Tuesday, February 18, 2014

[ Coconut Cake ]

If you're a "pinterest" friend of mine - you'll know I've been scouring for a Coconut Cake recipe.  I chose this one to try for tonight's out-of-town family dinner.  Why?  Because it didn't have buttermilk (I don't have any at the moment ...) and it wasn't a boxed cake either.  My IPhone pic ... and hubby said it was "SO SO GOOD".  Good enough reason to make it again, no?

Coconut Cake

1.  set oven to 350F
2. prepare two 9x9 round cake pans; spray and flour (I use Trader Joe's Coconut Oil Spray)

2 ¼ flour (preferably cake flour)
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

3. combine above ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk.

½ cup butter
1 ⅔ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 14oz tin of light coconut milk
1 tbsp vanilla

4. in a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar well (about 5min)
5.  add one egg at a time, mixing well in-between.
6.  alternate between milk and flour mixture, into the butter and sugar mixture - beginning and ending with flour mixture.
7. stir in vanilla
8.  pour half of batter into each prepared pan, bake for 30-35minutes or until a wooden stick is clean when pulled through the centre.
9.  cool.

[ Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting ]

Pretty sure this doesn't need an explanation on WHY I'm drooling over this ... it was good on the cake.   Even better on a spoon.  YUM.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.

½ cup butter, softened
8 oz block cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. coconut extract
1 bag powdered sugar
milk (as needed)
toasted coconut (if desired)

1.  beat butter, cream cheese and coconut extract together.
2.  add powdered sugar, little by little, until reaching desired consistency.
3.  if too stiff, add 1 tsp of milk at a time ... (milk to thin, powdered sugar to thicken)

[ Chicken Lettuce Wraps ]

This was pretty good - the recipe is from The Best of Bridge.  But it didn't have any "kick" - so more family friendly than exciting flavours.  I have another one I want to try ... although my hubby really liked this one.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps


¾ cup hoisin sauce
1 ½ tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp liquid honey
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp sesame oil
1 large garlic clove, minted
1 tsp freshly grated ginger


2 boneless chicken breasts
⅓ cup grated carrot
2 green onion, diagonally clicked
1 cup DRY steam-fried noodles
½ cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 head iceberg lettuce, separated into whole leaves.


1.  in a small saucepan, over medium low head, blend sauce ingredients.
2.  set aside to cool.
3. dice chicken, cook (I used a bit of sesame oil for this)
4. cool.
5. in a medium bowl, toss cooked chicken, carrots and onion with enough sauce to coat.
6. let stand for 15minutes.
7. add noodles and peanuts, gently toss with more sauce to coat.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

[ Tawn's Yummy Baked Chicken ]

Tawn's Yummy Baked Chicken - serves 4

4 large chicken breasts, halved 
2 cups lite sour cream
1 cup peach jame
1 package of onion soup mix


- foil a baking dish (9x9 or 9x13 - whatever works for you)
- place cut up chicken in the pan 
- in a bowl, mix the sour cream, preserves and soup mix
- spoon over the chicken
- cover with foil
- bake at 325F for an hour ... 

If you try it, let me know what you think. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

[ Baked Coconut Donuts ]

    Oh Dear Lord.  These are AMAZING.  I have been wanting to try my hand at making donuts for a while now - especially since my kiddies have become obsessed with Tim Hortons.  But fried donuts - that can't be good for you ... although, a BAKED donut - well, it probably can't taste all that good.  Period.  But I am here to tell you, NO.  I found these on a KILLER blog (uh oh - which one was it now??).  These were a little more "cake-y" and denser than light and airy the way the fried ones are, for sure.  But - they were dang good.  SO dang good.  My pic to prove it.  ** Note :: I discovered that MINI DONUTS were perfect for this recipe, with frosting and toasted coconut.  It was a better balance between the sugary glaze and donut. **


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Icing
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • enough coconut milk to make a glaze (6tbsp, 7?  give it a go ...)
  • 3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • toasted coconut, for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Spray a donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the coconut milk, eggs, coconut extract, butter and oil. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined.
  3. Transfer the batter to a large zip top bag and cut off one corner. Pipe the batter into the donut pan, filling each about 2/3 full.
  4. Bake the donuts for about 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Once the donuts are cool, make the icing:
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, coconut milk and coconut extract. Carefully dip the tops of the donuts into the icing. (The icing is a little bit thicker, so use a spoon to spread the icing if needed.) Immediately dip into toasted coconut. Return the donuts to a wire rack for the icing to set up.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

[Debbie's Caramel Delights.]

For the last 20 years, we've attended the annual Friends Reunion.  Debbie ALWAYS brings these caramel squares to the Friday night social ... and we line up, hoping to steal more than our share.  She gave me the recipe and I've never made them, but today - on this cozy Saturday afternoon - it was the perfect thing to try.  My own IPhone pic ... I promise I only ate half the missing piece.

Caramel Delights

1st Layer
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp soda
¾ cup butter

1.  Heat oven to 350F.
2.  Cut butter into dry ingredients until crumbly.
3. Press half mixture into prepared pan (9x13), and bake for 5 minutes.

2nd Layer
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

4. Sprinkle over partially baked base.

3rd Layer
32 caramel candies
1/2cup evaporated milk

5. Melt third layer ingredients in a double boiler.
6. Pour over 2nd layer.
7. Top with remainder of crumb mixture from 1st layer.
8.  Bake an additional 20-25minutes.

* start by preparing the 3rd layer first, as it you can complete the first two while it's melting.  Plus - it takes a while to unwrap all of the caramels *grin*.

Friday, February 7, 2014

[Tawn's Chicken + Rice Soup.]

I offered to bring dinner to some family friends who have had a rough week, which is always tricky. What do they like?  Allergies?  Kid's preferences?  Plus - trying to make it as convenient as possible with little clean up is difficult too.  They wouldn't be home when I dropped it off - and may be home late from the hospital ... meaning - dinner HAD to be ready in completion for them when they got there, as far as I was concerned.  This is what I came up with ... yup.  This is my IPhone pic of what it actually looks like *grin*.

Tawn's Chicken and Rice Soup - serves 8-10

2 large carrots
2 stalks of celery
½ large onion
2 tbsp butter
4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1. dice carrots, celery and onion - sauté with butter in a LARGE pot.
2. add chicken
3. cook on high heat.

12 cups chicken broth
2 small tins of tomato paste
1 ½ cups of rice (I happened to use jasmine)

4. add broth and paste ... stir well.
5. add rice

4 tbsp worchestershire sauce (I'm kinda guessing here ...)
1 tbsp chill powder
2 tsp dried thyme
3 bay leaves
salt and pepper

6.  add worchesershire and spices and simmer on low until rice is cooked.

Now.  I actually used 2 cups of rice and it was less of a soup, more of a stew.  Still really yummy - but that's why I'm guessing at 1 ½ cups of rice when I write this ... 

I tried a bowl for lunch as it will feed the masses - just to make sure it was ok.  It. Was. Yummy.