Frozen Lemon Cake

Friend Casey found this dessert and we made it on a Thursday afternoon. Then she made it again and had us over on Sunday to share. Then I made it again on Monday to feed the missionaries. I am loving this dessert right now! It's different than my usual chocolate/caramel/peanut butter routine. It's a light and fresh tasting dessert. Perfect for summer, but would be great anytime. The lemon taste was nicely balanced with the sweet. It's creamy, but light enough to serve up a big slice and not feel too full. Four of us devoured an 8x8 pan, no problem. Maybe you should double it....

Frozen Lemon Cake

1 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers, divided
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs, separated
1 lemon (all juice and all zest) {you can use 3 Tbs bottled lemon juice instead}
½ cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
4 tablespoons sugar, divided

Combine 1 cup of the crushed graham crackers with the melted butter, stirring until a crumbly loose mixture forms. Line the bottom of an 8x8-inch pan with the mixture.

In a bowl set over hot water (not boiling) mix egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. It will take about 10 minutes for the mixture to thicken. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Beat egg whites until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat until glossy, stiff peaks form. Next, beat whipped cream until fluffy, and gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar. Then, gently fold all three mixtures together.

Spread the mixture in the pan over the prepared crust. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of crushed crackers. Place in freezer for at least 3 hours. When you're ready to serve, remove from the freezer, and cut into squares and plate them. Then allow to melt ever so slightly - about 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe found on Vintage Victuals.


Oatmeal Blueberry Peach Pancakes

I've had this recipe on file for a while. A rainy Saturday morning seemed like the perfect time to try them out. What could be better than ultra-filling oatmeal pancakes in bed on a rainy day? These were just exactly what I hoped they'd be: hearty, puffed, very filling, and perfectly spiced. The blueberries were perfect paired with peaches and cream, and the pancakes had a nice spice flavor with the nutmeg and cinnamon. Yum!

Oatmeal Blueberry Peach Pancakes

1 cup Oats
1 cup Whole-Wheat flour {I actually used white and they were fine}
1 cup All Purpose flour
2 Tbsp. Baking powder
½ Tsp. Nutmeg
½ Tsp. Cinnamon
½ Tsp. Salt
1 ½ cups Milk
¼ cup Vegetable oil
2 Eggs (separated)
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Tbsp. Honey

1-2 peaches
confectioner's sugar
heavy cream

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk together the oats, flours, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Using the same whisk in a second bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, egg yolks, vanilla, and honey. In a third bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks with a hand mixer. Pour the wet into the dry mixture and stir until just combined. Mix in blueberries. Gently fold in the egg whites until incorporated and let the batter rest a few minutes. {This allows time for the baking powder to react and creates air bubbles in the batter, making your pancakes nice and puffed.}

While it's resting, peel and dice the peaches, stir in confectioner's sugar and heavy cream, and warm in microwave if desired. {We also make our maple syrup. Mix ½ cup each of sugar, brown sugar, and water, with a bit of maple extract, in a glass measuring cup. Heat in the microwave till it bubbles. Stir, make sure sugar is dissolved, and you've got maple syrup.}

Pour batter into skillet using about 1/3 cup of batter per pancake, the batter will be thick. Once bubbles form on the outside of the pancake and do not fill in again - it is time to flip them over. Finish cooking, then serve with butter, peaches and cream, and maple syrup.

Serves 6, about 12 pancakes. Or 6 giant pancakes, the way we like to do it. We halved this recipe.

Recipe found on One Food Guy.


Chicken Gyros

There's a big craze in NYC right now about Halal food. One of the things they serve at the numerous Halal street carts is the gyro {pronounced "yee-row" if you're correct and "jai-row" if you're an ignorant New Yorker with a strong accent}, a sort of wrap served on soft pita bread. The famous "white sauce" is the crowning glory of the gyro {and any Halal dish} and is absolutely delicious. The white sauce is actually called tzatziki sauce {don't ask for pronunciation on that one, I got nothing}. We were excited to find a recipe for it. I would make this again, it was yummy and different!

Chicken Gyros

For the tzatziki sauce:
2 cups plain yogurt (not nonfat, if possible)
½ hothouse cucumber or 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice {or bottled... if you're me}
Extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken:
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping tbsp. plain yogurt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 ¼ lbs. chicken pieces {I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts}

To assemble:
Pita bread
Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
Red onion, sliced thin

To make the tzatziki sauce, strain the yogurt using cheesecloth over a bowl. Let strain for several hours or overnight, if possible, to remove as much moisture as possible. If you use Oikos you don't have to strain it. {Ok let's be honest here. Did I buy Greek Oikos yogurt? No. Did I strain my yogurt? No. Did the sauce turn out fine anyway? Yes. Might it be delicious if you did it as directed here? Yes. But you may not have cheesecloth on hand. (Where do you get cheesecloth, anyway?) Just sayin.}
Peel, seed, and shred the cucumber. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the strained yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.
Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. {I diced the chicken breasts and cooked them in a skillet over med-high.} Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into strips.
Heat pitas {you could warm them on a dry skillet or griddle or in the microwave}. Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions. Serve immediately.

Recipe found on My Kitchen Cafe.

PIta Bread

Delicious, soft wrap bread. We used it for our Chicken Gyros, but it was also yummy served warm with honey butter (almost like a fried scone). I've heard it would make a great crust for individual pizzas as well. It has a yummy flavor and is very versatile. I'm glad I discovered it!

Soft Pita Bread

3 to 3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups boiling water
¼ cup potato flour OR 1/2 cup potato buds or flakes (I used potato flakes)
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon instant yeast

Place 2 cups of the flour into a bowl or the bucket of a bread machine. Pour the boiling water over the flour, and stir till smooth. Cover the bowl or bucket and set the mixture aside for 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the potato flour (or flakes or buds) and 1 cup of the remaining flour with the salt, oil and yeast. Add this to the cooled flour/water mixture, stir, then knead for several minutes (by hand, mixer or bread machine) to form a soft dough.

The dough should form a ball, but will remain somewhat sticky (the dough is fairly stiff, so don't be worried - just be careful not to overflour the dough). Add additional flour only if necessary; if kneading by hand, keep your hands and work surface lightly oiled. Let the dough rise, covered, for 1 hour (I let mine rise up to 2 hours).

Divide the dough into 8 pieces (each about the size of a handball, around 3 ounces), cover, and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Roll each piece into a 7- to 8-inch circle, and fry them without oil on a griddle or frying pan over medium heat for about 1 minute per side, until they're puffed and flecked with brown spots. Adjust the heat if they seem to be cooking either too quickly, or too slowly; cooking too quickly means they may be raw in the center, while too slowly will dry them out. Transfer the cooked breads to a wire rack, stacking them to keep them soft. Serve immediately, or cool slightly before storing in a plastic bag.

Recipe from My Kitchen Cafe.


Cinnamon Roll Muffins

I've been into cinnamon lately. And Joy the Baker. I was drooling over her recipe for cinnamon rolls, and lamenting that I didn't have the time, patience or skill to make them, when she referenced this recipe for people just like me. Hurray! They smell like cinnamon rolls. They look a little like cinnamon rolls. Best of all, they taste like cinnamon rolls! But they are much easier and faster to make. These cinnamon roll muffins were sooo delicious. We finished off all 12 in just two days. (Okay it was mostly me.) And I'm already planning on making them again.

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons active dry or rapid rise yeast
⅔ cup warm milk (100-110F, low fat is fine)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
⅔ cup brown sugar
¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom
{I think this is optional. I've never heard of it and it's only a pinch.}

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoon milk or cream

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly. Divide the batter between 12 greased muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula or fork.)

{Okay, important note here from Angie. I did not realize that you really have to mix most of the topping into the muffin batter. If you leave it just crumbled on top, it will melt and then boil in the oven, and it will boil over, and it will stick to the pan and get hard as soon as you remove it from the oven. So. Just mix it in more, like the picture below, and you should be fine.}

Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread. {Or if you're me, you can't wait and you drizzle it after 5 minutes. It just melted the icing and made it drip over the sides. Still tasted amazing!!) Serve warm. They're also delicious reheated in the microwave.

Makes 12 muffins.

Recipe and photos by Joy the Baker. (Next time I will take my own photos. My muffins weren't as pretty as hers.)


Hoisin Chicken with Rice

I kept seeing hoisin sauce in recipes and had never used it, so gave this one a try. It was yummy and came together very easily and quickly. We were in a hurry to get to the temple so there wasn't time to take a good photo. I snapped this and we ate and ran. Now that I'm posting it I noticed these huge red pepper strips taking over the entire shot. Oh well. It may not look like a magazine but it tasted good.

Hoisin Chicken Rice Bowls

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large red pepper, sliced
1 10-ounce package baby portebello mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces, white and green parts separated
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb), diced
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained, diced
2 teaspoons teriyaki sauce
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 cups hot cooked rice
sesame seeds (optional)
romaine lettuce leaves (optional)

Heat oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan. Add red pepper and mushrooms and saute for 5 - 6 minutes until tender. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add chicken and white parts of onions to pan and cook for 6 - 8 minutes or until cooked through. Stir chicken and red pepper mixture occasionally while it cooks. Add water chestnuts, teriyaki sauce and hoisin sauce and stir to coat the chicken and vegetables. Continue cooking until heated through. Stir in scallion greens and sesame seeds (if desired).

To serve, line a single serving size bowl with romaine leaves. Top with a large scoop of rice and hoisin chicken.

Alternately, you can serve the hoisin chicken mixture wrapped in lettuce leaves or omit the lettuce leaves completely and serve the chicken over rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from My Kitchen Cafe.



Snickerdoodles will always remind me of my dad because they're his favorite cookie. If you want to get on his good side, make him a good batch of snickerdoodles. I just wish I could bring these over to his house to share with him right now! They turned out perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.

Cream of tartar is almost always included in snickerdoodles. I didn't have any on hand, so I was glad to find a recipe without it that came from Martha Stewart (I trust Martha). I did a little research online and found that cream of tartar has acidic properties that help the cookies rise and gives them a little bit of a tart taste. Turns out that baking powder and a bit of lemon juice achieves a similar effect. I thought these turned out great.


2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Gradually stir in flour mixture with a spoon.

2. Stir together cinnamon and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 30 (1 inch) balls; roll in cinnamon sugar. Space 3 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. (If you don't have parchment paper, you'll have to get the cookies off the sheet quickly after baking or they'll stick. The bottoms of a couple of my cookies got stuck to the baking sheet.)

3. Bake cookies until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes. (As always, check at the lowest time given! 12 minutes in this case. In my experience it's best to take cookies out just before they look done, and they'll be perfect. No one likes a burned cookie. Well, maybe someone does. I don't.)

Makes about 30 cookies.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart, found on eat me, delicious.


Caramel Popcorn

This is 'movie date night in' popcorn. It's 'husband on campout, chick flick watching' popcorn. It's 'gather round the table with friends to chat' popcorn. It's 'lick your fingers and nobody will mind' popcorn. It's good for many occasions. Just not for times you might need to use your hands for anything, because 1) they will be busy shoveling delicious popcorn into your mouth, and 2) they will end up covered in gooey, delicious, sticky caramel.

As you can see, this is a large batch calling for two bags of popcorn. If you're not planning on eating that much, it's a great idea to still make the full batch of caramel, then store half in a jar in your pantry. The next time you're craving caramel popcorn (or you want caramel sauce for ice-cream, brownies, french toast...) you can pull it out and heat it up.

Caramel Popcorn

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup corn syrup
½ cup butter
⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp vanilla
2 bags popcorn, popped

Melt first 3 ingredients in saucepan over medium. Add sweetened condensed milk, bring to boil, boil till soft ball stage (drip a little caramel into ice cold water and if it forms into a ball it's ready), about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour over popcorn, and devour.

Another recipe from the Harding family.


Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

Mmmmm..... We can't decide what we love most here. The mixture of melted cheeses? Our favorite barbecue sauce? The caramelized onions? The perfect blends of crispy and chewy, sweet and savory?
I think it's the combination of all those things that make these messy quesadillas so irresistable.

I'm not giving amounts, as this is less of a recipe and more of a meal idea. Increase or decrease quantities as desired for the number of people you're serving.

Barbeque Chicken Quesadillas

onion, sliced (one small onion was about right for two quesadillas)
olive oil
dash salt
dash sugar
chicken, cooked and shredded (we had 2 leftover drumsticks)
sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
mozzarella cheese, shredded (any kind of cheese you have will do)
barbecue sauce

Caramelize the onions: Heat olive oil over medium-low heat (about 1 T to 1 onion), add onions, salt and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.

Wipe out the skillet from the caramelized onions and heat to medium. Pile onions, shredded chicken and cheese on tortilla. Drip a few dollops of barbecue sauce over it, then top with a second tortilla. Toast quesadillas in skillet for a couple minutes on each side, till cheese is melted and tortillas are lightly browned.

Serve with extra barbecue sauce for dipping, if desired.