Pumpkin French Toast Casserole



Pumpkin French Toast Casserole-w-SycamoreLane Photography


Pumpkin French Toast Casserole

(original recipe here.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 inch pan.

8 eggs

1 t  vanilla

2 t  cinnamon

1/2 t  cloves

1/4 t  nutmeg

1/4 t  ginger

2 T  white sugar

1/4 c  milk

1- 15oz can pumpkin puree

~Mix all the above ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

~Cut up a 2 lb loaf of French bread into 1/2 inch cubes.

(I have an old standby recipe that I use for my French bread and so I always make it fresh. But, you could also use store bought or even a loaf of Texas toast bread.)

~Place the bread into the pumpkin mixture and toss until the bread is well coated.

~Pour into prepared baking pan.

~Mix together the following in a small bowl, until crumbs form.

1/3 c  brown sugar

1/2 t  cinnamon

2 T  flour

1 1/2 T  butter, softened butter.

~Sprinkle over the top of the bread.

Bake 30-40 min or until golden brown and knife inserted comes out clean.


This was a huge hit with all my guys. I served it with big mugs full of fruit smoothies.  The combination of the pumpkin and spices was perfect! It wasn’t icky sweet like some french toast casseroles can be.  There was very little left. My boys kept going back for more and if my youngest son, who has been sick, had joined us for dinner I’m sure they would not have been a single crumb left.  It’s that good!


Hard Rolls

Bitter cold days produce in me this need to bake bountiful quantities of bread and hot meals.  What a blessing to be able to do this.  I am so grateful to God for providing food for my family and for those in my neighborhood who are in need. 

One of my guys recent favorites are these hard rolls.  I didn’t have a single one left the night I served them.


hard rolls-web

Hard Rolls

(recipe from: The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking)

4 1/2- 5 1/2 c   all purpose flour

2 T  sugar

1 t  salt

1 T  active dry yeast

4 T  butter, softened

1 1/2 c  warm water

1 egg white


For the Glaze:

1/2 c  water

1 t  cornstarch

Poppy seeds


Combine 1 1/2 c of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Cut in butter.  Gradually add water to the flour mixture and beat for 5 minutes. Add the egg white.  Beat for another 5 minutes, adding flour until dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. (I did this portion by hand since I do not have a mixer that does well with bread dough.)  Turn out on a lightly floured surface.  Knead 8-10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary to prevent stickiness.

Lightly oil a large bowl.  Place dough in the bowl and turn to coat on all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place, until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Punch down dough. Turn out again, cover with a towel, let rest 10 minutes. Divide in half and shape into two 9 inch rolls.  Cut each roll into nine 1-inch pieces and form each into a small ball.  Place on the baking sheet and 3 inches apart. Cover with towel and let rise until doubled- another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450.

To make glaze, mix water and cornstarch in a pan. Bring to a boil.  Cool slightly before brushing on rolls. Slit tops in a crisscross fashion.  (I cut the tops before I let the rolls rise. I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to cut the rolls once they had risen.) Sprinkle with poppy seeds.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

yield 18 rolls



So as you can tell from this post our days have been pretty quiet.  I have enjoyed them.  I needed some quiet!  It has been good to just be home, I love the coziness of it all.  To be able to focus on school and the needs of my family is just what I have been needing.  And for a girl who loves the snow, but can’t do the bitter cold it’s been a wonderful week of watching the snowflakes from the warm side of my window!

Home Made Pizza Rolls

My family loves anything and everything pizza.  So I find myself making pizza or pizza type foods a couple times  a month… at least.

For a while I have been making a recipe for Chicken Broccoli Rolls that I just love.  One night when we were eating these Joel just happened to casually mention that these rolls would be perfect with pizza topping stuffed into them.

Being the loving wife I am I decided to surprise him one night with Pizza Rolls.

These can be a bit time consuming, but they are well worth the extra effort.

The recipe that follows is what I make for 3 boys voracious boys, 2 adults, and my daughter who can pack it away just as good as her brothers can.  You can easily cut this recipe in half or increase it if need be.


Home Made Pizza Rolls


2 packages of yeast (this is equivalent to 4  1/2 t)

2 c  warm water, divided

2 t  sugar

1/2 c melted butter, cooled to room temperature

5-6 c flour white, wheat, or a combination. I tend to use 1 to1  1/2 cups wheat and the rest white.

3 t salt

In a bowl dissolve yeast in 1/2 c water. Stir in sugar and let set for 5 minutes or until bubbly. Pour in cooled butter and remaining water, stir.  Add 2 cups flour and the salt.  Mix well using a hand mixer for approximately 2 minutes. Work in as much of the remaining flour as possible by hand. Knead for about 10 minutes or until dough isn’t sticky.  Place in a bowl and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.  Punch down, cover and let rest for 30 minutes more.

In the meantime prepare your toppings:


Use your favorite recipe or store bought brand.  I use a pint of my home canned tomato sauce mixed with a can of tomato paste, a pinch of sugar, a bit or garlic powder and a tablespoon of a pizza seasoning that I buy from our local Natural Grocery.


Be creative!  We use any of the following,i depending on what I have on hand:  sausage, bacon, peperoni, diced ham,  fresh tomato,onion and green pepper sautéed in a bit of olive oil, green or black olives, mushrooms, feta cheese, and mozzarella cheese.



Pizza Rolls- SycamoreLane Photography



Divide dough into 18 pieces.  Roll out one piece of dough into a circle, keeping dough about 1/4 inch thick don’t go to thin or your dough will break and your topping will leak out.  Place amount of sauce that you like on the circle to within an inch of edges. Place desired toppings on top of sauce.  Here you will have to experiment with how much you want in the roll or in our case how much you can fit in the roll!  Using warm water wet your finger and go around the edges of the dough.  Fold in the edges of dough and seal together.  Flip the roll over and place on a greased cooking sheet.  Repeat with remaining 17 pieces of dough.  Before placing in the oven poke with a knife or fork to create vent holes for the steam to escape.  I actually cut my children’s initials in their rolls, because everyone had different toppings in their rolls.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven brush tops with butter.  Sprinkle with garlic powder and Parmesan cheese.



Pizza Rolls-1-SycamoreLane Photography


Oh and try not to burn your mouth by being to eager to taste these. ( I personally wouldn’t know anything about that…Ah-hem)

Rustic Apple Tart




Rustic Apple Tart



Rustic Apple Tart


1 1/3 c  flour

2 T  sugar

1/4 t salt

1/2 c  butter

13 t  cold water

1/4 t  vanilla


4 cups thinly sliced apples

7 T sugar

3/4 t cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

2 1/2 T flour


Cinnamon sugar mix

Caramel ice cream topping

Combine flour, sugar, and salt; cut in butter until crumbly.  Gradually add water and vanilla, toss with a fork until a ball forms.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  Divide dough in half. Roll into 10” circles.  Transfer to parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Combine filling ingredients. Spoon over pastry within 2” of edges.  Fold up edges of pastry over filling.  Leaving center uncovered.  Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar over the filling.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Slide onto cooling racks.  Drizzle with caramel; serve warm.


~This recipe is the BEST! The crust is flaky and the filling just right.  It is definitely one of my favorites for topping off a warm, filling, autumn, comfort food meal.

Swedish Meatballs- A Warm Meal for a Confused Spring Day



One day of 70 degree weather spoiled me.  It is now 35 degrees and spitting snow. 

I know spring is coming. I can’t be fooled!  While I wait I will just be thankful for a few more days of cool weather to cook up some of our favorite cold weather meals. Before long I won’t even want to turn on the oven.

With the continued cold weather there’s nothing to do but,  bake up some crusty homemade bread and a dish up bowls of steaming comfort food.


hard rolls-web



Swedish Meatballs- A Country Girl's Ramblings-SycamoreLane Photography


Venison Swedish Meatballs

3 slices whole wheat bread, torn into small pieces

1/2  cup milk

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1/2 small onion, minced

2 lbs.  Venison or ground burger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1  teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon sage

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon fennel, crushed

2 large eggs


Mix bread and milk and let sit.  Mix together meat, seasonings, and eggs.  Sauté onion in 2 Tablespoons of butter until transparent. Squeeze excess milk out of the bread.  Add the onions and the bread to the meat mixture.  Mix well.  Shape into meatballs.  Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Brown meatballs on all sides.  Place the browned meatballs into a greased hot crock pot.



2 Tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried parsley

3 cups chicken stock or broth

1/2 cup half-n-half

Melt butter in saucepan.  Wisk in flour until paste is formed. Add the chicken broth and stir until thickened.  Add the salt, parsley, and half-n-half.  Mix well.  Pour the gravy over the meatballs.


Cook on high in slow cooker for 2 hours or until meatballs are cooked through.