The Baker Upstairs: 2009


pumpkin cookies


Pumpkin Cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Spray baking sheets with nonstick spray. Mix flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Beat butter and sugar in separate bowl, then add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, and mix well. Beat in flour mixture gradually, then drop by tablespoons (or use a cookie scoop) onto baking sheets. Bake 15-18 minutes or until edges are firm.

These cookies are also pretty good (although a little too sweet for me) with glaze.


2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 T milk
1 T melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix in a small bowl until smooth


chicken tortilla soup


I wasn't even going to post this recipe, but then I had the leftovers for lunch and decided that it was so yummy I should share. So here's the recipe. It's sort of ghetto, but it works.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chili beans
2 cans chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 can diced green chiles
1 T taco seasoning
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
6 slices American cheese
tortilla chips (store bought, or make your own)

Heat tomatoes, beans, broth, chiles, and seasoning until simmering. Add chicken and cheese, and stir until cheese is melted. Let soup reduce a little, until slightly thickened (if it doesn't reduce or you're in a hurry, you can add a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the soup). Ladle into bowls and garnish with chips.


bedtime smoothie

I make this smoothie often just before bedtime, and I love it! I've tried just about every variety of frozen fruit in this, and they are all good.

Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup vanilla soymilk

1/2 cup any flavor yogurt
1/4 cup any flavor granola

Mix using immersion blender (or I guess a regular blender or food processor, but I love my immersion blender because it's so easy). Enjoy!

cheese biscuits

I made potage parmentier from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" for dinner, and these yummy biscuits to go with it.

Cheese Biscuits

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 T baking powder
1/2 T sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 T butter
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
milk or melted butter for brushing on top

Mix dry ingredients, cut in butter. Add cheese and milk, stir until just combined. Pat out into rectangle shape and cut into squares. Place on sprayed baking sheet and brush tops. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

apple-berry cobbler


(adapted from Cafe Zupas)

Apple-Berry Cobbler

2 cups blueberries
2 medium apples (I used granny smith), peeled and sliced
1/2 cup plus 1 T flour
1/4 cup plus 1 T sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 1/2 T cold butter
1/4 cup milk

Toss blueberries and apples with 1 T flour, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour into 8x8 baking dish. Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1 T sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter, then stir in milk. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls over fruit. Bake for 35 minutes at 375, or until golden brown.

Note: I used lime juice and lime zest because I didn't have any lemons, and it still turned out great!


soft pretzels


These really are the greatest pretzels ever. I think we've made them at least 6 times, and they are consistently delicious. They are also good as pretzel bites; after rolling the long ropes, just cut into 1 - 1.5 inch pieces instead of twisting into pretzels.

Soft Pretzels

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
about 1 cup warm water
pretzel salt (I used sea salt instead)
1 T. melted butter

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Slowly add warm water (don't add more than you need!). Kneed dough until smooth and elastic. Dust dough with flour, and put in a plastic bag. Seal the bag, leaving room for the dough to expand. Let rest 30 minutes. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces, and form each into a rope 28-30 inches long. Twist into pretzel shape. Dip each pretzel in warm water. Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let rest 10 minutes. Bake 8-9 minutes or until golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter.


best scones ever


These are seriously the best. I've made them twice, with great results each time, and I'm already scheming about when I can make them again.

Best Scones Ever

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 T baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 375. Mix dry ingredients together, and cut in butter (it helps if you use a pastry cutter). Mix egg, vanilla, and milk together, then add to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined (don't overmix!) and then turn out onto lightly floured surface. Pat into a circle about 3/4 inches thick, then cut with a biscuit cutter. Twist while pressing down with the biscuit cutter for lighter and flakier scones. Place on a cookie sheet prepared with nonstick spray. Brush tops of scones with milk. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with whipped cream and jam.


turkey burgers


The little one asked for burgers last night, and this is what she got. I thought they were really yummy... she threw hers on the floor. They were super easy, so I probably shouldn't even post the recipe, but I liked the picture I took. So here they are.

Turkey Burgers

1 pound ground turkey
4 cloves crushed/chopped/grated garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler. Mix meat, garlic, and salt and pepper. Form into four patties. Fry on medium heat in a skillet until browned on both sides but not cooked through. Broil 5-7 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked. I served them with spinach, sharp cheddar, mayonnaise, ketchup, and stoneground mustard, with a baked sweet potato on the side. Yummy dinner!



This is totally my go-to dinner. We always have the ingredients on hand, it's super yummy, and it takes something like 10 minutes to make. I should probably be embarrassed by how often we eat this, but it just tastes too darn good.

Eggs and Tortillas

6 corn tortillas, torn into pieces
1-2 tsp. oil (just drizzle some in)
5 eggs, beaten well
1 can green chilis
1/2 cup grated cheese (I like pepper jack)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add tortillas and cook until slightly browned and crispy. Add eggs and green chilis, stir until eggs are cooked. Add cheese and salt and pepper, and serve.


chicken gyros


My first attempt, and they were fantastic!


1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/3 cup finely diced cucumber
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
1 clove garlic, mashed
salt and pepper

Mix together and let chill in refrigerator at least an hour before serving. If you have a yogurt strainer, and the time to do it, you could strain the yogurt and it would be more authentic, but it still tasted good the way I made it.

For the chicken, I just marinated it in Italian dressing (I couldn't find greek dressing...) for a couple of hours, then put it on skewers with red onion chunks, and broiled it for 10 minutes on each side.

This meal was so good and so easy that I think we're going to be eating it a lot more often!