White Puttanesca Pizza

Puttanesca Pizza (Kate from Scratch)

This particular puttanesca features summer eggplant, chopped fresh heirloom tomatoes, sweet orange bell peppers and gaeta olives all layered over and between a white bed of ricotta and parmigiana with a touch of mozzarella over the top.  It’s then lightly drizzled with a bit of quality olive oil and sprinkled with herbs then doused with coarsely ground black pepper.

This is a great use for leftover eggplant, whether it’s fried or marinated then grilled.  If the eggplant is prepared in advance (which I recommend) then this dish only takes as long as it does to preheat the oven plus twenty minutes. It’s easily adaptable and fine in its simplicity. Of course, if you don’t have any prepared eggplant on hand, it’s just as good without it.  After all, puttanesca is not about being fussy; it’s just about being fast, easy and delicious.

White Puttanesca Pizza


  • 1 pound prepared pizza dough at room temperature
  • flour, for rolling
  • vegetable oil, for pan
  • 1 cup eggplant, prepared
  • 1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup diced orange bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup diced gaeta olives
  • salt and freshly ground peppercorns, to taste
  • 1/2 parmigiana reggiano
  • 3/4 cup ricotta
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • Chopped arugula and/or herbs (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. and lightly oil your pizza pan.  Roll out the pizza dough to the size of your pizza pan (between 14 and 16 inches) and place dough on the pan.  Note: if your dough is snapping back like a rubber band, allow it to rest for five minutes before rolling again.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers and olives.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Grate 1/2 cup fresh parmigiano regiano over the rolled dough.   Place ricotta in spoonfuls around the pizza, and spread thinly if desired.  Sprinkle the puttanesca mixture and top with mozzarella.   Note: add a touch more pepper if you like it spicy.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, or about 20 minutes.  Top with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and chopped herbs and/or arugula.
  5. Enjoy!


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Easy Brown Sugar Breakfast Rolls

Easy Brown Sugar Breakfast Rolls


I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning, but I needed to share with you, my breakfast.  These rolls can smooth out the roughest of mornings.  No sleep, spilled milk, burnt toast – all of which can be cured with these rolls.   These use a yeasted dough, but to make things fast and easy for a weekday morning, you can use a store-bought bread dough. If you’re into making your own dough, and you have extra time, I recommend something with a bit of fat in it to make the flaky layers that pull apart as you peel them away.

Easy Brown Sugar Breakfast Rolls

  • 12 ounces frozen bread dough
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  1. Bring your store-bought dough to room temperature.

  2.  Preheat your oven to three hundred fifty degrees fahrenheit and line a baking pan with parchment paper (for easy clean up and release of the roll from the pan).

  3. In a small mixing bowl, cream the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and orange zest together.

  4.  Roll out the bread dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface ( the size of the dough when rolled out slightly smaller than your baking pan).  Slather the rolled dough with the sweet butter mixture.

  5.  Roll up your slathered bread dough and tuck the ends under the rolled dough.  Pierce the top of the dough to ventilate.

  6.  Bake in preheated oven in the top third of your oven until golden brown (about 20 minutes).

  7.  Remove bread from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack for about ten minutes.

  8.  Once cool enough to handle, cut into thick slices.

Tip, if you’re in a real hurry, divide dough and butter mixture in half and make two instead of one large roll.  It will save you half the baking time.


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Cauliflower “Fried Rice” and a Peanut Ginger Sauce

cauliflower rice Kate from scratchI have arrived from the depths of winter, holding nothing more than a head of cauliflower and I greet you with the assumption that you love spring as much as I do; and want to exploit all of its produce.   It’s weird because I normally hate spring.  I find it irritating because it just comes and goes as it pleases without a care for anyone or anything around it.

Some years we don’t get a spring.  We go from icicles to swim suits within a week, which I find obnoxious.  It gives literally no time to warm up to the idea of summer.

However, this year the weather seems to be (Dare I say it…) normal!

Slowly but surely things are warming up.   There is grass on the ground instead of snow and sometimes it actually rains!

I have had time to put away my winter coat for the season yet haven’t needed shorts to date.  This is the dream, people!  Let’s celebrate the not-so-odd oddities of life, shall we?

This recipe is one of those recipes that was super trendy last year.

But, because I’m anti-trend I didn’t make it last year.

I found it annoying then.

I mean really, if I want to eat fried rice, I’m going to eat fried rice and enjoy it. I’m not going to grind up a bunch of cauliflower and call it “rice” because I’m on a diet.

I think that’s dumb.  Not you, you’re not dumb.  You’re smart, but I mean…cauliflower trying to be rice isn’t going to fool anyone, so let’s just call it what it is, ya know?  I’m an honest food eater, is all.  If it’s not rice, don’t call it rice.    Please and thank you.

However, as a person, I have a right to change my mind.

I wanted to know why it was trendy in the first place.  Obviously the cauliflower trend is on its way out.  I think all the pizza crusts of the world can thank us for that.   If you missed the cauliflower pizza crust trend, please do not fret.

(whispers) it wasn’t good.

So, I tried this (trendy a year ago) thing called cauliflower “fried rice”.  It’s where you grate cauliflower into “rice”and then you fry it up as you would any other fried rice recipe.  The catch is that you have to add a TON of flavor.  Because, let’s face it…cauliflower is one of the most boring vegetables on the planet.  So, it needs spice and it needs sweetness and it needs nuttiness and so obviously this led me down the path of smothering it in a peanut ginger sauce.

You can substitute and add as you see fit, just try not to add anything too watery otherwise you’ll end up with steamed cauliflower bits which isn’t as good as cauliflower fried rice.

The result was definitely not bad.  It’s something I’d make more often if I needed to avoid rice for some reason.  Overall I feel that I prefer my cauliflower to look like cauliflower instead of rice, but, still this recipe isn’t bad and honestly, the peanut ginger sauce is good enough that I might make this again as a straight up stir fry and avoid the food processor portion of the recipe. So, if nothing else, this post was a definite success because of that sauce.


Also, if you don’t own a food processor, just use a box grater and you get the same result.  OR just chop up the cauliflower if you’re not opposed to vegetables in their natural shape.


For the Peanut Ginger Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha (less or more to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • the zest and juice from one lime
  • 2 teaspoons light rice vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
  • water, to thin the sauce a bit, if needed

Drop all ingredients into a mason jar and shake it up until thoroughly mixed.  If you need to add a bit of water add a drop or two, if needed.    Set aside.

For the Cauliflower Stir Fry “rice”

  • 1/4 cup peanut or canola oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower chopped into large chunks
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sliced ginger root
  • 1 bag frozen thawed shelled edamame
  • 1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts (drained and rinsed if from can)
  • 3 spring onions, sliced (whites and greens separated)
  • 1 carrot, finely minced
  • 1 cup fresh spring peas or snow peas (may add or substitute asparagus spears if preferred)
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved ( optional, if they’re in season)
  • a handful of peanuts (For serving)
  1. Place cauliflower into food processor and pulse until it’s in small pieces the size of cooked rice ( mine were a little bit larger and it worked out fine).
  2. In a wok over very high heat, add oil, minced cauliflower, garlic and ginger.  Add edamame, water chestnuts, the whites of the spring onions, and the peas (or snow peas or asparagus depending on what you’re using) and toss over the heat until all ingredients are hot.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Pour peanut ginger sauce over the stir fry “rice” and toss to combine.
  5. Optional for serving:   Add green pieces (from spring onions) over the top along with the sliced tomatoes if you’re using them and a handful of peanuts over the top if you’re using those as well.
  6. Note:  you might want to double the sauce just in case you need extra.
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Chocolate Pots de Crème

Chocolate Pots De Creme

Chocolate Pots de Crème are an amalgamation of custard and hot chocolate chilled in perfectly portioned cups.  It’s the epitome of Valentine desserts.   One may easily elevate this with small and simple additions like a splash of liqueur for the batter or a spoonful of orange blossom cream or fresh berries for serving.

The possible variations are endless, so feel free to play with it a bit and make it your own.

Aside from delicious, this has very few ingredients, can be made two days in advance and is perfectly portioned and not terribly heavy.  It’s spoonable, sharable, chocolate cream in a cup.  Like pudding, but entirely better.

