Monday, February 29, 2016

Salads for Lunch

 As I've mentioned before, my kids are on wedding diets and I have been feeding them salads during the week. They basically try to eat on main meal so I make it a good one.  As a base for each salad, I add about 1/3 cup of cooked pasta.  This gives it that extra ooomph which makes it more filling without adding too many calories.

 I fill each container with lots of different types of lettuce, much of which I get in my CSA box.

 Then I add shredded carrots, sliced radishes and celery.

 I sprinkle on a bit of crumbled blue cheese.  Just a little to give it added flavor. I like to add lupini beans, thinly sliced onion and a few olives. During the winter I make oven roasted tomatoes and they are wonderful in salads.

 They are topped off with a sliced hard boiled egg and some slices of grilled  seasoned chicken.

At the very end, I shave some cheese over it and add some nuts.  These salads vary each day and my kids have really been enjoying them.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cinnamon Bread

I made this for The Blog Tech and his fiance for breakfast yesterday.  It's a very simple recipe but makes a very good loaf of cinnamon bread.
 Here's the recipe:

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
1/3 cup vegetable oil
 1/2 T salt
1 egg
4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups flour
cinnamon sugar
  • In mixer combine yeast, sugar, and water and milk; let bubble for about 5 minutes.
  • Add in oil and egg.
  • Slowly add 2 cups flour, mix and then add salt.
  • Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until it comes away from side of bowl.  The dough will be very sticky but the softer the dough the lighter the bread. So use the least amount of flour you can handle.
  • Let rise in mixing bowl for about 30 minutes.

  • Roll it out and spread it with some melted butter and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.

  • Roll it tightly, form it into a loaf and place it in a greased and parchment covered loaf pan.
  • Let rise an additional 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

I didn't get a sliced photo since I didn't get any of the bread.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Old Fashioned Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

Since my kids ate salads all week, I surprised them with this chocolate cake for the weekend.
 The recipe:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 (1-oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 (1-oz) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Half-and-half
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch cake pans. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
  2. In your mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in melted chocolate.
  3. In separate bowl, combine four and salt. Add buttermilk and chocolate mixture, alternating. Stir in vanilla.
  4. In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in vinegar. Slowly add this to the chocolate mixture. Mix just until blended. Do not over-mix.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes then remove from pans. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely before frosting.
  6. Chocolate Frosting
  7. In large mixing bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well between additions. Stir in chocolate and vanilla. If necessary, thin frosting with 1-2 tsps. half-and-half.
 Ever since I upgraded my computer, it loads one pic for each post partially cut off.  Go figure!

 I brushed the bottom layer with seedless raspberry jam before spreading it with frosting.

 I always place waxed paper around the edges of the cake when frosting it. Just slide it out when you are done.

 Add a big glass of cold milk.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

I've wanted to make these rolls for quite some time but I never have pineapple juice on hand.  I add it to my shopping list and still manage to come home without it.  
So, I finally broke down and used orange juice.  I couldn't tell the difference in the finished rolls.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 pkg rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice (orange juice)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3-1/2 to 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand 5 minutes then whisk in pineapple juice, sugar, oil, egg, and salt until combined. Add 3-1/2 cups flour to liquid mixture and mix until dough pulls away from sides of bowl (if dough seems too sticky, add 1 tablespoon flour at a time until dough is smooth and tacky)
  2. Turn dough onto a floured surface and gently knead until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a large greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
  3. Punch risen dough down and divide into 12 pieces. Form pieces into smooth balls and place in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 30 minutes or until doubled.
  4. Remove plastic wrap from pan and gently brush rolls with beaten egg white and honey. Bake rolls in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until golden-brown. Let rolls cool in pan 5 minutes, then remove from pan and serve warm.
Before rising.

After they have risen.

These make great sandwiches.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Salmon and Kale Salad

I made this salad for my kids the last two days and I am sure it will be requested often from now on.  This is possibly the best salad I have ever tasted.
 Here is the recipe:

  • 10 ounces (~6 cups) kale, loosely chopped or torn
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and thoroughly dried
  • 1.5 Tbsp olive oil
  •  3 Tbsp tandoori masala spice blend*
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil + more for roasting garlic
  • 2 lemons, juiced (~1/3 cup)
  • 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • Pinch each salt + pepper
  • Hot water to thin
  1. Peel apart garlic cloves but leave the skin on. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add drained chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with oil and seasonings.
  3. Add garlic cloves and seasoned chickpeas to a baking sheet. Drizzle garlic with a bit of olive or grape seed oil. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the chickpeas are slightly crispy and golden brown and the garlic is fragrant and slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Add all remaining dressing ingredients and whisk to combine,  mince the roasted garlic and whisk it into the dressing.
  5. Add kale to a large mixing bowl. Before adding dressing, add 1 Tbsp each lemon juice and olive oil to the kale and squeeze it to soften the kale a bit. Toss it with a bit of the dressing to lightly coat it.
  6. Top with chickpeas and serve with extra dressing on the side.

*Spice blend: 3 Tbsp cumin, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp paprika, 3 tsp ginger, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp cardamom. 

