Frost Me Cake

With the extra frosting from the baby shower, I had to make some type of frosted dessert. I am not a fan of frosted brownies, or frosted cookies (with the notable exception of gingerbread). The end result was I decided to make myself a small pound cake style cake to compliment the frosting.

RECIPE: Frost Me Cake
Makes 6 Servings

Kitchen Aid Mixer
Oven set to 325 degrees
9 in Round Cake Pan

1 1/2 C Flour
3 Eggs
1/2 Cup Margarine
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Milk
1 t Almond Extract
1 t Nutmeg
1 t Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt

Cream together the margarine, sugar, and extract.
2) Beat in the three eggs and the milk.
3) Slowly beat in the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg until a very thick batter is formed.
4) Grease and flour the cake pan, and then pour in batter.
5) Bake for 30- 40 minutes until slightly browned and toothpick comes out clean.
6) Cool completely before frosting.

If you like a heavy, dense cake then you need to try this cake. It balances the sweetness of the frosting out perfectly, so you won’t feel like you over indulged your sweet tooth.

It’s Not Easy Being Green Burgers

Burgers are our go to weekend favorite. No matter what protein we have, burgers will end up on the grill. This weekend, we decided to take what we would put on the burger, and then put it inside the burger. This burger is a simple cheese burger, but the patty makes it so much more.

RECIPE: It’s Not Easy Being Green Burgers 
Makes 2 Servings

Meat Grinder
Cutting Board

Ground Beef
Radish Greens
Garlic Cloves
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese



Grind the radish greens, pealed garlic, and cilantro intermittently as you grind the frozen ground beef.
2) Form into patties.
3) Before you drop the patties onto the hot grill, sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt and a bit of fresh ground pepper.
4) When patties are almost done, top with cheese and place buns on grill to toast.
5) Remove and serve as is with no other toppers or sauce.

Garlic Focaccia Bread

I decided to change it up this week and make a different kind of bread. Focaccia bread is so wonderfully flavorful and useful that I just had to make it. The base recipe is from the breadmaker book, but I adjusted it to add every more garlic and fresh tomatoes. I am looking forward to variations I can make in the future!

RECIPE: Garlic Focaccia Bread
Makes 1 Loaf

Bread maker
9 x 13 pan
Oven heated to 400 degrees

9 oz Water
1 t Salt
1 1/2 t Rosemary
2 t Dry Yeast
3 T Avocado Oil
4 Cloves Garlic
3 C Bread Flour
Avocado Oil
Cherry Tomatoes
1/4 C Parmesan Cheese

In the bread maker, add all the ingredients between water and bread flour as listed above.
2) Set the bread maker to dough and press start.
3) Grease a 9 x 13 pan, and press the dough into the pan. Let it rise for 15 minutes.
4) Using a spoon, press in deviants across the dough.
5) Brush the top of the dough with avocado oil.
6) Slice cherry tomatoes in half and lay out on the dough.
7) Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese.
8) Bake for 30 minutes or until edges slightly brown and the bread bounces back when compressed.

9) Slice and serve or store in an airtight container.

Topper Nachos

Everyone has a favorite meal they make about once a week. For some, its meatloaf, chicken, or even a casserole. For us, its nachos. Tortilla chips are our processed snack purchase every week, and nachos are just one of the many ways we devour them. Below is a recipe for my topper nachos, so nicknamed because they are topped with a lot and half the option for more!

RECIPE: Topper Nachos
Makes 2 Servings

Cheese Grater
Oven heated to 350
Baking Dish/Pie Plate
Cutting Board

Cantina Style Chips
Cheddar Cheese
Pepper Jack Cheese
Garlic Clove
Purple Pepper
Chili Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Ground Beef
Apple Cider Vinegar
Cherry Tomatoes

