Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Move Over Cupcake! Mini Oatmeal and Blueberry Lime Ice Milk Sanwiches

What do you do with a lot of Blueberry Ice Milk that doesn't quite taste like ice cream?  ( See previous post).You make mini oatmeal cookies and spread them with Blueberry Ice Milk and put them together to make ice milk sandwiches which are yummy!  Somehow you don't know that you are eating ice milk, when it is sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies. I haven't made too many  cookies since I started blogging, and I used to make them all the time. I was having problems with my cookies spreading out to much, and the last batch of oatmeal cookies turned out like granola.  I had to scape them off the cookie sheets, all broken apart and crumbly.

My  girlfriend, Carolyn, moved and didn't have room for all of her "magic" cookie sheets.  The cookie sheet I got had to be 30 yrs.old and had seen many, many cookies.
It was the original brown Teflon, remember? This cookie sheet is magic because, when you put the cookie dough on the cookie sheet and bake it, the cookies turn out round. I couldn't believe it.  Had to be magic, because I put one batch on my cookie sheet, which was a non-stick variety, and one batch on the the "magic" cookie sheet.. The cookies on my cookie sheet flattened and spread out, while the cookies on the "magic" sheet were perfectly round.  Now when I make cookies, I use the "magic" cookie sheet, and they tune out round.  I am so happy and and my  husband couldn't believe it, but he saw the results with his own eyes. I am forever grateful that I have a "magic" cookie.  Do you have "magic" in your kitchen?  Here are the round cookies and the recipe.

Quaker Oatmeal Cookies (on the box)

  • 1 C (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened -I used butter
  • 1 C firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt (optional)
  • 3 Cups Quaker Oats (Quick or Old Fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1 Cup Raisins (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy.
  3. Add eggs, and vanilla; beat well.
  4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
  5. Stir in oats and raisins; mix well.
  6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.
Yields about 4 dozen

Monday, August 30, 2010

Blueberry Lime Ice Cream, A Healthier version?

Which picture is the the healthier version of  Foodalution's Blueberry Lime Ice Cream?  If you said the picture on the top, you would be right. However, the healthier version didn't taste like the original version. After we made the Vanilla Vanilla Ice Cream, I posted that maybe the next batch of ice cream that we make, might be healthier.  So we used modified Foodalution's recipe, substituting 2 pints of half and half  with 2 pints of whole milk, and one pint of whipping cream for 1 pint of half and half..   The recipe made more ice cream than our machine would hold, so we only did half  of the healthier version.  What we got was more like sherbet or ice milk, definitely not the same consistency. So, then I went to the store and bought heavy whipping cream and half and half to make the original recipe with the remaining blueberry mixture  The original version is on the bottom,. so yummy and creamy.

So what do we do with the healthier version of the Blueberry Lime ice milk?  Stay tuned and read my next post. A hint, something about cookies!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Search of the Perfect Sifter

My sifter broke last week and I don't know why is it so difficult to find a new one that I like or works. I feel like Goldilocks looking for a new sifter.This sifter handle was too hard to squeeze, and it was too small.  It went back to the store.

Sifter #1

The next sifter looked nice, the handle was easy to squeeze, and it was big enough.  Looks can be deceiving, because this sifter did not sift the all of the flour.  It started out all right.but half way through, it clogged up on the bottom, and I had to finish the rest of the flour by hitting my hand against the side of sifter, not good.This sifter went back to the store.

Sifter # 2
 And this one is just right...This is a picture of the perfect sifter, which I have yet to find.  As you see the picture is empty, because I haven't found it yet.
Sifter #3

 Please, I need the help of all my  blogger friends to let me know if you love your sifter and where you got it, so I can find the perfect sifter, or at least one that works and is easy to use.  Thank you for your help!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and Raspberry Butter Cream Frosting

I love birthdays (as long as they are not mine).  My niece's birthday and my girlfriend's daughter's birthday were a day apart, both adults..  I made chocolate cupcakes, with Trader Joe's organic Raspberry filling with Raspberry  Butter Cream frosting to surprise them. They both like chocolate and raspberries, so I couldn't go wrong.  I think that anything with raspberries seems elegant to me, a Raspberry Cosmopolitan, anyone? I think that I bake and cook to get the instant satisfaction from people.  It's so rewarding to me. I modified Black Forest cupcakes on Cupcake Project.

