Homemade Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


Now I have to be honest, I thought this would be harder.  Making food from scratch is always seen as the best you can provide for your family. And being a busy mom who works full time, I constantly challenge myself to do something new to liven up mealtime. There is nothing more I would love to than be home with the kids, coupon, and be a full time homemaker. But until that opportunity is available, I’ll be cooking and baking to my hearts content. 

Back to dessert…..

The best part is you probably have all the ingredients already in your cabinet and fridge. 

The cake recipe is made with all purpose flour so it makes it even easier and less expensive to make. The batter itself is good on its own. The buttercream icing can be completely optional. 

Tools Needed

  • Hand mixer or Kitchen aid mixer
  • Spatula
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon


Ingredients

  • 2-3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1-1/2 cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup of Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp of Real Vanilla Extracts
  • 4 Large Eggs (room temperature) 
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup of Whole Milk

Directions 

1. Cream (mix) the sugar and room temperature butter.


2. Add one egg at a time and blend until incorporated.


3. Mix all the dry ingredients together. You can do this by sifting or placing in a bowl and mixing.


4. Start by adding half the flour mix and mixing into the wet mix and alternate with the half the milk. 




5. Add to a pan that was buttered and floured. This is enough to make a double layer cake. ( I made 1 9×9 pan and 6 cupcakes.)


6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


7. Set aside to cool. 
Add the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (See recipe here) and serve !


It is so moist and yummy ! 

Enjoy! 
Ericka 

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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting 


A good vanilla frosting can’t be any easier. Now Buttercream isn’t my favorite all the time. A lot of stores don’t use real butter or you buy one from the grocery store to find it’s corn syrup and shortening. This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Very versatile and can use to as a base for chocolate or caramel. 

Tools Needed

  • Hand mixer or Kitchen aid mixer
  • Spatula
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoon

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Powdered Sugar (Confectioners Sugar) 
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 sticks of Unsalted Butter softened 
  • 1 tsp of While Milk

Directions 

1. Add butter to bowl


2. Add the sugar and milk 


3. Start mixing until it starts coming together. And add vanilla.


4. Mix until completely incorporated.


This mix is perfect for piping, spreading or making designs. Definitely a fun mix to give the kids to do something with their cookies or cupcakes. Add some food coloring or fruit. It will firm up on the counter or put it in the fridge to get fully stiff.

Enjoy!

Ericka

Zucchini Banana Bread 


Truly, the last few days have been exhausting. Between sicknesses and work…. I am legitimately tired. Last night was an interesting one. I stayed up 2-9 am watching over my two kids,  one with a cold and one with the flu with high fevers. Somewhere between 6 and 7am, I was falling asleep and needed something to keep me awake. 

So after paroosing Pinterest I found something that peeked my interest. I never through about mixing bananas and zucchini. I saw a few recipes and I just didn’t like how much sugar they wanted. Most said 3 ripe bananas and 2 and 1/2 cups of sugar and some also included brown sugar.  There are many variations.  I modified and came up with a recipe  that had more of a balance of sweetness amped up a little with the glaze.  It was all worth the try, because unbeknownst to my daughter, she grabbed a piece and ate it all without even questioning what was in it or what it was. 

Here is what I did. 

Tools Needed 

  1. Oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
  2. 1 medium size loaf pan
  3. A grater ( the smaller the better)
  4. Spatula
  5. Mixing bowl
  6. Whisk
  7. Measuring cups and spoons

Ingredients 


Banana Zucchini Bread

  • 2-1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of oil 
  • 2 cups of grated Zucchini 
  • 4 very ripe bananas 
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of light brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin spice *make your own* 

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 2 oz of cream cheese
  • 2 cups of powder or confectioners sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of milk 

Directions

1. Grate 1 medium size Zucchini will render 2 cups. 

2. In a bowl add 4 really ripe bananas and mash them. There should still be some chunks. 


3. Add sugars and mix together. 


4. Mix in the two eggs. 


5. Add the the pumpkin spice, salt, oil and zucchini. And mix well. 


6. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and mix well until it’s all well incorporated. 


7. Grease and flour the loaf pan. Add mix and place in oven. Cook for 1hr or until a toothpick comes out clear. 



For the cream cheese glaze (optional) 

1. I didn’t have room temperature cream cheese so I put it in the microwave for like 20 seconds and stirring it as soon as it comes out.

2. Add the confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla. Mix all together until smooth with a fork. 


3. Add to bread once it cools down. I only used like half the glazed. More can be added or heat for dipping. 

Finished Bread with Glaze


Totally kid approved and easy. The whole house smelled great and you don’t taste the zucchini. It looks just like banana bread. Win win !
Enjoy ! 

Ericka 

Fresh Bread with Dipping Oil

Today was a beautiful day. A little cold in Georgia but nothing to complain about.  I woke up very motivated and wanted to make something great. So I started early (like 8 am don’t judge me 🙂 ) Started my dough and let it rest and took my time with it.

 So after yet another productive day and several movies( Secret Life of Pets, Trolls and Moana). I was able perfect my bread and really enjoy it.  And nothing smells better then fresh bread especially since I have been limiting my carbohydrate intake.

Tools Needed

Kitchen Aid Mixer

1 tablespoon 

1 cup 

Oven at 350 degrees 

Small pot that can go in the oven

11 x 17 Pan (add like 1 teaspoon or so of oil to the bottom or spray with a non stick spray. )

Ingredients


4 cups of AP flour ( bread flour would be better but I have always used All Purpose) 

3 Tablespoons of Granulared Sugar

2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil

1 Packet of Yeast 

1 cup of warm water (115-130 degrees f) 

1-1/2 Tablespoons of Vegetable Shortening 

Directions 

1. In a bowl add the warm water and add sugar and stir. Add yeast to the mixture and let sit for 5 minutes. 

When you first add the yeast

After 5 minutes


2. Take the shortening and put in the microwave for like 20 seconds to let it soften and then stir until it smooths and add to the yeast mixture. 

3. Add oil. Add flour and salt to the yeast mix. Start mixing slow so the flour doesn’t go every where. 


4. It will start forming into a ball. 


5. Once formed, check by grabbing the dough, your fingers will leave an indent. 


6. Smooth out into a ball. This took about 4 minutes on 3.


7. Let sit in the bowl covered with a towel and place in the microwave. Let sit for 2-3 hours. 


8. Punch down. It will maintain your imprint.


9. Form it back into a ball. And let it sit for another hour in the microwave. 


10. Punch down and remove and cut it into two pieces.


11. Form into two loaves. 


12. Cut slices into the top of the bread.


13. Let rest while the oven warms up. Add the pot with about 2 cups of water warm up in the oven as well.  When the oven beeps, put it in the oven . 

14. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and rolling over and hitting the bottom sounds hollow. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting …. it should be an hour but I couldn’t resist. 



For the Dipping Oil


Ingredients 

3/4 -1 cup of olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon of Italian seasoning 

1/2 teaspoon of Garlic powder 

1/4 teaspoon of Salt 

Pinch of Oregano 

Directions 

Mix all together and let sit while bread is cooking .

End result !!!!

Enjoy !!!

Ericka 

Mini Tomato Pizza

So after some trial and error recipes this weekend ( crock pot bread and a chicken recipe ) , I finally made something worth the talking about. I had some tomatoes that needed to used before they got squishy ( and I was hungry and wanted something quick). When my daughter saw me making these she kept saying, “you making tomato pizza mami?” So I said yes …. but with no dough or bread ….. end result delicious, easy and did I mention really low carb ? And even if you were not dieting, this is still pretty great! 


Tools Needed

Cutting Board

Sharp knife ( serrated if possible ) 

2 cup round container 

Medium sized cookie sheet 

Oven at 350 degrees and 450 or broil. 

Ingredients 


2 Big tomatoes (beef steak are the best but use what you have ) 

1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

3/4 to 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 

1/2 tsp of oregano 

1 tsp garlic powder

Cooking spray or Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

1. Cut tomatoes about 1/2 inch thick
2. In the 2 cup container add the Parmesan cheese, oregano and garlic powder and mix.


3. Take the tomato slices and cover each side with the Parmesan mixture and put on a greased pan or use some cooking spray. 


4. Cover each piece with the shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle some extra oregano if desired.


5. Place in your oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. 


6. Take out of the oven and increase the heat to 450 or broil and put back in the oven until mozzarella is melted or browning. 


7. Add salt and pepper if you do desire. I didn’t need to but it is just preference. (Seen below is top and bottom of the Tomato. ) 

Enjoy ! This can be meal or snack …so yummy! 

Ericka 

Roasted Zucchini and Yellow Squash 

Growing up zucchini was the most abundant vegetable that grew. We mainly made zucchini bread and cooked it some how. However, I recently rediscovered these vegetables in my healthier eating and this was my happy medium to cooking something tasty and healthy. This is definitely a great way to use your zucchini  and  yellow squash harvest. 

Also the ladies at work smelled my lunch and asked me for the recipe and it’s so simple. 

So without further delay ….

Tools Needed
Knife

Cutting board 

Large cookie sheet or pan 

Oven at 400 degrees

Ingredients 

2 zucchinis sliced into strips

2 yellow squashes sliced into strips

1/4 cup  Parmesan cheese grated or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh Parmesan shredded ( can add more to taste)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion

Few dashes of salt and pepper 

A pinch of Italian seasoning 

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
Directions 

1.Cut zucchini and squash into strips, place in cookie sheet and sprinkle the olive oil all over.


2. Sprinkle all the spices ( garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper)and Parmesan on the zucchini and squash and mix by hand until evenly distributed. 


3. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


Eat these alone or package for work the next day ! Reheats well. Using the shredded Parmesan will give it more chrunch. I strongly recommend this as side dish that can go with any meat.
Enjoy !

Ericka 

Califlower Cheese Sticks 

Making healthy choices are often hard to do because it often doesn’t taste good or your have to cut out too many things you love. This is recipe the best of both worlds.  No long introduction needed. 

Let’s get to it !!


Tools needed 

Knife 

Blender or food processor 

Spatula 

Spoon

Measuring spoons

Oven at 450 degrees 

Cookie sheet or 9×9 pan 

Ingredients 


1 califlower head 

1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning 

2 eggs 

4 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

8 oz bag of mozzarella cheese or 2 cups grated 

Salt 

Non stick spray 

Directions 

1. Take califlower and cut into pieces to place in the blender or food processor 


2. Blend until it looks like tiny rice pieces 


* I squeezed out excess liquid through a cheese cloth but that’s optional.

3. Add to a bowl and add eggs, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and  1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese.


4. Mix until all incorporated.


5. Spray the pan you are using with non stick spray and pat down mix until evenly distributed.


6. Add the mozzarella and the rest of the Parmesan on top and bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.


7. Wait for the house to smell like pizza 🙂 and let cool for at least 5 minutes ( try to contain yourself lol)


8. Sprinkle salt as needed ( we added some after and made it even better)!Cut and dip in Marinara sauce if desired.
Enjoy!

Ericka