Chocolate Pots de Crème

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Prepare Hot Chocolate Mixture: Preheat oven to 325°F.   Place a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add milk and cream.  Stir and bring temperature up gently to a point where the creamy mixture is just barely simmering.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate.  Whisk until the chocolate melts into the cream and milk.
  2. Prepare custard: Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl until they become pale yellow in color.
  3. Create Chocolate Crème: Gradually pour the hot chocolate mixture into the prepared custard while whisking. Strain mixture into another bowl.
  4. Cool: Cool 10 minutes, skimming the surface to remove any additional foam.
  5. Pour: Divide custard mixture among six 3/4-cup custard cups, teacups or soufflé dishes. Cover each with foil.
  6. Bake Gently In Bain-Marie:  Place cups in large baking pan. Add enough hot water to pan to come halfway up sides of cups. Bake until custards are set but centers still move slightly when gently shaken, about 55 minutes. Remove from water. Remove foil.
  7. Chill and serve:  Chill until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)
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Vegetable Sushi Roll

vegetable sushi roll-2
Did you ditch your New Year’s diet by January fifth like most people?  It’s ok, because this is so deliciously simple and balanced, it will make you realize you don’t need a diet, just a little moderation.  Also, next year, don’t make a resolution, then you can’t break it.  Just a pro-tip for you.  You’re welcome.

Feel free to add more rice than I did, if you’d like.  I used about half the amount that a normal roll would, just to keep it light.  And, considering that I plan to throw chocolate at you next week (in preparation for Valentine’s day, of course), this is a very rational choice for right now.

This is light and easy, it can be made in advance and it is easily transported, if you’re into that.

I usually make this using a sweet orange bell pepper, a bit of avocado, a touch of super thinly sliced red onion, and some carrot or hothouse cucumber matchsticks to fill it out.

It’s the dead of winter and that filling will change as the seasons do, which is why I made the recipe to include whatever vegetables you prefer and what’s in season.  Really, anything you think will work well in this probably will, since it’s about as easy as making a sandwich.  I promise.  Just keep your vegetables thin and even, invest in a six dollar rice maker and fifty cent bamboo mat and the rest is ready to roll.  Pun intended.

It’s fast, it’s balanced, it’s healthy, it fits into even the strictest of diet plans and it allows for future Valentine’s indulgences.  That’s a win.



Vegetable Sushi Roll

For the rice:

  • 3 cups uncooked short-grain Japanese rice, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt

For the rolls:

  • 10 nori sheets (dried seaweed)
  • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)
  • Assorted vegetables of your choice, cut into thin slices &/or matchsticks (carrots, onion, avocado, orange or red bell peppers, cucumber, asparagus, etc. will all work wonderfully)
  • Wasabi paste, for spreading and serving
  • Pickled ginger, for serving (optional)



  1.  Make the rice: Combine rice and 3 1/4 cups water in your rice cooker and cook according to the instructions. A rice cooker is the best way to get perfect sticky-firm rice, but if you don’t have one, just use a saucepan and follow the directions on the rice package.  Note: Make sure you thoroughly rinse your rice before cooking, and remember that a general rule for rice is one to one (one part liquid for every one part rice).

  2.  Fold in the vinegar: Combine the vinegar, sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Transfer the cooked rice to a large wooden bowl (traditionally, a wooden tub). Drizzle a quarter of the vinegar mixture over a wooden spoon or spatula onto the rice. Fold the rice gently with the spoon to cool it and break up any clumps; be careful not to smash the grains. Fold in the remaining vinegar mixture and let the rice sit for a few minutes, until cool enough to handle.

  3.  Spread the rice: Cover a bamboo sushi mat with plastic wrap. Place a nori sheet rough-side up on the mat. Moisten your hands and scoop a handful of rice, onto the nori.  You may use more or less, depending on your preference. Press the rice to spread it evenly up to the edges of the nori, moistening your fingers as you go to avoid stickiness when possible. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

  4.  Add the filling.   Arrange your prepared vegetables in a thin line along the lower third of your nori sheet.

  5.  Roll the sushi. Roll the sushi away from you with your hands, tucking in the vegetables as you go. Remove the mat from under the roll and place it on top. Press the roll into a compact log, using the mat to help you.

