National Chocolate Cake Day!!!

17 Comments

So yesterday was National Chocolate Cake Day, and I got the itch to make a
Chocolate Cake and I brought it in for the office today!!!  

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I know they will happy, since this is the second thing I made this week, on Monday
I made a Cinnamon and Walnut Coffee Cake and they all loved that!! 🙂

So I didn’t have my usual ingredients at the house that I have used in my Chocolate cakes before, like
buttermilk or sour cream those things make my cakes moist and I like using them.

So I just followed the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa Powder can.

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The only thing I did differently was two things:
1. I used 1 cup of cocoa powder, instead of what it said, (I can’t remember LOL)
2. I used Hot Strong Coffee instead of Hot Water.

I also made it in a bundt pan 🙂 Bake for about 40-50 mins, just until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

The I made Cream Cheese Frosting and that recipe is below 🙂

Adding the chocolate to the cream cheese, butter and sugar (sorry i didn’t take better pictures)

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whipped up altogether 🙂

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frosting!!

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Done 🙂

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now Enjoy!!!

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Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

2 – 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
2 stick of butter, softened
1 3/4 – 2 cups powdered sugar
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup half and half

In a double boiler add chocolate and half and half, stir until chocolate has melted and mixture has before like a thick paste.  Remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl mix cream cheese until fluffy, then add butter and mix until combined and fluffy.
Then add powdered sugar, I only used 1 3/4 cup but if you like it sweeter add more, mix until combined.

The mix in chocolate and continue to mix until all in combined and fluffy.

This recipe covered the bundt cake and I had about 2 cups left over.

Store cake in the refrigerator, let set at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.

YUMMY!!! Enjoy!!

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer!!

19 Comments

So are you one of those people that CANNOT wait till fall hits so you can get your
Pumpkin Spice Latte on!! 😛

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As you know most of the coffee shops only have this Pumpkin Spice Syrup during the fall and maybe into the winter???

I don’t know because I am not one of those people 😛

But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to get on the “Band Wagon” and make my own…LOL!!

So many recipes have been flying around the internet, so I decided I would give it a try…

And let me tell you it turned out DELICIOUS!!!!!!!

I kind of shock myself…LOL 😛

So of course I dug into my spices to find the hidden Pumpkin Pie Spice in the back from the fall before LOL and finally can open one of the two large can of pumpkin pure, again from the fall before 😦

Okay so what else…I found some sweetened condensed milk and now I just needed cream, but I didn’t want to use cream, so I settled for half n half.

Okay I think I am ready to go and this is how it all went.

Ingredients

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in a saucepan, pumpkin, milk and spice

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stir that up, then stir in the half n half

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cook on med-high
okay I will confess, I had in on med-high, but I was trying to do other things as well, and I may not have been stirring it the whole time…hence it started to burn on the bottom, when I went back to it, and started whisking like a mad women, black bits started to surface.  I may have cursed that this time, but I turned it down to low and kept on whisking until it thickened a little, then I let it cool for 5 minutes

Once I tried it was AWESOME!! It tasted like Toasted Pumpkin Marshmallow 🙂
I thought Holy Crap I just added another flavor dimension…WOOO HOOOO!!!!! LOL 🙂

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It does get a little darker as it thickens

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now you have strain this through a fine mesh strainer,
and take the back of a spatula and force the mixture through the
strainer by moving the spatula back and forth

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this is what you will have left in the strainer

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after I let the mixture cool in the fridge,
I poured it into 2 little mason jars

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This will keep in your fridge up to 2 weeks
if it last that long 🙂 LOL

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My Pumpkin Spice Cappuccino

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I added to my mug, about 2 Tbsp. pumpkin mixture
2 Tbsp. creamer and stir it up

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Then I frothed that

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Then I add my espresso

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and to finish it off I sprinkle a little
Pumpkin Pie Spice on top…it was just Yumm!!!

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Now you can just mix it into your regular coffee,
as I did at the office this morning 🙂

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As I talk to some of the ladies this morning, I started coming up
all kinds ideas to do with this mixture besides to put in your
coffee…oh a can wait to get back in the kitchen…stay tune!!!

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup half n’ half, or cream or whole milk

Whisk everything together in a saucepan, cook over med-high, whisk until mixture thickens
and darkens a little.  Like I said above, let it burn a little and it will give it a toasted flavored, I felt
like that added such good flavor.

Pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer, take a spatula and force mixture through the strainer by going back and forth.  Pour mixture into a jar or container and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks if it last that long…LOL  Mind didn’t 😛

Add as much or as little to your coffee or tea and sit back and enjoy!!

 

You Say Tomato I Say Tomahto!!

25 Comments

Tomatoes, who has tomatoes…I DO!!!!!!!!
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My Dad’s garden is producing a plenty, his plants are 8 feet tall and going wild!!!

I have a few pictures here from the beginning stages, they are about 5 to almost 6 foot at this point,
my Dad here is growing, leaf lettuce, kale, peppers, cucumbers, onions, green beans, eggplants and of course Tomatoes!!!
There maybe be more he grows but I can remember, I do know he has another patch that asparagus is in and the green house that things grow too…

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but I just decided to write this blog about tomatoes last night, so I don’t have recent pictures of it 🙂 these picture were about the 2nd week of June

So I have been eating a lot of tomatoes lately, but they have really only been from my Dad’s, I don’t buy them usually, but I do love when I get them from him and his garden.

As anyone knows they just taste better than you can get in the store and it’s really the only eat time I do eat them.
My Mom and Dad will freeze them, stew them, roast them, sauce them, slice them for BLT (which I think they east daily during the summer) and chop them for salads.  Plus whatever else they do with them 🙂

I on the other hand I tend to eat them a little differently 🙂

First I blanch them and remove the skins, I have issues with the skins, that’s all I will say 🙂

Here are a few pictures of ways that I have enjoyed using my Dad’s fresh tomatoes from his garden.

I hope you will enjoy too!!!

Making sauce, in my Vitamix are tomatoes, roasted garlic, some Italian herbs, red pepper flakes and salt.
The Vitamix will also cook it too you let it run about 5-7 minutes and you have hot soup or sauce 🙂

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Mixing it all up

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Freezing some for winter 🙂

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Cooking some down too

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This is the cherry tomatoes, sauteed with garlic, onions and spinach
tossed with the pasta, then fold in some fresh mozzarella pearls
then a drizzle of some balsamic glaze…Delish!!!!

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My all time favorite thing in the world is
Polenta with fresh tomatoes and a poached egg!!!
This is heaven for me!!!

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another day again…YUMMY!!!

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This is my FBT…Fake bacon and tomato 😛

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Ran out of the cornmeal to make polenta
So I made couscous instead…Delish too!!!

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This was last night’s dinner
tomatoes, roasted garlic tossed with pasta and some fresh mozzarella cubes
I was talking about making this a work…so ladies this is what I made…simple and quick 🙂

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Oh and here is the kale and I made some kale chips…very good with a
sprinkle of kosher salt and garlic powder 🙂

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Here are couple of links of 2 more of my blogs that I used tomatoes in the past
First up is my Tomato Cobbler – this turned out really really good so if you
want something a little different try this recipe.

 Second is Orzo Salad with Basil, Tomato & Feta – I made this at one
of my outdoor cooking classes last year.

Enjoy the rest of the summer everyone!!!

What’s next here hopefully sooner than later
my trip to Bourbon Country 🙂
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One Lovely Blog Award!!

10 Comments

Recently I was nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by Ka@My Uni Kitchen

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Ka has a terffic blog, he has amazing Recipes, How to Guides and Cooking Tips, so please go over to his
blog and check out all those good things he has to offer 🙂

There are few rules to accepting the award you must tell everyone 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 blogs
for the award.

So here we go 🙂

1. I worked on a cruise ship for 6 1/2 years

2. My first career was in Theater Costuming before going into Culinary

4. I love Hockey

5. I worked for our home town Hockey Team by sewing names and numbers on their jerseys

6.  During the baseball season, I am on call for the Cincinnati Reds and the away teams
      that come into town and play the Reds, to sew their uniforms (sewing names & numbers),
      for any last minute call ups.

