Only recently have I discovered the heavenly combination of strawberries and rhubarb. Oh my! Now I’m making up for lost time, using this family favorite peach cobbler recipe.Rhubarb’s tart and texture married with the sweet juicy strawberry…you’ve got to try this!
Last summer my friend, Tamar, gave me a tiny, and very special rhubarb plant. I stuck it in the ground and watched it grow into an enormous plant. And even better – I keep cutting stalks and they keep growing back! (Just for fun, have your kids take a bite out of the stalk…hehehe…but not the leaves!)Not to worry if you missed June’s strawberry season; this cobbluh’ was made with frozen picks from last month. It’s just as good as freshly picked! With only six simple ingredients, you can whip this up in a snap. Bake for about an hour Mmmm… Top with whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream. Or eat it right out of the baking dish. YUM.
Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler
1/2 Cup (1 stick) of Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Self-Rising Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Raw Rhubarb (chopped)
1 Cup Strawberries
Melt butter in microwave.
In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, and milk together. Whisk in cooled butter. Pour batter in greased pie dish. Drop cut rhubarb and strawberries into batter.
Did you know? The most popular summer recipe is CAKE. I find this surprising…over ice-cream? Unless we’re talking this cake recipe. Then I totally get it.
I rarely create an original recipe, I taste-test. King Arthur Flour made this one, the Chocolate Fudge “Blackout” Cake. As a devoted cake mix girl, it takes a lot for me to consider making a cake from scratch – especially one with three layers of different chocolate.
This one? Oh my heavens. It made me look real good.
Summer epiphany: when you’re actually home and demanding a SLOW summer, you have time to make a cake! And while time is still a precious commodity, some cakes demand to be made. THIS ONE.
Upon taking a bite, my husband, the critic of all food critics, pretty much melted into a puddle onto the floor. I’ll be making it again.
And with strawberries just coming into season, they are the perfect addition to this lusciousness.
King Arthur didn’t have strawberries in the original recipe – that’s my contribution. We like it! Also, I eliminated the optional espresso powder b/c I didn’t have it – still good! Would you like a bite? I suggest making the three different chocolates (not hard) the day before and assembling the day of – then you can relax and enjoy the cake of your labor…
Hurry up now! Before you lose your nerve…make this cake!
To make the filling: Place the chocolate chips, salt, and sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground.
Add the egg and pulse just until the mixture is smooth.
Heat the cream to just below a boil, with small bubbles forming around the edge of the saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl).
Turn on the blender or processor, and slowly add the cream. Scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Add the vanilla and pulse to blend.
Pour the pudding into a shallow bowl, and refrigerate it until chilled and thickened, 2 hours to overnight. I found that overnight works best. Still not setting? Stir in gelatin.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8″ x 2″ round cake pans. Line them with 8″ parchment circles, if desired, and grease the parchment; this step will ensure your cake’s crumble-free turnout from the pan.
To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Stir in the water; the batter will be thin.
Pour the batter into the two prepared pans.
Bake the cakes for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven. Cool them for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.
To make the icing: Combine the cream and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan. Heat until the cream is steaming and showing small bubbles around the edge.
Remove the chocolate/cream from the microwave or burner, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture becomes completely smooth, with no lighter areas remaining visible.
Refrigerate the icing for 30 minutes (I went longer). Beat the chilled icing briefly, until it thickens a bit and becomes spreadable.
To assemble the cake: Cut the domed tops off both cake layers; these will become your crumb coating.
Place one layer on a serving plate. For best presentation, lay strips of parchment around the edge of the plate before laying the cake on top; these will catch the inevitable icing drips, and can be removed once you’re done icing the cake.
Top the cake with the filling, spreading it evenly to the edges.
Center the second layer of cake atop the filling.
Spread the icing over the top and onto the sides of the cake.
Crumble the reserved cake, and gently press it onto the top and sides of the assembled cake.
Serve immediately, or within a couple of hours. For longer storage, refrigerate. This cake is best served the same day it’s made, or within 24 hours. Freeze, well-wrapped, for longer storage. You may also choose to freeze individual slices — for those times when you HAVE to have a piece of chocolate cake!
This is one of the most popular recipes ever published by the New York Times, courtesy of Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery, who designed this bread as a minimalist technique for anyone who wants to bake a fantastic loaf of bread.
