Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Easiest Pineapple Rightside-up Cake

This is the easiest recipe ever, great for those who hate to bake or those who prefer to use only 3 ingredients!

The Easy Pineapple Rightside-up cake is made with one box of yellow cake mix, one 12 OUNCE can of nonfat EVAPORATED milk, one 20 OUNCE can of pineapple tidbits.

Dump cake mix into a large flat pan, add canned milk and mix with a spoon until blended. Drain out a bit of the pineapple juice and dump most of the pineapple tidbits plus a bit of the juice on top of the batter.

Bake in 350F oven for 50 minutes and serve warm or oold.

Dedicating this recipe to my OSU adviser's grandmother. I never met her but would have loved to learn how she makes her pineapple desserts!

Friday, January 23, 2015

World's Best Easy Banana Cake

World's Best Easy Banana Cake

This cake was my mother's favorite banana cake recipe. When my niece was small and visited Cleveland from Austin, Texas, she would slice a small piece all evening long, as we all did. One of my Mom's secrets is the finely ground almonds in the batter which is mixed by hand for approximately 300 strokes.

The recipe will be in my upcoming cookbook, but if you want me to print it herein, let me know. Cake is truly handmade, NO mixer needed!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Easy Valentine's Day Black Forest Squares

Here is a very simple recipe:

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 can nonfat evaporated milk

Mix the above in a 9 x 13 or little larger pan, cover with the
1 can cherry pie filling

Bake in oven at 350 F for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes of baking add the pecans on top
1/2 cup pecans and
continue baking for another 20 minutes!

Total baking time is 50 minutes!

Eat warm as is or cool down and add cool whip or whipped cream (optional).

Non Gluten Flour does not Work in My Yeast Pretzels

Non gluten flour worked great in my macaroon recipe, but forget using this flour in my homemade New Year's pretzels. Here is a photo of both and you can guess which is which. The non gluten flour did not proof the same, did not rise the same as the "regular" flour, the consistency of the final product is not acceptable and I will dump them as they became too hard to eat.

Below is the one made with the non gluten flour, see how crumbly it looks:

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tracing Tainted Food


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Spices and Herbs

I do not know where I have been, but I just read a 2013 report about contamination in spices and herbs. I am thinking about throwing all of mine out and only using real items like fresh garlic and ginger until I can dry herbs from my garden next summer. I had no idea about this, but can dry sage and lovage from my Mom's house, where I planted an herb garden for her. At my house I always have thyme and oregano coming up in huge batches trying to keep the deer away.

I bought spices yesterday and now really hate to use them. Where have I been? Here are references to some of the reports I somehow missed, but for sure I am going to dry my own herbs and make my own spices next year. More work, but then what are kitchen and dining room tables for anyway if not to dry leaves from the garden which will become my spices?

FDA Draft Risk Profile: Pathogens and Filth in Spices - Pdf of report dated 2013

I just threw out all of my spices but for whole nutmeg, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, whole cinnamon stick. I will have to dry my own spices next year from the garden. My husband agreed after I showed him the report and he held the garbage bag for me. Guess no more complaints about bland tasting food in this house. Can not take the chance of catching anything, especially from my own spice cabinet.

Cookbooks I am reading

My sister Cecile sent me the book "Quick & Easy Dump Cakes and More," by Cathy Mitchell. It says on the cover "Just Dump & Bake." I have to agree, although maybe a bit too sweet for me, the dump cake I made worked out great. The problem is it was too fast and too good. I used to make one years ago with brownie mix and cherry pie filling and something else? Hope I find the recipe as that one was incredible. I will try to search for it on the internet.

The second book I am reading is "Cupcakes and Muffins" by Ann Nicol which says it includes "New Recipes." It says on the cover "Quick & Easy, Proven Recipes."

I also bought an alternative wheat flour yesterday to try in some gluten-free recipes. I need to find out if the flour advertised to substitute 1 for 1 for regular flour in recipes truly works. The only problem is how does one write a cookbook on a strict diet? Luckily, someone sent me an email that the spleen does not like "wheat" so I have a perfect excuse? Wonder if I can use this substitute flour to make our family tradition of New Year's pretzels? Wonder what the flour will taste like, can I use with yeast? Guess I have more projects and research to do ASAP.

I am glad to be here and truly hope what I write will help someone. Please, if you are lucky enough to have grandchildren, bake something homemade or semi-homemade for them. Never used your oven or your child's oven? Then it is time you try it for your grandchildren. If this sounds familiar, I am talking directly to you. Whatever you think is important, I am telling you it is NOT. Memories, what your grandchildren will remember include smells, warmth, not just your expertise or books and articles your have written. Try the pineapple angle food recipe or a dump cake, but give that child something warm and comforting from you. Love cafeterias and taking them out to eat? Great, they will love packaged food. I remember when my Mom would take a homemade hamburger and wrap it up and put it in a brown bag so it would look like "take out," and this was for a child with 30 food allergies. I remember her making homemade applesauce and putting it in a MOTTS applesauce jar so her grandson would recognize the label. As he got older, he understood that his grandmother was making everything for him from scratch, loved it, and he remembers as I heard him mention it.

If by chance, you have worked in a lab, have used an autoclave and/or other equipment, but have never used an oven, you have no excuse. Want to do something that really counts, come up with a healthier snack than you can buy in a bakery.

If you are buying everything from a bakery, you are missing the wonderful smells that one associates with home. Did you have a grandmother that baked for you? Do you remember? Why not let your grandchild have the same type of memory.

Since I do not know when I will get to Texas to see my niece as my angel cardiologist says not sure if my spleen and lungs can fly yet (guess I have work to do here on earth to make me worthy as still have a bit of devil in me that I am trying to get rid of), please make something from scratch with my great-niece. Something she will remember as her mother remembers our Mom's banana bread.

If only my anise cookies would get the dried caps on them like my mother's did. I have taken the dough to her house to dry, but it has not worked. Hers always worked, but mine have never worked and I tried every year but this one. Why did I not watch her more closely, I can not even make decent streusel -- she did it so effortlessly and it did not matter the temperature of the butter, but in a few seconds, perfect streusel, I can not make a decent streusel topping.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dump Cake - Comfort Food takes 5 minutes to make and 45 minutes to bake in the overn

I just tried to make my first dump cake and it is in the oven.

I have to mention that I was in the hospital for a fluke incident. I went on a trip to NYC and started feeling my heartbeat for the first time in my life. I thought it was stress related to the nightmare trip. I chose not to run down 19 flights when I could not hear the elevator per my thumping heart. Anyway, the easier a recipe for those like me recovering from heart, cancer or any other serious illness, or even working parents who would rather spend time with their children than bake, the better. However, do not deprive your children of coming home to something baked in the oven -- the smell will stay with them the rest of their life. My sisters and I often talk about my Mom's recipes and I am sure some of you talk about recipes your grandparents made.

Meds do NOT appear to be working as I hoped and we need to make some adjustments. I have to be on meds the rest of my life. Wow, do I wish I had not gone on that trip -- not that it would not have happened anyway.

Then again, maybe the trip saved my life?

My Texas sister, Cecile, knowing I am writing a cookbook, sent me something easy to follow, a cookbook of dump cakes -- the cakes take the time it takes to open the can. Thanks Cecile for your thoughtfulness. The stamina, energy, zest for life that I had are gone, lets hope temporarily. I would rather not have an invasive procedure, but this too may be on the agenda. Hard to believe I was walking 5 miles per day, eating the best I could and "whammo," this happened out of the blue. I was one of the very lucky ones, my spleen took the hit. Did I know much about my spleen before this, "No," but now I eat what apleen's like as am not about to lose this million dollar organ. Thanks so much Cecile for giving me something easy to do while I work out a few complicated recipes. Guess, I am lucky I can calculate anything. If I went to dinner with someone and something like this happened to them, I would send them a get well card. I tried to send a person who went to dinner with us in NYC a Christmas thank you card, and it came back. I did not have the energy to send it a second time. A few days confined to bed in a cardiac unit can take its toll. Nothing like taking 45 minutes to walk one mile, when I used to walk 5 in and hour and a half. Life has surprises and one never knows what is around the corner? All I can say is I am lucky to be here making dump cakes and writing a cookbook that I hope will be useful to those on special diets.

Fascinating, I had not planned to put gluten-free recipes in my cookbook, but now that I read the spleen does not like wheat, I am including alternatives to wheat. Yes, gluten-free will be included, at least in theory, in the cookbook with some ideas.

I have to fool with any recipe. Instead of using peach pie filling, I used two cans of peach slices in real juice, no sugar added. To the liquid portion of the peach juice, I added dried cranberries, hoping they might soften up and absorb some of the liquid. I put a yellow cake mix, over all, and sprinkled cinnamon over the top after doting with about half the butter suggested. Please be careful as this makes part of the mixture dry and one can easily start coughing --- coughing not something I want to start doing as this would mean additional problems. Cinnamon sometimes gives one the illusion of sweetness and it adds color to the dump cake. The dump cake kind of reminds me of a more solid type, wonderful cobbler I had at a restaurant at Cape Code once. The only thing missing is the warm whipped cream (not on my diet plan these days). My husband says this dump cake would go great with ice cream too or even nonfat coolwhip!

I dotted it with about 1/2 to 3/4 stick of real butter, sliced really thin. The recipe calls for the entire stick, but I fear putting that much fat into anything as we have been fat free for a very long time. Next time I might freeze the butter a bit to shave it thinner.

Here is the picture of the dump cake in the oven and I will include a photo when I serve it. Unfortunately, I can not eat anything cold and have much work yet to do here on earth -- I am not allowed to fly for at least one year as my lungs and spleen can not go up yet, guess I am not an angel yet. I baked it at 350 F for 45 minutes in a 9 x 14' pan sprayed with Pam

I have lots of people to forgive and help before I become and angel, but had I had the energy to get out my hand mixer, I would have made pineapple angel food cake for sure!

It has 5 minutes to go in the oven and when I walked toward the kitchen it smelled heavenly!

Has anyone tried dump cake cupcakes? That is my next project!

Thursday, January 1, 2015


I love the New Year's pretzel recipe which I will include herein after I explain the tradition. It is NOT a tradition in all of Germany but just in the part of the Black Forest where I was born. The pretzel is sometimes made into someone's age for the new year. In my case, I use my late mother's age. She would be 98 this March 2015, having been born in 1917.

First proofing, first rising of dough:

The second proofing, rising was in the shape of the numbers and I added a bit of egg wash (egg yellow) to make it appear shiny and like a glaze after baking and here is the final product:

This one was still on the cookie sheet:

Finally the recipe I used this year. Remember, I rarely use dairy, almost always use almond milk where a recipe calls for milk. I may use butter if for my husband and me, but switch to Mother's or Fleischmans unsalted (no milk and parve, but becareful as regular Fleishmans is Kosher DAIRY):

I cut the recipe in half as only wanted to make two numbers, one for me and one for my husband.

1/2 cup almond milk
1 1/4 tsp yeast (1/2 package)
2 T melted butter if permitted, otherwise Fleishman's unsalted (only the unsalted has no dairy)
1/6 cup sugar or less
Zest of half a lemon (optional)
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour, be careful not to use to much. Use one cup flour and then gently add until dough is workable) Knead about 10 minutes
1 egg yolk for brushing pretzel before baking -- again this assumes no egg allergy, it can be omitted for a duller but still delicious product

Bake about 20 minutes at 375 F until the pretzel mumbers sound hollow when tapped and look baked.