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Saturday, June 29, 2013

♥ Gluten Free: Fresh Plums With Polenta Cake ♥


  • 10 red or black plums
  • 1/4 cup plus 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • whipped cream, for serving


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish. Slice the plums into a bowl. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the sugar and toss; set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, over low heat, warm the milk and vanilla. Add the butter, zest, and salt. Bring to a simmer. Whisking constantly, slowly stir in the polenta. Cook, still whisking, for 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the honey, egg yolks, and 3 tablespoons of the remaining sugar and whisk until combined. Let cool until lukewarm.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, beat the egg whites and the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. With a spatula, fold the egg white mixture into the polenta mixture.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared dish. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes. Slice and top with the plums and whipped cream. 
Serves 8.

~~Real Simple, August, 2006~~

Friday, June 28, 2013

♥ Easy Patriotic Poke Cake ♥

2 baked 9-inch round white cake layers, cooled
2 cups boiling water, divided
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin, or any other red flavor
1 pkg. (3 oz.) JELL-O Berry Blue Flavor Gelatin
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed


 PLACE cakes, top-sides up, in clean 9-inch round pans; pierce with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals.

ADD 1 cup boiling water to each flavor dry gelatin mix in separate small bowls; stir 2 min. until completely dissolved. Pour red gelatin over 1 cake and blue gelatin over remaining cake. Refrigerate 3 hours.

DIP bottoms of cake pans in warm water 10 sec; unmold. Fill and frost cake layers with COOL WHIP. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

♥ Luscious Lemon Delight ♥


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, divided
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
2 (3.4-ounce) packages lemon instant pudding mix
2 2/3 cups milk


Preheat the oven to 375F.

Combine flour, 1/2 cup pecans and butter in a medium bowl and mix well. Press onto the bottom of an 11 x 8-inch baking dish. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Let stand to cool.

Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer set at medium speed until fluffy. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until mixture is light and fluffy.

Add 1 cup whipped topping to cream cheese mixture and fold in gently. Spread over cooled crust.

Combine pudding mix and milk in a medium bowl. Beat until thickened. Spread on top of cream cheese layer. Top with the remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with remaining pecans. Chill, covered, for 1 hour. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

♥ Gluten Free: Mango Gratin ♥


  • 1 large ripe mango
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons butter


  1. Heat broiler. Using a heavy, sharp knife, slice the mango lengthwise around each side of the pit. Remove the skin and cut the fruit into bite-size pieces. Divide between 2 small ramekins and stir in the lime zest. Top with the yogurt and brown sugar and dot with the butter. Spritz with the lime juice. 
  2. Broil 2 to 3 minutes or just until the topping melts and browns.
Serves 2.
~~Real Simple , March, 2003~~

Thursday, June 13, 2013

♥ Lemon-Berry Shortcake ♥


  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1-1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping


  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, butter, lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in strawberries. Pour into a greased and floured 9-in. round baking pan.
  • Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For topping, in a large bowl, combine the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Spread whipped topping over cake. Drain strawberries; arrange over top. 
  • Yield: 8 servings. 
  • ~~Taste of

