Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Bundt Cake


This is a cake that just says autumn. I'd never made a pumpkin bundt cake before and with the lemon cream cheese glaze this is just too good to not make again and again. So easy too. If you make this don't leave out the glaze, it just adds the final touch and flavor. I found this recipe in Family Circle - October 2010.

I'm hoping to try a bunch of new apple and pumpkin recipes in the near future. The weather has finally been a bit fall like so I am planning my baking accordingly! It was actually only in the high 60's today! That is very welcome here after last week's heat wave!

3 cups cake flour (not self rising)
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk


Glaze
4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat 12 cup Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and pumpkin pie spice.

Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin, eggs and vanilla.

Into pumpkin mixture, alternately beat in flour mixture and milk. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 57 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of the cake tests clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake to wire rack to cool completely.

Glaze
Beat together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla in a medium bowl until well blended and a good glazing consistency. Pour the glaze over top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Apple Crumb Squares




Here is a great apple cake/ bar recipe that is perfect for this time of year. I found the recipe in the September 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine. I get so many magazines that it is ridiculous already. Some of them I don't even read....I just go straight to the recipe pages! These were really good and also a little time consuming since you have to make the crust, slice the apples and then get together the topping but still really simple. I love that these had almond extract in the crust and these were also not too sweet. You might want to go a little heavier on the pumpkin pie spice or a little extra cinnamon.....I think I might have preferred that but that's just me.


I recently had a little disaster baking a favorite cake of mine. A banana cake. It wouldn't rise and wouldn't rise and took soooo long to bake. Well, I guess that is what happens when you forget to add baking soda. Oh was I ticked! I absolutely HATE when I waste time and ingredients to have something just end up in the trash. So frustrating. But I guess it happens to all of us from time to time.


My son has his first school dance this Thursday afternoon from 3 to 5pm. Can't wait to hear about it.....Oh, and we went and rented a clarinet today. He has joined band and this was the instrument he picked. I hope he likes it. I remember when my middle son picked trombone. Oh me, oh my.........I think the instrument saw the light of day only on several occassions. Let's just say all did not go well! Hope things are better this time around with my youngest and his clarient!!!!


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softenend


1 cup sugar


3 eggs


3/4 tsp almond extract


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour


1/8 tsp salt


6 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, halved and thinly sliced


1/4 cup apricot preserves, melted


Crumb Topping


2 cups all purpose flour


1 cup light brown sugar


1 1/4 tsps pumpkin pie spice


1/4 tsp salt


3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted


2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 15 x 10 x 1 inch pan with cooking spray.


Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in almond extract. On low speed, beat in flour and salt until just blended. Spread evenly into prepared pan.


Fan apple slices over top, then brush with preserves. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.


Crumb topping: Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir in the butter until mixture is moisented and clumps together. Sprinkle evenly over cake. Bake for an additional 35 minutes. Remove pan to wire rack; cool completlely.


Dust with confectioners' sugar and cut into 24 squares.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blueberry Supreme Dessert




This is another one of the desserts my husband made recently during his "baking spree." This is super easy and quick. A great dessert with a minimal amount of fuss. The original recipe found in Country magazine called for a can of cherry pie filling but my husband preferred using blueberries. Any filling would probably be fine. You could also swap the rice krispie crust for a graham cracker one. This is one of those desserts you can just play around with.


I saw the movie "Devil" this past weekend and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller. This is a very, very good movie with a great plot and uplifting ending. Much more meaningful than what any of the TV previews would have you believe. Funny thing is I don't like elevators and rarely go on them - ONLY if I have to. Like if the floor I am going up to is the 20th floor, then I don't have a choice. Now that I've seen this movie I think I might even walk up 20 floors! I don't go to the movies all that often but this is one of those movies that you really need to see on the big screen to get the full effect. Even if you are a scaredy cat - go see this movie. It won't disappoint.


3/4 cup crisp rice cereal


1/4 cup chopped walnuts


2 Tbsp. brown sugar


2 Tbsp. butter, melted


4 cups miniature marshmallows


1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped


1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling (or blueberry)


In a small bowl, combine the cereal, walnuts, brown sugar and butter. Press into a greased 8 in. square dish. Fold marshmallows into whipped cream; spread over cereal mixture. Top with pie filling. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Yield: 9 servings

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Olivia's Buttermilk Pie


I have always wanted to make a buttermilk pie and I finally got around to baking one! This recipe comes from my most trusted cook....Paula Deen!!!! I have complete faith and trust in Paula. Never once has a recipe of hers bombed when I made it. And trust me, I have made my share of bombs. I don't make her recipes too often since they are just loaded with too much goodness...(butter, sugar, cream). This recipe reminded me very much of a crustless coconut pie I made recently. I had seen another recipe for buttermilk pie also that added pineapple and blueberries that sounded good too, but I wanted to try the Paula recipe first. I will have to remember the next time I make this to make sure my husband is around. He had gone away for the weekend and my son didn't care too much for this so that meant it was all mine. Not a good thing since I just kept "picking" at it, as in digging in with a fork right out of the pie plate whenever the urge struck. And the urge stuck often.

