#BundtaMonth: Cherry Garcia Bundt


I’ve wanted to participate in the Bundt-a-Month over at Baker Street for a while, but this is the first month that I’ve actually done it.  The theme for this month was cherries.  I originally wanted to do a chocolate bundt with a cream and cherry filling so the flavors would be like Black Forest Cake.  However, I just couldn’t get excited about it and was quickly running out of time last Friday to get something baked for potluck at church.  

My hubby then asked if there was any ice cream in the house and I remembered the pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia that I had hidden in the chest freezer in the basement.  (And yes, I do need to hide the good stuff around here or it will all be eaten in one sitting by my tall-dark-and-handsome).  At that point I abandoned the chocolate cake base and went for a strong vanilla base with cherry and chocolate chunks throughout. I used the Vanilla Bean Bundt as my starting point.  In my humble opinion I think it turned out great.  And even with all the desserts that were leftover at potluck I only had two small pieces left to bring home. Robert and Eddie quickly took care of those so I’m guessing that it was enjoyed by all. The only change I would make in the future is to put the cherries and chocolate on top instead of the middle as they mostly still sunk to the top even though they were tossed with some flour.

Cherry Garcia Bundt 

10 to 12 servings 

Nonstick Pam with flour Baking Spray

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 TBSP vanilla paste

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), room temperature

3/4 cup vanilla sugar

1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup chocolate chunks (dark chocolate if you can find them)
3/4 cup Morello cherries drained and cut in half (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)

Standard Bundt pan (10-inch-diameter Bundt pan with 33/4-inch-high sides)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Butter and flour standard Bundt pan, then spray pan with nonstick spray or spray really well with Pam Baking. 

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Remove 2 tsp of the flour mixture and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolk 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat vanilla and vanilla paste. Add flour mixture in 2 additions alternately with buttermilk in 1 addition, beating just until blended after each addition.

Mix the chocolate chunks with 1 tsp of reserved flour mixture.  Mix cherries with the remaining 1 tsp of flour mixture.

Spoon 3/4 of the batter into the prepared bundt pan.  Sprinkle cherries and chocolate over the batter and top with remaining batter. Smooth the top.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 45 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Invert cake onto rack and cool completely.







Southwestern Quinoa Casserole

Quinoa is usually considered a “health” food. This means that kids usually run screaming from anything including quinoa.  I found the original inspiration for this recipe at Cooking Quinoa. I figured with the cross of Mexican flavors and cheese sauce plus the additional toppings that my kids might at least try it.  Turns out it was a hit with the family and our friend Eddie who happened to come over.  I thought it needed some different textual element which is why I served it with chips.  This recipe will become part of our regular rotation of recipes.  

Southwestern Quinoa Casserole

·         Olive oil spray

·         1 onion, chopped

·         1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped

·         1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

·         2 cups frozen corn, thawed (frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s if available)

·         1 tablespoon minced garlic

·         3 tablespoons butter

·         3 tablespoons whole wheat or all-purpose flour

·         ½  teaspoon chili powder

·         1 teaspoon smoked paprika

·         ¾ teaspoon ground cumin

·         1 teaspoon Mexican oregano

·         1/8 – ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder

·         1 teaspoon sea salt

·         2 cups milk  

·         8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese (if you want it spicier you can use Pepper Jack)

·         3 cups cooked quinoa

·         1 ½ cups black beans (about 1 can)

·         For serving: Pico De Gallo, Salsa, Avocado, Sour Cream and corn chips


1.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13 baking pan with olive oil cooking spray.

2.        Spray a large skilled with olive oil spray and heat to medium. Add onion, red and orange bell peppers and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add corn and garlic cook for 4 more minutes.

3.        Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour, chili powder, paprika, cumin, Mexican oregano, chipotle chili powder and salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in milk and cook, stirring often, until thick. Add cheese and cook until melted.

4.        Place quinoa and black beans in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture and toss. Add cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

5.        Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with corn chips, pico de gallo, salsa, avocado or sour cream if desired.

1 note



#Mexican food

Pintrest Post #9: Baked Quinoa Cheese Wontons with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I’ve been trying to insert more quinoa into our regular rotation of recipes.  I adapted this recipe from Cooking Quinoa. These would make a great appetizer though we ate them as our main dish with some salad.

Baked Quinoa Cheese Wontons with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

  • 6 oz (1/2 a 12 oz package) of wonton wrappers
  • 4 oz of Boursin or Rondele Garlic and Herb Cheese
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan


  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a large cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl combine Boursin/Rondele cheese with quinoa, basil and garlic.  

