RSS

Tag Archives: #Baking

The One Thing You Must Do When Traveling With Friends

The One Thing You Must Do When Traveling With Friends

img_8056

Great pic of President Obama and wife Michelle

Lots has happened since my last blog post. We now have a new president named Donald Trump. Long gone are the days with Obama. I don’t consider myself a political person, nor do I get involved in protests, etc. It seems one cannot get onto social media these days without hearing the latest updates about what is going on in politics.  The country is changing and people don’t like change. Even my book group ladies had different opinions about the presidential pick and his policies during our last adventure to So Cal.

 

 

In January, the five of us traveled to Los Angeles to see a member who moved back east 6 years ago, then more recently to Southern California. I’ve known these women for the past twelve years. We’ve gathered at each other’s homes monthly to discuss the latest and best books one can find. We’ve raised our kids, talked about our parents and genuinely cared for one another through good and bad. We haven’t always agreed on politics, or religion, but that has never mattered. We’ve respected each other’s views and could set aside our differences. A few of the women had definite opinions on Trumps behavior in the oval office. I deliberately choose to “wait and see” and not get worked up over women’s rights, and the rest of the drama that is going  on around us. It stimulates fear and hate and I like to live my life without chaos. Maybe I’m pulling the wool over my eyes and ignoring the news so I can live in harmony. I see what I need to see on Twitter and that’s enough.



We stayed in a cute house in Pasadena where our friend Rachel lives. Rachel took us on a fun 3 hour hike at Chantry Park http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/sturtevant-falls-trail Hiking So Cal where we took the Gabrielino Trail to the beautiful Sturtevant waterfalls and reveled in the rolling green hills. 


We stayed out late and attended a small concert in Hollywood starring Kylie Rothfield from The Voice and drank wine at a famous Bar called White Horse Lounge. The food there was presented with flair. We especially liked the hummus with roasted shishito peppers and crispy flatbread. The calamari was served with a sweet and sour glaze and chipotle aioli. Not a bite was left on the platter.


We stopped for a look see at Pasadena City Hall after appetizers and enjoyed the majestic display of lights on the antique building. It was exquisite. On our last day, we leisurely ate breakfast outside at Urth Caffe’ https://urthcaffe.com/caffe/locations/urth-downtown-la. I had a spectacular veggie omelet which didn’t disappoint.



Normally, I would do the cooking on such a trip, but this visit was untraditional. We mostly ate out and made things easy. It was short and sweet and the perfect getaway vacation. I very much enjoyed spending time with the girls and look forward to our next vacation together. As time goes on, we will see how Trumps politics affect the country, hopefully in a positive way. I’m grateful for my life, my friends, my family and for the opportunity to live in the USA. Make sure when you travel with your friends that you respect their ideas political or otherwise. It makes for long and lasting relationships.

Here’s the pumpkin bread recipe that I brought with me and gave as a hostess gift. It was a hit.

Pumpkin Bread

3 Eggs

2 C Sugar

1 C Canola Oil

1 T Vanilla

2 C Flour

1 t Cinnamon

1 T Ginger

½ t Cloves

1 t Kosher Salt

¼ t Baking Powder

2 C roasted or canned Pumpkin Puree

¾ C Black or Golden Raisins

1 C chopped Walnuts

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs until frothy. Beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla until mixture is thick. Sift dry ingredients together. Alternately, starting with dry ingredients add ½ C at a time to egg mixture and blend. Then add pumpkin, dry, then pumpkin, ending with dry. Stir in nuts and raisins until incorporated.

Pour into loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely removing parchment first. You can frost w cream cheese frosting (1 8 oz pkg of cream cheese, 1 stick unsalted butter, 1 t vanilla, 2 C powdered sugar and orange or lemon zest. Blend in mixer till smooth). Tastes great by itself. Very moist and delicious.

Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my earlier posts here.A Foodie’s best place to Shop and Beef Bourguignone

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Blog: 9 Ways to Double Your Pleasure While on Vacation

Blog: 9 Ways to Double Your Pleasure While on Vacation

IMG_5633

I’m loving winter time. I am spending five days up in the mountains with family. It is currently 33 degrees here in Truckee California. We are at 6125 Elevation nestled in the coziest house you can imagine. There is a huge snow storm going on. We are expecting at least two more feet of snow.

It’s days like these that make me want to bake. And gingerbread is the perfect comfort food to celebrate this holiday season. After all, December is a glorious time of year, especially when it’s snowing outside.

Over the years, my family would take a drive up north once in the winter and once in the summer to celebrate birthdays and have family reunions. All 15-20 of us cram into a big house and eat, drink and play games. It’s a joy to spend time with my nieces and nephews on a more personal level. Many of them join me in the kitchen to whip up a meal like chicken parmesan or lasagna. Then we find time to bake something sweet to make a perfect ending to a family meal.

This week I’m enjoying cooking for my sister and her girlfriend. I’ve made bean soup, BBQ pulled pork, and this wonderful gingerbread cake. We’ve enjoyed having this cake for breakfast as well as dessert.

I feel spoiled to be able to sneak away from my life in the Bay Area and enjoy the splendor of life in the woods. Here are my 9 ways to double your pleasure while on vacation in the mountains.

  • Make a fire in a wood stove and be grateful for a generous sister
  • Stay in your pajamas all day long
  • Make an apple butternut squash soup and serve w crème fraise
  • Drink homemade peppermint hot cocoa w whipped cream or marshmallows
  • Scrapbook homemade greeting cards
  • Put your feet up w a warm blanket and cuddle w a loved one
  • Watch football with a cold beer and eat hot appetizers like potato skins dipped in ranch dressing
  • Snuggle w your kitty cat on your lap and drink a Peet’s coffee w a dark chocolate ganache
  • Bake a delicious and moist gingerbread cake and serve with a vanilla caramel ice cream

Here’s the recipe.

Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients:

Softened Shortening or butter for coating pan

1C Canola Oil

1 C Granulated Sugar

1 C Molasses

2 T crystallized candied ginger

2 large eggs

3 C unbleached all-purpose flour

1 T baking soda

1 T ground ginger

2 T ground cinnamon

1 t Maldon salt

½ t ground cloves

1 C Pale Ale or Guinness Beer

Serve w whipped cream or vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly coat a 9X13X2 cake pan or 2 9” round pans with shortening and line w parchment.

IMG_5634

In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, molasses and candied ginger. Add eggs and whisk until smooth.

In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Whisk dry ingredients into molasses ingredients starting w dry alternately adding beer ending with dry until just combined.

Pour into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven until tooth pick comes clean @ 45 minutes.

IMG_5640

video of snow storm

Don’t forget to follow my blog and share with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. Feel free to ask any questions you might have or leave a comment.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 13, 2015 in Dessert, Holidays, Wintertime

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Biggest Challenge: Raising a Son with Autism

The Biggest Challenge: Raising a Son with Autism

IMG_5474

I rarely mix my recipe blogging with parenting, but today I’m feeling inspired to tell my story about raising a son with autism. It’s something my family and close friends know about me, but rarely anyone else. I’ve never publicized this information because I wanted to protect my son and family from any repercussions and stay private.I’m not ashamed or anything about our situation, but it is a sensitive subject especially when things aren’t going well.

Lately, Andrew the son I’m speaking of is struggling with college. Although I am proud that he has come this far, I’m worried about his chances of graduating. Here is a little glimpse of his story.

Andrew is currently 23 years old and one of the sweetest men you will ever meet. He is well spoken, articulate and handsome. He is athletic in the sense that he has earned his third degree black belt in Taekwondo and had been teaching students at a local studio for the last five years or so. Andrew also achieved his Eagle in scouting when he was in high school. He worked hard to gain this honor by learning leadership, completing many badges, hiking for days in the wilderness, and completing a project that helped the Monument Crisis Center in Concord. He is also a very talented musician. Andrew’s choice of instrument is his voice. He is a tenor and received much of his training from director Ken Abrams and the award winning San Ramon Valley High School and was lucky enough to travel to Costa Rica. My husband and I were chaperons for most of his tours and enjoyed supporting the organization. Andrew got a partial scholarship to go to college at St. Mary’s College of Moraga California and joined the Chamber Singers Choir with the famous Dr Julie Ford. In the past year they performed at Carnegie Hall and in Latvia the summer before. St.Mary’s Choir is traveling to Russia this Spring to compete in the World Choir Games and our son is hoping to rejoin the choir next semester and perform with them. At a the young age of 7 we sought out piano lessons for him and he continued his studies in music for ten years. As of last summer, Andrew taught piano and voice lessons to students in the East Bay area and hopes to continue to share his passion for music in the future.

But even after all this success, our son seems lost. He had to cut back his school schedule because of finances and is currently a part time student at St Mary’s College and Diablo Valley College. He chose not to sing this semester and I believe it was the worst decision of his life. He is now more quiet and withdrawn than ever. He goes to school, comes home and goes directly to his room. Most of his college friends have graduated and moved on. He doesn’t have the social life like he did since he now lives at home instead of on campus.

As you can see, Andrew has had tons of success in his life. He has so much potential to be a great musician, composer or teacher someday, yet something is getting in his way. As a parent, it is hard to know how involved I should be. When he was young, it was easy. It was my job to make sure he got the best teachers, disability counselors, etc. Now things aren’t as clear.