Let me tell you – it’s fantastic. And works every single time.
It is SO good and SO easy to make that I’ve made enough loaves to open a small bakery. Except we gobble it up too quickly to sell.
I like to do this in the morning or at night and than leave it alone for a day or two. Takes 5-10 minutes.
This recipe guarantees: soft and airy on the inside and chewy delicious on the outside.
Three ingredients: flour, yeast, salt, and water. Stir.
That’s it. The dough will be wet and shaggy. Cover with plastic wrap for12-18 hours. Here is where the science comes in. Your dough needs to rest for a long time to allow the gluten to become long elastic molecules – the reason for no kneading.
You’re going to bake using a covered dutch oven (or cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic.)
A covered dutch oven? Yes, this crust needs a lid to bake. The Professor gifted me with this beauty and I absolutely adore it. You can cook soups and stew on the stove and bake puffed pancakes and bread in the oven; it’s my most favorite kitchen item!
Unlike the New York Times recipe, I use parchment paper. The advantage is you simply lift up the paper (with the bread on it) and place in pre-heated dutch oven.
Baby loaves. Which cook more like a four-leaf clover. Package it up all pretty if you like. Deliver warm. And you’ll have friends for life.
The New York Times No-Knead Bread*
3cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups water (5/8 is just barely shy of 2/3 cup!)
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water (warm or cold,) and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
Dough is ready when doubled and bubbly. Heat oven to 450. Place dutch oven in the oven.
Lightly flour a work surface or parchment paper. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to your fingers, work dough into a ball and onto the floured surface. Sprinkle with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Let rest about 30 minutes (OR longer – NYT lets it rest for 2 hours!) When dough is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
Remove hot pot from oven. Carefully pick up parchment paper and place in heated dutch oven. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 10ish minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Eat and realize that life is beautiful because of warm bread.
It was voted Thanksgiving’s #1 dish, and that’s saying something in this house where we are surrounded by viable Chopped contestants.
It’s also saying something as I have struggled to like sweet potato since I was a wee lass growing up on the plains of Nebraska. The sweet potato has so many virtues and has long been touted as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Why couldn’t I adore it? But this. Love at first bite. The butter, sugar, and pecans might have something to do with it, but you have to start somewhere, right?
This Sweet Potato Pie comes from Auntie Jill, passed down from her mama Nancy in Iowa. The first two Makechnie boys married girls from the midwest. Aren’t we quaint?
Mama Nancy’s recipe sure was delish, but Jill saw the need to healthify it by cutting the sugars in half, using dates instead of white sugar, and fresh sweet potato instead of canned in syrup. Still, we agree it’s more of a dessert to be eaten after a 5k Turkey Trot (or sleeping in, whatevs,) and goes ever so wonderfully with any meat and potatoes meal, like Thanksgiving. Which is why I’m posting this in January. Makes perfect sense, right? You’ll peel, cut, and boil 4-6 sweet potatoes. Mash them with butter. Add sugar, salt, eggs, milk, vanilla. Now for the topping! Chop 1 cup pecans. Add brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon to the pecans. Spread sweet potato in a pretty pie baking dish. Add the nut and sugar topping. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve and swoon.
Sweet Potato Pie Casserole
4 and 6 sweet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar (*or puree 1/2 cup pitted dates with 1/2 – 1 cup hot water until thick paste forms)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk (2% or more is best)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped (or pecan/walnut combo)
Boil sweetpotatoes until soft and mashable. Mash with butter. Add sugar or pureed dates, salt, eggs, milk, vanilla. Mix well.
Pour into ungreased 9″ glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate.
For topping: in a separate bowl mix brown sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon with fingers or pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Stir in nuts.
Sprinkle the topping on the sweetpotato mixture and bake @ 350 for 40 minutes.
Can be made ahead.
Thanks Auntie Jill and Mama Nancy – we sure do ENJOY!
Posting again because it’s Halloween and this is my favorite treat: pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting. Woo-Hoo, BOO!
This recipe is adapted from a Pillsbury cookbook (I omitted 1/2 cup white sugar and it’s still a beautiful thing.)
A warning: This cookie is only allowed in October and November. Otherwise, I’d eat so many I’d turn into a pumpkin and roll away.
They are really that good.
I have resisted posting this recipe here because I like to blog only healthy treats.
The story goes like this – I made this decadent treat for my son’s eighth-grade field trip bake sale. He brought them to school and came home saying, “Mom, the teachers didn’t even put them out – they ATE them! They ate ALL of them!”
Of course this delighted me.
And I couldn’t blame them. I don’t like to share them either.
The next day, several teachers pounced on me, begging me for the recipe. Okay, I might be exaggerating the pouncing part. But they really really wanted it, so I relented.
I’m just giving you what you want 🙂
First, you’ll cream the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Then you’ll add the dry mix of flour, baking powder and soda, a dash of cinnamon and salt.
I could tell you that I grew the pumpkin myself, cut, cooked, and pureed them, too. But that would be a lie. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Canned Libby’s pumpkin does quite nicely!
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes and you’ve got this glorious yum-yum. Sometimes we just eat them plain and they’re still a treat.
While the cookie cools, you can make some frosting!
The original frosting does not call for cream cheese, but unless you add a boatload more powdered sugar, the frosting is too runny. Cream cheese is a nice binder and the taste? Mmm.
Halloween party, anyone?
So hear you go, my favorite fall cookie (aka, the cookie the teachers won’t share):
Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin (plain, not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups + 1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
4-8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar (or to desired thickness)
Heat over to 350. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, pumpkin, and egg. Mix. Add flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix just until incorporated. Spoon onto baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add 1/4 cup brown sugar. Stir constantly until small boil, slightly thickened. Cool 10 minutes. Add 1/4 cup milk, 4 ounces cream cheese, and 1 cup powdered sugar or until desired thickness. Frosting should be thick enough to frost cookie without running off.
Now for the best part: Eat (after your run, of course!)
In the cookie recipe: substitute 1/2 of the butter for 1/2 avocado (it works well!)
Looking for a rice substitute? As an ardent rice lover, I don’t look for substitutes. Until I tried this. It’s fantastic!
Cauliflower, you say? Yes, it’s true.
It’s so tasty I predict you’ll be seeing a lot more of it. Why not be a trendsetter and start serving it now? My sister-in-law, Kim, introduced us to this recipe this summer and we are now converts – THANK YOU! All of the darlings loved it – it even looks like white rice.
It’s fine to chop or food process a head of cauliflower yourself, but finding it bagged is even more convenient; you’ll have a side in 15 minutes. I’ve seen chopped cauliflower in the freezer section and at Trader Joe’s. Snatch it and hold on tight! Otherwise, start here: Cut it up into florets: Pause and admire the pure whiteness: Now start choppin’! I was a little lazy and just wanted to eat; chop as fine as you can – like rice! Now chop some onion and put it in a pan with olive oil until onion is soft. Add the cauliflower, some garlic powder, salt, and pepper (and anything else you fancy!) When cooked, added some chopped cilantro. I would have gotten a better photo but we ate it so fast it was almost gone!
I especially love this “faux” rice paired with this Mexican dish: I’ll post that recipe next if you like!
Ready to eat? YES.
Tasty Cauliflower Rice:
Cauliflower florets, chopped fine (pre chopped if possible for time saver!)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper (to your preferred taste)
Heat olive oil on medium heat, add chopped onions, and cook until soft. Add chopped cauliflower, onion, garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Cook about 15-20 minutes until soft. Finish for one minute with chopped cilantro.
Variations include cauliflower fried rice – add an egg, soy sauce, and green onion. Add to soups instead of rice or potato. Add a little bacon and you’re golden 🙂
What to whip up for a ravenous group of 11-year-old soccer players? Can’t bring cupcakes, cheez-its, or goldfish crackers. No, they wanted me to speak about healthy snacks and feeling good. So… With ten minutes to spare, Brynne and I whipped up these almond-butter chocolate delights. Really, they were so easy. And they were gobbled up in seconds.
“Can I have the recipe?”
“Are there any more?”
“Can you bring more next week?”
I’ll try, my little soccer friends!
Loaded with tons of protein, energy carbs, and good fat, they’re also much cheaper and easier to make than my previous Protein Bites (which are still good but a little more time-consuming and pricier!)
Your next go-to snack?
Almond Butter and Chocolate-Chip Protein Bites
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon chia sees
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Makes about 12-14 protein balls.
