Monday, December 27, 2010

German Chocolate Cake Balls


German Chocolate Cake Balls
This is a really simple recipe. I used a boxed cake mix and store bought frosting, but it can be made from scratch too.
1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix
1 1/3 cups Water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs
1 container Coconut Pecan Frosting
1 bag Milk Chocolate Chips

Follow the directions on the box for the cake and make it as directed. I used a 13 x 9 inch sheet pan. 
Let the cake cool then crumble it into a bowl; mix in the container of frosting. Roll into balls about the size of a walnut and place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.Put them into the freezer for about 20 minutes. 

While they are cooling, get a double boiler going and melt the chocolate chips. 

Then just roll the cake balls around in the chocolate and coat them evenly all over. Line them up on waxed paper and let them harden.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Yeast Bread with Cream Cheese Nut Spread

I found this recipe in an issue of Taste of Home a few years back. I've always wanted to try it but baking bread isn't something you can just do on the spur of the moment. Luckily I've had problems sleeping lately so I put my insomnia to good use and made this amazing bread.

Sweet Potato Yeast Bread
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
(without added milk or butter)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter,
softened, divided
1/2 cup honey
1 egg
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
  3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Nut Spread

1 cup butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts,toasted

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sweet potatoes, 1/2 cup butter, honey, egg, salt, and whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth. Sir in enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.
     Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. 

     Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Shape into loaves. Place in 2 greased 9-inch x 5-inch x 3-inch loaf pans. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown (cover loosely with foil if top brown too quickly). Remove from pans to wire racks. Melt remaining butter; brush over warm bread. Cool.

In a small mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Stir in walnuts. Serve with bread. 
Yield: 2 loaves

Broccoli Cornbread

Broccoli Cornbread

This is a recipe my mom makes every holiday. It's so flavorful and really easy to make. If you don't like it, well then there's just something wrong with you. Just kidding. This is the original recipe. I haven't yet experimented with it to make a healthier version.

1/2 large onion, chopped fine
1 8oz frozen chopped broccoli,thawed and drained
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cheese
1 stick margarine, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package Jiffy Muffin Mix

Mix everything together except for the muffin mix, then add the muffin mix. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes at 350 degrees until it's golden brown.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

I think a lot of people grew up with this cake and have fond memories of it as a child. If you ever mention Red Velvet Cake to my mom, you are guaranteed to hear the following story: One time she made the cakes and the cream cheese frosting, and left them out to cool while she went to church. When she got back, Daniel had eaten the entire bowl of frosting. I was about 12 and everyone has done that before, right?
Anyway, this is her recipe. My wife wanted this cake for her Birthday last week and I was more than happy to oblige her.


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teas baking soda
1 teas salt
1 teas cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup butter milk
2 large eggs
2 Tbls red food coloring
1 teas distilled white vinegar
1 teas vanilla extract
chopped pecans for top

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound of cream cheese
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 teas vanilla extract

Preheat the oven the 350 degrees. Oil and flour three round cake pans. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Then mix the two together until the lumps are out, but careful not to over mix.
 PRO TIP: Turn the mixer off BEFORE you lick the beaters.

Pour the batter in the three pans and bake for about 30 minutes. Just use a tooth pick or something to check it. When the cake are done, take them out of the pans and let them cool.

 This is what the cakes look like if you forget the baking soda; about 1/2 inch thick. Still somewhat edible, but I had to start all over.

To make the frosting:
Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and butter on medium speed until they are smooth. Add the vanilla and make sure it's mixed well.
Frost the cakes like you normally would. I just add pecans to the top, but you can go all the way around the cake if you're feeling feisty.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Baked Oatmeal

This recipe is from my wife's aunt Jenni. It's almost like a cake once it's been baked.

1 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups quick cooking rolled oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup skim milk
1 apple, chopped (optional)

Mix oil, sugar and egg with a mixer until yellow and glossy.

Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium until blended. Mix in whatever fruit you want.

Pour into a 9x9 pan and bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Serve with milk.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Greatest Cook of All Time.....

......My mom. I think the majority of people grow up thinking their mother is the best cook in the world. It's what we know and it's what we get used to. Not everyone grew up with the luxury of having a home cooked meal, either by mom or dad. I was one of the lucky ones. Sure there was bickering and some arguing, and sometimes it seemed like the perfect format to gripe at us, but for the most part I remember meal times fondly. Delicious, home cooked food with tons of flavor. And gravy. I remember lots of gravy.
  There were six people in my family growing up. We were not rich but mom and dad provided for us. My mom made $30 a week babysitting and that was where the majority of the grocery money came from. I can honestly say I never once went a day where I was hungry or didn't get enough to eat. She was a master at making things stretch to feed a whole family. And she could make anything taste good, even Spam. I've also noticed when I compare new recipes I find to the ones my mom used to make, her's has about five or six less ingredients than the new one, and tastes ten times better. All this with a very modest kitchen (not even an automatic dishwasher).

I'm pretty sure I got my GIGANTIC sweet tooth from her. She was and still is always making some kind of cake or cookie or pie. Her birthday cakes are better than anything you'll ever get from a store or bakery.

 My mom's house is the one where everyone goes for holidays, because of the quality and quantity of food. They have counted up to fifty people at Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are relatives, friends, neighbors of relatives, neighbors of friends, etc. She never has and never will turn anyone away.

