Lemon Lavender Loaf

Lemon Lavender Loaf.

Fresh, bright, tart lemon zest and juice mixed with sweet, flowery, fragrant dried lavender buds in a beautifully glazed loaf.

I couldn’t decide if this should be considered a bread or a cake, so I am simply calling it loaf.     Plus I love the alliteration of a name where all the words start with the same Lovely Letter!

A dear friend gifted me a bag of dried lavender recently, and I have been dying to use it.  I finally found some time early Sunday morning to bake this beautiful loaf to enjoy on a beautiful Spring day.

It is light and soft and such a perfect Springtime treat.

Here is how I made it.

Lemon Lavender Loaf*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or use 1 cup milk with 1 Tbsp white vinegar let set 5 min)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 Tbsp dried lavender buds
  • Glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 Tbsp milk
    • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
    • 1/2 tsp dried lavender buds

Directions:

Prepare two loaf pans with shortening and flour.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, and continue mixing until mixture looks like buttercream frosting.

Gently mix in salt and baking soda.

Add lemon zest and juice to buttermilk, and set aside.

To batter, alternate adding flour and lemon buttermilk in three additions, and mix just until incorporated.  Stir in lavender.

Pour into prepared pans and bake approximately 45 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool loaves 10 minutes in pans.  Remove and cool completely.

Once cool, prepare glaze by mixing powdered sugar, milk, lemon zest and juice, and lavender.  Pour over loaves.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Original recipe slightly adapted from FudgeRipple

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Extreme Chocolate Cake.

For those times….
you know them…
when you just need chocolate cake.

I recently saw a question that made me think.

If you had to live without one of the following for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

  • Coffee
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Wine

For me, it would be chocolate.  Though I adore baking and enjoy chocolate (and even crave it sometimes), if I had to give up one of these four, it would be the chocolate.

I can’t imagine not having coffee in the morning.  A world without cheese?!  I’m just not sure that is a world worth living in.  And oh how I enjoy my glass or two of red wine in the evening.

How about you?

Now even though I would choose chocolate if I HAD to make the choice…. THANKFULLY I do not!

So here’s a chocolate cake I made recently (which is slightly adapted from this one I found at AllRecipes) – just because…

Because sometimes life is worth celebrating with chocolate cake!

Extreme Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Frosting
    • 1 cup softened butter
    • 2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 6 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour three 8-9″ round cake pans.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Mix for 3 minutes with electric mixer.  Slowly stir in boiling water by hand with wooden spoon until fully incorporated.  Pour batter evenly into the three prepared pans.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 15 minutes in pans, then remove to cooling rack to cool complete.

Prepare frosting by beating butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Stir in the cocoa powder and powdered sugar, then milk and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy and spreading consistency.

Spread frosting on each layer of cake stacked on top of each other and decorate as desired.

I shaved dark chocolate on top using a vegetable peeler from a large bar of Trader Joe’s 72% Cocoa Dark Chocolate and placed halved strawberries around the perimeter of the top.  

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies

Coconut Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies.

Are you a coconut lover?
Is dark chocolate your chocolate choice?

Would you choose a Mounds bar even if you are a little nutty?!

Then these cookies are definitely your dream come true!

They didn’t last long in our house.

I used Moser Roth 70% Cocoa Dark Chocolate I purchased at Aldi.  YUM!

Not a coconut fan?
Make them for someone who is…
You just might earn Betty Crocker Baking Super Star status .

Just sayin’…

Coconut Dark Chocolate Dream Cookies*

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup solid coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream coconut oil and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add in egg and vanilla, followed by baking powder, salt, and flour.

Stir in chopped chocolate and coconut.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto baking stone or cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and set.  Cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

* Original recipe slightly adapted from Add a Pinch.

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Buttermilk Pound Cake.

I am a total sucker for pound cake!

So Friday – after a long, difficult week – I decided to do some baking therapy and teach my 16-month old granddaughter how to bake her first cake.  It was so fun to put her sweet little apron on for the first time that was a baby gift from a kind friend who knew it would surely get a lot of use.

We made this AMAZING pound cake from a recipe recently shared with me by a dear blog-following friend, Dena, who originally found it from Taste of Home.

The original recipe called for using 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Dena changed it up by using almond  and lemon extract.  I tweaked it a smidge further by using fresh lemon zest and lemon juice.  Dena makes hers in two loaf pans (which you surely can too – and adjust the baking time to 40-50 mins), but we made ours in a fluted Bundt pan and enjoyed with some fresh strawberries.

This recipe is so wonderful.  It is not super heavy like many pound cakes.  In fact, it is almost a bit light and airy.  But it is also dense enough to be super moist.  I love the way the edges turned out a bit crispy and the center moist and tender.

My granddaughter loved it too, so she got to take half of it home to share with Mommy and Daddy.

It snow flurried most of the day and was so cold, so it was the perfect day for us to hang out, have the oven on for an hour, and enjoy the aroma and taste of this delicious, comforting cake.

Thanks so much for sharing Dena!  This recipe is a real winner!

Buttermilk Pound Cake

  • Servings: approx. 16
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • Lemon – zest of whole, juice of half (approx. 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 Tbsp white vinegar left to sit for 5 min.)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting on top

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar in electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well.  Beat in almond extract, zest of 1 fresh lemon, and juice of half of a fresh lemon (approx. 1 Tbsp).  Add baking soda and 1 1/2 cups flour.  Mix just until incorporated.  Pour in half of milk, and beat just until combined.  Gently beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups flour followed by second half of milk.

Pour batter into greased and floured 10″ fluted tube (Bundt) pan.  Bake for approximately one hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan 15 mins, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Sprinkle Cookies

Sprinkle Cookies.

There was an old lady (well – let’s call her middle-aged)
who lived in a house.

She had so many sprinkles,
she didn’t know what to do.

So she poured them in batter
with butter and sugar,

and whipped them all soundly
and put them in the oven.

I found a recipe for Half Pound Sugar Cookies, which I slightly adapted to “normal” sized cookies, from Cookies & Cups.

These fun, buttery cookies just make you smile and are a great way to celebrate!  They kind of remind you of eating birthday cake in a cookie!

The family loved them.  They are just enough crispy on the outside with a tender, chewy inside to be the perfect combination.

Here is how I made them.

Sprinkle Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sprinkles

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix butter and sugar with electric mixer until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, vanilla, salt, and baking soda, and continue mixing until well incorporated.  Add in flour on low speed just until combined.  Stir in sprinkles with wooden spoon.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls, and bake on a baking stone or cookie sheet for 9-11 minutes until edges just begin to brown.  Cool on cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Fresh Blueberry Scones

Fresh Blueberry Scones.

I had a friend come over Saturday morning.

HOORAY!  Excuse to bake something yummy.

I surely couldn’t know someone is coming and not have something freshly baked to share if I could help it.  Right?

Surprise visitors might not be as lucky – but are equally welcomed!   (They may just have to look beyond my make-up-less face, a potentially less than clean house, and deal with frozen cookies.)

It was so good to catch up with this friend I haven’t seen in a while – munching on these tender, buttery, lightly sweet biscuits bursting with tart blueberries and sipping on Cinnamon Dolce coffee with Italian Sweet Cream.

Sometimes it takes a guest to make us sit back and relax and truly appreciate our home.  My friend asked me how I ever get anything done with the beautiful view and comfy surroundings?

It made me think….

I need to quit apologizing for the carpet that needs replaced or the walls that need a fresh coat of paint or the old “stuff” I have.

The greatest compliment I receive is when someone tells me they feel completely comfortable and relaxed and welcome in my home.

Isn’t that what makes a house a home?   I have two signs in my home (one I bought and one made for me by my BFF who didn’t know I had bought the same sign!) that say “The thing I love best about my home is who I share it with.”

That could not be truer for me.  A house is made of wood and nails, but a home is made with love and family and friends.

And maybe fresh Blueberry Scones!

Here’s my recipe.

Fresh Blueberry Scones

Ingredients:

2 1/2  Cups Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 1/2 Sticks Cold Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Buttermilk (easy substitute is 1Tbsp white vinegar added to 1 cup milk)
1 cup Blueberries
Coarse Raw Sugar for Sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Cut butter into small cubes and cut into dry ingredients with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs are formed.  Pour in vanilla and buttermilk, and mix with pastry blender just until incorporated.  Dump dough onto counter, gently incorporate blueberries into dough, and gently shape into a 15″ x 3″ rectangle.  Cut dough in half, then each half in half, then each quarter in half, so that you have 8 rectangles.  Cut each rectangle on the diagonal to form 16 triangular shaped scones.

Place on backing stone or cookie sheet, brush with some milk or water, and sprinkle with coarse raw sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.  Cool for a few minutes on stone or cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Chocolate Chip & Dried Tart Cherry Cookies

Chocolate Chip and Dried Tart Cherry Cookies.

I have shared many versions of cookies here at The CreativeLifeinBetween.

In fact, in some homes (very few indeed), I am known as the Cookie Queen.

And it seems no matter what kind I make, the all-time favorite is the Chocolate Chip Cookie.

I often change it up a little, but when I add dried tart cherries, I know I am going to make at least one guy smile ( who happens to be my youngest son).

So this week, I made a batch that I hope will bring a smile to our busy family as we prepare for exciting days and years ahead.

New homes – growing families – lots of love.


Here is how I make them.

Chocolate Chip and Dried Tart Cherry Cookies

Ingredients:

4 sticks (1 lb.) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
5 cups all purpose flour
1 12-oz bags Nestle Chocolate Chunk Morsels (or your favorite)
8-oz  Dried Tart Cherries (I used Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until completely incorporated. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until light and fluffy. Add baking soda and salt, and mix another minute. Gradually add flour and beat until well incorporated, but do not overbeat.

Fold in chocolate chunk morsels and dried cherries.  Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. With your hands, form a cookie dough ball about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Place on baking stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake. Allow to cool on baking stone for 5-6 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Cheers  & Hugs,
Jodi

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles (Cookie Balls)

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles  (or Cookie Balls if we’re being less “fancy!”).

If you are looking for a simple, sweet, but festive little treat to share with friends or neighbors or with those you love, these little Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles might be just the ticket.

They are so simple to make, but turn out so elegant and delish!

You simply crush red velvet (or your favorite flavor) Oreo cookies in the food processor, mix with a block of cream cheese, and make into balls that you dip into chocolate.

Easy Peasy!

Sprinkles make them even more fun! (always!)

I gave little bags to neighbors with silly notes like “You are a SWEET neighbor” and “We LOVE having you for our neighbors.”  I shared others with friends and family.  They were a big hit!

Here is the recipe:

Red Velvet Oreo Chocolate Truffles (Cookie Balls)

Ingredients:

Directions:

Crush oreo cookies in food processor to fine crumbs.  Add softened cream cheese and combine until “dough” forms.

Roll dough mixture into approximately 30 one-inch balls.  Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate.  I put mine in a tall, microwave-safe cup for one minute, stir, and then microwave for 30 more seconds.

Dip balls into melted chocolate with a fork, allowing excess to drip.  Place on parchment paper.  Decorate with sprinkles if desired.  Allow to set approximately 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Raspberry-filled Vanilla Cupcakes

Raspberry-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes.

If you are looking for a super special, absolutely rock-your-world delicious treat to bake for your special Valentine(s), look no further thank these amazing Raspberry-Filled Vanilla Cupcakes!

I have always admired beautiful cupcakes and love those special gourmet ones that have surprise fillings and are extravagantly decorated, but I have never had much success making them.

I had the urge to give it another try yesterday after purchasing some fun sprinkles I was dying to use somehow.

Disclaimer – I have a weird “thing” for sprinkles and buy way more than I ever use!  I bought three different kinds of red/pink Valentiney ones and one big container of regular ones.  My granddaughter had fun shaking them in the cart while we were shopping!

I found a recipe at RockRecipes.com that I tweaked up a bit.  I was so excited with how beautiful and YUMMY they turned out.

When I handed one to Hubby to taste test, I said,  “Are you ready to have your world rocked by this?”

He loved it!

Here is how I made them.  Hope you give them a try.

Raspberry Filled Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

Raspberry Filling:

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 oz. water

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) cream cheese
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk

Directions:

To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated.  Stir in vanilla.  Add baking powder and salt, then fold in flour.  Finally stir in milk to create batter.

Pour into paper-lined cupcake/muffin pan.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare raspberry filling by stirring 1 cup raspberries and 1/4 cup sugar in small saucepan.  Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Dissolve cornstarch in water, and slowly pour into boiling berries.  Stir constantly until thickened.  Allow to cool.

Prepare frosting by blending together butter, cream cheese, and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar and enough milk to make a smooth, creamy consistency.

When cupcakes are cooled, use an apple corer to remove a small section from center of cupcake.  Fill with raspberry filling.

Decorate with cream cheese frosting and sprinkles and fresh raspberries if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Sausage & Vegetable Quiche

 

Easy Sausage and Vegetable Quiche.

For those days when you want a hearty, substantial supper, but don’t feel like putting a lot of time and effort into it, this simple recipe is just the ticket.

It’s full of protein and veggies and could really be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

The secret to it being easy is in the fact that you don’t have to prepare a crust.  You simply use a little bit of baking mix (like Biquick) to create an almost crust-like texture.

And the options are limitless for what you can put in for your protein and veggies.  Exchange the sausage for bacon or chicken or turkey or ground beef.   You could even leave the meat out and just add more veggies.  Throw in any favorite vegetables you have in your fridge – mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, kale, tomatoes…..  And use any kind of cheese you love.  Exchange the cheddar for Swiss or muenster or provolone or mozzarella or even blue cheese or feta.

You get the idea…  right?  Toss in whatever you like, and you can have a wide variety of quick and easy meals.

I was recently reminded of this recipe when I came across a version of it at The Speckled Pumpkin.  It reminded me of years ago making all of those “impossible” pies….  Impossible Cheeseburger Pie, Impossible Taco Pie, Impossible Lasagna Pie, Impossible Tuna Pie….  Anybody else remember the Impossible Pie craze?  I may be back in the mood for these!

Serve it with a salad or side of roasted potatoes or even some chunky applesauce.

Here is how I made mine for our Sunday Supper last night.

Easy Sausage and Vegetable Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pork sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup Bisquick baking mix (or your favorite)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Put sausage in bottom of stoneware deep dish baker or your favorite 2-quart round casserole dish or deep dish pie pan.  Top with chopped onions, pepper, broccoli, and cheese.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, milk and baking mix with a wire whisk until well blended.  Pour over sausage, veggies and cheese.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes until knife inserted in center comes out clean. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi