Sunday, December 6, 2009

Daring Bakers November Challenge


I know I'm a little late getting the November challenge posted, but there's been a lot going on and I guess it's better late than never.  For the month of November we were challenged to make canoli.  I was pretty excited about this challenge because I've never made canoli before but it's always been one of those dishes that fascinated me.  There was a lot of flexibility with this challenge as we could fill it with the filling of our choice.  This challenge was quite interesting and definitley challenging for me, everything didn't really work out.  I'm not really sure what went wrong with the process but the canoli shells didn't turn out like the should have.  I really enjoyed attempting this challenge and I definitely want to try this again when I get the time.

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book.

Lidisano’s Cannoli
Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli
Prep time:
Dough – 2 hours and 10-20 minutes, including resting time, and depending on whether you do it by hand or machine.
Filling – 5-10 minutes plus chilling time (about 2 hours or more)
Frying – 1-2 minutes per cannoli
Assemble – 20–30 minutes


2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)
1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish
Confectioners' sugar

Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).

2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean
3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice
2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange
3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.

1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

2 Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Pasta Machine method:
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through

2. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them.

3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the directions above.

For stacked cannoli:
1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).

2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.

1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.

2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.

1/2 cup (123 grams/4.34 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained
1/2 cup (113 grams/4.04 ounces) mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup (122.5 grams/4.32 ounces) canned pumpkin, drained like ricotta
3/4 cup (75 grams/2.65 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 to 1 teaspoon (approx. 1.7 grams/approx. 0.06 ounces) pumpkin pie spice (taste)
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 2 grams/approx. 0.08 ounces) pure vanilla extract
6-8 cannoli shells

1. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta and mascarpone until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl, cover and chill until it firms up a bit. (The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).

2. Fill the shells as directed above. I dipped the ends of the shells in caramelized sugar and rolled them in toasted, chopped pecans.

- Dough must be stiff and well kneaded

- Rolling the dough to paper thinness, using either a rolling pin or pasta machine, is very important. If the dough is not rolled thin enough, it will not blister, and good cannoli should have a blistered surface.

- Initially, this dough is VERY stubborn, but keep rolling, it eventually gives in. Before cutting the shapes, let the dough rest a bit, covered, as it tends to spring back into a smaller shapes once cut. Then again, you can also roll circles larger after they’re cut, and/or into ovals, which gives you more space for filling.

- Your basic set of round cutters usually doesn’t contain a 5-inch cutter. Try a plastic container top, bowl etc, or just roll each circle to 5 inches. There will always be something in your kitchen that’s round and 5-inches if you want large cannoli.

- Oil should be at least 3 inches deep and hot – 360°F-375°F, or you’ll end up with greasy shells. I prefer 350°F - 360°F because I felt the shells darkened too quickly at 375°F.

- If using the cannoli forms, when you drop the dough on the form into the oil, they tend to sink to the bottom, resulting in one side darkening more. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to gently lift and roll them while frying.

- DO NOT crowd the pan. Cannoli should be fried 2-4 at a time, depending on the width of your saucepan or deep fryer. Turn them once, and lift them out gently with a slotted spoon/wire skimmer and tongs. Just use a wire strainer or slotted spoon for flat cannoli shapes.

- When the cannoli turns light brown - uniform in color, watch it closely or remove it. If it’s already a deep brown when you remove it, you might end up with a really dark or slightly burnt shell.

- Depending on how much scrap you have left after cutting out all of your cannoli shapes, you can either fry them up and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a crispy treat, or let the scraps rest under plastic wrap and a towel, then re-roll and cut more cannoli shapes.

- Push forms out of cannoli very gently, being careful not to break the shells as they are very delicate. DO NOT let the cannoli cool on the form, or you may never get it off without it breaking. Try to take it off while still hot. Hold it with a cloth in the center, and push the form out with a butter knife or the back of a spoon.

- When adding the confectioner’s sugar to the filling..TASTE. You may like it sweeter than what the recipe calls for, or less sweet, so add in increments.

- Fill cannoli right before serving! If you fill them an hour or so prior, you’ll end up with soggy cannoli shells.

- If you want to prepare the shells ahead of time, store them in an airtight container, then re-crisp in a 350°F (176 °C) oven for a few minutes, before filling.

- Practice makes perfect. My first batch of shells came out less than spectacular, and that’s an understatement. As you go along, you’ll see what will make them more aesthetically pleasing, and adjust accordingly when rolling. My next several batches turned out great. Don’t give up!!


Gluten free cannoli recipe that looks great –
Vegan cannoli –

Online resources:

Videos: – scroll through, loads of videos on the making of the shells. filling, etc. Mario Batali’s are particularly good.

Photos: – Loads of beautiful and unique cannoli photos along with the traditional. Great way to get some ideas for fillings and décor.

Online retailers for cannoli forms - If you want to buy a lot of them for one set price.

