Sour Chocolate Cake

Sour Chocolate Cake

Sour Chocolate Cake

I found this recipe a while back in my Saveur magazine.  I guess I held on to it so I could find a good reason to make it.

Reason #1.  We were on vacation.

Reason #2.  It was HOT outside and I was in heaven.

Reason #3.  I sat by a pool all day with nothing to do but sit.

Extra reason: I made dinner for everyone as a thank you for having us spend Spring Break with them….which meant my horrible lovely brother and my BFF Janine’s terrible wonderful husband Dan could torture me all night.  AND I FED THOSE TWO BAD BOYS!

Saying things like: “it’s more of a door stopper than a cake!”  “knocking on the table…what’s that?  Isabelle’s cake”  “remember when we were kids eating peanut butter and soda crackers having a whistling contest?  This cake would work as well”  “moisture, where are you?”  “I know what it’s like to eat sand now”  and on and on….

;)  I do love them both immensely but they thrive on torturing me!

this is what was left after they teased me about the cake....!

this is what was left after they teased me about the cake….!

Ingredients:

For the cake:
½ cup milk
1½ tsp. white vinegar
¾ cup shortening, plus more for greasing
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup cocoa powder
8 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 eggs, lightly beaten

For the icing:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
¼ cup milk
5 tbsp. unsalted butter

How to:

For the cake:

Mix milk and vinegar in bowl; let sit until slightly curdled, about 10 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish with shortening. Set aside.

Whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon, and baking soda, in a bowl; make a well in the center.  Bring shortening, cocoa powder, butter, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan.  Cook, whisking constantly, until smooth, 5-7 minutes; let cool slightly.  Whisk in milk mixture and eggs.  Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until a smooth batter form.  Pour batter into greased pan and smooth top.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes; let cool.

the start

the start

baked

baked

For the icing:

Whisk confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder in a bowl.  Simmer milk and butter in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted, 3-4 minutes.  Whisk in sugar mixture until smooth.  Pour icing over cake; let set completely, about 30 minutes.

and the icing on top :)

and the icing on top :)

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 pretty good cake if you ask me...OK OK I will admit a dollop of vanilla ice cream would have been heavenly!

pretty good cake if you ask me…OK OK I will admit a dollop of vanilla ice cream would have been heavenly!

Peace and I have my reasons,

Isabelle

Oats and Chocolate Chip Scones

Oats and Chocolate Chip Scones

Oats and Chocolate Chip Scones

I have been making this recipe for quite some time.  I don’t even know why I haven’t shared it with you guys.  It is so delicious.  Kids love it and you can truly make the whole thing in no time.  It is not too sweet.  It is a quick breakfast on a busy morning and it is absolutely amazing with a hot cup of tea.

I think that it would probably be easy to swipe the chocolate chips with blueberries or peanut butter chips or butterscotch chips…I say this but in all honesty I haven’t tried it simply because the hormonal wonderful teens that always hang at our house are somewhat obsessed in love with chocolate!

look at that gorgeous color and the amazing crust!  YUM!

look at that gorgeous color and the amazing crust! YUM!

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup rolled oats (old fashion NOT quick oats)

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces and kept very cold

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup cold buttermilk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg, whisked (for topping)

Raw/Torbinado sugar  (for topping)

How to:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine your flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add your cold butter.  Using a pastry cutter or your finger combine your butter to your flour mixture until you have a coarse mixture.  You shouldn’t have pieces any larger than a pea.

I do love my pastry cutter!

I do love my pastry cutter!

Add your chocolate chips, buttermilk, 1 egg and vanilla.  Using a wooden spoon combine until all liquid is absorbed.  Your dough will be extremely sticky.  Dump everything on a well floured surface (wooden cutting board is best in my opinion).  Using your hands (best tools known to man!) knead your dough gently until your have a soft texture (do not over knead).  Form into an 8 or 9-inch circle about 1- 1 1/2-inch thick.  Cut into 8 pieces.  Put all 8 scones on your prepared baking sheet.  Brush with your whisked egg and sprinkle with your raw sugar.  (amount suggestive to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon per scones I guess)

make sure it is not too thin

make sure it is not too thin

8 "almost even" pieces ;)

8 “almost even” pieces ;)

ready to go!

ready to go!

