Sunday, November 27, 2011

Marrying Deserts

Does anyone else do this?  Marry recipes?  You know, take a bit from this and a bit from that and come up with something new?  I do it all the time and this recipe was a molten home run.  It was wonderfully frugal, too!  Bread Pudding is a classic frugal trick.  A great way to use up old bread. I have found many versions of bread pudding in frugal cookbooks and in one cookbook recalling recipes of the Great Depression.  The Italians use dried bread to create wonderful salads, too. 

My twist is Chocolate Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Pudding.  I used stale Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls instead of Bread and part of a Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding Recipe.  I have found this method of mixing recipes to be a fun, innovative, and a great way to use up odd ingredients.  It can be very easy on the pocketbook, too.  I have found that you can easily deviate from many recipes and eliminate costly ingredients but not detract from the taste.  There are some things you can't do without, for example, I don't deviate from the dough portion of the cinnamon rolls but play with the filling and the glaze.  I used the Bread Pudding Recipe as guide for portions and cooking times. First the recipes as they appeared in my cookbook. 

From Chef Jacqueline Mc Mahan as
published in The San Fransisco Chronicle
Cookbook Volume II

5 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 C warm Water
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 C slightly warm buttermilk
2 tsp. Vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 C fresh or canned pumpkin puree
1/2 C Light Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/4 C Canola Oil
About 7 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 C Butter, Melted

1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar
2 TBSP Cinnamon
1/2 C Currants

1 TBSP Butter
1 TBSP Milk
1 1/4 C Powdered sugar
About 2 TBSP Boiling Water
1 tsp. Vanilla

To Make the Dough, Combine the yeast, warm water, and sugar in a bowl; set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Blend together the buttermilk, vanilla, egg, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and oil in a large bowl.  Stir in the yeast mixture, then the flour, 1/4 C at a time, until a soft dough forms and clings to the side of the bowl as you mix.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until springy and smooth.  Add 1 TBSP of flour at a time to keep the dough from sticking.

Transfer the dough to an oiled mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough is doubled in size.  The rising time is longer due to the heaviness of the pumpkin.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions.  Pat or roll each portion into a thick rectangle, about 8 by 12 inches.  Spread each rectangle with half the melted butter. 

To make the filling:  Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and currants;  sprinkle half over each rectangle.  Press the currants into the dough.  Roll up each rectangle into a cylinder, then cut up each cylinder into about 9 thick rolls.  Place the rolls on parchment-covered or greased baking sheets.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Bake the rolls for 22-25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before glazing.  Note:  You must let them cool before glazing or the glaze will not stick to the rolls.

To make the glaze:  Combine the butter and milk in a bowl and warm in a microwave for about 30 seconds.  Or combing the milk and the butter in a saucepan and warm over low heat just until the butter melts.  Stir in the powdered sugar.  Add the boiling water and vanilla and whisk until smooth. 

Pour glaze over barely warm cinnamon rolls.

There are only 3 of us in our family and we can't eat these all before they go stale, although we really try.  I have had good luck freezing them in the past but decided bread pudding made with the cinnamon rolls might be worth trying.

From Chef Jacqueline Mc Mahan as published
in The San Fransisco Chronicle Cookbook Volume II

1/4 C Sugar
1 C Milk
1 Can (14oz) evaporated milk
3 C finely diced crust less bread, dried out in oven
4 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
1 TBSP Vanilla
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

1 C whipping cream
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBSP powdered sugar


Place an ovenproof 2-quart baking dish or deep metal pan near the stove.  Put 3/4 C of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.  After 3 to 4 minutes, begin swirling the pan.  Do not stir.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes (again, do not stir), or until the sugar caramelizes.  Immediately pour into the baking dish.

In the same pan, heat the milk and evaporated milk over medium heat stirring in the remaining 1/2 C Sugar.  Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and add the dry bread.  Push the bread into the milk and let it soak for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place a roasting pan filled with 1 inch of water in the oven. 

Stir the chocolate, vanilla, and espresso powder into the mushy bread.  Beat together the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl;  add to the bread mixture.  Pour into the prepared baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and place the in the roasting pan in the oven. 

Transfer the pudding to a rack and let cool for 30 minutes.  Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving. 

To serve, loosen the edges with a knife, then unmold the pudding onto a rimmed platter. 

Just before serving, make the topping.  Whip the cream so very soft peaks.  Stir in the espresso powder, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  Spoon a dollop on each serving.


I used dried cranberries instead of currants in the cinnamon roll recipe.  I have also used miniature chocolate chips, too.  I dried the cranberries myself.  I bought them by the bag full at the end of Thanksgiving last year.  I froze some and I also halved some and placed on the racks of my dehydrator and dried out.  I don't deviate from this recipe other than that. I did use milk with 1 tsp vanilla last time, too as I didn't have any buttermilk either. That is a classic substitute found in any standard cookbook. 