7.  The most I was ever paid for sewing 1 single uniform for an away team was $100.00
and 
that was for 1 hour of work, that included the call, me driving to the ball park
(i live very close) 
getting in there sewing the name and number and then 
      back in my car.  🙂  

Bonus – here’s the picture 🙂

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I hope you enjoyed the few things that most of you did not know about me 🙂

 

Here are the blogs that I think are fantastic and I give the “One Lovely Blog Award” too

Suzanne@apuginthekitchen

Gretchen@Feeding My 3 Sons

Ginger@Ginger&Bread

Loretta@Safari of the Mind

Angie@The Novice Gardner

Julie@Hostess At Heart

Michelle@Giraffes Can Bake

Suzi@Beach Blanket Bacon

Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook

Coco@Crafty Little Coco

Lili@Lili’s Cakes

Max@Dante’s Kitchen

Linda@La Petite Paniere

Ms. Frau@Frugal Hausfrau

Petra@Food Eat Love

Vidya and Chitra I added you as well
I know Ka added you to his blog
but I wanted to let you know I love
your blogs too, so you can consider mine
with his 🙂

Vidya@Traditionally Modern Food

Chitra@Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen

Thank you everyone for checking out my blog!!!

 

 

 

Merry Christmas 2014!!

8 Comments

Well Christmas is upon us once more a year is ending and a new one will begin!!  The #1 thing that I am grateful for is my parents, I love them dearly and they always have been there for me through everything, I am truly blessed!!

An of course I am thankful that I have a job (s) 🙂 a house to live in a car to drive and I have many friends, friends that I have know forever it seems, co-worker friends and you, yes you blogger friends.  Many of you I feel like we’ve known each other for years, I love reading your blogs about food, recipes, family, gatherings, trips, parties I love reading it all.  And to ALL of you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Okay so below are some recipes from my Holiday Open House, just a few, if there is something your looking for let me know I will get you the recipe.  Of course while making some of the most recent treats, I have been rushing home from work and get started and then forget to take pictures so there are few 🙂
Oh and at the end there are couple a cute funny photos 🙂

Fudge, this recipe is so easy, its out there, and I use it for all of my flavors, just use 3 cups of chips, whatever combo or flavor, same with extract whatever flavor and you can fold in anything, I did the recipe below, also used white chips and peppermint with crushed candy canes, one I did dark chocolate and folded in chopped andes mints so you can be creative.

Rocky Road Christmas Fudge

1 pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips**
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup walnuts (optional)
Christmas décor sprinkles

Line an 8×8 square pan with plastic wrap and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a non stick medium sauce pan add all chips, condensed milk, extract, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, once chips are almost all melted remove from heat, continue to stir until all is melted.  Stir in walnuts and marshmallows, then pour into spray pan, smooth out evenly.  Sprinkle with Christmas candy décor sprinkles, press down lightly.  Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours to set before cutting into squares.  Store in an airtight container.
**Can’t have nuts, use Butterscotch chips instead of PB, and use not walnuts.

Chocolate with marshmallows, peanut butter with chocolate swirl and dark chocolate mint.

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Bark is so easy, you put chocolate in a double boiler with crisco shortening, at least that is what I do, I also use the microwave too, you just have to watch it, and then once its melted and smooth pour on to parchment smooth out and top it with what ever you want 🙂

White Chocolate Cranberry Pistachio Bark

2 pkg. white chocolate chips
2 tsp. Crisco
1 cup each craisins and shelled pistachios

Add chips and Crisco to a double boiler, melt chocolate, pour onto a lined baking sheet and top with craisins and nuts. Let set then break into pieces.  Store into an airtight container.

I have white chocolate with craisins and pistachio’s and did dark with mixed nuts and marshmallows and milk with the same.

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Easy Holiday Muddy Buddy Mix, this way is too easy

Quick & Easy Muddy Buddy Mix

2 bags Chex Muddy Buddy Mix
4 cups Chocolate Chex Cereal
4 cups mini pretzels
1 bag Christmas M&M’s
Mix all together, store in an airtight container.

With out the M&M’s, when I put it into containers I pour some mix, then a few M&M’s then more mix, otherwise the M&M’s sink to the bottom.
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The easiest bar treats, with coconut and nuts 🙂

Holiday Bars

1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ cup sweetened coconut
1 stick butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 pkg. holiday colored chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9×13 baking pan.
Add melted butter and graham cracker crumbs to a bowl and mix well, pour into baking pan and press mixture over the bottom of pan.  Sprinkle coconut and nuts over top of crumbs evenly, then pour can of milk evenly over top of that, then sprinkle with holiday chips.  Bake for 25-30 minutes for until light golden brown.  Cool completely in pan before cutting.

