Easy-Peasy Corn Bread

Here’s a quick and easy basic corn bread recipe that makes a perfect compliment to chili, soups, BBQ dinners, or even breakfast! I borrowed this recipe from Food Network’s Moist and Easy Cornbread Recipe and added actually corn kernels to it for texture and extra sweetness.
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You will need:

  • 8 inch round baking pan, lightly greased with butter
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus butter for baking dish
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup of canned or frozen corn (optional)

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Start by mixing all your dry ingredients in a large bowl: cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 2014-11-17 18.56.00Next in a separate bowl combine all your wet ingredients: eggs, butter, and buttermilk.

Pour in the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and fold in gently with a spatula. Make sure there’s not dry spots but it may still look lumpy and that’s okay. If you do want to add corn, fold in the corn into the batter. Then pour into your greased baking dish. 2014-11-17 19.01.51Bake for about 20-25 minutes and until it looks golden brown. You can also insert a toothpick to see if it’s done. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and serve!

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The corn bread came out fluffy, moist, and slightly sweet- I loved the burst of sweetness from the corn kernels. It went perfectly with my turkey chili!
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Banana Cake

It’s really hard for me to eat fruit usually but I seem to love using it in baking, especially bananas! Yes, it’s another banana recipe but this time it’s banana cake. I’ve never made a banana cake before but it seemed fitting for the emerging Spring weather- something lighter and fluffier than banana bread. This recipe I used is from Allrecipes.com Banana Cake VI.

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A few days before this idea hit me, my boyfriend was nice enough to go to the store to help me get some buttermilk for my previous recipe: Blueberry muffins, but he got me a huge carton of it! I had a ton left over so what was I to do? Keep baking of course.

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This recipe was a bit labor intensive as it require 4 separate mixtures to be slowly combined together.

(From left to right: sugar and butter creamed, dry ingredients, butter milk, mashed banana mixture)

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Mix mix mix! Mixing the good ol’ fashion way with my red spatula from Target. Good arm exercise at least.

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Ready for the oven! I did not take a picture but I actually added some left over cinnamon sugar streusel from the previous “To Die For Blueberry Muffins”….I wasn’t sure what it would taste like so I only spread it on half of the cake. Turned out great though! I should have known….how can you go wrong with streusel!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Despite being really busy, I made some sweet treats for V-day/ S.A.D. (Single Awareness Day). It would have been a real shame if I did not make something to share the love. I fell back into old habits of being a late night baker…didn’t go to bed until 1am.

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A little bit of cocoa goes a long way for red velvet cupcakes.

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I really wanted to try some new, but I did not have time to explore new recipes so I stayed with a tried-and-true, crowd pleaser: Southern Red Velvet Cupcakes, which I used for my Zombie cupcakes.

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I really like that this recipe uses vegetable oil instead of butter. The oil really makes it soft and moist.

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The most laborious process is combining the three separate mixtures together, bit by bit. After many times making this recipe, I finally remember to put the oil and eggs in the biggest mixing bowl, because that is the one that will hold the final mixture. Doing this with a hand mixer was quite the work out, maybe some day I will have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer…..this nonprofit worker can only dream.

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Confession time: I only had 1/2 of the red food dye that the recipe called for…luckily it still came out pretty reddish.

 

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Frosted the cupcakes in the morning with store-bought whipped strawberry frosting and topped each one with a juicy, bright red “heart”.

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This one I left as a surprise for my boyfriend, the rest I took to work for my co-workers and my youth group.

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 Hope every day is filled with love and sweetness!

Red Velvet Cake

A cake that is bright red is certain to capture your attention and your taste buds. Red velvet is one of my favorite cakes – to eat and make! A lot of people ask, “What is red velvet?” It’d say it’s actually a super rich, moist, chocolate cake! But the red dye covers the light brown color that it naturally comes from adding the cocoa powder and gives it some fancy flare.

 I love using this Southern Red Velvet recipe from the Food Network by Cakeman Raven.

  • Vegetable oil for the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry ingredients

Please note that you mix the DRY ingredients into the WET ingredients gradually. It makes the mixture much less lumpy and smooth. My kitchen is too small and I’m too poor to have a stand mixer so I do it the old fashion way: have a baking buddy pour the dry mix into the wet mix as I continuously stir!

I split up the recipe for actually 12 cupcakes and 1 single-layer cake. I wanted to make a small cake for my coworker’s regular Craft Night gettogethers.

Most important thing I learned about frosting is to make sure your cake is completely cooled, not even slightly warm, before you start slathering the frosting or else it gets messy and cake pieces will start sticking to the frosting. The cooling racks are a must, so air can circulate under and above.

Cheating.

I admit it….I used store-bought frosting. *hangs head in shame* But the last time I tried to make my own cream cheese frosting, it broke my hand mixer and had to spread lumpy frosting. I guess I’m still a bit traumatized and haven’t worked up the courage to make my own frosting yet. For $2.50 it make things a lot easier….

I’m still a pretty big newbie to frosting and decorating cakes, but I’m practicing! I learned that you dump all the frosting in the middle and spread outward to get smooth and even results. You can see I still got some cake mixed up in the frosting which can be really frustrating. Practice, practice!

Frosting is surprisingly hard to control and should never be hurried. The black frosting is a pair of scissors and the blue lump is suppose to be a ball of yarn!

Happy baking!

Fresh Strawberry Coffee Cake

Yay for awesome grocery deals at my local Asian supermarket! Got these juicy little guys for 99 cents/ each, buy 2 get 1 free! I knew what that meant……strawberry coffee cake.

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I don’t drink milk, but I happen to have buttermilk left over from making banana bread so I subbed it with. I also left the pecans out because I didn’t have any on hand.

A good baker always has a constant supply of butter in his/her fridge 😉

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Layer 1: cake

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Layer 2: sliced strawberries (you can NEVER have too much strawberries!)

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Layer 3: sugar, butter, more sugar

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The top layer is super sweet- great with a cup of black coffee!

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Soup + Cheddar Biscuits Lunch

I am known to only bake at night, but on this nice lazy Sunday I manage to try some new recipes while the sun is still out!

When I make something, it’s usually brought about by a “recipe of opportunity” as I like to call it. I rarely actually have something in mind I want to make. It’s not “oh I want to make *this* I will go by the specific ingredients” it’s usually more like, “oh I have some  _______ left over, what can I make with this?” and this is where Allrecipes.com‘s ingredient search flies in to the rescue.

I had some buttermilk left over from my Zombie Cupcake recipe and some celery, broccoli, and potatoes I got from work (Poor social worker….don’t judge me.)

Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

Ready..set…go!

adding buttermilk to the dry mix

being the kitchen noob that I am I had no idea what a “biscuit cutter” is…I used a knife- it worked.

This was a easy, quick recipe- with simple ingredients you can find at home, the only thing I needed to buy was the sharp cheddar cheese. I did omit the cayenne pepper because I did not have any on hand.

Fluffy cheddar biscuits!

This was my first try making savory biscuits and they turned out quite tasty, I lost track of how many I was nibbling on while I was making the soup!

I actually find cooking a lot more challenging than baking sweets, but I’ve eased into the cooking realm with soups and chili. Finding a decent recipe for celery was surprisingly hard. What the hell do you do with celery (besides eat it raw with peanut butter?!)

Peanut Butter Vegetable Chicken Soup 

This was a great healthy recipe with loads of every kind of veggie you can think of and no need to add butter or oil! The peanut butter gives it a southeast/Thai-style flavor, slightly sweet and nutty.

Round 2! (Yes that is my laptop sitting on top of the toaster oven.)

veggies galore!

the final product

Soup + Biscuits = delicious light lunch