  6.  Slice the roll:  Dip a very sharp knife into cold water and slice it into 6 pieces. Repeat with the remaining nori, rice and vegetables. Serve with pickled ginger and more wasabi.    Make ahead note: Chill (tightly wrapped in saran wrap) for up to 12 hours in the refrigerator before slicing.  Slice and serve the sushi only when you’re ready to eat/serve to avoid any oxidation, particularly if you’re using avocado.

Adapted from: Morimoto

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My Favorite Herbed Stuffing (Vegetarian Recipe)

My Most Favorite Herbed Stuffing - Christmas - Kate from Scratch

This is my absolute favorite stuffing recipe. It’s rich and luxurious and decadent for the holidays yet it’s still vegetarian. The cranberries add a bit of tart sweetness to the savory stuffing and the pecan cracker crumble adds a richness that’s perfect for the holidays.

I like to soak the cranberries in apple cider before adding them to the top, but you can soak them in whatever your heart desires that you think would be a good fit for the dish, naturally.  This can be stuffed inside acorn squash halves and baked for an impressive vegetarian main course too.   I usually serve this and my mashed potatoes with a side of port mushroom gravy as well.  That recipe will be coming soon.

Happy Christmas to You and Yours!


My Most Favorite Herbed Stuffing


  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 cups vegetarian vegetable broth, seasoned to taste
  • 1 tablespoon rubbed sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange or clementine zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or cream cheese
  • 18 ounces toasted bread cubes (white and wheat combined)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1-2 cups sweetened dried cranberries soaked in apple cider (substitute fresh cranberries rolled in sugar, if desired
  • 1 cup butter cracker crumbs (AKA ritz cracker crumbs)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Stuffing: In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, add celery, carrots, onion and shallots and sauté until tender.  Add all remaining ingredients except for breadcrumbs and reduce heat to low.  Cover.  Allow ingredients to lightly warm together, stirring occasionally until it comes to a light and gently simmer.   Add breadcrumbs and stir until fully incorporated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Spoon stuffing mixture into a lightly buttered 2 quart casserole dish.

For Topping:  Presoak the dried cranberries in 1/2 cup of apple cider while preparing stuffing mixture.   Remove cranberries and reserve cider.  Lightly toss together cracker crumbs, chopped pecans and soaked cranberries.  Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.  Sprinkle topping over stuffing.  Spoon or lightly drizzle reserved apple cider evenly over the corners or edges of the stuffing before baking.

Note:  You can make this ahead and refrigerate for up to one day before baking.

To Bake/Heat:  Preheat oven to 35o degrees F.  Bake in preheated oven uncovered for a crispy texture or covered for more moist stuffing for forty minutes or until hot.







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Christmas Dinner (Recipe: Crock Pot Sauerbraten)

I’m hosting Christmas dinner this year, so I thought I’d share with you what I’ll be making over the next several days for the big day.

For dessert I’ll be making a spice cake with cream cheese frosting, a German chocolate cake, a pecan pie, an apple pie and several batches of Christmas and chocolate chip cookies.

Our Christmas dinner menu includes a five-pound sauerbraten roast.   It has a lot of ingredients, but it cooks in the slow cooker, which, really is a nice thing when you’ve got your hands full with small children and guests.  Serve it with red cabbage to really up the Germanic sweet and sour factor.  This part of the menu stems from my mother’s side of the family who sort of reminds me of a modern-day Von Trapp family when they all get together.

In addition to that, though, we will also be having a lot of traditional American dishes such as a glazed ham and herbed stuffing with cranberries that pairs really nicely with a mushroom port gravy that I absolutely adore.

first snow-2

For our vegetables I’ll be making sweet corn, broccoli with a light and mild cheese sauce, and roasted root vegetables with brown sugar, rosemary, sage and butter that turns nutty and brown when roasted with the vegetables.  I use rutabaga, sweet potato and butternut squash cubed up evenly.  It’s a nice alternative to the traditional yet overly sweet marshmallow-covered dish you sometimes see at family gatherings.

