Monday, September 26, 2011

Angel Food Cake Nana Style...NOT!

So some of the fondest memories I have of my grandmother involve food.  Seriously the woman was a phenomenal cook and baker.

One of her dessert's that brings back some of the fondest memories for me is her angel food cake.

It was always tall, light, and covered with a light glaze...YUM!

My grandmother passed almost 4 years ago and it has been at least that long since I had angel food cake and I decided it was time for me to give it a whirl.

I pulled out her recipes and got to work.  Now I thought about making this vegan but in researching my options not many people had had any luck with making a veganized version...apparently whipping eggs into a frenzy is something that is hard to replicate.


1 C egg whites
1/2 tsp salt

Whip these together until foamy, then add:

1 tsp cream of tartar

Beat until the egg white sand up in soft peaks, then add:

1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla

In a separate bowl sift 1 1/4 C sugar and 1 C cake flour

Fold your flour and sugar mixture into your egg mixture carefully.  Incorporate the flour mix slowly so as not to ruin the egg mixture.

In a tube pan flour the sides and bottom (no butter) and then pour in your batter.  Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes.

This next step I thought was a little odd, but who am I to question the recipe of a baking genius.  Turn the heat off and allow the cake to remain in the over for another 10 minutes.

Then take the cake out and turn it upside down until it is cool.

So I was feeling pretty good about this until I mixed in the flour.  I felt pretty certain about half way through that things were not staying as fluffy as they should.  However while it was baking it smelled delicious and exactly the way Nana's would have.

Once I got it out of the pan though things were VERY apparent that I had not correctly put my ingredients together.  My cake was probably 1/2 the size of hers and not nearly fluffy.

To my credit though the flavor was very good and had a wonderful slight almond taste.  I made a glaze and that brought the cake together. 

To make it all the more special and to recall memories of years passed I served it on my Nana's china.

So give it a try and maybe try more then once, because apparently angel food cake takes a little work to get right.

I hope you all have a happy Monday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Friday to One and All

Well it is Friday and can you believe that the month of September is almost over?

My kids have been in school for a month and everything seems to be back to normal and schedules have fallen into place.  Life is good!

You know what makes life even better???  Gifts.

I am definitely a person who enjoys giving to others.  When there is a charitable opportunity available I like to do what I can.

A couple of weeks ago Angie at Big Bears Wife put up a post (here) for a raffle in support of Light the Night.

Light the Night is a walk where participants raise money for reseach and services for those who have been diagnosed with leukemia & lymphoma.

A fantastic cause as I am friends with a girl (who is now a teenager) but had hodgkin's when she was just 3 (we love you Katie!!).

I supported Angie's group and was actually a winner in her raffle of two prizes...AWESOME right (although I don't participate to win prizes).

The two items I won were a hand painted wine glass by Renee (Kudos Kitchen by Renee)

And this gorgeous apron by Debbie from The Hip Hostess:

Angie's goal is to raise $1000.  Her group isn't there yet and I would like to help get the word out and hopefully help her raise some more money.  If you would like to help Angie reach her goal you can go here and make a donation. 

If you do make a donation come back here and comment as I will be choosing one lucky commenter to receive the wine glass.  The glass is gorgeous and able to handle whatever libation you might choose to fill it with.  I will include a few bars of chocolate to go with the wine glass because I think those two items go together beautifully (you can tell me if you like dark, milk, or white).

Now there is a monetary goal the group is trying to reach so for every $1 you donate your name will be eligible to be drawn (i.e. $20=20 chances).

I hope you all are feeling generous as I will be keeping this opportunity open until next Friday September 30th when I will use to pick the winner. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Just One of Those Days

It has been one of those days, well maybe actually just one of those weeks.

I have made food and eaten it (some has been good), most has not been noteworthy or worth sharing.

One highlight was that I made these vegan chocolate chip cookies I found at Daily Garnish (here).  Emily has some fantastic recipes and these cookies really hit the spot.  I only got two of the 2 dozen I made...somehow my lovely children consumed them with a passion.

*a side note about these cookies.  They use banana in them and the comment section of the Daily Garnish post people asked if there was a banana flavor.  The hint is VERY minimal and this really makes one of THE best chewy cookies

I didn't manage to get any pictures of them either, my apologies.

I am perfecting my ratatouille burger so that I can share that with you all, I promise it is worth waiting for as this really is fantastic.

Instead of being innovative in the kitchen I am have been working with my new camera the Nikon coolpix.  Now I don't have a DLSR but that is because I think that is too much camera for a novice like myself.  I have had no formal training, and maybe one day if I take a class of two (or finally read Plate to Pixel) maybe I will take better shots. 

For now though I will have to settle for what I am producing with my coolpix, which I think is working out ok...what do you think?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kashi Peanutty Dark Chocolate

I am a member of Mom Meets.  This is a community sponsored by Kiwi Magazine.  You apply on-line and then you are given the opportunity to sample products and present your opinions either through blog posts or on-line surveys.

The tasting that I completed most recently was for Kashi TLC Peanutty Dark Chocolate Layered Granola Bars.

I am very grateful that I received this huge bounty of granola bars, as well as a box of TLC cereal bars and their Cinnamon Harvest Cereal.  It was my pleasure to distribute these for tasting.

These bars are a great mix of crunch and a layer of chocolate.  What I think everyone really liked was that the chocolate wasn't so sweet that it overpowered the granola bar.  Plus for those of us who have kids the chocolate doesn't melt and smear easily so it keeps your kids from getting too messy (don't worry kids always find a way to put a little smear of chocolate somewhere).  

The bars contain the Kashi signature 7 grains and are free from highly refined sugars, artificial additives, and unnatural preservatives.  Why wouldn't you want to feed your kids these bars?  Although I seriously thought about hiding mine from my kids because they are such a wonderful treat.

If you would like to learn more about Kashi and their products you can connect with them on their site here or on Facebook here.

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet
SM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WIAW The Kale Edition

It is Wednesday yet again...WOOHOO! Yeah for hump day!

The only sadness for today is that I had to drop my 8 year old off at school at 6am so he could go on a two night camping trip 4 hours away.

He is a wonderful boy and super excited to be heading to Cherokee, NC but mom (that's me) is a little sad to see him go.  There is the obvious reason that I don't want anything to happen to him but also because he is my big helper around the house.  He often helps wrangle the 4 and 2 year old into play activities (even better when they go outside).  These two may look harmless, but trust me they are bursting with energy.

Okay back to the food stuff.

I photographed my eats and realized I consume quite a bit of kale (I think I might have a serious obsession). I showed you all kale soup last week for WIAW and this week I give you a day of kale (except for breakfast...that would just be excessive).

So to start my day

I had a bowl of Jessica's Natural Foods Granola (which I reviewed here) in the Almond Cherry flavor with some almond milk...serious deliciousness.

For lunch I had BBQ chicken by Gardein (not really chicken...I gave up the meat stuff) with a huge topping of kale:

For dinner I had a ratatouille burger

with another huge topping of kale (nothing more delicious then topping your vegetables with more vegetables):

I have been laying off of the sweets lately but I may, or may not, (I will never tell the whole truth) have had a London bar or two

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday and I will spending some time perusing the other bloggers who linked up over at Peas and Crayons.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jessica's Granola

I had the pleasure of sampling, what I think might be, the best granola EEEEEEVVVVVVEEEEEERRRRR!

Jessica of, aptly named, Jessica's Natural Foods Granola sent me three bags of her granola.  The flavors were:

Almond Cherry
Chocolate Chip
Vanilla Maple

No Freudian slip I put them in order of tasting and ironically enough in order of my preference. 

I don't like granola to be TOO sweet because sometimes I like to put almond milk on top and have it for breakfast.  The Almond Cherry fit the bill perfectly.  The tartness of the dried Michigan cherries paired with the almond flavored granola was a wonderfully delicious combination (and by the way the bag was consumed in a day and half--by myself and my kids--see exhibit A below).

The next flavor sampled was the chocolate chip.  My favorite way to eat this is by the handful straight out of the bag, my kids preferred to put it both over yogurt and, after dinner, over ice cream.  There are TONS of mini chocolate chips that just make your mouth happy.

The last flavor we cracked open was the vanilla maple.  I tried this as a cereal and was a little sweet for my taste to eat first thing in the morning...but it is fantastic over ice cream...HOLY SMOKES!  It does wonders.

A unique aspect of Jessica's granolas is that they are certified gluten-free (making it safe for consumption by those who are bothered by wheat).  The granola is made in small batches to preserve the freshness and integrity of the taste.  Seriously look at the goodness just chilling in my hand (this is the chocolate chip):

Jessica takes care to use local ingredients and there are no:

Artificial flavors
Artificial coloring
Highly refined sweeteners
Trans fat

I strive to find snacks and foods that are good for my children (husband too if he wants to eat them :)).  I feel very good about Jessica's and even made a point to petition my grocery store to stock it.  Why not share what I have found with others?  Oh right that is the point of this blog.

So please take the time to check out small businesses and give them your business.  It is a great way to foster a terrific sense of community.

Monday, September 12, 2011

London Bars and 9/11

Yesterday was an emotionally draining day, and I know I am not alone in saying that.