Finely chop a garlic clove and add it to a bowl.
2) Chop onion, pepper, and tomatoes into small pieces.
3) Halve the avocado and place the insides in the bowl with the garlic.
4) Mash the avocado and garlic together. Add a slight dash of cumin and a heavy dash of cayenne.
5) Sprinkle in some onions, pepper, and tomato to the avocado mixture.
6) If you don’t have lemon or lime juice available, add a light sprinkle of apple cider vinegar.
7) Stir mixture and let sit to the side.
8) Season ground beef with chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, and the rest of the onion.img_2340
9) Grate about 1/4 of a block of pepper jack cheese and a third of a block of cheddar cheese.
10) In the second bowl, add mayo, apple cider vinegar, parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir together, this will taste like a better version of ranch dressing.
11) Pour chips into the dish, sprinkle with both kinds of cheese. Cover with the rest of pepper. Layer the beef on top.
12) Begin baking, when cheese is half melted, add tomatoes onto the top of the dish.
13) Serve immediately when the cheese is fully melted with the guacamole and ranch on the side for toppings.

We decided to make quite a night out of it. Fixed little plates with nachos and our toppings, and watched Community on DVD. Best way to deal with a long work week.

Grilled Country Pork

Instead of grinding it into burgers, we decided to do something radical and cook the meat whole. We marinated the meat for twenty four hours before grilling, and it really came through.

RECIPE: Grilled Country Pork
Makes 3 Servings

Hot Grill

1/4 Oil
1/4 Soy Sauce
Brown Sugar
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Bone in Pork steak
Cherry Tomatoes
Hot Pepper Flakes

Mix together the oil, soy sauce, a sprinkle of thyme, a spoonful of brown sugar, a heavy dash of paprika, a heavy pinch of garlic powder, freshly grated nutmeg, and a touch of onion powder.
2) Pour mixture of the bone in pork steak and let soak in a pan over night.
3) Cut zucchini into bite size pieces and a handful of cherry tomatoes in half.  Wrap in foil with a sprinkle of hot pepper flakes.
4) On a hot grill, place foil packet on top shelf and pork directly onto the heat.

5) Flip meat after 4 minutes, and cook until the internal temperature reaches safe levels. For pork, I prefer between 165 and 170 just to be on the super safe side.
6) Pour leftover marinade into a hot sauce pot. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes to kill off any potential bacteria from the raw pork. Serve over the vegetables.

It may not be the prettiest photograph, but it was a damn good dinner. My fiance said my marinade was one of the best we’ve done. The extra marinade cooked and served over the vegetables really made this dinner worthy of licking the plate clean.

Bakery Cupcakes

We are having a surprise baby shower at work this week, so I decided it was time to get creative. I looked through one of my new cook books by a bakery in New York. This is a slight variation of their basic pink cake in a more manly cupcake form. The frosting is not from the same cookbook though, and the colors were changed to match a “It’s a boy!” color scheme. The cupcake and frosting mixture works well together, but I would give the frosting an A/A- and the cake more a B/B-.

RECIPE: Bakery Cupcakes 
Makes 24 Servings

Cupcake Liners
Cupcake Pan
Frosting Bags
Oven heated to 350

3 Cups Flour
1 T Baking Powder
3/4 t Salt
1 1/3 Cup Milk
2 t Vanilla
1 1/4 Unsalted Butter
2 1/3 Cup Sugar
5 Eggs
Blue and Yellow Food Coloring (optional)

Cream together butter and sugar.
2) Add eggs and vanilla to the bowl, and mix well into the sugar and butter.
3) Slowly add flour, baking powder, and salt until fully incorporated.
4) Measure out milk and add blue and yellow food coloring if desired to the milk before adding to the batter.
5) Mix in milk and a nice batter should be formed.
6) Line cupcake tray with liners. Fill liners 2/3 of the way full.

7) Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and edges are browned.

RECIPE: Basic Frosting
Makes 2 Servings

Kitchen Aid Mixer
Paddle Attachment
Whisk Attachment
Measuring Tools
Frosting Bag (optional)
Storage container

1/2 Cup unsalted butter
1/2 Cup Crisco
1/2 t Almond Extract
2 t Vanilla Flavoring
2 Lbs Powdered Sugar
2 T Milk
Food Coloring  (optional)

With the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and Crisco until smooth and fluffy.
2) Add vanilla and almond extra and a pinch of salt.
3) Beat in half the powdered sugar, add the milk, add the rest of the powdered sugar or until a frosting texture begins to form. If you wish to make the frosting a different color, add the food coloring to the milk.
4) Switch to the whisk attachment and beat the frosting until fluffy.
5) Move frosting into icing bags and ice cup cakes or use a knife to spread frosting onto cupcake.
6) Save the other half of the frosting left over from the cupcakes in a storage container in the fridge for up to two weeks. It should be enough for another batch of cupcakes or a cake.

