Oh So Good Banana Cake…………..

I think my taste buds are changing…..not sure what has happened lately. Things that I have always loved, I just don’t like right now. Other things that I am normally not a fan of, I crave. Is that weird or what? No, no, no…..I am not pregnant. Hahahaha. But I sure wonder what is happening with my taste buds. Lately, I have been craving banana stuff. I don’t really even like them! I mean, I do like banana bread or muffins. Who doesn’t like those, right? But I have been craving banana cake. Yes! Where did this craving come from!! So, I bought some nanners, let them get all brown and banana smelling. Oh, by the way…..normally I hate the smell of bananas! Ok, so I looked at a few recipes, took the things that I liked from each recipe and came up with my own concoction…..an experiment.

I kinda figured it may just be a flop, but OH MY……it turned out to be so delicious. This is one of the best cakes I have ever made, seriously. I shared with some friends and they loved it. I think you need to go get some bananas, let them turn disgustingly brown and speckled, and make a cake. Here we go….

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Oh So Good Banana Cake

1 ½ cups bananas, smashed up really well (4-5 medium sized bananas)
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature

Preheat oven to 300°.  Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. (I use non stick cooking spray)
Mash up your bananas and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix oil and sugar until well combined.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mixture should be a pale creamy yellow.  Add vanilla.
On low speed, add the dry ingredients  alternately with the buttermilk.  Do not overmix. Using a spoon, stir in banana mixture.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for approx. 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.   Place pan on a rack to cool completely.

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1  8oz block of softened cream cheese
4 tblsp. softened butter
4 cups of powdered sugar (less or more depending on how thick you like it)
if it’s too thick, just add a couple drops of milk


I sprinkled some chopped walnuts on the frosting, but if you don’t like nuts, just leave them out.

Orange Cream Dream Cake….

I think I have said before, that I love anything orange flavored. I love the smell of a fresh orange……orange zest is one of my top five favorite smells. I wish I could just dab it on like perfume. I especially love that orange zest in a cake. Give me orange cake over chocolate cake, any time! My neighbor has been giving me fresh oranges lately, so I made him some orange cake. Ok, well, truth is, I made the cake and he got one piece. hahahahaah. But he was very happy!

I am super fussy about my cake. It has to have a good crumb, has to be moist, not too overly sweet. This cake has a really good crumb. It’s moist and not real sweet, although the frosting is a bit sweet. But I LOVE, LOVE this cake. It’s so delicious. But you know what? I could be perfectly happy just smelling this cake. The aroma is amazing. So, just try it and see for yourself. Don’t forget to give a slice to your neighbor! 🙂

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Orange Cream Dream Cake

1  cup all purpose flour
1  3/4 cup cake flour
1/2  tsp baking soda
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4  tsp salt
1/1/2 cup sugar
2/3  cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/3  cup shortening
zest of 1 large orange
1  tsp vanilla
1  1/2  cups buttermilk **


1 block of cream cheese, softened (8 oz.)
1/2 stick of butter, softened
zest of 1 orange
1 pound box of powdered sugar, plus a bit more if the frosting is too soft

Preheat oven to 325. Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and shortening. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well. Add the vanilla and orange zest. Gently mix in a third of the flour mixture, then half the milk, then another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining milk and finally the last of the flour mixture. DON’T OVERMIX. Pour the batter into 2 round cake pans, that have been greased with shortening and floured. Bake at 325 for approx. 25-30 minutes or until you poke a toothpick in the cake and it comes out clean. Allow to cool. Remove from pans. When completely cooled, they are ready to frost.
Mix together the cream cheese, butter and zest until its creamy. Add the powdered sugar and mix till smooth. Frost that cake!!

** if you don’t have buttermilk on hand, just add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1  1/2 cups of regular milk.


Dried Cherry Lemon Cookies…………………

This cookie……my, my, my. Whenever I ask anyone what their favorite cookie is, the answer is usually “chocolate chip”. Normally I would say that too. But I have a new favorite. I am in love with this cookie. It’s tart, sweet, chewy and it melts in your mouth. It’s kinda like shortbread, but better. The dried cherries have a sweet tartness. The lemon zest gives the cookie a refreshing taste. Together, wow. It’s so good that you want everyone to try them, but yet you want to keep them all for yourself. Hahahaha.

It’s a great Christmas cookie….tastes like the holidays, but they taste like summer also. I made half with lemon zest and half with orange zest. They’re just good, ok? I hope you will make some soon. Like right now. Go bake.




Dried Cherry Lemon Cookies

1  1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup)
1 egg
1 cup sugar
2 cups of all purpose flour
1  tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped up
1 tblsp lemon zest (you can use orange if you prefer)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Sugar for rolling:  Mix together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tblsp lemon zest. Set aside.

