Category: Fruit


I’ve been meaning to share this with you forEVER, but kept forgetting to take pictures when I’d make it. I finally remembered, so here it is!

queen-mums-peach-cakeI’m not the biggest cake person, but I love a good coffee cake! The Jewel (haha! If you’re from Chicago, it’s The Jewel, not Jewel) makes some great coffee cakes, and to this day I get one every time I’m back home.

This is one of my favorite cakes – and one that I think you’ll like too. My sweet friend Becky, who we call Queen Mum, brought this to me after surgery several years ago. One taste and I was hooked! She was nice enough to share the recipe with me, and I’ve made it many times over the years. It’s really very easy, which is hard to believe after you taste it.

This is a delicious peach coffee cake with pecans (such a great combination!) and a not-so-crumby topping that makes it even better. You can wait for this to cool before serving (well, maybe you can) or you can serve it while it’s still a bit warm.

All I can say about this is: You’ve got to try it!

Stuff You Need:

1 package yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 cup sugar

1 21 oz. can of peach pie filling

1 cup chopped pecans, divided

 

Topping

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup butter – NOT softened

1/2 cup oats

 

Now What?

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 13” pan or 2 9 x 9” pans.

In large bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, lemon extract, pie filling and ½ cup pecans. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. The peaches will be chunky, so don’t worry about smooshing them all the way.

Pour into a greased and floured pan.

Combine sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and remaining nuts. Cut in butter to form crumb topping. Drop pieces evenly on top of cake.

NOTE: Neither the Queen Mum nor I have had the topping turn out as a “crumb” topping. Don’t worry about it – it tastes wonderful!

Bake 40-45 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!

MUFFINS: This recipe makes great muffins! Use the foil muffin liners, not the paper muffin liners as this is a very moist cake and it will soak through the paper liners.

Kiwi Salsa

I made this quite a while back and just realized I didn’t post it. What was I thinking??

Kiwi SalsaTypically I bake something for birthday treats at work but this time I wanted to do something more snacky. It was summer and hot outside, and fruit salsa just sounded refreshing. And it was!

I bought golden kiwi instead of green kiwi, but didn’t realize it until I was peeling them. Did you know there are golden kiwi?? I wondered why they were a different color than I expected, and then I read the package. Golden Kiwi.  Huh. I had no idea they existed! Turns out these were great in the salsa. They had a hint of vanilla flavor, which worked really well with the other ingredients. Whichever you use – green or golden – will be great, so don’t bother looking for the golden kiwi for this recipe.

Pretty, isn’t it? It’s super simple and holds for a couple of days – if you can keep yourself from eating it in one sitting. It’s perfect to serve at a party or to eat all by yourself! I tasted this as I made it, and quickly became addicted. I seriously couldn’t stop eating it! Good thing I was making a quadruple batch, or there wouldn’t have been any to take to work the next day. Kiwi Salsa

As with most recipes, you can easily adjust the heat by adding more jalapeno or leaving some out. I like to have a good amount of heat in a dish that has a sweet ingredient. The two play off each other so well, and the sweetness of the kiwi mellows out the bite of the jalapenos. Be sure to have some chips on hand so you can taste as you go. If you just test from a spoon, you won’t get the salty element from the chips and you won’t have the full effect.

With the hope of spring coming someday, this would be a perfect treat! It’s great by itself with chips, or would also be fabulous over grilled fish, as the original blog author presented it. Give it a try. This might become one of your addictions too!

Kiwi Salsa

Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

Stuff you need:
4 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Now what?
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings to meet your preference.
Note: I put the onion, jalapeno and cilantro in a food processor and chopped them up before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.

I love cream cheese brownies! That’s because I love cream cheese and I love chocolate. Mix them together, and the taste is divine!Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies

I honestly didn’t think that combination could get any better…until I tried these Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies TL posted on our Chocolate Madness! board.

Oh my. Oh my, my, my!!!

I’ve never put berries in my brownies, but these I had to try. I love blackberries, and almost always have some in the house.

I was poking around in my frig and realized I had 4 packages of cream cheese, a full container of blackberries, and some stir fry veggie mix. Passing over the veggies, I was wondering what to bake this weekend, and was browsing our board. These jumped out at me – they looked like something I might like, and I had the time to make the multiple steps.

Blackberry Cream Cheese BrowniesTurns out they weren’t as difficult as I thought they might be! There are only 2 steps, not the 3+ I expected. The hardest part about these is stirring in the blackberries – and not eating them all. 🙂

They can be made with a boxed brownie mix (follow the cake-style notes on the package) and can be made gluten-free if needed. I made them with my Craggy Topped Fudge Brownies. The recipe calls for frozen blackberries. I had fresh, so I popped them in the freezer (in a single layer) for about an hour. Poof – perfectly frozen and ready to stir in!

These were delish just a few minutes out of the oven – with the berries still warm. Mmmm!! I keep trying them as they cool, just to make sure they still taste OK, and they do. But I’ll try them again in the morning just to make sure. Quality control, you know??

If you’re looking for an interesting brownie give these a try. They’re fantastic, I promise!

Blackberry Cream Cheese Brownies

Adapted from Bless Her Heart
350F, 9×13″ greased pan

Stuff you need:

For brownie layer:
1 brownie mix for a 9×13″ pan plus ingredients for the cake-style method or your favorite brownie recipe that makes a 9×13″ pan
[I used my Craggy Topped Fudge Brownies:  https://munchiesmind.com/2012/07/11/chocolate-madness-craggy-topped-fudge-brownies/  Check the Mix It Up! page for the recipe.]
1 1/4 cups frozen blackberries
1/3 cup chocolate chips

For cream cheese swirl:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Now what?
Beat all cream cheese swirl ingredients and set aside while you mix up the brownie batter.

Make the brownies according to the cake-style method on the package directions or make your preferred recipe.
Gently fold in 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and 1 1/4 cups of frozen blackberries.

Pour the brownie batter into the pre-greased baking dish.

Using a large spoon, drop the cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter. Drag a butter knife through the cream cheese and brownie mix to create the cream cheese swirls.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick poked into the center of the brownie pan comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. This is kind of hard to tell, since you might be poking a juicy blackberry! [Mine took about 35 minutes.] 

Fresh Apple Cake

Fresh Apple CakeHow about a quick and easy apple cake? The most time-consuming part about this is chopping up the apples. If you’re lazy like me, don’t bother to peel them. Just wash them well, and start chopping!

I used Granny Smith apples because that’s what I had in the house. Use your favorite kind, or a mixture of sweet with tart. I didn’t chop the apples too much because I like to have pieces in my cake. However, if you don’t like biting into apple chunks, dice them finer.Fresh Apple Cake!

The batter will be very thick. That’s fine – just make sure you’ve got the dry ingredients mixed evenly with the wet ingredients before smooshing the batter into the pan.

Make a 9 x 13 pan or split the batter into two 9×9 cake pans and keep one for yourself, and share the other with friends.

Fresh Apple Cake

Adapted from Midwest Living

Stuff you need:
3 cups flour [I used 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose flour.]
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sale
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 medium Granny Smith apples, washed and chopped [Peel if that’s your preference – or you’re not as lazy as I am.]
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Powdered sugar for dusting

Now what?

Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan or 2 9×9-inch baking pans; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; make a well in center of dry mixture and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine eggs, oil and vanilla; stir in apples and nuts.

Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened (batter will be stiff). Smoosh batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. If you like, dust with powdered sugar or top each serving with sweetened whipped cream and an apple slice.

Whole Wheat Apple MuffinsWow – these are good!

I was excited to find this recipe at The Goodie Plate that uses whole wheat flour and fresh apples. The blogger raved about the smell and the flavor of these muffins and I needed to see for myself just how good they are!

I’m glad I tried them – they’re delish! And my house smelled wonderful! Even though they use some whole wheat flour, they were incredibly moist muffins and not as heavy as I expected them to be. 

Of course I made a few adjustments to the recipe, because that’s how I bake, but they were simple tweaks. I added some chopped walnuts and some finely chopped candied ginger. If you’ve never tried candied ginger, it’s a sweet / hot thing that’s best eaten in small pieces, so chop it well. If you like the heat of ginger, like I do, make sure to add some to your muffins! If you’re not quite sure, stick with a small amount (maybe 1 Tablespoon) and adjust the amount in your next batch.Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

I used light brown sugar because my box of dark brown sugar was hard as a rock! I didn’t realize I could soften the brown sugar in the microwave by putting the brown sugar in with a small bowl of water near it, zapping for 1 minute, then checking every 30 seconds until it was soft. Dark brown would give the muffins a richer flavor, but the light brown was delicious.

I used two large apples, so I had very chunky muffins that made a batch of 18. I think they’d freeze very well. I didn’t think to throw a couple in the freezer before they all disappeared, but next time I will.

These are great for a healthier breakfast or snack alternative, and almost sweet enough for a dessert. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Happy Birthday to us!

Chocolate Banana Cupcake with PB Chocolate Cream FrostingYesterday at Colahan’s Martial Arts we celebrated two birthdays – John’s and mine. It was an extra-special celebration because Susana brought her ukulele and accompanied the infamous Colahan’s Martial Arts Choir for the birthday song. I loved it!!

I baked for John and Susana baked for me, and without coordinating desserts, we both made a variation of chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. As the saying goes, Great minds think alike! We had Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Frosting for John, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with peanut butter cups and Peanut Butter Frosting for me!!

