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Recipe of the month – Pumpkin Bread

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Fall is here, and finally there is just a bit of nip in the air. Of course, this being Texas means that slight chill disappears quickly and we are sweating in the Texas heat. But Fall is the time for pumpkins so I thought what could be better than pumpkin bread. I found this recipe on Once Upon a Chef. The house smelled wonderful, and the bread was delicious. Definitely a Fall hit.


2 cups flour

1/2 t. salt

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t baking powder

1 t. ground cloves

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground nutmeg

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 15 oz. can 100% pumpkin puree


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8×4-inch loaf pans with butter and dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until well combined; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until light and fluffy, a few minutes. Beat in the pumpkin. (The mixture might look grainy and curdled at this point but that is okay.)

Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Spread batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 65-70 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then move to wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe of the Month: Spicy Mongolian Beef

This is a super simple but delicious recipe.

You can add other veggies to the stir-fry as desired or you could even serve the beef over lettuce. We tried it as a salad but it would also be good with rice.

We will definitely have this again.


1 T. soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 t. sugar

1-2 t. crushed red pepper flakes

1 t. sesame oil

1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into 1/4-inch strips

1 T. olive oil


Mix the first 5 ingredients; toss with beef strips. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef mixture until browned, 2-3 minutes.

Recipe of the Month – Snowball Cookies

With the colder weather of winter, I originally was looking for a nice, hot soup recipe, but then decided that we rarely make soup. So I thought I would do a cookie recipe as baking cookies can be a great activity to do when it is cold outside. These cookies are called Snowball cookies but they go by many other names – Italian wedding cookies, Russian Tea Cakes, and Pecan balls to name a few. I remember making these every Christmas as a kid. Yummy!!!



1 cup butter softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar (confectioner’s sugar)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 cup powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In stand mixer cream butter and powdered sugar. Turn to low and mix in salt, vanilla, flour and pecans. Roll into one inch balls. Place on parchment covered baking sheets a few inches part. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until very lightly browned. Do not over bake
  3. Remove from oven and allow to cool just enough to handle them. Pour 1 cup powdered sugar in large Ziploc bag or in a wide bowl. Gently add 3-4 cookies at a time and roll them gently in the bottom of the bag. Use fork to scoop under each cookie and gently shake to remove excess powdered sugar. Place on cooling racks. Once completely cooled roll in powdered sugar bag again.

Yield: 30-36 cookies

Recipe of the Month – Chicken Tortilla Soup

We had a brief cold snap this past weekend. Time for something nice and warm. It was time for soup. This is definitely one of my husband’s favorites. This recipe comes from the website Spend with Pennies but many of other recipes I found out there were very similar. Definitely try it with the avocado on top. So yummy.


1 T. olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

1 t. ground cumin

1 t. chili powder

14 1/2 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes with chilies

3 cups chicken broth

14 1/2 oz can of black bean, rinsed and drained

1 cup of corn

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 lime, juiced

1 avocado, sliced (for garnish)

Crispy tortilla strips


  • Heat olive oil In a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook until onion is softened.
  • Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken and shred. Add back to the pot and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Spoon soup into bowls and and top with tortilla strips and sliced avocado.

This serves 8.

Looking for other great soup recipes? Try Zuppa Toscano, Loaded Baked Potato Soup or Walkabout Onion Soup.

Recipe of the Month: Snickerdoodle Cheesecake

Oh, my. I love Snickerdoodle cookies so when I saw this recipe on Facebook, I knew I would have to try it. I still haven’t gotten the chance. (Maybe I’ll make it at Thanksgiving.) But, it is Snickerdoodles – what could be bad about that? This recipe comes from where they too love their Snickerdoodles. She even suggests her Snickerdoodle cookie recipe for the crust. She suggests 1/2 the recipe as you only need 12 cookies for the crust.



1 1/2 cups crushed Snickerdoodle Cookies (about 12)

2 T. melted butter


2 – 8 o.z packages of cream cheese, softened

8 oz. sour cream

1 cup sugar

2 T. flour

2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

3 large eggs, lightly beaten


1 T. sugar

1/2 t. ground cinnamon


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In bowl, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter well. (If using store-bought cookies instead of using the recipe above, you may need a little more butter to get the cookie crumbs to stick together.) Pour mixture into 9-inch springform pan. Pat them flat with your hand and then the bottom of a glass. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cinnamon with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in eggs. Pour mixture over crust, spreading evenly.

In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of cheesecake. Bake 40-50 minutes or until cheesecake is dark brown. Let it cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Cover cheesecake and chill in the refrigerator for at least four hours before serving.