Holiday Favorites

Berry Good Chocolate Cake

The LAST issue of Cooking Light Magazine has this lovely cake recipe as it’s cover + feature for December. I’m so sad to see this magazine come to a close. This has been a staple in our home for many years. However, like with many things that have happened this year, when one door closes, another one opens.

I’m excited to see Cooking Light Magazine’s sister, Eating Well Magazine. Eating Well will continue to have some of the features of Cooking Light Magazine. Cooking Light will continue as an online pub, much like the rest of the industry.

Bitter Sweet.

As a jornalism major in college, print was my all-time favorite. Although my AP stylebook is quite dusty now, and my writing here on this blog is half an effort, I will miss holding this magazine, watching the pages become littered with notes, post-its and drops and drippings from recipes we’re trying. I’ve saved almost all of our Cooking Light Magazines and resort beack to them when in I’m in a rut. Thanks Cooking Light, you’ll be missed!

The cake recipe! Here it is! I’m giving you the cheat method because if you’re making this for tomorrow, you do not have time to make the full-on homemade chocolate cake that goes along with it.

Ingredients

  • Chocolate cake box mix (betty crocker is safe, we used the Devils Food flavor)
  • Glaze
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (Vermont Nut Free or Nestle)
    • 1 oz semisweet chocolate chips
    • 2 tbsp milk
    • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
    • dash of table salt
  • Yogurt Cream
    • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup plain 2% greek yogurt
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fruit Topping
    • 1 cup fresh blackberries
    • 1 6oz container raspberries
    • 1 cup strawberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray two 8″ cake pans with non-stick spray
  2. Make your box of cake mix according to the package.
  3. Remove and let cool completely before moving on.
  4. Prepare glaze: combine the glaze ingredients in small sauce pan over low, stirring constantly for about 3 min. Cool slightly.
  5. Prepare the yogurt cream: place cream and powdered sugar in large mixing bowl and mix until stiff peaks form. Then add yogurt and vanilla and beat on high until well combined.
  6. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand and top with yogurt cream leaving a 1/2 inch border. top with second cake layer. Carefully pour the glaze over the top, spreading to the edges and dripping down the sides. Arrange berries on top.
  7. Enjoy!

Serves: 16, Calories: 308

Holiday Favorites

Pumpkin Mousse

A few years ago I made a pumpkin mousse instead of a pie for Thanksgiving, and it was wonderful. Since many of us don’t really care for pie crust, I decided to bring out this old recipe once again. It’s been a while, and if you follow my Instagram, you saw that I royally messed up this super simple recipe! Ended up fixing it and it turned out fine. Here is how to make it.

Ingredients

  • 1 (15oz) pumpkin
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup super fine sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Ginger snap cookies for garnish, or graham crackers
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for serving

Directions

  1. Combine pumpkin, 1 cup of heavy cream, sugar and spice in medium sauce pan.
  2. Simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes and cool completely.
  3. Whip remaining whipping cream in your mixer with wisk attachment and 1 tbsp powdered sugar and 1 tbsp vanilla extract. Whip to form stiff peaks.
  4. Fold whipped cream into the cooled pumpkin mixture.
  5. Pour into individual cups and top with whipped cream or ice cream and ginger snap.
  6. Make sure to let these cool for a few hours in the fridge.
Holiday Favorites

Haricots Verts Casserole

Just a little twist on the classic green bean casserole – a staple at Thanksgiving tables tomorrow.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Ingredients

  • 11 x 7 baking dish + non stick spray
  • 12oz haricots verts
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion / shallot
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock / vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp parmesian reggiano, grated
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Trim and blanch the haricots verts and place in the baking pan.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium hi heat
  3. Add the 3 cups of mushrooms and the onion or shallots.
  4. Cook until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes, stir occasionally.
  5. Add 1 tbsp flour, cook stirring constantly about 1 min.
  6. Add 1 cup of stock.
  7. Add 2 tbsp heavy cream
  8. Add sprinkle of salt and pepper, generously
  9. Cook and stir until thick and smooth about 1 to 3 min.
  10. sprinkle with 1/4 panko bread crumbs.
  11. Grate fresh parmesan over the top.
  12. Broil 1 to 2 min.
  13. Enjoy

Serving size is 1 cup. Calories: 171

 

 

Holiday Favorites

Halloween Party Menu

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate – it can also be one of the trickiest when you have to think about food allergies. This is one of the reasons why we always host a party, we are in control of the menu. This year I have the pleasure of hosting with a good friend of mine, and let me tell you, it’s so much easier having a buddy to plan and prep with!

