Oct 27, 2010

Pumpkin Ribbon Bread, Other Halloween Traditions, and a Game of Tag

Next to Mardi Gras, Halloween is my favorite celebration.  I love the costumes.  Love the parties and decorations.  Love the Halloween themed food--both the cute and the gross.  And I love Halloween candy.  Milk Duds are my favorite.

Around Oct 1, I decorate both outside and in.  Yes, I'm one of those people who puts up decorations early.  I figure if I'm going to the trouble of doing it, I'm not going to turn around in 1-2 weeks and take it all down.  Heck no!  I'm going to get mileage out of that work baby!

One of my favorite things to do is carve pumpkins.  We always do two.  One is more or less a standard jack 'o lantern that The Boy helps with.  The second is just for me and is more elaborate--like a cat silhouetted against a full moon, or a black widow spider.  There are tons of templates online.

The tradition The Boy loves the most, besides trick-or-treating (but I probably didn't need to specify that, right?), is having a Halloween themed meal and making Halloween themed treats.

Sometimes it's simply Halloween shaped and decorated sugar cookies.

Sometimes I completely lose my mind and do something like this with him:
Spooky Brownies from Betty Crocker (click for recipe/instructions)
These might be cute, but they are also a lot of trouble!

Before trick-or-treating, we always have a Halloween meal.  They Boy is partial to Crescent Mummy Dogs (Pillsbury) and Apple Bites (Family Fun)

Both are fun to make and eat.

I'll throw another idea out attcha...I always wanted to make the mashed potato ghost topped shepherd's pie from PillsburyBut The Boy, my own flesh and blood, does not like mashed potatoes.

No October or Halloween would be complete without eating something pumpkin.  My favorite is this Pumpkin Ribbon Bread from an old Taste of Home mini cookbook.

First, it is way cool how that layer of cream cheese turns into a beautiful swirl in the middle of the bread.  Second, it tastes darn good too.

Mise en place for Pumpkin Ribbon Bread
Ribbon part: cream cheese, sugar, eggs,
Bread part: pumpkin, oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground cloves

Start by making the cream cheese layer. 
Beat softened cream cheese (I use 1/3 less fat) with sugar and flour.
Then beat in one egg.
Set aside.

Time for the bread part.
Beat the pumpkin, oil, and eggs.
Then add the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, and cinnamon.

Grease and flour two loaf pans.

I read recently that for quick breads, pans should only be greased and floured halfway up the sides.  This is supposed to help quick breads "climb" the sides of your pans, preventing flat loaves.

Add 1 scant cup of the pumpkin mixture to each pan.
Pour 1/2 cup of the cream cheese filling in each pan over the top of the pumpkin batter.  Then divide the rest evenly.
You should have roughly 1 c of pumpkin batter for each pan remaining.  Carefully pour and spread that over the cream cheese.

Bake at 325 for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool before removing from pans.

Mornin'!  Want some pumpkin bread?

Linked to:

  What's on the Menu Wednesday @ Dining With Debbie
Tip Day Thursday Carnival (Halloween) @ Around My Family Table

Love Bakes Good Cakes

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Pumpkin Ribbon Bread
adapted from Taste of Home

For filling:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c sugar
1 T flour
1 egg

For bread:
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
½ c vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 ½ c sugar
1 2/3 c flour
1 t baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp cloves

Beat cream cheese, sugar, and flour together in a small bowl. Add egg; mix to blend. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, oil, and eggs. Add sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, and cinnamon. Mix to blend. Pour half of the batter into two greased and floured 7 ½ x 3 1/2 x 3” loaf pans. Carefully spread the filling mixture over batter. Add remaining batter, covering filling. Bake at 325 for 1 hour, or until bread tests done with a toothpick. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. Store in refrigerator. Yields 2 loaves.

M from Betty Crapper tagged me in a "get to know you" internet game.
The rules: answer eight questions provided by me, then pick 8 blogs to tag.  Give those blogs 8 questions of your own.

M's questions for me:
1. What is your favorite cookbook? The Border Cookbook by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
Real Cajun by Donald Link
(depends on what I feel like cooking)

2. What do you feel like eating when you are grumpy?

3. What is your favorite dessert?
Coffee Brownies or gooey caramel topped brownies

4. How did you learn to cook?
Mostly trial and error...lots of trials and errors

5. What is your favorite kitchen appliance or tool?
either a silicone spatula because it scrapes every last drop or a microplane

6. Is there anything in the kitchen that intimidates you?
canning/pickling for fear of killing off my family

7. How far in advance do you plan your meals? I plan and shop weekly

8. What is your most treasured food related memory?
Hard to pick one.  But since I hear pecans falling right now, I'm reminded of this:
Sitting in the backyard with my brothers and dog, eating pecans from the neighbors tree.  We'd eat so many that we weren't hungry when mom called us in for dinner.

I'm tagging these 8 bloggers:
Around My Family Table
Beach Eats
Brenda's Canadian Kitchen
Dining with Debbie
Friday Friends
Kahakai Kitchen
Recipes of a Cheapskate
Stirring the Pot

Here are your questions!
1. What is your favorite kitchen task?
2. What is your least favorite kitchen task?
3. What would be your ultimate meal?
4. What is your favorite kitchen tool?
5. Besides salt and pepper, which seasoning, herb, or spice do you use the most?
6. What was your worst kitchen disaster?
7. Which celebrity chef would you want to cook with and why?
8. What is your "signature dish?"


  1. Michelle - Loved this Halloween post! Halloween is my absolute favorite too. Love the cute little brownie monsters, the mummy dogs and the picture of the boy with the apple in his mouth! I've wanted to make that pie with the ghost mashed potatoes too, but never got around to it! (can't believe the boy doesn't like mashed potatoes!) Does he like cauliflower? I don't know if whipped cauliflower would hold up, but maybe that would work. Sweet potatoes maybe? I also saw Martha make mashed sweet potatoes into little orange pumpkins, maybe that would work.
    Pumpkin and cream cheese belong together. Love the bread.

    Did you catch Giada's Halloween episode. I loved those orange and brown peppermint patties she made.

    Thanks for tagging me. I'll post my answers later in the week!

  2. Oh, I can't wait to answer my questions...probably tomorrow. Do check out my recipe for today...Witches Brooms at Around My Family Table. They are easy and right up your alley! Thanks for tagging me!

  3. What fun and creative spooky treats! I just love Halloween too and am kind of bummed that I'm not doing much to celebrate it this year. It kind of snuck up on me. But I will carve pumpkins tomorrow night ... because that's always a must for me. :)

    Loved your answers here and will try to get mine up this week too. Thanks so much for including me and have a great Halloween!

  4. Thanks for playing along! I'm going to have to try your coffee brownie suggestion.

    Love the skeletons in the window. So what are you dressing up as this year?

  5. Michelle, hope you like espresso brownies. Can you email me a shipping address!!


  6. Kim- he eats cauliflower and sweet potatoes, but not mashed. His problem is with the mashed part rather than the potato part!
    I missed Giada's Halloween episode. Didn't know there was one!

    Wendy- the witches' brooms are really cute. I pushed for them, but The Boy decided he wants to make a spider web cake or cupcakes this year. Much easier than those darn brownies.

    Diva- I have to be honest...I got an early start with decorating, but then everything else snuck up on me too. Still haven't carved pumpkins!

    M- Seriously? I won? That just makes my day! I'll have to make my fav coffee brownies w/ the espresso and post them. Probably won't dress up this year. Spent way more on The Boy's costume (skeleton zombie) than I care to admit.

  7. What fun treats! I put my Halloween decorations up October 1 too, lol. Halloween is my absolute favourite holiday and always has been. Thanks for tagging me, I've been very busy, but I will try and get to it soon!

  8. What a great blog! I found you on thursday Tips and I'm now following. I'm going to try this bread :) Hope to see you around too at Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  9. Halloween is my favorite too! I loved seeing your decorations. Hopefully I can post something about Halloween...maybe tomorrow. And I'll do the "get to know you" game. I think those are fun things to do, but probably not until Monday or Tuesday.

    Your son looks cute with his apple teeth.

    Oh....and the Cajun dishes I made for the class were, the dirty rice and the blackened chicken with alfredo sauce.
    My favoite was the shrimp etoufee and the dirty rice.
    I'll have to look thru your blog to find more ideas. I think my friend and I are going to do a Cajun dinner for our friends.

  10. Great Halloween treats here! The bread sounds really delicious, love the cream cheese addition. Good answers too! I'm new here and glad to find your blog!

  11. While all of these decorations and costumes look cool, the things that caught my attention more were the mouth-watering dishes!

  12. Hi Michelle~ What a great post!! I also love Halloween:) I would go all out when my kids were young...I would dress up, play spooky music and eat lots of milk duds, my fav also! I miss those Halloween nights...Enjoy this time with "the boy":) I make a Cranberry Swirl Bread similar to your Pumpkin Ribbon Bread, also from TOH. I'm on my way into the kitchen to look through my many TOH cookbooks to track down this recipe!!! I will be making this asap! Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines


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