Friday, May 27, 2011

Toasted Coconut Refridgerator Cake

Hi. Remember me? I used to cook for my family of 6 almost every night of the week. That went out the window when my kids decided that soccer was the new love of their life.

Now that the season is over I have started cooking again and can't wait to share recipes with you again. Starting with this easy peasy refrigerator cake that I found on Real Simple.

It would make a great weeknight dessert or addition to your next pot luck, plus it's so simple.

Toasted Coconut Refrigerator Cake

1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup heavy (or whipping) cream, whipped to a soft peak
2 pound cakes, about 11 ounces each
2 cups Vanilla Pudding

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in oven until golden, about 10 minutes, shaking the tray once about halfway through the cooking time. Remove and let cool.

Whip up some vanilla pudding. This would be a great step to invite the kids into the kitchen on. There's nothing to it other than stirring plus think the calories you will save allowing someone else to lick the spoon!

I just love this measuring cups. They were Hubby's grandmothers. I keep them on the window sill right next to my cutting board so that they get as much use as they deserve. Plus every time I use them I think of her.

I don't know how I survived before without a hand mixer. So much easier than beating by hand - which I have been doing for years. Make sure that you use a metal bowl and whisk for this step. You can even throw both of them in the freeze for a few minutes to speed up this step. Also keep your whipping/heavy cream in the fridge until you are ready to go. The colder everything is = the faster.

Ahh a soft peak and I didn't have arm, hand and shoulder pain to achieve it.

In a medium bowl, gently fold together the whipped cream and pudding. Slice each cake vertically in half, then slice each half horizontally into three ½-inch layers.

To fold in whip cream gently take your spoon down the side of your bowl and come up through the center. Quarter turn your bowl and repeat until combined. Be gentle and easy with this step so that the mixture retains all of the air that you whipped into your cream.

Line an 8-by-8-inch square pan with 4 slices of cake to make 1 layer. Top with about 1 cup of the pudding mixture, spreading to cover the cake. Repeat the process to form 3 layers, ending with the pudding mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Garnish with the toasted coconut and serve.

Have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Saucy Mama Comments are Fixed!

Hey, All!

Yesterday, Blogger was having major issues and some accounts couldn't post comments.  Boooo!  I know that I tried commenting on a few blogs out there and got stuck in an endless loop of Blogger forcing me to login over and over and over again. 

But today, all seems to be functioning well.  So, scoot on over and enter our Saucy Mama giveaway before Friday night!  All you have to do is leave a comment - easy peasy lemon squeezie :)


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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Saucy Mama.. GIVEAWAY!

My recipe yesterday included an ingredient that many of you might not have tried out just yet.  That's because it's a new item in the Saucy Mama kitchen.  And just because Saucy Mama loves spreading the love, she's letting all her recipe contest entrants host a giveaway of three of her new items!!

One bottle of Pacific Rim Ginger dressing, one bottle of Tarragon Lemon mustard, and one bottle of Sweet Heat marinade!

All you have to do to enter is comment below, saying how you might use these Saucy Mama goodies! 

Good Luck!

Fine Print:  One entry per person.  Giveaway open to US residents only.  The prize will be shipped to you directly from Saucy Mama, so please be patient as they ship out 50 prize packs to all the individual blog winners.  Entry comments will be closed on Friday, May 27 at midnight EST.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Saucy Mama Chicken Salad Crescents

Good Morning!

You may remember last year, that I entered a recipe contest for Saucy Mama.  They invited me to participate again this year, so I gladly joined in!  This time around, the challenge was to come up with a recipe using only five ingredients.  Five?!  Yowza.  I don't consider myself an elaborate or fancy cook, but when I started adding up items, I hit five in a huge, screeching hurry.

This recipe that I came up with is almost embarrassingly easy.  It took me less than 15 minutes to put together and pop into the oven!  It would be a fantastic item at a brunch (served with champagne and fresh fruit, yummmm), and it's also a great option if you need a quick snack or appetizer for guests.  You could use just about any fancy mustard, but the Saucy Mama one I used gives it a great punch of flavor.


Saucy Mama Chicken Salad Crescents
2, 12 oz. tubes of "bigger" size crescent rolls
12.5 oz. can of chicken, drained *
1/3 c. celery, finely chopped (about 1 stalk)
1/3 c. light mayo
2 Tbsp. Saucy Mama Tarragon Lemon mustard
black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray, and set it aside.

Mix chicken, celery, mayo, mustard, and pepper in a medium sized bowl until thoroughly combined.  Arrange individual crescent roll sections on your workspace.  Using a medium cookie scoop (or about 2 Tbsp.), place chicken mixture at the wide end of each roll.  Take the wide edge and tuck it over each chicken salad mound and press lightly to seal the edges.  Continue rolling the crescent dough, slightly twisting the ends as you roll, to seal the edges.  Place on greased baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.  Makes approximately 16 crescent rolls.

* Note: You can opt to cook your own chicken breast instead of purchasing canned chicken.  Just boil one large chicken breast in water for approximately 10 minutes, or until completely cooked through.  Allow to cool and shred with two forks.

