Monthly Archives: September 2011

Vermont Spice Cake

This is such a yummy fall cake.  It’s four layers and it’s divine!!!  Enjoy it for a special occasion or just because you need a piece of super yummy cake!!

3 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup pure pumpkin
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Maple Frosting
11 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 to 3 tsp maple flavoring
Orange peel twists, fresh mint, chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour two 9-in round cake pans.

For Cake: Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in small bowl.  Beat granulated sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs: beat for 2 minutes.  Beat in pumpkin, evaporated milk, water and vanilla extract.   Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Spread evenly into prepared cake pans.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For Maple Frosting
Beat cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy.  Add maple flavoring; mix well.

To assemble:
cut each layer in half horizontally with long serrated knife.  Frost between layers and on top of cake, leaving side unfrosted.  Garnish as desired.

Note: to make a 2-layer cake, frost between layers, over top and on side of cake.


Coconut Curry Shrimp

I’ve had this recipe for a long time but never used it and since I’ve been on a curry kick, I thought I’d pull it out and taste it…and was it tasty!!!!  If you like curry and shrimp then you’ll LOVE this dish.

1 1/2 cup white rice
3 TBL vegetable oil
1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
1 Tbl green curry paste (I just used curry powder and it was fine)
One 8oz package cremini mushrooms
1 onion, sliced (I used about 1/4 of onion)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
One 13/5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbl fish sauce (I forgot to buy this and didn’t use it and it tasted fine as well)
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed

1. Cook rice
2. Meanwhile, heat a wok or large skillet over mediu-high heat.  Add 1 Tbl oil, then the shrimp and curry paste and stir-fry until the shrimp are just cooked through, 2 minutes.  Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.  Add the remaning 2 Tbl oil and the mushrooms to the wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Add the oinion and bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the vegeables to the shrimp.
3.  Add the coconut milk and fish sauce to the wok and boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Return the shrimp and vegetable to the wok, add the peas and heat through.  Serve curried shrimp with the rice.

Quinoa Patties with Avocado Sauce

I found this recipe on-line from a friend and had all the ingredients so we decided to make them for dinner tonight.  If you haven’t had quinoa it’s a yummy substitute to pasta or rice and in this case meat.   This recipe makes about 12 patties (I think even more), so I halved the recipe and still made about 8 (1/4cup patties).

I chose the pan-sauteed version for the better texture due to a slightly crisp crust.  If you do opt to bake these for a lower-fat version, make sure and grease a baking sheet well and cook for about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 350F.

We made burgers out of the recipe but they’d be great as a stand alone meal and a nice substitute for a vegetarian.

Southwest Quinoa Patties with Avocado Sauce 


For Quinoa Patties
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled (if quinoa is warm, it doesn’t bind as well, thx MC!)
2 eggs
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/4 cups black beans
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4- 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder (could probably use regular chili powder)
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or monterrey jack)
1 Tbsp refined coconut oil, vegetable oil or butter, divided

For Avocado-Lime Sauce
1 avocado, coarsely chopped
juice from one lime
2 tbsp cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
water to thin
(I like the tartness and citrus flavor of the sauce but if you prefer a sweeter version, you could add a little bit of honey or stevia)


1. In a food processor add 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa and ingredients eggs through salt. Combine for 15 seconds or well incorporated.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the quinoa-bean mixture along with the remaining 1 cup of cooked quinoa and shredded cheese. Stir to combine and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
3. While quinoa mixture is chilling, prepare avocado sauce. In a blender or food processor, add all ingredients avocado through water, starting with 1/3 cup water and add 1 Tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached. I added about 1/2 cup for a slightly thick sauce that is spreadable, add more or less to your preference. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet*, heat 1/2 tbsp oil or butter over medium heat (oil is divided since you will be cooking in 2 batches). Meanwhile, form 12 patties about a 1/2 in thick (I used a 1/4 measuring cup to divide mixture up evenly, then slightly flatten). Cook for about 6-9 minutes on each side or until browned and a crust is formed. Using a spatula, carefully flip over and cook an additional 6-9 minutes or until browned. Heat remaining 1/2 Tbsp oil or butter in pan and cook remaining patties for about 6-9 minutes on each side or until golden crust is formed. Serve with avocado sauce and enjoy!

*If you do not have a large enough skillet to hold 6 patties, divide oil up evenly and cook in 3 batches (4 at a time instead of 6 patties in the pan).

Happy Eating!!!

Hassleback Potatoes

Since we’ve been grilling and eating a lot of steak/meat I have been in the mood for potatoes but wanted to try something different.  I tried these before we left on vacation and just forgot to post the recipe.  It’s a fun new and yummy way to eat potatoes.  Definitely recommend it.  I can’t remember where I got the recipe (sorry to the owner).

Now go and get grilling before summer ends! (Although if you think like me, an indoor grill pan makes grilling available all year round!)

Hasselback Potatoes
5-6 medium baking potatoes
4 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic pressed or finely minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425. Put the potato on a cutting board, flat side down. Start from one end of the potato, cut almost all the way through, making thin slices.

Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle the garlic in between the slits. Scatter some butter on top of each potato (it doesn’t have to be exact – I just pinched off pieces of butter and put them on top of the potato and in random slices). Then drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle some salt and freshly ground black pepper over the potoates.

Bake the potatoes for about one hour or until the potatoes turn crispy and the flesh is soft.

Sweet Potato Fry Seasoning: Megan Hayes

If you love sweet potato fries, here is a great seasoning.  My sister-in-law made these fries when they were down here last.  The seasoning is such a good flavor.

1 lb sweet potatoes

1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley
fresh ground pepper

Peel & Cut sweet potatoes into shoestring fry shapes.   Mix all ingredients and put on a cookie sheet making sure the fries aren’t touching.

Bake @ 425 for 15 min and then flip and bake for another 15-20 minutes