Monthly Archives: November 2008

5 Minute Microwave Chocolate Cake

My lovely niece Sarah, a graduate student, fills in as guest blogger today with the perfect quick “chocolate fix”…

5 Minute Chocolate CakeSome days you need a good dose of chocolate but can’t find enough time to drag out the mixer and turn on the oven only to wait half an hour for a cake which then has to cool for another half an hour.

Such a long time to wait for desert! Well, my roommates and I were intrigued by the recipe my aunt sent last week: “A cake in 5 minutes?!” we exclaimed. This could be a very good thing! We experimented with the recipe during our weekly “Roomie Hangout Night” and were quite impressed by the results.

Minute Chocolate Mug Cake
1 Coffee Mug
4 tablespoons flour (that’s plain flour, not self-rising)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
Small splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.

The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. EAT! (This can serve 2 if you want to share!)

And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world? Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time of the day or night.

ENJOY ! ! ! ! ! ! We sure did! Even if our cakes turned out to be a little less than conventional in their appearances. :]


Dehydrating Onions

Here’s another great idea from Nana!


We grow several rows of onions in our garden. They are a “staple” for us and are used in so many recipes! We also like them raw in salads and on burgers.

In the fall we harvest the onions and then hang them up to dry. After they have dried awhile, we check them over. The firm ones are put in a box for over-the-winter use & stored on a shelf in our garage.

The softer ones we slice and dehydrate.

I make sure our clothes closet door is shut tight. The fragrance of onion #5 turns heads in church! But really compliments whatever we are cooking at home!
We have an electric Food Dehydrator which makes the process quite simple! But you can also use your oven. Spread them on a cookie sheet. Dry at 120 degrees for 24 to 30 hours until brittle. Stir occasionally during the day. (I would not leave the oven on overnight, but would leave the pans in the oven.)

Store them in a tightly covered container.

This year I discovered that I could grind the dried onions in my ever-faithful 15 year-old little Black & Decker coffee mill. It makes onion powder that can be sprinkled for flavor when you don’t want the chunks of onion or when you are practicing the “art of subterfuge“! Recycle an empty glass spice container and you’ll even have a “shaker” top for dispensing!

Until next time!


Snacky Apple Snickerdoodles: A Snack With A Fun Name

Here’s a heart-healthy recipe from Nana that fits right into any fall menu…

Snacky Apple SnickerdoodlesOur family likes to pass magazines around, round-robin style, and it was in one of those magazines that I found this heart-healthy recipe.

Since we hosting a weekly Bible Study, I need to create a different snack each week and since we had some delicious “handed around” apples, this recipe was the perfect fit!

What is a Snickerdoodle?  It is an old-fashioned cookie using basic ingredients much like a sugar cookie, except it is rolled in sugar & cinnamon.

It probably originated in the late 1800’s in New England with people from a German and Dutch background.  Unfortunately there is no clue as to how they got their name.

This modern “healthy” recipe has no eggs, uses oil instead of butter and has whole wheat flour. The cookie has a cake-like texture.  It’s good with a glass of milk, a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate!

Snacky Apple Snickerdoodles Cookie
From: Heart Healthy Magazine
Yield: 36 cookies


1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ Cup Non-fat Dry Milk Powder
½ tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 Dash Salt
1 Cup Low-fat Vanilla Yogurt
½ Cup Honey
4 Tbs. Unsweetened Applesauce
2 Tbs. Oil
1 Cup Peeled & Diced Raw Apples

2 Tbs. White Sugar
½ tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine flour, milk powder, baking soda, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and salt; Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey, applesauce, and oil.

Stir the applesauce mixture into the flour mixture all at once, stirring until just combined. Stir in apples until just combined.

Using a rounded tablespoon, spoon dough onto ungreased baking sheets.

Combine sugar and cinnamon to make topping. Sprinkle over dough.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.  After cooled they can be stored in freezer containers in the freezer for up to 1 month, if they last that long!

Until next time,


Crock Pot Macaroni and Corn

It’s been a busy few weeks trying to move things and get settled in.

It’s amazing that my family, despite how busy mom was, still thought they needed to eat 3 times a day!

With both houses in chaos and my kitchen half missing, the crock pot became my best friend and this particular recipe, Macaroni and Corn, is one of my favorites!

I had never even heard of this dish until we moved to Southern Iowa. Now I think I see it at almost every potluck dinner we attend. I can understand why! It is so easy to prepare and everybody loves it!

Crock Pot Macaroni and Corn

Mix together in crockpot:

1 cup uncooked macaroni
1 can whole kernel corn (undrained)
1 can cream style corn

Melt together:

1 stick butter or oleo
1/2 pound of Velveeta

Pour over the macaroni and corn mixture and stir. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. (Or you could place in a casserole dish and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.)

This makes a terrific side dish and travels well. I like to add chopped ham or browned hamburger to make it a complete meal in one.

How easy is that? You don’t even have to cook the macaroni!

Comfort food from a crock pot- now that’s a good thing!

Papa Jim’s Buttermilk Bread

Since he retired, my dad has taken over almost all of the bread baking at home. Nana shares his classic recipe today…

Papa Jim loves to make bread in our bread machine. This recipe is one of our grand kids favorite. When it’s just the two of us, we slice the cooled loaf and put the slices in a large plastic container in the freezer.  We can take out as many slices as we need, and heat in the microwave or toaster. It is also great as a late-night-can’t-get-to-sleep snack with a cup of chamomile tea!

But when the grand kids are here, it gets eaten hot as fast as Papa can slice it!

Buttermilk Bread

Papa Jim’s Buttermilk Bread
(for a bread machine)

Place ingredients in machine in the following order:

Ingredient: 2 lb recipe  |  1 ½ lb recipe

Buttermilk* 1 ½ Cups |  1 ¼ Cups

Margarine or butter, softened 3 Tbs.  |  3 Tbs.

Honey ¼ Cup  |   3 Tbs.

Salt 1 ¾ tsp.  |   1 ½ tsp.

White or Unbleached Flour 2 ½ Cups  |  2 Cups

Whole Wheat Flour 2 ½ Cups  |  2 Cups

Baking Soda ½ tsp.   |  ¼ tsp.

Active Dry Yeast 2 tsp. |  1 ¾ tsp

* Chilled buttermilk can be used (it does not have to be at room temperature)

I use powdered buttermilk mixed according to directions on can, but reduce water by 3 Tbs.

Use BASIC cycle and MEDIUM or LIGHT crust color. Do not use TIMER setting.

To make whole wheat flour, we purchase the wheat berries and grind in our electric grain grinder.  Papa grinds up enough to fill a plastic pail and we store in the freezer.