I know I have said it before. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert. Ever! The creamy concoction of cream cheese, flour, eggs with various and sundry other ingredients depending on whose recipe you use. I have my faves – Junior’s is always good. AB has a good one. And I have one I found EONS ago that has become my go to. Dorie’s is also good. I haven’t found a cheesecake yet I don’t care for. This weeks Tuesday with Dorie/Baking With Julia recipe was a cheesecake with an ingredient I have not used before – Mascarpone Cheese. It is not something I buy very often. Not unless I have a recipe that actually calls for it. I had a potato recipe that called for 2TBL so when I bought it I knew eventually I would use the rest. So thank you BwJ for this weeks cheesecake.

I usually make 1/2 or 1/4 of baking recipes these days because with just the two of us we don’t need a lot of sweets. But we were going to friend’s for dinner so I made the full recipe. Instead of one cake I made 12 bite-sized and a 4″. Perfect!


While good, it wasn’t my fave. And it rose so much it just about overflowed all my pans.


You can see it cracked. A lot! So no party for this cake.


The recipe called for all the chocolate to completely mixed into the batter until no white showed, but I like a swirled cheesecake so I only mixed it some. It didn’t affect the taste, just how it looked.

I don’t think I will make this one again. But visit with the other Doristas and see how they liked it.

The recipe is on page 256 of Dorie’s Baking with Julia and was contributed to the book by David Ogonowski

It has been cold in the Deep South for the last month. In fact, we have had snow and ice four times. Unheard of in the Deep South. So I was looking for something warm and comforting for dinner and beyond. Thank goodness for Secret Recipe Club because I found more than enough tasty dishes to keep us warm and cozy for a few meals. How, you ask? Because I was lucky enough to be matched with Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen for this month’s SRC!!

Vonnie lives in Coastal Virginia with The Hubster, a beauyiful teenage daughter, two turtles and a cute little dog, Meeka. She says she is, ‘a work in progress’, a food writer, and blogger (obviously), and self-taught cook. She taught me a thing or two with all her tempting recipes. To keep us warm. But to cool us off in the hot summer as well.

I have been making potato soup for several years. It is B’s favorite. But I never thought to make it in the crockpot until Veronica showed me how.


    6 large baking potatoes peeled cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    1 large sweet onion
    1 quart of vegetable broth homemade or canned
    3 garlic cloves minced
    1/4 cup butter
    1 tablespoon salt
    1/2 tablespoon pepper

Put these ingredients into the crockpot and cook for 6 – 8 hours on low until potatoes are tender. Mash the cooked potatoes leaving some chunks. {I used my immersion blender}

    1 cup half and half or cream
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    3 tablespoons chopped chives
    1 cup sour cream

Now mix in these last four ingredients. Serve garnished with additional chives, cheese, and, if you wish, crumbled bacon.

Definitely going to keep you warm on a cold night. It is filling, comforting, and delicious.

We are actually trying to watch what we eat. Maybe a few more veggies, a little less sugar, fruit for breakfast. If I can combine some good ingredients together it is definitely a positive thing. Like making Vonnie’s Breakfast Banana Muffins. Moist and tasty. I made a couple of subs just trying to make them a little healthier.

    5 ripe bananas
    1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour {I used 1/2 AP and 1/2 Whole Wheat Flour}
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 cup sugar {Splenda}
    1/2 cup shortening {used 1/4 cup shortning and 1/4 cup applesauce}
    2 large eggs beaten {1/2 cup egg beaters}


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray the muffin tins with cooking spray or put liners in each of them. I used some heart shaped silicone holders. These are supposed to be more heart healthy!!
Peel the bananas and place them a bowl and mash them up well. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add the sugar, shortening, apple sauce, and eggs to the mashed bananas then stir in the flour mixture just until the batter is blended.
Pour the batter into the muffin tins to about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

Perfect for Breakfast. Or a snack.

And then, because I am always looking for new dishes to make in the slow cooker I tried Vonnie’s Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ. We love BBQ chicken and always make extra for sandwiches. But since the weather has simply been uncooperative I decided to try this version instead.


    8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
    1 cup ketchup
    1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1 Tbl Seasoning Mix {I used Toni’s.}
    1/2 cup cider vinegar

Place chicken in the slow cooker.


Mix the ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar, hot pepper and vinegar together and pour sauce over chicken. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-5 hours. Remove and shred the chicken then mix it back into sauce. If it seems a little dry you can add some water a little at a time.

Served on a toasted bun it was perfect for a quick lunch – several lunches actually.

Okay, that’s three of the 15 recipes I ended up Pinning. There are so many more but somewhere along the line I just had to stop reading and start cooking. But in the future look for her Garlic Cheese Biscuits, Vodka Sauce, Baklava, ………
It’s All Good.

Speaking of good, you really need to hop over to the SRC Members and check out their ‘assignments’ this month. They are below.

It is cold outside. There is ice on the trees. For the first time in many years. Matter of fact, we have actually had four Winter Events this year. All in the space of one month. ONE MONTH!! THAT is unheard of in the Deep South. Louisiana with snow/ice. FOUR. TIMES!!


So what am I drinking? Lots and lots of hot tea. Oh, and this HOT CHOCOLATE from Donna Hay


Such a simple way to get warm. Simply pour very hot milk over some chopped chocolate. How easy is THAT?? Of course I couldn’t leave it at that. I added some cinnamon. Just a pinch. Just enough to make the hot chocolate even better!! Yes!


The idea of how to make Donna’s chocolate is on page 138 of new food fast. What are the other peeps of IHCC drinking? Check it out at…..



    Let’s just call these…….Bialy Towers.
    See the small picture behind them? They are SUPPOSED to look like those!!

They tasted like Bialys. There was a nice subtle onion flavor IN the bread. Unfortunately the similarities end there. They rose, and rose, and rose in the oven even though I depressed them and pricked them – more than once.


The onions fell off, after they burned, but the bread was delicious.

Once the sponge is made and risen, sautéed onions {I couldn’t find my Poppy Seeds even tho I KNOW I have some!!} are added into the mix just before the flour is added to make a nice soft dough. With just the right amount of crispy crust.


I KNOW the other Bialys baked around the world for today’s Baking with Julia came out beautifully. So go check them out.

The rceipe was contributed by Lauren Groveman and is on page 90 of Baking with Julia in Dorie Greenspans compilation of the recipes from Julia’s television series.

….and so do our Olympic Themed posts for Lets Lunch. This is exciting. All those countries. All those sports. All those colors!!! And all the wonderful dishes that are about to appear at our Lunch this month. We could chose a dish from a country that is competing and bring it along. I thought about it for a long time before I decided on … no real country at all.

It is the beginning of the Mardi Gras season in Louisiana. That means King Cakes. So how about an….


    ….Olympic King Cake

    4¾ cups all-purpose flour, divided
    1 cup sugar, divided
    1½ teaspoons salt
    2 (¼-ounce) packages fast-rising yeast, such as Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise
    ¾ cup warm whole milk (120 to 130°)
    ½ cup warm water (120 to 130°)
    ½ cup butter, softened
    2 large eggs
    ¼ cup melted butter
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    Sugar Glaze, recipe follows
    Colored Sugars, recipe follows

1. In a large bowl, combine 1½ cups flour, ¼ cup sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast. Add milk, ½ cup warm water, and butter to flour mixture, and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed with an electric mixer. Add eggs and ½ cup flour. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2¾ cups flour to make a stiff dough. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.*****

2. Place 5 round containers on a lightly greased cookie sheet. (I used 3 inch ramekins and they were too large. I would use nothing bigger than a 2 inch round.}


3. Punch dough down, and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into 5 equal portions. Roll the 5 pieces into 5 balls and then into 5 long pieces. Wrap the five pieces around ramekins or another small round dish. Brush with melted butter. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, Remove from oven, and let cool completely on cookie sheet 10 minutes. serving plate; drizzle each with Sugar Glaze, and sprinkle with Colored Sugars


Sugar Glaze
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS {Which is WAY more than you will need.}

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and milk until smooth.

Colored Sugars

    1 cups sugar, divided
    16 drops red food coloring
    8 drops blue food coloring
    8 drops green food coloring
    8 drops yellow food coloring

1. Place 1/3 cup sugar in each of three small resealable plastic bags.

2. In a small bowl, combine red and blue food coloring until it turns purple. Add purple food coloring to one bag, green coloring to another bag, and yellow coloring to third bag; seal bags, and shake each until sugar is even in color.

So I guess I did chose a country — the US! But good luck to ALL the extraordinary and brave athletes.

Look for the round-up on Betty’s Blog Asian in America.

Let’s Lunch (#LetsLunch) is a twitter-based virtual lunch club where anyone interested can join. The theme is posted at the first of the month for the next month. You can visit us on FaceBook.

*****I made the dough in the bread machine. Use the dough setting. Same ingredients. Place the liquid ingredients in the machine first and then the mix of dry. I added the 1/2 cup of butter in pieces right after the other ingredients had mixed into a ball. When the dough cycle ends then transfer to the lightly floured surface and continue with the recipe in step 2. I also had more dough than I needed so I made 5 rolls in Texas Muffin Tin.

Here are the Olympic Dishes: Enjoy!

Cheryl’s Homemade Vegetarian Poutine

The other Cheryl’s Russian Beef Soup

Anne Marie’s Sochi Sliders

Nancie’s Russian Hamburgers

Jill’s Honeybell Chess Pie

Mai’s American Chocolate Guiness Whoopie Pie

Grace’s Coconut Hot Chocolate

Betty Anne’s Ham Garlic Pineapple Rice

Lucy’s Russian Tea

Annabelle’s Flaming Cheese

Linda’s Guinness Stout Ice Cream

Lisa’s Hot Borscht

Linda’s Meyer Lemon Cake

Once a month the Avid Baker’s Challenge ‘assigns’ something fun to bake from the KAF website. Last month it was Cheesecake Swirl Brownies. This month it is Tuscan Coffee Cake. Not real sweet but really delicious. Perfect for toasting or eating plain with a cup of tea or coffee. It is fulled with nuts, fruit, and flavor.


The recipe on the website called for a starter and an over night wait so I pulled out my ingredients and got ready. This was the first time I had had a chance to use the European Flour from KAF so I was excited. I turned the package around and on the back was the Tuscan Coffee Cake recipe – with NO STARTER. All the ingredients were the same. Everything except the lack of a starter. I decided to go that route as I was running out of time to make the cake on time. Hope that’s okay with you, Hanaâ? Anyway…. I put all the ingredients together with only some minor changes. The recipe called for walnuts. We are NOT fans so I subbed in pecans. AND we really don’t like raisins so I subbed in dried cranberries. I liked the little sweet/tart flavor they added. Also, the recipe on the flour bag suggested using fiori di sicilia instead of the vanilla. THAT was a good idea. I used it in the drizzle on one of the cakes instead of the vanilla as well. Can I tell you how wonderful the kitchen smelled?

European flour is softer than all purpose, the other choice, so the cake was wonderfully soft. Not like a yeast bread at all. I ended up making two loaves from the recipe, placing 1/2 of the dough in each of two 6 inch cake pans. They baked for only 25 minutes.


As you can see they rose beautifully One will go in the freezer for gifting later.

You should go check out the other coffee cakes at ABC_Badge

I have only made one other cake roll. Well, ALMOST made. Chocolate. For my Mom’s birthday. Years ago. It didn’t work out. At all. So I was a little leery about this weeks cake – a chiffon cake roll. The chocolate one completely fell apart as I tried to roll it. Whatever I did wrong was major. MAJOR!! So I never tried it again. UNTIL….NOW.


You can see that it worked out just fine.

What you are looking at is a simple, okay, not really simple, vanilla chiffon cake that is rolled around a nutty chocolate mousse. The recipe called for walnuts but we aren’t fans so I used pecans instead. That worked out well.

The cake is 17 inches long so I immediately cut it in half and froze part of the cake. Sprinkled with powdered sugar and drizzled with some chocolate ganache it was pretty and tasty. I did make one change. I used 1/2 cup of Splenda subbed in for an equal amount of the sugar in the cake. It came out just fine. I would also advise you to chill the cake a little before you roll it up with the mousse. Some of the mousse was pushed out.

This would be an easy cake to roll around other fillings – ice cream, lemon curd, the possibilities are endless. Guess I will be making more rolled cakes now that I know I can do it.


The recipe was contributed to Baking with Julia by Mary Bergin. You can find the recipe HERE and there is also a video of the cake being made. But you really need to buy the book – Baking with Julia and try all the recipes in it along with the members of Tuesdays with Dorie..

A whole new year has begun. That means twelve more months of the Secret Recipe Club. It’s a cooking group where each month we are assigned a Secret Blog. We cook from it and then post what we cooked. It’s all secret until reveal day. Thus the name – SECRET Recipe Club. Every month we get to meet different bloggers. Expand our horizons. Make new friends. This month I added bunches of pins all because I met up with Manuela of Manu’s Menu. So many things I want to make. It’s always hard to choose from so many good things. I stuck with three. All of them a version of something I would have to cook for us to eat.

So we’ll start with Bread.


    Whole Wheat Bread

If you need a sweetish nutty sandwich bread, this is the one.

    Ingredients: (makes two 23×12.5 cm – 9×5 inch loaves)
    235 ml – 1 cup warm water
    10 gms – 2 tsp active dry yeast
    235 ml – 1 cup milk
    90 ml – ¼ cup honey
    2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    350 gms – 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
    350 gms – 2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
    1 tbsp salt

Put the warm water in a glass and dissolve the yeast into it. Set it aside for a few minutes to activate.
In the meantime, put the milk, honey, extra virgin olive oil and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Add the water and yeast, two cups of all-purpose flour and stir to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Stir to form a rough dough. Let this dough stand for 20 minutes so that the flour can absorb the liquid.

Now, knead the dough for 8-9 minutes. If the dough is very sticky, add extra flour little by little. The dough is ready when “it is smooth, feels slightly tacky, forms a ball without sagging, and springs back when poked”.

Form the dough into a ball, spray it with some olive oil and put it into a bowl. Cover it with cling wrap and put it in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume (this will take at least 1 hour).
Then, divide the dough in two and shape each half into a ball. Let them rest for 10 minutes.

Grease two loaf pans. Shape each ball of dough into a loaf. To do so, gently flatten the balls into rectangles. Now fold the bottom third of the dough over itself (like a letter) and then fold the top of the dough down to overlap the other layers and pinch it closed with your fingers (on all sides). Roll the loaf over so that the seam is down, then fold the 2 sides and tuck them underneath. Now gently put the loaf into the pan. The seams should be on the bottom with the tight surface facing up Let the loaves rise for another 30 minutes. Slash the top with a serrated knife so that it rises evenly in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 220°C – 425°F. Put the loaves in and turn down the heat to 190°C – 375°F. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until dark golden-brown. They will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let them cool completely before slicing.

This was such good bread. So much flavor. Mine didn’t rise as much as I expected. ot But that’s alright.

And we needed supper one night so I used another of Manuela’s recipes.


    Penne with Sausage Sauce

We love any kind of of pasta add some sausage to it and it is a perfect meal. As was this dish of Manuela’s I used 1/2 Venison Sausage and 1/2 pork sausage.

    300 gms of Italian style sausage with fennel seeds (you should be able to get this at your local deli)
    2 tins (800 gms) of diced tomatoes
    3 medium carrots
    1 medium onion
    2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
    1 standard shot of Brandy/Cognac {I left this out}
    100 ml of cream
    1 cup of water
    Salt & pepper to taste (depending on the sausage you may need more or less salt)
    400 gms of penne rigate pasta
    Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano – very finely grated, to serve

Clean and finely chop the onion and carrots and cook them with the 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on a medium fire until they are soft.
Remove the sausage from the skin and chop it coarsely.Then add it to the onion and carrots and mash it with a wooden spoon.
When the sausage has browned, add the diced tomatoes, 1 cup of water, a pinch of salt and pepper.Cover and cook on low fire for approximately 1 hour (when the sauce thickens it is ready).
Add the Brandy/Cognac and cook uncovered on a high flame for 2 minutes. Then lower the flame, add the cream, bring it back to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Check for salt.

In the meantime, cook the penne pasta “al dente” . Serve with the sausage sauce and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the top.

Definitely this is a repeat. But maybe next time I will remember to ADD THE CREAM!! I completely left it out. After we finished I found the container of cream STILL SITTING ON THE COUNTER. It was good without the cream. I can imagine how nice and thick and smooth it would be WITH the cream.

We had a cold snap (as did just about everybody else) and ran out of my Chai mix for making tea. Lucky for me Manuela had a recipe for Chai on her blog.


    10 gms – 2 tsp pepper powder
    10 gms – 2 tsp ginger powder
    7 gms – 1.5 tsp cardamom powder
    7 gms – 1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
    0.5 gm – ¼ tsp clove powder
    0.5 gm – ¼ tsp nutmeg powder

Put all the ingredients in a small container with a lid and stir until well combined. Keep in a well closed jar.

Of course this is just the mix for the tea. To make the tea you can use her Method to make it.

I liked all of the proportions of her spices except for the pepper. I doubled everything except for the pepper. Much more to my taste.

These are only three of the many, many delicious recipes on Manu’s Menu. I only pinned about 30 of her dishes. Enough to keep us eating for a long time. You have to visit with Manuela. You have to try her recipes. You have to see for yourself.

Please visit the other SRC Group C members and see what blogs they cooked from.

I don’t make all of the ‘assignments’ for Baking with Julia. I tend to bake the items I haven’t made before (Thanks to TWD) or something I use a lot of. We use a lot of bread. Sandwiches every day for B. Or I make rolls from the recipe. This time the choice was bread and we always can use THAT!!


    Country Bread

.The use of a sponge adds to the depth of the flavor and adds a little tartness since it sits 6 – 8 hours and bubbles softly. Rye flour, AP flour, whole wheat flour add lots of flavor and texture to the bread. AND I got to use my Banneton which is a plus. Most of the bread I make is loaf style so making a nice round bread is a treat.

This isn’t a quick bread to make. Two rises – up to 3.5 hours in addition to the 6 – 8 hour sponge. I left mine to rise and got delayed in my errands so it rose, eh…maybe a little too much?


Which means it collapsed when I put it on the peel. But it rose some in the oven, so it turned out okay.


I love a bread with lots of texture and this one was spot on. It has a lot of ‘chew’ in the crust. It will be great for sandwiches, or maybe just toasted.

This bread was contributed by Joe Ortiz, The Village Baker, and is on pages 136/137 of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking with Julia

If you click on over to Baking With Julia - you can read about everybody’s Country Bread.

To me Tea Time means SCONES. I mean really, what else would you serve with a nice cuppa. I make scones quite often so one more recipe is always welcome. Donna’s are sweet and easy.


      Donna’s Basic Scones

    3 cups (450g) self-raising (self-rising) flour, sifted
    ½ cup (110g) caster (superfine) sugar
    75g cold butter, chopped*
    1 cup (250ml) milk, plus extra, for brushing
    curd or jam, to serve

Preheat oven to 180ºC (355ºF). Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter and use your fingertips to rub it into the flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk. Use a butter knife to gradually mix the milk into the flour mixture until just combined. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently bring the dough together. Roll out to 2cm thick and use a 6cm-round cutter to cut 12 rounds. Place the scones on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and brush with extra milk. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

* Use cold butter to ensure a flaky texture to your scones.

I mixed everything in a food processor and they were perfect. Light, sweet, delicious. And served with some scuppernong jelly.

The theme for IHCCthis week was TEA TIME!. What did the others bring to tea?

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