Put in your preheated oven and bake for 17-18 minutes.

doesn't that look so scrumptious?

doesn’t that look so scrumptious?

take a closer look...don't you just want to take a bite?!

take a closer look…don’t you just want to take a bite?!

Let cool and enjoy.

perfect afternoon snack!

perfect afternoon snack!

Note: I like to cut my butter into small pieces and put it back in the fridge for a few minutes while I get everything else ready.  I find that by the time I cut my butter into the small pieces it has already started to warm/melt just from the heat of my hands….just a thought maybe your hands don’t melt butter!  ;)

my basket for the teens' breakfast

my basket for the teens’ breakfast

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Peace and I am probably more hormonal than they are,

Isabelle

Pineapple Coconut Loaf Cake

Pineapple Coconut Loaf Cake

Pineapple Coconut Loaf Cake

Believe it or not finding a simple recipe for a pineapple cake/quick bread proved to be quite the task.  Who would have thought that such a simple concept would turn into a search rivaled to the Lockness Monster search….yea yea I exaggerate.  As luck would have it Mrs Stewart had the right recipe for me.  Finally a recipe that didn’t include bananas or dried fruits or nuts or something other than pineapple and coconut!

take a bite of this super moist super flavorful and simply stunning loaf cake!

take a bite of this super moist, super flavorful and simply stunning loaf cake!

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart: Coconut Pineapple Loaf Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple drained well

How to:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake until lightly toasted, tossing occasionally, 6 to 10 minutes; set aside.  Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch (8-cup) loaf pan; set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

delicious sweet coconut snow!

delicious sweet coconut snow!

toasted to perfection

toasted to perfection

Using an electric mixer on high-speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Reduce speed to low, and alternately add flour mixture in three parts and yogurt in two, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Mix just until combined (do not overmix).

Using a rubber spatula, fold in your crushed pineapples and 1 cup coconut into batter.  Spoon into prepared pan, and smooth top; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup coconut.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 75 – 80 minutes (cover pan with foil halfway through).  Let cake cool in pan 15 minutes.  Remove from pan, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

almost there

almost there

ready to bake (don't forget to foil half way, otherwise it will burn)

ready to bake (don’t forget to foil half way, otherwise it will burn)

ready...confession I missed the halfway point by a few minutes.... :(

ready…confession I missed the halfway point by a few minutes…. :(

Note: Mrs Stewart used pineapple chunks.  I didn’t want big pieces of pineapple in my cake (my kids’ request).  I wanted the flavor and the cake to be super moist.  She also used sour cream, I like (and always have on hand) Greek yogurt.  Also it said it should bake for 65 – 70 minutes, but I must disagree (respectfully so of course) mine took way longer.
I cannot tell you enough how delicious this is and MOIST! OH MY WORD!

I cannot tell you enough how delicious this is and MOIST! OH MY WORD!

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Peace and Monster,

Isabelle

Citrus Tea Cookies

Citrus Tea Cookies (and one of my favorite mug)

Citrus Tea Cookies (and one of my favorite mug)

We have been drinking tea, buying tea, talking about tea.  So much so that we have an overflowing and 100% dedicated Tea drawer….with an extra container of tea on the side.

We have tea for the masses: chai tea, sleepy time tea (for the old folks), green tea, coconut chai tea (my fave), ginger pear tea, chamomile tea, lemon ginger tea (great for upset stomach), passion fruit mango tea, red velvet chocolate tea (yuck!), British tea (makes you sound worldly), pomegranate tea….I will stop before you lose your mind.

see for yourself....it's a mad tea house

see for yourself….it’s a mad tea house

isn't this the cutest: Mr. Tea and ManaTea?!!!! HAHAHA clever!

aren’t these the cutest: Mr. Tea and ManaTea?!!!! HAHAHA clever!

What goes best with tea?  COOKIES….tell me you saw that coming!  Ha….predictable aren’t I?!

lovely, light, not overly sweet and oh so pretty!

lovely, light, not overly sweet and oh so pretty!

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temp

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Zest and juice 1 lemon

Zest and juice 1 orange

How to:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In your mixer cream your butter with your sugar.  Add your egg, combine well.  Add your almond extract, zests and juices.  (note: both my lemon and orange produced just shy of 1/2 cup of juices combined).  Add your dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  Using a medium size scoop or spoon drop your cookie dough onto your prepared pans.  Bake in your preheated oven for 10-11 minutes.

this dough smells like citrus heaven!

this dough smells like citrus heaven!

gorgeous dollops of cookie dough

gorgeous dollops of cookie dough

done! Time to relax and enjoy your hard work :)

done! Time to relax and enjoy your hard work :)

Let cool and enjoy with a delicious cup of tea :)

Note:  this doesn’t make a lot of cookies….but since it is January and we are all trying to be healthy and all that jazz I figure I should try to over do it.  Also the cookies are not super sweet, feel free to up the sugar if prefer but I feel that it is a tea cookie and therefore should blow your sweet tooth!   Finally, I used a blood orange hence the pink hue to my cookies, feel free to use what ever type of oranges your like or even orange juice if that is all you have.

one last look...even the inside of this cookie is perfect!

one last look…even the inside of this cookie is perfect!

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Peace and Let’s Have Tea,

Isabelle

Blueberry Swirl Bundt Cake

Blueberry Swirl Bundt Cake

Blueberry Swirl Bundt Cake

My sister-in-law (Mr. Man’s sister) gets me magazine subscriptions for my birthday.  Last year she included the Cook’s Illustrated subscription.  It is a wonderful publication.  Thing is, they really get down to the nitty gritty of why, how and why some more….something we all know is way too time consuming for a multi-tasker like myself.  I just have to get to whatever I need to do in about 1 shot and sometimes less!  Glad they do their homework, for them, for me….for all of us!

When I read their recipe for Blueberry Bundt Cake I was taken back on how simple and logical it was to make a blueberry puree (they called it a blueberry filling) for the cake as opposed to simply adding the blueberries to the cake mix.  Even distribution of the blueberry taste is pure genius!  Why didn’t I think of that?!  Well…..I remember….I didn’t think of that because I was probably rushing to make my cake in the past and didn’t stop to calculate how better it would be if the blueberries were evenly dispersed!

This is a beautiful cake, the taste is out of this world and it really elevates a simple blueberry Bundt cake to become an elegant dessert.

cake....such a marvelous creation!

cake….such a marvelous creation!

(Yes…I did change a few things….I had to make it mine!)

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup buttermilk

Zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

For the blueberry puree:

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

Zest and juice of one lemon

How to:

For the puree:

In a small saucepan combine your sugar, cornstarch, blueberries, lemon zest and juice.  Using a wooden spoon combine everything well.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Let your mixture simmer for about 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Using an immersion blender (or in your blender) puree your mixture.  I wanted some blueberry texture so I didn’t make it completely soft.  Let this cool to room temperature (very important to let it cool to room temperature to obtain the proper texture).  You will notice your puree will start to look and feel like jelly.  Set aside until ready to use.

thick delightful blueberry puree! YUM!

thick delightful blueberry puree! YUM!

For the cake:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and flour your Bundt cake pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk your flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine your buttermilk, vanilla, lemon zest and juice.  Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk your eggs.  Set aside.

In your mixer cream together your butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add your eggs, combine well.  Reduce speed to low and add 1/3 of your flour mixture, followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until just incorporated.  Repeat using 1/2 of remaining flour mixture followed by remaining buttermilk mixture.  Scrape down bowl, add remaining flour mixture, and mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined.

Spoon half the batter into your prepared cake pan.  Smooth top.  Using the back of a spoon, create 1/2-inch deep channel in center of batter.  Spoon half of puree into channel.  Using a butter knife thoroughly swirl filling into batter.  Repeat swirling step with remaining batter and puree.  *there should be no large pockets of puree remaining.

the groove ;)

the groove ;)

here we go!

here we go!

it all makes sense...doesn't it?

it all makes sense…doesn’t it?

don't be afraid to swirl away!

don’t be afraid to swirl away!

and keep going and going....

and keep going and going….

looking all swirled up (does that even make sense?)

looking all swirled up (does that even make sense?)

Bake in your preheated oven for 60-70 minutes (mine took 65).  Let cake cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then invert cake directly onto wire rack.  Let cake cool for a few hours prior to serving.

fresh out of the oven!

fresh out of the oven!

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take a closer look inside! So gorgeous!

take a closer look inside! So gorgeous!

time to reward yourself for your hard work!

time to reward yourself for your hard work!

Peace and Genius,

Isabelle

Peanut Butter Cake

Peanut Butter Cake

Peanut Butter Cake

I love my husband.  I love that he is Captain of The Nice People Club… (a club I have NEVER been invited to…surprisingly!) but honestly I think he doesn’t know how to say no to people.  He went to a local Health/Holistic Fair for his magazine.  He met a lot of lovely people….and he bought me a small cookbook.

So anyway the cookbook (if you can call it) is filled with lovely homemade little recipes.  All of which benefits an animal shelter, so in his defense it all went to a good cause.  Problem is: I am a cookbook addict.  If I get a new one I HAVE to make something from the cookbook IMMEDIATELY….so on this lovely and rainy Sunday I decided that the Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter Icing was my only choice.

1. I have all the ingredients

2. Peanut Butter is one of my fave

3. I didn’t have a dessert (which is also a problem when you are trying to be good and not eat too many sweets….)

4. My peeps like cake

and finally 5. I could make this cake with my eyes closed and holding a drink! (and I did!!!!!!)

a perfect choice if you ask me :)

a perfect choice if you ask me :)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup water

1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)

2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup milk (I use 2% organic milk)

For the icing:

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature/softened

1 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup milk

3/4 cup brown sugar

How to:

For the cake:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease or spray a 9X13 baking pan.  Set aside.

In a medium size saucepan combine your butter, water and peanut butter.  Gently bring to a boil and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.  (the mixture will thicken and somewhat separate as it cools but use a whisk and combine again)

try to contain your excitement while you look at this peanut butter mixture....riveting!

try to contain your excitement while you look at this peanut butter mixture….riveting!

In your mixer combine your flour, sugars, baking powder.  Add your vanilla, eggs, oil and milk.  Mix until just combined.  Scrape the sides of your bowl and add your cooled peanut butter mixture.  Combine well.  Pour into your prepared pan and bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.

badabing....

badabing….

badaboom....cake done!

badaboom….cake done!

For the icing: 

In your mixer combine your butter, peanut butter, milk and brown sugar, whip until light and fluffy.  Spread over your cake.

I dusted mine with a little cocoa powder...fancy, right?

I dusted mine with a little cocoa powder…fancy, right?

I absolutely love this cake, it’s easy, it’s great for a get-together or get well surprise (please make sure they are not allergic to peanuts!)  I think pretty much everyone has these ingredients on hand!  That’s a pretty darn good recipe in my mind when you don’t need to reinvent the wheel and make something tasty and pleasing to everyone!

moist and the perfect treat for everyone!

moist and the perfect treat for everyone!

note: I did change a few things for this recipe (of course….I can’t leave anything well enough alone)  In my defense you will notice that the cookbook claims to be sugar-free….well the cake was calling for 2 cups of sugar and the icing 1 1/2 cups….mmmm that’s a bit much….even for me!

mmmmm Sugar-free??? regardless LOTS of delicious recipes!

mmmmm Sugar-free??? regardless LOTS of delicious recipes!

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one more pic before I say goodbye...it's a pretty photogenic cake if you ask me!

one more pic before I say goodbye…it’s a pretty photogenic cake if you ask me!

Peace and Just say NO….if you can!

Isabelle

Nutella and Peanut Butter Cookies

Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies

Nutella Peanut Butter Cookies

If you are looking for a low-fat or diet cookie you may as well stop reading now.  This isn’t the recipe for you.  This is a fun, sweet and filled with yumminess kind of cookie.  The kind you reward yourself with after a long week….or a long day…or a long life….either way I won’t judge.  You know me, any reason is a good reason to reward myself with a delicious cookie!