You’ll notice that all the side dishes are vegetarian which is why I offer to make the dinner myself.  The meat part is easy because it’s a recipe I trust and I have a lot of people willing to taste for me on that day.  You’d be surprised how many families of vegetarians consider bacon and herb.   It is not.  By making everything myself I know that I can eat almost everything without a worry in the world.



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Happy Holidays to all!

Christmas Card 2014

Crock Pot Sauerbraten

Serves 10

For Marinating

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups Red wine vinegar
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 beef bullion cubes, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 6 whole peppercorns


  • 5 1/2 pounds Rump Roast

For Slow Cooking

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup broken gingersnaps
  1. In a large removable liner, combine all the marinade ingredients.  Add roast to the marinade and seal.
  2. Refrigerate 36 to 72 hours before cooking, turning occasionally.  The longer the meat marinates, the spicier it will get.
  3. Remove meat from marinade.  Strain marinade reserving one cup.
  4. Place chopped onion, carrot and celery in the bottom of the removable liner.  Place meat over the vegetables. Pour reserved cup of marinade over all.
  5. Place liner in slow cooker base.  Cover and cook on auto 7-8 hours, or on low 9-11 hours or on high for five hours.  Remove meat to carving board and let sit 15 to 20 minutes to rest and firm up before carving.   Add gingersnaps to liquid in cooker and cook on high for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Slice meat and ladle on sauce.
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Salt Dough Ornaments

Salt Dough OrnamentsForgive my lack of posting in recent weeks.  I’ve been battling the tempestuous nature of Christmas shopping and I’m now happy to report that I have exhaustively executed my to do list.  I may now even consider myself completely done with all of my Christmas shopping.

The only issue is that my version of “done” is a relative term; meaning that if I remember that I forgot something, then I won’t be done, will I?  Probably not.  Fortunately I do not think I forgot anything, at least as far as presents are concerned.  Now, it’s nearly time to start focusing on the rather large family Christmas dinner I’ll be hosting.   The days just fly by this time of year.

Salt Dough Ornaments-4

For today, or maybe this weekend, if you’re feeling peculiarly crafty, try making these.  They’re not edible but they are very fun and keep tiny hands busy.  They’re made with inexpensive basic pantry ingredients.  The salt within the dough helps to preserve them, provided they’re sealed from moisture.  Holding onto a day that just flies by for years to come (via hand-crafted keepsake) can never be a terrible thing.

It’s all the fun of classic roll out christmas cookies without all the sugar and sprinkles.  You can paint them, you can roll them in glitter, you can brush them with glue and wrap them in foil or wrapping paper.  You can do whatever you’d like to them and they’ll last at least a generation.  If they drop on the ground, or accidentally get tumbled into or shot with a nerf gun, they won’t break.  And, around here, that’s a pretty nice bonus quality to have in Christmas ornaments.

Salt Dough Ornaments

  • 2 cup flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water (or more as needed)
  • ornament hooks (or drinking straw)
  • holiday cookie cutters
  • non-toxic acrylic varnish

You’ll need a rolling pin, cookie sheet, parchment paper (if desired for less dishes), acrylic paints, paintbrush and (the optional choices of) foil, printed or wrapping paper and glitter.

  1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

  2.  Whisk together the salt and flour in a large mixing bowl.

  3.  Add water and mix.

  4.  Sprinkle parchment paper with a bit of flour and roll out the dough to desired thickness.

  5.  Cut dough using holiday cookie cutter shapes. Remove cutout ornament and place onto parchment lined or ungreased cookie sheet.

  6.  If using ornament hooks, place gently into the top of the ornament without tearing the dough.  If using a drinking straw, push a small hole into the top of the dough from where you want the ornament to be hung (for the purpose of running ribbon through later, after baking).

  7.  Bake in preheated oven for two or three hours.

  8.  Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooking rack completely before decorating.

  9.  Decorate the ornaments to your liking.

  10.  If you want the ornaments to last for generations to come, coat them in an a non toxic acrylic varnish (2-3 coats should do the trick).  Here’s a link, if needed. 

