Monday, August 3, 2015

Blueberry Shortbread Tart (SRC)

Each month for the Secret Recipe Club I get giddy with excitement.  This excitement is over discovering a wonderful food blog and recipe from said blog that I have been assigned to for the month, through the SRC.  Excitement over such a thing may sound silly, but seriously, it is the God honest truth.  This feeling is similar (I suppose) to discovering a chest of gold at the end of a treasure hunt.  As soon as my monthly SRC assignment comes to me via email, the hunt begins.  I use caution, diligence and great care as I search for that perfect gem of a recipe on my assigned food blog that gives my baking heart an extra beat in its rhythm and happiness in it's song. 

This month I am beyond delighted, beyond excited, and just plain old jumping up and down with happiness to share the recipe that I picked from Mother Would Know.  A recipe for,  Blueberry Shortbread Tart (also called Shortbread Tart with Jam).  Simple, delicious and amazing.  Really, really amazing.  Uniquely amazing at that.  I state this fact of "unique amazing-ness" because the shortbread crust is actually grated, that is right, GRATED, not rolled, but GRATED into the tart pan. Once the crust has been made it is then wrapped carefully in plastic wrap and then frozen in the freezer.  Then after it is fully frozen,  it is then GRATED into the precious tart pan (a pie plate or 9x13 baking pan can also be used), gently patted down into place and then layered with a fruit jam of your choice.  I chose blueberry as that is the fruit that my world revolves around at the moment.  Any kind of jam can be used.  Home made, store bought, whatever floats your boat. 

The best part of this treasure of a tart is that the list of ingredients can be counted on your two hands and the steps are as easy as 1, 2, 3 to make it.  I am a busy lady so discovering quick, easy and scrumptious recipes are definite keepers in my world.  I was able to whip up the shortbread, wrap it up tightly,  place it in the freezer, wrap up a shower gift, do both my girls hair and even change my outfit within a 20 minute period of time today.  Then, 4 hours later I completed the tart within just 15 minutes and popped it into the oven.  For me, baking often gets squeezed into the small gaps of free time.  This tart is the perfect example of such a need. 

Laura, who is the creative master behind, Mother Would Know, has a fantastic flare for collecting, producing and guiding her readers through her vast amount of delicious recipes.  If you like this recipe I am sharing today with you, just you wait as Laura's whole blog has recipes, one after the other, that are mouth watering, unique, beautiful and enticing.  I love the beautiful pictures she uses along with well written language and descriptions that go hand in hand with all of her recipes.  Provencal Vegetable Soup Au Pistou , Balsamic Blueberry Blast, Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes are just a few of the recipes I plan to make from Laura's collection in the near future. 

Huge hugs of gratitude to Laura for "welcoming" me into her lovely food corner of her world!  I feel honored and completely delighted to now have this precious recipe for Blueberry Shortbread Tart and I look forward to collecting many more treasures from Mother Would Know in the future. :-) 

Blueberry Shortbread Tart
(recipe discovered on Mother Would Know)

2 sticks, unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup jam of your chose
1/2 cup fruit (to match jam flavor) - my addition 


In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking  powder and salt.  Set aside.

Beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add in sugar and beat for a good 2 minutes to incorporate well into the butter.  Add in egg yolks - beat to combine.  Slowly beat in flour mixture - mix until just incorporated.  

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in freezer for at least 2 hours - until dough is completely frozen. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Using a hand grater, grate 1/2 of dough into a tart pan, pie plate or baking dish of your choice.  With your fingers, gently guide grated dough evenly all around your pan.  Tap down slightly.  Place remaining dough in freezer while you spread jam over crust.  Layer with fresh fruit and then grate remaining dough over the jam/fruit layer. 

Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Watch carefully so that edges of tart do not burn.  I used a pie shield (as did Laura) to help keep the edges from NOT burning. 

Remove tart from oven when it becomes fragrant and golden brown.  Cool tart for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.  Enjoy!! 

