Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Brunch, Casserole

Pumpkin Cobbler Spiced Bread Pudding

I often visit a local discount bread store during my lunch hour.  The outlet carries nearly expired items that I use for stuffing, meatloaf, and bread pudding recipes.

Recently, I spied a few loaves of Pumpkin Cobbler bread on the “reduced shelf” and quickly loaded the loaves into my cart.  After arriving home, I promptly froze the bread to have on hand for a quick Saturday morning bread pudding bake made with scrumptious cubes of pumpkin spiced loaves.  The crunchy streusel-like topping puts this breakfast treat over the top.  I drizzle a teaspoon of our delicious homemade maple syrup over the top of a warm slice for a bit of added sweetness.



Pumpkin Cobbler Spiced Bread Pudding

5 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups pumpkin cobbler or cinnamon swirl bread, cubed

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup cold butter, sliced into small cubes

1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease or spray with cooking spray, a 13 X 9″ pan. 

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Place cubed bread in a large bowl and pour egg mixture over the top; gently mix and let sit for 10 minutes.  Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans over the top; dot with butter.   Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. 

If desired, drizzle with maple or vanilla syrup.  Serve warm.








Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, holiday

Leftover Holiday Cranberry Sauce Quick Bread

Making my way through the leftovers after a holiday meal is always a challenge.  I hate to waste food so I try to be as creative as possible when reinventing leftovers to make tasty meals for the family.  Yesterday I came across a plastic container containing a few cups of homemade cranberry sauce.  I remembered a recipe that I had made years ago for a chunky cranberry quick bread that would use up the two cups of sauce that I had leftover.  I searched my trusty kitchen  file and found the recipe.  With staple ingredients, this batter comes together rather quickly.  A sprinkle of maple/cinnamon steel cup instant oats makes for a sweet crunchy topping.  This is a great way to turn those holiday leftovers into a sweet treat the whole family will enjoy.

Leftover Holiday Cranberry Sauce Quick Bread

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups cranberry sauce

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, set aside.  Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl; set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and cranberry sauce; mix well. Combine dry ingredients to the cranberry mixture, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moist. Fold in chopped walnuts. Spread batter evenly into prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool completely before slicing.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Food, Gifts, holiday

Sweet Almond Pound Cake

Over the years I’ve baked lots of tasty loaves for friends and co-workers to celebrate the holiday season.  This week is no exception for I’ll be pulling out all of my favorite baking pans and an array of Christmas wrapping paper to start my traditional holiday bake. I usually make an assortment of flavorful loaves… a cinnamon swirl loaf, a poppyseed bread loaf, an applesauce nut loaf, and a sweet zucchini breakfast loaf.  Some of which are made from the carefully shredded and frozen excess garden produce that I tucked away during the late fall months.

This year I have added a simple, delicious recipe to the mix.  This Sweet Almond Pound Cake is moist, dense and full of flavor.  While the directions would have you bake the cake in a bundt pan, you can use the same recipe to make this delicious treat in a basic 9×5″ loaf pan. Sprinkle this baby with a bit of confectioners’ sugar or frost with a drizzle of cream cheese frosting before serving or wrapping.  A sprinkle of red and green candies makes for a festive addition. Give this loaf to those that you would like to recognize during this gift-giving season or place it on the holiday table for family and friends to enjoy.            

…Sending along a wish for the best of health and happiness in the coming year!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Simply Made Kitchen and Crafts!


Sweet Almond Pound Cake

1 package white cake mix

1 (3.4 oz.) package vanilla instant pudding and pie filling   (the coconut flavor works well too!)

4 large eggs

1 cup water

⅓ cup vegetable oil

1 tbsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 10″ Bundt pan. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and extract in large bowl. Beat for approximately 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake for 10-15 minutes.  Carefully remove from pan and cool completely. Dust with sifted confectioners’ sugar or frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, Brunch, holiday, holidays

Pistachio Crunch Loaf



The holiday season is upon us and I am getting an early start on my baking for the upcoming Thanksgiving meal.  This week we will be traveling east to enjoy the holiday with my youngest sister and her family.  I have volunteered to bring all of the desserts so I have started baking and packaging some of our family’s favorite recipes.  It’s so much easier to bake ahead of time and then refrigerate or freeze the baked goods until just a few hours before the event.

This Pistachio Crunch Loaf is a long standing family favorite.  The festive green color comes from the packet of pistachio pudding mix added to the batter.  For an extra boost of flavor, try substituting the sour milk with pistachio flavored yogurt.  

It’s always fun to contribute an item (or two) to the family table over the holidays.  But, if you’re one of those people that always forgets your favorite platter or covered casserole dish when it’s time to go home, then here’s a great tip when traveling for the holidays…  

For the last several weeks, I’ve been purchasing decorative holiday tins of various shapes and sizes from local resale shops. (They range in price from about 50 – 75 cents.) I wash and dry them well when I get them home. This way I can pack all of my goodies into festive tins, stack them into reusable bags and conveniently store the tins when arriving at our destination.  When we are ready to bring out the treats, I’ll simply open all of the beautiful tins and lay them out on the buffett for guests to nibble on while enjoying time with family and friends.  The left-overs can be covered and stored in a cool dry place so we can continue to snack throughout the weekend.  No mess, no fuss!  If there is anything left by Sunday, I will leave the inexpensive tins behind without a thought.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Pistachio Crunch Loaf

1 package Pillsbury yellow cake mix

4 eggs

¼ cup canola oil

1 small package instant pistachio pudding mix

1 cup sour milk ( 1 scant cup of milk +2 teaspoons vinegar)

Sugar Mixture:

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 8×4″ loaf pans.  In a medium bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs oil, pudding mix and sour milk. Beat until all of the ingredients are well blended into a thick batter.

Spread half of the batter into the greased loaf pans. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon and sugar mixture over the batter, dividing it between the two pans. Repeat the layers, adding the remaining bread batter and the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Lightly swirl batter with a butter knife (optional).

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean.  Cool loaves completely before removing from pans.

Posted in Baking, Bread, breakfast

Pecan and Raisin Zucchini Quick Bread



As the end of the traditional Midwest growing season is well past it’s prime, local farmer’s markets are providing customers with an array of cool weather vegetables.  The unseasonably mild temperatures have helped zucchini, beets, and winter squash continue to grow.  

Last week a co-worker filled a basket with end-of-the-season zucchini that she had picked from her garden.  She placed the bountiful basket on the break room table to share with all.  I quickly scooped up an armful so that I could make a few batches of zucchini quick bread.  This is one of my favorite recipes.  It’s moist and flavorful with lots of texture provided by the crunchy pecans and sweet California raisins.  The recipe freezes well so I make quite a few loaves, wrap them and freeze them for gift giving or for a quick morning breakfast accompanied by a mug full of piping hot coffee.

Note: I sprinkle a tablespoon of wheat germ over each loaf before baking.  This gives the loaves a crunchy topping and a boost of fiber.

Pecan and Raisin Zucchini Quick Bread

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cup canola oil

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini 

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

3/4 cup raisins

Optional Topping: 

2 tablespoons wheat germ

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9×5″ loaf pans. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and baking powder; gradually beat into sugar mixture, mixing just until moistened. Stir in zucchini, pecans and raisins.

Transfer to prepared pans. Sprinkle each loaf with 1 tablespoon of wheat germ (optional).  Bake 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool. 

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Brunch, Food

Honey and Oat French Toast

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This weekend we visited campus to watch our daughter M run in the Purdue Half-Marathon.  The campus came alive early even though the sun hadn’t quite risen and the unseasonably cool air blanketed the town.  After the race began and all of the runners had left the parking lot, my husband and I headed into Lafayette for a bite to eat and to visit the farmer’s market.  We also wanted to cheer on the runners as they made their way to mile eight around the center of town.  

It’s a delight to visit the early morning market in Lafayette.  We made our way around to the booths picking up lots of freshly picked produce, earthy wholesome breads, and enormous honey crisp apples.  Right on schedule, M and others ran along side the market and we were able to get a few good pictures as she made her way back to campus.  



After the race, I shared my bounty with M as she lives in an apartment and always welcomes fresh organic produce for her weekly menu.  I asked her if she would like me to make her some French toast while she showered and changed into comfy clothes.  I had purchased two loaves of hearty whole grain bread that I would cut into thick slices for the dish.  Looking through her cabinets, I found that she had lots of savory spices but none that would work with the French toast.  I have always been a resourceful gal so I opened up one of her peach flavored tea bags (organic peach cobbler) and poured some of the mixture into the eggs.  I thought the peach flavor would pair well with the almond milk. 



 M also had a cylinder of rolled oats on the shelf so I opted to coat the bread to add a toasted crunchy texture.  A drizzle of honey added just the right touch of flavor to the finished product.  

Honey and Oat French Toast

6 thick slices whole wheat bread

4 eggs

2/3 cup almond milk

1/2 teaspoon flavored loose tea ( I used organic peach cobbler spiced tea)

3/4 cup rolled oats

Honey

In a shallow bowl or baking pan, beat together egg, milk, and desired spiced tea. Pour the oats into a separate baking pan, set aside. Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame. Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Then coat the slices with oats.  Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden. Drizzle with honey.  Serve hot.

M is planning a Halloween Party for her residents as she is a Resident Assistant so we made our way to the pumpkin patch to purchase pumkins later in the day… What a great time we had visiting Purdue this weekend.





Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread

Irish Soda Bread Loaf

I’ve been making Irish Soda Bread for years.  And I’ve certainly posted my fair share of soda bread recipes over the years.  However, this recipe is definitely the easiest of the bunch to assemble.  While the usual suspects appear in the ingredient list of this less than traditional recipe, the dough includes the addition of an egg so there is no need to knead.  Just combine the ingredients with a spatula or wooden spoon and drop the moist dough into a standard-sized loaf pan. The result… A less crumbly loaf that’s a bit more moist as compared to the traditional bread round or scone. This loaf slices beautifully.  

I hope you have a few spare moments  to “throw on the kettle” and assemble this delicious Irish Soda Bread Loaf. There’s nothing like a fresh pot of tea with a thick slice of this gorgeous bread slathered with butter and homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam.

Irish Soda Bread Loaf

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/3 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups raisins 

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

A handful of old fashioned oats for the topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, baking soda and raisins. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle old fashioned oats over the batter; press lightly. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Food

Zucchini Breakfast Bread

This week, I had the opportunity to visit a produce auction in a neighboring community.  It’s a bit early in the season for an abundance of produce so the aisles were stocked with plants and flowering baskets of every variety.  Farmers also displayed an array of asparagus, rhubarb stalks, and freshly baked pastries.  I so enjoyed listening to the auctioneer as he rattled on at record speed, while the prices climbed to reasonable levels.

Looking over the tables of freshly baked breads, I was inspired to bake a few loaves of my own.  I had a few zucchini in the produce drawer that were close to expiration so I popped them into the food processor.  The grated zucchini certainly lends moisture and flavor to this scrumptious recipe.  

Zucchini Breakfast Bread

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups oat bran

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 eggs, beaten 

1 cup vegetable oil

2 1/4 cups white sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup steel cut oatmeal mix (optional for topping)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking spray, two 8×4″ loaf pans. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl. In a separate bowl,  whisk eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in zucchini.  Add dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture, and mix well. Stir in nuts just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.  Sprinkle with topping, if desired.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pan, and cool completely before slicing.
Basketmaking…  I also had the pleasure of attending my first basket weaving class earlier this week.  I have shared  a few pictures at the end of this post.  I will spare you the details as I am not skilled enough yet to include a detailed tutorial.  I simply followed the instructors lead and made this adorable herb basket.


Step by step…











HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, to all of you wonderful moms out there!

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, Cake, Desserts

Strawberry and Pecan Tea Loaf



As the early spring weather brings the hope for a bumper crop of beautiful berries, green speared asparagus, and long stalks of leafy rhubarb, I’m always reminded of this recipe for Strawberry and Pecan Tea Loaf…

Years ago, when my children were young, I owned a home daycare that would serve the purpose of caring for neighborhood children (along with my own) and helped to bring in a little extra money in the process.  I must admit, the days were long and the children were often more work than I expected but every day brought with it a new set of rewards and cherished experiences.  

One early evening, just before a holiday weekend, a parent arrived late to pick up her only son.  She apologized for her tardiness and placed a cellophane wrapped Strawberry and Pecan Tea Loaf on the kitchen table before leaving.  She had presented it as a token of appreciation and as an Easter gift.   

That evening, I sliced the loaf and placed it on our dinner table to be served with our Good Friday meal. I served the loaf with a big pot of tea and was delighted with its moist and flavorful texture as the loaf was chocked with plump berries and crunchy pecans.  I quickly made a note to ask this parent for the recipe.  She obliged and I’ve cherished it ever since.  


Strawberry & Pecan Tea Loaf

2 cups fresh strawberries, diced

3 cups flour

2 cups + 2 teaspoons sugar, divided

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

4 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray with cooking spray, two 9 x 5″ loaf pans. Place strawberries in a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle lightly with 2 teaspoons of sugar; set aside.

Combine flour, remaining 2 cups sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in large bowl; mix well. Mix oil, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract into strawberries. Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, mixing until dry ingredients are just moistened. Stir in chopped pecans. Divide batter into pans.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of loaves comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes. Turn loaves out onto wire racks; cool completely before slicing.

Posted in Baked goods, Baking, Bread, breakfast, Food

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

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Spring is in the air and I’m happy to report that the temperatures are on the rise. We are finally beginning to see pavement and green grass through the mounds of melting snow. It seems the topic of conversation with family and friends frequently focuses on the hope for sunny skies and mild temperatures as we usher in the start of one of my favorite seasons.
Saturday is baking day so I am up bright and early chopping apples for the muffin recipe that I have selected. This batter produces a wonderfully moist muffin that is topped with a crunchy streusel mix. The combination of pumpkin, apples, and walnuts with a delicious cinnamon streusel topping make the muffins a favorite in our house.

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Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients and set aside. In medium bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Stir in apples and nuts. Spoon the batter into muffin cups; sprinkle streusel topping over batter.

For streusel topping:

2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon old fashioned oats
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter

In small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until done.

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