I promise I’ve been cooking healthier food than cake, cookies, and pizza! But it’s a lot easier to take a pretty picture of a cake than it is to get a great photo of Southwest pork chops with peppers and onions, or chicken enchiladas, or bean soup, or any number of other delicious, healthy entrées.
Maybe next time ;)
This is my all-time favorite cake. Chocolate cake with Whipped Cream Icing.
It’s actually not whipped cream at all. It doesn’t even have a texture like whipped cream (maybe closer to frozen Cool Whip). I think the only reason it’s called Whipped Cream Icing is because it looks like whipped cream.
It sounds bizarre. But it’s fabulous. (And reserved for very special occasions.)
(Pretty sure it also classifies as a vintage recipe. It’s from my grandpa’s sister, and I have no idea where she got it. I should ask sometime :) )
I’m mostly posting this recipe for myself so I’ll have it easily accessible. I don’t really expect anyone else to read the ingredients and say, “Oh yum, that sounds a-ma-zing!” You kind of have to eat it to believe it.
But, if you’re brave and want to give it a go, you won’t regret it :)
Buttery, smooth, and rich. Creamy, cold, and sweet. It’s so delicious.
Note: If you use Land O’ Lakes butter with their special flavor-protect wrappers, it actually makes a big difference. The butter flavor really comes through, and the flavor-protect wrappers keep the butter taste pure and fresh much better than other brands. (Thanks, America’s Test Kitchen! I was skeptical when I saw that episode, but when I tried Land O’ Lakes butter in the icing instead of my usual store brand, I became a believer. Huge difference!)
- 3/4 cup cold milk
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Whisk flour into milk in a medium saucepan.
- Over medium heat, cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Let cool completely.
- With a mixer (stand or hand-mixer) on high speed, cream together butter pieces, shortening and sugar. Cream it really well. :)
- Add cooled milk/flour mixture and beat until thick and smooth and fluffy. It will look wet at first. Keep beating until it thickens up. It will take awhile.
- Ice cake. (Depending on the size of your cake, you may need a double batch. A big layer cake made from a mix is easier to frost with a double batch, but the cake I made from scratch would have been better with a batch and a half. A 9 x 13 would only need a single batch.)
What’s your favorite cake?
Tell me, fellow mothers-of-toddlers, do your kids go through phases where suddenly they eat about half as much as usual?
We just had a week like that. The biggest problem was that not eating during the day meant waking up hungry at night. Not cool, buddy. Not cool at all, especially when you’ve been sleeping so well for awhile!
So in my attempt to get more calories into Camon during the day (and still have those calories be somewhat nutritious), I made these yummy oatmeal cookies.
I cut the sugar in half and added a drizzle of molasses and a splash of maple syrup. I subbed in whole wheat pastry flour and coconut oil. And of course the recipe already called for lots of oats.
They turned out so, so delicious. Even my oatmeal-cookies-sound-like-dirt hubby loved them! The soft wheat pastry flour didn’t make them heavy, the molasses and coconut oil added flavor to make up for the lower sugar content, and the oats made them hearty and filling. They were sweet enough that you could probably lower the sugar even more and still enjoy them.
You should just go ahead and try them :)
(The dough also freezes well so it’s easy to bake up a couple whenever you need a snack!)
Maple-Molasses Oatmeal Cookies
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (sucanat/turbinado/rapadura sugar would work great too)
- 2 eggs
- 1 or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (regular whole wheat will make them heavier)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 3/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup raisins (or combination of dried cranberries and raisins)
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Cream coconut oil and sugar together until well mixed.
- Add eggs, maple syrup, and molasses. Beat well.
- Gently stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and oats.
- Add raisins.
- For best shape, refrigerate until firm. If you're in a hurry, you can go ahead and bake them :)
- If dough is firm, roll into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. If dough is softer, use a spoon to scoop out mounds on the the cookie sheet.
- Bake 8-10 minutes (11-13 if using frozen dough) or until set but not too firm.
Are your kids good eaters? What are your tricks for getting the little guys to eat enough?
I told you before that my husband is picky about pizza.
It’s not that he won’t eat my inferior pizzas, but he doesn’t particularly enjoy them and certainly doesn’t consider them a treat. It has taken me about 3 1/2 years to come up with a version that he looks forward to and rivals his favorite pizzeria pies. (Hey…mother-in-law…this doesn’t count your pizza. He has great memories of your homemade pizza, but I haven’t been able to replicate it! You must have the magic touch… :) )
I started with the sauce, and I already told you my tricks for delicious homemade pizza sauce.
So let’s move on to the crust.
I got a recipe from a friend (thanks, Jo!) that claimed to be Pizza Hut’s crust recipe for their pan pizzas. It’s delicious and tastes pretty authentic to me! But when I had to eat dairy free for Camon’s sake, I figured out that the fabulousness is not so much the actual crust recipe as it is the method of baking.
