Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Here's one more recipe in my series of doctored cake mix treats. I taught at a small private high school several years ago and our secretary used to make one of these for the teachers on occasion or whenever one of her three kids needed to bring a treat to school. (We were Louisiana, and we took food very seriously. Someone always needed to bring a treat to school. I lived there 6 years and gained 20lbs.) The cake became famous in the school, and I begged for the recipe when I moved.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1 small (3 oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
4 large eggs
8 oz sour cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*

Mix all the ingredients except the chips for two minutes on medium speed. Stir in chips and pour batter into a well-greased bundt pan. Cook for 1 hour at 350F.

*The only tricky part is keeping the chips from sinking to the bottom while the cake cooks. To prevent this, I tossed them with about 1 tsp of flour. Sometimes they still sink a bit so I make sure the pan is very well greased so the cake will come out in one piece. It's yummy no matter what happens :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Easy Sour Cream Pound Cake

Since so many of you were excited about the easy chocolate cookies, I wanted to share another doctored cake mix recipe. This one is for a pound cake that is amazingly moist and scrumptious.

Sour Cream Pound Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
8 oz sour cream (I've used light and nonfat with no adverse effects.)
4 eggs
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 tsp almond extract (I have omitted this when I didn't have it on hand.)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients for 4 minutes. Pour batter in a bundt pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and bake at 325F for 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

In order to keep up with work and do some other fun holiday activities with my daughter, we've had to simplify our holiday baking from what we did last year. In 2005, we made 13 different kinds of cookies all completely from scratch. I think we over did it a bit. On Christmas Eve, my mom offered my daughter a cookie and she said "I'm sick of cookies." LOL! This year, I think we'll make more like 6 or 7 and the following recipe starts off with a cake mix. It is probably the easiest cookie I've ever made and amazingly delcious - goey and chocolately. So if you need a quick, easy cookie especially if you are baking with a young child, here's a recipe for you.

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 egg
1 tub of Kool Whip or other frozen whipped topping (thawing it is ideal but it works frozen if you mix it longer)
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (for rolling)

Mix all ingredients except sugar until well-blended. Roll dough into 1-inch balls then roll balls in sugar and placed on an ungreased pan. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Make Your Own Instant Oatmeal

This time of year we probably all need some quick and inexpensive kitchen tips. I enjoy reading Parent Hacks and today I saw a post with a recipe for making your own oatmeal packets. You can check that recipe out here. I make a slightly simpler version that I wanted to share with you.

Instant Oatmeal

1) Make a few cups of oatmeal powder from Old Fashioned (not quick cooking) oats by grinding oatmeal in a food processor or blender. I store this in an empty oatmeal container.
2) For each "packet" (I use baggies.) added 1/4 cup oats and 1/8 cup powder for a serving the same size as an instant oatmeal packet.
3) Add boiling water to make the consistency you like as well as other additions that you like: sugar, fruit, butter, etc.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Meatball Sandwiches, Paninis, and Soup

This week I decided to make two recipes from Everyday Italian and one from The Wednesday Chef. Last night, I made Giada de Laurentiis's Grilled Vegetable Paninis and they were delicious. The thick slices of eggplants and zucchini made them hearty and filling even for someone like me who rarely feels as full as she should from vegetarian meals.

Tonight I'm going to make the Mini Meatball Heroes and I think they will be soooo yummy. Meatball sandwiches are something I often crave.

Later this week, I 'm going to make Ribolita de Luana which I read about on The Wednesday Chef. Ribolita is a Tuscan vegetable and bread soup. This version leaves out the bread, but I may experiment with adding it back in. I've been trying to eat more vegetables, and this sounds like a yummy way to do it.

I'd love to hear what everyone else is making this week.

December Passionate Kitchen Column Posted

This blog was inspired by the column I write for A Cheeky Changeling, the free ezine of Changeling Press. The December edition is now available. My column includes two of my favorite family holiday recipes, Lemon Meringue Pie and Pecan and Sage Dressing as well as some encouragement about holiday cooking. To read it, click here

Friday, December 1, 2006

New Book Release - Solstice Craving

Changeling Press has just released my werewolf Winter Solstice story, Solstice Craving. To read more about it, go to the front page of my website. *Warning: This story if for those 18 and over only.*

Gingerbread Cookies

As promised, I'm reporting in on making gingerbread cookies with my daughter. We made the dough on Wednesday so it could chill (recipe follows). Then we spent a wonderful afternoon on Thursday making gingerbread cookies with a few friends. We used our gingerbread boy and girl cutters and a few holiday ones too. The girls cut out a few cookies each then sat down with their creations at a table filled with sugar, sprinkles, red hots, raisins and other decorative treats. They had a blast. Though the cookie decorating did dissolve into licking up the colored sugar from their plates. We made several pans of cookies, and they all turned out perfectly so the recipe is definitely a keeper. It comes from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion which I highly recommend to anyone who loves to make cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1 tsp salt
2t cinnamon
2t ground ginger
1/4t ground cloves
1 egg
1t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I found the dough a little too thin and added 2 more tablespoons of flour)

1) Put butter and next six ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat until butter is melted. Pour into a mixing bowl (I used the one for my stand mixer) and allow to cool to room temperature.
2) Add egg and combine. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined (use the loweset setting if using a stand mixer).
3) Divide dough in half, form into flattened balls, cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

*I apparently got distracted and left you hanging on the instructions. Here are the rest.

4) Roll out the chilled dough and cut into gingerbread men or any other shape you like. Decorate with candies, sugar, raisins, red hots, etc.
5) Bake 8-10 minutes at 375F.
6) Cool on a wire rack and ice if desired.