Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Breakfast Jars

I have been wanting to make my own oatmeal packets for a long time. For one, I know what is in them and two, I can choose to put in what I like and mix it up, whenever I like! I recently came upon two posts about this very thing. I decided to take a little from each post and apply it to my breakfast jars.

Instant Oatmeal Jars
Instant Oatmeal Packets

I am trying my stash out this week. We'll see how it goes. I imagine that there is not much room for error, as it is just oatmeal. I have hope!

Here are my jars:

These jars include: Old fashioned oats, oat bran, salt, powdered milk, brown sugar, cranberries, and almonds. I would like to try the chia seeds, like one of the bloggers did, but I could not find them. 

I am not a morning person. I am a giant human slug monster in the morning and I find it hard to get breakfast and pack a lunch before I need to leave, so I am hoping that this will be very beneficial for me. I like that I just have to add the water and heat it up!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bon Appetit Desserts: Spiced Crumble Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Another Bon Appetit recipe has been tried, just for you! Mmm... spices, nuts, chocolate... cake! You cannot go wrong here.

Completely normal ingredients are used for this recipe. So normal, that I bet you have all of them on hand already. This is a two whisk recipe, so it is a bit more challenging. However, it is only because you have to mix this and that in its own bowl and then some of this and some of that in another bowl. Not hard. I hope that you give it the old college try.

Have you tried any of these recipes out? I post this blog for fun. It is exciting to see if there are any views for the recipes, books, and thoughts that I post. So, if you stop by this blog from time to time, let me know! I'd love to hear from you!

Spiced Crumble Cake with Chocolate Frosting
12 servings

1            cup pecans

1/3         cup (packed) golden brown sugar

2            Tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced

1            Tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder (fair trade when possible)

2-1/3      cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1            Tablespoon cornstarch

1            teaspoon baking soda

1            teaspoon cinnamon

3/4         teaspoon salt

1/4         teaspoon ground cloves

1/4         teaspoon ground allspice

3/4         cup sour cream

1/4         cup whole milk

1            teaspoon vanilla extract

1            cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1            cup sugar

3/4         cup (packed) golden brow sugar

5            large eggs

6            ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped

1            8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4         cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1            teaspoon vanilla extract

2-1/2      cups powdered sugar

2            Tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder

CRUMBLE: Blend pecans, sugar, butter, and cocoa in processor until nuts are finely chopped.

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and allspice in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sour cream, milk, and vanilla in small bowl to blend.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in both sugars. Beat in 3 eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in 1/2 cup dry ingredients. Beat in remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in remaining dry ingredients in 3 additions alternately with sour cream mixture in 2 additions.

Spread 3 cups batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with crumble; press lightly into batter. Spread remaining batter over crumble to cover. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack.

FROSTING: Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring until just melted and smooth. Let stand just until cool but not set. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Beat in sugar in 3 additions, then cooled chocolate and cocoa.

Spread frosting over top of cake.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill until frosting is set; cover and keep chilled. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before serving.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

English Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is English pudding, which is not pudding, pudding, but cake! Now you know!

I had some sticky toffee pudding on my flight home from London and it was so amazing! I immediately looked up a recipe, when I got home! I have finally stopped being lazy (which is good, because I go back to teaching tomorrow), and I made the cake bit the other day and this morning, I made the toffee sauce and the whipped cream.

I am just going to throw this out there... when you cook the toffee sauce at too high of a heat, you get something that is neither sauce or actual toffee. It becomes some sort of soft caramel. So, beware, when you are stirring the sauce! Also, when you are folding in the date mixture, you will get a runny mess! It all works out, though, so don't be discouraged. (I know that I was and I thought that I did something wrong. Just look below, it all turned out fine.)

English Sticky Toffee Pudding Food Network

Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

1          cup plus one Tablespoon all-purpose flour

1          teaspoon baking powder

3/4       cup pitted dates

1-1/4   cups boiling water

1          teaspoon baking soda

1/4       cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4       cup granulated sugar

1          large egg, lightly beaten

1          teaspoon vanilla


1/2       cup unsalted butter

1/2       cup heavy cream

1          cup packed light brown sugar


2          Tablespoons granulated sugar

1          cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 10-inch round or square baking dish. Sift the flour and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper. Chop the dates fine. Place in a small bowl  add boiling water and soda; set aside. In a bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla; until blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Add the date mixture to the batter and fold until blended with rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake until pudding is set and firm on top, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven to wire rack.

Toffee Sauce:
Combine the butter, cream, an brown sugar in a small medium saucepan; heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Boil gently over medium low heat until mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Preheat broiler. Spoon about 1/3 of the sauce over the pudding. Spread evenly on top. Place pudding under the broiler until the topping is bubbly, about 1 minute.

Whipped Cream:
Put metal mixing bowl in freezer for 10- 15 minutes. Put sugar in bowl and pour in cream. Mix medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.

Serve Immediately spooned into dessert bowls. Drizzle with toffee sauce and top with a spoonful of whipped cream.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Book in Review: The Pirate's Desire...This Book Is On Fire!

Ok, ok... no books are actually on fire and if they were, I would be extremely sad about it. I love to read! I have been quite impressed with my book reading abilities over the last few years. In fact, I have met my Goodreads challenges, or exceeded them, in the last two years!

I had a goal of 30 books for 2014 and I read 35-1/2 books! Yes, this is me tooting my own horn. Toot, toot! Ha ha. This year, I have decided to have a goal of 35 books. I hope that I can meet this challenge. One never does know what the year will hold. It is so early in the game.  If you love to read, I suggest that:

1. You go to Goodreads right now... this very second!

2. Check the site out. Look up books that you love. Look up books that you want to read. Get a feel for the site.

3. Get a Goodreads account!

4. Set your own 2015 reading challenge!  You won't be sorry!

Something that I love about Goodreads, other than the community of readers, the ability to track what I have read and what I want to read, and personal recommendations based on what I have read and what I want to read, are the free giveaways! Some people, I have learned, do not know about the giveaways, so I say, "Check them out!"

Alright, this was not meant to be an entry about Goodreads.

I recently read another Jennette Green book. I cannot get enough of her. My friend Rachelle introduced me to her books with, 'The Commander's Desire'. Oh my goodness. This book! So good!

I will say that I have never been disappointed with a Jennette Green book and so, I recommend one of her newest, 'The Pirate's Desire'.

The Pirate's Desire was a really good and quick read for me. I enjoyed the story line. I just wish that Lucy wasn't such a brat. While reading this book, I could not get the most amazing mental picture of Riel out of my head. Of course he is a rugged yet drop dead gorgeous man (Way more good looking than the guy on the cover!). Now if only I could find one in real life. Until then, I'll stick with books. Ha ha. By reading this book, I am once again reminded how important communication is. In all relationships, not just romantic ones. Riel and Lucy are meant for each other, but they spend most of their time fighting the truth. Riel feels that he is not good enough, but if he just came clean about his past and if Lucy embraced what she felt, sooner, then there would not be a book to read.

I recommend this book. So get on it! Start reading it, now!