Streusel Coffee Cake

It seemed appropriate to have a really, really special coffee cake to start the day of college graduation.  I found this recipe and tweaked it a bit.  The promise was something akin to a Starbucks offering. I don’t know about taste, but Starbucks baked goods are in a class by themselves in presentation.  I was sold!

What I love about this recipe is it doesn’t take any unusual ingredients.  If you have the following on hand, you are 2 hours or so from coffee cake bliss!

All purpose flour–4 1/2 cups

Granulated sugar–approx. 2 1/3 cups

Brown Sugar–1 1/3 cups

Butter–1 cup (2 sticks)

Cinnamon–2 tablespoons

Greek Yogurt, plain (can use regular)–3/4 cup

Milk–1 1/4 cup

Eggs-3 large

Chocolate chips–white/dark chocolate, 1/3 cup each

vanilla & salt & baking powder & cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with baking spray.

Mix together for streusel topping:

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Mix together for filling:

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

For Cake:

Beat 3/4 cup butter until creamy in mixer.


1 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar.  Beat into butter.  Add 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Now–beat in 3 eggs, ONE at a time. 

Whisk in a bowl:

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 3/4 cups flour

Whisk in a measuring cup:

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 1/4 cups milk

Okay, here’s the part that is a bit more work…you want to add about a third of the flour, BEAT, a third of the milk/yogurt, BEAT until you have added it all. 

I like to throw a towel over the mixer when adding flour so it doesn’t “fly” everywhere. 

When the batter looks like this

you are ready to assemble your cake

Put half the batter into your prepared pan

Sprinkle with filling and half of your chocolate chips–I did a black/white version–half with dark chocolate/half with white chocolate

Spread remaining batter onto filling/chips;swirl batter slightly with a knife to incorporate filling

Sprinkle with topping

Sprinkle remaining chips on top

Bake a full 60 minutes.  Check with a toothpick into the middle to make sure it’s done.

Let cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.

Cut and serve from pan.



This post is linked to Real Food Wednesday:


Thanks to Baker Chick for the inspiration:

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Filed under Breads and such, Breakfast, Eating well, Special Desserts, Tea time

Mushroom Madness

Along with our oven seared broccoli, mushrooms were on the menu.  CI, again, has the magic method for achieving flavorful, tender mushrooms.  This is our dumb-ed down version.

Slice mushrooms.

Heat one tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet on medium heat.

Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms release moisture, approximately 5 minutes.

Turn heat to medium high and cook an additional 8 minutes, until moisture evaporates.

Add 1 tablespoon butter and cook until dark brown, an additional 8 minutes.

Salt/pepper to taste. Serve.

Since  our oven was hot from the broccoli, I threw some grape tomatoes in the oven on a non-stick pizza pan and cooked them until shriveled.

A colorful addition to our veggie trio.


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Broccoli–Oven Seared Sensation

Do you have broccoli haters in  your life?  Want to “wow” them with a new treatment that actually makes them long for you to prepare broccoli?  All you need to accomplish this great feat is: a blazing hot oven, smidgeon of salt, sugar and an even smaller smidgeon of pepper.  Are you intrigued?  I hope so.  Broccoli is on the super food list; finding a great way to present it to your dubious eaters is a task worth pursuing.  Don’t you agree?

Roasted Broccoli

One large bunch of broccoli

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper

Oven prep:  put rack at lowest position; place a large rimmed baking sheet on the rack; turn oven to 500 degrees.  Yes, preheat to 500 degrees.

Cut broccoli stems off tops ( separate the tree tops from the trunks)

Peel the stems to remove tough outer sheaf.

Slice into 1/2 inch widths.

Place broccoli pieces into a large bowl. Mix oil with sugar and salt and a dash of pepper and drizzle over broccoli.

Toss with spatula to coat with oil.

Remove HOT pan from oven and quickly dump broccoli onto pan, spreading out the pieces.  It will SIZZLE!

Return to oven and bake for 9 minutes, until broccoli is nicely browned.

Serve to your broccoli haters….they will be amazed at the sweet, mellow flavor of this much maligned vegetable.


This recipe is just one of the reasons I renewed my subscription to Cook’s Illustrated.


This recipe is linked to Fight Back Friday @


Filed under Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Side Dishes, Vegan

Perfect Pot Roast–Grass Fed Goodness

Between the Cook’s Illustrated method and glorious grass fed beef goodness, I could go on and on about how the tradition of Sunday beef roast must have started here with this recipe. WOW.  It has me dreaming of how I can always have a supply of grass fed beef in my life.  The beauty and, probably the reason, why pot roast was so popular ‘back in the day’, is the simplicity of pot roast.  Ten minutes of work and 3-4 hours of oven time and you are a queen of the kitchen with ‘melt in your mouth beef’ and deep flavored gravy.

Perfect Pot Roast

3- 3 1/2 pound roast (seven bone, top blade or chuck eye)

2 tablespoons bacon fat or oil

1 medium onion

4 carrots

4 stalks of celery

2 garlic cloves

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 cup each, chicken and beef broth

1 teaspoon thyme


Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Remove roast from refrigerator.  If the roast has been frozen, be sure it’s completely thawed. Generously sprinkle kosher salt and pepper on both sides of roast and let it rest on a rack  at room temperature while you prepare vegetables.

Chop vegetables into large pieces and place in food processor.  Whirl until finely chopped.


Heat bacon fat in dutch oven until shimmering.  Brown roast on both sides.

Remove roast and place on plate.

Saute vegetables in dutch oven until soft and browned.

Add garlic and sugar and stir an additional 30 seconds.  Pour in broths and bring to a simmer.

Return roast to dutch oven,  pouring in any juice on the plate.  Add additional water, if necessary to bring water level halfway up roast.

Cover with a large sheet of foil.

Cover and place in preheated oven.  Bake for 3-4 hours.

To make a simple gravy, remove roast from dutch oven, tent with foil.  Stir 1/4 cup of flour with 1/2 cup cold water to make a slurry; pour into the vegetables/broth and bring to boil.  When it is the thickness you like, you are ready to serve.



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Breakfast Sausage Gravy

Who can resist old fashioned biscuits and gravy?   I think sausage gravy has a reputation of being  difficult to make–not so!!   Try it soon with homemade biscuits, English muffins or potatoes.

Simply Wonderful Sausage Gravy

Your favorite brand of breakfast sausage

Flour (I used white whole wheat, but use what you like best)

Milk/water (whole, half and half, cream, evaportated…your choice again)

In a heavy saucepan, crumble sausage and brown on medium heat.


Sprinkle with flour.  A good ratio would be 1.5 pounds of sausage to 1/2 cup flour.  It’s a forgiving method.  You want the sausage to be coated with flour so it soaks up the fat.

Cook briefly to brown the flour.  Pour 2 cups of milk over the sausage.

Stir as the milk is incorporated into a thick sauce.  Bring to a boil and stir and boil for one minute.  Add additional milk or water to thin as needed to make the sauce to your liking.

A thick, meaty breakfast gravy to serve in just minutes.  Simple, real food for real appetites.

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