Sunday, December 2, 2018

Texas Sheet Cake

I finally made this cake and it was an instant hit.  My uncle is really picky and pretty much only eats his favorites and he told me I can make this cake for him any time.

Thanks Dessert for Two!  This was quick, easy and delicious.

Texas Chocolate Quarter Sheet  yields 4-6, so pretty sure I doubled the recipe
PREP TIME20 minutes
COOK TIME20 minutes
TOTAL TIME40 minutes


  • For the cake:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the frosting:รข?¨7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 heaping cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Lightly spray a quarter-sheet pan with cooking spray. A quarter-sheet pan measures 12x10-inches.
  3. First, make the cake. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  4. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter.
  5. Once melted, stir in the cocoa powder and boiling water.
  6. In a measuring cup, stir together the buttermilk, egg, baking soda and vanilla.
  7. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, following by the boiling water mixture.
  8. Stir together all cake ingredients very ell, and then pour into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake cake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. While the cake bakes, make the frosting. In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  11. Stir in the cocoa powder, buttermilk and vanilla until well-combined.
  12. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.
  13. Immediately when the cake comes out of the oven, pour the frosting over. Use an off-set spatula to spread the frosting to the edges of the pan.
  14. Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Thai-Style Chicken Satay and Peanut Dipping Sauce

My mom came to visit and I've been wanting to make her Indonesian/Malaysian food since I recently learned a couple recipes.  This one was from a trusted source (J. Kenji Lopez-Alt) and while the chicken was popular the Peanut Tamarind Dipping sauce was the star of the show that day.  It's easy to make and great on everything.

Thanks, Kenji!

Thai-Style Chicken Satay and Peanut Tamarind Dipping Sauce


  • 1 teaspoon (4g) coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) whole white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) palm sugar, plus more to taste (see note above)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (about 12g)
  • 1 (1/4-inch) disk of ginger (about 12g), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped (about 1 ounce; 25g), plus more sliced shallot for garnish
  • 1 (1-inch) knob fresh turmeric, peeled, or 1 teaspoon (4g) dried turmeric powder
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only, finely sliced (remove dry outer leaves before slicing)
  • 1 (15-ounce; 425g) can coconut milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Asian fish sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) boneless, skinless chicken thigh, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 recipe Peanut-Tamarind Dipping Sauce, for serving
  • 1 small cucumber, cut into bite-size pieces


  1. 1.
    Toast coriander and white pepper in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Alternatively, place on a heatproof plate in the microwave and microwave at 15-second intervals until fragrant. Transfer to mortar and crush to a powder with pestle. Add palm sugar, garlic, ginger, shallot, turmeric, and lemongrass and crush to a paste. Transfer paste to a medium bowl and stir in half of coconut milk, all of fish sauce, and 1 teaspoon (4g) salt. Taste and add more salt or sugar as desired. The mixture should be quite sweet and salty.
  2. 2.
    Add chicken and turn to coat. Transfer to a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag, remove as much air as possible (you can use the water displacement method for this) and refrigerate for at least 1 and up to 8 hours.
  3. 3.
    Remove chicken from bag and thread onto bamboo or metal skewers, using an onion or potato to help you do so faster and more safely. Pack chicken in tightly on skewers as you go.
  4. 4.
    Light 2/3 chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the medium-high heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.
  5. 5.
    Place chicken directly over hot side of grill and cook, turning occasionally and brushing with remaining coconut milk every minute, until chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes total.
  6. 6.
    Remove from grill and serve immediately with peanut-tamarind sauce, cucumber, and sliced shallot.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Classic mac and cheese in the Instant Pot!  The only thing I don't like is that when you quick release the IP it bubbles/froths out of the pressure release and you have the wash the lid well.  It's really not a big deal.

And careful- it yields a LOT of mac and cheese.  My kids have no problem with this.

Thank you, Active Hip Momma!

Ingredient List
  • I box (16 ounce of elbow macaroni)
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream ( 1 can of evaporated milk(12 ounce) would work or even whole milk)I think I added a little more till I got the consistency I was looking for- (Tablespoon at a time)
  • 3 Tb of butter
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 cups of water
Inside the instant pot, place the macaroni, water, salt and butter. Set instant pot on 4 minutes manual , manual release pressure(quick release).  After that is done, take lid off and set pot on saute and add whipping cream, and stir. Then slowly add cheese as it melts! enjoy!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Instant Pot Beef Stew

I had heard about the Instant Pot and was intrigued because I had never cooked with a pressure cooker.  I liked that it was electronic and less scary than stovetop pressure cookers and the Instant Pot seems to have a cult following.  Amazon Prime Day sealed the deal- W and I both saw the IP for a great price and texted each other at the same time.

I've had a good amount of success with the IP thanks to Facebook groups and online recipes, and I appreciate the amount of time I've saved with it.  I made this Instant Pot Beef Stew for some friends and it got rave reviews.  

Thanks, Jennifer Robins of Predominantly Paleo!  I didn't make this recipe paleo but it was great as written.

Instant Pot Beef Stew

  • 16 ounces tenderloin, cut (or stew meat -aka chuck roast)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes chopped (replace with sweet potatoes for AIP)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cups beef bone broth, organic or homemade (make sure AIP compatible if observing)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil, ghee, or lard (stick to avocado oil or lard for AIP)
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (omit for AIP)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (omit for AIP)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour - I used cornstarch
  • Worcestershire sauce to taste (omit for AIP)
  • Optional: sweet potato, parsnip, turnips
  1. Turn your Instant Pot onto “Saute” and put in your oil and tenderloin
  2. Saute until the meat is no longer pink then toss in your remaining veggies
  3. Stir to combine then add in the broth and seasonings
  4. Stir once more then place the lid on your Instant Pot and press “Stew/Meat”
  5. The setting should automatically set itself for 35 minutes on high pressure
  6. Make sure your steam valve is closed and let it cook as indicated by the display
  7. Once cooking is complete, your Instant Pot should automatically switch over to warm – You can leave it as is or quick release the pressure. I let mine rest and release the pressure on its own slowly.
  8. After about 20 minutes passed on the “Warm” setting, you can then open the top
  9. Carefully ladle out about 1/4 of the liquid and combine that in a small bowl with the arrowroot flour
  10. Add the slurry back into the pot and stir to thicken
  11. At this time you may taste the stew and see if you’d like to add in additional salt; it is better to start low and add then to over-salt from the beginning
  12. At this time you may serve the stew or leave it on the “Warm” setting until ready to enjoy

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Taiwanese Meat Sauce

Confession time: I didn't really know anything about Taiwan until college.  Which means I didn't know anything about Taiwanese food until college, either!  So sad.

My friend Jen Che has an award-winning food blog that occasionally highlights Taiwanese food recipes and we've used this one the most.  It's a simple comfort food and it takes very little time to put together.  I always add more black mushrooms because they're delicious.

Thanks, Jen!  I love your site!

Taiwanese Meat Sauce Over Rice

2 dried black mushrooms
5 shallots, minced
1/2 lb ground pork
1 t rice wine
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cups water
1 t sugar
1/2 t 5-spice powder
6 cups rice (cooked)
Soak the mushrooms in hot water until soft. Meanwhile, mince the shallots. I used a food processor, which made it a lot easier. When mushrooms are soft, slice them into thin pieces.
Add 1 T of vegetable oil to a wok and put on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add shallots and stir fry for about 1-2 minutes, until they start to brown a lot. Add mushrooms and ground pork. Stir fry until the pork is cooked. Add rice wine, soy sauce, water, sugar, and 5-spice powder.
Let it simmer for 1 hour. Ladle out the meat mixture and pour over rice.  There will be a lot of excess liquid. Leave that in the pot. You can optionally mix the meat sauce together with rice as well and garnish with some scallions and red pepper flakes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Waffles for our new waffle maker!

We gave away our old waffle maker but luck would have it and we were gifted another!  This one was a little bit different; our old waffle maker made thinner, crispier Eggo-like waffles and this one was a little closer to Belgian waffles.

I tried my previous waffle recipe with this waffle maker and it didn't come out right.  I found this recipe on allrecipes and it worked really well.  I followed some tips from the reviews and beat the egg whites separately before adding them to the batter.  The waffles were perfect and I doubled the recipe so I could freeze the leftovers.  My daughter loves them for breakfast and I love that I can just pop them in the toaster oven.

They're great for breakfast but also a fun snack with cookie butter and peaches.

Thanks, oneshyofabunch!  



  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth.
  2. Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.

Friday, September 4, 2015


This was the star of Taco Night!  I love slow-cooked pork and this slow-cooker carnitas recipe is top notch.  We love how juicy the meat is and the seasoning is perfect.  I'm pretty sure I've cooked more pork shoulder than most people do but I don't care.  It's that good.  We didn't even bother frying it because we wanted to eat it right away.

Thanks, Melissa d'Arabian from Food Network!

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or 2 1/2 pounds bone-in)Salt and freshly ground black pepper2 teaspoons dried oregano1 teaspoon ground cumin1 tablespoon olive oil1 onion, coarsely chopped4 cloves garlic, minced1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, chopped1 orange, cut in half3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Salt and pepper liberally. Mix the oregano and the cumin with olive oil and rub all over pork. Place the pork in a slow cooker and top with the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Squeeze over the juice of the orange and add the two halves. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high 4 hours.
Once the meat is tender, remove from slow cooker and let cool slightly before pulling apart with a fork. In a large saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Press the carnitas into the oil and fry until crusty on one side. Serve.