Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Even MORE Summer Deliciousness

hile the kids were smacking down corn dogs and coleslaw, I was having this:

Cilantro Peach Tomato Salad

Cilantro Peach Tomato Salad

So very simple, yet so very good.

We're talking tomatoes and peaches (or in this case, nectarines), a few slivers of onion, a few red pepper flakes (I used powdered cayenne), and CILANTRO!

(No one is on the fence when it comes to cilantro. You either love it or you...

Drizzle with olive oil and splash with lemon or lime juice.


**Recipe from Mark Bittman's 101 Simple Salads for the Season

(You may not be on the fence when it comes to Mark Bittman.)

(You must love him, and that is that. )

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Delicousness

Our Sunday night family fun included the movie True Grit (for the boys & oldest daughter) and these cherry pie-flavored milkshakes:

Photo Courtesy of Dessert for Two

Yum, yum and even more yum!

They are wonderful, and much more economical made at home than if you were to buy them at Culver’s or DQ. (I am all about saving money these days. Leaves more room in the budget for coffee & chocolate.)

Click here for the printable recipe...

...and enjoy! Extra big thanks to Tina at Dessert for Two for posting it. My family loved them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bells for the Belle!

Subtitled: From Nascar to Nasturtium

Sub-Subtitled: In which Margaret makes a multitude of excuses…

Okay, first of all my oven’s broken and has been for several weeks now. Do you remember my shiny new gas range? Sigh. We ran the self-cleaning feature and it just went poof.

Fortunately—most fortunately—the stove still works.

But as for, oh, baking cupcakes and whatnot…?

Not an option.

Cupcakes for Cupcake! I

I had to buy these guys at the store.

Bells for the Belle! II

And scrape the screaming NASCAR frosting off.

Second excuse: I left my good camera at the church on the last day of Vacation Bible School.

Yes, that’s right. You heard me correctly.

Left my Nikon D80 in the pew.

Abandoned, as it were.

Up for grabs.

I remembered this fact on the way down to Rochester for yet another baseball tournament—remembered with a gasp as I shamefully admitted what I’d done. My husband didn’t say much in response to my gaffe, though I noticed his knuckles whiten slightly on the wheel.

Enter Michael Z. to the rescue. He’s a guy who lives by the church and who takes my holy hour when I can’t make it. So the conversation went something like this: “Hi, Mike? It’s Margaret. Fine, thanks! Um…I left my camera in the church. Yes. In the front by the statue of Mary. You will? Hey, thanks! Also, could you do my holy hour from 4:00 to 5:00 on Sunday morning because we’re headed down to Rochester...”

Bells for the Belle! III

Enfin. Here are the new & improved cupcakes, dear Charlotte—better than the NASCAR version but still, not as splendidly photographed as I would have liked.


No, I did not mean to evoke a nuptial theme.

Those are “bells for a belle”—your sweet Southern belle.

Bells for the Belle! V

Do I get an extra point for trying?

I love ya, Charlotte, and I love that sweet baby girl already. I do not wish to win this contest—could not possibly beat those adorable baby rattles, the yummy little watermelons, the baby birds (oh, those sweet baby birds!), the cutest owls ever, the most darling chicks, the most endearing little binky faces, a nilla vanilla baby buggy, and those stunningly beautiful cupcake-themed treats.

Couldn’t possibly.

Wouldn’t want to.

My presence here, rather, is an act of humility love. I hope you’ve enjoyed your baby shower! We cannot wait to meet her.


PS. Oh, and did I mention I had oral surgery this week?...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Almond Streusel Cake

Feeling very much in the mood for something fresh-baked today, I poked around on my cookbook shelf until my eyes fell upon this forgotten gem.

Almond Streusel Cake II

A tattered old recipe card from—gracious, could it be?—the first year of my marriage!

An oldie (like me) but a goodie.

This coffee cake is dee-licious, friends. So moist! So yummy! Bake it up, you won't regret it. Better yet, have your hubby make it for you.

~ Almond Streusel Cake ~


1 C. firmly packed brown sugar

1 C. sliced almonds (more or less)

¼ C. all-purpose flour

3 T. melted butter or margarine
(but I never use margarine)

1 tsp. grated orange zest


½ C. (1 stick) butter, softened.
(You could use margarine. Don’t.)

½ C. granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp. grated orange zest

½ tsp. vanilla
(I always use more.)

2 C. all-purpose flour
(or 1 C. white and 1 C. wheat)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

2/3 C. orange juice


½ C. confectioner’s sugar

2 ½ tsp. orange juice

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- or 10-inch tube pan. (Otherwise known as an angel-food cake pan.)

2. Mix your streusel together in a bowl until it’s crumbly.

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and then add the orange zest & vanilla.

(Don’t skip the orange zest! Just…don’t. Get a zester if you have to—they’re cheap—and then chop up the strips into bite-sized bits.)

(Trust me. The chopping is both fun and therapeutic.)

4. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Alternately add the flour mix and the orange juice into your egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.

5. Spoon half of the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle with half the streusel. Top with the remaining batter and streusel.

6. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.

7. Carefully turn the cake out onto a serving plate and drizzle with the cake.

8. Serve with coffee, tea or cold milk…or cut off a piece and eat it right there. You deserve some pampering, Mom!

Here is a printable version of the recipe: Almond Streusel Cake

Love from the North Star State!

