Making pies and cakes from real dirt was part of my childhood. I gave that up years ago, but this Dirt Cake, made by daughter, Megan, was a real treat. A kid of any age loves this cake. Megan made with real whipped cream–delicious!
Lemon Yogurt Cake is a moist, delicious cake that can be served on its own or served with fresh berries. I must admit I messed up the recipe and it still turned out great. The recipe read in such a way that I thought the 1/3 cup lemon juice was added to the cake batter. Yikes! I quickly added another 2/3 cup flour to the batter and crossed my fingers. It turned out just fine and added more intense lemon flavor to the cake. I poked holes in the lemon cake (much like my Rum Cake) to assure that the lemon juice/sugar mixture penetrated the cake. I liked the result but that’s the reason for the holes in the cake. I added the glaze and had to take a taste! So, so good. I froze half of the bread and it was good as fresh when I pulled it out of the freezer.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided (reserve 1/3 cup for step 3)
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (reserve for step 3)
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.
Crusty Bread that I don’t have to knead? Just what I needed to go with the soup I was making. Honestly, the recipe seemed too easy but it worked perfectly. I baked the bread in my Lodge Dutch Oven and I baked it according to directions. The crust was a little too brown, but the interior of the bread was perfect and tasted great!
It is wonderful served with soup and also wonderful as a sandwich. As long as I plan a day ahead, I can make this bread any time!
CRUSTY NO-KNEAD BREAD
3cupsall-purpose flour 1 ¾tsp.salt ½tsp.active dry yeast 1 ½cupswaterroom temperature
Form the dough: In a big bowl mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Pour water into the bowl and using a spatula or a wooden spoon mix it until well incorporated. You do not need to activate the yeast before, even though we’re using active dry yeast. The slow rising process will do the trick.
Allow it to rise: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on your counter or inside your unheated oven for 12 to 18 hours.
Preheat your oven: Preheat oven to 450°F. Add your cast iron pot to the oven as it’s heating and heat it as well until it’s at 450°F. Usually when the oven is done preheating your pot should be hot enough as well. Remove the pot from the oven and remove the lid from it. Use oven mitts, as to not burn yourself.
Shape the dough: Flour your hands really well and also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough. With your floured hands gently remove the dough from the bowl and roughly shape it into a ball. Sprinkle some extra flour directly into the bottom of the pot. Take the ball of dough and drop it into the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and place it back in the oven. Alternatively, you can also place the ball of dough onto a piece of parchment paper, then lift the parchment paper and drop it in the pot, with parchment paper and all. This could also ensure that your bread doesn’t stick at all to the bottom of the pot. I have found that if I use parchment paper, the bread doesn’t brown so much on the sides, but otherwise it’s still crusty and delicious.
Finish the bread: Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on, after which remove the lid and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pot, it should fall out easily. Let cool completely before slicing into it and serving.
Snickerdoodles have always been a family favorite. What do you do when you want a Snickerdoodle but too lazy to make individual cookies? You find a Snickerdoodle Bar recipe. I doubled the recipe and made it in a 9 x 13 pan lined with parchment paper. This recipe is easy and uses ingredients that are in most pantries. Another recipe that will be made over and over again.
1/2 c.Butter, room temp. (can use Vegan butter)
3/4 c.Granulated Sugar
1/4 c. Brown Sugar
3/4 tsp.Cream of Tartar
1/4 tsp.Baking Soda
Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
Allow butter and egg to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix together butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined.
Add vanilla and egg and stir until fully mixed.
Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl. Fold into the butter mixture until combined. Evenly spread the batter into the baking dish.
In a small bowl stir together sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Sprinkle on top of the cookie batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing and cutting into 16 squares.
Breakfast oatmeal in a bar or cake form is my favorite. Most of this year I’ve been eating my Breakfast Oatmeal Bars, but a favorite fall flavor of pumpkin and maple is calling my name. Daughter, Megan, told me about these bars and made a batch for me a few weeks ago. They are absolutely delicious and the original recipe was posted by IowaGirlEats, a website my girls and I love!
Since I didn’t have Pumpkin Spice, I made my own from a recipe on Taste of Home.
I like my breakfast bar with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit on the side with hot coffee! It doesn’t hurt to warm the Breakfast Bar for a few seconds in the microwave, either. Healthy and delicious breakfast!
Maple Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
2-1/2 cups gluten-free old fashioned oats, divided
1 cup milk, any kind (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then spray an 8×8″ baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
Add 1 cup old fashioned oats to a food processor or blender then process until oats have turned into flour. Set aside. (Alternatively you could use a scant cup oat flour.)
Add milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, egg, and vanilla to a large bowl then whisk to combine. Add remaining 1-1/2 cups oats, oat flour, chia seeds, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt then stir to combine. Fold in chopped pecans then pour batter into prepared baking pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the center has set. Check on the bars at the 25 minute mark – if the edges are browning too quickly, place a piece of foil on top of the baking pan. Cool before slicing into bars then store in the refrigerator, or individually wrap bars in saran wrap and freeze.
Raspberries may very well be my favorite fruit and would certainly be on my ‘last dinner’ list. This recipe started out to be Lemon Blueberry Bars as the original recipe stated. Midway through making the bars, I realized the frozen blueberries were off, so quickly switched to raspberries that I had in the freezer. Frankly, I love the results. Even the nutmeg called for in the original recipe suited the raspberries.
Another new favorite!
LEMON RASPBERRY STREUSEL BARS
yield: 24 BARS
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups fresh raspberries (I thawed frozen raspberries)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 9×13-inch pyrex pan with nonstick spray.
Prepare the crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, zest and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg and vanilla together; stir into the crumb mixture until a dough forms. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. (Keep the oven on)
Sprinkle raspberries over the crust. In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup sugar and nutmeg; sprinkle over the raspberries.
Prepare the topping: In a medium bowl, use a rubber spatula to cream together the 5 tablespoons butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the flour, so that the mixture is crumbly, like streusel. Sprinkle over the raspberry layer.
Cold winter nights mean hearty soups in my kitchen. Broccoli Cheddar Soup is always a favorite when dining out but I’ve rarely made it. This is a great recipe that has become a family favorite.
BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP
1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 small/medium sweet yellow onion, diced small
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced finely
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (I used regular half-and-half)
3 cups broccoli florets, diced into bite-size pieces
2 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika, optional and to taste
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder, optional and to taste
pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
8 ounces grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, with a small amount reserved for garnishing bowls
In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon butter, the diced onion, and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent and barely browned, about 4 minutes. Stir intermittently.
Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set pan aside.
In a large heavy-bottom pot, add 4 tablespoons butter, flour, and cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until flour is thickened. You are making a roux and it’s very important the mixture is thick or soup will never thicken properly later.
Slowly add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly.
Slowly add the half-and-half, whisking constantly.
Allow mixture to simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
While mixture is simmering, chop the broccoli and carrots. After simmering 15 to 20 minutes, add the broccoli, carrots, and the onion and garlic you previously set aside.
Add the salt, pepper, optional paprika, optional dry mustard powder, and optional cayenne. Stir to combine.
Allow soup to simmer over low heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it has reduced and thickened some. Whisk intermittently to re-incorporate the ‘skin’ that inevitably forms, this is normal.
Optional: I used a Braun hand blender to blend the vegetables into a creamier consistency.
While soup simmers, grate the cheese. After simmering about 20 to 25 minutes, add most of the cheese, reserving a small amount for garnishing bowls. Stir in the cheese until melted and incorporated fully, less than 1 minute.
Transfer soup to bowls, garnish with reserved cheese, and serve immediately. Soup will keep airtight for 5 to 7 days in the fridge. Reheat gently in the microwave.
OMG Scrambled Eggs were an experiment, a gamble that paid off. ‘OMG’ was the first thought that came into my head when I took the first bite. Adding the coincidentally roasted fresh tomatoes and peppers was a fantastic addition.
I also made this recipe combining the tomatoes and peppers into the egg cups and loved them as well.
The recipe could be adapted easily to add more bacon, cheese, pesto or whatever floats your boat. Worth trying! I may be dreaming of this tonight.
OMG SCRAMBLED EGGS
3 slices bacon, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 bunch swiss chard (or kale) stemmed and chopped
1 dozen eggs, whisked
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons pesto
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
roasted tomatoes and peppers (optional)
Sauté the bacon in a non-stick skillet until cooked about half way.
Add onions and cook through. Drain most of the bacon fat off.
Add Swiss chard and cook until it wilts.
Add the eggs, salt and pepper, and pesto.
Stir the eggs often to assure they cook through.
Add cheese when eggs are about half way cooked.
Serve with warm roasted tomatoes and peppers.
MUFFIN EGG CUPS: Mix all ingredients together, including the chopped roasted tomatoes and peppers. Grease muffin tins and bake egg cups at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes until done in the center and golden brown.
Zucchini has been plentiful this year and I was craving a chocolate fix. I found this recipe and LOVED the cake. The glaze turned into chocolate globs which I did try to spread on top of the cake. Next time I’d either just skip the glaze, or make my own.
The cake is moist and delicious…a keeper!
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
Unsalted butter, for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
1 teaspoon honey
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-square cake pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Whisk the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat the sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, the eggs and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the flour-cocoa mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes (the batter will be thick). Add the zucchini and beat until combined, about 2 more minutes. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
Make the glaze: Combine the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Spread over the cake, then cut into pieces.