Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy Easter and a Chocolate Bundt Cake!!!

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Happy Easter and a Chocolate Bundt Cake!!!

Happy Easter everyone!  This will be a really brief post, I just wanted to share the recipe for this amazing Chocolate Bundt Cake with Greek Yogurt and Chocolate Chips that I made for Easter!

chocolate bundt cake

I got the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Two Peas & Their Pod, check out their website, it has lot s of yummy recipes.  I altered the recipe a little by adding a cup of chocolate chips to the batter because you can never have too much chocolate, right?

cbc side

Anyway, here’s the recipe, it’s incredibly decadent and I can’t wait to have a giant piece (or two or three…) after Easter dinner.

choc bundt cake

 

Recipe

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Greek Yogurt and Chocolate Chips

Yields 1 Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

    2 cups flour

     1 3/4 cup sugar

     1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

      1 cup unsalted butter

     1/3 cup cocoa powder

     1 teaspoon salt

     1 cup water

     2 large eggs

     1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

     1 teaspoon vanilla

     1 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Chocolate Glaze

     4 oz semi sweet baking chocolate – chopped

     1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup

     1/2 cup heavy cream

     1 tablespoon sugar

For the Cake

     – Preheat oven to 350°

     – In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, and baking soda

     – Combine the butter, cocoa powder, salt, and water in a small saucepan and heat until combined

    – Add half of the butter/cocoa mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined, the batter will be thick

     – Whisk the remaining butter/cocoa mixture into the batter

     – Add the eggs, one at a time

     – Whisk in the Greek yogurt and vanilla

     – Stir in the chocolate chips

     – Pour the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan

     – Bake at 350 ºF for 40 – 45 minutes

– Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan

For the Chocolate Glaze

     – Place the chopped chocolate and the corn syrup in a medium bowl

     – Heat the cream and sugar in a small saucepan until hot

    – Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and corn syrup and whisk until combined

     – After the cake has cooled drizzle the glaze over the cake

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

Easter is almost upon us, which means it is high time to enjoy some peanut butter eggs!  Peanut butter and chocolate are obviously an amazing combination, and these eggs take it to a whole new level, they’re probably my favorite thing about Easter (well, except maybe dying eggs, yep, I’m 23 and still make my family dye eggs every year), my Aunt Linda has been making them for as long as I can remember!  With only 5 ingredients – powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, evaporated milk, and chocolate – these eggs are super simple to make, just a fair warning, they can be messy, but they’re well worth it!

chocolate pb eggs

First combine the powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, and milk by hand and chill.  Then shape them into eggs, place on wax paper covered cookies sheets and freeze.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of this part because it was super messy and I was in a hurry to get to the chocolate part!  Speaking of chocolate, melt it either in a double boiler (my preferred method) or in the microwave.

chocolate double boiler

I find it easiest to keep the peanut butter eggs frozen, working with a few at a time to cover them in chocolate.  There are two methods I’ve used to cover the eggs.  First, you can put the egg in the chocolate, and remove with a fork once the egg is entirely covered.

pb egg in chocolate

Second, you can dip the bottom half of the egg in chocolate, place it chocolate side down on a wax paper covered cookie sheet, then spoon chocolate over the top of the egg, and spread.

pb egg dipped

half covered pb egg

pb eg w/ choc on top

pb egg covered

I then put the chocolate covered eggs back in the freezer to cool faster, I’m too impatient to wait for them set at room temperature!  Plus they’re super tasty frozen, I usually store them in the freezer as well.

pb eggs on tray

Try not to eat them all at once!

pb eggs and eggs

 

pb eggs and green bunny egg

Recipe

Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

Yields about 4 dozen depending on size

Ingredients:

2 lbs powdered sugar

12 oz peanut butter

2 sticks butter or margarine

9 tablespoons evaporated milk

16 oz chocolate chips (I like semi-sweet)

– Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips by hand and chill

– Form peanut butter mixture into desired egg shapes, place on wax paper covered cookie sheets, and freeze

Melt chocolate in either a double boiler or in the microwave

– Working with a few eggs at a time cover with chocolate, and place on wax paper covered cookie sheets

– Allow chocolate to set, placing in the freezer if desired

 

 

Oven Roasted Pork Loin and Veggies

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Oven Roasted Pork Loin and Veggies

This late March snow has inspired me to post a recipe my family and I make a lot in the winter months, roasted pork loin and veggies.  It’s the perfect meal for a cold day, and it seems Spring weather won’t be coming anytime soon, so make this for dinner for your family.  You can really use any seasonings you want on the pork, and any combination of  veggies you want.  I’ve made it several different ways, but my favorite uses rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt & pepper on the pork and has sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, fennel (if you’ve never used fennel before try it!  Here’s a link on how to prep it), carrots, and apples (yes, I know apples aren’t vegetables, but they’re really good with the roast).

