Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins - Vegan

Hope everyone has had a nice Christmas.  The weather here has been wacky!  Christmas Day was in the 70's and we even had the air conditioning on....I'm not complaining at all.  This beats snow any day of the year!
I've been trying more vegan recipes lately.  This one comes from the cookbook by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, The Joy of Vegan Baking.  So far both recipes I've tried have been a success so that is a good sign that these recipes work!  These muffins are flavorful and moist....so enjoy!

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, optional (I did not use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease muffin tins or use muffin liners.
In a medium size bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together.
In a large bowl, beat sugar and oil together, then add the mashed bananas.  Stir in the water and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Add the flour mixture, along with the chocolate chips and stir to mix.
Fill each muffin tin halfway with the batter.  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Frozen Berry Cobbler

It's rare that I make a cobbler but when I saw this on Pinterest I knew that I would be making this one. It's so easy and delicious.  It's definitely a winner.  Frozen berries and a cake mix.  Can it get any simpler?  And the recipe works.  I made some cookies the other night that were also real simple (too simple in fact) and they were a total disaster.  I found the recipe in a cake magazine and the recipe was posted by the editor.  Total failure, which my gut told me it would be.  Nothing could save those babies...but this baby works!!!  Please give this a try!  And don't leave out the sugar coating.  It is sooo good!

2 - 12 oz bags of frozen mixed berries
1 white cake mix
1 can of 7 Up or Sprite (must be clear soda - you may use diet if you like)

Place frozen fruit in 9 x 13 in baking dish.  Add the dry cake mix over the top.  Pour soda slowly over the cake mix. Do not stir the cake mix and the soda.  This will give you a crust.   If you stir the two you will have a cake like topping.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 - 40 minutes.

For the sugar coating:

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 - 3 teaspoons milk (unsweetened

almond or soy are fine also)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Slowly combine milk and powdered sugar to desired consistency.  Add 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Spread over warm cobbler and let set.  Can be eaten while still slightly warm or cool.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Spiced Apple Cake

I made this cake a few weeks ago and plan on making it again soon.  It is super simple and delicious.  My mom had given me this little cookbook a few Christmas's ago and every cake that I've made out of it has been a success!  I've been under the weather lately but am finally feeling better.  Thank goodness Thanksgiving was not a bust.  Could have felt better but at least I was on some antibiotics by then and enjoyed a mini vacation on Chincoteague Island.  Hope you all had a nice holiday and if you try this cake you enjoy it!  This recipe comes courtesy of the book "Mmmm...Baking."

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing (I use baking spray)
Generous  1 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Scant 1 1/2 cups self rising flour*
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup golden raisins (I omitted these)
3 small apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp honey, warmed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and line a 9-inch round springform cake pan.
Place the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in the eggs.  Sift the flour, cinnamon and nutmeg into the batter and fold in gently using a large spoon.  Fold in the golden raisins (if using).
Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan and level the surface with a spatula.  Scatter over half the sliced apples.  Spoon over the remaining cake batter and gently level the surface again.  Arrange the remaining apple slices over the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 1 - 1 1/4 hours, until risen, golden brown and firm to the touch.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Brush the top with the warmed honey and let cool completely.

*If you do not have self rising flour you can make your own.  1 cup self rising flour = 1 cup flour + 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1/2 tsp salt.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ethiopian Cabbage and Potatoes

Lately I have been eating a wide variety of foods - Thai, Indonesian, Middle Eastern, Indian.  All this has made me realize how bland American food really is.  While for some people a roast and potatoes just hits the spot, it doesn't do it for me.  For one, I don't eat meat.  Secondly, I just happen to love all the flavorful spices incorporated in these other foods.  So delicious!  I had recently cooked some cabbage up and had a hard time having it taste really good without the usual ham hock or chicken stock.  When I googled vegan cabbage dishes this one came up.  No problem with flavors - plenty of it!  The only thing I would do is cut the potatoes a bit smaller next time and keep larger pieces of cabbage.  Mine were shred so small they disappeared!  This dish can be a main meal with some crusty bread on the side or this can be a side dish.  Either way, enjoy!  (I deviated from the original recipe after reading some of the comments and what I am posting is my version.)

