Old-Fashioned Butterscotch Cake

Grandma always told me that when life hits you hard, you need something sweet to brighten your day. This couldn’t be more true.

On November 15th, I began to lose feeling in my left side and the following day on the 16th, I landed myself in the ER. Over 9 hrs and several tests/MRI later, I was informed that I have a rare disease called Tarlov Cyst Disease. I won’t go into detail on here as to what the disease entails, but I can say that it’s not good. If you wish to follow me on my journey and/or learn more about TCD, I set up a new blog to document that journey and will post the link at the end of the page.

With this being said, something sweet is definitely what I needed after such devastating news. So what could be made? Old-Fashioned Butterscotch cake. That is what. Normally, I would say homemade Butterscotch pudding, but cake seemed better at the time. It’s super easy to make and not overly sweet, but sweet enough to bring a smile to your face. Hopefully, this recipe finds a special place in your heart as it has mine. Cheers to better days!

Old Fashioned Butterscotch Cake

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups. Flour

3 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

3/4 cup. Butter

1 1/2 cups. Dark Brown Sugar (Packed)

3 tbsps. Canola Oil

2 tsp. Vanilla

4 Large Eggs

1 1/4 cups. Milk

Butterscotch Frosting

Ingredients

1 cup. Butterscotch chips

2 tbsp. Butter

3 cups. Powdered Sugar

5 tbsps. Milk

Directions

  1. Prepare your sheet pan with baking spray to grease the bottom and sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside while you mix wet ingredients.

3. Add your butter, dark brown sugar and canola oil to your mixer bowl and beat together until fluffy and blended, light in color. This usually takes 3-4 minutes- be patient.

4. Add your eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

5. Add your milk.

6. Add your remaining dry ingredients, slowly until fully combined. You don’t want to overmix but it needs to be smooth and well incorporated. 

7. If you’re using a jelly roll pan for a thinner sheet cake, your bake time should be approximately 15 minutes. For a thicker cake (9×13) you’ll bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

8. After removing cake from the oven, place on a wire cooling rack for up to 5 minutes. Make your frosting and smooth onto cake after it has cooled completely.

Butterscotch Frosting

  1. Melt butterscotch chips and butter together in a microwave safe bowl. Start with one minute and then melt in 10 second increments, so you don’t burn/overcook.

2. Add melted butterscotch/butter mixture to your mixing bowl. 

3. In alternating increments, add powdered sugar and milk until fully combined.

Note: * If baking in a 9×13, check your cake at 25 minutes. Every oven is different!*

Recipe Credit: http://www.julieblanner.com

Original Recipe Link: https://julieblanner.com/incredible-butterscotch-cake/

*Living Rare Blog Link: https://livingrareofficial.wordpress.com/

Sweetness for the Soul

The last week seems to have flown by, as I am still facing issues with my job. Hopefully, those issues will be resolved with a lawyer, but as we all know that can take time. On the plus side of things, my local grocery store has been getting ready for the upcoming holidays! With sweet treats on the mind, I decided it was high time to make an old favorite. Cinnamon Sugar Pecans. My grandma (Memaw, as I called her) would have been proud.

Growing up, my grandparents had a rather large pecan tree in their front yard. When Fall would approach, we would go and pick bags of pecans filling them to the brim. It’s one of the happiest memories of my grandmother, as she would then take those pecans and turn them into fresh baked pies, candy them and more. Being so young, her cooking was like magic. She could could slap ingredients together and Boom a masterpiece was created. That’s the thing about grandma’s though. They always have that special touch when it comes to anything food related.

Now that I have my rambling out of the way, let’s move on to the good stuff!

Easy Cinnamon and Sugar Candied Pecans

Ingredients

6 tbsps. Butter

2 Large Egg Whites

1/4 tsp. Salt

3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) Granulated Sugar

1 1/4 tsps. Ground Cinnamon

4 cups (16 ounces) Whole Raw Pecans

Directions

Step One: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Step Two: Melt the butter and spread on a rimmed half sheet pan (11X17-inches). You can also cut the cold butter into cubes, place on the sheet pan, and pop in the oven while preheating to melt the butter; just watch closely so it doesn’t burn.

Step Three: In a large bowl, add the egg whites and salt and whisk until foamy but still liquidy, 30 seconds or so. Add the sugar and cinnamon and mix until well blended and the cinnamon is completely mixed in.

