Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cinnamon Pumpkin Bars

This is the season to use pumpkin in our recipes.  No, I am not tired of pumpkin after October.  For a squash lover, I think pumpkin is a sure-sell.  Of course, you can use real pumpkin but I was out to save time.  I find that most recipes using canned pumpkin are fast and easy.  This one is delicious too.

Diana Rattray  (adapted)
Cinnamon Pumpkin Bars


1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour mix
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg     
                                                                                                           IMG_44331/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
3/4 cup  oil

1/2 cup gluten-free flour mixture (I make a mix of 2 cups brown rice and 2/3 cup potato starch and 1/3 cup tapioca flour. Take the amount needed to fill the flour requirement. In this case you need two cups of the mix for the cake and topping.)

1/2 cup brown sugar
6 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Grease and flour a 9 inch square baking pan.  Pre-heat oven to 350°
In a bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, guar gum and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and oil until well blended, scraping the bowl a few times.
Stir in the dry ingredients until blended. Spread in prepared baking pan.

In another bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. (You can use one half cup of nuts in this mixture. I didn’t and I am sorry I did not. Use fine chopped walnuts or pecans.)

Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until crumbly.

Sprinkle evenly over the pumpkin batter. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Cool in pan on a rack. Cut in squares to serve.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Golden Potato Cakes ----- Paula Deen

Potatoes have always been a comfort food, in my family. When, I was a child and did not feel well, my mother would make me mashed potatoes. They were like a bit of sunshine casting its rays over me.

As an adult, when I see a potato recipe, chances are, I am going to make it. When Paula Deen shared this recipe, it went with me, into the kitchen and turned into these Golden Potato Cakes. They come with the sunshine built inside. They definitely make me feel better.

Golden Potato Cakes ----- Paula Deen (adapted)


6 cups cubed (1-inch) Yukon gold potatoes , peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 cup potato chip crumbs (Ground in food processor)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup light sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil (I try to use less.)


Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer about 12 minutes until tender. Drain well and mash.  (Use a ricer if you want a great texture.)

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, crumbs, egg, cheese, onion, butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper. 

Form potatoes into 3-inch patties. I use a large cookie cutter to shape the patties.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add potato patties, and cook, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until brown and crisp. Serve immediately. (Be gentle with the patties. They will fall apart if treated roughly.)

Next time, I want to bake these.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gazpacho Pasta - Rachel Ray

The title of this recipe is what got my attention. Having made and liked gazpacho, putting it into a pasta dish, made sense and was appealing.

"Gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal (where it is known as gaspacho) and parts of Latin America. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its cold temperature and acidic bite." Wikipedia

Gazpacho Pasta - Rachel Ray (some modifications made) Serves 4  See the video here.


1 pint grape tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, cut into small cubes (In retrospect, I should have made the pieces a little bigger.)
2 tablespoons olive oil,

black pepper
1 pound gluten-free penne
2 stalks celery , roughly chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves (two large handfuls)
1/2 cup almonds, toasted
A few dashes of hot sauce


Pre-heat the oven to 400ºF and place a large pot of water over high heat to bring to a boil.

Scatter the tomatoes and zucchini onto a baking sheet and drizzle them with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and some pepper. Toss them in the oven and roast until the tomatoes have burst and the zucchini is tender, about 20 minutes. (I should have checked this at 15 minutes.)
When the water is boiling, add some salt and drop in the penne. Cook until al dente, according to the package directions. Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta thoroughly, then return it to the pot it was cooked in.

Toss the celery, parsley, almonds, zest and juice of the lime into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse everything together until chopped, then stream in the remaining olive oil while the machine is running until it forms a nice pesto. Reserve. Add a little of the reserved water (1 tablespoon) to the food processor and the vegetable will chop more easily.

Once the pasta and veggies are ready, add the roasted vegetables to the pot with the cooked pasta along with the pesto. Throw in the chopped peppers and a few dashes of hot sauce and give everything a good toss to evenly coat.