Ingredients-Makes around 20 cupcakes

  • 1 2/3 C all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 1 1/2 C white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 jar Trader Joe's organic Raspberry fruit spread
  • 1pint of fresh raspberries for decoration
  1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in eggs and extract.
  4. Beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined.
  5. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. ( I used a 2" ice cream scoop).
  6. Bake at 350 F for twenty minutes or until cupcakes bounce back when touched.

To fill the cupcakes, use a small paring knife to cut a small hole, about the size of a quarter, out of  the top of the cupcake. Place aout 2 tsp. of fruit spread in the hole, and replace the tops . Frost cupcakes with Raspberry  Butter Cream frosting and decorate with raspberries.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'm an official Foodie!

I was notified today that my Food Blog was approved for the Foodie Blogroll. Ta Da!  Check out my Foodie widget on the right sidebar.  For of those who don't know what the Foodie Blogroll is, it's just another tool to drive traffic to your blog by listing your blog,  making you eligible for contests and giveaways, and tracking your stats. So for all of my Foodie friends, check out the widget,  sign-up, and join me on the list!

Fresh Peach Yogurt Breakfast Muffins

My husband  and I love fruit of all kinds and use a lot of it in our meals, especially during the summer. I had  some fresh Michigan Red Haven peaches that needed to be eaten, so I made Fresh Peach Yogurt muffins.  I haven't made muffins in awhile, because I have been baking cupcakes.  Muffins are so quick and easy to make for a Sunday breakfast, or an afternoon snack. There is nothing better than warm muffins straight out of the oven with butter or honey, and a steaming cup of coffee to make everything right with the world.  I modified Karen's Peach muffins from Cooks.com

2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. milk
1 (5 oz.) carton peach yogurt
1 c. fresh peaches,  chopped
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Combine first seven ingredients in a large bowl. Mix egg, oil, milk, yogurt and dried peaches. Add to dry ingredients, stirring only enough to moisten. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees 20 min or until  golden. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over warm muffins.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mango Lime Syrup Cake- A Success

Mango Lime Syrup Cake

As I mentioned in my previous post, I signed up with  Taste and Create  this month, and I was paired with Laws of the Kitchen to commemorate Taste and Create's 3rd birthday. I made the Mango Lime Syrup Cake with my husband as my Sous Chef.  We had so much fun!  I chose this cake from Laws of the Kitchen, because my husband and I both love Mango and Lime and it looked scrumptious!  As I've written before, we use a lot of limes every week. When, my husband was in the Navy and stationed in the Caribbean he came to love the tropical fruits and food, as well as Meyer's Rum.

Laws of the Kitchen is an Aussie lawyer in Melbourne, so her recipe was a bit of a math exercise in metric and celcius conversions. I added my notes to the recipe..  Thank goodness for Google.  The cake turned out so well, moist and dense with the zing of the lime,  sweetness of the mango, and the crunch from the macadamias. . My Sous Chef sliced the mango into paper thin slices to arrange in a pattern on the bottom of the cake pan, probably the trickiest part of the whole recipe. The batter was poured over the sliced mangoes and baked. After the cake came out of the oven, you poked holes in the cake and poured the Lime syrup over the top.  I was concerned about getting the cake out of the pan after the syrup had been poured over it and I didn't have any parchment paper, but it came out with no problem. We were holding our breath the whole time. I just sprayed the pan really well and dusted it with flour After the cake was out of the pan, you brushed the top of the mango with the rest of the lime syrup.

Ingredients-Recipe from Laws of the Kitchen

3 small mangoes
125g butter ( I used 9 oz-1 stick, plus 1 Tablespoon)
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon grated lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts

(If you don't have self-rising flour, you can add 3 tsp. baking powder, total,  to1-1/2 C all purpose flour.)

For the syrup:

1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees F, and grease and line a 24cm (9") cake tin.

Scoop the flesh out of the mangoes and slice thinly, then lay it in a pattern on the bottom of the lined cake tin.

Using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.

Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl, then fold into the batter with the lime zest, lime juice and macadamias.

Spoon the batter over the mangoes in the cake tin, smooth out evenly, then bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cooked through.

While the cake is baking, put the lime juice and sugar for the syrup into a medium saucepan, and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat, bring the syrup to the boil, and simmer for ~ 8 minutes or until the syrup thickens slightly. Cool.

When you take the cake out of the oven, immediately poke small holes in the top of it with a skewer, and pour 3/4 of the syrup over the top of the cake. Leave the cake stand for 10 minutes in its tin before unmolding.

Brush the mango on top of the cake with the reserved syrup, then leave the cake to cool.on wire rack.

Enjoy! Thank you Laws of the Kitchen

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Future Blog-Taste and Create

I signed up this month for Taste and Create, which is a monthly event where food bloggers  are paired up to make each others recipes, and blog about them on their own blog. This month is Taste and Create's third birthday and to commemorate the occasion, you make a dessert from each others blog.  It is a good way to meet other bloggers and read their blogs This month I'm paired with Laws of the Kitchen, and tonight I'm going to make Mango Lime Syrup Cake from the blog. Wish me luck, and I'll post the results tomorrow. It's very exciting!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Unleashing the Monster- Homeade Vanilla Vanilla Ice Cream

Homeade Vanilla Vanilla ice cream

I was prompted to resurrect our ice cream maker, which had not been used in over 10 yrs., when I saw

Foodalution's post for Blueberry Lime ice cream.  It brought back memories of a smooth creamy, sweet concoction they call ice cream with no chemicals. I went to the basement, and carefully unleashed the "monster"  off the shelf.  I'm calling the ice cream maker a monster because Scott and I will be battling the urge to make ice cream all of the time. Not a bad thing to want to eat ice cream all the time, but not a good thing if you have health concerns.  We poured over many recipes, but decided to make vanilla first, and layer with fruit, a little bit healthy, right?  Next batch that we make might be a little healthier.

The recipe we chose was Alton Brown's Serious Vanilla Ice Cream, from the Food  Network,which used a vanilla bean.  Thanks to Stef at Cupcake Project , who featured vanilla bean paste, I used vanilla bean paste.  It has vanilla bean seeds, so the paste adds the all natural appearances to your dishes, without alcohol or thinning your recipe.One  Tbsp. of vanilla bean paste equals one vanilla bean.  I got mine at The Spice House for all of you Chicago area bloggers.


  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons peach preserves (not jelly)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 1 Tbsp. Vanilla Bean paste
  •  Any fresh fruit you like (I used peaches and strawberries)


Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp), or the vanilla bean paste,  in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. (see note below) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla bean, pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.

Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit's instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.

NOTE: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble hit the surface, remove it from the heat. Do not let it boil.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Refreshing Chicken Salad with Fruit on Mixed Greens and Lime Mint Vinaigrette

Here in the Chicago area the temps have been in the 90's for days!  When it's hot outside, I only want to eat cold light, foods; salads, ice cream, yogurt, & FRUIT!!!  I love fruit of any kind, but my fav's are especially STRAWBERRIES,  I could eat them morning, noon, and night. They are comfort food for me bringing back childhood memories of sitting on my Aunt's porch, eating her yummy pound cake with STRAWBERRIES
When I went to visit in the summer,  I could have STRAWBERRIES anytime, and I did! 

This salad is the perfect lunch or dinner, when it's really hot.  It has STRAWBERRIES, blueberries, fresh pineapple, cantaloupe, cubed, leftover chicken, and mixed greens with Lime Mint Vinaigrette dressing.is very cool and refreshing.  The mint is from my herb pots on the patio.This is a versatile salad, because you can put any fruit that have in the house in the salad.   My 2- 1/2 yr old refrigerator had a "major meltdown", so we are trying to fit everything in a smaller fridge in the laundry room, until the the parts come, and that's another story!


Fresh pineapple, cut in chunks
Walnut pieces
Cubed, Cooked Chicken
Mixed Greens

Place greens on a plate.(  This could be an individual salad or a  larger one depending on the quantities used).
Arrange the fruit on top of the greens.  Sprinkle chicken and walnuts over the fruit.  Add dressing to taste.

Lime Mint Vinaigrette Dressing
3-4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1-2 tsp of sugar to taste
6-8 mint leaves

"Muddle" mint leaves, lime juice and sugar in a small mixing bowl.  Stream in olive oil and whisk until well mixed.  Pour dressing over salad and Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ironcupcake Chicago-August Results

I went to ironcupcake-Chicago Monday night but I didn't win. The theme was Summertime and summer fruits. And the winner is..., my friend Rebecca, her blog, HERB-Herculean Edible Rendezvous
a newbie also  She entered Blackberry/Lemon Curd cupcake with Vanilla Bean Butter Cream topped with a crumble topping to look like a sand bucket, so cute!
Blackberry/Lemon Curd cupcake with Vanilla Bean Butter Cream Frosting

 I made the Key Lime Cupcake with Key Lime Butter Cream frosting and dusted with graham cracker crumbs, and topped with dark chocolate shells and starfish, which I had posted before.  Here is my entry and the link  for  Key Lime Cupcake Recipe.

