Eat it For Breakfast Cake: with fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.

strawberry, blueberry, raspberry cake

Four years ago I was participating in Project 365 where you are challenged to take at least one photo every day for a year. I did this for two or three years – it was hard and fantastic and frustrating and inspiring. I think it improved my photography immensely (which is not to say that I’m an expert now, just better than I was before) and I also met some cool people and learned some cool things.

One of the women whose photography I just loved – and it’s been so long now that I can’t even remember her name – traveled with her husband each summer to their vacation home in Nova Scotia (I think). Her photos of this town absolutely drew me in to her world – their summer cat who seemed to show up at their door every year without fail; the amazing festivals and town events that always seemed to be going on; her friendships there and the easy way of life that she was enjoying. Basically, I want to be her when I grow up.

Another thing she shared with us was this cake which she made often for friends or just for breakfast. It’s a highly adaptable cake that works well with any fruit you have on hand. I first made it with blueberries and more recently I made it for BB’s 5th birthday party last month. It was the perfect cake for the day because we were having a morning party so something that felt more like breakfast was called for. And the friends we shared this cake with are those laid back easy friendships that make me feel like we’ve found a touch of that Novia Scotia lifestyle that I dream of right here at home. Here’s the recipe so you can enjoy it with your favorite friends, too.

Eat it For Breakfast Cake

Best Served with good friends and whipped cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fruit – I used a mixture of chopped strawberries, blueberries and raspberries but you can use whatever you have on hand.
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (Don’t have buttermilk? Use a scant 1/2 cup of milk and a 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for 5-10 minutes)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 inch pie plate or cake pan (or use that awesome baking cooking spray from Pam).
  3. Prepare your fruit (berries can be left whole, slice any larger fruit) and set aside.
  4. Beat butter & sugar. Add vanilla, egg and salt.
  5. Add flour, baking powder & baking soda; mix well.
  6. Add buttermilk. Pour into pie plate. Top with fruit.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Cool a bit and enjoy!

blowing out the candles

Recipe: Momma’s Enchilada Style Mexican Pizza

enchilada mexican pizza @ mommablogsalot

I’ve shared this recipe before but it was pretty incomplete and not entirely accurate – whoops! Definitely time for a do over!

This recipe is a big favorite in our house and it’s very versatile. I use the same basic ingredients whether I’m making the dish pie or pizza style or just as basic enchiladas. You can use any variety of enchilada sauce or even taco sauce so you can adapt it to your family’s preferences. I keep a bottle of hot sauce on hand for my husband who likes it spicier than the rest of us.

enchiladas

Here’s a pic of the recipe making regular old enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning (or make your own – I love this Alton Brown recipe)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4-6 flour tortillas
  • About 4 oz. (1 cup) of shredded cheese but you may use more or less depending on preference
  • 1 can of enchilada sauce (you could also use taco sauce)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook up 1 lb ground beef until it’s browned through, then drain excess grease.
  3. Add a packet of taco seasoning and 1/4 cups water, then continue cooking meat until the seasoning / sauce is “thick” or basically, until it’s not watery and all the meat is covered.
  4. Using a flat round skillet that can go in the oven (or a cake pan or square pan – whatever is handy), place a tortilla on the bottom, add cheese, then your meat, then another tortilla and so on until it’s full, finishing with a tortilla.
  5. Top all of this with a can of enchilada sauce – we like the green chile style – try and make sure the whole thing is covered so that the tortilla doesn’t overcook in the oven.
  6. Then add more cheese to the whole thing.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or so until cheese is melted.

We usually top each serving with diced tomatoes, sour cream (or Fage Greek yogurt) and / or guacamole. You can basically cater this to individual preference.

What’s your favorite go-to recipe?

Recipe: Andrea’s Clam Chowder

clam chowder

Lately my favorite place to store recipes is on Pinterest. I have a board for recipes I want to try – and another one for recipes that are all kinds of tried and true. It’s nice to be able to scroll through a bunch of meals that are known favorites in my family as I’m planning my menu for the week.

But some of my favorite recipes aren’t online and thus are un-pinnable! I’m trying to rectify this and I thought an easy solution would be to share some of them here.

