Festive Pumpkin Bread


  • 15 oz can pumpkin pureePumpkin Bread
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1-1/3 cups white sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Optional – 2/3 cup nuts, cranberries, chocolate chips, raisins – go wild!!!!


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F
  • In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, oil, applesauce, sugar, eggs & vanilla.
  • Combine the remaining dry ingredients.
  • Stir into the pumpkin mixture until well blended.
  • Optional – Add chocolate chips, dried cranberries, nuts or raisins to batter.
  • Place into two greased and floured loaf pans – or canning jars (see below)
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The top of the loaf should spring back when lightly pressed.

Canning Jar Cooking:

  • Grease & flour insides of 8 (1 pint) straight sided, wide mouth canning jars. (or use Baker’s JoyTM cooking spraySoda Bottle funnel and Bakers Joy Spray
  • Fill each jar 1/2 full of batter.  I use a funnel recycled from the top of a 2 liter soda bottle to fill the jars.  The overturned bottle top fits perfectly in the jar and helps keep the sides of the jar free of batter.
  • The rims of the jars must be perfectly clean so they will seal properly after baking.  Therefore, wipe off any batter that gets on the rims before placing in the oven.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes
  • When done, remove from oven and put on lid and ring
  • The jars will “ping” as the heat creates the airtight seal.
  • When cool, press on the top of the lid.  If it doesn’t move, it’s sealed.
  • Decorate the tops with ribbons & fabric for holiday gifts.

Chicken and Noodles – Freezer Meal

Ingredients:Chicken and Noodles
In the freezer bag

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 15 oz cans of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup shredded or thinly sliced carrots- optional
  • 2 cups of milk

Day of meal

  • 24 oz frozen egg noodles


  • Cook chicken, soup, butter, and broth in crockpot on low for 4-5 hours.
  • Remove chicken and shred.
  • Return chicken to crock pot, add noodles and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir a couple times while cooking.

Click HERE for freezer meal hints and tips

Best Dressed Thanksgiving


  • 3 cups celery
  • 2 onion
  • One loaf of bread (Aprox 13 cups of bread cubes)
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Turkey or chicken broth


  1. Coarsely chop onions and celery – place in turkey cavity
  2. Roast the turkey – check out  TheYummyLife.com. Monica has done a great job showing how to roast a foolproof turkey.
  3. To make turkey broth, boil the neck and giblets in a saucepan while the turkey is cooking (or use commercial chicken broth)
  4. Toast bread – break into crouton size pieces and place in a large bowl
  5. Add seasonings to croutons
  6. When turkey is finished roasting, scoop the onions and celery out of the body cavity and puree in food processor.or blender
  7. Toss onion and celery into the bread mixture.
  8. Place mixture in a 13 X 9 grease pan (or line with parchment paper).
  9. Pour broth over dressing to moisten.
  10. Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.


  1. Mom always made dressing outside of the bird – so naturally I do too. The key to making this dressing extra special is cooking the celery and onions inside the turkey and then adding them to the dressing after the bird is cooked. This accomplishes three things:
    1. Eliminates the need to saute the celery and onions in butter.
    2. The aromatics flavor the turkey and the turkey flavors the aromatics.
    3. Shortens the cooking time for the turkey
  2. Since the turkey needs to rest and cool off before carving, this gives me plenty of time to finish the dressing.
  3. To make a great gravy from pan drippings while your turkey is resting, try this: TheKitchn.com

Tanya’s Freezer Meal Hints and Tips

Directions For Freezer Meal

  1. Buy ziploc freezer bags, one gallon. You may need quart baggies for recipes that call for two or three bags.
  2. Mix your ingredients in the gallon baggie, squishing to make sure it is mixed well.
  3. Once recipe is complete, print a copy of recipe and place your sealed baggie with no air into another baggie to prevent bag from dripping. If you put the printed recipe in between the bags it reminds you of instructions.
  4. Freeze meals, and if you want to eat them, pull them from the freezer 2-3 days before eating. It does help setting on a plate or bowl in the fridge as sometimes they do leak.

Helpful hints:

  • On occasion buy a bunch of ground beef, cook and bag in freezer bags in 1-2 lbs servings for chili, spaghetti, sloppy joes, tacos, etc. This makes a meal real fast and gets the grease out all at once.
  • Pick 5 meals and double recipes.Bulk buying makes shopping quicker and easier. I make at least two of each recipe as many of them require ½ of something.
  • Make your cooking days friendly.  If you cook with a friend, the chopping is more tolerable and the conversation is great.
  • Use crock pot liners to make cleanup faster. They can be found In the paper section of your grocery store.
  • I usually prepare the meal in the crock pot or casserole dish the night before. Then all I do is place in the crock pot into heating element in the morning or direct my children to put the casserole dish in the oven at a selected time.
  • Pick one day once a month just to crank out a bunch of meals. Usually 10-15 meals lasts our family of five one month since we eat these about 3 nights a week. By the time you make a list, shop, cook, and clean up, you’ve killed the better part of a day, but feels so good to get it done. This makes your life so much easier. Batch cooking also saves you money since you are less likely pre-packed food – or go out to eat.  Many meals make enough for leftovers.
  • My crockpot automatically turns to warm after a few hours. I used it so much I got a nicer crock pot that had a timer so things would not overcook.
  • Most of these meals serve 4-6. You can split some of these for a smaller family or a couple – or just eat more leftovers.
  • Pictured below is after a cook day, Meals are ready to go into the freezer.