I wanted to share with you a song that was played in my church service, "Shine" by David Crowder Band.  I think it fits the bill and helps with the healing, that 10 years later we still need:

Outside of watching the memorial service I did some baking and this is what I made:

London Bars

This is a recipe that my grandmother left me and one I don't think I had ever had the pleasure of her making for me (as you can see though the recipe card was well used).

I am very glad that I pulled this one out and gave it a whirl.  It calls for nuts but I substituted in chocolate chips.  I will preface this with saying that I wanted to make it vegan, but as I got into the recipe I realized I didn't have any egg replacers at my house.  I went to my local grocer and they didn't have any either (I was thinking a flax egg wouldn't produce the right effect) I had to use eggs.


1/2 C Earth Balance
1 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 C brown sugar

Cream together Earth Balance, sugar, and flour. 

Your mixture, once everything is incorporated, will look a little like sand

Press your mixture into a dish

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes

While the crust is baking assemble the topping

1 C brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 C chocolate chips (or nuts)
3 Tbsp unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C coconut (shredded and unsweetened)

In a stand mixer mix your eggs until they are light.

Add sugar, flour, and salt (continue mixing)

Add coconut and vanilla (continue mixing)

With a spatula mix in your chocolate chips and pour over top of the crust.

Place back in the over for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees

Cut into squares and serve

Be careful though because those suckers are HOT...don't worry I suffered through the pain because they were so darn tasty.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kale Soup for Any Soul

Ok I've never read ANY of the Chicken Soup books for any of the various souls it was directed towards...what I have had is kale soup and I promise this will be good for your body and soul.

Back before I started blogging my husband and I developed this recipe.

You see it was developed out of a need to use up some of the vegetables from our CSA (which we had just started to receive).

We had an abundance of kale and neither of knew if we liked it or what to do with it.

We decided the simplest thing to do would be to make soup, so I give you kale soup (and because this was created prior to blogging I do not have step by step pictures).

Your base will be a garlic broth:

6 C vegetable stock (you can substitute water)
3 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
pinch of sage (to your liking)
pinch of thyme (to your liking)
salt and pepper to taste

Saute your garlic in the olive oil in a pot over low-medium heat (do not cook the garlic so much that it turns brown, it should be golden).  While that is working it's magic boil your stock/water.

Once your stock comes to a boil add it to the garlic.

Stir in your paprika, sage, and thyme.

Bring this to a boil and then allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes (the longer it simmers the more intense the flavor will be).  Then salt and pepper.

For the soup:

Garlic broth
4 medium fresh tomatoes (or about 2 cups canned)
1 bunch kale torn
1 onion diced
1 C shiitake mushrooms chopped
2 carrots peeled and diced

Chop your tomatoes (or empty your cans) into the broth pot and add your kale, onions, carrots, and mushrooms.  For the kale we just tore it into bite size pieces by hand but you are free to make the pieces any size you like.

This will need to be brought to a boil and then allowed to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering boil your pasta according to the package directions (or you could make your own if you are ambitious).

We added Pasta Prima Portabello Mushroom Ravioli.  These suckers were huge (so we only added a couple to each bowl).

This soup is very versatile and would lend itself to the addition of a number of other vegetables if you have them on hand, make it your own :)  PLUS it freezes very well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WIAW or is it Tuesday?

I started today off thinking about my post and it was supposed to be a recipe, BECAUSE I thought tomorrow was What I Ate Wednesday hosted by Jenn at Peas and Crayons.

Whew!  Three day weekends are nice, very nice, but I forget what day of the week it is once I have to return to work.

So please allow me to share with you my What I Ate Wednesday (even though it is Tuesday in my tiny mind).

Breakfast was a strawberry smoothie (which I felt photographed better in B&W)...the picture was less appetizing in color.

Lunch, well I have often heard you should eat your dessert I did.  I had some angel food cake (made from my grandmother's recipe, which I will share on Friday).

Dinner was kale soup with portabello mushroom ravioli (recipe coming tomorrow)

Have a great Tuesday Wednesday!

Also be sure to check out my giveaway here!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sweet Leaf Tea Company

I was contacted by Sweet Leaf Tea to help promote their contest to find the next Grannyism and to provide you, my readers, with the opportunity to win some free tea.

There are two contests going on:

1) Develop Grannyism #79
2) Participate in a daily contest to see if your cities temperature is high enough to receive a prize.

Now I was given a chance to try their tea before I posted this and I have to say that 3 out of the 4 flavors I tried were DELICIOUS.  I had original, green tea and citrus, and peach which I loved.  The flavors were subtle yet refreshing.  The green tea was at the top of my list as it reminded my of an Arnold Palmer (tea and lemonade mix).  The other flavor I tried was mint & honey...well I just don't like mint try as I may.

Sweet Leaf prepares tea the way you would at home using water, tea, and sugar.  The ingredients aren't foreign and can be pronounced by small children :)

What excites me about Sweet Leaf is that it is certified organic...a good idea to keep pesticides out (as they aren't made for human consumption).

Below is Sweet Leaf Tea's press release, after you read through please note a GIVEAWAY from me and Sweet Leaf at the bottom.

Sweet Leaf Tea is introducing a new online experience called "Granny's Almanac" where fans can participate in playful, summertime contests to win some sweet prizes.  As part of the online promotion, "Granny's Almanac" will feature "The Great Grannyism Cap-Off Contest," which will ofer fans the opportunity to win everything from ticket giveaways to summer concerts and festivals, to a chance to have their Grannyism featured on a Sweet Leaf Tea bottle cap, one year worth of free tea and more.

"The Great Grannyism Cap-Off Contest" was designed to give Sweet Leaf Tea fans the opportunity to write their very own Grannyism--a piece of wisdom that is Granny-approved and could potentially be immortalized on a Sweet Leaf Tea bottle cap.  To enter to win, contestants must write their Grannyism and submit their bottle cap into the contest gallary for voting online at "Granny's Almanac."  Entrants and fans are then encouraged to share it with their friends and get votes via Facebook.  The grand prize for the contest includes having the winning Grannyism featured on a Sweet Leaf Tea bottle cap as Grannyishm #79, one year of free tea and some other Sweet Leaf Tea gear.  The runner-up prize includes one year worth of free tea and Sweet Leaf gear.

"We are constantly getting feedback from fans via Twitter and Facebook about how much they love our Grannyism's and how they look forward to discovering a new one with each Sweet Leaf Tea beverage they enjoy," said Sweet Leaf Tea Brand Marketing Manager Charla Adams.  "Granny's Almanac was designed not only to provide our tea fans with amusement, valueable event information and amazing prizes, but also to provide them with an opportunity to actually be a part of the Sweet Leaf Tea product and this experience with "The Great Grannyishm Cap-Off Contest."

In addition to the prizes mentioned above, Sweet Leaf Tea will also be giving away daily exclusive offers and special coupons for Sweet Leaf Tea products via the "Sweet Deal Forecaster," in which exclusive offers will be unlocked when the user's city reaches a certain temperature.  For official ruls and guidelines please visit the "Granny's Almanac" website at

I have coupons for free tea, but I need you to help me out.  I am trying to increase my following here and on Twitter.  So if you want to be considered for a coupon please:

1) Leave me a comment (anything will do, but flattery always works) and let me know that you follow my blog. 
2) For a second chance to be considered (bonus points here) follow me on Twitter and leave a comment that you do so (if you are already following then comment on that).

On Friday, September 9th, I will contact my winners and get your information to send out your coupons.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Grandmother's Sponge Cake

"Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Sponge Bob Square Pants."

No not that I want to share with you my grandmother's sponge cake.

I have never made this before and thought it would be a fantastic way to use up the egg yolks I had leftover from one of her other recipes (which I will share next week).


1 2/3 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C egg yolks
1 egg
1 1/2 C white sugar
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 Tbsp orange juice, strained
1/2 tsp lemon extract
3/4 C boiling water

In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. According to my grandmother you are supposed to sift these ingredients together (this breaks up the flour and can give your baked good a lighter texture), however I don't have a sifter so I took a fork and fluffed the mixture.

In a mixing bowl combine the egg yolks and egg. Mix on medium until eggs are thick and a wonderful lemon color (this will take about 3-5 minutes).

Add the sugar in batches, mixing thoroughly between each addition.

Turn off the mixer and fold in the orange rind, orange juice, and lemon extract.

The nice thing about fresh squeezed orange juice for recipes is that often there is leftover (however not for long once my 3 kids sniffed it out and consumed it rapidly).

My grandmother's recipe calls for you to sift the dry mixture into the egg mixture...however I just used my trusty fork and sprinkled the ingredients in. You'll need to fold the dry into the egg mixture (this will take a little work but be patient and continue to fold, DO NOT STIR).

When you think all of the ingredients are combined add your boiling water and fold it in quickly. For me this "uncovered" some flour that wasn't adequately incorporated.

Next pour your batter into an UN-greased pan (I used a round bundt pan) and place in a 325 degree over for 1 hour.

Once your done cooking "hang" the cake upside down on a cooling rack for an hour. This will help the cake cool and hopefully easily release from the pan.

I had to take a knife around the edges to loosen it up and only had a minor incident with the cake once it was completely out.

However this has turned out to be a delicious treat and one that is enjoyed by the kids for breakfast with a smear of jam. I could also see this being fantastic with some sort of custard or cream in the middle and chocolate ganache on top.

For my first time out I wanted to make my grandmother's version from this point on though I will play with it and make it my own.