Bake 52 Week 39: Spiced Pumpkin Bread

September 26, 2012

What better way to kick off autumn than spiced pumpkin bread? Mmmmm!! I could smell it baking as soon as this week’s host make her pick. This recipe was a snap to whip up, and I was especially excited because it was a bit of a gloomy day…perfect for a bread like this. It smelled soooo yummy while it baked, and the toothpick came out practically clean when the timer went off. I left the bread to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turned it out on a cooling rack. I had followed the recipe to a tee. So, imagine my nervousness when, as I turned it out onto the cooling rack, the center of the bread wiggled a bit like jello and then started to sag. I left it a few minutes more to cool, and then, as I attempted to flip the bread over, my worst fears were confirmed. The edges of the bread pulled away to reveal that entire middle had not baked fully. My heart sunk. Utter diasppointment filled my soul. My beautiful, delicious-smelling bread was nothing short of a disaster. Nothing like having your day ruined by 10 am.

I’m not sure why my toothpick came out clean, because the middle of my bread was clearly unbaked.  I’ve never had that happen before.  I was able to eat around the edges of the bread, where it had  baked fully, and it was yummy, but a little less spicy than I would have liked.  I think when I try this one again, I’ll up the spice content a bit.

Thanks Talesha for such a fun fall recipe….I can’t believe I ruined it!  Can’t wait to try it again!



Bake 52 Week 38: Make Ahead French Toast

September 19, 2012

On paper, this recipe looked pretty good, especially since I love French toast.  But like our host, Valerie, I anticipated a more traditional French toast as the end product.  As soon as I started scooping it out to put on plates, I knew there was no way on this green earth that I would be putting any of this casserole in my mouth.  It smelled good, but the soggy texture made my stomach turn.  Joseph grew up eating bread and milk and the kids love it too.  The thought of eating soggy bread makes me want to gag.  I had hoped that the kids’ affinity for bread and milk would influence their response to this casserole, but unfortunately, it didn’t.  None of them liked it, and I was just glad that the school serves breakfast in the classroom each morning, so I knew that they wouldn’t starve.  I tried to bribe them to finish eating by saying that they could ride their scooters to school–which is a big deal for my kids–and they still didn’t finish.

I had high hopes for this recipe, and I’m sad that it didn’t meet my expectations.  If it sounds like something you’d like to try, head on over to Valerie’s blog for the recipe.


Bake 52 Week 37: Take Two

September 15, 2012

Well, I won’t say that my pizza was an epic fail, but it will need a do-over.  Even though I still haven’t been to the store for flour, I was feeling much better today, so I decided I’d attempt the pizza using whole wheat flour.  That part went well.  I’ll definitely continue to use it, or at least do half and half on the flour.  It didn’t rise quite as much as I would have liked, so maybe adding some white flour in will help that.

There was one main problem though.  I don’t have any 9-inch cake pans.  However, I did have a 12-inch cake pan, so I decided to just make one pizza using that.  And I think it would have worked fine if it had been a pan with dark, non-stick finish, but this one did not.  Which meant that my crust didn’t darken and crispen up like I would have liked.  It was still good….I could taste a hint of Pizza Hut in there….it just didn’t have that crisp outer crust that really makes a deep dish pizza.

There was also a secondary problem, one I didn’t anticipate, given the amount of oil on the pan….one small section of my crust stuck to the pan, so when I tried to slide it out, it tore and folded over on itself.  Oh well….no pretty, but still tasty.

I’ll definitely be purchasing some good, 9-inch cake pans before trying this recipe again, which will be soon for sure!

Bake 52 Week 37: Deep Dish Pizza

September 12, 2012

I committed a serious crime this week. Several, actually. I have been eyeing this pizza recipe since the day I first opened our recipe book. It looked soooo yummy, and given that pizza is at the top of my list of favorite foods, I knew I’d be trying this recipe whether it was chosen during Bake 52 or not. I was excited when Amanda chose it for this week.

Which leads me to crime #1….procrastination. I rarely wait until posting day to do my baking, but the week got away from me this time around and before I knew it, posting day is here. And I feel like garbage due to a kidney infection. And we ate Little Caesar’s at 9:00 last night because we were late getting home from pack meeting and I didn’t feel good enough to make dinner. I would have sent my kids to bed without dinner had they not brought it to my attention that I had failed to feed them. But, never fear, I was going to bake through my misery anyway and we’d have pizza for dinner two nights in a row (not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with that!).

Enter crime #2. I baked cookies on Saturday and used up every last speck of my flour. And then promptly forgot about it. So, as I prepared to make pizza for dinner tonight, I discovered that I was going to have to go to the store. But, I feel like garbage, and the last thing I wanted to do was load four kids up in the car and go to the store, where I’d have to exert my already pained back lifting a 25 lb. bag of flour into the cart.

The end result is crime #3….missing the posting deadline for this week’s recipe. I feel so much shame…not just the missed baking, but the food that I’m missing. If it were just the lack of flour, I’d grind up some wheat and attempt whole wheat deep dish pizza. But, combined with not feeling well, I didn’t want to start experimenting only to have it not turn out and have to come up with something else for dinner.

So, my apologies to the rest of the group for being a failure this week. I WILL make this recipe as soon as I’m feeling better and will report back when it’s done! In the meantime, head on over to Amanda’s blog to get the recipe!

Bake 52 Week 36: Tunnel of Fudge Cake

September 5, 2012

I nearly skipped this week.  I felt about as much excitement to make this cake as I did the Chocolate Blackout Cake back in week 15.  I can’t help it…I just don’t like chocolate that much.  Plus, when I looked at the picture included with this recipe, I was sure that it was going to be a pretty involved process.  Thankfully, I was wrong on that point.  It was not much more involved than baking a regular cake….the amazing thing is that somehow, the middle stays all fudgy after it bakes (which I didn’t take a picture of…you’ll have to bake it to see it!).  And isn’t it pretty??

I was glad to have procrastinated this time around because Janet mentioned in her post that she used semisweet chocolate for the glaze and was happy with how that worked out.  When I got to the store to buy my ingredients, I discovered that semisweet chocolate was 1/3 the price of bittersweet.  Since I’m all for saving a buck, I bought the bittersweet for the cake and the semisweet for the glaze.  She also mentioned that she would leave the nuts out next time….and you all know I would have left them out regardless!

In spite of my dislike for chocolate, I did have a couple of bites of the finished product and it was actually pretty good.  Joseph loved it (and he’s not huge on chocolate either).  If you are a chocolate lover, this is the recipe for you!  Thanks Janet for such a fun pick….check out her blog for the recipe!



Bake 52 Week 35: Crunchy Granola Bars

August 29, 2012

Granola bars are something I never really thought about ever being homemade, so I was curious how this recipe would turn out.  But…

1 1/2 cups of nuts!  Yikes!  I wasn’t very excited when I saw that on the ingredient list.  I can usually just leave the nuts out of a recipe, but 1 1/2 cups is a pretty significant exemption, so I opted to chop them up really good to hopefully disguise them.  I went with almonds because if I had to eat a nut, that’s the one I would choose.

This was a pretty darn easy recipe to put together.  I decided to try the cranberry variation, minus the crystallized ginger because I didn’t have any.  My bars turned very crunchy…in spite of the name of the recipe, I’m not sure if they were supposed to be as crunchy as they were, or if it was due to the fact that I was in the middle of feeding a baby when my timer went off and I had to bake them 5 minutes longer (which still put it within the 35-40 minute cooking time).  Either way, I hope nobody breaks a tooth on them!

Owen and Emmy were both big fans.  Ryan, not so much.  Joseph liked them, but did comment on how hard they were.  I might try these again sometime, maybe with some chocolate chips to entice Ryan a little more….I think they’d make a great snack to put in lunchboxes!

Emily was this week’s host.  Check out her blog for the recipe.

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Bake 52 Week 34: Glazed Lemon Cookies

August 22, 2012

I love tart things.  However, when it comes to lemon-flavored baked goods, I think it’s hard to find the perfect balance between perfect and overwhelming.  I was really unsure where these cookies would fall on the scale.

It was another easy recipe week (I’m loving these simpler, less time-consuming recipes lately!).  Again, no off-the-wall ingredients (unless you count cream cheese 😉 ).  There is a 2 hour chilling time, but these were easy to whip up first thing in the morning, and then let chill while we had breakfast and got ready for the day.

They baked up nicely, though the recipe said to let them bake for 13-16 minutes, or until the edges started turning brown.  After 20 minutes in the oven and no sign of brown edges, I just took them out, hoping that they’d be OK.  Thankfully, they were!

