Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kathleen's Coffee Cake

My friend and neighbor, Kathleen, gave me her family's coffee cake recipe last week. I immediately took that treasured recipe home and got to work on it! It was super easy to make! The end result was extremely flavorful and moist. Great for dessert or with your morning coffee. Thanks, Kathleen!

1 stick of butter, melted
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

1/3 c. white OR brown sugar (I used brown)
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbl chopped pecans OR walnuts
2 Tbl sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F

In a large mixing bowl combine butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Stir well. In another small mixing bowl combine flour, soda and powder; stir to combine. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients gradually, stirring well to combine after each addition.

In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients. Mix well to combine. Topping with be "crumbly".

Grease a 9" loaf pan. Add 1/2 of cake mixture to pan. Evenly sprinkle on half of topping mixture. Add the rest of the cake mixture. Evenly sprinkle the remaining topping mixture on top.

Bake for 45 - 50 minutes at 350F.  Let cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before inverting onto plate and slicing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Asian Chicken Wraps

A simple, yet flavorful, wrap sandwich from Peace Meals (LOVE this cookbook!). I use the white meat from a rotisserie chicken to save time. Serve with a simple salad, chips and a berry smoothie for a healthful, delicious meal! Enjoy!

White meat from a rotisserie chicken
1 Tbl sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger (substitute ground ginger if you do not have fresh)
Juice from one lime
3 to 4 large white or wheat flour tortillas (burrito or enchilada size)
1/2 c. prepared hoisin sauce (or more if you really like it! You can find this in the Asian section of the market)
4 green onions, chopped
green or red leaf lettuce, chopped
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 c. peeled and thinly sliced cucumber

Shred or chop rotisserie chicken and place in a bowl. Add sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and lime juice to the chicken and mix well. Warm the tortillas one at a time in a skillet (the tortillas must be warm before you try to roll them or else they will break). Top each tortilla with hoisin sauce, green onion, chicken mixture, lettuce, cilantro and cucumber. Roll tightly. Slice in half. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dana's Delicious Pound Cake

My new neighbor, Dana (whom I just LOVE), shared her family's pound cake recipe with me yesterday. I just had to make it right away and I'm so glad I did! This cake is a snap to make! But, you do need a couple of kitchen tools to get it just right. Tool #1. A standing mixer. The batter mixes for a total of 55 minutes (yep, that's right, I said 55 minutes, not a typo!). But, that's the beauty of it- you can throw the ingredients into the mixer and then go vacuum the house, clean the bathrooms, dust the bookshelves and come back and it's ready for the oven! Tool #2. An extra long loaf pan (Click here to buy on Amazon). Dana let me borrow hers. But, I have to tell you, I'm going to get one for myself- I can see a lot of great uses for this pan (doubling up my banana bread recipe, for example, because I can't ever seem to keep enough of it in the house with all these hungry children).

Now, you do not have to have tool #2- you can use two regular size loaf pans- just split the batter. Bake for 60-ish minutes if you use two loaf pans.  Dana tells me she also makes cupcakes with this recipe- bake for 20-ish minutes. Of course, with all quick breads, test for done-ness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the bread- if it comes out clean, it's ready!

This cake is delicious for breakfast or great for dessert. I made the almond extract version and decided to sprinkle half the cake with sliced almonds before cooking. They made a super yummy, crunchy crust! Also, try it with fresh berries and whipped cream! You just can't go wrong!

3/4 c. butter (12 tablespoons), room temperature
2 1/2 c. white sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
2/3 c. milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 325F. 

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract in a standing mixer for 25 minutes (yes, that really does say 25 minutes).  Add the flour and baking powder. Mix for another 30 minutes more (yep, said that, too!). The batter should be rich and creamy and have zero lumps.  

Bake in a greased long loaf pan for 70 to 75 min at 325F.

After cake as cooled, turn it out onto a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. ENJOY!

Substitute 2 tsp of almond extract for the vanilla extract; add 1/3 c. sliced almonds to the top of batter before baking.
Add grated rind of two lemons to the batter at the same time as vanilla extract.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Puff Pastry Pinwheels with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Pesto

I served these last week at a party a friend and I hosted. Not only was the presentation beautiful, but, these pinwheels tasted spectacular! A perfect appetizer to serve at any party or gathering! They were not hard to make, but, they were involved- quite a few steps! Totally worth the time put in, though- delicious!
This recipe comes from the Food Network website. If you click here you can watch a video on how to prepare them (very helpful) or just follow my photos. Enjoy!


  • 1 (8-ounce) jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
  • Finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • Finely ground black pepper
  • 1 (17.3-ounce) box puff pastry (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
  • 1/3 cup pesto, store bought
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Drain the sun-dried tomatoes in a sieve over a small skillet, letting the oil collect in the skillet. (Note: my jar of sun-dried tomatoes had SO much oil in it, it was ridiculous! I only saved approx 1 Tbl of it and tossed the rest). Roughly chop the tomatoes and reserve them in a small bowl. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown, about 30 seconds, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme and let it crackle in the oil for about 10 seconds. Add the balsamic vinegar and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Pour the warm oil over the reserved tomatoes. Stir to combine the ingredients well.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (Note: I didn't have any parchment paper, so I lightly sprayed a baking sheet with cooking spray- this worked fine!). Place 1 sheet of puff pasty on each baking sheet. Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 9 individual squares, each about 3 by 3 inches.

For each square, use a paring knife to cut from each corner toward the center, stopping 1-inch from the center. You will have a 1-inch circle in the center of each square, and all of the corners will be cut in half.

Spoon about 1 teaspoon of pesto in the center of each square and spread it into a 1-inch circle. For each square, lift one half of a corner and fold it toward the center of the square, gently pushing the point into the pesto. Continuing around the square, fold 3 more corner halves toward the center of the square, and gently press all 4 tips together to form a pinwheel shape.

Draining away most of the oil, place about 1 teaspoon of the tomatoes where the tips meet. Brush the dough with the beaten egg. Bake at 350 degrees F until the dough is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Crab Martins

This original recipe comes from my dad, Marty. He and I share a passion for all things food and cooking! He makes hearty, tasty food, and these killer appetizers are no exception! We both agree these Crab Martins will WOW your guests at your next dinner party! Enjoy!
1 pound cleaned dungeonous crab meat, chopped
2 small shallots, minced
1/4 c. red onion, minced
1/4 c. red bell pepper, minced
10 green olives, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbl capers
Mayonnaise (to your desired taste and consistency)
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 Tbl sweet pickle relish
1 fresh baguette
Olive oil
Gruyere Cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 250F 
In a large bowl, combine shallots, red onion, red bell pepper, sliced olives, garlic and capers. Add crab meat to veggie mixture. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, Dijon mustard and sweet pickle relish. Stir well. Add mayo mixture to crab and veggies. Mix thoroughly. Season with salt & pepper.

Slice baguette in ¼ to ½ “ slices and place on a cookie sheet. Brush bread with good olive oil. Add a generous spoonful of crab mixture on each baguette slice. Top each slice with shredded gruyere cheese. Bake at 250 degrees until warm and cheese melts

Garnish each Crab Martin with a pinch of paprika for color. Enjoy!