In the Kitchen

A Cup of Love for Breakfast

You have probably figured out by now that I am partial to individual serve items. I like cupcakes, mini pies, cake pops, dessert in a jar, ALL of it!  It’s also kind of trendy right now so I can’t claim originality.  So when I opened my Wednesday paper this week and saw individual coffee cake in a mug I knew I had to try this.

Sometimes the benefit of single serve is portion control but these little gems are NOT on the diet.  They are, however, the most delicious thing that has ever come out of my microwave.  Yes, I said MICROWAVE!  I never even use this appliance except maybe to defrost or heat up coffee.  But this recipe will make it possible to bake something delightful with very little time.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a bit of prep. But the results are so worth it.

One of my very favorite Oregon Fruits are our Purple Plums.  I admit to bias here, but our Italian purple plums are A LOT better than any other canned plums you might find in the store.  And ours are hard to find.  Not many retailers carry them but you can always get them from  You have to buy a case of 8 but, trust me, they won’t last. You will be eating them for dessert, breakfast and afternoon snack and wondering why you have just discovered them.

I made a Plum Coffee Cake in a Mug AND a Plum Upside Down Cake in a Mug (this one is kind of a misnomer but so delicious I am sure you will forgive me the fact that you don’t actually turn it upside down).  The texture of the cake baked in the microwave was surprisingly cake-like.  You got to try this!  These will definitely be go-to items at The Queen’s B&B.


Sometimes you just gotta bake

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Posted April 13th, 2012 in In the Kitchen, Posts, Tips and Tricks

It has been raining for days.  I love the look of the rain from my windows and everything is very green and lush.  I also appreciate that rain brings snow to the mountains and since I am a skier and have not yet had my fill this year due to a very late, almost non-existent winter rain is good.  But it has been four days and it is mid-April after all.  So, I decided, bake I must!  I started perusing recipes on the internet and one announced itself from the screen.

I really like to serve warm baked goods and coffee on Sundays to my friends before heading out to the farmers market.  Nothing like a fresh baked warm something and good strong coffee.  So I found a Mixed Berry Almond Gratin referred to by its author, The United Soybean Board as a “breakfast gratin”.  Miraculously I had everything I needed in my pantry and fridge.  Of course I always keep Oregon Canned Berries and Cherries on hand and you should too. They are perfect for when you haven’t shopped in a while and don’t have any fresh fruit around.

Anyway… this recipe also found an innovative way to reduce the fat.  A secret ingredient you might not have thought of-tofu!  I just happened to have some left from a salad dressing recipe I got from my niece Leah.  That was how I first learned about substituting tofu for things that beg for creaminess.  WORKS GREAT!

The best part about this recipe is it came together in about 5 minutes. I put it in the oven to bake while I mopped the kitchen floor.  Then I sat down on the couch with my book, watching the rain while the aroma of warm berries filled the house. WOW-this recipe is a keeper. Berries topped with a rich custard and crusty top.


A Fruit Cobbler Creating Quite a Buzz

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Posted March 2nd, 2012 in In the Kitchen, Posts


Food Buzz is a site that I like to follow. They select 9 photos each day and I look forward to perusing the selections for dinner ideas, fruit related recipes and such. Today I stumbled onto a “Texas Cobbler” from “Scarletta Bakes”. Apparently she has been nominated for a “Homie” award for food photography from the Kitchn.  I can see why, her photos are delicious!  She made this decadent fruit cobbler adapted from Cook’s Country.  I have been hungry for a great cobbler recipe for Oregon Canned Blackberries.  This one definitely made the cut.  You don’t even want to know the Weight Watcher points on this one.  If I didn’t know better I would think it was a Paula Dean recipe there is so much butter and sugar in it. But it doesn’t seem heavy. It is crispy and moist.  Scarletta used some very cute lemon plums. This is a variety I have not tried but will be on the lookout for.  The blackberries worked great and this recipe was really easy. Before I could even write this post I spooned some warm cobbler into a lovely dish with a small quenelle of coconut milk vanilla bean ice cream and indulged myself.  The lemon sugar did not disappoint.  If you serve this to your friends they will be buzzing about it the next day…and the day after that.


What’s Better than Cherries and Chocolate?

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Posted February 27th, 2012 in Healthy Eating, Healthy Tips, In the Kitchen, Posts

Some of the latest research on both of these foods has demonstrated how good they are for us. Of course we are talking about SMALL amounts of good dark chocolate, not the whole 1 lb. bag of peanut M&M’s! And everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb.

Coffee has also had some good food press and once again we have to talk about the whole moderation thing.  I don’t think anyone would recommend the 8-10 cups of coffee I typically drink in a day.  But I rationalize that I don’t have any trouble sleeping since the minute I sit down at night I am pretty much asleep and am pretty healthy all things considered. However, the fact that I talk pretty fast and move even faster most of the time could be considered annoying by those close to me.

Inspired by a coffee house drink, my friend Kitty who I met in a cooking class at the local Natural Foods Coop, had a dream about Mocha Cherry Muffins.  She suggested I make them with an all natural dark chocolate brownie mix using the pumpkin or yogurt variation so as to reduce the fat, then add some coffee and dark sweet cherries.  It sounded pretty good to me so I gave it a try.  These are REALLY GOOD!  I think she needs a notepad and paper by her bed. She might have a cook book in her dreams.

But back to the whole moderation thing….although these are good for you and low fat, please don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting.  Take them to work or share with your neighbors. They will thank you and you will thank me.


Blueberry Crunch Donuts-A Borrowed Treasure

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Posted January 27th, 2012 in In the Kitchen, Posts

I have to admit I have been suffering from some writers block lately. I have had trouble getting inspired and then I opened my email to find Foodbuzz. Foodbuzz features 9 great photos every day and on this day last week there were BLUEBERRY DONUTS!  I have never made a donut and never heard of a blueberry donut so I got intrigued.  This recipe actually featured CANNED BLUEBERRIES!! So now I got really excited.  I found the site where the post was featured and I really enjoyed it. Claudia from What’s Cooking Italian Style Cuisine is my kind of baker.  She readily admitted to making a mistake and then coming up with a fix and the fix was delicious. This is my personal mantra with baking and cooking, THERE ARE NO MISTAKES. Actually that is my personal mantra in life as well but that topic will be another day.

Claudia gave me permission to link to her post and use her recipe for Blueberry Upside Down Donuts. My first step was to buy a donut pan which I have never owned and now I do which is always exciting. It only makes 6 donuts so I cut the recipe in half. I tried to correct Claudia’s mistake by actually putting the crumb topping the bottom so it would end up on top. It worked fine but I think Claudia got a crispier result doing it the “wrong way”.  Then I didn’t have any milk or white chocolate so the Cinnamon White Chocolate Ganache glaze became a Cinnamon Almond Milk Glaze.  I invite you to try my version or Claudia’s but you should really try them as they are delicious, pretty easy, pretty fast and they look like real donuts you get at a shop.  I intended to give these to my neighbor to get them out of the house but, alas, there is only one left…..


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