Place 1-2 teaspoons of filling in each wonton wrapper.  Brush edges of wrapper with water and seal close.  Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (be sure to watch them the last couple minutes.  They are done when they are golden brown).

For the sauce put roasted red peppers, Greek yogurt, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender and process until well combined. 

1 note




Meyer Lemon Tea Cookies

This picture is of the cookies that were left when I went to put them away in the evening once they were cooled.  The original recipe is double this amount.  An additional 18-22 cookies in addition to those picture.  Where are the other cookies you might ask?  My husband ate them in a little over an hour.  How many did I eat during this time?  One…yes, you read that correctly he had 18-21 and I had 1.  In the following day or so those pictured also made there way into his 6’7” body which is still skinny no matter what he eats or in what quantity.  Life is SO NOT FAIR!!!

Granted these cookies are not large.  They are a one (if your shoveling them in) or two bite cookie.  They have a light crumbly texture that is perfect with a cup of tea etc. If you don’t have Meyer lemons use regular and they will still be tasty!

Meyer Lemon Tea Cookies

  • 3/4 cup of butter softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 TBSP packed Meyer Lemon zest
  • 1 TBSP Meyer Lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth.

Add egg yolk, Meyer Lemon zest, juice, and vanilla and beat until combined.

On low speed, gradually add flour until mixture is no longer crumbly and forms a dough.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, scoop dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets an inch apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies puff and start to turn light yellow/golden brown with small cracks form on the surface.  

Shift some powdered sugar over the cookies while they are warm (optional) then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

1 note






#Meyer lemons

Pintrest Post #8: Meyer Lemon "Brownies" ›

I made these today with some Meyer lemons.  My hubby and our friend Eddie ate almost half a pan on their own (I had a little piece as I’m still recovering from a cold).  They are tart and tasty little bites.  I can cross one more recipe off of my “Recipes I want to try” board!


#Meyer lemons



Pintrest Post #7: Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake from Baking Bites ›

You want to follow this link to the recipe.  Trust me.  I picked up some Meyer Lemons in Maine when I was there last week (yes, I’m sure MA has them too, but they were 4 times the price as those I found in Maine).  

This cake would make a lovely addition to an Easter celebration.  My only change in the future would to be to cut cold (not melted) butter into the streusel topping.

1 note







#coffee cake

Pintrest Post #6: Herbed Biscuits and Veggie Sausage Gravy

Confession:  I have never really liked “biscuits and gravy”.  I don’t know if this is part of my Northern New England/East Indian background or just the general “heaviness” of all the past biscuit and gravy situations I’ve eaten.  However, my darling hubby is from a biscuits, gravy, grits eating family and he went to college in the South so he is rather into the whole biscuits and gravy idea.  So when I saw several friends who pinned these Herbed Biscuits and Gravy from Bev Cooks I decided to repin and try in the future.  

That future came up quickly when I had some random bits of a variety of herbs left to use up and a couple Italian Sausage-less Sausages from Trader Joe’s.  Now I rarely (if ever) make the same dish two days in a row, but I made these biscuits two days in a row and then again to go with some soup later in the week.  The biscuits are light and with the addition of the herbs very flavorful.  

I adjusted the biscuit recipe to include more herbs and lightened the gravy recipe. The original recipe included pork sausage.  As a vegetarian there are some veggie sausage options out there.  For eating on their own I like Morning Star Breakfast Links, but for recipes that need a more traditional sausage application I use Trader Joe’s Italian Sausage-less sausages.  

Herbed Biscuits and Veggie Sausage Gravy adapted from Bev Cooks

Makes 8 servings

For Biscuits 

  •  2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 6 TBSP cold butter (unsalted)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped (save whites for the gravy)
  • 1 TBSP freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 TBSP freshly chopped basil
  • 1 TBSP freshly chopped chives

For Gravy

  •  the remaining scallion whites, finely chopped
  • 2 Trader Joe’s Italian Sausage-less Sausages, crumbled
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 4 Tbs. flour
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1 3/4 cup low fat (I used 1 %) milk
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch coarse salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Cut the butter into small chunks and crumble it into the flour until it’s sandy with some larger pea sized pieces of butter left.

Add the buttermilk, scallions, chives, basil and parsley. Stir until JUST combined. Don’t overdo it. It should be on the wet side.

