Tuesday, March 30, 2010

TWD Coconut Tea Cake

I haven't baked for a month and I really had no reason to bake a bundt cake, there are two of us. But I miss baking, I had a good hour and I baked a bundt cake because I can! I'm so glad I did. This was a fun cake to make, it came together quickly. Beating eggs and sugar for three minutes is a beautiful thing.

I was intrigued with Dorie's 'playing around' ideas; I added orange rind and juice because I had it. I then remembered making a delicious cookie that paired orange and ginger, so I decided to live on the baking edge and add ginger also.

The results were so yummy. I am big on drizzling, glazing and frosting, it's a good thing. But this cake was so beautiful I had to leave it alone. I'm glad I did because this cake is simply delicious. With hints of coconut, orange and ginger this moist cake was heaven on a plate! I may serve it with a scoop of yummy ice cream or not.

Check Carmen's blog at CarmenCooks for the recipe.  Be careful of the baking time, my cake was done after 50 minutes.  Stop by the TWD blog and see what other great bakers thought of Coconut Tea Cake

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Make Ahead Pasta Sauce

Over the years I have tried many 'cook for a day, eat for a month' type recipes. You shop and chop one day, cook the following day and have meals for a month. Sounds like a great concept especially with a busy family. But, sadly I seem to be a 'freezer snob', so many of the recipes I tried just didn't taste good once thawed and cooked.

I was pleasantly surprised with the pasta sauce recipe I found on Our Best Bites. It makes a big batch, has more veggies than meat (I don't love meat) and it tastes delicious thawed and heated. The veggies stay crisp tender, the sauce has a wonderful flavor and it is easy. I love it!

Before my surgery I made a batch and put it in several freezer containers (actually my sweet hubby made it, what a good man). It saved the day on more than one occasion. I like it on angel hair pasta topped with fresh grated Parmesan cheese. I also keep a loaf of sliced LaBrea sour dough or garlic bread in the freezer. It is easy to take out a few slices, toast them them and enjoy a delicious quick meal.

Make Ahead Pasta Sauce
 1/2 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
2 15-ounce cans Italian style diced tomatoes (I blend them in the food processor)
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
4 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 onion chopped
1 zucchini chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped, 1/4 inch dice
2 stalks celery chopped, 1/4 inch dice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
salt and pepper
In a large skillet with lid, brown ground beef, onions and garlic. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for an hour, stir occasionally. Serve a delicious dinner tonight and put the remaining sauce in freezer containers and label. You now have the start to another great meal!

This recipe comes from Our Best Bites, a great blog. Check their site for a yummy looking lasagna using this sauce. I love this LeCreuset pan, it was a gift from my thoughtful children. They know how to make Mama smile!
I would love to have a few more 'freezer meals', if you have a freezer meal that is a proven winner please share. Send me a link or your recipe, I would love to try it. Thanks for sharing!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Yes, I am getting better, there is life after back surgery. So what does one do when healing and mobility is limited?

Reading is always a great choice. I love movies based on Jane Austin novels but have never taken the time to actually read one. Pride and Prejudice was my first choice, I knew the story but reading a book written in the early 1800's began as a challenge. It took 30-40 pages to get into it but once I became familiar with the language and writing style it was quite delightful. It was an excellent read.

Since Jane Austin seems to be 'healing' we checked out Sense and Sensibility from Netflix. This was the BBC version made in 2008; it has 3 one hour segments on one disc. Another great adaptation of a classic. I can't wait to read the book.

I also enjoyed reading 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society', this book was written thru a series of letters. It was so interesting and enjoyable I didn't want it to end. It is a, 'must read, must own', kind of book.

I saved the best for last. I purchased the 2009 series of  'America's Test Kitchen'. this 4 DVD set is full of interesting cooking segments. Since this is mostly a cooking blog my enjoyment is to be expected. 
In the hopefully near future I will be blogging about Enchiladas Verdes, Carne Asada, Blueberry Pie, Crispy Breaded Pork Chops and many others.

What are you reading/watching? Leave me a comment with your suggestions, I still have some down time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Action Packed Week

It has been an interesting 2 weeks at home. I had back surgery two weeks ago, all went well but recovery is never quick enough. Some of my children came to visit, smiling grand-kids were just what the doctor ordered. All went well for a couple of days, I read stories, laughed at toddler antics and shut my bedroom door when necessary.
I guess it started with sweet baby B taking a tumble on the tile floor. This event produced tears, blood (in large quantities) and a trip to the ER. She was not happy. Five stitches above the eye fixed her. 6 months ago when visiting Nana she fell on the plane, this required a trip to the ER, her shoulder was dislocated. So Baby B does not have a great track record visiting Nana!

We assumed the remainder of the visit would be crazy but uneventful. Anytime you get 6 adults and 4 kids under 3 in the same house it is bound to be action packed. Friday morning arrived, the kids would pack up and head for home.....that's what we thought.

30 minutes into the trip Greg received a frantic phone call. There had been an accident. Greg managed to meet the ambulance with Jill before she was transported to U of U ER. She spent the day in the hospital, a nasty gash in the back of her head was stapled shut. She was bumped and bruised but otherwise ok. Rachel (8 months pregnant) was in the passenger side. She spent the night at the hospital  for observation, she was shaken up but all seems well. The kids were taken to PCMC by Super Grandpa Greg. They were not excited to be there but are fine! All in all we feel so blessed, what could have been a tragedy proved to mostly be an inconvenience.

Jill and kids came back home and were lovingly cared for by Auntie Candise, Auntie Kaytie, Uncle Paul and Super Gpa. What a great support system we have. Before the weekend was thru my sweet brothers and their good wives provided meals, new car seats and much needed love and support. My children offered hotel rooms, plane tickets and transportation to the displaced family.

 Everyone is safely home! Jill has been checked out by her Dr. all is well, she is still sore and will be for a few days. Candise did a marathon car trip and delivered Jill and kiddos safely to worried Scott. Eliza J has been a trooper as she has spent way to much time in her car seat! Grandpa Greg is back to work, he has had quite a marathon. I am home, recovering in a way too clean and quiet house. I am feeling very blessed.

I have been thinking about changing the name of my blog--but 'Everyday Insanity' seems to fit.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Thumbprints for us big girls

Hey there, it's Amber here from The Sassy Chronicles. I'm going to be guest posting the Tuesday's with Dorie assignments for the next little while while Cindy's recovering nicely from some major back surgery. Well, let's take a look at these delicious little cookies, shall we? I started off this week with a pledge to avoid sugary sweets until the weekend, it was working until I made these tasty little cookies!

The dough is so basic, I almost thought it was a typo. No eggs? No salt? No baking soda or powder? I began to doubt these little cookies. (Silly me, why would I ever doubt Dorie Greenspan!!) The dough came together in a snap, the only fussy part was grinding the nuts (I used almonds). Into the oven they went, I cooked one pan at a time instead of two, and realized that they could be cooked about 3 minutes less if you do it that way. I wasn't really clear as to when to sprinkle the powdered sugar.... before the jam? After the jam? I tried both ways...

Um.... definitely BEFORE the jam... They just don't look right with all that beautiful jam hidden under the powdered sugar.

Ahh, much better.

And after all my doubting, I loved these cookies so much that they are going to be plated up and taken to the neighbors immediately, before I eat these buttery little cookies until I make myself sick!

Wishing you a speedy recovery mom!

Until next week.....

A Delicious Surprise

 This beautiful treat was delivered yesterday. It is wishing me a speedy recovery--but there is no name.... Who do I thank? Anyone of dozens of wonderful people in my life. Thank you!