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Pleasant Hill Grain Blog

Helping you achieve your culinary dreams.

Winter Cheers

Winter Cheers featured image

What do you suppose makes hot drinks so much more appealing in the winter season? Darker mornings and colder weather are a huge part of it, but do you suppose it could be a feeling we crave as well as the warmth?

We think that feeling comes when you’re wrapped in a blanket, and holding a warm mug. At first it sounds ridiculous, but when you really think about holding a hot drink during a blizzard you realize just how much you appreciate how your mug retains heat and warms your cold fingertips as you wrap your hands around it. With that in mind, here are several mugs to hold tight on cold winter days.

Of course the components and techniques used to make your hot beverage matters just as much as the mug. So let’s help you find the exact equipment you need to make delightful drinks and the best gift ideas.


Here at Pleasant Hill Grain we have a selection of quality coffee products that you are bound to fall in love with and will last you for many delicious cups to come! Check our coffee category on our website.


Tea time may very well be the best time of day and during winter you can’t afford to miss it! Check out the tea section of our website by clicking here.


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Gift Guide for the Hostess

Gift Guide for the Hostess featured image

Bring a gift that will delight your hostess when you arrive this holiday season! Meet her at the door with a delightful gift and a warm hug. Browse our selection of gifts ideas below for inspiration for what your hostess friend might most appreciate.

Butter Bells

Butter Bell Antique Collection White Linen

Tired of hard, cold butter in the morning? Our butter keeper crocks promise creamy, spreadable butter and with many styles and colors to choose from, they also add a tasteful touch to any kitchen decor.

Berard Olive Wood

 These artisan pieces from Berard guarantee years of use and beauty for any hospitable home. Choose the handcrafted tool your hostess will most enjoy… we have salad servers, spice keepers, cheese boards, mortar & pestle sets, glass canisters and bread baskets.

Norpro Marble Tools

Norpro_Marble_Rolling_Pin_10-inch_3087_300Kitchen tools worthy of display are a winner in our book and we think your hostess will agree! Check out Norpro’s marble rolling pin and mortar & pestle.

Skeppshult Trivet

skeppshult-cast-iron-trivet-serve-hot-856Wow your hostess with this intricately designed, pure cast iron trivet from Sweden. Through sturdy construction, Skeppshult of Sweden provides a product that will last a lifetime and protect each countertop and table from hot dishes.

Victorinox Swivel Block

Victorinox_swivel_blocks_together_600No more smudged devices! Keep your hostess up-to-date with the latest and greatest tech friendly swivel knife block designed to hold a tablet at the perfect angle so anyone can follow an internet recipe while protecting the device from spills and messy fingers.

Tapping Kit

Product_Specialties_watermelon_pumpkin_tapping_kit_175Zest up the serving options! Install this handy tap into a watermelon, pumpkin or any large fruit to hold beverages for a party. Guests will not only love the handcrafted drink inside, but they’ll love the creativity of the serving display as well!

Aprons & Mitts

Ladelle_CORA_Kitchen_set_516Aprons can say a lot about the chef in the kitchen… stains will tell stories and patterns show personality. Add a new one to your friend’s collection from our functional and fashionable selection.

Kuhn Rikon Cookie Press

 Help your hostess prepare for even more holiday get-togethers by giving her a Kuhn Rikon cookie press. This tool will speed up her cookie baking work and provide the cutest cookies for any occasion.

KoMo Pendelino

KoMo_Pendelino_with_cups_611Help your hostess friend serve it up European style with KoMo’s Pendelino beverage carrier. This carrier is a unique and convenient way to elegantly serve cups of coffee and tea to guest who enter her home.

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Anniversary Cranberry Oat Cake

Anniversary Cranberry Oat Cake featured image

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients below. The cake is chock full of flavor and you’ll know it’s all worth it when you take your first bite.

