Coconut Cake

– johanna | January 25th, 2013

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

It is funny how we hold dear the traditions of our families. Often to the extreme that we decry any other version other than ours as less than adequate. I recall my own prejudice for my mom’s stuffed shells made with cream cheese rather than ricotta. No one could or can make it better. I am like my picky child refusing to concede on principle.

This is where my head was as I was searching for homemade recipes to recreate my mom’s coconut cake. I snubbed my nose up at Martha. Tisked at Paula Dean. The perfect coconut cake must be a white cake with a coconut custard filling and meringue frosting. How dare one even consider spreading this holy decadent white goddess with cream cheese or seven minute frosting. The nerve.

Admittedly, there have been instances I have veered from tradition. Yes, I felt guilty for abandoning my roots; especially because I am a huge diehard fan for recipes of yore. Chefs today tend to over complicate things. However, when it comes to coconut cake my roots are firm and steadfast. I just could not justify the shift. The cake must be white, the filling must be pudding with coconut bits mixed in, and without question a meringue frosting coated with coconut.

I have a great white cake recipe that I use for birthday cakes I think would have worked well in this instance. It has a tender soft crumb and delicate flavor. Yet, there was an itch to try something new. The thought of trying another white cake recipe was a stress I fully did not want to commit to. The biggest problem when making from scratch cakes is moisture. Homemade cakes tend to be thick dry masses. Nothing compared to the spongy light cakes from the box produced by Betty Crocker. I did not have the time to test multiple cake recipes, nor did I want a slew of sweet cake around with the holidays advancing. My ancestors must have been present urging me to explore. If we are going all out from scratch this had better be worth all the effort, right? I went with my gut and choose this version of a white cake that was sensational. It is made with coconut milk a perfect compliment for the coconut cake as a whole. The crumb was tender and moist. Should I mention that the cake even impressed my niece who went to culinary school?

Source: The Cookbook Chronicles
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup full fat sour cream
½ cup olive oil
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoons baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and sour cream. Set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the vegetable oil and the butter, until creamy. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed. Beat in the egg yolks, and vanilla.

On low speed, beat in about 1/3 of the dry ingredients. Then, beat in 1/2 of the coconut milk and sour cream mixture. Repeat, ending with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients.

In a clean mixing bowl with clean beaters, whip the reserved egg whites until medium-stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter.

Line and grease three 9-inch light colored cake pans. Divide the batter evenly amongst the pans, and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the tops of the cakes are light golden and spring back when lightly pressed. Cool, and remove from cake pans.

Coconut Cake recipe (above)
Coconut Custard Filling
1 bag shredded coconut
Meringue Frosting

Bake cake and make custard according to directions.

Once pastry cream is set, mix in 2 cups shredded coconut.

Place one round of cake on a plate. Spread with coconut pastry cream. Repeat with second layer. Top with last cake round. Place cake in the refrigerator.

Make meringue frosting. Spread frosting over the cake. Lightly press shredded coconut around the sides, sprinkle on top, covering the entire cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

**Note** this cake recipe made thin flat cake rounds. If using another cake recipe or a box and the cake rounds are thicker try slicing each round into twos to make 6 thinner cake discs.

— Substitute 1 teaspoon of orange extract in the place of the vanilla in the meringue frostin.
— Dot the top of the cake with marchino cherries, drained and dried.
— 4-layer cake use two 9-inch cake rounds. Pour remaining batter into greased muffin pan.

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Pastry Cream

– johanna | January 11th, 2013

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

Whenever my mom made her famous cream puffs or coconut cake she would make this incredible pudding filling. For her cream puffs she folded decadent whipped cream into the pudding. Her coconut cake was  stacked 6 layers high with a filling of coconut pudding in between. I confess the pudding was the best part. It was so rich and creamy. I would sneak a finger full from the bowl of pudding. Maybe she knew it was me. If she did she never said anything, that I remember.

Weeks ago I was on a mission to recreate a box free version of my moms coconut pudding. The dilemma I ran into was, do I use a pudding recipe or a pastry cream. I noticed in my prior attempts when making vanilla pudding for cream puffs that the pudding was too soft and unstable.

Pudding by definition is a type of custard or soft dessert. There are two types of custards, stirred and baked. Puddings and pastry creams are stirred custards, with the exception of desserts such as bread pudding. Baked custards, like flan, are firmer and not as smooth. You would never use a baked custard or pudding to fill a cake. You would, however, use pastry cream.

I decided to use pastry cream. Pastry cream is thicker than pudding. It is meant to be used as a filling in pastries and cakes because the constant stirring enables the custard to thicken making it perfect to pipe with. Cook and serve Jello brand pudding is a easy substitute for pastry cream because of the additives that help thicken it.

Since I was using fat free milk I let the custard thicken a little longer. I was worried the custard would not set enough. I made coconut cake for my dad’s birthday once, when I was in college. I do not think I let the pudding thicken enough because the layers of the cake started to slide off. We ended up dumping the whole lot into a bowl and called it coconut punch bowl cake. It was still good.

Source: King Arthur Flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, or rice flour
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks

In a medium-sized saucepan, stir together 2 1/2 cups of the milk, the sugar, salt, and the vanilla bean. (If you’re using vanilla extract, add it at the end.) Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup milk.

Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with the egg yolks to temper them. This keeps the yolks from turning to scrambled eggs when you add them to the simmering milk.

Pastry cream will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. After that it may start to weep.

If you want the pastry cream to be sliceable, as for a cream pie, don’t fold in the whipped cream. The recipe will yield 3 cups of pastry cream in that case.

Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk. [Doing this through a strainer will help prevent lumps later.] Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve. Stir in the butter and vanilla extract (if you’re using it). If you’re going to flavor the pastry cream with chocolate or some other flavor, this is the time to do it (see variations below).

Rub a piece of butter over the surface of the cream, top with a piece of plastic wrap (make sure it touches the top of the pastry cream so it doesn’t develop a skin), then refrigerate until cool.

To complete, fold the whipped cream into the cooled pastry cream.

For coconut cream fold in two cups shredded coconut.

Flavor Variations:
— Butterscotch Pastry Cream: Add 1/4 teaspoon butter-rum flavor and/or 1 cup (6 ounces) butterscotch chips to the pastry cream after straining, stirring until the chips have melted.
— Caramel Pastry Cream: Add 3/4 cup chopped caramel (7 1/2 ounces, or 21 to 23 unwrapped individual caramels) to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth.
— Chocolate Pastry Cream: Add 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped chocolate to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth.
— Hazelnut Pastry Cream: Omit the butter and increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 3/4 cup (8 1/4 ounces) praline paste to the hot, strained pastry cream, stirring until combined.
— Orange Pastry Cream: Increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 1 teaspoon orange extract; 1/4 teaspoon orange oil; or 3 tablespoons orange zest to the hot, strained pastry cream.
— Peanut Butter Pastry Cream: Add 3/4 cup (7 1/4 ounces) smooth peanut butter to the hot pastry cream, stirring until melted and the mixture is smooth. If you’re using a natural or freshly-made peanut butter, omit the butter from the recipe, or the pastry cream will be greasy.
— Pistachio Pastry Cream: Omit the butter and increase the sugar to 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces). Add 3/4 cup (8 1/4 ounces) pistachio paste, or blanched pureed pistachio meats.

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Italian Meringue

– johanna | December 14th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

A couple of weeks ago I was dying for a bite of my mom’s coconut cake. The last time I tasted it was 13 years ago when I made it for Thanksgiving dinner with Stephen’s family. Stephen and the kids are not keen on coconut. As much as I would have loved to carry on the family tradition to serve coconut cake on Thanksgiving day, it just is not going to happen without additional mouths to help devour it. With Nadine’s pending birthday there was no question as to what type of cake I wanted to bake.

My mom’s version of coconut cake calls for boxed white cake, cook and serve vanilla pudding and a meringue frosting that uses corn syrup. My kids are allergic to chemicals, dyes and preservatives in processed foods, and corn syrup. My mission was to find a way to make a cake from scratch that was light not dense. Next, I had to find a recipe for the vanilla pudding. Pastry cream was the perfect substitute. Finally, I needed to tackle the corn syrup issue in the meringue frosting. After much research and debate Italian Meringue won. This frosting is so light and marshmallowy delicious.

My cake was so scrumptious. Above all I found a way to make it using fresh ingredients. I froze the leftovers to share with Thanksgiving dinner. It was just as fabulous as the day it was made. Happy baking!

Source: King Arthur
2 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place the 2 egg whites in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat until the egg whites are foamy and thick; they should mound in the bowl, without holding a peak. Set whites aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.

Combine the sugar, cream of tartar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; the sugar should be dissolved. If the sugar hasn’t dissolved, cook and stir a bit more, until it has. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil the syrup, undisturbed, for 2 minutes, or until the syrup registers 240°F on a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer.

Begin to beat the egg whites, and immediately pour the boiling sugar syrup into the egg whites in a slow steady stream, beating all the while. As you beat, the mixture will thicken.

Once all the syrup is added, stir in the vanilla, and continue to beat until the frosting is thick and will hold a peak.

Immediately spoon hot frosting on top of prepared cake.

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Beef Wellington

– johanna | December 7th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Main Dish

Photo property of: Honest Cooking

Ever since the first time I watched the infamous Gordon Ramsey dish up beef wellington on Hell’s Kitchen, I have long desired to know what the succulent entre is all about. Over the years I shyly took a peek at the recipe wondering if I am daring enough to execute it. Well, the time came to once and for all tackle this one. I decided to treat my mom-in-law to a grand English dinner for her birthday. She has had a tough time the few months and was in need of good nosh and pampering.

I did not go with Chef Ramsey’s recipe. Instead I found a simple list of ingredients for Beef Wellington by Ruby Moukli via Honest Cooking and adapted it slightly. I, nearly knowing nothing about meat, asked my friendly butcher to help me out. Does beef tenderloin really cost that much or was the man ripping me off because the market was on strike that day? The beef tenderloin unfortunately is pricey. Yet, Beef Wellington is definitely something you have to try at some point in your lifetime. So it is well worth the splurge for a special occasion.

I had some issues wrapping the fillet. My dough was too large so there was an excess of flap on the ends and I completely forgot to brush the inside with egg. The bottom was very soggy. I used a deep casserole to cook the Wellington in but I added two sausage links because they needed to be cooked before their life came to an end. So even though the tenderloin hardly produced juice the sausage could have wrecked havoc on the crust.

I have heard you can wrap the wellington right after sealing the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes, then take out and brush with the egg, and refrigerate another 10 minutes before cooking. Supposed to help with soggy bottoms.

Mine may have looked like a train wreck but it was absolutely superb. My niece and I could not keep our hands off the left over filling and crust.

Source: adapted from Ruby Moukli via
Serves: 6
750g (1lb 10 oz) thick beef tenderloin filet
1 onion, chopped finely
175g (6oz) chestnut mushrooms, chopped finely
350g (12oz) puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Good pinch of thyme (fresh or dried)
1/2 cup dry sherry or broth (optional)
Salt/pepper to season

Preheat oven to 220 C/425 F.

Heat a heavy pan over high heat. Smear 2 Tbsp of the butter all over the filet, then season with salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides, 1-2 minutes per side. Place beef in roasting pan uncovered and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the duxelles by heating the oil and the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large pan. Sauté garlic, onion and mushrooms until they begin to soften. Add sherry (if using) a splash at a time and wait for it to cook out before adding more. Add in parsley and thyme, then season with salt and pepper. When it’s all browned nicely (about 15-20 minutes), remove from heat and let cool.

