Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip CakeHappy Thanksgiving!

If I stop and think about the many blessings that came my way throughout this past year, I just sit here and shake my head, and wonder how I could possibly be worthy of them…and I am so grateful…so thankful for my newfound friends and their belief in me…

I’m thankful for the love of my family…my parents…and my kids, who are my biggest supporters in life. They are my heart. And I’m thankful for my new future son-in-law who makes my daughter smile and laugh on a daily basis (and brings me apples still on the branch because he thought that I’d like to use them for props. I love him.) And for my friends…I’m grateful to all of you..the ones who can sit across from me…and the friends who I’ve known for years and years, but never met in real life.

I think about those who have suffered hardship and heartache, and pray that they will soon find peace in their lives.

And…I think about you, my wonderful readers.

I’m thankful for your support..
I’m thankful for your love and friendship…
Without you, “butter, basil, and breadcrumbs” would be just words.

I hope your day is a blessed one..filled with family and friends…thanksgiving…and joy and laughter! Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake

And dessert. I hope your day is filled with lots of desserts… like pumpkin chocolate chip cake!  So very easy to throw together, this moist pumpkin cake is filled with spices and chocolate chips…perfect for a beautiful Thanksgiving Day!  You can dress it up, or dress it down, because no matter how you dress it… it’s delicious, and that’s all that really matters! 

What are you thankful for today?  I’d love to hear your thoughts… 

Life is good. It’s a “Thankful for the blessings that God has bestowed upon me…” kind of good.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip   Cake

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake
The Cake
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 3½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 1½ cups mini chocolate chips
  • Mini Chocolate Chips for Garnish
The Frosting
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp milk (or more, depending on your desired consistency)
The Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and flour two 9” square cake pans
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and ground cloves. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the pumpkin, vegetable oil, eggs, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, and vanilla until fully incorporated.
  5. Begin to add the flour mixture one cup at a time, beating until each cup is fully incorporated. Continue with the remaining flour, and beat just until all flour has been mixed in.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. Divide batter between the two cake pans (about 3½ cups each). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Frost with Browned Butter Icing, and garnish with chocolate chips.
The Frosting
  1. Prepare the browned butter by melting the stick of butter in a skillet over low heat. Once the butter has melted, continue to let is simmer until the fats and solids separate. Watch it carefully, and don't walk away from the pan at this point, because it's a fine line between browned butter and burned butter! As soon as the solids in the bottom of the pan turn a golden brown, remove from heat. Your butter has browned. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, browned butter, vanilla, and 2 tbsp milk on the lowest speed until fully combined. Increase the speed on the mixer and add the final tablespoon of milk. Beat for about three minutes until fluffy. At this point, you may add more milk (a couple teaspoons at a time) until it has reached your desired spreading consistency.
*Note: you can use regular chocolate chips, but my experience is that they tend to float to the bottom of the pan, whereas the mini chocolate chips remain scattered throughout the cake.


Bucatini in a Tomato and Mushroom Sauce

Bucatini with tomato and mushroom sauceI’ve mentioned this before, that I am…admittedly…a closet eater. There are times when I feel the need to hide what I’m eating. I don’t know why…I just do.  It’s not that I’m trying to hide WHEN I’m eating… I mean, people know that I eat. Look at my hips. It’s obvious.  It’s WHAT I’m eating that I try to hide, and I’m finding out that it’s not necessary, because other people are eating the same things that I have been “shamefully” eating behind closed doors!

Like this…I was a closet butter and tomato sauce closet eater. I had no idea that other people ate it…and that it was actually “a thing”… Imagine, all this time, I’ve been eating a little butter cooked in my sauce secretly, when no one was around to see. I thought that people might think it was odd, that I’d lose face among my peers…but I loved it, and was perfectly content to keep that my secret.

Seriously. Tomatoes and butter.
A match made in heaven.

But there I was one day, flipping through Pinterest, when a pin caught my eye. It was for Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. A can of tomatoes, butter, and an onion cut in half…all simmered together for 45 minutes until the flavors married, and the tomatoes have broken down.

I was freed.
Free to eat my butter sauce out in the open…

I felt like I was running…. and twirling….and dancing…laughing and singing…though a field of daisies with rays of sunshine beaming off the bowl of pasta in one hand, and a fork in the other…

Okay, I exaggerate.
We all know that rays of sunshine wouldn’t beam from the bowl.
And you should never run with a fork.

But sometimes? I just want pasta. I mean, serious pasta. You know…that strong urge for starch. A heavier pasta enhanced with a lighter sauce. This sauce, to be exact.

This glorious sauce!

The way the sweet onion, and salty butter enhances the tart tomato is a flavor that I cannot even describe…rich, nutty, salty, sweet…all together in one simple, rustic sauce. The added sautéed mushrooms bring that earthy flavor that only mushroom lovers can appreciate. Yet it’s light enough to let the bucatini shine through, and shine it does, my friends…it satisfies those carbohydrate needs!

Life is good. It’s a “When a girl is hungry for pasta…well…you just never deny her…” kind of good.


Bucatini in a Tomato and Mushroom Sauce
Serves: 2 generous servings
  • 1 - 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes (or just plain whole tomatoes)
  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 oz mushrooms (I used regular white button, sliced)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ box Bucatini pasta
  1. In a large saucepan, bring the tomatoes, butter, onion, and salt to a simmer on low heat. Let simmer for 45 minutes.
  2. While the sauce is simmering, heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan, and add the mushrooms. Saute until golden brown. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. Cook ½ box bucatini according to the directions on the package.
  4. After the 45 minutes, remove the onion (chop it up and put it in a freezer bag for another use!), and stir in the mushrooms.
  5. Add the cooked pasta directly from the water into the pan of sauce, and toss to coat.
  6. Serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan and freshly grated pepper (if desired).
  7. Enjoy!
After the sauce has simmered for 45 minutes, and it is time to remove the onion, don't discard the onion! It is so full of flavor, you can chop it up and freeze it for another use!


Everything Home Magazine Premier!

I am thrilled, and proud, and so very honored to share our Premier issue of Everything Home Magazine!  

Just sit back, and relax, and enjoy the wonderful articles brought to you by the Everything Home Team!

Simply Click on the Photo Below to Go Directly to the magazine: Everything Home Magazine

Pork & Beans and Wieners

Pork and Beans and Wieners InstagramWhile I was giving my father a hug as I was leaving to go home a few weeks ago, he said:

“You know what you should make for your blog sometime, Pru?”
“What’s that?” I asked him.
“Pork & Beans and Wieners” he replied.

I laughed, because at the time, I guess I didn’t think that pork and beans and wieners was blog worthy.

But the more I thought about it, the more it became important to me, because he is important to me.

First of all…This is my father’s all time favorite meal. I bet you that he’d eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 24/7. I know he would. So, how could I deny him his blog request?

Secondly… let’s face it. This is a meal that I grew up on, and I’m sure that many of you have grown up on, too.

I love this meal. For me, it’s comfort. And isn’t that what my blog is really all about? Comfort?

Simple? Rustic? Delish?

So, this one is for you Pa. Your most favorite meal ever.

Oh, and I’ll be at your house around 1pm today to drop it off.
I love you.

Life is good. It’s a “I realized that it isn’t about the elegance of the food, rather than the love and memories behind it…” kind of good.


Pork & Beans and Wieners
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 hot dogs (your favorite brand), sliced into ¼" diagonals
  • 1 23.8 oz can pork and beans
  1. In a large frying pan, melt the butter and the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and sauté until golden brown. (I almost like to let them get a little dark around the edges, as they give a wonderful smoky onion flavor to the dish). Add the garlic, and sauté for another minute.
  2. Add the hot dog slices to the onions and garlic, and sauté until the hot dogs are browned.
  3. Add the can of pork and beans, and let simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Enjoy!




Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream

Ghost          Cupcake with TitleI’ve never been much of a Halloween girl. I don’t know why, because I get excited when I see the displays of decorations and candy at the stores…and I do buy the candy…but I just never buy the decorations.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a good Halloween decoration or two. I love to drive by houses that have ghosts hanging in their trees, pumpkins lit up on their porches, and little graveyards on their front lawns that have spooky music playing in the background..

..And I think to myself: Next year. I’ll start decorating next year.

And here I am today, “next year” with no Halloween decorations up. I guess the only good part of that, is that while you’re all taking your decorations down, and packing them all away in boxes, and dragging them all up to the attic, I’ll be sitting here enjoying one of these cute little ghost cupcakes and a cup of tea…and maybe a scary movie or two!

Next year. I’ll decorate next year for sure.

I wish you all a very Ghoulish and Spooky Halloween! I hope it is a day filled with zombies and princesses…and…witches and super heroes…

But most of all…I wish you a day filled with ghosts..
Little cupcake ghosts..

Super easy to make, these little cupcakes pack a deep chocolate punch! Unlike so many other cake recipes that start to get crumbly and dry after a couple of days, these cupcakes remain moist for days, thanks to the vegetable oil AND sour cream! The marshmallow buttercream is so light and fluffy, and is a perfect sweet balance to the rich fudge flavor of the cupcake!

The beauty of making these into little ghosts, is that they don’t have to be perfect! If the piped frosting looks a little crooked, that is all the better! Little candy eyes placed haphazard, gives them an adorable whimsy look that kids from age 2 to 102 will love!

Happy Halloween!

Life is good. It’s a “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts…” kind of good..


Ghost Cupcake

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Buttercream
Serves: 24
The Cupcake
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup special dark cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup boiling hot water
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
The Marshmallow Buttercream
  • 16 oz container Marshmallow Fluff
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pound bag powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • Candy Eyes
  • Extra cupcake papers in your favorite Halloween pattern
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake tin with papers. (Makes 24 cupcakes)
The Cupcake
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powders, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside until ready to use.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the granulated sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy. Add the milk, vegetable oil, and sour cream. Beat until fully combined. Add the flour mixture, and beat just until combined. Add the hot water, and beat on medium speed for about two minutes. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. Pour batter into the muffin tins, about ⅔ full.
  4. Bake for 16 minutes, or until a toothpick placed into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven, and cool completely in muffin tin before removing.
The Marshmallow Buttercream
  1. While the cupcakes are baking, begin making the buttercream.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the fluff, butter, salt, and vanilla. Beat until fluffy.
  3. Begin adding the powdered sugar a cup at a time,alternately with a little water, beating on low speed until fully incorporated. Continue until all of the powdered sugar has been incorporated. Beat on high for three minutes. (If the frosting isn't your desired piping consistency, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it meets your approval.)
To Decorate the Cupcakes
  1. Remove the cooled cupcakes from the muffin tins.
  2. Cut the tip (about ½ inch) from a disposable decorating bag, and fill with buttercream. Squeeze the filled bag of frosting back into the bowl until a poof of air comes out with the frosting. (That will save you from a messy piping job).
  3. Begin piping the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes in a swirl pattern, leaving a little point of frosting at the top.
  4. Place two candy eyes crookedly onto the piped frosting.
  5. Continue until all of the cupcakes have been frosted. Place the frosted cupcakes into the Halloween cupcake paper.
  6. Let the cupcakes sit out on the counter for a couple of hours until the frosting hardens a little.
  7. They can be stored in an air tight container in a cool spot for up to one week.
  8. Enjoy!


Apple Rose Pastries

Apple   Rose PastriesI have been asked numerous times to give advice to new bloggers just starting up…and one of the things that I always tell them, is that there are thousands upon thousands of bloggers in this blogging universe, sometimes cooking the same exact thing that you are, and blogging about it at the same time. You just cannot avoid it. So I tell them to not worry about it too much, not to overthink it, and to just be original, and everything will be just fine.

At least that’s what I say…

Sometimes I need to take my own advice, because I spent fifteen minutes today in panic mode, after I came across The Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for her Saltine Crack Ice Cream Sandwiches that she posted on June 5th.  

Shoot, shoot, shoot!! I kept saying that over and over again, while I quickly logged into my blog, to check the date on my Toffee Pecan Bark Ice Cream Sandwiches. June 26th. Aggghhhhhhhhh!!!  

Truth of the matter is, I very rarely visit other blogs. Not because I don’t want to, and most bloggers would agree, it is just that there are just not enough hours in a day. And even though I know that there are thousands of bloggers out there doing the same thing that I am, it still amazes me when I see a recipe that is almost identical to one of mine.

Honestly, nothing is original anymore..
You know…great minds, and all…
Should we just call them unoriginal originals, and call it a day?
I think so.

I never saw The Smitten Kitchen’s ice cream sandwich post before today.  And here I was, thinking that I was so genius in coming up with toffee bark ice cream sandwiches! This is exactly what I mean, there will always be someone else coming up with the same exact thing, and pretty close to the same exact time. You just cannot avoid it!  Apple   Rose   PastriesAnd… these little apple rose pastries?  There is nothing original about them, as they are all over the internet! And while I’m not sure where the original source for these roses is, I did enjoy this post from Manuela.

They’re so pretty, I just had to make them, and of course, I had to change them to suit my taste!

This is just another quick and easy, yet beautiful way to impress your family and friends! These little pastries are so fancy, they’ll think you spent hours carving the apples just to fit into the pastries, when in fact, it’s a matter of quickly slicing the apples, and rolling them up in puff pastry!

Most of the recipes I’ve seen, call for apricot jam, and while I do love them made with jam..my preference is to use maple syrup. I also like to add raisins and walnuts tucked inside the folds of the puff pastry. Sprinkled with a little cinnamon and brown sugar, they’re just like eating a cinnamon Danish topped with apple, with the bonus of “beautiful”!

But the best part?
Watching the delight on the faces of your loved ones, when they see these for the first time!
It will make all of that hard work of carving those apples (wink, wink!) worth the five minutes it actually takes to slice them!

Life is good. It’s a “A bouquet of roses of this kind is especially sweet…” kind of good.


Apple Rose Pastries

Apple Rose Pastries
Serves: 12 servings
  • 4 large apples, your choice in color (red, green, yellow)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 puff pastry sheets, thawed
  • Flour for rolling the pastry sheets
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins, chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • Powdered sugar for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin tin with vegetable spray.
  3. Cut the apples in half, and core, carefully cut the stem and blossom away from the apples. Slice the apples thin, about ⅛".
  4. In a large microwavable bowl, squeeze the lemon into the water. Add the apples to the lemon water, and microwave on high for about 3½ minutes. Drain, and let dry on a paper towel lined dish.
  5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one pastry sheet to about 12" x 9". Cut the pastry sheet into six 2" x 9" strips. Repeat with the other pastry sheet.
  6. Starting with one puff pastry strip, brush maple syrup to cover the top of the strip from edge to edge.
  7. Beginning at the upper left hand corner of the pastry strip, start to place the apple slices from left to right (overlapping them so that each apple slice covers about half of the preceding apple slice) along the top edge of the pastry, so that the red (green or yellow) side of the apple is hanging over the upper edge of the pastry. (See photos below)
  8. Sprinkle the apples with brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts.
  9. Fold the bottom edge of the puff pastry up over the apple, raisin, walnut mixture. (See photos below)
  10. Starting from the left hand side, begin to roll the folded pastry (that has the apple edges showing) loosely into a pinwheel. As you roll, you will see the apples start to form a rose. (See photos below)
  11. Place pastry side down, into a greased muffin tin.
  12. Repeat with remaining puff pastry strips and apples.
  13. Drizzle with remaining maple syrup.
  14. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until the puff pastry has turned golden brown. Toward the end of baking time, keep a close eye on the apples so that their edges don't burn.
  15. Remove from oven. Let cool in pan.
  16. Carefully remove from muffin pan, and dust with powdered sugar.
Now, after singing their "Oh they're so pretty!" praises, I do want to mention that they're best warm, and should be eaten the same day. After one day, they are still edible, it's just that the apples turn a bit rubbery, making the texture not so palatable.


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