Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

It’s sale season and I’m doing some hard-core shopping, mostly from the comfort of my own home of course.

But it’s hard work.  Harder than writing.  Harder than finding an agent.  Well, maybe it’s not that hard but still it’s not easy.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

I scour websites for designer finds I love in my size.  That’s the complicated part.  There are so many things, pretty things, things I would love to have, sometimes hundreds of them.  But almost none of them are my size.  You know, there’s that awesome pair of velvet pumps that I’ve been searching for all season in a random 10.5.

Right now the sales are all entering final sale phase.  What are your thoughts on final sale items?  I get it.  I totally get it.  These sites and stores have had this merchandise for what feels to them an eternity.  It’s marked down at least 70% and they never ever want to see it again.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

If I’m in a store and I try something on and love it, I’ll probably buy it.  Though I have had those moments when I try something on at home again and wonder if I was looking into a magical mirror or had lost my mind temporarily.  Still, I’ll take my chances.

Sitting at home, though, how am I supposed to have faith that gorgeous Dolce and Gabbana dress I have been lusting after for a year will fit.  It’s not worth the risk.  Not at all.  My fashion loving, anxiety ridden mind is overwhelmed by the possibilities.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

And so I make cake … and eat it for breakfast because Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake is pretty much made for breakfast with a cup of tea or coffee.

Grapes are an underutilized fruit in baking.  When baked (or roasted with vegetables for a savory application) they become jammy and super sweet, practically melting in your mouth.  They pair so well with the fruitiness of a great olive oil and the slight texture from polenta aka cornmeal.

You could definitely serve this for an afternoon snack or dessert with some whipped cream or ice cream, but it really belongs at breakfast.  The perfect fuel for a day of shopping, decision making, and risk taking.

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Grape and Olive Oil Polenta Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup fine cornmeal
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup milk (I used almond, use what you love)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 cups seedless red grapes

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, sugar, and oil until very well combined and lightened slightly in color. Alternately add the milk and flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in the lemon and orange zest and vanilla bean paste. Stir in the grapes and pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool completely in the pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about 1 hour or in the microwave about 1 minute.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking

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Weekly Meal Plan #3 2017

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A little bit of everything on the menu this week, but whatever you do, do not miss those Monster Cookie Bars!!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

White Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Kale

Thursday

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Sunday

Breakfast

Dessert

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom | The Pajama Chef | Big Bear’s Wife

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

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Weekly Meal Plan #2 2017

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I’m craving that Cauliflower and Butternut Squash Soup and Pecan Pie Cookie Cups.  It’s all about balance, right???

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Sunday

Side Dish

Dessert

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

The Pajama Chef | Big Bear’s Wife | The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

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010817 Meal Plan #2-square

Weekly Meal Plan #1 2017

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Let’s get the New Year off to a great start with fab dishes like that Slow Cooker Chile Verde.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Sunday

Breakfast

Dessert

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom | The Pajama Chef | Big Bear’s Wife | The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

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Favorite Recipes of 2016

It’s been another delicious year and here are some standout recipes you may have missed – perfect for holiday baking!

Coca-Cola Cupcakes with RITZ Crust

Coca-Cola Cupcakes with RITZ Crust

I couldn’t get enough of these sweet and salty totally over the top treats!

Peach Slab Pie with Crumb Topping

Peach Slab Pie

You all know I am peach obsessed and a slab pie just means there is even more to love!

Peach Fritters with Maple Bourbon Glaze

Peach Fritters

Another peach recipe!  This was my first foray into doughnuts, but it will not be my last.

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Muffins

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Muffins

I didn’t think the classic zucchini muffin could be improved, but these are my favorite flavorful breakfast.

Rice Krispies Treat Birthday Cake

Rice Krispies Treat Birthday Cake

Rice Krispies Treats will always be a nostalgic favorite.  This dessert looks like a cake on the outside, but is a surprise of gooey marshmallow goodness inside.

Yeasted Waffles with Peach Syrup

Yeasted Waffles with Peach Syrup

I don’t make waffles enough and this recipe proves that.  The syrup is to die for!

Animal Cracker Ice Cream Cake

Animal Cookie Ice Cream Cake

Move over store bought ice cream cakes, there is new competition in town!

Carrot Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Carrot Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Another favorite breakfast, this is everything we love about carrot cake with added crumb topping.

Mom's Individual Meatloaves

Mom’s Individual Meatloaves

So the bullies on Reddit may say this is the ugliest food photo ever, but I make these all the time and they never disappoint.

Gluten Free Monster Cookie Bars

Gluten Free Monster Cookie Bars

One of those recipes when I could not stop grabbing a taste.  It is pure peanut butter goodness!

And one of my favorite fashion posts of the year: Summer Sundress.  I can’t wait to break out all my summer clothes and enjoy going outside again.

Summer Sundress #FashionFriday

Here’s to an awesome 2017!

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Don’t drink your calories.  That’s kind of one of my mottos.  My aunt said she thought about it the other day when tempted to order a fancy drink at a coffee shop.

I used to drink my calories like a champion.  Gatorade, orange juice, milkshakes, Frappuccinos, soda.  And my body paid for it.  I stopped pretty much cold turkey and reaped the rewards.  Plus I didn’t really miss any of those things.

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

But every once in awhile rules are meant to be broken.  Especially around the holidays (and when you need a super easy blog post 🙂 ).  I made Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate and it is kind of the best thing since sliced bread or at least regular hot chocolate.  Because what’s better than peanut butter and marshmallow melted into drinkable heaven?

It is rich and rather sweet, so I swapped it for dessert instead of dessert and caloric drink like old me would have and really you definitely do not need dessert after this, nor do you need a large portion.

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

It’s easy to make, gluten free, and perfect for these super chilly winter days.  I’m thinking this is a must for Christmas morning present opening.

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Super warm and comforting, it is extra creamy from the marshmallow fluff melted right into the beverage.  the peanut butter flavor is prominent with a hint of vanilla.  My favorite might just be the topping of more fluff and peanut butter.  I loved to get the topping and the beverage all in one drink.

You will absolutely love the peanut butter and marshmallow drink!

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Fluffernutter White Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 4 drinks

Ingredients

4 cups milk (I used almond, use what you love!)
¾ cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup marshmallow fluff, plus more for serving
¼ cup creamy peanut butter, melted, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  1. In a small sauce pan, stir together milk, white chocolate chips, marshmallow fluff, and peanut butter that has been melted in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
  2. Place over medium heat, and cook, stirring frequently, until everything has melted together and the mixture is steaming hot. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla bean paste.
  3. Divide evenly among mugs. Tip: if your mugs are microwave safe, warm them for about 1 minute before filling with hot chocolate.
  4. Top each mug with a dollop of fluff and a drizzle of melted peanut butter. Serve immediately.
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Weekly Meal Plan #42 Christmas Edition

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Don’t know what to make for Christmas?  No worries!  We have you covered from breakfast to dinner to dessert!

Roast Beef

Balin's Spiced Beef Roast 1

Croissants

chocolatecroissant7

Green Beans

Potatoes

mashed-potato-casserole3

Salad

cran-salad-2-650x609

Dessert

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Dessert

flourlesschocolatecookies5

Dessert

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom | The Pajama Chef | Big Bear’s Wife

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

Meal Plan #42 Christmas-pinterest

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Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HoneyForHolidays #DonVictorHoney #CollectiveBias

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Bundt cakes don’t get enough credit.  They might lack the heaps of frosting in a towering layer cake.  They might not have the immediacy of cookies.  And they don’t have the fudginess of a brownie.

But in reality they have oh so much more.  They are easy to make, mixing up quickly and then baking in the oven without too much checking or turning.  Endless flavor combinations are possible in a bundt cake.  And they are really quite beautiful.

When I unmolded this beauty from the pan (always the scariest part of bundt cake making) and topped it with the nutty caramel, it almost took my breath away.  This cake belongs as the centerpiece of a holiday table or can be given as a gift to some very happy recipients.

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar is the star of this bundt cake.  Honey is sometimes a flavor that can fall to the background of baked goods, but that is so not the case with this cake.

What is so unique about Don Victor® Honey is that it has honeycomb right in it that is fully edible.  I didn’t know that before working with this honey, but now I am so excited to experiment with it in different ways like mixing it into salad dressing or serving is as part of a cheese plate.  It can also be spread on toast or an English muffin with a bit of butter if you like.  Like all honey, it should be stored at room temperature to prevent crystallization.  Unlike a lot of honey, Don Victor® Honey is raw, filtered honey, not heated or processed in any other way.

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

I am also excited to give it as a gift this holiday season because I love introducing my friends and family to new products that I have fallen in love with.  It is an easy to give, inexpensive gift that is perfect for coworkers, bosses, teachers, and more.  Be sure to stock up at Walmart, like I did.  Unlike other honey, Don Victor® Honey is available in the Hispanic aisle.

Shopping at Walmart

Back to the Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel.  The cake itself is unbelievably moist with the flavors of the honey, orange, and olive oil coming through.  It also has a swirl of plump dried cherries and cranberry jam, because all bundt cakes need a swirl 😉

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Then there is maybe my favorite part of the cake: the honey pecan caramel.  I will make this sauce again and again for topping on ice cream or waffles or just eating with a spoon – it is that good.

Be sure to check out Don Victor® Honey and make this bundt cake for the holidays!

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Honey Bundt Cake with Honey Pecan Caramel

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 10-12 servings

Ingredients

Cake
1 cup dried sweet cherries
Juice of 1 orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar
¾ cup olive oil
4 large eggs
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cranberry jam (another flavored jam will do, but try to pick a bright color)
Caramel
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup Don Victor® Orange Blossom Comb Honey Globe Jar
½ stick unsalted butter
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 cup pecans, toasted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil and flour a large bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the cherries and orange juice. Allow to soak while you prepare the batter.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together sugars, honey including the comb, oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla until fully combined. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until just combined. Add the orange juice only from the cherries and mix to combine.
  4. Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan. Top with cherries and jam, trying to keep them away from the sides of the pan. Cover with the other half of the batter and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Allow cake to cool for about 15 minutes while you make the caramel. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, honey including the comb, and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in toasted pecans and flaky sea salt.
  6. Loosen the cake from the pan by sticking a thin knife around the edges. Carefully invert the cake onto a serving plate. Drizzle the caramel slowly over the top. Allow cake to cool completely before cutting and serving. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen in pieces wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 1 minute.
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Weekly Meal Plan #41

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Lots of comfort food is on the menu for this week!

Monday

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Tuesday

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Wednesday

ritzchicken3

Thursday

Friday

  • DAY OFF – Go out to eat or order in!

Saturday

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls 1

Sunday

crock-pot-roastedited-628x625

Breakfast

eggs2

Dessert

wb3_zpsad36b444

This week’s meal plan was brought to you by:

The Pajama Chef | Big Bear’s Wife | The Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Foodtastic Mom

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all week long!

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Apple Crumble Bars

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SingWithPost #CerealAnytime #CollectiveBias

Apple Crumble Bars

You all know I am a movie junkie.  I write screenplays and am so hoping you all will get to see one of my scripts on the big screen one day soon, and I watch movies all the time.  I have old favorite playing in the background while I write and bake and take photos and I try to watch at least two new to me movies every week.

Movies are really special because they make us feel.  They inspire us and make us laugh and cry and bring us together in ways we might not expect.  The experience of watching a great movie for the first time whether in the theatre or at home is unparalleled.

Apple Crumble Bars

While my favorite movies are all over the place in terms of genres, I have a serious weakness for animated flicks.  Perhaps it’s because it brings out the kid in me and reminds me of those simpler days, but it’s also because today’s animated movies are outstanding.

And while I haven’t seen it yet, I have no doubt SING is going to be a new favorite.  It looks so uplifting and is all about following dreams – that sounds perfect for me!

cereal-collage

When I’m watching movies, I love to have a snack.  Who doesn’t?  These Apple Crumble Bars totally fit the bill.  What makes them even more special than typical apple bars is that I incorporated Honeycomb cereal into the crust and topping and Honey Bunches of Oats Almond into the topping.

Post cereals have a wide variety of cereals, so at least one is sure to suit everyone’s tastes.  Plus, that variety means there are always a few options from breakfast to snack to dinner and dessert.  Cereal is good for so much more than eating with milk in the morning.

Apple Crumble Bars

The crust on these bars is like an awesome shortbread but with so much more flavor thanks to the cereal and some cinnamon.  The apples are tender but not mushy and have more cinnamon for that warm spice and fresh lemon juice for balance.  The topping might be my favorite with walnuts that that Honey Bunches of Oats in big clusters.  I couldn’t stop at just one of these bars and I bet you can’t either.

Plus, right now select Post products have special packaging for SING.  You can use the information on these boxes to enter the SING National Sweepstakes for a chance to win $100,000 or movie tickets.  To enter all you have to do is enter codes found on the specially marked boxes into the sweepstakes website.

Be sure to head to Walmart and pick up a few boxes on Post cereal like I did!

Apple Crumble Bars

Apple Crumble Bars

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 24 bars

Ingredients

Crust and Topping
1 ½ cups Honeycomb, crushed
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cups Honey Bunches of Oats Almond
1 cup walnuts
Filling
6 heaping cups apples, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
Juice from 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch pan.
  2. Make the crust and topping. In a large bowl, stir together Honeycomb, flour, salt, cinnamon, sugars, and ¾ of the melted butter. Stir until clumps form. Press ¾ of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Add the Honey Bunches of Oats, walnuts, and remaining butter and stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. Make the filling. In a large bowl, stir together apples, cinnamon, ginger, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice until fully combined. Pour onto the crust and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown, filling is bubbling, and apples are tender.
  4. Cool bars completely in pan before cutting and serving. Bars may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or frozen individually, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour.
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