Archive for April, 2013


Carrots are good for your eyesight. Walnuts are good for your heart. Pineapple has anti-inflammatory properties.

Banzai Carrot Cake

Banzai!

Translation: If you eat this carrot cake, you’re doing good things for your body! It’s health food!

If that doesn’t convince you and you need another reason to try this cake, I’ve got a very convincing one. Cream Cheese Frosting.

Sensei Phil didn’t have anything particular in mind for his Banzai Birthday treats. Knowing he’s not a chocolate person, I suggested one of my favorite cakes – Carrot Cake! I thought our karate group would enjoy it. The consensus was the cake is good and the frosting is Banzai-worthy!

Carrot CakeThis is a delicious AND nutritious cake, and you should try it. There are a couple things you should know:

  • I bought already-shredded carrots in the produce section. I’m too lazy to shred them myself.
  • You can use pecans instead of walnuts, or eliminate the nuts if there is a nut allergy. Personally, I’d add the nuts if you don’t have to leave them out.
  • This is a great way to sneak fruit and vegetables into your family’s bodies. The ingredient list can be your secret!  😉
  • The frosting amount shown is 1 1/2 times the original recipe. What can I say? I like cream cheese frosting. If I hadn’t used it all on the cake, I would have eaten it right off the spoon. You can make 2/3 of the frosting if you want – it’ll give enough for the cakes. But why would you do that? The frosting is why we eat carrot cake, right?

Make this. Eat it. Feel healthier because you ate stuff that’s good for you. Then have another piece. Carrot cake is health food, and the cream cheese frosting is just plain awesome!

Carrot Cake

Slightly adapted from Food.com

Stuff you need:

CAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

FROSTING (See TIP 2 for a lighter frosting.)
12 ounces cream cheese, softened — the blocks, not the whipped stuff
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups icing [powdered] sugar

Optional for decoration: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

Now what?

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans or one 9×13 inch pan.
Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; make a well in the center and add sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon until smooth.
Stir in carrots, coconut, walnuts and pineapple.
Pour into pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes for the rounds or 45 minutes for a 9×13. The cake will bake up fairly dark, and the centers will sink a little.
While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting.
Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth; add the vanilla then the icing sugar and beat until creamy.

To frost: If using the round cakes, no need to frost the sides. Plop half the frosting on one cake and spread. You’ll have a nice, thick layer of icing. It’s OK if a little goes over the edges. Place the second layer on top and frost with the remaining frosting.
Sprinkle with a little cinnamon and add a few chopped walnuts for decoration, if desired.

TIP: If you’re transporting the layered cake, put a dab of frosting on the plate before you put the first cake layer on it. It’ll act like a glue to hold the cake layer in place.
TIP 2: If you are one of the few people who don’t care for the thick cream cheese frosting, there’s a lighter version that’s also delish. Beat 8 ounces softened cream cheese. Beat in 1 jar (7 oz.) of marshmallow fluff. Frost your cake then lick the spoon and bowl clean!

Meatloaf.

Almost Classic MeatloafA couple of weeks back I decided I needed to make meatloaf. Not Mexican Meatloaf like I make for The Pretty One, but classic meatloaf.

It doesn’t sound so hard, yet so often meatloaf turns out dry or blah. I wanted mine to have the “Mmmm!” factor, so I asked friends & family for a good meatloaf recipe. This is a variation of the Kitchen Kween’s recipe.

Meatloaf is very forgiving, so if you don’t like or have one ingredient, you can leave it out or switch it up with something else. Except for the meat – without meat, it’s not meatloaf! I use 90 or 93% ground beef (low fat), so I didn’t use a lot of breadcrumbs. If you use a less lean meat, adjust the breadcrumbs to about 1 cup.

I used hot Italian sausage because that’s what I had on hand. Because I only used about 1/2 pound, the finished product wasn’t too spicy. But you can always use mild Italian sausage instead. The Kitchen Kween is right about the sausage: you don’t really taste it as Italian sausage, but it gives the meatloaf another level of flavor.

I used Tone’s Steak Dust Seasoning but you could use any steak seasoning you have. It’ll add a richness to the beef, so try to use something similar if you’ve got access to it.

Other than that, add what you like, eliminate what you don’t, and serve it up! I made mashed potatoes and brown gravy for ours; I don’t care for ketchup and mustard on meatloaf. If gravy isn’t your thing, top the meatloaf with BBQ sauce before baking. Or do like our dad did – top the meatloaf with ketchup, then write something in mustard over that.

The Pretty One and I really enjoyed this meatloaf. It hit the spot! I’d love to hear how you like to eat your meatloaf!

Almost Classic Meatloaf

Stuff you need:

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound Italian sausage (hot or mild, about 2 links), casing removed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs [Use 1 cup bread crumbs if you use meat that is less than 90% lean.]
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
3 teaspoons Tone’s Steak Dust Seasoning or other steak seasoning

Now what?

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Use your hands or put everything in a large zip bag and smoosh it together.
Shape into a loaf and put the meatloaf in a loaf pan. [Press into loaf shape but don’t compress too tightly.]
Bake in 350F oven for about 50 minutes. Check for doneness and bake until the center is no longer pink.
Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.