Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Harvest Loaf Cake

Today’s recipe for Harvest Loaf Cake comes from my mom. I have no idea where she got it from, but I’m glad she got it! I’m putting it under the heading of both bread AND cake. It’s a bit of a show-stopper, and perfect for your thanksgiving dessert table.

Because we’re so close to thanksgiving, and thanksgiving is all about family, I had to share this photo of Grandma’s youngest brother from sometime around the late 1910’s or early 1920’s. He was the youngest in the family, and always had that smile on his face. I love this photo so much! He looks like he’s straight out of the musical “Newsies”! Look at that hat, and that little coat!

If you look close, you can even see the little vest he has on under the coat. Oh – and a tie! Love it! What a cutie! Grandma loved ALL of her family so much –  it was one of my favorite things about her. Absolutely everyone (sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) was special, and loved, and just as important as everyone else. Ok – now that I’m remembering her and how special she was to me, I’m tearing up. Good memories can do that to me.

Ok, ok, on to the loaf/cake! There seems like a lot of steps, but most of it is all the spices in here. It’s a pretty easy recipe (Grandma would have loved it), so you can pull it together fairly quick. We like that, don’t we? Quick and easy recipes? You betcha!!

Cream wet ingredients together:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

Add:

2 eggs

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

Sift dry ingredients together:

1 3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Add to wet ingredients.

Fold in:

3/4 cup chocolate chips

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

I sprayed my loaf pan with a bit of non-stick spray before putting the batter in.

Bake at 350 degrees for 65-75 minutes.

Cool.

Drizzle with glaze.

Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1-2 Tablespoons cream (I used milk)

Sprinkle with:

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Let stand 6 hours before slicing.

It’s a pretty thick batter, but the loaf/cake comes out tender and delicious!

Oh how I love chocolate chips and walnuts in a quick bread!

After baking it comes out of the pan beautifully.

See how pretty it is after adding the glaze and walnuts?!! Since I’ve never made this before, I didn’t know how finely to chop the walnuts to sprinkle on top. While this looks pretty, I’d chop them a bit finer next time.

I think this is a show-stopper. It’s easy to do, it’s delicious, and it looks fabulous! I mean, absolutely fabulous! The recipe is similar to Moist Pumpkin Bread or Pumpkin Raisin Bread, only with chocolate chips. Then you add the tasty glaze and the chopped walnuts, and there you go – show-stopper! Try this Harvest Loaf Cake with your thanksgiving desserts.

 

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Maple Pecan Scones

I’m sharing my recipe for Maple Pecan Scones today. It comes from the pages I ripped out of the magazine years ago. These magazine pages have several recipes on there, one being the ridiculously delicious Chocolate Chip Scones I made last summer. I hadn’t made this particular recipe before, but it sounded like a perfect recipe for fall. Well, this recipe didn’t disappoint. These scones are as ridiculously delicious as the Chocolate Chip Scones. Wow. Why haven’t I been making these all along? I’m glad I finally did.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Maple Pecan Scones

In a large bowl, combine:

3 1/2 cups flour

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in:

2/3 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter)

Add to dry ingredients:

1 cup milk

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

Mix lightly with a fork until mixture clings together and forms a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently 5-6 times.

Divide dough in half.

With rolling-pin, roll first half into 7 inch circle.

Cut into 4 wedges.

Repeat with other half of dough.

Put scones 1 inch apart on greased baking sheet.

Pierce with tines of a fork and brush tops with another 1/4 cup of maple syrup.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm.

Mix up the wet and dry ingredients separately, then cut the butter into the dry ingredients.

Add the wet ingredients and mix together with a fork.

When you turn the dough out to knead, it will look like this and you’ll think, “no way will this work”. Knead a couple of times and it comes together nicely. Really, it will.

Divide the dough in two pieces and then roll them out into a 7″ circle. Cut the circle in 4 and put the pieces onto a baking sheet.

Prick with a fork and brush with the remaining 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Ready for the oven.

They come out of the oven full of sweet maple syrup and toasted pecans.

Oh my. I’m so glad I tried this one. These are perfect for breakfast or afternoon coffee or tea. Serve them warm from the oven with some softened butter – oh wow. So good! You might even want to think about serving these Maple Pecan Scones for that special breakfast on the third Thursday of  November.

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Cheese Muffins

Today’s recipe for Cheese Muffins comes from my mother-in-law. I’m not sure where she got the recipe – maybe from one of HER old church cookbooks, but she raised a family of 6 kids, had a career as a nurse, and is now 93 years old and still making these. She made these muffins for us once when we visited her years ago, and we’ve been having them ever since. They’re good for this time of year when we’re all eating a lot of soups and chilis. They’d go perfectly with Chicken-Noodle Soup with Vegetables, Potato Soup, Cream of Broccoli Soup, 10 Minute Tomato Soup, or Creamy Vegetable Soup. The weather has been beautiful, but it’s getting cold here in Minnesota, and soup is perfect for coming into the warm house after you’ve been outdoors raking leaves, or stacking firewood, or even just going for a walk on a cool afternoon. We have to get outside while we can – winter IS coming, whether we like it or not. Soup is “good for ails ya”, as the old timers say, and what goes great with soup? Muffins. Cheese Muffins, to be exact. Better yet, make up a batch and get them into the freezer for use later on when you just want to make up some soup and the muffins with it all ready to go without a lot of fuss. Perfect.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cheese Muffins

Combine:

2 cups flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

a dash of cayenne pepper

Measure out:

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, reserve 2 Tablespoons for topping

Combine rest of cheese with 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel and flour mixture.

Combine:

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 cup melted butter

Pour all at once into dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.

Divide equally into 9 greased 3″ muffin tins (I got 10 muffins).

Sprinkle tops with reserved cheese.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

Here are the dry ingredients, all ready to go.

Next are the wet ingredients, all ready to go.

The ingredients are mixed up and ready to combine.

It makes a stiff batter.

Into the muffin tins goes the batter and the reserved shredded cheddar is sprinkled on top.

Out of the oven the muffins are fragrant with the cayenne and lemon, and the cheese is melted and sooooo good!

Yes. I’d say these muffins are practically mandatory with a nice bowl of soup, like this Sweet Potato Corn Chowder. Just add some fruit or a nice green salad, and you’ve got a wonderful, tasty, comforting weekend lunch or light dinner. Get a batch of these Cheese Muffins into your freezer and you’re good to go for all the cold weather to come!

 

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Zucchini Bread

This recipe for Zucchini Bread is very close to a recipe for Zucchini Bread that was in Grandma’s old church cookbook, so you know it’s good. A friend of my mom’s gave her this recipe years ago, and I’m so glad she did. We made Zucchini Bread when I was growing up, and that original recipe has been lost, so I’m glad mom was able to get this one. Remember last week when I shared how to freeze zucchini? Well, this is another thing to do with it this winter when you have bags of zucchini in the freezer, waiting to be used in baked treats for your friends and family.

We have a history of farming and gardening in our family. I had to share this photo of my mom when she was little – and she was in someone’s garden. I’m not sure what’s in that bushel basket, but it looks like they might have picked carrots. She’s quite the little farmer with her straw hat hanging down her back and the overalls she’s wearing. I’m not sure who’s farm it is, but it does look like she was on a farm, somewhere.

I hope she (and that young farmer accompanying her) filled that bushel basket! So cute!

Gardening was a necessity for Grandma and her family, and all families who survived The Great Depression in the 1930’s, but it’s not only fun, it’s economical! Grow your own veggies AND save money! Yep – gotta love that! It’s important to save every last speck of fruit and vegetable you grow, and preserve it for a later date, oh, say winter here in Minnesota, when nothing grows and you want/need some fresh or locally grown produce preferably from your own garden. So when you end up with a huge zeppelin of a zucchini hiding underneath the leaves of the zucchini plant in your garden, you don’t want to waste it. Squeal with glee (not that I know anything about that or anything), pick said zeppelin, heft it into the kitchen (cuz that sucker’s heavy), shred it, freeze it, and next winter turn it into delicious baked treats for your friends and family.