It wasn’t my best frosting job, but people were impressed that the cupcakes were completely from scratch. I give the frosting two thumbs up, but honestly the cake is missing something. Its not bad, if you purchased the cake portion you wouldn’t be disappointed. I just know that it could be better.

Radish Panini

I was watching some food network contest shows on Netflix, and got insanely angry at how badly people made panini sandwiches. It inspired me to break out my panini press and get cooking. The result were perfectly grilled sandwiches that use radish in two ways.

RECIPE: Radish Panini
Makes 2 Servings

Cutting Board
Panini Press

Deli Turkey and Ham
Pumpernickel Bread
Radish Greens
Pepper Jack Cheese/Cheddar Cheese
Horseradish Sauce
Hot Wing Sauce
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Garlic Powder

Wash and dry the radish greens.
2) Thinly slice radishes and lightly salt.
3) Scoop some butter into a bowl, season with oregano, black pepper, and garlic powder. Stir well.
4) Slice pumpernickel bread and cheese.
5) Spread butter on outside of bread slices.
6) Layer meat of choice, sauce, radishes, greens, cheese, then top bread. I did one sandwich as ham, mayo, hot sauce, radishes, greens, pepper jack cheese, then top bread. The other was turkey, horseradish sauces, radishes, greens, cheddar cheese, then top bread.
7) Grill and press until bread is crisped and cheese is melted.
8) Slice in half and serve with .chips and fruit. I chose pears which went well.

Honey Granola Bars

I needed a snack for the week, and also wanted to boost my fiber and folic acid/vitamin A consumption. After brainstorming, I came up with the idea of making homemade granola bars with lots of wheat germ. These will be a perfect treat between meetings and on business trips.

RECIPE: Honey Granola Bars 
Makes 20 Servings

13 x 9 glass pan
Oven heated to 350

2 Cups Oats
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Wheat Germ
1 t  Cinnamon
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 Cup Raisins
3/4 t Salt
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Oil
1/2 t Vanilla Extract


In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients listed above. The mixture should be wet but not batter like in the least.
2) Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.

3) Bake for about 20 minutes or until the edges are brown.
4) Remove dish to cooling rack and cut immediately. Let rest until completely cool.
5) Remove the granola bars from the dish and store in an air tight container.


Pumpernickel Bread

Daffy Duck as the Scarlet Pumpernickel is the first image that comes to mind when I think of Pumpernickel bread. Pumpernickel is also one of my favorite kinds of sandwich breads, right behind rye bread and sourdough bread. This also gave me a chance to try a new brand of bread flour, which is fun for me!

RECIPE: Pumpernickel Bread 
Makes 1 Loaf

Bread Maker
Measuring utensils

4 oz Milk
6 oz Water
1 1/2 t Salt
2 T Molasses
1 1/2 T Butter
2 1/2 C Bread flour
1 C Rye Flour
1 t Onion Powder
2 1/4 Yeast

Put all ingredients into a bread maker in the order listed above.
2) Set to wheat bread medium crust, and let it do its thing for 3.5 hours.
3) Slice and enjoy!img_2282

This bread is delicious and I can’t wait to eat it in a sandwich.

Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookies

Back in my high school days, like many teenagers, I babysat kids in my neighborhood. One of their mom’s was a fabulous baker. I always looked forward to working for them, because of the treats she would have waiting (and her kid was really awesome too). This recipe is one of hers, and I have let it unaltered because it is so good as is.

RECIPE: Best Ever Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 30 Cookies

Baking Sheet
Measuring cups or utensils
Oven heat to 350

1 Cup Peanut Butter
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Vanilla

Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl.
2) Store the dough in the fridge for one hour.
3) Scoop the dough onto an un-greased baking sheet.
4) Bake for 12 minutes then let cool on baking sheets on top of cooling racks for a few minutes, before moving cookies straight to rack.