CREAM CHEESE POUND CAKE

Don't let this unassuming photo deter you from this recipe. This is, by far, one of the best cakes we've ever had. It is everything you want in a pound cake... it is tender, it has a very fine crumb, it is sweet, rich and buttery. Whether you are slicing it up for the perfect strawberry shortcake or serving it with a big scoop of ice cream, this is the perfect cake ...even for the most picky guests!!
At our house, we seldom even frost this cake, we just snack on it till it's gone.......it is THAT good!!!!!





1 1/2 cups butter at room temperature (important)
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature(important)
6 large eggs at room temperature (important
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups cake flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the room temperature butter for about a minute.  Add the room temperature cream cheese and beat for two more minutes (it should look light and fluffy). It is very important that both of these ingredients are at room temperature before you start.

Gradually sprinkle in the sugar (while your mixer is running) 1/2 cup at a time; beat well.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Mix in extracts.

Measure out 3 cups of CAKE FLOUR and 1/8 tsp. salt, then sift it all.  Add slowly to butter  mixture, on low speed, mixing well after each addition.

Generously grease AND flour a 10" bundt pan (don't use cooking spray)   Bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 1 hour 40 minutes, or till toothpick tests clean.




Fairly nondescript looking, but don't let that sway you.  The genius of this recipe is in the taste. The combination of butter and cream cheese makes this cake to die for moist and rich.

Let the cake cool, in the pan, for 15 minutes before you turn it out, then cover it with plastic wrap (directly on the surface of the hot cake) and let it cool completely. Frost as desired.





NOTE:  Yes, 300 degree oven is correct.

NOTE:  You won't taste the coconut extract, but it blends with the vanilla and produces a fantastic flavor.

NOTE: Don't be tempted to grease your pan with vegetable spray because there is so much sugar in this cake. Dip your pastry brush in melted butter and "paint" your bundt pan liberally, then dust with flour and tap out the extra.

NOTE: Make sure you sift the cake flour. I know it is a pain, but cake flour tends to clump more than all purpose flour, so this step is important. You CAN make this cake with all purpose flour, but you won't get that very fine crumb that is so delicious.

ENJOY !!!
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CHOCOLATE LOVERS CHOCOLATE PUDDING

If you love chocolate, as much as I love chocolate, I hope you will try this recipe. I have been perfecting it for a couple of years now, and the process has required a lot of delicious taste testing sacrifice on my part, but the end result is perfection: thick, ultra-chocolate-y, super rich and addicting....just right!!



2 1/4 cups milk (I use 2% milk, but any kind is ok)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar (I use dark, but light is ok)
3 egg YOLKS  (yolks ONLY)
3 tablespoons corn starch (very slightly rounded)(not heaping)
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk the brown sugar and corn starch together and set aside. This step isn't absolutely necessary, but if you do it this way, the cornstarch will not clump up or lump up when you add the milk. 

Whisk the cream, milk and yolks together in a saucepan that has a nice heavy bottom (it prevents scorching). Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until smooth. Make sure you scrape the corners of the pan because the corn starch likes to "hide" there.

Cook on medium heat (stirring) until it gets thick and starts to bubble all over the entire surface of the pudding. TURN THE HEAT DOWN to a level where it still bubbles (but isn't going crazy) and cook/stir for another 30 seconds.

Remove from heat and add the butter, milk chocolate chips and vanilla; whisk until melted and smooth.

Now, if you REALLY want that super smooth and silky mouth feel, pour the cooked pudding through a mesh strainer, it REALLY makes a HUGE difference but isn't absolutely necessary.


Pour into dessert dishes and lay a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap right on the surface of the hot pudding (this will stop any "pudding skin" from forming). Chill for at least 4 hours. Top with whipped cream and serve cold.



ENJOY !!

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Southwest Meatballs

Ok seriously, who doesn't like a good meatball recipe? I'm not talking about frozen meatballs out of a bag when you are getting ready to watch the game...I'm talking about homemade Southwest meatballs made with some amazing ingredients!

My friend, Bob Long, made these several weeks ago and they were YUMMY! I begged him for 5 weeks to send me this recipe and today, he finally did. He even gave me permission to post this on my site so others can try and repeat. Good Bob!

These are gluten free and this recipe does not call for breadcrumbs, which I appreciate. With that being said, you need to read your label on the chorizo you buy. Way too many stores today have entirely too many products on their shelves with artificial ingredients that don't need to be in the item. So read your labels!! Make sure if you are gluten free, there is no wheat or gluten listed!

The sauce makes these meatballs.  These meatballs are packed with good fat and are high in protein. I see myself eating these for a snack!

These little guys are fabulous! Per Bob, Yay meatballs!

Ingredients

For the meatballs:
  • ½ pound ground turkey (or chicken, beef, etc.)
  • ½ pound chorizo (chicken, pork, beef, etc.)
  • ¼ small red onion, minced
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ jalapeño, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauce:
  • 1 avocado
  • handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ jalapeño, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil mayo

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish with some oil (olive, coconut, etc.)
  • Place all ingredients for the meatballs into a bowl and use your hands to mix the mixture together. 
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop out each meatballs and form into balls. This should make about 18 small meatballs. 
  • Place each meatball into the greased baking dish, side by side. It’s ok if they are touching. 
  • Put in oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. 
  • While the meatballs cook, create the dipping sauce by placing everything for the sauce, except for the mayo, into a food processor. Puree until smooth. 
  • Once smooth, add the mayo and puree once more until well combined. 
  • Dip meatballs into the sauce or place on top.



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Crock Pot Cabbage Roll Casserole

My friend, Vicky Crowley, brought this dish to work today for several us to try. There is a group of us at work who share dishes/recipes to get new ideas for making new and different meals. Vicky found this one on the following website: http://www.spendwithpennies.com/crock-pot-cabbage-roll-casserole/

She changed it up a bit and didn't roll the cabbage but made it into more of a casserole. It was fantastic. I had seconds, as did most of us at lunch today!

You can make a gluten free version of this recipe if you use a gluten free tomato soup. Make sure to read your labels because not all tomato soups are gluten free! As a matter of fact, read the labels on the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to ensure all brands you use are gluten free.

My husband loves cabbage and I cant wait to make this for him! It's definitely a keeper!!

Ingredients: 
  • 1½ lbs lean ground beef or pork (or a mixture of the two)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 (15oz) can tomato sauce, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup (read your labels if you are gluten free to ensure you get a gluten free brand)
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ¾ cup long grain white rice, uncooked
  • 1 head cabbage
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1½ cups Mozzarella cheese (optional)

Directions:


1. Brown beef or pork, onion, garlic and seasonings over medium heat until no pink remains. Drain.


2. Add 1 cup tomato sauce, 1 cup water and ½ can of tomato soup and diced tomatoes to the beef.


3. Stir in rice, and mix well until heated through. Remove from heat.


4. Chop cabbage into 4 wedges and remove core. Chop into chunks (Vicky's were about ¾"x1.5").


5. Layer ½ of the meat mixture and ½ of the cabbage in the slow cooker. Repeat layers.Place half the meat and then half the cabbage in cooker.


6. Combine the remaining tomato soup, remaining tomato sauce and ⅓ cup water. Pour over top of cabbage.


7. Cook on low 4-6 hours or just until rice is cooked. Once done, turn slow cooker off, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top and let sit 10 minutes to set and melt cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.






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Italian Marinara with Meatballs

My sweet friend, Lindsay Pineda, shared this recipe with me and I'm so glad she did! Lindsay told me this is an authentic Italian dish that her family has made for year and she wanted to share the recipe so I could try it out! 

When I first read the ingredients, I was nervous that all the fresh herbs would be too overwhelming, especially adding in the Taste of Italy essential oil, but it was perfectly balanced!! This was really easy to make and the fact that you make it in a crock pot made my afternoon less hectic!! I threw the marinara sauce ingredients in the crock pot, mixed up my meatball ingredients, browned them and put them in the crock pot for 5 hours. I made my gluten free spaghetti noodles 20 minutes before the sauce and meatballs were scheduled to be done and we were ready to eat!!

This recipe can be made gluten free if you use gluten free noodles and gluten free breadcrumbs.  Oh and by the way...the Young Living Essential Oil is optional but really makes a difference in the taste. Here are the ingredients in this oil:

Basil leaf oil, Oregano (Origanum vulgare)† aerial parts oil, Oregano (Origanum minutiflorum)† aerial parts oil, Oregano (Origanum onites)† aerial parts oil, Oregano (Origanum majorana)† aerial parts oil.

If you need to know where to order this oil, email me at [email protected] and I'll hook you up.

Enjoy this one! It's a repeater for sure!!


Marinara Sauce: 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 can tomato paste 
  • 2 bunches fresh basil (you will take this out at the end so they need to be whole bunches) 
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh oregano (you will take this out at the end so they need to be whole sprigs) 
  • ¼ c. reduced fat parmesan cheese (fresh grated)
  • 1 tsp each – garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried basil, dried parsley 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • 2 drops Taste of Italy Young Living Essential Oil (optional) 


Directions
  • Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, stir together. Turn crock pot on low heat. 


Meatballs: 

Ingredients 

NOTE: This makes a lot but, it’s easy in the slow cooker

  • 3 pounds ground turkey (Jennie-O, 93/7 fat) 
  • 1 ½ pounds (1 package) turkey sausage (hot or sweet- I buy Jennie-O) 
  • ½ c. panko bread crumbs (I use Gluten Free Panko Bread Crumbs)
  • ½ c. reduced fat parmesan cheese (fresh grated)
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 3 drops Taste of Italy Young Living Essential Oil (optional) 
  • 1 tsp each – garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  • Fresh basil & oregano – as much as you want, cut or torn into small pieces 

Directions

Combine all ingredients and roll into small balls. Add 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil to the pan and brown the outsides of the meatballs before putting them into the slow cooker (If you don’t do this step, they will fall apart in the sauce). 






Add them to slow cooker after they’ve been browned (note – the sauce will not cover them; this is okay, it will by the end of the cooking process), put the lid on and cook on low for 4-5 hours. 






When you remove the meatballs from the sauce at the end, do so with a slotted spoon to catch the basil and oregano leaves/stems to remove them from the sauce. 

Serve over your favorite noodles and add fresh parmesan on top!



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