Today I want to share with you a clam chowder recipe that I got from my my bestie, Andrea. She shared it with me awhile back and my life hasn’t been the same since. Sometimes I’ll call her in the grocery store to ask what kind of clams to buy again and what brands does she like and have I told her how much I love her lately.

me & andrea

Me and Andrea wayyyyy back when!

Ange and I go way back – we met at a bowling party for a mutual friend back in high school and were basically inseparable from that day forward. Though we live 1,500 miles apart now – we have one of those super easy friendships where we always pick up where we left off whenever we do get to see each other as if no time has passed at all. Love that.

In our hometown back in MA we have an annual Chowder Fest every year where restaurants and chefs from all over compete to make the best clam chowder. It’s a major summer event and before moving to Wisconsin I went basically every year – so although I’m probably not a clam chowder expert, I do like to think I have pretty high standards when it comes to my chowder. Seasoning and consistency are pretty important to me and I consider myself kind of a chowder purist – I like it simple and this recipe is simply delicious.

andrea's clam chowder

Andrea’s Clam Chowder

Makes 8-10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 celery sticks
  • 1 1/4 lb potatoes
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 tsp thyme (fresh use a little less than bottled)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 cans clam (1 minced, 2 chopped or whatever sounds good to you)
  • 8 oz clam juice
  • 1 quart heavy cream

Directions

  1. Slice 1/2 pound of bacon into small pieces, and fry in a large pot until crispy. Once crispy to the touch add in celery and onion (cut into small pieces so they will fit on a spoon.) Cook down until celery is looking translucent and is soft to the touch.
  2. Add seasoning to pot, more can be added if flavor is lacking at the end of all cooking. Stir mixture together until thoroughly seasoned. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until flour is coating all items in pan.
  3. Add 2-3 cans of clams (I usually do 1 minced and 2 chopped) and clam juice to pot.
  4. Concoction so far can be frozen for future preparation!
  5. In separate pot cook cubed potatoes (again, bite sized) until they are soft enough to eat, but not too soft that they will fall apart.
  6. Add potatoes (drained of all water) and heavy cream to large pot and cook until thoroughly warm. If chowder is thin then you can cook it for longer (it will thicken as it stands) or create a roux using melted butter and flour and adding it to the chowder which will help it thicken. To really make the flavor complete add 3 drops of hot sauce!

I love this clam chowder recipe – I hope you will, too!

The Cookie S’More: Camping’s New Best Friend.

the cookie s'more

I’m not sure when I first heard about the cookie s’more or if it was just a flittering whisper of genius in my brain one day, but it’s our new favorite camping recipe that you guys all need to know about.

The truth is: There is nothing complicated about making a s’more – it’s a tried and true recipe. So why change it?

“Ugh, all the graham crackers got smashed up in the box! I’ve got one whole one here and three angled chunks here… Hold on, let me see if I can perch these two together, no they don’t match…”

I got the wrong size chocolate bars – these are way too big for the graham crackers and they don’t have that little break off line… Does anybody have a knife on them?”

“The graham crackers got all randomly crumbly (her face seemed crumbling like pastries? what? Get out of my blog post, Ed Sheeran!) – hurry up and shove this burning hot s’more in your mouth before it falls in the dirt!”

It’s 900 degrees outside and all the chocolate is melted. Maybe we can just smear it onto the graham crackers? Oh, damn, they are broken, too. S’more parfait anyone?”

What? None of you have ever had any of these problems with s’mores before? Maybe I’m just inept at basic camp cooking (or dorm room cooking, I won’t lie) – but either way, once I discovered the cookie s’more there was no going back. The flavors, they are so heavenly – the assembly is so easy your three year old could do it (ack! fire! pointy sticks! Nevermind, I’ll assemble!) and plus, cookies.

The Cookie S’More Recipe

Cook Time: however long it takes to roast your marshmallow

Assembly Time: a few seconds

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 2 cookies of your choosing, I prefer chocolate chip (Pepperidge Farms Soft Baked are fantastic)
  • 1 or 2 marshmallows depending on size and preference

Directions

  1. Roast marshmallows via method of your choosing. Stab them with a skewer and throw them over an open flame (if you are using a grill, remove the grate thingy first – you’re welcome). If you’ve never roasted a marshmallow, please enjoy this handy video from the yootoobs – or just wing it. It’s kind of hard to go wrong here.
  2. Once your marshmallow is browned to perfection, place it on top of a cookie and use the other cookie to sandwich it into place, carefully removing your skewer.
  3. If you can stand it, wait a few seconds before biting in – that marshmallow is hot!

The results, will be ooey and gooey with that perfect blend of chocolate, marshmallow and cookie flavor. Make some for the other people in your camping group or keep it your little secret and laugh ruthlessly, watching them make their own Old Fashioned, Sad and Pathetic S’Mores.

Don’t have an open flame handy? Place those cookies on a microwave safe plate, top one with a marshmallow and microwave for a few seconds until the marshmallow starts to expand – then top with the other cookie. Keep a close eye on the marshmallow though, nobody wants to clean exploded marshmallow out of a microwave.

What’s your favorite camping recipe? Your This is So Easy it Almost Doesn’t Deserve It’s Own Post Except It’s Genius Recipe?

Recipe: Easy Shepherd’s Pie

This is another recipe adopted from one found at KraftFoods.com. You can find the original recipe here.

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Total Time: 30 minutes   Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 cups hot mashed potatoes (I used 2 large potatoes, cooked and mashed them, adding no ingredients yet)
  • 4 oz (1/2 of an 8 oz package) Neufchatel cheese (less fat and calories than cream cheese)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like, really)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups frozen corn, thawed (you can substitute for vegetable of your choice)
  • 1 cup beef gravy

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Brown meat in large skillet; drain.
  3. Mix potatoes (cooked and mashed) with Neufchatel, 1/2 cup of cheese, and garlic, until well blended.
  4. Combine meat, vegetables and gravy; Spoon into 9 inch square baking dish.
  5. Cover with potato mixture and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through.

Recipe: Smoky Mac & Cheese

I adopted this recipe from one I found in Family Circle’s January 2009 issue. I only made a few modifications to suit our tastes and it came out wonderfully, so per usual I’m going to post the recipe to share with you all. Just a warning, this recipe as prepared has about 500 in a not terribly humongous serving. So if you are counting your calories make sure you do this one on a night when you have the room for that size meal. We served it with some slices of French Baguette – we should have served it with a salad, but we were feeling lazy and pretended not to notice. I don’t have any pictures of this one yet because it was so delicious that the entire thing got eaten before I remembered to grab my camera. But we’ll probably make it again in a month or two and if I remember I’ll grab some pictures then. Anyhow, recipe…

Makes: 4 servings | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 7 minutes | Microwave Time: 3 minutes at 50% power

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces of pasta of your choice (you could save 100 calories per serving by reducing this to 4 ounces)
  • 4 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 4 ounces of Trader Joe’s Quattro Formagio shredded cheese (parmesan, provolone, asiago and fontina cheeses – I love this blend but you could try any good cheese blend)
  • 1/4 teaspoon McCormick’s Mesquite Marinade seasoning packet
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick’s Smoked Paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon McCormick’s Smoked Sweet Pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 slices of bacon, crisply fried and broken into pieces

Directions:

  1. Cook macaroni in a large pot of slightly salted water according to package directions. Drain and place pasta into square baking dish.
  2. Mix in the shredded cheeses, mesquite flavoring, paprika and sweet pepper seasoning blend. Stir until cheese melts, adding milk for desired creaminess.
  3. Sprinkle bacon on top. Cover and vent the corners of the baking dish. Microwave for 3 minutes at 50% power. Serve warm.

The result is a cheesy, sweet BBQ style macaroni and cheese that smells fabulous and couldn’t be easier to make. We’re planning to use the rest of our mesquite marinade packet to make hamburgers on Wednesday and MM and I finished the leftover macaroni and cheese for lunch today. Next time I will plan to make a big salad to serve alongside this and probably reduce the pasta in the dish by half, saving us each 100 calories.