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Peppermint Chocolate Crunch Popcorn

1 large bag of pre-popped popcorn (I used Angie’s yellow bag)
2 cups white chocolate chips
½ tsp. peppermint extract
2 tsp. plus 1 tsp. Crisco
1 cup chocolate chips
In a double boiler melt white choc. Chips with 2 tsp. Crisco and extract, stirring until melted, pour chocolate over top popcorn and toss to coat.  Pour out onto a lined baking sheet, then melt choc. Chips and 1 tsp. Crisco in double boiler, stirring until melted, once melted drizzle over top of coated popcorn.  Let set until chocolate has hardened, then store in an airtight container.

On this batch in the pictures, I used the andes peppermint crunch chips with criso in the micowave, tossed with popcorn, then pour out to cool, then I meltes about 1/2 cup of the andes mints and drizzled that over top.

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Last one Christmas Crack

The recipe is certainly out there, you use saltines in most recipes, I use those and I use graham crackers. I also this time use Special K cereal as the base…and people like it 🙂

Graham Cracker Christmas Crack

1 box cinnamon graham crackers
1 cup brown sugar
2 stick butter
2 cup semi-sweet chips
½ cup peanut butter
Christmas M&M’s or toffee bits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place crackers to line the pan, cinnamon side up, there can be just a little space between crackers.

Bring sugar and butter to a boil in a saucepan over med-high heat, once it come to a full boil, boil for 3 minutes and do not stir during the 3 minutes.  Pour mixture over crackers, place in oven for 5 minutes, put peanut butter in microwave for about 30 seconds to get soupy.

Remove pan from oven drizzle peanut butter over top and then sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Let set for 5 minutes to melt, spread melted chips and top with M&M’s or toffee bits, let cool over night.  Once firm, break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

 Chocolate Mint or Peppermint Christmas Crack

45 saltine crackers
2 sticks butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 pkg. Mint and Chocolate chips
Or
1 pkg. white chocolate chips
½ cup finely crush peppermints

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with cooking spray.  Place crackers to line the pan, salt side up, there can be just a little space between crackers.

Bring sugar and butter to a boil in a saucepan, once it come to a full boil, boil for 3 minutes and do not stir during the 3 minutes.  Pour mixture over crackers, place in oven for 5 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with either Mint/chocolate chips or white chips, . Let set for 5 minutes to melt, spread melted chips and then top with peppermints or nothing, let cool over night.  Once firm, break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Crackers and graham crackers

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Special K Cereal

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Butter and brown sugar in pan

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bring to a boil

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pour over top

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bake for 5 minutes

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I topped the Special K batch with a mix of Peanut butter, milk and dark chocolate chips

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this batch with the crackers I used Dark Chocolate and Mint Chips

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Oh here’s one once more

Holiday Nut Brittle

1 cup sugar
½ cup light corn syrup
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups nuts – peanuts, cashews or pecans
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
use at wooden spoon for this
Spray with cooking spray a large glass mico safe bowl, add sugar, syrup and salt, stir to mix.  Set microwave for 3 minutes, watch closely once the mixture starts to boil continue to cook for 4 more minutes (you will need to add more minutes)

Remove from microwave immediately add nuts, butter, vanilla and cinnamon, stir quickly to combine and cook for 2 more minutes.  Immediately remove add baking soda and stir to combine, mixture will foam up, once mixed pour out onto lined baking sheet and spread out with spoon.  Let cool at room temp, once cooled break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

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I bought some pre cut cookies and they did not have crisp edges as it you would use cookie cutters, and I only had some bright colors so here are some of my fun Christmas cookies 🙂

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Love my tie dye ginger 🙂

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I also go the best gift ever, if you have not heard of this stuff, its funny and it works 🙂
Poo-pourri…yes it is what you think 😛
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Check out the Holiday Commercial and please watch the whole thing…it will give you a chuckle!!

