Cake Mix Pumpkin Squares

Cake Mix Pumpkin Squares

These cake mix pumpkin squares are another one of our Holiday favorites. You really don't have to wait for the Holiday's to make this bite-size dessert.

Fran makes these a few time a year mostly for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year I wanted to post and share the pumpkin squares dessert with you. So, I made them under Fran's direction using the recipe that she has been using for years.

I have to tell you, these are so easy to make and so delicious. Bobby just can't get enough of them when we make them.

Cake Mix Pumpkin Squares are made in 3 easy steps

Step 1: Make the Bottom Layer

Pumpkin squares cake mix recipe

Step 2: Make the filling

Pumpkin squares using cake mix

 Step 3: Make the Topping

Pumpkin square recipes

Bottom Layer Ingredients:

1 Box Lemon Cake mix (Remove 1-1/2 cups for topping)
1 stick melted butter (I used salted but you can use unsalted)
1 egg beaten

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together using a fork. Then press and spread into a 9-inch x 13-inch greased glass baking dish. Bake the bottom layer for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, then let cool.

Ingredients for the Filing:

1 can pumpkin (29oz.)
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons cinnamon

I mixed all of this together using our hand mixer. Then spread this over the top of the cooled bottom layer.

Ingredients for the Topping:

1-1/2 cup Lemon cake mix
1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) I didn't use chopped nuts

Mix together with a fork until it is crumbly. Then spread the topping over the pumpkin filling. Bake this at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until a knife comes out of the center clean.

Pumpkin squares dessert

Here are your cake mix pumpkin squares right out of the oven. Set this on a rack and let cool completely before placing in the refrigerator.

We cut these into 1-1/2 inch across the 9-inch width and 2-inches by the length of the baking dish, yielding 36 pumpkin squares.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy

Homemade Mozzarella Tomato and Basil Pizza

Homemade Mozzarella Tomato and Basil Pizza

We don't have a very large yard for a garden. This year we did plant some tomato and pepper plants along the side of the house. We had some nice tomatoes on the plants after the deer ate the tops of our plants.

I decided to use my fresh tomatoes to make this easy homemade mozzarella tomato and basil pizza. The basil is also fresh from our herb garden.

It was later in the day so I wanted this to be ready quickly. I started by making the dough and using Fleischmann's RapidRise Instant Yeast.  I always have some RapidRise yeast on hand just for these quick recipes.

Ingredients for the dough:

3-1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 package of RapidRise Yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of light olive oil
1-1/4 warm cup water

Add the flour, yeast, and salt into a mixing bowl.
Add the oil and water.
Mix by hand until you have a nice soft ball of dough. For mixing, I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer on low speed until the dough was formed.

Set the dough aside and cover for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes

While I waited for the dough I cut the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. I sliced five small tomatoes as thin as I could without slicing my fingers. Then I cut fresh mozzarella cheese into about 1/2-inch cubes. I used about 2-cups of cheese or 1/2 lb.

Fresh Tomato basil pizza

I greased an 11-inch x 17-inch pizza pan.  I spread the dough to the edges of the pan and layered my sliced tomatoes first.

I added 1 clove of minced garlic, sprinkled on some Romano Cheese, and Penzeys Pizza Seasoning. Next, I added the mozzarella and fresh basil.

Tomato Basil Pizza

I baked my pizza on the center rack at 450 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until the crust was golden brown. Jamie and the boys stopped over that evening and this pizza was gone in 30 minutes or less.

Homemade Mozzarella Tomato and Basil Pizza 


5 small fresh tomatoes (Sliced Thin)
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese (1/2 inch cubes)
15 to 20 fresh basil leaves
 A Handful of Romano cheese
3 tablespoons Penzeys Pizza Seasoning or (Italian Seasoning)
1 clove minced garlic

What's so great about pizza is that you can make it just the way you like by adding your favorite toppings. You can option pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms or whatever you like. I like it just the way I made this one. You really taste the fresh tomatoes and basil.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.

This Penzeys pizza seasoning is a wonderful addition to your fresh or frozen pizzas. And, I don't know what I would do without my Norpro pastry and pizza dough roller. The small contoured edge brings the dough right to the edge of your pizza pan. Then just press with your fingers for a perfect crust. 

Quick Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Quick Cinnamon Swirl Bread

The fall season is fast approaching with the cool nights and cool crisp mornings. The leaves on the trees will be beautiful colors very soon, and to me, that means it's time to bake. This Quick Cinnamon Swirl Bread fits the bill.

I found this recipe in our small town newspaper and just knew that I had to give it a try. Jamie and boys were on their way home from vacation. I thought, what a nice treat to have one of these ready for them when they got home. It turned out to be a great idea because everybody loved this quick cinnamon swirl bread.

On the way home from Jamie's house I had another great idea. Monday was Giada's first day of kindergarten. Fran and I drove down to see her off with another treat. I made a 2nd loaf that day to take to Sammy's house. And, once again this bread was a hit.

This quick cinnamon swirl bread is so easy to make. The ingredients are simple and I'm sure you already have everything you need in your pantry. The ingredients and instructions are below to make one loaf of this delicious treat.

Cinnamon bread recipe

Prepare the dry and wet ingredients in two separate bowls. Then add the dry to the wet and mix until you have a nice batter. I used my hand mixer but, you can use a whisk or spoon.

Cinnamon bread swirl

Next, I sprayed my 9-inch x 5-inch bread pan with Baker's Joy. I poured in the bread batter and then spooned in the swirl mixture. I used a knife to swirl it all together.

Cinnamon Roll Bread

I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and baked the bread for 45 minutes on the center rack. I used a knife in the center to make sure it came out clean. Place the bread on a rack to cool and just before it cools completely add the glaze.

Quick Cinnamon Swirl Bread:

Ingredients for the Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup milk (I used Skim)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream (I used greek yogurt)

For the Swirl

1/3 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons water

The Glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk


  1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients.
  2. In another bowl combine egg, milk, yogurt, and vanilla.
  3. Add the wet and dry ingredients together and mix until batter forms.
  4. Pour the batter into a prepared bread pan.
  5. Mix the swirl ingredients together with a spoon or whisk.
  6. Spoon the swirl mixture on top of the batter and swirl with a knife.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
  8. Remove the bread from the pan and place it on a rack to cool.
  9. Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze and drizzle over when the bread is almost cool.
Now cut yourself a slice and enjoy. Try not to eat the whole thing at one time! This bread is a sure-fire winner the next time you're having friends over for coffee.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!

Maple Cinnamon Rolls

Slow-Cooked Barbecue Ribs

Slow Cooked Barbecue Ribs

There is just something wonderful about slow-cooked barbecue ribs in the summertime. I've made my fair share of ribs over the years but this is the best method I've ever used.

If you like your ribs juicy, tender and fall off the bone then this is the method you need to use. The best part about this is you can make these in the oven, your grill or smoker.

My good friend David Farrell from posted this and as soon as I read it I just knew that I had to try it. Take some time to stop by his site to see this and so much more. My opinion is that David is the King and a master of the smoker.

He calls this method 3-2-1 Spareribs click the link to get the instructions you won't be sorry. I followed David's instructions to the letter. These turned out to be the best ribs I've ever had and Fran agrees. These ribs are Blue Ribbon Winners in any rib cook-off.

Slow cooked ribs

Fran picked up a small rack of back ribs for our local grocery store. It weighed almost 1.5 pounds which were perfect for both of us.

I prepared the ribs by removing the silver skin from the back. Then, I lightly rubbed olive oil on both sides. Next, I rubbed Penzeys Galena Street Rib & Chicken Rub generously on both sides.

The rub is a Traditional Southern-style barbecue rub and is great on ribs and chicken. We use many of the Penzeys Spices when we cook but, you can use whatever rub you prefer.

Grill Temp

I choose to use my grill using indirect heat. Since my grill is not equipped with a thermometer I had to test what setting I needed to maintain David's temperature of 230 degrees. I used this simple oven thermometer and marked my setting on the dial.

I also wanted to get that smoked flavor so I used Western Style Apple Wood Chips. I used tin foil to make small packets with a hand full of wood chips and poked holes in the top. I placed two packets at a time on the heated side of the grill and changed them out throughout to cooking process.

David's method also calls for Apple Juice. So for this, I used Mott,s 100% Apple Juice.  There is much more to this process so Click on Old Fat Guys 3-2-1 Spareribs for all of the instructions.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!!

Overnight Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait

Overnight Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait

This overnight oatmeal breakfast parfait is the perfect breakfast for people on the go. Or, just sit down and enjoy this with your first cup of coffee.

I like a good breakfast but when I'm working I never seem to find the time to make myself breakfast. I usually grab a greek yogurt and eat when I get to work but that never seems to be enough.

So I tried this overnight breakfast parfait with oatmeal, Greek yogurt, and fresh fruit. This really fills me up and holds me over until lunchtime.

Overnight Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait: Ingredients

1/2 cup Quaker old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I recommend Penzeys Vietnamese Cinnamon)
1/3 cup almond milk or, (regular milk)
1 strawberry diced
1/4 cup fresh berries or, (frozen)
1 container 5.3 oz. plain Greek Yogurt

Make these in a 16 oz. glass, mason jar or, what I use is a 16 oz. Ziploc container with the screw on lid. This makes these so convenient to just grab and go.

Overnight Oatmeal Breakfast Parfait: Let's Make One

  1. First I put in the oatmeal and then added the cinnamon and stirred together. 
  2. Next, I added the almond milk and stirred again.
  3. Then add the diced or sliced strawberry.
  4. I spooned in the yogurt over the top and smoothed it out.
  5. Then topped it off with the berries. (Or fruit of your choice)
  6. Close the lid or cover your jar and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning you'll have a perfectly delicious healthy breakfast to sit and enjoy or take it with you to work.

This is another simple recipe that is so versatile. You can use any kind of fruit that you like. Between the oatmeal and the plain Greek yogurt, this is packed with 21g of protein. Or, you could add some nuts for even more protein.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.

Italian Easter Ricotta Rice Pie

Italian Easter ricotta rice pie

This Italian Easter Ricotta Rice Pie is my Mother's recipe. She made these every year for Easter and as you can see these are a little different than your traditional pie.

They are really little hand pies made with a sweet dough and sweet ricotta cheese and rice filling. Anybody that knows me knows that I have a passion for preserving these old family recipes.

I found my mother's recipe for these last year and gave them a try but I failed. You see, my mother's handwritten recipes are short the instructions all she had written down was the ingredients. So I had to figure out the rest on my own. And, this year I did.

Italian Easter Ricotta Rice Pie: Ingredients:

For the Dough:

5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs beaten
1 cup Crisco
1 cup warm water

The Filling:

2 lbs. ricotta cheese
1/4 lb. cooked rice (You'll need 1/2 cup uncooked to get 1/4 lb. cooked)
3/4 cups white sugar
3 eggs
2 eggs beaten (You'll need these later to seal the pies and brush before baking)

Jasmine Rice

I first made the rice according to the package instructions. I used Jasmine Rice because it is a long grain and sticky rice. This helps hold the filling together.

Ricotta rice pie dough

While the rice was cooling I mixed the dough. I used my KitchenAid Stand Mixer with the dough hook.

 I added all ingredients for the dough except the flour into my mixing bowl. I added the flour last and turned it on low speed and mixed until the dough was formed.

If you don't have a stand mixer use a large bowl and mix by hand. Next, I set the dough aside and started to make the filling.

Again, using my stand mixer I added the ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, and rice into the mixing bowl. Using the flat bar I mixed this on low speed until everything was mixed together. I put the filling in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Easter ricotta rice pies

I rolled the dough into about a 14-inch long x 2/12-inch high log

Easter ricotta rice pie recipe

I cut the dough into 3/4-inch slices and rolled them out on a floured surface into a circle about 1/8-inch thick.

I filled the center with 1/4 cup of the filling. Then, I brushed the edges of the dough with the beaten egg. I carefully folded the edges together and then pinched along the seams with a fork.

Easter ricotta rice pie

I placed my little pies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper four pies on a cookie sheet. Then, brushed on the beaten egg over the whole surface of each pie.

 I baked them at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then place them on a rack to cool. These Italian Easter Ricotta Rice Pies brought back many fond memories for me. With the sweet dough and the sweet ricotta cheese and rice filling, they make a perfect Easter treat.

Italian Easter Ricotta Rice Pie: Traditional Pie

Italian ricotta rice pie

I also made your traditional Italian Ricotta Rice Pie by doubling the filling recipe. I used a 9-inch pie crust and a 9-inch pie plate.

I baked this pie at 350 degrees for 60 minutes let it cool and then placed it in the refrigerator. So, you can make this either way or as I did both of them.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.

Savory Cheddar Cheese Bread

Savory Cheddar Cheese Bread

This savory cheddar cheese bread is a perfect anytime snack or served as a side with your lunch or dinner. It's also a great side when you're just having a salad.

This cheddar cheese bread recipe was given to us by a good friend years ago. I had the recipe written a little recipe card and found it a while back.

The last time I used this recipe I made it as a muffin Quick Cheddar Cheese MuffinsYou'll find this to be the same recipe but this time I used extra sharp cheddar cheese instead of mild.

Savory Cheddar Cheese Bread: Ingredients

1/3 cup butter (5 tablespoons)
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (8oz.) extra sharp shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups Quaker old-fashioned oats Or, (quick oats)
1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs

Cheddar cheese bread recipes

I started off by mixing the flour, baking powder, butter, and salt in my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Mixing on low speed with the beater bar attachment until it looked like coarse crumbs.

Then I added the oats, cheese, milk, and eggs one at a time. Continue mixing on low speed until batter forms.

I sprayed a 9-inch x 5-inch bread pan with Pam Non-Stick Spray and transferred the batter to the pan.

make cheddar cheese bread

I preheated the oven to 375 degrees and baked my savory cheddar cheese bread for 60 minutes. When a butter knife came out of the center clean I knew it was ready.

best cheddar cheese bread recipe

The bread popped right out of the pan. I placed it on a rack and let cool for about 15 minutes before cutting it.

The result was the outside of the bread is nice and crusty while the inside is soft with a nice cheddar cheese flavor. 

Some nice options for this Savory Cheddar Cheese Bread: Try adding some bacon bits, diced ham, or how about some diced pepperoni. If you like cheddar cheese you'll love this easy recipe.

As always thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy.