Recipes

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

adapted from Together as Family Blog, Jessica is the author

The ingredients
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce ( I used a packaged applesauce cup which was just under a half cup)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree ( I used One- Pie)
2 cups milk chocolate chips ( I used semi- sweet chips and it was delicious)
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.
In a mixing bowl, whisk dry ingredients, flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Beat the butter, applesauce, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. I used my Kitchen- aid mixer on low. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
Gradually add dry mixture to wet ingredients until combined. Add chocolate chips.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The edges will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and will be golden brown and the center will look “puffy” and done. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out with moist/dry crumbs.
Cool bars before cutting out of pan. Store in closed container. These are simply delicious and so moist! I made them last week for Tom and the girls at school and I think everyone enjoyed them!
Check out Togetherasfamily.com to see the original recipe!

Homemade Pizza 

My father in-law left us many special memories, too many to tell in one sitting. From all these remembrances, his fun dinner parties stand out in my mind. When Bob retired, he started cooking. I have his beef stew, taco pie and pizza recipes in my collection. It’s the pizza recipe that remains dear to me as it reminds me of fun times at the Blowey house.

I fondly remember one evening standing in my in-law’s kitchen, while Bob made homemade pizza with my mother- in -law Theo. She helped arrange the sliced peppers and onions. He was so funny that he would watch her working to make sure she did it the way he wanted. You see, Bobs pizzas were homemade and crafted with love, the very same as Theo’s homemade crafted pies.

Bob made magnificent trays of pepperoni, cheese and even shrimp pizza! When Tom’s siblings visited on weekends, they would have a grand spread of pizza, Bob’s speciality! Don’t I miss those days and the mouth-watering pies!

So Bob’s recipes for pizza sauce and the crust have lived in my scrapbook cookbook but I have to confess…I’ve never made them! Maybe I thought that I’d never come close to his creations and the yeast factor scared the heck out of me! ( Yeast and I have never gotten along but lately I’m daring to try it and it’s working well!)

Here I’ll share his recipe for homemade sauce and crust. You need a full day of cooking the sauce, on and off for several hours for a rich flavor. I made my pizza on a weekend when I had plenty of time.

Pizza Sauce

1/4 c olive oil

1 garlic clove

2 cans tomato paste ( I used the medium size)

1- 15 oz stewed tomatoes, peeled & cut fine

1- 28 oz diced or puréed tomatoes

1/2 green pepper chopped

1- onion chopped or grated

1 tsp salt

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp Italian seasoning

In a large skillet cook garlic in oil until soft. Add onion and green pepper and cook until translucent. ( just a couple of minutes) Next add tomato paste, stewed tomatoes and diced or puréed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer. Add seasonings and stir well. Cook sauce for 20 minutes and then shut off. Keep covered. Do this routine three times throughout the day, 20 minutes and then shut off each time. After sitting and simmering all day on and off, it’s ready to top your pizza!

Pizza Crust

3/4 c warm water

1 pkg dry yeast

1/8 tsp sugar or honey ( I used honey)

4 c flour

1 tsp salt

1/4 c olive oil

In a small bowl put warm water with yeast and honey, stir. Let stand in a warm place for 10-15 minutes. It will get bubbly. In a large bowl combine 1 cup flour and salt. Add oil to yeast mix. Pour into the large bowl of flour and mix together. Gradually add second cup of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. When dough is mixed, add third cup of flour. At this point you may need to add a small amount of water. When it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, turn it onto a floured board. Gradually knead the remaining cup of flour into the dough. It should become smooth and elastic and no longer sticky. The amount of flour will vary depending on how moist the dough is and the weather. Coat a bowl with olive oil and place the dough ball in it, rolling it to coat it on all sides. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place, until it has doubled in size. This takes about 1 1/2 hours. ( I put my oven on and placed the dough on the warmest place on the stove top. )You will know when the dough is ready by pressing your finger in it, it will leave an impression. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roll out dough on a floured surface. This makes a 20 inch round pan or a 12 x 18 baking pan. Brush oil in pan, place rolled dough and brush oil on dough. Place pizza sauce 1/4 inch thick. Next place sliced green pepper and onions. If you wish to add pepperoni, do it after the veggies. Top with mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle Italian seasoning or oregano on top. Cook 15-18 minutes till brown and cheese is bubbly.

So as I crafted my first pizza Bob’s way, I felt that he would have approved. He was so proud of his pizzas and that rubbed off on me, so many years later. I wish to dedicate this post to my father-in-law on the day he was born on.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

I must say so myself, these are delicious! Merely the cookie without the filling would be great too!

Recently I was thumbing through my Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine. It’s been in my recipe collection for 17 years. It’s worn and torn in places, showing its age and constant use. It has been one of my favorite magazines to find cookie recipes all year. I say all year because many of the recipes are good for all through the year and why limit them to December and Christmas?

It was a Saturday afternoon and I wanted to whip up these peanut butter oatmeal cream pies ( cookies) for Tom and the girls at school. I try to bake for them all weekly and the weekend off is a great time to do it! I gathered my ingredients, lit my kitchen candles and away I baked!

Homemade Peanut Butter Oatmeal Pies

Taken from Better Homes and Garden Christmas Cookies publication

1/4 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. quick cooking oats

Filling

2 tsps. hot water

1/4 tsp salt

1- 7 oz. jar marshmallow cream ( Fluff)

1/2 c. shortening

1/3 c. powdered sugar

My new mixer that I have used a lot!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet. In a small bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. In a large bowl combine butter and peanut butter. Beat on medium until combined. ( I used my Kitchen aid mixer but you could use a hand mixer) Beat in sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until just combined. Stir in flour mixture and oats.

2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown and centers are set. Cool for one minute and then transfer to wire cooling rack.

3. In a medium bowl combine hot water and salt. Stir until dissolved. Add marshmallow cream, shortening ( I’m not crazy about shortening and may use butter next time) and powdered sugar. Beat until well combined.

4. Spread filling mixture onto flat side of half of cookies. Top each frosted cookie with another cookie. Makes 13 sandwich cookies.

I store my cookies at room temperature in my plastic cookie keeper that’s air tight. These are so much better than store-bought cream pies…look out Little Debbie’s!

Enjoy your week and take time to bake for your friends and loved ones!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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