For the Bread Pudding, it is to be served cold, inverted like flan.  That just didn't sound appetizing to me, I like mine warm and gooey.  I skipped the first step, caramelizing the sugar, and baked it for the above mentioned time.  Mine should have baked longer but I decided to take it out then and serve it warm.  It was similar to a molten cake. If that is your choice, too, I would start checking it about half way through the baking time.  You want everything hot and bubbly. I also didn't need to dry the rolls out in the oven.  They were very dry when I made the pudding.  Note, the drier the bread the better it soaks up the egg mixture creating a custard like filling. 

I didn't have cream in the house but I had some leftover raspberry sauce from the last of the harvest at the beginning of November (a record for us!).  It was wonderful drizzled on top. 


In a sauce pan place equal amounts of sugar and raspberries.  Cook on low heat until sugar dissolves and sauce forms.  I let mine sit for about 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Taste.  Add lemon juice if needed to brighten flavors.  Store in glass jar in refrigerator.  Mine is still good and was made the first week on November. 

The Cinnamon Rolls, served with local bacon, and piping hot coffee on the morning they were made. 
In the background is a stack of Vintage Day of the Week Tea Towels and Fabrics that I used as a center piece.
I couldn't bear to put them in the cabinet and the tea towels are a definate hands off set! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Cake

2008 Found us in a our current residence and I was making Thanksgiving Dinner for my parents and my mother-in-law.  I went all Rachael Ray with my recipes and we had a great meal.  My mother-in-law showed up with this cake.  A CAKE!  Who brings a cake to Thanksgiving?  This is the holiday where pies rule. . until you taste this cake!  Think crustless pumpkin pie with a crumb topping made with CAKE MIX!  Another thing I don't typically use!  This was utterly delicious.  A couple of notes, my mother-in-law was terrible about organizing things.  Her estate was filled with bags, boxes, and piles of recipes from magazines, newspapers, and on handwritten pieces of paper.  We had asked her for the cake recipe and she couldn't find it.  I did find it while sorting through mountains of recipes and a picture of Mary Jane Buck with her son, Tommy taken in 1964.  The recipe came from Mary Jane and we are glad to have located it and passed it down this year.  It stole the show.  It is seriously good and easy to make--so easy a child could do it!   

My mother-in-law, Marilyn in her high school years.  Simply beautiful. 


3 Large Eggs
3/4 C Sugar
1-15oz Can Regular Pumpkin
3 tsp. Pie Spice
1-12oz Can Evaporated Milk

1 package Yellow Butter Cake Mix or Butter Pecan Cake Mix (we used yellow)
1 Generous Cup Chopped Pecans
(They toast while the cake bakes)
 1 1/2 Sticks Butter, Melted

My son, demonstrating making this cake.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place eggs, sugar, pumpin, pie spice (I used cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg to taste as I didn't have spice mix)
and milk into mixing bowl. 

Mix througly

Pour into a greased 13 X 9 Cake Pan

Sprinkle on Cake Mix but do not mix into batter. 

Sprinkle on Nuts and Drizzle on Melted Butter

Place Cake in Oven and Bake 50 Minutes Until Knife Inserted in Center of Cake Comes Out Clean.  Cool in Pan.  Serve with Favorite Whipped Cream Topping. 
We Served it with Whipped Cream flavored with Vanilla and Powdered Sugar. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This is my beautiful dog, Scout.  He has been with us for 2 1/2 years now.  He is a sweet, loving dog.  He is a Black Lab and wants nothing to do with being a Lab.  He is seen here lying on the couch (oh, the story behind that!) on my Tulle Pillow.  The pillow is one I made with scrap fabrics and hem tape, ironed together.  I made them about 9 years ago and they have held up very well! 

Why am I talking about my Lab and my Pillow?  Well, it is because I suffer from what most of us do!  Unfocused attention.  While I started this blog for design related tips and some cooking, I am finding my interests are moving in many different directions.  While I love design--it is my job and love cooking--there are other things I need to talk about. 

Frugality.  Living a Frugal Life.  I think it is all interconnected somehow.  While people talk about organic lifestyles and all the benefits, I see high price tags!  Prices I can't afford to spend.  Then it hit me, frugal living!  So much of it is organic!  Home Gardening, Preserving, Recycling, and doing without.  Hm.  Think I am onto something!  So, I am going to interject some ideas on living more frugally that might inspire you to do the same. 

The pillows, Not more than $ 5.00 for the pair.  They have graced 2 bedrooms and now my living room.  Have held their shape.  Well worth the investment!  Simple to make, too.  I used co-ordinating fabric, hem tape, and stuffing.  I ironed 3 1/2 sides together, stuffed, and then stitched up the remaining side.  Hem Tape is not supposed to be a permanent bond but as I said earlier they have lasted 9 years so far.  When I put them together I had no idea I would still be enjoying them today!  