 I topped it with a piece of salmon, some cucumber slices and a hard boiled egg.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Spring 2016

 I guess I am getting ready for Spring.  I don't think I have a choice.  We might get an inch of snow tonight but I doubt that we will see much more than this for the rest of winter.  What a bummer of a season it has been this year.  But, I have a wedding in the future and lots to do before then so I really don't mind too much this year. I bought some new wind chimes and wind spinners to add to the yard this year and I put the two that arrived out yesterday.

 This one is hanging on my back porch right outside of my TV room door. I love hearing it when the wind blows.

This wind spinner is a moon (verdigris and not as blue as it looks) which spins around a sundial which looks more like a witch hat.  I'll show you the other one when it arrives.  Are you preparing for Spring yet?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Wonderful Salmon Salad

To balance out the weekend treats I've been making the wedding dieters, I make them salads all week long.  These are for today's lunches.

Marinate the salmon overnight.  Here is the marinate recipe:

1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. honey
2 T. rice vinegar
1/4 c. yellow mustard
1 tsp. hot sauce
3 T. brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp. paprika
1 T. curry powder
1 T. soy sauce
3 cloves dived garlic
2 T. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix this together and marinate the salmon pieces in it overnight.
The next day, sear the salmon in a non-stick pan and set aside.  Leave the juice in the pan.

I place a thin layer of cooked pasta on the bottom and then pile fresh spring greens on top of it.  Add sliced radishes, green onions, cucumbers and shredded carrots on top of the lettuce.  Saute some edamame in the reserved salmon juice until they begin to blister.  Pile them around the edge of the salad.  Drizzle with the dressing:

2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. honey
1/2 cup of oil
2-3 T. minced fresh cilantro
diced green onions
S & P to taste

Shake this in a jar and drizzle over the salad.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Here and Gone Cake aka Chocolate Caramel Peanut Cake

I made this cake for The Blog Tech and his fiance this weekend. She had never had it before and he hasn't had it in quite some time.  It's all gone.  They did give a big piece to her mother but still, that's a lot of cake.
Line an eight inch springform pan with parchment and butter and flour it.

Melt your butter in a double boiler along with the chocolate. Follow the directions and make the batter.  Here is the recipe:

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 and 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup salted peanuts
1. For the cake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter an 8-inch round springform pan, dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper.
3. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
5. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water.
6. Add the butter and chocolate to the bowl and heat, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients are just melted.
7. Remove the bowl from the heat.
8. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugars together until well blended.
9. Whisk in the corn syrup, followed by the vanilla.
10. Whisk in the melted butter and chocolate.
11. Still working with a whisk, gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.
12. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread until even.
13. Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out almost clean.
14. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the cake for 15 minutes, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the pan and remove the sides of the pan. Cool the cake to room temperature.
15. When the cake is completely cool, invert it, remove the base of the pan and peel off the paper. Wash and dry the springform pan, and return the cake to it right-side up. Refasten the sides.
16. For the topping: Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients, and put the pan over medium-high heat on the stove.
17. Heat, without stirring, until the caramel turns deep amber (mine was the color of light beer….test it on a white plate if you are unsure), about 5 to 10 minutes (depending on your stove and pan). As the sugar is caramelizing, wipe down any splatters on the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
18. Lower the heat a bit, and standing back from the saucepan, add the cream and butter. (BE CAREFUL…IT IS HOT AND WILL BUBBLE AGGRESSIVELY.)
19. When the caramel calms down a bit, stir to dissolve any lumps.
20. Add the peanuts and stir.
21. Pour the topping over the cake and spread evenly.
22. Allow the topping to set at room temperature about 20 minutes or so.
23. When ready to serve, run a blunt knife around the edge of the springform pan and remove the sides.

Pour it onto the pan and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes.

Let it cool in the pan a bit.

Make the caramel topping.

Pour it over the cake in the pan and let it sit for a while until the caramel sets.

I put it in the fridge to speed it up.

Release the sides and slide it off the base.

Then watch it disappear.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

It seems that I always have overripe bananas that I need to use.  I turned the most recent ones into this bread.  Do you let your baked things cool on your windowsill?  I always do.
Here is the recipe:


  • 3/4 cup  butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups mashed medium very ripe bananas (about 6)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts 
Mix the batter and pour it into a greased loaf pan.  I made a triple recipe.  Follow the above recipe for 1 loaf. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. If it browns too much cover it with foil towards the end.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove and sit on a rack to cool.

I decided to split these and fill with cream cheese frosting.

And of course I forgot to take a pic of that step.  Make a cream cheese frosting by mixing 1 block of cream cheese with 2 T. of butter, 4 cups of confectioners sugar and a tablespoon or two of milk.  Make it rather stiff so it doesn't ooze out the sides of the loaf.  Spread it on one side of the cooled loaf and top it with the other half.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

I'm assuming this was good.  I don't know because I gave it all away.  It traveled off with the lasagna. You can see the frosting a bit in the loaf on the right.

I did get some feedback saying it was good!
If you cool it on your windowsill, watch out for the birds and squirrels!