Happy Blueberry Shortbread Tart Baking!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Ginger Peach Baked Oatmeal (SRC)

I eat oatmeal at least 4 times a week.  It fills me up, gives me the energy to start my day and it's delicious.  I often put dry fruit in it as it cooks and bubbles away on the stove top.  The dried fruit sweetens the oatmeal naturally so that all I need is a drizzle of real maple syrup on top and my breakfast is complete. 

As I browsed through, A Taste of Madness, my July assignment for the Secret Recipe Club, I immediately became smitten with Cathleen's recipe for Ginger Nectarine Baked Oatmeal.  As stated above, oatmeal is truly my go to meal for breakfast, so the idea of baking up a whole pan of oatmeal packed with yummy flavors of ginger and fruit definitely appealed to me.  I was not disappointed.  The recipe was simple, quick and super yummy.  I made a few small changes to the recipe - I used peaches instead of nectarines, maple syrup in place of brown sugar and lastly half almond milk and half 2% milk instead of all milk.  I will definitely be making this recipe again and I highly recommend it too all my oatmeal eating and loving readers to do the same.

Another recommendation I am encouraging you all to do is to take some time to browse through all the recipes on A Taste of Madness.  Cathleen has a fantastic collection of recipes!  I adore the fact that there is a large number of recipes for ice cream and for donuts too.  I have gathered ingredients together to make Blueberry Pudding Ice Cream along with the Salt and Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas.  Both recipes make my mouth water!

I thank you, Dear Cathleen,  for such a wonderful baked oatmeal recipe.  My family and I enjoyed every bite!

Ginger Peach Baked Oatmeal
(recipe slightly altered from A Taste of Madness)

3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup real maple syrup (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (1/3 cup if you use brown sugar)
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1 cup milk (any combination of milk is fine as long as you have 2 cups of "milk" in all)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 ripe peaches (or nectarines), diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x13 pan and set aside.

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients and then add in wet ingredients.  Stir to combine well.  Gently mix in diced peaches.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until middle is set.  Cool slightly, serve and enjoy!

Happy Ginger Peach Baked Oatmeal Baking!

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Strawberry Lemonade Bundt Cake ~ #BundtBakers

 Believe it or not it's that time of the month that #BundtBakers present their creative creations of deliciousness.  This month the theme for #BundtBakers was chosen by the extremely talented,   Anne of From My Sweet Heart.  In the cake, on the cake, around the cake or all of it,  lemon was the theme.  Immediately I knew that I wanted to use the combo of strawberries and lemons.   Strawberries paired with lemons are lovely.  The sweetness of the berries balances out the tartness of the lemons and together they are a fantastic pair,   complementing one another fully.   

 I loved this cake from the moment I started mixing all the ingredients together.  The batter is flavored with grated lemon, lemon juice and a small amount of lemon extract.  All three lemon sources allow for the perfect lemon taste to the cake.  A delicate yet perfect lemon flavor shines in each bite of this cake.  Sour cream, butter and eggs all lend a hand in offering a richness to the cake too.  And then lastly the strawberries which are sliced and diced and then tossed with a little bit of flour and powdered sugar are folded into the batter to pair up with the lemon.  A perfection of a cake.

 A simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice could easily be used to drizzle over this bundt.  I decided I wanted to have a bit of a fancier topping than just a simple glaze.  I also needed to cover up some of the areas on the cake that didn't release as gracefully from the pan as I had hoped.  I added some melted butter, lemon peel and dash of lemon extract to the powdered sugar and lemon juice to create exactly the topping I was after.  I was delighted visually as was my taste buds.  The frosting topped off the cake perfectly with decadence.

 Embrace the strawberry season as fresh strawberries are in abundance and bake up this cake.  Or buy some fresh strawberries at the super market if you can't pick them fresh.  This cake is perfect for those that want to impress yet simple enough to do so with truly very little effort.  

