Tag Archive | baking

Puppies and Pineapple Upside- Down Cake

harley5weeks3

Isn’t that the absolute sweetest picture! That is my sweet little Harley. She is (in three more excruciatingly LONG weeks!) the newest member of my little family. My sweet friend in Kentucky (@southernpridebostonsterriers) is the breeder and her dogs are gorgeous. At just a little over 3 and a half pounds, my little girl is the smallest of the litter but from the pictures and videos I have been sent she is developing a sweet little personality and from what I am told and some of the pictures and videos I have seen she is going to be a snuggler. Anyway, I just wanted to share my happy news, and i just cant wait to get her home! Oh… and here are a few more cute pics:

Now I want to tell you about this cake. It is moist, a little on the dense side and sweet with a little tang to it. Are you ready?

pineappleupsidedownbundt

Pineapple Upside down Bundt cake! Yep, I said Bundt. It is so delicious! Now, I do not care for Maraschino Cherries, but if you do, you can totally add them in. I don’t so  I didn’t, LOL.

Anyhow, I had made the decision that I wanted to make this cake, so I did what I normally do and went to Pinterest to find a recipe. While there are lots of pinned recipes, which I discovered very quickly were pins and re-pins of the same 3 or 4 blog posts/ recipes, I couldn’t find a single recipe that didn’t start with a BOX CAKE MIX! Sacrilege! I only use box cake mix for one thing, and it ISN’T cake! But that is another recipe for another blog.

Because I couldn’t find what I wanted, I decided I would have to create my own. Since all of the recipes call for a yellow cake mix, I knew to get the flavor I needed I would need to use my go to Butter cake recipe for a base. I also knew I would need to change up a few things. I did get the idea for using a bundt pan  instead of a regular cake pan from a pin. I thought it was a stellar idea. I liked the neatness of the pineapple in the pan…the OCD in my brain was very happy ;).

As you can see in the picture with the slices in the pan I also added little chunks of pineapple where some of you might like to put the cherries. But do you see how neat and lined up they are? It’s so PRETTY!  In this recipe you are using a 20 oz. can of pineapple slices and cutting them in half. You are also using all the juice that is in that can, so you need to drain it into a measuring cup for later. I drained the juice into a measuring cup and dumped the slices in a stack into another bowl then used a large knife to slice them in half. Once you have placed them into the cake pan, there will probably be more juice in the bowl. Pour that into the measuring cup too. the total amount of liquid you will have in the cup is 1 and 1/4 cup. This will be a combination of juice and milk. I also add the extracts I use to this measuring cup as well, just to streamline the mixing process. Ready for the recipe? Here we go!

Pineapple Upside-Down Bundt Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened

1 1/2 cups of sugar

3 large eggs

1/4  cup REGULAR Mayonnaise (you can also use a 4th egg, I use mayo for the added moisture)

3 cups cake flour (you can also use All Purpose flour, but the cake will not be as tender)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp rum extract

3/4 to 1 cup pineapple juice (all the juice in the can)

1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk (remember the total liquid needs to be 1 1/4 cup total between the juice and milk)

20 oz can sliced pineapple

Maraschino cherries if desired

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare bundt pan by greasing and flouring making sure the pan is coated completely. Line the pan with the slices of pineapple (cut these in half). Also if you are using the cherries add them in between the slices. Set pan aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. Cream butter till fluffy, if using mayo add in at this stage. Add sugar, cream together until fluffy. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl if you are using a stand mixer, to ensure even mixing. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in thoroughly. Add the milk  and extracts to the juice in the measuring cup and give a quick stir. Alternating dry and wet, add the flour mix and the juice mix to the bowl in 5 additions, making sure that the batter is mixed completely for the next addition. I use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl all the way to the bottom of the bowl to ensure complete mixing. Pour into the cake pan and smooth the top. Bake in 350F oven for 35-40 minutes or until tester come out with moist crumbs. Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes before flipping cake onto a cooling rack and removing from pan. The cake will release from pan on its own if you allow the 10 minutes, Trust me! Serve warm or cool. You can also make a glaze of pineapple juice and powdered sugar for a more pineapple punch.

cakeslice

This cake is so good! It is tender and moist and you need to go make it right now! You will thank me!  Your taste buds will thank you! LOL. I had a lot of fun creating this cake. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

 

 

 

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Caramel Apple Upside-down Cake and Delicious Chicken!

