Sunday, November 21, 2010

cool toys I want... um, for my kids

Shopping for toys is so much fun. Sometimes I think I am worse than my kids when it comes to having a case of the 'gimmes.' I fall in love with so many toys I want them to have. I am done Christmas shopping for my little guys, but because I love shopping (and more importantly love toy shopping) I couldn't help myself from looking a little more. SO, I thought I would share some of the great things I found that I wish I had looked into before my Christmas budget had been spent:)


I may be obsessed. It seems these days I cannot get enough of pumpkin baked goods. The funny thing is that I am not a big fan of the ever-so-popular (especially this time of year) pumpkin pie. I don't really dislike pumpkin pie, I just would prefer a lot of other pies over pumpkin.

So when I came across pumpkin chocolate chip bread a few years ago I was a little surprised with just how much I loved it. I craved it. Last year my love for pumpkin became official when I had a pumpkin chocolate chip bar with cream cheese frosting. I knew I had to find me some good pumpkin recipes to try to replicate these delectable treats in my own home.

As my thanksgiving treat to you, I am sharing my favorite pumpkin recipes. I hesitated to at first because I didn't want to look like a copycat of one of my hero's Dana, as she has had a great line-up of pumpkin recipes to share recently. But she hasn't shared two of my favorite yet, so without further ado... enjoy!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

2 C. sugar
2 C. canned pumpkin (A regular sized can of pumpkin is just under 2C. and works just fine)
1/2 C. canola oil
1/2 C. vanilla pudding
4 eggs
3 C. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack, and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

*Recipe adapted from here.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon*
1/2 teaspoon ginger*
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves*
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
1 1/2 - 2 C. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Using a wire whisk, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices; add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Fold chocolate chips in. Pour into greased and floured jelly roll pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool.

* May substitute all these ingredients with 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar

Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract, gradually add powdered sugar. Frost cooled cake. Cut into bars.

*Recipe adapted from here.
*Image borrowed from here.