I send Anne big hugs of happiness for her fantastic choice of a "lemony" theme for our #BundtBakers group this month.  I enjoyed every minute of baking with lemons (and strawberries) by my side!   I also want to thank the creator of this group, Stacey of Food Lust People Love, for the amazing job she does to keep all the bits and pieces together to make the #BundtBakers such a fantastic group each and every month.  Merci beaucoup to both of you!!! 

Strawberry Lemonade Bundt Cake 
               (recipe adapted from I Heart Nap Time

Cake Ingredients-
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP flour 

Frosting Ingredients-
4 TBSP butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1-2 TBSP fresh lemon juice - more or less depending on what consistency you want

Directions -

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.   Grease and flour bundt pan - set aside. 

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt - set aside. 

In a large bowl beat together butter, sugar and lemon zest for 2-3 minutes.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition.  Add in lemon juice and lemon extract. 

Add to butter mixture the flour mixture and sour cream - alternating between the 2, starting and ending with the flour.   

In a medium bowl toss strawberries with powdered sugar and flour.  Gently fold strawberries into batter.  Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.  

Place cake into oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.  Bake for 60 min - 1 hr and 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of cake comes out clean.  Cool cake for 20 minutes before inverting onto serving plate.  Cool completely before frosting (or glazing).

While cake cools make your frosting.  Melt 4 TBSP of butter and pour over powdered sugar in a medium bowl.  Stir to incorporate.  Add in zest of lemon,  lemon extract and lemon juice and mix well.  Alter consistency of frosting by adding in more lemon juice if you wish. Pour over cooled cake, using a butter knife if needed to direct the frosting to a specific location.  Slice and enjoy!! 

Happy Strawberry Lemonade Bundt Cake Baking!

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Delicious Coconut Banana Bread

I have baked hundreds of banana breads.  It really is one of my most favorite thing to bake.  I often find myself looking over the bananas at the market for those that are no longer perfectly yellow or even slightly green but rather for bananas that have brownish-black speckles on them.  I have an eye out for ripe, banana bread ready bananas.  Bananas that are overly ripe are gems in my eyes. 

Recently, I found a gem of recipe for banana bread.  I am so excited to be sharing it with all of you! Honestly, I may have found my all time favorite recipe for banana bread.  It's made with a few unusual ingredients that you don't usually find in banana bread.  Coconut milk, canola oil and even almond extract are a few of these unusual additions in this recipe.  

The first time I made this recipe I followed it to the T.   I used all the required measurements and ingredients.  The bread came out amazing!  Absolutely delicious with a lovely texture.   The only way this banana bread could be any better would be if I could make it a bit healthier.  The original ingredient list called for all-purpose white flour and white sugar.  Which is fine but I really wanted to see if I could alter the recipe slightly and still get the same delicious results. 

I was completely delighted with my alterations!  My "healthier" substitutions were a success as the bread still tasted wonderful along with the soft crumb presence in each slice.  In place of the white flour I used whole wheat flour and then swapped out the white sugar for maple syrup.  The best part of this healthier version was when I could tell my friends and family that they didn't have to feel guilty about eating such a delicious banana bread.  It was a HUGE hit all around!  

Impress you friends and family and make this banana bread.  Everyone will love you for it! 

Coconut Banana Bread 
 (recipe altered from The Recipe Critic)
1/2 cup canola oil (melted coconut oil could easily be used in place of the canola oil) 
1 cup maple syrup (granulated white sugar can also be used in place of the maple syrup)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour + 2 Tbsp (extra flour is added because of the use of maple syrup)
3/4 cup all purpose flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt 
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (3-4 medium size bananas) 
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x5 loaf pan (I used a tea loaf pan which is 12x4) and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together oil and maple syrup.  Add in eggs and extracts.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mixing well with a whisk.

In another medium bowl combine mashed bananas and coconut milk.  

Alternating with the wet ingredients and flour mixture add them to the oil/maple syrup mixture.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded coconut over batter and swirl gently with a butter knife to slightly incorporate into the unbaked bread. 

Bake bread for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of bread comes out clean.  If the coconut starts to brown too much cover with tin foil until bread is completely baked.  Cool bread before slicing.  Enjoy! 

Happy Coconut Banana Bread Baking!

Monday, June 1, 2015

(SRC) Taco Pizza

We eat a lot of pizza in our house.  At least once a week we are throwing a pizza in the oven or ordering one up from one of our local pizza joints.   It's a meal that everyone enjoys and will eat. 

 As I searched for my recipe pick for this month's  Secret Recipe Club assignment I immediately settled on this fantastic pizza recipe.  I knew my family would eat it and I would enjoy making it.  I thank you, Anna of Cheese with Noodles  for sharing this recipe with me!  

Just as I suspected it was so much fun to make this pizza!  It came together quickly and with simple, pantry ready ingredients.  One of the best parts of this recipe is that the pizza dough is homemade AND the technique for allowing the dough to rise is done in the oven as it bakes.  Completely brilliant!  The dough is mixed up and then patted/rolled onto the prepared pizza pan and then placed into a cold oven which is only then turned on to 375 degrees F.  As the oven heats up, the dough gently rises.  Simple as that!

As you can see from the picture above instead of using the traditional pizza sauce, refried beans are used in it's place.  Thus the foundation for this Mexican flavored pizza.  I sprinkled a Mexican blend of cheese and then some chopped cherry tomatoes and sliced black olives.  Once the pizza was baked to melt the cheese I then placed some avocado slices and chopped up cilantro for additional "taco" ingredients and color.  This recipe is perfect for all taco toppings.  It all depends on what you like and what you have on hand.   I envisioned adding some lovely red onions, dollops of sour cream and a side of salsa on my next Taco Pizza.  Yum!!

Definitely try out this Taco Pizza.  It won't disappoint!!   I was completely delighted with it and send Anna of Cheese with Noodles big hugs of gratitude for this recipe.  I can't wait to make it again along with some of her other mouth watering recipes (I have my eye on her recipe for Triple Peanut Butter Cookies). 

Taco Pizza 
(recipe from Cheese with Noodles)

Pizza Dough Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp taco seasoning (my addition) 
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup water
2 TBSP olive oil

Pizza Toppings 
1 can refried beans
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend) 
A variety of toppings from below.....
sliced black olives
cherry or plum tomatoes, cut into quarters or small pieces
red onions, chopped into small pieces
avocado slices
ground beef, cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning
dollops of sour cream
cilantro, chopped 


In a large bowl fitted for a mixer prepare pizza dough by whisking together flour, taco seasoning, sugar, salt and yeast.  Add in water and oil and with your dough hook mix well all together. Dough should resemble a soft gum.  Add in water or flour if need to be to obtain such a consistency.  

Grease pizza pan and then gently pat dough out onto the sheet.  Make sure there is rim of dough higher on the edges than in the inside.  Place into a cold oven and heat to 375.  Bake for 15 minutes - starting timer when you place the pizza in the oven. Remove from oven and then spread refried beans over the dough and sprinkle with cheese.  Evenly scatter toppings that you wish to be baked such as tomatoes pieces and black olives.  Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.  Top pizza with remaining desired toppings, slice and enjoy!! 

Happy Taco Pizza Baking!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with a Rocky Road Frosting (for #bundtbakers)

Are you ready for a delicious bundt cake!?  How about one that is jam packed with mini chocolate chips within a lovely vanilla cake and then topped off with a chocolate ganache, chopped almonds and mini marshmallows?  This month the Bundt Bakers group that I am part of was given spectacular guidance by Laura of  Baking in Pajamas  to incorporate the flavors of "rocky road" into a bundt cake.  Chocolate, marshmallows and chopped nuts are all ingredients that make up "rocky road".  Dried fruit can also be featured in a "rocky road"  combination, especially when found in treats made in England. 