My son did not make the football team. He wasn't really disappointed since he said that didn't expect to make it. Competition starts to get tough in middle school. He had never played on a football team before and it also didn't help to find out that 100 kids had tried out and they usually only pick 4 to 6 6th graders!!! I am proud of him for trying and giving it his best shot and being a really good sport about it. There are other sports he can try out for and I told him there is always next year when he's bigger and taller. Judging by who made the team, they definitely want big kids!

Anyhow, hope you enjoy this recipe. It's great if you have leftover buttermilk and want to use it up. The recipe is super easy too!

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk (I used lowfat)
1/2 cup biscuit mix (I used Bisquick)
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch pie pan.

Put all ingredients in a bowl and blend for 1 minute witha handheld electric mixer. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes (mine took 60 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes.

(I put mine in fridge once it was completely cool and enjoyed it chilled with fruit on the side).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Busch Gardens aka Why I Don't Go on Rollercoasters!!!







Had a great time at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia yesterday. The weather was absolutely perfect. Couldn't have asked for a better forecast. I met up with a friend of mine who absolutely loves roller coasters and travels across the country going on all the different ones. Of course that meant that my son who is 11 would be having a blast there!!! While he wouldn't go on two of them since I guess they both had pretty steep drops and one had quite a few twists he did go on one that had a 231 foot drop!!!! At that point, I have to ask, what in the world is the difference???? 231 foot drop to me is HUGE!!! I don't think I would survive that without my heart stopping first. Which leads me to this - while my friend Mike was waiting in line for his second time on the coaster the Griffon , my son suddenly looked and pointed in the air at the coaster and said "uh oh." "Uh oh" as in the coaster got stuck....stuck on the way up. This one has a huge drop also that hangs over first and pauses so you can get a good luck at how far you'll be going down. I was certain that Mike was up there stuck on it. But I knew he wouldn't be upset or scared - he would love it!!! No chance of that though. He had been on line and was waiting to get a front row seat so that took longer than usual, so he missed getting stuck. I felt sorry for the people up there and could only imagine how scared I would have been if it were me. Luckily, they were only trapped there for about 20 minutes and it started moving again and all went well. After that though they closed that ride. Whew...glad it wasn't me up there!



We ate at the German Fest Haus and it was very good. We had bratwurst and knockwurst (both excellent) ribs (not good at all), potato salad and a roll. I did have chocolate cake for dessert but could not find any Black Forest.....the cake was good but I wasn't impressed paying $4 for a cup of coffee. A bit high for me!



We walked the park for about 7 hours and I have to say that hopefully I walked off all the calories of the cake! It was a great day and I hope to go back again next summer....my son is already asking to go back again so he can ride the coasters he didn't ride on this year!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Zucchini Chocolate Cake and Fresh Raspberry Sauce




This has to be one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever eaten. It is so tasty, chocolately and moist. My husband made this while I was away last weekend (he is on a baking kick) and he also made ice cream which we had with it and a raspberry sauce. Very creative guy! You could serve this cake with a sauce or simply with powdered sugar on top or even nothing at all. Doesn't matter. It really is so good it needs nothing with it! He found the recipe in the September issue of Country Extra.


Today is the second day of football tryouts at my son's middle school. He is hoping he makes the team. He has never played football before so I give him lots of credit for trying. Unfortunately out of the entire 6th grade they only pick about 10 to 12 players. Keeping my fingers crossed here. Stupid me, I thought all the kids make the team automatically! Guess it doesn't work that way in middle school. Going down tomorrow to Busch Gardens and meeting up with a friend from New Jersey. My son is very excited since my friend is a roller coaster fanatic and will be taking him on all the coasters! I stay away from them but I am excited to be going to the Fest Haus in Germany and having bratwurst and potato salad. Haven't been there in years but I don't think it has changed too much. Only the price!!! I can see it being at least $150 day....maybe more. Looking forward to checking out the desserts in Germany too. Maybe they will have Black Forest Cake!!! The weather here has been wonderful. The high 70's so I am hoping it lasts through tomorrow. Here is the recipe below and hope everyone has a great weekend!


1/2 cup butter, softenend
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Confectioners' sugar, if desired

In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine milk and buttermilk. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to batter alternately with milk mixture. Fold in the zucchini.

Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake at 325 degrees for 45 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.
Raspberry sauce:
(from Ina Garten)
1 half pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (12 ounces)
1 tablespoon framboise liquor (I used 1/2 tsp raspberry extract)
Combine the raspberries, sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, jam and framboise or extract into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill. (I would recommend straining this also since the seeds from the fresh raspberries are not that attractive!!).

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Orecchietta Pasta with Mini Chicken Meatballs


Well the first day of middle school in this house went well! My son says he likes it and loves the fact that he has male teachers and not just women anymore! I can totally relate since I went to a Catholic elementary school that had mostly nuns! I'm just hoping the enthusiasm lasts all year and not just the first week or so. We'll see. Football tryouts are this Thursday and he wants to give that a try. I'm all for trying new things and try to encourage as much as I can. I also saw the calender for the year and there are lots of school dances. Remember those? I think some of them I would rather forget! Between my cousin and I crying if no one asked us to dance, all I can remember is a lot of drama! Oh, I don't miss those days at all.

Here is a recipe that my daughter in law introduced me to. She made this a while back and after I tasted it I knew I had to have it again. It is really good. It's from Giada DeLaurentiis and just click here for it. It did not last long here at all. Everyone loved it and I consider it very kid friendly. The meatballs are to die for! I'd never had chicken ones before and they are absolutely delicious. I think I might try another pasta shape though, maybe corkscrews next time. I could only find orecchietta under one brand and it was double the price of all the other pastas. This dish should work well with any pasta.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Key Lime Pie


Key Lime Pie is one of my favorite pies. I've ordered it many times for dessert when I've gone to a nice restaurant but never made it myself. I have no clue as to why I've never made it, but after this recipe, that will change. This is a really great recipe and if you enjoy Key Lime Pie I certainly hope you will try this. I had seen a Key Lime Pie on one of the many food blogs that I visit and really wanted to make it badly! I went over to Allrecipes and found this recipe. It was the top rated one with 5 stars and over 700 great reviews. I've gone to that site many times and it rarely lets me down. You will not believe how simple this recipe is, yet it is so good. Sometimes simple really is best.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend and if you need a good dessert, this one will not let you down. By the way the weather here in Virginia is gorgeous right now and I hope it stays this way for a while.

1 Homemade or store bought graham cracker pie shell

3 cups sweetened condensed milk (I used 2 cans)

1/2 cup sour cream

3/4 cup key lime juice

1 tablespoon key lime zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the meantime in a large bowl beat together sweetened condensed milk and sour cream till well blended. Add key lime juice and key lime zest and continue beating till blended well. Pour into pie shell.

Bake for 5 - 8 minutes (I baked for 10) till top of pie has little tiny bubbles but DO NOT BROWN. Remove from oven and place in refrigerator to chill for several hours. This should chill for a good 4 hours or longer.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cherry Cheesecake Bars


I found these bars in the latest issue of Family Circle. My husband and I both enjoyed them but didn't care too much for the addition of ground cornflakes. I would leave this out of the recipe next time I make them. They just gave the bottom part of the bar too much of a crunch. I couldn't resist this recipe since I had a jar of cherry preserves in my pantry for quite some time and the expiration date was coming up. So this was perfect. These are very rich and go a long way so they are perfect for a work luncheon or pot luck.

I can't believe that Labor Day weekend is coming up already. Where has the summer gone? I don't even care that most of the summer was blazing hot -- anything beats having snow. While I am looking so forward to fall so I can once again bake and bake and bake, I am not looking forward to the season after it. I just hope this coming winter is not as bad as the last one.

School starts back up here next Tuesday and it's back to more of a routine here too. My youngest starts middle school and is looking forward to it and is also nervous at the same time. He's really looking forward to playing football this fall since he has never played before and is very excited about that. So am I. I'm also looking forward to blogging more since I have really fallen behind this past summer and not cooked or baked much. Mainly because of the heat and being at the beach. Oh I could be at the beach forever. Except for the stars in the night sky, I don't think there is anything as beautiful as the ocean and watching the waves roll in and looking for dolphins jumping in and out of the water in the distance. Enough of all that since I could just go on and on..........Here is the recipe for the cheesecake bars. Enjoy!

1 box (18.25 ounces) lemon cake mix

1/2 cup cornflake crumbs (I would omit this next time)

3 eggs

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup cherry preserves

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

Set aside 1/2 cup of the cake mix. In a large bowl, stir together the remaining cake mix, cornflake crumbs (if using them), 1 egg and 1/4 cup of the butter. Press into the bottom and partially up the sides of the prepared pan.

In another large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and remaining 2 eggs. Spread mixture over crust. Spoon cherry preserves over the cream cheese mixture. Spread gently and evenly.

Sprinkle reserved cake mix over top and drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup butter. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with the walnuts and bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until set.

Cool completely in pan on rack. Refrigerate overnight. Cut into 24 bars, serve chilled.