Thursday, November 20, 2014

Depression Era Cake

Our mother finds the most interesting recipes when she is reading.
This one was in the novel "Friends And Family" by Susan Page Davis. 
It is, as the name suggests, a cake from the depression era that does not use any eggs, butter, or milk. It is dense and spicy, almost like a fruit cake, except different. 
See.... I don't like fruit cake but I like this cake. I find it to be like a dense spice cake with raisins. 
Apparently I need to start reading more books. 
Who knew?

Depression Era Cake
(From "Friends And Family" by Susan Page Davis)

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup oil
2 cups raisins (dark)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups flour
pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 250. Lightly spray a 9 X 9 pan with cooking spray (I also lined mine with parchment paper.) Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, oil, raisins, and spices. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, and then boil for 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare other ingredients.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In another small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in 2 tsp of water and then stir into the raisin mixture (it will foam!).

Stir the flour mixture into the raisin mixture until well combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared 9 X 9 pan.

Bake at 350 for 45 - 55 minutes, until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Serve warm or room temp.

My mother brought this to her senior's center for a Remembrance Day get together and everyone loved it.

This is a super quick and easy recipe to whip up. 
I find it interesting that it has no eggs, butter, or milk and the texture is still very cake-like. 
Looking for an interesting conversation starter that also happens to be a delicious treat?
Have we got a deal for you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Greek 'Meat"ball Salad

Hallelujah!! I have a computer again.
I've been without my computer for almost 2 weeks and, let me tell you, not fun.
Not fun at all.
But, things will hopefully be getting back to normal again around here as I adjust to the newness of my awesome new machine. We've only posted twice in the past 2 weeks which is just plain weird for us. Let's see if we can't get back up to our usual amount of deliciousness sharing.
I'm going to start with this tasty (and healthy) salad recipe.
Strange choice from me to celebrate with, I know, BUT it really is a celebratory kind of salad. 
I took our Greek "meat"balls from our Greek Veggie "Meatball Pita post and turned it into a hearty, vegetarian, gluten free, ready in under 30 minutes salad. 
According to Myfitnesspal, the huge serving you see in the photo above is:
280 calories, 26 carbs, 12 fat, and 18 protein.
What are you waiting for?

Greek "Meat"ball Salad

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup fresh spinach, finely chopped
1/3 cup light feta, crumbled
1 egg
1/4 cup quinoa flour
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper

12 cups torn Romaine lettuce
1 cucumber, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 cup light feta, crumbled
1/2 cup tzatziki 

Prepare "Meat"balls - In a medium bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork. It's okay if there is a few chunks left - it doesn't have to be completely smooth.
Stir in chopped spinach, feta, egg, quinoa flour, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and salt & pepper until well combined. 
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out small meatballs onto a plastic wrap lined tray. (You can also use your hands to shape about 1 Tbsp into a ball.) (You should end up with 32 balls)
Spray a large, non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium heat.

Place veggie balls into frying pan so they are not touching. Cook approximately 5 minutes on one side, then carefully flip over and continue cooking another 5 minutes or so, until both sides are browned and ball is heated through.
Remove from heat, cover and keep warm while you prepare salad.
Prepare salad - Equally divide the torn Romaine lettuce among 4 serving plates plates (about 3 cups each) Top each with approximately 1/4 cup diced cucumber, 2 Tbsp diced tomato, 2 Tbsp diced onion, 1 Tbsp crumbled feta, and 8 "meat"balls.

Drizzle each salad evenly with about 2 Tbsp tzatziki. 
(FYI - You can, of course, put more toppings on if you want to. I used the above measurements to determine the nutritional values!)

