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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Fuge Brownie Bundt Cake

I have been on the bundt cake craze lately, but since I didn't have a workable kitchen for a few weeks I have been waiting to make this recipe for a chocolate one.  Dave has been having late night snack withdrawals, so today, although I still have a day's work left of putting things back into my kitchen, I managed to make the cake since it is so easy to put together.  I tasted it while still warm and it's good and I am sure that it will only get better the longer it sits..these cakes always moisten up more and more with sitting.  It's super quick to throw's what you do.

1 box chocolate cake mix (I used a chocolate fudge cake mix) 15.25 oz size
1 box fudge brownie mix
4 eggs
1-1/4 cups water
1 cup oil

Mix above ingredients together-(ignore ingredients for making the mixes on the package) with a mixer until blended together. 

Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan, or use something like Baker's Joy baking spray

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes..mine took 50 minutes.

Let the cake cool 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then invert it on a serving plate.  I tap the bottom and sides with a butter knife to insure it's loosened and then lift the top. 

Take 1/2 of a can of rich chocolate frosting (or make your own) and warm it in the microwave in a small bowl for 30 seconds until somewhat melted and drizzle it over the cake.  Like I stated above, this cake and all bundt cakes taste better the second day, so good one to make ahead for events also.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Updating the kitchen a little

Sorry I haven't been on here as much lately..I am trying to update the house a little before I retire in about a year and a half, so we can spend our "golden years" hopefully with as few updates as possible as the income will be significantly reduced I am sure!  Right now we are concentrating on the kitchen.  My cupboards are basically fine for me-they are oak and Dave touched them up a few years ago, but the countertop and backsplash (well, kind of a was built in 1976 and they used to run laminate up the walls that was the same as the countertop) was getting pretty shoddy looking and at one point had rotted out behind the sink, so Dave "patched" it up just to keep it from leaking.  It was hard to clean also, was white with a so called "leather look" that was in style back then (but guess what I saw something similar at Menards when we were looking at options!)  NEVER buy a textured counter top..believe me, they are not fun or sanitary.  Anyway, now the countertops and backsplash are in!  Dave (and his cabinet maker brother Denny) put in the countertop and Dave did the backsplash.  I like the way it turned out..somewhat neutral, but am hoping it's something that wont' make me tired of it until I can't live in the house any longer!  I am doing a gray, soft  yellow, white and cream theme.  I have white appliances and got a new white sink and hood light/fan to match them.  I think it looks like an inviting space and I haven't even "staged" it yet.  This is a preview picture..I have to wash down the cupboards, line them all and put all the drawers back, so ignore all the unfinished things..the dirty dishes will be gone also in the next picture.  this is the first day I could even get at them and I didn't have time for that part..

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Monster Cookies

Everyone at work has been talking Monster Cookie talk this week.  Kim requested them for her birthday dinner (mostly because her boyfriend, Kevin, and Alana wanted them), but after not making them for decades, I decided to look up a recipe and throw them together for her dinner dessert.  I forgot how good they are, and for a cookie they actually seem like a healthy snack with all the tons of oatmeal in them.  (just trying to convince myself most likely).  Anyway, I was surprised how many recipes there are out there for monster cookies with a variety of ingredients in them!  Some had flour, some had no peanut butter (WHAT!) and some had coconut, raisins and rice krispies etc..I just picked a basic one, but would have enjoyed the coconut because I love that.  I decided not to though because not everyone is a fan of it.  Here's the recipe:

Monster Cookies:
3 eggs
1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
one 12 ounce jar creamy peanut butter (I had a 20 oz jar at home, so used a little over 1/4 of the jar)
1 stick soft butter
1 cup M&M's (I used mini ones)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 teaspoons baking soda
4-1/2 cups QUICK COOKING oatmeal in the box.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray cookie sheets with Pam spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars.  Mix well.  Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter.  Mix well.  Stir in the M&M's, chocolate chips, baking soda and vanilla.  add oatmeal.  Drop by large Tablespoons full on cookie sheets (a dozen per tray, so spread out a little).  Bake for 8-10 minutes (mine took 10-11)..don't overbake.  Let them sit on the pan for about 3 minutes and then transfer onto rack to cool (I just use aluminum foil and lay them on that.  Makes 3 dozen or more if you don't make giant ones.  Sorry about the blurry picture-I was rushed because my kitchen was going to be ripped apart for a remodel the minute I got done)..

Chicken Stir Fry with Honey Garlic Sauce

I tried this a few nights ago since I had a whole chicken I had cut up and used the "non-breast" pieces to make fried chicken for Dave and me for supper and had the nice full breast left to make something with.  I love stir-fries anyway, so thought I'd try one that was different than my usual.  I liked it a lot and even the leftovers the next day for my lunch tasted great.  You could add whatever veggies you like to the chicken or other meat you have on hand..that's what's great about a quick stir fry.  I got a pot of rice cooking while I made it, but noodles would also be good with it.  Here's how I put it together.

For the marinade/sauce:
3 large garlic cloves minced..or use the minced garlic in the jar.
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup honey
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 Tablespoon Siracha sauce or less/more depending how spicy you like things

Mix together and pour half of it over your cubed up whole (or two half breasts) of chicken or equal amount of steak/pork.  Marinate up to 2 hours.  (I just marinated it about half an hour while I chopped up the vegetables and it was fine if you are doing it last minute like me.

In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tablespoon of vegetable or peanut oil.

Using a slotted spoon transfer the chicken to the skillet.  Stir-fry for about 5 minutes, until just done.  I wiped out the pan and added a little more oil and then added:

cleaned and diagonally thin sliced carrot
a red and yellow mini bell pepper sliced
about 2 cups of fresh broccoli heads cut in small florets
1/4 cup of yellow onion sliced (green onions would be good too)
(snow pea pods would be great in this too and fresh bean sprouts etc)

and stir fried them until they were tender crisp..Then I dumped the chicken back in and added the remainder of the reserved marinade and tossed it until slightly thickened.

Eat as above or over steamed rice or noodles. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake that Turned into a Trifle

Tomorrow is Bosses Day at work.  I wasn't even aware of it until my daughter, Kim, said she had stopped at "Nothing  but Bundt Cakes" yesterday to pick up a bundt cake for her boss that everyone had chipped in on.  One of my bosses mentioned that she and her husband had been there last week too and loved it, so I looked on their website and decided to make a copycat recipe for their White Chocolate Raspberry Bundt Cake that was posted on  I followed the recipe except my little local store didn't have the Solo brand raspberry pasty filling, so I substituted some raspberry seedless jelly.  I used less, like about 3/4 cup instead of the cup and just whipped it up and then used it as directed in her recipe.  Anyway...I should have crisco'ed and floured the bundt pan instead of using Pam cooking spray, but had good luck with that method for my pumpkin bundt cake, but it stuck and tore.  I could have cried since it was for work and had all these pictures in my mind of the pretty cake on my glass cake stand with the frosting and raspberries on the top, but then I went into survival mode and recreated it into a trifle.  I made the same frosting recipe, but half of it only, and then added a tub of cool whip to lighten it up for the trifle.  If I make it again I will also add some raspberries in the layers, but I didn't have enough at home and did not want to go to the store again for them.  I tasted tested the cake and filling together and it's yummy!  I am sure it will be fine..Whew!

Here is the link to the recipe for the bundt cake..There are other ones on the site too that look good, so check it out if you are into the bundt cake craze going on! copy and paste the link into your browser.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Pumpkin Bundt/Coffee Cake

Two people I know made bundt cakes recently, a pumpkin one and a banana one and posted pictures on facebook, so I decided I needed to make one too, but wanted more than just a plain bundt cake.  I came up with a marriage of a bundt cake and a coffee cake crumble to add some spark to it.  Add a dollop of whipped cream and it's perfect for dessert, or just grab a slice for a quick morning breakfast with coffee.  Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Spray the inside of a bundt pan with cooking spray pretty liberally, or grease and flour it.  Set aside.

Cake batter:
In a large bowl combine:
2-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
3 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 can (15 ounce) sold pack pumpkin
confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar) for dusting the top

combine each ingredient as you add it-then use an electric mixer and blend well.  pour the batter into the greased Bundt pan..Make the crumble below and sprinkle evenly over the top..Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.  Cool on wire rack 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and dust with the powdered sugar.  Cool completely before covering.

Crumble: Combine:
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 teaspoons butter, melted.