Cooking Tools & Techniques, Cooking with Herbs, Cooking with Kids, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking

Red Velvet Cake & Cinnamon-Coriander Icing

red velvet cake with cinnamon coriander icing

Red velvet is one of my husband’s favorite cakes ever, so when it came time to make his birthday cake I didn’t even really have to ask what flavor cake he wanted. But I had two different box mixes in the cabinet (chocolate and red velvet), so I did ask, anyway. That’s right. I said box mix. I’m all about saving time where I can, and I don’t think there’s any shame in that – especially when you’re a busy wife and mother of two little girls.

The girls begged for the chocolate. They don’t understand that red velvet is just a chocolate cake made with red food coloring. Even when I explained that to them, they acted like they didn’t believe it. Red cake just can’t be chocolate – at least, I’m sure that’s how it must seem when you’re seven and five years old.

Since I still didn’t have a new oven at the time, I knew I was going to have to try to bake the cake in the microwave, but I wasn’t too concerned about that. I’d baked several other things successfully in the microwave. This would probably turn out just as well.

I didn’t have any store-bought frosting on hand because my kids are cake frosting monsters. They have been known to raid my baking supply cabinet during the middle of the night and take out the tubs of frosting and chocolate chips and chow down. What I find particularly interesting is that, instead of throwing away the evidence, they’ll put the empty containers BACK where they got them. So Mommy still thinks she has plenty of frosting when, in fact, she doesn’t have any in the house. Life with children is anything but boring.

I made the cake batter according to the package directions (which, for me, was add 1 cup of water, 3 eggs, and 1/3 cup oil to the cake mix and stir together). My older daughter even got into the cake making with me by breaking the eggs, pouring in the water and oil, and stirring the batter until it was smooth and no longer lumpy. I did take over the stirring at one point when the thick batter got a little too tough for her to deal with, but she did an excellent job on her own.

We baked the cake according to my handy, dandy microwave baking guide.

First, I greased a Pyrex baking dish and poured the batter into the dish (the seven-year-old helped with this process a bit too) Then, I covered this with wax paper. I put it in the microwave on Medium-High Power (Level 7), but it wasn’t quite done on the top (there was still a lot of liquid batter) so I put it back in for another 4 minutes at the same power level. That didn’t look like it did quite enough, so I put it in for another 4 minutes and reduced the power level to 6. That did the trick. So, basically, you bake the cake on Power Level 7 for 11 minutes and Power Level 6 for 4 minutes, and you have a wonderfully fluffy cake! red velvet cake mix

While the cake was cooling (wait at least 15 minutes for this – the icing was ready before the cake cooled), I prepared the icing. You’ll find the amazing recipe below.

Cinnamon-Coriander Icing
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 2 mins
Total time: 7 mins
Serves: 12 servings
Far from being spicy, as I thought it might be, this icing is deliciously refreshing and lemony – and somewhat addicting!
Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Measure out the confectioners sugar into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Pour in the milk and vanilla, and stir together slightly.
  3. Add the coriander and cinnamon, and whip the icing mixture for about a minute or two, until the mixture is creamy but thick enough for icing a cake.
  4. Adjust the amounts of milk and sugar as necessary (if mixture is too thick or too runny, respectively).

I’m not exaggerating when I call this icing “amazing!” (not much, anyway). Even the seven-year-old pronounced it to be “The best EVER!”

how to make homemade icing

The thing I love most about this icing recipe is its versatility. I mean, it would be completely delicious on just about any flavor of cake. I think I’m going to try it next on that chocolate cake mix that’s still in the cabinet. My husband’s birthday cake disappeared less than 24 hours after I made it. It’s time to make another!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

 

lychee fruit
Cooking Healthy Food, Exotic Flavors, Fruit for Dessert, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking, Super Sides

Lychee Nutrition Facts and Recipe

My family and I love to go to the local Chinese buffet. It’s a Sunday afternoon, after-church tradition now. We’ve been doing it for over seven years! You’d think we’d get tired of the same old, same old, but this particular restaurant switches up their menu just enough to keep things interesting. Our favorite things (the sushi, the coconut shrimp, the fried dumplings, etc.) are almost always there, but every once in a while they introduce something new to the spread.

Like yesterday, when they had these strange-looking little round things sitting out at the dessert table. I figured it much be some sort of fruit, but I didn’t have a clue what it was. Still, I’m an adventurous type, especially when it comes to food, so I thought I would try it. Our server came by the table before I’d taken a bite, and I asked her what they were.

