Friday, November 9, 2012

#91 Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

So yesterday I decided to make this cake for a couple of reasons. A) It is my husband's birthday this weekend and all birthdays call for a cake. B) I am an Epicure selections consultant and I was told Epicure Selections cocoa the "best" cocoa ever and wanted to test the theory myself. C) It is chocolate…who doesn't like chocolate?

The recipe for this cake comes from my mother's cookbook. It is the only 'from scratch' chocolate cake recipe I have. The icing comes from C. MacBride. I had called her to tell her I had make a chocolate cake from scratch - as this is the only way cakes are made in her house. Upon confessing that I was going to ice it with canned chocolate icing, she shared the icing recipe. Now she can be double proud of me…homemade cake AND homemade icing!

  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa, heaping
  • 3 tbsp milk
1. CAKE: Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients except the boiling water. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water to make a thin batter. Bake in a greased and floured 9 x 13 cake pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

2. ICING: Beat the softened butter. Add the vanilla, icing sugar, and cocoa. Beat again. The mixture should be dry and crumbly. First add 2 tbsp of milk and beat again. If you would like thinner icing, add the third tbsp of milk. 


To order Epicure Selections cocoa or any Epicure Selections products for that matter, visit:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

#90 Banana and Peanut Butter Snacking Cake

I eyed up this recipe in my Kraft Canada magazine. Then when I was visiting my mom and my grandma and aunt were planning to come over for coffee, I decided that it was a perfect time to try it out. It certainly passed the test. This recipe can be found online at:
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed fully ripe bananas (about 3)
  • 1-½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon Magic Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • cup Kraft Whipped Peanut Butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
HEAT oven to 350ºF.

BEAT first 4 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add bananas; mix well.

MIX flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture; mix well. Pour into 9-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely.

BEAT peanut butter, icing sugar and milk with mixer until well blended; spread over cake.
(Serves 16)


I am not sure if I have posted this note before or not but when I have bananas that are becoming quite ripe I throw them in the freezer. Then when I am ready to bake, I take them out and let them thaw. Then I cut off one and and squeeze the banana out of the peel. They then mash so nicely!

#89 Banana Pudding

OMG. That is all that needs to be said here. Ok...I lied...I will say more...

I haven't actually prepared this myself but I was eyeing it up in the Kraft Canada magazine that I received in the mail and then low and behold, my sister-in-law brought it to my place last Easter. This recipe can be found online at: Once again…OMG.

  • 1 300 ml can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-½ cups 2% milk, cold
  • 1 4-serving pkg Jell-O Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 2-½ cups Cool Whip Whipped Topping, thawed and divided
  • 75 Nilla Vanilla Wafers
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 1 square Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, shaved into curls
1. BEAT milks in medium bowl with mixer 1 min. Add dry pudding mix; beat 2 min. Refrigerate 3 hours.

2. WHISK 1-1/2 cups Cool Whip into pudding. Arrange 25 wafers on bottom of 9-inch square dish; top with layers of 1/3 each of the bananas and pudding mixture. Repeat layers twice; cover with remaining Cool Whip.

3. REFRIGERATE 4 hours. Garnish with chocolate curls just before serving.
(Serves 12)

#88 Flapper Pie

My father-in-law loves flapper pie. For father's day I decided to make him a flapper pie. The project began with a quest for a tried and true recipe. During this quest I learned flapper pie is a dessert that was popular with those who lived on the western Canadian prairies many years ago and therefore many younger folk do not really know what it is. It was named after the flapper dresses of the 1920's. Continuing to search on the internet and in old recipe books, I experimented with a few different recipes. After several prototypes and feedback from my volunteer taste testers, I creted my father-in-laws pie using the following recipe.

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups 2% milk, warmed
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs whites 
  • ½ tsp cream of tarter
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp vanilla

Combine graham crumbs with the 1 tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, and ½ cup butter. Reserve ¼ of crust fro topping and press the rest into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake for 10 inures in a 350 degree oven. Cool on a wire wrack.
Combine 2 egg yolks, cornstarch, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add warm milk slowly and then mix well. Heat slowly over low heat, stirring constantly. When thick, remove from heat and add vanilla and 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir until butter has melted. Then beat mixture with electric beaters until fluffy (You will see air bubbles in filing). Pour over cooled pie shell.
Beat 4 egg whites. (The extra two egg white will be thrown out or can be saved for a different recipe). Beat until foamy. Add cream of tarter and then beat until stiff. (You will know the mixture is stiff when you turn the bowl upside down and the mixture does not move.) Add 2 tsp of sugar and ¼ tsp of vanilla and stir. Spread over pie filling. Make peaks by repeatedly touching the merengue with a spoon and lifting. Sprinkle remaining crust on top of the merengue. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until merengue has browned on the outside and on the tips of the peaks.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