Large group cooking days:

Tanya lives in Kansas City and organizes the cooking day.  There are 10 in her group each time. She is given access to her church’s kitchen and fellowship hall for the operation.  Before the cook day, she does the following:

  • Decides what meals they will make – usually about 20 different dishes.  Each time the group tests out 3 new dishes.
  • Keeps the list of meals and ingredients. Each person chooses which of the meals she wants to bring home.
  • Determines the cost of for each meal and collects payments.
  • Prints out the labels for the bags.
  • Shops the day before. Meat obviously needs to be refrigerated, so make sure you have enough space to store it overnight.

On the cook day Tanya:

  • Assigns each person their jobs.  One person may be working on de-boning a rotisserie chicken – another may measure out spices or chop veggies.
  • Clocks about 20,000 steps on her Fitbit.  Wow!

Other hints for large group cooking:

  • Sam’s Club is the best for bulk cooking. Tyson chicken breasts are huge. One breast is about 1 lb. It’s best to cut them in ½ “hot dog style” to make them not so thick. A case of chicken breasts is about 35 pounds. A case of hamburger is 80 pounds and is 90% lean. No matter what if you buy – the case is cheaper.
  • Organize your food in categories to make ensure you have all of your ingredients.
  • Nothing beats Aldi’s (local KC store) on prices except meat. Note Sam’s club mozzarella/cheddar cheese is equal to Aldi’s. 1 bag is 16 cups.
  • Here is after a cook day. We made 155 meals as a team. Assembly took about 8 hours.

Melt In Your Mouth Chicken Pie


  • 1 rotisserie chicken shredded
  • 1 – 16 oz bag of frozen vegetables
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk


  1. Spread chicken and vegetables in bottom of 13 x 9 dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl combine cream of chicken soup and chicken broth, spread over chicken and veggies.
  3. Mix together flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Melt butter and combine with buttermilk, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. Add dry ingredients to create batter.
  6. Spoon batter on top and spread around as best as you can. Mixture will be runny, but will absorb during cooking and cooling.
  7. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven uncovered 30-40 minutes.
  8. Cool 20-30 minutes before serving.

Freezer Meal Directions

  1. See general instructions for freezer meals HERE
  2. Fill one bag with the red ingredients, one with the blue and one with the green
  3. Follow above directions, except you don’t need to use mixing bowls – just mix in the bags.

Grandmas Butter Balls


  • 1 Cup Butter
  • ½ C Powdered Sugar
  • 2 ¼ C. Flour
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • ¾ C. Ground Nuts


  1. Pre-Heat Oven to 325 Degrees
  2. Cream together butter and sugar
  3. Combine remaining ingredients
  4. Form into ½ Inch Balls
  5. Bake on an Ungreased Cookie Sheet Until They Start to Change Color (Approx. 12 Minutes)
  6. Don’t Let the Cookies Brown!
  7. When Cookies are Still Warm, Roll in Powdered Sugar Until Well Coated.

This recipe is comes from my Grandma who lived in Cullman, Alabama. My mom always made these cookies for us around the holidays and used pecans, which were sent to her from an ancient tree in the front yard of my Great Uncle Karl’s place (which is now a living history farm www.peinhardtfarm.com). I hope your family enjoys these buttery cookies this winter. –Bonnie Swanson

Teriyaki Sauce


  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar (either rice wine or apple cider is great)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon room temperature water


  1. Mix together sugar, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and spices in a small saucepan.
  2. Combine cornstarch and water in small bowl and add to other ingredients.
  3. Cook over a medium heat – whisking occasionally.
  4. Bring to boil and allow to boil for one minute


Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies – or Chocolate Chip if you like

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 c pumpkin
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 1 C  dried cranberries (or chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Combine 1st 7 dry ingredients  in a bowl
  2. Mix next 5 ingredients in a separate bowl
  3. Add dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture—mix well
  4. Fold in cranberries and nuts..
  5. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 12 minutes or until lightly brown.

Makes about 30 cookies.

I first made these in August and had a difficult time finding canned pumpkin in my local grocery store.  I finally found some at Sprouts Farmer’s Market.

If you prefer chocolate chip, here’s how they look

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chinese Stir Fry


  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup brown sauce – strained
  • 1 cup onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil (split)
  • 1 pound protein – steak, tofu, chicken or pork cut in bite size pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 cup carrots – thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cabbage
  • Change veggies for personal preference


  1. Mix cornstarch and water in small bowl
  2. Add base sauce< (below) and set aside
  3. In a wok or large pan, saute onions and garlic in vegetable oil
  4. Add in proteins until cooked – remove from pan
  5. Add oil to wok and stir fry broccoli and carrots aprox 2 minutes.
  6. Add cabbage and continue till veggies are cooked
  7. Return protein to the pan
  8. Add sauce mixture to pan and heat until thickened

When stir frying, add additional water to pan as you go along. If you have time, marinate protein in additional base sauce for an hour before cooking.

Base Sauce


  • 5 cloves of Garlic – minced
  • 1 oz of fresh ginger – peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup Chinese Rice Wine
  • 2 Tablespoon Hoisin sauce
  • 3 Chinese Dried Chilies
  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Thick Black Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame Seed Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon White Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon White Pepper


  1. Combine all items in a mason jar and let set overnight.
  2. Remove chilies after 24 hours

This will keep in frig for about 2 weeks. Makes 3-4 batches of stir fry.

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