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I am a former fat girl who still loves to feed my friends and family. I bake and cook most weekends, and I want to keep track of it all here.I hope you enjoy my recipes, I look forward to sharing my cooking blog with everyone!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Berry cake

I went to the farmers market at the sculpture park in Seattle and got 2 boxes of blueberries and 2 boxes of blackberries. That is a great little farmers market, I recommend it if you are in Seattle on Thursday afternoons. As I was walking back to my office I was trying to decide what I would do with all those beautiful berries and I remembered this awesome cake my Mom always made for potlucks when I was growing up. My Mom usually brought a blueberry cake and it was always gone super fast. She always used blueberries, but I have found that it is just an awesome berry cake with any berry. I decided to make a couple this weekend to bring to work. I doubled the batch and made 1 blueberry and 1 blackberry cake. I am totally in love with berry cake, and will make it at least a couple more times while berries are in season. You could also use frozen berries, that works fine.

Separate your eggs, yolks in one bowl, whites into your mixer bowl.

Add 1/2 cup sugar into the egg whites as they are being whipped into submission, 1 tbs at a time.

Here the whites are almost stiff enough, but we need them a bit stiffer, so keep going.

YAY! This is what they mean by stiff peaks. Place this in another bowl, and stick it in the fridge while you work on the next few steps.

Butter. So my Mom always used shortening, but I am a fan of butter in cakes, and well, I have to change something!

Add the sugar slowly.

Cream the butter and sugar, let this whip for at LEAST 3 minutes. Just walk away. I mean it. It's for the best. Walk away for 3 minutes.

After the 3 minutes, add vanilla.

Now add your egg yolks in, one at a time.

Get another bowl for your dry ingredients. In goes your flour.

Baking powder.


Mix your dry ingredients together. you can use a sifter if you have one, I don't so I use a whisk.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter mixture. Start with the flour.

Then pour a little milk in. Alternate the flour and milk until both are Incorporated into the cake.

Get ready to fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter.

One spoonful at a time, fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter.

Keep folding...
(that's Duck in the background)

Until it looks like this!
remember I made a double batch, so I set half of this aside before adding blueberries.
(There he is again, getting ready to vacuum the stairs)

My beautiful farmers market berries!

Add 2 tbs flour to the berries.

Toss them to coat. This will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

Fold the berries into the cake batter.
(I am so lucky, look at him vacuuming while I bake cakes!)

Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan.

So close to yummyness!

Smooth the batter out so it is pretty even in the pan.

Here is my blackberry version! Might as well show you both right?

sprinkle 3 tbs of white sugar over the top of the uncooked cake. This will make a beautiful crunchy topping.

Same thing on the blackberry cake.

Stick it in a 350 degree oven and bake for 50 minutes.

Stick it with a toothpick, if it comes out clean the cake is done.
(this is the blueberry one)

Blackberry cake all pretty and done. Let these cool. Seriously hot berries will burn your mouth, Trust me!

Blueberry cake, all yummy and waiting for me to eat it...

Mmmmm. sweet and fluffy, with a terrific little crunch from the cooked sugar.


This had a slightly tarter taste. I love blackberries, and think they are amazing in this cake!
If you like berries, this is so the cake for you!


4 eggs separated

3 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup sugar to add to egg whites

1 cup butter (2 sticks, softened)

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup milk

3 cups berries

2 tbs flour to toss berries with

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Beat egg whites until stiff, adding 1/2 cup sugar a little at a time, while beating the egg whites. Cream butter and the remaining sugar (this takes about 3 minutes). Add vanilla and yolks and beat mixture until creamy. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk. Fold in beaten egg whites. Toss berries in 2 tbs flour then fold into mixture. Turn into well greased pan and sprinkle top with sugar
Bake @ 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yummy Sloppy Lasagna

I never liked lasagna when I was a little kid. Dude, I was a dumb kid! I love love love lasagna. I set out to make some this weekend and wow it turned out SO GOOD! I would suggest cooking the sauce down a bit more than I did for a thick sauce, but otherwise damn this is yummytastic.

