Monday, May 30, 2011

Gram's Lemon Apricot Cake

This is a good old fashioned cake.  I say that because it isn't "froofy" like popular cakes - it's humble looking and tastes spectacular.  My Gram Yoder made it while visiting us when I was just a child, it made such an impression on my taste buds that I called her as an adult to request the recipe.  Boy was I surprised to find it all started with a cake mix!  As Gram would say "Awesome!"

Gram's Lemon Apricot Cake
1 lemon cake mix
4 eggs
3/4 c oil (I used part vegetable and part olive)
1/2 c apricot nectar (Kern's or Jumex, you can freeze the other half for your next cake or drink it while baking)

1-1/2 c powdered sugar
3 T lemon juice
lemon zest (optional)

Mix cake mix, eggs, oil and juice on low for 30 seconds.  Beat on high for 2 minutes.  Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13 pan and bake at 300F for 35-45 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).  While still warm, prick top of cake all over with a fork and drizzle with frosting.  Yummy!

Calico Corn Salad

This veggie side is easy to make ahead of time.  Allow the corn to thaw in transit to a BBQ and the salad will stay nice and cold, even in the heat of summer.

Calico Corn Salad
16oz (1 bag) frozen sweet corn
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 large sweet red pepper, diced
4oz can mild chopped green chilies (I get the fire roasted ones)

Whisk in large bowl:
1/4 c vegetable oil (I use olive)
2 T lime juice
2 T apple cider vinegar (or what you have on-hand)
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t granulated garlic

Mix dressing in large bowl, add green chilies.  Dice zucchini and red pepper.  Combine chopped vegetables and frozen corn with dressing mix and stir gently. Allow corn to thaw and serve. Can be made ahead, keep chilled.  Serves 6-8.

When I double this recipe, I increase the corn to 3 bags, simply doubling the remaining ingredients.  I have also increased leftovers with additional corn on the 2nd or 3rd day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Herbed Carrots

My Mother-In-Law found this recipe for my Brother-In-Law's wedding years ago... it's been a family favorite ever since.  It makes a great summer side for potlucks and picnics.

Herbed Carrots
3 cups (1 lb) baby carrots
4 T rice vinegar (or 3 T white vinegar)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 t dried oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 t granulated garlic

Steam carrots to tender-crisp.  I steam them in the microwave and like them a little more toward the soft side, but not mushy.  

Rinse with cold water, drain.  While carrots are still warm, drizzle on remaining ingredients and toss well.  Cover and chill, stirring occasionally.  Serve cold.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What's that?

24 muffins!?! Wow!!

I so rarely get a full 24 muffins out of a batch (even with an ice cream scoop, I'm a little extra-generous) so, I always feel like doin' a happy dance when I do!
Next... re-boot the laundry and prep snacks for t-ball practice tomorrow night. Then go to bed. I need my rest (and so do you)!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Moist Carrot Cake

Stan's favorite cake (excluding chocolate - that's evidently a class all its own).  An easy and fool-proof recipe, courtesy my friend Martha.  Omit the nuts for a toddler friendly version.

Moist Carrot Cake
2 c all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1-1/2 t baking soda
1 T ground cinnamon
2 c white sugar
4 eggs
3/4 c oil
3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
2-3/4 c shredded carrots (or as much as you can smush into the batter)
1 c crushed pineapple, very well drained
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c unsweetened flake coconut

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease and flour a 9x13 pan (I like glass for a crispy crust). Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt & cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, applesauce and eggs. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in pineapple, shredded carrots, chopped nuts and coconut. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

Frost with Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting.

Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting

I've never been a fan of the traditional cream cheese frosting... too sweet and the butter is completely unnecessary (in my humble opinion).  I've always made an impromptu version with cream cheese, a little lemon juice, sugar and vanilla.  This one, however, is the new favorite.  I can't imagine anything more perfect with yummy Moist Carrot Cake.

Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz low fat cream cheese
3/4-1-1/2 t allspice (to taste)
5 T - 1/4 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

In a medium bowl, blend all ingredients together.  If needed, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until spreadable.
Generously covers a 9x13 sheet cake.