Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin muffins are tasty at any time, but are especially good during the fall months.  This recipe incorporates another favorite fall flavor: maple.

Makes 12 muffins.


3 ½ cups all-purpose flour (substitute up to 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour or 1 cup oat flour, if desired)

½ to 2/3 cups (depending on personal preference for sweetness) dark brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup milk (any variety)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a standard-sized 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.  Don’t use paper liners.

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well in the center of this mixture and then set aside.

In another bowl combine the eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, maple flavoring, and pumpkin.  Add this mixture to dry mixture.

Stir the batter until everything is just mixed.  The batter may have lumps, which is fine.

Spoon or pour batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Each cup will be full to the top.  The finished muffins will be large.

Bake for about 30 minutes.  Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin near the middle of the pan to check for doneness.  If toothpick is clean when removed, then the muffins are done.  If not, bake another 5 minutes and then check again for doneness.

Place muffin pan on a rack to cool for a few minutes, and then remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling on the rack.  The muffins can be served warm with butter or cream cheese.  Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container for one to two days.  Reheat the leftover muffins in the microwave or oven if desired.

Delicious crockpot meat stew recipe

If you want a great meal with the minimum of fuss and preparation, crockpot venison stew is for you. Though it can be made with other meat, the result is almost always the same; a family who are grateful and who devour it as if it was a meal for royalty. Best of all, even though it tastes fantastic, it is also a very healthy meal.

Ingredients (serves 4 hearty appetites):

2 pounds cubed lean venison (beef or buffalo can also be used)
3 potatoes, washed and cut in one inch cubes, peels left on *
3 carrots, cut in one-inch segments, peels left on *
2 medium or 1 large onion, cut in eighths
2 stalks of celery cut in one-inch segments
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 whole bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

* Leaving the peels on the potatoes and carrots can help increase the amount of vitamins and minerals in the finished product. In both cases, it is recommended that the vegetables be scrubbed well prior to cutting. Thin-skinned potatoes work especially well. As for the carrots, if the diameter is large, they can also be cut lengthwise, top to bottom.

Combine all ingredients in the crockpot and add enough water to cover. Put the lid on the pot and cook at low. Add water as needed to maintain the level and after about six to eight hours, the meal should be done.


For a meal in less time, cook at medium, but watch the water level more closely to prevent it from drying out.

Serving suggestions:

Try serving this dish with homemade corn bread or blueberry muffins, served hot with real butter. A salad can be nice with this meal, but it is so filling that it really isn’t necessary.

If a thicker stew is desired, instant potatoes can be added and stirred in, just before serving.


For a slight change, try adding sweet bell peppers, cut into one inch cubes. Zucchini squash, peeled and in cubes, is also a nice touch. For something a bit spicier, diced jalapenos can be cooked with the other vegetables, too.

Fresh sage or oregano can be added just before dishing up, to change the flavor a little, as well.

Though perhaps not the quickest, if you want an especially easy crockpot recipe that will capture the attention and taste buds of your family and convince them that you are a miracle master chef, this is the one!

Vegetable Pizza Ideas your Family will Love

If you can’t get your children to eat vegetables, try one of these delicious vegetable pizza ideas. All with family pleasing pizza, pizzazz!

Don’t fret about making crusts, there are many a frozen and refrigerated doughs from which to choose. These ready-made doughs can help you create delicious, fresh foods for your family.

The sauce got you worried? There are many famous brands of canned marinara sauces doing double duty used as pizza sauce. Bottled pizza sauces available, but these are more costly than the canned marinara sauces and are very limited as to variety.

-Stuffed Crust Vegetable Pizza (Children love it!)

2-13 oz. cans refrigerated pizza crust dough
8 pieces string cheese (cut 4 cheeses in half)
1 cup marinara sauce or pizza sauce, more if your family likes lots of sauce
2 cups shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup diced tomatoes
1 purple onion, diced small
1 green pepper, sliced into thin rings
1/2+ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1-2 tbsp. olive oil

Heat over to 425oF.

Brush a 12 inch pizza pan with olive oil.

Combine 2 cans of pizza crust into a ball and press on a slightly floured board into a 14 inch circle. Place dough on the prepared 12 inch pizza pan.

Position the cut string cheese on pizza dough along the outside edge. Turn extra 2″ edge of dough over cheese and seal.

Spread marinara sauce over pizza up to the rolled edge. Spread shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over sauce. Arrange vegetables evenly over the cheese.

Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, top off with Parmesan cheese. Brush cheese filled crust with oil.

Bake pizza in hot oven until it is bubbly and topping cheese is beginning to brown. Around 18-20 minutes.

Remove from oven, let the pizza sit 2 minutes before slicing.

This is a family-style pizza parlor type of pizza, a sure hit with kids!

Pizza doesn’t have to be made Italian style, try this southwestern jazzy pizza for a change of pace!

-Southwestern Vegetable Pizza

1 loaf thawed, frozen white or whole wheat bread dough, such as Rhodes
olive oil
2 tbsp. granulated garlic powder
scant 1/4 corn meal

Brush olive oil on a 12 inch pizza pan, sprinkle with garlic powder and corn meal.

Completely thaw one loaf of bread dough. Form into a ball, roll out to a 14 inch circle, to allow for shrinkage. Fit to prepared pizza pan, bringing fully to the edges of the pan.

Pre-heat oven to 425oF.


1-12 oz. jar Pace Picante sauce
2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese or sharp Cheddar, plus additional 1/4 cup for pizza top
1 can frijoles negroes, drained(black beans)
1 small can diced green chili’s
1 cup fresh corn kernels or thawed frozen corn
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes, seeded
1/2 cup sliced black olives
Sour cream
Chopped lettuce

Pour the jar of picante sauce over the crust, spread with a spatula. Add cheese, black beans, green chilies, corn and tomatoes, in this order. Spread toppings evenly, don’t forget the edges! Leave a one inch edge crust. Top with the remaining cheese and olives.

Bake in hot oven for 15-20 minutes or until pizza is bubbly and cheeses are melted. Let sit 2-3 minutes before slicing. Top with sour cream and chopped lettuce as desired.


This next pizza is baked on Italian bread halves. Use a favorite pesto recipe or try this brand on for size! This is a great date night pizza!

-Italian Style Pesto Pizza

Make a double recipe of your favorite pesto or
2-8 oz. jars La Bella Angiolina basil pesto sauce
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
large loaf of Italian bread, split
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup diced green bell peppers
1 cup artichoke hearts, drained halved

Set oven temperature to 425oF.

Slice bread in half, spread each with pesto.

Combine ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, stir well. Spread mixture on pesto topped bread. Add tomatoes, green peppers and artichoke hearts. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Romano cheeses.

Bake 8-10 minutes, until cheese is browned and melted.

After removing from oven, cut into sections and serve with a crisp green salad on the side!

These recipes are only a few of the great ways to prepare a healthful, fresh vegetable pizza at home. Each one is sure to please family and friends!

Preparation and Storage of Pumpkin after Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin carving has become an integral part of the Halloween celebration. Evolving from the classic triangle shaped eyes and toothy grins, to elaborate realism portraits; pumpkin carving has come a long way. Spawning Jack-o-Lantern  carve-offs and TV specials, carving the best pumpkin has become somewhat of a sport. The design ideas for a pumpkin are limitless. From scary faces, to creepy night scenes, to 3D pop art whatever the design, these tips on preparation and storage will help to keep that pumpkin looking “spook”-tacular.

Bottoms up!

Instead of cutting a lid around the top stem of the pumpkin, cut out the bottom. Not only does this help the pumpkin retain moisture and stay fresher, but also provides the ability to place the pumpkin over top of the lit candle, as opposed to dropping it in. This is a much easier and safer method when using lit candles inside of a pumpkin.

Hollowed out

To keep a pumpkin at its freshest, the inside must be thoroughly cleaned. In preparation for carving, remove all seeds and stringy flesh. Use a spoon to scrape the interior walls of any debris. The inside of the pumpkin should now be clean and white.

A good tip would be to bring pumpkins indoors for a few hours before carving, so they can warm up. Cleaning out a freezing cold pumpkin is not very fun!

Timing is key

The best time to carve a pumpkin is the night before it’s to be displayed. Generally, a pumpkin will look its best within the first 3 days of carving, provided it’s kept cool and dry. A front porch, backyard, or garage (not heated), will work just fine for storage of your pumpkin. If the pumpkin is to be kept in storage for more than 3 days after carving, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in a refrigerator. This works best for storage up to 7 days.

Got it covered

To help preserve a pumpkin for a longer period of time, after carving, try applying a protectant. Lemon juice or vinegar can be rubbed generously over the interior of the pumpkin and any exposed areas of flesh, to retain freshness and prevent shriveling. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly in the same manner as the lemon juice, will produce similar protection.

Not recommended

Spraying a pumpkin with a varnish, hairspray or other sealant is not recommended if pumpkin will be displayed with lit candles. These products are flammable and could cause harm.  

Recipes Black Forest Cake

Black forest cake was created for the true and devoted lover of chocolate and cherries. It is a decadent and beautiful dessert typically created by layering chocolate cake, whipped cream, and cherries. The topping is decorated with maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings atop a thick bed of whipped cream. Rum is one of the ingredients in this recipe that make the cake as moist as it is rich. Its amazing taste is unforgettable!

Black Forest Cake


1 package of your favorite chocolate cake mix

21 oz. can cherry pie filling

2 tsp. rum

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tub cool whip


Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 10 or 12 inch tube pan with cooking spray and lightly flour.
Combine cake mix, vanilla, rum, and eggs. Stir until well mixed. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 – 40 minutes. Remove to rack and cool 15 minutes before turning cake out of baking pan. Carefully cut cake into 3 pieces and layer in the cherries and cool whip/whipped cream. Frost decoratively and indulge!

Recipes for Students on a Tight Budget

Here’s a good recipe for some scrambled eggs. There isn’t much to them but it’s cheap and easy.

Things you will need:
1. Eggs (4)
2. Mozzarella cheese
3. Milk
4. Vegetables
5. Egg beater
6. Sauce pan
7. Medium sized bowl
8. Toast (optional)

Right, so you take your eggs and crack them into a medium sized bowl. Then add just a splash of milk. Now take your egg beater and beat the eggs and milk against the side of the bowl in a circular motion until all is liquid. Pour into a medium sized saucepan.

Now chop up your vegetables. I like to you use either green peppers, red peppers, onions or celery or a combination but it’s up to you.

Now slice the mozzarella up in to very small pieces. Once you have chopped the vegetables to your liking slide them and the mozzarella into the pot with your egg/milk mix. I add a little salt and a lot of pepper here but that’s up to you, they taste a bit bland without at least one.

Turn the heat on to medium and continuously stir the mixture. It should start to form little chunks. Keep stirring until it’s the way you like it. I like my scrambled eggs to be nice and firm, to the point that they sort of bounce around the pot when you stir and resemble cheese curds. I sometimes like to serve on/with some toast.

Recipes Hodgkin


Known in Germany as Rumtopf, and made with rum, this version is made in Kent, UK with brandy.

Start in June when the first strawberries appear.

Place any seasonal fruit and sugar mixture into a jar and cover it to a depth of half an inch with brandy. It is important that the fruit remains submerged at all times, and this can be done by placing a saucer on top of the fruits. Cover and store in a cool place. When the next fruit is available, carry out the same procedure, except that from now on it is only necessary to use half as much sugar by weight as fruit. Build the fruit up in layers, and do not stir. Each time fruit is added it may be necessary to add more brandy. Continue to add fruits throughout the summer until your jar is full. Suitable fruits to use include apricots, cherries, grapes, peaches, plums, strawberries, raspberries, redcurrants and loganberries.

Finish your Hodgkin in September, when it can be covered securely and left until Christmas. Use the fruit in pies and over ice-cream and drink the liquid as a liqueur

Jazz up your turkey breast this holiday season

The holidays are in full swing, and usually this season is fully steeped in tradition. Traditional recipes being passed down are commonplace in this festive time of eating and family gathering. Here is a fun way to add flavorful pizzazz to the holiday turkey.


  • 1/2 lb. of boneless, skinless turkey breast cutlets
  • 1 large vidalia onion
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. sea salt flakes
  • 1 tbsp. course ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. coriander
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 stalks of fresh chives, chopped 
  • Special equipment: You will need to use a grill or grill pan to get the grill marks.


  1. Rinse turkey cutlets with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Slice each cutlet in half, longways, and slice again, shortways down the center, to make 4 pieces from each cutlet.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and pepper.
  4. Dredge each turkey piece in the flour mixture, and set floured pieces aside, on a single layer on a plate.
  5. Slice onion in 1-inch sections, keeping the rings intact. Set aside. 
  6. Heat canola oil in a shallow 12-inch skillet.
  7. Carefully place each turkey piece in hot oil, working in batches if necessary.
  8. On medium heat, fry 6-7 minutes per side, or until medium brown.
  9. Remove turkey pieces from oil and set on a paper towel lined plate.
  10. Heat a greased grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Place onions on the grill.
  11. Grill onions for 3-4 minutes on each side, slightly cascading the rings and remove.
  12. Place fried turkey breast pieces on a platter, and top each piece with grilled onion rings. 
  13. Drizzle olive oil evenly over onion rings.
  14. Sprinkle chopped chives evenly over the top as garnish.

Savory and delicious, this turkey breast will delight this holiday season. Bon appetit!

The Authentic Nature of the French Press Coffeemaker

French press coffeemakers are not for everyone. They do have advantages and disadvantages and it’s not until you own one that you appreciate what these are. The basic idea of a plunge coffeemaker is to allow someone to have the instant pleasure of tasting coffee made with ground coffee beans as opposed to instant coffee, but not have to wait for a whole pot of coffee to brew. With the amount of different coffeemakers on the market these days, these may seem as if they don’t have a definite place, but if you read the following, you will see that they are a valid purchase for the right person and circumstances.


The main disadvantages are that the coffeemaker only makes a limited amount of coffee. Although the Primula Tempo makes six cups of coffee, the user must remember that this is traditionally sized coffee cups rather than the kind used in most homes, which are larger in size. For a formal get together where the best china is brought out, perhaps these would be suitable, though for gatherings of family members for a cup of coffee, the disadvantage is that the amount of coffee would be limited.

The other disadvantage is the inconvenience of preparation in comparison with machines that offer the user a set amount of coffee using the instantaneous presentation offered by Senseo machines. In the case of the Senseo, a small individual pack provides a set amount of coffee instantly, thus achieving the same thing. The other disadvantage of the press coffee maker is that the coffee goes cold if using the coffee maker for several cups of coffee over a lengthy period of time.

Water has to be boiled separately, which is a disadvantage over stove top coffeemakers or any of the self-contained units available on the market today.


The smaller machines available in this day and age seem to have made the use of a French press coffeemaker a little obsolete, though these are still a good option for the connoisseur who likes the freedom of being able to take their coffee to where they are working, and to brew the coffee in a traditional manner. Once the coffee is brewed, depending upon the beans used, the aroma is wonderful and you see immediately the deep rich color of coffee that whets the appetite and really is worthwhile. The truth is you need to own one to see the difference.

The French press coffee maker can be taken into the garden on a sunny day and give the real ambiance of drinking quality coffee, whereas traditional coffeemakers and even the Senseo range do not allow that advantage. There is something to be said for reading the Sunday paper at leisure and tasting freshly brewed coffee from the press.

Cleaning comparisons

Comparing the cleaning of coffeemakers, which are static to the French press coffee maker, the French press wins hands down, because you can drain the rest of the liquid left very easily, and simply use the grains to enhance the richness of soil in the garden area, or simply discard them. The rinsing process is extremely unfussy, and the filter is built in, meaning that there are no new filters needed, or complex spills to be cleaned from the French press coffeemaker, as there would be with a traditional coffeemaker.

The glass on most French Press coffeemakers is dishwasher proof, so for that extra shine, the cleaning is made even easier.

Mixtures and blends of coffee

While you can mix and blend coffee using a traditional coffeemaker as well, what’s very pleasant in mixing blends with the French press coffeemaker is that the measurements are easier to remember. Buying specialty coffees from the store, changing from a caffeinated coffee to decaffeinated for the evening, is simply a question of choosing the brand of coffee suited to the event. Small amounts are used and thus there is less wastage than in traditional coffeemakers.

A self-indulgent luxury

With the portability of the French press coffeemaker, the consumer has much more choice than with traditional coffeemakers. A luxury cup of coffee as a treat can be had anywhere, once the boiling water has been added. Load up a tray and present breakfast for a guest, and what they get is freshly brewed coffee instead of a cup of coffee which may not sate their thirst. It’s a great alternative for individuals because there is always more than one cup to be had.

Although many opt for modern coffeemakers, such as the Senseo or other well known brands, overall, a kitchen is incomplete without both alternatives being available. The French press coffeemaker gives the user a taste of authentic coffee on the occasion when mass amounts of coffee are not required. It’s a treat to be savored, and although there are disadvantages, it is clear that the advantages outweigh them.

French Toast Made the way you like it

French toast is a simple dish.  You take a half-dozen (6) thick slices of bread and a few other ingredients, and now you have a breakfast dish that the whole family will love.  Here are a few ways to vary this already exciting dish to make everyone  want more.  The cook knows the needs of his or her family or guests.  Therefore, some may need to consider the nutrition count before going further.  Whatever a person comes up with—most people love French toast for breakfast or brunch.  First we’ll look at the original, perhaps plain by comparison, French toast recipe:

Nellie’s French Toast

6 slices Texas Toast or French bread

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

Cinnamon for topping

Butter and syrup for topping

Heat grill to medium-high heat while mixing the above ingredients.  Set bread aside until mixing other ingredients.  Combine eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar and flour.  Whisk until mixed thoroughly in a shallow bowl.  Use tongs to dip bread slices into the egg and milk concoction.

Spray hot grill with non-stick cooking spray.  Place one slice bread on the grill and leave two minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. 

You can add more slices if your grill is large enough.  Flip this slice and cook the other side.  Sprinkle the cooked side with cinnamon.  After another two minutes, you may remove the cooked slice to a holding plate.  Spread butter on the toast while it is hot.  Cook the remainder of the bread as described above.  It is best not to discard any leftover egg and milk blend until you see if you need to make more French toast.  Also, you can create more of the mixture if needed. 

Place the plate of prepared French toast on the table, and everyone can help themselves.


Dust plain Frenchtoast with powdered sugar and omit the syrup.

Add sliced fruit (such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) before adding the syrup to create extra nourishment.

Vary the spices or add others to the cinnamon sprinkle (example:  nutmeg, lemon).

Sprinkle with nuts (try sliced almonds or chopped pecans or walnuts).

Try raisin bread or another favorite (stay with coarse textures for optimal success).  Go with Pumpkin bread for a great Thanksgiving Day brunch.

Use two pieces of French toast per person.  Put two tablespoons cream cheese and strawberry preserves (or some other applicable combination) on one slice.  Put the other slice on top and you have a delicious sandwich.  If you want extra sweetening add some strawberry syrup on the sandwich and eat with a fork.