Sunday, April 13, 2014

Blueberry Streusel Cake

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned Anne-Marie of This Mama Cooks!

I was intrigued by her Avocado Ricotta Pound Cake, and totally have her Mexican Breakfast Casserole on my list, but ended up choosing this Blueberry Streusel Cake

It was easy to put together.  I did make a few changes, and if there is a next time I will make more changes. To me, in the morning, even with coffee, the cinnamon in the streusel is overpowering, as is the sheer amount of streusel.  I thought about leaving some off as I was dumping it over the batter, but I didn't.  Next time I will, and I'll probably also cut back on the dry ingredients and increase the butter.  But maybe that's just me.

I had to bake this cake almost double the suggested time--15 additional minutes!  At 20 minutes it was still raw (I know this because my pan is clear (see below) AND the toothpick came up with batter on it.  In the end it turned out fine, but if you have somewhere to be, maybe choose a quicker recipe.

H-Bomb likes this cake a lot, and ate two pieces for breakfast!  Sawed Off is refusing to try it (nothing new) and Number One said he'll have some later. 

So, it's a good cake and we'll probably eat it all, but to be honest it makes me long for my mom's amazing Blueberry Tea Cake.  I wish that is the cake I'd made.  I'll have to get that recipe from her and share it soon.

Blueberry Muffin Streusel Cake
Adapted from This Mama Cooks via a friend via Holly Clegg?  
(I'm not sure where the recipe originally came from, but I found it at This Mama Cooks!
Makes 12 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup fresh blueberries

Streusel Topping (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Coat a 9x9x2-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter.

In bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, egg and vanilla.

Stir in oil and blueberries, only until mixed.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup reserved Streusel Topping (recipe below) on bottom of pan. Carefully spread cake mixture on top. Cover with remaining reserved Streusel Pecan Topping.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out dry.

Streusel Topping
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

In small bowl, mix together sugar, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
Cut in vanilla and butter using pastry blender or fork.
Reserve 1/2 cup topping and add pecans to remaining topping.

Secret Recipe Club

Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops

Glazed Stuffed Pork Chops
4 VERY thick pork chops
8 slices oatnut bread
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup apricot pineapple jam, room temperature**
1 tablespoon peach schnapps
1 large lemon, juiced
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Slit each pork chop along 2 sides to create a large pocket.
  • *Toast each slice of bread well and then lightly butter.
  • Cut each piece into small squares.
  • Toss with thyme, garlic salt and pepper.
  • Stuff each pork chop with 1/3 cup of mixture.
  • Whisk together the jam, peach schnapps, red pepper flakes, ginger and lemon juice.
  • Place chops in a square greased baking dish.
  • Arrange remaining stuffing around the edges.
  • Glaze chops and stuffing tops.
  • Bake uncovered 30 minutes.
  • Turn chops, glaze chops and stuffing again. Bake another 30 minutes.

*If you prefer, prepare 1 box of stove top stuffing instead.
**Tonight I used Lemon Curd and had a distinctively fresh flavor with the same consistency.  Use whatever flavor speaks to you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Slow-Cooked Kalua Pork

Once you taste this pork, you will never believe it has only three ingredients!  It is succulent and flavorful and simply amazing.  We plan to make it again and again.  We made two batches of this to feed two families totaling 10 people (5 adults and 5 kids).  We ended up stirring the two slow cookers into one after the meat was shredded.  I don't have a picture because we proceeded to eat a TON of pork sandwiches.  We'll be making it again soon though, so stay tuned!!

The recipe comes from January 2014 The Costco Connection, attributed to Michelle Tam.  I used Red Hawaiian Sea Salt from Frontier for the recipe. (follow the link to purchase--I am glad I bought a pound of red salt as this recipe is a keeper!)  The only thing we changed was adding more bacon and slow-cooking the meat overnight, then we shredded it and reheated before dinner.  The salt colors the outside of the meat a deep, beautiful red, and any crunchy outside bits are the best!  We served ours on rolls with coleslaw (on top or on the side).  It makes a lot.  Buy the best pork roast you can find and make this recipe!

Slow Cooker Kalua Pork
Serves a lot.

3 bacon slices (we used 1/2 package of bacon per slow cooker)
5-pound Boston butt pork roast (bone in or boneless)
1-1/2 tablespoons coarse (or 1 tablespoon fine) Red Hawaiian Sea Salt
toasted rolls, for serving
coleslaw, for serving

Line the bottom of the slow cooker with strips of bacon.  Evenly salt the pork with the red Hawaiian sea salt.  Place the roast in the slow cooker on top of the bacon, skin side up.

