Tag Archives: thankful

Pumpkin Palooza Recipe of the Day: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

21 Nov


Originally posted on November 14, 2011

The recipe I’m sharing today is one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Each year this is what we have for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, and we grill it, which is superb! The kids all watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade while they eat their grilled bread. I also usually make mini loaves of this to give the individual teachers as a gift, as well as two loaves to put in the faculty rooms at the kids’ school and my husband’s school as a thank you to everyone. Last year I think I tripled the recipe, if I remember correctly and had to mix it in a huge stock pot. Not sure what my plan of attack will be this year, but I have already stocked up on my cranberries and my pumpkin!




2 cups pumpkin puree (1 can of One Pie Pumpkin = 2 cups)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
4 eggs, large
1/2 cup Canola or Vegetable oil
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
12 ounce package of fresh or frozen cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease loaf pan(s). You can either use two large loaf pans or 3 mini loaf pans.

Beat together pumpkin, sugar, water, eggs and oil.

Sift in remaining ingredients except cranberries. Mix just until smooth.

Gently fold in cranberries.

Pour into loaf pan(s) and spread evenly.

Bake in the center of oven for 60 – 70 minutes for large loaves, less time (40-50 minutes) for smaller loaves or until toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Do not overbake or bread will be dry.

Cool in pan on a rack for 10 – 15 minutes. Turn bread(s) out onto rack and finish cooling.

Bread may be made in advance, covered and chilled for up to four days.(When I make two loaves for us I often save one to eat and keep one to freeze to eat at a later date.)

Pumpkin Palooza Recipe of the Day: Pilgrim Pies

20 Nov

Pumpkin flavored whoopie pies!


Last year, around Thanksgiving, a friend passed along to me a recipe for Pilgrim Pies, otherwise known as pumpkin flavored whoopie pies. My husband loves whoopie pies and he was laid up in a cast last year at this time, so as a special treat I made these for him and some of his friends who came to visit the night before Thanksgiving. They all gave them a thumbs up, so here is the recipe for you. Thanks to reader Jen B. who told me that this recipe actually originated from “Family Fun,” which is one of my all-time favorite magazines.

Ingredients for the Pumpkin “Cookies”

2 eggs

2 c of light brown sugar

1 c oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin

3 c flour

1 T pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Ingredients for filling:

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

1/2 c butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla extract

4 – 5 c of confectioners’ sugar


Heat overn to 350 degrees.

Beat the eggs, brown sugar, oil and vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth.

Stir in the pumpkin.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture a half cup at a time, blending each time until smooth.Drop a heaping tablespoon (I use my Pampered Chef medium sized scooper for jumbo cookies, small scooper for smaller sized cookies) onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy.

Mix in the confectioners’ cugar a half cup at a time, until the frosting is spreadable.

There is usually extra frosting.

Finally, assemble the pies.

Pumpkin Palooza Recipe of the Day: Cranberry Pie

21 Nov

My Thanksgiving Day Cranberry Pie

Each year for Thanksgiving we go to my aunt and uncle’s for a huge family Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of all the food with none of the stress of buying gifts. I especially like it because we have A TON of desserts, homemade pies and desserts of every flavor in the world it seems. In the past I’ve been assigned a pumpkin pie, a squash pie or an apple pie. Last year though, I was given the choice to bring whatever I wanted. I decided to walk on the wild side as they say, and try something new. I saw this in a magazine last fall and I was determined to try it out. It was delicious and I’ll be making it again this year.

At the time I could not remember where I had found the recipe, but I believed that I had ripped the recipe out of Country Living . The author of the recipe is Chef Joan E. Aller, author of Cider Beans, Wild Greens and Dandelion Jelly.


Makes 1 pie  (8 servings)

Working time 15 minutes

Total time 1 hr 5 minutes


1 nine inch pie crust

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries  (1 twelve ounce bag)

1 cup sugar (divided 2/3 cup  and 1/3 cup)

1 heaping Tablespoon all purpose flour

1 egg white

1 cup heavy whipping cream


1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out piecrust and arrange in a 9″ pie pan.

2) Pour cranberries into crust to form a thick layer.

3) In a medium bowl, sift together 2/3 cup sugar and flour.

4) In a separate bowl beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Then fold into flour mixture. Slowy stir in cream until combined.

5) Cover cranberries with remaining 1/3 cup sugare and then pour cream  mixture on top.

6) Bake pie for about 10 minutes.  Then lower oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes more.

7) Let pie cool completely before serving.

Pumpkin Palooza Recipe of the Day: MaryLou’s Sweet Potato Casserole

18 Nov

This is MaryLou. She makes a kickin’ Sweet Potato Casserole!


Who is MaryLou, you ask? She’s my mother-in-law and she makes the best sweet potato casserole EVER!!  She knows how much I love it, and even if it’s NOT Thanksgiving, she’s often made it when we visit. I am always sure to sit myself next to the Sweet Potato Casserole at the table, whenever she makes it.

Since 450 miles is a LONG way to go for a bite of her casserole, she let me have the recipe in November 2004. I am now sharing it with you. You are very lucky. 🙂


3 cups sweet potatoes boiled and mashed

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup margarine

Mix thoroughly and pour into buttered casserole dish.


1 cup light brown sugar packed

1/2 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans (this is a 6oz. pkg. halved pecans or so my notes say)

1/2 cup margarine melted

Mix with fork and sprinkle on top

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes

“Sit down and enjoy!”

The Reverse Dinner Party

3 Dec
Just two years ago, we were in the midst of all this, but a great new tradition did come out of it!

Just two years ago, we were in the midst of all this, but a great new tradition did come out of it!