Friday, September 25, 2009

German Chocolate Cake

I have never attempted German Chocolate cake before, partially because Spencer has never been a big fan of coconut so I didn't want this huge cake to go to waste after making it.  While I was looking at different cake recipes I came across a German Chocolate cake recipe and showed Spencer and he said "that's one of my favorite cakes" and I just looked at him in shock.  After telling me that I asked if he wanted me to make this and he immediately said yes.  I just couldn't believe we had been together this long and I never knew that this was one of his favorite cakes.  He's eaten a few things with coconut in but not a whole lot and I never thought he would be a fan of this recipe since there is quite a bit of coconut in it.  Once I found out that he was a fan, I knew I had to make this cake.  The recipe that I decided to use was  David Lebovitz's.  I've previously tried one of his recipes and loved it and I've heard tons of good things about his other recipes so I figured this would be a safe one to go with. 

Spencer's birthday was last week, so I decided I would make this for him for his birthday cake.  I wanted him to be surprised by this, so while he was out with the guys one night I made it.  He absolutely loved it.  It turned out so good, and I was very pleased with the end result.  Everyone that tried it went on and on about it.  The cake was very moist, the filling was great as well as the icing.  It was definitely a hit, to say the least.

Everything came together pretty easily.  Since this is a layered cake it is a little involved, but it's not overwhelming at all.  The recipe for the syrup makes a lot, I added generous portions to all of the layers and even brushed the sides with it but there was still tons left over so you could half the syrup recipe and still have plenty.  If you like a lot of filling you may consider doubling the recipe, I spread it on the layers fairly thin but if you would rather have a thicker filling it would be best to double the filling recipe.  The only problem that I encountered was with the icing.  I'm not really sure what happened, but it never thickened up.  I let it chill for a few hours and it was still as runny as it started out, then I let it chill over night and it was still the same as it started out.  After that I let it chill for a few more hours and when there was no improvement I started looking for other frosting recipes.  Most of the German Chocolate frosting recipes I cam across were basically the same as the filling recipe, since I wanted to stick with the chocolate on the outside (like the original recipe) I looked for chocolate frosting recipes.  The recipe I finally decided on was  Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Frosting.  I've heard so many good things about this frosting so I figured I wouldn't be disappointed in it, and I wasn't, it turned out great.  I will try to attempt the original frosting again, but I did love the cake exactly the way it was. 

German Chocolate Cake
German Chocolate Cake



2 Ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
2 Ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 Tablespoons water
8 Ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¼ Cup + ¼ Cup sugar
4 Large eggs, separated
2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon baking soda
½ Teaspoon salt
1 Cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract


1 Cup heavy cream
1 Cup sugar
3 Large egg yolks
3 Ounces butter, cut into small pieces
½ Teaspoon salt
1 Cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 Cups unsweetened coconut, toasted


1 Cup water
¾ Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons dark rum


8 Ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 ½ Ounces unsalted butter
1 Cup heavy cream


Butter two 9 inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment (or wax) paper and preheat oven to 350.

Place both chocolates and 6 tablespoons of water in either a double boiler or microwave safe dish.  Melt chocolates and stir frequently to ensure it doesn't burn.  Once it's melted and smooth, set aside to let cool to room temperature.

With a mixer beat butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in chocolate and then egg yolks one at a time. 

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. 

Mix half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla and then finish adding the dry ingredients. 

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Beat in 1/4 cup of sugar until the mixture is stiff.

Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the batter, then fold the remaining egg whites in until no whites can be seen.

Divide the batter evenly and pour into the two 9-inch, greased cake pans.  Bake for about 45 minutes, until toothpick can be inserted in the center and come out clean. 

Cool layers completely.

While the cakes are baking and cooling prepare frosting, filling and syrup.

To make filling:

In a medium saucepan mix the cream, sugar and egg yolks.  In a separate bowl put three ounces of butter, salt, toasted coconuts, and pecan pieces.

Heat the cream mixture and stir constantly.  Heat until mixture thickens and coats spoon. 

Pour the hot custard immediatly into the coconut mixture.  Mix and stir until the butter is completely melted.  Set aside and let cool completely.

For the Syrup:

In a small saucepan heat the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat and add the rum, stir well.

For the icing:

Place 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with corn syrup and 1 1/2 ounces butter.  

Heat the cream until it just begins to boil.  Remove from heat and pour over chocolate.  Let the mixture sit for 1 minute and then stir together.  Let sit until room temperature.

***Like I said earlier, I couldn't ever get this icing to come to the right consistency for me so I used  Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Frosting.  It turned out great, so if you don't want to attempt the original frosting this one works just fine.  

To assemble the cake:

Remove cakes from the pans and cut both cakes in half, horizontally with a sharp knife.

Place the first cake layer on a plate, brush with syrup, spread 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over the layer.  Be sure the filling is spread over the entire layer.  Set another layer on top of the cake.

Repeat process using the syrup to brush on each layer, spread thin layer of filling-3/4 cup of filling over each layer, including the top layer.  

Ice the sides with the chocolate icing.  Use a decorative tip and pipe the top of the cake around the coconut filling mixture.  
German Chocolate Cake


Recipe Source: David Lebovitz 

Frosting: Hershey's

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Spencer loves cinnamon raisin bread.  It seems like he gets a loaf almost every time we go do our major grocery shopping.  I don't know why but I've never really thought about trying to make it before.  The idea came to me one day while I was looking at some food blogs I saw on Le Petit Pierogi where she had made some homemade raisin bread.  I thought that was a great idea, I mean we buy it quite often and since it seems to be one of Spencer's favorite things I might as well give it a shot and see if the homemade version turns out any good.  I'm so glad I attempted this recipe, it was so good and it definitely hit the spot.  Spencer loved the bread, it definitely met his expectations as well as mine.

This recipe was very tasty and very easy to follow.   This recipe makes three loaves of dough, so keep that in mind while mixing it.  Be sure the bowls that you use to mix in and let the dough rise in are large, you'll definitely need room to maneuver while mixing and the dough will need plenty of room to expand and rise.  If you have a sturdy mixer with a dough hook I definitely suggest using that; if you attempt to use a handheld mixer it won't be strong enough once the flour starts being added and if you knead it by hand your arms and hands will be worn out by the time you're finished and you'll be up to your elbows in dough.  Be sure you allow ample room for both mixing and letting the dough rise.  The dough rose perfectly, and the consistency was perfect, it was light and fluffy.  It was very easy to work with too.

I definitely recommend making this recipe if you are a fan of cinnamon raisin bread, you won't be disappointed.  This would be great for breakfast, with a cup of coffee or for a snack.  It will hit the spot no matter when you eat it.  We loved it, and I know I will be making this again.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Cinnamon Raisin Bread

1 1/2 Cups milk
1 Cup warm water
1 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
3 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups white sugar, divided
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, softened
1 Cup raisins
8 Cups all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons milk
5 Tablespoons cinnamon, divided
2 Tablespoons butter, melted


Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with warm water while mixing the dough.  This will allow the raisins to become nice and plump. 

Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, stir occasionally.  Remove from heat and let cool until lukewarm.

Pour yeast packets in a large mixing bowl and then add warm water.  Let yeast dissolve in the water and set aside until frothy (about 10 minutes). 

Once yeast has dissolved mix in eggs, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.  Gradually add the flour to form a stiff dough.  Once flour is mixed, place the dough on a floured surface, add raisins, and begin to knead for a few minutes until the dough becomes smooth.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat all of the dough.  Place a towel over the dough and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove dough from the bowl and roll on a floured surface.  Roll the dough into a rectangle that is about 1/2 an inch thick. 

Pour the two tablespoons of milk on the rolled dough and moisten.  Spread the milk over all of the dough with hands. 

Mix 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of cinnamon together.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the moistened dough.  

Tightly roll the dough, long ways.

Cut the dough into three equal pieces.  Place pieces in 3 greased loaf pans.  Let the dough rise for another hour, uncovered.  

Bake dough at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove from oven, let cool for just a moment.  Melt butter and spread over the top of the loaves.  Remove loaves from pan, place on rack and let cool.  Let cool before slicing.
Cinnamond Raisin Bread       

Recipe Source:  Seen on: Le Petit Pierogi, Originally from: Recipe Zaar 

Monday, September 21, 2009


As much as I hate to see summer go, I'm so glad fall is here.  Fall is the start of so many things, including food, and it also opens the door for a lot of different types of food that aren't craved so much during the warmer months.  Sometimes there is just nothing better than a big bowl of hot soup or chili on a cool fall evening.  There is just something about a warm bowl of chili that says comfort and makes you feel so good.

Last night we had our first batch of chili for the fall.  Spencer has been asking me to make some for quite some time but we kept having stuff come up and I just never got around to making it until now.  He had been away for the day, so I decided to do some housework and surprise him with some chili.  When he got home he had the mindset that we would go out, since I had been working around the house, and to his surprise I had started making the chili.  He was so excited about finally getting his chili and I was looking forward to curling up on the couch with a big bowl myself.  I have made a couple of traditional chili recipes in the past but I have to say that this recipe is by far my favorite.  This had the right amount of spice, it wasn't too spicy but wasn't to bland either, it definitely had a kick to it.  If you're not a fan of spice reduce the amount of red pepper flakes and hot sauce.  The combination of all of the flavors was so good, and there wasn't one ingredient that overpowered the rest, it was a perfect blend of everything.



1 Pound ground beef
1 Pound sausage (I used regular mild)
1 Medium bell pepper, chopped
1 Medium onion, chopped
2 Cans kidney beans, drained
1 Can black beans
2 Cans stewed tomatoes
1 Can Rotel
1 Can tomato paste
1 Tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tsp garlic salt
1 1/2 Tsp chili powder
Pepper to taste
1/4 Cup hot sauce (I use Louisiana Hot Sauce)
1 Tbs butter
/2 Cup water


In a large skillet brown the ground beef and sausage.  Once cooked drain the meat and set aside.
In the same skillet add onions, bell pepper, and butter.  Saute the veggies until onions begin to turn clear.  Remove from heat. 
Place meat and onions in crock pot or large pot and mix.  Add the beans, tomatoes, rotel, red pepper flakes, garlic salt, pepper, chili powder, water, hot sauce and tomato paste and mix together.  Once ingredients are incorporated turn crock pot on high (Or stove on low-medium) and let cook. 
If you are using a crock pot; cook on high for about 1 1/2 -2 hours stirring occasionally.  For stove top, cook on low-medium heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. 


