I know, I know. I just posted a pumpkin bread recipe a few days ago. But this one is actually supposed to be a bread and it’s full of walnuts, raisins, and dried cranberries which makes it that much better.

This bread was tender and stayed super moist for days after it was made. The nuts and dried fruit gave it a great texture and you get a little something different in each bite. My kid loved it and I’m pretty sure he ate half the loaf by himself and that is saying a lot because he’s having a picky month!

(The great big bonus of it all is that it’s actually healthy! No butter, no oil! I felt no guilt having this for breakfast!)

Pumpkin, Fruit, and Nut Bread
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  1. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and cloves; gradually beat into pumpkin mixture until blended. Fold in the walnuts, raisins and cranberries.
  2. Transfer to greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

I’m a huge fan of the heavier pasta dishes. You know, lasagna, baked ziti, manicotti, anything with ricotta and lots of cheese! But sometimes, especially in the summer, the idea of a heavy dish just doesn’t work. This dish turn out wonderfully light but still had that “cold weather” pasta feel.

The manicotti is stuffed with sweet turkey sausage in a white sauce, covered with pasta sauce and cheese, and then baked until the cheese is melty and delicious.

Turkey Sausage Stuffed Manicotti
  • 1 box uncooked manicotti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet turkey Italian sausage
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1/2 green pepper diced
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • pepper
  • 2 cups pasta sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella shredded
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Remove casings from sausage and brown in oil, crumbling it as it cooks. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until tender.
  3. Melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Add milk, stirring with whisk. Return pan to heat; bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pepper to taste. Pour over sausage mixture and stir well.
  4. Preheat over to 350.
  5. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with spray oil. Spoon sausage mixture into manicotti and arrange in a single player in dish. Spread pasta sauce over top of manicotti and top with cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Maple Twists – a maple flavored dough with a cinnamon sugar nut mixture twisted inside and drizzled with a maple glaze.

Maple Twists - a maple flavored dough with a cinnamon sugar nut mixture twisted inside and drizzled with a maple glaze.

Happy Monday!

I know, I know, what’s so happy about a Monday?

I look forward to Mondays because my husband goes back to work after the weekend and I can finally clean up all the messes he made because, let’s face it, there’s no point in cleaning up when he’s home. He’s just going to go right back behind me and make another mess!

Maple Twists!

The good thing about weekends? I get to make my favorite meal: BREAKFAST! I came across these maple twists the other night and have been thinking about them ever since. My husband had asked if I would make him pancakes on Sunday but I figured these would be just as good.

And they were.

Times a billion.

They’re basically maple flavored dough with a cinnamon sugar nut mixture twisted inside and then a sinful maple glaze on top. Probably the best breakfast pastry I’ve made in a long time. Between the 3 of us, we managed to kill the entire ring in one day!

One tip: don’t add more nuts that the recipe calls for. I added an extra handful because it didn’t look like enough and they all fell out when I did the twisting!

 Maple Twists - a maple flavored dough with a cinnamon sugar nut mixture twisted inside and drizzled with a maple glaze.


3.5 from 2 votes
Maple Twists
For the dough:
  • 2 & 3/4 to 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 egg
For the streusel:
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts I used pecans
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Heat the milk and butter until very warm. Blend it (in stand mixer) with 1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, yeast, egg and maple extract. Beat this on low for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time (you may not need all 3 cups). Knead into a soft dough. It will become smooth an elastic in about five minutes. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45 minutes (or till at least double in size).
  2. While the dough rises, mix all streusel ingredients.
  3. After the dough rises, divide it into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a 12″ circle. Place the first circle on a buttered baking sheet. Top the first circle with 1/2 of the streusel mixture and spread it around as thin as you can get it (repeat with 2nd circle).
  4. Find something that is 2 inch across and center it on the circles (press down a little to make a mark). Using scissors or a very sharp knife, cut from the outer edge into the cup mark, making 16 wedges.
  5. Gently life and twist each section 5 times. Tuck the end in just a little so that it stays twisted.
  6. Lightly cover this with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. Bake in a 375 oven for 18-22 minutes (mine took the full 22 minutes). Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Whisk all glaze ingredients together. Drizzle glaze over warm twists.

Want more breakfast pastries?

Blueberry Lemon Sweet Rolls with Lemon Cream Cheese Glaze

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls


Maple Glazed Sour Cream Doughnut Holes


With 2 months left in this pregnancy I’ve become increasingly dependent on my slow cooker. Yesterday I no lie had 2 slow cookers going. Sure, I could have roasted that chicken in the oven but that would involve getting up and checking on it. Or you know, pulling it out before it burned. It’s much easier to just throw something in the slow cooker and know that even if I don’t get around to pulling it out until 8 hours later, it won’t be burnt!

Anyway, that has nothing to do with this dish. This dish was good. I live in the land of no Panda Express so I’ve never had the orange chicken that everyone raves about. Awful, isn’t it? I’ve saved many a orange chicken recipes to my bookmarks but never got around to making them because they usually call for an ingredient that I’d use once and then throw the rest of the jar away. This recipe calls for very few ingredients, most of which you probably already have in your house!

My husband said it was too orangey so I’d probably cut back on the orange concentrate next time or even use regular orange juice. I thought it was good as written and even had leftovers the next day which I rarely do.

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken
  • 1 pound boneless chicken cut in 2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 6 ounces 1/2 can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  1. Put the chicken pieces into your slow cooker. In a small mixing bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, and ketchup. Pour sauce mixture evenly over the chicken, and toss gingerly to coat.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4. Serve over white or brown rice.

Bread machines are one of those things I never really saw the need for until I had one. Now it’s one of my favorite kitchen gadgets! It’s especially helpful on those weeks when your husband somehow racks up $200 of cell phone charges and you are all of the sudden too cheap to even pay $2 for a loaf of bread. Not that I know anything about that. *ahem*

I am forever on a search for the perfect wheat bread. I want about half wheat, half white and oats. That’s not asking for much but almost every recipe calls for honey. And a ton of it! I love honey in bread but it’s just too expensive to be pouring 1/2 cup in each loaf I make.

Anyway, this bread might be my favorite. No honey. Perfect texture. Soft (but not too soft) crust even without buttering it. It’s delicious!

I used my bread machine to mix the dough and then I shaped it and put it in a loaf pan because I hate the shape of bread machine loaves. Feel free to let your bread machine do all the work, especially if it’s as hot where you are as it is here! Might as well just use one appliance, right?

Bread Machine Wheat Oat Bread
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  1. Add ingredients according to your bread machine. Bake on wheat setting.