The boys are back in town … or, in our case, the girls.
For six years, my husband has been a dorm parent in a boys’ dorm at the private high school where he teaches and we live. We were in one dorm for a year; and then, when we moved into our last apartment, another dorm for five. I LOVED those boys – and still do, of course. We knew at the end of last year with us moving it was likely my husband would be assigned to a different dorm. And he was. A girls’ dorm.
Most of my part in dorm parenting has been baking for the boys. It brings me a lot of joy, and I think it helps them feel a little more like school is home. I was a little hesitant about the girls’ dorm, wondering if they would eat like the boys do. I have been assured from every side that yes, they do.
So now I have 40 high-school daughters. And they wiped this platter clean the other night. Mr. V said one even said she doesn’t usually love chocolate, but she really liked this cake!
We’re living in a house now, so we’re not in the dorm with the kids, which is kind of weird after six years of being in one. But we’re still on campus and eating in the dining hall and trying to love these kids like our own. So I’ll still be baking up a storm!
Slightly adapted from Barbara Bakes. I love bundt cakes because they are so easy to serve and don't require as much frosting (I am not huge on frosting), but you could also bake this as a 9x13 or a layer cake, adjusting the time.
1 c. (2 sticks) butter
5 T cocoa powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup water
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. chocolate chips
1 T honey or corn syrup
3 T heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray with flour and set aside.
In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together butter (cut into slices), cocoa powder, salt, and water. Cook until the butter is melted, stirring, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add half of the butter mixture and stir until well blended. Add the remaining butter mixture and stir until uniform. Stir in sour cream and vanilla until uniform.
Pour the mixture into the prepared bundt pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack or platter to cool completely.
Put chocolate chips into a microwave-safe measuring cup. Add honey or corn syrup and heavy cream on top. Microwave 30 second on high power, then stir together until the chocolate is smooth. If it will not all melt, give it another 15 seconds or so. (Do NOT add more heavy cream once the chocolate is hot; it will make it seize up.) Drizzle or spoon over top of the cake and let set.
I posted this recipe approximately eight million years ago, or in 2011. At the time, I wasn’t 100% happy with it, but I didn’t know why.
Last year, I started tinkering again, and found that lowering the oven temperature to let the muffins rise slightly slower and using whole-milk buttermilk did wonders. Now these are fluffy and luscious and one of my favorite muffin recipes. And they are all whole wheat, using the magic of white whole wheat flour. (Which they’ve stopped carrying at my Food City AND Walmart. GRUMP! This bag I found at Target.)
Next time you have some very ripe bananas, make these! In fact, make a double batch. Because they’re going to get gobbled up, especially if you have many small and hungry children as I do.
The 2011 Jessie would have never believed she could take a picture that good with a phone. Kind of amazing! After holding out on getting a smartphone for a long time, we caved two years ago. And about two weeks ago, I upgraded to the iPhone 7 plus. It takes pretty pictures. And you know I need those of my babies.
(Four. Have I mentioned I have four kids now? It’s been almost 10 months and it still feels surreal.)
On the way to the grocery store, I was listening to Anne Bogel’s What Should I Read Next? podcast. And in an ad, she mentioned a recipe for arugula salad with peaches, goat cheese, and almonds. Once I got into Publix, I couldn’t stop thinking about an arugula salad with peaches. I love both of those ingredients a lot, and it sounded so good.
(Which, if you know my kids, was most of theirs. Surprisingly, David and Libbie did actually try arugula and at least ate peaches and the bagel chips.)
As with most salads, I recommend throwing in whatever quantity of ingredients looks good to you. This recipe is an approximation of what I used, but make it to your tastes. And then enjoy the applause of those around you, because SO YUMMY.
Well, hello! It’s been approximately eight million years since I posted a recipe. This possibly has to do with the insanity of having four children and the added bonus that right before I had Hannah in October, my real camera decided to stop working.
(I’m pretty sure it has sand in the lens and won’t retract … but it would probably cost more to fix than to replace it. Argh.)
My husband keeps telling me my iPhone will take pictures that are just as good. I don’t really think so, but they’re good enough for me, for now.
This is one of the recipes I’ve probably made the most over the last six or seven years. It’s my go-to when I want to take a meal to someone; I find that when there’s a meal train, people usually bring chicken casseroles or pasta. And that is fine and AWESOME, but I think breakfast for dinner mixes it up a little.