After much thought and exploring of different cakes and combos of the rocky road flavors I decided on a simple and decadent chocolate chip cake that is then drenched in chocolate ganache.  On top of the chocolate ganache I sprinkled chopped almonds and soft mini marshmallows.  All the flavors in an American version of rocky road.  I did consider sprinkling some chopped dried apricots too over the ganache but unfortunately forgot all about it until the cake was half way gone.   I love the idea of having dried fruit in a rocky road baked sweet.  I think that would be delicious!  Those bakers in England are smart cookies for sure!

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with a Rocky Road Frosting 
(cake recipe found on

Cake Ingredients :
3 cups flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2
2 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips, semi-sweet,  milk chocolate or dark 
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Cake Directions -

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Pour mini chips into a separate bowl and toss with 2 Tbsps of flour mixture, coating chips well.  Set aside both bowls. 

In a large bowl beat butter until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Add in sugar in 3 additions, beating for 1 minute with each addition.  Add in eggs and then yolk, one at time, beating well with each addition. Lastly, add in vanilla extract.

Put mixer on lowest speed and add into the wet mixture the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the with the 1/2 and 1/2, beginning and ending with the 1/2 and 1/2.   Add in flour tossed chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.

Pour cake batter into prepared bundt pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of cake comes out clean and the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan.   Cool cake on a rack for at least 30 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. 

While cake is cooling, make frosting.  Pour chocolate chips into a medium bowl that can be covered tightly with either a plate or tin foil.   In a medium sauce pan, heat heavy cream over medium-low heat.  Bring cream to a gentle simmer, remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips and DO NOT stir but rather cover bowl with a plate or aluminum foil and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes uncover bowl and gently whisk hot cream and chocolate chips together until all the chocolate has melted.  Let mixture cool and thicken for at least 20-30 minutes before pouring over cake.  Finally, sprinkle chopped nuts and then mini marshmallows over the chocolate drenched cake.  Serve and enjoy! 

Happy Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with a Rocky Road Topping Baking!

Please take a moment to browse through my fellow Bundt Bakers "rocky road" creations.  All the links can be found below.

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

EASY Applesauce Muffins

I have always enjoyed baking with applesauce.  I love how it can replace oil and still give a nice moist texture to what I am baking.  I recently discovered a beautiful recipe for muffins that uses 1 1/2 cups of applesauce.  This large amount of applesauce not only replaces some of the oil but it gives a wonderful flavor to the muffins.  

My girls gobbled up these muffins.  "Yum, yum",  they said.  They had them for breakfast heated up with a lovely pat of butter smeared on it and then again for snack after school with a layer of PB.  I had quite a few myself and found that I liked them best heated up with a cup of tea.  Whether you are looking for a healthy muffin for breakfast or a sweet treat for an afternoon snack this is the muffin recipe for you.  I altered the original recipe just a tiny bit by splitting the flour into 1/2 all purpose and 1/2 whole wheat.  I also added some chopped walnuts and an apple chunk to the top of each muffin to give it a special appeal to the aesthetics and texture of the muffins. 

Best part of this recipe.  It's EASY!!  Let's make some muffins friends!

EASY Applesauce Muffins
(recipe slightly adapted from Catch My Party)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs 
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 apple - peeled, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 2 regular size muffin tins and set aside.   

In a large bowl combine well first 8 ingredients (all of the dry ingredients) and set aside.  In a medium size bowl combine eggs, oil and applesauce - stir well until thoroughly combined. 

Add wet mixture into the dry mixture - mix well all together with a wooden spoon.  Batter will be thick. 

Fill prepared pans 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle muffins with chopped walnuts and insert one apple chunk into the top of each one.   Bake for 20-22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly and serve. Store muffins in an air-tight container.  Enjoy!!! 

Happy EASY Applesauce Muffins Baking!


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