And lastly meet my new friend “Pixie Puddin'” my friends named her on facebook it was a fun time picking a name 🙂

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Pixie and I 🙂

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Honey Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

10 Comments

Test Kitchen was back open last week and I had some Blueberries so I thought why not a Blueberry Upside-Down Cake 🙂

Great for breakfast with your coffee or tea, maybe as an afternoon snack or after dinner, I hope you make it for your next baking adventure 🙂

As I thought about the topping I thought I would cut the brown sugar with some honey, hence the name 🙂 so this is my recipe 🙂

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Ingredients

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Spray your pan, draw out the bottom of the pan on parchment and cut it out

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Place parchment in pan and spray paper

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I fail to take a picture of the topping melting, but just melt butter, brown sugar and honey together
and pour in pan

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sprinkle blueberries over the topping in the pan

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Cream together the butter & sugar until fuffy
then add eggs, one at a time

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then add lemon juice and vanilla, then add flour and milk (read below)

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Fold in lemon zest

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pour on top of blueberries and bake

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let cool for about 10 minutes

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place platter on top of cake and flip upside down

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and there you have your Honey Blueberry Upside-down Cake
let cool completely

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slice and serve

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Honey Blueberry Upside-Down Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Topping

1 pint fresh blueberries (if using frozen use 2 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)

Cake

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tbsp. lemon juice
zest of 2 lemons

Heat oven to 350 degrees, spray a 9×2 round baking pan with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Add 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), honey and brown sugar to a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until mixture is melted and smooth, stirring frequently.  Pour into baking pan; top with blueberries, set aside.

Whisk cake flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl, set aside.

Beat sugar and stick (1/2 cup) butter in a large bowl at medium speed for 2 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in lemon juice and vanilla, at low speed beat in flour mixture in 3 parts alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Fold in lemon zest then pour over top of the blueberries; smooth out evenly.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Using a small knife, loosen  cake from the side of pan, invert onto platter; remove parchment paper, cool completely.

This was super moist and honey delicious 🙂 Enjoy!!!

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Cinnamon Quick Bread…Two Ways!!!

15 Comments

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Cinnamon Strawberry and Cinnamon Strawberry & Blueberry!!

I always have strawberries in the freezer for my kale smoothies 🙂 I will buy various fresh fruit, clean it, cut it up and freeze it, then I always that it on hand 🙂

So I was trying to think of a quick bread to make and well the strawberries came to mind, when I was testing my double batch (so I could give to family and friends) I was a little heavy handed with the cinnamon…but I have to admit it was pretty good and I got great reviews 🙂

I recently got some Coconut sugar and I had been wanting to use it, so I try it again but this time with blueberries, coconut sugar, coconut oil and whole grain pastry flour, this one is a little healthier for you 🙂

Here are both recipes, make both or just one of them…they both are Great!! 🙂

1st – Cinnamon Strawberry

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2 bowls, one wet, one dry

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whisk each individually, add strawberries to wet

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mix together

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then mix in the dry

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put into loaf pans and bake

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Cinnamon Strawberry Quick Bread

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in quarters (if frozen, let thaw)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray two 9×5 inch loaf pans or 5 mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl add flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, whisk until fully combined.

In a med bowl whisk together eggs and oil; fold in strawberries, then pour into flour mixture and fold together just until combined.
Scoop into loaf pans and bake.

For mini pans bake 30 – 35 minutes for larger loaf pans 45 – 50 minutes, always check at first time by inserting a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean it is done.

2nd more healthy for sure – Cinnamon Strawberry Blueberry

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whisk dry in one bowl, add blueberries, toss around to coat

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mix wet with strawberries

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then add to dry

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put into loaf pans and bake

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Loaf is much darker because of the coconut sugar

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Cinnamon Strawberry Blueberry Quick Bread

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in quarters (if frozen, let thaw)
1 cup blueberries
3 1/4 cups whole grain pastry flour
2 cups coconut palm sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup coconut oil in liquid state
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray two 9×5 inch loaf pans or 5 mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl add flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda, whisk until fully combined, toss in blueberries and mix around to coat.

In a med bowl whisk together eggs and canola oil; then whisk in coconut oil, if you need to heat a little to melt then do so, just let cool down first before adding it to egg mixture, fold in strawberries, then pour into flour mixture and fold together just until combined.
Scoop into loaf pans and bake.

For mini pans bake 30 – 35 minutes for larger loaf pans 45 – 50 minutes, always check at first time by inserting a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean it is done.

Enjoy both these recipes I hope you make them both!!! 🙂

 

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