I realize I’m not the only mom raising a son with disabilities. And I know there are many kids/adults with autism that haven’t had these successes or opportunities like my son has had.  Being a parent is hard. I have to trust that Andrew knows whats best for him. I have to believe that one day he will overcome these struggles. I don’t know what it is like to be him. I haven’t walked in his shoes. I’m only the mom who cares for him and loves him and wants the best for him.

This is what I know. I know I will be there for him through the good times and the bad. I will support him and his decisions while he is learning the ways of the world. I’m grateful for being given the chance to raise a son with autism. He is going to do big things and go places someday. I am confident I can look at the big picture, take a step back and be happy with my parenting so far.

Here are two recipes that I have made recently that my family loves. You will never go back to making a plain cornbread ever again. Toss in some blueberries and see how these warm berries burst in your mouth. Adding a pad of butter to the warm slice always brings a smile to Andrew’s face.

IMG_5449

Here is the best Blueberry Corn Bread recipe.

Ingredients:

1 ½ C All Purpose Flour

2/3 C Granulated Sugar

½ C White or Yellow Corn Meal

½ tsp Kosher Salt

1 T. Baking Powder

2 Large Eggs

1 ¼ C. 2% Milk

1/3 C. Canola Oil

3 T Butter melted

¾ C Fresh Blueberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350degrees. Butter or grease 9” round pan.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder.

In another medium size bowl combine milk, eggs, oil, and melted butter and mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir with a wire whisk until blended. Toss blueberries in last and stir. Pour into a round baking dish and place in center of preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 min or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Need a healthy alternative to either a plain bowl of cereal or a hard boiled egg for breakfast? Try these delicious moist muffins. They freeze well and delight even the pickiest eater. If you like them extra sweet, top with a cream cheese frosting for a little extra tangy flavor.

Blueberry Cranberry Muffins

IMG_5445

Blueberry Cranberry Muffin ingredients:

2 C. King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour

1 C. All Purpose Flour

2/3 C. Granulated Sugar

2 1/2t Double acting Baking Powder

1 ½ t Baking soda

¼ t. Kosher Salt

1 t cinnamon

1 t ginger

1 C. Plain Nonfat Yogurt

½ C. Canola Oil

1/3 C. Thawed Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate

2 Eggs

1 ½ C Fresh Blueberries

1 C. Dried Cranberries

24 Dried Apricot halves, chopped (Soak in ½ C Brandy) Heat Brandy in microwave first. Add apricots and let them get plump before removing from liquid and chopping.

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Use Paper liners and line 2 muffin tins to bake 24 muffins.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt and spices.

In a large bowl combine oil, yogurt, orange juice, and eggs. Mix well. Add dry ingredients ½ cup at a time just until combined. Gently stir in blueberries, cranberries and soaked apricots.

Spoon batter equally into muffin tins. Bake until tooth pick comes clean when removed about 15-20 minutes.

Cream cheese frosting: 8 oz room temperature cream cheese, 1/2 C softened butter, 1 1/2 C confectioners sugar, 1 t vanilla. Mix until combined.

Enjoy!

If you like this blog please follow me. If you have any questions about the recipe please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share on social media to your family and friends.

IMG_5448

Teri:)

Choir Article

 
5 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2015 in Dessert

 

Tags: , , ,

How Stopping Off at a Roadside Farm Can Inspire Your Baking

photo greenphoto 1 (6)

October is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather is getting cooler in the mornings and evenings and we hold out for hope that the rains will come soon. My neighbor’s kids are getting excited about the upcoming Halloween by decorating their yards with goblins, skeletons and huge fake black spiders and I’ve been purchasing sweets for their arrival at my front door on October 31st. Of course I won’t be baking treats for the youngsters, but their parents might enjoy a little something sweet while trekking through the neighborhood. This is where my apple cake will come in handy.

You’re probably wondering what inspired me to prepare this super moist cake. Recently while driving through the countryside of Sonoma County I ran across a farm called Green String Farm along Old Adobe Road in Petaluma. My sister Susan and I were taking my dad to the casino in Santa Rosa when we stumbled across this gem.

photo 2 (6)photo 3 (5)

I was happy to learn that they sold local produce, nuts, flowers, olive oil, eggs, cheese, honey and herbs. These establishments are rare where I live in rural Walnut Creek, but are occasionally found in the hills of Petaluma. I know how much work goes into growing these vegetables because I have a garden also at my home. Keeping up with the water in the midst of the drought is not a small feat. This is why I appreciate buying from places like Green String Farm. I know my purchase will be fresh and fairly priced.  The owner happened to be friendly, answered any questions we had and sent us on our way with a smile.

photo 3 (4)photo 4 (3)

I found their walnuts to be the best I’ve ever tasted. They are sold in bulk by the pound in their shell.  Apples pair well with walnuts and it’s the season when I’m in the mood for a warm spice cake. I’ve made this recipe for the past 15 years every time I have an excess of apples and I love serving it with a caramel sauce and Chantilly cream or vanilla ice cream. Luckily, I have plenty of time to bake before the trick or treating begins next week.