So now I use an easier crust (without milk), I bake it in a 9 x 13 pan (or 2) instead of 3 round cake pans, and I usually forgo the first rise. (Is that how you spell forgo? Does NOT look right but that’s what I found from Google…)
The secret to the delicious crust? Add a few tablespoons of oil to the pan before adding the crust dough. Not so much that the crust is floating, but more than just a good grease.
Yes, this basically results in fried dough on the bottom of the pizza.
But it’s pizza. (And in the long run, it’s not really that much oil.)
That leads me to our household pizza philosophy:
Pizza is a treat. If we are going to eat pizza, we are going to make it taste as good as we can. If we are trying to eat particularly healthily, we will choose other delicious food options rather than trying to make “healthy pizza.” So when we eat pizza (which is not terribly often, due to this philosophy), we will enjoy it as the treat that it is and not feel guilty.
And you know what? You do not have to subscribe to our pizza philosophy.
(Oh, you didn’t think you had to agree with me? Good deal. Just making sure we were on the same page :) )
I’m sure it’s still better for you than the stuff from the pizzeria (because of additives and the fact that we don’t have to eat the whole big pan).
And there you have it. Our amazingly delicious pizza recipe and the philosophy behind it. :)
Here’s the recipe I use (slightly adapted from Betty Crocker), but you can substitute your favorite crust.
-oil in the pan
-let the crust rise while in the pan until puffy (you can set it in a warm oven to speed rising, but it needs at least 30 minutes)
-bake at 475 or higher to brown the mozzarella, not just melt it. If you’re using pepperoni, this will also crisp the edges of the pepperoni like the hot-hot-hot pizza ovens that professional bakers use.
Homemade Pizza-Hut Style Pan Pizza
- 1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup warm water
- 2 1/2 cups all=purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (use olive for best flavor, but other oil works as well)
- Mix yeast and warm (but not too hot!) water.
- Add sugar, salt, and oil.
- Stir in flour.
- Knead (adding extra flour if it's too sticky) until smooth and elastic.
- Let rise 30 minutes if you wish. You don't have to.
- Add approximately 2 tablespoons olive oil to each 9 x 13 pan.
- Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 9 x 13 rectangle.
- Place dough in pan and let rise until puffy, 30-45 minutes.
- Top with sauce and toppings of choice.
- Bake at 475 for 11-13 minutes, or until cheese is slightly browned and pepperonis are crispy around the edges.
Do you make homemade pizza at your house? What’s your favorite crust method, or what’s your favorite topping?
Cushion? Pouf? Pillow? What are these things actually called? :)
Camon loves soft things. Pillows, stuffed animals, our mattress, blankets–if it’s soft, he nestles into it with a big grin (or a face-plant). It’s adorable :)
I sat him on a pillow the other day and he thought that was so cool.
So I made him his own pillow to sit on. Except he’s more interested in the aforementioned face-planting method. :)
It’s the same technique as this cute one from Living with Punks, but obviously mine’s a different shape and I didn’t add piping around the edges (although I love the piping!).
Cut out two circles and one rectangle. The rectangle should be the same length as the circumference of your circles.
If you want a pocket, add it to the rectangle.
Sew the rectangle to the circles.
Stuff with stuffing from an old (but clean) pillow. Recycling at its finest! ;)
Add a button in the center if you wish. I may or may not have screeched in frustration while trying to attach the button. Attempt at your own risk.
Allow your favorite child to faceplant as many times as he likes. At your own risk.
Maybe I should rename this “the risky pillow.” (No, he didn’t hurt himself after this picture. :) )
At least it has a cool pocket. ;)
Do your kids like soft things enough to face-plant into them?
I’ve been making pita bread (usually with white flour) fairly often over the last couple of months. It’s faster than a loaf of bread and we like it for a change from regular sandwich bread.
But recently we didn’t eat it up fast enough and the pockets dried out just enough that they were hard to eat. So I sliced them up, brushed them with oil, sprinkled with seasoning, and baked them.
Delicious! I had mine with egg salad, but you obviously can eat pita chips however you please :)
I used a bunch of different seasonings to see what I liked best: seasoned salt, an approximation of this popcorn seasoning minus the turmeric (it is so good on popcorn!), ranch dressing mix, Cool Ranch Dorito seasoning (made with the homemade ranch mix and seasoned salt), and plain. I think I liked the ranch and popcorn seasoning best, but they were all so yummy.
- pita bread
- spice mix of your choice (see post for specifics)
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Split pockets in half. Cut each half into pieces or strips.
- Brush non-crust side of each piece with oil.
- Sprinkle with seasoning.
- Bake 5-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. (Exact timing will depend on the thickness of your pieces.)
Do you like pita chips? What’s your favorite flavor?