Step Four: Add the pecans and gently mix until the nuts are well coated, making sure to get underneath to the bottom of the bowl as you mix. 

Step Five: Spread the pecan mixture in an even layer over the melted butter in the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and using a flat metal spatula or similar tool, quickly stir the pecans and spread them back into an even layer. Bake for another 10 minutes, stir again, and spread into an even layer.

Step Six: Bake for a final 5-10 minutes (watching closely!) until the pecans are sizzling and lightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven, give the pecans another good stir, scraping them up from the bottom of the pan. Spread them into an even layer and let them rest on the pan for 1-2 hours WITHOUT STIRRING AGAIN until completely cooled and the sugar coating has set. The pecans keep for up to a week well-covered in a cool, dry place (not the fridge).

**Want to spice the sweetness up a notch? Try sprinkling on a little Cayenne pepper!**

Recipe Credit: http://www.melskitchencafe.com

Original Recipe Link: https://www.melskitchencafe.com/easy-cinnamon-and-sugar-candied-pecans/

Yummy Pumpkin Blondies

Just this week, my overnight shift finally ended and I can happily say that I am back on dayshift. With this new and welcomed change, I am able to start posting more frequently and I am very excited. Equally, it has come to my attention that Samhain; Halloween to some, is just around the corner! For me personally, this means cooking different soups, breads and a delicious recipe for Pumpkin Blondies to sweeten the soul! Instead of candy, this fun and healthy recipe is sure to be a hit!

Pumpkin Blondies

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups. All-Purpose Flour

1 tbsp. Pumpkin Spice

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Kosher Salt

1 cup. Unsalted Butter

1 3/4 cups. Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 1/2 cups. Pumpkin Puree

2 tbsps. Vanilla

1 1/2 cups. Chocolate chips (I used Dark Chocolate Chips)

Directions

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a piece of parchment paper and place in a 9×13″ baking dish. Set aside.

Step Two: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.

Step Three: In a separate bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Next mix in the egg, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and then pour into the prepared baking dish.

Step Four: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean. Allow to cool for 20 minutes in pan and then remove from pan. Cut into bars and enjoy!

Recipe Credit: https://www.iheartnaptime.net

Original Recipe Link: https://www.iheartnaptime.net/pumpkin-blondies/

Easy Chicken Spaghetti

Since working overnights for my store’s Inventory Prep Team, I have needed quick and simple, yet filling recipes for dinner. Thankfully, after the 16th I will be back dayside, but at the moment things have been tough. Maybe it’s simply my body trying to adjust, but something has got to give. Tonight, I will be making an old favorite recipe and wanted to share it with you all. Chicken Spaghetti is both super easy to make and equally delicious! There is two ways to cook this, so I will share with you both ways and you can pick which is easiest for you! Let’s get started shall we?

Easy Chicken Spaghetti

Ingredients

1 (16 oz) Spaghetti Noodles Box

2 cups. Cooked Chicken (diced)

2 (10 ounce) cans. Cream of Chicken Soup (undiluted)

1 cup. Salsa

1 cup. Sour Cream

2 cups. Mexican Cheese Blend (or whatever cheese blend you like most)

1 tsp. Taco Seasoning

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp. Paprika, Onion Powder

1/2 cup. Red Green Pepper (diced)

1/2 cup. Green Diced Pepper (diced)

1 cup. Cooked Broccoli

Cilantro (chopped; optional)

Directions for Baking Dish

Step One: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook noodles via the directions on the package. Once finished, drain.

Step Two: In a large bowl mix all ingredients together including noodles and stir to combine.

Step Three: Pour into a 9×13 sprayed baking dish and top with an extra 1/2 cup of cheese and the chopped cilantro.

Step Four: Cover with foil and cook in the oven for roughly 30 minutes or until cheese begins to bubble.

Step Five: Carefully scoop mixture onto plates or into bowls (your preference) and allow mixture to sit for 4-5 minutes before sitting to cool down.

Directions for Crock-Pot

Step One: Combine all ingredients into the crockpot except for the noodles.

Step Two: Allow mixture to cook on High for 3.5 – 4 hours to allow chicken to cook through.

Step Three: Cook spaghetti noodles; drain.

Step Four: Pour in the cooked noodles and 1/2 cup extra cheese and stir.

Step Five: Allow ingredients to cook for an extra 25 – 30 minutes.

Step Six: Carefully scoop mixture onto plates or into bowls and serve. Enjoy!