pork roast and veggies

 

First, chop up all your vegetables into 1-2″ chunks.  Then put a little olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and add the pork.  Season with some olive oil, minced garlic (if you’re like my dad and are like a vampire around garlic you can omit it, but I think it makes it sooo much better), rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.

seasoned pork

Then put the chopped vegetables in the roasting pan (I realize this picture has red potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, like I said, I’ve made this many times).  Season with salt and pepper, cover the pan, and put it in the oven.  You could also make this in the crock pot if you so desired.

veggies in pan with pork

When you take it out you’ll find juicy pork, and deliciously seasoned vegetables.

finished pork roast

Serve it up and enjoy!

Pork

roast veggies

 

 

Recipe

Oven Roasted Pork Loin and Veggies

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 sweet onion – cut into 1″ chunks

2 bell peppers – cut into 1″ chunks

2 sweet potatoes – cut into 1″ chunks

5 carrots – cut into 1/2″ slices

1 fennel bulb – cut into 1″ chunks

2 apples (I use golden delicious) – cut into 1″ chunks

2 pound pork loin

extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

4 cloves garlic – minced

2 tablespoons dried rosemary

2 tablespoons dried thyme

– Preheat oven to 450 °F

– Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan and place the pork tenderloin in the roaster

Season the pork with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, dried spices, and salt and pepper

– Add the vegetables to the pan

– Cover the roaster and put in the oven, roasting for an hour, or until the pork is done (145 ºF according to a quick google search)

– Remove from the oven, slice the pork, and serve

 

 

 

 

 

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

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Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

After a few very busy weeks of visiting grad schools I’m back with a simple recipe for a delicious homemade tomato soup.  While I’m very disappointed with the groundhog for lying to me in his prediction of an early Spring (my front yard is currently covered in snow) I’ll take the cold weather as an excuse to make some nice creamy soup.

Tomato Soup

I had never made tomato soup from scratch before but we had a ton of tomatoes and I decided to give a try, it was super easy and VERY delicious,  I recommend you try it yourself sometime.

tomato package

First put the tomatoes on a baking sheet, sprinkle with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat, then put them in the oven to roast.

tomato evoo sp

Take them out after they’ve popped and look like this:

roasted tomatoes

Cook some onion and garlic in a pan, then add the roasted tomatoes.

onions, garlic, and tomatoes

Add in some basil, oregano, parsley, tarragon, and a bay leaf and let it simmer for a bit.

tomato soup pre blender

Remove the bay leaf, turn off the heat, stir in the milk.

tomato soup with milk

Use an immersion blender (I got one for Christmas and this was the first time I used it, it made things super easy, but you can always transfer the soup to a regular blender if you don’t have one) to puree the soup to the consistency you want, I like mine to still have chunks of tomato.

tomato soup with immersion blender

Finally, enjoy!  The soup is delicious alone but also goes great with sour cream and the traditional grilled cheese or quesadillas.

soup sour cream and quesadilla

I had mine with a quesadilla and some sour cream, which was very yummy!

soup and quesadilla

Recipe

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Serves 2

Ingredients:

1 pound cherry tomatoes

extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

1 small onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – grated

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup milk or cream

sour cream for serving (optional)

– Preheat oven to 400 °F

– Place tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and toss to coat.  Roast at 400 °F for 30 min. or until tomatoes burst

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent and tender (about 5 minutes)

– Add the tomatoes (and juices from the baking sheet), bay leaf, and dried spices to the pan, stir

– Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

– Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf and add milk

– Puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender until desired consistency is reached

Serve, garnishing with sour cream if desired

A Pleasant Suprise and Blogs I Like

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First, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM 🙂  Thanks for everything you do for me, I love you ❤

 

Now, onto my post I was pleasantly surprised on Monday when Shortcaked left me a comment that she liked my blog and was passing on the Liebster Blog Award.  This came as quite the shock because I was unaware that anyone really read my blog who I didn’t harass via facebook posts/tweets/email (thanks family and friends, you guys are the best!).  As she stated in her post, the Liebster Award is kinda like blogger chain mail minus the supposed horrible consequences if you don’t pass it on.

The rules are:

  1.  You state 11 facts about yourself
  2. You answer 11 questions from the person who sent it to you
  3. You pass it along to 11 other bloggers with 11 questions of your own.

So here it goes!

