Bonnie Butter Cake

Let’s jump back in time a few weeks, back to our cake decorating day. When I got to Deb’s house, I had already made my chocolate cake I used to decorate, but Deb whipped out a Red velvet cake real quick from a newspaper clipping she had. When Kristi got there, we debated what type to make her so we quickly grabbed Deb’s 1970’s version of Betty Crocker’s Cookbook and had her flip through the different cakes.

Her son wanted to be involved in the cake decorating day too, but she told him it was just for the girls, so she brought a couple smaller pans and asked if we could make him a cake to decorate as well (you know, once she got home). I said absolutely. Well after we made up one batch of cake, we weren’t sure if our layered cake was thick enough, so we doubled the batter.

When we doubled the batter, that gave her the ability to make 3 more small loaf pans, because we didn’t need it all for just 2 layers of cake.

Kristi’s dad was having an 80th birthday celebration the next day. We used 9″ square pans to bake the cake in. Then I showed her different ways to decorate the cake. I also showed her how to make icing roses. I made 2 and she made 2. Now, if you’ll notice there are only 2 total on the cake. Well… that’s the mystery of the whole thing… One of mine I scrapped back in the bowl because it wasn’t very good. That would mean there are 3, right? Well… we never did find the third rose.

the cake… the cake was awesome though!!!

Bonnie Butter Cake
2/3 c butter (or margarine, softened)
1 3/4 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups cake flour (or 2 3/4 c ap flour)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 c milk

Heat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour baking pan, set aside. In large mixer bowl, mix butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy.Beat 5 minutes on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl with a whisk. On low speed, mix in flour mixture and milk alternatively. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake oblong pan 45-50 minutes or layers 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Ice cake (as in frost).

It recommends frosting cake with a French Silk Frosting or a Lemon Frosting. Instead we used a buttercream icing that is good for decorating and since we did a layer cake, we placed strawberry preserves between the layers for an added, extra special touch.

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Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

I’ve been trying all morning to get a picture uploaded and it won’t upload. It really isn’t of much other than the fact my iPhone is obsessed with where my vehicle is parked. Every morning and even multiple times per day my phone gives me a message that it knows where my vehicle is and it’s marked. I giggle every time. I can’t help myself. That has nothing to do with today’s post other than it is a funny, random, daily fact.

In other news, it’s morning. Morning means breakfast. When we woke up this morning, we were hungry. Now my toddler seems to think that eating chocolate candy bars for breakfast is all she needs to survive. I’m here to tell her differently… And I always have to be the bad person, telling her that.

She does like pancakes, you know, unless Frozen is on tv, then nothing matters. This morning I thought I’d try out one of my old favorites. When I was in college I got in to watching Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meals on Food Network. One day she had a recipe for Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes. Now if there is something I can tell you about when I was younger, we didn’t always have staple ingredients in our house like say my grandma would have or even some of my friends parents. One of those staples I’m talking about is milk. I have to say, having a toddler and a husband who both love milk… that helps with that staple ingredient… as long as the 2 of them haven’t drank it all.

This morning though, I decided to make these delicious pancakes. Throughout the years, I’ve learned to sub this out for that if I didn’t have that. Remember, we didn’t have the “staples” like the people on Food Network assumed you kept at all times. This recipe calls for milk. I had milk but didn’t want to have to walk to the other fridge to get it, so I had buttermilk handy. I thought I’d sub that in. That gave these a tang to them.

Really, I thought the tang from the buttermilk would be okay because it called for sour cream. Now the sour cream… well I had a tub in the fridge that said good through March 17, 2017. Good right? NOPE! Oh no, when I took the lid off, there was mold on it. No bueno so that immediately went into the trash. Yuck!

I just decided to leave the sour cream out. I know you can sub in Greek yogurt, but we didn’t have that either.

And if we’re keeping score I left out the raisins and walnuts. I’m not a fan of walnuts.

So here’s the original recipe in all its glory. YUM!

Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes – Rachael Ray
1 cup oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 oz,1/4 cup, chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 really ripe bananas, smashed
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 stick butter, 1/4 cup, melted
Maple sugar or honey for drizzling

Mix dry ingredients, first 7, in a bowl.  Mix wet ingredients, next 4, in another bowl.  Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in the bananas & raisins (optional).  Stir in the melted butter.