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I get bored with cooking. In reality, that was what started this blog over 4 years ago. There have been gaps in time where I did not blog at all, when life gets in the way and time passes without you even realizing it.

Anyway, when the boredom in the kitchen strikes, I scour Pinterest in hopes of something that looks good, has simple but delicious ingredients and is something I think my family will enjoy. Most of the time, I will find a recipe, read the recipe and make the changes i think need to be made to make it perfect for my Dear Husband and Goldilocks.

Now this dish I found on Pinterest and I liked the recipe, But I felt it needed a little something more. The recipe calls for fresh thyme. I didn’t have any fresh or dried (what? not even dried? Nope! Added to the grocery list! lol) In it’s place I used an Italian blend of spices. Mine came from Publix, but any brand Italian blend will work fine. I also added about a cup of heavy cream to the sauce after the wine reduced down for about 15 minutes and cooked it for another 10 minutes stirring the sauce around to blend the cream into everything else in the pan. chickeninpan

I used the biggest flat  bottom pan I had. After rubbing the paprika, salt and pepper into the chicken breast ( and make sure you rub it ALL over and into all the grooves and crevices.) Melt 1 tbsp of butter in pan with heat set at medium-high. Then cook chicken  on each side of the breast for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken starts to turn golden and crispy.

chickenwwine

Then add in the remainder of the butter and the minced garlic and cook, stirring the butter and garlic until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant. Be careful to not let the garlic burn! I then put in about 2-3 tbsp of the Italian spices in and then about 1 1/2 cups of white wine. Now I used a Pinot Grigio that I had on hand, but any white wine will do as long as it isn’t super sweet. A little sweetness is okay. I let this reduce for about 15 minutes.

chickenwithcream

After I reduced the wine, I added the heavy cream. You could probably use half and half, but I am not sure how using straight milk would do. After cooking the cream and wine together  for about 5 minutes, stirring to mix together, the sauce will thicken a bit. If you need to add more cream you can. I think I used about 1/2 more cream. This will just give you more sauce. If you don’t think you need more sauce, no need to add more cream.

After cooking the cream and wine sauce together, I added 2 big handfuls of baby spinach, covered the pan and let the spinach wilt. Once the spinach is wilted, stir to mix it into the sauce.paprikachickeninwhitewinecreamsauce

Now, as a serving suggestion, the recipe says to serve with GRAIN of your choice. I chose to use a veggie pasta (Barilla make 2 kinds of Pasta that are made of veggies instead all wheat or flour. Both are delicious.) I served  this dish with a side of steamed broccoli.

Dear Husband simply stated I could definitely make this again, lol. I thought it was a hit. Even Goldilocks enjoyed it! Score for Mom!

Now, in my house we like a little sweet after dinner. Since I love to bake, this is rarely an issue, lol. This next little slice of heaven fit the bill perfectly. I am sure that nearly everyone has heard of Pineapple Upside-down Cake, but there are so many delicious variations of Upside-down cake that are begging for a chance. This cake was so delicious, tender and moist. I made 2 changes to recipe linked above. I used cake flour instead of all purpose. I think i have stated before that I prefer cake flour to all purpose for these types of recipes because it make a more tender cake. Either works fine and really is up to you and what you have on hand/ prefer to use. Some cakes need to denser cake to hold things in place, such as a cake that has a lot of heavy chunks of fruit that need to be suspended throughout the cake. The other “change” I made was I added about a 1/4 tsp of cardamom. This spice adds a little more depth of flavor to the cake, especially when combined with cinnamon.

