Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chocolate-Candy Cane Cake

It would have been so much nicer if I could have posted this recipe prior to Christmas, but I served it on Christmas Eve -- topped with birthday candles so we could sing "Happy Birthday" to Baby Jesus. And I didn't want to post it until I made sure my adjustments to the original recipe from Kraft Foods were good. And boy were they! Everyone loved this cake!

One thing I want to point out about the ingredients is the use of a pudding mix. There are MSPI-friendly pudding mixes, in particular many of the JELL-O brand mixes. Just double check the ingredients on the box, because I've seen the mixes both dairy-free and with dairy.

(By the way, this is a great short cut when you're craving dessert: Use an MSPI-friendly pudding mix and make it with rice milk. Since the rice milk is so thin, use about a quarter-cup less than the instructions call for on the box.)

You can also make this in a 9x13-inch pan. Just adjust your baking time.

Chocolate-Candy Cane Cake

1 pkg. (2-layer size) MSPI-friendly chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) MSPI-friendly chocolate instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup MSPI-friendly semisweet chocolate chips, lightly chopped
18 small candy canes, coarsely crushed (about 1 cup), divided
1 container MSPI-friendly vanilla frosting (use more frosting, if you like it thick)
Peppermint flavoring, optional
Food coloring, optional

Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Beat first 6 ingredients in large bowl with mixer on low speed just until moistened, stopping frequently to scrape side of bowl. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate and 2 tablespoons crushed candy. Spoon into prepared pans.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool 10 min. Loosen cakes from sides of pans with spatula or knife. Invert cakes onto wire racks; carefully remove pans. Cool completely.

If desired, mix together frosting with a few drops of peppermint flavoring and food coloring -- I made ours green for Christmas, at my daughter's request.

Fill and frost cake with frosting. Sprinkle with remaining crushed candy just before serving.

Keep refrigerated.

Hot Cocoa

Now, if using chocolate chips is a problem for you, like were used in the previous post, then try this version of hot chocolate.

This recipe is enough for one serving but easily can be multiplied. Play around with the cocoa and sugar measurements until you reach your favorite combination.

Hot Cocoa

1 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1 cup rice milk
A few drops of vanilla extract

Mix the cocoa and sugar together in a small saucepan. Pour in a splash of rice milk and continue to mix until you get a nice paste. Begin heating the mixture on medium, slowly stirring in more milk and then the vanilla. Continue to stir until everything is dissolved and warmed. Do not boil!

Serve warm.

My Family's Favorite Hot Chocolate

On these cold winter nights, there's nothing like hot chocolate to keep things toasty. Don't forget the marshmallows! And if you happen to have any extra candy canes laying around, crumble part of one into your mug and stir until it dissolves. Peppermint hot chocolate is the best!

I'm posting two recipes. The first is from Mollie Katzen's "Sunlight Cafe." I've substituted rice milk for the regular milk. It makes two large servings. (Feel free to adjust the amount of sugar. I like my hot chocolate a little sweeter, so I add more sugar.)

My Family's Favorite Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup MSPI-friendly semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. sugar
3 cups rice milk
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the chocolate chips and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Pour in the rice milk, then add the salt and vanilla.

Place the saucepan over medium heat, stirring slowly as the mixture heats up and the chocolate melts. Don't let it boil.

Serve hot.

Subscribe to my posts via e-mail

Suffice it to say, I'm not the most consistent poster here on my blog, and I really appreciate those of you who continue to hang in there! Well, I've decided to make your lives easier!

You can now subscribe to my posts via e-mail. All you have to do is go to the box on the side of my site and follow the directions. You'll then start receiving digests in your inbox whenever I update.

I should have done this ages ago. So much easier!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Apple Cranberry Bread

I love the burst of tartness when you bite into a piece of cranberry in this bread!

The recipe comes from Taste of Home. Unlike most quick breads, this one uses a very low amount of oil, making it a healthier choice!

Don't be alarmed when the dough is rather stiff when you mix it up. The fresh apples and cranberries give off a lot of moisture when the bread is baked.

Quick Start with MSPI Mama: This is one of my Quick Start recipes.

Double Chocolate Dreams

I was baking up a couple batches of the cookies earlier this week for a cookie exchange, but after baking a double batch of the gingersnaps, I was out of flour AND sugar! What to do? I used a cake mix!

This recipe comes from "Cake Mix Magic." It's super easy and perfect for someone who is intimidated by all the measuring involved in baking.

Double Chocolate Dreams

1 pkg. MSPI-friendly devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups MSPI-friendly semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped nuts

In a large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, eggs and oil. With a wooden spoon or on low speed of mixer, mix for 1 minute or until well blended. Dough will be stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets (or use Silpat or parchment paper). Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 12 minutes or just until set. Cool 1 minute on baking sheets on a wire rack, then transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

*** Use yellow cake mix for a traditional chocolate chip cookie.

Aunt Joey's Gingersnaps

Aunt Joey really isn't my aunt. She taught my Sunday School class for three years when I was a little girl. Such a fun-loving lady, and her cookies reflect her personality -- sugar and spice and everything nice!