Knead the dough a bit (I usually do this in the bowl).  Then dump it onto a piece of waxed paper.  Pat it into a square that is about an inch thick.  Divide dough into 8-10 pieces.  (if you need to have round biscuits cut dough into circles with a cookie cutter).  Just be sure not to overwork the dough or your biscuits will be tough.

Place biscuits on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (or until golden)

While the biscuits are baking make your gravy.

Preheat a large skillet with a dribble of olive oil to medium-high. Break up the sausage and cook until browned. Add the scallion whites, and minced garlic and saute for an additional minute.

While the sausage is browning, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Once melted add the flour. Whisk until it becomes a nice golden paste, about a minute. Add the half and half, milk, cayenne, salt and the tsp of pepper. Whisk until thick and creamy.  Add the sausage to the cream sauce.  

Split the biscuits and cover with gravy.  


1 note




#veggie meat



Heart Trees and Banana Chocolate Bars


Every morning usually before 8 AM, M1 asks if she can “do a craft”.  She isn’t talking about the bin of coloring books that I bought for this express “craft making” time.  Oh, no she wants cutting, painting, glitter, stickers, creations of grand “artist” intent.  I wish that I was more innately crafty/artist.  I almost hesitate to tell people that I was once a craft director at a camp for 5 years.  While I can pour ceramics, make candles, fabric paint etc. my strengths in that position were teaching little kids who think anything that is entirely painted is a “masterpiece” and organizing.  I wish I was one of those people who can look at a random collection of household items and think “ohh I can make _______ this those”.  I tend to do a little better if there is a teaching objective involved.  I’ve been working on shapes with M2 and patterns with M1 (for some reason having my 3 and 4 year olds master the Geometry Common Core Standards for 1st grade sounded like a good idea) and created some, in my opinion, cute shapes crafts (post to come).  Other than that I spend more time on pintrest looking for various simple and cheap (seriously one can spend SO much on craft supplies) kids crafts.

I got the inspiration/idea for the heart trees from somewhere on pintrest.  I bought the Valentine’s heart stickers the day before V day when they went on 50% off.  I figured my MIL can get them late.  Basically just trace and cut out your kid’s hand and a portion of arm.  Glue to paper and them make “leaves” with heart stickers or cut out hearts from paper.  I put each kids initials and year in the “tree trunk”. 

Once again I had too many ripe bananas in the house.  I had already made banana bread, banana “ice cream”, and was looking for something else to make with bananas.  As banana cake is pretty similar to banana bread I wanted something different texturally.  When we lived in OH my hubby bought me Bon Appetit’s Dessert cookbook at Half Price Books (boy I miss that place)!  While I was looking in the index of all my cookbooks for banana related items I saw BA’s Banana-Oatmeal Bars with Chocolate Chunks.  I adjusted the recipe a bit by cutting down on the sugar and using dark chocolate chips.

Banana-Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Bars

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover a jelly roll (18x13x1-inch) baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick spray. Blend first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas, then vanilla. Stir in flour mixture and then chocolate chips.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and top is golden, about 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Cut into 3x2-inch bars and serve








Belated Unromantic Valentine’s: Indian Food Pintrest Post #5

I hate Valentine’s Day.  I’m not sure if it is a carry over from so many single V Day’s or just the profuse over commercialization of LOVE that irritates me.  I try for the sake of my daughter who is into ALL things pink, frilly, glittery, heart shaped, chocolate covered to get into the “holiday” spirit for a bit.  This year we made “heart trees” and banana chocolate chip bars (will post pictures and recipe in a second post).  

This year it is a good thing that I’m not into grand gestures from my darling hubby because my Valentine’s Day consisted of a doctor’s appointment and taking care of two rather cranky kids all day and into the night as Robert had a meeting at the school and didn’t get home until almost 11 pm.  I had hoped that he would get home for supper in between visits and his meeting, but that didn’t happen.  So the kids and I ate some Indian food (two new recipes…gasp) they ate banana chocolate chip bars.  

My kids aren’t usually that picky when it comes to food (at least compared to most of my friends’/family’s kids).  However, recently they’ve gotten into the habit of saying they love whatever I’m BAKING even when it is a new recipe and hating whatever I’m COOKING for actual meals (again even if they have never tried it).  I shouldn’t probably use sweets as motivation for trying new foods, but at this point that is what works so I have been using that card.  In general M2 loves anything with rice and the lentils were served over rice.  M1 is my least picky and usually wants salad with everything.  However, for this meal she decided to be particularly ornery and it was the promise of banana bars that got her through the meal.  