I started out by draining a container of cottage cheese. I know it should be ricotta, but this is what I had. I let this drain overnight in the fridge.

Toss the drained cottage cheese into a bowl.

Add 1 egg.

Chop up some fresh parsley. This was about 2 tbs.

Add the parsley to the cottage cheese.

1 tsp sea salt.

Coarse ground pepper. I don't have a pepper grinder. I know, I'm committing some sort of sin. I use this awesome coarse ground pepper I found at Costco. It's not all powdery like other pepper. I recommend a coarse ground if you are going to go with pre ground pepper.

Break up the egg and start stirring.

Here it is all mixed together.

In your favorite pan brown some Italian sausage. I like turkey Italian sausage usually, but this is pork. If you use turkey, add 3 tbs of olive oil.

Drain the sausage, leaving the oil in the pan.

Chop a whole yellow onion.

Mince 3 to 4 garlic cloves. I like lots of garlic in mine!

Chop 2 tbs each fresh basil and oregano. I grow mine on my back porch, its awesome during the summer when we have fresh herbs. You can use dry if you like, just use less.

Roll your basil into a little log, then slice it up. It's the best way to chop it without bruising it to much.

Throw the onions into the hot skillet.

1 tsp sea salt. The salt will pull the moisture out of the onions.

1tsp coarse ground pepper.

Add the minced garlic, your house should be starting to smell awesome!

Now add 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes. I used roasted diced tomatoes, if you can find them I recommend them. YUM.

1 15 oz can tomato sauce.

Add your herbs to the sauce.

It's time to return the sausage to the pan... discover that you pan is far to small...

and transfer it to a larger pot!

Grate your cheese. I used 3 kinds, provolone, monterrey jack and mozzarella.

Mozzarella down, 3 more to go! However I will spare you pics of all 3.

I used 6 lasagna noodles. Boil them for about 6 minutes in salted water.

Put some sauce in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. This will help with sticking later.

Lay 3 lasagna noodles on the bottom of the pan.

Spread some cottage cheese mixture over the noodles.

A thin layer of sauce over that.

Add the cheese.

A layer of zucchini.

Layer of Spinach. I adore zucchini and spinach in my lasagna. Feel free to exchange it for veggies you like better or leave it out completely. If you leave it out, add another layer of noodles, cottage cheese, and sauce.

Another layer of noodles and cottage cheese.

Yet another layer of sauce. Save any left over sauce for spaghetti or something.

The final layer of cheese.

Place in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

It should be all bubbly and the cheese slightly browned. This is pure goodness.

Look at the cheese all melty...

Dig in! This was a pretty saucy version, I like it that way. Use as much or as little sauce as you like. Make it how you like it to be.

Ingredient list:
salted water for boiling noodles
6 lasagna noodles
1 container cottage cheese, drained (about 2 cups)
1 egg
1 tbs fresh parsley
2 tsp seat salt divided
1 tsp pepper divided
1 lb mild Italian sausage
1 15 oz can dice tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 tbs fresh basil
1 tbs fresh oregano
3 to 4 garlic cloves
1/2  a large onion
16 oz cheese (I like provolone, mozzarella, and monterrey jack)
1 zucchini sliced

The night before place cottage cheese in a strainer over a bowl. Let this drain overnight (covered).
In a new bowl drop in the drained cottage cheese. Add the egg, half the salt and pepper, and parsley. Stir until combined.
Boil water for cooking the noodles.
In a skillet brown the Italian sausage. Pull the sausage out of the pan, leaving 3 to 4 tbs of fat. Add onions and garlic, then the rest of the salt and pepper. Cook until translucent. Pour in the tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add basil and oregano. Simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Drain the noodles.
In the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch pan spoon a layer of sauce. This will prevent the noodles from sticking. Spread a layer of cottage cheese on top of the noodles, then a layer of sauce and a layer of cheese. Now lay the zucchini evenly over the cheese. Next put a layer of spinach. start again with the noodles, cottage cheese, sauce, and finally cheese. This will use about 8 lasagna noodles.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Serves 6 to 8