9/30/13

Dump Cake (All flavors!)




Back around 1990 I finally made my first 'dump' cake.  It seemed too easy, too simple and too few ingredients to be any good.  Not so.  Perhaps that is why this old "Grandma" recipe is included in so many church cookbooks from the past 50 years!  So easy a child can make it but so good.  This is wonderful warm with vanilla ice cream but also good just as it is and even cold.

You can use almost any kind of filling you wish.  Most people use a canned fruit pie filling but you can make your filling from scratch as well.  You can also use a white OR yellow cake mix.  I used a sugar free cake mix and low-sugar pie filling for this one, and baked it in my solar oven as it was about 90 degrees outside and I didn't want to heat up my kitchen oven.  Fillings we've had with this include strawberry, cherry, blueberry and apple.  Our favorite is cherry.  Some people also love pineapple filling and often, you will find nuts on the top crust.  I love nuts, but my family does not like them in baked goods so I leave them out.  It's all up to you.


Dump Cake

1 box dry cake mix (either white or yellow)
1 can prepared pie filling of your choice (cherry, blueberry, apple, crushed pineapple or strawberry are good)
1 stick butter
optional:  1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

In a lightly greased or sprayed pan (9X13 is best but any pan will work - smaller pans make a thicker dessert) dump a can of pie filling.  Spread.  Dump a dry cake mix over all.  Add nuts if you are using.  Drizzle with 1 stick butter, melted.  Bake approximately 30 minutes at 350 or until it's golden brown and bubbly.  Let cool til warm and serve with ice cream or whipped cream or let cool complete. 

Literally...  "dump" the ingredients in!
 
Melted butter creates the top 'crunch' of the dessert

I baked it in the solar oven this day







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9/29/13

Re-Posting - Homemade Bread Dough that works for buns, garlic bread, even pizza dough or cinnamon rolls

The smell of things like apple pie, homemade bread and cookies baking seems to go hand-in-hand with the Autumn season.  So, I'm re-posting this one because with so many recipes on my site, it's easy to lose track of them, and easier to find them in the search box if they've been posted a couple times.

This is a recipe I fall back on whenever I want to make homemade bread or rolls for dinner and I don't want to have to think about it. It uses basic ingredients, can be mixed up in my bread machine or in my KitchenAid Mixer,or even by hand if I want to give my arm muscles a work out (which I don't usually, because I'm just lazy like that).

One thing I do with this basic recipe is substitute about 1/4 cup whole wheat flour sometimes.  You don't have to, but you can if you wish.  Use this dough not only for 2 loaves of bread, but use it for homemade rolls, hamburger buns, garlic and butter monkey bread or make cinnamon rolls out of it.

This particular time I baked the bread in my Global Sun Oven® but obviously you would be baking it either in your bread machine or in your oven.



Classic Homemade Bread or Rolls

12 oz. water, warm
1 1/2 t salt
2 T butter
4 c bread flour
2 T dry milk
2 T sugar
1 3/4 t yeast, dry

Put in your bread machine or your mixer bowl in this order.  Turn on your bread machine, or use the dough setting if you want to remove it and bake it in a sun oven or conventional oven.  If using your stand mixer, use the bread dough hook.  Knead for about 8 minutes.  Let rest to raise.  Take it out of the bowl, turn it out and make your bread, rolls, buns from it.  Let them raise until double in height.  Bake as you wish.  Bread will bake about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.  I baked them in the solar oven on a sunny day for about 45 - 50 minutes.  Bake longer if it's not a hot, sunny day.



The first raising

This recipe makes two loaves.  Form and put in a greased pan.

Let raise and then bake until done - about 30-35 minutes.


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9/27/13

Sugar Free Chocolate Cream Filled Cupcakes (and my own little version of Sugar Free Ding Dongs!)



If you follow me on Twitter, then you know I told you I was making a sugar free, healthy chocolate cake this week for my husband.  Only it ends up I changed my mind.  After mixing the batter, I decided cakes are just too boring.  I wanted to make them into Ding Dongs.  A healthy version of a Ding Dong since I don't buy the real ones.  The problem was I only 3 little tiny round Ding Dong shaped pans and it would take a L O N G time to bake all those tiny little cakes!  So I grabbed the cupcake pans, the liners, and went to town.

YUM!  They turned out so good and I don't feel guilty in the least bit giving these to my family.


Low Carb, Sugar Free, Chocolate Cake

2 1/4 c Honeyville almond flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c erythritol granules
1/3 c whey protein powder
1 t instant coffee
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t xanthan gum
1/2 t salt
3/4 c sour cream
1/2 t lemon juice
1/2 c soft butter (1 stick)
5 eggs
15 drops Sucralose liquid or other sweetener
2 t vanilla
2/3 c almond milk

Place all the dry ingredients from the almond flour to the salt, in a large bowl and mix well with a wood spoon, whisk, etc.  Set aside.  In your mixing bowl, beat the butter, sour cream and lemon juice.  Beat in the eggs, liquid sweetener and vanilla.  Add half the dry almond flour mixture, beat well.  Add the almond milk, beat.  Add the last of the almond flour mixture.  Bake in your preferred pan;  a greased and parchment lined 9X13, a greased bundt pan, 2 greased and parchment lined round 8 or 9 inch pans or make into cupcakes.   Bake at 325 degrees.  Test and bake until the center is done.  Let cool about 10 minutes and remove from pans to cool completely.  Frosting with whatever frosting YOU love best.  You can even fill them by squirting a little frosting into the cupcake and then frosting the top.



Here is one buttercreme frosting I use a lot - but this time I added squares of melted unsweetened chocolate to it to make it into a dark chocolate icing - more like the "Ding Dong" dessert I was going for.  I added 4 squares unsweetened Bakers chocolate - but you could add less or more, just do a taste test and see what you like best.

Frosting:  7 Minute Frosting (sugar free)

Lighter Sugar Free Buttercreme Frosting

3/4 c granular Xylitol 
1/4 c water
3 large egg whites (separate and use the yolks in another recipe)
1 stick real butter
2 T vanilla extract or use half vanilla sf syrup and half extract
*If you taste test it and find your personal tastes would like it sweeter, use 5-10 drops liquid sweetener

In a saucepan, place the water and Xylitol. Heat over medium high until it comes to 240 degrees.

As you are heating the sugar substitute and water, mix the egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  With the mixer running, pour the hot Xylitol mixture down the side of the bowl in a thin stream, mixing into the egg whites.  Beat approximately 7 minutes on high until the egg whites resemble a thick and glossy meringue.

The original recipe I use calls for 3 sticks butter - which turns out beautiful, but I just have a really hard time using that much butter!  This time I cut it down to about a stick - and it still turned out perfect!  So I am listing 1 stick butter but you CAN add up to the original 3 if you wish.   Start to add the butter in chunks, about a tablespoon at a time.  Keep the mixer running and whip the mixture about 7- 10 minutes more.  If the mixture breaks up when you first add the butter and it looks like cottage cheese, no worries.  Just keep whipping until it's smooth again.  Once the frosting is smooth, add your vanilla and whip again for a few minutes.  If it's a really warm or humid day it might get too warm to work with.  Just refrigerate it for about 7 minutes, whip again.  The cooler temperatures will cause it to harden up again.


Filled... unfrosted








Some products I used in the above recipes;
              
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9/26/13

Candied Caramel Apples

 
I'm not a fan of caramel apples myself, but my husband is.  Every Fall I make sure to whip up some homemade caramel apples for him.
Although I've made gourmet style apples in the past, drizzled in 2 kinds of chocolate and caramel over tiny bits of dark chocolate, toffee and candies, all wrapped in plastic wrap, then pretty cellophane and tied with a ribbon; you don't have to be fancy to be awesome.  These are so easy, it's a great project to do with your kids.  Yes, you may get a little bit messy from the sticky, ooey, gooey caramel, but that's part of the fun! 
Caramel Apples

Apples (washed, dried and refrigerated overnight)
1 package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 T water or milk
Candies of your choice (optional)
wooden popcicle sticks or craft sticks
parchment or foil

Using cold apples, push a wooden stick into the apple where the stem is (remove it).  Melt your caramels with milk or water either in a microwave or on the stove.  The microwave is easier and less likely to burn.  Microwave about 2 minutes - stirring once or twice during the process.  Have your caramel next to any candies, mini chocolate chips, crushed Oreos, toffee, etc. that you may with to use.  Dip and roll each apple quickly in caramel until well coated. Dip in or sprinkle candies if you wish to use them.  Place on parchment paper or buttered foil and allow to set until the caramel hardens a bit. 


As simple as clean, dry apples, caramels and some candy bits

What will you use? Mini chocolate chips? Candies?







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9/25/13

Celebrating the Pumpkin! Over a dozen pumpkin recipes to honor the Autumn season!




Autumn is here!  The perfect time to celebrate the awesome pumpkin.  Don't wait for Thanksgiving to make a pumpkin pie and call it 'done' for the season.  Here are over a dozen recipes from my website that I've posted over the years.  From cakes to cinnamon rolls, pasta to griddle cakes.  There is something here for everyone - as I even have an amazing pumpkin bread that can be served to those doing sugar free or low carb way of eating.    Enjoy!!


Pumpkin Cake with Broiled Coconut Topping
Perfect Pumpkin Bread
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Mexican Pumpkin Dip
Flaxseed Pumpkin Bread (sugar free and low carb too!)
Pumpkin Butter Pie
Pumpkin Pie with an Oatmeal Crust
Homemade Pasta
Pumpkin Bars
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Griddle Cakes
Pickled Pumpkin
Pumpkin Dessert
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
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Oster should be ashamed of their cheaply made appliances. Gone are the days of quality.

I put a lot of thought into which blender I was going to purchase last year.  I don't have a large budget but one of my top priorities was it had to have a power motor to chop ice for frozen drinks.  My second priority was a simple 'on' and 'off' switch that was not digital or electric as I did not want to deal with those components breaking (as they always do).


I decided on the traditional 'style' Oster blender - the Beehive version (Oster Designer Series Beehive Blender,  Chrome)  because it offers a simple 2 speeds (all we really need) and it's a toggle switch - which I love!  In general I was thrilled.  It's a glass jar, heavy, well made.  The motor was powerful and I love how it crushed ice with ease yet worked great for soups, batters and other items.

Then only hesitation was I read a lot of people had issues with the base cracking.  But... we never think it will happen to us, right?  Wrong.   I have to say;  OSTER - WHY DO YOU MAKE SUCH A CHEAP, FLIMSY, CRAP PLASTIC BASE RING!?   Seriously, the whole machine is awesome except that thin plastic black base that screws the glass jar in.  And it cracks and breaks about as easy as...  a little girls plastic headband. Think of the cheapest, thinnest, most brittle plastic you can.  That is what they used!

This machine needs a sturdy base.  Everyone on Amazon seems to have to purchase a replacement base - and again, it's the cheap plastic.   After mine cracked I grabbed some gorilla glue and duct tape.  I glued the base to the glass jar, used duct tape to hold it in place while the glue dried and then removed the tape.  So far so good... I just have to be careful with it.   Works for now and I still love the powerful blender and thick, heavy duty glass jar and sharp blades... but hate the cheap plastic base that forces me to GLUE MY BLENDER!   Oster... you should be ashamed.


This is the blend I bought;




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9/24/13

Mmmmm Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow Frosting (7 Minute Frosting) - but it's healthy! Flour free!


With out of town guests in the next room, I quickly sneak a photo of the cake!
This is a repost from the beginning of the year but posting again as it's what I'm making today.  Having a bit too much flour over the past few days with the homemade pasta, homemade ravioli and the homemade bread (whew!) my stomach and digestive system will be happy to be sans-wheat products for the rest of the week.

Baking with almond flour and natural sugar substitutes is so much healthier and good for you than GMO wheat products and white sugar, but admittedly a lot of recipes are trial and error tested as almond flour and sweet substitutes are all so very different and you often need to tweak recipes.  Sometimes it's just so easy to 'fall back' to using flour because you know what the end result will be - even if you have to endure bloating, cramps and digestive issues from the flour.  But THIS recipe is one I have made a couple times and as you can tell from my quick picture snapped (no fancy dancy photo shoots on this blog... it's all about the food, not the camera) - this recipe is a keeper because it's tried and true and I know it turns out and tastes great.

My husband loves chocolate and I don't indulge him nearly enough as I probably could.... since I love vanilla and lemon more then chocolate!  Ha.  So today he can be thrilled when he returns home from work to find this waiting for him.


Low Carb, Sugar Free, Chocolate Cake

2 1/4 c Honeyville almond flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c erythritol granules
1/3 c whey protein powder
1 t instant coffee
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t xanthan gum
1/2 t salt
3/4 c sour cream
1/2 t lemon juice
1/2 c soft butter (1 stick)
5 eggs
15 drops Sucralose liquid or other sweetener
2 t vanilla
2/3 c almond milk

Place all the dry ingredients from the almond flour to the salt, in a large bowl and mix well with a wood spoon, whisk, etc.  Set aside.  In your mixing bowl, beat the butter, sour cream and lemon juice.  Beat in the eggs, liquid sweetener and vanilla.  Add half the dry almond flour mixture, beat well.  Add the almond milk, beat.  Add the last of the almond flour mixture.  Bake in your preferred pan;  a greased and parchment lined 9X13, a greased bundt pan, 2 greased and parchment lined round 8 or 9 inch pans or make into cupcakes.   Bake at 325 degrees.   I baked in two- 9 inch round pans about 32 minutes.  Test and bake until the center is done.  Let cool about 10 minutes and remove from pans to cool completely.

For a layered cake like I made, I sliced each round in half to make 4 layers.  In between each layer I used a heavy dollop of 7 minute frosting and covered the cake in buttercream.  Ultimately I love the buttercream for the filling and covering the cake in the marshmallowy goodness of the 7 minute frosting.  I only did it this way because I didn't want to double the 7 minute frosting recipe to make enough to cover a 4 layer cake, while I knew the buttercream frosting recipe makes enough to easily cover a layer cake.  Use whatever frosting recipe you like best or here are my two favorites;




Frosting:  7 Minute Frosting (sugar free) or  Sugar Free Butter Cream Vanilla Frosting


Here is my 7 Minute Frosting (Marshmallowy Goodness!)

3/4 c granular Xylitol 
1/4 c water
3 large egg whites (separate and use the yolks in another recipe)
3 sticks real butter
2 T vanilla extract or use half vanilla sf syrup and half extract
*If you taste test it and find your personal tastes would like it sweeter, use 5-10 drops liquid sweetener

In a saucepan, place the water and Xylitol. Heat over medium high until it comes to 240 degrees.  With normal sugar this would be soft ball stage but because Xylitol and Splenda do not thicken, you cannot test this by traditional soft ball stage.

As you are heating the sugar substitute and water, mix the egg whites in a large mixing bowl.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  With the mixer running, pour the hot Xylitol mixture down the side of the bowl in a thin stream, mixing into the egg whites.  Beat approximately 7-10 minutes on high until the egg whites resemble a thick and glossy meringue.

Start to add the butter in chunks, about a tablespoon at a time.  Keep the mixer running and whip the mixture about 7- 10 minutes more.  If the mixture breaks up when you first add the butter and it looks like cottage cheese, no worries.  Just keep whipping until it's smooth again.  Once the frosting is smooth, add your vanilla and whip again for a few minutes.  If it's a really warm or humid day it might get too warm to work with.  Just refrigerate it for about 7 minutes, whip again.  The cooler temperatures will cause it to harden up again.





You can use any brand ingredients you feel comfortable with or regularly use, however some of you might be interested in the products I used to make this;


Almond flour
Isopure Whey Protein Isolate, Unflavored
NOW Foods Erythritol Pure Sweetener, 16 Ounce Bags
Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Xanthan Gum

              
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9/20/13

FAST DINNERS: Stuffed Ravioli with Alfredo Sauce and Smoked Gouda







This dish is one I posted about a year or two ago and is easy and so fast to whip up for an amazing dinner at the last minute if you have store bought products on hand.  I like to make it from scratch with homemade ravioli and homemade alfredo sauce but you can't deny that putting a 10 minute dish on the table using store bought is a blessing some times!

If you wish to make the ravioli yourself, I've posted numerous versions over the years and you can find one of them with photos of the steps here: Ravioli.  For an amazingly easy alfredo sauce, try this;

Quick Alfredo Sauce

1/2 stick butter
1 t fresh, minced garlic
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1 1/2 c milk or light cream
1/2 - 3/4 c parmesan (or mozzarella if you are out of parmesan)

Melt butter in a pan over medium high.  Add the garlic.  Add the cream cheese and milk.  Whisking and cooking til smooth.  Add the parmesan and serve over pasta.



Stuffed Ravioli with Alfredo Sauce and Grilled Chicken

1 batch or pkg. stuffed ravioli of your choice
1 package pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts or strips
1 jar alfredo sauce
1 loaf french or garlic bread
Smoked Gouda Cheese - about 1/2 cup grated
Diced red peppers (also can add diced green peppers, sliced green onions, broccoli or mushrooms)
*optional:  crisp, crumbled, cooked bacon on top for flavor/garnish

Boil the ravioli according to package directions.  While the pasta is cooking, heat the oven and bake the french bread and heat the chicken strips.

Pour the sauce into a saucepan on the stove and add about 1/2 - 3/4 c diced fresh red pepper (I usually add broccoli and mushrooms as well but didn't this night that I took photos).   Warm the sauce.

Serve the pasta in a large bowl with strips of hot grilled chicken, topped with the sauce and grated smoked gouda on top.  Serve with warm french or garlic bread and a side salad.  So good for a 10 minute to table meal on a very busy night!










You might also be interested in these related products from Amazon;

 AmazonBasics 8-Piece Nonstick Cookware Set
Cuisinart 77-7 Chef's Classic Stainless 7-Piece Cookware Set
Ikea Home Indoor Saucepan set of 3 black

 


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