FRESH APPLE CAKE

Ingredients:

4 C sliced apples (3-4 depending on the size. Leave the peels on for more fiber) Granny Smith or Johnagold or your favorite apple.

1 ½ C Granulated Sugar

2 C All Purpose Flour (Can substitute Coconut, or Almond Flour if you want less carbs)

2 tsp Baking soda

2 tsp Cinnamon

2 tsp Ginger

¼ tsp Nutmeg (freshly grated)

½ tsp Cloves

½ tsp Maldon Salt Flakes

2 tsp Vanilla

2 Eggs (slightly beaten)

½ C Canola Oil

½-1 C chopped Walnuts

Optional

Vanilla Ice Cream

Heavy Cream

Caramel sauce

Ingredients:

¾ C (6oz/185 g) Granulated Sugar

2 T Water

½ tsp fresh Lemon Juice

¾ C (6 fl oz/180 ml) Heavy Cream

Directions:

In a medium size heavy saucepan combine the sugar, water and lemon juice. Cook over medium high heat until it turns amber, 6-8 minutes. Do not stir. Tip the pan to ensure even cooking. Do not allow the sugar to burn. When amber color, remove from heat and add cream. Stir with a long handled spoon or whisk until the sauce is smooth and blended. Let sauce cool to warm and use immediately. Can be covered and refrigerated for up to a week.

Makes about 1 cup (8 fl oz/250ml).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Directions:

Sprinkle sugar over sliced apples in a large bowl and stir. In another bowl, combine all spices, soda, salt to flour and mix. Add dry ingredients to apples and mix with a wooden spoon.

In a separate bowl, measure out oil and add eggs and vanilla and stir.

Pour wet ingredients into apples and mix well. Add walnuts and pour evenly into a buttered 13X9 inch pan. Or for a special occasion, pour into separate small ramekins to serve individually. Baking time will be less for these.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Serve alongside caramel sauce,and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Enjoy!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

The #1 Tip to Bake Your Favorite White Cake With Less Fuss

photo 2

Yesterday I invited my longtime friend Marie over for a baking day. She wanted to learn how to bake her son Ryan’s favorite vanilla cake. I made one last Fall for his brother Aaron’s engagement party and it was a huge hit.

Marie and I go way back. She and I met at Mr. Steak Restaurant in Concord California and worked as hostesses then waitresses at the age of 16. After working a shift, we would sit together at the back table and eat Teriyaki chicken, baked potatoes and hot fudge sundaes. We have stayed close over the past thirty years supporting one another while raising our kids. She is “Auntie Marie” to mine and I’m “Auntie Teri” to her boys. It’s a wonderful thing.

This recipe is as simple as they come adding a few extra ingredients to a box cake mix. The result is a light and airy texture with a robust vanilla flavor. The time it takes to mix is minimal which is always a plus for a busy individual who wants to spend less time in the kitchen. The recipe to my favorite chocolate cake is here on a previous blog. http://letsmakemudpies.blogspot.com/2014/07/chocolate-plus-raspberries-caaake.html?m=1

photo 1

Here is the recipe:

I box vanilla cake mix (follow recipe and add these extra ingredients)

1 extra egg white

1 box instant vanilla pudding

½ C sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Assemble cake as directed and add the extra egg white, the box of vanilla pudding and ½ C sour cream. Mix well. Prepare 2 8 or 9 “ round stainless steel pans (glass okay) by lying a piece of parchment on the bottom of the pan. If you don’t have parchment, spray with a non-stick spray or coat lightly with Crisco.

Pour batter into pans making sure to divide evenly. Bake as directed on box, usually around 17-25 min.

Let the cakes cool in the pans.

When cool frost with a white buttercream frosting.

White Buttercream Frosting

2/3 C Water plus 3 T

¼ C Wilton Meringue Powder

12 C Confectioners’ sugar (3 Lbs.)

1 1/4 C Vegetable Shortening

3 T Light Corn Syrup

¾ t Maldon Salt (found at Sur la Tab or William Sonoma)

¾ t imitation rum extract

½ t imitation clear butter flavor

1 t vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine water and meringue powder and whip w electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Add 4 C sugar ½ C at a time beating at low speed until combined. Add shortening and corn syrup and add remaining sugar slowly until incorporated. Add salt and flavorings, beat on low until smooth. Makes @ 7 Cups.

Recipe may be doubled or halved depending on size of cake.

Enjoy!

Tell me about your favorite cake and the story behind it. Did it make you feel loved? Does your family have a traditional birthday cake every year that is requested? Please comment below.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Dessert, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: