Thursday, November 29, 2012

The BEST Pumpkin Bread

Let me start by saying, I don't bake, unless it's from a box. There are few exceptions to this rule. One, I have a flourless chocolate cake recipe that uses black beans (yes, you heard correctly) that is OUT of this world, and I manage to make it from scratch by some miracle. If you're nice to me, I'll share it with you one day. The second exception is bread. Poppy Seed Bread last week, and Pumpkin Bread this week.

I have tried countless pumpkin bread recipes in my day, and this one is by far, hands down, the best one ever. It's a scientific fact. I can't pretend that I came up with this recipe (well, I could, but that would be unethical and all), it was given to me by a friend. The really great thing about it is that you get 3 full size loaves out of this baby! Normally I make one full size loaf for us, and a bunch of mini loaves to give away. It also freezes beautifully, if you aren't into sharing.  And let's face it, when it comes to pumpkin bread, should you have to?



The BEST Pumpkin Bread

  • 3 cups canned pumpkin puree








Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NOT Your Mom's Green Bean Casserole

I've decided to throw in a bonus recipe this week, in honor of Turkey Day! I just happened to dig this one up, and decided that it needed immediate sharing in time to make it to your Thanksgiving table. But don't go getting used to this two-posts-in-a-row-thing. ;)

I am perfectly happy with the old Campbell's cream of mushroom soup version of the holiday favorite, Green Bean Casserole. The first Thanksgiving my husband and I spent together (just our little family), I proudly made the old American classic and plopped it down on the table at dinner time. After one bite, his face told me all I needed to know. Blech.

Let's face it. Many of us have grown up with this version, and have come to love it the way we love Kraft Mac and Cheese in the blue box - because it tastes like childhood. But that doesn't mean it's actually good. It's not. I'm sorry. (The casserole that is, the blue box is still amazing, and you can't convince me otherwise.)

So, I introduce to you my adult version of green bean casserole for your holiday table. It's out of this world, and still has some elements of the traditional casserole for nostalgia's sake. And bonus, if you make this version, you'll even earn yourself a seat at the grown-up's table. Winning!

(Sorry, this picture sucks, just trust me - it's fabulous.)

 



NOT Your Mom's Green Bean Casserole

  • 1/2 lb bacon - cooked and crumbled (I cook mine in the oven now to avoid the mess, and it works beautifully! For a tutorial, go here! You can also use bacon bits from the salad section of the store if you don't want to go to the trouble to cook the bacon yourself.) 
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2C flour
  • 1 1/2C chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 bag of frozen green beans (defrosted) OR 2 cans of green beans of your choice (I use canned, because that's just what I prefer, I've used both regular cut and french style green beans.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • French fried onions

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat, and whisk in the flour, stirring for 1 minute. Slowly add in chicken broth and whisk for about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder, continuing to stir until thickened. Next, add cheddar cheese until melted.

Pour green beans and bacon bits into cheese mixture and stir to combine.

Transfer to a 9x9 pan (Or any other pan of a similar size. Pie pans work too, or other round baking dishes as I've used here.) Top with french fried onions, and bake for 30 minutes.

Dig in!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ahem. Is this thing on?

Well, Pie Hole Fans, I bet you thought I was planning to neglect you forever, didn't you!?

 I kind of was...

You see, not due to lack of love or devotion, I simply had all these pesky things going on in my life. Like three kids and a husband, a full-time job, and full-time classes. You know, just silly things, really. So, I let the poor old Pie Hole fall by the wayside. However, I am happy to announce that two things have recently happened that encouraged me to fire the old blog back up again.

First, I have finally finished my bachelor's degree! (Happy dance.) Whew, it was tough but I did it! Not having to worry about a full-time class load on top of my full-time work load AND all my family obligations, has freed my schedule up a little, giving me some time to refocus on the blog.

Second, I have some bossy bitches for friends. (You all know who you are.) I don't think there has been a group get-together in the past year where at some point I didn't feel like I was in a bad after school special on the topic of peer pressure. But, thanks to my friends who have pushed me, I am finally going to give the blog another attempt. My goal is to post one recipe per week to start off, so keep me accountable!

No, I'm not done yet. And yes, I do plan to share a recipe today. Hey, you wanted me back, here I am - now keep reading!

I had a hard time coming up with a recipe worthy of the Pie Hole's re-grand opening, so I went with a no-fail, childhood favorite from my mama. This is a recipe for a Poppy Seed Bread that my mom used to make all the time when I was a kid. Whenever I go home to visit, she is required to make it for me for breakfast, and she's usually sweet enough to make extra so I can take some home. Rewind to the first time my husband tried said bread at my mom's house. I was 8 months pregnant at the time, and before we headed home, my mom gave us a mini loaf to take along. I decided my poor, fat, pregnant self needed a nap when we got back, so I laid down. But I woke up to a husband with an extremely guilty look on his face. He had eaten my bread. ALL of it. Let me say that one more time. He ate ALL of a pregnant woman's favorite bread of all time. According to him, he "just couldn't stop." Yes, it's that good. But I wouldn't recommend stealing it from your pregnant wife, because that was NOT a pretty day.

So, here you have it, the bread that makes husbands rival their pregnant wives. Let me know what you think!



Poppy Seed Bread

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter flavoring

  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350.
    Combine the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients separately, then incorporate together.
    Spray 2 loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray and divide batter evenly between them. (I have also made these as mini loaves. You could probably do muffins as well!)
    Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
    Cool and stuff face. :)

    Glaze (optional)

    1/4 cup orange juice
    1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
    1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
    powdered sugar

    Directions:
    Combine the first three ingredients and gradually add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Pour over warm bread (or just eat with a spoon).