Why This Blog?

Welcome!

Come in and make yourself at home. I'm so happy to be able to share my recipes here with you.

I bake mostly cookies, quick breads, muffins and scones -- sometimes pie, sometimes cake, but nothing too fancy. I prefer simple recipes that call for ingredients that I already have in my kitchen.

These are the recipes I will share with you. They come from family and friends, magazine clippings saved through the years, favorite cookbooks, and other blogs.

I'm so glad you came to visit. Enjoy your stay!

Michael Ann

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Watergate Cake


This recipe is so '70s, it kills me. I used to make it a lot and it brings back good memories. I got this recipe from my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Thomas.  She must have brought it to a class party or something. Thank you, Mrs.  Thomas!

Why is it called Watergate Cake? I thought it might be because this recipe became popular during the Watergate hearings in the early '70s, or maybe because the shape of the cake is the same shape as the Watergate office complex.  But my friend informs me it is in reference to the Watergate Salad that is served at the Watergate Hotel. This is the cake version of that salad.

If you like pistachio and fluffy frosting, you will love this cake!

Watergate Cake

Cake:
1 box white cake mix
1 (3-1/2 oz) box instant pistachio pudding mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup club soda
3 eggs

Frosting:
2 envelopes Dream Whip
1-1/2 cups cold milk
1 (3-1/2 oz) box instant pistachio pudding mix
chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour (or spray with PAM baking spray) a 10" tube pan.

In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients for 4 minutes. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for ~45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center come out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

For frosting, beat topping mix and milk at high speed until soft peaks form.  Add pudding mix and beat until incorporated.  Frost the cake, then sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Store the cake in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!







Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Blueberry Fool


One can never have enough no-bake dessert recipes to make during these hot summer months. Here is a very simple and YUMMY recipe I found in a magazine called Family Almanac, that was at the doctor's office. Yes, I ripped it out and put it in my purse :-) 

Blueberry Fool
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 pint (2 cups) fresh  blueberries
2 TB water
1/2 cup sugar
1 pint whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Put the blueberries in a saucepan with the water and sugar, and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until berries are soft and have released their juices.  Remove the pan from the stove and cool.

While the blueberries are cooling, beat the whipping cream on highest speed, til soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla extract.

When blueberries are cool, fold them gently into the whipped cream until well-combined. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, then spoon into serving dishes.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Italian Chocolate Cookies


Whenever my Italian Nana visited us, she would bring an assortment of the most delicious cookies....chocolate, vanilla, orange, fig and sesame cookies overflowed in boxes and re-used coffee cans lined with waxed paper. Italian cookies are different than American cookies, as they are more cake-like and not so sweet.

My mother, who is not Italian, wanted to learn to bake Nana's cookies, but Nana didn't use recipes and never measured anything, she just used her hands to "measure" while she threw the ingredients into a bowl. So my mom watched her and took notes, estimating what a handful or pinch would be, and she created the recipes, which have worked very well through the years!

This particular cookie is one of our favorites. I'm sure my family has wondered why I have not shared it on this blog yet! I'm not sure either, but I finally felt it was time. Nana is no longer with us, but her cookies still bring us happy memories of her!

Italian Chocolate Cookies
Makes ~50 cookies

Dough:

5 cups flour
1½ cups sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup Crisco, melted
½ cup strong coffee
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup raisins

Icing:

1 lb powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
~1/4 cup milk (start with less and add more if needed)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients for the dough together.  Add the eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in all the melted Crisco.  Add raisins and walnuts.  Add enough coffee to make the dough bind, but you don’t want it to be sticky.  

Roll into walnut-sized balls and place on cookie sheet. These cookies don’t spread, they just puff up a bit, so you don’t have to place them too far apart. Bake for ~15 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack. When cool, transfer to a sheet of waxed or parchment paper.  It’s just easier to clean up after you glaze the cookies!

Mix the icing ingredients together. If you want your icing to be chocolate, just add a little cocoa powder. You could even use coffee instead of milk for the liquid. Nana always had white icing, so that’s how I like it. Drizzle each cookie with icing, or dip the cookie upside down into the icing for a thicker glaze.

Enjoy! 




Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Banana Pudding Parfaits




My son needed to create a dessert for his cooking class TONIGHT (you know how that goes) so this is what we came up with based on what we had in our cupboards. We started with the pudding and then thought about adding bananas, then the crust idea, but we didn’t want to do a pie… it just all came together. These little parfaits turned out delicious!

Banana Pudding Parfaits

1 box vanilla pudding (5 oz)
3 cups milk
1 or 2 bananas, sliced
1 sleeve graham crackers (around 9 whole crackers)
1 TB granulated sugar
3 TB butter, melted
Flaked Coconut

Directions:

Make the pudding according to the package directions. Put in the refrigerator. 

Put the graham crackers in a plastic bag and pound with a rolling pin to make crumbs. (Or put the crackers in a food processor.) Pour the crumbs in a small bowl.  Melt the butter and add to the crackers with the sugar. Mix well.

Slice one banana. Slice more if needed.

Put about one tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture at the bottom of each parfait glass. Parfait glasses vary in size so use your own judgement.  Put a few tablespoons of pudding on top of the crumbs. Layer a few sliced bananas, then more pudding on top of that.  Put one slice of banana on the top vertically, then sprinkle with flaked coconut and more graham cracker crumbs.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

*We didn't have any whipped cream, but a nice swirl of cream on top with the banana slice stuck in it, would be lovely.

Happy Baking!
 


 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Blueberry Banana Scones



I found this recipe a long time ago in Sunset Magazine. The writer wanted to create a scone that was moist, using less fat.  You all know I don’t care much about low-fat baking, but the scones looked good so I tried them and liked them.  I have made them several times since and keep meaning to take photos and blog about them, so finally here is the recipe!

Blueberry Banana Scones

1-1/4 cups flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup  butter
½ cup lemon flavored yogurt
1/3 cup mashed bananas
½ cup blueberries
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
1 TB raw sugar for the top

Preheat oven to 350-F. On a cookie sheet, butter an 8 inch circle.

Whisk together the dry ingredients.  Cut the butter in using a pastry cutter or cheese grater (my preferred method). Add the yogurt and mashed bananas.  Stir in the blueberries and walnuts.  Put dough on prepared cookie sheet and pat into a 7-inch round. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the round into 8 wedges but do not separate them.  Sprinkle the top with raw sugar (granulated sugar works too). 

Bake  for ~25 minutes, until golden brown. 

Happy Baking!
 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars


I recently tried this recipe from allrecipes.com, and it is definitely a winner! With temps rising to 108 degrees lately, the no-bake aspect was definitely appealing. But many times no-bake means no-taste, so I was a little skeptical. Well, this recipe fulfilled its promise of yumminess, and look how easy! You can whip them up in 10 minutes. Enjoy!

No Bake Chocolate Oat Bars

1 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups quick oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

Grease a 9x9" square pan.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in brown sugar and vanilla then mix in oats.  Cook over low heat 2-3 minute or until ingredients are blended. Press half the mixutre into the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in the microwave. Heat 30 seconds, stir, then another 20 seconds or so.  Pour the mixture over the crust in the pan and spread evenly with an offset spatula. 

Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over the chocolate and press in lightly.  Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.  Bring to room temp before cutting into bars. 

Happy "baking" !!



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