Friday, December 19, 2014

Cranberry Christmas Cake

This is an absolutely awesome cake.  I'm attracted to recipes that are simple. Not too many crazy ingredients or dozens of steps either. This cake is all of that and more.  I was going to post another recipe before this one but I figured with the holidays coming up this would be better suited for now.  It is perfect for breakfast or dessert.  If you are going to try one new recipe this season, let it be this one.  It will not disappoint!  Here is where I originally found the recipe, via Pinterest!

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
12 oz of fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  With a mixer, beat eggs with sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5 to 7 minutes.  The mixture should almost double in size.  The eggs work as your leavening in this recipe, so do not skip this step.  This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla and beat for 2 more minutes.  Stir in the flour until just combined.  Add the cranberries and stir to mix throughout.

Spread batter into buttered 9 x 13 pan.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Let cool completely before cutting into small slices.

The original recipe does not call for a drizzle or light glaze but I think it would be perfect for this cake and may try that the next time I make it.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sour Cream Pound Cake - Made Festive!

I made this pound cake last week to bring to a Christmas party. I love to make pound cakes because I've found that when people find out a homemade pound cake is on a dessert table they go right for it.  This one was easy and delicious.  My only dilemma was that it look soooo plain. Nothing special looking at all. Just Plain Jane!  So I quickly filled the center with cranberries and made a simple glaze using powder sugar, almond milk and a tiny splash of lemon juice.  Perfect!  Keep this in mind when you need to bring a holiday dessert to a party this year. These cakes go a long way!!!  Recipe is from Tates Bake Shop Cookbook.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
6 large eggs
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with a nonstick spray.
In a small bowl, sift the flours, salt and baking powder together.  Set it aside.
Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer till it's light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and mix it in.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Add the sour cream and mix it in.
Add the dry ingredients.  Mix all till they are combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake it for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blueberry Orange Streusel Cake

I came across this recipe after just purchasing a bunch a big, juicy blueberries from Trader Joe's.  I didn't want a recipe that would use all of them up at one time since I wanted to also enjoy snacking on them and I love to have them in cereal too!  This recipe fit the bill since it only used 1 cup...and it's a good cake too.  Don't leave out the orange rind either...it really boosts up the flavor!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated rind of 1/2 orange
1/2 cup ground almonds (I omitted this)
1 generous cup of blueberries

Topping

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp sugar
finely grated rind of 1/2 orange

Preheat over to 325 degree F.  Grease a 9 in springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

For the topping, put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork to make a crumbly mixture.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.   Beat well until the mixture is smooth, then add the orange rind, ground almonds (if using), and half the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smooth level with a spatula and sprinkle with the remaining blueberries.  Spread the crumble topping evenly over the top, covering completely.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until risen, firm and golden brown.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Enjoy!!!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Key Lime Cake

It feels good to post on my blog again...it's been way too long since I posted a recipe.  I've missed trying new recipes.  For whatever reason, I just hadn't felt like trying  new recipes.  I mainly cooked and baked familiar recipes.  Old recipes....boring recipes!

This cake is funky looking.  It didn't look funky on Anna's blog.  In fact, it looked very pretty. But I am not much of a cake decorator and I have thought of taking a Wilton's Cake Decorating class but I just keep thinking I would rather just practice myself.  It's just a matter of time to decide to do just that!  Anyhow, the cake looks funky but tastes delicious. Love, love, love lime.....When I saw how green it looked I was tempted to make an orange colored frosting.  Would have been great for Halloween!  It's a super easy recipe since it starts with a cake mix, and you know you can't go wrong from there.

Enjoy!

1 box Lemon Cake Mix (16.5 oz Duncan Hines)
3 oz package of lime Jell-O
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup orange juice
4 large eggs

Flavor Enhancing Glaze
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice or bottled Key Lime juice
4 - 6 Tbsp powdered sugar

Frosting
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
14 - 16 oz non dairy whipped topping (I used about 8 oz and used 1/4 cup butter

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 3 8 inch round cake pans.  I used 2 9 inch pans.
Mix the cake mix, Jell-O, oil, orange juice and eggs in a large bowl and beat well with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes.  Pour into pans and bake for approximately 20 -23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Let cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove from pans.   Mix together the lime juice and powdered sugar and spoon over the cake.  Let cakes cool completely.
To make frosting, mix together cream cheese and butter and beat until blended.  Add sugar and beat until smooth.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Spread over top of the cake and stack on top of one another and spread over top and sides completely.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Favorite of Mine!

I miss my blog....I miss posting more frequently.  I've been baking and cooking things I've already posted so there really is not much to post. Sooooo.....here is a favorite of mine....Snow Balls!!!!  Or as this picture says - Glo Balls!  Really, they are too much!  These are my junk food weakness!  What is your junk food weakness?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

I'm wishing everyone a fun and safe Halloween!  Hopefully I will get my butt in gear and start posting some recipes. I've hit a dry spell but at the moment there is a cake baking in the oven - a good sign!

Enjoy all the candy everyone!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Old Fashioned Pound Cake

If you have been following my blog for any length of time you will have noticed that not only do I love banana bread but I love pound cake. Love trying different pound cake recipes and I have quite a few on this blog.  I came across this one in my old faithful cookbook....."The Doubleday Cookbook."  This was published back in 1975 and was the first cookbook I owned and it is still  my favorite.  These recipes have  never let me down.  Some may be dated but they are always good.  If any of you collect old cookbooks you may want to add this one to your collection.  They can be found in old bookstores, antique shops and used ones can also be found on Ebay.  The original comes in a set of 2 but back in the early 90's they were condensed into one.

This is definitely an old fashioned pound cake and made differently than any I've made before.  It's a little extra work since you have to whip up the egg whites separately but worth it.  That is what attracted me to this recipe.  I like ones that are different...that have a twist in them.  If you make this I would suggest you expect this to be a bit drier than your usual pound cake.  It also uses cake flour so you will have a very dense, tight crumb.  I loved it.  My husband likes cakes that are moist so he thought this would be great with ice cream on it or for strawberry shortcakes....I love it just as it is with a big cup of coffee. Oh how perfect!

Do not substitute any of these ingredients.

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla or orange extract or 1 Tbs finely grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray bottom and sides of 9 x 5 x 3 inch pan.  Sift flour, salt and nutmeg together and set aside.  Cream butter until light, then add sugar slowly, creaming until fluffy.  Beat
egg yolks until thick and light, add to butter mixture, a little at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend flour in gradually, then mix in vanilla and beat JUST until smooth.  Beat egg whites until soft peaks form  and fold gently into batter.  Spoon into pan and bake 65 - 70 minutes until cake pulls slightly from sides of pan.  Cool upright in pan on a wire cake rack 30 minutes. (I cooled mine for 10 minutes only and it turned out fine.)  Cool thoroughly before slicing.  (I wrapped mine up in plastic wrap, then with foil while still warm and sliced this the following day. It was great that way.)



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Apple Crisp Cheesecake - Vegan

Can anyone tell me where summer has gone?  Are we really almost in the 2nd week of August?  Summer goes way too quick for me. I want summer all year long. I want the beach all year long.  I haven't been to the beach nearly enough the summer.  And we even have a beach house.  How is that for crazy shit!  I WILL get there come  hell or high water for another  long weekend this summer!  I want to live there year round. Mind you, we are still talking Virginia here so it does get cold in the winter, but growing up on Long Island has made me wanting water around me all the time.  It's hard to live in a state where a weekend trip is required to be near water. It's not just 20 minutes away like I was used to growing up. If you have lived near the beach you just NEVER get used to not having it at your fingertips.  Now on with the recipe....

This is a cheesecake. A vegan one no less.  There is no cheese in this or eggs.  You can buy these non dairy items in a local grocery store, at least one that is decent.  For whatever reason vegan cream cheese is not always easy to find but our local Wegman's carries it.  Well, Wegman's carries everything, which is one of many reasons I love that store. The main reason I love Wegman's is because they carry rainbow cookies.  The NY kind.....oh God are they good. My favorite cookie. Moving right along now....this cheesecake is extremely good.  Good stuff. Especially good because it is also easy to make.  I would make it again.  Perfect autumn dessert.  Something different bedsides the usual apple pie.  The original recipe came from here.  Now go ahead and enjoy the rest of what is left of summer!!!!

1 Cup Graham Cracker crumbs
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted Earth Balance
2 8 oz. containers of vegan cream cheese
2 Tbs. cornstarch
2 Tbs. water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. melted Earth Balance
1 large apple - peeled and thinly sliced

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor, blend together the Graham Cracker crumbs, 3/4 cup rolled oats and 1/4 cup brown sugar until well mixed and powdery.  After you've melted your 1/2 cup Earth Balance pour it into the crust mixture and process until well combined.  Pour into a pie pan or springform pan and press down firmly and form the crust along the edges of the pan.  I use the bottom of drinking glass to even the bottom of crust.

In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water.  In your food processor, blend together the cream cheese, 1/2 cup brown sugar
, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ginger and 2 tsp of vanilla.  Then add your cornstarch.  Once well combined, pour on top of your Graham Cracker/oat crust.

Mix together your 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon until well combined.  Stir in the 2 tbs melted Earth Balance.

Arrange the thinly sliced apple on top of the cheesecake in a single layer.  Top with the Apple Crisp Topping.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes.  Allow to set overnight.

I kept mine in the fridge and took out a slice and let it sit out for about an hour.  This tastes best at room temperature.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Black Bean Quesadillas

I have been wanting to make quesadillas forever.  I really don't know why I don't make them more often since I order them frequently when I go to Mexican restaurants.  Plus they are super easy to make. And the variety is endless.  My son loves them while my husband will pass on them. I guess you can't please everyone.  I think that probably is one of the most frustrating parts of cooking. No one likes everything.  Wouldn't it be great if whatever we made was met with looks of enthusiasm and smiles!  Am I dreaming or what????  Anyhow, enjoy these any way you want.  This is my take on quesadillas!

1 large sweet onion, cut in long thin strips
2 green peppers, cut into long thing strips
2 - 3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 15 oz can of black beans
1/2 can of corn
2 Tbs of water
1 tsp chili powder (add more if you like for extra spicy)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of Mexican cheese blend, shredded
8 large flour tortillas

Heat 1 Tbs oil in skillet on medium high heat and add onions and peppers and cooked for about 5-7 minutes until peppers are slightly soft.
Combine black beans, corn, water, chili powder, cumin and oregano in small saucepan and heat.  Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 - 2 Tbs olive oil in large skillet and let oil get hot.  Lay down 1 flour tortilla and add about 2 Tbs of filling (use your judgement on amount).  Flatten filling slightly with fork and cover top with cheese. Top with another tortilla and let cook about 1 or 2 minutes and flip over till both sides are slightly crisp and golden brown.  Remove to plate and let cool for one minutes.  Slice with pizza cutter.
Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.



Friday, July 18, 2014

One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta Recipe

This is one of those recipes from Pinterest where you wonder if the recipe is as good as it is said to be.  The answer to this one is YES!  I had pinned this a while back and kept wanting to try it and finally got around to it. It's absolutely delicious.  I had taken a picture of it when I put it all together in the pot before I cooked it but it didn't turn out to be a good pic at all.  So if you want to see what it looks like at the start just go here. This is definitely a recipe I will go back to again and again.  What's good about a recipe like this is that you can play with it - add and change things up a bit.  I can't wait to make this again!

16 oz. linguine pasta (Do not exchange this for thin spaghetti - this needs to cook a little and a thicker pasta is better for this.)
1 can 15 oz. diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 medium onion, cut into thin strips
4 cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (do NOT use low sodium)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, 10 or 12, diced
Parmesan cheese

Place pasta, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a large stock pot.  Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top with the red pepper, oregano flakes and basil. (You may want to save some basil for garnish.) Drizzle top with oil.
Cover pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes keeping covered with lid.  Stir about every two minutes. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated.  I had a little liquid on bottom which is what you will want.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add any extra fresh basil and stir very well until all liquid has been absorbed.  Add Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Homemade Lemon Pudding Cake

Besides chocolate, one of my favorite cakes would have to be lemon. Mind you, I love all cakes with the exception of angel food cake (just could never enjoy that).  This lemon cake is delicious and Bundt cakes, for the most part are fool proof. I did hit a snag with this cake however. It stuck to the pan. It may have happened maybe once or twice over the years with this pan, but rarely.  I don't know why this cake stuck. I can only think that I may have baked the cake longer than necessary.  I would most definitely make this again, and not just use only baking spray. I would also flour the pan. Who knows...regardless it still came out, just some areas of the top were uneven.  But nothing that a little frosting couldn't hide!  The original recipe comes from here. Oh, the frosting is wonderful too!

My new puppy is driving me crazy!!! He is as sweet as pie but oh my.....he is overly energetic!  Or could it be that I'm getting old?  Nah...he has too much energy!  I'm hoping the puppy phase passes soon so I can stop passing out at night! I'll post some new pics of Skeeter, my little shih tzu soon! In the meantime, enjoy this cake if you decide to make it.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 small box of lemon jello pudding and pie filling (I did not use instant but either will work)
2 TBS fresh lemon zest
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups whole milk (I used vanilla soy or you can also use almond)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3 TBS cornstarch
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 12 cup capacity Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Add in lemon pie filling mix and combine thoroughly.
Beat in the eggs one at a time making sure each one is completely incorporated into mixture.
Mix in the lemon zest.
In medium size bowl combine milk, oil and vanilla extract.
Starting with the dry ingredients, alternate pouring a third of the wet and dry ingredients into the bowl, incorporating thoroughly after adding each.  You will end with the wet ingredients. Mix on medium speed for two minutes.
Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  (I baked this for about 1 1/2 hours.  It was not even near done by 50 minutes. Ovens vary so start checking at 50 minutes - this could take up to 1 1/2 hours to bake.)  Test with a toothpick and when that comes out clean cake will be done.
Let cake rest for 10 minutes and invert cake onto a baking rack to cool.  Cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

1 cup salted butter, room temperature
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 TBS lemon zest
3 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS cream or milk (I used vanilla soy milk)

In an electric stand mixer, with paddle attachment, whip the butter until smooth.  Add your powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and taste along the way.  Everyone's taste varies. You may not like your frosting too sweet.
Add your lemon zest, then add the lemon juice, making sure all is combined well.
Add your cream or milk, 1 tablespoon at a time and thin out to your desired consistently.
Enjoy!!!!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

General Tso's Tofu

Slowly and steadily I'm trying to get back in the swing of posting more regularly. I miss my blog and trying new recipes. Kind of fell out of it for a while there. But for the moment I am once again enjoying myself with baking and trying new dishes, so as long as that lasts, so will these posts!

I know lots of people don't care for tofu but I wonder how many of those people have actually TRIED it and not liked it?  I, for one, am a huge tofu fan.  Discovered my love for it over the past year and I make it a regular dish in my diet.  It has everything in it that is good for you. I tried it originally as a meat replacer since I gave up eating meat a year ago. Ah, tofu is truly so much better.  This version of it is really good. Tastes just like something out of a really good Chinese restaurant.  Found this recipe here.  So if you are a tofu lover like I am or just thinking of giving it a "try," just go for it already with this recipe.  I don't think you will be disappointed!

1 brick extra firm tofu
3 - 4 TBS cornstarch
1 - 2 TBS canola or vegetable oil

For the Sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 TBS hoison sauce
3 TBS rice vinegar
3 TBS ketchup
2 TBS soy sauce
1/2 cup water
2 shakes (or more) of red pepper flakes
1 TBS sesame oil
4 green onions, chopped
3 TBS fresh ginger, finely chopped

Drain tofu of excess water.  I usually put the tofu on a large plate with stack of paper towels under it to absorb the water.  I put paper towels on top also and used a chopping block with a large heavy bowl on it for pressure to drain the tofu.  This will take between 15 and 20 minutes.

While waiting for the tofu to drain combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat a skillet on medium (I love to use a cast iron skillet and recommend that) with about 1/4 inch oil inside. I used canola oil but vegetable oil will work too.  Once your tofu has drained slice it into 1/2 inch
blocks and cut those into thirds.  Coat each cube lightly with cornstarch and place in frying pan until browned and crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Wipe skillet clean and add your sesame oil.  Add ginger and green onions until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sauce mixture and bring to a boil.  Let simmer for 2 minutes and then add tofu and toss to coat with sauce.  Add additional green onions if desired.  I serve this on top of basmati rice.



Monday, July 7, 2014

No Bake Blueberry Cheesecake Tarts

I just came across this recipe over at Nutmeg Nanny last week and knew it would be perfect for a 4th of July dessert.  I mean, really, who wants to heat up the kitchen with an oven on this time of year if it can be avoided.  Especially when you're in the middle of a heat wave. Last week it was near 100 degrees in these parts and this week is going to be another scorcher. So this dessert is perfect!  I changed it slightly by not adding the jam on top of the blueberries and using vanilla extract instead of paste.

So if you don't want to heat up the oven and want a winning dessert then these are for you!

Start with:

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 9 in graham cracker crust or 12 mini graham cracker tart shells (store bought)
1 cup fresh blueberries (I used raspberries also)
Whipped cream topping, if desired

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
Add vanilla extract and lemon juice and beat until combined.
Pour cream cheese mixture into either graham cracker pie crust or tarts. I spooned this into each tart. Approximately 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp per tart.
Cover the tart in either your blueberries or fruit of choice.  Put in the refrigerator to set up.  Approximately 2 hours for the small tarts or longer.  I made mine the day before and put them in two 9 x 13 in. pans covered with foil.  They came out perfect.  You can top with whipped cream also if you like!



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fresh Strawberry Cake and Happy 4th of July!!!

Is it 4th of July already?  That means that we are really into summer and it is beach time.  And I have to tell you that I cannot wait to hit the beach this year. Sand, sun and saltwater all sound good to me.

In the meantime I hope you all have a great holiday weekend.  I baked this delicious cake a while back and I am an absolute sucker for recipes that use cake mixes or add jello mixes.  I do not snub my nose at those recipes...I embrace them.  To me they are fun and easy and foolproof!!!  Like my dad's expression "always a winner" are what those recipes are to me!!!

I'll be back next week with some wonderful lemon cheesecake fruit tarts that I've made for the holiday.  In the meantime hope you all enjoy this recipe it you try it!

Fresh Strawberry Cake from The Country Cook

One box vanilla, white or yellow cake mix
1 (3 oz) box strawberry gelatin (Jello)
4 eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 pint of fresh strawberries (either diced up or crushed)


Icing

1/2 block of cream cheese (4 oz)
1/3 cup butter (softened)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with baking spray.
In the meantime chop up and dice your strawberries.  I used a potato masher to really crush up the strawberries.  That worked pretty well.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and jello powder.  Mix this together well.
Stir in your eggs and oil and water.
Add your cup crushed strawberries.  Mix this part by hand.
Pour the batter into your baking pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes.  Check with a toothpick in the center of the cake and make sure it comes out clean.  Completely cook cake before frosting.

To Frost:

With an electric mixer,  mix together softened cream cheese and butter.  Make sure it is smooth and creamy.
Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar slowly and add milk as needed.  This should also be smooth and creamy.  If you have any leftover strawberries you might want to add them to the frosting.  It certainly can't hurt!
Frost cake and enjoy.  Such a pretty cake!




Sunday, June 29, 2014

Welcome Skeeter!!!!

This is a picture of the new "little boy" of the house. Skeeter!  He is a 4 month old shih tzu and a bundle of energy.  When Selena died this past April I thought that perhaps I would look into getting another old dog from a shelter in the fall.  Well as the weeks past (only a few) I dearly missed my little girl and missed having a dog around.  I am lost without an animal. Those of you who love animals like I do know exactly what I mean. My husband on the other hand felt relief.  No more worrying about getting home to the dog, no more little dog bites on the floor that you always seem to walk on with bare feet!!!  No more growling - Selena became very difficult in her later years and would try to bite me quite often if she had a treat and I got to close, if I came near her when she was eating and on and on.  So as you can imagine, the last thing he wanted was another dog.  BUT, he knew there really was no choice.

As I checked out several shelters and found a dog that I thought would make a great companion at each one, he would get more and more nervous.  I think he must have really panicked when I just fell in love with an adorable white pitbull.  At that point he said he wanted to get me a puppy. I was very reluctant because the last thing I wanted was a puppy - the training, the boundless energy they have and the list goes on. I certainly did not want a pure bred since I wanted to adopt.  But since he wanted NO dog, I did need to compromise.  So I told him any dog that he liked would be fine with me.  I love them all.  So, this is how Skeeter came about!!! And let me tell you he is giving me a run for my money. I absolutely love this energy when it comes to long walks since I missed that with Selena but wow.....let's just hope the puppy stages passes sooner rather than later.....Regardless, his is the new boy in the family and I wanted to share his pic with all of you!!!!

I know that lately I have barely been posting any new recipes but I'll be back later in the week with a delicious strawberry cake!!!  Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Sauerkraut Latkes

Well I can't believe that I have not blogged in over 2 months.  This is a record for me and I never intended to take such a long break. But life happens and sometimes things get in the way. I've had some tough times over the past 2 weeks.  My little dog Selena died suddenly and 2 days later my dad passed away. Talk about being in shock is putting it mildly. My dog's death was unexpected. She was a chihuahua that had some health problems but I thought they were under control. I knew that she would never live a long life like some smaller dogs do because of her ailments. But she was my little companion and I miss her so much.  My dad's passing was not a shock. He was 84 and had been suffering from dementia after having a stroke 7 years ago.  Very tough. The past few years were more and more difficult for him. It comforts me greatly that he lived a long and mostly healthy life but I still miss him and will always miss him. But life keeps going and I believe we keep going too.  Even through tears and smiles. We just put one foot in front of the other and go on.......

Now, on a brighter note, I made these latkes for dinner last night.  My husband and son had ham with theirs but since I am not a meat eater I just had a big ole plate of latkes with applesauce.  You can serve these also with sour cream.  I would omit the sauerkraut next time since I'm not a fan of it to begin with but this recipe caught my eye so I just had to give it a try.  Think I would just use all potatoes next time and maybe keep the apples in it too. I remember having potato pancake eating contests as a kid and these definitely reminded me of them.  Enjoy!

From Taste of Home Magazine (makes 2 1/2 dozen)

 3 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and shredded (I used 5 large potatoes)
1 1/2 cups shredded peeled apples (I used 3 large apples)
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
6 eggs, lightly beaten
6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup canola oil
Applesauce, sour cream and chopped green onions, optional

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, apples, sauerkraut and eggs. Combine the flour, salt and pepper; stir into the potato mixture.
Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet (I used a cast iron and recommend using that if you have one) over medium heat.  Drop the batter by 1/4 cupfuls into oil; press to flatten.
Fry in batches until golden brown on both sides, using remaining oil as needed.  Drain on paper towels.
If desired, top with applesauce or sour cream and green onions.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Baked Rice and Beans

I don't know what is going on with me but lately I seem to enjoy just visiting everyone else's blog and ignoring my own. I've been cooking and checking out all my usual blogs and pinning like crazy but have no ambition to blog my own stuff.  But I didn't want too much time to pass without a post and this one is a really good one.  If you like rice and beans, this is for you. It's plenty big too for a potluck, etc.....You can veganize it with vegetable broth or you can use chicken broth.  This is definitely big enough for several nights' leftovers too!  I just love that you put all the ingredients together, stick it in the oven and forget about it - not literally but long enough to get other stuff done while it's cooking!!  Also remember, you can play a bit with this recipe.  Spice it up with some hot sauce and cayenne pepper, add red or yellow peppers or whatever you like!
 Enjoy! Original recipe found at The Stockpot.

3 cups of brown rice
2 cans of beans  (any beans you like)
2 tsp salt (cut this down if you are using chicken broth)
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 8 oz can tomato sauce (no salt added) or 1/2 can tomato paste - I used paste
1 - 2 tsp chili powder
1/2 to 1 tsp cumin
pepper to taste
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth - I used vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Grease an 11 x 13 in pan.
Add all ingredients together in pan and stir until well combined.  Cover completely and tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours
or until all liquid is absorbed in the bottom of pan. Fluff rice with a fork and serve.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cocoa Fudge Cookies

I came across these cookies on Pinterest.  I have come across so many good recipes there. I just have to be careful when I start pinning because it is highly addictive!   These cookies are so very easy and very moist.   They are dairy free so if anyone has a dairy allergy feel free to enjoy these!  They are ever so slightly crisp on the edges and chewy on the inside.  Word of caution:  Don't eat these on a cold, wintry day when you plan on staying home.  They will be gone in no time.  Remember that dairy free does not mean fat free!!!!

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons vegan butter (I'm sure you can substitute margarine if you don't have vegan butter)
7 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup plain non dairy yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium size bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt.
Melt the butter (margarine) in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Remove from heat and stir in cocoa, sugar and brown sugar - the mixture will look like coarse sand!
Stir in the yogurt and vanilla extract until combined.
Stir in the flour mixture and mix just until moist.

Roll one tablespoon of dough into ball.  Space about 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  Bake in  350 degree F  preheated oven for about 8 - 10 minutes.  Cook on baking sheet for about 2 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

One Bowl Apple Cake

Welcome 2014 and welcome back to my baking mojo!   Did you all have a nice new year celebration?  My perfect celebration is just staying home and having good food and watching some good TV with the hubby.  I'm a huge Walking Dead fan so my TV has been on overtime!  I started watching yesterday morning and caught it when I could throughout the day and switched back and forth last night between commercials to Time Square. I didn't want to miss the ball drop!  My youngest son who is now 14 and has his first "girlfriend" went to a party at her dads house.  So I was up till about 1:30 when the dad brought him home. I am  not ready for all this dating thing all over again.  My older boys were not that big into the dating scene and at 14 my son is quite young for all this.  But I don't see any harm as long as they are supervised when they are together.  We'll see how it goes.  Yes, I keep telling myself this as I think in my head "please don't let his heart get broken so young." Ugh...raising kids is never easy and you never know if you are doing the right thing or not until later on.  Just have to go with my gut instinct.  My instinct is usually correct, if I listen to it and not ignore it.
Well, this is the first post of the new year and since baking is my passion, how appropriate for it to be an apple cake.  I had seen this a few weeks back on Facebook and it looked delicious and simple.  Well, the final product does not look like the cake posted on Facebook.  In fact, I was downright pissed off when I saw how dark this cake looked and it didn't taste any better than it looked.......at first.  It was dark and hard.  Great...I thought to myself. Another failure. I was going to toss the whole thing in the trash but I thought I would let my husband try it first.  The next day I told  my husband I wasn't happy with this cake at all. He said he didn't understand why since he thought it was delicious.  I looked at him like he had  2 heads.  Really?  Yes, really....Okay, I just dug my fork right in the cake and tasted another bite.  Wow!!!  It was really good and nothing like the night before.  Overnight, it transformed into a delicious soft and moist cake!!!!  I don't know how, but it did. I would not post this if it were not delicious. Plus it's one bowl simple!!!!  Definitely add some whipped cream on top for some added goodness!!!

One Bowl Apple Cake

2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup oil
5 or 6 medium apples (I used Delicious)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large bowl mix eggs, sugar, cinnamon and oil.  Peel and slice apples and add to mixture and coat so as not to turn brown.  Mix together the baking soda and flour and add to the ingredients in the bowl.  Mix well - this really works good with a fork - until all of the flour is absorbed by the wet ingredients.  Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan or two 9 inch round pans.  I used the 9 x 13 inch pan.  If you use the 9 inch round pans just remember this does not come out easily (if at all).  You may have to just slice in the pan.  Bake for approximately 55 minutes.  Check regularly....mine was done a little earlier.  Top with fresh whipped cream, if desired.