German Chocolate Cake

dashoflovely.germanchocolatecake.©2014mileswittboyer-1213

 

I have the best dad in the whole wide world. Growing up he was always the dad that coached my softball teams and when he wasn’t coaching my teams he NEVER ever missed a game. We took countless post game trips to McDonalds to get a twist ice cream cone no matter how late it was.  He was my principal in middle school and then again in junior high and I actually enjoyed him being around everyday. He taught me how to fish and is the reason that I can bait my own hook. To this day I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have beaten him in the board game Pente and we have played it countless times and continue the challenge on occasion. He does however know that he is no match in a game a Chinese Checkers.

I have a huge soft spot for my dad. Even now that I am an adult and have a family of my own, he and my mom are still at the top of the list for people to call when I need advise. I know that whatever he tells me, he ultimately has my best interest at heart. He is a man of God,  a wonderful influence for my husband, a role model for my son, and still my daddy.

German chocolate cake is my dads FAVORITE. I found this recipe last year and made him this cake. It was my first attempt at a German Chocolate. It was such a hit that he asked for it again this year. This cake is not for those bakers that want a recipes that you can just throw together. Honestly it is a lot of work but so delicious!

 

dashoflovely.germanchocolatecake.©2014mileswittboyer-1214

 

 

What you need for the cake:

Parchment paper
2 (4-oz.) packages german chocolate baking bars
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

 

How it comes to life:

Lightly grease 3 (9-inch) round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper, and lightly grease paper. I like to then sprinkle some flour on top of the greased parchment paper and work the pan around to so that the flour is spread evenly. This seems to help the cakes not stick.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Microwave chocolate baking bars and 1/2 cup water in a  microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring once halfway through.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with a kitchenaid mixer until fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.

Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes or more); gently fold into batter.

 

German Chocolate Batter

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

German Chocolate In Pans

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven,  and gently run a knife around outer edge of cake layers to loosen from sides of pans. Cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks; discard parchment paper. Cool completely (about 1 hour).

 

What you need for the icing:

2 cups chopped pecans
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

How it comes to life:

Right after the cake came out of the oven (still at 350 degrees), bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway through. Cool completely (about 20 minutes).

 

Toasted Pecans

Meanwhile, cook evaporated milk, sugar, butter, and egg yolks in a heavy 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 3 to 4 minutes or until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cook, stirring constantly, 14 minutes or until mixture becomes a light caramel color, is bubbling, and reaches a pudding-like thickness.

Remove pan from heat and transfer mixture to a bowl. Stir in coconut, vanilla, and pecans. Let stand, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes or until cooled and spreading consistency.

 

coconut Pecan Icing dashoflovely.germanchocolatecake.©2014mileswittboyer-1201

 

Bring it together:

Place one layer of the cake onto a cake pedestal.

German Chocolate

Spread a thin layer of the coconut pecan icing on top of that layer. Next add the second layer and spread another thin layer of icing. Add the final cake and use the remaining icing to cover the cake. I used extra coconut to decorate the base of the cake.

 

German Chocolate

 

dashoflovely.germanchocolatecake.©2014mileswittboyer-1216

Recipes adapted from HERE

 

Turkey Sausage & Egg Breakfast Casserole

 

Turkey Sausage Breakfast CasseroleI’m not sure how this is possible, but this week is busier than normal. Between work dinners, two birthday dinners, and a charity gala on Saturday there isn’t a whole lot of cooking that I get to do.

I got a late start on meal planning for this week and boy did I pay for it. I had this great pizza crust recipe I found on Pinterest that I was hesitant to make because of time. I went ahead and forced myself to do it and then it turned out to be an epic fail! I’m not sure if it was the pinner or the pinnie but I would like to think that I couldn’t mess up a pizza crust that bad. I mean I have made some wonderful homemade crusts over the years. I will spare you all of the details but it was a sticky mess followed by a rising crust that would not rise correctly. No tears over it though. We just jumped in the car and ate out.

When we returned home we took the dune buggy (Gavins green car) for a spin around the block and then while Miles got G ready for bed I tried to redeem myself from the afternoon food trauma.

Breakfast is hard for me. On the weekend there is ample time to get up and get moving on a homemade meal. Week days are a little more difficult. Most mornings Miles is on breakfast duty for Gavin and we both scavenge for ourselves. I do try and make sure we have options but nothing overly amazing. To be honest, I’m just not a breakfast person unless it is for dinner.

This recipe was EASY and DELICIOUS! I wasn’t too sure what to think when I read that it had cottage cheese in it but why not! I don’t care for the stuff by itself but you can’t taste it in lasagna so I will be fine.

The original recipe called for that pre cooked turkey sausage but I did some looking at Walmart and they actually make turkey sausage in the sausage log (excuse my terminology) and it is really tasty.

This is a make again recipe that has a lot of potential. You could add spinach, peppers, ham, different spices, top it with homemade salsa, put salsa in it before you bake it, or substitute the whole eggs for all egg whites. The list could go on and on. This recipes was adapted from I heart planners blog.

What you need:

  • 1 lb. turkey sausage
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese (I used an italian blend)
  • 12 whole eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 oz. Low fat cottage cheese
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

How it comes to life:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Cook and crumble the turkey sausage, drain grease. Sprinkle the sausage in the bottom of a 13×9 greased pan.

Next sprinkle the shredded cheese over the sausage.

In a medium size bowl, add the eggs, cottage cheese, chili powder and salt to taste.

Pour over the sausage and cheese.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the eggs are done.

Turkey Sausage Breakfast Casserole

breakfastcasserole.dashoflovely-1

 

Blueberry Cupcakes

Blueberry Cupcakes
I rarely make boxed cupcakes but sometimes I just don’t have time to dedicate hours to dessert. I will never take credit for a boxed cake but I do still feel like you need to put your own personal twist. This cupcake recipe allows you to take a simple box cake and dress it up into something beautifully delicious! Plus you can use those yummy farmers market blueberries that you want so bad to buy but don’t know what to do with them.
Blueberry Cupcakes
What you need:
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried blueberries
  • 1 pkg. white cake mix
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

How it comes to life:

Heat oven to 350°F. Line 24-well cupcake pan with paper liners. In a Ninja food processor, pulse freeze-dried blueberries until finely ground powder forms; set aside.

 

Dried Blueberries

 

Prepare cake mix according to package directions, adding 1/2 fresh blueberries. Divide batter evenly among liners in prepared pan. Bake 15 min. or until done. Let cool.

 

White Cake

 

Using mixer on medium, beat cream cheese and butter 3 min. or until light and fluffy. Add sugar, vanilla extract and ground blueberry powder. Beat 1 min. or until smooth.

 

Blueberry Icing blueberry-cupcake©2013MWB-dashoflovely (4 of 7)

 

Ice the cooled cupcakes and then top with  blueberries.


 

blueberry-cupcake©2013MWB-dashoflovely (7 of 7)

 

Recipe adapted from First for Woman Magazine

Shrimp with Avocado Mango Salsa

Shrimp with Avocado Mango Salsa

 

I know the trends in eating and honestly I fall right in line. In the winter I lean towards those heavy comfort foods. In the Summer I just can’t help but want to eat fresh and include a ton of garden vegetables and fruit.

We do use the grill some but getting food just right on the grill seems challenging to me.  That could be why I don’t even try. Miles is the grill master in this house. I do from time to time prepare a meal to hand off to my husband to grill up. This recipe is one of those meals. It has so many great foods and a fresh flavors. The best part is that clean up is a cinch with the foil bag. Cook, cut, top, and serve!

 

What you need:

  • Cooking spray
  • 8 cups baby spinach
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro – I love that I can just go outside and pick this from my herb garden
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

**If you want a little kick, the original recipe calls for 1/2 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped. I took this out for Gavin’s sake but if you don’t have kids eating I would put it back in.

 

Shrimp with Avocado Mango Salsa

How it comes to life:

Heat grill. Fold four 18-inch-long pieces of foil in half; unfold and coat inside with cooking spray. Place 2 cups spinach in center of 1 half of each piece of foil. Combine couscous with 1/4 cup water; divide evenly among packets, placing on top of spinach. Combine shrimp, 1/4 cup cilantro, oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Divide shrimp evenly among packets, placing next to couscous. Fold foil to close and crimp edges to seal; place on grill; close lid; cook until packets are fully puffed, 10 minutes.

Steam Bag

Combine remaining 1/4 cup cilantro with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, mango, avocado, tomato,  jalapeño (if using) and lime juice in a bowl.

Mango

shrimp-couscous-6 shrimp-couscous-7 Avocado Lime

Avocado Mango Salsa

Carefully cut foil to open; stir contents; top with salsa just before serving.

This recipe was adapted from EPICURIOUS

Mini Meat Loaf

 

Meat LoafDigging through old photos on my hard drive yesterday I found a recipe that I forgot to post. I may put this on the shopping list to make again this week. I remember finding this recipe and thinking to myself, I HATE MEAT LOAF! In an effort to try to find something Gavin liked at the time I went ahead and made them anyway. Lets face it, meat loaf just isn’t pretty but everything we make can’t always be photo worthy.