Glazed Cranberry Oat Spice Cake Topped with Coconut & Pecans


  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-1/2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup red wheat and 1 cup white wheat whole grain flour, sifted)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup Xagave syrup
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

For the icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

For the garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons toasted chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1 tablespoon grated bittersweet chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour a bundt cake pan (we used the Nordic Ware Anniversary pan).
  2. In a sauce pan, combine cranberries and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately remove from heat and let cool for 45 minutes in pan. Drain cranberries and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, mace, and nutmeg. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add brown sugar and mix well.
  4. Add Xagave, buttermilk, butter, oil, vanilla, and eggs and mix until dry ingredients are just moistened. Add the cranberries, coconut, pecans, oats, and chocolate chips and mix until everything is evenly distributed.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until cake springs back when gently pressed in the center and it starts to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then gently turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. Once the cake is cool, prepare the icing by mixing in a medium bowl the powdered sugar, butter, milk, water, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix until icing is smooth. Season with a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness. The icing should be the consistency of pancake batter, fairly thick but loose enough to run down the sides of the cake.
  7. Spoon icing over the cake, letting it run down the sides. While the icing is still wet, garnish the top of the cake with pecans, coconut, and grated chocolate. Let the cake stand an hour to allow the icing to set before serving.
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Old Fashioned Crock Apple Butter

Old Fashioned Crock Apple Butter featured image

This borrowed recipe is so ridiculously simple it’s a must when you have apples raining out of the sky and you’re quickly running out of ideas. A jar of apple butter is the perfect house warming gift for your neighbors, and a special treat for your holiday guests! The best part, you barely have to do a thing! If apples could chop themselves and jump into a crock pot this recipe would make itself. The only thing required of you is some counter space and an outlet!


  • 5 1/2 pounds of peeled, sliced or chopped apples
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Wash apples thoroughly.
  2. Peel, core, and slice or chop apples.
  3. Place apples in crock.
  4. Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt and then stir mixture into apples.
  5. Cook on high for 1 hour.
  6. Reduce to low, cover and cook for 9-11 hours or until thickened and dark brown.
  7. Stir occasionally.
  8. Uncover and cook on low for 1 hour longer.
  9. If desired, whisk until smooth.
  10. Pour into freezer containers leaving 1/2 inch of head space or can apple butter.

If this recipe is too simple for you, try grinding your own spices…the fresher the better!

Do you hate spending time peeling and cutting apples? Check out this tool or this one! Your apples will be ready in no time with a couple handy kitchen tools.

If you don’t have a crock pot, just place your apples in a large sauce pan on low heat and keep a good eye on it.

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A Dutch Morning + Cookbook Giveaway

A Dutch Morning + Cookbook Giveaway featured image

The Dutch knew what they were doing when they invented this magnificent pancake that brings warmth, anticipation, and deliciousness from the oven. Before I began cooking out of Amy Theilen’s The New Midwestern Table cookbook I had no idea what a dutch baby was. Twenty-five minutes later, when I pulled a beautiful golden cloud from my oven, I was delighted with the Honey Dutch Baby.

Drizzle on that honey butter and dig in! I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Honey Dutch baby


  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour (or 1/4 cup red wheat and 1/2 cup white wheat whole grain flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a blender or a large bowl, combine the eggs, 3 tablespoons of honey, and the half-and-half until smooth and light. Add the flour and salt, and blend until very smooth.
  3. Heat a 12-inch cast iron pan or other oven-proof skillet in the oven. When you’re ready to cook the pancake, add 3 tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once the butter melts, add the batter. Bake the pancake in the oven until it’s dark golden brown and puffed, 20-25 minutes.
  4. As the pancake bakes, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 teaspoons honey together. When the pancake comes out of the oven, cut it into wedges and serve immediately with the honey butter.

Cookbook Giveaway

Midwestern Table Cookbook FB Entry Form 2

We’re giving away a copy of The New Midwestern Table Cookbook on October 16. Enter here for your chance to win!

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