Hello my name is Sandra and I buy lots of baking utensils that I don’t really need. I also often have said baking utensils for years before I use them. Please tell me I’m not alone with this habit. For some reason I am a magnet to baking pans and equipment that are on clearance. If I see a pan that is less than $10.00 it’s almost a sure bet that I’m going to buy it. Such was the case with my mini doughnut pan that I’ve had for almost two years. [Read more…]
In the past I’ve used protein shakes as a pre/post workout drink and drank them as a means to quell my voracious sweet tooth. Lucky for me I had the opportunity to sample Pure Whey Protein Isolate from Summit Nutritions. One packet is one serving and has 25 grams of protein which is roughly 2 TBS. I mixed my shake with almond milk and that may have added to the sweetness. The next time I’ll use skim milk or even try it with water. The taste was very chocolaty and it was very filling. The only slight drawback was that it didn’t dissolve easily, and I did shake it for 25-30 seconds as per the package directions.
I liked the fact that this is pure whey protein isolate. Only 110 calories, <1% carbs, no fat, no lactose and most important it is a non-gmo product. Over the course of my fitness career I’ve tried many varieties and brands of protein shakes and this one ranks at the top. You can find Pure Whey Protein Isolate by Summit Nutritions at Amazon.com
It just so happened that over the weekend I went with Charisse to the bridal shop so that she could get reacquainted with her wedding dress. While there I looked over their Mother of the Bride dresses. Some were very stylish and some clearly were just downright frumpy. Just because you have a daughter/son getting married doesn’t put you in the matronly category. Who’s designing these dresses?
There were few that were my style and figured I’d come back later to try them on. In my mind come back later meant after losing about 15 pounds. The associate that I asked about availability informed me that these dresses should be ordered for months out from the wedding. Oh dear. Houston we have a problem! The wedding is in July.
I’ve ridden the weight loss rollercoaster way too many times in my life to even think about an all or nothing crash/fad diet. At this point in life I’m not going that route again. It’s hard on the body and the weight loss isn’t permanent. I know all the rules and how it happens, and yes, I know I should have been more serious about it many months ago. Wish me luck on the dress, stuff is about to get real around here. Treadmill here I come!!!!
I received a free samples of 2% Whey Protein Isolate in exchange for writing a review. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are purely and entirely my own.
This is the perfect time of year for baking with apples and here in Michigan we’re blessed with an abundance to choose from. Some tart varieties are:
Granny Smith – have a sweet/tart flavor which makes them great for snacking as well as sweet and savory dishes. They hold their shape very well when cooked.
Braeburn- these don’t turn brown easy, and are tart and juicy. Great for snacking too.
Cortland- tart, dense, juicy and also holds it’s shape. Nothing worse than an apple pie that’s too mushy.
Jonathan- another tart variety that retains its shape.
Ginger Gold – doesn’t turn brown easy and also tart, sweet and juicy.
Having difficulty shaking the salt habit? Try adding spices, seasonings, or herbs instead of table salt. Another good alternative is flavored sea salts. The flavors are more pronounced and you won’t need half as much as you usually use. Recently I found an even better solution than flavored sea salts. I was sent packets of Healthy Solutions Spice Blends to use and review. The views and opinions of this product are entirely my own.
www.spiceblends.com [Read more…]
The Community Coordinator on behalf of Williams Sonoma
interested in my own twist on the Classic Bloody Mary…” The one stipulation was that I had to juice the tomatoes. No problem there, I am no stranger to juicing.
Running a baking blog means there’s a fair amount of sugar and saturated fat in my sweet treats. While I do give lots of them away some are just too darn good to part with. In attempt to balance things out so to speak I began juicing. I could tell the difference in my energy level and naturally I dropped a few pounds.
I wanted to do at least one more frozen treat as a part of #IceCreamForOXO. This is only the second time I’ve made frozen yogurt and with all the decadent offerings I’ve been serving up, this was timely in more ways than one. I’ll explain more about that soon. As per the name of the blog where I found the recipe, this is intensely flavored. I wanted it to go to the depths of coffee and chocolate and it did. This is not yogurt pretending to be or wanting to be ice cream. The tanginess from the yogurt will let you know that right away.
For the cocoa I used Hershey’s Dark along with Callebut dark chocolate chips. Two other out of this world, make your taste buds stand up and notice ingredients were the brown sugar and espresso. These were gifts from our daughter in law Rupal. On her recent visit back home to Tanzania she brought back coffee and brown sugar. Let me start with the brown sugar. The molasses in it is deep and mellow at the same time. Also, it’s the first brown sugar that I’ve used that has to be refrigerated. We’ve become accustomed to Tanzanian coffee but this was the first espresso blend we’ve had. Talk about an eye opener. Oh my gosh it is strong! Thanks again Rupal!
I’ve found that frozen yogurt freezes harder than ice cream so letting it set out for a few minutes before serving is a good idea. Yes you can soften it in the microwave. However, there’s a fine line between soft enough to scoop and now you have a shake.
After mixing the milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso the sugar had not dissolved completely. I transferred the mixture to a warm saucepan and stirred until all the sugar crystals had dissolved. I let the mixture cool to room temperature before combining it with the remaining ingredients.
Also, with my KitchenAid ice cream maker it starts to sound clunky and no longer churns smoothly. That’s when I know it’s time to toss in the add ins. Approximately one minute of churning is needed. An alternative way is to fold in your mix ins with a large spatula. This is the optimum way for berries and other soft add ins.
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 heaping TBS dark cocoa
- 2 shots of espresso
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 TBS vanilla
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Mix the milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso in a medium bowl.
- Stir in yogurt, heavy cream, and coffee extract; continue to mix until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 20-30 minutes.
- Mix ins can be added to your frozen yogurt or ice cream right before it's finished.
- Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until it reaches desired consistency.
This was another attempt to make a dessert that my husband would swoon over. For those that aren’t familiar with his taste buds, he doesn’t like sweets (wink-wink), except for me of course.
Enter Cornmeal Orange Cake. Don’t be turned off by the cornmeal. If you’ve ever had Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix it’s kinda/sorta similar; kinda. Not as sweet though. What’s really awesome is the orange flavor that almost punches you in the face in a good way. The most fun part of making this cake was rubbing the orange zest into the sugar.
The directions didn’t elaborate enough on that for me and I didn’t want to do it with my hands. Instead I mushed it all together with a spatula. The result was sugar colored a brilliant orange and with the best fragrance ever! I sprinkled raw sugar on top rather than granulated for an extra crunch.
Okay, so the Mr.’s reaction, “its good babe”. One slice and he was done. Why oh why can’t one slice ever be enough for me? This time it was because I took it to Charisse at work and shared it with my neighbor. If you have the need for a quick sweet treat this might be it. It’s made with oil instead of butter so saturated fat won’t be an issue. Also not extra fat from a frosting or filling. It’s ready in under an hour and I’m sure your neighbors would love for you to share it with them. This recipe was adapted from one found at Mimi’s Kitchen.
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup cornmeal
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- Zest of one orange
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup raw sugar for topping
- ½ cup orange juice
- Preheat oven to 375F. Oil an 8 inch round cake pan with additional olive oil.
- Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
- Incorporate orange zest into the sugar with a spatula until thoroughly combined.
- Whisk in the oil, eggs, and orange juice until smooth.
- Add flour mixture and whisk to combine.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with ⅓ cup of raw sugar.
- Bake until cake begins to pull away from the sides of pan and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes.
- Cool in pan for 10 - 20 minutes. Invert cake on to a plate and re-invert on to a wire rack and cool completely.
These are the linky parties I participate in. Drop by and show them a little love!
If we don’t get some warm weather soon I’m going to weigh 200 lbs!! On Saturday and Sunday mornings one of my
indulgences is to watch episodes of Unique Sweets on demand. I’m in bed with my electronic devices nearby and a spiral notebook. First thing in the morning I’m ravenous and most everything I see on TV I want to eat/make or buy. Danger Will Robinson!!!
My weekend delights have sparked so many ideas that it would take me three or four more lifetimes to bring all of them to fruition. Baked Oatmeal was one of those ideas and I don’t know why it took me so long to make it. Let me take that back, I know why. This oatmeal is filled with dates, cranberries, pears, walnuts and brown sugar. I swear it is more like a dessert but I fool myself into thinking that it’s a little healthy because it contains oatmeal and fruit. This morning I had the nerve to add a drizzle of real live, authentic maple syrup on top. YOLO!!!!
Thank you Better Homes and Garden for the inspiration and the weight gain, (snark)!
Fruit and Nut Baked Oatmeal – Inspired by Better Homes and Garden
1 ¾ cups soy vanilla milk
2 TBS butter
1 cup regular rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup diced pear
5 TBS packed brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 1 ½ quart casserole and set aside. In a medium saucepan combine milk and butter. Bring to a boil and gradually stir in oats. Next stir in dates, cranberries and the pears. Followed by 3 TBS of the brown sugar and vanilla and salt. Cook and stir for one minute. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.
Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar and walnuts. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes more or until bubbly. Cool slightly and serve with milk and a drizzle of maple syrup. Do your best to save some for the next day. It’s that good, trust me.
These little lovelies were born out of boredom and a wee bit of frustration. It was Valentine’s Day and I was feeling out of sorts. I needed something to do, something fun and or relaxing. It’s not like I didn’t have things around the house that needed my attention. Dust seems to settle overnight and I swear the hamper is bottomless. However, housework was the last thing I wanted to do and not just because it was Valentine’s Day.
This was one of those times when baking was truly therapy. I needed to bake something. There was a lonely box of Duncan Hines Marble Cake mix that had been in the cabinet for months so I figured what the heck. Now, as much as I love to get jiggy with my layer cakes I didn’t want to go that deep this time with all the frosting swirls and festoons. I decided that the aforementioned cake mix would become a simple pound cake baked in a loaf pan.
After I had filled the pan 2/3 full there was batter leftover. Not enough to save and too much to throw away. Don’t you hate it when that happens? I wanted to use my shiny new ***quick loaf pan so I found a easy and quick recipe. It’s a one bowl chocolate cake that’s semi healthy. And for semi healthy it was pretty good. I didn’t glaze either of the cakes and you know that’s different for me. With all the candy and other sweets in the house we wouldn’t and didn’t miss the extra sugar.
I won’t bore you with the details of the Duncan Hines cake, the recipe is on the side of the box and is pretty standard. The other loaf cake is from Delish.com and that only thing I did differently was to add the little bit of batter left from the DH cake into the bottom of the pan. Also, I used real sugar instead of Splenda. The whole wheat pastry flour gave it a slightly nutty taste and the coffee in it was distinct but not overpowering. I’d make it again in a heartbeat. The cake with the yellow and white towel is the Duncan Hines cake and the one from Delish.com is with the blue towel.
One Bowl Chocolate Cake – Delish.com
3/4 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoon(s) whole-wheat pastry flour, combined with above flour
½ cup(s) sugar, or 1/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking\
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup nonfat buttermilk
½ cup packed light brown sugar, or ¼ cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 TBS canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup hot strong black coffee
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with a circle of wax paper. Whisk flour, granulated sugar (or Splenda), cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add buttermilk, brown sugar (or Splenda), egg, oil and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add hot coffee and beat to blend. (The batter will be quite thin.) Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from the pan, peel off the wax paper and let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if you like.
***For information about the quick loaf pan check out this link at King Arthur Flour.
Don’t you just love having pictures and a post in your stash for those days when you haven’t cooked/baked or created anything. This is one of them. Back when Hodgson Mills sent me a shipment of their different flours I made this bread. I found the recipe at Epicurious.com and was feeling very brave that day.
It didn’t come out bad and I wasn’t jumping for joy either. The smell of baking bread should be bottled and or made into a candle scent, it is heavenly. Have you ever made something that smelled better than it tasted? That’s kinda-sorta the situation here. It came out a little dense and I haven’t baked enough bread to figure out why. Any bread bakers out there with any advice? A little more care with shaping the loaves will be helpful the next time around also. With all that being said, the taste wasn’t bad. It was perfect for dipping in the soup I made to go along with it and for dipping in olive oil.
On another note I have to thank Eileen at The Joy of Caking again for the Hershey’s giveaway that she ran on her blog. She notified me on Monday that I had won and I received a huge box of goodies from Hershey’s today. I have something in mind to bake with part of it and I’ll be sharing it soon.
Cornmeal Harvest Loaves – Epicurious.com
2 cups lukewarm water
¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 ¼ -ounce packages (about 1 TBS plus 2 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup plus 2 TBS yellow cornmeal
About 4 3/4 cups bread flour
5 tsp salt
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 tsp basil
In bowl of a standing electric mixer (or a large bowl if kneading by hand, hopefully not) stir together lukewarm water, sugar, yeast, basil and 1 cup cornmeal and let stand until foamy about 5 minutes. For some reason this is one if the steps that really freaks me out. In another bowl stir together flour and salt and gradually stir enough flour mixture into cornmeal mixture to form a soft dough. With dough hook knead dough; add in cheddar cheese and any remaining flour mixture if dough is too sticky, 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. (Alternatively, dough may be kneaded on a floured surface with floured hands until smooth and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes.)
Put dough in an oiled deep bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover bowl loosely and let dough rise in a warm place 2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Alternatively, dough may be allowed to rise, covered, in refrigerator overnight. If I did this I wouldn’t sleep a wink worrying about the dough rising.
Punch down dough and divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece between hands to form a 14-inch loaf and put 2 loaves on each of 2 large baking sheets. With a knife or kitchen scissors make eight to ten 2-inch-long diagonal cuts down length of each loaf and pull open to make decorative holes (exaggerate openings as they will become smaller during rising and baking). Cover loves loosely and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle loaves with remaining 2 tablespoons cornmeal and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven 25 minutes, or until golden, switching baking sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through baking. Cool loaves on racks.