So here is how it went down…

We all sit down at the table and Gavin pushes his veggies around his plate taking a few small bites of corn. He takes a bite of parmesan mashed potatoes and immediately spits them out (which I fully expected). Then the moment of truth. Will he eat it or will dinner be a fight?

Not even one bite! After begging, pleading, bribing, and then finally bed we walked away from dinner defeated. I may have shed a few tears. It is important for me to cook and have sit down meals with my family so why does my son hate what I cook? Well the reality of it is that he doesn’t hate what I cook he is just a little boy (or at least that is what Miles said to make me feel better). Not a mom fail even though at the time it felt like it.

Don’t be discouraged if you want to try these out. Miles and I both loved them and we even got Gavin to eat a bit a few hours later. He thought he was eating corn and bam in the mouth it went. MOM WINS AGAIN!

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2/3 cup ketchup (apparently we are a Heinz family according to Miles)
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 2 lbs ground beef (unless we are cooking hamburgers we typically buy the extra lean)
  • 1  1/4 cups italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

How it comes to life:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12 count muffin tin with non stick cooking spray. Mine made 15 so I had to use a second pan. In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup of ketchup and the brown sugar. Set aside.

In a medium bowl crumble the ground beef. Add the bread crumbs, worcestershire, mustard, eggs, parsley, salt, pepper and the remaining ketchup. Make sure you mix this up well so that the meat is seasoned throughout.

 

mini-meatloaf-1 mini-meatloaf-2 mini-meatloaf-3

 

 

Press the meat into the muffin pans. Fill them level with the top of the pan. Press down the mixture so that there are not any air bubbles.

Spread about 1 teaspoon of the ketchup mixture on the top of each loaf.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

A few of them stuck to the side a little so I used a sharp knife and went around them before removing them from the muffin pan.

 

On the side: Mashed Potatoes – I did not have a recipe to follow so i just peeled, cubed and boiled the potatoes until they were tender. Drain the water. Place in a Kitchenaid mixer and whip until smooth. I added skim milk, a tiny bit of butter, salt, pepper, 1/3 cup sour cream and shredded parmesan. I rarely make mashed potatoes but man do I love them!

 

I found this recipe in  All You Magazine.

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

 

 

Pink Lemonade Cupcake

 

It has been a while since I last posted. To be honest we have just been running crazy. Miles has a rare weekend off and boy are we taking advantage of it. We spent the morning at the farmers market in downtown Bentonville. I purchase the most beautiful cherry tomatoes and some fresh green beans. Really there is nothing better than a home grown tomato in the summertime. After that we went down to the splash park. Living in Bentonville never leaves you without something active to do with the family. If you are ever downtown you really should try Yeyo’s Mexican Grill. I have been wanting to try it out for months now and finally had it for lunch. Well worth the wait. I am not one for food trucks but Yeyo’s and Crepes Paulette are two worth trying out!

 

The weather has been unusually comfortable for it being July so we are headed over to our best friends house tonight to meet up with some couples and to let the kiddos run wild. I hate showing up empty handed so of course I immediately went to pinterest for a fun summer dessert. I will admit that I am not one for making up recipes. If it is already pretty and perfect why change it? I do sometimes adapt the decorations to fit the limited time I have to spend though.

 

A summer cookout deserves a pretty Pink Lemonade Cupcake. I did taste test these beauties and the cupcake itself was soft and spongy. The icing had a hint of that refreshing summertime pink lemonade which compliments the cake perfectly. I am extremely satisfied with how they turned out.

 

Cupcakes
PINKCUPCAKES-3 PINKCUPCAKES-4 PINKCUPCAKES-5 PINKCUPCAKES-6

 

I will list the recipe below with the few tweaks I made but you can see the original  recipe and post HERE.

What you need:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
½ cup sour cream, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Buttercream:
1 ½ sticks, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons pink lemonade concentrate, from frozen concentrate – The powered sugar made my icing a little thick so I used  8 TBSP.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 cups powdered sugar
milk or half and half, as needed

How it comes to life:

For Cupcakes:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12 muffin/cupcake tins with paper or foil liners. Mine actually made 15 cupcakes so I had to use two pans.
Put flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add butter, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla; beat at medium speed until smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no flour pockets remain.
Divide batter evenly among cups of prepared tin. I usually use an ice cream scoop for ease. Bake until cupcake tops are pale gold and toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from tin and transfer to wire rack; cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

For buttercream:
Place butter and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl once or twice.
Reduce the speed to low and add the pink lemonade concentrate, vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat on lowest speed until all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, then increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 more minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. If the icing is too thick add a bit of milk or half and half, if too thin add a bit more powdered sugar. I added a few drops of pink food coloring to make the pink a little brighter.

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