Ingredient Lineup:

Mix chicken salad ingredients in a medium bowl until combined.

Place a small scoop of chicken salad at the
wide end of each crescent roll.

Roll the wide edge over and lightly press to
seal the dough edges together.

Continue rolling, slightly twisting the ends as you roll
to pinch the edges.  Place on your prepared baking sheet.


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Monday, May 16, 2011

Buttermilk Chocolate Sheet Cake

Oh gosh, I'd completely forgotten about this amazing little cake. I've had the recipe in my notebook for years; so long, in fact, that I don't exactly remember where it came from. I think my friend, Becca, gave it to me? We definitely made it while we were roommates in Oregon, but beyond, that I'm not entirely sure! (Becca, if you gave me this recipe, thank youuuuu!)

This cake is the perfect homestyle chocolate cake that truly will put others to shame. It's beyond easy to mix up, and it will keep on your counter for days without becoming dry. What's also fantastic is that because you frost this cake while both it and the frosting are still warm, there's no need to wait for anything to cool. Which means that it's ready to eat 5 minutes out of the oven. Which means... instant gratification and instant chocolate cake fix!!

Also, my apologies for the lack of action-shot photos. I was racing to get this cake made before I lost all my daylight! But, you'll have to trust me that it's such an easy recipe to make that you don't need my silly photos anyway. I promise!


Buttermilk Chocolate Sheet Cake
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. unsalted butter
⅓ c. cocoa
1 c. water
2 eggs
½ c. buttermilk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 recipe Buttermilk Chocolate Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 15x10 or 9x13 cake pan; set aside. Combine dry ingredients except for cocoa in a mixing bowl; set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and 1 cup water. Bring mixture just to boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate mixture to the dry mixture, and beat with a mixer on medium speed till thoroughly combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute; batter will be thin. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes for 15x10 pan, 35 minutes for 9x13 pan, or until it passes the toothpick test. Pour warm Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting over the warm cake, spreading evenly.

Buttermilk Chocolate Frosting
¼ c. unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
3 Tbsp. buttermilk
2 ¼ c. powdered sugar, sifted
½ tsp. vanilla
¾ c. pecans, if desired

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, and buttermilk. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat till smooth with spoon. If desired, stir in nuts.


This cake is even better if you eat it while it's still warm.  So, so, so good!

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Asian Beef Skewers

We love this recipe!  I've had it in my trusty cookbook for years now, but because our grill was out of commission, I've mostly been preparing the recipe as My Favorite Stir Fry.  But!  We got ourselves a thrifty grill a couple weeks ago, and I've been plowing through all my favorite grilled recipes.

This one's really easy to throw together, and the cook time is only about 5 minutes - a fantastically quick dinner if you put it all together the night before.  We love grilled zucchini, so Bo also grilled up some slices and we had them for last night's dinner with steamed broccoli and jasmine rice.


Asian Beef Skewers
3 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
3 Tbsp. sherry
¼ c. soy sauce
1 tsp. bbq sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger or ginger paste
1 tsp. red chili garlic sauce, optional
1 ½ lbs. flank steak

In a small bowl, mix together hoisin sauce, sherry, soy sauce, bbq sauce, garlic, ginger, and optional red chili garlic sauce (aka chili paste).  Cut flank steak across grain on a diagonal into ¼“ slices. Place slices in a 1 gallon ziploc bag.  Pour marinade over slices, and mix well.  Refrigerate 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Discard marinade, and thread steak onto skewers.  Oil the grill grate. Grill skewers 3 minutes per side, or to desired doneness.  Makes 3 servings.

Ingredient Lineup.

Mix the marinade ingredients, then toss the meat in to coat.

Dump everything into a gallon-sized plastic bag and refrigerate.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Blackberry and Peach Crisp

I have been on the lookout for a great dessert that I can enjoy without feeling guilty about all the added calories. This crisp found on features not only fresh fruit which I absolutely adore but also only sports 159 calories. While I was able to find fresh blackberries - there were no peaches to be found. So I had to go with canned. Turns out I am a bit ahead of myself. Blackberries won't come into season here in OK until June, and peaches until right after that. Here is a handy site to bookmark so that you can see what is in season around you: What Fruits and Veggies are in Season?

I'm so excited for my kids. A girl I work with has offered to let my kids come out and pick fresh blackberries this summer. I can still remember grabbing a bowl from my Grandma's kitchen and picking blackberries from the side of the road. I can't wait to make this again when I am able to get fresh and ripe blackberries and peaches. It was yummy and while I would have preferred more of the cake like topping, I know that with in season fruit it won't need it.


 Canola-oil cooking spray
1 cup fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice <- I had to substitute lemon juice since my kids drank all the OJ.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
3 tablespoons rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons nutmeg


Heat oven to 375°. Coat four 4-oz ramekins with cooking spray. Combine berries, peaches, juice and vanilla in a bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients with hands until moist and crumbly. Spoon fruit mixture into ramekins; scatter crumb mixture evenly over the top of each. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until fruit bubbles and top is golden brown.

I love these tiny little coffee cups that I found at an antique store. They are just the right portion size for my kids fruit crisp.



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