“Lychee,” she said, pronouncing it “lee-chee,” or at least that was the way it sounded to me. She smiled at me like she didn’t really believe she was having to tell me what it was. What could I say? I was a lychee virgin.

I’d heard of the fruit before, but I’d never seen it in person, so I’d certainly never tasted it.

I speared one little fruit with my fork and cautiously stuck it in my mouth. Immediately, I tasted the ginger, and I wondered it if that was part of the fruit’s natural taste, but some later research online told me that probably wasn’t the case. They’d probably added ginger to it when they baked it.

My first overall impression? It was quite different from anything I’d ever had before, although the texture was somewhat reminiscent of baked pears, I thought. And it was spicy! But that was okay by me because I happen to like spicy food.

When I got home, I hit the Internet looking for more information about lychees. Turns out, by not knowing anything about this fruit I was really missing out! Lychees are amazingly nutritious!lychee fruit

For example, they:

  • Offer a great source of Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C, and phytonutrients like carotenoids, flavonoids, indoles, isoflavones, lignans, and polyphenols
  • Provide high amounts of folate, iron, magnesium, and manganese, which are all required for the formation of red blood cells

Please note, however, that lychees are really high in sugar, which may prove problematic for some diabetics, so consume with caution – and ALWAYS in moderation.

During my Internet search, I even found a yummy baked lychee recipe to try at home. So, I made my husband go out and find some lychees (which was no easy feat in Louisville, KY), tweaked the recipe by adding some things, and baked my lychees in the microwave (like I bake everything else).

Baked Lychees
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 lb lychee fruit, peeled & seeded
Instructions
  1. Spray a Pyrex baking pan with Pam cooking spray.
  2. In a small microwaveable bowl, melt the butter.
  3. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger to the butter, and stir together thoroughly.
  4. Roll each lychee in the sugar mixture, and set on the baking dish.
  5. Pour remaining sugar mixture over the lychees.
  6. Put the dish in the microwave and cook on medium power for about three to five minutes, until sugar is caramelized.
  7. Serve immediately, and refrigerate any leftovers.

If you haven’t yet tried lychees, I highly suggest giving them a try. They’re a really different taste sensation at first, but in a delicious way – especially baked. Try this out, and see for yourself!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

 

chocolate chip muffins
Breads, Breakfast, Microwave Baking

Chocolate Chippy Chunk Muffins

chocolate chippy chunk muffins.png

This past weekend, my oldest daughter asked for some chocolate chip cookies because she knew I had a full bag of chocolate chips in the house – well, sort of full (more on that later). My oven’s still not working, so I asked her if muffins would be okay because I know I can do muffins in the microwave. chocolate chip muffinsShe said yes, so I decided to go with that. But I waited too long (a whole day), and she and her sister broke into my bag of chocolate chips!

By the time I got around to making the muffins, I found that most of the bag was empty. So, I had to improvise when it came to adding the chocolate to the recipe. I used about 1/4 of a pound of the coconut oil fudge I’d made a few days before. The end result was pretty surprising and wonderful!

I also happened to be out of eggs, so I searched online and found that you can actually substitute flaxseed (3 tablespoons) and water (1 tablespoon) for one egg. The nice folks at Viva Labs sent me a free bag of ground flaxseed in exchange for an honest review. And, my honest opinion is, it’s a great product! Nicely packaged. It tastes great, and it works in a variety of food products (I’ve used it to make meatballs too). Soon, I’ll be using it to make soap (which I’ll probably talk about over at my CoriaCoco site), so keep an eye out for that post if you’re interested. Plus, I think the Amazon price is totally reasonable for the quality you’re getting, especially if you have access to the free Prime shipping.

I knew I had the flaxseed available, so I decided to try that out as a substitute. It worked pretty well, I think…and my kids and husband both really enjoyed them, so I guess we can call this eggless recipe a winner.

Know someone with an egg allergy? They can still have muffins (as long as they’re not allergic to anything else in this recipe). Here’s what I used and what I did.

Chocolate Chippy Chunk Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 6 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Total time: 12 mins
Serves: 14 muffins
These muffins are made by substituting a flaxseed and water mixture for the egg, so anyone with an egg allergy can enjoy them, provided they are not allergic to anything else in the recipe.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil fudge (see recipe linked above)
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Make the egg substitute mixture by combining one tablespoon of flaxseed with three tablespoons water. Stir and let sit for at least one minute while you get the other ingredients together.
  2. Line mini muffin cup wells with mini cupcake liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave (high for about 30 seconds).
  4. Stir in the milk and vanilla.
  5. Pour in the chocolate chips and fudge (cut up into bite-size chunks) and stir well.
  6. Add the sugar, baking powder, and salt, and stir until combined thoroughly.
  7. Fold in the flaxseed and water mixture.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the lined muffin cups and put into microwave.
  9. Cook on high power for between 3 and 4 minutes (test for doneness with a toothpick).
  10. Transfer done muffins to a cooling rack and repeat with remaining batter (I had enough left for about 2 or 3 other muffins – these won’t take as long to cook).
  11. Cook remaining muffin batter on high power for about 2 minutes.

After you cook these, if you don’t eat them all right away, you might want to put them in a sealed container. I didn’t, and I found that the next day some of them were really, really hard. A couple of seconds in the microwave softened them up, but it was still something I wasn’t expecting. I hadn’t experienced that before with any of the other muffins I’d made in the microwave. Maybe it was the coconut oil in them (which hardens at room temperature). Maybe I needed to add more milk or water or something. I’m going to try that the next time I make these.

Did you try these? I’d love to hear about it. Also, if you have any suggestions for keeping these from turning rock hard the next day, that would be great too.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

healthy fudge
Cooking Healthy Food, Cooking Tools & Techniques, Cooking with Herbs, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking

Easy Five-Ingredient Organic Fudge

organic fudge

I was surfing through Pinterest not long ago (there’s no faster or easier way to find new recipes to try than browsing Pinterest), and I came across this recipe for healthy fudge using coconut oil. It’s probably no secret by now that I’m totally obsessed with coconut oil, so of course I was intrigued. And my coconut oil obsession has been joined by a confirmed obsession with coriander. So I thought it would be a cool idea to make the recipe “my own” by adding a hint of coriander into the mix. The end result was really tasty, and the coriander actually gave the fudge a hint of minty flavor.

I love the simplicity of this fudge recipe, and its health benefits. It’s perfect for those who are following special diets, including paleo and gluten-free diets.

Easy Five-Ingredient Organic Fudge
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 4 hours
Total time: 4 hours 5 mins
Serves: 16 pieces
This fudge is easy, delicious, and actually pretty healthy! No processed sugar – or, really, processed ANYTHING – involved.
Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup organic coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup organic honey
  • 2/3 cup raw cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp organic ground coriander
Instructions
  1. Melt coconut oil in a microwavable container for about 40 seconds, or whip it.
  2. Stir in the honey and the cocoa powder.
  3. Add the vanilla and coriander.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  6. Cut into chunks to serve.

healthy fudgeMy husband and I tried a piece each right out of the fridge, and it was very hard at the time – almost the consistency of a candy bark. After leaving it out of the fridge for 24 hours, though, this issue was easily resolved, although I found out we really didn’t want to leave the fudge out of the fridge for too long because the coconut oil and honey started melting a bit, giving the confection a slightly oily/sticky texture. But it’s not that a big a deal. You can put it back in the fridge for a few hours, and it goes right back to being yummy!

I melted my coconut oil instead of whipping it because I don’t have a stand mixer, and I didn’t want to take the time out to find my electric hand mixer. Probably the texture would’ve turned out differently with whipped coconut oil. I don’t know if it would’ve tasted any better, though, because I really liked it this way. For a tutorial on how to whip coconut oil, check out this site. I’ll have to dig out my hand mixer for the next batch and try it out. I love the look of whipped coconut oil!

Now I want to know: Have you tried this recipe? What did you think?

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

pumpkin muffins
Breads, Breakfast, Microwave Baking

Pumpkin Muffins

 

pumpkin muffins

A couple of years ago, my girls discovered the Little Bites pumpkin muffins from Entenmann’s. They absolutely fell in love with them, and I went through about a box every other day or so. Let me tell you, that got expensive. Also, things turned distressing when December rolled around, and the pumpkin muffins disappeared. Turns out, this was just a seasonal flavor. My girls were heartbroken, and I wondered how I could possibly satisfy their little toddler cravings for pumpkin muffins.

