Monday, September 29, 2014

Chocolate Magic Cake

I have wanted to try the Chocolate Magic Cake for so long, I can't beleive I didn't share this with you sooner. My mom's birthday was just a few days after mine, and I asked her to pick what she wanted for a birthday cake. She asked for Chocolate Magic Cake!  I really was so excited to make this, however I don't like making recipes for the first time for birthday's. But, it all worked out, and after all, I had made the original Magic Cake already, and that was successful.

Chocolate Magic Cake is soooo yummy! I loved it! Mom loved it, too!  The three layers turned out more defined than they did for me in the first round of the original, so in the future I will bake it for just a couple extra minutes.

When making this cake, all of your ingredients must be at room temperature. The milk should not be cold, the melted butter should not be hot. Have all of your ingredients at room temperature. I am not a science person by any means to understand how this all works, but when you follow the directions "Magic" happens! And one pan of batter transforms!

Chocolate Magic Cake  (Source: Jo Cooks)
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp warm water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
6 1/2 Tbsp all purpose flour
6 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 cups milk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease 8x8 baking pan, then dust with flour, or cocoa powder

Separate the eggs.  Add egg whites to bowl with one teaspoon of vinegar, and mix at medium high speed until egg whites are stiff. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with water, and sugar until light in color. Add the melted butter, vanilla, and salt.  Beat for two minutes, until light and fluffy. Gradually, add flour and cocoa and mix until fully incorporated.

Slowly, add the milk to the cocoa mixture, beat until well combined.  To the chocolate mixture, add 1/4 of the egg whites, folding them in. Next, add more of the chocolate mixture to the egg whites. Add chocolate slowly, folding as you go. Mixture will be VERY thin.

Pour batter into baking pan and bake for 50 to 70 minutes. Insert knife near edge, if it comes out clean the cake is done.

Cool completely, and garnish as desired.

Sharing this at:
Treasure Box Tuesday 
Weekend Potluck 
Simple Supper Tuesday
Foodie Friends Friday

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Rustic Italian Chicken and a Giveaway!

The awesome folks over at Red Gold Tomatoes sent some tomato products for me to try, and I have to honestly say I love them all. I am really fussy about tomatoes and have been pleased with everything I have tried. Even better, Truckin' Man has liked everything too!

 We tried out the Rustic Italian Chicken recipe. I had to make one change to the recipe. We can not buy boneless skinless chicken thighs in our little local stores. So, I bought regular chicken thighs, and removed the skins myself. I do NOT debone chicken, so I cooked the thighs with the bone in, and it turned out beautifully!  Delicious recipe, and amazing moist flavorful chicken. Try it, I bet you will love it too!

Right now, Red Gold is working to help us all out in the kitchen and make things easy with Slow Cookers!  They have some delicious recipes for us to try, AND...  they are giving away 44 custom Red Gold branded slow cookers beginning September 17 on their Facebook page!  2 winners will be chosen every day through October 8th, so you need to sign up for this ASAP!

Another great thing that Red Gold is doing is providing an apron for one of you!! To enter for a chance to win this apron, tell me what Red Gold Crock Pot recipe you would most like to try!  

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment with your email address the recipe you most liked. If you prefer, you can email me for your recipe choice at   Open to U.S. residents only.

Deadline:  Wednesday, October 8th 11:59 pm CST
Winner: I will randomly choose a winner and announce it at the top of this post. The winner will also be notified via email; if the winner does not respond within 24 hours, another winner will be selected.
Congrats to Stacie G!

Disclaimer: Red Gold provided me with tomatoes and an apron for participating in the 
"2-a-Day Crock-Pot Giveaway", but all opinions are my own.

Rustic Italian Chicken
12 chicken thighs, skinless
2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper
1 - 14.5 ounce can Red Gold Diced Tomatoes
2 - 15 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
3 cups pasta
Parmesan Cheese, grated (optional)

Spray Slow cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken in slow cooker, and top with remaining ingredients, except pasta.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Serve over your favorite pasta. Garnish with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Enjoy :)

Sharing this at:
Weekend Potluck 
Foodie Friends Friday

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Little Road Trip

Last weekend was my birthday, so we took the day off from responsibilities and went on a little road trip. I LOVE road trips, and going down new roads. So, on our adventure I drove. That way I got to go down any unknown road I wanted! Truckin' Man is more of thinking to take the most direct way from point A to point B. Guess that comes with his occupation.

Living in the Mississippi River Valley there is no end to scenic overlooks, but for our road trip I remembered seeing signs for the ferry that runs across the Mississippi from Cassville, Wisconsin to Guttenberg, Iowa. I knew it is a popular road trip for bikers and they do seem to always know the scenic routes!

Here is where we waited for the ferry in Cassville, Wisconsin.

One of the amazing views of the Mississippi River

This really was quite the experience. When you live in the midwest, there are very few large bodies of water, and even fewer opportunities to take a ferry ride!

 The Ferry!
I really didn't have the chance to take any photo's during on ride, as I was lucky enough to meet the captains wife, and chatted with her the entire trip.

 A view of the Mississippi from the Iowa side of the river. 
Barges are a very common site on the river.

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of life near the Mississippi.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

White Chicken Chili with Hatch Chilies

When my sister and I were VERY young, my parents took us to San Antonio, Texas. Do you know what I remember most about San Antonio? The smells! Food smells everywhere, and it was delicious! I guess maybe I had a little bit of "Foodie" starting me back then. 
What other seven or eight year old in Iowa was asking for tortillas! 
Sadly, there weren't any tortilla's to be found in Iowa in the 70's!

 (Do you love my soup pot? It was my GREAT Grandma's!)

The Hatch Chile Store sent me some of their Roasted Hatch Green Chile to try. I wanted the perfect dish to try these in, and bring back the flavors I remember from my childhood.  I thought chili would be perfect. White Chicken Chili was their destiny.  Oh my gosh... This turned out better than I could have imagined. Just one more bowl please! 

The Hatch Chile Store has me so excited to create more dishes, and enjoy the flavor of their roasted Hatch Chile.  They even hand peel them.  I have a new foodie love!

White Chicken Chili with Hatch Chile (Source: Food Network)

1 chicken (3 to 4 pounds), rinsed
1 large onion, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Bay leaf
Thyme, several sprigs
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp oregano
1 cup ground tortilla chips (finely ground)
1 Tbsp masa flour
6 roasted Hatch Chiles, stemmed, deseeded, and chopped
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Garnish suggestions
Sour cream
Jack Cheese, shredded

In large stockpot, add chicken, whole onion, 4 whole garlic cloves, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper.  Slowly bring to boil over medium heat, skimming foam off the top. Reduce heat and simmer for about one hour, until chicken is completely cooked.  Add more water if necessary during cooking to keep chicken covered.

Remove chicken and transfer to 9 x 13 pan to cool.  Strain and reserve broth.  When chicken has cooled, remove chicken from bones and skin, then shred.

Heat olive oil in stock pot or dutch oven.  Add chopped onion, and minced garlic.  Saute about 5 minutes, until softened.  Sprinkle cumin, coriander and oregano over top of the onions and garlic. Stir, continuing to cook for another couple minutes. Add ground tortilla chips. Add reserved chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Add Hatch Chiles, shredded chicken, and cilantro.  Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary.


Sharing this at:
Foodie Friends Friday 
Weekend Potluck
Treasure Box Tuesday
Simple Supper Tuesday

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our Sunflowers

Our Sunflowers.

One of the volunteer plants that grew near the bird feeder.

This guy must be about 8 foot tall and is another volunteer that grew where last years patch was.

An heirloom variety that I planted early this spring. 
The smallest sunflower I have ever seen, but so pretty!

My friend Stacey, had a variety pack of seeds she was not able to get planted this year, 
so she past them along for us to enjoy. 
We did not get these planted until late June. I am so surprised that they grew so well!