Category Archives: Eating well

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.


This post is linked to

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

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

Protein Bars–Quick, Easy, Nutrient Dense

Looking for a protein bar?  Are you properly overwhelmed at the offerings?   How about trying to find one that is soy free?  “Good luck!”  Because soy is so cheap and readily available and high in protein per ounce, soy is WAY overused in the protein bar market.  As are artificial sweeteners.  Is there an answer to the need for a quick, tasty protein fix that doesn’t affront you in the natural foods department?  That was the challenge.  We are quite pleased with the result.  Not cookies, but a decent protein bar.  Without soy isolate, which, by the way, I hate :(.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

First, the dry ingredients:

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup coconut, shredded

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries

1 cup vanilla whey protein powder, if using a protein powder offends you, you could use oat or other grain flour

Then we will use the following for the “wet” ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Greek honey yogurt, full fat

1 cup natural peanut butter

Mix all dry ingredients together and pour into food processor

Process to make into a coarse crumb

Dump dry ingredients back in to large mixing bowl.

Now for the wet ingredients:

Blend together

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Greek honey yogurt, full fat

1 cup natural peanut butter

Whisk until fully incorporated

Pour over processed dry ingredients


it will be a thick batter

Line a sheet pan with foil…I am a big fan of the non stick foil

Pat into pan

Bake for 15 minutes

Cool 10 minutes on rack

Remove carefully from pan and cut into bars  (I use a pizza cutter)

Lift  bars onto baking sheets

leaving an air space between them

Bake another 15 minutes

Cool.  If your peanut butter always needs a chocolate fix, drizzle melted chocolate on the top

Chill to harden chocolate.  Wrap in foil.

A nice supply of additive free, natural protein bars.

Quick fix for the on-the-go crowd.

This recipe would lend itself to all sorts of changes (different dried fruit, seeds, etc)…I choose what I had on hand.  Adapted from

This post is linked to Real Food Wednesdays:



Filed under Breakfast, Eating well, Snacks

Salted Caramel Butternut Squash

Who knew you could have butternut squash for dessert? Or breakfast? Or all by itself for a snack?  With this recipe all sorts of butternut squash eating opportunities present themselves.  I confess!  Yes, I ate almost the whole recipe myself over a couple of days at various times and meals.  Salted/Peppered Caramel is showing up in all sorts of foodie sites.  Here’s a great starter recipe for you!

Salted Caramel Butternut Squash

2 medium butternut squash

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark, your preference

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Peel and removed seeds from squash.  Cut into cubes. Place in large bowl.

Melt butter in small saucepan

Add sugar, salt and pepper

Whisk into butter

Pour butter mixture over squash

Using your hands, coat squash with glaze (butter/sugar mixture).

Spread on sheet pan.

Bake 45-50 minutes, until beautifully caramelized

So simple, so delicious at any temperature–warm, cold or piping hot!


This post is linked to “Tempt my Tummy” Tuesdays.


Filed under Breakfast, Eating well, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Lunch, Side Dishes, Snacks

Seed Bread–Step by Step

Here’s the post I promised–a step by step tutorial on making whole grain seed bread.

First up, gather your supplies:


8 x 4 loaf bread pans

Plastic wrap or cotton kitchen towel

Large rising bowl

Heavy Duty mixer with dough hook or very, very strong arms

Kitchen thermometer

Rolling pin or dowel

Dough scraper


2/3 cup steel cut oats

1 tablespoon salt

4-5 cups good quality whole wheat flour, freshly milled, if possible

3 teaspoons vital wheat gluten

4 tablespoons sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons each black, golden & brown sesame seeds, flax seeds

2 tablespoons vegetable oil & flax seed oil (or all vegetable oil)

3 tablespoons agave nectar (or honey if preferred – not vegan)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 ounce raisins


The night before you are planning to bake:

Place 2/3 cup steel cut oats in saucepan

Measure in 1 tablespoon salt

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil; pour boiling water over oats.  Cook on low heat until thick, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the stove.

Next up–the seeds!

4 tablespoons sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons  of each of the following: black sesame seeds, brown sesame seeds, golden sesame seeds, & flax seeds

Mix together

Stir seed mixture into oatmeal

Cover and let sit overnight.

If you can, mill whole wheat berries into flour

If you don’t have that option, choose the best quality, “fresh” whole wheat flour you can find i.e. don’t use the local supermarket’s dusty bag of whole wheat flour.  Whole wheat flour becomes rancid and does not behave well when it sits on the shelf for months.

Soak 1 ounce of raisins in 1/2 cup water for 15-30 minutes, until raisins are plumped (you can do this step the night before at the same time as the oats)

When nicely plumped, pour water and raisins into blender and liquify.

Pour into seed/oats

I am sure you are thinking by now:  “I see why Dave’s Killer Bread” is over $5 a loaf”

To the oat/seed/raisins, add

2 tablespoons good quality vegetable oil

2 tablespoons flax seed oil

3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey

Warm 1/2 cup water to 110 degrees.  Stir in 2 teaspoons dry yeast and let sit 5 minutes until foamy.

Using a heavy duty mixer with dough attachment:

Measure 3 cups whole wheat flour into mixing bowl


3 teaspoons vital wheat gluten

Blend oat and yeast mixtures into flour on low.

Not very promising.  But wait! Give the flour time to absorb your oat/seeds.  About a 15 minute rest, at least.

Then adding somewhere between 1-2 more cups of flour, knead the dough with your machine.

When properly kneaded, it will look very rustic but clear the sides of the bowl.

Plop it on your counter

Now give it the finishing turns to make a lovely ball.

Place ball in large rising bowl

Cover with a damp cotton dish towel

Place in a warm location and let rise until doubled. One to one and half hours.

Doubled dough does not fill in when you poke it 🙂

It sighs instead.

Do this one more time, deflate, round into a ball and let rise once more.  It will take half as long this time.


Cut in two with a dough scraper (if you don’t own a dough scraper, I would hurry and get one.  They are an inexpensive, invaluable tool for all sorts of scraping you do in the kitchen)

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutesThe 10 minute rest relaxes the dough so the next step is easier–roll the round into a rectangle

Using your dough scraper,  tightly roll the rectangle into a loaf

Tuck in the ends

Place in prepared 8 x 4 loaf pans (spray with PAM),  place in warm rising area, and cover with plastic wrap or wet towel

Let rise until beautifully doubled in pan

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for35- 45 minutes.  The loaves will be a deep golden color.  Leave loaves in pans to cool for 2-5 minutes on a rack, then flip onto rack to cool.  The loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Your reward.


We would LOVE any feedback on this recipe.  What worked or didn’t work for you!

This post is linked to Pennywise Platter and Monday Mania


Filed under Breads and such, Eating well, Vegan

Salmon Cakes II

salmon cakes

We decided to have salmon cakes for lunch the other day.  I had mentioned that adding some Panko to the outside might be a nice addition; so that’s what these pictures demonstrate.  Make the cakes as the linked recipe directs then before cooking, pat on some Panko on each side.

Squish the crumbs into the patties.

Carefully place patties into the heavy skillet when the oil is just starting to smoke slightly.

Cook until nicely browned on both sides. Definitely an upgrade.


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Filed under Eating well, Lunch, Main Dish