This Berry French Toast recipe comes from Cooking During Stolen Moments, which was one of my VERY favorite food blogs ever. Almost everything I ever made from there was a hit. Unfortunately, the site is not accessible any more. I am so glad I had this one written down in my recipe book so I didn’t lose the recipe! I’ve only adapted it slightly – mostly I just skimp on the berries because I like a lot of chewy, eggy bread. It’s delicious with fresh berries of any kind, but you could also use frozen ones – or peaches!
Serve with a side of bacon or sausage for a delicious meal any time of day.
Delicious berry-enhanced French toast casserole is taken over the top with a brown sugar drizzle.
1 loaf French or Italian bread
2 to 3 c. berries
1 1/2 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
4 T butter
1 c. light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Start with day-old bread, or cut bread into large cubes a few hours before you want to start making this and let them sit out to get slightly stale. Slice strawberries into quarters. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries can be left whole.
Place a layer of bread cubes in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add most of the berries, reserving about 1/2 cup. Top with the rest of the bread cubes.
Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and almond extract. Pour evenly over the bread. Top with remaining berries, then dot with cream cheese pieces. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375F. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk together until the sugar begins to melt and the mixture is smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon. Drizzle sugar topping over the casserole. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, covered, until egg is set.
Let sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving.
To make dairy-free, use almond milk instead of dairy milk and leave out the cream cheese. If you are taking to a new mom who is breastfeeding, you might ask if she is avoiding dairy. (I usually am.)
Good morning! I have one more #CookoutWeek recipe for you this week, and a reminder to go enter the great grilling giveaway! You can find it on my #CookoutWeek post here.
This is my mother-in-law’s recipe for a simple broccoli salad. I like broccoli salad with dried fruit and sunflower seeds and all that jazz, but I really love this one just for its simplicity. Plus, all the bacon.
I took this to a potluck the other night. I had my salad in a stainless steel bowl, and I put it inside another stainless bowl filled with ice. Worked well at keeping it cool in the heat, so I was less worried about having the mayonnaise sit out.
Cut broccoli florets into bite-size pieces. You should have at least 2 cups of pieces. Dice onion very finely (I use a food chopper for this, because I don't like big pieces of raw onion). Crumble or chop bacon. In a large bowl, mix together broccoli, onion, bacon, and diced cheese. In another measuring cup or bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar. Pour dressing over salad and toss. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before tossing again and serving.
I received a package of True Made Foods from the company. No other compensation was received for this post.
For part of #CookoutWeek, I received a great little package from True Made Foods. It included their three current products: Ketchup, BBQ Sauce, and Veracha Hot Sauce. I love what True Made is doing – they use vegetables to naturally sweeten their sauces, cutting the sugars in half to make more nutritious sauces. And these sauces taste amazing.
As someone who tries to stick with real foods as much as I can, I love what True Made Foods is doing. For this recipe, I incorporated their Veracha Hot Sauce into an Asian-inspired marinade. Veracha is a thick, mildly spicy hot sauce, perfect for people like me who like things on the milder side. Veracha uses a combination of vegetables alongside jalapenos and cayenne to add the kick.
Everyone in our family enjoyed these grilled pork chops. I used my grill pan, because (like I said) our outside grill isn’t working right now. I’m sure they’d be even better with some charcoal flavor, too. 🙂
How can you go wrong with this cast of characters? I love having a big stockpile of Asian ingredients to throw together great marinades, sauces, stir-fries, and so forth.
1 to 2 T Veracha Hot Sauce (or other hot sauce, to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 lbs. bone-in pork loin chops
Whisk together all ingredients except pork chops in a bowl or measuring cup. Place pork chops in a large freezer bag, pour in marinade, and seal bag. Marinade in the refrigerator at least 4 hours, up to overnight.
When ready to grill, preheat grill to medium-high heat. If using a grill pan, coat lightly with grapeseed oil or other unflavored, high-heat oil. Remove pork chops from marinade and let sit on a plate at room temperature while grill heats.
Grill pork chops on one side for 4 minutes; flip and cook another 3 minutes or until chops read an internal temperature of 145F. Let rest for 10 minutes before servings.