#87 Wash Day Pudding

While visiting at home a few weeks ago my mom made this pudding with raisins. I hadn't had it for years but it sure tasted fantastic.
  • 2 tbsp butter, separated
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar, separated
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • handful raisins, (optional)
  • shredded apple, (optional)
1. Mix 1 tbsp of butter, ½ cup of brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and milk to make a dough. Raisins and/or a shredded apple can be added for additional flavour.
2. In a saucepan combine 1 tbsp of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, and 2 cups of boiling water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then transfer to a casserole or baking dish.
3. Drop the dough mixture by spoonfuls into the hot mixture.
4. Bake in 350 degree oven until done - approximately ½ hour is a 6 oz casserole dish. Serve.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

#86 Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

My friend C. MacBride always brought these cookies along to camping trips. I always looked forward to the moment when she would bring out and open the tupperware container to share these morsels of chocolatey oatmeal goodness. When I was pregnant I suddenly had a craving for these cookies so I called her up for the recipe. NowI share them with you!
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 ⅓ cups rolled oats
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
1. Cream butter or margarine and brown sugar.
2. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
3. Add flour, rolled oats, and baking soda and mix until a dough is formed.
4. Stir in chocolate chips.
5. Form into balls or drop by spoon fills onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Friday, July 27, 2012

#85 Carroty Mac and Cheese

Everyone loves mac and cheese but you really haven't lived until you have have tasted it homeade and fresh from the oven. I had been looking for a recipe for oven baked mac and cheese for a while. I was thinking about trying "Four-Star Macaroni and Cheese Bake" from Kraft Canada ( but I ended up settling for this recipe from Oprah Magazine (March 2012 adapted from a recipe by Melissa Clark). The recipe can be viewed online at:

I liked that this recipe called for whole wheat pasta. I also liked the idea of the recipe being infused with carrots…any sneaky way to incorporate vegetables into a meal was suddenly appealing to this new mom!
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups whole wheat macaroni
  • 2.5 cups carrot, coarsely grated
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp mustard powder
  • 4 grinds black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400° and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
2. Grate 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese (about 12 ounces).
3. Cook 2 cups whole wheat macaroni in salted boiling water; a few minutes before pasta is finished, add 2½ cups coarsely grated carrot. Drain, then stir in 2½ cups Cheddar and 4 Tbsp. butter.
4. Whisk together ¾ cup sour cream, ¼ cup whole milk, 2 eggs, 1 tsp. kosher salt, ¾ tsp. mustard powder, and a few grinds of black pepper. Fold into pasta and pour mixture into prepared pan.
5. Sprinkle ½ cup remaining Cheddar and ¼ cup Parmesan on top.
6. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
(Serves --)

I would possibly consider experimenting with some different cheeses in this recipe. I wouldn't eliminate all the sharp cheddar but instead of using 3 cups I might use 2 cups and a cup of something else. Just a thought!

Monday, July 16, 2012

#84 Quinoa

My first experience with quinoa (pronounced 'Keen wah') was as a side dish at a restaurant. Impressed by its texture and taste I purchased a couple cups of it at my neighbourhood dried goods store. While making my purchase I learned that quinoa is a superfood. Being high in protein and fibre, it is a great food to incorporate in one's diet if trying to lose weight. Be sure to do an internet search on the many other health benefits of quinoa! Trust me, you won't be disappointed!
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 dash fresh lemon juice (optional)
1. In a small fry pan melt 1 tbsp of butter. Melt the other tbsp of butter in a larger frying pan.
2. In the small frying pan add the shallots and garlic. Saute until transparent.
3. In the larger frying pan, add the quinoa, and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.
4. In a bowl, toss quinoa together with sautéed shallots and garlic. Add parsley, thyme, salt, and onion. Sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve.
(Serves 4)

I use Epicure Selection's Herb Garlic Salt instead of regular salt. If interested in this product, visit my website at

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ok...I'm back.... has almost been a year since my last recipe post. No...I didn't die and NO...I didn't quit cooking and No...I didn't give up my quest. About this time last year I found out I was pregnant with my first child. At the same time my husband was gone for 5 weeks. Between morning sickness and having no one to cook for preparing new recipes just didn't seem to make sense. Then when my husband returned I became panicked to finish my master's thesis before our new baby made her appearance. In other words I felt guilty working on my cookbook quest when I had school work yet to complete. Then once baby was born, I was busy in whole other way. I now feel ready to continue my quest. I know that I will not be able to continue my quest with the same vigour in which I began given I have a baby, a still unfinished master's thesis, and my regular household commitments but I do vow to eventually finish! So to all those who have been following my's to cooking! C