Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spinach Salad and Poppy Seed Dressing

Spinach Salad and Poppy Seed Dressing

This is a simple salad but it tastes fantastic due to the homemade dressing.  I think all salads taste about a million times better when paired with a from scratch dressing.  Adjust the amount of each of the salad ingredients to fit the number of people you are serving and your taste preferences.

Baby Spinach
Spring Mix
(or any combo of greens)
Crumbled Feta
Toasted Almond Slices
Sliced Red Onion
Bacon Bits

3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups oil (Olive or Vegetable)
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
2 tsp poppy seeds

For the dressing: Combine the sugar, mustard, salt and poppy seeds in a blend and mix/pulse to combine.  Add the red wine vinegar and blend until well combined.  Add oil and continue to mix for about 15 seconds.  Toss into the salad and serve immediately. 

*This makes a lot of dressing, which can be stored in a mason jar or a dressing container for a few weeks in the fridge.

Grandma Ulmer's Sugar Cookies

Grandma Ulmer’s Sugar Cookies
1 ½ c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond flavor
2 ½ c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
½ tsp salt

Mix together the sugar, butter, egg vanilla and almond flavor.
Combine the dry ingredients. 
Add the dry to the sugar mixture and mix well.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Roll out dough and cut out desired shapes.
Bake at 375 for 7-8 minutes on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

Recipe Source: Lillian Ulmer, of course!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling and White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Butter Cream Frostin

What a mouthful that title is!  But my oh my were these great cupcakes.  They were a specific request from my sister Kahly for her birthday and they didn't disappoint.  Here's how they came together.

I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe from Annie's Eats for the chocolate cupcakes. 

The Raspberry Filling recipe was as follows:
1 pkg frozen raspberries, thawed*
1/3 cup sugar
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB cornstarch
2 TB cold water

Heat first three ingredients together in a sauce pan until sugar is dissolved and mixture is simmering.  Then stir the cold water and cornstarch together in a small bowl.  When well combined, stir slowly in the simmering berry mixture and continue to cook until thickened.  Pour into a bowl and cover and refrigerate until completely cooled.  Pipe into cupcakes or use as a filling for a layer cake.
*You can use fresh or frozen.  You can also substitute any type of berry or fruit.

The frosting was my own concoction as well.

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Butter Cream Frosting
1 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup of egg whites
Pinch of Salt
1 pound of butter (2 cups)
8 oz white chocolate
1 tsp vanilla

Melt white chocolate in double boiler or microwave and set aside to cool.

Put egg whites, salt and sugar into the top of a double boiler over a pan of simmering water. Whisking constantly, cook until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm (160 degrees).

Pour heated egg whites into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat egg white mixture on medium high speed until it forms stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until fluffy and cooled, about 8 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment (if using a Bosch mixer stick with the whisk attachments). With mixer on medium-low, add butter one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until frosting appears thick, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low; add vanilla extract, melted and cooled chocolate and then continue beating 2 minutes to eliminate air bubbles, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Store in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for 2 months.  Bring to room temp and beat with paddle on low until light and fluffy.

Makes enough to generously frost 24+ regular sized cupcakes.

Happy Birthday Kahly!  I love you!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chocolate Beet Cake with Beet Frosting

I made this recipe from Joy the Baker a couple days ago.  I had some beets from the bountiful basket I ordered and having no other need for beets, set out to make something sweet with them.  They turned out FABULOUS.  I couldn't taste any beet flavor, but there were definitely quite a bit of beets in the recipe, so I can tell myself they were semi-healthy.  The kids loved them too.  I liked them so much, that this may be one of my new go to chocolate cake recipes.  Not too sweet, very chocolatey, moist and delicious.
Only thing I did different was to purree the beets in the frosting recipe so they weren't so chunky.  The frosting was firm enough to pipe.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Carrot Cake Review

I made this Carrot Cake from Mel's Kitchen Cafe last week.  The recipe is VERY similar to the one of my Grandma's with the only big differences being the decrease in the amount of spices called for.  It was a good cake, but still a little too airy for me and since the spices were decreased both DJ and I agreed that it lacked a little bit in the flavor department.  I'll keep looking!  

French Bread Rolls

I made these French Bread Rolls from Mel's Kitchen Cafe tonight to go with her Sloppy Joe's.  I wasn't sure what to expect since I'd only ever made dinner rolls.  I guess they were pretty similar to basic dinner rolls, but the texture was a bit different.  They didn't have a crispy crust like I thought they might, but they were good regardless.  I think they are best served as buns, so with hamburgers or sloppy joes or BBQ chicken sandwiches, and not so much as a stand alone roll.  Although, they would be good as that too. :) 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Carrot Cake Hunt

My birthday is in a couple weeks and I've decided I want to make my own cake this year.  I'm a cake snob, what can I say?  My all time favorite type of cake is carrot cake, and it's traditionally not the flavor of cake anyone else jumps up and down for, so I have to take advantage of my birthday to put it at the top of the priority list.  So I'm on the hunt for the BEST carrot cake recipe I can find.

I made one of my Grandma's recipes first and it was good, but not "it".  Tonight I made another variation from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  Again, it was good, but the texture wasn't quite spot on for me. It was a bit too airy for my personal tastes.  So far most of the recipes I've looked at are VERY similar in ingredients and quantities, which is unusual. I will need to branch out from my normal go-to websites to try and find something totally different.

In the mean time, carrot cakes will make repeated appearances at my husband's work as I try to pawn off mass quantities of cake over the next two weeks.  I'll probably be so sick of carrot cake by the time my birthday is here that I'll end up making vanilla instead. :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Whole Grain Banana Muffins

I was looking for a healthier banana muffin for a snack.  I tried these Whole Grain Banana Muffins from Our Best Bites.  I didn't add the pecans or brown sugar to the tops.  They were sweet enough without the brown sugar topping and were really tasty for a healthy muffin. I loved that there was only 1/4 cup of butter in the recipe and that you can sub some honey.  The kids chowed down on them, and gave them a thumbs up. They are a keeper!