Aunt Joey's Gingersnaps

3/4 cup shortening
1 cups white sugar
1 beaten egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup molasses

Cream together shortening and sugar. Mix in eggs. Add flour, spices and baking soda. Finally, mix in molasses. Form dough into walnut-size balls and roll in a bowl of white sugar. Place on cookie sheet, allowing room to spread. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let stand on cookie sheet for two minutes then remove to cooling rack.

*** The trick to these cookies is to pull them out of the oven while they still appear to be uncooked in the middle -- the sugar-coated outsides will be firm and cracked. Don't worry, the rest of the cookie will firm up as it cools. This will keep them soft and chewy!

Russian Teacakes

Still have some more holiday baking to finish? Here are a few more recipes.

This one comes from baking extraordinaire Laura. And for those of you who can't eat eggs, this one is a winner!

Russian Teacakes

1 cup MSPI-friendly margarine
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2¼ cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cups chopped nuts

Mix margarine, powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Roll the dough into inch-size balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. While warm, roll each cookie in powdered sugar.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ham and Broccoli Breakfast Bake

I made an egg casserole for my mom's group yesterday. I adapted my version from this recipe. This would be perfect for Christmas morning!

Not a fan of ham and broccoli? Then substitute something else, like sausage or bacon with sauteed mushrooms or onions or peppers or spinach. Or make it vegetarian by using only veggies. The possibilities are endless!

Ham and Broccoli Breakfast Bake

1 lb. ham, cubed
1 (10 oz.) box frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
4 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
1 cup MSPI-friendly baking mix, such as Bisquick
1/4 cup MSPI-friendly margarine, melted
1-3/4 cups rice milk
1 tbsp. dried onion
1 tsp. seasoning salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 eggs

Heat oven to 400ºF. Grease rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Stir together ham, broccoli and potatoes in baking dish.

Stir together remaining ingredients until blended. Pour into baking dish.

Bake uncovered 45 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Laura made this recipe from Hershey's Kitchens the other evening, as well. Instead of using Kisses, she pressed four MSPI-friendly chocolate chips into the center of the cookies.

A few things to remember: Make sure your peanut butter is safe. Also, Laura substituted apple juice for the milk in the recipe, but rice milk would work fine as well.

Mini Pecan Pies

The Christmas season is upon us. It's time to get baking!

My friend Laura had quite the buffet of sweets at her home the other evening, and she was so sweet. She set aside a special tray of goodies that were safe for me to eat. Isn't she great!?

So I, of course, asked for her recipes, and here is the first one. So yummy! The recipe comes from Bake or Break. The only substitution is to use MSPI-friendly margarine instead of butter and make sure your pie crust pastry is safe, as well.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Zesty Turkey & Rice

Our leftover turkey from Thanksgiving disappeared pretty quickly in our house. One way I used it up was with this recipe from Swanson Broth. (As always, make sure the broth you use is MSPI-friendly!)

No turkey on hand? Just use chicken!

White Bean Chili

Here's the other kind of chili that I made. The recipe comes from the FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

I did a few things differently than the original recipe.

First of all, instead of dirtying a second pan, I caramelized the onions in the soup pot prior to adding the other ingredients. Also, I didn't bother with using the masa harina to thicken the chili. Instead, I just mashed some of the beans in the pot with a large spoon. The mashed beans really helped "thickify" things.

If you don't like things too spicy, take it easy with the jalapeno, or skip it all together.

For the carnivores in your life, you can add some cooked chicken to the recipe.

Texas Chili

So, I've been on a bit of a hiatus. Sorry about that! But I'm back with a bunch of yummy recipes!

We got together with a group of friends last night from church. I made a couple of different kinds of chili -- both of which are delicious! This one comes from my mom. It's a real "man-pleaser" because it's so meaty. I made it one time for a chili cook off and won!

Texas Chili

3 lb. boneless beef (1-inch cubes)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. oregano
2 cups MSPI-friendly beef broth
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 can pinto beans

Cook beef in oil over medium heat. Lower heat and add garlic. Combine chili powder, cumin and flour. Coat meat with mixture. Add remaining seasonings and broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer 2-5 hours (depending on the type of meat). Add more liquid, if necessary. Add beans last half hour. Serve with toppings, such as chopped onions, jalapeno peppers, tortilla chips and shredded cheese and sour cream for those who can eat them.

Mom's Hints: She recommends using beef chuck. It may take more trimming, but it has more flavor and is more tender. You can also substitute pork for part of the meat for a nice flavor combination. Be careful to stir often -- the flour may cause it to stick and possibly scorch. Keep the temperature low. Start with the smaller amount of chili powder, then add more later if necessary. This recipe is actually better if made a day ahead and then reheated.

My Hints: Add more beans to help stretch the chili and feed more people. You can also thin it out with more broth for the same reason.