4/30/11

Mmmm Coffee Cake with a Streusel Layer - Great with Coffee!


Friday night I finally found the time to make the cake I had been craving and waiting to make all week!  Starting with a store bought yellow cake mix, it's not only quick and easy but it's incredibly light and oh so moist.  Great with coffee or just by itself, the streusel is made with graham cracker crumbs and is just incredible.


Streusel Coffee Cake 

1/3 c graham cracker crumbs
3/4 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
2/3 c butter, melted

1 regular sized package yellow cake mix
1 c water
1/4 c canola oil
3 eggs

1 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a tube or bundt pan.  Make the streusal by combining the crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and butter.  Sprinkle half in the bottom of the pan.  Set the other half to the side.

Mix the cake mix with the water, oil and eggs.  Beat on low with 1 minute, beat on medium for 2 minutes.  Spread half the batter in the pan, sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the batter and then pour the rest of the batter on the over streusel.  Bake for about an hour but watch as all pans and ovens are different.  Test for doneness when the center is done.  Let it cool for about an hour, loosen and turn out of the pan.  Make the powdered sugar glaze with the vanilla and just enough drops of water to make it a drizzle consistency.  Drizzle over the cake.  Serve warm, room temperature or cold.  This is excellent and very moist! 

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4/27/11

Spring Time Cookies - Tea Cups and Flowers



It's spring!  With May Day and Mother's Day right around the corner I thought I'd make one of my 'least' favorite cookies to decorate tea cups and flowers.  Although I recognize the importance of tradition and memories for families and I know from my kids and husband how much they have enjoyed and loved my cookies through the years; I do admit that I don't love making cookies and I get impatient having to decorate them.  Tea Cups and Flowers are two of my least favorite to decorate.

Last night our family's busy schedules had us coming and going at different times with track and work so I took the opportunity at dinner time to whip up some spring time cookies and then decorate them before bed.  Because I didn't have a large span of time, the detail isn't as usual and I did not use a variety of colors (I usually add a pretty mint green and pale yellow) but they are sweet and pretty and oh so delicious.  And?  Tradition continues. 



Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 c butter, soft
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cream of tartar
1 t salt

Combine sugar and butter, beat until creamy with your electric mixer. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add dry ingredients and mix until blended. Chill dough until it's easy to work with; 30-60 minutes.

On lightly floured surface roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out cookies. Bake at 350 until the edges just start to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.  Frost.




Fox Run Tea Party Cookie Cutter Set


Tea Cup Metal Cookie Cutter
 
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4/26/11

What to do with leftover Peeps!

It's two days after Easter.  Most of the 'good' candy has been picked through or you've eaten enough of it that just isn't as appetizing as it was at 8:am on Sunday morning.  Many families are looking for ways to use up some of their Easter candy in recipes. 

One of my favorite for years is making leftover Peeps (the marshmallow little chicks and bunnies) into Rice Krispy Bars.  Quick, easy and fun; they make pretty pastel swirled treats in no time at all.




Peep Krispy Bars

3 T butter
30 Peeps (which, really no one should have that many Peeps... so use part Peeps and make the rest up with marshmallows. You'll need a grand total of 10 oz. which is about 40 large or a package of mini. Adjust accordingly to how many Peeps you have to use up!)
6 c crispy rice cereal

Put the butter and marshallow peeps into a very large microwavable bowl and microwave until they puff up and double their size in the bowl. This takes about  90 - 120 seconds (1 1/2 - 2 minutes)   in my microwave.

Immediately stir in the cereal with a rubber scraper that has been sprayed with Pam style cooking oil or oiled with canola or vegetable oil. Press the mixture into a greased or sprayed 9X13 inch pan. As soon as they are cool, cut and serve!
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4/22/11

Roasted Portobello Mushroom Cheeseburgers

Let's continue with a 'mushroom' theme this morning!  I found this recipe a few years ago and liked it because it's two recipes in one;  the portobello mushroom burgers as well as a yummy Aioli sauce.  You can play with the recipe a bit and of course, leave the cheese off if you like, don't add the caramelized onions or Aioli sauce if you prefer...  it's all up to you.   It's rather fitting that today is Friday and it's Lent, so this would be a meatless 'cheeseburger' meal as well!


Roasted Portobello Mushroom Cheeseburgers
with Caramelized Onions and Pimento Aioli



Juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 t dried thyme leaves or 1/2 t ground
1/4 t garlic powder
6 Portobello mushrooms, wiped clean and stems removed (large!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices Swiss, cheddar or provolone cheese
6 Brioche hamburger buns, buttered and toasted
1 1/2 cups loosely packed arugula

For the onions:
1 T olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup water kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the aioli:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T jarred chopped pimentos, drained
1 T red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T minced flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Burgers:
In a shallow baking dish, use a whisk to combine the lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire, thyme, and garlic powder. Place mushrooms in the marinade, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Turn over the mushrooms, cover again, and refrigerate at least another hour. (Mushrooms can marinate for several hours.)

For the Onions:
In the meantime, make the onions. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat. Season the onions with salt and pepper. Set aside.

For the Aioli:
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Refrigerate until serving time.

To Finish the Burgers:
Preheat oven to 450°F. Remove mushrooms from marinade and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the mushrooms on a baking sheet, gill sides up. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and arrange cheese and caramelized onions on the gills of each mushroom and bake another 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Place 1 mushroom on each muffin and garnish with aioli and arugula. Serve immediately.
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4/20/11

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms - Non Video Version

 
Previously, I posted a video for Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms that I made for a product review I did for Johnsonville Sausage.  For those of you who prefer a recipe in text with photos (as I do!) I'm reposting here.

As usual, I'm going to say PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!  Adapt the recipe to what works for you.  The original recipe actually had the sausage mixture separate from the cream cheese layer but I decided to not only mix them together, but play with some of the ingredients as well.  I hope you do too!

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

24 - 48 mushrooms (depending on what size you want)
1 lb. Johnsonville's Sausage, mild Italian
1/2 c dry bread crumbs
8 oz. cream cheese
1 T fine chopped dried parsley
1 T lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1/3 c grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove mushroom stems and discard.  Use a small spoon to scoop out the gills from the mushrooms to give you more room for the filling.  Brown the sausage in a pan until no longer pink.  Add the bread crumbs, cream cheese, parsley, lemon juice and garlic.  Stir to mix.  Fill each mushroom cap with the mixture and sprinkle Parmesan on top.  Bake approximately 15 minutes (longer if you choose really large mushrooms) until golden brown. 



Remove the stem from the mushrooms
and gently use a small spoon to scoop
out the gills inside to allow more room for filling.


Adding the cream cheese and other ingredients
to the ground sausage


Fill your mushrooms and bake!

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4/17/11

Back to the 50's Soda Fountain for a Malt... In a Cupcake!



Let's go back to the 50's tonight!  It's a soda fountain 'malt' (shake) in a cupcake!

A fun cupcake dessert to transport you and your date to the malt shop on Saturday night! Rock around the clock, root beer floats, saddle shoes and poodle skirts! Easy to make; I made and decorated about 50 cupcakes for 50's themed event and not one was leftover.

Cupcakes: baked and cooled completely
Plastic straws and scissors
Frosting with a round 'O' shaped tip and decorator bag
Maraschino Cherries in a jar - drained and dry
Sprinkles



Cut the straws down about 3-4 inches to make them shorter 
and bend the sipping end




Walmart sells cherries with the stems still attached!


Swirl frosting on each cupcake.
Top with a cherry and sprinkles and finish it off
with a bendy straw!
A malt-shop cupcake!
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4/14/11

Cupcake Ice Cream Cones


Tonight after work and one child's track meet I'm hoping to get about 50 cupcakes made in addition to the 60 cookies I've already made but have to decorate for an event at work tomorrow.    With cupcakes on the brain I decided to post a fun recipe for cupcakes that look like ice cream cones - one that many of us have many more than a few times, but for others, it may be a brand new idea!

Another reason I'm posting this particular version is it's a little different than most of us were trying to make them 10 years ago.  This version has you make the cupcakes separately and then fill the cones for decorating.  No more trying to balance cupcake batter filled cones in muffin tins in the oven.  

These are not the cupcakes I'm making for the event tomorrow night but I hope to take some photos of those for An American Housewife post this weekend.  Enjoy!

An Oldie but a Goody;  Cupcake Ice Cream Cones

1 box cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs as directed on cake mix box

18 flat-bottom ice cream cones
3 containers frosting
1/4 cup sprinkles
Regular sized cupcake liners
Mini sized cupcake liners

Heat oven to 350°.  Place paper baking cup liner in each of 18 regular-size muffin cups; place mini paper baking cup liner in each of 18 mini muffin cups. Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Spoon evenly into regular and mini muffin cups.

Bake mini cupcakes 11 to 13 minutes, regular cupcakes 17 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely.