This cake is simple and quick and delicious. I was worried about the caramel in the cake pan sticking and not letting the cake release properly, but the was not the case. As the recipe states, coat the cake pan thoroughly with cooking spray. Do NOT coat the pan in flour at all. The caramel wont release because the flour on the pan will mix with the caramel and create a glue…not pretty! Anyway, after the cake is baked through, allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes or more. Slide a knife around the edges to make sure the cake is released from the sides and flip onto your serving plate.

caramelappleupsidowncake

I love how the apples look on the top of this cake. It is so pretty! It can be served warm or completely cooled. It is a moist, lightly sweet, very tender cake that goes really well with coffee.

I hope you enjoyed everything today! If you try either of these recipes I would love to hear how they come out for you. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer! Happy Cooking!

Let them eat cake!

blueberrycake

Doesn’t everyone love cake? Everyone has at least one that they like. Even Dear Husbands Brother, who doesn’t like sweets, Loves Angel food cake. Anyway, THIS cake….. this cake is sunshine and summer and refreshing! It is Lemony and sweet, with bright pops of blueberry combined with the creamy smoothness of a lemon cream cheese frosting. I didn’t use the full 2 cups that the recipe called for because I didn’t have enough, but I definitely will next time. The blueberries soften and burst open in the cake as it is baking, but don’t completely  blend into the cake.

The recipe I used is from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. However I used all cake flour. I just like the tenderness that cake flour lends to a cake.It retains its moisture really well.  I did mist the blueberries in water and toss them in all purpose flour before folding them into the cake batter. And, yes, you want to fold them in. If you use a mixer or a beater, it will break the blueberries up and leak into the rest of the cake. Also they are more likely to sink in the cake because you will mix the flour right off the blueberries. As for my cake…. I dint have enough blueberries. I will definitely be using more next time.

blueberry slice

My blueberries did sink some, but for the most part held their place. You can SEE the moisture in this cake. It is simply delicious. It is so light tasting and fragrant yet the cake itself is a little on the heavy side from the moisture. It pairs beautifully with an African coffee like Sumatra,Ethiopia or Veranda Blend from Starbucks*. It goes equally well with a lemonade or an Earl Grey tea. Personally I go with coffee, but that’s just me.

Unlike most of my cooking exploits, which usually start with a search on Pinterest, this recipe was shared with me via Facebook by a sweet friend. She is a fan of my baking, lol, and wanted me to bake this cake for her birthday. The problem lies in that we live about 10 hours from one another. I told her I would make it for her next visit, but I just couldn’t resist trying out the recipe. I figured it would make a good dessert for the dinner I was planning. Dear Husband had requested a bacon wrapped SOMETHING and i wanted to make a Shells and Cheese recipe I had seen on Pioneer Woman‘s blog.

shells and cheese

I left out the bacon and peas this time, but I plan to use them next time….Maybe with a pork roast entree or something. This dinner however we were having a bacon wrapped chicken breast that I coated with a brown sugar and garlic mixture.

chicken

I, of course, forgot to take a picture of the chicken after it was baked, but here it is before I slid it into the oven. Let me tell you, though, that while these were baking…. oh my GOODNESS! My house smelled so good! You could smell the crisping bacon and the garlic and the sweetness of the brown sugar….It makes my mouth water…And let me tell you, it tasted even better than it smelled!

I served the chicken up with steamed broccoli and the creamy Shells and cheese pictured above. It was a hit all around. Simply delicious.

To make the chicken, I sliced a chicken breast in half length-wise. I laid a sheet of plastic wrap on the counter, laid the 4 pieces of chicken flat and covered with another sheet of plastic wrap. Then I pounded the chicken to about a quarter of an inch thick. Doing this does 2 things. It tenderizes the meat and it also makes it easier roll up later. I then spread the brown sugar-garlic mixture (recipe will follow) all over  one side of each piece of chicken. I then put approximately 1/4 cup of shredded cheese on top of the mixture on each piece of chicken. Then, very carefully, roll the chicken up around the cheese and then rub more of the mixture on the outside of the chicken. I then laid 2 slices of regular bacon side by side and wrapped the rolled chicken in the bacon. The bacon holds the chicken together so there is no need for toothpicks or skewers to hold things together. Do this to all the chicken and places them on a prepared pan. As you can see in the above picture I use a rack on top of a tinfoil covered cookie sheet. Just spray the rack down with cooking spray and you wont have issues with sticking. Slide the pan into the oven set at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. You want the bacon to get crispy, the sugar to melt and caramelize the garlic and the bacon. SO GOOD! If you try it let me know how it goes! You can use pretty much any cheese or mixture of cheeses you like as long as it is sharp and melts well. Here is the mixture I used. It is perfect for 2 Chicken breasts split in half, so if you are making more, this is easily doubled or tripled.