So, for Frugal, check out my side bar for some new links! 

Find this book--I think it is on Amazon.  It is the holy grail of living a frugal life.  Indispensable. 

And, as always, exploring my corner of the world.

Friday, November 18, 2011

It is Friday nite and I should be kicking up my heels in anticipation for the weekend in front of me.  Instead my mind is thinking of my sick boys in their beds, Thanksgiving preparations, the giant box of food from Co-op, chores, finishing my office, pictures that need taking, ideas undone, work I need to finish.  So many things to do, so little time.  Oh, the lard that needs rendered.  Yes, I am giving it a try!  So for now, a late night, filled with little sleep, an upset tummy, a mind reeling from overload, a cat and dog trying to snuggle with me, and my heels planted firmly on the couch.  Tomorrow, after work, I will grab my camera, render lard, plan for Thanksgiving, and let you know where my heels are taking me. For now, a little favorite recipe when you are sick.  Simple, hot black tea, plain saltines with butter, and clean, cold sheets. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Welcome Jasper's Edge Farm!

A big giant welcome to my dear, dear friend Regina!  I am so excited to see her in the blog world.  She has a lovely farm that is in its 5th Generation.  She raises exotic sheep and spins this amazing yarn.  Please visit her blog!  She can be found at
Her yarn is sold under the name Esther Purl Fibers and she can be emailed at
 She is a very creative soul and I hope that she gets "Paint the Farm Red Days" going soon!  There will be more information to follow as she works out the details.  She is an amazing wealth of knowledge of all things!  Please take a moment to link to her blog! 
This snap shot is a "before" picture she sent me while she was working out the accessorys for her back entry.  Darling! 
Maybe we can get her to post pictures of the AFTER! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Falling Back

Daylight Savings Time is this morning and I am up.  I woke up at what was 5:38 and after dragging my computer to bed, linking to a new blog I am exploring, realizing it is really 4:38, I am hoping for the extra hour I just received to be lazy like I like my Sundays to be!  My son is scrambling eggs on this particular Sunday.  He has a sporadic interest in cooking.  I love seeing him cook and giving him the tools to nourish himself.  I am craving a slow Sunday today, my early wake up call was from the beginnings of a migraine.  My system telling me to slow it down by force, but there is so much to do.  The garden and gazebo need shut down today.  I am cooking and baking for the week.  My son is singing in church and my husband needs help with his projects. 

The projects on my shop bench will sit for another day unless a spare moment reveals itself.  This cabinet, shown in its before state, is waiting for the shelves to be reattached and the next paint step to be completed.  It will house spices in my kitchen, but not today. I think often of living in the moment, of being at peace with where I am right now.  For the most part, I think I am.  But lets face it.  The here and now needs attention, too.  It needs cultivated.  It takes work.  The work is often a pleasure and the trick is not worrying too much about the future and not overlooking what is happening NOW.  RIGHT?, right.  Right. 
I often wonder, how did all those Mamas from years past, do it?  Church on Sunday morning and cooking a family meal for Sunday Dinner or, gasp, lunch.  A wonderful meal based on in-season ingredients.  A home filled with generations of family members gathered for a feast with Mama in her apron cooking with love and wisdom and pleasure.  A romantic idea I have conjured in my head I am sure!  But, I hear stories.  Lots of stories.  Stories in print, on blogs, on TV.  There must be something to it, a bit of magic that I haven't been told about.  Right?  Wrong.  It is all priorities and planning.  Plain and simple.  Priorities and planning.  Not just going where the wind takes you but being the wind and adapting and enjoying the process while preparing for the big event. 
So as I plan my Sunday and hope for an extra hour of laziness, I will not let the work I need to do consume me.  I will enjoy the processes as they come and tell my son, when he asks, "What are we going to do today?" that we are simply going to enjoy doing nothing.  I hope I can pay homage to all the families of days gone by and break bread, share stories, and just be with the ones I love.  I have Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cranberries rising and ready to bake,  chicken marinating in the fridge for Fried Chicken tonite, the beginnings of Spicy Squash Soup on the stove, ready to be pureed and finished off with cream.  I have the ingredients for a coleslaw apple salad ready to go.  All the fixings for Sunday Dinner.  All planned and ready to go.  Maybe I will get some lazy moments after all.

 Snuggling with my son who just crawled into my bed and asked me to turn up Laurel and Hardy and snuggle with him.  Perfect excuse to stop blogging, rambling, and enjoy the moment!  The blog I am exploring? Well, that will have to wait for another time because I am going to enjoy the moment and just be.  I am going to just be the arms that hold that boy in my favorite place in this world.  And that is where I will leave you and wish for you.  A moment of Sunday Laziness.  Of just being. A moment. . .