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.
Well! It’s another month, and another chance for me to poke around a food blogger’s site for the Secret Recipe Club.
This month my assigned blogger was Ashley at Cheese Curd in Paradise. Ashley lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and is mom to Kellen and another little boy due super-soon! She serves up some fun recipes, mostly family-friendly fare, which is of course my favorite. So many of her recipes looked like they would be home runs here at casa Weaver. I definitely want to try Split Pea Soup with Kielbasa, Chicken and Gnocchi Soup, and Ashley’s latest recipe, Loaded Cauliflower Casserole. But I decided for now to make this tasty BBQ Chicken Dip, loaded with lots of creamy stuff alongside chicken and bacon. It’s a great addition to any party table. Or you can just eat the whole sucker yourself. (OK. Maybe not. It makes a LOT.)
It’s not the prettiest dish in the world, but honestly, isn’t it the ugliest food that usually ends up tasting the best? This dip combines chicken and bacon with cream cheese, sour cream, ranch dressing, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce for a unique flavor profile that is pretty irresistible. You can of course adjust the flavoring to taste; use more hot sauce if you like things spicy! This amount was perfect for me, but I am a little bit of a wimp.
3 c. cooked, cubed or shredded chicken (about 2 large breasts)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. Ranch dressing
3/4 c. barbecue sauce
1 1/2 T hot sauce (I like Frank's Red Hot)
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients. Either heat in a slow cooker and serve from there, or heat in the microwave at 50% power for about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted and the mixture is hot. Serve with tortilla or corn chips.
I’m determined to make it through a bunch of the recipes I’ve Pinned this year. I have a mere 5,400+ Pins … and most of them are probably recipes. Because mostly I use Pinterest for its original intent: to have a visual bookmarking system.
Since I have a dorm full of high school boys waiting to be fed, I should have no problem finding someone to feed these recipes, right? Every Wednesday, Mr. V has a small group of boys (6), and then Thursday nights I aim to feed the whole dorm with a larger recipe (usually dessert).
I’m not sure if this coffee cake was a hit with the boys – I haven’t checked with Mr. V – because his small group is largely students from China and Hong Kong. The Chinese are not like Americans when it comes to sweets, I’ve found. But really, I don’t care. Because it’s AMAZING and I am so glad to have unearthed this recipe.
I also simplified the streusel and the frosting a little bit. And to be honest, I think I would like this even more without the frosting. I find buttercream to be too sweet for me – I prefer cream cheese frostings if any. But, sadly, the cake is not real pretty without it. Maybe if there was streusel on the top, too, it would help that? I may give that a try next time.
There is nothing really virtuous about this to make it breakfasty; the cake simply feels more like a coffee cake because it is dense, fruity, and has streusel. So tell yourself it’s breakfast, or be honest and serve it up for dessert.
(I had some for breakfast this morning. I won’t tell.)
2 T grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil or melted butter
Maple Buttercream Frosting
4 T butter, melted
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 T maple syrup
2 T milk
For the Filling
In a large saucepan, combines peaches, cinnamon, brown sugar, and flour. Cook over medium heat 10-15 minutes, until it melds together and the peaches are very soft. Try not to eat all the filling. Set aside to cool.
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a bundt pan well.
With a mixer, cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over the batter, then turn mixer on low. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until batter is uniform.
By hand, fold in the peach pie filling.
Make the Streusel
In a bowl, mix almond meal, brown sugar, and cinnamon together with a fork. Drizzle oil or butter over the top, and then stir until clumpy and oil is mixed throughout.
Back to the Cake!
Pour half the batter into the greased bundt pan. Sprinkle two-thirds of the streusel mixture on top of the batter. Spoon remaining batter on top, then sprinkle with the remainder of the streusel.
Bake 50-55 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn over onto a plate, patting on the sides to release the cake. Cool before frosting.
Melt butter in a big bowl, then add powdered sugar and cinnamon and stir. Add maple syrup and 1 T milk. Add more milk if needed to reach a good consistency. If you want a runnier frosting, cut down sugar to 1 1/2 cups. For a more spreadable rather than pourable frosting, add more powdered sugar.
I talk a lot about “feeding the boys.” I even have a Pinterest board called “Goodies for the Boys.” But I realize if you’re a more recent reader to my blog, you might have NO idea what I am talking about.
We live in a boys’ dorm on a private high-school campus. Yep, IN the actual dorm. We live in the basement (which is why any decent pictures I’ve taken are probably outside). And once a week (at least), my husband is on duty. That means he’s in charge of check-in, monitoring study hours, and doing a last lights-out sort of run in the dorm. He also has a small group of 5 or 6 boys that he’s sort of responsible for. He keeps in touch with their parents and communicates with their other teachers. The small group meets once a week, too, in the morning of a school day.