(Hint:  If you don't have a an ice cream cone holder like the one in the picture, make a holder for the cones by tightly covering the tops of 2 empty square or rectangular pans (at least 2 to 2 1/2 inches deep) with heavy-duty foil. With sharp knife, cut 18 "stars" in foil, 3 inches apart, by making slits about 1 inch long.)

Remove paper cups from cupcakes. For each cone, frost top of 1 regular cupcake with frosting; turn upside down onto a cone. Frost bottom (now the top) of cupcake. Place mini cupcake upside down on frosted regular cupcake; frost side of regular cupcake and entire mini cupcakes completely.

Sprinkle with candy decors. Push cone through foil opening in cone holder; the foil will keep it upright.
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4/13/11

Check that White Bread Label

Would you take a perfect little white cupcake, remove the wrapper, add some turkey, lettuce, tomato and maybe just a smear of mayo?  Eww, yuck!  Probably not.

But wait!  Did you know that by putting those ingredients on your white bread, you are almost doing just that? 

White bread is so very similar in ingredients that you might as well be eating cake.

Check out the ingredient list!  You'll likely find high fructose corn syrup is near the top, right after the 'white' flour that has been so 'enriched' that it is now so bleached and processed that there is almost no nutrition left.   Yes, there are some white breads that have improved their nutritional content (finally!)  but you have to read the label to see if you're getting grains or the equivalent of a cupcake.

If you have kids like mine, they may balk at having to eat wheat bread, but what really gives it away is the brown color.  Thankfully there are now options in the store for whole grain goodness that looks and feels like white so your kids get the sandwich they want while you know you are giving them a healthier alternative than smearing jelly on a cupcake and feeding it to them for a 'healthy' lunch.
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4/12/11

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

As a member of SheSpeaks I was given a chance to try Johnsonville's Sausage and post photos or a video of a recipe I made with it. Last weekend I made Stuffed Mushrooms with their product and this morning uploaded them to make a very short, simple movie.

Need an appetizer or side dish for a meal this week? If you use extra large mushrooms 1 or 2 stuffed mushrooms can be a meal in itself! Enjoy!


video
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Almond Bon Bon Cookies - for Spring or Easter


Almond Bon Bons are a cookie I make every year at Christmas and use brilliant green and red icing as well as snowy white.  They are cute and delicious and are a top request of my oldest daughter.  However, if you need a dainty, cute cookie for Easter they would be just as adorable in pastel icing shades, perfect for your spring table.



Almond Bon Bon Cookies

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c butter, soft
1/3 c powdered sugar
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
4 oz. almond paste

Almond Glaze:

1 c powdered sugar
1/2 t almond extract
drops of food color to make yellow, green, blue, purple or pink
4 t milk - mix all until blended smooth


Heat oven to 375. Beat flour, butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla on medium until mixed well. Slice almond paste into 1/2 inch slices and then cut each slice into fourths. Shape one inch balls of dough around each bit of almond paste. Roll into a nice ball shape. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until they are set and the bottom is just starting to get golden. Remove to a rack and cool completely. Dip the tops of the cooled cookie into the almond glaze. Let set to harden or sprinkle decorator sprinkles or sugar on top if you wish when the icing is still wet.
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4/8/11

Excited to Make Pretty Meringue Cups with Raspberries for Easter!

I don't use many Pampered Chef products simply because they've never been in my budget to do so.  However, I have a few of their products that I just love, and my food chopper is one of them.  Over the years of heavy use it now is scratched, cracked and ready to be replaced.  I saw a Pampered Chef catalog in my coworkers office one day last week and found out her Mother is a sales rep.  While looking through her catalog to place an order for a new chopper I spied a photo of these little meringue cups and knew they would be perfect for Easter dinner!

I actually make something similar to this already;  I make the meringue cups in circles about 2-3 inches round and I fill them with a vanilla or lemon curd pudding style filling and top with strawberries, kiwi, blueberries and raspberries. 

This recipe takes my dessert one step 'smaller' by making the circles tiny and topping with just one raspberry.  So very pretty and dainty and perfect for a beautiful Easter buffet.

Meringues

3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cream of tartar
1 jar (7.5 oz/213 g) marshmallow cream
1/4 tsp (1 mL) Double-Strength Vanilla


Filling and Garnish
1 cup (250 mL) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (50 mL) powdered sugar
1 t (5 mL) Vanilla
1 pint fresh raspberries
Fresh mint leaves

Preheat oven to 200°F (100°C). Line two Cookie Sheets with Parchment Paper; set aside. In Stainless (4-qt./4-L) Mixing Bowl, beat egg whites on high speed of electric hand mixer until frothy; add cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form. Add marshmallow cream and vanilla; beat until mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.

Spoon about half of the meringue batter into a decorator bag with the tip cut off 1/2 inch or use a large round decorator tip.  To form pedestal base, starting 1/2 in. (1 cm) from edge of Cookie Sheet, pipe a small round of meringue, 1/2 in. (1 cm) in diameter, onto Cookie Sheet. Pipe a ring of meringue around the edge of the base and spiral upward and around two more times, forming a tiny cup; repeat with remaining meringue in six rows of six pedestals each, refilling bag as needed and filling both Cookie Sheets. Bake 30 minutes or until meringues are dry. Turn oven off, leaving meringues in oven; let stand 2 hours or overnight.

For filling, place cream into a clean, grease free mixing bowl.   Beat on medium-high speed until slightly thickened. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until soft peaks form. Attach round tip to a decorator bag, fill with cream filling. Pipe cream filling evenly into meringue cups. Garnish each cup with a raspberry and a mint leaf.

Yield: 6-7 dozen meringues


Nutrients per serving: Calories 25, Total Fat 1.5 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Carbohydrate 3 g, Protein 0 g, Sodium 5 mg, Fiber 0 g 




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4/3/11

Sugar Free Almond Pound Cake (Low Carb)

2014 - *See an update 'note' at the bottom....  

Yesterday I started to crave my homemade almond pound cake.  Although I gave up sugar for Lent, this is a wholegrain, nutty pound cake that is sugar free (uses Splenda)  and happens to be low-carb diet friendly too if you are looking for a low carb dessert.

When I make this, I like the wholesome, nutty flavor and texture of grinding my own raw almonds.  I like this cake when I am craving something similar to my favorite pecan pancakes rather than a 'cake'.  You can purchase finely ground 'almond flour' to use if you want a smoother, whiter cake.

If you are strict about counting carbs you'll have to use your own personal favorite website or book to figure your exact count based on the ingredients you use and the amounts, as well as the size of slice you serve but it will average 6 net grams of carbs per serving if the cake was sliced into 12 servings.



Sugar Free Almond Pound Cake (Low Carb too)

1 stick (1/2 c) butter, room temp
1/2 c cream cheese (not fat free)
1 c Splenda (or sugar)
5 large eggs
2 c ground almonds (or use almond flour for a smoother, whiter cake)
1/2 c Cake Ability*
1 t lemon or almond extract
1 1/2  t vanilla extract

Ground about 12 oz. natural, unsalted almonds in a food processor.  You need 2 cups after ground.  Don't grind too long or you'll end up with paste.  Just until powder like and uniform in texture.

Cream butter, cream cheese and splenda.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

Mix the Cake Ability with the ground almonds or almond flour.  Add the batter to the almond mixture a little at a time while beating.  Add the extracts.

Pour or spoon into a greased 9" Springform pan, bundt pan, ring pan or even round pans.  Bake at 350 for approximately 50-55 minutes.


*2014 - I had a reader comment that this didn't turn out for her and that it tasted too much like baking soda.  Which I feel terrible about - because who wants to waste all these ingredients!   However, as you can tell from my personal photos, I've made this cake many times since 2009.   I've used this recipe for 5 years now (2009 - 2014) and it's turned out for me.

But I'd like to explain why there is 2 T baking soda in it -

Originally back in the early to mid 2000's there was a product called Cake-Ability that could be used in this recipe.  When they stopped making it, people had to come up with a substitute.  The substitute was;


*Cake-Ability
1/4 cup egg white powder (like JustWhites)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 Vitamin C tablet - crushed

Mix.  Store air-tight.  Use when called for in recipes. 

You mix this together in a coffee grinder and when your recipe calls for Cake-Ability you can use this substitute.  This particular recipe called for 1/2 cup Cake-Ability.    When I make up the substitute I usually triple or quadruple it and keep it in a jar or baggy in my pantry and use what I need.   In this cake, 1/2 cup.



With low-carb, sugar free baking the recipe can change SO MUCH with different product brands.  I am just thinking out loud here, but I wonder if the taste and texture of the cake changes depending on the brands of everything else used?  I'm not sure of the answer.  I went back to my recipe book and yes, this is the recipe I've used since November of 2009. If you are making it - PLEASE FEEL FREE TO PLAY WITH THE INGREDIENTS.  If you want to only use 1 T baking soda, perhaps that would work better?  I'm not sure since it worked for me, but low carb and sugar free baking can be tricky!





A nutty, thick batter



Fresh from the oven... Mmmm!

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