Some of you know that two years ago my husband had surgery on his leg. He had ruptured his achilles tendon and he had a cast on his leg for several months, and was on crutches with a boot for several more. It was a long year for him and for us, and a very humbling experience, but believe it or not, some good did come out of it.

The Reverse Dinner Party is one of those good things.
During the initial few weeks after the surgery we had lots of help from family and friends. We had people raking leaves and bringing meals and staying over, all to help us out. It was an incredible outpouring of generosity.

When things died down a little, we had some friends of ours, the Garabedian family, ask us if they could bring us dinner and hang out for the evening. We welcomed the fun and the food, and we said we’d make dessert. So they cooked at their house, we cleaned up at ours, and made dessert, and they arrived on our doorstep that evening with their two girls and our dinner.

It was their turn to cook dinner this time, and we were treated to turkey and all the fixins!

It was their turn to cook dinner this time, and we were treated to turkey and all the fixins!

With that one gesture, a new tradition was created: The Reverse Dinner Party. Our friends had brought dinner to us at our house but the next month when Don was more mobile, they asked us to come for dinner at their house. It seemed unfair to have them make dinner for us again, so we decided to treat them and we brought dinner to them at their house and this time they provided dessert.

It became a fun treat and a little bit of a break, too. If you had to clean your house for company, at least you “only” had to make dessert along with the cleaning. If you had to cook the main dish, at least you didn’t have to worry about making your house presentable for guests at the same time.

Monkey bread and pumpkin pie for dessert!

Monkey bread and pumpkin pie for dessert!

There was also an element of surprise with some of our Reverse Dinner Parties. We would try not to tell the others ahead of time, what we were going to make. We’ve had all kinds of things and so far there has never been a time where we haven’t liked what the others have made. It’s also been a fun time to try out something new.

This month, we did know that the Garabedians were bringing a turkey diner, so I planned a pumpkin pie for dessert, to go along with it. I also made a new dessert that I had on hand in my pantry: a banana chocolate chip monkey bread. Both desserts and all of the dinner courses got all thumbs up from all nine of us.

This year we agreed to do a Yankee Swap in between dinner and dessert.

This year we agreed to do a Yankee Swap in between dinner and dessert.

We’ve had our dinners in all seasons, indoors and out. We’ve had drinks and desserts over a fire, sometimes we play games, and this time around we incorporated a Yankee Swap, just in time for the holidays. The kids and the adults all had a blast, so I’m sure we’ll do it again next year.

In the end, it’s a night together with friends and it’s the sharing of a meal that really matters. It amazes me to think that we began this tradition two years ago, and I am grateful to our friends who asked simply if they could bring us dinner.

Pumpkin Palooza Recipe of the Day: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 Nov

Originally posted on: November 16, 2011

OK seriously, what could be more perfect than the combination of pumpkin AND chocolate chips!? Last year I made these for a school party and the kids loved them.

At the time, I wrote on Facebook that a friend of mine posted this recipe and she got it from Allrecipes.com. I can’t remember who the friend was though! What I do remember is they were delicious!

I did double it when I made it last year. I didn’t even use my standup mixer, I used a wooden spoon. You could use one though if you have one.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies III
from Allrecipes.com


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts ( I did not use walnuts)


  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Grandma Grello’s Mashed Potato Bake

21 Mar

My memories of our summer days at the beach are very special to me.

As a kid, I spent at least half of each of my entire summers with Grandma and Grandpa Grello down by the beach near their house. We often slept there for a couple of weeks at a time while my parents worked. I have great memories of all the times we spent with them, the things we got to do, and of course, all the great things we got to eat while at their house. They made the best french toast, the best omelettes, the best pizza, the best everything.

As an adult with my own kids, I have made sure to take advantage of the fact that until recently we still had both of them in our lives and even now, we have her in our life still. I know how lucky we are, how lucky my kids are, and I do my very best to cherish this time with her, hoping to make similar memories for my kids to cherish too.

I tell you this not because I’m going off on a tangent, but because today’s recipe is another one of her recipes and it’s one that she made for our family a couple of summers ago after a day at the beach. Very often we would to take our kids to the beach, spend a good part of the day there, and then come back to her house to shower and change up for dinner.

In the time we’d spend at the beach, and entire dinner would be prepared for us, including appetizers, which was usually their famous homemade pizza and spinach pies.  Oftentimes there was a homemade blueberry pie sitting on the counter cooling as well, and ice cream in the freezer to go with it. (Hungry yet?) We’d eat our dinner, and then sit out on their deck for hours, having coffee and dessert out there while the kids played in the yard while the sun set, chasing rabbits (there were always so many rabbits in their yard, it seemed.) It was idyllic, to say the least.

I think of Grandma Grello and our days at the beach near her house, every time I make this.

One particular visit, she served us a whole roasted chicken with this amazing Mashed Potato Bake on the side. It wasn’t anything complex, but it was so delicious I couldn’t believe we’d never had it before. Now, every time we make it ourselves, I think of her and those times we spent at their house.

As you know, she’s famous for her homemade French Meat Pies, and since she gives us one for our freezer every year, I usually will make this Mashed Potato Bake as the side dish to go with it. This year Don made the mashed potato bake to go with the meat pie and it was as delicious as ever.

I don’t have a specific recipe for you, but it’s really super easy:

1) You make a basic recipe of mashed potatoes using as many potoates as you normally would, but when you are mashing them, add in about a half block of shredded cheddar cheese (more for a big batch, less for a smaller batch.)

2) Spread the mashed potatoes into a casserole dish and top with more cheddar cheese, bread crumbs and bacon bits.

3) Bake until crispy and brown around the edges.

Super easy, super delicious and for me, full of happy memories.

Gram Grello's Mashed Potato Bake with her French Meat Pie: the perfect combination of tastes and memories! Enjoy!