Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf

Before I started this cooking/recipe blog, I used to occasional post recipes on my “other” blog.  This is a repost from that blog, but when I made this bread the other night I realized that it wasn’t on this blog!  This recipe is delicious and a must for fall baking, so I felt it necessary to to share.

Ever since the first day of Fall last week, a lot of the foodie blogs that I read have been posting pumpkin recipes.  I LOVE pumpkin!  So, I was inspired to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon and bake something scrumptious. 

This afternoon I baked this incredible Pumpkin-Gingerbread Loaf.  I've always loved regular pumpkin bread (thanks to my mom at Christmas time) and this bread adds the ginger element, which just makes it outstanding.  It's moist and comforting with the pumpkin flavor and then it's got a slight ginger kick.  YUM!  I could easily eat half a loaf or 3-4 muffins...it is THAT good.




I found the recipe a few years ago on Recipezaar.  Since I'm always trying to make recipes a bit healthier, I cut back on the sugar by 1/2 a cup, used whole wheat flour and subbed half egg whites for the eggs.  It's not much of a "healthy" modification, but I figured even a little bit could make it more figure friendly.  The recipe makes 2 big loafs (9-inch pans).  I like to make 1 loaf and 12 muffins, so that I can have somewhat of portion control. :)  It also freezes really well.  If you decide to do muffins, they'll take about 22 minutes to bake.  Seriously, you have to make this bread...it is AMAZING and a wonderful Fall treat!





12 muffins, minus 1 due to Quality Assurance. :)

Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf by Recipezaar

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  • 1 cup margarine/butter
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)
  1. Cream together margarine, sugar, and eggs.

  2. Combine all dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture alternately with water and pumpkin.

  3. Beat well.

  4. Pour into 3 well greased loaf pans.

  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minute or until toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, November 8, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to all of those who entered my CSN Stores GIVEAWAY!  Welcome to those new readers of Sara’s Sweets and to you old readers, thanks for sticking around. :)  Without further ado…the lucky winner, picked at random, is…

3 Boys and an Old Lady!!

Congrats, Old Lady!  I’ll be in contact with you very soon.

Thanks again to all who entered!  And of course, many thanks to CSN Stores for allowing me to have this GIVEAWAY!  Have a great week everyone.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Paste e Fagoli and a GIVEAWAY!

As a preferred blogger for CSN Stores, I have the opportunity to host another giveaway for one of you fine readers!  Yay!  By now you all know that CSN Stores has over 200 online stores with a ton of different items to choose from.  You need new dining chairs?  No problem.  What about a ceiling fan?  They got it.  Or how about a tool case?  You know they have one!  And now is your chance to get something that you need!  Those great folks at CSN Stores have offered one of my lucky readers a $50 gift code to any of their sites.

CSN Stores

I’ll be randomly selecting one lucky reader to win this GIVEAWAY!  There are 3 ways to enter and all entries must be received by midnight (AZ Time) on Saturday, November 6th and here’s how you enter:

  1. Leave a comment telling me which what restaurant recipe you wish you had the “copycat” recipe for

  2. Follow ME on Twitter @saraboff, or if you already do, let me know

  3. Become a Follower of Sara’s Sweets, or let me know if you already are

*Please leave separate comments to let me know that you’re a follower on Twitter or of the blog.

And now onto today’s recipe!  I enjoy Olive Garden very much.  I could go there and eat soup, salad and breadsticks all the time.  Actually, I could go there and just make a meal out of the breadsticks…but that’s besides the point.  One of their soups that I like is Pasta e Fagoli, and it just so happens that in my Top Secret Restaurant Recipe cookbook, there is a  recipe for it!  This soup is delicious.  It’s full of beans, meat and little, funny shaped pasta that I’ve never bought before!  Plus, it is hearty, it’s warm and it’s just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  It’s perfect dinner or lunch a winter day! Now if only I had the recipe for the breadsticks from Olive Garden…






Pasta e Fagoli, Copycat Recipe from Olive Garden

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  • 1 pound Ground beef
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 large Carrot
  • 3 stalks Celery
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 14.5-oz cans Diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz can Red kidney beans
  • 1 15-oz can Great northern beans
  • 1 15-oz can Tomato sauce
  • 1 12-oz can V-8 juice
  • 1 tablespoon White vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/2 pound Ditali pasta


  1. Brown the ground beef in a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. Drain off most of the fat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (except pasta), and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. About 50 minutes into simmer time, cook the pasta in 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of boiling water over high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or just until pasta is al dente, or slightly tough. Drain.
  3. Add the pasta to the large pot of soup. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes and serve.