Heat the griddle over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.  Cook pancakes, each about 1/3 cup, until bubbles form on top, then turn.  Cakes will cook in about 2 minutes on each side.  Serve with honey or syrup.  Keep cakes tented with foil as they come off the griddle to keep warm.

Helpful hit: If you cannot find really ripe bananas, just nuke them in the microwave for about 15 seconds and they will become super soft.

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Mad Dog Spicy Tomato Pork Chops

I’m not sure how my dad came up with this recipe… maybe surfing the web, maybe through an email, I really don’t know… but one day this week he started reading off a list of ingredients to me asking if we had them. We had everything but pork chops and green onions.

He thought about it and walked off. Later he came back to the recipe and verified the ingredients we didn’t have. I asked if I needed to run to town to grab those ingredients. He said, I can, and then went back outside.

A little while later, he came in and verified the ingredients to me again. When Mark got home from work that night, he started to make ribs that were in the refrigerator and I verified if my dad’s truck was outside or not. He said no, I told him to hold off. He looked at me quizzically and I explained that dad found a recipe that he wanted to try and I had a feeling he went to town to get the ingredients we didn’t have. Mark was fine with that.

Sure enough, that’s what he did. He printed off the recipe and one of the first couple lines is, “You need this recipe in your life. You may not realize it, but you do.” I giggled at that thought thinking, really?

I’m here to tell you, You need this recipe in your life, you just may not realize it. I’m telling you now… go to town, get the ingredients. You won’t be sorry.

The only thing we didn’t have and subbed in was the Mad Dog Liquid Fire Hot Sauce. Dad said he bought some for my uncle one year for Christmas and you had to sign a wavier that said you wouldn’t eat it without being on something… so basically plain. Scary thought, right?

We subbed in Habanero sauce that we had in the fridge. We also used Mexican stewed tomatoes that we diced up versus a can of already diced tomatoes. I’m telling you… Totally yum! The last thing the recipe said was “Then get ready for compliments”… let me tell you, they came!

Ingredients:
4 Pork Chops
Sea salt & ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp hot sauce
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 medium sweet bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
3 stalks green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp oregano

To make:

Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Line a baking dish with foil or baking paper (makes for easier clean-up… optional) and set aside.

Season the pork chops with s&p. Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the pork chops. Brown on each side (about 2 minutes before turning), then transfer to the baking dish.

In a bowl, combine the hot sauce with the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heap the mixture onto the chops and place the baking dish in the oven for roughly 35 minutes or until pork is cooked and tender. (Then get ready for compliments.)

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Buncha Crunch® Oatmeal Cookies

If there’s one candy bar I really like, it’s a Nestle Crunch. Back before Christmas I was walking through Walmart when I stumbled across Buncha Crunch® cooking bits. What? Nestle Crunch ready to be put in cookies? I’m sold! I grabbed a bag, then brought them home and threw them in the freezer. I didn’t want cookies right then, but wanted the baking bits ready to go when I wanted them. That’s just the way I roll.

This week I was in the mood for cookies so I dug the crunch bits out of the freezer and decided to use the recipe on the back. And they have oatmeal in them. That means they’ve got to be good, right?

Now if you follow my Math (I once was good at it, some days though I question myself big time these days) It said that it makes 5 1/2 dozen. A dozen is 12. 12 times 5 = 60 plus a half dozen, which is 6, equals a total of 66.

My cookie scoop didn’t give me that many. I think I wound up with just over 50. Plus my cookie scoop broke. Oh well, it was cheap.

I also didn’t bake all of them. Nope, I froze some of the cookie batter so that it was ready to go any time I wanted cookies again. I just placed them into the freezer, then a freezer bag, and labeled the bag with the temperature/time so that I wouldn’t have to remember how to bake them.

Mmmmmm cookies!

By the way, I’m watching recorded Pioneer Woman episodes from Food Network. She’s talking about how when she started her blog it was easy and now it’s hard. <sigh> sad but true. But here’s the recipe for these delicious cookies should you want to make them and I think you should. Then invite me over, I’ll help you eat them!

*Note: If you can’t find the Buncha Crunch bits, just buy the Nestle Crunch Bunches (the little clusters) and they were just as good if not better!