Serve immediately.
Note - if you want to prepare this ahead of time simply store the cooked  "meat"balls covered, in a separate container in the fridge until just before serving. Reheat them for a minute or two in the microwave and then assemble salad as per above instructions. 
I always bring a serving to work the following day and reheating the "meat"balls works like a hot darn. You certainly don't have to have them hot though, I just like them that way. You could toss it altogether and then just dress it with the tzatziki before serving if you prefer.
Enjoy these healthy meatballs in this lovely salad OR enjoy them in a sandwich following our Greek Veggie "Meat"ball Pita recipe by clicking HERE.
Be sure to stop by these fun linky parties - The Chicken Chick,

Monday, November 17, 2014

Triple Almond Cinnamon Bread

I tell you, you don't realize how much you use a computer until yours dies on you.
And running a blog without a computer?
Forget about it.
Anyway, I have stolen borrowed Sue's computer because I was just too excited to share this recipe with you. By the way, using other people's computers is not cool. They set theirs up differently and have different programs and *wow* what a pain in the patootie.
Totally worth it to bring you this crazy good recipe though.
This is our second Almond Breeze almond milk recipe. 
(**We were compensated for our participation in this Almond Breeze venture but, as always, our opinions are our own!**)
This recipe has 3 steps to it and has 2 options for presentation. (Well, I'm sure there is many more than 2 options for presentation but we're going with our favorite two.)
Step 1. Prepare custard.
Step 2. Prepare dough.
Step 3. Decide how you want to present this and bake it.
See..... easy peasy.
And these turn out like cinnamon buns sprinkled with magic fairy dust carried down a rainbow by a unicorn.
Not even lying.

Triple Almond Cinnamon Bread

2 Tbsp Bird's Eye Custard Powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp butter 
2 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup butter, room temp
3 to 4 cups flour
1/3 cup Bird's Eye Custard Powder
1 pkg Rapid Rise Yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten

Cinnamon Filling
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, super soft but not melted

Almond Drizzle
1 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract

about 1 cup slivered almonds

Prepare custard - In a medium saucepan, whisk together custard powder and sugar. Slowly whisk in almond milk. 

Place over medium high heat and, stirring often, bring to a low boil. Whisk until thickened.
Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
Chill in fridge, stirring about every ten minutes to help speed cooling process.
While chilling, prepare bread.
Prepare bread - In a medium saucepan, heat almond milk over medium high heat until bubbles start to form around edges. Remove from heat and stir in butter, set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups of flour, custard powder, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir in the almond milk and beaten egg until soft, sticky dough forms.
Add in flour, a little at a time, until soft but not-sticky dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 - 3 minutes.
Place into a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover and let rise in a warm spot for approximately 40 minutes - dough should be about double in size.

While dough is rising you can prepare the cinnamon filling - mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
When dough has risen - punch down and decide how you are going to finish your bread.
If you are going to go with Option 1: Triple Almond Cinnamon Bread Bites, follow these instructions:
Cut dough in half. Cover the half left in the bowl and set aside.
Place the other half on a lightly floured work surface. Cut into 18 equal pieces.
Flatten out one piece of the dough into a circular shape in the palm of your hand. Place about 1 tsp of the brown sugar mixture into the center of the circle. Top with about 1 tsp of the chilled custard. Top that with a sprinkle of almonds.
Fold the dough over and pinch edges together tightly. Shape into a ball as best you can. Place into a mini muffin tin sprayed lightly with cooking spray OR, as we have done, into a cake pop pan.Repeat until all 18 pieces of dough have been filled. 
Repeat with second half of dough still in bowl.
(Note - you will probably have custard left over. You can discard this or reserve it for another use.)
If using a cake pop pan, top with the lid and set aside to rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes. (If using a mini muffin pan simple cover with a tea towel, place in a warm place, and let rise for 30 minutes.)
Preheat oven to 375. 
After dough has risen, bake at 375 for approximately 15 - 20 minutes, tops should be nicely browned and appear cooked.
Remove to wire rack to cool for a few minutes. While they are cooling, prepare drizzle.
Prepare drizzle - in a small bowl, stir together icing sugar, almond extract, and almond milk.

Using a spoon, drizzle mixture over the balls while they are on the cooling rack. (For easier clean up, place some plastic wrap under the cooling rack.) Sprinkle with slivered almonds, then drizzle a bit more of the mixture over the balls to help the almonds stick. 
Let cool completely or eat warm!