When meat has baked for 20 minutes, remove from the oven, cover with tin foil and let cool. Pour the juices out ,set aside to make gravy later.

Roll out pastry dough into a rectangle, just large enough to wrap the meat in. Beat the egg and lightly brush the entire surface of the pastry with it. Spoon about 3/4 of the duxelles over the surface of the dough, leaving a border of about 2 inches. Place the beef in the middle and spoon the rest of the duxelles onto the top of it.

Wrap the sides of the pastry over the filet. Pinch the edges together and use any remaining or excess pastry to patch up gaps or make decorative shapes.

Using a sharp knife, make two slices in the dough.
Brush the remaining egg wash over the entire Wellington. Place back in the roasting tin, on a wire rack if possible, to help guard against a soggy dough. Bake for 30 minutes for medium-rare, 40 minutes for well done. Check frequently and if it’s starting to brown early, cover with foil.

Remove the Wellington from the oven and let rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing into thick (1 1/2 inch) with a serrated knife.

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Pumpkin Pancakes

– johanna | November 30th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Breakfast

Thanksgiving was not complete without a delicious pumpkin roll for dessert and scrumptious pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and some chopped pecans. Tastes just like pumpkin pie. We enjoyed them so much that we saved the left over pumpkin to make them again this week on Pancake Wednesday.

Source: High Heels and Grills
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
3 tablespoon brown sugar
1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin or 1 1/2 cups.
3 cups buttermilk
3 eggs

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and brown sugar, combining well.

Add pumpkin, buttermilk, and eggs to dry ingredients and mix gently. {If batter seems stiff, add water until it can be easily spooned onto a griddle.}

Heat griddle to medium heat and grease lightly.
Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle and let cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Let other side cook again until lightly browned.
Repeat these steps until all the batter is gone.

Serve with whipped cream, mini chocolate chips, and hot maple syrup.

– 1 1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree: use a cheese cloth to help get some of the liquid out.
– Can use coconut milk or rice milk instead of buttermilk. Also water is fine but the end result is not as rich.
– Sub spices for 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
– If you find that the pancakes are not setting up properly (still mushy inside) add a bit more flour. Turn down the heat and cook at a lower temperature for a longer period of time.

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Hot Chocolate

– johanna | November 16th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Beverage

We have been searching and searching for a kid approved homemade hot chocolate recipe. After many failures and sad faces finally the kids have deemed Eureka! We found it! Just in time too. We have a long winter ahead with many a Saturday morning brew to make.

6 cups water
2 cups half and half
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (semi is fine if you like a darker chocolate)
1 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

In a large pot over medium heat, whisk together the water, half and half, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, 3/4 cups sugar, salt, and teaspoon of vanilla.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl beat the cream, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and powdered sugar on high speed until thick and the consistency of whipped cream.

Once the hot chocolate is heated through, and the ingredients dissolved, turn off the heat. Then stir in the whipped cream. Whisk until completely incorporated.


— Add up to 1 cup of the milk chocolate chips. Use can also use semi for a bolder taste.
— For kids with sensory processing disorders they might be able to detect the cocoa graduals. Try simmering the hot chocolate longer, stirring constantly as not to burn the chocolate and milk, or replace the cocoa powder with baking chocolate or chocolate chips. Use 5 squares unsweetened or semi sweet baking chocolate or 1 cup bitter or semi chocolate chips.
— For a richer hot chocolate use 6 cups milk instead of the water. You can also use milk in place of the water and half and half for a total of 8 cups or 2 quarts milk.
— Dairy free: Use 2 quarts water eliminating the half and half and milk. Sub rice milk or coconut milk for the half and half. Use dairy free chocolate. Buy dairy free whipped cream or make your own using 2 cans full fat coconut milk (cold) in place of the heavy cream.
— whipped cream: Substitute 1 (8oz) container whipped cream for the heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar.
— Sugars can be replaced with equal amount of honey or maple syrup but the flavor will be altered. You can also use coconut sugar or xylitol without a difference in taste.