I recently found the blog US Marsala and have really enjoyed pinning recipes that I will be trying.  I couldn’t decide what to make Thursday and figured that as I had the ingredients in the pantry I would try a couple of her recipes.  So glad I did!

Jeera Aloo I didn’t have mango powder or asafoetida on hand so I left those out.  I also cut way down on the red chili because I wanted the kids to eat them.  It was still a wonderful dish and would make a great side to non-Indian food as well.  I think it is definitely one I will make for my Daddy in the future though I will make two batches one spicy and one not…

Coconut Daal

I usually make my Auntie Kavita’s Red Lentil Dal.  I love it because it is quick and easy and I always have the ingredients on hand.  But I was wanting something a little creamier and thought I would try this recipe.  Of course I realized part way into making it that I didn’t have quite enough split red lentils, so I threw in some whole red lentils to make up the difference.  The Indo-Pak grocery that was right down the road just moved 20+ minutes away, but I have a rather large list of things to get so I will be making the journey this week.  

Other changes to the recipe included leaving out the green chilies (again because of the kiddies) and as I mentioned the grocery had closed so I wasn’t able to get fresh curry leaves so I left those out.  Unless you live in an area with a good Indian or Pakistani grocery you won’t have those in a traditional grocery so you can make the recipe without them.  One other note:  if you can find them use black mustard seeds which are what us normally used in Indian food.  I have substituted yellow when I was in a pinch, but if you can find them use black.  

I made the lentils rather thick because that is what I felt like, but you can definitely add water and adjust seasoning.  I served them over rice.  Tasty!


#Indian food


Nemo Storm Food: Beans and Almonds Pintrest Post 4

 So this weekend we had a little snow storm in New England called Nemo.  You may have heard of it.  We had a bit over 2 1/2 feet.  I was concerned that we were going to lose power and so I did some baking and cooking in order to have some things that could be reheated using a generator and microwave.  Thankfully we didn’t lose power.  However, because I didn’t have an excuse to cook supper on Saturday I spent several hours outside shoveling snow with my hubby and kiddos.  

We tend to eat a lot of Mexican food at our house.  Everyone loves it and there is a lot of variety.  I usually keep some canned refried beans in the house all times.  I have a “go to” homemade black bean recipe that Robert likes, but nothing for “refried” style beans that I can just set and go. I saw a recipe for “refried” slow cooker beans on Pennies & Pancakes. It went right to my Pintrest board.  While I was on the site I also came across a recipe for Cinnamon Almonds that I thought I would try.  

The original recipe was for a larger amount, but as I have a 4-quart I cut the recipe in half.  I also changed up/added some seasonings.  As I have mentioned before I keep Mexican Oregano and Epazote at all times because of the aforementioned making lots of Mexican food.  

Slow Cooker “Refried” Beans

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 TBSP minced garlic (can be from a jar)
  • 1/2-1 TBSP kosher salt (I used the lesser amount)
  • 7 turns of black pepper (up to 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp epazote
  • 1 tsp Mexican Oregano
  • 5-6 cups hot water (depending on how thin or thick you want your beans)

Combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker/crock pot coated with cooking spray. Then you have a couple cooking options.  You can cook on high for 4 hours and then 2 hours on low.  Or 10-12 hours on low.  At the end of that time mash with a potato masher until you have reached your desired consistency (you can add more water if you would like).  

I use these beans in “haystacks” i.e taco salad, burritos, tostadas, quesadillas etc. Any left overs can be frozen if desired.

The second recipe from Pennies & Pancakes I tried was the Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Almonds.  Cook these and your house will smell awesome!  I changed things up a little and I would add more cinnamon in the future, though Robert thinks they are perfect.  I also cut the sugar some.  


Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Almonds

  • 1 egg white (I used egg white from a carton)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 (16 oz) bag raw almonds (about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP vanilla sugar (or regular white sugar if you don’t have vanilla sugar)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Cover a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whip the egg white and vanilla until very frothy.  Add sugars, salt and cinnamon and stir to combine.  Add almonds and stir until almonds are well coated.  Spread on cookie sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes or until dry.  Stir every 15 minutes.  Store in an airtight container.

If you don’t want to be addicted to another food, don’t make these.  So yummy!





#slow cooker

Page 4 of 25

‹ Previous






Next ›