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Red Velvet Heart Shape Cake

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I decided to make a red velvet heart shape cake. Walmart has an array of Valentine’s Day baking goods for sale lately, including the Bundt cake pan I got. While I didn’t necessarily need a new pan, I really enjoy cooking and trying out new things. In addition, my family appreciates it too.

This was the first time I’ve made a Bundt cake in a long time. Even though I have other Bundt pans, I just haven’t used them in a while. Although I intended on it. But I would forget I had the pans and use another. Or make a different kind of cake. However, when I saw the heart shape pan, I just had to have it. And I didn’t put off using it.

Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix with heart shape Bundt cake pan and measuring spoons

So you might be wondering if you can even use a Bundt pan for a regular red velvet cake. Or any other type of cake for that matter. And the answer is yes. Though, make sure you have the right amount of batter for the size pan.

How to Figure out the Batter

In another post, I shared a link to Wilton’s blog, where there’s a chart for how much batter to add to various cake pan sizes. Additionally it gives cooking times. So with most cake pans, measure the pan’s length and depth. But this cake is a Bundt cake. And not just any Bundt cake, a heart shape Bundt cake.

So if you don’t know this, find out the size of your Bundt pan by measuring how much water it holds. Although, don’t fill any cake pan to the top, because it will overflow! For this recipe, it’s a Wilton Bundt pan, and it holds approximately 4 cups of water.

The general rule for filling Bundt cakes is to leave ~ 1 inch of clearance from the top of the batter to the top of the pan. However, that’s based on the size of the pan. And it’s recommended to only fill small Bundt pans, < 10 inches in length, half full. With that being said, I filled my heart shape pan 2/3 full, like I do with my muffins and cupcakes, and it didn’t overflow.

unfrosted red velvet heart shape cake

Red Velvet Heart Shape Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 Duncan Hines Perfectly Moist Red Velvet Cake mix
  • 1 c buttermilk or *buttermilk substitute*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c melted butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3.4 oz package of instant chocolate pudding
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • and a handful of lightly floured semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • a few fresh strawberries, de-stemmed and washed

*If, like me, you don’t have buttermilk when you want to make red velvet cake, then here’s a very simple buttermilk substitute. Add 1 tbsp of distilled vinegar to 1 cup of milk; let it sit for 10 minutes to thicken.

pink frosting in a bowl with beaters

Red Velvet Heart Cake Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. And very generously spray your heart shape Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Mix the first 8 ingredients on low speed until moistened. Then beat on medium speed for ~ 2 minutes.
  • Next, pour ~ 3 full measuring cups into your prepared Bundt pan. And bake on the center rack in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for no more than 15 minutes. Then invert cake onto a plate or serving platter, and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • Frost with your favorite pink Buttercream or whipped cream frosting. I made a whipped cream frosting and added a few drops of red food coloring to it. Then I filled the hole with the fresh strawberries.
red velvet cake and 3 fresh strawberries on a white plate

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Best Feature of Egg Cookers

Even with higher prices, eggs are a staple in most homes. Considering they can be cooked in various ways, eggs are also used in desserts and sides. But not everyone has time to make a nutritious breakfast via the stove or oven before starting their day. Thus, technology made a way with the egg cooker. Continue reading for basic characteristics of, and the best feature of egg cookers.

Perhaps you’re familiar with egg cookers. Well, up till this past Christmas I’m not sure I ever heard of them. But now I can’t imagine not having one. Why did it take so long for me to learn about egg cookers? And how did I find out about them? Likely I didn’t know about them, because I have a very small kitchen. And any extra appliances added make it that much smaller. In addition, my husband gifted me an egg cooker this past Christmas.

But before moving on to the best feature egg cookers have, I’m going to spend a couple of minutes going over some key information electric egg cookers share.

Aspects of Electric Egg Cookers

multiple parts of white and turquoise small kitchen appliance on white background

Egg cookers have been around for a long time, ca 1920s. Since then, they’ve been through many changes. And there are electric egg cookers that range in capacity from 4 to 14 eggs. Plus, they come in an array of colors. Also, you can choose metal or plastic ones. And they even have BPA-free plastic as well. Additionally, they vary in cost, anywhere from $10 to over $100, depending on the bells and whistles you choose.

Moreover, electric egg cookers are able to cook eggs in at least 3 different styles: hard-boiled, poached, and omelettes. Although, the omelettes are on the small side in my opinion. And some egg cookers even cook vegetables. In addition, egg cookers work by utilizing steam from the water that’s added to the cooker. Further, they beep to let you know when your eggs are done, ~7-15 minutes. Also, some even include automatic shut-off. Though, mine does not.

Since I’ve provided some general info regarding most egg cookers, I’ll briefly continue in more detail about my own: the Greenlife Qwik egg cooker.

My Electric Egg Cooker: GreenLife Qwik Egg Cooker

2 poached eggs on slice of toast facing a sliced of cheese on another piece of toast on a white plate

This nifty little machine, at 6.34″H x 6.30″W x 7.17″D, easily fits in a cupboard or the pantry. Because I don’t have a big kitchen, or a ton of counter space, the size is a plus for me. And it has a 28 inch long cord. Also, my egg cooker is turquoise. However, they come in red and pink as well. Though, pink is currently out of stock.

With this particular brand, we can boil 7 eggs at a time. Or make 2 omelettes or 2 poached eggs. In addition, it has a one switch design: on and off. And a clear lid to see the eggs while they’re cooking. Furthermore, all removable parts are BPA-free and dishwasher safe.

Using the Greenlife Qwik egg cooker is very simple. Plus, it only takes about 10 minutes for the eggs to be done. And I suspect we’re using less electricity using the egg cooker than when we use the stove; it simply doesn’t generate as much heat.

Best Feature of Egg Cookers

top view of turquoise, white and clear egg cooker with brown eggs steaming

One of the things I enjoy about our electric egg cooker is the consistency of the eggs. For example, every time we use the egg cooker in any capacity, the eggs are always perfect. But I suppose that’s because they’re in a controlled environment in a way.

Moreover I like that it’s small, and can be put out of the way. When you have a small kitchen without a lot of counter space, this is essential to extra appliances and gadgets.

Nevertheless, my favorite part about our egg cooker is that our boiled, farm fresh, eggs peel easy every time. Every. Single. Time. Therefore, we don’t have to wait a certain amount of time to cook them. Likewise we don’t have to perform any tricks. Given that egg cookers use steam to cook eggs in the same way that I recommended in a past post, it makes sense. Although, it’s much faster with the electric egg cooker than the stove. Thus, this was a complete game changer for me on work days.

In Summary

digital sketch of math symbols with the plus sign highlighted in the center
Digital Art, Courtesy of Sarah Smith

Egg cookers come in an assortment of sizes and colors. And you can find one from almost any price-point. Plus, they have a lot of benefits, which include cooking eggs easier and better. But, if you enjoy hardboiled eggs, the best feature of egg cookers is that boiled, farm fresh, eggs peel easy.

What’s your favorite part about of an egg cooker, provided you have one or have used one?

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Recipe for Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

There are many things to add to banana bread: carrots, raisins, peanut butter, or dates. But the first time I made a recipe for banana bread with chocolate chips was around 10 years ago. And I think the first time I tried banana bread with chocolate chips was when working in Dallas. However I prefer the following recipe, which is also made with coconut, and the one I made a decade ago.

Ingredients for Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips:

  • 1/2 c chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/3 c plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 stick (1/2 c) of butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp each, baking soda and salt
  • 1 tsp each, ground nutmeg and ginger
  • 4 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 c coarsely chopped nuts (I used pistachios)
  • and 1/2 c shredded coconut
baking batter with different ingredients in a light blue bowl

Instructions for Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips:

  • First, preheat the oven to 350°, and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Next, using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Then add the egg and beat till light and fluffy. Next, beat in the vanilla.
  • Further, in another bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients and spices together. Then add them alternately with the mashed banana, mixing well after each addition.
  • Next, mix in the nuts, coconut, and yogurt with chocolate chips. Then pour evenly into the prepared pan.
  • And bake the bread until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean, ~ 1 hour. Then cool in the pan 30 minutes, and invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Finally, serve at room temperature.
loaf of bread in a brown glass loaf pan

Banana bread is great to eat alone, or as an addition to eggs. What do you like to put in your banana bread? Your comments are appreciated.

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Recipe for Vegetable Omelette

Since eggs are some of the healthiest foods available, you can eat them virtually any time. Plus, there are plenty of ways to prepare them, like this recipe for vegetable omelette. It’s stuffed with bell pepper, onions, mushrooms, spinach, and shredded cheese.

Make this for breakfast or brunch. Or instead, like us, have it for dinner.

Ingredients for Vegetable Omelette

spinach, mushrooms, and other vegetables sautéing in a pan
  • 3 or 4 eggs per omelette
  • 2 to 3 tbsp butter per omelette
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 each, yellow onion and green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 to 3 c baby spinach
  • 4 oz can mushrooms, drained
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 c shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • and salt and pepper

Instructions for Vegetable Omelette

eggs cooking in a pan
  • First, add olive oil in frying pan, and then add the peppers and onions. Top with Italian seasoning.
  • Next, once vegetables soften add mushrooms and spinach, stirring until spinach wilted.
  • Then beat eggs in a bowl, and heat another skillet over medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and beat some more.
  • Next, melt some butter in heated pan, thoroughly coating pan. Add a little more butter before pouring beaten eggs into hot pan. And wait until almost cooked through before adding the sautéed vegetables and cheese.
  • Then, with a spatula, fold over twice; you may have to use two spatulas to do this part. And let it heat through for about a minute before removing to a plate.
  • Finally, enjoy!

If you couldn’t fold the omelette over twice, no worries. A lot of people just fold it in half. Further, if you wanted to add meat to this recipe, by all means, do so. Recipes are for mixing up and adding your own flair. But if you made this, what did you think? Do you have a favorite omelette recipe? Your comments are appreciated.

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Doctored Up Carrot Cake Mix

We celebrated Hannah’s birthday recently. Plus, she moved out, since she’ll be attending college in the Fall. So I wanted to try a doctored up carrot cake mix. And it was the best cake mix with add-ins so far.

I used carrots, of course. And I added in flaked coconut, raisins, chopped nuts, crushed pineapple and spices. Please enjoy.

Doctored Up Carrot Cake Mix Ingredients:

dry ingredients in a light blue mixing bowl
  • 2 boxes Carrot Cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 c melted butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 c shredded coconut
  • 8 oz crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3/4 c raisins
  • 1 1/2 c chopped nuts (I used almonds)
  • and 1 pkg of vanilla pudding

Carrot Cake Mix Instructions:

cake batter with shredded carrots in a light blue mixing bowl

Preheat oven to 350°, and spray your pans with nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively you could grease and flour them.

  • First, combine your dry ingredients (cake mixes, flour, salt, and spices) in a mixing bowl.
  • Next, add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter. And mix on medium speed for ~ 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl.
  • Then fold in shredded carrots, coconut, nuts, and drained pineapple.
  • This makes ~ 8 cups of batter, which you’ll then pour into your prepared pans. And bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes. Check at 50 minutes, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool completely before turning out and frosting with either cream cheese frosting, cream cheese whipping cream frosting, or even a buttercream frosting.
  • And finally, serve and enjoy.
white frosted two layer cake on a cake stand

This is a great cake to have really any time. But with all of the extra ingredients to the cake mix, it’s almost like homemade. If you made this, what did you think? Your comments are appreciated.

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Egg Burritos

Egg burritos can be very diverse. You can make them with beans, pork, or chicken. And you can top them with a variety of choices. However this recipe is really quite simple. Although, you can spruce it up if you want to. But it tastes quite good on its own.

Ingredients for Egg Burritos

8 cracked eggs in metal bowl
  • 8 eggs
  • ~ 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 La Tortilla Factory light flour tortillas
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp salted butter
  • ~ 3-5 oz queso fresco cheese
  • 2-3 oz of guacamole

Instructions for Burritos

beaten eggs with spices and cream in a metal bowl and whisk
  • First, beat eggs in bowl; add whipping cream and beat some more. Then beat in salt and pepper.
  • Next, melt 1-2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp more of butter just before pouring egg mixture.
  • Then scramble eggs till light and fluffy. Add cheese before eggs are completely done.
  • Remove pan from heat. And microwave the tortillas, and then assemble burritos; top with guacamole.
scrambled eggs and white cheese in a frying pan on stove

Thank you for reading this post. If you made this recipe, please let me know what you thought.

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Instant Pot Hot Beef Sandwich Recipe

I don’t remember it being this hot for this long. And it’s times like these that my family and I get creative in the kitchen, so we don’t make the whole house oppressive. This instant pot hot beef sandwich recipe is great for days when you don’t want to use the oven or stove.

But originally, when I found the recipe at the library in OkC, it was supposed to be cooked in the oven. However I changed some things. Although, if you’re interested in the original, you can check it out here.

plastic ziplock bag of sliced onions and brown marinade

Hot Beef Sandwich Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 3/4 c each water and brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 (4lb) boneless chuck roast
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • and 2 pkgs of ciabatta rolls
top down view of beef browning in a pot

Instructions for Instant Pot Hot Beef Sandwiches:

  • First, combine first 7 ingredients in a resealable gallon size plastic bag. Then seal it, turning to coat, and refrigerate overnight.
  • Next, add the olive oil to your Instant Pot; and turn on the sauté function and press the beef or medium option. Further, add the chuck roast; sauté till browned on both sides. After, remove the beef and set aside.
  • Then add the marinade to deglaze the pot before continuing. It only takes a few minutes; maybe less.
  • Next, place the roast back in the Instant Pot; lock the lid and turn the steam release vent to ‘sealing’. In addition, using the manual setting, adjust it to cook ~ 1 hour on high pressure.
  • When the cook time is ended, let it to reduce pressure on its own for ~ 12 minutes. Then open the steam release vent, and remove the lid. But if it isn’t tender, put the lid back on, and pressure cook a little longer. ***
  • Finally, transfer meat to a large plate to shred or slice; and serve beef on ciabatta rolls with juice from the Instant Pot. And enjoy!

***Here’s a little note about Instant Pots and other electric pressure cookers: they’re all basically the same. However variations in quart model size, inner pot liner diameter, and also wattage affect cook times. Furthermore, elevation and personal preference influences cooking times as well. Since I have the bigger model Instant Pot, I had to cook mine on medium for an extra 30 minutes, and it was fine.

side view of beef sandwich on ciabatta roll on white plate

Please let me know if you made this in an Instant Pot; and if you did, what did you think? Did you make any changes or adjustments? Your comments are appreciated.

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Fourth of July Mini Cheesecakes

Last year we had a neighborhood party to celebrate our nation’s independence. But things are different this year. For one, it’s really hot. So I don’t want to be outside more than I have to. And for another, we have someone staying with us. However I still want to contribute. And one of my favorite ways to do so is with food. Therefore, please enjoy this recipe of Fourth of July mini cheesecakes.

Mini Cheesecakes Ingredients

12 pan muffin tin of mini cheesecakes
  • 1 1/2 c of graham graham crumbs
  • 1/8 c Truvia
  • 1/4 c melted butter
  • 24 oz softened cream cheese
  • 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • and 2 tsps vanilla extract

Mini Cheesecakes Instructions

mini cheesecake topped with blueberries on a white plate
  • First, heat oven to 300°.
  • Next, combine the first 3 ingredients in a bowl; press equal amounts onto bottoms of 12 lightly greased muffin cups.
  • Then, in a large mixing bowl, beat cheese until fluffy.
  • Next, slowly mix in sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
  • After that, add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.
  • Then spoon equal amounts of mixture (~4 TBSP) into prepared cups.
  • And bake ~ 20 to 22 mins or until cakes spring back when lightly touched.
  • Cool for ~ 10 minutes on the counter; then chill in the refrigerator.
  • Before serving, garnish with fruit preserves or fresh berries. And enjoy!
mini cheesecake topped with blueberries on white plate

This is another recipe I got from the Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook. Although I made the cheesecakes a little bigger. Instead of making 24 mini cheesecakes, I made 12. Further, you’ll have some extra cheesecake mix. So just refrigerate the rest. Plus, the original recipe indicated there would be extra anyway. And keep any cheesecakes refrigerated until ready to eat.

Did you make this? Or do you have a favorite cheesecake recipe that you’d love to share? Your comments are appreciated.

If you enjoyed this post, please like, share, and please don’t forget to follow! Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

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Easy Recipe for Breakfast Burritos

One of my favorite meals of the day is breakfast. Especially on the weekends, because it doesn’t have to be rushed. And since we have chickens, you can imagine we make a lot of meals with eggs. You tend to get creative if you have backyard birds. However, we don’t go overboard. So below you’ll find an easy recipe for breakfast burritos.

Further, I made them differently than I usually do. Rather than topping them off with salsa and cheese, I sautéed fresh veggies. And that made them taste amazing. I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients for Easy Breakfast Burritos

sausage cooking in a copper pan
  • 6 La Tortilla Factory light flour tortillas
  • 8 eggs
  • ~ 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, divided
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced and de-seeded
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup cherub tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ~ 3 tbsp butter
  • and 8 oz breakfast sausage

Instructions for Easy Breakfast Burritos

scrambled eggs cooking in a pan
  • First, melt 1 tbsp butter in a frying pan over medium heat, and add sausage; cooking over medium heat. And use the back of a spoon to break it into smaller pieces.
  • Then, when the meat is mostly brown and only a little pink remains, add another tbsp butter to a second frying pan on medium heat.
  • Next, add onion, bell pepper, and divided salt and pepper. Then lower temperature to medium-low or low, and cover with a lid.
  • Beat eggs in a bowl; add whipping cream and beat some more. Then beat in salt and pepper.
  • Next, remove cooked sausage from first frying pan, and place in a bowl; cover. Then add last tbsp of butter to that frying pan, and pour egg mixture into already heated frying pan. And scramble eggs on medium heat.
  • When eggs are almost cooked through, add the tomatoes to the sautéed vegetables. Then, once the eggs are done, combine vegetables and sausage with the eggs.
  • Finally, soften your tortillas, and then assemble your breakfast burritos. Mine looked more like tacos. But that’s because they were so full.
scrambled eggs, sautéed vegetables, and sausage cooking in a frying pan

Thanks for taking the time to read this! If you made this recipe, tell me what you think. Do you make your own version of breakfast burritos? And if so, how do you cook them, or what toppings do you use?

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Frittata Recipe for Father’s Day

Today is the day we honor fathers: the men in our lives who have loved us, given themselves, and shared their lives with us. So, in whatever way you honor those in your life, here’s a frittata recipe for Father’s Day.

broccoli, bell peppers, and mushrooms in a bowl

Since both utilize eggs, frittatas are similar to quiche. However frittatas are made without a crust. And they are Italian, whereas quiche is French.

Originally I got this recipe from Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook, publication 1993. But I changed a few things.

egg mixture with seasonings in a large orange bowl

Ingredients for Frittata for Father’s Day:

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup each, sliced mushrooms and sliced bell pepper
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 16 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/2 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese
egg mixture covering vegetables in square copper pan on stove

Instructions for Frittata:

  • First, in a 4.5 quart ovenproof pan, cook vegetables in butter over medium heat for ~ 5 minutes. Then remove from heat.
  • Next, in a medium to large bowl, beat the next 4 ingredients with an electric mixer at medium speed until foamy; stir in cheese. Then pour over vegetables in the pan.
  • And bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until set.
  • Finally, serve immediately.
serving of frittata with vegetables on a white plate

Do you have any special plans for Father’s Day? Your comments are appreciated.