy and this owl is all three.

I found him at Cranapple Christmas, a great primitive site that I stumbled across in my never ending quest for new Christmas craft ideas. I just fell in love with him and luckily I scooped him up before Shari brought him to a crafts fair.

I think I may be doing a bit of my Christmas shopping at her site. Check her out at Cranapple Christmas

Sunday, October 19, 2008


What a busy and fun weekend! We had a full house Saturday and Sunday! Friday I cooked and baked all day...Saturday we had Evan's birthday party and we ate and ate and ate. Then we took a little breather, and we ate some more. I love feeding my family and friends, and even though I make way to much every single time I host a party, we do enjoy the leftovers, which we had for lunch today and again for supper tonight. John, Tati & Sara came back over to help us finish them up.

We had a house full of kids and Evan was in his glory. When 9pm rolled around, none of them wanted to go home. I guess that means they were all having fun and didn't want to leave.

The cupcakes were a big hit, but aren't they always?? Who doesn't like cupcakes?

Evan was a very lucky little boy and got lots of gift cards towards the X-Box he's been saving for. When family and friends kept asking him what he wanted for his birthday, he jokingly said "cold hard cash".

Well his cousin obliged and gave him some "cold hard cash" (a frozen penny!). How cute was that?

After dessert all the kids hung outside and let me take a group shot......

and a "goofy" shot.

Then they all ran around and played tag in the dark.

It was a really lovely weekend.
Next week my in-laws will be here from Ohio! We are so excited to have them back in Rhode Island. There's going to be lots of cooking going on for sure.

Goodnight Mr. Bones.