I found a recipe for pumpkin muffins using canned pumpkin and cake mix, and those were yummy, but I wondered if there was another way to make them – preferably from scratch. Turns out, all I had to do was look through my Grammy’s old microwave cookbooks. I used the basic muffin recipe and tweaked it by adding pumpkin and some other yummy stuff, and this is what I came up with:

Pumpkin Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 22 mins
Serves: 36
These pumpkin muffins are so good and easy, you’ll want to make them all the time, even when it’s not “pumpkin muffin season.”
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredient mixture.
  3. Pour the eggs, cooking oil, milk, applesauce, and vanilla into the center of the well.
  4. Stir well.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree, and stir to combine thoroughly.
  6. Insert a silicone mini muffin tray into a large Pyrex baking dish.
  7. Spray the tray with Pam non-stick cooking spray.
  8. Fill each muffin well about 2/3 full with batter.
  9. Microwave on High (Power Level: 10) for 5 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center of each muffin comes out clean.
  10. Remove the muffins from the tray, and repeat the process for the rest of the muffin batter.

My whole family loves these, although my husband admits he thinks they could be a little sweeter. I think they’re just fine as they are, and I like the fact that I can serve my family muffins for breakfast and not feel too guilty about it. These also make a nice after-dinner treat.

However, if you have a real sweet tooth, like my husband, you might want to consider doubling the sugar in this recipe, or perhaps adding icing. I think you could do so without ruining the muffins. Whether you add more sugar or not, I do hope you enjoy these as much as we do!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

pear crumble
Cooking Healthy Food, Fruit for Dessert, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking

Autumn Pear Crumble

pear crumble.png

There’s no doubt fall is the season of the apple. And October is the month when bobbing for apples becomes a popular pasttime. But pears are popular at this time of year, as well, and October 25 is National Pear Day. Truth be told, I sometimes prefer pears to apples anyway, and since my family enjoyed my Applesauce Brown Betty recipe so much, I thought I would try something similar with pears. This Autumn Pear Crumble is a wonderful way to end a meal, whether it’s your traditional Thanksgiving feast or just a cozy weeknight dinner.

Autumn Pear Crumble
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 medium pears, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Honey-Nut Cheerios
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
Instructions
  1. Put the first 9 ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
  2. Blend on high power for about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Spray Pam into a 7 X 11 Pyrex baking dish.
  4. Pour out the pear mixture and spread evenly into the baking dish.
  5. Top with the wheat germ.
  6. Put the baking dish in the microwave and heat on high (Power Level 10) for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove and cover with wax paper.
  8. Put back in the microwave and cook on medium (Power Level 5) for 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from microwave and serve immediately with a dollop of Greek yogurt or whipped cream on top.
  10. Refrigerate the leftovers.

I really love that I can use my very favorite kitchen tool, the Ninja Master Prep to make this dish even easier and faster. I used another one of my favorite things in this recipe, as well – coconut oil. I’ve been using coconut oil almost daily for about a year now, and I was fortunate enough to get contacted by the people at Island Fresh, who asked if I would write a review in exchange for a FREE 54-ounce container of their Organic, Virgin, Cold-Pressed, Unrefined Coconut Oil. Of course, I immediately jumped at the chance. I’ve been using this in EVERYTHING now – even my smoothies. It’s got a wonderfully light coconut taste that’s hardly noticeable in most recipes, as long as you stick with one tablespoon or less. It’s truly amazing stuff, and I love substituting it for butter in baking with crumbly things because it seems to help hold things together so much better. I’ve tried a few brands of coconut oil over the past year, and I can honestly say this one is the best, by far. I think it really made this recipe all that much more delicious, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Give it a try yourself!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

brown betty
Cooking Healthy Food, Fruit for Dessert, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking, Old Family Recipes

Applesauce Brown Betty

 

applesauce brown betty

Today is National Apple Brown Betty Day! Nobody really knows how the brown Betty got its name. It’s said that it was named for the African-American slave who invented it hundreds of years ago. A recipe for the now-famous concoction was first published in Yale Literary Magazine in 1864. The original recipe used whole, fresh apples as its base, but a variation printed in the 1870s used crackers and applesauce, and this I found particularly intriguing. So I took the idea and ran with it and came up with something amazing that the whole family enjoys!

Applesauce Brown Betty
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 8 servings
This brown Betty variation was based on an 1870s version using applesauce and crackers. My whole family enjoyed it so much, they’re now asking to have it every night. Definite winner!
Ingredients
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 3 slices whole wheat bread
  • 3/4 cup of butter
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups saltine cracker crumbs (about 1/2 a sleeve)
  • 1/4 cup nuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
Instructions
  1. Grease a 7 X 11 Pyrex baking dish.
  2. Put the bread in a chopper (I used my Ninja Master Prep) and chop into fine crumbs.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave, for about 45 seconds.
  4. Layer the breadcrumbs along the bottom of the baking dish, and pour the melted butter on top.
  5. Stir the butter and crumbs together and press down into a thin crust.
  6. Sprinkle the nutmeg over the crust.
  7. Layer the applesauce over the crust and spread evenly.
  8. In the chopper or a blender (again, I used my Master Prep), combine the cinnamon, crackers, nuts, brown sugar, and wheat germ.
  9. Process until everything is well blended into fine crumbs (about two minutes).
  10. Pour out into a bowl and stir in the maple syrup and water until all the crumbs are moistened.
  11. Spoon out on top of the applesauce and spread evenly.
  12. Put the baking dish in the microwave and heat on high (Power Level 10) for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove and cover with wax paper.
  14. Put back in the microwave and cook on medium (Power Level 5) for 5 minutes.
  15. Remove from microwave and serve immediately with a dollop of Greek yogurt or whipped cream on top.
brown betty

The thing I really love about this is (as I discovered later) it tastes just as amazing cold as it does warm. You really can’t miss with this one! I’m glad Betty (whoever she was) made this and shared it with the rest of us.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

how to make custard
Just Desserts, Microwave Baking

Mini Caramel Custard Recipe

caramel custard.png

It’s National Caramel Custard Day. Yum! I love caramel, and my husband likes custard, so I thought it would be the perfect day to celebrate. I’d also read in one of my grandmother’s old microwave cookbooks that custard does especially well in the microwave. And my husband just got me a new silicone mini muffin pan (with extra deep cups), so I thought I was all set. As it turns out, I probably should have done a little more researching before I tried it.

Still, they turned out okay. They’re not the prettiest things in the world (most of the things I make really aren’t), but they are yummy. It’s probably not something I’m going to make all the time, but I’m glad I tried it. And I might pull this recipe out again for special occasions… maybe around Christmastime, since the flavor reminds me a lot of eggnog, and we’re all fans of eggnog in this family!

Mini Caramel Custard Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 50 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 13 servings
Caramel sauce lends a sweet deliciousness to mini egg custards, and there’s even enough caramel and egg mixture left to make another larger, but still individual-sized, custard.
Ingredients
  • Pam cooking spray
  • 3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup Karo light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cola of choice
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Grease a 12-cup mini muffin pan and set inside a Pyrex baking pan that is half-filled with water.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, water, and salt.
  3. Heat on high (Power Level 10) for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove bowl from the microwave and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Heat on high for 90 more seconds.
  6. Stir in the cola (I used Diet Pepsi because that’s what I had on hand, and it worked just fine).
  7. Pour into muffin cups until they are just less than half full.
  8. Reserve the remainder to use with the extra egg custard mixture.
  9. In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the milk for about two minutes on high power.
  10. While that cooks, beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large pitcher.
  11. Stir the hot milk, a little at a time, into the egg mixture.
  12. Pour evenly into the muffin cups over the caramel.
  13. Place the muffin pan, inside the Pyrex baking dish, in the microwave and cover with wax paper.
  14. Heat on high for 6 minutes.
  15. Remove any mini custards that are done (the sides come easily away without any residual liquid, and the centers are jiggly like Jell-O).
  16. Sprinkle nutmeg on top of the done custards and put the pan back in the microwave.
  17. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute and check for any more cooked custards.
  18. Repeat this process until all the custards are cooked.
  19. When all the mini custards are done, pour the remaining caramel into an individual custard dish, and then pour the egg custard mixture on top.
  20. Microwave on high for 8 -10 minutes until the individual custard tests done the same way the mini custards did.
  21. Sprinkle nutmeg on top.
  22. Pour any residual caramel sauce over the custards and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

how to make custardI didn’t really know what to expect from this recipe, this being the first time I ever made it. I also didn’t read far enough ahead in the directions before I poured the mixture into the muffin pans to realize that I needed to put the whole thing in water, so note to those of you who are wiser than I am: PUT THE FLIMSY SILICONE MUFFIN PAN INSIDE THE PYREX BAKING DISH BEFORE YOU POUR IN THE CARAMEL AND EGG MIXTURE! You’ll have a huge mess on your hands, if you don’t (unfortunately, I found this out the hard way).

This is really a yummy way to finish off your dinner, whether it’s a special formal sit-down affair or an informal family dinner night. Everyone in my family enjoyed this caramel custard recipe (thank goodness!). And I hope your family enjoys it too.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

blueberry muffins
Breads, Breakfast, Fruit for Dessert, Microwave Baking

White Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

 

white chocolate blueberry muffins

There’s not much I like better than a good blueberry muffin, and I make some of the best (if I do say so myself). So, when I heard that this is National White Chocolate Day, I thought: What could be better than combining white chocolate chips with my favorite blueberry muffin recipe? And, of course, I had to try out baking these in the microwave. I’m becoming very fond of baking with a microwave. Turns out, these muffins were amazing! Here’s how to make them:

White Chocolate Blueberry Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 8 mins
Total time: 18 mins
Serves: 12-24
White chocolate gives my favorite blueberry muffin recipe an extra special touch. Make these any time you want to wow brunch guests!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Sprite
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. Spray a microwave-safe muffin pan (I use a silicone mini muffin pan) with Pam cooking spray.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, yogurt, egg, and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. The batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Fold in the white chocolate chips and blueberries and stir gently.
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups (6 regular-sized muffins or 12 mini muffins).
  7. Microwave on Power Level 7 for 2-4 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.
  9. Repeat for process of greasing the muffin pan, pouring the batter, and microwaving on Power Level 7 for 2-4 minutes to bake the remaining batter.
blueberry muffins


My mother-in-law first introduced me to the joys of the silicone muffin pan, and I’m so glad she did. This versatile pan can be used in the regular oven, as well as the microwave oven, so it’s perfect for all kinds of recipes. If you use it in the regular oven, though, you might have to put a metal cookie sheet or something under it for added stability. Happy baking!

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

Breads, Breakfast, Microwave Baking

Spicy Honey Microwave Beet Bread

 

beet bread

My girls love beets. I mean, they really, really do. So we eat a lot of them around here (usually of the canned variety). The other day, I opened a can to put some in my older daughter’s lunch (and to give my younger daughter for breakfast). As I pulled out the vegetable slices with a fork, I contemplated the liquid left over inside the can.

What should I do with it? I didn’t want to just throw it out, if there was any way I might be able to use it. And then my thoughts naturally turned to the microwave breads and cakes I’d been making. What if I could make a beet bread using this leftover juice? Well, it turns out I could…and I did. Here’s my spicy honey microwave beet bread recipe.

Spicy Honey Microwave Beet Bread
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 17 mins
Serves: 8 servings
What do you do with the juice leftover from a can of beets? Just throw it out? Why on earth would you do that when you can make this wonderful spicy honey microwave beet bread?
Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups beet juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey (preferably local)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Grease a glass loaf pan.
  2. Pour the beet juice into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the two eggs and combine thoroughly.
  4. Pour in the sugar and honey and mix together well.
  5. Stir in the yogurt, flour, baking soda, salt, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth.
  6. Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
  7. Cover the pan with wax paper.
  8. Cook in the microwave on medium (power level 5) for 10 minutes. Turn the pan halfway through cooking, if your microwave does not have a turntable.
  9. Cook, covered, on high for two minutes.
  10. Remove and serve immediately.
SpicyHoneyMicrowaveBeet Bread (2)

This bread is a bit spongier than the other microwave bread recipes listed on this site, but I think that’s because of the honey. Still, I think it’s delicious, and the honey makes this recipe a bit healthier than some of the other bread recipes I’ve posted so far. The spongy texture is a small price to pay for the obvious health benefits.

And it’s an AMAZING breakfast treat with vanilla yogurt spread on top. I just had some this morning!microwave beet bread

Don’t have access to local raw honey? Check out manuka honey. It’s touted as a extra-super version of that amazing liquid gold superfood.

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Cooking Tools & Techniques, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking, Old Family Recipes

Potato Candy Cake Bites

 

potato candy cake bites

September is National Potato Month. As such, I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a bunch of potato recipes. The other day, for example, I posted a yummy potato soup recipe.

