Pumpkin Blondies

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

If you have followed my blog at all over the last year or so then it probably comes as no surprise to you that I love fall. It’s just absolutely my favorite season for so many reasons. First, many of my favorite people were born in the fall (including my husband, my mom and my sister). I was also married in the fall. On top of that I think that fall has the best sights, smells, and food. How can a row of trees with leaves that have just turned brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red not make you smile? But my favorite part of fall is the pumpkins. Pumpkins for decorations, pumpkin for scented candles and most of all pumpkin for eating! That’s why I knew the moment I saw these that I would be making them and they were everything I thought they would be and more. If you like pumpkin half as much as me then you must try these.

Pumpkin Blondies
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
16 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted nuts, optional


Preheat the oven to 350° F. *Grease and flour (or use bakers spray) a 9×13-inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Fold in the white chocolate chips (and nuts, if using) with a rubber spatula.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

To serve, cut into 24 squares and transfer to a serving platter.

*Annie’s recipe calls for lining the pan with foil, but I didn’t want to mess with it so I just used my bakers spray. I had no problems cutting the blondies and transferring them to a serving platter. So I don’t necessarily think you have to use foil.


** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

What a great post title, huh? Ribs. OK, maybe it’s not the most appetizing title I’ve had on this blog but I am really excited that I finally have a rib to write about! You see, I’ve been trying to make ribs for the past 4 years. I’ve tried a variety of different recipes and I was never that happy with them. One recipe called for boiling, then grilling, then slow cooking. Um hello, who has time for all of that? Not to mention the fact that the end result was just tough. Not at all worth the effort. But I was bound and determined to finally find a recipe that was worth my time enough to write a blog post and I have finally found it!

Sweet and Savory Country Style Ribs
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)


1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
2 1/2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs
1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard – I used a brown mustard with horseradish in it
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Layer onion rings in the bottom of a 5 qt crockpot and place the ribs on top of them.

In a large measuring cup (or small bowl), combine the rest of the ingredients.

Pour the sauce over the ribs and turn the crock pot on low.

Cook for 8-9 hours. (At about 6 hours I used a baster to remove some of the grease from the crockpot)

Remove the ribs from the crockpot and place on a foiled lined broiling pan. Spoon the remaining sauce and onions from the crockpot over the ribs. Broil on high for ~4 minutes. *I kept the oven door open and a close eye on them to make sure they didn’t burn. You just want the sauce to caramelize a little.

So You Grew a Garden… Now What? 11

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Anytime I find out that I can “home make” something I get excited. There is just something very rewarding about making something that you would normally have to buy at the store. The other day a coworker and I were talking about our gardens and I told her that the plants that were doing the best were my pepper plants. My Serrano pepper plant was probably the healthiest plant in my garden this summer. Of course, the one plant that I really had no plans for when I planted it. I just planted it for fun. So my coworker mentioned drying the peppers and my eyes lit up. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. Making my own red pepper flakes!

After doing a little research online I decided I wanted to go the quickest route and dry the peppers in the oven. I started by collecting all of my red colored peppers, which included serrano peppers, slim red chile peppers, and then some banana peppers that for some reason had turned red. I cleaned them all and cut the tops off. Then I put them on an air bake pizza pan and then in the oven at 170 degrees. I planned on leaving them to dry over night but Jesse was uncomfortable with that. So I dried them for 5 hours, then let them rest in the OFF oven overnight. The next evening I turned the oven back on to 170 and let them go for another 4 hours. So total it took about 9 hours.

After the 9 hours of drying in the oven, I let the peppers cool and rest and for a few more hours. Finally, I put the dried peppers in a ziploc bag and went to town with a rolling pin. I am storing the flakes in little .5 cup rubbermaid containers.

*I have to warn you. For the first few hours the smell was POTENT. The whole house smelled spicy and I felt almost like I was covered in hot peppers. I would recommend turning on a fan and opening a window. Luckily after a few hours it mellowed out some.

*I think this would make a really cute gift in a homemade gift basket. You could even use empty baby food jars and decorate the lids. I plan on putting together a few of these for Christmas.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

Last weekend I was really in the mood to bake something, but a lot of what I have on my to-try list is pretty involved and it was already later in the day. Looking for inspiration, I turned to my pantry. What I found was a recipe on the back of my brown sugar bag that sounded really good and more importantly, easy! As luck would have it I had all of the ingredients so I went for it. It turns out that this is another great back of the bag find (much like this brownie recipe that I LOVE). I think I am going to start looking at the back of my bags more often and seeing what other gems I can find, because this was amazing. It is incredibly moist but also flavorful. The recipe didn’t call for it, but I topped the cake with chocolate ganache and powdered sugar. I think that really added to the presentation of the cake. Next time I’ll have to make it for someone other than just Jesse and myself!

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake
(Source: The back of my “Bakers & Chefs” brown sugar bag, from Sams)


3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1 cup boiling water
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla


Combine the baking chocolate, butter and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until chocolate and butter are melted.
In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda and salt.
Gradually add chocolate mixture to the dry ingredients; blend well.
Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla; beat one for one minute at medium speed.
Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Invert the pan onto the cooling rack and let cool the rest of the way.
Top with chocolate ganache and powdered sugar.