Turn the pasta out into a serving dish and garnish with scallions, if you like.  This had a bit of a crunch from the nuts and celery which is why, you should take care not to purify the ingredients in the food processor. You want slightly chopped ingredients.

I served this with baked meat balls.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Spicy Fried Rice with Peanuts - Kosher Connection

This month, Chinese Food is the theme for our recipes for Kosher Connection.  This is not authentic fried rice but I think it still fits the category.  This is Ellie Krieger's Spicy Fried Rice with Peanuts and it is good, even better than my more traditional recipes for the rice. 

For those of you who do not know how much respect, I have for Ellie's dishes, let me say right now, I have found her food to be healthy and tasty and hubby loves anything I make from her books.  He does not know they are Ellie recipes but when I make one, he always comments on how good it is.

I have made this recipe a number of times with minor changes, each time, such as leaving out chicken, this time.  I already had a chicken dish made and saw no reason to add it to the rice.  This was part of a Chanukah meal.

I have this posted on My Sweet and Savory with Cashews in place of the peanuts.

Spicy Fried Rice with Peanuts - adapted from Ellie Krieger (Comfort Food Fix)

1/4 cup less-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups red bell peppers , diced (about 2)
1 cup onion , diced

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger , peeled and minced
4 cups brown rice , cooked and cold
1/2 can sliced water chestnuts , drained and chopped
1/3 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts 


Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Heat oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, diced onion to pan; stir-fry 3 minutes or until tender.

Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry 1 minute.

Add rice and water chestnuts; stir-fry for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring gently.

Add soy sauce mixture; cook 2 minutes more, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons peanuts.

The photo on the top of the page is from my original recipe with cashews.  It appears, I did not take any pictures of the later dish.  The major differences are that this has cashews and chicken rather than peanuts.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Baked Onion Salmon with Sweet Potato Crumbs

Since, I make salmon almost weekly, I like to experiment.  This week, I made a simple dish, pouring Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing over the salmon fillets and sprinkling crumbs made from sweet potato chips plus some oregano from the garden.  Different and good.

Baked Onion Salmon with Sweet Potato Crumbs


3 salmon fillets
3 tablespoons Sweet Vidalia Onion Dressing
2 teaspoons sweet potato crumbs (from chips)
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour some water on the bottom of a baking dish or spray with cooking oil.

Place salmon fillets in pan and pour dressing over the salmon.  I did not cover them but drizzed over about 2/3 of the fillets.

Sprinkle crumbs on top.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Sprinkle oregano on top and serve.

linked to Inspire me Monday

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Creamy Potato-Carrot Soup

Soup was so good for us, last night, that I dared making it, for a second night in a row.  Usually, I would not do this.  Soup is filling but hubby gets hungry after a while and I can't say I blame him.  Last night's Avocado-Spinach soup can be found here.

I have had a craving for potato soup for days.  The truth is, I almost always have a craving for something-potato and I restrain myself.  Tonight, I played it differently. Actually, this morning, I put the soup up in a crockpot.  I made it very plain until I got home and tasted it and then I quickly made some additions.

It turned out to be a great soup, not just a good one.  

Creamy Potato Carrot Soup


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thick
4 potatoes, chunked
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
2 cups organic vegetable soup
2 cups water
2 carrots, shredded or thin sliced (I added these in the afternoon)
2 tablespoons chimichurri aioli
(It’s an Argentinean sauce, similar to pesto, and is  popular in South America. This basic version includes  parsley, oregano, garlic, oil and vinegar and a little bit of chili pepper) 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (two would also work)
2 tablespoons or globs of cream cheese

Heat olive oil in crockpot. Add onions and cook on high for 30 minutes.
Add bell pepper, potatoes, soup and water and lower heat to medium or low (whichever your pot has as a choice)
Cook for 3 hours.
Add carrots, aioli and Worcestershire sauce.
Mix together with a spoon.
Add cream cheese. (your secret ingredient)
Using immersion blender, mix it to consistency, you like.  I made it smooth and creamy.
It needs salt but I add in the plates, rather than the pot, for those who do not use salt for health reasons.

Eat and enjoy.
linked to      Not Your Ordinary Recipes

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Recipe Box # 28 Cheesecake

New York Cheesecake - I made the recipe from Jenn's Random Scraps.  I made it without a crust and cut the recipe in half to make it like a pie.  Check out Jenn for a luscious cake.  Also, get the recipe there.

  In Cindy's Kitchen  

Cook With Sara = Yummy

 Fox in the Kitchen

Linked to       See Ya in the Gumbo            Simple Living      

Your turn:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Eggplant Delight

It is interesting and even hard to understand why some classes love when I bake for them, others are very happy, and then there are some who are lukewarm.

I am happy to share that this year's group enjoys and praises what I bring in.  It makes me truly happy if they like the goodies.  I don't think I have to worry about rejection with this class.  Today, I brought them cupcakes and chocolate cookies.  They could not get enough and their faces lit up as I left a little something on their desks.  I came home on a high.

This dinner brings a smile to my face.  Now that I have overcome a dislike for eggplant, I thoroughly enjoy it.  It is one of my favorites which speaks volumes for where it stands on the long list of likes.  It is way up there.

Italian Eggplant Delight


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 green pepper chopped

1 large onion chopped

1 (15.5 oz.) jar marinara sauce

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

2 small eggplants, peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch slices

2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, spray olive oil. Place eggplant slices in pan and cook on medium high heat until brown. Turn over and do the same. You should watch this to make sure the slices, do not burn. I had to lower the heat and put it up again as the eggplant cooked. When I turned it, I sprayed the pan again.

Saute green pepper and onion in oil in a second large skillet until tender. Add mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes.

Add marinara sauce Bring to a boil.

Add eggplant. Cook loosely covered, stirring occasionally for five minutes until eggplant is hot and cooked thoroughly.

Cover bottom of baking dish with sauce. Place half of eggplant mixture in ten inch round baking dish. Top with half of the cheese. Add the rest of the eggplant mixture and top with the remaining cheese.

Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet for support. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted. Garnish with basil leaves or sprigs of parsley, if you would like. Let stand 10-15 minutes before cutting into wedges. Serves 8. 

Linked to Kelly the Kitchen Kop   Gallery of Favorites   

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stuffed Shells With Vegetable Bolognese Sauce

This year, I have decided to serve manicotti and stuffed shells, at the Chanukah party. Actually, I decided to make the shells but I saw a box of manicotti and wanted to play with it, too.  I made one tray gluten-free for hubby, one tray regular stuffed shells and one of manicotti.  

I used a spinach cheese mixture for one tray of manicotti and one tray of shells.  I made this vegetable -pasta dish as the second shell dish.  This is the new recipe for me and it is intriguing.  I added the mushrooms because I could, as my husband would say.  I also used diced tomatoes which was not in the original recipe.

I have to plan the rest of the menu.  I am thinking garlic bread and spinach salad with a simple dessert.  Sorbet and cookies sounds good to me.

Stuffed Shells With Vegetable Bolognese Sauce (adapted from   Ragú )

Ingredients :

1 can diced tomatoes (about 16 ounces) (serves 8)
1 container (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 oz.)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, unpeeled and chopped

1. cup mushrooms, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced very thin with mandolin
1 medium roasted red pepper, chopped

2 cups Marinara sauce
2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves
1 box jumbo shells pasta (about 24 shells), cooked and drained (I didn't have enough for 24 - instead, I filled 16.)


Preheat oven to 350°. Combine ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella and Parmesan cheese in medium bowl; set aside.

Pour can of tomatoes on bottom of shallow lasagna pan.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook onion, zucchini, mushrooms, carrot and red pepper, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in spinach. 

Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.

Stuff shells with cheese mixture. Arrange shells in baking dish over tomatoes. Pour Marinara sauce mixture over shells. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.