Brown sugar and Garlic spread

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup minced or crushed garlic

3 tbsp of melted butter

1 tsp of onion powder

1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper (or more, depending on how spicy you want it, I just wanted a little heat with the sweetness of the sugar)

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together well, add the garlic and butter and mix well.

I used the back  of a regular spoon to spread the mixture on the chicken. It worked well and controls the amount you are putting on at a time. Let me know if you try it! I am happy to answer and question you have or respond to any comments! Happy cooking!

*I am not in any way paid to promote Starbucks. I did work for them several times, which is why I know more about their coffees.

 

 

Did I mention Spring is here?

More Flowers and a Delicious Cake

Strawberry Lemon Yogurt Cake

The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The daffodils are blooming… EVERYWHERE!! I have never seen so many in one place. They are such a happy flower.  It makes me want to sing the flower song from Alice in Wonderland

Anyway, I am really enjoying the warmer weather. I have been trying to get in a walk everyday with Goldilocks. there is a 3.1 mile paved trail that follows the river and the canal here. It is a beautiful walk and is a bit of a workout with the hills and such. Add in pushing a child in a stroller to ramp up calories burned… Whew….definitely better than a gym. But I digress….

What i really want to talk about is this Cake….

strawberry yogurt cake

It is Spring in a bite! So bright and delicious. It is full of diced strawberries and a bit of lemon zest. Let me tell you, this cake makes the house smell amazing! The original recipe is found here.

I wait all year for strawberries to be in season to make this cake. It takes 12 ounces or strawberries to make this cake the way it should be made.

ingrediants

That along with Greek yogurt, butter and a little lemon juice give this cake plenty of moisture. The flavors pop in this cake once it is completely cooled, and it has this wonderful lemony glaze drizzled all over…. just delicious. The wonderful thing about this cake is that it isn’t overly sweet. It goes really well with a cup of coffee in the morning for breakfast or in the afternoon with a glass of lemonade.

image3 (2)

Now, I did add a little vanilla to the recipe…Just a teaspoon or 2. It adds a little depth to the flavor and cuts the acidity a little bit.

If you decide to try it, please let me know how yours came out! I love hearing about other peoples baking adventures!

Happy Spring!

Springtime and Easter Dinner

Flowers and Delicious Food!

Easter food and pretty Flowers

Happy Easter!! I know its a little late but you know how holidays are!

I have to say, I think that I have cooking full meals for holidays on my own down to a science. I think the prep work for this meal took me a little under 2 hours! After that its just a whole lot of baking and waiting….roasted turkey

Now, in my house, we have 2 proteins for these types of meals and a variety of sides. The only thing I forgot this year was a side of bread (Gasp!). I had been planning to make pretzel rolls.

This Turkey was so tender!! I have been making my turkey the same way the last few times and i haven”t had any issues with it being dry at all! I take a spoon and slide it between the meat and the skin, and put a compound butter in the space created.

Compound Butter:

1 stick of butter

2 tbsp of minced garlic (fresh)

1 tsp Rosemary, dried (or 1 tbsp fresh)

1/2 tsp thyme, dried (or about 2 tsp fresh)

a little salt an fresh ground pepper

a splash of white wine

Put all ingredients in a food processor (I use a Ninja) and pulse until everything is well blended.

I take this mixture and shove it under the skin and massage it into the meat anywhere I can get it.  I then spinkle salt and fresh ground pepper directly on the skin and rub it in.  I take the remainder of the compound butter and rub it all over the outside of the turkey. THis helps with that nice, golden colored, crispy flavorful skin that we all strive to achieve.