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Here is what we have decided on for food:

Appetizers

  • Taco Dip
  • Veggie Tray
  • Fruit Tray
  • Cheese + Triscuits

Mains

  • Macaroni & Cheese Bar
    • Bacon
    • Sausage
    • Chives
    • Salsa
    • Avocado
    • Parmesan Curls
  • Crock pot meats for adults / meatballs
    • Kings Hawaiian (safe) buns + sauce

Dessert

Drinks

 

If you’re having a party and need some allergy friendly snacks, here is a list I foudn on Twitter that was really great – and easy to find.

IF you dont know what your party will be having, be safe and always bring your own food. A subway sub is a good sandwich to bring – or eat in advance. Kids like more play time anway, they could careless about the food.

Follow my Instagram to see the latest local safe brands available. You’ll never guess where I found the candy corn this year! Amazon also carries it.

**Keep in mind if you’re in Madison, Hy-Vee Health Market in Fitchburg has the largest array of nut free items. Metcalfes nut free is on the end cap of the first aisle facing the milk coolers. Copps / Pick n Save / Kroger is usually in the first or second aisle near the specialty foods + gluten free items. Sometimes they put things in the candy aisle, but they are not popular, so check the bottom shelf!**

Happy Fall!

Holiday Favorites, Snacking

Sheet Pan Apple Pancake

Last week we visited a local apple orchard, Eplegaarden. It’s an old Norwegian farm where the owners have done a wonderful job of preserving it. There is a small picnic area so you can bring in your own treats (and take the garbage when you leave), a real pick your own pumpkin patch, raspberry picking, apple picking, sweet bakery area (don’t forget your epi-pens! Be safe and eat your own treats. Farms and Orchards are NEVER safe.) and some animals. We went mid-week and there were the only ones picking apples when we got there. I much prefer this, compared to the long lines and huge crowds at some pumpkin patches + apple orchards!

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Now that we have 10 pounds worth of apples, here are the ideas that we have to use them all up.

  1. Apple Pie
  2. Apple Sauce
  3. Apple Pancake
  4. Sauteed Cinnamon Apples
  5. Apple Cinnamon Muffins
  6. Apple Cinnamon Bread
  7. Apple Snack
  8. Apple with Sun Butter
  9. Give some away
  10. Share with teachers!

We first ate a bunch, they are so juicy and sweet. Then we made some for dessert, this recipe was a huge hit last year! Then the kids and I tried to make sheet pan apple pancakes – and let me tell you. AMAZING!

I highly recommend doubling the amount of apples you use in the first “roasting” step. And, this is great for large crowds, like Thanks Giving sleepovers, or Christmas Morning. This makes A LOT of pancake. We ate this every day for 5 days, which I can’t complain. Morning breakfast was so easy since we all just watned to eat apple pancake! It travels (aka breakfast in the car when we were running late!) well and re-heats VERY well in the microwave. You could put it in the frige to last a little longer.

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Sheet Pan Apple Spice Pancake

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp apple pie spice (Penzeys)
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 3 golden delicious or gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced into rounds
  • 1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour (King Arthur)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (King Arthur) also, I did not have this, just use regular flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups whole milk (regular is fine too)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk greek yogurt (Fage greek 2% works too)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (Penzeys)

Topping

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 5 tsp apple cider
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice
  • maple syrup or whipped cream

Directions

  1. Make the pancake. Preheat oven to 400*, mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar and pie spice in a large bowl. Rub a rimmed baking sheet with 2 tbsp butter and arrange the apple slices on top in a single layer. sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the sugar spice mixture. bake until the apples are tender and the baking sheet is mostly dry. It will smell amazing, so be ready!
  2. Next, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the remaining sugar mixture. Whisk the milk, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl. stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture.
  3. Pour the batter of the apples and spread to cover. Bake until dry and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 12 to 15 minutes. Brush the remaining 1 tbsp butter on it. Let cool.
  4. Make the Glaze. Stir the confectioners sugar, cider and pie spice in a bowl. Drizzle over the pancake. Cut into squares. Invert onto plate and serve with syrup and whipped cream.
  5. Enjoy!