Friday: Happy Birthday Cake Mom!

Today is my mom's 85th birthday! We celebrated a little early last night with our family and friends and this cake was part of the deal. It's a very easy to make and pretty tasty without that overly sweet feeling found in so many recipes. It was a hit and I improvised (what's new?) the frosting which I am pretty pleased about. Here's the recipe below - try it try it and tell me what you think!

Simple golden cake - makes two 8 or 9 inch layers - prepare pans with shortening and a dusting of flour - preheat oven to 350F

Cream together:
6 tbsp. butter and 1 cup of sugar
Whip until fluffy. Add in slowly three egg yolks reserving the whites in another bowl, a tablespoon of vanilla and 2/3 cup of milk.
To this mixture add in three parts and beat vigorously for 5 minutes
1 and 3/4 cups of sifted cake flour and 2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt
Beat the egg whites in another bowl until they are peaked, but not dry
Fold them into the mixture and pour into the pans!
Bake until golden colored - about 25 mins. but keep an eye on em.

1 stick of butter whipped to a fluffy consistency
add in 1/2 cup of whipped cream cheese and a tablespoon of vanilla
when completely mixed add in powdered sugar 1/3 of a cup at a time up to 1 cup or until the mixture holds peaks nicely.

Cut the cakes in half if you want four layers and on the layers spread 1/2 cup of raspberry jam and part of the frosting. Put the layers together and spread the remainder on top. Add single raspberries for decoration!


Thursday: Leftover Chili?

ok, not a pretty photo but it is still yummy!
This is no April Fool! It's one of the best loved make ahead meals here at our home. It is Tamale pie and the best thing leftover chili has ever met. It's so good you can make more chili just to make this  So, if you have enough leftover (or ready to make more)  - grease a baking pan with olive oil - 8x8 or 9x13 depending on how much chili you have. It should be about half filled.

On top of the chili put

1 cup of salsa - spread over the entire chili surface. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese - sharp cheddar is great, but anything works. Then mix up some cornbread:

1 cup of flour
1 cup of cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
3 tablespooons of sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
1/4 cup of oil
you can add to this to jazz it up a bit:
1/2 cup of whole kernel corn
2 chopped jalepeno peppers for some additional zip!

Mix up and pour over the top of the mixture. Bake in a 375F oven for 20 -25 minutes.
Serve with avacado, sourcream, additional salsa or just as it is. It's a good one.


Wednesday: Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Sometimes the occasion calls for cookies. Nothing will do but homemade. Here is my adoptive recipe from The New Basics cookbook. We love these so much. Super easy, rave reviews! Let March go out "sweetly" ...
Take out:
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 stick of sweet butter plus two tablespoons of Spectrum vegetable shortening
6 tablespoons of brown sugar
6 tablespoons of white sugar
tsp. of vanilla
1 large egg
1 cup chopped lindt dark chocolate bar (your choice of flavor but make it dark!)
Heat up the oven to 375F. Grease the baking sheets
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Cream the sugar and butter and egg in another. Slowly add this to the flour mixture.
Stir in the chopped chocolate. You can add nuts, but make sure they are chopped well.

Drop onto the sheets 3 inches apart. They spread. Bake for 5 minutes then take out of the oven and rap them on the counter twice and then return to the oven. Bake until they are done. The rapping makes them flatten and cook better. These are pretty yummy. I like to make them small and tea sized so you can eat a bunch and feel less guilty. Crazy huh? Makes about 2 dozen regular sized cookies. You can double this recipe easily.


Tuesday: (Vegan) Chili today, hot tamale!

OK so I am being a little silly, but this might be the last of the cold weather here for a while... it's meant to be warmer as the week goes on, so now is the time to get your CHILI on.

In a large pot on top of your stove put:

1/4 cup olive oil
3 chopped sweet onions
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped red sweet pepper
2 jalepenos sliced
4 cloves of minced garlic

Saute these veggies until they are soft. To this mixture add:

1 can of drained organic black beans
1 can of drained organic white kidney beans
1 can of drained organic red kidney beans
1 can of drained organic pinto beans
3 large cans of diced organic tomatoes or Cento if you can't get the organic ones.
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 tsp seasalt and ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar

Stir these additions and then simmer them for three hours. This can be done in a crockpot if you have to leave the kitchen. Just make sure that you do the first step in a pan on the stove!
After the cooking is done, adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve in a nice bowl with corn chips and avocado slices. Pass the sour cream if you are so inclined and have some extra salsa and hot sauce on hand for those who like to "spice it up" more! A nice IPA goes well with this dish.


Monday: French Toast!

My favorite breakfast is French Toast. I love everything about it. It is hard for me to keep it to once a month, as the gluten thing is a big problemo, but when I have it I enjoy it even more so. mmmmmm. So here is the deluxe recipe.

Use a semolina or batard, baguette loaf. Slice into thick slices.
In a bowl mix up:

4 organic large eggs
1/2 cup milk or soymilk
add to this mixture:
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon (more to come later)
lots of freshly ground nutmeg

Take the bread and soak it in the mixture. I like to coat both sides and let it sit for about 5 minutes while I prepare the frying pan with a teaspoon of butter. When it's melted I place the prepared bread in the pan.
At this point - it is cinnamonfication time. That's right. You can't get enough of the cinnamon here. Sprinkle it liberally onto the toast's raw side and then flip when the bottom side is nice and golden.

Cook until done. Serve with traditional maple syrup. Or get all European. Which simply means you have not most likely HAD real maple syrup and opt for things like: apple butter (very very good) or nutella (evil) or jammies of all sorts (ok, if you are simply out of maple syrup)

Eat until you are going to pop.