Next I quarter up a sweet onion and 2 medium apples ( I use Gala or Granny Smith). I put as many of the pieces as will fit in the cavity of the turkey and place whatever is left in the pan on the outside. Last, But most certainly not least, I pour white wine into the cavity. Do this gently and pour slowly! Only tilt the bottom of the turkey up enough to pour in the wine. If you stand it straight up the wine will go straight through! LOL. You should only use about half a decent sized bottle.

I baked my turkey at 325 for about 3 hours…He was under 10 lbs so that was about what was needed. The last 30-45 minutes I had to place a piece of aluminum foil over the turkey to keep the skin from browning to much. as you can see in the above picture, it was nearly fall apart tender! So delicious and fragrant…my tummy is grumbling thinking about it…. maybe I will have some for lunch….

baked ham

I also made a small ham for some variety. I generally buy the precooked, presliced ones that only need reheating. I make a glaze of brown sugar, cinnamon pineapple chunks and a splash of pineapple juice all blended together and poured over the ham before heating…It is delicious, and the quantities of ingredients is completely to your taste.

deviled eggs

I don’t know about you, but deviled eggs are a staple for Easter in my house!

greenbeans

Fresh green beans, steamed and tossed in melted butter, salt and pepper.

sweet potatoes

Sweet potato mash with a candied pecan topping, baked to a crisp finish. The perfect pairing for the baked ham.

potatoes au gratin

And the final side, Potatoes au Gratin. This dish is so good… You could eat it by itself. It is also very rich, so only a little is needed

This Dinner was a success and I definitely enjoyed making it. The only thing missing was the remainder of my family… We weren’t able to make it down to Florida this time but there is always next year!!

As far as the flowers up here go though! Mother Nature was definitely celebrating Easter as well. She pulled out all of her finery for sure! there are so many flowering trees and, well, just flowers everywhere! there are tiny white and purple flowers on the ground, along with wild growing daffodils..

tulip

This beauty is a red tulip that just sprouted up along my fence line….it is all alone there, but so vibrant and beautiful!

appleblossom

These Flowering trees are all along the canal path and trail that I walk with Goldilocks almost every day. I am not certain what they are but they may be Crab apple trees… the flowers and leaves look about right.

TULIPTREE

This tree is on the corner near my house.. It is absolutely gorgeous. I have no clue what it is, but the flowers look like tulips and the petals are a faint pink with a darker pink near the center. Just beautiful! and very fragrant.

Well, that is all for now. If you have any questions or want other recipes from our dinner I would be happy to share, Just leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!!

 

 

It has been a VERY long time….

It has been nearly two years since the last time I posted. There have been a LOT of changes in my life. First things first, I still love to cook and bake like a crazy person and am currently putting together recipes and and doing a lot of thinking about a business plan for opening a bakery.

As for the changes, they are HUGE. I’m mean, life changing huge. First change, shortly after the last post I made, the hubs told me he wanted a divorce….yeah, super fun! Four kids and he wants a divorce. Ok, well….

Fast forward about 2 years. The 3 bears live with their father and goldilocks lives with me. That’s not the way it should be! Is probably what most people are thinking. It’s not ideal, but it is the only way that things would work for everyone involved. The boys wanted to love with their father, and honestly, even with the amount of child support I COULD have gotten, I would still have not been able to survive. Numbers is something that I am good at. Iran and re-ran numbers trying to get it so I didn’t have to separate my children, but it just wasn’t going to be enough. I wanted to make sure ALL of my babies were taken care of the way they should. 

Now, I am currently engaged to a wonderful man, I have a great new job, and am working towards completing some goals that could take my life in a wonderful direction. I will be able to do more for my babies and be successful too. Goldilocks is 3 now! She is talking up a storm, has an adorable personality and is simply beautiful. My oldest bear just turned 11! I feel like they are all growing up so fast, but I am thankful that they are all healthy and happy. That is my life goal, to make sure they stay healthy and happy and grow up the right way. I want to give them the life they deserve (doesn’t every parent?) and I am doing my best to do that. 

I will be adding more cooking and baking blogs soon, so stay tuned……..

Wow…..

It has been a while since I posted! I can’t believe I have been such a slacker. To my followers, I apologize! Dieting does not make for fun cooking (at least not for me :() However, I have made some really delicious cupcakes that I wanted to share with you. I am sure that most of you know something about Pinterest. Well, I love that site! I think I may have mentioned this before, but I really do! And not just for food ideas either (although it is a foodies’ paradise!) There is all kinds of loveliness on there 🙂 There are so many things I want to do now; there just isn’t enough time in the day or money in the bank to do them 😦 Anyway, Pinterest is where I found the idea for these cupcakes, and while the original recipe didn’t work well for me at all, after a few tweaks to the ingredients, I had these adorable, delightful cupcakes.

These cupcakes are sweet for sure, but the flavor profile is exquisite! Rich and decadent cupcake with a light, fluffy frosting and to top it off a fresh-baked itty bitty chocolate chip cookie 🙂 These were fun to make and even more fun to eat, lol.

I had found this cupcake a few weeks ago, but didn’t have any (real) reason to make them until this past week. A good friend of mine likes to have all of us Mommies come over for lunch to talk and to let the kids (all together I think there were 14 kids o_O) run around and play together. Well, when this happens we all contribute a little something. I, of course, said I would do dessert, which everyone was absolutely fine with XD. I guess I am starting to get a reputation, hehehe…

Well, after I said that, I had about 2 days to decide what I was going to make and in the mean time I had promised to make cookies for Goldilocks and the three Bears. I knew I had everything to make chocolate chip cookies and I also knew that I wanted to experiment with this classic cookie recipe to get exactly the kind I like. Just FYI, I like them crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and perfectly full of flavor.

These cookies, I am happy to say, fit the bill. I mean, they were just perfect! At least for me 🙂 Anyway, while I was making them I was still pondering what I was going to make for our playdate. It hit me that I had the above cupcake pinned on one of my Pinterest boards and I immediately knew that I was going to make that.

Like with every recipe I try, I follow it to the letter. I had read through the comments and saw that there were several people who had issues with the cupcakes “falling”, “exploding” and just not coming out in general. Obviously there are people out there that don’t follow recipes well, or just don’t like to (my father is one of those). So I went ahead and attempted the recipe as written. I don’t know how to fix things unless I can see what is truly wrong.

I mixed everything together, scooped it into some really cute cupcake wrappers and popped them in the oven. Everything was looking (and smelling) all right, except the cupcakes seemed to be a little flat on top. I thought, that’s ok, I can work with that, they are getting frosted after all. Well, they weren’t quite done when I checked them the first time, and when they were “done” they had sort of spread over the top of the cupcake pan, sort-of pancake style…not so pretty… but they hadn’t “fallen” in the middle like others had complained of. At least, they hadn’t YET. I left them to cool a few minutes before I dumped them out of the pan. When I came back into the kitchen, I no longer had cupcakes. I had these ugly, hard, bowl looking things that, get this, didn’t even taste very good! I was SOOOO disappointed!

But, I also knew I could fix them. I knew I had just enough of everything I needed for one more try, besides, I had already made the frosting and the mini chocolate chip cookies…. So, I changed (and added) a few ingredients to fix the problems I had with the original recipe, scooped it into (more) cute wrappers, popped them into the oven, crossed my fingers and prayed! If these didn’t come out, I was going to have to come up with something else entirely and it was already 10pm.

18 minutes later, I had some beautifully rounded, delicious smelling white chocolate cupcakes. That DIDN’T fall. I was dancing around the house, I was so happy they came out…Silly, I know, but I think I was a little delirious.

Once they cooled I frosted them, topped them with mini chocolate chips and mini cookies and Voila! Dessert made for a Queen 🙂 They were definetly a hit, My hubby scarfed down two of them and told me they were incredible. Before you think he was just saying it to please me, He is always honest and tells me if he doesn’t like something or if it isn’t good, or as good as it could be. He knows I want him to tell me so I can fix it; makes sense, right?

Anyway, I posted a couple of recipes that I have mentioned in previous posts and there will be more over the next few weeks (as long as I don’t get completely distracted again, lol) So….Stay Tuned…..