Lemon Crumble Breakfast Cake

Hi all– It was a perfect match.  I saw this Lemon Crumble Breakfast Cake on Pinterest and the next week got a big bag of lemons from a friend who was smart enough to plant a row of citrus trees in her yard.

And you don’t have to serve this for breakfast. you know.  We had it with a group of friends who came in last Wednesday night for our weekly time to pass around hugs and laugh and talk and pray together.  It’s fresh and bright– just a nice little piece of cake on a plate to go with your mug of tea.

LEMON CRUMBLE BREAKFAST CAKE

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup (4 oz.) butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup flour
grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tab. lemon juice

Cake:
3/4 cup sugar
grated rind of 2 lemons
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cps flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
garnish: powdered sugar

In a small mixing bowl, make the streusel by mixing together the 1/3 cup sugar sugar and melted butter with a fork. Then stir in the 3/4 cup flour flour, lemon rind and 1 tablespoon lemon juice.  Set it aside.

For the cake, stir together the 3/4 cup sugar, grated rind of 2 lemons, oil, egg vanilla and buttermilk.  Then mix in the 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt.

Scoop the thick batter into a 8″ or 9″ spring form pan (or deep cake pan) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  With your fingers, crumble the streusel into little bits over the cake batter.

Pop it into the oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

When you’re ready to serve the cake dust the top with powdered sugar through a sieve.  Enjoy!

*In place of buttermilk, you can use a tablespoon of cider vinegar and milk to make 1/2 cup.

Chocolate Cheesecake

Hi there– The problem with cheesecake is leftovers.  There is one last piece of this chocolate cheesecake calling to me from the fridge right now.  Got this recipe from a magazine 40 years ago when we were first married and with a few twists and turns have been making it ever since.  It’s a favorite.

CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

Crust:
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tab. sugar
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 crackers)

Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese (2  8oz. blocks)
1  1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa*
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Top layer:
1 cup sour cream
2 tab. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
garnish: mini chocolate chips

Smash the graham crackers in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, until they are fine crumbs. Mix them in a bowl with the 2 tab. sugar and melted butter. Pour the mixture into a spring form pan (or deep pie dish) and pat it down flat with a spatula.  Set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s fluffy and thoroughly blended.   Then beat in the cocoa, 1 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla, eggs and 1/2 cup sour cream.  Scoop the mixture into the pan over the crust and put into a 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes until it is set, but just a little jiggly still in the middle.

While that is baking, mix together the topping– 1 cup sour cream, 2 tab. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

When the cheesecake comes out of the oven carefully spread the sour cream topping over the surface.  Then pop it back into the oven for 10 minutes more.

Take the cheese out of the oven and slide a knife around the edges of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.  Let it sit at room temperature for an hour.  Then put the cheesecake into the fridge to chill at least an hour before you serve it.

*Love to use Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Sweet Thai Chicken

 


Hey there– It’s been a week.  I’ve been on jury duty in Santa Ana– about an hour commute during traffic times.  I have to say, I’ve had jury duty so many times over the years and never been picked to be on the jury!  So spending the days in the courtroom was fascinating, learned so mucy–and working with the other diverse jurors from all over the county was just great.

So in honor of jury duty– and long days out, here’s a quick flavorful dinner, ready in about 25 minutes.  Add a bright salad.  Done.

SWEET THAI CHICKEN
1 cup brown (or white) rice
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in chunks
3 tab. olive oil
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 5 tsp. Thai Sweet Chili Sauce*
garnish: sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, cilantro

Put the rice on to cook according to the directions on your package.  I did plain brown rice– about 20 minutes simmered with 2+ cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Put in the pieces of chicken and saute, stirring now and then until they are cooked through and slightly browned, about 4 or 5 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, in a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and sweet chili sauce.  Pour the mixture in with the chicken and stir for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve the rice and chicken on a platter, and garnish with sesame seeds, chopped peanuts and cilantro.
(My pictures are just half a recipe, since it’s just Larry and me).

*You can use more of less Chili sauce, depending on the hear you like.  Add Sriracha sauce if you want to kick it up.

Blueberry Topped Cheesecake


Hello all–  It’s pretty entertaining to watch my Larry eat a piece of cheesecake.  He appreciates that it’s rich and creamy– and you only need the tiniest bite to get that burst of flavor.  Plus he wants to make it last as long as he can.  I’m more of a gobbler.  So when I’m scraping the last crumbs off my plate, Larry is just beginning to nibble it away.  Honestly.

And this blueberry topped cake is really nibble-worthy.  It’s especially soft and creamy (I think it’s the sour cream)– and I got the recipe from my sis, the baker– so you know it’s a good one!

BLUEBERRY TOPPED CHEESECAKE

Crust:
1  1/2 cup graham crackers, crushed
2 tab. sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling:
24 oz. cream cheese (3  8oz. blocks)
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1  1/2 cup sour cream

Topping:
1/3 cup blueberry fruit spread
3 cups blueberries*

Crush the graham crackers in a plastic bag with a rolling pin, until they are fine crumbs.  In a bowl mix together the crumbs, 2 tab. sugar and melted butter.  Press the mixture into a 9″ springform pan (or deep pie dish).

For the filling, use an electric mixer to thoroughly beat together the cream cheese and 1 cup sugar– until it is fluffy and not gritty.  Then beat in the eggs, vanilla and sour cream.

Spoon the mixture over the crust and put it into a 350 degree oven for 60 to 70 minutes until it is set (and just slightly jiggly in the pan– it will firm as it cools).

With a thin knife, cut around the edge of the cheese cake to release it from sticking to the sides of the pan. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour.   Then set the cheesecake into the fridge for at least an hour until the are ready to serve it.

