Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Harvest Bread

Basing this recipe on a classic banana nut bread recipe, this delicious creation consists of pumpkin, bananas, cranberries, nuts and spices. It's the perfect, not too sweet, go-to recipe for fall.

Bring a loaf of Fall Harvest Bread to your family brunch, an office pot luck, or make a few for a bake sale for your community's fall festival. It's sure to be a tremendous hit for those you share it with! Just make sure to keep one for yourself and your family to enjoy on a cool, crisp fall afternoon. Nothing beats a slice of Fall Harvest Bread with a little spread of butter, along with a hot cup of coffee!

This bread has become a tradition in our home during the fall season, and I hope it will be the same for you! I'm glad to share it with you!

1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 heaping cup canned pumpkin
2 medium (about one cup) ripe bananas, mashed
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8x4-inch loaf pans, set aside.

Toast pecans in 350 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, set aside.

Prepare bread mix by combining sugar, butter, and eggs in large bowl. Beat at medium speed until mixture is creamy. Add pumpkin and mashed bananas, continue beating until well mixed (mixture may have a slightly lumpy or curdled appearance). Reduce speed to low, add all remaining ingredients except pecans and dried cranberries. Bet until well mixed. Stir in toasted pecans and dried cranberries.

Spread mixture evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Cool for 5 minutes in pans. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

Let me know how you like this recipe by commenting below. ;)

Monkey see, monkey do.

One of the many things I've noticed and have become quite fond of, is the way that Guy admires Kay. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, so I've heard. And it shows throw him and the way he mimics the things he sees his sister do. From dancing just like her, to being helpful, to trying his darnedest to play with the same toy that she has just because she has it.

And just last night, I realized how early the "monkey see, monkey do" had started:

Due to pre-eclampsia, Kay was born via c-section at 35 weeks and 4 days gestation. When I was pregnant with Guy, his due date was just three days before her 1st birthday. But apparently, that was too long for my little guy to wait to meet his big sister. So with Guy, due to pre-term labor, he was born via c-section at 35 weeks and 4 days gestation...just like his big sister.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spiced Apple Marble Pound Cake

October is National Apple Month! And what better way to celebrate than with a delicious and decadent apple cake recipe? The aroma from this cake is so enticing! And the taste? Amazing!

Here's an easy version of a homemade creation, Spiced Apple Marble Pound Cake. The homemade version is still under wraps in hopes that I will be able to use it someday when I open my own bakery. ;) I find that simplifying a recipe by incorporating boxed mixes makes a homemade treat that much more spectacular with a little less clean up and a few less steps to follow--less measuring and less ingredients too! This recipe makes two 8x4 loaves of cake. One for yourself and one to give to a friend or neighbor.

**Disclosure: I have a hard time properly "marbeling" at times and I apologize that this picture is not the best example. It still tastes amazing. Hopefully you will have better luck with getting a prettier marble effect.

Recipe for Spiced Apple Marble Pound Cake

For cream cheese filling:
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For cake batter:
1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix
1 (3.5oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups peeled, cored and finely chopped Gala apples (approx 5-6 apples)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cream cheese filling by creaming together the softened cream cheese and butter. Add flour, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Beat together until well blended and smooth. Set aside.

Spread chopped pecans in shallow baking pan and toast in oven for 8-10 minutes.

Prepare cake batter by mixing first five ingredients of cake batter. Mix until there are no lumps in the batter. Add toasted chopped pecans and chopped apples. Stir with spoon until well blended.

Grease and flour two 8x4-inch loaf pans. Distribute half of the batter between the two pans. Spoon cream cheese filling over apple cake batter, careful not to let the filling reach the edges of the pan. Swirl filling through apple cake batter using a knife. Pour remaining mixture evenly in each pan over the cream cheese mixture.

Bake cakes in 350 degree oven for one hour, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely.

Enjoy this fabulous fall recipe with a delicious cup of coffee and your favorite person. ;)