Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I fell in love with the flavor of pumpkin a few years ago (here are just a few of the goodies I like to make with the flavorsome squash). I’ve been experimenting with it a bit more this season, and this delicious, moist, and autumn-centric Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread was a result of said testing. It pairs well on its own, or alongside a mug of steaming tea or coffee, and it is Zuni-approved ;)

(Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.)



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Yield: 1 Loaf


  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon ground all-spice
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar, pumpkin puree, oil, water, and eggs until smooth.

Add all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and all-spice. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 60 to 80 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow bread to rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

We went apple picking with a group of friends a few weeks ago, and we came home with a 15-pound bag of apples. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do with all of the apples (crisps, cobblers, pies, loaf cakes, bundt cakes, fritters, etc.), but alas we ate most of the apples as is, in all of their juicy, crisp, and sweet glory :)

While I’ve set aside a few apples for a pie (a must in Autumn!), I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls studded with diced apples. The combination of apples and cinnamon is one that I cannot resist, and it’s one of the reasons I look forward to the harvest of the fall season.

(Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.)




Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 16 Rolls


For Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored, and diced into ½-inch chunks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For Dough:

  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 ½ – 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour

For Glaze:

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla


Make Filling:

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add apples and salt and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and cinnamon, and stir to thoroughly combine. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the apples are cooked through and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Remove apple mixture from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Set aside and cool completely before using.

(Note: Filling can be made beforehand and kept in the refrigerator.)

Make Dough:

Scald milk in a saucepan over medium heat (when milk is warm and small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Do not boil.). Pour milk into a large bowl, and add butter, sugar, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined. Allow milk mixture to cool until lukewarm.

Add eggs and yeast, and mix until combined.

Add 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, and knead on low speed for several minutes. Add additional flour, up to 1 cup, in increments, until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Knead for an addition 2 minutes.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.

Line two 9-inch baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.

Punch dough down and divide into two portions. Roll each portion out, on a lightly floured surface, into a large rectangle, about 12” x 15”. Spread apple filling evenly over each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges. Begin rolling at the long end, trying to keep as much of the filling inside the roll. Once rolled, the edges can be pinched together to form a seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut off and dispose of the ends of the roll. Divide each log into 8 portions, and slice.   Place the rolls in the pans, spaced no more than 1-inch apart, cut side up. Any leaked filling can be spooned over the tops of the rolls. Cover lightly, and set aside to rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Once rolls have risen, uncover and bake until golden around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.

Make Glaze:

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla, until smooth. Drizzle over slightly cooled rolls.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I’ve realized that I barely post “main dish” type recipes here! It’s not like we’re noshing on desserts all of the time (oh, how I wish!), but for what ever reason I seldom share our main courses. I’d like to remedy that by sharing the easy and delicious recipe for this Cajun Chicken Pasta. I first spotted it at The House of Spice, and after serving it, it was declared a winner. I’m not keen on cream-heavy pasta dishes, and this dish fits the bill. It’s loaded with veggies, protein, and can be spiced as lightly or heavily as tolerated. It’s a meal that both children and adults both can enjoy- A total winner in my book ;)




Cajun Chicken Pasta

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings


  • 1 pound boneless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips (any color or combination of colors)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (diced tomatoes can be used; simply run through the blender before using)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • Fresh or dried parsley, for garnish (optional)


In a small bowl, combine chicken and Cajun seasoning. Mix well, making sure that the chicken is evenly coated.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pan, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and no longer raw. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add more oil if needed, and add onions, bell peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, and extra Cajun seasoning (if needed). Cook until the vegetables have softened and browned lightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside with chicken.

Add the tomatoes and water, and cook for a few minutes. Add whipping cream and cook until thickened, several minutes (might take longer if using diced tomatoes).

Add chicken and vegetables back into the pan and gently mix. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Check seasonings, adding more if necessary. Serve garnished with parsley.

Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


I’ve missed you! ::Gives big virtual hug::

I apologize for the impromptu hiatus. Things had been a bit busy, but they seem to have calmed down now.

So a few days after I shared my Poached Egg technique, I took off with the kids to California. We spent a week together with my mom and brother, and then were joined by my husband and brother in-law. The following week was filled with preparations for Eid, me fracturing my collar bone, and my brother’s engagement ceremony (!!!!!).

I had originally planned to prepare a dessert table for the occasion, but after the whole grown-ass-mom-breaking-her-bone situation, I reached out to my brother and sister in-law’s friends, and we all contributed a bit and were able to pull off a joint dessert table! It was so exciting to see what everyone made, and it made the whole occasion even more meaningful.

This is what everyone contributed- Nutella Brownies, Jalaibee, Cupcakes, Baklava Fingers, Russian Tea Cakes, Banana Pudding, Lemon Bars, and Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Thank you all!  Everything was so delicious, and most of all so thoughtful!

This is what everyone contributed- Nutella Brownies, Jalaibee, Cupcakes, Baklava Fingers, Russian Tea Cakes, Banana Pudding, Lemon Bars, and Chocolate Chip Cookies. Thank you all! Everything was so delicious, and most of all so thoughtful!

On the other side of the table, my sister in-law had the idea of putting together a Milk & Cookies Bar.  It was so adorable! The whole table came together wonderfully :)

On the other side of the table, my sister in-law had the idea of putting together a Milk & Cookies Bar. It was so adorable! The whole table came together wonderfully :)

My “submission” for the dessert table was a batch of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. The frosting was actually a joint effort on my husband and my part (can you imagine how that went? LOL!). Although we have more of an affinity towards whipped cream frosting, we went with buttercream because it would hold up at room temperature. After searching and searching for a buttercream frosting that not only holds its shape well, but also isn’t thick and cloyingly sweet (which is our main complaint about it), I stumbled upon this recipe from Annie’s Eats. The secret is in the addition of heavy cream! You see, adding the cream gives an otherwise heavy buttercream some lightness. It whips up and forms the most smooth and airy frosting, which pipes great and tastes wonderful!




Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Yield: Enough To Frost 2 Dozen Cupcakes

Or a 2-Layer Cake


  • 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


Place butter in a large bowl, and using a whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and whip on low speed until completely incorporated. Add salt and whip on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add heavy whipping cream and vanilla and whip on low speed until incorporated. Increase speed to high and whip until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, remembering to scrape the sides of the bowl along the way.

Use as needed.

Refrigerate leftovers.

Note: Frosting can be made and frozen in advance. To use, simply leave on the counter and bring to room temperature. The frosting may need to be whipped lightly to bring back to original consistency.

Poached Eggs

Can someone please tell me why we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s totally fine to be ripped off by a café or bistro for a poached egg? Sure, the deliciously smooth and runny yolk is what dreams are made of, but it still doesn’t justify the markup.

Let’s stop throwing our money away and start poaching away! It really is easy, I promise! With the detailed instructions I’ve shared below, you’ll be a poaching prince/princess in no time (and your wallet will thank me for it ;) ).



Poached Eggs

Yield: Varies


  • Eggs, as needed


Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Crack the egg into it. The loose egg whites will be strained away from the tightly shaped egg, and will later be discarded.

Fill a saucepan (one that has a tight-fitting lid) with 3 to 4 inches of water. Heat over medium-high heat. The water needs to reach a bare simmer, right before the point of boiling.

Use the strainer to gently drop the egg into the center of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover. Allow the egg to sit for 3 ½ minutes. Remove the lid and check to see if whites are thoroughly cooked. If they still seem partially uncooked, cover the pan with the lid and cook for a few more seconds. The egg will take anywhere from 3 ½ to 4 ½ minutes to be perfectly poached (timing varies on temperature of water and size of egg).

Use a slotted spoon to gently remove the egg, making sure to drain off excess water.