Cream Cheese & Pumpkin Pie

I made this recipe for the first time today and I have decided it will be a keeper!


  • 1 refrigerated pie crust or you can make your own from scratch like me which you can find here
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (8 oz) of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 tablespoon of milk



Heat oven to 350°F.
Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie plate as directed on the package for one-crust filled pie.
Bake about 10 minutes or until light golden brown.

In a large bowl, beat sugar, flour and cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed or until smooth.


Reserve 1/2 cup in a small bowl.


Add remaining ingredients except the milk to cream cheese mixture in the large mixing bowl.


Beat on medium speed until smooth.

Stir milk into small cream cheese mixture.


Pour pumpkin mixture into the pie shell and set aside.


Slowly spoon cream cheese mixture over the pumpkin mixture. Swirl together the mixture for a marbled design.


Cover edge of crust with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
Cool for 30 minutes and cover loosely and refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.


A classic fall favorite.


– R. Vargas

Hawaiian Banana Nut Bread

This recipe is almost like my banana nut bread recipe but it has a twist of crushed pineapple.
(This recipe makes 2 loaves.)


  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of chopped nuts
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
  • 2 cups of mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in nuts and set aside.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  4. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loafpans.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.


-R. Vargas

| Mrs. Marge Killmon, Annandale, Virginia | Southern Living | 1979 Annual Living |

Zucchini Bread

I’ve been wanting to make zucchini bread for the longest but I have a hard time actually finding zucchini’s. I finally found some and tried this recipe for the first time and I was really happy with it.


  • 2 small zucchinis (ends trimmed)
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup of whole of low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts

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Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Shred the zucchini using the large holes of a box grater.

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Squeeze the shredded zucchini between several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

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Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt together in a large bowl.

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In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, melted butter, eggs, yogurt, and lemon juice together until smooth.

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Gently fold the shredded zucchini and yogurt mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until mixed well. Gently fold in the pecans.

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Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

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Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, about 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.

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-R. Vargas


Such a simple and quick recipe to follow, Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite recipes to bake.


  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable shortening
  • 2 large eggs


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine 1/4 cup of the sugar and cinnamon together in a small dish for rolling.

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In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt together.

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In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and remaining 11/2 cups of sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy.

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Beat in the eggs, one at a time until incorporated.

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Slowly add the flour mixture.

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Mix well until combined.
Working with two tablespoons of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls with wet hands, then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat.

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Lay the dough balls on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about two inches apart.

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Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and just beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating each baking sheet halfway through baking.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and enjoy!

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-R. Vargas

Apple Pie

This was my first attempt at making an apple pie from scratch. I am very pleased with how it turned out.
You can always buy a pre-made pie shell but I made mine from scratch.

I used a simple recipe from the Food Network Website:


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
14 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 pounds baking apples like Golden Delicious, Cortland, or Mutsu
2/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pie
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Generous pinch of ground nutmeg
1 large egg, lightly beaten


You can either make the dough by hand or in a mixer like I did.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.

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Work the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like yellow corn meal mixed with bean sized bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before moving on.)

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Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.

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Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.

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Make the filling:

Peel, halve, and core the apples.

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Cut each half into 4 wedges. Toss the apple with the lemon juice. Add the sugar and toss to combine evenly.

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In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat.

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Add the apples, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture begins to simmer, about 2 minutes.

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Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the apples soften and release most of their juices, about 7 minutes.

Strain the apples in a colander over a medium bowl to catch all the juice. Shake the colander to get as much liquid as possible.

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Return the juices to the skillet, and simmer over medium heat until thickened and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.

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In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the reduced juice and spices. Set aside to cool completely.

Cut the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of dough into a disc about 11 to 12 inches wide.

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Layer the dough between pieces of parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with one of the discs of dough, and trim it so it lays about 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the pan.

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Put the apple filling in the pan and mound it slightly in the center.

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Brush the top edges of the dough with the whisked egg.

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Place the second disc of dough over the top. Fold the top layer of dough under the edge of the bottom layer and press the edges together to form a seal. Flute the edge as desired.

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Brush the surface of the dough with egg and then sprinkle with sugar. Pierce the top of the dough in several places to allow steam to escape while baking. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

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Bake the pie on a baking sheet until the crust is golden, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving. The pie keeps well at room temperature (covered) for 24 hours, or refrigerated for up to 4 days.

March-April 217Let me know how your pie came out!


-R. Vargas

REESE’S Chewy Chocolate Cookies

The best cookies I possibly have ever made, and ever tasted!
For those who love chocolate and peanut butter together and for those who are looking for something quick and easy to bake.

I found the recipe on the back of a REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips package but it can also be found on HERSHEY’S website. Here is the link:


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE’S Peanut Butter Chips

Heat oven to 350°F.
Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy.
Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peanut butter chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 9 minutes. (Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.)
Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Being the baker that I am, I decided that I should also try to make my dog something from scratch.
I found an easy and simple recipe on:


  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin purée, canned or fresh
  • 3 tbsps peanut butter

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Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.

I had my niece help me.

I had my niece help me.

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Mix  until the dough looks like a bunch of little dough balls. If you pinch a piece and it crumbles, add a little water. If it’s really sticky, it’s too wet and you’ll need to add a little flour.

Gather the dough together and form into a ball.
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Place on a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thickness. You can either use a cookie cutter to cut out cute shapes or use a knife to cut squares or strips.

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I used cookie cutters.

Bake 15-20 minutes for softer treats or 30 minutes for hard treats.

Doggie Treats 588Let them cool completely and share with your dog!


-R. Vargas