Yellow Cake with Chocolate Icing

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This was the first time I recall making a cake truly from scratch. I’m sure I must have done it before, but memory fails.

So, I turned to my mixer manual again. And just for the record, I’m not being compensated to mention it. It’s just that hey, someone somewhere worked hard on that collection of starter recipes, and doesn’t everyone like to feel appreciated now and again?

For the most part, I followed the recipe word-for-word. The only major deviation was adding some granulated sugar to their Chocolate Frosting recipe, one table spoon (literally), to be exact, because I felt at the time that it needed a little something extra. But, honestly, in retrospect, I could have skipped it and been perfectly happy. After all, there’s 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar in there to begin with!

Another thing I will try a little differently next time will be to mix the cake batter a little longer. I know they said about 1 minute, and that’s what I did, but it was just a touch too dense for me. Scooping it in before baking was more like brownies than cake.

Having made countless box cakes that all taste more or less the same, it was surprising to me to not to be bonked over the head by sweetness. The best way I can describe the yellow cake itself is more like cornbread. Not bad, just different texturally and more subtle. It really speaks to the way our senses are really overwhelmed with the sweetness and uniformity of commercially produced products.

Deep Dish Pizza

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This was the first time I made pizza from near-scratch, and not bragging, it was delicious.

The recipe for the dough came from the KitchenAid Stand Mixer manual. Their picture didn’t look like a deep-dish crust to me, but so much the better. (It may also be because I’d slightly altered the recipe by adding a touch more water to the dough, because it was still too dry to form into a ball.) In any case, I was thrilled with their recipe and will be using it again sometime. Mine looks a touch underdone compared to theirs and to the usual “golden crust”, but you know what? I loved it!

The sauce wasn’t sauce at all, but diced plum tomatoes with some basil. Store-bought, because I had it around, this particular kind had only the tomatoes and basil in it, and nothing bizarre added to the ingredient list.

The slices were fresh mozzarella, obviously.

The small cubes of cheese were smoked Gouda, just for a little something special. Obviously, they didn’t melt, and honestly were not needed, as cute as they were. Next time, I will probably leave them off.

The onion/mushroom mixture was cooked up by my lovely girlfriend, and though she has described that magic to me, I have yet to master it.

To finish it off, I just added a touch of oregano and garlic powder, since the basil was already in the sauce.

🙂

Italian Rolls

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I made Italian bread for the first time the other day. Everyone always talks about how difficult bread baking is, but I have to say, it was an enjoyable experience, probably because I tried a basic recipe. I also consulted my bread-baking partner for advice, and referred to the tips published by KitchenAid in their mixer manual.

Bread is another one of my favorite staple/comfort foods, and I was eager to try making some. In the process, I’ve learned a few things from experience that I’d only read about before, such as “baking bread is expensive”. If you buy the flour specifically intended for bread, it costs more. In fact, these two gorgeous loaves cost more than several from a baker. So, for me, bread baking is not about saving money. It’s just about the joy that comes from trying something new, and enjoying the fruits of your labor.

I followed this recipe to the letter, and I didn’t have too much trouble. My most significant misstep was getting all color-field during the glazing step. Yeah, don’t do that, no matter how tempting it is. If you don’t already know why, it’s because doing so will basically cement the rolls to the sheet. Obviously, I eventually freed them, but it’s not something I wish to repeat.

But all in all, this was a fun experience- definitely a “do-again”.

🙂

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

Oatmeal in Crockpot

After some consideration, I decided to not to pursue further nutrition appointments. While I was grateful for the meeting, too many things just weren’t sitting right. For starters: “I’m a vegetarian, why are you telling me to consider eating meat?”  

In short, I just felt like I wasn’t being listened to. Though my opinion may change, I felt it was best to go with my gut. Still, the mandate to eat more protein falls within my personal goals, so I’m going to continue on that path, in my own time and with my own stride.

Oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts, but I rarely eat it because it requires effort in the morning. I tried instant, and it’s good, if you don’t mind flakes in hot water. First thing in the morning, I don’t have the presence of mind to let it set. Which, is sad, I know, but know thyself…

I’ve done eggs on weekends or prepped them, but how many eggs can one woman eat? Boxed cereal tastes fine to me, but isn’t really protein-rich, nor particularly healthy. Oatmeal. The perfect solution. So, I looked it up. I have no connection to this writer, nor am I a regular reader there.

This is quite possibly the easiest recipe ever. Just remember to buy STEEL-CUT OATS and you’re good to go. I have a 3 quart crock and it worked fine. I didn’t add the fruit- just oatmeal and a dash of salt, follow directions, and wake up to warm fuzzies. Though, I did add a few fresh blueberries after the fact, and that was pretty yummy. I did not eat the crusty parts on the side & would not recommend them. This picture was taken after an 8 hour cook time. With the 7 hour, you end up with a creamier version and more usable food. After the first batch, I refrigerated it and microwaved each 1 cup serving for a minute. That worked perfectly.

(Note: the picture was taken after it had cooled down, because I don’t have the presence of mind to take a picture in the morning, either!;)

Enjoy!