Friday, October 31, 2008

Banana Bread

We eat a lot of bananas in the Heaviland household. Between the three of us, we go through a huge Costco bunch once a week. But occasionally there will be a straggler at the end that has a few too many speckles on the outside to look appetizing. So, we throw those guys into the freezer for future use. Last night I realized our freezer banana stash was getting overpopulated so I pulled out a few to make this delicious recipe from America's Test Kitchen's The New Best Recipe cookbook. It made a dense bread that really let the banana flavor stand out. I'll have to remember this recipe next October because every year on my birthday, Mark makes me banana bread french toast which we first had in Whistler, BC for our first anniversary.

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 1/4 cups walnuts, chopped coarse
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 very ripe, soft, darkly speckled large bananas, mashed well (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and walnuts together in a large bowl; set aside.
4. Mix the mashed bananas, yogurt, eggs, butter, and vanilla with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl. Lightly fold the banana mixture into the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined and the batter looks thick and chunky. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Chocolate Cake??

I know you're many chocolate cakes does this lady make? Well, this is slightly different than the others because it's got a mint twist to it for my hubby's 30th birthday. I made this cake for the base and used this frosting. It was super moist with just the right amount of mint. Tragically, we were short pieces at the party so I had to share a piece with 3 other people. I guess I'll just have to make it again...

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 pinch salt
2/3 cup shortening
2 cups boiling water
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
  2. Melt the shortening in the boiling water, then stir into the flour mixture until blended. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 drops green food coloring
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. In a bowl, combine the frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over cooled cake.
  2. For topping, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and butter; stir in extract. Spread over frosting. Refrigerate until set.

Moroccan Chicken

For a very fast weeknight meal I just pounded some boneless chicken breasts, rubbed them with the very delicious (you should buy some from me :) ) Pampered Chef Moroccan Rub and grilled them! Mark cooked the zucchini with olive oil, oregano, chili powder, garlic salt and cumin. Throw in some garbanzo beans and you've got a very tasty meal!

Beef Enchiladas

My mom's enchiladas cannot be beat. There are two secrets: frying the corn tortillas and Macayo's enchilada sauce. This sauce is not sold in WA, so I'm always begging AZ guests to bring me some cans. Once my mom tried to bring 3 cans in her carry-on bag and they were confiscated by airport security- tragic! I guess other enchilada sauce will do but I cannot guarantee it will be a 5 Star recipe!

12 corn tortillas
1 lb. ground beef
one small yellow onion, diced small
1 large (28 oz.) can of enchilada sauce (AZ folks- use Macayo's)
3 c. of cheddar cheese
1 c. veggie oil for frying
Sour cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a small skillet (corn tortilla size) to medium and add oil. Once the oil is hot (sizzles when you put the tortilla in) put one tortilla in. After about 30 seconds, flip it over. The goal here is to get the soft and for them to be easy to roll. (If you leave it in too long and it gets crispy, just add some cheese and salt, pop it in the micro for 20 sec until cheese melts. This is my favorite snack in the whole world) Lay out tortillas on paper towels to soak up some of the grease (not too much now). If you are talented, you can also cook the ground beef and onion at the same time but I find that I end up with too many crispy tortillas that way. So, cook up the ground beef and onion and then take off heat and add about 3/4 cup of the sauce. Add about 1/2 c. of the cheese and mix together. Put 1/4 c. of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x13 baking dish so they don't stick to the bottom. Now fill each tortilla with the meat mixture, roll and place in dish. Once all 12 are in the dish, top with the remaining sauce and cheese. Some people like to add sour cream into their sauce before pouring it over. I think it's good both ways. Cook for about 20min or until cheese is bubbling hot. I serve them with mexican rice and refried beans (topped with more cheese).

Hoisin Pork Roast and Acorn Squash

This pork roast was one of those delicious recipes that falls apart as you try to get it out of the crockpot. I used Hoisin sauce and really liked the flavor. I served it with acorn squash and wild rice.

Cooking spray
1 boneless pork loin roast (about 3 pounds), tied
One 10-ounce jar duck sauce or hoisin sauce (about 3/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (I used 1 T of dried ginger)
1 tablespoon chili paste

1 tablespoon rice wine or rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1. Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray and add the pork roast. In a small bowl, combine the duck sauce, garlic, ginger, chili paste, rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil. Whisk in the cornstarch. Pour the sauce over the pork.
2. Cover the slow cooker and cook the roast until fork-tender and an instant-read thermometer registers 160º, 3 1/2 hours on high heat or 8 hours on low heat. Transfer the pork to a platter, cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes. Pour the cooking liquid into a bowl and let stand for 10 minutes, then skim any fat from the surface.
3. Slice the pork and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle the scallions and cilantro on top. Serve the Asian sauce on the side.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a nutty grain found in most health stores and trader joes. It's a nice alternative to rice or couscous. I was happily surprised that my 1 yr. old loved this salad as much as I do!

1 c. Quinoa
2 c. veggie broth
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), diced
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 bunch cilantro, minced
2 t. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
lots of lime juice (from about 6 limes)

Cook quinoa according to package directions, using broth instead of water. Combine cooled quinoa with the rest of the ingredients and serve!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Easy Tortilla Soup

My friend Kristen Stewart was the first person to tell me about the Real Simple magazine. And it was this recipe that convinced me I needed a subscription! Talk about a simple weeknight meal. If you use a rotisserie chicken it makes it even faster!

1 12-ounce jar salsa verde
3 cups cooked chicken pieces
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
3 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
Tortilla chips (optional)

Empty the salsa into a large saucepan. Cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat, then add the chicken, beans, broth, and cumin (if desired). Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Top each bowl with a sprinkling of onions, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla chips (if desired). For a soupier dish, use 4 cups of broth.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chocolate Bundt Cake

For James 1st birthday, I made him a pumpkin cake. I made two of these bundt cakes and then put one on top of the other to make the circle. The stem is half a banana (unpeeled) stuck in the hole from the bundt pan. The cake is not too chocolaty and very moist. It's very dense so make sure you have a glass of milk!

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 eggs
1 cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour mixture alternately with the milk. Mix well.
  3. Pour into 10 inch Bundt pan. Bake at 325 F (165 degrees C) for 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Roasted Chicken with Risotto and Carmalized Onions

Roasted Chicken with Risotto and Carmalized Onions was awesome. Make sure you are able to spend plenty of time in the kitchen when you make this because you have to add the broth very slowly and it requires a lot of love and patience to make a creamy risotto!

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups uncooked Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
7 cups hot chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions and saute for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are a dark golden brown. Remove from heat, stir in the balsamic vinegar and set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a separate large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the rice and mix well. Let heat for about 2 minutes, then pour in the wine. Reduce heat to medium low and start pouring in the broth about 1 cup at a time. Add more broth as each cup is absorbed. Continue in this manner until all the broth is absorbed and the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the reserved onion mixture and allow to heat through. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and garnish each serving with fresh thyme.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Japanese Chicken Fingers and Broccoli Slaw

Japanese Chicken Fingers are oven-baked chicken that taste fried because of the crunchy panko bread crumbs. I usually find panko on the "ethnic" aisle at Safeway. And sometimes finding shiitake mushrooms can be tricky but they are worth the extra effort to find. For the broccoli slaw, just find a bag of broccoli slaw next to the bagged salads, add a handful of craisins and about 1/2 c. of poppyseed dressing.

3 tablespoons butter
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 pound chicken cutlets

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and thyme and season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are browned and their juices cooked off, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and set aside. Place the eggs and flour in separate shallow bowls; lightly beat the eggs. In another shallow bowl, combine the mushroom mixture with the panko.
3. On a work surface, pound the chicken 1/2 inch thick and cut into 1-by-4-inch pieces. Sprinkle each piece with salt, then coat with flour and pat off the excess; dip into the egg and roll in the mushroom mixture. Place the chicken fingers on the prepared baking sheet and bake until golden and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Fish Tacos

For my birthday Mark made one of my favorite tacos. In my opinion, fish tacos can only be fried. These were hands down the best fish tacos I've ever had. I miss Rubios. Don't get me started on ghetto Taco Del Mar up here in Seattle. Our first visit (don't ask me why we ever went back) I asked the server if the fish tacos were fried or grilled and he said he didn't know. He showed me what the fish looked like and I couldn't tell either. Sick. Needlesstosay, Mark did an exceptional job filling my fish taco void. He also made fresh guacamole in addition to the white sauce for an extra level of yumminess.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup beer

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 teaspoon minced capers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 quart oil for frying
1 pound cod fillets, cut into 2 to 3 ounce portions
1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
1/2 medium head cabbage, finely shredded
  1. To make beer batter: In a large bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Blend egg and beer, then quickly stir into the flour mixture (don't worry about a few lumps).
  2. To make white sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeno, capers, oregano, cumin, dill, and cayenne.
  3. Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. Dust fish pieces lightly with flour. Dip into beer batter, and fry until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Lightly fry tortillas; not too crisp. To serve, place fried fish in a tortilla, and top with shredded cabbage, and white sauce.

Firecracker Grilled Salmon and Calabacitas

Firecracker Grilled Salmon was a great marinade for salmon on the grill. We served it with spaghetti squash and Calabacitas. Calabacitas is a mexican zucchini dish that I fell in love with at my friend Chiara's house.

8 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
1/2 cup peanut oil
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons green onions, chopped
3 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Place salmon filets in a medium, nonporous glass dish. In a separate medium bowl, combine the peanut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, green onions, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, sesame oil and salt. Whisk together well, and pour over the fish. Cover and marinate the fish in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
  2. Prepare an outdoor grill with coals about 5 inches from the grate, and lightly oil the grate.
  3. Grill the fillets 5 inches from coals for 10 minutes per inch of thickness, measured at the thickest part, or until fish just flakes with a fork. Turn over halfway through cooking.


6 medium zucchini, peeled and diced
1 can sweet corn, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can Rotel Tomatoes (diced)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2-1 lb colby-monterey jack cheese, shredded (or a little less, according to your taste)

Place oil and chopped garlic in a large skillet, over medium heat.
Add zucchini and onion, cooking until onion is tender.
Add corn and tomatoes.
Cover skillet, and simmer over low heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When mixture is well heated, add cheese, mix and serve.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Thanks for the recipe Meagan!

4 large red or green bell peppers
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
½ tsp salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried parsley
1 cup COOKED rice
½ cup salsa
½ cup sour cream
1 cup diced tomatoes
½ cup chopped green onions
1 Tbs soy sauce
1 cup hot water
mozzarella cheese

1. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and ribs.
2. Saute beef, onion, garlic, 1 tsp of the bouillon granules, and the seasonings (salt, pepper, etc). Scramble well until the onion is transparent. Drain off the fat.
3. Meanwhile, mix the hot water and the remaining 1 tsp of bouillon granules. Pour this into a shallow casserole dish large enough to hold all the peppers. Usually a glass 9x13” dish holds them well. (The water in the dish allows the peppers to steam while retaining some of their crispness.)
4. To the meat mixture, add the rice, salsa, sour cream, tomatoes, green onions, and soy sauce. Mix well. Stuff this mixture into peppers, and place the peppers into the casserole dish.
5. Cover the casserole with foil and bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.
6. Remove the foil and spoon a little juice over the peppers. Cover each pepper with shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sticky Coconut Chicken and Chili Glaze

This chicken was really good hot off the grill but it was almost better the second day when I ate it cold, sliced up in a wrap.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup canned coconut milk (stir before measuring)
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t hot chili flakes
4-5 green onions, thinly sliced


3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 T soy sauce
1 t crushed red pepper flakes


For Chicken:.
Rinse chicken and pat dry. In a large bowl, mix coconut milk, ginger, pepper, and hot chili flakes. Add chicken and mix; cover airtight and chill at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Prepare Glaze.

Lift chicken from bowl, reserving marinade. Cook on a grill,turning as needed to brown on both sides, until meat is no longer pink in center of thickest part (cut to test), 10 to 12 minutes, basting frequently with remaining marinade.
Transfer to a warm platter and pour the chili glaze evenly over meat; garnish platter with green onions.

For Glaze:.
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring often, until mixture is reduced to ½ cup, 8 to 10 minutes.

Nacho Spuds

Nacho Spuds is one of those recipes that would have been a pain without my pampered chef mandoline. Slicing up the potatoes really thin took no time at all. To add a little more flavor next time I think I will toss the potatoes with a little taco seasoning before baking.

3 large baking potatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 lb lean ground beef sirloin
One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
Sour cream and shredded lettuce, for serving

1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the beans, taco seasoning and 2 tablespoons water. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring, until heated through, about 10 minutes.
3. Transfer the potatoes to an ovenproof platter (I used a pizza pan covered in foil). Sprinkle half of the cheddar on top, spoon on the meat mixture, then top with the tomatoes and remaining cheddar. Place in the oven and turn off the heat. Let stand until the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with the sour cream and lettuce.

Creamy White Chili

Whohoo! It's officially the time of year for soups and chilis. For all you die-hard red chili fans, you should just give this white chili a won't be sorry.

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbl. vegetable oil
2 cans white beans, rinsed well and drained
3/4 14oz. can chicken broth (use can use the whole can for thinner chili)
2 (4oz.) cans chopped green chilies
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whipping cream (optional)

In a large pot, sauté chicken, onion, and garlic powder in oil until chicken is no longer pink. Add beans, broth, chilies, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat (or just turn the burner off); stir in sour cream and cream. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sesame-Ginger Asparagus

This is probably my favorite vegetable side dish. Definitely make sure you don't overcook the asparagus because I've learned the hard way that asparagus mush is not that good. I know the ice bath sounds like extra work but it's really important to stop the cooking. I rarely have fresh ginger around so I just use ground ginger.

