Brownie Pumpkin Pie

Wow. Okay, so I know I said this would be a cooking blog all about my learning to cook, but let’s be honest folks… I’m not really cooking. I am doing some basics. I cook the same 5-8 things over and over and that’s about it! I am trying. I am gathering recipes and I think that is definitely a good start, don’t you? To make up for my lack of cooking though, I have been baking! OH have I been baking! I am house-sitting for my parents this week so I have a MUCH bigger kitchen, better stove, better pots, and generally very exciting things to work with! I have a list of 25-30 recipes I definitely want to cook/bake RIGHT NOW, so I figure this week is a good time to do it.

I want to start the week off with a great, VERY simple recipe I came across online and have changed around a little. IT is pumpkin, so really, I don’t need to say any more. I usually don’t make things that I can’t eat, but the was a very worthy exception. I am allergic to chocolate, so I generally am a little limited in what to bake. This recipe opened the door to my open-minded baking. No more limitations for things I can’t eat. Just because I can’t enjoy it, why should I prevent other people from enjoying it, right?

So here we go…

the pie


adapted from Picky Palate

One pie crust (you can make your own, but I used Marie Callendar’s deep dish crust)

1 box brownie mix (8×8 inch size)

1/2 Cup pumpkin (I used Libby’s canned pumpkin. NOT PUMPKIN PIE STARTER…)

1/8 Cup granulated sugar

1/8 Cup evaporated milk

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 egg beaten (i know, it is awkward, but i beat the egg then poured half into the mix)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Follow directions on pie crust for pudding or prebaked pie to prepare the crust. Most advise that you thaw for 10 minutes, poke holes in bottom of the crust and then bake for 15 minutes.

2. Put together the brownie mix you have chosen. Set aside

3.  In a medium bow, mix the remaining ingredients- pumpkin, egg, milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, until combined.

4. Pour brownie batter into pie crust. Top with pumpkin pie mixture and swirl edges to mix brownie and pumpkin. Depending upon the brownie mix, your filling should come to the top of your crust. I chose not to mix the way Picky Palate did, so it makes a bit of a different mix of flavors for each bite.

5. Bake until toothpick comes out clean. Mine took about 55 minutes, but Picky Palate said 38 minutes. I think it depends on the depth of your mixture (my brownies were a little taller than the other mixes, so perhaps that accounts for the time difference).

6. Let cool completely and serve with cool whip.





It’s time…

Okay, so I think it’s time for a recipe post!

The best place to start is with a very un-family secret style recipe. I got the recipe from Lena Corwin via Design*Sponge I make a few alterations, so I am posting my version of the recipe with that link going directly to Lena’s version.

But more importantly, first I would like to give the story behind it. Lena posted this recipe on her site and Design*Sponge at the beginning of my baking stage. I was just starting to learn the basics and this seemed at the time to be a complicated recipe. First of all, it was mixed by hand…. BY HAND! This was foreign to me for a good year and a half. I thought everything baked should involve a mixer. I didn’t know flour should be sifted. I didn’t measure exactly. I didn’t really know the difference between cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. I thought they were all about the same. Really, I was clueless. I am slightly more in the know now and I have this recipe to thank.

This is my official “welcome to fall recipe.” It is a really basic pumpkin bread that can include cranberries, nuts, raisins, or chocolate. For the last two years (and hopefully every year to come) I make this on the first day of fall. It is that good. It is that spiced. It is that pumpkiny. It exudes fall in every way and I am all for anything fall!

It is a perfect basic baking recipe. It takes things that most bakers (or beginning bakers) have on hand. It is cut and dry and as far as I have noticed, impossible to mess up too badly.

So here it is, I hope you like it as much as I do!!

“Welcome to Fall” Pumpkin Bread

This fills two standard loaf pans pretty generously.

• 1- 3 / 4 cup canned pumpkin
• 2/3 cup butter, melted
• 3 cups sugar
• 4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla
• 3-1/2 cups flour
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp nutmeg
• 1 / 2 tsp cloves
• 2 tsp baking soda
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1 / 2 tsp salt
• 2/3 cup water
• 1 / 2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F/180C degrees. Combine the eggs, pumpkin, butter, vanilla and water in a large bowl. In another VERY LARGE bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in the larger bowl (it makes a lot of batter), and mix with a wooden spoon by hand. Mix until the batter is combined, but don’t over mix. Grease the pans, and distribute the batter equally in the pans. I fill one with regular batter then add the chocolate chips to rest to make one loaf plain pumpkin and one chocolate chip pumpkin.  Bake for 1 hour or until a poker comes out clean!

Be sure to cool adequately…

(the camera died about halfways through so there is a big chunk of preparation time unaccounted for… enjoy!)

em recipe lookup




Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes

You know it is fall when...

You know it is fall when...

I break out the pumpkin pecan pancakes. This shot it from a few days ago, but I was playing with inserting images and thought this was a perfect one for today.

The pancakes in question are not from scratch (whether this is good new or bad news I am not sure). IT comes in an adorable can from Williams Sonoma and is my ultimate fall breakfast! They are so easy and quite possibly the most yummy pancakes I have ever had! I bake according to season and certain things definitely show the official change of season. These pancakes are one of them. They are my first day of autumn treat. 🙂

Hello world!

What a way to start a blog!

I have been baking for the past few years and am completely in love. I have never really been a homemaker kind of girl, but I have slowly become a full-blown Martha loving, Julia imitating, mess making fool. There is something about a recipe and the guarantee of the end result that simplifies it all. In baking, if I mix the given ingredients properly, I get heaven- a little slice, bite, or piece of heaven. I am not so sure about cooking though. I can bake my heart out, but I am just learning to cook. I know very little and the end result is usually a bit sloppy, not quite tasty. I want to start this blog (with Christy’s encouragement) to track my cooking (and baking) escapades. I want to learn the tricks of mix this get that for cooking, not just baking! It will be messy. It might not end up delicious. I might break down in the process for some of the recipes… but I am doing it. I might share some recipes, but mostly I am starting with secret family recipes… It is a process…

Let’s start with my biggest big girl recipe yet: Theresa’s homemade, from scratch, spaghetti with meat sauce. Theresa is my godmother who was also my nanny for the first many years of my life. I remember going to her house for steak on Saturdays and spaghetti most other nights. She is a typical Italian woman with out of this world Italian cooking. She is best known for her crab spaghetti, but we agreed that I need to start off basic (well, she said to just go for the crab sauce but it is too intimidating for me just yet!). I decided on a simple sauce with ground turkey (I can’t digest beef). So I got the recipe and the groceries and had it all planned out. Theresa told me it would be enough for dinner for Kyle and myself.

It turned out to be enough for probably 8-10 people! I made it in the biggest pot I had and the bubbling- OH THE BUBBLING! IT spilled down the edges. It got on the stove. It took forever. It was more than I could store.

But it tasted amazing! A bit more spicing next time, definitely more salt… but it wasn’t bad. It was actually a little bit good which is more than I had expected on my first try! I still have to call Theresa to let her know how it went, but overall it was such a success!

And I should note the smell. After about 20 minutes on the stove it started to fill the apartment and seeped to the whole building. Kyle got home from class and let me know he smelled it outside! It brought me back to childhood. I think everyone has those smells that instantly transport you to a place in childhood and this is mine. The smell of red sauce- THIS red sauce- made me instantly 5 years old watching the Wow Wow Wibble Woggle Wazzie Woodle Woo. It was so dear.