Now, if you want to follow Option 2: Triple Almond Cinnamon Bread Roll Up, then follow these instruction here:
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
 Cut dough in half. Cover the half left in the bowl and set aside.
Roll out half the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick rectangle. 
Spread with 1/2 of the cinnamon/butter filling mixture, spreading as well as you can.
Top with about 1/3 of the custard filling, drizzling the custard in a line down the length of the dough, not spreading it out. (See photo)
Carefully roll up dough, jelly roll style, being careful not to let the custard squish out. 
After dough is rolled into a log, roll the log into a loose "snail shell" type shape and pinch the ends under.
Gently move the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (See photo)
Make small slits around top of "snail".
Repeat with other half of dough.
(Note - you will have some custard leftover. You can discard this or use it for other purposes.)
Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
When dough is risen, preheat oven to 375.
Bake at 375 for approx 15 - 20 minutes, until top is golden and dough feels hollow when tapped.
Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then carefully slide the roll up onto a cooling rack to cool.
Drizzle with the almond milk drizzle mixture and sprinkle with slivered almonds.

Serve warm or room temp.

Of course, you can always do option 3 - which is what I did - half the dough into little balls and half the dough into 1 roll up.
Can I just say that I knooooooow this may seem like a lot of work.
Yeast bread usually is a bit fussier than most things.
BUT... but...but.... this is totally worth it.
The custard adds the most interesting texture without being too "weirdly" creamy. It kind of half cooks into the bread making for an incredibly moist and chewy (in a good way) yeast bread.
The almond milk definitely adds a little different taste than "normal" milk. So good when you are looking for something different than the norm.
If you want to make something that will totally have people thinking you are a kitchen super genius, then this is the recipe for you.

We're sharing at these fab linky parties, be sure to check them out! - Cecelia's Good Stuff, Ms. enPlace, Memories By The Mile, Simple Life of a Fire Wife, New Mrs. Adventures, Anyonita Nibbles, Horrific Knits,

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Quinoa Pudding

This is a dessert recipe that is usually an old fashioned classic but we have taken it in a contemporary direction by substituting some of the classic ingredients with some new and exciting ones. 
Everyone has had rice pudding at some point, right?
I mean.... it's been around forever. 
If you haven't tried it then, woooooooooow, you've been missing out.
Just sayin'
Sue and I were lucky enough to be able to participate in a venture with Almond Breeze
(**We were compensated for our participation but all opinions stated here are our own!**) 
We were challenged to come up with 2 different recipes using Almond Breeze products. One a classic and one a little more unique. 
Today we are happy to share our version of a classic.
To be honest we were a little nervous about using Almond Breeze milk. 
See... the thing is.... we are a little judge-y when it comes to trying new things. We wanted to be fair though so we both had a glass to sample before starting.
Turns out we need to stop being so judge-y.
It's delicious. It's not scary at all. 
You should probably try it too.
Anyway.... on to our recipe!

Cinnamon Raisin Quinoa Pudding

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup quinoa
1 egg white
3 pkg Stevia 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp raisins
2 Tbsp whipped cream (or whipped coconut cream)
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked) *Because you are dealing with small amounts, you may need to add a tablespoon or two more water before the quinoa is cooked.*
 When quinoa is cooked, in a small bowl, whisk together the Almond Breeze, egg white, Stevia, cinnamon, and raisins. Stir into the quinoa.
Bring to a simmer and stir for approximately 15 minutes.
If pudding appears too "dry" then stir in another spoonful or two of the Almond Breeze to "loosen" it.
Serve warm with a spoonful of whipped cream (or coconut whipped cream) and a dash of cinnamon, if desired.
So tasty.
The quinoa is a teeny bit more chewy than rice usually is in this dish. I don't find that to be a bad thing. It's just different. Plus.... this is healthy. 
So, yeah.
Healthy and delicious is my favorite. 
According to Myfitnesspal 1 serving is: 133 calories, 3.5 fat, 19 carbs, 2 fiber, and 5.5 protein.
This recipe makes 2 servings. (Yeah, 1/2 the entire recipe is a serving! Win!)
Plus, this is chock full of iron, calcium, Vit A, and potassium. It is gluten free, vegetarian, and dairy free.
Who knew treats could be so good for you?
Don't forget to come back soon - Sue and I are experimenting with the Almond Breeze to see what we can come up with for our "unique" recipe and things are getting crazy up in here!

We're sharing at these fab sites. Be sure to check them out! - The Chicken Chick, Ms. enPlace, Feeding Big, Memories By The Mile, Hun...What's For Dinner?, Simple Life Of A Fire Wife, New Mrs Adventures, Anyonita Nibbles, and Horrific Knits

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut butter is one of my all time favorite things.
Mix it in oatmeal, make it into ice cream, scoop it straight from the jar, or - even better - bake it into come cookies. I shrunk down a favorite recipe of mine into a small batch so the temptation to eat a million cookies isn't there.
Throw some Reese's mini peanut butter cups into the mix and *boom*, most addictive cookies on the planet.

Peanut Butter Blossoms (Small Batch)

2 Tbsp butter, room temp
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
about 24 or so Reese's peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat, set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, peanut butter, and vanilla until well combined. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. 

Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well mixed. 
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Top each with a mini peanut butter cup, pressing down into the cookie.

Bake at 350 for 8 - 12 minutes, watching for the bottom and the edges of the cookie to turn a golden brown.
Remove from oven and leave on cookie sheet for 2 or 3 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Mmmmm. Peanut buttery goodness. 

I'm pretty sure I got 24 to 28 cookies out of this small batch using a small cookie scoop.
I may have been taste testing as I baked sooooo.... yeah.... my numbers may be off by one or two... or 6. 
P.S. - If you find these spread out while cooking then simply chill the dough for 20 minutes before scooping it. I don't find it necessary but I know some people have trouble with that!

If you started making these now you could be eating them in about half an hour.
What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake With Gingersnap Crust

Last Thanksgiving I made our Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake  (recipe HERE) and it was a big hit.
It is a combination of pumpkin pie and cheesecake in glorious layers. This year I decided to make just a regular pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. 
That's kind of a misleading statement - "just a regular pumpkin cheesecake".
I mean. 
It's PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE for cryin' out loud!! Food of the Gods, as it were. 
It went over very well too. 
Nothing beats cheesecake. 
Don't argue.

Pumpkin Cheesecake With Gingersnap Crust

1 box gingersnaps
1/2 cup pecans
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted

3 X 8 oz pkgs Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temp
2 cups pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp vanilla

Whipped Cream Topping
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans (garnish)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 10 inch springform pan with cooking spray, set aside.
In a blender, place gingersnaps and 1/2 cup pecans. Pulse until fine crumbs. Add in brown sugar and butter and pulse until well combined.
Dump crumbs into springform pan and press firmly in bottom and slightly up sides of pan.

Bake for 5 minutes at 350 then remove and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides as needed. Beat in pumpkin, eggs, Greek yogurt, spices, and vanilla until smooth, again, scraping down sides as needed.
Pour the mixture into the springform pan over the crust.

Bake in 350 oven for an hour (sides should be firm and middle should only jiggle a little). 
Shut off the heat and leave cheesecake in oven at least 2 more hours. 
Remove from oven and let come to room temp.

Chill in fridge at least 5 hours, best overnight. Run a knife between the cheesecake and the pan. Remove sides of springform pan. 
When cheesecake is chilled, beat the whipping cream with the cinnamon and sugar until stiff peaks form.
Spread whipped cream on top of cheesecake. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped pecans. 
Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

So much pumpkin-y goodness.
I really don't understand you pumpkin haters out there. 
And, don't even get me started on you cheesecake haters.....
Looking for more fun links? Check out these fab sites - Adorned From Above, Dizzy Busy & Hungry, Mama Buzz, Nap Time Is My Time, and Horrific Knits