11 Facts About Little Ole Me

  1. I’m currently drinking a shamrock shake.  I love them, like really, really love them… it’s probably a good thing they’re only around for a limited time.
  2. I love dogs, especially  Scout (my brother’s Black Lab/Australian Cattle Dog Mix) who is currently laying at my feet.
  3. I’ve seen pretty much every episode of SVU ever made at least 3 times but I still watch it every chance I get.
  4. I recently started watching the Walking Dead and am now obsessed.
  5. I love to read and always have a book list that’s way too long.
  6. I want a pet teacup pig.
  7. I played the saxophone for 8 years and think about starting again all the time.
  8. I’m learning how to crochet, and I want to get better at knitting (make all the crazy old cat lady jokes you want).
  9. I drink a lot of hot tea.
  10. I’m a terrible singer but sing along to the radio all the time anyway.
  11. I think I’m addicted to chewing gum and chapstick.

11 Questions from Sugarcaked

  1.  What is your favorite thing to cook?  I really love to bake, especially cookies.
  2. If your life could be like any movie, which would it be?  Wellllll, I’ve always thought Sleeping Beauty had a pretty sweet life, take a long nap, wake up to a gorgeous prince, live happily ever after, I’ll take it.
  3. If you were forced to give up one food forever, is there something you’d be able to give up and not miss?  I really doubt I could give up any food any not miss it unless it was something I really didn’t like such as anything cherry flavored (juice, candy, popsicles etc.) or made with canned cherries (i.e pie), beets, raw onions, cauliflower, or shrimp (it’s a texture thing).
  4. What is the one food you could absolutely never live without?  Chocolate! (and cheese, and bacon, and fruit, and chips and salsa …)
  5. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate!!!! In my opinion plain vanilla is just a waste.
  6. What is your favorite thing about blogging?  I love to cook and share my food with people so blogging is my way of sharing food with tons of people without actually physically giving it to someone.
  7. If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? Cure cancer.
  8. In the same line of thinking: if you could LIVE anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Australia!  I’ve wanted to visit there for as long as I can remember.
  9. What is your go-to comfort food? Macaroni and Cheese!!!  Especially my grandma’s baked mac and cheese.
  10. What’s your earliest food memory?  Eating pancakes at my grandparent’s house after spending the night.
  11. What’s your favorite time of year?  Fall, but right now I would kill for Spring, I’m sick of this cold weather!

11 Bloggers I’m Passing This on to (in no particular order) PS don’t feel pressured to pass this on if you don’t want to, I just wanted to share your blog because I really like it

  1. Shortcaked (thanks again for giving me the award!)
  2. Keep Calm and Eat On (her food sounds delicious and her pictures are gorgeous)
  3. Fool’s Paradise (my best friend Alyss’a blog, she writes lots of great stuff)
  4. Omnivorous (food that looks amazing)
  5. Post-College Musings (my friend Karl’s writing blog)
  6. Where Lemons Blossom (travel, food, lots of things Italian)
  7. Life is Short. Eat Hard! (great recipes and fun restaurant/food reviews)
  8. BB A La Carte (Recipes with pretty pictures that make me want to cook and eat)
  9. Ranting of an Amateur Chef (I just want to eat his food)
  10. Captain of Cuisine (yummy recipes)
  11. Realistic Cooking Ideas (simple recipes that look amazing)

Check out all the blogs, they’re really great!

And my 11 Questions

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What’s your favorite TV show?
  3. What’s your favorite food?
  4. If you could travel to anywhere in the world where would it be?
  5. What’s the first thing you ever remember cooking?
  6. If you could have any super power what would it be?
  7. What’s your favorite book?
  8. What’s your job or where did you go to school?
  9. Sweet or salty?
  10. What band/artist would write the soundtrack to your life?
  11. Favorite drink (alcoholic or non, your choice)?

Thanks again to Shortcaked 🙂

 

 

 

Spice Cake and Nanny’s 90th Birthday Party!

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Spice Cake and Nanny’s 90th Birthday Party!

Yesterday my family and I had a big party to celebrate my grandma’s birthday! On February 27th she turned 90!  I still can’t quite fathom all of the things she’s seen over the years, The Great Depression, World War II, how much everything has changed.   Her stories of growing up with 10 siblings, living on a farm, raising (and butchering) their own chickens and cows, growing wheat for flour, churning butter, and so many more, all amaze me.  Not to mention all of the delicious food she’s made over the years, Christmas cookies, homemade bread, pancakes, vegetable soup and potato salad, macaroni with butter and milk, way too many things to list.  But those are stories for another blog post, I want to talk about her party.

Nanny at her party

My brother, Nanny, and I at the party

My brother, Nanny, and I at the party

After a month or so of planning everything came together for a great party.  We decorated everything with a few of her favorite things, the color red, Scrabble, flowers, and caramel cream filled candies.

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scrabble board

tablefront party

nanny candy

nanny balloons

We put up a timeline with various photos from different stages of Nanny’s life.  I LOVE looking through old black and white photos of my family.  It’s crazy to see Nanny and her siblings through the years, it amazes me to see how they’ve changed but how they look the same at the same time.

