Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Babycakes Waffle Stick Maker: Deliciously crunchy on the outside & delicately soft on the inside.

Waffles are appealing to young and old. Making them more fun to eat is even more appealing!

I purchased this nifty gadget at a local thrift store.  It's the Deluxe Baby Cakes Waffle Stick Maker. It makes 10 adorable waffle sticks, for holding and dipping or for eating with a traditional plate and fork!

After thoroughly washing and cleaning it, even though it was "new in box" I decided to try it out. 

I watched a few YouTube videos and through other peoples trials and errors, I figured out how to get these to turn out just right. The trick is not to overfill the waffle wells.

I found that the Bisquick waffle recipe produced better tasting waffles than the Maple Grove Belgian Waffle Mix.

I absolutely LOVE this gadget. Each stick provides the crisp waffle crunch I love as compared to the traditional size waffles where you get more middle than crisp edges.
You can get a smaller version of this from Amazon, see the link below. For the price, it's worth a try!

Gadgets & ingredients

Prepare the batter.
Spray the waffle wells with Baker's Joy or Pam
Close lid and wait for the green light to light up.

From a mixing bowl with a pour spout, fill the wells part way.
You will see that I overfilled on my first attempt.

Close the lid, bake until the green light is on or until the steam stops coming out of the side.

Serve with warm butter and a warm bowl of maple syrup for
dipping these delicious waffle sticks!

The Deluxe Baby Cakes Waffle maker can be found in warehouse clubs. 
A smaller, less expensive version can be purchased on Amazon: 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Easy & Delicious For Christmas Gift Giving: Scandinavian Almond Cake using Kaiser Bakeware 12-Inch Half Round Loaf Pan

Easy to make, and has a "wow factor" when presented as a holiday or hostess gift.  The cake is moist, the almond flavor is outstanding! I posted this back in June 2012 and thought this would be a good time of year to revisit this delicious cake.

This would also be a great summer dessert served with some berries on the side.

I've given this recipe out to many friends and family along with the information on
where to get the cake pan. The recipe uses basic pantry staples. I hope you give this cake a try, I think you'll like it!

It's easy to prepare, and takes about 45 min. to bake.

Gadget:  12 inch Kaiser Half Cake Pan/Scandinavian Almond Cake Pan. (Link to item is below)

The Recipe: with almonds without almonds


  1. 1
    Beat sugar, egg, extract, and milk together.
  2. 2
    In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. 
  3. 3
    Combine the two mixtures and add melted butter.
  4. 4
    Mix well.
  5. 5
    Grease loaf pan and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Pour in batter.
  6. 6
    Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Edges must be golden brown. Cool in pan before removing. Cake will break if removed too soon!        
  7. 7.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar. 


Kaiser Scandinavian Cake Pan and Basic Ingredients

Pan showing the almond indents for decoration.
I prefer to bake mine without almonds

Smooth, shiney, light batter. Whipped & whisked with a fork.
Dry ingredients, mixed in with a fork.  Melted butter incorporated slowly.

Spray liberally with Baker's Joy, you'll thank me.

Add whole or sliced almonds if you decide to use them.

Put a dollop of batter to hold the almonds in place.
Then added the remainder of the batter.

This is about how it should look in the pan.

After 45 minutes, done! This one could have been
taken out in 35 to 40 min. Check yours as it bakes.

Glided easily out of the pan onto a cooling rack.

Getting ready to liberally dust with confectionery sugar.
Added sanding sugar to center indent.

Dusted and plated.

First cut reveals almond, and buttery edges.
Almond aroma is heavenly!

Coat with confectionary sugar and decorate with seasonal
colored sugar, jimmies or sprinkles.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cast Iron Cleaning Revisited For Those Expecting To Receive This Time Tested, Enduring Cookware for Christmas

A lot of folks are missing out the beauty and benefits of cooking with cast iron because they think cast iron is high maintenance, not so. 

If some of you are planning to give or expect to receive cast iron cookware this Christmas, this will take the mystery and fear out of owning this time tested cookware.

The question as to how to clean cast iron was brought up on a kitchen gadget forum.  This question comes up a lot so I am reposting this easy "How To" for those new to cast iron. I guarantee you will enjoy your cast iron for years to come and will be able to pass it onto the next generation of cooks in your family.

When I read this question I happened to read it just as I was getting ready to clean my Lodge cast iron skillet. I used it to brown and season hamburg for tacos.  

I'd thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share my technique for cleaning cast iron.  This kitchen gadget is too handy not to have just because you're not sure how to care for it.

Cooks are hesitant to get cast iron because they feel they are too much work to maintain. Not true.

For the many, many years I've owned and cooked with cast iron I've never felt it was a bother to go through these few steps.  The reward is to be able to cook with these amazing pots & pans. They also make for a pretty presentation for meals and hot dips.

Here is the sequence I use to cleaning cast iron cookware.
Hope this encourages some of you to get a pan or two to try out.
Below is the Amazon link for the one used in the photos below:
Dirty skillet

Warm, soapy water (I use Dawn). If you prefer not to use soap, just use warm water.

Cleaned skilled, just before getting final rinse.

Rinsed skillet, over heat to dry out all the water.

Add a dab of olive or vegetable oil
NOTE; this only has to be done every now and then. 

Spread the oil evenly in and around inside of skillet. Let it absorb with the heat still on.

Warm, Clean, dry, oiled skillet

Old schoolhouse desk  & basket is my cast iron storage area.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Williams- Sonoma Professional Multi Chopper & Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks

When I saw this recipe from the "Damn Delicious" blog, I thought I'd give it a try.  It would be the first time I used this multi chopper and I wasn't disappointed in it's performance.

I first saw this multi chopper being used by Rae Drummond, a/k/a Pioneer Woman. I quickly did a search to see if I could find it.  There were similar ones on other sites, but the exact one was on the Williams-Sonoma site. Here is a link to the product:  I wasn't in a hurry to get it, so I waited for it to go on sale and with free shipping.  

I do have other choppers, but what makes this one different is that you can lift the top part up high enough to put in larger pieces of your potato or vegetables.

I followed the recipe pretty much exactly. Where I varried, is that I put all the seasoning ingredients into a zip lock bag, then added the zucchini sticks; shake it up, took them out and put them on the cooling rack. 
The other tip I would suggest, is to line the cookie sheet with foil.

 Here is the Baked Parmesan Zucchini recipe:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

(Video) Margarita Machine; Not Just For Margaritas! Try This Frozen Mocha Coffee Drink - Frappuccino Style

It's sum, sum, summertime! 

What better way to enjoy the hot weather than with a cold (frozen) drink?
Here are two of my favorite non-alcoholic coffee drinks. The $'s you save making your own will more than pay for your Margarita Machine! It's so much fun and such a conversation starter.

 I figured 38 drinks would pay for the machine and one 3 lb. Mocafe container. $165 & 25 = $190 divided by $5 per Starbucks frozen drink = 38 at home drinks and you can make them anytime!

Recipe for blender:   Yawn, but if you must, you must. :-)
1.  2 cups ice,  2/3 cup Mocafe, 4oz. milk, water, leftover coffee (I find coffee gives it a richer flavor)
2.  Blend until smooth.
 You can also create your own signature drinks by adding Kahlua, flavored syrups, espresso beans.....

Margarita Machine Method:    Much more fun!

1. Add ice to the ice reservoir on the top of the machine
2.  Blend thoroughly 4 oz. of coffee with 2/3 cup powdered mix,  pour into the blender.
3.  Press "Start" and enjoy the show! (see video below)

The two 3 lb. containers of Mocafe shown in my photos are:
Original Mocafe: Exotic Trinidad Nib roasted cocoa notes blended with robust Brazilian coffee, hints of cinnamon.
Wild Tribe Moka: Rich toasted African Forastero Cocoa notes blended with mild Colombian coffee.


We have had our Margarita Machine for three summers and have put it through it's paces!
There's plenty of summer left, I highly recommend you give one a try.

I like to thoroughly mix  the powder with the coffee(water, or milk)
 before adding it to the blender.

Makes about 2 cups of frozen drink.
See video below to see the machine in action!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

How to make "Mean Green Juice"

I've been asked to share this recipe showing produce and the resulting juice. Served over ice is the key if you don't think green is your favorite color drink.

Gadget used:  (expensive, yes, but it's an investment in your health and the health of your family)
In the very last photo, you'll see how efficient this juicer is in extracting every drop of juice from fruits & vegetables. There is a full two cups of juice and the pulp extruded is bone dry.  

This is the juice that is featured as the "Mean Green Juice Recipe" on the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead site.

Here is how they list the ingredients: (you can put them through your juicer in any order)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 1-2
Serving Size: 16oz. (500 mls)
  •  1 cucumber
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 2 apples                        NOTE: USE MORE IF YOU WANT A SWEETER JUICE
  • 6-8 leaves kale (Australian tuscan cabbage)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp ginger                    NOTE:  FRESH, PEELED GINGER - NOT THE SPICE
  1. Wash all produce well
  2. Peel the lemon, optional
  3. Juice
  4. Pour over ice
  5. Enjoy!
Kale, English Cucumber, Lemon, Apples, Celery, Ginger
Green Star Elite Juicer

Lot's of juice, very little pulp. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pappardelle Recipe and the Pasta Making Gadgets

I was craving homemade pasta and I like to try different pasta dough recipes. This time I took the ingredients from Chef Anne Burrell's recipe and instead of doing it by hand, as she does, I used my gadgets.
The pasta came out tender and rich.  I served it with a homemade quick sauce.

If you have a craving and don't have the gadgets

Gadgets used:
(all can be found on Amazon - scroll to the bottom of this post for direct links)
Food scale to weigh flour
Food processor to mix all ingredients
KitchenAid mixer
KitchenAid pasta rollers
KitchenAid pasta drying rack

Chef Anne's All-Purpose Pasta Dough


1 pound all-purpose flour
4 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons water or more if needed

Read more at:


I needed to use 6 medium eggs to one pound flour.

When the dough mixture has come together in the food processor (rolls around like a ball), empty the dough onto a floured surface and knead.  At this point you can follow Chef Ann's directions on kneading.

From Chef Ann:

When kneading it is VERY important to put your body weight into it, get on top of the dough to really stretch it and not to tear the dough. Using the heels of your palms, roll the dough to create a very smooooooth, supple dough. When done the dough should look VERY smooth and feel almost velvety. Kneading will usually take from 8 to 10 minutes for an experienced kneader and 10 to 15 for an inexperienced kneader. Put your body weight into it, you need to knead! This is where the perfect, toothsome texture of your pasta is formed. Get in there and have fun!

When the pasta has been kneaded to the perfect consistency, wrap it in plastic and let rest for at least 1 hour. If using immediately do not refrigerate.