Monday, November 21, 2016

Bake it Better with Miss Jones Challenge

What inspires you to bake during the holidays? Bake up a treat of your choice using Miss Jones baking mix and/or frosting, and they will donate $1 to the SF-Marin Food Bank. Just use the hashtag #betterwithmissjones on social media or visit their website for more info at Your creativity is the secret ingredient! Great ideas could include candy cane Christmas cookies, maple cheesecake brownies, chocolate cake waffles, or any other tasty treats you can conjure. Miss Jones also offers tons of inspiration online at  Now, go check it out and get entered to WIN!

It's that time of year again - Baking Season! I was recently introduced to Miss Jones Baking Co. and I want to share them with you, too! Not only are their baking mixes and frostings totally delicious, they're certified organic, non-GMO, plant-based, responsibly sourced, and contain no artificial colors or flavors. That's serious baking firepower! Check out what I made with the mixes I received:

Chocolate Chunk Orange and Gingerbread Spiced Cookies
Chocolate Chunk Orange and Gingerbread Spiced Cookies

 Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Marshmallow Candy Cane Frosting Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Marshmallow Candy Cane Frosting
Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Marshmallow Candy Cane Frosting

Seriously Delicious! The first is a riff on my Orange Gingerbread and Chocolate Chunk Cookies, and the second was totally Holiday inspired and the kids loved both! These were both made with Miss Jones Chocolate Cake Mix which is deep, rich and moist!

Between November 11 and December 23, Miss Jones Baking Co. is holding the Bake-it-Better Challenge, which gives you the chance to win a Grand Prize worth over $1,500—including a $1,000 gift card, the full line of Miss Jones products, a KitchenAid Mixer, William-Sonoma Goldtouch Baking Set, Scharffen Berger Chocolates, and much more!

Plus, every entry means $1 donated to the SF-Marin Food Bank  All of my readers know how close to my heart fighting hunger is, so if for no other reason, please do this very sweet thing for those less fortunate!

It's super easy to participate:

Step 1: Bake something fantastic using a Miss Jones baking mix or frosting. Get creative—ideas like pumpkin cake bars, chocolate and pecan cupcakes, maple and walnut sugar cookies. The Miss Jones website [] has great inspiration, and using one of their mixes makes it super easy (and yummy, obvies).

Step 2: Take a photo of your beautiful treat and post it to Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #betterwithmissjones. If you're submitting via Instagram, be sure to tag @missjonesco, too! If you're submitting via Facebook, be sure to post your entry directly onto the official Miss Jones Baking Co. Facebook page [].

To learn more about the contest, go to:

Disclosure: Thank you to Miss Jones Baking Co. for providing cake mixes, frosting and other goodies! All opinions are my own and in no way influenced by free product.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pecan Pies in Pumpkin Shells

Many moons ago I had the privilege of working for Disney on several of their websites. This is a recipe that was on in 2008. 

This fun recipe is perfect for this time of year. From harvest time to Halloween to Thanksgiving, these little pies are both cute and delicious. My mother has made them for dinners and she uses the tiny gourds that look just like pumpkins. Gourds are certainly edible, but can be very bitter. Moms were always wonderful, but I've decided to use mini pumpkins for these. Mini pumpkins are available just about everywhere right now and you'll need ones the size of a medium orange for this.

Corn syrup is not so good for us, so I've replaced it with golden syrup, a pure cane sugar derivative that is sold in most stores under the Lyle's label.

Pecan Pies in Pumpkin Shells

Hands-On Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 4


4 mini pumpkins - each the size of an orange
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Lyle's golden syrup
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Cut the tops from each pumpkin and scoop out the seeds.
2. Place pumpkins, cut side down, on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes.
4. While pumpkins are baking, get the pie mix together.
5. Combine syrup, brown sugar and eggs. Mix until well blended.
6. Add pecans and extract. Blend.
7. Remove pumpkins from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.*
8. Pour any excess water from pumpkins and pat insides dry with paper toweling.*
9. Fill each pumpkin with pie mix to just below the top - about 1/2 cup for each.
10. Bake for 30 minutes until set.
11. Let cool before serving.

Notes: *These steps are very important. Squash are full of water and baking them brings this out. If you do not let the pumpkins cool and remove the excess water, the pie will not set.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfaits with Gingersnap Granola

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait with Gingersnap Granola

What happens when you get a big, beautiful box of fun stuff from Cabot? You create! As soon as the most recent box hit my doorstep I was in the zone and knew exactly what I would make: Pumpkin Yogurt Parfaits. Pumpkin yogurt is relatively new to the market, and as always I'm looking for ways to make things my own. My kids love yogurt with toppings and several of them can never get enough pumpkin pie, so I combined what I think it's a truly delicious version.

Cabot's Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt is absolutely to-die-for! My kids got their hands on it after I had made this parfait and it was gone in mere minutes. It's the creamiest version of Greek yogurt I've had this far and paired with the pumpkin and spice flavors, it was a knockout hit! I wound up making these again in a couple days' time at the kids' request.

This is so easy to make, I'll give instructions for one parfait with instructions for a full batch of Gingersnap Granola. Ready?

Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Parfait
Serves 1


1 cup Cabot Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup pumpkin pie mix*
A couple shakes of pumpkin pie spice - or about 1/8 teaspoon


1. Stir pumpkin pie spice into yogurt and spoon 1/2 cup into a small dish or mason jar if packing for later.
2. Spoon pumpkin pie mix over yogurt and top with last 1/2 cup of yogurt.
3. Top with Gingerbread Granola (recipe below) or put granola in a BNTO cup from Cuppow and seal with a lid.
4. Eat in layers or stir it up, either way is delicious!

*Pumpkin pie mix contains pumpkin puree, spices, and sugar. You can make your own by adding sugar and spices to pumpkin puree to your liking.

Gingersnap Granola

Now for the granola. I didn't use molasses for this as I found it to be overwhelming in granola that already contains gingersnaps. The maple syrup is milder and more complementary to the cookies and oats.

Gingersnap Granola

Hands-On Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 45 minutes plus 30 minutes cooling time
Serves: Makes 6 cups


4 cups rolled oats ("old fashioned"-not instant or quick cooking)
1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnap cookies-about 20 (Do not pulverize to crumbs, leave larger pieces)
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice**
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup oil (I used olive)
1 cup maple syrup (Please, please use real syrup! This is thinner than artificial syrup and the taste is milder)


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Stir together oats, crushed cookies, nuts, and spices in a large bowl.
3. Blend maple syrup and oil and pour over oat mixture.
4. Stir together until everything is well coated and spread evenly on baking sheet.
5. Bake for 20 minutes and stir well. Bake for another 15 minutes or until golden and beginning to dry.
6. Cool for half an hour before storing in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

**Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and/or allspice.