Monday, February 27, 2012

Slice of Heaven Spice Cake --- and an Award

This cake has become one of my favorite cakes because it is so full of flavor and yet so easy to put together. I found it on the back of the Lucky Leaf Apple Pie Filling can a few years ago and have been making it regularly since. It uses a spice cake mix, which I usually stock up on in the fall when stores more reliably stock them and put them on sale. I suppose if you are the type adverse to using cake mixes, you might use the dry ingredient part of whatever spice cake recipe you like and follow the remainder of this recipe as the instructions direct. The other magic ingredient is apple butter, both in the cake and in the icing. This is a great dessert anytime of the year!

1 package (18 oz.) spice cake mix
1 can (21 oz.) apple pie filling
3 eggs
1/3 cup apple butter
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 Tbsp apple butter

     Mix cake mix with pie filling, eggs and 1/3 cup apple butter (do not add oil or water). Spoon into 13x9 inch baking pan coated with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. 
     Meanwhile, blend remaining ingredients; spread over cake. 

Servings: 10-16

So about a week ago, I was surprised to see that I had been awarded the Liebster Blog Award by Balvinder at Gluten Free Food.

A Liebster Blog Award is given to talented and loved bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

There are a few rules that go with accepting the award:
-Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
-Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
-Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
-Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed.
-Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

So in following the award instructions, I wanted to thank Balvinder for thinking of me! She is such a sweet person and writes lovely blog posts about yummy gluten-free food that she makes. I have really enjoyed reading and learning about gluten-free cooking from her and seeing that it really is not as hard as it would seem to make gluten-free dishes. It seems that everywhere we turn, more people are being diagnosed with gluten sensitivities. So it is a good thing to have some tested and tasty gluten-free recipes to go to when cooking for these people. And as Balvinder says, "it is good for everyone." Her Lentil Byriani and the Lemon Roulade sponge cake are a couple that I intend to make very soon. Be sure to stop by and check her out!

Now here are the 5 blogs that I have chosen to pass this award on to- be sure to stop by and check out their food and leave some comments. I think you will find them interesting and full of wonderful recipes!

Kimberly at Random Tips on Healthy Eating
Ashley at Sugar Mama Bakeshop
Red at Momma Butterbean's Cookshack
Eating Deliciously
Nadia at Delights Of Culinaria
Susie at Earning My Cape
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Savory Breakfast Casserole

In our family, we LOVE breakfast/brunch. My husband would think he was in heaven if he could have eggs and homefries every day. In my family growing up, we enjoyed sausage regularly, and there is just something that I love about meat of any type with sausage spices. I have always loved eggs, sausage and cheese and this recipe has all these elements plus some veggies. I was given a brunch recipe booklet by Bisquick early in my marriage by a good friend, and this recipe has become one of my go-to recipes that we never become tired of. It is a little easier to assemble if you prepare your vegetables, sauté the meat and have the other ingredients ready to go ahead of time. I recently tried a homemade Bisquick/baking mix and used it in this recipe and did not see any difference in flavor or texture. I believe the homemade baking mix is healthier overall since it does not use partially hydrogenated oils or large amounts of salt. For the baking mix recipe, click on the highlighted words below.


1 pound sausage, cooked and drained (use bulk or links, but cut open and remove from casing)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup green onions, sliced (or use a combination of chopped white onions and green) 
1/2 red, green or yellow bell pepper, diced (or any other type of pepper)
1/2 - 1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese or other cheeses (8 oz.), I used some mild cheddar
1 1/2 cups baking mix
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp salt (I used Adobo seasoned salt)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 3/4 tsp dried oregano
12 eggs
extra cheese for topping, approximately 1/2 cup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray 13x9 rectangular baking dish. Layer sausage, mushrooms, onions, peppers, tomatoes and cheese in dish.  Stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour over cheese. Bake uncovered about 30-35 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle extra cheese over top. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Serves 12

adapted from Bisquick Breakfasts & Brunches (No 22) copyright 1999 "Savory Sausage and Egg Bake"
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Sweet Potato Waffles

Waffles are something I make that my kids just love! I really only started making them more recently- had to dust off the 2 waffle makers we were given for wedding presents a long time ago. Lately, I was inspired by Rachael Ray's recent tv shows on all the different ways to use your waffle maker and decided to branch out a little with my recipes. So this past weekend, I was thinking about what kind of waffle to make and decided it needed to be with items from the pantry that I needed to use up, as well as something deceptively healthy. For inspiration, I looked through my Christmas present from my husband and daughter, Simply in Season by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert. I just love this book and have so many recipes I want to try this year. In the winter section, there is a recipe for Nutty Sweet Potato Waffles, which I adapted to make my recipe featured here. I love all the healthy ingredients and the flavor was really wonderful. Our entire family decided this was going to be a keeper. 

