Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen

A few weeks ago, I was going through the fridge and pantry, checking expiration dates of every food item in the house. (Wow, this unopened jar of cream of tartar expired in 2012. Wait, why did I even buy cream of tartar?)

I came across a box of carrot cake mix which would expire in another month.  Hmmm, what should I make with this?

I used about half of the box mix to make a dump cake.  And instead of making one cake, I make several mini-dump cakes in casserole dishes.  I made a pineapple-apple filling, sprinkled on the dry cake mix, poured on the melted butter, and then added shredded coconut and chopped pecans.

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The following week, I combined the rest of the cake mix with some cinnamon, a beaten egg and orange marmalade. I cooked the batter in my donut maker machine, and when they cooled, sprinkled powder sugar on top.

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Carrot Cake Cookies

Betty Crocker has these new Decadent Supreme Sprinkles, one flavor is Carrot Cake.  Since i love carrot cake, I thought I should try them.  But what would they go with?  It seems silly to add them to a carrot cake, so I decided to turn something else into carrot cake.  I bought some soft-baked oatmeal raisin cookies and cream cheese frosting.  I frosted the cookies and added the sprinkles.  Simple and a tasty treat.


The Baker Man will soon return (I hope)

Happy 2015!

It’s been at least five months, since I posted anything, and I hope to be back soon.  Without going into a lot detail, the last several months have not been good for me – healthwise, that is.  I went out on disability, retiring from work at the age of 49.  And, while I am home more now than when I was working, I have had little energy to look at or even think about the computer.  Before Christmas rolled around, I also did little to no baking in the last few months.

I did do a little baking over the Christmas season and took some photos of what I baked.  I hope to post those pictures soon as well as get back to reading and responding to other people’s posts.

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Homemade turnovers with a pear-cranberry filling

Baked Apple Fritters – Gluten Free

Who doesn’t like apple fritters? These are easy to make and gluten-free.

Officially Gluten Free


These Baked Gluten Free Apple Fritters are so easy to make and taste Incredible. They are the perfect snack for when you’re craving doughnuts or if you want surprise someone special.


1 1/2 Cups Rice Flour

1/4 Cup Corn Starch

2 Tbsp White Sugar

2 Tsp Cinnamon

3 Tsp Baking Powder

5 Tbsp Butter

3/4 Cup Buttermilk or 3/4 Cup Milk +1 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1 Cup Apple Pie Filling

For the Glaze:

1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

1 Tsp Vanilla

1/4 Cup Milk


1. Pre heat oven to 450 F.

2. In a large bowl, cut butter into the flour, starch, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.

3. Add the buttermilk and mix only until a dough forms.

4. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough into a rectangle, on a lightly floured surface.

5. Cover with the apple pie filling. Then fold in…

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Still Working on Presentation

It was another one of those, “What do I want for dessert?  What do I have on hand?  What can I put together?” moments. I had several pizzelles, always enjoyable, but very thin, so only so much can added onto the pizzelle. In the fridge was a ripe peach looking at me, saying, “take me.”  Now, just one more ingredient.  Also in the fridge were whipped topping and cream cheese.  One seemed too light, and the other too heavy.  So, I mixed a little of each along with a little maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. It all sounded good, waiting to be assembled and then eaten.  Once plated though, it looked sort of plain.  I threw a few goji berries on for added color, but it still did not look right.


Then, I realized that the orange colored plate was making the peach slices and the pizzelles look pale, and thus unappealing. So, I grabbed  a plate with a lot of green and blue trim and dusted ground cinnamon around the plate, adding another contrasting color.  I transferred the cookies from the orange plate to the other plate and spooned a little whipped cream on top.




It was a good-tasting dessert, not too heavy, not too sweet. Of course, the plate itself did not change the flavor of the dessert creation.  But, I did enjoy it more, knowing that I was able to make it a little more aesthetically appealing.


As Seen on TV

I have to admit, I’m an impulse shopper, especially if it is food or something to cook or serve the food.  Over the years, I’ve purchased an electric wok, a quesadilla maker, a pizzelle maker, assorted seasonal shaped cupcake and loaf pans, an espresso maker, and a juice machine  I have developed a little more self-restraint the last few years, though. Instead of buying something right away, I look over the product and price, and then tell myself that I mat buy it when it goes on sale. After-holiday sales are one way to do this; I’ve gotten some Wilton and Nordicware products at really good prices this way, as well a cupcake maker.

Most recently, a toy I’ve wanted – I say toy because it is not a necessity, simply something else to play with in the kitchen – are the tortilla bowl pans. Every time I saw them on TV, I thought, Hey those would be fun to play with.  I show self-restraint and do not make the purchase, thinking that I will wait until they become available in stores wh.ere I can buy them on sale or with a coupon.  Then, last month, there they are, the tortilla bowl pans at an outlet store. So, I bought the set of four pans .


... and look, they tessellate - functional and fun!

… and look, they tessellate – functional and fun!












On the next trip to the grocery store, I purchased white corn tortillas, lean ground beef, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, and fat-free sour cream. For dinner, I made taco bowls with my new pans. I followed the box’s directions, baking the shells at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. They came out fine, although the next time I made taco bowls, I kept them in the oven a couple minutes longer, wanting the shells to be crispier. If I had to give a consumer review, I would say that these tortilla pans work as promised.


I added the beef and cheese to the tortilla bowls before baking.

I added the beef and cheese to the tortilla bowls before baking. Since I like cheese, I had two layers of cheese, under and on top of the beef.

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!



Back to Baking

Several people have asked me when I will bake some more. Friends and family who are far away and ask that are really asking, “When will you bake again and post your recipes/photos on WordPress?” Friends and family who live close by, though, are really asking, “When will you bake again so that we will have something of yours to taste?” I can’t be too upset at them; it’s a compliment to my baking, after all.

Yesterday, I decided to bake, for these reasons:
1.I have new ramekins which I had not used yet,
2. In the fridge were a nectarine, a black plum, and a golden delicious apple, all waiting to be used, and
3. The temperature and humidity outside were a lot more bearable, so I did not mind turning on the oven yesterday.

I washed and cut up the three fruits.  (If you read the posting from March 5, you know that I did not pare any of the fruits.) I sautéed the fruits with nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and bourbon.  While this mixture simmered, I made a topping of oats, gluten-free flour, pecans, cinnamon, brown sugar, and room temperature butter. At the last minute, I decided to divide the fruit mixture among three ramekins instead of two and baked the fruit crisps for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.




Would you like yours with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whip cream? Why not both?

Candy Bar-Inspired Bark

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About a year ago, I discovered Crispy Cat, a candy bar sold in the organic/health sections of many grocery stores. The front label states that it is vegan, gluten free, and all natural. Not only that, it is dark chocolate – the healthy chocolate. I bet your doctor would tell you that it is in your best interest to eat his candy, right?

I check out the bar in a green-colored wrapper; the flavor is Mint Coconut. The ingredients list organic brown rice crisp as one of the ingredients – the crispy part of the bar. Hmm, interesting. I’ve had chocolate with mint, chocolate with coconut, and chocolate with crisp rice. But all three together? Think of it as a York Peppermint Patty, Mounds Bar, and Nestle Crunch all in one. Curious, I bought one of these bars to see how it tastes. I tried it almost immediately as I got home.  Mmmm; that is one scrumptious candy bar!  I do not remember, but most likely, I ate the entire bar quickly, as it was that good.  I’ve bought this candy bar several times now when at the grocery store. Then, one day, it was not in stock.   The following week, same thing.  No Crispy Cat bars to be found.  After three or four weeks of wanting a Crispy Cat and not finding one, I went online and purchased a box of them.

Jump ahead to when the box of Crispy Cats are all gone.  The next time at the grocery store, I pick up a Mint Coconut Crispy Cat, which as usual sits next to the Toasted Almond Crispy Cat. Hmm, another thought – wouldn’t the tastes of the Mint Coconut and the Toasted Almond together be good?  It was then, that I decided to make my own chocolate treat.

I melted dark chocolate chips and chocolate mint chips together; the proportions were about 3:1 of chocolate to mint.  Then I stirred in some flaked coconut, sliced almonds, and crisped rice cereal.  (I did not measure anything;  I simply eyeballed it.) After spreading the mixture on a wax-lined baking sheet, I placed the baking sheet in the fridge.  In less than an hour’s time, I had my own Crispy Cat-like candy to enjoy.

The other day, I decided to make this chocolate bark again.  It was either the third or fourth time I have made this concoction. I did it differently this time, though.  Instead of mixing all the ingredients together, I stirred the crisped rice into the melted chocolate and spread it out on the baking sheet.  Then, I added the mint chips, almonds, and coconut, in different sections and in different combinations.


Thinking of the pan of chocolate bark as a 3×3 grid, I placed different combinations of the three toppings on the chocolate mixture.











This gives your guests (or customers?) a choice in what they would like to taste.  Myself, I’ll go for a piece of the bark which has all three toppings.

Care to try a sample?

Care to try a sample?