In the past, I’ve opted for alternate recipes when frosting or glaze calls for cream cheese.  Since this one called for only 1 TB of cream cheese, I decided to stay true to the recipe.  I’m glad I did because the lemon and sugar pretty much drown out the cream cheese flavor for me, so it wasn’t a problem.

As for whether these cookies were too overwhelming for me…NO!  They were SOOOO yummy!  The cookie itself had a nice lemon flavor to it, but more subtle.  The glaze is where the flavor really stood out, but just enough to give you the full lemony impact without going over the edge.  The only problem for me?  Heartburn.  At T-minus I-can’t-believe-this-baby-still-isn’t-here, pretty much everything I eat gives me serious heartburn.  Now that baby is here (and since I’m writing this prior to baby day, it’s kind of weird to know that she WILL be here by the time this recipe is posted!), I’m going to have to make these again so I can enjoy them just a little bit more.

And to top it off, I think the presentation of these cookies, while very simple, is quite pleasing.  The glaze spread perfectly and they just looked pretty!  This was a great pick by Michelle….check out her blog for the recipe!

Bake 52 Week 33: Raspberry Streusal Bars

August 15, 2012

I LOVE raspberries….but I don’t always love them in the form of ice cream or baked goods, so I was a little unsure how I’d like this recipe.  It was a pretty easy and quick one to make, with no crazy ingredients or instructions.  I decided to leave out the pecans on the topping.  I had planned to put them over half of the bars and leave the other half untainted, until I went to the store and saw that a little bag cost over $5….I’m a cheapskate, what can I say?

Once they came out of the oven, it occured to me that they actually looked and smelled quite a bit like Nutri-Grain Bars, which I quite like.  I had high hopes that they would taste like them too.  They didn’t quite live up to that expectation, but they were yummy.  Joseph LOVED them!  Couldn’t get enough of them…ate most of the pan himself.  Emmy was also a big fan.

One thing I like about this recipe is that these bars can be frozen for up to a month.  I think I’ll definitely be making some to freeze and use for school lunches.  I’m excited to try the strawberry and blueberry variations as well!

Jen O. was this week’s host, so check out her blog for a fun and easy recipe!

Bake 52 Week 32 1/2: The Ultimate Recipe

August 13, 2012

I wrapped up last week by baking up something extra special!

My babies are usually born quite doughy in the middle, so we were thrilled to get this bun out of the oven fully cooked!  No NICU time for us…woohoo!  Quincy Beth came after a quick 2 1/2 hour labor with a head FULL of dark hair.  She weighed in at a whopping 7 lbs. 5 oz. (yeah, I know…totally average…but considering my biggest baby up to this point was only 4 lbs. 15 oz. it feels whopping to us).  She has the most delicious cheeks and smells pretty yummy most of the time 😉  We’ve loved every minute of the last 3 days and can’t wait to watch her grow and change!


*I’ve baked a couple of recipes ahead for Bake 52, so I should still have regular posts coming, assuming my recovery goes well enough to get back into the kitchen in a couple of weeks.

Bake 52 Week 32: Cheddar Cheese Bread

August 8, 2012

As far as recipes go, this was a really easy one to put together.  No off-the-wall ingredients (though not all things that I typically keep in my fridge either…but at least knew where to find them in the store), and no time consuming directions.  Since this isn’t a yeast bread, there’s no rising involved, so the bulk of the prep is the 45 minute baking time.

Unfortunately, that’s about as far as the praise goes in my house.  Nobody was really a fan.  I could tell while it was baking that it was going to put my taste buds into overdrive….I love parmesan, but extra sharp cheddar is a little lot strong for me.  Just the smell of that extra sharp cheddar combined with the parmesan nearly knocked me over.

The bread had cooled enough for us to eat with dinner.  The top crust didn’t hold together very well when I cut into it…it all just kind of crumbled off.  The bread itself wasn’t terribly flavorful, and was even a bit dry, so it was the cheese chunks that really packed the punch of flavor.  Although I cut the cubes of cheddar the size specified in the recipe, I wish I’d done them smaller so that they were better distributed throughout the bread.  The parmesan baked into the crust (especially the bottom) was probably the most enjoyable part for me, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to try this recipe again.

Betsy was this week’s host….head on over to her blog if this recipe sounds like one you want to try.