Cook the roast on low for 16 hours.
Shred the meat with a couple forks, discarding any excess fat chunks.  You can either do this right in the slow cooker, or by taking the meat out, shredding it on a pan, then mixing it back in with the liquid in the slow cooker.  This reheats beautifully, so if you don't want to get up at 1 or 2:am to turn on your slow cooker, it's not a big deal to cook it when it's more convenient.  Just be sure you allow 16 hours for cooking!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Quick Cherry Cobbler

***Taste & Create is a fabulous monthly blog event 
in which participants are randomly paired off 
to choose and prepare a dish from their partner's blog. 
 If you'd like to join us, please email me at 
cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com for more information!  
We'd love to have you.**

For February's Taste & Create, I was paired with Carol from No Reason Needed.  Carol is a long-time T&C participant, so we've been paired up before.  I always enjoy seeing what's new and perusing her blog until something catches my eye.

This time I chose a recent recipe, her Cherry Cobbler.  It was super easy to put together, but only half of my family liked it.  I use "country style" cherry pie filling, which isn't as sickly sweet as regular cherry pie filling.  I debated leaving out the lemon juice for this reason, but didn't.  I wonder if leaving out the cinnamon would have made the other two like the cobbler more?  I do like that this recipe uses less sugar, and it tasted great to me and my oldest son.  But sadly I can't make it a go-to recipe if my husband and other son don't love it...perhaps I'll try it again with no cinnamon and see what happens...

If you try it, let me know what your family thinks!


Cherry Cobbler
via No Reason Needed

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk

1 can of cherry pie filling (I prefer country style)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Mix together all the filling ingredients, let the cherry mixture sit while you make the batter.

In a separate bowl mix batter ingredients with a fork, and pour into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Carefully spoon the cherry pie filling over the batter evenly. Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees F, then turn heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown on top.  The batter will rise over the top of the filling.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Orange-Ginger Carrots

These are fast, easy, and delicious. Am convinced they should be on every Thanksgiving table, but try them now and you surely will want to have them more than once a year.


2 pounds carrots
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice (juice of 1 large orange)
¼ cup grated fresh ginger
Grated rind of one orange
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup bourbon

1.    Peel carrots and slice on an angle into ¼-inch-thick slices and place in a 2-quart saucepan.

2.    Cover carrots with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and simmer carrots until tender to the touch of a fork, about 5 minutes. Drain.

3.    In a large sauté pan, add butter and brown sugar. Over medium-high heat, stir for about 3 minutes.

4.    Add orange juice, ginger, and grated orange rind. Simmer about 5 minutes or until liquid thickens and becomes a glaze.

5.    Stir in salt and bourbon and simmer until alcohol evaporates.

6.    Gently stir in carrots and simmer until carrots are hot, about 1 minute.

NOTE: I used the same saucepan in which I boiled the carrots to make the glaze to save washing another pan. However, the extra surface area of a sauté pan might have been advantageous.

I used less ginger and less bourbon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese
Serves 8

1 pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons butter, divided
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 pound white Cheddar, shredded
4 ounces Asiago, shredded
4 ounces Romano, shredded
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs

  1. In 7- or 8-quart pot filled with 5 quarts boiling salted water, cook macaroni until barely al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

  1. In same pan dried, melt 6 tablespoons butter.

  1. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking to form roux.

  1. Add cold milk gradually, whisking vigorously until white sauce is smooth.

  1. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly, whisking occasionally.

  1. Whisk in cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  1. Stir in Cheddar, Asiago, and Romano. Cook over medium heat until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon.

  1. Stir in cooked and drained macaroni.

  1. Place in lightly buttered 13x9-inch baking dish.

10.  In 1-quart saucepan over the stove or in 1-quart bowl in microwave, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

11.  Add breadcrumbs to melted butter and mix well to make topping.

12.  Sprinkle topping over macaroni and cheese.

13.  Bake in 325°F oven for about 15 minutes.

14.  Then place pan under broiler until breadcrumbs turn golden brown.

NOTE: Experiment adding some depth to this recipe by taking half a peeled onion and sticking a few cloves of garlic and a bay leaf in natural or knife-made slits in onion. Add this onion to the white sauce between steps 4 and 5 and then remove it before adding the cream, between steps 5 and 6. Discard onion.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread

You probably know I regularly participate in a couple monthly blog events.  Both of these events expose me to new food blogs, and who doesn't enjoy perusing new blogs?  ;-)

Taste & Create is a fun one, (created by my friend Nicole who passed the torch to me when she opened her own bakery/cafe in Germany), in which participants are randomly partnered up and tasked with creating a recipe from each other's blog.  (click the link above and email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you'd like to join us!)

The Secret Recipe Club is interesting too, participants are assigned blogs and make recipes, but there are no partners, everyone is in sort of a daisy-chain of food.  (click on the logo at the bottom of this post to get on the list for this one)

This month, the blog I was assigned for Secret Recipe Club was:

It didn't take long to decide on one of Jeanie's Pull-Apart Breads!  The hard part was deciding whether to make Orange or Coconut Lime!!  A quick question to Number One, and Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread was the winner.

This bread goes together easily, rises beautifully and isn't too hard to put together, if a bit messy!

The results are so good that we'll be making this again, in Orange, Cinnamon, and whatever other flavor we can think of!

Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread, before glazing

Coconut Lime Pull Apart Bread
 Adapted from The Tasty Cheapskate
Makes 1 loaf 
Prep time: 20 minutes
Rise time: 1 1/2 hours
Cook time: 30 minutes

1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (added by the cup)


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
Grated zest of 2 limes (reserve about a teaspoon or so for topping)
1/2 cup coconut (I prefer dried raw, unsweetened)

Heat milk and butter until butter melts (Jeanie does this in the microwave, so I did too). Add cool water, so that the mixture is warm to the touch, but not hot (about 110 degrees). Stir in yeast and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

To this, add 1 cup of flour and mix. Then add another cup of flour and mix. It should be about ready to turn out to knead. (If not, add another 1/2 cup flour). Turn it out to knead adding remaining flour as it gets sticky. I actually ended up using 3 cups of flour total, including what I put on the pastry sheet and kneaded in. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.  It is a nice, substantial dough.

Place dough in a bowl, cover with a lint-free towel and let rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 12 x 20 inches, about 1/4 inch thick, on a well-floured surface.

Melt butter for filling and drizzle it on, spreading around with a pastry brush so it covers the entire surface area.

Mix sugar, lime zest and coconut well.  Sprinkle evenly over dough.

Cut the dough short-ways into 5 (12x4") strips.  Stack the strips on top of each other. I scooped up the sugar, zest and coconut that fell off and sprinkled it back on the layers.

Cut this long stack into 6 rectangles that are roughly 2 inches wide. Carefully stack them cut side up in a well-greased loaf pan.  Scoop up any sugar mixture that's fallen off and sprinkle it on top.

Cover and let the loaf rise again.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes. 

Jeanie says:  "The top will get a little crusty and you'll worry you might be cooking it too long, but don't worry, that's just caramel-y sugar forming on top. Remove from oven, let it cool slightly, and then take it out of the pan and, yup, tear it apart." 

Unless you want some glaze, in which case, continue on:

Coconut Lime Glaze

4 tablespoons coconut milk
1- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
juice from one lime
reserved lime zest for looks

Mix together and pour over bread while it's still warm.
THEN tear it apart and enjoy!!

Secret Recipe Club

Monday, January 20, 2014


I cooked these in the oven. They were delicious. If you're not an experienced braiser, don't make the mistake of thinking that you want the liquid to cover the meat and vegetables. Not so!

Time is the magic ingredient here. Get these in the oven or slow cooker and then go for a hike, plant a garden, paint the bathroom, or go to lunch with a friend. Dinner will be ready when you are.

Modified from Wiliams-Sonoma version

Serves 6

3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 to 3 cups stout
6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs for garnish

1.   Season the short ribs generously on all sides with salt and pepper.

2.   In 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil until almost smoking.

3. Working in batches without overcrowding, brown the ribs on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. As browned, transfer ribs to underside of  Dutch oven’s lid or to a plate.

4. In the same pan over medium heat, add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

5. If using a slow cooker, transfer browned short ribs and vegetables to slow cooker and add the stout. Cover and cook on low until the meat is very tender, about 6 hours.

    If using an oven, heat it to 300°F. Add browned short ribs to the vegetables in the Dutch oven and add the stout. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and place the lid on top. Bake until the meat is very tender, about 4 hours.

6. Transfer the ribs to a large bowl and cover with aluminum foil.

7. Skim the fat off the sauce in the pan.

8. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until smooth.

9. Transfer the ribs to individual bowls. Spoon the sauce on top and garnish each serving with a parsley sprig. Serve immediately.

NOTE: Serve with mashed or other potatoes.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


2 medium fresh poblano or Anaheim chile peppers, roasted
1 small sweet red pepper, roasted
2 cups rotisserie chicken pieces
5 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups Green Giant white corn niblets, drained
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 can green chiles, drained well
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Preheat oven to 425˚.
  • Grease 6 six ounce ramekins.
  • Place ramekins in a 13x9 baking dish.
  • In a large bowl combine eggs and cream.
  • Fold in peppers, corn, chicken, cheese, bread crumbs, chives, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  • Pour mixture evenly into ramekins.
  • Place baking dish on center rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Add 1 inch of boiling water to the baking dish.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove ramekins from water and serve on plates.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The beauty of making individual omelets is that you can truly have what you want.  Hubs hates mushrooms and I love them.  He likes his with more salt and I like more pepper.  You see where I'm going with this?  It's all about what YOU want.  They also take half as much time to bake as a whole casserole would.
The one on the left is rotisserie chicken, mushroom, onion, fresh ground pepper and nacho cheese.  The one on the right is pot roast, onion, green Tabasco, salt and pepper with sharp cheddar cheese. These are a good place to use up some leftovers!
BASIC EGG MIXTURE - per person
2 eggs
1/8 cup whole milk
1/8 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
Fillings to taste
  • Preheat oven to 350 ˚.
  • Spray ramekins with cooking spray,
  • Fill bottom with your favorites.
  • Whisk together the eggs, sour cream and milk.
  • Pour over fillings.
  • Bake 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Let sit 5 minutes.
  • Invert onto plate and enjoy.
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