You know who really appreciates home-cooked food? High-school boys (HOOOONGRY) who are away from their mamas.
That’s why I make a valiant attempt to cook something for his small group and also for the larger group when he’s on duty.
I thought he was on duty last night, but it turns out he had switched. I’d already planned to make this cake, though, so I went ahead and did it. And from what I hear, it was devoured in approximately 23 seconds. Mr. V and I taste-tested it and can tell you it really is delicious.
The cake batter is enhanced with extra eggs, making it, well, eggy, mimicking a sweet dough. With the brown sugar-cinnamon filling and glaze, it’s a lot like a cinnamon roll. But easier. And CAKE!
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and use a hand mixer), combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Use lowest setting to stir together.
Add sour cream, eggs, and oil. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth and thick.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon.
Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Drizzle the rest of the batter over the top (it should cover most, but not all of the brown sugar).
Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large measuring cup. Stir in milk gradually, until the icing is pourable but not thin. Pour over hot cake when it comes out of the oven.
Let sit at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. It tastes really good warm, but I don't think anyone will complain about it being room temperature, either.
The original recipe calls for a yellow cake mix. If you really don't keep flour and sugar on hand, it's fine to substitute the first three ingredients with one; however, I'm all for simplifying ingredients when possible. This way you avoid the additives in a cake mix.
It’s certainly not that it’s BAD by any means! We love it here and gobble it up often. But sometimes it’s just fun to branch out, isn’t it?
I make something for my husband’s five dorm kids that he meets with every Wednesday morning for their meetings. I try to aim for breakfast food, since they meet at 9:45 a.m. I don’t think they’ve ever REFUSED cupcakes, but if they’re anything like I was in high school, they probably haven’t eaten any breakfast before class.
This week, I pulled out this egg bake recipe that I made when we were first married and my mother-in-law bought me a subscription to Simple and Delicious magazine. Back then, I was much more obedient and I am sure I followed the recipe.
Now, I’d rather take a simple recipe and make it a little bit better with my own additions. And this one I think I improved a lot with the easy add-ons of real milk, sour cream, salt, and garlic powder.
I was really excited when the One 2 One Network asked me to cook a few dishes using Carnation Evaporated Milk. Well, because it makes me feel a little like a food blogger! And because I get to share recipes AND a great little recipe booklet with you. I love to try new things and this was a great way to do it!
They’re trying to get the word out that evaporated milk is not just for baking, it’s also great for savory recipes. You can substitute evaporated milk for regular milk in many of your holiday or everyday recipes to add a really creamy quality.
My “assignment” was to pick one recipe from their Holiday Booklet [PDF] and one recipe of my own. Today I’m going to share with you this delicious Loaded Potato Potluck Favorite. In all honesty, I would TOTALLY make this to take to a dinner with friends, for a holiday meal, or maybe a half-recipe for me and Mr. V. The potatoes were fantastic.
First, I diced up eight of these white potatoes. I only peel potatoes if they’re the thick-skinned Idaho baking kind, and I enjoy potato peel in my smashed taters. You can use any kind of potato here. I scrubbed mine, cut them up, and dumped them in a pot with water to boil about 15 minutes or until fork-tender. (Do you know how to tell if they are fork-tender? When you try to stab one of them in the pot of hot water, it won’t stay on your fork if you try to lift it out of the pot.)
While the potatoes cooked, I gathered the rest of my ingredients and measured them out: Carnation Evaporated Milk, sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced green onions, and 4 slices of bacon that I cooked in the microwave until crisp and then chopped up.
Drain the potatoes and return them to the hot pot. Add the evaporated milk, sour cream, and some salt and pepper, and then mash them. I just use a potato masher because I like my mashed potatoes a little chunky. If you like them smoother, though, you can use a hand mixer to whip them.
Next stir in all but 1/2 cup of cheese and half the bacon. Mix well. Taste to make sure you don’t need more salt or pepper (I found it perfectly salted with 1 teaspoon, but I like things on the saltier side. I also really dislike pepper flavor so I just use a dash).
Spoon the mixture into a 70s casserole dish you found at Goodwill lovely 3-quart casserole (this one was a little small) and stick it in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese, bacon, and green onions, and bake an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
This dish was creamy, delicious, and how can you go wrong with bacon, cheese, and potatoes? I served it with some ham steaks cooked in BBQ sauce and sliced peaches. Mmm, mmm, good.
For a printable version of this recipe with actual measurements, go here.
While I would have never thought to use evaporated milk in mashed potatoes, it was a real winner! Stayed tuned for Part II of the challenge, my own recipe for Banana Couscous.
The One2One Network provided me with a gift card to purchase my ingredients and coupons for free Carnation Milk. I was not compensated otherwise. What I have stated here is my honest opinion.