These waffles are packed with goodness from the sweet potatoes (full of fiber and vitamin A), oatmeal, coconut milk and meat, as well as the ground nuts. These are a great way to feed your family something they will like, even if they do not usually like these ingredients alone, yet give them a nutrient-filled meal to power them for the day. For convenience sake and to use up some of my stockpile, I used a large can of yams in light syrup, which equaled about 2 1/4 cups. So I just added a little extra flour; this was probably not really necessary since it is such a thick batter.

I have also recently rediscovered and totally love the coconut flavor and found that this was a nice flavor combination with the sweet potato. However, you might try a number of other flavors or add-ins like dried cranberries, raisins, banana, etc. In addition, you might freely substitute other nuts instead of walnuts.

Makes approximately 8-10 large waffles


1/2 cup butter
2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
6 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk ( I used coconut milk)
1 Tbsp coconut extract/flavoring

1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 cup rolled oats, finely ground in blender
1 cup walnuts, pecans, almonds or hazelnuts (finely ground)
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt (I used a little less since I was using a canned sweet potato)
2-3 Tbsp brown sugar
shredded coconut for garnish


Melt butter and set aside and allow to cool. Stir sweet potatoes, eggs, milk and flavoring together. Then stir in the cooled butter. 

Mix dry ingredients together and then add gradually into the wet ingredients. Mix until combined. Bake in a hot waffle iron. Serve warm with syrup of choice and garnish with coconut or other chopped fruit.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Amazing Corn Muffins

I love cornbread but don't make it very often for some reason. I am really picky about my cornbread because I really do not care for dry muffins or bread. So when I saw this recipe, I decided it was one worth trying. It uses creamed corn, which always give a wonderful flavor to cornbread. Also, it uses buttermilk, and I had some I needed to use. If you do not have buttermilk, you could just make some sour milk by adding a little vinegar to milk and allowing it to curdle. 

This recipe was originally in a "Taste Of Home" magazine from Feb/March 2009 by Janet and Greta Podleski. They made this a little 'slimmer' than corn muffins are usually- but the flavor is still wonderful! The recipe also called for diced green chiles, but I left them out since my children would not have wanted the spicy flavor. These were featured with a chili recipe, but I served them with Turkey, Rice and Vegetable Soup. They would be great with just about anything- even by themselves! 


1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (I used white cornmeal)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 can (14.75 oz.) cream-style corn
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together corn, buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and diced green chilies. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups equally. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake. Remove muffins from tin to cool slightly on a wire rack. Best if served warm.

Makes 12 servings.

**You may bake it in a 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan instead of the muffin forms. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and toothpick in center comes out clean.

Additionally, you may substitute the buttermilk for 2 Tbsp of buttermilk powder (mixed in with the dry ingredients) plus 1/2 cup of milk, or you may make your own sour milk using 1 1/2 tsp of vinegar and add enough milk to make 1/2 cup, then let it set for about 5 minutes. If you want to just use regular milk, you can leave out the baking soda and use 1/2 cup milk.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chicken Vegetable Casserole

Usually I do not make many casseroles. I am the type to make more skillet dishes that do not require baking after cooking. However, this has become a favorite with our family recently and is a real comfort food. When our third child was born this past December, some friends and family were very nice to bring us meals. One of those meals was brought by my sister-in-law and is featured in this post. We really enjoyed this recipe and I decided to remake it using leftover cooked turkey. It really is a versatile casserole in which one might substitute a number of different or combination of vegetables, pasta instead of the potato, or fish instead of chicken or turkey. I also added a little chicken broth that I needed to use up. This recipe originally was from a Manor Brethren In Christ cookbook entitled Sharing His Goodness and was submitted by Christie Hunt. She noted that it was a recipe given to them after one of the babies was brought home from the hospital. This probably is also a recipe that one could make up in larger quantities and freeze part of it. 

  • 3 cup cooked chicken, cubed (or turkey or even fish)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (may substitute cream of celery or mushroom soup if desired, or if using fish)
  • 4 potatoes, peeled, boiled and chunked
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked carrots, or a mixture of other vegetables (I added some peas, as well as some onion and celery finely chopped)
  • 1 sleeve of ritz crackers or other buttery crackers, crushed (may substitute bread crumbs and parmesan cheese)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-3 quart baking dish. 
  • Combine the sour cream, milk and cream soup (as well as broth if using it) together. Add in the chicken (meat), potatoes (or pasta) and vegetables. Mix together and put in the prepared baking dish. 
  • Melt the butter and mix with the cracker crumbs or bread crumbs (and poppy seeds, if using them). Spread over top of the casserole . 
  • Bake uncovered for approximately 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbly.