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3,2,1 Cake

A friend recently sent me this recipe for 3,2,1 Cake. It sounds strange, I know, but it’s a very easy way to make a quick and tasty dessert for one or two people with minimal fuss. I made this for dessert tonight and I know you’ll like and appreciate this as much as hubby and I do!

  1. First, buy an angel food cake mix and any other flavor cake mix (I chose Devil’s Food).
  2. Pour the dry mixes into a large plastic storage bag.
  3. Seal the bag tightly, then massage the mixes so that they completely combine within the bag.
  4. Now you’re ready to make dessert!

3,2,1 Cake

Recipe makes 1 serving
 
3 tablespoons of combined cake mixes
2 tablespoons of water

Place 3 tablespoons of the combined cake mixes in a small microwaveable bowl or ramekin. Mix in the 2 tablespoons of water, stirring until well combined.

Microwave it on high for 1 minute.

Take care when removing the dish from the microwave as it will be hot! Let it cool a bit and eat it just as it is or top it with whipped cream, whipped topping or some frosting.

Enjoy!

You can also find a printable version of this recipe here.

Monkey Bread

The other day I asked some friends about Monkey Bread. I mean, it’s all over the place. There are so many recipes and ways to make this that I can’t keep up. Where did it come from and why is it called Monkey Bread? These are the questions that keep me awake at night. Not really, but it sounds funny.

So I decided to do a little research on this important subject so I can understand it better.

According to the Food Timeline website:

Monkey bread (aka pull-apart bread, bubble bread, Christmas morning delights) descends from traditional sweet, yeast rolls with centuries of history. Food historians tell us the first peoples to make sweet, buttery rolls with cinnamon were ancient Middle Eastern cooks. These recipes and spices traveled to Europe in the Middle Ages with crusaders, travellers, traders and explorers. Recipes varied according to culture and cuisine, but the concept remained stable. German kuchen, French galette, Pennsylvania Dutch sticky buns, and monkey bread all descended from these old recipes.

So, how did Monkey Bread get its name? There are several interesting ideas although no one can really agree on the origin. Here are a few that I found in my search:

  • The origin of the name “monkey bread” is anyone’s guess. One reader wrote that the name is derived from the amount of “monkeying around” needed to prepare the balls of dough. Another theory comes from the notion of pulling apart the sections of cake and playing with your food in monkey-like fashion. →”Pull for perfection; Irresistible monkey bread is worth the extra fuss,” Jim Frost, Chicago Sun-Times, July 16, 1997, (Pg. 2; NP)
  • This pull-apart yeast bread, also known as “bubble loaf,” began showing up in women’s magazines and community cookbooks back in the 1950s. Really? I had no idea, and I’m a child of the 50’s.
  • There are two types, a savory and a sweet…The sweet is also known a bubble loaf because the dough is pinched off and rolled into balls. These are dipped in melted butter and then layered into the pan with a flavoured sugar mixture or a caramel or brown sugar glaze.”
Both of these are from American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 312)
  • It is probably that the name comes from the appearance of the baked itself, which resembles a bunch on monkeys jumbled together. Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 208)
  • Formed of balls of dough and baked in a ring mold, monkey bread emerges as golden puffs that are irresistible to both hand and eye. The idea is that you pick it apart like a bunch of . . . that it’s more fun than a barrel of. . . . You get the idea.
  • With a kind of simian stealth, monkey bread has entered American cuisine, not through high-end restaurants but via the food pages of newspapers across the country and Internet chat rooms.

→Both of these are from “Just Say Dough,” Michael Boodro, The New York Times, February 23, 2003 (Section 6; Page 64)

So, here’s my takeaway on all this: I guess it doesn’t matter where the idea for Monkey Bread came from because it’s so good. For recipes, try these links:

Banana Spice Coffee Cake

WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY

Today’s bit of wonderfulness  is brought to you by my kitchen!

Whenever I find myself with very ripe bananas I usually make a banana nut bread. A couple of weeks ago I came across a recipe for this Banana Spice Coffee Cake and have been waiting for a chance to make it. Today was the day.

Not only is this a very easy recipe to make but according to my hubby, “This is great!” High praise indeed!

The recipe calls for the cake to be baked in a tube pan because the spicy brown sugar and butter topping is sprinkled in between as well as on top. (see photo, right)

I happen to have a tube pan but if I did not, I would have poured the batter into a 9 x 13″ pan and sprinkled the entire brown sugar mixture on top. And I’m sure it would be just as good!

Oh, the recipe also calls for the bananas to be pureed in a blender or food processor, but I just mashed them in a shallow bowl with a fork as I usually do.

You can find the recipe here. Enjoy!

Diet Soda Cake

FRUGAL FRIDAY

Today’s Frugal Friday offering is probably the easiest recipe I have ever used to make the most delicious and moist cake ever. My daughter told me about it a few years back and I admit I was skeptical. But you absolutely need to make this to see what I mean by moist.

It takes two—yes, only two—ingredients. And without anything more said, here it is!

DIET SODA CAKE

1 package of cake mix, any flavor

1 12-ounce can of diet soda, any flavor

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together the dry cake mix with the can of diet soda. You can use a mixer but I simply use a wire whisk.
  3. Pour batter into a 9″ x 13″ pan.
  4. Bake at 350° according to the cake mix package directions.
  5. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting options:

  • If serving right after it is completely cooled, frost entire cake with whipped topping.
  • Frost each individual slice with a large dollop of whipped topping.
  • Dust the entire cake with confectioners’ sugar.
  • Frost this cake with canned frosting or homemade frosting of your choice.

