Category Archives: baking

a turkey day of our very own

Hannah stuffed and stitched this felt turkey head at school, isn’t it great? Haha! I think we’ll use it every year. Her teacher, Ms. Dains, said she made them with her grandma when she was little and they’d always pin it on a pineapple as a center piece. I love that she passed such a fun little tradition on to her students.

Oh, please pass the rolls! I was so happy they turned out! See below for my mom’s recipe…the best rolls I’ve ever had. Ever.

I had the kids make “place cards” for everyone using little tags tied onto fresh pears.


My brother-in-law, Jon, at the cabin over Thanksgiving weekend. He was last in line on spaghetti night, but he said was thankful anyway. Haha!
A few years back my mom decided to switcheroo her year to do Thanksgiving to accommodate certain siblings {you know who you are!}. For us, that means that we have Thanksgiving every 4 years with my family, every 4 years with Clayton’s family, and with no family in between.
This was the “off” year and we had nowhere to go. We decided to give it a go ourselves. Thanksgiving at our own house with our 5 little kids.
I had never cooked a turkey before, but it was the easiest thing ever with the help of one of those oven bags. I cheated and did boxed stuffing and powdered mashed potatoes just for the sake of time and the fact that my kids were only going to take two bites anyway.
It was a lot of work, but super cozy and I was excited that I pulled it off, including a homemade pecan pie {my favorite!}. After we cleaned up we headed off to the cabin for a couple days with Clayton’s family, then to my mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner again on Sunday.
Okay. You HAVE to try these rolls. It’s my mom’s recipe that she got from her friend Lora years ago. Lora got it from her grandmother and said that the recipe is over 100 years old.

Becky Jo’s Favorite Dinner Rolls

{aka Lora Bingham’s “Grandma’s 100-Year-Old Refrigerator Roll Recipe”}

Makes 2 dozen.

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 c. mashed potatoes (I use instant)

1 c. scalded milk

2 eggs, beaten

5-7 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Mix butter, sugar, salt, mashed potatoes, and scalded milk together in mixer bowl. When cooled add yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly and add eggs. Knead dough in mixer, adding in enough flour to make a stiff, yet slightly sticky dough (5-7 cups). Knead the dough until it pulls away clean from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes on a high spped. Place dough into a large buttered bowl or container and cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. Let rise in refrigerator 4-5 hours or overnight.

Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough out to a 1/8” thick circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut across the circle 6 times to form 12 triangles (like a pizza). Roll each triangle from the outside in to create a crescent roll. Place a dozen rolls each onto 2 greased cookie sheets. Cover with a light dish towel and let rise 2 hours in a warm place. (I preheat my oven for a minute just to get it warm then turn it off…it makes a great place for the rolls to rise).

After the rolls have risen, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until light golden on top. Brush with butter while still hot.

For cinnamon rolls:

Add extra 1/2 c. sugar, 1 Tbsp. vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. ginger. Refrigerate overnight.

Roll out 20” long by 8” wide ad 1/2 inch thick. Spread with softened butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll up and cut 24 rolls. Let rise 1-2 hours. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. For frosting when cooled, cream together 1 bag powdered sugar, 1 stick of butter and a teaspoon vanilla.

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

I can’t believe I haven’t posted these before. You have to make these for Halloween weekend! Everyone will love you for it.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

{I usually double or triple this recipe because as it is, it only makes about a dozen or so, and I could eat that many all by myself!}

1 c. canned pumpkin

1 c. white sugar

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1 egg

1 Tbs. Vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. milk

2 c. flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1 or 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (depending on how chocolatey you want them)

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, dissolve the teaspoon of baking soda in the milk, then add to pumpkin mixture. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, spices, salt and baking powder. Add to pumpkin mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

  2. Drop by spoonful on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 or 11 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Let cool completely before removing from pan. They taste best cold from the refrigerator with a glass of milk if you ask me!

pear upside down cake

Okay, so I’m really not a big cake fan. I consider myself to be more of a brownie/chocolate chip cookie kind of girl. But, let me tell you, I would choose this cake over brownies any day of the week. This has been a fall favorite at my house for the last 12 years, since I first found the recipe {in the newspaper!}.
You just have to try it! It’s best topped with a soft little cloud of whipped cream, in my opinion.

Pear Upside Down Cake

1/3 c. butter, melted

1 c. brown sugar

3-4 c. sliced pears (fresh or canned)

2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

2 eggs

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Pour the melted butter into a 9×13 baking dish, making sure that the sides get buttered as well. Sprinkle with the brown sugar.

  2. Arrange the pears over the brown sugar, fitting tightly together. Set dish aside.

  3. Sift the flour with the baking powder in a mixing bowl and set aside.

  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until light. Stir in the flour mixture. Add the cream and milk, mixing well.

  5. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan, being careful not to move the pears.

  6. Bake in preheated oven 40 minutes or until cake tests done.

  7. Remove cake from oven and let cool for five minutes before turning out onto a serving plate. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

triple chocolate brownies

Here’s one I LOVE from Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks. It has 3 sticks, plus 2 tablespoons of butter. Need I say more? I make these for almost every birthday, family gathering, etc. If I don’t have white chocolate chips on hand, I just use extra chocolate chips, like I did here.

The only way these could possibly get any better would be to top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some caramel sauce.
Click here to view the recipe.

I don’t have a 9×11 pan like she uses, so I use either a 9×13 (bake for about 30 minutes), or an odd 8×10 (bake for 50 minutes).

my sister’s granola

Cami’s Granola
4 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
2 c. sliced almonds
1/3 c. canola oil
1/2 c. honey
about 3 c. dried fruit
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, coconut and almonds together. Add oil and honey and stir to combine. Spread on parchment lined baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool, then add dried fruit.

strawberry bread

I found this recipe when I was expecting Hannah, so every time I make it I have memories of that time in my life, when Ben was like Olivia is now. It’s kind of like banana bread, but with strawberries instead. It just smells so good, there’s nothing like it. This is probably one of my favorite things to make with all those strawberries on sale!
Strawberry Bread
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. canola oil
2 c. sliced fresh strawberries
Mix dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and stir until moist and well combined. Pour into 2 greased & floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

easter egg nest cake

Chocolate cake, chocolate cream topping, and Cadbury Mini-Eggs. Need I say more?
This is a recipe I found in Feast by Nigella Lawson.


For the Cake:

· 8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

· 1 stick unsalted softened butter

· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

· 6 eggs: 2 whole; 4 separated

· 1/3 cup plus ½ cup superfine sugar: 1/3 cup for the yolk mixture; ½ cup for the whites

For the Topping:

· 4 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

· 1 cup heavy cream

· 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

· 1 cup of robin’s eggs or other small sugar-coated pretty little East eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper or, better still, Silpat but do not grease the sides of the pan.

Melt the 8oz chocolate with the butter in either a double boiler or a microwave and then set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk the 4 egg whites until firm, then gradually add the 1/2 cup of sugar and whisk until the whites are holding their shape and peak gleamingly – but not stiff.

Remove this bowl (if you’re using a standard mixer, as I do, though a hand-held job would do fine) and set aside while you whisk, in another bowl, the 2 whole eggs and 4 egg yolks with the 1/3 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract, and then gently fold in the chocolate mixture. Lighten the mixture with some of the egg whites – just dollop a large spoonful in and stir briskly—and then fold in the rest of the whisked whites gently, in about three goes.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is risen and cracked and the center is no longer wobbly on the surface. Cool the cake in its pan on a wire rack; the middle will sink as it cools and the sides splinter. You want this to look like a cake with a crater in it, so do not panic at the vision of imperfection in front of you. That’s one of the reasons this cake is so unstressful to make.

To finish the cake, carefully remove it from the pan and place it on a plate or cake-stand, not worrying if bits fall off here and there. Put them back in a loose fashion.

Melt the chocolate for the topping and leave it to cool a little. Whip the cream until it is firming up and aerated but still soft, and then add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate. Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolaty cream, easing it to cool a little. Whip the cream until it is firming up and aerated but still soft, and then add the vanilla and fold in the melted chocolate. Fill the crater of the cake with the chocolaty cream, easing it out gently towards the edges of the cake with a rubber spatula, and then arrange the little sugar Easter eggs on top.