1 1/2 lbs thin asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
1 T canola oil
1 T fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 t sesame seeds
1 t sesame oil


1. In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 cup water to boiling over high heat. Add asparagus; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until asparagus is tender-crisp. Drain asparagus in colander, then immediately plunge into large bowl of ice water to stop cooking; drain thoroughly.
2. Carefully wipe skillet dry with paper towels. Add canola oil; heat oil over high heat until hot. Add asparagus, ginger, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or just until asparagus is heated through. Remove skillet from heat; stir in sesame seeds and sesame oil.

Chicken Pot Pie in a Shell

When you're in the mood for some comforting pot pie but don't want to go through the hassle of making a pie crust, these puff pastry shells (found in the freezer section) are a great substitute.

1 pkg. (10 oz) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Shells
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (10 3/4 oz) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup milk
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen peas and carrots
2 cups cubed COOKED chicken

Bake, cool and remove the "tops" of the pastry shells according to the package directions.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it's tender.
Stir the soup, milk and peas and carrots in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the (already cooked) chicken and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve in the pastry shells.

Pumpkin Doughnuts

Bethany and I made these scrumptious pumpkin doughnuts at her house over the weekend. I gotta give a shout out to Boeing who gave me a "spirit" award which I cashed in for this CoolDaddy deep fryer. We didn't have much luck with cutting them out with cookie cutters so Bethany rolled them by hand while I manned the bubbling oil. And we weren't patient enough to wait for them to chill for three hours so we threw the dough in the freezer for a little while.

Spiced sugar
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
Canola oil (for deep-frying)

Powdered Sugar Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
Whipping cream
For spiced sugar:
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl to blend.

For doughnuts:
Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (mixture will be grainy). Beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk; beat in pumpkin in 4 additions. Using rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition. Cover with plastic; chill 3 hours.

Sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets lightly with flour. Press out 1/3 of dough on floured surface to 1/2- to 2/3-inch thickness. Using 2 1/2-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Arrange on sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in 2 more batches. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more dough rounds until all dough is used.

Using 1-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes.

Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F. Fry doughnut holes in 2 batches until golden brown, turning occasionally, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain. Cool completely.

For powdered sugar glaze:
Whisk powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons whipping cream to blend. Whisk in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to form medium thick glaze. Can be made up to 3 hours ahead. Add doughnut holes to bowl of spiced sugar and toss to coat. Spread doughnuts on 1 side with Powdered Sugar Glaze. Arrange doughnuts, glazed side up, on racks. Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever

Growing up in a Southern Baptist Church I learned many important things like God created the heavens and the earth, Jesus is the Son of God and every church potluck menu must include a Texas Sheet Cake. It seriously is heaven on earth. Recently I came across this website: The Pioneer Woman. She has a bunch of great recipes including this one for Texas Sheet Cake.

Combine in a mixing bowl:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, melt:
2 sticks butter
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa. Stir together.
Add 1 cup boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In measuring cup, pour 1/2 cup buttermilk.
2 beaten eggs 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make icing:
Chop 1/2 cup pecans finely.
Melt 1 3/4 sticks butter in a saucepan.
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat.
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Stir together.
Add pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

Cut into squares, eat, and totally wig out over the fact that you’ve just made the best chocolate sheet cake. Ever.

Asian Slaw

Leave it to my good friend Emilie to dress up beef top ramen into a delicious salad. Whenever we have potlucks, I always try to suggest she bring this delicious salad.

1 bag of mixed coleslaw
3/4 c. sunflower seeds
3/4 c. sliced almonds
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1 pkg. of beef top ramen noodles, crushed
1 c. of chow mein noodles


1/3 c. white vinegar
1/2 c. sugar
2/3 c. canola oil
Seasoning packet from beef top ramen

Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well. Make a little ahead so sugar will dissolve (Only use Beef Top Ramen) Pour dressing over salad ingredients about 10 minutes before serving. Recipe serves 6-8.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thai Wraps

Today I had some mom friends over and we feasted on these tasty thai wraps.

3 T oil
3 T brown sugar
4 T soy sauce
3 T peanut butter
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 t crushed ginger

4 Cooked Chicken Breasts, sliced
Shredded cabbage
Shredded carrots
Red pepper, sliced
Cucumber, sliced
Flour tortillas


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