Notes:

  1. Do NOT include the eggs, oil and water indicated on the cake mix box. Only add the diet soda to the dry mix. Period.
  2. There are so many flavor combinations you can make. When I make a light cake such as white, yellow or spice, I add a can of Diet Sprite or Diet 7-Up. I’ve made a chocolate-cherry version of this by adding a can of Diet Cherry Coke to chocolate cake
  3. This cake freezes very well. Since I make it sometimes just for Rick and me, I’ll serve it for dessert the same night I’ve made it. Then the next morning I cut the remainder into slices and place the individual slices into plastic storage containers with tightly sealing lids. Whenever the mood strikes, I pull out two slices just before dinner and place them on individual dessert plates to thaw while we’re eating our dinner. I reseal the storage container and it goes back into the freezer for next time

For a clean printable copy, click here.

Enjoy!

Yummy Peanut Blossoms

SWEET SATURDAY!

This morning I baked a batch of an old family favorite: Peanut Blossoms. Most of them are going to a Christmas party tonight as part of a cookie exchange, but we do have a few left to enjoy here.

The recipe:

  • 48 Hershey’s Kisses
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
  2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges.
  5. Bake another 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Find a clean printable version here.

Mishmash Monday

It’s Monday again! And my chosen subject of the day is… well, a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Thus the title “Mishmash Monday.”

To me this means that each Monday’s post will be different depending on what’s going on with me at the time. I’ve been trying to keep to a theme each day in order to stimulate my writing thought process, but Mondays will be a whatever kind of day.

That said, today I’m simply going to share that Crazy Cake recipe I talked about yesterday. It is very easy to make and doesn’t require a mixer. The “crazy” part of it is the inclusion of vinegar and it doesn’t have any eggs or butter in it.

The original recipe was created during the depression, thus the simplicity of it and the lack of eggs and butter. FYI, I have also heard it called “Wacky Cake.”

Head on over here for the recipe!

 

Correction…

Yesterday I posted my recipe for an Apple Crostata. I completely neglected to mention that the apples should be peeled as well as cored and sliced. I know, that’s a big “duh” but for people with CFS brains like mine, every little detail needs to be spelled out or we forget or flub things up. I’ve already edited my recipe to reflect my omission, so feel free to copy or share it now.

The Apple Crostata I made yesterday came out sooo good, and so did my turkey breast… AFTER I turned it breast side up. You see, my addled brain did not register the fact that my bird was turned downside up until it had been roasting for 3 hours! So chalk up another duh moment for me.

Not to worry though, everything turned out well in the end. Although Rick’s favorite way of eating freshly roasted turkey is in a sandwich with plenty of mayo — without any side dishes, mind you — I immensely enjoyed my serving of roast turkey with a baked potato and the green bean & mushroom side dish.

That’s one of the things you learn in marriage as you go along. Don’t stress the small stuff like needing to serve a somewhat different dinner to your spouse than you like. I’ve finally learned to make the side dishes and enjoy them myself whether Rick wants any or not! This just means there are leftovers for me to have the next day or so without having to do any more work — and THAT I definitely like!

And here it is!

Here is the result of my baking efforts today, doesn’t it look good?

 

This looks like it took way more effort than I actually used to make such a yummy looking dessert. After checking in the freezer and finding no vanilla ice cream (however did that happen?), I’m going to serve this up later on with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Canned whipped cream to save time and energy, but whipped cream nonetheless.

If you’d like the recipe for this, click here.

Enjoy!

Less than semi-homemade

I used to be able to spend lots of hours cooking and baking in my kitchen — that is, until my health took a nosedive. Now I need to sit down and rest a lot in between tasks, so I’ve been cooking “less than semi-homemade” for quite a while.

No offense to Sandra Lee, whose “semi-homemade” cooking I love, but she puts more effort and time into those lovely dishes (and her tablescapes, I might add!), and these days I can’t even manage that.

So, my definition for “less than semi-homemade” cooking is this: take a box, package or can of something or other, add a few ingredients, and voila! It looks like I spent quite a bit of time over it, and may even taste that way on a good day, but in reality has only taken maybe 15 minutes (minus cooking or baking time).

One of my favorite easy dessert recipes is an apple crostata, which is a fancy name for a rustic apple pie. It involves slicing a few apples and adding a little sugar, flour, and some spices, and literally tossing them together into a refrigerated pie crust. This is especially yummy when served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

During the colder months, like right now, I like to use my slow cooker quite often because the end result is a very homey meal with very little effort. My go-to slow cooker dinner is simply to take some frozen chicken breasts and add one can of either cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup, a can of sliced mushrooms, a can of sliced potatoes, and a can of sliced carrots. I add some seasoned salt to the cream soup to give it a little zest and pour it over the other ingredients. About 1/2 hour before I’m going to serve dinner, I bake some canned biscuits, and a real comfort dinner is ready for us.

So what’s for dinner tonight? I bought an after-Thanksgiving turkey breast on sale and am going to roast it. Since the oven will be hot, I’ll toss in a couple of potatoes during the last hour to bake at the same time. My green veggie dish will be fresh green beans steamed first and then sauteed with butter, chopped onions, garlic and fresh mushrooms. Oh yeah!

And that apple crostata pictured above? That’s what’s for dessert!

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