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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Carrot Cake

I had never tasted carrot cake until I started teaching.  I was invited to dinner at Donna and Jim's place and it was served for dessert.  Oh my, I had never tasted anything so good.  So a few years later, when I was making wedding plans, I decided carrot cake would make the perfect wedding cake.  So, as you can imagine, this cake has great sentimental value in my recipe box.  Unfortunately, I don't have one single picture of the finished cake.  The best I can do is post a picture of Don and me eating the cake at our wedding reception.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Cream Cheese Frosting

This Cream Cheese Frosting is a classic on Carrot Cake but is delicious on a banana cake or any fruit based cake.  I used this to frost and decorated an 8-inch square Carrot Cake.  I believe Bunny approves.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Avocado Salsa

This salsa recipe is not what you would typically think of when you hear the word "salsa".  Most people would think of some chunky tomato based sauce ranging from mildly spicy to fire alarm hot.  This salsa looks and tastes more like a chopped salad. To make it hot you would have to significantly increase the black pepper and use at least all 5 or more cloves of garlic as the recipe does not include any hot peppers.  But I like my salsas mild so I always go with the lowest amount of garlic and usually only use a pinch of black pepper. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Carrot Onion Quiche

When my boys were young we had one of those Little Golden Books entitled "Too Many Carrots" in which Bugs Bunny enters a pie eating contest.  Of course it's a carrot pie eating contest and, if I remember correctly, Bugs won that contest.  Well, I have too many carrots in the fridge and I've been cooking carrots nearly every day so they won't go bad before I get through all of them.  Today I made this Carrot Quiche and I think Bugs Bunny would be happy to eat this for his dinner as well.  Who'd a thunk carrots would be so good in a quiche?  Old Bugsy wouldn't blink an eyelash at the thought.   He'd like this dinner with Carrot Quiche and a salad and the rest of us like the fried potatoes as well.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Date Crumbles

Date Crumbles, Date Squares, Matrimonial Squares or Cake--they're all the same thing--a thick date filling sandwiched between a crumbly oatmeal cookie base and topping.  I grew up calling them "Date Crumbles" as would have many Newfoundlanders from my area of the Island. It wasn't until I was an adult I ever heard them called anything other than that until a friend of mine gave me a recipe for "Matrimonial Squares" and I was quite surprised to see they were the same thing.  Where I live now most people call them "Date Squares". Of course, every recipe varies slightly in the amounts of ingredients but they are basically the same thing. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Citrus Avocado Salad

Salads are an easy side dish or beginning to any meal.  Most of us tear up a bit of lettuce or open a bag of mixed greens, maybe even some spinach if feeling fancy and add a few chopped raw vegetables, break out the Kraft dressing and we have salad.  But sometimes we want something other than our everyday fare and look for different ingredients or a new way of combining the ordinary ones.  "Different" ingredients will only be different if you don't use them all the time or use them in a way that you usually do not.  So my "different" will be different from your "different". 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blueberry Cake

Blueberry Cake is a real treat to have during the cold winter months.  Don likes to pick blueberries in late summer before he goes back to work.  I like to pick them too, but I really love when he picks them.  He's much faster than I am, picking about three berries for each one I manage to get into my bucket.  We have several large freezer bags full of the dark blue gems just waiting to be made into smoothies, pancakes, pies and cakes. 

Last week, I was asked to bake a few things for a church service where refreshments would be served following the program.  I decided to make this Blueberry Cake recipe that I've had in my box for about 35 years.  It's my go-to recipe as it's not too complicated and comes together fast.  My friend Pat gave me this recipe when she babysat my oldest son.  He wasn't even a year old at the time.  How time flies!

I made the cake in my very long loaf pan for easy cutting and serving and it just fit and baked perfectly.  I usually make it in an 8-or 9-inch square pan and cut it in squares but I was quite pleased how it baked in the longer pan.  The slices plated neatly for serving.  I also added lemon extract to the recipe which adds another layer of flavour.  I didn't have any lemons or else I would have added the grated zest as well.  

So, if you want a reminder of summer past and summer to come, try baking a blueberry cake.  

Blueberry Cake
¼ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
1 ½ cups blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease (and line with parchment if you wish) an 8-or 9-inch square pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the egg, vanilla and lemon extract.  

Sift or mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and mix with the blueberries.  Add the remaining dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, alternately with the milk.  Fold in the floured blueberries.  

Pour into the prepared pan and bake 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until tester comes out clean.  Cool and serve from pan.  Alternately, the cake can be removed from pan and left plain or frosted with a lemon glaze or cream cheese frosting.  Store cake in a covered container.  

This cake can also do double duty and be served warm as a pudding with a lemon sauce drizzled over top. 

Cream the butter, sugar, egg and extracts together.

 Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.  
Start and end with the flour.

Fresh or frozen berries can be used in this recipe.  Although many recipes recommend thawing and draining the frozen berries, I just use them frozen.  I think it's a shame to lose all that juice.

Fold the floured berries into the finished batter.  You will see some bluish streaking of the batter when using frozen berries but that won't affect the finished product.  You probably won't even notice any blue coloured cake after it's baked.

The blue streaking is noticeable in the unbaked cake. 

You can see how long this loaf pan is. 

Baked to perfection.

A nice reminder that winter will not last forever. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Alphabet Vegetable Soup

My father didn't like soup so Mom seldom made it for meals but on days when Dad wasn't home for dinner we would sometimes have soup.  I have memories of going to Mr. Cook's little store on the next street  asking for a can of "Alphabet Soup".  I guess it made a quick meal for us and we liked finding the letters in our bowl.  It was years later that it dawned on me there was no soup called "Alphabet Soup" and it was Campbell's Vegetable Soup I was buying at the store.  

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Hot Fudge Pudding

I don't know what all the fuss was about those molten chocolate cakes that were so popular a couple of years ago.  This Hot Fudge Pudding is just as good but much easier to make and has been around since Noah came out of the ark. Now, granted, digging into the middle of what you think is an over-sized cupcake and finding it oozing with chocolate sauce can be quite impressive at a dinner party but for the family, this pudding hits the mark.  The pudding is not as rich in calories, butter and eggs but the hot fudge sauce will taste just as good and will burn your tongue just as easily if you don't let it cool down before you dig in.  

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Mom's Pancakes

This recipe was originally published at Thanksgiving 2013 but as today is Pancake Day I thought I'd bump it up.  Traditionally, on Pancake Day, coins or small objects are cooked in the pancake batter.  Most people just use the money these days as the kids really look forward to finding a little bit of cash in their pancakes.  Just make sure to clean the money well (boiling it works well) and remind the children to be careful when eating.  You don't want anyone to swallow a Looney or Twoney. 

The weekend is a perfect time for pancakes and if you have family visiting with little grandkids this recipe makes just the right amount.  I had lots of fun making name pancakes for the children, and although the baby isn't taking solids yet she also had her name engraved with pancake batter.  For the "big kids" I made blueberry pancakes.