Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tastes Like Fall- Land O' Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread and Giveaway (Closed)

I'd love to give you a list of things I've been creating in the kitchen but the list would be embarrassingly short and laughable. My days are all running into each other and I only know what day it is if I happen to leave the house, which is about once a week. I can tell you I make excellent breast milk 8 times daily- Hayden's one happy camper :-) Despite all that, I did manage to bake these awesomely gooey sticky-bun pumpkin muffins today. It took twice as long as usual since I had to stop every five minutes to rock Hayden back to sleep, but they eventually got made.

These beautiful pecans are from my in-laws pecan trees!

My MIL subscribes to Southern Living magazine and when she's done reading it, she gives it to me. Except this week, Mr. H read it first and pointed out this recipe in their "Nuts About Pecans" recipe section. Last month's magazine was all about apples and this one was about pecans- both have me drooling. I chose to make these muffins though because I needed to incorporate a special ingredient into them. Land O' Lakes now makes a Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread and they sent me a couple coupons to try out their new product. It really is delicious and creamy and loaded with cinnamon. It's a sweet buttery spread but not overly so. I can imagine this spread on toasted bagels, pancakes and even baked sweet potatoes. Since it is so new, I had difficulty finding it at my local grocery stores. I searched 4 different locations before finding it at Wal-Mart.

For this recipe, I used the Land O' Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread in place of canola oil. It worked out very well and intensified the cinnamon flavor in the muffins. I halved the recipe, made 12 muffins and had a little leftover batter to make a couple mini loaves. The pumpkin muffins were tender and moist while the nutty topping was sweet and sticky. They're definitely sweeter than the average muffin and would make great individual desserts. Mr. H and I shared one shortly after coming out of the oven and he declared that they tasted like Fall. I would agree and couldn't be happier that Summer is finally over. It was brutally hot these past few months and I gladly welcome cooler weather. I just hope it gets here soon because it's almost October and it was still over 100 degrees today!

Sticky-Bun Pumpkin Muffins adapted from Southern Living- October 2011

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  • 1 cup pecan halves and pieces
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground all-spice
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. canned pumpkin puree
  • 6.5 oz. Land O' Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter, room temp.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup* muffin tin with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

Stir together melted butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Spoon 1 teaspoonful butter mixture into each muffin cup. Spread 1 Tablespoon of pecans over melted butter.

Stir together flour, sugar, spices, baking soda and salt in a large bowl, and make a well in the center of the mixture.

Whisk together pumpkin, Land O' Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter, eggs and water. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just moistened.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan, filling 3/4 full.

Bake at 350F for 22-28 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Invert pan immediately to remove muffins, then arrange muffins on a cooling rack. Spoon any remaining toppings in muffin cup over the muffins. Let cool 5 minutes.

*Makes 12-18 muffins

Alternatively, you could omit the sticky buttery nutty topping and just bake the bread with the pecans mixed in or you could place the chopped pecans on top of the batter and top with cinnamon sugar and bake in muffin tins or loaf pans. Bake until the center comes out clean.

Now onto the giveaway part of this post! The folks at Land O' Lakes have graciously sponsored this giveaway. They would like to offer one of you lucky readers the chance to win this "Make Breakfast Better" prize pack including a non-stick waffle skillet, flexible spatula, stainless-steel spreaders and more.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me how you'd use the Land O' Lakes Cinnamon Sugar Butter Spread. One comment per person please and be sure to leave your contact info or link back to your blog should you be chosen as the winner.

I'll announce the winner early next week. Good luck to you all and thank you Land O' Lakes for the cinnamony goodness and the giveaway offer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No Clever Title, Just Good Cake

I made a cake today! No, it wasn't this one. I made this cake three weeks ago before Hayden was born. I was pretty exhausted and didn't think I'd have time to make it, but my mom offered to help so we did this together. I'm pretty sure she was only interested because it was full of booze! haha! Either way, I appreciated her help because she cleaned up after me and took over when I had to sit and take breaks, which was often. It's amazing how much energy a baby can suck out of you! :-) Thank you Momma for helping me complete this month's Cake Slice cake!

This is the last month we are baking from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman so rather than everyone making the same cake, we all got to choose which one we wanted to bake. It was tough narrowing down the list because there were many I was drooling over. But in the end I settled on Mississippi Mud Cake with a Bourbon Espresso Glaze. Despite it being one of the only cakes Mr. H wanted, it was loaded with flavor and full of chocolate, espresso, and booze. It really was a no-brainer.

Before I set off to make this, I remembered that my dear friend Debby from A Feast For The Eyes also made this cake. So I went back to read her post and she mentioned that while it was good it could have been more moist so I made a subtle change and added some sour cream to the batter. It was the perfect addition to this cake. It was dense, the espresso was obvious but not too strong- really it just intensified the chocolate flavor and the Bourbon shone through in the cake and in the glaze, but it wasn't overpowering. It was the perfect trifecta- like a kicked up after dinner coffee drink. Debby suggested pouring some of that glaze over some ice cream and that's just what I did. Great idea.

Mississippi Mud Cake with Espresso Bourbon Glaze adapted from Cake keeper Cakes

Printer Friendly Version


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup brewed espresso
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 6 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon

For The Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup Bundt and dust with flour. Combine the flour, baking soda, espresso powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Combine the butter, chocolate, and espresso in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring until the butter and chocolate are melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the granulated sugar and bourbon.

Place the eggs, sour cream and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low to break up the eggs. Beat in the chocolate mixture. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans (if using).

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For The Glaze: Stir the butter, brown sugar, and espresso powder together in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted. Whisk in the cream and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute, remove from the heat, and whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth. Mix in the bourbon. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Place the cake, still on the wire rack, over a baking sheet (or parchment paper). Slowly drizzle the glaze over the cake, letting it run down the sides of the cake and covering as much of the cake as possible. Let stand until the glaze is set, about 1/2 an hour. Slice and serve.

Store uneaten cake on a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cookies and Cream

Well my little man turned 2 weeks old today. It's hard to believe the days have just zipped on by. He's changing so much from day to day, and definitely developing a personality of his own- he is quite the funny guy. Things have been going well so far, but we have been busy. When I was getting bi-weekly ultrasounds, they noticed he had enlarged kidneys. From week to week, the size of them changed (sometimes larger, sometimes smaller), but they continued to keep an eye on them.

In order to check on his kidneys after he was born, we had to get another ultrasound last week. The result of that was that his right kidney is still slightly larger than it should be. So on Tuesday we had an appointment to have dye injected into his bladder to see if there was any back flow from his kidneys to his bladder. We also have been the pediatrician twice and the cardiologist too. After H was born the doctors noticed he had a heart murmur. Luckily it's the "good kind" to have and should close on it's own as he grows. Lots of appointments and baby drama but everything has turned out to be okay. Hopefully he won't have to go back to the doctor until November for his follow up with the urologist and his 2 month check up. Keep your fingers crossed!

Other than that, things are great. We are still trying to develop a sleeping schedule though. He's a great sleeper during the day but wakes and wants to eat every 2 hours at night- it's exhausting. He's so worth it though and when I see that silly grin on his face I just laugh and have to remind myself that losing a couple hours of sleep at night is not a big deal in the grander scheme of things. Yes I'm tired, but what new mother isn't? It's just part of the deal. Can I get an Amen?

All that being said, I don't have much time these days to bake or cook or do much other than washing bottles or reheating something in the microwave. I've made a batch of brownies that were pretty good but I didn't photograph those. I will definitely be making them again so they will get blogged eventually. This dessert is a no-bake ice box cake. It's one of the first desserts I ever saw on food blogs years ago. I don't remember which blog it was from, but I knew it looked amazing and I wanted to make it. I made this last summer and just winged it. All it is is chocolate wafers and sweetened whipped cream. As you layer the cookies and cream and refrigerate the masterpiece, the cookies soften and you can slice it quite nicely. You can use just about any thin crisp cookie you want, and flavor up the whipped cream with extracts or espresso powder or maybe even add some mini chocolate chips in there. My only suggestion would be to lightly sweeten the cream since the cookies are already sweet.

So no real recipe today. You can make this as large (to feed a crowd) or as small (to feed one) as you need to. Just layer cookies with whipped cream and refrigerate overnight until softened. Slice and enjoy! And if it's still in the 100's where you live you'll appreciate not having to turn the oven on to make this.

You know I wouldn't talk about my babe and not share a picture. Here he is sleeping in my arms a couple nights ago. So dang sweet!

I have family in town this weekend to meet Hayden so we will be busy. Hope you all have a sweet weekend!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Baby Is Born, Then He Goes Home

Time on the computer is limited. I wanted to update before now, but washing bottles, feeding my baby, changing diapers, doing laundry and holding that sweet boy of mine are priority one. So I'm copy and pasting this from my other blog. If you read both of them, please pardon the duplication.

Here I am just 2 days before giving birth to Hayden. I already miss being pregnant. I know that may sound crazy, but I do. This pregnancy was taxing, but I wouldn't have traded the experience for anything. Well, obviously, I traded the pregnancy in for the baby, but you know what I mean. I just miss the bond we shared together- his movements, his kicks, the waddling, the cravings :-). I'd much rather have him here than to be pregnant, but I miss that and it was over so quickly. I was just telling my doctor I needed a transition period between being pregnant and bringing him home. It's so different, even though I'm caring for the same child.

Arriving at the hospital at 7am. My doctors office is right across the street behind that sign. It was a privilege parking there.

The c-section went very quickly. We arrived at 7 and got prepped. We were to head back to the OR at 9am, but we were ahead of the schedule by about 30 minutes, so I went back early. I wish I could have slowed everything down, as it just went by so fast. Thinking back now, I wish I could have rubbed my belly one last time too.

My friend Lori was allowed in the OR to photograph his birth. I'm so glad my doctor allowed that because I know I'll treasure those photos forever. So much was going on and it happened so fast I don't remember all of it. I fully expected the procedure to take longer than it did. It seems like I was in there on the table getting prepped then 5 minutes later he was being pulled out of me. I wasn't sure how I'd react, but once I heard his cry it became so real. It's almost like I was still expecting things to go wrong. He was alive and crying and it just seemed so surreal. At this point, I felt like I was dreaming.

At birth, Hayden weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces, but when we left the hospital he was about 6 pounds, 3 ounces. He's been eating well, though breast feeding has been a challenge. Once I started pumping, I started producing more but he refuses my breast. I think it's because eating from the bottle comes much easier and he doesn't have to work for it. He's a lazy (but eager) eater! I'd love to breast feed, but at this point I'm just glad that I'm able to feed him breast milk rather than formula. There's nothing wrong with formula feeding, but they gave him some at the hospital because he was "jittery" and it didn't settle well with his stomach- he spit it up about 4 different times.

Going home- This is when it started to feel real! Watching Mr. H put him into the car seat and load him into our vehicle brought tears to my eyes. Though it's something I always hoped for, I never thought it would happen. It wasn't until the night before that we actually put the carseat into our car. To do it any sooner was almost like a jinx.

But we made it home. Once we got through the doors, I lost it. Our baby was finally home where he belonged. Heck, I'm crying now! It seems like I am crying everyday now. Sometimes for no reason at all, and others because I'm just so grateful and amazed by him. Seriously, I just can't believe where we are today. I thank God everyday for him. He really is a miracle baby. And I have to remind myself of that when I'm completely exhausted at 3 am and have to get up to change his diaper and he poops on me (like he did last night). Totally worth it.

Here is when he met Autumn for the first time. So far she has been wonderful. She is just curious and wants to sniff him. She doesn't appear to be jealous of him- it's almost like she knows how special he is to us and is just as accepting. She even gets up with me at night for feeding and changings. Then we all go back to bed. She's a good hairy big sister.

Just look at that sweet nose and those lips...I am completely and entirely in love. Yes, it's hard and it's an adjustment, but it's all we've ever wanted. I don't know why Sam and Jack were not given the same chance at life, but I know deep in my heart that he was sent to us from them. He's the best of both Mr. H and I and even more perfect than I could have ever imagined.

High blood pressure, protein in my urine, 4 night stays in the hospital, bloating, discomfort, mood swings, 4-hour glucose tests, the Trisomy scare, sleepless nights and indigestion- looking at that face makes all those troubles melt away and nothing else matters.

Monday, September 5, 2011

My Greatest Creation

Hayden Bonnell
September 1, 2o11
8:58 am
6 pounds 11 ounces
19 inches
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