Bake covered 30 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes - Margaret Stewart

I started baking for our annual Chanukah party and my first thought is the children.  What do kids like?  Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cupcakes, sprinkles and frosting. 

The best place for cupcakes is Martha Stewart's book, appropriately called Martha Stewart Cupcakes. Over the recent years, I have made a number of recipes from the book and each has been gobbled by the children and adults, alike.

This time, I chose the chocolate chip cupcakes and I froze them without the frosting.  Actually, they appeal to me plain but for the kids, I will add some frosting, before the party.

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes (I made half of the recipe and did not make the hearts.)


3 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon sifted* cake flour (not self-rising)
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Rice Dream
½ cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 1/2 egg beaters
1 1/2 cups  semisweet chocolate chips

For the Icing:
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 pound best-quality semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled


Preheat the oven to 350 and line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk together 3 ¼ cups cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

Combine Rice Dream and vanilla.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, in another bowl cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar in a steady stream, beat until pale and fluffy.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter in three batches, alternating with two additions of the milk mixture, and beating until just combined after each. In other words add 1/3 of the flour mixture then mix, then add ½ the milk mixture then mix, and repeat until combined.

Fold in egg beaters.

Coat the chocolate chips with the 1 tablespoon of flour, then add to the batter.

Divide the batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarter full. Bake the cupcakes for about 22 minutes,  (or until done – insert a sharp knife into the center of the cupcake, if it comes out clean then they are done).

Transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.

Eat and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Recipe Box - Crispy Baked Zucchin Potato Pancakes

It is Chanukah and it is traditional to eat fried foods.  The custom of eating fried foods is in remembrance of the miracle of Chanukah, which is centered around oil (one cruse lasting for eight days). Latkes (fried potato pancakes) are traditional, topped with applesauce or sour cream, but there are all kinds of vegetable pancakes that are also delicious. Jelly doughnuts are also popular during this holiday.

I decided to go the healthy route and followed Ellie Krieger's baked latke recipe and also made three of them in a skillet.  We had the best of both worlds, mostly baked with a naughty bite of fried pancakes.

I like the idea of including zucchini.  I have made potato latkes with carrots in the past, also.  I did alter the amounts used in the recipe and since we finished them up, I did a good job.  On the other hand, hubby tends to finish whatever is there.  Skinny men can get away with it.

I made this before and fortunately and I had this photo.  My photos tonight were all blurred and I could not use them.  This is from April and is far superior to anything I got, today.

I can't find where it says to add the onions.  I just mixed them in the batter when I combined all the ingredients.

Crispy Baked Zucchini Potato Pancakes
Page 236 of Comfort Food Fix - Krieger


Olive oil cooking spray
2 easpoons olive oil
1 largel onion, thinly sliced
2 gold potato unpeeled
1 medium zucchini unpeeled, ends removed
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon  ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400. coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Grate the potato and zucchini on the large holes of a box grater. Place the grated potato and zucchini in a kitchen towel or cheesecloth and twist over the sink to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Transfer the zucchini and potato to a bowl. In small bowl, beat together the eggs and egg whites to combine. Add the eggs, lemon juice, flour salt, and pepper to the potato mixture and stir until well combined.

Heat the prepared baking sheet in the oven for 3 -5 minutes until hot but before the oil begins to smoke. Remove the baking sheet and immediately begin to make the pancakes. 

Place them on the tray. Use an ice cream scoop of batter for each, forming it into a flat, 2-3 inch pancake. 

Bake until the edges begin to crisp. 7-8 minutes. remove from oven and spray the tops of the pancakes with cooking spray and flip the pancakes. Bake until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes more. 

Makes 4 servings

Looking back:

Wicked Spinach Dip in Crusty Bread from Random Scraps

Winnie's Spiral Herb Bread

Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Crumb Topping from Mamal Diane

Your turn: 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pizza - Ellie

I  have to admit, I took a lot of liberties with this recipe because I had to make it gluten-free and because, I had spinach, not arugula, in the house.   Despite these changes, my inspiration was Ellie's French Bread Pizza.

I had saved a ball of pizza dough from the last time, I made pizza, and used that instead of the French Bread.  It would have been easier using bread.

After rolling out the dough and baking it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, I poured marinara sauce on top of the surface and covered it with about 2 cups spinach and then with a little more than a cup of shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan.  I baked it for another 10 minutes or until the cheese turned golden.  Then, we demolished it.

Thanks to Ellie for the inspiration.

Menu Plan Monday - Gluten-Free

As I discussed, in the previous post, I am cooking from Ellie Krieger's, Comfort Food Fix, this week.  I had this book, marked up, already with recipes, I want to make.  The strangest part of my selection is that those are not the recipes, I am planning to use.  I ended up, picking a whole set of new recipes.  This proves how appealing Ellie's recipes are to me.  I think, I would be happy with almost any of them.

Sunday - Spinach Pizza

Monday - Chili, Bean & Corn Bread Pie with Zucchini Potato Pancakes

Tuesday - Lasagna   Better Beef Lasagna

Wednesday - Skillet Mac and Cheese  Skillet Mac and Cheese

Thursday - Spicy Chicken Fried Rice with Peanuts (I have made this one and it is amazing.) Spicy Chicken Fried Rice wi.JPG

Friday - Sesame Chicken with Broccoli with Autumn Vegetable Curry
Menu Plan Monday

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Intro to Ellie

Ellie Krieger's Best Healthy Recipes Greek Style Suffed Peppers

This week, I am going to be cooking from Ellie's Krieger's "Comfort Food Fix".  I have made several recipes from the book, in the past and I plan to make additional ones, this week.  I am including some photos from Ellie's recipes.
  Picture of Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach Recipe Balsamic Chicken with Baby Spinach Recipe

 For a number of years, we had a wonderful group who cooked Ellie Krieger recipes, weekly.  We have kept the linky active but as a group, we have not formalized any recipes for the group to make.  We would like to re-create this group.  CEiMB, Craving Ellie with My Belly is found here.
Broccoli, Mushroom, and Cheese Breakfast StrataBroccoli and Mushroom Strata
Margaret of Tea and Scones is our cheerful and competent leader.  We discussed a good way to bring back CEiMB is to select a theme and what is more appropriate for December than cookies.  There are several recipes online as well as in Ellie's books.

Energy Bars
Ellie is charming and if you have not been fortunate enough to have cooked her recipes, check them online and look for her videos.  I have two of her books and they are such a wonderful part of my cookbook collection.

My husband has always liked Ellie recipes, not that he knows, who's recipe, he is eating.  When I make one of her recipes, I get comments like, "Make this again," and "This one is a winner."  The food is healthy, tasty and easy to make.  The ingredients are usually ones we have on hand.

Margaret and I invite you to join us.  Pick any of Ellie's cookies and link up. 

You will find some of her recipes online.
Healthy Living
Food Network
Cooking Channel

There are other sites to check out as well. Picture of Three Bean and Beef Chili Recipe   Three Bean and Beef Chili 

Santa Fe Beans and Corn

 I found a package  of Bean Cuisine Soup Mix, behind some cans, on a shelf in my storage cabinet.  Since they do not make this anymore, I have had it for a few years.  Since it was dried beans and seasoning, I figured it was all right to use.

I am, in the habit, of throwing out anything that has been around for a while while hubby moans and groans.  I am afraid to take chances with our health.  This did not appear to pose a threat so I bravely carried on.  I decided not to make soup but a bean dish.

Santa Fe Beans and Corn (adapted from Bean Cuisine)


2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 14.5oz cans vegetable broth
1 14.5oz can tomatoes, diced
2 cups corn


In a large stock pot, saute vegetables & garlic in olive oil.

Add water, wine, vegetable broth, beans, spice packet contents, tomatoes, corn and chicken.

Bring to a boil, simmer, covered, for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender. 

Eat and enjoy.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chocolate Cake as Good as His Mother's

We had an early Chanukah party today even though Chanukah does not start yet. I baked my class chocolate cake and I received the best compliment, a teacher can get. One of my boys said that now there are two best bakers, his Mom and his teacher. I was glowing the rest of the day.

Some classes respond to my baking with enthusiasm and gratitude and other classes eat it all up without a comment. It seems to be a class trait. Of course there are some who thank me three times and tell me how delicious the goodies are but more just eat up and should not be proud of their behavior. This year, I am blessed with a class of wide smiles and lots of thank you's. 

This is supposed to be a layer cake and if you click on  Taste of Home below, you will get the original recipe.  I did not use their icing either.
Best Chocolate Cake  Adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients :

3/4 cup margarine, softened or oil
2 cups  Granulated Sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 Almond Milk

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup of candy 


Line three 9  x 13 pan with parchment paper or wax paper; grease and flour the pans and paper. Set aside.

Using electric mixer, in a large bowl, cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. 

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture alternately with Almond Milk, beating well after each addition.

Transfer to prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 

Immediately pour chocolate chips on top of cake, spreading them out to cover most of the cake.  Return to oven for one or two minutes until they melt.  With a spatula, spread them out.  Sprinkle candy on time.  The colorful candy make this look quite festive.

Linked to Sweet Saturday

Cookies for My Class

I have a deal with my class and have had the same challenge for them, for years.  Each week, if they return their work folders to me, signed by a parent, I bake them cookies.  I usually allow one or two to forget.  This year's class has not tasted a cookie yet, this year.  As a group, they could not pull this off.

They are an enigma to me.  As much as they want the extras, they won't put themselves into it. I have never met this before and it is challenging me.  Fortunately, I like a good challenge.

I am open to suggestions.  Discipline is not the problem.  If I lower my voice so it is barely audible, the class is quiet.  They do what they have to do but if I give them an inch, like taking a breath, they are rarin' to go.  If I would allow them to continue, I don't think they would ever stop. No, I am not exaggerating.

As a result, bring in signed folders seem to be a distant possibility.  I, so badly, want to bake for them and I will do so for Chanukah.  They are a great class but a handful.  

It is quite funny.  One day, I was lecturing a few boys, in the hall.  There was a younger student watching.  When my boys went back to class, I said to him, "You see how mean I am?"  He responded, "No, you are nice."  I have no idea who he is but I think my reputation has preceded me.

Years ago, I overhead a girl telling the next class, coming up how I was strict but fair and I have prided myself on those words, since that day.  I follow a teacher who tends to threaten and not follow through.  While the kids get away with a lot, they have no respect for that teacher and as far as I can see, don't like her.  Children are really smart and they know, if we expect a lot from them, it is because we think highly of them and if we mean what we say, we are fair.  Love those ten year olds.

Anyway, two of my previous class came begging.  All they wanted is a homemade cookie.  I baked two batches of chocolate chip cookies from this week's cookbook choice, and marched into school with my two packages, to be met by a smiling and cheering group.  I was peeking as they divided them up.  One boy decided, he would be the arbitrator, and not so nicely handed them out.  Time for me to step in.  I didn't have to say anything.  Suddenly, each student had his cookies. Predictable.

These were good cookies, not the best, I have made but cookies to be eaten.  Thanks to Martha Stewart who is smart as I am and knows a good chewy cookie needs more brown sugar than white.  As far as I am concerned, the higher the ration of brown to white, the better it will be.  I have never tried all brown sugar.  If anyone has a recipe for a chocolate chipper with only brown sugar, do please share.

Martha Stewart's Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (I take off a tablespoon or two)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (Caramel or Peanut butter chips would be good too.)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a cookie scoop (small or large - just bake longer for large), drop dough almost two inches apart , a cookie sheet, covered with parchment paper.

Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Eat and enjoy.   linked to Gallery of Favorites

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Recipe Box 26 - Spinach is King

Come and join me in spinach heaven, a place where spinach is king.  I have made a number of recipes with spinach, the past week as well as this one.  I, particularly like this recipe but I frown at what it was called at Allrecipes.  The title was Spinach Brownies and these are nothing like brownies, even savory ones.  This makes a good casserole or kugel. It is creamy and has a lovely spinach taste, altered by the cheese. 

