Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Apricot Pecan Bread

Years ago, my cousin made a delicious apricot bread at Christmas. We all loved it and I have been searching for the recipe ever since.  I finally found it and it is just as good as I remember.   This moist, flavorful quick bread will become a family favorite.  I ususally omit nuts from my quick bread recipes, but don't do it with this one.  The pecans are the perfect taste and texture compliment to the apricots. 

Apricot Pecan Bread
from Southern Living November 1997

2 1/2 cups dried apricots, chopped
1 c chopped pecans
3 c all-purpose flour, divided
1 c wheat flour
1/2 c butter, softened
2 c sugar
2 large eggs
4 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c orange juice (I used Simply Orange - great orange flavor!)

Combine chopped apricot and warm water to cover in a large bowl; let stand 30 minutes.  Drain apricot. *** Stir in pecans and 1/2 c all-purpose flour.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes; gradually add sugar, beating well.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. 

Combine remaining 3 1/2 c flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter mixture alternately with orange juice, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Stir in apricot mixture. 

Spoon batter into two pgreased and floured 8 x 4 inch loaf pans; let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. 

Bake bread at 350 for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 - 15 minutes;  remove from pans, and cool completely on wire rack.   Makes 2 loaves. 

***NOTE - I used Trader Joe's Dried Apricots and they were very plump and moist.  I did NOT soak them and they were delicious. 

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Meal Plan Monday - November 27

It's the after the holidays cooking funk around here.  I just can't get too motivated to cook, so this week includes some easy, quick cook recipes.  

Sunday - Thanksgiving Leftovers - Turkey, Dressing, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Collard Greens, Mac and Cheese, Cranberry Relish, Deviled Eggs
Monday - Grilled Chicken Salads
Tuesday - Turkey Pot Pie (using the last of the leftover Thanksgiving turkey)
Wednesday - Grilled Chicken Wraps (using leftover grilled chicken from Monday), Chips and Fruit
Thursday- Beef and Black Bean Taco Bake with Salad (freeze half)
Friday- Leftover Buffet
Saturday - Homemade Pizzas, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Monday - Thanksgiving Leftovers
Tuesday - Turkey Waldorf Salad (minus the celery root)
Wednesday - Turkey Waldorf Salad
Thursday - Turkey Pot Pie
Friday - Beef and Black Bean Taco Bake

Breakfasts - Muffins, Oatmeal, Granola with Yogurt

For more menu plans, visit I'm An Organized Junkie

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The BEST Cupcakes Ever

By unanimous decision, these are the VERY BEST cupcakes EVER.  I found the recipe for both the cupcakes and icing at Recipe Girl, via Pinterest.   They taste just like wedding cake, but are perfect for any occasion.  The icing tints very well and makes a great presentation. 

 The cupcake recipe calls for a cake mix with some great stuff added to it.  When I went to make the cupcakes the first time, I realized my sour cream had expired.  So, I dug through the refrigerator and substituted vanilla yogurt for the sour cream.  Perfect!  This makes an even moister cupcake with a more enhanced vanilla flavor.  (A co-worker made the same recipe, using sour cream and we decided we like the vanilla yogurt better).  I also substituted half the vanilla extract with almond extract, just my family's taste preference. 
 I also added almond extract to the icing as well. I have made these for Bunco, baby showers, just because and last night for our annual Halloween Hayride Party.  They are always a favorite and I rarely have any left. The cake recipe makes 36 cupcakes and while the icing recipe says it will frost 12 cupcakes, I double the recipes and have plenty of icing for all 36 cupcakes with about 1/2 a cup left over. 
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Meal Plan Monday- October 31st

 This week wraps up our very busy fall sports season.  While it's been a great ride, I'm glad we can get back to a normal weekly schedule.  We will still have gymnastics and agility, but twice weekly practices will be over for a while.  I won't be home at all on Sunday to prepare a
head for the week. 
Sunday - Ham and Potato Soup
Monday - Halloween Hayride - BBQ Meatballs, 3 Dips with Assorted Crackers, Fruit, Halloween Cupcakes
Tuesday - Roast Pork and Black Beans on Rice with Salad
Wednesday- French Dip Sandwiches, Chips and Veggies with Dip
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Boo Boo and I head off for a girls weekend

For more great menu ideas, visit I'm An Organized Junkie