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Homemade Rice Milk

– johanna | November 9th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES- Condiments

I had never heard of rice milk until 15 years ago. I had a friend with Epstein Barr, a blood virus. She was unable to eat sugar and milk because they aggravated the disease. It was she who introduced me to real from the tap maple syrup and rice milk.

I have been using rice milk in both cooking and baking opposed to cows milk. I love that I do not need to add a thickener to my bechamel (cheese or cream) sauce because the rice milk has just enough starch. Homemade rice milk is also a cheaper alternative when making large batches of hot chocolate.

My kids are not lactose or gluten intolerant, however I try to use a variety of grains, liquids, fruits and vegetables as not to overload our systems. 2 years ago we eliminated all processed foods in addition to many fruits and vegetables that contain the natural chemical salicylate. Salicylates can be found in stone and citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, and peppers. At the time that was everything our diet consisted of. After a period of six weeks we slowly introduced the foods back into our diet one at a time. I discovered that apples made my son hyper. Strawberries and grapes made my daughter moody. My youngest son seemed fine but he had a gluten and milk allergy. Cows milk was replaced with coconut and rice milk (we tried goats milk but he did not like it) and wheat was replaced with rice and gluten free flours. The saying everything in moderation is what we try to live by. We are ok if we eat these foods sparingly.

This recipe makes about 3 quarts of milk. The cost comes out to less than a dollar a week.

1 cup uncooked brown rice (or long grain)
4 cups water
1 tsp salt (optional)

Thoroughly wash the rice. Pour rice and water into a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover the pot and lower the heat, simmer for 2-3 hours until soupy. Stir in salt, if using.

Fill a blender halfway with rice mixture and 1-2 cups water. Blend until smooth about 2-4 minutes (depending on type of blender). Strain milk through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Continue blending and straining the rest of the rice mixture.

Stir in extra water if needed and any sweetener and flavoring if using. Strain back into pot. Clean out bowl. Strain the milk once more back into the bowl. Store milk in a large pitcher or mason jars. Refrigerate for up to one week.

To Use:
— Thin the milk with additional water if too thick.
— Substitute rice milk for cows milk in most recipes.

— 4 tablespoons maple syrup or other sweetener.
— 1 teaspoon vanilla (or more to taste)
— 1 teaspoon cinnamon
— 1 tablespoon organic sunflower oil.
— Nut and Rice Milk: add a handful of blanched raw almonds, hazelnuts, or cashews to the blender with the rice mixture.

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Basics of Making Homemade Broth

– johanna | November 2nd, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Soup / Salad, THE BOOKSHELF

I began making homemade broth a resourceful way to utilize the  remnants of the Thanksgiving turkey. Boy, did it make some tasty soup. Thus my resolve to never buy canned soup again; and, I have held to that resolve. Brewing broth used to be a once a year rite of Thanksgiving. Then throughout the year each time we baked a whole chicken the carcass and innards went into the stew pot with water. Over the years I started buying more whole chickens. I roasted them whole or cut them into the various parts to use in dishes throughout the week. The theory being they are cheaper that way. It was like a buy one, get one free kind of deal by making broth from left over fryer chickens.


Most often a whole chicken is boiled in water to make homemade chicken soup. Adding vegetables will give both flavor and depth to the broth. The chicken is virtually robbed of all its flavor when boiled. The best way to use boiled chicken is in soups or heavily seasoned dishes like casseroles or chicken salad.