Spinach Casserole (adapted from Allrecipes)

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach,
1 cup gluten-free flour mixture (Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package
shredded Mexican cheese combo

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F . Lightly grease a round or square casserole.

Place spinach in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until spinach is limp, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix gluten-free flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in eggs, milk and butter. Mix in spinach, onion and cheese.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Heat hot and bubbly.  Eat and enjoy.          

Looking back:

 Pesto Chicken and Gnocchi Soup from Love Bakes Good Cakes (and soups too)

 Brandy and Mincemeat Cake from April of the 21st Century Housewife

Apple Cinnamon Crumble from Frozen Wings


Your turn please.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

It feels good, being back to weekly planning.  In the summer, it does not work, for me but when I am teaching, it makes life a lot easier.  Last week was comfortable, knowing what I was doing and when I was doing it.  I had none of those deer in the headlight looks when I had no clue, what to make for dinner, which was an hour away.

This week, I am cooking from Martha Stewart's Living cookbook. It is not easy to select recipes from a book with such variety and multitude of recipes.  I ended up, using code words.  Wednesday is soup night so I checked out Martha's soups.  Tuesday, I cook for Wednesdays with Donna Hay so I chose a Martha salmon.

Sunday - Pizza

Monday - Gratineed Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes

Tuesday - Potato Rosti and Poached Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce

Wednesday - Soup Night - Pureed Spinach - Potato Soup 

Thursday - Curried Quinoa with Apple and Black Beans

Friday - Chicken, Roasted Curried Cauliflower,  Sweet Potatoes

Menu Plan Monday

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bubble and Squeak Muffins

"Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. The main ingredients are potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added. The dish is so named because it makes bubbling and squeaking sounds during the cooking process,[1] and the cold chopped vegetables (and cold chopped meat if used) are fried in a pan together with mashed potatoes or crushed roast potatoes until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides. It is often served with cold meat from the Sunday roast, and pickles or brown sauce."  Wikipedia
I am beginning to live on my leftovers. Since we lost our electricity (and got it back), I have been careful about freezing food in quantity. I usually have a floor freezer filled with goodies as well as my refrigerator freezer. I have not even turned on my big freezer.

It is not, as if, I think, the power is going to disappear. I expect it to work beautifully. Rather, I think, I like the idea of all my frozen food, in one place. The freezer is crowded but I am getting around that, with ease.

I keep a package of frozen emergency corn, spinach, broccoli, green beans and cauliflower, almost at all times. I also keep a few small packages of chicken cutlets and 2 or 3 one pound packages of chopped chicken or turkey and one package of chopped beef. I have two packages of gluten-free bread for stuffing and one loaf of homemade gluten-free bread, also in the freezer. There is a small sorbet and a package of puff pastry. I am sure, I have left something out but I think this is the bulk of it.

I find that with canned tomatoes and beans, a bottle or two of Marinara (if I don't have time to make my own) and Hubby's gluten-free crumbs, rice and quinoa, I am in good shape. I usually have some bell peppers, potatoes, always have onions, tomatoes, zucchini, squash and sweet potatoes, we can eat well, for a while.

My leftovers, as you can see, are not already cooked. They are just waiting to be experimented with. That is how we got these Bubble and Squeak Muffins.

In my refrigerator was some shredded red cabbage that had to be used. I needed green or white for the Bubble and Squeak but, if nothing, we have learned to be versatile. Of course, I did end up with blue muffins.

Bubble and Squeak Muffins 


2 cups red cabbage, sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups potatoes , mashed
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, cook cabbage in a small amount of water for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and set aside.

In a skillet, cook onion in olive oil until onion is soft. Add in the cooked cabbage and potatoes.  Season with salt, and pepper.

Combine the ingredients and put in muffin tins. (I made 8.)