To make the blueberry topping, melt the blueberry fruit spread in a saucepan on low heat on the stove top.  Then mix in the berries and spoon let it cool before you spoon it over the cheesecake.

*I used frozen blueberries, but fresh would be better when the season rolls around!

Simple Mocha Cake

Hi all– I’m afraid this isn’t much of a recipe– more like just a tip about putting instant coffee into your cake mix & frosting to give it a rich mocha flavor.  But I promise if you try this simple cake, you’ll have a hard time not licking your plate.  It’s crazy delicious!

SIMPLE MOCHA CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tsp. instant coffee (about 2 small packs)

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tsp. instant coffee (about 2 small packs)
1/4 cup dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa
8 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pound box powdered sugar (about 3 3/4 cups)
1-2 tab, water if needed
garnish:  stemmed cherry!!

 

With an electric mixer beat together the cake mix according to the directions on the package–mine used 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Them mix in the 2 tsp. instant coffee.

Spoon the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch.  Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, melt the butter in the microwave and then mix in the cocoa and instant coffee.  Then with a mixer beat in the cream cheese vanilla and powdered sugar.  Begin mixing on the lowest setting until the sugar has started in incorporate (or you will have sugar flying everywhere!).  Up the speed of the mixer to blend thoroughly.

If the frosting seems too dry, add 1 or maybe 2 tablespoons of water (be careful it’s easy to add to much water and end up with running frosting!)

Frost the bottom layer.   Add to top layer and frost away the top and sides.  Add cherry and it ‘s done!

 

Red Lentil & Black Bean Chili

Hello there– I try not to be too too bossy when I write to you, but today I do want to overstep and  strongly recommend that you try this recipe!  It looks a little plain, no chocolate or bacon involved…  But it’s a new favorite around here.  Hearty enough with all those black beans and lentils– and it’s the flavoring– smoked paprika and roasted red peppers… that make it so savory good.  Also avocados always help!

RED LENTIL & BLACK BEAN CHILI
3 tab. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped to small pieces
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tab. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tab. cumin
3 bays leaves
6 cups vegetable both
2 cups lentils
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes
14 oz. can tomato sauce
7 oz. can salsa verde (Herdez)
2  14 oz. cans black beans, rinsed
14 oz. can sweet corn, rinsed
12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, chopped*
1 tab. honey
salt  & freshly ground pepper to taste
garnishes (take your pick!):  avocado, sour cream, grated cheddar, cilantro, quest fresco, a squeeze of lime, tabasco sauce…

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and throw in the onion bits and chopped carrot.  Cook until the onions are soft and then add the garlic.  Cook 1 minute more.  Add the chili power, smoked paprika and cumin. Cook two more minutes until they are fragrant.

Add the lay leaf, broth, cut tomatoes, tomato sauce, lentils and salsa verde to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a rolling simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the lentils are tender (but not mushy!).

Finally stir in the black beans, corn, chopped roasted red pepper.  Taste and see if you need to add some salt & pepper (I did add a little of both).  Simmer for 10 more minutes to heat it all through.  Serve piping hot with the garnishes you like…

*Roasted red peppers are the best price at Trader Joe’s and come in 12 oz. jars!!

Lemon Rolls

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Hello all– Got this recipe from my sis (the REAL baker in the family) years ago.  In fact, when her son was still a school boy he made the rolls with cinnamon (instead of lemon) and won a blue ribbon at the Orange County Fair!  (Shout out to Matt!)

So if you want some tender, bright, prize winning rolls on your table, give these a try!

LEMON ROLLS

Sweet Dough:
1 package dry yeast (1 tab.)
1 cup milk (120-130 degrees)*
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, room temperature
3 1/2 cups flour (plus a little more for kneading)

Filling:
6 tab. butter, melted
1 cup sugar
4 tab. grated lemon peel (from 2 lemons)

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tab. grated lemon peel (from 1 lemon)
2 tab. lemon juice

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Warm the milk to 120-130 degrees.  Mix it with the yeast in a large glass mixing bowl.  Stir in the 1/2 cup sugar, salt, oil and egg.  Then stir in the flour.  When it’s mostly mixed, knead the dough with your hands for 4 or 5 minutes.  If it gets sticky, sprinkle on a little more flour and keep kneading…

Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and set it in a warm place** for 75 minutes until the dough is doubled in size.

While it’s rising, mix together the filling–melted butter, 1 cup sugar and 4 tab. grated lemon peel.

With a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a counter that is sprinkled with flour.  Roll until it’s about 10″ by 30″.  Spread the lemon/sugar filling to cover the dough from edge to edge.

Roll the dough starting to roll on the long side.  Cut the rolled dough into 12 rolls (to make them larger) or 18 rolls (for smaller rolls) and lay them into a 9″x 13″ baking dish*** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Cover the rolls again with the towel and let them rise for 45 minutes in a warm place.

Then pop the rolls in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

While they are baking, mix up the glaze, powdered sugar, 2 tab. grated lemon peel and lemon juice.  Drizzle the glaze over the rolls warm from the oven.  Delicious hot from the oven with a mug of tea.

*My microwave warms the milk to about this temperature in 1 minute– it should feel just about as warm as you’d want for a baby’s bath.
**For rising the dough, I turn the oven on for just 3 minutes until it gets to about 130 degrees and turn it off.  Then set the covered dough in there to rise.
***I used two round smaller tart dishes instead of a 9″x 13″ pan–prettier for serving.

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P.S.  These are really at their peak the moment they come out of the oven.  And as much as I am against microwaving any kind of bread (heaven forbid!)– These can use 8 seconds in the microwave, if they are day old, to make them tender and hot for breakfast the next morning.