Nestlé Buncha Crunch Cookies

Ingredients:
2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 c sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
4 1/2 c oatmeal
1 3/4 c (8oz pkg) Nestlé® Buncha Crunch® baking bits (or 12-14oz of the Nestlé Crunch Bunches)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375˚F
Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
Beat Butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in large mixer bowl until creamy (about 5 minutes).
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture.
Stir in oats and buncha crunch baking bits.
Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until very lightly browned.
Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, remove to wire racks to cool completely

Makes about 5 1/2 dozen cookies.

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3-Ingredient “Diet” Icing

Yesterday hopefully I changed your life with a “diet” cake. Seriously… a cake mix and a diet coke. That can’t be real bad. A few sugars/carbs scattered throughout all the pieces of cake so it’s not even one slice. Just think of that.

But I mentioned that when I heard about that, I wasn’t sure how to ice that baby so we made full-fledged sugar icing. Still better because of the cake but……..

The other day I was searching the internet. I have no idea how I came upon this recipe, but it changed my life for the better. And seriously, you could eat it just plain, I’m telling you.

Ingredients: Milk (I chose skim, but you can do unsweetened almond milk and remove even more sugars although the skim milk doesn’t have many sugars at all…..), Sugar free coolwhip, and sugar free pudding mix (I went with cheesecake so this stuff tasted just like cream cheese icing, only better).

Then you’ll need a bowl to mix in, a whisk, and a spatula (if you pronounce like Paula Deen, Spatuler)

Add half the milk you’d normally add to the pudding. So the pudding calls for 2 cups, you just put 1 cup in. Then use your whisk and whisk together. When it gets thick, fold in the coolwhip.

And bam, 3-ingredient icing. Then add it to your cake… or you know, eat it out of the bowl. No judgement here! And for the 9×13 cake I made yesterday, I didn’t even use all of the icing… see the skim milk sugars spread even thinner.

Now this isn’t decorator’s icing, but for just icing a cake… heck yeah. You subtract out all of the sugars and remember that all the calories stay in the piece you don’t eat and you’re golden! I’m telling you!

 

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Chocolate Cake – 2 Ingredients!

You just never know what we’ll be doing on Wednesdays. I typically spend my Wednesday’s at the Extreme Sports Scuba dive shop. Today happens to be Wednesday so you know where I am, right? Well what am I doing you may ask?

  • I wrote a blog post about a SCUBAPRO Nova 720 Flashlight with as many puns as I could about flashlights, ✓.
  • I ate lunch, ✓.
  • Oh and I made a diabetic friendly cake with icing, ✓.

Wait, what?

Are you confused? Don’t be, I’ll explain. A few years ago, like 10, someone told me about a cake to try. I laughed when they told me what the cake consisted of… A Chocolate Cake mix and a can of diet coke.

You’ve got to be kidding me, right? No siree Bob, I’m serious as a heart attack. btw, I wonder where that phrase came from… really both of them… No siree Bob and serious as a heart attack. Another pondering for another day. Back to the cake…

I called my grandma up and asked her if she believed it. She said, well I have the stuff, let’s try it so I went to her house and guess what… it worked and it was really good. Now at the time I was told that was a weight watchers friendly recipe. A way to have your cake and eat it too for few points.

We were being impatient waiting for the cake to cool to ice it… therefore we inverted it, on a little to small of plate, and then stuck it in the freezer. It worked and tasted even better!!

I’m not sure how many because that was 10 years ago and I wasn’t doing weight watchers. The thing was, how do you ice it? The only icing recipe my grandma knew had a bunch of sugar in it, therefore… you may forgo the calories/fat/points/etc on the cake but you made up for them in the icing.

10 years and I never came up with an icing recipe. But don’t you worry, I did the other day. This recipe is awesome. You’re welcome. Make sure you make a chocolate cake so you’re ready to go for this icing recipe! It’s a good one! The “diet” Icing Recipe!!

And I definitely want to say, don’t discount this cake because of the diet coke. Some people might. Don’t!!

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Mashed Potatoes (Confession time)

I’m really not sure I should comment that when it comes to the easy stuff, I don’t always know how to make it. I know I’ve confessed this before… but that’s just how it is. If someone was making when I was younger, they didn’t teach me how. It happens sometimes. So what is my newest easy food to make addition? Mashed Potatoes. Sad but true.

Up until last year, I never really made mashed potatoes. I’ve been married 6 1/2 years roughly. Really prior to last year we never really made mashed potatoes and when we did… I didn’t make them. I might cut them up and put them in the water to boil, but that was the extent of my helping with mashed potatoes. Sad but true.