Another plus – this recipe makes 3 loaves!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Zucchini Bread

Cream together:

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 cup oil

Add:

2-3 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups zucchini squash, shredded

Mix in:

3 cups flour

3-4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Stir in:

1 cup nuts (I used walnuts)

1 cup chocolate chips (the recipe in the old church cookbook says to add 1 cup raisins – I added golden raisins instead of chocolate chips here)

Pour batter into 3 greased and floured loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Note: Pumpkin can be substituted for zucchini.

I made two regular sized loaves and 3 small loaves perfect for gift-giving.

Oh boy – did this smell good while baking! The recipe says that pumpkin can be used instead of zucchini – I’ll have to try that, too!

Just. Can’t. Wait.

This bread is so delicious! Seriously. It’s perfect for breakfast, for an after-school snack, or for your afternoon coffee or tea. It’s full of fruit (or chocolate), nuts, and zucchini – and I mean it’s LOADED! Make a batch of this seriously delicious Zucchini Bread – eat a loaf, put a loaf in the freezer for later, and, well, maybe just eat two loaves.

 

 

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Chocolate Chip Scones

This recipe for Chocolate Chip Scones has been around since I ripped the section for scones out of an old magazine I had years ago. I can’t find a name on the pages I ripped out, and I can’t find a year, but I think it could have been an old issue of Country Living Magazine. There are several recipes in these pages, all perfect for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea. This photo of my great-grandmother reminds me of afternoon tea (or coffee). Look at that dress! She came to this country all alone from Norway when she was 18 years old. A doctor from a small town up north sponsored her and she worked for him for several years to pay that off before traveling to Minneapolis to work as a housekeeper. There she met her husband, they married, and moved to a farm in the area where I grew up. They had 6 children before her husband died when my grandpa (the youngest) was 2 years old.

She met the challenge of running a farm and raising their 6 wonderful children all by herself. I’m sure she didn’t have much time for afternoon tea, but I hope she took the time to do that once in a while. Just a few years ago my oldest daughter did a college art video project about her life, so we learned a lot and now know that their farm is still there. I love that she was smart and is reading in the photo because my Grandpa was also very smart but had to leave school after 8th grade to help run the farm. So many great stories – so little time to tell them all!

Back to the scones. I originally made these for my chocolate loving mom, but found out that they are ridiculously delicious and my whole family loves them, too. Oh oh.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Chip Scones

In a large bowl, combine:

2 cups self-rising flour (if using regular flour, add 2 t. baking powder and 1/2 t. salt)

3 Tablespoons sugar

With pastry blender or knives, cut in:

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter)

Cut in until shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine:

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add to dry ingredients.

Add:

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix with fork until mixture clings together and forms a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times, if needed.

Use a rolling pin (or use hands) to roll dough into a 7 inch round.

Cut into 4 wedges (I cut it into 6).

Place scones onto greased baking sheet and pierce tops with times of a fork (at this point I also used a little cream brushed on top and then sprinkled tops with coarse sanding sugar).

Bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm.

I used my trusty blender to get started.

Mixing everything with a fork help bring it all together.

I used my hands to pat out the dough and then cut it into 6 wedges.

I used coarse sanding sugar to make the scones sparkle, but regular sugar works, too. I love the sugary crust it makes on the top of the scones.

Oh yum.

Out of the oven and best warm with butter. Maybe also some homemade jam?

If you’re looking for an easy and delicious treat for your breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea (or coffee), this is definitely it. These Chocolate Chip Scones are ridiculously good, and you and your guests are going to love them!

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Shrimp Rolls

I made up this recipe for Shrimp Rolls because my son loves shrimp. Fried shrimp, shrimp cocktail, fresh shrimp, shrimp salad, shrimp dip . . . on and on and on. He is also a HUGE fan of Old Bay Seasoning. We try to use it whenever we can. One hot summer day, I was wishing we lived closer to the ocean so we could enjoy a lobster roll without having to search all over the Twin Cities for lobster. I though about having a delicious lobster roll until it hit me – everyone loves lobster rolls, so why not try to make a shrimp roll? Frozen cooked shrimp are easier to find in these parts than frozen cooked lobster. These have now become a summer staple for our family and I end up making them several times throughout the season. We’ve already had them once this year, and it won’t be the last time.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Shrimp Rolls

Thaw a one pound package of frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight. How big the shrimp should be depends on how you want to fix it. I have used bigger shrimp and then cut them into pieces, but for this batch, I used smaller shrimp and there was no need to cut them.

Mix together:

1/2-1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon dill weed

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or more to taste

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Add:

1/2 cup celery, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

Toss in:

the thawed shrimp

Serve in hot dog buns on a bed of chopped lettuce.

This is a fast and easy lunch or dinner recipe. It’s great on a hot summer night when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen.

It’s easier to mix the mayonnaise mixture first and then add the vegetables and shrimp.

Oh yes – one more squeeze of lemon and you’re having a delicious dinner on the deck.

Try this light and refreshing summer lunch or dinner. You may need an extra napkin depending on how full you fill the bun. This recipe is quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. It would be good at a picnic or at the beach – hey, it’s good anywhere! You might as well do it – make some of these Shrimp Rolls tonight!

 

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Orange Raisin Bread

I’ve been looking through Grandma’s old church cookbooks lately, and I found another interesting recipe called Orange Raisin Bread. I had to try it. Well, it’s good. Very good. I like it better than banana bread. It’s that good. The fresh scent of orange and the fruitiness of the raisins makes a tremendous combination, especially in the springtime. I might say – and I know I say this a lot – that it’s one of my new favorites. You all might want to try this one. I mean, it’s really good.

Have I mentioned that this bread is really good?

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Orange Raisin Bread

Grind:

the rind of 1 orange (I just used my rasp for the orange rind)

1 cup raisins (instead of grinding them, I just chopped them)

Into a 1 cup measure put:

the juice of 1 orange, squeezed

fill to 1 cup with boiling water

Cream:

2 Tablespoons shortening (I used butter)

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat in:

1 egg

Sift together:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add dry ingredients and liquid alternately.

Blend in raisins and rind.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Makes 1 loaf.

I love the scent of orange. It’s a day brightener.

I could have used my food processor, but this way was just as easy.

Before and after baking – isn’t it pretty?!!

This makes a beautiful loaf.

It’s beautiful, but as you can see, I didn’t exactly get the raisins thoroughly mixed in. I’m no professional. I just like to bake. Next time I will try and mix them in a bit more. You should try to bake a loaf of this bread. It’s absolutely delicious and your family will love it. Make this Orange Raisin Bread today!

 

 

 

 

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Dilly Bread

While perusing another of Grandma’s old church cookbooks one day, I happened upon this delicious sounding recipe for Dilly Bread. It’s fairly simple to do with only one rising – easy to do and pretty quick to make and serve with a soup or pasta. The fragrance of the dill and onion wafted through the house while it was baking, making me want to whip up a batch of Potato Soup or Chicken Noodle Soup With Vegetables pronto. But no. I waited. I cut a couple of slices for the photos, snitched the little end piece I cut off, and got this bread into the freezer as fast as I could. I’ll bring it out sometime when I don’t have the time and want a quick dinner – soup with this delicious bread.

My gosh but this bread is tasty!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Dilly Bread

Dissolve:

1 package yeast in 1/4 cup warm water

Combine in bowl:

2 Tablespoons sugar

3 Tablespoons dried minced onion

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

2 teaspoons dill seed (I used dill weed)

1 cup cottage cheese, warmed (I used the microwave for this)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 unbeaten egg

Add enough to form a stiff dough:

2 1/4 cups flour (I used 2 cups and kept the 1/4 cup for kneading)

Cover and let rise until double.

Knead down and put in 8 inch well-greased casserole.

Let rise, or shape into small buns (I totally missed this second rising and the loaf turned out beautifully anyway!)

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

While warm, brush loaf with butter and sprinkle with salt (I used kosher salt for this).

You can see that the dough really does almost double in size during the first rising. I put plastic wrap over it so it doesn’t dry out.

Just a little knead to bring it all together and make it pretty – that’s all it needs. Ha.

I put the dough into this square casserole (here’s where I didn’t see that there was supposed to be a second rising) and it baked up into a nice, round loaf.

Here is the beautiful, round loaf with its yummy butter and salt topping.

You can tell that I’m not totally back to my usual self yet – notice the other camera in the (left)background.

This bread is so tasty and absolutely delicious, you’ll want to make this every week! The recipe made a beautiful loaf (with the somewhat unusual ingredient of cottage cheese) that smells amazing and I can’t wait to eat it! Trust me – your family if going to love this Dilly Bread.

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Sunday Morning Blueberry Muffins

Today’s recipe for Sunday Morning Blueberry Muffins is another one from Grandma’s church cookbook. The recipe name is just so appropriate for that book! I love that we have that cookbook where we can remember some of the times our family spent at the church through the recipes and the names of the people who donated the recipes. You all know how I feel about church cookbooks – they’re just the best! Grandma’s church was the center of her community, and she and her friends were all very active in the church and in all of the events put on by it. It was the hub of almost everything that went on in their small town, and everyone enjoyed being a part of it from the Sunday services to the ladies fellowship groups to the evening chimes to the activities for kids and more. Grandma’s family was instrumental in the founding of their church, so our family has a lot of memories there. That church still means a lot to all of the family today, and we go back every so often to look around and relive the many memories of past activities we’ve all been a part of. It’s like we can almost feel Grandma and Grandpa there when we go back to that pretty little church in their small town.

I must be feeling better – I seem to have taken an unusually large amount of photos of these muffins!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sunday Morning Blueberry Muffins

Combine:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix together:

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

1/3 cup oil (I used canola)

Mix with a fork or whisk.

Pour liquid over dry ingredients.

Mixture will be lumpy.

Fold in:

1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)

Fill 12 greased or lined muffin cups.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

There aren’t a lot of ingredients in these muffins. That’s what makes them so easy to make.

Mix the dry ingredients and liquid ingredients separately.

Mix them together gently.

The batter will be lumpy, but when you fold in the blueberries, the batter is ready to go.

Into the muffin liners with the batter and they’re ready to bake.

Out of the oven and ready for breakfast!

You can see the plump blueberries in here, and if you squint, you can see the sanding sugar I put on the top of each muffin. You can never have too much festooning! These quick and easy Sunday Morning Blueberry Muffins are great for Sunday morning breakfast or a snack anytime!

 

 

 

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Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins

I was recently thinking about the Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins I made in my 7th grade Home Ec class (and no, I’m not going to share any photos of that time in my life – Junior High School – ugh!) It was a plain muffin recipe, but after baking, you would dip the muffin top in melted butter and then into a cinnamon-sugar mixture. Talk about a warm and comforting, yet decadent breakfast treat or snack . . . I don’t have that original recipe anymore, but I checked in Grandma’s church cookbook and look what I found! I found a plain muffin recipe with at least 10 different variations – one of them being dipped in melted butter and a cinnamon-sugar mixture! Yay! So here they are!

This recipe came with a lot of variations – we might explore more of those at another time!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins

For the plain muffins:

Put in mixing bowl and mix well with a fork:

2 cups flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

(For the Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins, add 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)

Combine:

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil (I used canola)

Add all at once to flour mixture, stirring only until moistened.

Fill 12 greased (I used liners) muffin cups 2/3 full and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

For topping:

Immediately after baking, remove muffins from pan and dip tops in melted butter (about 3 Tablespoons), then in 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

The plain muffin recipe is really simple.

As my 7th grade Home Ec teacher used to say, “Don’t over mix! The muffins will have holes in them!” Only mix until JUST moistened.

I used liners for this batch, but grease the pans if you like them better that way.

After baking you can see how golden brown and gorgeous they are!

I tried dipping the muffins into the butter and then into the cinnamon-sugar mixture, but I kept getting a lot of them onto the muffins papers. I used a pastry brush to brush on the butter and then dipped the top in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

These muffins are absolutely perfect with a cup of coffee. They’re easy to make and have for a nice, warm treat or breakfast. I mean, how bad can that be – a muffin, melted butter, cinnamon, and sugar? I think these are best warm right out of the oven, but this batch is all packaged up and ready for my mom’s freezer. Some of these muffins would be nice to make the next time you invite your grandma or mom over for a nice cup of coffee. Give these Cinnamon-Sugar Muffins a try – they’re absolutely delicious!

 

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