Tag Archives: coconut

Aunt Cherry’s Rhubarb Cake

This has been a week for appliances and household items to take a shit.  Our air conditioning broke during a heat wave (of course). Now we find out we need a new furnace and heat pump.  Our new washing machine began to leak and created a nice little flood in our laundry room (on the upside, the floor has never been cleaner!).  Our way too expensive, professional quality steam iron decided to leak water through the cord (that seems a bit unsafe).  Our clock stopped working.  Our thermostat broke.  After turning on the outdoor hose bibs for gardening, we realized that this is the year for them to start leaking incessantly (they’ll need to be replaced).

Oh, and now that I think of it …  one of our window blinds broke the other day.  On the same day that my daughter fell off a swing and broke her arm.  WTF?  I’m starting to scare myself.

So, when I recently saw a puddle of murky water in the refrigerator, I was pretty sure that it was the next thing to go. But alas, it was just a puddle from some decomposing rhubarb that I hadn’t used up — because I never use up my rhubarb.  I guess I just don’t see the point of eating something that requires five cups of sugar just to make it palatable.  I cook it down, make rhubarb applesauce or the occasional strawberry-rhubarb pie or crisp, but there’s always a never ending supply.  And then even more in the freezer from last summer.

I decided to take a tried and true, delicious recipe, Aunt Cherry’s Oatmeal Cake, and see what some rhubarb would do to it.  It was very good, but not surprisingly, because nothing could really mess up Aunt Cherry’s cake.  It is a sticky, oozy mess of a dessert that you can eat for breakfast.  And the rhubarb version makes a delicious dessert with some whipped cream or ice cream, but I also served it as rhubarb coffee cake for breakfast with guests.

I’d like nothing more than to bake one right now, but I must go down a rabbit hole into customer service and extended warranty and “we’ll be there between 2 and midnight” hell.  Oh, just a moment.  This is shocking.  I just went to enter a warranty claim for my washing machine and guess what?  The system is down.

Aunt Cherry’s Rhubarb Cake

Makes one 9 inch by 13 inch cake

Cake:
1 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 eggs
2-3 cups of diced rhubarb

Topping:
1 cup pumpkin seeds (or other chopped nuts), toasted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup of milk
6 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut (not sweetened)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together dry cake ingredients: oats, white sugar, brown sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.  Make sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.

3.  Add boiling water to dry ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat in softened butter (1 stick).  When incorporated, beat in eggs one at a time.  The batter will be thin.  Pour into greased 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.  Stir in diced rhubarb.

4.  In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients:  pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, white sugar, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and coconut.  Drop in small dollops all over the unbaked cake batter.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.  Remove and cool on a rack.

 

 

Trail Mix Banana Bread

I wish I had anything interesting to say.  But I don’t.  Feel free to scan straight to the recipe because what follows will be riveting.

We’ve been doing some Christmas decorating.  And a lot of our lights don’t work.  And we bought them new just last year!  At Wal-Mart!  Because it was 10 PM and they were open!  And now they don’t work!  Oh, the drama.  We might have to buy some new ones if we want all the bushes out front to be done.  Also, we got a new tree stand.  Our pre-drilled stand broke last year and while we really enjoyed bickering about how crooked the tree was in the traditional stand, we opted to buy another pre-drilled one.   So far it hasn’t fallen over or anything exciting like that.  We didn’t even break any ornaments while decorating.  However, our Christmas village looks perfect because there are so many people with broken limbs from years past that it looks like a Tiny Tim convention.

I started my Christmas shopping yesterday.  The three week mark sort of hit me.  Actually, what will truly hit me are the shipping rates I will have to pay in order to make up for my procrastination.  I thought I was doing well by getting the kids’ Christmas photo done after Thanksgiving.  So the cards will be quality, but the gifts might suck.  And why is it so difficult to come up with a new coat/snow pants/accessories set for my daughter every year?  It seems like the same drill … cute coat, no matching snowpants.  Or nice matching set, one piece out of stock.  And confusing color schemes:  do the “buff” snowpants match the “ivory” coat?  Who the hell knows.  On the husband front, we have (of course) said we are getting each other nothing.  But now the boxes start showing up for me.  So I must figure out gifts for him.  Because we aren’t getting each other anything, you know?

I did a cool project on Jupiter the other day.  Did you know that you would weigh twice as much on Jupiter as you do on Earth?  I’m not sure if that would impact how tight my jeans are, but if I ever go, I’ll buy a size up.

Speaking of my jeans being tight, I decided after Thanksgiving that I was going to train for a half marathon.  Last week went well.  Today, I am already negotiating with myself about how I can avoid the longer mileage run that I was supposed to do yesterday.  The one that I should have done while I was having a few holiday beers.  I am a very disciplined runner, so this training thing should go really well.  I also don’t like the cold, so my running occurs only on the treadmill now.  If the race I ultimately select has episodes of Top Chef streaming throughout the course, I should be in good shape.

Also, if you made it this far (bless you), the other day I noticed that I had rotting fruit so I made some banana bread.  I mixed in some of our favorite trail mix ingredients and it was quite good.  We ate it quickly.  Then I did the dishes and went to bed.

The End.

Trail Mix Banana Bread

Makes one loaf

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a loaf pan with softened butter.

2.  Combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

3.  Using an electric mixer, cream butter until light and fluffy.  Add in sugar and mix for 1-2 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, and then add in mashed bananas.

4.  Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in vanilla extract, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and chocolate chips into batter until just combined.

5.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and just set.

Aunt Cherry’s Oatmeal Cake

The other day, I was bored and looking for something to bake.  So I did a Twitter call for ideas, and a friend sent me this recipe.  It was called “Aunt Cherry’s Oatmeal Cake” and is apparently one of those old recipes with a fictitious name attached — their family baked it all the time growing up, but never knew who Aunt Cherry was.  Beyond, you can find similar recipes online that also refer to Aunt Cherry.  Based on that, I’m figuring Aunt Cherry wouldn’t mind me putting my spin on it.  And of course, now that I realize that the entire internet is public domain (Thanks Cooks Source!), I am going to call it my own.  But seriously, Monica Gaudio, if you are out there and you are actually Cherry, just email me for my address and you can send me a check for featuring your work.  If I rip off enough people’s work, I might actually find a revenue model for Cuizoo.

The recipe seemed intriguing — not many ingredients, seemingly very easy, and get this:  dollops of a butter/brown sugar/coconut/nut mixture dropped into the cake batter before baking.  That last part is what got me.  There was just no way that could turn out to be anything but delicious.  And I figured that I could make it *slightly* more healthy by cutting back on the sugar a bit and substituting whole wheat pastry flour.  Obviously, I also needed to remove the nuts because of my daughter’s severe nut allergy.

I decided to make it yesterday and if I only knew Cherry’s last name, I’d write her a thank you note — attached to a big bottle of vodka, and perhaps a personal massage device.   She deserves it.  It is that good.  And it’s easy.  I mean one-bowl-for-the-cake easy.  It makes a tremendous dessert (maybe with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream), but I could easily see it served for a special breakfast or brunch too.  Because today was Friday, November 12th, I deemed it a special breakfast day and we had it before school.  With fruit, of course.

The original recipe calls for walnuts (I substituted sunflower seeds), regular all purpose flour, and 1 cup each of brown and white sugar in the cake (I cut it back to 1/2 cup each in the cake — but left the sugar the same in the dollopy mixture).  If you want to go all out, feel free to make it with white flour and the normal amount of sugar.

You can thank me and Aunt Cherry later.

Aunt Cherry’s Sticky Oatmeal Cake

Makes one 9 inch by 13 inch cake

(Adapted from some lady named Cherry, who may or may not be real or alive)

Cake:
1 cup oats (I used old fashioned)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 eggs

Topping:
1 cup sunflower seeds (or other chopped nuts)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup of milk
6 T butter, melted
1 t vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut (not sweetened)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.

2.  In a large bowl, mix together dry cake ingredients: oats, white sugar, brown sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Make sure to break up any lumps of brown sugar.

3.  Add boiling water to dry ingredients.  Using an electric mixer, beat in softened butter (1 stick).  When incorporated, beat in eggs one at a time.  The batter will be thin.  Pour into greased 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan.

4.  In a small bowl, mix together topping ingredients:  sunflower seeds, brown sugar, white sugar, milk, melted butter, vanilla, and coconut.  Drop in small dollops all over the unbaked cake batter.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.  Remove and cool on a rack.  Send Aunt Cherry a thank you note.

Detox Chocolate Coconut Cookies

This morning brought rain, cold, and being housebound because we have some major construction occurring on our house.  No sense explaining it, but suffice it to say that I wanted to be nearby as our entire  chimney was being rebuilt.  When I looked at the clock and it said 10:18 (that’s not close to lunchtime, or naptime, or anything, for that matter), I decided we needed a project.  

And I am not sure about you, but how can I feel like I ate a small country’s sugar consumption in one Easter weekend?   Probably because I came close.  And I find that once I eat too much sugar, I almost need detox to curb my taste for it.  So, I wanted to make something that would please the toddler, give us a project, and curb our Easter sugar addiction.  What I came up with was inspired by Nikki’s Healthy Cookies at 101 Cookbooks, which is a great kid-friendly, flourless, sugarless cookie.  

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This cookie takes a slightly different turn with chocolate and sprouted spelt flour.  And I’ll warn you: they are not very sweet… there’s just a bit of added sweetener and a mashed banana.  But I think they would make a great freezer stash for those days when you need a chocolate pick-me-up but aren’t willing to go crazy.  (Actually, I think most of my afternoons would qualify as that.)  I added toasted sunflower seeds because of my daughter’s nut allergy, but if that’s not a problem for you I think some macadamia nuts would be absolutely divine.  

And the ultimate test was my two year old, who chowed one down like it was a solid chocolate bunny.  

Detox Chocolate Coconut Cookies

(Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies)

1/2 cup of coconut oil
2 T brown sugar
2 T honey
1/2 cup cocoa
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 1/2 cups sprouted spelt flour (could use whole wheat or white whole wheat flour) 
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 T yogurt
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds (or other nuts such as macadamias — those should be roughly chopped)
1 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut 

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Combine spelt flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda in medium bowl and set aside.

2.  In a medium saucepan, melt coconut oil with brown sugar, honey, and cocoa.  When melted, remove from heat and stir in mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla extract.  Pour into large bowl and let cool for a few minutes.

3.  Once cooled a bit, beat eggs and stir into cocoa-coconut oil mixture.

4.  Add dry ingredients (flour, salt, BP, BS) to cocoa-coconut oil mixture and stir well with a rubber spatula.  The dough will be a little wet (sort of a thick brownie batter consistency).  Stir in coconut and toasted sunflower seeds/nuts.

5.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use about one tablespoon of dough per cookie.  You should be able to get one dozen on a standard cookie sheet as they don’t spread much at all.  Bake each batch for about 6-7 minutes.  (I liked mine best at 6 minutes because they stayed a little gooey.  The batch I cooked for eight minutes got too dry and cakey for my liking.

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Chocolate Easter Eggs: Two Ways

When I think of my grandmothers, I can’t help but think of food.  I think of my Mother’s mother (Nana) as the one who makes amazing soups, egg rolls and stir fries (how cool is that?), meringue cookies, mint jelly, and yorkshire pudding.  I am so fortunate to have her in my life and be able to share her with her great grandchildren.

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I remember my Dad’s mother (Grammy) as the one who made beautiful, cakey sugar cookies, fresh baked bread with butter and homemade raspberry jam, creamed corn, peanut brittle, and chocolate Easter Eggs.  When she died, I was able to look through her recipes and see her handwriting — what an amazing gift that is.  I instantly saw the connection between our roles as mothers, regardless of how different our lives were.  In the end, I think that our goals are/were the same:  to love our families fiercely and to create a wonderful backdrop for our children’s memories.   

And these Easter Eggs are permanently etched in my memory.  This is the wonder of real food — it forms the bonds of friends and family.  It is the most important reason that I cook — I sincerely believe there is no better way to enhance our relationships and create rich, lifelong memories.      

Happy Easter to all.

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Chocolate Easter Eggs with Sunbutter (Makes about 32)

(I should note that I have taken some liberties with the recipes to decrease the amount of sugar — feel free to change those things up if you like.  I have also obviously changed the first recipe because my daughter is severely nut allergic.  Peanut butter is the typical ingredient.)

16 oz. container Crunchy Sunflower Seed Butter (about 2 cups, or any other nut butter of your choice)
1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1-2 cups of confectioners sugar (I used 1 cup which left them not overly sweet, but sweeten to taste)
Pinch of salt
1 t vanilla
2 cups brown rice krispies (or regular if you can’t find brown)
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped

1.   Cream sunbutter (or other nut butter) with softened butter using an electric mixer.  Add in salt, confectioners sugar, and vanilla and beat until well mixed and fluffy.  (Add more confectioners sugar if you like).  

2.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in rice krispies by hand until incorporated.  

3.  Put mixture in the fridge for about an hour to firm up.

4.  When firm, line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.  Using about one heaping tablespoon of sunbutter mixture for each egg, roll them in your hands into an egg-like shape.  Place on parchment lined sheet.  

5.  Put sunbutter eggs in freezer for at least 30 minutes, until they are very firm.  

6.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler or gently in the microwave until completely melted and smooth.

7.  Using two forks, take one sunbutter egg and roll in melted chocolate until completely covered.(You may want to have two sheets of parchment and leave some of the sunbutter eggs in the freezer while you do this, so they don’t warm up too much.) Allow chocolate covered egg to remain on one fork while you use the other fork to tap the excess chocolate off the egg (tapping the handle of the fork that is holding the egg — if you don’t get enough of the excess chocolate off, you won’t have enough to dip them all).  Place chocolate covered egg on baking sheet lined with parchment.  Repeat with all eggs.  

8.  Refrigerate all eggs until hardened.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.  

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Chocolate Easter Eggs with Coconut (Makes about 15)

1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup of coconut milk
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup of confectioners sugar (or more to taste)
2 cups of unsweetened coconut, toasted
6 oz. semisweet chocolate 

1.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt coconut oil with coconut milk and pinch of salt.  

2.  Stir in confectioners sugar until incorporated.

3.  Stir in toasted coconut.   

4.  Put in refrigerator for about an hour until firm.

5.  When firm, line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.  Using about one heaping tablespoon of coconut mixture for each egg, roll them in your hands into an egg-like shape.  Place on parchment lined sheet.

6.  Put coconut eggs in freezer for at least 30 minutes, until they are very firm.

7.  Melt chocolate in a double boiler or gently in the microwave until completely melted and smooth.

8.  Using two forks, take one coconut egg and roll in melted chocolate until completely covered.(You may want to have two sheets of parchment and leave some of the coconut eggs in the freezer while you do this, so they don’t warm up too much.) Allow chocolate covered egg to remain on one fork while you use the other fork to tap the excess chocolate off the egg (tapping the handle of the fork that is holding the egg — if you don’t get enough of the excess chocolate off, you won’t have enough to dip them all).  Place chocolate covered egg on baking sheet lined with parchment.  Repeat with all eggs.  

(*You may want to sprinkle a few extra shreds of toasted coconut on these eggs right after you dip them so you can tell the difference between the two kinds if you are making both.)

7.  Refrigerate all eggs until hardened.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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