Then one day last year I was with friends and took it upon myself to learn how to make mashed potatoes. Are they hard? Heck no. But I still didn’t know how to make them. I think my friend Jared about chocked when I mentioned this in passing. That’s okay, I have it figured out now!

First things first, cut up the potatoes to roughly the same size, that way they cook roughly the same amount of time. My favorite potatoes for mashed potatoes are Yukon Gold (the little yellow ones) although any potato really works. One night we had purple potatoes, therefore purple mashed potatoes. It was Jared’s fault. It was at his house and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I never figured out why, but you’re supposed to start potatoes off in cold water to cook them. Bring them to a boil and when you stick a fork (or a p-hork as I call it sometimes. Hey if you call a phone like fone, why not a fork a p-hork? I should also mention I pronounce phone p-hon-ay…. don’t ask, it’s best not to) in them and they fall off, they’re done.

With the Yukon Gold potatoes I leave the skins on. With Russet potatoes I might peel most of the potatoes that we boil, but I still leave the skin on a couple depending on how many potatoes I use. I just like the taste/flavor/texture it adds.

I have a hand potato masher, but Mark prefers to use the mixer. We learned in the artisian Kitchen Aid I used to have that you use the paddle attachment, but in our professional mixer, use the dough hook. Although he got a glass bowl for Christmas and it looks like he’s using the paddle attachment in the glass bowl, so I’d say, use what works best! Although I’d steer clear of the whisk.

Now this is where you add in your butter, garlic, salt, pepper, really any seasoning you choose, including cheese. Have fun with it!

This was his attempt at “roasted” garlic even though it was done on aluminum foil on the grill top. I don’t know but I can tell you it was good so that’s all that matters!

So, you can stop there… or do what he did last night…. Place half the potatoes in a pan, top with cheese, another layer of potatoes and a few pats of butter. He placed it in the oven at 350˚F for roughly 35 minutes because that’s how long our pork chops were in the oven.  5 minutes until it was “finished’ he pulled them out, topped with more cheese and put them back in to allow the cheese to get melty (technical term).

Dish them up and eat!

 

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Los Cabos Mexican Grill & Cantina {Independence, MO}

Last Friday my friend Karen and I went to Kansas City. There is a Duluth Trading Company store up there and she needed to return/exchange some items. We started out in downtown KC and ventured out to the suburbs to find Duluth. Um… let’s just say we had an adventure. You could see all the stores you wanted to go to, but actually getting there was another story so we’d take roads that would lead us in the right direction and eventually, we got there. Yes, I know, we could have used our GPS, but what’s the fun in that?

We got out to Independence around lunch time and seeing as though we were hungry, we decided to find lunch. We passed this restaurant, Los Cabos, and eventually decided to stop and try it. So impressive things about this restaurant, it was HUGE! There was a sign in the door that said max capacity 285. That’s a lot of people. Second, the view. No, I didn’t take a picture, but where we sat, we had a gorgeous view over the lake out back. And it was cold enough that there was a thin layer of ice over half of the lake. Beautiful. I’ll bet it’s even prettier in the fall when the leaves are changing colors, but another trip for another time, because we’re now in January. Gloomy old January.

The waitress (or server for you politically correct type) told us that all the red dishes were signature dishes. I took the picture of the Camarones Alambres because here’s the thing, I like shrimp but not a lot of shrimp. I’m not a huge seafood person, but this looked absolutely AMAZING! If I had been with someone who loved shrimp, I’d have probably gotten it, that way if I didn’t care for it, I could have conned them into switching with me. Sad but true. But I wasn’t with someone who likes fish, actually I was with someone who likes it less than I do so I stuck with chicken (see below).

They brought us out chips and two types of Salsa. The one on the upper side is regular style salsa. The one on the lower side tasted like roasted peppers or something. It had a different flavor and it was a smokey flavor at that. Both were very good. Then the queso. Oh the queso. Go here for that if nothing else. I need to learn some more descriptive words. They call it white queso. While it definitely wasn’t yellow, I can’t just say it was white either. What it was though is good. That is all.