*Note – Mixture will be hot so allow about 4-5 minutes for cooling unless you can handle the heat.

Recipe Credit: http://www.cookingfromtheheart.blog

Original Recipe Credit: http://www.lilluna.com

Original Recipe Link: https://lilluna.com/chicken-spaghetti/

Sweet Potato Honey Cornbread

While gathering new ideas for recipes to try, I came across a recipe for Sweet Potato Honey Cornbread. At first glance, I was slightly skeptical; curious of the flavor profile and possible texture. It must be stated that I am not the biggest fan of sweet potatoes to begin with, but my fiancé loves them so we compromised. I made and ate some of the cornbread. To my surprise, I absolutely loved it!

Personally, the sweetness of the cornbread paired nicely with the vegetable soup we had and it wasn’t overpowering. I think that is always my biggest fear when cooking; the overpowering of ingredients. Though cooking sweet potatoes is still a once in a blue moon occurrence per se, this recipe is one that I can see myself making more often. Especially around Thanksgiving! Enough of my blabbering though, let’s move on to the good stuff! As always, if you get the chance to try out the recipe or any of the others I post, let me know what you think!

Sweet Potato Honey Cornbread

Ingredients

1 cup. Flour

1 cup. Cornmeal

1/2 cup .White Granulated Sugar

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1 tsp. Baking Soda

2 Eggs

1 cup. Whole Milk

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 cup. Unsalted Melted Butter One Stick

2 cups. Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1/3 cup. Honey

*Note: Though it’s not mentioned in the original recipe, to make this recipe Vegan friendly, simply switch out the Whole milk for Unsweetened Cashew or Almond milk. For the honey use Agave Nectar. To make one “Egg”, use 1tbsp. Ground Flaxseed with 3tbsps. Hot Water. Allow mixture to sit for 10 minutes before using. Repeat once more for the second “egg” needed. You could also use 1/4 cup. Unsweetened applesauce per (1) “egg” as a substitute. For the butter use a plant based butter. I personally use Country Crock’s Plant Butter and it works perfectly!*

Directions

Step One: Blend together dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon).

Step Two:  Add in wet ingredients, first adding in sweet potato.  Mix well then add eggs, butter and honey.  Lastly add the cup of milk. 

Step Three: Pour mixture into pan for baking.  (I have used a cast iron skillet, muffin pans and a 9 inch cake pan for this recipe).

Step Four: Bake on 375 for about 33-40 minutes.  Use a toothpick to ensure the middle is done. 

Recipe Credit: http://www.blackgirlswhobrunch.com

Original Recipe Link: https://blackgirlswhobrunch.com/2017/11/18/sweet-potato-honey-cornbread-recipe/

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls

Image Credit: Emma Christensen

Starting back my job, I have needed easy, but filling meals to take to work. Due to inventory coming up in the next few weeks, I got moved to overnights so the food I take has to be able to help me keep my energy levels up. Personally, chicken burrito bowls are my favorite and they are wonderful when meal prepping. Great flavor, plus the needed protein makes this recipe a keeper in my book. Taking the original recipe, I adjusted a few of the ingredients to better fit the needs of myself and my family. So, let’s get on with this deliciousness shall we?

Slow Cooker Burrito Bowls

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breasts, Chicken thighs, or a Mix

1 (14.5-ounce) can.  Diced tomatoes

1/2 cup. Onions ( Medium Dice)

1 cup. Low-sodium Chicken Broth (More as needed)

2 tsp. Chili powder

2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika

1 (15-ounce) can. Black beans ( Drained and Rinsed)

1 cup. Uncooked Brown Rice

1 cup. Canned corn

Directions

Step One: Combine the chicken, diced tomatoes and their juices, chicken broth, chili powder, and seasonings in a 2 1/2- to 3 1/2-quart slow cooker. Make sure the chicken is covered with liquid, adding additional broth as needed. Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 3 to 4 hours.

Step Two: Uncover and stir in the beans, rice, and corn. Cover and continue cooking on the LOW setting for 3 to 4 hours more. Check the rice periodically in the last hour of cooking, stirring once or twice to make sure the rice cooks evenly and adding more chicken broth if the mixture seems dry. Cooking is done when the rice is tender — if the rice is done, but there is still liquid left in the slow cooker, uncover and cook on the HIGH setting to let the liquid evaporate.

Step Three: Use 2 forks to shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. You can do this either in the slow cooker itself and then mix it into the rice, or you can transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board if you prefer to keep it separate. Taste and stir in more salt or other seasonings as needed. Serve burrito bowls with a selection of toppings.

Recipe Notes

Cooking the rice separately: If you won’t be home to add the rice to the slow cooker, you can skip this step and cook it separately on the stovetop just before serving. To modify the recipe, combine the chicken, diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of stock, and spices in the slow cooker and cook for 6 to 8 hours on the LOW setting. Add the beans and corn and cook for 30 minutes more, or until warmed through, while you’re cooking the rice (omit the remaining chicken broth).

Vegetarian Burrito Bowls: Combine the diced tomatoes, 1 cup. Low-sodium Vegetable Broth, spices, rice, black beans, and corn in the slow cooker. Cook on the LOW setting for 3 to 4 hours, until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Stir once or twice toward the end of cooking to make sure the rice is cooking evenly.

Beyond burrito bowls: Besides burrito bowls, you can use this filling to make regular tortilla-wrapped burritos.

Storage: The burrito mixture will keep for 1 week refrigerated or for 3 months in the freezer.

Recipe Credit: http://www.cookingfromtheheart.blog

Original Recipe Credit: http://www.thekitchn.com

Original Recipe Link: https://bit.ly/2Ev9phj

Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon

Lately I have had a strong craving for Julia Child’s famous Beef Bourguignon. Switching to a plant based diet has proven somewhat difficult, but I was determined to find a vegan version to satisfy my needs. Immediately, I began searching recipes and messaging a few friends when I came across a recipe that rocked my world. The recipe I will be sharing pairs the mushroom bourguignon with mashed potatoes, but I personally think it would equally pair with egg noodles just as perfectly. The choice is up to you! Wishing you all a wonderful weekend and Happy Friday!

Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon

Ingredients

10oz. Fresh Sliced Mushrooms

1 tbsp. Oil

1/2 Large Onion (Diced)

2 Medium Carrots (Chopped)

2/3 Cup. Peas (Frozen)

3 Garlic Cloves (Minced)

3/4 tbsp. Fresh Thyme

1 tsp. Onion Powder

3/4 tsp. Sea Salt or To Taste

1/4 tsp. Blacked Pepper or To Taste

1/4 tsp. Smoked Paprika

1/3 cup. Red Wine

1/2 tbsp. Soy Sauce

3/4 cup. Vegetable Broth + 1/4 cup (If Needed)

1/4 cup. Plant Based Milk (I use Unsweetened Cashew Milk)

3/4 tbsp. Cornstarch

Mashed Potatoes

(4) Medium Sized Potatoes

1 tbsp. Plant-Based Butter

1/4 cup. Plant-Based Milk

Sea Salt & Black Pepper (To Taste)

Directions

Step One: Peel and chop potatoes, add them to a pot with water and salt. Bring to a boil. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until tender, drain. Transfer back to the pot, add plant-based milk, plant-based butter, black pepper, and sea salt to taste and mash with a potato masher (don’t use a food processor or blender). Set aside.

Step Two: Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms, carrot, peas, garlic, thyme, and all spices. Sauté for a further one minute, stirring frequently.

Step Three: Add red wine. Cook for about 2 minutes. Then add soy sauce, and vegetable broth.

Step Four: Let simmer over low/medium heat with a lid on for about 10-12 minutes or until the carrots and peas are softened.

Step Five: Combine plant-based milk and cornstarch in a bowl, stir with a whisk until there are no lumps. Add the mixture to the pan and stir (the sauce will thicken). Let simmer for a few more minutes.

Step Six: Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more salt/pepper/spices if needed. Serve mushroom bourguignon with mashed potatoes and enjoy! Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note: If unable to have red wine, please substitute with the 1/4 cup. vegetable broth noted in the ingredients.

Recipe Credit: http://www.elavegan.com

Original Recipe Link: https://elavegan.com/vegan-mushroom-bourguignon/

Hardy Vegan White Chili

With the winter months soon to arrive, I have been testing out new chili recipes. The city where I live does an annual Chili Walk in which different art shops downtown offer their homemade chilis and cinnamon rolls. This allows the shops to gain attention and help out local businesses. Last year, I came across a white chili that I fell in love with and decided I would try to find something similar. This year my goal is to make a plant based version of this chili, and I think I have possibly done that.

Scouring the internet I came across a recipe for a Vegetarian White Chili granted it was completely vegan. Being allergic to the oil from jalapeños, I decided to take the recipe and alter it a bit to make it my own. With that being said; however, you will be able to find the link to the original recipe at the bottom of the page. Enough of my ramblings though! Let’s move on to the good stuff! Happy Sunday Everyone!

Hardy Vegan White Chili

Ingredients

2 cups. Vegetable broth

(4) cloves garlic (peeled and minced)

(2) 15 oz. White beans, drained

8 oz. Vegan cream cheese (Daiya brand)

White Chili Seasoning (I used 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1tsp. Cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp. Garlic powder, 1 tbsp. Onion powder, 1 tbsp. Paprika, 2 tsp. Agave Nectar)

Salt & Pepper to taste

1/2 cup. Red Bell Pepper

1/2 cup. Green Bell Pepper

3/4 cup. Chopped Onion

1/2 cup. Mushrooms (add more if you desire)

1 cup. Corn (I used canned).

Note: For those wanting to add jalapeños, the original recipe calls for (1) 7oz can. jalapeño slices (drained)

Directions

Step One: First heat a bit of oil – or vegetable broth for doing this oil-free – in a casserole.

Step Two: Fry the garlic and the optional onions and bell for around 5 minutes.

Step Three: Combine all ingredients, including jalapeños (if desired) and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

Step Four: Season with salt and pepper as wanted, and dish out to plates. Enjoy!

Recipe Credit: http://www.cookingfromtheheart.blog

Original Recipe Credit: http://www.contentednesscooking.com

Original Recipe Link: https://www.contentednesscooking.com/vegetarian-white-chili/

Stuffed Peppers Soup

Lately the temperature decided to make a massive drop, and with that I decided it was perfect soup weather. One of my favorites to make is Stuffed Peppers Soup. Packed with flavor this soup is easy to make and will truly warm your soul. Personally, I think this soup pairs nicely with fresh made biscuits. The recipe I will be sharing with you all today is a slow cooker recipe. Please set aside 8 hours to allow everything to cook properly. I promise it is worth it! For more visual learners, I will post a link to a YouTube video which shows how to make the soup. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Wednesday!

Slow Cooker Stuffed Pepper Soup

Ingredients

1 lb. Extra-lean ground beef

1 cup. Onion (diced)

14.5 oz. Diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, garlic

2 cups. Green peppers and/or red peppers

15 oz. Tomato sauce

3 cups. Beef broth

1/2 tsp. Dried basil

1/2 tsp. Dried oregano

1 cup. Cooked rice (I personally use Jasmine rice)

Directions

Step One: Brown your beef with your onion in a skillet over medium heat.

Step Two: Drain your beef and onions and place in your 6-quart slow cooker.

Step Three: Add your tomatoes (juice and all) and the rest of your ingredients.

Step Four: Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Original Recipe Credit: http://www.recipesthatcrock.com

Original Recipe Link: https://www.recipesthatcrock.com/slow-cooker-stuffed-pepper-soup/

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/g2am6YFQslE

Fry Bread & Fried Pork

Paskawaalhaaki’, Shokha’ Nipi’ Awaalhahli’ (Fry Bread and Fried Pork) is yet another popular meal, but needs to be eaten in moderation. Being one of the heavier meals, I cook this maybe once a month. The key to this dish; however, is the fry bread! Many tribes have their variations in regards to fry bread recipes, but today I will be sharing with you the Chikashsha (Chickasaw) recipe. In regards to the fried pork, some simple pork chops breaded and seasoned the way you like will work perfectly! In my opinion, this dish best pairs with a side of black-eyed peas cooked with a little onion. Many often pair this dish with stew, but it’s whatever you prefer! If you decide to try it out, let me know!

Chickasaw Fry Bread

2 cups. Sifted flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
4 tsp. Baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup. Warm water or milk

Directions: Sift first three ingredients together and stir in beaten egg. Add water or milk to make soft dough. Round up on lightly floured cloth or bread board. Knead lightly. Roll or pat out 1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips about 2 x 3 inches and slit center. Drop into deep fat. Brown on both sides. Serve hot. Good with pinto beans, stew or syrup

Recipe Credit: http://www.chickasaw.net

Original Recipe Link: https://www.chickasaw.net/Our-Nation/Culture/Foods/Fry-Bread-and-Fried-Pork-Paskawaalhaaki-,-Shokha.aspx