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Practically Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Kate from Scratch | Practically Perfect Pumpkin Pie


Pumpkin pie is underrated.  It can be easy or you can make every component from scratch, and top it with cinnamon infused homemade whipped cream.  Or not!  It’s totally your call.

If I have sugar pumpkins lying about that are begging to be utilized rather than tossed, I will roast them and throw them in the food processor (sans skin, of course) and freeze the puree.  It’s not because I’m fancy, I just don’t like wasting things that I feel should be used.  And because it’s really stupid amounts of easy to make roasted pumpkin puree, especially if you have the time and the patience for it.  In fact, I’m essentially cheap, not fancy, if you really break it down.  But, we don’t have to right now.  You’re busy.  I’m busy.  Let’s just say we’re fancy instead.

However, if I do not have frozen pie crust and frozen pumpkin puree in the freezer, ready for whipping into a delicious pumpkin pie, there’s nothing that won’t stop me from picking up a frozen pie shell and a can of pumpkin from the grocery store.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Canning is the means of preserving the best of the season for moments to come.  So, this recipe is for those that are busy holiday bees, running about, setting tables, buying odds and ends for the perfect family meal all while trying to hold the day-to-day together.   We’re expecting at least six inches of snow on Wednesday night, here.  We’ll see how my own holiday goes.  Some things just aren’t thwarted regardless of how much one plans.

However, a really good pie is easy and doesn’t need much planning at all.

This recipe is simple, requires zero preparation and yet can still be called a pumpkin pie “from scratch”.   It’s both practical and perfect; as holidays should always be, in my opinion.

No, you may not have roasted the pumpkin yourself and you may not have broken the butter into pea sized pieces before gently and delicately melding with dry ingredients with your antique pastry cutter like a Norman Rockwell photo.

But, you made a pie.  And that’s definitely something.

Practically Perfect Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 9 inch unbaked pie shell/crust (found in the freezer aisle)
  • Whipped cream, for topping

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the Crust: Place a sheet of parchment paper over the prepared pie shell and drop dried beans or pie weights over the parchment.  Bake in preheated oven for five to seven minutes. Remove and prepare filling

For the filling: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger (if using) as well as nutmeg and ground cloves.  Beat until incorporated.

Place pie crust onto a baking sheet so it’s easy to remove from the oven later.  Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen

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Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

Well, it’s been two seconds since Halloween ended, so obviously the world is planning for the holidays.   Is that right?  That can’t possibly be right.

I still have fake spiderweb remnants hanging from my ceiling that I need to get down. Somehow.

And, there’s a small pumpkin that should be roasted and turned into something delicious.  It’s almost a necessity.

If you’d like, you can go and get your shopping done early and be all prepared like that, if that’s your thing.  I respect that.

However, I’ve decided I’m going to ease into the holiday season with cookies.  In fact, these aren’t even holiday cookies.  They’re just sugar cookies that I love.

It’s a basic recipe that pleases a crowd that I find very handy around a certain unnamed time of year.    No big deal.
Kate from Scratch | Soft and Chewy Suar Cookies

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookies

Makes about 4 dozen cookies


2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup softened butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons buttermilk
Sprinkles or colored sugar, for decorating (optional)

Preparation Instructions:

  • Baking Prep:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Make Cookie Dough:
    • In a medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk the dry ingredients together –  flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
    • Set aside.
    • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Fold in the dry ingredients in three additions, lightly mixing after each addition.
    • Add enough of the buttermilk to moisten the dough and make it soft, but not wet.

Note: if you’d like to store cookie dough in the freezer, you may for up to three weeks.  Wrap and seal in an air tight container and keep frozen until ready to bake.

  • Bake Cookies:
    • Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. With a brush or fingers, moisten the top of each cookie with the remaining buttermilk and slightly flatten the top of each cookie.
    • Sprinkle with raw sugar or colored sprinkles if desired.
    • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Let stand for 2 minutes before removing to cool on a rack.
    • Repeat baking instructions as needed.


  • Storage Instructions:  When the cookies come to room temperature, store in an air tight container.  The cookies will keep their chewy texture if done properly.


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