Recipe Source: A Lynsey original

Friday, September 18, 2009

S'more Cupcakes

Over the past month or so I've seen the recipe for s'mores posted many times and each time I saw it I told myself that I had to make this.  They are so cute and each time I see a picture of them my mouth starts watering.  I love s'mores and always have; I don't know what it is about the combination of crackers, chocolate and a freshly toasted marshmallow but it's awesome.  

A lot of people have made these cupcakes as a tribute to summer, but when I think of s'mores and toasting marshmallows I think of fall.  I guess our summers around here are just too hot and sticky to even think about sitting around a campfire, let alone cooking over one.  Although a lot of people have posted this recipe to their blog as a tribute or farwell to summer, I'm posting it as a welcome to fall and the nice cool weather that we are now starting to enjoy.  

Since I've seen this on so many blogs I knew it wasn't going to disappoint.  I loved the concept of taking 3 simple ingredients and creating a cupcake around the idea, and that made me even more excited about making these.  It was really pretty easy to make these, I also tried a different technique with these as well.  I had never made a cake that directed you to add water after the batter was already made, so I found it very interesting, but it made the batter a little easier to work withand pour and the cupcakes came out super moist.  Ialso had fun while I was putting them together.  It can get kind of messy, but that's not a problem, and it would really be a fun project to include kids in as well.  If you haven't tried these you should definitely put them on your "to make" list!

S'more Cupcakes

S'more Cupcakes


For the graham crust:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 - 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin cups or line with paper liners.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar,graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Spoon 1 tablespoon of graham cracker mix into the bottom of each muffin cup. Press crumbs firmly, using the bottom of a small glass. Save the remaining mixture for topping. Top graham cracker mix with several bittersweet chocolate chips.
Bake graham mixture for about five minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.


For the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water


Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.  Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir until well blended.
Add flour mixture to large bowl and beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full with batter (about 1/4 cup). Sprinkle batter with small amount of remaining graham cracker mixture.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then frost.    

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting:


2 1/4 Cups marshmallow creme

1/2 Cup shortening

1/4 Cup water

2 1/2 Cups powdered sugar


Cream shortening and marshmallow creme together.

Add in 1/2 of the water followed by 1/2 of the powdered sugar. 

Add the remaining powdered sugar and enough water to bring the frosting to a smooth consistency. 

To assemble the cupcakes:

Place a small amount of frosting on the center of the cupcake and the spread over the top of the cupcake.

***The frosting is very soft, so it will run off if too much is on the cupcake.

Sprink the frosted cupcakes with graham cracker crumbs and chocolate sprinkles or chopped chocolate pieces. (optional)

***This frosting recipe was very good, but next time I think I'm going to try the Marshmallow Buttercream recipe from Proceed With Caution.

Recipe Source:

Seen on:    Proceed with Caution 

Originally from: Domestic Pursuits 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spinach Chicken Pizza

Last night I decided to make pizza for supper.  I didn't really want a normal pizza, I wanted something that was a little different.  I started thinking about the ingredients I had on hand and about how I could pair those together.  After thinking for a while I decided that a spinach and chicken pizza sounded pretty good.  

I had some roasted chicken leftover that I thought would be so good on this pizza.  The chicken was seasoned very well, so I didn't want to add a whole lot of other seasonings because I didn't want there to be too much going on.  The spinach sauce was very simple too.  All of the elements of this pizza were very easy and simple to make, and when they were put together they complimented each other very well.  We really enjoyed this pizza and all the flavors in it and it went well with my new pizza dough recipe.   

Spinach Chicken Pizza

Spinach Chicken Pizz


4 Ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 Cup cream

1 Pound frozen spinach, drained

1 1/2 Cups chicken, cooked and chopped (I used roasted chicken)

1/2 Teaspoon onion powder

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 Cup Roasted garlic cheddar cheese, shredded

1 Cup mozzerella cheese, shredded

1 recipe for pizza dough


While the dough is in the oven, place cream cheese and cream in a sauce pan over low-medium heat.  Once the cream cheese has melted stir in the well drained spinach and stir.  After everything is mixed together add salt, pepper and onion powder and stir, then remove from heat. 

Remove dough from the oven and spread the spinach mixture evenly over the dough.  Sprinkle the chicken over the spinach mixture and then top with both cheeses.  Return to oven and cook for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and let cool for just  a moment before cutting.  Enjoy!

Spinach Chicken Pizza

 Recipe Source: Lynsey Lou's Blog

Pizza Dough

It seems like Spencer and I have been eating quite a bit of pizza lately, but it's all been from restaurants.  Although all of the pizza we have had lately has been good, it's just not the same as homemade.  I also like making homemade pizza because you can make pretty much any type of pizza you want and you have total control over the quality of the ingredients.  It just makes you feel a little bit better knowing what ingredients go into the product you're about to eat. 

I have made a couple of pizza dough's in the past, one being my own recipe and the other being a daring bakers recipe, which were very good but this time I wanted to try something a little different.  The last pizza dough I made had wine in it and I loved the flavor it gave to the dough and I wanted to try something similar this time but not have the flavor be so strong or the taste be so sweet.  After I thought about it for a while I decided to make it using beer, I could not have been happier with the flavor.  It had a great flavor, you could taste some of the beer but it wasn't too overwhelming.  All of the flavors in the dough went together perfectly and every flavor could be tasted, but there wasn't one that was too strong or overpowering.  Spencer was so impressed with the end result, and said that when he ate the edge of the crust with nothing on it he could taste all the flavors in the dough and liked the dough by itself.  I believe this will be our "go to" pizza dough recipe now.  It was so easy to put together, and I believe it will compliment a variety of pizza toppings.  

I used all of the dough to make one crust.  It came out to my desired thickness; it wasn't too thick but wasn't too thin either.  If you are a thin crust person just split the ball of dough in half and make two pizzas or freeze one half.  Even when I used all of the dough I didn't think it was too much crust for one pizza, even the outer edges of the crust weren't too doughy.  I would urge you to try this dough, I don't think you'll be disappointed.       

Pizza Dough


3/4 Cup warm beer

1 Package dry yeast

2 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour

2 Tsp sugar

2 Tsp honey

1 Tsp olive oil

1 Tsp salt


Pour dry yeast in a medium bowl and then add the warm beer.  Let rest about 2 minutes, until yeast has disolved.  Add sugar, honey, salt, and olive oil and mix together.  Add flour and mix together well, one mixed place dough on floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes, don't overwork otherwise dough will be too tough.  

Form dough into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, sprinkle with a little flour and drizzle a little oil over the top of the ball, cover bowl and set aside to let dough rise for about 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, while the oven is preheating place baking stone in as well to preheat.  While oven is preheating roll out the dough (or toss) into desired size.  Once dough is ready and the oven is hot, remove the stone and place dough on the stone and poke with fork multiple times to prevent air bubbles.  Place the dough in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Remove dough and add favorite toppings and then place back in the oven to warm ingredients and melt cheese.

Recipe Source: Lynsey Lou's Blog 

Friday, August 28, 2009

Daring Baker's Dobo's Torta


The August 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Angela of A Spoonful of Sugar and Lorraine of Not Quite Nigella. They chose the spectacular Dobos Torte based on a recipe from Rick Rodgers' cookbook Kaffeehaus:  Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Caffés of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague.

For the Daring Baker's August challenge we made a Dobo's Torta, which is an Hungarian specialty.  A Dobos Torta, or torte, is a multi-layer cake (most of the time 5 layers) that is filled with a rich, chocolate buttercream frosting then topped with thin layers of caramel.  The cake is named after a well-known Hungarian baker, Jozsef C. Dobos, who invented the cake.

Here is a history of the torta:

"Dobosh or Dobos Torte (type of cake) was first introduced at the National General Exhibition of Budapest in 1885; Franz Joseph I and his Empress Elisabeth were among the first to taste it. The cake soon became popular throughout Europe as it was different from all others. It was simple but elegant, as opposed to the multi-storey, flaming cakes of the age. Its other secret was its use of fine buttercream, which was very little known at the time; cake fillings and frostings were usually made with cooked pastry cream or whipped cream. The chocolate buttercream and the batter of the cake were both invented by Jozsef C. Dobos.

Dobos travelled around Europe and introduced the cake wherever he went. For a long time he kept the exact recipe confidential, until 1906 when he retired and gave the original recipe to the Budapest Confectioners' and Gingerbread Makers' Chamber of Industry, providing that every member of the chamber can use it freely.

Dobos Torte is known everywhere in the world and there are more than one hundred recipe variations. It is a commonly made torte in the upscale hotels, restaurants and pastry shops of the world. Another famous Hungarian dessert created in the same era is Rigo Jancsi."

Information source: Wikipedia

I always enjoy attempting to make things that are different and that I've never made before.  That's one of the many things about the daring bakers I like, I am always able to attempt new recipes and new methods of cooking.  Since I have joined, my eyes have been opened to many new techniques and many new recipes.  This month was no exception. 

I have never made or attempted to make a sponge cake, so when I found out this challenge involved sponge cake I was pretty excited but I was also a little hesitant.  After I read the recipe for the cake, the process sounded a little similar to a recipe that I attemped a while back that I did not have success with.  So I wasn't really sure if I was going to have success with this recipe or not. 

For this being my first attempt at making a sponge cake I was pretty happy with the outcome.  I've never worked with a cake batter that turned out to be the consistency of this batter.  It was definitely a different experience.  It was also neat being able to pour the batter and watch it stay in the same place your poured it, rather than it spreading all over the pan.  I did learn from my experience this time and I will do a few things different next time, but all in all it was a good experience. 

I did have a little problem with the caramel sauce, I couldn't really get it to the consistency I wanted.  After working with it for quite some time, I finally settled with the consistency and poured it over a layer of sponge cake.  It set fairly quickly, and after comparing pictures from other posts I decided that mine looked very similar.  The only thing with the caramel is that it tasted a lot like lemons.  I used the right amount of lemon juice, so I'm not sure if the lemon taste was supposed to be that evident or of the juice was just extra strong.  I didn't want to ruin the taste of the cake and icing so I just put a little accent piece of the caramel topping on the cake.

I'm so happy I was able to attempt this recipe.  I wouldn't say it turned out perfect but I am happy at the results since it was my first time.  I will probably try a recipe like this again and make a few changes to get the results I want.  

Daring Bakers Dobo's Torta

Dobo's Torta 

Sponge Cake:

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar, divided

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour

pinch of salt


Place the racks in the top and centre of the oven and preheat oven to 400F.

Cut six pieces of parchment paper to fit the baking sheets. Use the bottom of a 9" springform tin as a template and a dark pencil or a pen, trace a circle on each of the papers, and turn them over (the circle should be visible from the other side, so that the graphite or ink doesn't touch the cake batter.)

Beat the egg yolks, 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar, and the vanilla in a bowl on high speed until the mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a thick ribbon when the beaters are lifted.  Bean about 3 minutes. (You can do this step with a balloon whisk if you don't have a mixer.)

In another bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the remaining 2/3 cup of confectioner's sugar until the whites form stiff, shiny peaks. Using a large spatula, stir about 1/4 of the beaten whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the remainder, leaving a few wisps of white visible. Combine the flour and salt. Sift half the flour over the eggs, and fold in; repeat with the remaining flour.

Line one of the baking sheets with a circle-marked paper. Using a small spatula, spread about 3/4cup of the batter in an even layer, filling in the traced circle on one baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for 5 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently in the center and the edges are lightly browned.

While this cake bakes, repeat the process on the other baking sheet, placing it on the centre rack. When the first cake is done, move the second cake to the top rack. Invert the first cake onto a flat surface and carefully peel off the paper. Slide the cake layer back onto the paper and let stand until cool.

Rinse the baking sheet under cold running water to cool, and dry it before lining with another parchment. Continue with the remaining papers and batter to make a total of six layers. Completely cool the layers. Using an 8" springform pan bottom or plate as a template, trim each cake layer into a neat round. (A small serrated knife is best for this task.)

Sponge Cake Layer

Sponge Cake Layer

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:


4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup caster (ultrafine or superfine white) sugar

4oz bakers chocolate or your favourite dark chocolate, finely chopped

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature.


Prepare a double-boiler: fill a large saucepan a quarter full with water and bring it to a boil.

In a separate bowl (heat safe), whisk the eggs with the sugar until pale and thickened, about five minutes. You can use a balloon whisk or electric hand mixer for this.

Fit bowl over the boiling water in the saucepan (water should not touch bowl) and lower the heat to a brisk simmer. Cook the egg mixture, whisking constantly, for 2-3 minutes until you see it starting to thicken. Whisk in the chocolate and cook, stirring, for a further 2-3 minutes.

Scrape the chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and leave to cool to room temperature. It should be quite thick and sticky in consistency.

When cool, beat in the soft butter, a small piece at a time. An electric hand mixer is great here, but it is possible to beat the butter in with a spatula if it is soft enough. You should end up with a thick, velvety chocolate buttercream. Chill while you make the caramel topping.

Caramel Topping


1 cup caster (superfine or ultrafine white) sugar

Choose the best-looking cake layer for the caramel top.

12 tablespoons water

8 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon neutral oil (e.g. grapeseed, rice bran, sunflower)


 To make the caramel topping: Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. Place the reserved cake layer on the paper. Score the cake into 12 equal wedges. Lightly oil a thin, sharp knife and an offset metal spatula.

Stir the sugar, water and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved into a smooth syrup, turn the heat up to high and boil without stirring, swirling the pan by the handle occasionally and washing down any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan with a wet brush until the syrup has turned into an amber-coloured caramel.

Immediately pour all of the hot caramel over the cake layer.

***There will have some leftover most probably but more is better than less and you can always make nice toffee pattern using the extra to decorate. Using the offset spatula, quickly spread the caramel evenly to the edge of the cake layer. Let cool until beginning to set, about 30 seconds. Using the tip of the hot oiled knife (keep re-oiling this with a pastry brush between cutting), cut through the scored marks to divide the caramel layer into 12 equal wedges. Cool another minute or so, then use the edge of the knife to completely cut and separate the wedges using one firm slice movement (rather than rocking back and forth which may produce toffee strands). Cool completely.

Assembling the Dobos

Divide the buttercream into six equal parts.

Place a dab of chocolate buttercream on the middle of a cake base and top with one cake layer. Spread the layer with one part of the chocolate icing. Repeat with 4 more cake layers. Spread the remaining icing on the sides of the cake.

Optional: press the finely chopped hazelnuts onto the sides of the cake.

Propping a hazelnut under each wedge so that it sits at an angle, arrange the wedges on top of the cake in a spoke pattern. If you have any leftover buttercream, you can pipe rosettes under each hazelnut or a large rosette in the centre of the cake. Refrigerate the cake under a cake dome until the icing is set, about 2 hours. Let slices come to room temperature for the best possible flavour.

Dobo's Torta


Shape: The traditional shape of a Dobos Torta is a circular cake, but you can vary the shape and size if you want. Sherry Yard in Desserts By The Yard makes a skyscraper Dobos by cutting a full-size cake into four wedges and stacking them to create a tall, sail-shaped cake. Mini Dobos would be very cute, and you could perch a little disc of caramel on top.

Flavour: While we both love the dark chocolate buttercream and this is traditional, we think it would be fun to see what fun buttercreams you all come up with! So, go wild! Or, you could brush each layer with a flavoured syrup if you just want a hint of a second flavour. Cointreau syrup would be divine!

Nuts: These are optional for decoration, so no worries if you're allergic to them. If you don't like hazelnuts, then substitute for another variety that you like.

Egg concerns

The cooking process for the buttercream will produce lightly cooked eggs. If you fall into a vulnerable health group then you may wish to use an egg-less buttercream.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup

It's August in the south and the last thing on my mind should be soup, but for some reason it sounds so good.  I believe I've had more soup this past summer than I've had any other summer.  I don't know what my deal is but there is just something so comforting about a big bowl of soup, no matter what season. 

I don't think I've met a soup that I don't like but I do have my top favorites: broccoli cheddar, potato and chicken tortilla.  Those three are my "go to's" that I can eat any time.  Out of those three soups the only soup I've tried to make at home so far is the potato.  The potato soup turned out well; it was thick, creamy and it had a little richness to it.  It was definitely a hit and although I did like it a lot I am still going to try to create another potato recipe that isn't so rich; jus so I can have a choice when it comes to making it.  So, I say all that to say this, since those are my favorite soups I figured I need to find some recipes that I like that I can make at home.  Going out to get a bowl of soup is great but it would be so much better to just stay at home and have some comofort food in the comfort of your own home.  So I'm working on finding or creating some soup recipes that I love that I can add to my recipe collection. 

This was my first attempt making homemade broccoli cheese soup and for my first attempt I think it was pretty good.  I honestly wasn't sure what all went into making this type of soup but it wasn't hard at all and there really wasn't that much to it.  Overall, I believe it had a pretty good consistency and it tasted good too.  I believe next time I may puree some of the soup so some of the broccoli pieces are a little bit smaller and I think I may add some more cheese to the next batch too.  You can never have too much cheese:)!  For my first attempt I'm pretty happy with the way it all turned out.  I will definitely be making it again and hopefully the next time I will come up with the perfect consistency. 

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Broccoli Cheese Soup


2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 Cup chopped sweet onion
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
12 1/2 Ounces chicken broth
5 1/2 Cups broccoli florets, chopped (fresh or frozen, I used frozen)
1/4 Teaspoon parsely
1 1/2 Cups half and half
1/4 Cup cream
1 1/2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste


Melt butter in a large nonstick saucepan and then add onions and garlic.  Saute both until tender.  Stir in the flour, make sure the mixture is well blended, and cook for 1 minute.  Gradually whisk in the chicken broth.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cook and stir for 1-2 mintues or until slightly thickened.
Add the broccoli, parsley, salt and pepper and return to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until broccoli is tender.  Reduce heat to low and then add 1 to 1 1/4 cups cheese.  Stir the cheese until it's melted. 
Serve while warm and top with shredded cheese. 
Broccoli Cheese Soup

Recipe Source: adapted from Taste of Home

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Chewy


The Chewy



Chocolate chip cookies are classic cookies and I believe they are probably at the top of mosts people "favorite cookies" list.  There really isn't anything  much better than a tall glass of milk and chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven.  I've always been a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies, I've made my own chocolate chip cookie recipe which tasted pretty good (I'm still working on making it better though) and I'm also a fan of the neiman-marcus recipe.  There are always new recipes coming out for this classic and I'm always looking for new recipes to try, just to see if there is one better than what I've had previously. 

I've read where quite a few people have made "The Chewy" by Alton Brown and they've all seemed to be big fans of it.  After reading a few reviews of the recipe I put it on my "to make" list so I could see what I thought about it.  Once I finally got around to making it I discovered all the rave about these cookies was dead on.  They are so good; the consistency is perfect and they have the right amount of chewiness and crunchiness to appeal to people of all tastes.  I think the main difference between these cookies and other recipes is the use of bread flour versus regular flour.  The bread flour just adds something to the consistency and texture of the cookies.  I believe this recipe will quench anyones cravings no matter what type of cookies they like; crunchy or fluffy and chewy.  Alton Brown definitely gave this cookie the appropriate name when he named it "The Chewy ". 

If you like homemade cookies then I definitely suggest trying out this recipe at some point in the near future.  I honestly think you will not be disappointed. 

The Chewy


2 sticks unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter completely.   Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until completely combined. Slowly add the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto a prepared baking sheet.

The Chewy

Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

The Chewy

Recipe Source: Alton Brown,  The Food Network 


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crab Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese has been around as long as I can remember.  It has always been a crowd pleaser, kid pleaser and also considered one of the ultimate comfort foods.  Probably the most well recognized brand of macaroni and cheese is "the blue box", Kraft Mac and Cheese.  There have been many other brands that have followed in Kraft's footsteps and there have also been different types of mac and cheese created, but I believe that Kraft still takes the prize as being the most popular among all age groups. 

You definitely can't go wrong with the classic mac and cheese, but I've seen quite a few recipes that have taken the recipe and spiced it up a bit.  After seeing some of the adaptations, I became very interested in them and wanted to try one myself.  I started looking around for some different recipes and different versions and I came across on from Sauce Magazine that sounded incredible.  This was a recipe for Fonduta Mac 'n' Cheese.  After reading the recipe I knew this was the one I had to try, it definitely put an adult spin on a children's favorite.

I would definitely recommend this recipe to anyone who wants to try something different.  It was so good and it had so many different flavors but they all blended together wonderfully.  As much as I loved this one I will try others and I will try to make a more "normal" homemade macaroni and cheese recipe; but this one will definitely stay in my recipe collection. 


Fonduta Mac 'n' Cheese

Crab mac and cheese


2 cups fonduta cream (recipe follows)
½ lb. macaroni, penne or bow tie pasta
¼ cup Riesling
½ cup heavy cream 
16 oz. crab meat
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Bread crumbs


In a 2-quart sauce pot, combine 2 cups fonduta cream, the Riesling and the heavy cream and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat (be careful to not scorch). 
Add the crab meat and simmer for 1 minute or until the crab is heated through; remove from the heat. Swirl in the butter and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Stir in the cooked pasta. 
Transfer the warm ingredients to a casserole dish. 

Prepare the fonduta cream. 
Cook the pasta according to the package directions. 

Crab mac and cheese

Top with the bread crumbs and broil until browned.

Crab mac and cheese 

Crab mac and cheese

Fonduta Cream

Fonduta Cream

½ cup minced white onion
4 Tbsp. (½ stick) butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Riesling
½ cup 40 percent whipping cream
1½ cups whole milk
¾ lb. cheese; 1/4 gouda, 1/4 cheddar and 1/4 asiago
Pinch mace or fresh nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste 

Sauté the onion in the butter until softened. 
Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. 
Add Riesling and whisk to combine. Add the whipping cream and whole milk and bring to a simmer. 
Add the cheese, whisking until melted. 
Season to taste with mace or nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Crab mac and cheese


Recipe Source: adapted from Sauce Magazine

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Simple Squash

I love summer time for many different reasons; the warm sunny days, fun on the lake and in the pool, and the fresh garden vegetables along with other things.  The taste of flavor of fresh vegetables is absolutely amazing, it's  a taste that just can't be beat.  I love having the fresh vegetables on hand; sometimes I'll just snack on them raw but they are also good to use in cooking because they add some extra flavor. 

Squash is one of my favorite vegetables.  It's so easy to prepare and it can be prepapred in many different ways.  Squash also goes with a lot of different types and flavors of food. 

I wanted to make some lighter sides to go with my chicken fried chicken and I had some squash on hand and thought that would go well.  This recipe is so simple and quick to put together, it's definitely one of our favorites.  My mom has been making this recipe since I can remember and I've always loved it.  The first time I made it for Spencer he loved it, so it's been a staple in our recipes ever since.

Squash and Onions


1 Large squash or 2 medium squash

1/2 Large onion

3-4 Tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste


Slice squash and onions into thin slices.

Place in a microwave safe dish and add the butter and salt and pepper. 

Place lid on the dish and place in the microwave for 6 minutes.  After the 6 minutes stir and heat up for another 6 minutes.  After the microwave goes off leave the dish sitting in the microwave, undisturbed for about 5 minutes. 

The squash should be tender and the onions should be transparent.  If everything is not tender put in the microwave for a few more minutes. 

***This recipe can also be made on the stove top.  Just place all ingredients in a pan and place over low-medium heat.  Cover the pan and stir occassionally until the veggies are tender.

Squash and Onions

Recipe source: My mom


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oatmeal Pancakes

I have always loved breakfast foods of all kinds.  I love the classics but I also like to try new and different twists on recipes as well.  I'm always looking for new ways to prepare breakfast foods and when I saw this recipe for oatmeal pancakes I knew I had to try them.

Pancakes are one of the classics that have been around for a long time and there's nothing wrong with them in their original form but it's always fun to try new things.  They are also very versatile; I've seen them served for breakfast but I've also seen them made with more of a savory taste and served as some other type of meal.  No matter how they are served and no matter what they are served with they are always a hit.

This recipe for oatmeal pancakes was no exception, it was wonderful too.  Having the oatmeal in the mix really made the pancakes a little more hearty and filling.  The texture was a little different than regular pancakes, so if you have a picky eater on your hands you may want to try these first before setting a plate in front of them.  One other plus about this recipe is the mix can be made in advance and then just scoop out the amount needed to make a batch, that really makes for a quick meal no matter what you have going on.  We thoroughly enjoyed these pancakes and we'll be making these many more times.   


Oatmeal Pancakes


2 Cups oatmeal pancake mix

2 Eggs

1/3 Cup canola oil

1 Cup water


Mix the pancake mix, eggs, canola oil and water in a bowl. 

Ladle onto a lightly greased nonstick griddle and cook until light brown on both sides. 

Serve with applesace topping. (recipe below)

 Oatmeal Pancakes with Applesauce

Applesauce Topping


1/2 Pound apples, peeled and chopped

1/4-1/2 packed brown sugar

3/4 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon cloves

1/4 Teaspoon allspice


Cook apples in saucepan over medium heat for 30 minutes or until tender. 

Add brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and allspice and mash until desired consistency is reached. 

Serve over pancakes while both are still warm. 


Recipe Source: "Big Taste of Little Rock" by Junior League of Little Rock

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