Friday, June 7, 2013

♥ Vegan: Chocolate Cupcakes with Almond ‘Buttercream’ and Raspberry Glaze ♥

Ingredients (11-12 cupcakes)
For the Cupcakes
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used Vanilla Almond milk)
  • 1 cup sugar (I used natural cane sugar)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (or other oil)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp pure almond extract (optional, but awesome)
  • 1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (I used Dutch-process)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, to taste
For the buttercream
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery stick or equivalent, room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar, sifted (I used organic)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract (may sub. other extracts)
  • 1.5-2 tbsp non-dairy milk, to achieve your desired consistency
for the raspberry glaze
  • I saved a bit of the frosting (~1/2 cup) and I made a raspberry glaze. I mashed about 5-6 fresh raspberries with a fork and mixed it with the frosting. The raspberries release a bit of water and the frosting thins out into a lovely glaze that you can drip over the cupcakes. It added a lovely hint of raspberry to the cupcakes that paired well with the chocolate and almond flavours!
  • Note 1: If making the frosting as shown in the pictures, please double the frosting recipe above.
  • Note 2: For soy-free option, use soy-free earth balance. For nut-free option, do not use almond extract and use vanilla.
For the cupcakes
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners. With an electric mixer, beat together the following ingredients in a large bowl (non-dairy milk, oil, sugar, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, almond extract). Beat on medium speed for a minute or two.
  • 2. Now sift in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt). Mix well, until the clumps are gone.
  • 3. Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake pan, about two thirds full for each. Bake for about 22 minutes at 350F, or until the cupcake slowly springs back when pressed with a finger. Allow to completely cool before frosting.
For the Buttercream
  • 1. In a mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup of Earth Balance (or equivalent) with an electric mixer. Add in the milk, extract, and salt. Mix. Now gradually add in the sifted icing sugar, starting with 1 cup and mixing slowly until fully combined. I like to use my stand mixer when making frosting because I leave it mixing for about 5-10 minutes until nice and fluffy. Alternatively you can beat the frosting with a handheld mixer, for at least 4-5 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the frosting if you want to make the raspberry glaze (shown below).

~~From one of my absolute FAVORITE vegan websites: Oh She Glows~~

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

♥ Mini Lemon Cupcakes with Sweet Tea Frosting ♥

  • Cake:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3 oz box lemon Jell-O
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Frosting:
  • 3 regular sized tea bags
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line 48 mini muffin tins with liners, or 24 regular sized muffin tins.
2.  Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over 3 tea bags.  Let steep for 10 minutes.  Remove tea bags, squeezing out excess water.  Place tea concentrate in the fridge to cool.
3.  In the bowl of a mixer, combine cake mix and Jell-O.  Add vegetable oil, water, eggs, and lemon extract.  Mix on low for about 30 seconds.  Scrape sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed for one minute.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake until tops spring back when lightly touched — mini cupcakes about 5 – 10 minutes, and regular sized c
upcakes about 15 minutes.  Let cupcakes cool on a wire rack.
3.  Prepare frosting:  In the bowl of your mixer, combine tea, butter, and shortening.  Beat on low speed until smooth and combined.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  Once powdered sugar is barely mixed in, increase speed to medium high and beat for about a minute, until fluffy.  Frost cooled cupcakes and serve.

**Cupcake batter adapted from


Monday, June 3, 2013

♥ Gluten-Free: Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Meringues ♥


  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature


  1. Heat oven to 200° F.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the vanilla, espresso powder, salt, and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Very gradually (1 tablespoon at a time) beat in the sugar; increase mixer speed to high and beat until the mixture holds glossy peaks.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake until dry, crisp, and firm, about 2 hours. (The meringues are done when they release easily from the parchment.)
  5. Turn off the oven, prop open the door about ½ inch (use the handle of a wooden spoon), and let the meringues sit inside for 1 hour. Slide the parchment (with the meringues on top) onto racks and let cool completely.
  6. Peel the meringues off the parchment, then dip the bottom of each into the chocolate, allowing any excess to drip off. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate just until the chocolate is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 
Makes 24.

~~Real Simple , November, 2010~~

Saturday, June 1, 2013

♥ Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling ♥

1 box yellow cake mix
5 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar and mint, for garnish

Mix and bake the cake as directed, using a 9 by 13-inch pan. Cool and turn out from pan.

Using dental floss, slice cake in 2 lengthwise, so you have 2 layers.

In saucepan, combine the flour and milk. Cook and stir until thick. Set aside to cool.

In bowl combine sugar, salt, shortening, softened butter and vanilla. Beat with electric mixer until fluffy, then add the cooled milk mixture and beat until fluffy.

Put half the cake in a 9 by 13-inch plastic keeper. Spread all of filling over that, then top with the other half of the cake. Cover with lid and store 1 or 2 days ahead. Garnish with powdered sugar and mint before serving.

Serves 12.

~~Paula Deen, Paula's Party~~