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Saturday, November 21, 2015


The last couple of weeks we have really started to feel the chill in the air in Utah.  My favorite thing (and the only thing!) about cold weather arriving is that it means soup season is in full swing.  I love soup and could eat some version of it every day all year and never tire of it.  We usually eat it a couple times a week at our house when it's chilly outside and it's usually received pretty well by the kiddos.

Soup is great because it is usually pretty quick to throw together and can hang out in the crock pot while you taxi everyone everywhere all day.  When you return it's hot and ready for you and the kids don't have to wait forever for dinner to be ready. 

Minestrone (1) OSSS

This minestrone is a perfectly hearty soup that is totally adaptable to your tastes.  It also packs a good punch nutritionally since it is filled veggies and beans.  

Head over to Or So She Says, where we are sharing, to get the printable recipe.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cinnamon Banana Cream Pie

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I would be no friend if I didn't share this amazing pie recipe with you.  When I start to think about Thanksgiving dinner, I'm really concerned about me being able to eat some dark meat turkey, yummy rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy and pie, specifically this pie. Cinnamon Banana Cream Pie! Seriously, it's my very favorite pie! And I like pie! 

This pie has kind of a fun story about how it came to be.  My husband and I had some friends over for games one night, and Mark, our friend, was telling us about his favorite Cold Stone ice cream creation. It was sweet cream (or vanilla ice cream) with cinnamon, bananas and graham crackers mixed into it.  As soon as he described it I couldn't get it out of my head. That's how I am when it come to food.  So the next week when my husband and I had a date night, guess where we went???? Cold Stone! You guessed it! :) And that was the flavor of ice cream we shared! It was seriously good.  Now since I'm already a banana cream pie lover, I immediately decided that this was how I'd try making my next banana cream pie.  We made it a few weeks later for my daughters 1st birthday, naturally, we invited Mark and his family over to celebrate the birthday and enjoy the pie I created from his awesome ice cream inspiration!  Everyone loved it. Even the birthday girl, she seriously snarfed it up.  

Ain't she cute!!!!


Since our first time making this pie (almost exactly 1 year ago), we've made it no less than 6 times.  We've shared it with guests each time, and everyone has given this 5 stars!  It will definitely be making an appearance at Thanksgiving this year, just like it did last year.   I hope it can make it to your Thanksgiving table too!  It's definitely a crowd please for the kiddos and adults! Also, just in case you wondered, I have made this with a regular pie crust too, and it was also delicious. Since my husband and I have had both the graham cracker crust and the regular pie crust, we had to vote which was our favorite. In case you are interested, the graham cracker won us over! However when it comes to plain banana cream pie, I'd have to vote for a regular pie crust. 

Besides this pie tasting out-of-this-world good, it's also pretty quick to whip up. You can make it in about 30 minutes. Just prepare it ahead of time so that it can have at least 2 hours to chill.  It keeps well overnight too, as long as you don't sleep walk and eat it in your sleep. :) 

Here are a few pictures that show how this pie is made and assembled. Enjoy!

The Crust
1.  Mix the graham crakers, sugar, and cinnamon. 
2. Add the butter and mix well
3. Press it into a pie dish (I like to wear a disposable glove to easy clean up)
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes
Making the Cinnamon Pudding
1. Heat milk over medium heat until it boils lightly
2. Mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt
3. Add the cream to the sugar mixture
4. Whisk in an egg
5. Gradually add the heated milk to the egg/sugar mixture and whisk quickly
6. Return to the sauce pan and cook til it simmers + 1 more mintue
Assembling the Pie
1. Spread a small amount of pudding over the bottom of the crust
2. Top with sliced bananas
3. Cover the bananas with the remaining pudding and smooth the top
4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a few hours
5. Top with whipped cream
6. Serve and enjoy!

Pretty easy, eh? Now you're all set and ready to make some pie! (printable recipe below)

Have fun! 


Cinnamon Banana Cream Pie

Yield: 1 (9 inch) pie, serves 8

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup white sugar
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Cinnamon Pudding and Banana Filling:
1 ⅓ cup whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup sugar
3 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
about 1-2 ripe bananas, depending on the size, cut in half or quarters and sliced
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons white sugar
extra graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon for garnish (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs with sugar and cinnamon.  Pour in melted butter, and mix to combine. Reserve ¼ cup of the crust mixture for garnishing the top of the pie before serving. Press the 1 ¾ cup of crust mixture into a 9 inch pie dish and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly brown. Don’t over bake or it will be crumbly.
2. While crust is baking, prepare cinnamon pudding filling.  In a large sauce pan, heat 1 ⅓ cups of milk to a light boil, stirring frequently.  While heating, in a heat proof mixing bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and sea salt; whisk until no lumps remain. Gradually add the cup of cream while whisking and whisk until no lumps remain, then whisk in the egg until smooth. Once the milk is boiling, slowly add it to the cornstarch/sugar mixture in your heat proof bowl, whisking vigorously the whole time.
3. Return the mixture to the sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly with whisk or silicone spatula (take care to whisk quickly to avoid lumps of cooked egg in the puddin). Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute (this will cook the egg and cornstarch fully). You will see large bubbles pop on the surface of the pudding and it will be very thick (workout for those arms). Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
4. If you didn’t whisk quickly, you can run the pudding through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps of egg that remain. Dump about ½-3/4  cup or so of pudding on the bottom of the crust and spread it across the bottom and just slightly up the sides, then place as much sliced banana as you desire on top of the pudding. Top with the remaining pudding, and spread it even, taking care to make sure the bananas are fully covered. The bottom layer of pudding and the top seal the bananas in nice so they don’t brown. Once they are exposed to air they will brown. Cover the top of the pie with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the pudding (helps it stay soft and moist), and refrigerate until chilled through, about 2 hours+.
5. When you are ready to serve - whip 1 cup of whipping cream with 2 teaspoons of sugar until soft peaks form. Spread or dollop the whipped cream on top of the pie or each pie slice. Top with additional cinnamon sprinkles and graham cracker crumbs if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe Source:

Created by Lu, inspired by a good friend, Mark Anderson. (filling adapted from Mel’s Vanilla Pudding recipe.) Originally posted on Eighteen25.

With Thanksgiving around the corner - you might be interested in some of my other favorite pies and an awesome pie video tutorial.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Yummy Mummy Pretzel Dogs

We are half way through the month of October already and if you're like me, you might already be thinking of something spooky to serve for dinner on Halloween.  We have a long-standing tradition in our family of eating something fun and festive on Halloween night and these little guys will be making another appearance on our menu this year.    

These mummy dogs, a festive twist on these oh-so-delicious pretzel dogs, are sure to please both young and old this season.  The kids love to help with them, which is always a plus...unless you don't like sweeping flour off your kitchen floor.  ;)

We're sharing the recipe over at Or So She Says today, so head there to read the full post and to grab the printable recipe.  If these make it on to your holiday menu, send us a picture or come back and tell us about it! We love to hear from our readers!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Spudnuts {aka The BEST Doughnuts known to man}

Hey friends. I have a great recipe for you today! Spudnuts! Have you heard of them? I shared them here a few weeks ago. Spudnuts are a kind of doughnut, they are similar to these classic doughnuts I posted a few years ago, but the dough is quite a bit softer due to the fact that it has mashed potatoes (aka spuds) in it.  I have several recipes that I love adding mashed potatoes to. Have you tried any of them yet?  I have a few more to come too, they seriously are the magic ingredient to some tender delicious dough!  

The result of this spudnut dough is a deliciously soft dough, so soft I just want to pinch and squeeze it.  It's then cooked til golden and frosted with chocolate icing, or dipped in a vanilla glaze or rolled in sugar or cinnamon sugar.  It's mouthwatering good! I'm drooling for a hot fresh one right now!!! 

Spudnuts and doughnuts seem like such a fall kind of food to me (although I'd like them any time of year, really!).  That's the time of year I especially want to make them. I've added a Halloween touch to these ones pictured with some Halloween sprinkles that I bought at my grocery store bakery.  You can make them with our without sprinkles.  

We've made homemade doughnuts/spudnuts a tradition in our family. We now religiously have them every fall.   Our first go at doughnuts was 3 years ago.  My husband and I had been wanting to make them, but since we had no experience in doughnut making we decided not to invite guests over to share them with. Well, we didn't have to worry after all, I read several good tips (which are listed in this post today and also here), and they turned out perfect! They were utterly delicious! We ended up taking them to our friends that night, so they could help us eat them while fresh! So if  you are feeling like you might not be up for doughnut making, let me reassure you that it really is worth a shot! Since our first attempt, we've hosted several doughnut parties. When my husband graduated with his master's degree he requested a doughnut fry to celebrate!  I think we made 200 doughnuts that night. Generally we keep it to a smaller group. So we've done big and small doughnut parties.  I think they are such a fun thing to do in the fall. Serve them with some warm or cold cider and/or milk and invite the street to enjoy a lovely fall evening. 

My brother-in-law, Thomas, comes from a family where doughnut making is  basically part of their blood.  And he really has given us lots of good pointers and helps.  Including what kind of oil to use (see recipe) and why you want some giant chopsticks (aka long wooden dowels).  Regular chopsticks work just fine too, but if you want to be a true spudnut/doughnut ninja then these wooden dowels will be your best friend.  I think they are about 2 feet long, you can buy dowels at Home Depot or Lowe's.  They are so nice for getting the doughnut into the oil and for letting them drip on once you pull them out.  

Here they are going into the oil:

And here they are coming out and dripping a bit. 

If you prefer a vanilla glaze or sugar dusting, do it while they are warm, it will stick better. 

If you're more of chocolate iced doughtnut person, like my daughter who is lost in thought as she devours this doughnut is, then you'll let the doughnut cool just a bit til it's barely warm or completely cool and then dip the top half into the warm chocolate icing. Mmmm.

Below I've shared recipes for spudnuts, chocolate icing and vanilla glaze.  If you'd rather skip the icing or glaze you can also roll/dust the spudnuts in sugar or cinnamon-sugar. Mmmm! Anyway you have them, you will enjoy them! My first choice would be chocolate icing, then vanilla glaze, then a cinnamon sugar dusting.  Now that I've shared more than you probably care to know about doughnuts, here ya go. Jump in!  If you read this far I consider you a true friend or real doughnut enthusiast!


I have printable versions below in various options depending on what you're after, here they are listed in one spot.


Yield: about 50 spudnuts

½ cup butter
2 cups milk
¼ cup water
1 cup mashed potatoes (I use instant)
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ tablespoon vanilla
6-8+ cups all-purpose flour, separated
½ tablespoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon yeast (I use instant)
Oil for frying (we prefer crisco or peanut oil for a less oily taste)
Ice/glaze (recipes below) or dust with sugar or cinnamon sugar


I’ve added a lot of notes in here for helping you in case you are new to doughnut making. So don’t be overwhelmed with the instructions. Just read it thought before you start and you’ll have success!

In a medium size sauce pan melt the butter and heat the milk over medium heat, bring to a gentle boil to scald the milk.  Once it starts gently boiling turn the heat off, add the water, mashed potatoes and sugar. Let it cool to lukewarm. If you are in a hurry you can stick the pan in a bowl or sink of ice (taking care to not let it get in the pan).

Once it’s cooled to lukewarm dump into a large mixing bowl or into a mixer (such as a Bosch or Kitchenaid) add the beaten eggs and vanilla. Mix with dough hook until smooth. In a small mixing bowl combine 3 cups of flour with the salt, baking powder, and yeast (if you are using active dry yeast proof it in ¼ cup of warm water and then add to the wet mixture). Stir with a wire whisk to combine.  Add this mixture to the mixer and mix on low until smooth.  Add 2-3 cups more of the flour and let it mix on high.  I like to judge the amount of flour I need by the way the dough is looking. If the dough has enough flour it will clean the sides of the bowl and you’ll have a nice ball of dough that is mixing around the hook. Once it’s looking like it’s getting close, I’ll add about a tablespoon or so of flour at a time until it’s cleaning the sides of the bowl.  Knead for 5 minutes on high. (If you’re it doing by hand - mix in the large mixing bowl until it’s mostly come together and then knead it on a floured surface until smooth and elastic and it’s only slightly tacky to the touch (5-10 minutes).  

Once it’s kneaded I like to lightly grease a large bowl and place the dough in it, cover it with a flour-sack towel and let it rise until doubled (takes 45-60 minutes depending on how warm your house is).  Then punch it down and let it rise once more (you could probably really skip this step if using instant yeast, don’t skip it if you are using active dry yeast).  After the two rises lightly flour your clean work surface and divide the dough in half.  Roll the dough out until it’s ½ inch thick and cut (flour your cutter to prevent sticking) with a doughnut cutter (or I used a clean pineapple tidbit can for the outer ring and a small medicine cup for the hole in the center. You could also use a round cookie cutter and a spice lid or something else that looks like a good size for cutting the doughnut hole). Re-roll the dough that isn’t used and cut again.  Transfer the cut doughnuts and holes onto a few lightly floured baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches in between each doughnut. Cover with a flour-sack towel and let them rise for 30-45 minutes or until doubled. Repeat with the other remaining half of the dough.

Prepare the glaze/icing or sugar dusting while they have their final rise. (Recipes below on their own page)

Now it’s time to fry them.  We prefer using a dutch oven on our campchef stove outside (mostly because I don’t want to smell the lingering fried smell in my house). You can also use a deep-dish electric skillet or deep dish skillet or pan on the stovetop.  If you do this in the house, for easier cleanup - line the area around your fry pan in foil and drain doughnuts on a cooling rack that is set over paper towels with foil under that. Only place utensils on the foil when you’re not using so you have less clean up.

Heat oil (preferably Crisco or Peanut Oil, corn oil will work too, but it will have more of a oil flavored taste to it) to about 350 degrees F. You need enough oil so that whatever pan you’ve chose to use will have about 2 inches and have plenty of extra space above that in the pan. If you don’t have a candy thermometer for checking the temperature, you’ll heat the oil on a medium-low heat and to test the temperature I’ll place a doughnut hole or small glob of dough in the oil and see how it reacts. If the dough sinks and doesn’t cook, it’s not hot enough. If it turns dark brown immediately, turn off the heat and let it cool. If it starts to brown slightly and takes about 20-30 seconds to look cooked, it’s just right.  You can use chopsticks or long wooden dowels to turn the doughnut - they’ll need to cook for about 30 seconds on the first side and 20-30 on the second (For doughnut holes use a slotted spoon for removing them from the oil). Try doing one first and let it cool on a cooling rack and see how done the middle is, if it’s still doughy try frying just a little longer on the next one or increasing the temperature ever so slightly. Once you know the oil is the right temperature place a few in the pan, taking care to not crowd them.  We do 2-3 at a time in our dutch oven. Once they are done frying remove them with the dowel or shop sticks and let them drip for a second and then place them on a cooling rack.  While the doughnuts are still very warm dip them in the glaze (and place on another rack to let excess drip off (put a pan or something under to catch drips for easier clean up) or use a sugar or cinnamon-sugar coating and eat warm or let them cool.  Enjoy! These are best fresh (the day of).  

Recipe Source:

Combined and halved two recipes I had from my brother-in-law, Thomas, and my sweet friend, Leisa F. Also used tips from Top-Pot’s Doughnut Cookbook.

Chocolate Doughnut Icing

Makes enough for about 2 dozen doughnuts

4 ½ cups (1 pound) powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons hot water (more if needed)
⅔ cup (115 grams) semisweet chocolate chips or pieces, melted


Notes: [ This icing works best when warm. If you’d like to make this ahead of time, simply cover the icing with plastic wrap and make sure the plastic wrap touches the icing and seals all the air out of it.  Then when you’re ready to use heat a sauce pan with gently boiling water and stick the bowl (glass or metal works best here) over the water on top of the pot and stir it until it’s smooth and runny enough to dip the doughnuts in.]

In a large mixing bowl (metal or glass works best if you want to make ahead of time - see note above) mix powdered sugar, corn syrup, salt, vanilla, and hot water in a large mixing bowl and mix with a hand mixer until smooth and no lumps remain.  Scrape the bowl as needed. Add the melted chocolate and mix until it’s combined completely.  If the icing seems to thick simply add more hot water a teaspoon at a time until it’s reached the desired consistency.  

To ice the doughnut, dip one side of each mostly cooled or completely cooled doughnut into the warm icing. Let it set up for 10-15 minutes before serving for a bakery style look.  Or eat right away, who doesn’t love a hot doughnut?

Recipe Source:

barely adapted (added more vanilla) the recipe from Top-Pot Hand Forged Doughnut Cookbook for “Simple Chocolate Icing”

Vanilla Doughnut Glaze

Yield: glazes about 2 dozen doughnuts

⅓ cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons hot water (or as needed)


Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Using a wire whisk, stir in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and no lumps are left. Remove from heat, and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Dip cool or warm doughnuts in the glaze.

The glaze works best when hot/warm.  If you make it ahead of time, simply cover it with plastic wrap making sure the wrap covers the surface completely so no air can dry it out. When you’re ready to use remove the plastic wrap and warm, stirring constantly, over low to medium-low heat until it’s ready to use. Dip doughnuts immediately.
Recipe Source:

From the Classic Crispy & Creamy Doughnuts I shared here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mummified Stromboli {with Picture Tutorial}

If you've been around a while you might remember our Stromboli recipe posted back in 2011. Well, today's version is basically the same, but we've put a fun Halloween twist on it. And in case you aren't familiar with Stromboli, it's kind of like a giant calzone. Pizza fillings inside the bread.  Yum!

Stromboli happens to be a family favorite (our mom made it for us lots when we were young) and it didn't take much more effort to put this spooky twist on it.  For me when it comes to Halloween food, there are some things that I just cannot handle.  It has to actually look appetizing for me to eat it.  Jell-o worms? No, thanks.  This yummy mummy isn't too out of my comfort zone.  It's delicious as well as spooky and if your kids are anything like mine they will go crazy for it.  Definite crowd-pleaser.     

1. Start with your favorite pizza or bread stick dough.  Our favorite recipe is at the bottom if you keep scrolling.
2. Roll it out into a large rectangle, as long as and slight wider than a cookie sheet.  
3. Top with your favorite sauce, cheese, and pizza toppings.  Visit our pizza post if you need suggestions on what to stuff your mummy with.  Just steer clear of toppings with too much moisture here since they will make the mummy soggy.  (ie, pineapple, raw peppers)
4. Snip the sides with kitchen shears or a pizza cutter and start wrapping your mummy up.
5. Give him some eyes and bake to golden perfection! My favorite part is watching him "rise" in the oven as he bakes. :) haha!

Mummified Stromboli

For the dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp instant yeast (I use SAF brand instant yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Olive Oil
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

Your favorite sauce and fillings:  Ham, sausage, pepperoni, and olives is a favorite combo at our house.
Mozzarella cheese

Pepperoni, black olives, green olive, cheese for mummy face.


In mixing bowl add warm water, sugar and instant yeast. Let sit for 3 minutes or so until sugar and yeast are softened.

Add salt and flour and knead in mixer for 3 minutes or by hand for 8-10 minutes. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl or counter

Place dough on lightly floured counter top or bread board and cover with a clean towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.  Roll dough into a rectangle about as long as and slightly wider than a cookie sheet. Transfer dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheet and center it with the sides draped over.  Put sauce (not too much or it can get soggy), cheese, and toppings inside.

Using kitchen shears, cut the sides into 1 inch wide strips.  Begin folding them over onto each other and pinching them to seal to create your mummy.  

Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Give the mummy eyes, and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.  Let set for 10 minutes before slicing.

Originally posted at Eighteen25 blog.

Check out some of our other Halloween Recipes here.