Key Lime Cupcake with Key Lime Butter Cream Frosting

Here are a few of the other entries... and a fun time was had by all!

Can't wait till September ironcupcake-Chicago.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Lemon Cupcakes Two Ways!

 My daughter- in- law recently got her MBA. To celebrate I asked what kind of cupcakes she would like, and a resounding ,Lemon cupcakes, was the answer.  I found a recipe for Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes that I adapted from Dorie's Baking:  My Home to Yours. Then I decided to make half Lemon with Lemon Buttercream and half Lemon Raspberry with Raspberry Buttercream, both from the same cupcake recipe. .You can double your variety with one recipe

Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream
adapted from Dorie's Baking: My Home to Yours

Ingredients-Makes 24 cupcakes
2 1/4 C cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt
1  C whole milk or buttermilk (I made sour milk)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 stick (or 1/2 C or 4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons

Raspberry fruit spread

Getting Ready
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust a rack to the center position. Fill 2 cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.

Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and
salt. Whisk the eggs with the whole milk or buttermilk. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar feels moist and smells lemony.

Using either the whisk or paddle attachment, add the butter to the sugar and beat at medium speed until the sugar and butter is fluffy and light, 3 full minutes.

Beat in the lemon juice, then lower the speed and add one third of the flour mixture. If you continue to mix on medium you'll get flour poofing out.
The add half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in the rest of the dry ingredients, mix until incorporated. Finally add the rest of the milk-egg mixture and beat for a full 2 minutes on medium speed to insure that the batter is homogeneous and aerated.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pan only filling 3/4 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Check early.

Transfer the cupcakes to cooling racks and c
ool for 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans, and cool the cakes to room temperature.

Once the cupcakes are cool, cut a quarter sized hole in the top of half of the cupcakes and remove.  Fill the whole with 2-3 tsp of the Raspberry fruit spread.  Replace the cut cake over the Raspberry filling.  Frost with the Raspberry Buttercream frosting.  Frost the other half of plain Lemon cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream 

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting.
3 c sifted powder sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/4 C. milk
1 tsp vanilla

Beat butter with mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add sugar, vanilla and milk, and beat until desired consistency.  Stir in 2-3 Tbsp. of Raspberry fruit spread, until desired flavor 

Lemon Buttercream Frosting
3 C sifted powder sugar
6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/4  C fresh lemon juice

Beat butter with mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add sugar, and lemon juice and beat until desired consistency.  

Monday, August 2, 2010

Banana Bread Wars or Bake off? A Tale of Two Loaves! Part 2

Here is Cherise's Banana Bread recipe.  It is a very moist, flavorful bread with lots of cinnamon and Granny  Smith apple bits, as well as bananas.  Now you can have your very own Banana Bread Wars or Bake Off?  You can decide, but one thing is for sure, there will plenty of very good tasting breads.  Let the baking begin!

Cherises's Banana Bread

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 bananas
2 tsp cinnamon
1 large Granny Smith apple
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Using electric mixer, beat oil and sugar together until blended in large mixing bowl.  Add eggs and milk to oil; beat well.

Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.  Add to egg mixture amd mix until well blended.
In separate bowl, mash bananas with cinnamon.

Peel and core apple; chop into tiny pieces (about 1/2 bits).
Add apple bits to banana cinnamon mixture.  Add banana mixture to batter and mix until well blended.

Pour batter into well greased and flour bottom only 9x5x3 pan.  Bake 45-50 min, until pick until in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 10 min., invert and cool on rack.  Enjoy!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

ironcupcake Chicago-August

Here is the ironcupcake Chicago challenge for August for all of you cupcake bakers or tasters in the Chicago area!  Hope to see you there.  Last month my Red Velvet cupcake with Blueberry filling and Vanilla Cream Cheese frosting.was voted Best Tasting cupcake!  I already have an idea for what I'll do for August!

  Under the Sun... Summer Fruits!

( Picture from BettyCrocker.com)
In celebration of summer August's Iron Cupcake:Chicago challenge will be "Under the Sun... Summer Fruits".
All bakers are to design cupcakes with a summer theme and include a summer fruit as the special ingredient.
It's summer! Time for fun and fruity of cupcakes!

Monday August 9, 2010 @ 6pm

Mrs. Murphy & Son's Irish Bistro
3905 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL 60613-2417
(773) 248-3905

$5 cover charge

To register or more information:

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