We had lots and lots of cupcakes – and they were DELISH! Even with one of the guys eating FIVE cupcakes (an impressive feat!) and most everyone else eating two, we still had plenty of leftovers. So many, in fact, that the birthday boy was sent home with quite a few, and the rest were left on my desk for my co-workers. Neither Susana nor I trusted ourselves with a tray of cupcakes within easy reach; we know better…

Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes (front) and Chocolate PB Cupcakes!

I don’t know exactly how Susana made hers, but I can give you the idea. Chocolate cupcakes had a small peanut butter cup dropped into the batter before baking. Then they were topped with peanut butter frosting and chopped peanut butter cups. Yum!!

I made Chocolate Banana Cupcakes from Chocolate from The Cake Mix Doctor… I’d never made cupcakes with chocolate and banana in them, and was curious to find out how strong the banana presence would be. I used very dark bananas that I had tossed in the freezer – those that had hit the point of bad for eating but good for baking. I was pleased with the texture and the subtle banana flavor of the cupcake, and waited to choose a frosting flavor after I tasted them. Click for recipe.

I considered making a marshmallow-based frosting, but opted for the lazy way because it was getting late. I wish I could tell you what I put in the frosting, but I really don’t know! I had a container of chocolate cream cheese frosting in the freezer from a recent cake, so I whipped it up with a can of cream cheese frosting and some peanut butter. The result was a creamy chocolate peanut butter frosting that worked nicely with the cupcakes! Banzai Birthday Treats!

Today, I wish I had a couple of those cupcakes. But then again, I’m really glad I worked at home today so I couldn’t get to them. The temptation would just be too much!

Have you tried chia seeds? Yes, those things we smear on clay figures then water and watch sprout. If you haven’t, you should. Blueberry Chia Coconut Pudding

Not only are they fun for entertaining us, but they’re good for eating, too! They pack a pretty good nutritional wallop for just a small amount of seeds. Chia seeds were an important part in ancient Aztec and Mayan diets because of their richness in omega-3 fatty acids and anti-oxidants, high fiber content, and benefits of several other nutrients. They can be eaten as-is, no processing or cooking required. I put them in yogurt and smoothies and sneak them into muffins, oatmeal cookies, and most anything that doesn’t require a silky texture.

I found this recipe online at a site called skinnytaste. The original recipe uses mango, but I don’t like mango so I substituted frozen blueberries. Use whatever fruit you like, but be cautious about using something that browns when exposed to air, like apples or bananas. You’d need to toss those in a bit of citrus juice before stirring them in. Click for recipe.

Blueberry Chia Coconut Pudding - ready to mix up!It takes no time to mix this up, but it needs to sit in the frig for 5-6 hours or overnight, so plan ahead. The finished pudding is light and refreshing, and I really liked it! The chia seeds mimic tapioca, absorbing about 4 times their volume in liquid, so if you like tapioca you’ll probably like this. Mine didn’t set up as thick as a regular pudding or tapioca, but that might be from all the moisture the frozen blueberries added. Overall I’d say it’s fairly healthy if you keep the sugar down or don’t add it at all (I didn’t use any).

Give it a try and see what you think. It’ll make a nice snack by itself or be a good component in a healthy breakfast. I’ll definitely be making this again, and stirring in whatever fruit I have handy!

We recently celebrated Sensei Phil’s birthday at Karate Club. You’d think with all the celebrating we do, we’d each weigh 800 pounds. But Renshi’s workouts burn 600-1000 calories in the 60-90 minutes we’re on the mat, so we don’t worry about it too much.

Phil asked for “Something fruity…but not fruitcake.”  Well, lucky me – that meant I got to choose something! I love it when that happens! Maple Apple Strudel Bars

I started digging through my recipes and various blogs and found several fruit-based recipes that I’d like to try. But I only needed one, and this is what I settled on.

Taking new recipes for celebrations sometimes makes me nervous. Not only do I not know if the recipe even turned out properly, but I also don’t know if the dessert is going to be any good! And if it isn’t, I’m afraid the celebration will be ruined. Luckily, that hasn’t been a problem so far, knock on wood.

These bars have a somewhat delicate crust that is more like a pie/short pastry crust instead of a cake. You can use any type of apple you like, mix up a variety, and even use pears if you like them. As with most fruit desserts, you can add nuts or leave them out. Click for recipe.

When it came time for the glaze, the recipe called for a basic powdered sugar glaze made with vanilla and milk. When I went to get vanilla from the pantry I noticed my  maple flavoring and thought that would be a good touch for the topping. I was right – the maple glaze was the right touch for the apples.

Colahan Martial Arts Choir Serenading Sensei PhilThe dessert was a hit! I loved it because it reminded me of the pastries we used to get in Chicago when I was growing up. It’s sweet enough without being overly sweet. I’m sure I’ll make this again, and I’m sure – as always – I’ll tweak the recipe. In fact, I wish I had some apples here now, so I could make another pan of those delicious treats!

Lemon Brownies

Lemon BrowniesMore citrus, please! Apparently I like citrus lately. I recently posted the Key Lime Cream Cake I made. Tonight I made Lemon Brownies. Ever heard of those? I hadn’t either, until I found this recipe! I wondered if the texture would be like a brownie or a cake. Recently I made an Apple Brownie recipe, but that had the texture of a cake. It was very good, but it was a cake, not a brownie, so I was a bit disappointed.  I like the dense texture of brownies — not the really gooey ones, but the heavier, drier type.

Well, I “needed” to know the texture of these! I had all the ingredients in-house for this and it’s very simple, so I gave it a try. I made a double batch to fill a 9 x 13 pan because I think making anything in an 8 x 8 pan is a waste of time. By the time I have enough “samples” to determine if I like something or not, there isn’t enough left for anyone else! So 9 x 13 it was. Click for recipe.

While the recipe called for zest and juice from a fresh lemon, I used dried zest from a jar and juice from a bottle. I suspect the lemon flavor may be a bit more pronounced with fresh zest, but I was not disappointed in the flavor of mine. Lemon Brownie Glaze

I wonder about making these with other citrus flavors such as key lime or tangerine, and think I’ll have to give those other flavors a try. But for now, I’m quite satisfied with my lemon brownies!

The only problem I might have is making them last until Monday so I can share them at work. I certainly don’t need to eat a whole pan of them myself, but I’m sure I could!

Lemon Brownies

Adapted from Rita’s Recipes
Stuff you need:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest

Now what?
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
Mix in the softened butter.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the lemon juice and zest.
Add to the larger bowl and mix well.

Pour into lightly greased 9 x 13″ pan.
Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Remove and let cool completely before adding glaze.

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
additional lemon zest
Stir together and spread over cooled brownies.

Susana said I could make whatever I wanted for her Banzai Birthday treats. The desserts chosen most frequently for Karate Club contain chocolate and peanut butter. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE chocolate and peanut butter! But not everyone loves chocolate, and I was in the mood for something different. And since it was spring, something lighter sounded good.

Key Lime Cake

Banzai Birthday Treats for Susana

I looked through several recipes before settling on this one. The tartness, the creaminess, the general deliciousness appealed to me. It would be a refreshing dessert after a tough workout. And key lime is sassy, just like Susana — in a good way, of course!  😉

This is a key lime cake topped with a silky key lime cream. Click for recipe. In my opinion, the topping is definitely the best part! I could have skipped the cake and eaten just that!! In fact, one of these days I might.

The original recipe makes a 4-layer torte, but I knew that would be a travel disaster. Ditto for cupcakes, so I made it in a 9 x 13 pan. I mixed up the topping at home, but waited until I got to work to put it on the cake. Whipped cream would be tasty on this and would closely mirror authentic key lime pie, but it’s not necessary. This needs to be refrigerated, so keep that in mind when you make it.

Key Lime Cake - Banzai!

Happy Birthday, Susana!

I was really excited when Susana walked into class and I noticed what she was wearing. She was color-coordinated with her cake! White gi, green belt. White cake, green lime zest. Leave it to Susana to match her dessert, even without knowing what it was!  🙂

This is an easy, refreshing and very delicious cake that’s perfect for spring and summer! I also think the ingredients would make a delish trifle – layers of key lime cake, key lime cream, fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Yep, might have to give that one a try. Not only would it taste good, but the presentation would be spectacular and worthy of a celebration!

Banzai to Susana – and thanks for letting me choose your birthday treats!

 

Key Lime Cream CakeKey Lime Cream Cake

Adapted from Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook, 1996

Stuff you need:

CAKE

1 (1 lb. 2.25 oz.) box pudding-included butter recipe cake mix

3 Tablespoons key lime juice plus water to equal 1 cup [Buy key lime juice in the juice section or squeeze fresh key limes.]

1 Tablespoon lime zest [You can use dried lemon zest, but rub between hands when adding to mixture to release oils.]

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

3 eggs

KEY LIME CREAM

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1/2 cup key lime juice

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

GARNISH

Additional whipped cream if desired

Lime slices or Key Lime Zest

Now what?

Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 9×13 pan.

In large bowl, combine all cake ingredients at low speed until moistened; scrape down bowl and beat 2 minutes at high speed.

Pour batter in greased and floured pan.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely.

For topping, in small bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 cup key lime juice; mix well and set aside while whipping cream.

In large bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.

Fold condensed milk mixture into remaining whipped cream just until blended.

Spread key lime cream over cooled cake. Sprinkle lime zest over top, if using.

Refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator.