Fall = Baking Day!

Today seems like the first day of fall.   Of course, being just the second week of September, that means we could easily have several more summery weeks before all of the sudden it’s winter.  I’m trying VERY hard this year to NOT whine and complain about weather…be it too hot, too cold or too whatever.

Today has been lovely and cool.  Breezy at times too, and the crunching of leaves in my backyard (by kids and dogs who are throughly enjoying the cool day) just makes me feel like it really is fall.

I will be sure to come back and read this next week if it’s 88 degrees and humid.

So, since I felt so fallish today, I did some baking.   There was applesauce in my crockpot and bread in my bread machine.  (All in favor of the modern kitchen appliance!)  I also made a pumpkin cake as a test run for one I will need soon for a get together.  You’d think someone who bakes as often as I do and owns as many cookbooks as I do would be swimming in pumpkin cake recipes.  Not so.  Sure, I’ve got them for pumpkin rolls and muffins and bread and strudel topped coffee cakes, but not just a simple, basic recipe.   So I made this one up and it’s really very good.   I love it when it works out!

Plain Ol’ Pumpkin Cake

1/2 c. Oil

1/2 c. Butter, melted and cooled

1 c. Brown sugar

1 c. Sugar

15 oz. can pumpkin

4 room temperature eggs

3 c. Self-rising flour

1 (heaping) t. Pumpkin pie spice

1/2 t. Baking soda

3/4 c. Whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 13 x 9″ pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir the soda and spice into the flour and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the oil, butter, both sugars, and eggs and beat well on medium speed with a mixer. Add the pumpkin and mix to combine. Add about 1/2 of the dry mixture and mix to combine.  Mix in the milk.  Mix in the rest of the flour.  Make sure to scrape the bowl and then pour it into the prepared pan.  Bake it for 40 minutes or so, or until a toothpick tests clean.  Cool.

Yes, this would probably be great with pecans and/or chocolate chips and/or cream cheese frosting.  But it is plain and pumpkiny and that’s all I really was looking for today.

100 Books – Meredith

Of course, this is mainly for personal safekeeping, but anyone interested in what my 11 year old reads for pleasure – read on.

I can summarize the list for you though, real quickly!  Pretty much everything is about coyotes, wolves, foxes, cupcake clubs, or a funny comic about Babymouse.  😀

She’s finished up another hundred books (and is well on her way to completing another list)…

  1. Katie Starting from Scratch
  2. Alexis and the Missing Ingredient
  3. Emma on Thin Icing
  4. Alexis Cool as a Cupcake
  5. Emma Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice
  6. Emma Lights! Camera! Cupcakes!
  7. Katie and the Cupcake Cure
  8. Mia Fashion Plates and Cupcakes
  9. Happy New Year, Julie
  10. Alexis Gets Frosted
  11. Cub in the Cupboard
  12. Wolf at the Window
  13. Mia’s Recipe for Disaster
  14. Emma’s Not-So-Sweet Dilemma
  15. Mia in the Mix
  16. Emma All Stirred Up
  17. Wolves of the Beyond- Lone Wolf
  18. Julie and the Eagles
  19. Log Cabin in the Woods
  20. Strider
  21. The Bobbsey Twins’ Mystery at School
  22. German Shepherd Super Smart
  23. Armadillo Trail
  24. Wolves of the Beyond – Shadow Wolf
  25. Wolves of the Beyond – Watch Wolf
  26. Sew Zoey Bursting at the Seams
  27. Sew Zoey Clothes Minded
  28. Odie Unleashed
  29. Wolves
  30. The Pup Squad
  31. Ava and Taco Cat
  32. Shetland in the Shed
  33. Armadillos
  34. Dog at the Door
  35. Mare in the Meadow
  36. Corgi in the Cupcakes
  37. A Pack of Wolves and Other Canine Groups
  38. Lassie Lost in the Snow
  39. Lad a Dog
  40. Happy Birthday Babymouse
  41. Babymouse Puppy Love
  42. Babymouse Mad Scientist
  43. Mission: Wolf Rescue
  44. Wolf
  45. Red Wolves
  46. Armadillo’s Burrow
  47. Gray Squirrels
  48. Mammoths and Mastadons
  49. Wolf
  50. Judy Moody
  51. Extreme Babymouse
  52. Camp Babymouse
  53. Babymouse Beach Babe
  54. Babymouse Heart Breaker
  55. Babymouse Skater Girl
  56. Babymouse for President
  57. Snow – White and Rose – Red
  58. Sleeping Beauty
  59. Babymouse Queen of the World!
  60. What Zookeepers Do
  61. Grace Makes it Great
  62. Aardvarks
  63. The Secret Life of Wolves
  64. Wolves
  65. Dire Wolves
  66. Saige
  67. Arctic Wolves
  68. Saige Paints the Sky
  69. Norse Mythology
  70. Wolves in Danger
  71. Wolves
  72. Fox
  73. Collie
  74. Family Pack
  75. Babymouse the Musical
  76. McKenna
  77. Ava and Pip
  78. Matilda
  79. Mini Mysteries
  80. Bulldogs
  81. Sled Dog
  82. Katie Sprinkled Secrets
  83. Isabelle
  84. Julie of the Wolves
  85. Gray Wolves
  86. Coyotes
  87. Designs by Isabelle
  88. Coyotes
  89. Julie’s Wolf Pack (“one of the best books I’ve ever read”)
  90. Is My Dog a Wolf?
  91. Coyotes
  92. No Dogs Allowed
  93. Alaskan Malamutes
  94. Gray Wolves
  95. Bull Terriers
  96. Collies
  97. Grizzly Bears
  98. Shetland Sheepdogs
  99. German Shepherds
  100. Arctic Foxes


I haven’t been hiding out for the past two month, I swear.  I just haven’t had much blogging time and energy.  As the winter was winding down (OH MY GOSH AM I HAPPY IT FINALLY DID) I was out of things to post about.

Weather complaining?  Nah.

New recipes?  Not much in the way of successful ones.

Sewing projects completed?  A couple, but gifts for potential readers.  So, no.

Awesome photos of my kids?  Not as many taken as I’d have liked.

Dogs?  They’re all good and happy it is spring too.

So, I’ve just decided to chalk it up to a hiatus and get back at it.  I’ve got a few new recipes to try in my menu-planning pipeline as well as a few things I have tried (but need to fine-tune) that will be up and running soon.

Happy Spring!

100 More Books

Several years ago, I started a 100 Book List for each girl in the hopes that they’d spend more time reading if they had a list to track their progress and a reward (of their choosing) waiting upon completion.  Actually, Marielle was little enough when this began that her books were books that were read to her.   There aren’t any rules to these lists, other than the books can only appear on them once.  And, school books aren’t on there as they aren’t really “extra” reading.  Meredith completed 100 last week and I’m posting it here just as a reference.  Feel free to skip past if you’re not interested in what a 5th grader reads in her spare time!

Boy, must be nice to get rewards for reading in your spare time…other than the reward of the reading itself.

1.  Charlie’s Choice

2.  Saving Sky

3.  Henry and the Paper Route

4.  Henry and Ribsy

5.  Rarity and the Curious Case of Charity

6.  I am Not Going to Get Up Today!

7.  The Perfect Pet

8.  Red Wolves

9.  Abandoned!

10.  Double Trouble

11.  The Guide Dog Mystery

12.  The Mystery of the Mixed-up Zoo

13.  The Dog Show Mystery

14.  Tug of Love

15.  Tuff’s Luck

16.  The Great Escape

17.  Perfect Puppy

18.  The Sea Dog

19.  A Winter’s Tale

20.  Best of Friends

21.  King of the Castle

22.  Posh Pup

23.  The Puppy Project

24.  Superdog!

25.  Sherlock’s Home

26.  Forever Sam

27.  Milly’s Triumph

28.  Snow Dog

29.  Boomerang Boo

30.  Willow’s Woods

31.  Dognapped!

32.  Exploring the World of Wolves

33.  Applejack and the Honest to Goodness Switcheroo

34.  Puppy Power!

35.  Fox in the Forest

36.  Two’s Company

37.  A New Beginning

38.  Muddy Paws

39.  Cloud Capers

40.  Party Dreams

41.  Homeward Bound

42.  A Forest Charm

43.  Twirling Tails

44.  School of Mischief

45.  The Puppy Express

46.  Classroom Princess

47.  Spellbound at School

48.  Snowy Wishes

49.  Barney’s Rescue

50.  Orphan Puppy

51.  Lost and Found

52.  Top Dog

53.  Stars and Stripes

54.  Twilight and the Crystal Heart Spell

55.  An Anteater Named Arthur

56.  Sunshine Shimmers

57.  Ready, Set, Dogs!

58.  Teacher’s Pets

59.  Husky Hero

60.  Trick or Treat

61.  Little Star

62.  Murphy’s Mystery

63.  Jake’s Progress

64.  The Perfect Secret

65.  Jingle Belle

66.  Sheepdog in the Snow

67.  Felicity Learns a Lesson

68.  Felicity’s Surprise

69.  Happy Birthday Felicity!

70.  Felicity Saves the Day

71.  Changes for Felicity

72.  Sarah, Plain and Tall

73.  Meet Molly an American Girl

74.  Sew Zoey on Pins and Needles

75.  Meet Felicity an American Girl

76.  Sew Zoey Ready to Wear

77.  Sew Zoey Stitches and Stones

78.  Look to the North, a Wolf Pup Diary

79.  Sew Zoey Cute as a Button

80.  The Pup Who Cried Wolf

81.  Sew Zoey Knot too Shabby!

82.  Sew Zoey Swatch Out!

83.  Happy Times in Noisy Village

84.  Lady Margaret’s Ghost

85.  Changes for Molly

86.  Sew Zoey Lights, Camera, Fashion!

87.  Sew Zoey A Change of Lace

88.  Cupcake Diaries – Katie, Batter up!

89.  Cupcake Diaries – Mia’s Bakers Dozen

90.  Meet Julie

91. Julie Tells her Story

92.  Meet Samantha

93.  Samantha Learns a Lesson

94.  Cupcake Diaries – Katie Sprinkle and Surprises!

95.  Cupcake Diaries – Alexis the Icing on the Cupcake

96.  Cupcake Diaries – Katie and the Cupcake War

97.  Cupcake Diaries – Mia’s Boiling Point

98.  Cupcake Diaries – Katie’s New Recipes

99.  Cupcake Diaries – Mia a Matter of Taste

100.  Animal Icons – Armadillos

Whew.  That is a lot of puppies and cupcakes.  Appropriate, since the “prize” she chose was for me to kick in $40 (the prize value she was allotted) toward a professional dog grooming table.  Yep, that’s right.  She is footing the bill for the remainder with her birthday money.  Hey, if she wants to practice some wannabe dog grooming/fur styling, we’ve got 3 clients ready!


I’m so very overdue for a post.  I’ve such a long list of things to add to this here blog, but finding the time to do it and trying to organize that lengthy list on here in the form of a post (or posts) just hasn’t happened.  Gotta start somewhere.

My favorite (pizza, but really, the possibilities are endless) dough is a good place.

I love to bake.  This shouldn’t come as a surprise.  I’m always looking through cookbooks, new and vintage, and trying to come up with ideas.  My entire purpose for being Pinterest has been cooking and baking related.  I’m sharing today the best all round dough that I’ve been able to come up with for my bread maker.

Side note – this is a recipe that I’ve tested time and time again.  Many of the dough recipes I’ve tried (either from the cookbooks, Pinterest or the manual that came with the machine) haven’t done as well as I’d hoped.  Some are very dry and almost crumbly.  Some are too small.  Some are too difficult to stretch out (I don’t roll pizza dough).  This one has been fine tuned, y’all.  It is definitely a keeper.

(Pizza/Calzone/Stromboli)  Dough

1 1/2 c. warm water

1/3 c. vegetable oil

1/3 c. honey (I use raw, but whatever you’ve got is fine!)

1 1/2 t. salt

4 c. bread flour

1 scant Tablespoon yeast

Add all of these ingredients IN THIS ORDER to your bread machine pan.  Set to DOUGH cycle.

Wait for the magic to happen.  Mine takes 90 minutes.

When it is finished, remove it to a lightly oiled board and let it rest for a few minutes.


This will make 2 traditional crust pizzas.   Or a big calzone or many small calzones.  Or dessert pizza.  Or breadsticks.  Whatever you’d like, really.

Some examples…

Pizza and Calzone Dough

The dough is divided up to make 12 calzones.  These are single-serve size.  I usually fill them with anything that would go on a pizza….mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, tomato sauce…..barbeque chicken, corn, cheddar….buffalo chicken, celery, cheddar….

calzone fillingI use my hands and stretch the dough into a somewhat circular shape, mound the filling up in the middle, fold over and press (VERY IMPORTANT) to seal, slice a small steam-escape slit in the top, and bake!

calzone filledOnce they’re all filled and folded and SEALED, I pop them into a 450 degree oven for about 12 minutes (+/- depending on size) and they’re ready!

Calzone finishedThese are also perfect for a make-ahead meal or for sending in a lunchbox.

I cool them completely.  Wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them into a freezer bag if you’re planning to reheat them in the microwave.  Or, if you’re old-fashioned like me, wrap them in foil and pop them into a freezer bag.  They can go from the freezer (still in the foil) into a preheated (toaster or otherwise) oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until warmed through.

Mike’s taken a few to work and he says that they microwave (from his cold lunchbox) unwrapped but covered with a paper towel for about 60 seconds.  I can’t verify times as I don’t have one!  Microwaves are all different, as well as your method/style/amount of filling these, so just use a bit of trial and error here.

This also makes amazing pizza…

chicken pizza and dessert pizza….

peach pie pizza close up…yum!  Try it!  Enjoy!


The girls noticed this when they were eating a snack days ago and I decided it was too cute not to post!

Marielle says, “Mama?  What is C-H-O-L-E-S-T-E-R-O-L?”

Me: “um, a substance found in food, but also that your body produces…”

(interrupting, thankfully) Marielle:  “It says OMG!!!”



And, our cheese says LOL!!  :-)  (I’m sure that is for Land O’ Lakes, but still, it is pretty funny!)


Just because I had the fabric and because I couldn’t look at my never-ending quilt for one more minute, I decided to take a little break from it and whip up a dozen Christmas napkins.   A festive table is in our future tonight!

Christmas Napkins