Optional add-in: dried cherries or cranberries. Substitutions: I originally added cashews but some of us have a small and “down-there” annoying reaction to cashews…so I used walnuts. Almonds or any other nut also work! Don’t have almond butter? Peanut butter works, too.
It couldn’t be easier. Dump all ingredients into a bowl and stir until combined. For uniform balls, use a cookie scooper with your right hand and put the ball in your left hand to make it nice and smooth.
Or you can put the little ball into your child’s hand and have them form a nice little ball, which is what I ended up doing, followed by, hurry hurry roll that ball we have to go right this minute…!
Put in container and refrigerate for a 1/2 hour-1 hour (unless you’re running out the door.) If they feel a little wet? Add a little more substance like the coconut, oatmeal, or nuts. Too dry? Add a little more almond or peanut butter. Another option is to freeze and eat when you’d like to gnaw on something cold and hearty.
Drink this (not the beguiling Shamrock Shake from the McD drive-thru that will wreck your gut…)
This one’s for you: The Green Shamrock Smoothie. Just in time for Saint Patrick’s Day. It’s a gut healer, not a gut destroyer. It will make you feel good instead of…not. It provides energy instead of migraines.
Do you suffer from bloating, constipation, gut aches and pains? The following ingredients are well-known for their gut healing magic.
Green Shamrock Smoothie (the gut healer)
1-2 Cups Water
1/2 Squeezed Lemon
1/2 inch Ginger (skin on, scrubbed)
1 Cup Spinach (fresh or frozen)
1 Cup Kale (fresh or frozen)
1/2 Avocado (peeled)
1 Green Apple (cut, skin on)
1 Frozen Banana
Directions: Put ingredients in the Vitamix (or other powerful blender and give it a whirl.)
If you’ve never had a really green smoothie before, this may take some acclimating. You may feel the need to grimace. But after awhile an interesting thing happens: taste buds change. After a day or two without my precious green smoothie, I start to crave greens. I need it. I want it. I must have it. my precious.
We’ve got a little brussel obsession going on in our house. What? You don’t like brussels? Do you have traumatizing soggy-vegetable memories from childhood? Well friends, your life is about to change with this dish.
My children actually like this green vegetable. Actually they LOVE it.
It all began one evening in San Diego when brother Seth said, “let’s go out and eat the brussels.” Say what? Who goes out to dinner for brussel sprouts? Now we know why. We were served the most amazing appetizer that The Professor and I RAN HOME to recreate right here in cow-land.
So good. So easy. Bonus: brussels are GOOD for you! (and so is bacon…right?)
It’s easy-peasy and easily made right on the stove top. Balsamic glaze is different than balsamic vinegar, which would make this dish a bit too watery. Find the glaze next to the vinegar and you’ll be a happy brussel eater.
Hold ’em high, Nellie Mak! Hold ’em proud. We went outside for the good light. “Mom, you’re so weird. Can I go inside now?” (And yes, it’s too much to ask to look at the camera)
Let’s get a closer iPhone look.
With a little help from the local piggy (recently procured and man is homegrown pork incredible!), parmesan cheese, and balsamic glaze, brussel sprouts have risen to the top of my list. I crave them. I want them. must have them.So here you go. And may the love of brussels be ever in your favor…
Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Parmesan Shavings
1-2 pounds brussel sprouts, washed and halved
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese shavings (good quality!)
Balsamic glaze to taste
On the stovetop, heat iron-cast or dutch oven pan/pot over medium heat. Add chopped bacon. Cook until halfway done.
Add washed and halved brussel sprouts, stirring frequently until brussels are dark green and you see some nice dark searing marks (about 10-15 minutes). Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and slide brussels and bacon onto serving dish. Sprinkle parmesan cheese shavings on top of brussels.
Add balsamic glaze lightly, atop brussels and around dish for decoration.
The ingredient numbers are estimated. If you want to go with a full pound of bacon be my guest! If you like more parmesan, generously sprinkle.
This cake is brought to you just in time for Valentine’s. It’s special for three reasons:
It’s my Aunt Margie’s recipe, who is now gone, but I have her cake and think of her whenever I make it.
It has a very special ingredient that makes me laugh.
It represents so many things I love about my husband.
Sometimes we don’t want to share our favorite recipes because then they won’t be special, but boy am I glad Aunt Margie didn’t keep this one all to herself – life is so much better with this cake in it.
If you want only the recipe, skip to the end. If you’d like the love story, keep reading…
Aunt Margie and Uncle Warren raised my father after both his parents passed away when he was young. He grew up on a dairy farm in my most favorite place ever: Bear Lake, Idaho. When we visited in the summer Aunt Margie cooked, and boy was she a good cook!
Aunt Margie was a farmer’s wife and made everything from scratch which is why this cake’s very special ingredient makes me laugh. Are you ready for it…the very special ingredient is…a…cake mix! When I showed surprise she whispered, “you can make the cake by scratch if you want, but it’s just as good with the mix.” I had a new admiration for a busy woman who knew a good thing when she saw it. I have the original cake recipe, but Aunt Margie was right – the cake mix is just as good and so much easier!
As for my husband? Well, way back when I was going through a sad time in my romantic life. I wanted to make a very special cake for a boy who had kind of broken up with me. But he kept coming around. To show him what a catch I was, I figured all he needed was a bite of this very special cake that I had made from scratch (hey, I was young.)
I biked to the grocery store on my green Trek bike and discovered that I hadn’t brought the recipe with me. Did the frosting call for evaporated milk or condensed? Oh well! What’s the difference (said the clueless bakerella)? I bought the condensed milk.
I baked the cake mix (even I could do that) and began the frosting. Stirring it on the stove, I could not get it to thicken. Doubt began to fester. I stirred and stirred until I figured it was good enough – and dumped the frosting onto the cake. It vaguely occurred to me that maybe there was a difference between condensed and evaporated milk.
It was a soupy mess. But I optimistically hoped it would miraculously thicken and be as delicious as Aunt Margie’s cake.
Then I went and did my hair.
The boy was late, not showing up until 10 o’clock. I had grumpily gone to bed (party animal way back then, too). My roommates followed me as I ever-so-glamourously carried out my very special cake and presented it to the boy. (um, this is beginning to sound like an embarrassing 50’s story but I assure you I was a feminist in other ways 🙂
The boy took a look at my cake, put his hand on his stomach and said, “Oh, I’m so stuffed. I really couldn’t.”
Before I threw my cake AT the boy my roommates ushered me into the kitchen where they assured me it wasn’t me or my semi-disturbing-looking cake, it was him.
This moment, I sadly realized, was THE END of that boy.
The next day I was quite ill. I had a cold and a broken heart was miserably missing Anatomy class to go lay down thinking I was going to fail out of school for missing class, a baking failure and no one would ever marry me (not dramatic at all, not me.)
As I passed a condo out popped The Professor who I had just met. Rather than walk toward campus he surprised me by walking me home. There are many funny details to this story, but I’ll cut to the most important part: he walked into my apartment and saw my cake on the table.
The Professor you see, has always been a man who appreciates good food. “Mmmm,” he said, eyeing my cake.
“You can have some,” I said, feeling very sorry for myself. “No one else wants any” (boo hoo…)
“Thanks.” And then he did an audacious thing: he didn’t politely wait for me to open the utensil drawer and hand him a fork. He opened every drawer in the kitchen until he found a fork and then rather than wait for a plate, he stuck his fork in the middle of the cake and took a huge bite. Oh my. This professorial boy who used very big words, was excessively polite, and infuriatingly sparse with his compliments was eating my cake.
It was rather horrifying.
And then he said the only words I needed to hear: “Mmmm, tasty!” And proceeded to take another large bite.
Oh, I could have cried. Which I did. After he left.
And maybe it was then that I knew I had finally found the right boy.
It’s the small things, isn’t it?
And so, on the eve of this Valentine’s, I’d like to give you my very special, most favorite cake recipe. Passed down from my dear Aunt Margie who knew when to substitute, and has been made with love every since, all these years later.
I had to take the picture with my iPhone due to computer problems. My photography, as with my baking skills, is always a work in progress.
German Chocolate Cake by Aunt Margie
For the cake:
1 German Chocolate Cake Mix (devils food works fine, too).
Bake and cool
1 stick butter
3 egg yolk, whisked
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup white sugar
1-2 cups unsweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Mix and cook butter, eggs yolks, evaporated milk, and sugar on low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and coconut and walnuts. Spread on warm cake between layers or on top.
May you bake it with love, eat it with love, and enjoy it through the years, just as we have.