Nanny guest book area

pictures 1

pictures 3

pictures 4

pictures 5

pictures 6

Nanny (bottom right) and her sisters

Nanny (bottom right) and her sisters

We even found her diploma and a commencement issue of the school newspaper, along with a series of class photos

nanny diploma

nanny yb

Nanny's first grade picture, she's in the middle row, second from the left

Nanny’s first grade picture, she’s in the middle row, second from the left

Nanny's graduating class, she's in the middle row, far left

Nanny’s graduating class, she’s in the middle row, far left

Nanny's 50th class reunion (far right, middle row, pink sweater)

Nanny’s 50th class reunion (far right, middle row, pink sweater)

A bunch of our family came (as you can imagine, with 10 siblings Nanny has a VERY large family), along with a few of Nanny’s friends.

Nanny's Arrival

Nanny's Party

There was a TON of food (very typical for all of our family events, everyone always says the White family knows how to feed people and loves to eat).

Nanny's party food

One of Nanny’s favorite TV shows is Jeopardy, so I made up some Jeopardy style trivia questions about Nanny’s life.  Her youngest sister (her everyone calls Mean Jean) won first place.  For some of the prizes we gave away packs of cards because playing cards is one of Nanny’s favorite pastimes.  Growing up they didn’t have much money but they always had a deck of cards.  The White family still gets together once a month to play 500 and Nanny plays solitaire all the time.

Nanny's Jeopardy

Last, but certainly not least Nanny blew out the candles on her birthday cake.

Nanny blowing out candles

We bought a big sheet cake for the occasion but I also made spice cake with caramel icing (Nanny’s favorite) and a spice cake with maple cream cheese icing.

caramel icing and spice cake

spice cake with maple cream cheese icing

For the spice cake you combine flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice and salt.

Spice cake dry

Then you cream some butter, oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs then alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk.

Spice cake batter

Bake it and then let it cool.

spice cake

For the caramel icing you combine brown sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, and evaporated milk and bring it to a boil.

caramel icing

First it will start to bubble around the sides.

caramel icing 2

Then it will become a full on rolling boil.

caramel icing 3

Whisk away, boiling for one minute.

caramel icing whisk

Then you remove it from the heat and beat it with a mixer.

caramel icing beater

Beat until it’s creamy.

caramel icing creamy

It will be a a creamy caramel color, with a thick but slightly runny consistency.

ci

Immediately pour it on the cake and spread, it will harden quickly so work fast!

ci on cake

For the cream cheese frosting cream together the butter and cream cheese.

maple cream cheese

Add the maple and powdered sugar.  If you need to thin out the icing add milk a little at a time.  Finally spread it on the cake.  Yum!

mcc icing on spice cake

The caramel icing is SUPER easy to make, it does get a little difficult to spread over the cake as it hardens quickly, but it is delicious and well worth the effort.  As for the maple cream cheese icing, I love cream cheese icing and I thought maple would pair perfectly with the spice cake.  The spice cake itself is moist, full of flavor, and delicious, so enjoy!

Recipe

Spice Cake with Never Fail Caramel Icing or Maple Cream Cheese Icing

1 – 13 x 9 cake

Ingredients:

Cake

     3 cups flour

     2 teaspoons baking powder

     1 teaspoon baking powder

     2 teaspoons cinnamon

     1 teaspoon nutmeg

     1 teaspoon ginger

     1/2 teaspoon cloves

     1/2 teaspoon allspice

     1/4 teaspoon salt

     1 stick butter

     1/2 cup canola oil

     1 cup sugar

     1 cup brown sugar

     1 teaspoon vanilla

     5 eggs

     1 cup buttermilk

Never Fail Caramel Icing

     3 cups light brown sugar

     1/2 cup evaporated milk

     1 stick butter

     1/4 teaspoon salt

     1 teaspoon vanilla

Maple Cream Cheese Icing

     1/2 stick butter

     8 oz. cream cheese

     2 1/2 oz. maple syrup

     3 cups powdered sugar

     milk or heavy cream as needed

For the Cake

     – Preheat oven to 350°

     – Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl

     – Cream together the butter, oil, and sugar

     – Stir in the eggs and vanilla

     – Alternate adding dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the sugar mixture until combined

     – Pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan

     – Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool

For the Caramel Icing

     – Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil

     – Boil for one minute, remove from the heat, and beat until creamy

     – Immediately pour onto cake and spread

For the Maple Cream Cheese Icing

     – Cream together the butter and cream cheese

      – Add the maple syrup and powdered sugar, mix

     – If icing is too thick add milk, a teaspoonful at a time

     – Spread onto cake