This all started because my friend HaeWon decided to email me a cookie recipe from King Arthur Flour ‘s website.  I think she is just trying to torture me or see how long I can stand it before I make up an excuse to make these cookies!  Nice….real nice!  So I got the email last night and I am making them of course the very next day!  Such will power I have!  My reason?  The girls are having a bunch of friends over.  The older ones are taking over the basement while the “not so little anymore” ones are hanging upstairs….kids everywhere!  The menu is: make your own pizza night.  Simple, easy and teen approved.  Of course they need a little something sweet to round things off.  Cookies are the BESTEST to make all happy!  And Nutella….well Nutella is liquid gold in our house!

You think I am kidding…..check out what I found at Restaurant Depot the other day:

7lbs tub of Nutella...that's just insane!

7lbs tub of Nutella…that’s just insane!

Yes I changed the recipe a little bit.  That’s how it goes when I bake, or cook or pretty much do anything…I make it mine!

pretty, colorful and yummy cookies!

pretty, colorful and yummy cookies!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup vegetable shortening (you could use butter but it will change the texture)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon cold coffee (stronger the better)

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup Nutella (or any Nutella substitute you like)

1 to 1 1/2 cups Peanut Butter M&Ms

How to:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine your flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In your mixer cream your shortening with both sugars.  Add your egg, vanilla and coffee, combine well.  Add your flour mixture, do not over mix.  Add your Nutella, again – do not over mix.  Your dough will be somewhat crumbly.  You may want to add another tablespoon of coffee, but know that you will get a different texture.  If there is more moisture in the dough it will spread out more and be less chewy.  Add your M&Ms using a wooden spoon (if you use your mixer you will crush all the M&Ms which is sad).

Using a medium (tablespoon size) scoop spoon your cookie dough onto your prepared pans.  Gently press down on each cookie.  Bake in your preheated oven for 11-12 minutes.

not the easiest dough to scoop but well worth the effort

not the easiest dough to scoop but well worth the effort

another view of the raw dough, please ignore my well worn silpat!

another view of the raw dough, please ignore my well worn silpat!

Note: this dough is very crumbly, also the M&Ms are big and you may have to move things around until everything is distributed evenly.  Also you could use chocolate chips or peanut butter chips if you don’t like M&Ms.  However they do give a wonderful little crunch to the cookies.

Fresh out of the oven smelling deeeeeeelicious!

Fresh out of the oven smelling deeeeeeelicious!

I just love the look of this cookie!

I just love the look of these cookies!

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take a closer look inside...madness! :)

take a closer look inside…madness! :)

Peace and I have great friends,

Isabelle

NOTE: My friend HaeWon has a cool new blog: Mom Of All Trades.  You really should go check it out….she is the ULTIMATE multi-tasker!  Just when I think I have accomplished a lot she posts something incredible… and she is training for marathonssssss I feel like a slug! …..crazy woman!  :)

Find my recipe here as well:

Grilled Nectarine Salsa

Grilled Nectarine Salsa

Grilled Nectarine Salsa

I had a huge dilemma over this salsa. I mean HUGE, earth shattering dilemma, I tell ya!  Yes I am being dramatic…I mean in the grand scheme of life is Grilled Nectarine Salsa really an issue?  Nope.  It sure isn’t.  I just couldn’t make up my mind on what I wanted to put it on: burgers or frozen yogurt.  Here’s the little catch…if I put it on my burger I think I would like some red onions in it…not so much for the frozen yogurt…

I decided, I was willing to sacrifice the red onion in order to have a sweet treat for these hot wonderful blistering awesome summer days.  Yes I am still in love with the heat!  Bring it on!  I even ran 5 miles this morning at around 9 and I was as happy as could be!  Sweating and melting but HAPPY!  :)

ummmmm so yeah...not a bad decision if you ask me!

ummmmm so yeah…not a bad decision if you ask me!

So the salsa.  Let’s get to that.