So thank you mom, for my love of food and cooking (and possibly high cholesterol).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Creamed Spinach

This is one of the Healthier versions of Creamed Spinach I've found. I came across this one on in a daily newsletter I subscribe to from Dr. Gourmet. I tweeked a couple of things to make it my own. Quick, tasty and healthy. Even my wife liked it.

1   10-ounce package frozen spinach (thawed)
1   tsp olive oil
1/2  small red onion, diced
1/4  cup 2% milk
1 ounce  reduced fat cream cheese (cut into 
               small chunks for easier melting)
1/8 tsp salt and pepper each (to taste)
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
parmesan cheese for garnish

Place the spinach in a strainer and press with a rubber spatula or spoon to remove all the excess water.
Place the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
Add the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the milk, cream cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Cook until the cheese is melted and well blended into the spinach.

Makes about 2 one cup servings.

Calories 75; Total Fat 3g; Cholesterol 1mg; Sodium 300mg; Total Carbohydrates 8g; Protein 6g.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Oatmeal Candy

My mom always made these for us when we were little. She made them for my dad when they first met, and he called them "little chocolate turds". I finally got the recipe from her and made them myself. They aren't healthy, or pretty, but they should satisfy your sweet tooth.
Oatmeal Candy

2 cups sugar
2 huge Tablespoons peanut butter
2 cups quick cook oats
1/3 cup cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk

Melt together sugar, milk, butter and cocoa. Bring to a full boil and time it for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter (2 big scoops). Then stir in the oats and let it sit for 15 minutes. Scoop them out with an ice cream scoop onto wax paper and let them set up.

They are awesome with a glass of cold milk!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Ultimate Supporting Character

The Fancy French word is nonpareils, but they are more commonly know as sprinkles or jimmies.
How is it that something so tiny can have such a huge influence over our decision making? A chocolate glazed doughnut is tempting enough in its own right, but just add a few sprinkles and it becomes practically irresistible. "Sprinkles" is the general term used to describe anything from the familiar cylindrical or round shapes, to sanding sugar and confetti, to countless new shapes now available. Doughnuts, ice cream and cupcakes are quite commonly adorned with these confectionery companions.
The most common technique for applying these tiny ticklers of the palate is to lightly "sprinkle" them over the desert of choice (hence the name). My nephew, however, employs the method of dumping a large quantity of said sprinkles into a bowl and then dipping the cupcake, etc., into the sprinkles, thus assuring maximum coverage. Bravo, Alex. Bravo.
Ah, the humble sprinkle. Content to be the bridesmaid of the desert world. I salute you my friend, and I dare not envision a world where you are not a part of it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I've pretty much always loved food. I was picky about some things when I was younger, like most kids. Generally, however, I was always willing to try anything my mom had cooked. Anytime she tried some new, weird recipe, she knew she could always count on me to try it when no one else would.
I moved to the Midwest from Florida in 2003, where I grew up. Shortly thereafter I began calling my mom on a regular basis for recipes of the foods I had grown up on. The comfort foods that only a mom can truly prepare to one's satisfaction. Chicken and Dumplings, Carrot Cake, Lemon Pie, Biscuits and Milk Gravy (all from scratch of course).
Over the last few years I've went from cooking simply because I had to, to truly enjoying being in the kitchen and being creative. My wife and I both enjoy cooking, especially together. Although somehow I always wind up being the sous chef, doing all the chopping, peeling and the majority of the grunt work.
My philosophy on food is everything in moderation. We rarely if ever buy anything processed however. The sodium level in most of the processed dinners at the grocery store is enough to float a goat. I've found its almost always less expensive, healthier and tastier to cook home made meals.
All for now :)

The Spork

Ode to the Spork

Of all the eating utensils I’ve used in my life,

Only one touched my heart, it was love at first sight.

Its uses are numerous, much to my delight

Here are a few reasons the spork’s out of sight:

Consuming anything and everything at my favorite camp site,

Keeping me safe in my tent, on a warm summer’s night.

Eating cake with my new bride on our wedding night,

Defending myself against terrorists, on an international flight.

It changes from fork to spoon at the speed of light,

Once I used my spork to kill a red spider mite.

It’s my favorite choice to scratch mosquito bites,

Without the handle they make excellent shades against ultraviolet light.

Although it’s an impressive weapon in its own right,

The spork’s most common use is for eating, most every night.

Potatoes, cole slaw, soups of all types,

You can even cut spam, if you hold it just right.

Mixing or stirring, even beating egg whites.

Its uses in the kitchen aren’t lacking in the slight.

Although made of plastic, its strength is all right,

They come in many colors, but usually black or white.

Try and take my spork, and you’re in for a fight,

Its not just mere cutlery, it’s a way of life.

Ode to Debbie

I wrote this poem a few years ago.

Two oatmeal cookies, with cream layered in between,

The world has yet to find a more satisfying cuisine.

The Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie, a snack above the rest,

Perfect when you’re happy, even better when you’re depressed.

Flour, sugar, water, oats, all mixed to the right consistency,

And just to kick it up a notch, a dash of Polysorbate 60.

They are baked, assembled, cooled, and then neatly stacked,

Into their container they go, 12 per box, individually wrapped.

Its nutritional value is certainly nothing to snub at,

A mere 370 calories, and only 14 grams of total fat.

Any normal person will agree, whether an adult or a youth,

The Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pie will satisfy any sweet tooth.