Ed. Note: I am cross-posting this to my cooking blog, just to be anal. Also, in today's recipe I did substitute one cup of white whole wheat flour and I couldn't even tell. Better yet, nor could the children.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Black Russian Cake

I made this cake on Sunday in honor of our Good Shepherd’s Garden Party (Week II) celebration.

Black Russian Cake

This is not to say that anything remotely resembling a booze cake was on the original menu but rather, that those bottles of Kahlua and vodka were calling out my name (loudly) from the cupboard.

Black Russian Cake II

“Maggie? Oh, Maaaagieeeee....”

“We taste really good together.”

It was then I recalled seeing a recipe in one of my favorite church lady cookbooks--a recipe that called for both vodka and kahlua (gosh, I love those church ladies) and that is so easy-peasy, rice-n-cheesy that you will be lovin’ me for posting it.

Plus it tastes really, really good.

Here you go. Forgive me for naming it after me.

Maggie’s Black Russian Cake

1 box white or yellow cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
¾ C. water
1 C. oil
¼ C. Kahlua
¼ C. vodka
(not the el cheapo kind, please)
Nuts, optional

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray your bundt pan with nonstick cooking oil (you do have a bundt pan, right?) and line it with nuts if you’d like. I used coarsely chopped pecans and strew them around the bottom of the pan.

Isn’t “strew” a lovely word?

Mix all your ingredients together and beat at low for 30 seconds, then at medium for 2 minutes. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a swizzle stick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes, then invert and cool completely.

(You don’t have to let it cool completely, by the way. You do, however, have to serve it with fresh whipping cream or ice cream.)

(in moderation)

PS. The liquor in this recipe bakes out, not to worry. Don’t believe me? My husband was a chemistry major and he says so.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Maple Pecan Scones

(from The Pioneer Woman Cooks)

Maple Pecan Scones


3 C. all purpose flour
1/3 C. sugar
5 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, chilled
¼ C. pecans, plus more for sprinkling
1 large egg
¾ C. heavy cream

Maple Icing

1 lb. powdered sugar
¼ C. milk
4 T. butter, melted
Splash of strongly brewed coffee
Dash of salt
2 tsp. maple flavoring (You could substitute vanilla or almond extract if you want, but then you’d have to change the title of your recipe.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

3. Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. Finely chop the pecans and stir into the flour mixture.

5. Mix the egg & cream together and stir into the flour mixture until just combined.

6. Turn the mixture onto a cutting board and push it together into a large ball. Don’t knead too much—only until it sticks together.

7. Gently roll the dough into a 10-inch circle and cut the round into eighths. PW recommends that in order to have perfect eighths, you could first cut an X and then cut a plus sign. I agree!

8. Transfer your wedges to a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed and bake for 22 to 26 minutes, or until golden brown.

9. Allow the scones to cool completely.

10. Meanwhile, whip your glaze together and pour generously over each scone. Sprinkle with chopped pecans if you want but above all...


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kiss me! I’m (pretending to be) Irish!

We managed to sneak in a full-fledged Irish dinner on Tuesday before Momma had to dash out the door to her quilting class. Hubby wasn’t there for our familial celebration, alas, but the babysitter seemed to enjoy it.

(To John’s credit, he pulled in the driveway as I was leaving. Babysitter Megan was just covering for him until he arrived. This is our “quilting night arrangement.”)

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Corned beef and cabbage is very easy to make. Have you tried it? No? You must. All I did was boil the corned beef for 30 minutes (to reduce its saltiness) with half the contents of the little spice pack that comes with it.

Then I popped it in my new Dutch oven (which I love) and drizzled it with olive oil. I added a handful of carrots, (peeled and chopped) and a handful of onions (also peeled and chopped in large sections so the kids can avoid them). A little salt and pepper, a couple pats of butter, and into the oven it went.

I cooked mine for about 3 ½ hours at 325 degrees and it was so very good—crispy on the outside and very tender on the inside.

Oh, and I added the cabbage about an hour and 1/2 into the baking. You don’t want mushy cabbage.

You know.

* * * * * * *

The second recipe I got from my sister that very afternoon. I phoned her up to see how she was preparing her corned beef & cabbage, (because I just knew she’d be making corned beef & cabbage), and she told me about this funky Irish side dish they were having.

“It’s in the new Centennial Cookbook that I’m editing for our parish,” she said. It’s called ‘Thumblededore’ or ‘Dumblededoop’ or something like that.”

She was close. : )


Rumbledethumps is actually its Scottish name. In England, this dish is known as Bubble and Squeak; in Ireland, colcannon.

The names didn’t much matter to my kids, although they did like saying “Bubble and Squeak.” Even more than that, they liked eating it.

Here’s the recipe:


1 pound potatoes
1 pound cabbage (about 1/2 head)
4 tablespoons butter
1 onion chopped
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon chopped chives or parsley
Salt and pepper


Peel, boil and mash your potatoes. Set aside.

Chop or shred your cabbage. (You choose! It’s a free country.)
Melt the butter in large skillet or frying pan and
sauté your cabbage and chopped onion
until they are soft.

Add the cabbage to your bowl of mashed potatoes.
Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Turn into a buttered ovenproof dish, sprinkle with grated cheese,
and brown under broiler or bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

Garnish with chives or parsley and serve!

For a printable version of this recipe, click here.