1/4 cup olive oil
4 carrots, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced thin
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 head cabbage, shredded
5 potatoes, peeled and cup up into 1 inch cubes

Heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Cook the carrots and onions in the hot oil for about 5 minutes.  Stir in salt, pepper, cumin, turmeric and cabbage and cook about another 15 minutes.  Add potatoes, cover and reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 25 - 30  minutes, stirring occasionally,
 until potatoes are soft.  (Mine took 30 minutes.)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Apple Cider Donut Cake

If you enjoy apple cider donuts, I think you will like this cake.  It has the taste of an apple cider donut with a bit of a different texture since it is a cake and not deep fried!  However, it's really good.  I like trying new apple recipes this time of year when apples are abundant and very reasonable.  Especially when you get them buy the bushel and have a ton to cook up!  I've definitely been on the hunt for some new apple recipes.  I tried some new pie recipes and they were a complete disaster. I don't really know what went wrong but they were both trash bound as soon as I had my first taste.  No need to worry though with this cake.  Delicious!!!!  Hope you give this a try.  The original recipe can be found here.

2 large Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and chopped
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Sugar Topping
6 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour large Bundt pan.  I used Pam spray with flour.
In a medium saucepan bring apples and cider to a boil and let simmer for 10-12 minutes until apples have softened.  Let cool for a few minutes and then pour into food processor or blender and pulse until pureed.  Pour out one cup into bowl and add milk.  Set aside for later.
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer cream butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated.  Add oil and mix well.
Add flour mixture and apple/milk mixture alternately in three additions, scraping bowl as needed. Add vanilla and mix in only to just combine.
Add batter to prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Mine took about 50 minutes.
Cool cake in pan on rack for about 10 minutes. Combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl.
 Transfer cake to cooling rack and while still warm (but not hot) sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.   Use fingers if needed to coat sides of cake with sugar mixture.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Apple Cake from Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook

Several years ago during the Christmas season Tate's Bake Shop (on Long Island) sent their cookbook to many food bloggers, I being one of them.  The recipes are very straightforward which is what I love.  Nothing tricky. No exotic ingredients to be used only one time, etc.  Just wonderful and tasty sweets and treats!  This recipe comes from that book and I highly recommend it!  I had been up at Graves Mountain in Syria, Virginia this past weekend and we brought back a bushel of apples.  Needless to say, I will be doing plenty of baking in the next few weeks using apples.  This recipe caught my eye since it uses 8 cups of apple slices. Whew!  That's a lot of apples in a cake.

I hope you give this recipe a try.  It is very moist and extremely delicious!

Recipe from Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook

2 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
8 cups apples, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices (Granny Smith are good for this) peeled and cored
1 1/2 cups walnuts (I used pecans)
3 cups all purpose flour

Preheat over to 300 degrees F.
Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.  Glass is best, but metal will be fine.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Mix in the eggs, oil and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
Add the apples and walnuts, and stir till they are well coated.
Stir the flour in the mixture.  (It will see difficult in the beginning, but it will mix in.)
Bake the cake for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  (Yes, this is the correct time.)  Cool it completely in the baking dish.  This cake keeps very well and is actually better the next day.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Banana Bread (vegan)

You just cannot ever have enough banana bread recipes.  And this is the perfect recipe for me to blog about since I haven't blogged since early summer.  Just haven't felt like it. No other reason but that!  Fall does inspire me to start baking again. I do love to bake. Apple pies and chocolate cakes and cookies.....Here now is a really good banana bread. Blog worthy!
Recipe from dairyfreecooking.about.com

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup plain soy milk or almond milk
1 t. apple cider vinegar
2 cups mashed banana, from about 4 very ripe large bananas
1/4 cup canola oil
2 T. maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly oil a 9"x5" loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the soy milk and cider vinegar and let stand for a few minutes.  Add the mashed banana, canola oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract, whisking until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined (do not overmix).

Fold in the walnuts if using and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow bread to cool for about 10 minutes and removed from pan. At this point I wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and let it cool completely.  I usually wait until the next day to eat and enjoy it.  The plastic wrap really keeps in the moisture and flavor.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Easy Peasy Blueberry Pie (No Rolling Pin Needed!)

This is also known as "Lazy Days of Summer Pie!"  Really, this is the easiest berry pie you will ever make.  I found this recipe here and have been giving it all kinds of names because it is just so simple to make.  With this pie in particular you need to remember that the pie will only be as good as the berries you put in it.  With other pies you can add lots of sugar but this one relies on the berries themselves.  No thickening agents, nothing.  I did add a sprinkling of brown sugar on the berries but it was no more than maybe a rounded teaspoon.  I wanted to make the recipe as it was written the first time.  The bonus with this pie is that there is no rolling involved.  It doesn't taste exactly like a pie but close enough if not better.  Also, don't think when you slice it that it will be a clean slice. No, some of your berries will have burst and they land where they want.  It's just too good a pie not to make, especially if you don't want your oven on long and want something with little prep time.  I used blueberries but the original recipe calls for any berries.  I encourage you to try this is if you love pie.  It will not disappoint...promise!!!! BTW - your crust will not be as dark as mine....I made one of my very usual mistakes and turned  my oven up too high.  Why do I always seem to make at least one mistake when I try a new recipe?????

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/8  cup white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/8 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (I used 18 oz carton)
teaspoon brown sugar sprinkled on berries

To Make Crust:  Blend flour and butter and mix well. (I cut up butter in tiny cubes and used food processor.)  Add baking powder, sugar, vanilla and egg.  (I added sugar and baking powder and pulsed until well incorporated.  Then I added vanilla to egg and poured slowly into processor and mixed until well combined.  About 30 seconds, pulsing on and off several times and then letting it run for about 10 seconds).
At this point let the dough rest for 25 minutes.

Using a 9" glass pie pan, put mixture into center.  Break off about 1/3 of mixture and set aside for topping. Press evenly along bottom and up sides. Poke holes with fork along bottom and sides.  Let dough rest again for 25 minutes.   Add blueberries and top with brown sugar.  Break remaining dough into small, flat discs and lay on top of berries.

Bake in 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes and let rest on wire rack to cool. Or add ice cream on top of warm slice of pie!!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Country Pound Cake

I think it must have been about a month or so since I last made a pound cake and that is too long without making another one....quickly!  I guess you could call me a pound cake addict!  They are just so good and simple to make and I love trying new recipes for them all the time.  I found this recipe here. I made a few changes.  I did not use wax paper to line the pan.  No problem getting the cake out.  I used a baking spray with flour.  I also set out all  my cold ingredients for about an hour so they were all at room temperature.  You can also remove the cake from pan after 10 minutes which is also different from the original recipe.  I used my wonderful Kitchen Aid stand mixer for this.  Oh that comes in so handy when you have to beat the butter and sugar for 10 minutes!
What I really love about this recipe is that you bake the cake in what's called a cold over.  Don't preheat!  When baking a pound cake this way you don't get a hard crust.  You get a soft moist one. Sooo good!  I think you will love this recipe if you are a pound cake fan like I am!

3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 2/3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract

Do not preheat oven.  Grease a 10 in tube or Bundt pan. (I used baking spray with flour).
Sift together all dry ingredients together in large bowl.  Set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer beat together butter, shortening and sugar for 10 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time making sure they are well incorporated after each addition.
Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, mixing well.
Add vanilla and lemon extract.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.  Let cool on rack for 10 minutes before removing and let cool completely.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Moist Pineapple Banana Bread

I'm back this time around with a great banana bread.  I keep taking mini vacations from blogging but not mini vacations from baking.  I found this on pinterest and the original recipe can be found here.  It's a good one and if you are a banana bread nut like I am you should give it a try.  The pineapple adds a nice flavor.  I left out the coconut since I didn't have any but will definitely use it next time.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup  mashed banana (I used 2 medium ones)
1/3 cup drained, crushed pineapple
1/2 shredded coconut
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar til light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time.  Beat until well combined.  Stir in banana, pineapple and coconut.  Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to wet ingredients.  Stir until just combined.  Grease an 8 x 4 in pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 65 - 70 minutes.  Placed on wire rack for 10 minutes and remove from pan.  

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Sour Cream Steusel Coffee Cake

Well I think I am just about completely snowed out.  Really, we've had enough of this stuff already.  I just keep thinking spring, spring and spring!  Hopefully today's snow is the last of the season. The only good thing to come out of it is that I have been able to catch up on watching Sisters Wives and Mob Wives.  I am looking forward to warm weather and vow to never, ever complain that it is too hot outside. No way!  The only one that seems to enjoy it in this house is the dog and that's because he's still basically a puppy and it is something new.  He'll catch on.....

This is a really simple but delicious coffee cake. I think when I make this again I will add a layer of apples to it.  It's a basic keeper recipe that you can play with.  It's pretty foolproof so enjoy if you decide to make this. I found the original recipe here.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt


1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsps cinnamon
1/2 chopped pecans (I omitted these)

In a large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and beat until combined.  Pour half the batter in a 13 x 9 in baking pan.

In a small bowl combine topping ingredients;  sprinkle half of topping ingredients over batter.  Add remaining batter and topping.  Bake at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Creamy Lemon One Pot Pasta

This is a take off on another one pot pasta dish that I made a while back.  I found this over here and knew I just had to try it.  I love anything with lemon - not just cakes. Pasta and lemon just go soooo hand in hand! The bonus with this dish is there is minimal cleanup because you cook it all in one pot!  These types of dishes are also very interchangeable....I used half in half instead of heavy cream which the original recipe called for. I used extra wine (hey, that never hurt anyone) and water since I used a few ounces more pasta.   Get the idea....this is not like baking, which I do love.  Baking does not forgive.  You make a mistake...and the cake falls flat!!  Haha!!! True....

We are having some major snow here the past week and I, for one am sick of it.  As I was walking my dog in the awful weather I just thought to myself - 3 months from now will be the end of May!  We'll be way into spring and warm weather. That is the thought I am holding onto.  In the meantime I have been baking away and enjoying every moment in the kitchen!  It's the best place this time of year!

Recipe for Creamy Lemon One Pot Pasta

12 oz. dried pasta
2 cups thinly sliced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 sprigs of fresh basil
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 1/2 cups of water (or more if using more pasta)
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 cup white wine (or more according to taste)
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup heavy cream (half and half will also work)
1/2 cup (or more) of Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In large pasta pot combine all ingredients except last 3.  Bring to a boil on medium high heat and using large fork or tongs rearrange pasta quite often.  Cook about 10 minutes or more until desired consistency and until most of liquid has been absorbed but not all.  I used 16 oz of fettuccine and cooked this approximately 15 minutes.  I do not like al dente pasta...I prefer it softer.

Remove from heat and add your heavy cream (or half and half), parmesan cheese and lemon juice.  Combine thoroughly and enjoy!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cranberry Banana Muffins (vegan)

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.  I spent part of the holidays with family in Virginia and part of it on Long Island.  I also spent 9 hours on I-95 driving to NY and plan on flying next time.  Haven't flown in decades (seriously) but it's now or never to get over this fear.  Traffic will definitely help you conquer a fear of flying!!!

I had a bag of cranberries that I just had to do something with so when I spotted this recipe I knew I would give it a try.   It's also vegan, so that is just perfect for me!!!  These are really delicious and very moist.  The cranberries lend just enough tartness to the muffin. Perfect - really...they are THAT good.  Here is where I found the recipe.

1 1/2 cups white sugar, divided
1 cup water
2 cups fresh cranberries
3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can also use melted coconut oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F.
Pour 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the cranberries and simmer until they start to pop - about 5-7 minutes.  Remove pan from stove top and drain the liquid and set cranberries aside.
In a medium bowl combine bananas, oil and brown sugar and 1/2 cup remaining white sugar.  Beat together with a mixer.
In a separate, larger bowl, combine both flours, baking soda and salt.
Pour the banana mixture

into the dry ingredients and beat with a mixer until smooth.  Do not overmix.  A minute or a little less will be enough.  Gently fold in the cranberries.
Put cupcake liners in muffin pan and fill each liner 2/3 with batter.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes.  Mine were done in about 23 minutes.  Use toothpick to check when they are done.