Heat your oven to 350 deg.
Mix together the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg. Mix in the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Don’t overmix your batter. Stir in the cherries and the zest. Using a cookie scooper or spoon, roll into 21 balls. Roll them in the sugar/zest mixture. Place balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a spatula, slightly flatten the dough balls. Bake for 14 minutes until very light brown. Sprinkle with a wee bit more sugar once out of the oven. Allow to cool.



What? Homemade Bagels?……

I never imagined making my own bagels. I do have my favorite bagel place, but it’s not really convenient to get to. I’m picky about my bagels. I hate those thick, cakey ones, or the really hard ones that give your jaw a real workout. You know the ones, right? If you can bite through it, your face hurts for a week? I like em soft and pillowy, yet having the right amount of chew. Well, guess what? These bagels are just that! I’m so excited. They really are fun to make and not difficult at all. Just think of all the kinds that you can make….raisin cinnamon, onion, poppy seed, jalapeno cheese, sesame seed and the ever popular everything bagel.  I chose sesame seed this time. I found the recipe on line but I made several changes and I must say, I did good!! 🙂 Can you tell that I am excited?  I am Betty the bagel maker! Yay!

Ok, you ready to make bagels? You’re going to have fun!

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Soft and Chewy Bagels

3  1/3 cups of bread flour
1/2  tblsp rapid rise yeast
1/2 tblsp salt
1  tblsp granulated sugar
1/2  tblsp vegetable or canola oil
1  cup + 2 tablespoons of warm water (not hot)

1 egg white, slightly beaten
sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dehydrated onion bits, (optional)

In a bowl of  a sturdy stand mixer, using a dough hook, mix the flour, yeast granules and salt. Mix the water, sugar and oil together and add to the flour mixture. Mix on low (kneading) for about 5 minutes. Dough should not be sticky wet. Remove dough and form into a smooth ball and place it in an oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel. Let it rise to double the size. Takes about 1 hour.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. After the dough has risen, cut it into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Using your thumb, poke a hole in the middle of the ball and stretch to a bagel shape. Place the bagels on your lined baking sheet. Cover with towel again and let it rise for about 20 minutes. It may not rise that much, but it’s ok.  In the mean time, bring a big pot of water to boil…..about 8 cups. Turn off the heat on the water. Heat the oven to 375.  Once bagels have risen a bit, gently pick them up and place them in the big pot of water. Let them float for 1 minute and then turn them over for another minute. Remove them from the water and place on a rack so that all of the water drains off. Place them on the baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg white. Sprinkle on the toppings of your choice. Bake for 15 minutes. Raise oven temperature to 400 and bake for another 5 minutes or until nice and brown. Let them set for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy.

Shrimp Pasta………..

I think I like pasta too much. I could eat spaghetti every night. Ok, well maybe not every night, but almost. Usually it’s good ol red sauce spaghetti that I enjoy the most, but sometimes I enjoy a seafood pasta. There is a fantastic restaurant here in town that has the best seafood linguine. OMG. But they don’t always put enough shrimp. I decided I wanted just shrimp with my pasta. M-mmmmm-mmm. I just kinda made it up as I went, but I quickly wrote everything down, because it was so delicious that I knew I would want to make it again….and again. I actually took a bite and said  out loud, “OH WOWWW, YUM”. But I didn’t say it with a mouth full of food. That would be rude. This is not a heavy dish. The creaminess comes from just a bit of cream cheese. It’s just so, so good. Definitely a must make!!

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Shrimp Pasta

1/2 lb  uncooked peeled and cleaned shrimp
3  cloves of fresh garlic, minced
3  tblsp olive oil
1/2 stick butter (4 tblsp)
4  oz. cream cheese (if you like it creamier, add a bit more)
1  tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I use the ones in oil, but dried ones will work)
1/2  lb. fettucine pasta, (I always break the noodles in half before boiling)
1 cup hot pasta water (the water you’re using to boil the pasta)

Boil your pasta as per package directions. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the shrimp and sauce. In a large skillet, at medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add garlic and shrimp. Cook the shrimp only for a couple of minutes and don’t let the garlic burn. Remove the shrimp from the pan once it turns pink, leaving the garlic/oil/butter mixture in the pan. To the pan, add the cream cheese and 1 cup of the hot pasta water. Stir until smooth. it may have a few lumps, but it’s ok. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and pepper flakes. If you don’t feel there is as much liquid as you like, add more hot pasta water. Add your cooked and drained pasta to the sauce. Then add the shrimp. Toss it all together. Garnish with some parsley or parmesan cheese.
Serves 2