The Last Coffee Cake Recipe You Will Ever Need!

Once in a while you need to make coffee cake. It’s an easy quick cake that is good just about any time. Years ago, all I knew was the Bisquick recipe. I haven’t bought that stuff in about 12 years.
So I was looking through a kids cookbook and saw a recipe but didn’t have all the ingredients. I also noticed there wasn’t enough liquid in the recipe. I have seen that with a few cake recipes lately and dry cakes are not good. Milk always fixes that.
So, here is what I came up with and have made it for my family 2 days in a row because it keeps disappearing!
Best Coffee Cake

Cake:
8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk

Topping:
2 tbsp cold butter
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup brown sugar

Mix cream cheese and eggs with electric beater until smooth. Add all dry ingredients and mix with spoon. It will be thick. Add milk and stir until smooth. Mix topping ingredients with your fingers, breaking apart the butter and mixing it the best you can. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Pour cake batter into 8×11.5 or similar baking dish. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top.
Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

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Organic Produce

Over the weekend I decided to order organic produce delivery. I had a really good deal so I tried it out. It was delivered on Monday morning. Beautiful fruits and vegetables! The regular price is a little high at $44 per week so I decided to go look for a local, more affordable place to pick up some produce in the future.
I was able to make one of the best salads I have ever made. Thin sliced radishes, carrots and zucchini tossed with red leaf lettuce and a chopped tomato, and homemade dressing with lemon, vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil. Very good!

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My New Favorite Yellow Cake Recipe

State Fair Blue Ribbon Yellow Cake

2/3 cup softened butter

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 3/4 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups milk

With a mixer, mix first 4 ingredients, then add dry ingredients alternately with milk. Bake in 2 or 3 greased an floured 8 in round pans; one 13x9x2, or about 12 cupcakes.

Great basic yellow cake..

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Tonight’s Dinner

So I have had no time lately to blog as I would like to but will keep trying my best!
Today at work, a coworker emailed me at about 1 and asked if I could make a cake for another coworker’s birthday tomorrow! Of course! I love baking cakes. So I got a couple of pictures of my evening’s creations. In addition to the nightly requirement of making husband and toddler lunches, I made a cake and a neat dinner. For the cake I picked out an old Ohio State Fair Blue Ribbon Yellow Cake recipe that was rather simple. I will post it tomorrow, blogging in the dark right now. I decided to create a frozen raspberry and white chocolate chip frosting with powdered sugar, milk and butter. Turned out a little thin but delectable. Have to keep it in the fridge until eating or it might melt!
Dinner was something to be sort of proud of. I had bought Hebrew National hot dogs which I now buy about 2 times a year because of the nitrites in them. I made homemade hot dog buns, sliced whole pickles and onion, mustard, ketchup and shredded cheddar and – Chicago Dogs! They tasted great! Also made a small iceberg salad with a bunch of sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots and chopped Italian parsley! Yum! Had some Marie’s Bleu Cheese for some and sort of homemade Ranch (using the packet, milk and mayo) for those who don’t like Bleu cheese. I also had some cans of Trader Joes Organic Baked Beans. Heated them up and a yummy dinner!

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New Birthday Cakes

When my boys were young, I had several boy-themed cake pans and loved to make special cakes for their birthdays. After they got too old for that and I had my girl, I still kept the pans just because I loved them. Then during preparation for the big move, I knew they had to be sacrificed. They went to a good home though, a close friend of mine with a 5 year old boy and she also happens to be the most talented baker I have ever known.
For my girl’s first birthday I had made a castle Bundt cake with a pan given to me for that purpose by another talented baker I know. It was a very plain cake, a butter pound cake for the castle and a sheet cake of just starlight yellow cake recipe. Her second birthday was quite exciting for a cake, a large spongebob, fully decorated (picture in archives of this blog) and using Snickers bars for legs and arms, the right color icing spread on top of course. Then it came time for her 3rd.
Being a girl, she knew what he wanted – an Ariel cake with purple, and also cupcakes. I also made a castle for Ariel. I found the recipes online before going to the store. I’m getting tired of the regular flavors I have been making. So I found a few recipes and altered them for ease and less ingredients.
I was challenged first off knowing that with an Ariel cake, her hair being red, that it wouldn’t be easy. I am solidly against red dye. I researched tons of sites and after careful thought on my own, decided to finely chop organic strawberries and attempt to do it that way. Very tiny bits of liquid food coloring went into other parts of the cake, very small parts. As you can see by the pictures to follow, the chopped strawberries were a great addition to this cake. I used white frosting underneath and pressed the chopped, pressed-sort-of-dry strawberries into it. The cake I made for it was on the back of the Trader Joes cocoa container. Never made it before but definitely will make it again. This was the main candle cake at the party and I got lots of compliments. Only one piece left after a small group of people.
For the castle cake, I wanted to try something different so the Irish cream was perfect. Instead of going to a liquor store for the 1/4 cup of Irish cream, I found an Irish cream wine at the grocery store. It worked fine. I decided to whip a bunch of heavy whipping cream and cover it in raspberries and blueberries. Always a way to dress up a cake.
The cupcakes were the biggest hit. Every kid birthday I bake for is not complete until I make ice cream cone cupcakes. The best idea! I saw it in a “Special Effects” cookbook years ago. Teachers love these when you bring them for kids birthdays (I hope you are still allowed to do this) because there is no trash, no wrapper from the cupcake. Just use cake cones as if they were cupcake liners and bake like normal. Just don’t let the batter sit in the cone before baking or they will get soggy. I have never had a fail of these cupcakes. Too easy! Frost them like normal. They do fall in the pan when transporting but never are a problem. The frosting stays on and handles the trip well. Just bake and transport in a dish that has at least and inch or two tall sides and no problem. I decided to make White Chocolate Raspberry cupcakes, inspired by my good friend I mentioned earlier who is the most amazing baker I know. I found a few recipes online and altered them the omit things I didn’t want to use and add things I do. I haven’t asked but I do believe that is what my friend does too.

Irish Cream Bundt Cake
2 sticks butter (1/2 lb.), softened
2 and 1/2 cups cake flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 large eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Irish cream

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare Bundt pan by spreading butter with a brush to make sure that all crevices are well greased. Sift cake four, baking powder, and salt together in a medium size bowl and set aside.
Cream butter for 2 minutes on medium speed. Combine sugars then add to butter with vanilla and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Reduce speed and add eggs one at a time, mixing for 20 seconds after each egg. Combine Irish cream and buttermilk in a measuring cup with spout. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes until smooth. Pour into Bundt pan and smooth surface, making sure batter is in all crevices.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. Insert a long wooden skewer into cake to test for doneness. Remove pan from oven and allow cake to cool in Bundt pan for 20 minutes.
Invert cooled cake onto serving plate/cake stand.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cake or Cupcakes
3 oz White chocolate chips
3/4 cup Milk
1 3/4 cup flour
2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Butter softened
1 cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons crushed raspberries
4 Eggs
White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup or more Raspberries (I put a blueberry inside each raspberry for the top just be be fancy)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8- or 9-inch round baking pans or use muffin cups lined or cake ice cream cones.
Melt white chocolate with about half of the milk in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate starts to melt. Remove from heat, stir until smooth. Stir in remaining milk. Let cool.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl, set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer until soft and smooth. Add sugar and beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well-combined. Alternately add flour mixture and white chocolate mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
Spread batter in pans or muffin cups Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake tests done. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool completely. Frost as desired. Top with raspberries.

White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
6 oz white chocolate chips melted and cooled
8 oz neufchatel cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter (softened)
2-3 tablespoons of crushed raspberries
2 cups confectioners sugar

Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium until well blended. Add cooled white chocolate. Mix well. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar.

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Some of my Money-Saving Tips

Hi! I have a goal to post something at least 2 times a week and I promise, I will get there! Working full-time outside the home is no excuse here because I do all of my blogging and tweeting on my iPhone. But 8 hours a day are kind of tied up.
Money is probably the major stressor in my life as I’m sure it is for most people. Saving money is not a hobby, it’s a necessity. I am constantly adjusting my spending habits due to new ideas and lessons learned. Here are some of my favorites:
Don’t shop at the major chain grocery stores
I think back to the days when the grocery stores were the only places I knew of to get food. I thought that all the smaller stores like Trader Joes were supposed to be more expensive. I will admit there are times when items are on a good sale at grocery stores. But my general rule is to avoid them. I get most of our food at Trader Joes and some at another store that is known for its low prices. I watch every single price like I watch ingredient labels. Trader Joes has high quality and some of the lowest prices for most everyday items. I have not shopped at Costco in years although I will go with someone once in a while to see if things have changed. I do not buy pre-made, mass-produced, processed or frozen foods so it doesn’t impress me at all. I don’t have time to go to more than 2 stores each week. It takes planning but it is necessary to keep a list and plan your meals. There is no more of a budget killer than to have to go to the store every day.
Don’t eat out
I know a lot of people enjoy this but we became unable to afford it. It started with getting the feeling of being ripped off every time we spent the money to eat out, combined with not knowing what is in the food, and hearing of food poisoning stories. When you can make an incredible home-cooked meal for 6 plus leftovers for under $20 we just can’t bring ourselves to get lower quality for close to $100. Not to mention we can’t afford it. And $20 is the most expensive meal I ever make at home!
Use half of normal of certain items
I know it sounds ridiculous but I only use half dryer sheets and chew half pieces of gum. Half a dryer sheet does exactly what a full one does. They rip right apart easily. I also cut a roll of paper towels in half and place in a large can to use as table napkins. One of my daycare providers showed me this and even gave me an old empty formula can to use. I have been lazy to decorate it.
Eliminate paper plates and bowls
When we did this we started noticing that it does not cause many more dishes at all. The majority of dishes that pile up are dishes used to cook meals, dishes for stored foods and cups. We just deal with it an wash them which saves money by not buying all the extra paper products. And I have never had a dishwasher. We also now have less in our trash can and may be able to downgrade the size can we have to save money as soon as we get more settled in and everything is unpacked.
Shop around for auto insurance
Yes, it takes time but can be worth it.
Shop for clothes at thrift stores
Especially for young children, you can find some amazing clothes for $1-2 each. We also love hand-me-downs. And we get compliments on how nicely my toddler is dressed all the time.
Craigslist for furniture
We have the nicest dining room table and chairs and a beautiful outdoor patio set that we got for free on Craigslist. Just take standard, simple safety precautions and bring extra people and you are fine.
Keep your house at 61 degrees
I know some people can’t handle this but we have become used to it and have incredibly low utility bills compared to most people we know in the area. Sometimes we turn it up when we wake up in a weekend but not often.
These tips aren’t for everyone and this is not a complete list of what we do to save money but I will add more when I think of them.
Have a great day!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day

’tis a day celebrated in this country with food, beer, and parades! Being so conscious of the food that goes into the mouths of my family, I was thrilled to find Uncured Corned Beef at Trader Joes! Now my family can enjoy that meat they love and I have a little less worry about stomach cancer, among other things. If you haven’t discovered Uncured Ham that they sell around the holidays and Easter, then you are missing out. For some reason, a lack of Sodium Nitrite makes it taste better to me and my family agrees.
Today on the menu is Uncured Corned Beef, organic carrots, and organic potatoes in the crock pot. Later I will add the cabbage to the pot. Everyone is looking forward to it. No parades today that we know of here but we still don’t know everything the locals know yet so maybe there is something. Even our old home town in sunny So Cal had to cancel their parade because of rain. Nothing much gets cancelled due to rain up here in Seattle! They pretty much do everything in the rain here. No big deal.
Breakfast was a little special today too. I made a last minute decision to make green French Toast! I had made burgers last night so I had 2 leftover buns and there had been leftover dough that I made into a small loaf of French bread and baked before bed last night. 2 eggs, milk, and a tiny drop of green food color (I don’t usually use this but for this rare occasion) and yummy!
Have a great celebration everyone!

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