I also wanted to feature a potato candy recipe because I remembered making some with my mom one time, but it wasn’t the roll-out-the-log kind of potato candy that you can find hundreds of recipes of online. Her potato candy recipe was easier than that (or so I thought) – just mix all the ingredients together and roll them into little balls that you coat with powdered (confectioner’s) sugar. Well, I tried to do it from memory, and…it was a big, fat FAIL! I could NOT replicate my mom’s potato candy balls.

Since I came out with a big, sticky, ooey-gooey mess, I tried to make something of it by adding flour and baking powder and sticking it in the microwave. The result? A deliciously rich, thick cake that’s great for breakfast or snack time. No need to ice this baby. It’s perfect as is (the confectioner’s sugar is inside the mix, remember).

Thankfully, I was able to turn a near-food tragedy into a delicious food WIN! But I guess I’ll need to bug my mom to give me her potato candy recipe so I can see where I went wrong with that.

However, today I bring you what I affectionately call Potato Candy Cake Bites. Yum!

Potato Candy Cake Bites
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 24 bites
Here’s a fun new twist on an old favorite, potato candy!
Ingredients
  • 4 servings instant mashed potatoes, prepared according to box instructions
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix together cooked instant mashed potatoes, peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, and spices.
  2. Add flour and baking powder, and stir until combined. Mixture will be slightly thick.
  3. Grease an 8 X 11-inch Pyrex baking pan.
  4. Spoon potato candy batter into the greased pan.
  5. Cook in the microwave on medium (Power Level 5) for 10 minutes.
  6. Rotate once in the middle of cooking, if you don’t have a turntable (or, if your microwave is small like mine, and the baking pan gets stuck so the turntable can’t move).
  7. Microwave on high 4-6 minutes. Check the cake carefully at this stage.
  8. When the cake is done, the top will appear mostly dry (this cake stays pretty moist)
  9. Cut into 24 smallish squares to serve. These cake pieces are very thick!
Potato candy cake bites

I was pleasantly surprised by how well these little gems turned out (especially considering how disappointed I was when the potato candy didn’t turn out the way I thought it would). These things are super-filling, but super-delicious! My whole family loves them, and I hope yours does too!

 

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Breads, Breakfast, Fruit for Dessert, Just Desserts, Microwave Baking

Fast Elvis: Microwave Peanut Butter Banana Bread

 

fast elvis

We eat a lot of bananas around here – a lot. We can’t really keep them in the house (I’m surprised I had enough around long enough to make this recipe). And one of my favorite ways to eat bananas (besides banana bread) is to slather peanut butter all over the top of them. I don’t usually turn it into a sandwich, like Elvis did. I just serve the sliced bananas topped with peanut butter on a plate.

One day, I got the bright idea to put them together in a microwave quick bread recipe to see how they would turn out. Oh my goodness! I never thought this bread would be as yummy as it is, but yay for food experiments that turn out to be some of the best food you’ve ever eaten in your life. Here’s how I made this super yummy peanut butter banana bread that I’ve affectionately termed “Fast Elvis.” 🙂

Fast Elvis: Microwave Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 8-9 slices
Here’s a microwave quick bread recipe inspired by an Elvis favorite – peanut butter and banana.
Ingredients
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 6 tbspns butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup milk
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mash up the the bananas thoroughly with a metal spoon or fork.
  2. Fold in the margarine or butter and combine well.
  3. Add in sugar, egg, and vanilla, and beat together until you get a light, slightly fluffy mixture.
  4. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and milk.
  5. Mix together for about 30-60 seconds, until thoroughly combined (batter may still be lumpy, depending on how much you mashed the bananas).
  6. Lightly grease a microwave-safe loaf pan.
  7. Pour batter evenly into the pan.
  8. Cover with wax paper.
  9. Microwave on Medium High (Power Level 5) for 6 minutes. Rotate the pan once halfway through, if your microwave doesn’t have a turntable.
  10. Then, microwave on High for 4-6 minutes. Bread will spring back when touched, and the top will look slightly dry.
  11. Remove from the microwave and keep covered with the wax paper for about 15 minutes.
  12. Slice and serve.
Peanut butter banana bread

 

I dare you to try this bread recipe and not fall in love with it! It’s probably the best banana bread I’ve ever had.

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.