Whole Chicken Broth:
1 fryer chicken
2 onions
1 carrot cut into large chunks
1 celery stalk, whole
2 tablespoons salt

Remove the chicken from the wrapping. Rinse throughly with water (run the water through the inside of the chicken also). Rub both the outside and inside with course salt. In a large deep pot add the fryer, vegetables,neck and gizzards (no liver) from pouch that comes inside the chicken, and salt. Add just enough water to cover by 1 to 2 inches.

Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours or until meat falls off the bones and the bones look pale and clean. Skim the foam off the top.

Strain broth through a large mesh colander into a large bowl. Allow broth to cool. Skim the fat from the top of the broth.


Rotisseri chicken purchased from a restaurant or a chicken baked at home can be utilized to make chicken broth. Even though the wing pieces do not have much meat they will add more flavor to the broth than using just the bones. I like to add every part of the leftover chicken that has not been gnawed on.

Chicken Pieces Broth:
1 chicken carcass with bones (Include and leg and wing pieces)
Neck and gizzards (excluding the liver), if available
Vegetables: onions, celery, carrots, leeks

Place bones in a large deep pot. Add enough water to cover the bones by 1-2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 2-3 hours until the bones are pale and clean. Skim the scum off the top.

Strain stock through a mesh colander into a large bowl. Allow broth to cool.


– Use the broth in recipes that call for chicken broth.

– When using homemade broth in soups flavor with fresh herbs, spices, and vegetables.

– To make chicken stock simmer broth 2-4 hours to reduce the liquid. Broth will become thicker with a more condensed flavor.

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Eggless (Vegan) Ginger Cookies

– johanna | October 19th, 2012

Filed under: RECIPES - Treats

Two weeks was a scorching 102 degrees. Last week cloudy skies brought light showers accompanied by cooler weather. This week was back into the high 90’s. I know, right? It is October already! Mother Nature, not acceptable. Not acceptable at all! We will just have to go ahead and celebrate autumn without the fall weather. Solution? Bake some fall goodness and hope for a cooler reprieve.

Ginger cookies are my favorite fall cookie. It is also the only other cookie flavor besides sugar that we all agree on. This version of ginger cookies is my favorite egg free recipe. I have made baked goods using the flax + water. I have also used chia seeds mixed with water. Sometimes there is a noticeable difference in taste or texture though. However, with this recipe you would never know it does not contain eggs.

Source: Isa Chandra Moskowitz
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup rice or coconut milk
1 cup granulated or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons turbinado, demerra sugar or granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.

In a separate large bowl, mix together the oil, molasses, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and combine well.

Roll into 1-inch balls, roll in turbinado sugar. Place on baking sheet 1-inch apart. Flatten slightly into a 1 1/2 inch disk. Bake 10 to 12 minutes (don’t overbake!), let cool on cookie sheet about 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack.

Variations: – Replace the milk with applesauce.

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Black Bean Enchiladas

– johanna | October 5th, 2012

Filed under: BUDGET MEALS, RECIPES - Main Dish

Over the past year I have been taking a more vegetarian approach to cooking.  It is not that I am going vegan or anything, not yet anyway. Meat is just so darn expensive. The hurdle, when subbing meat with beans or vegetables, is getting a thumbs up from the picky eater club (aka. husband and kidlets).

The first time I made black bean enchiladas it was not my intention to make them meat free. I got sidetracked and forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer over the weekend to thaw. Come Tuesday night (Mexican cuisine night) I realized my blunder. Needless to say my black bean enchiladas were a huge hit not only with my kids but the neighbor kids as well.

1 can cuban black beans with peppers and onions
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
10 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 recipe enchilada sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix the black beans (if using unseasoned black beans drain and rinse first), lime juice, and cilantro.

Make the enchilada sauce.

Cover the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan with a thin layer of enchilada sauce. Spoon some of the bean mixture onto a tortilla. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of cheese. Fold the tortilla in thirds then place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with each tortilla.

Pour the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the bean enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.

– 1 can black beans. Season with 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
– Add 1/2 cup chopped yellow and red bell peppers and 1/4 cup chopped onions.

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