Ingredients:

3 ripe Nectarines cut in half and pitted (I had 1 white flesh nectarine and 2 regular nectarines)

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup fresh basil roughly chopped (plus more for serving if you fancy)

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1/2 lime

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon agave syrup

3 tablespoons white rum (optional…if that’s how you fly!)

How to:

Start your grill (evidently…it’s a grilled salsa!) brush your nectarines with your melted butter.  Place on your grill skin side up.  Grill for about 2-3 minutes.  Flip your nectarines and cook for another 2 minutes (not too long, skin tends to burn).  Remove and let cool.

it's all coming together

it’s all coming together

looks at those little jewels glissening!

looks at those little jewels glistening!

nice grill marks....pad on the back Iz.

nice grill marks….pat on the back Iz.

coolin' chillin' relaxin'

coolin’ chillin’ relaxin’

Maybe make a drink and chit-chat while nectarines cool.

Chop your cooled nectarines into cubes (or what ever resembles a cube in your book!)  Add your basil, lime juice, lime zest, salt, agave syrup and rum.  Toss everything together.  Taste.  Adjust seasoning….you might need a touch more salt.  Put in your fridge to chill or serve immediately over frozen yogurt or ice cream…I say go with vanilla so you can really taste the salsa, but it’s your dessert, sky’s the limit!  I opted for frozen yogurt….oh and I did put it on my burger!  DELISH!  YUMMILICIOUS!

so that was somewhere between mind blowing good and knock your socks off crazy good!

so that was somewhere between mind blowing good and knock your socks off crazy good! Perfect sweet & salty combo!

Note: if you decide you are not going for the rum, maybe you should go for tequila? or vodka? or maybe triple sec?  OK OK….maybe add a little more agave syrup and lime juice…whatever!  ;)

sweet baby that is one delicious salsa!

sweet baby that is one delicious salsa!

On yet another note: I guess you could also use peaches, go for it….let me know if you do!

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Peace and Salsa is NOT a dilemma,

Isabelle

P.S. if you wish to make your own frozen yogurt please go check out my Brown Butter Frozen Yogurt , it’s super easy and super yummy!  You may want to skip the step with the roasted cherries….or not!

Find my recipe linked here as well:

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

My youngest daughter just walked by me a minute ago and said: “Mom, I do love these cookies”  Want to know why she said that…well other than the obvious that she actually likes them….she said that because last night after a very long day, part of which was me making these cookies, my husband grabbed one of said cookies and made choking sounds as if he was eating sand paper.  I think he was being a tad dramatic.  He said something along the lines of  “boy, you sure need some milk with those cookies” …blah blah blah…

THEY ARE TEA COOKIES!  Therefore they are not only rich but dense and marvelously flavorful.  That’s my story and I am sticking to it!  For heaven’s sake!  Has anyone in this house ever had tea with the Queen?  Good Lord!  You don’t serve just any ol’ cookie when serving tea!  You serve nice delicious shortbread cookies!  And drown your sorrows with tea…or wash your mouth with a big ol’ glass of milk!

I love these cookies.  They are true Shortbread Cookies.  If you are looking for a crispy, light as a feather or chewy cookie, well this won’t be the recipe for you.  Sorry buckaroos but you may want to check out my other scrumptious cookie recipes!  But believe me when I tell you how yummy these lovely little shortbread cookies are!  Let’s not forget that peanut butter and chocolate is THE perfect combination for just about anything!

different shape, same delicious shortbread cookies

different shape, same delicious shortbread cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature (2 sticks)

1 cup peanut butter (I use creamy)

1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2/3 cup confectioner sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2  teaspoon salt

1 3/4 semi-sweet chocolate chips

How to:

In a medium bowl combine your flour and your salt.  Set aside.

In your mixer cream your butter and peanut butter.  Add your almond extract and powdered sugar.  Add your flour mixture.  Combine well but do not over-mix.  Add your chocolate chips.  Divide your dough in half.  This is where I am trying to confuse you….I have two options to choose from.

the dough: nice, thick and creamy

the dough: nice, thick and creamy

A.  Make rolls in clear plastic wrap.

OR

B. Make a round/square disk (about 1/2 inch thick) in clear plastic wrap.

dough and plastic wrap...sometime it's quite a battle!

dough and plastic wrap…at times it’s quite a battle!

option A and option B :)

option A and option B :)

Put your dough in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.  Set aside.

If you opted for the roll technique you can simply sliced your dough, approximately 1/2 inch thick.

nice slices ready to go into the oven

nice slices ready to go into the oven

OR

If you opted for the round/square disk, simply use a cookie cutter or knife and cut the dough into the desired shape.

I just realized that all my cookie cutters are Christmas themed...so I simply made little squares

I realized that all my cookie cutters are Christmas themed…so I simply made little squares

Place your cookies onto your prepared cookie sheet and bake in your preheated oven for 15-16 minutes.  The cookies will remain pale in color.  Cool completely.

hard telling but these are baked and ready to chill!

hard telling but these are baked and ready to chill!

ooooh la la...lovely cookies!

ooooh la la…lovely cookies!

Printer Friendly: Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

A whole lot of cookies make me a happy girl!

A whole lot of cookies make me a happy girl!

Peace and Crumbles,

Isabelle

Amazing Carrot Cake

Amazing Carrot Cake (hidden as a birthday cake!)

Amazing Carrot Cake (masquerading as a birthday cake!)

A few weeks behind on posting.  What can I say?  Life has a way of knocking you on your behind, slapping you in the face and reminding you of what matters most.

In my case: my husband & my girls; our little family.  The end.

The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.  ~Erma Bombeck

I decided to make this carrot cake for my husband’s birthday….even though he told me not to.  He said: “if we want this carrot cake we really should just ask Chris to make it.”  Bottom line my friend Chris made this cake for us once when they came over to play cards and hang out.  Chris is an excellent baker.  Matt fell madly in love with the cake.  Important fact: my husband thinks I might not do the cake justice.  I should probably agree with him but it’s his birthday and I wanted to make something special for him.

In this house I am not the ultimate baker.  Baking takes time and patience,  two things I am usually short on.  But it was my husband’s BIRTHDAY…I mean come on, I have to bake him a cake!  He usually requests his favorite which is my strawberry cake but this year the carrot cake was in the number #1 position!  It happens!  I do have to agree this carrot cake is simply delicious, moist and totally flavorful!

Chris found this recipe in one of her Taste of Home Magazines.  I went on their website to link up the original but I will be darn; they have a plethora of carrot cake recipes but NOT the one Chris gave me….sorry…I tried!

The BEST carrot cake I have ever eaten in my life!

The BEST carrot cake I have ever eaten in my life!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3 cup shredded carrots (I think mine was closer to 3 1/2 cups)

1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple well-drained

2 cup sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 eggs

1 cup toasted walnuts

For the frosting:

2 package cream cheese

1/2 cup butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

7 1/2 cups confectioner sugar

How to (cake):

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 2 8-inch or 9-inch round baking pans.  Set aside.

In a large bowl combine your flour, baking soda and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In your mixer combine your shredded carrots, drained pineapple, sugar, oil, and eggs.  Mix well.  Add your dry ingredients slowly.  Fold in your walnuts.

Pour into your prepared pans and bake in your preheated oven for about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool completely.  Put on your serving plate.  Time to ice your cake and make it look pretty.  (something I usually fail miserably at!)

Lovely batter

Lovely start

just so you know my house smells like heaven!

just so you know my house smells like heaven!

take a closer look

take a closer look

How to (frosting):

Beat your cream cheese, butter and vanilla until blended.  Gradually add your confectioner sugar until smooth.  Spread generously between the 2 layers and all over this delicious cake.
Note: if you decide to make a sheet cake instead of a round layered cake you should make 1/2 the frosting.

Let's say I did a fair job on the decorating... :)

Let’s say I did a fair job on the decorating… :)

Printer Friendly: Amazing Carrot Cake

so moist and flavorful, simply amazing!

so moist and flavorful, simply amazing!

Peace and I love Birthdays especially my husband’s :)

Isabelle

Note: I am still on break from Facebook so if you have a chance to share on your wall or page I would greatly appreciate it…. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.