Finally, the dish I got…. Roasted Garlic and Spinach Stuffed Chicken. It is a large, stuffed chicken breast topped with Cotija cheese and served with grilled vegetables & choice of refried, borracho, or black beans. Hello, if you know me I don’t like beans so I went with rice instead. The rice was good. The vegetables were better. And then that chicken. The chicken was basically flattened out and there was a layer of garlic and spinach and cheese on both pieces (or if it was flattened and folded over, then the middle and top). I might have gone a little lighter on the spinach because it was a little over powering, but it was so good it really didn’t matter.

Karen went with a lunch portion, 1 chicken enchilada. They brought her two. But because the waitress only put it in as 1, we only paid for 1. We didn’t complain. She said they were good and that one was filling so she had extras for later.

Interesting fact, I went on line to find their menu a few minutes ago and there are 3 locations in Oklahoma. In fact, their website said, no matter where you are in the Tulsa area, there’s one nearby. So how did one wind up in the Kansas City area? Questions, questions. So there you have it my friends.

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Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread

A few weeks ago we actually had snow… can you believe it? Snow. Last week we had an ice warning and a couple weeks before that we actually had snow. Okay okay so it was a light dusting, but still…. We had snow. I think we had one snow day last winter too. So far this winter, I think I’ve warn my heavy coat twice maybe. Once was in Texas and the other was up in Kansas City. Not even around here, granted we’re only 2 1/2 hours south of Kansas City. And I just got a new heavy coat for Christmas. Anyway, I have it so I’ll be ready!

That morning when I woke up, I was in the mood to bake. I had a bunch of bananas that needed to be used for banana bread or cake or muffins or something of the sort.

When my parents went to Hawaii they brought back a banana bread mix. Now I never had enough bananas for the mix because usually I had 1-2 and this called for 5 but this day I actually had enough.

I even followed directions and mashed the bananas before adding to the mix. Usually when I make banana bread and it says to mash them in a separate bowl, I usually just peel and mash in my hand as I’m adding to the banana bread mixture. Yup, that’s me. I follow directions real well sometimes. ha! Hey, they get mashed I just don’t dirty up a bowl that way. All I have to do usually is wash my hands. But this particular day I was feeling real rebellious and mashed them in a bowl. Look at me go.

Now it called for 4 mini loaf pans but I don’t think I own mini loaf pans so I made 2 regular sized pans and just separated between the two. I had to bake a little longer but it worked out perfectly!

And this stuff was friggin awesome. Now I want to know how they made it. It was strange all I added were the bananas and some melted butter. No eggs… wonder if they used meringue powder in it? Who knows… all I know is YUM!

 

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PW’s Chocolate Cake Recipe

When we decided to have a cake decorating day, I decided maybe I should make my cake ahead of time so that we weren’t waiting on mine to bake. Good thought, right? We had access to two ovens, and there were going to be at least 3 of us that I knew about and possibly four. Turns out, there were four so it was a good thing I baked mine ahead of time. When I showed up that morning we baked Deb’s off real fast, then the other two baked about the same time. It worked out perfectly.

So I was trying to decide, box cake mix or from scratch? From scratch won. Then I debated what type of cake I wanted to make. This is when I decided, Chocolate. Then I had to decide, what chocolate cake recipe to use…

One of my absolute favorites is Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Cake that is typically a sheet cake. No big deal. I just turned it into 8″ round double cakes and bam, the chocolate cake for my decorating was born.

In the end, I almost didn’t decorate mine. Lots of reason why I wasn’t going to, but at the last minute I quickly decorated one. Not bad for 30 minutes or something like that start to finish, right? I’m not 100% sure I even spent that much time. Sadly there are some areas that look rushed below the arrow head… that’s because the coupler pushed out of the bag and I was running out of green icing, so I shoved what little icing I had left through the tip with my finger. Hey, no one is judging, right?

Take my word for it…. Make this cake. It’s tasty!

Pioneer Woman’s Chocolate Cake by Pioneer Woman
FOR THE CAKE:

  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture.

Pour into 2 greased/floured (*I prefer Baker’s Joy) 8″ round pans. Bake 350˚F for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out of the center clean.

Note: She uses an 18×13 sheet cake pan and bakes it for 20 minutes. But remember, I turned mine into 2-8″ Round cakes

*Bakers Joy – It’s a spray for baking. It’s in a white can with a blue lid. Food Network did a study back in the early 2000’s and it came out the best. I tried it and holy cow, I was sold. I’ve not really ever had issues getting a cake out of a pan when using that. Just thought I’d share 😁

 

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