Chocolate Cake Review

Chocolate cake is a classic dessert. This cake recipe makes a soft and flavorful cake that makes your mouth water. The flavor of this cake is delicious. It’s also not overly sweet or bitter. Icing could help this cake taste a bit more like a cake, since it’s almost a cake textured brownie, however you don’t have to add icing to enjoy this cake. If you choose not to add icing, I recommend adding 1/4 cup chocolate chips that I will include in the recipe below. This addition to the recipe adds more variety to the texture and flavor of the cake, that would be needed if you don’t add icing. This is a light cake that doesn’t require tiny pieces. I think this cake is very good and I would recommend this cake. It’s a good cake that is a step above the average store bought or frozen cake.

Original recipe here.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups sugar, 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup boiling water.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13 pan. Heat oven to 350 F.
  3. Add batter to the pan. Add 1/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips spread evenly over the batter.
  4. Baked for 35-40 minutes. Let cool before adding frosting, or serving as is.

Tilapia Fish Tacos

Fish tortillas add a bright fresh flavor to a classic Hispanic meal. The spices in this meal are very light, but your tacos will have lots of flavor. Most of the flavor comes from your toppings. Toppings like avocado, sour cream, and different salsas will change the flavor of your tacos. The fish is very neutral in flavor and will go great with anything that won’t over power it. My tacos look a bit watery plated because my cheese was frozen, so there was some water from that, and the salsa was homemade and a bit watery.

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Prepare flour tortillas.
  2. Add 3 Tbsp oil to skillet. Add 2 tilapia fillets. After 3 minutes, flip tilapia.
  3. Add 3 tsp Cumin, 2 tsp ground cayenne pepper, and 2 Tbsp Lemon juice. Cook the fish until it can be broken apart. Break up into large flakes, and stir in flavoring. Add 3-4 Tbsp diced chives, stir in, then remove from heat.
  4. Place on tortillas, top with cheese, salsa, lettuce, or any other desired toppings.

One Pan Creamy Chicken Pasta

This one pan dish is full of flavor! Mustard and Italian dressing make up the base of this dish, so expect lots of flavors. Because these flavors are so different, every bite tastes different, and since these is no marinade on the chicken, it has a nature chicken flavor with the mustard Italian sauce. This dish is very flavor heavy. If you are like me and your taste buds can get over whelmed on a flavor after a while, be sure to serve this with a side. I would recommend a fresh salad with ranch dressing and topped with some shredded cheese. As with any dish, add the final ingredients slowly and make sure you taste to see if you like the flavor. For example, the white wine vinegar is to cut the sweetness in the Italian dressing, but if your Italian dressing is homemade or not sweet, then do not add the vinegar.

  1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat.
  2. Dice up 1 chicken breast, or 2-3 chicken tenders.
  3. Add 3 Tbsp oil to the dutch oven and add your diced up chicken. Cook chicken for 3 minutes on the first side without touching until time to flip. Cook the chicken until there is no raw spots on the exterior.
  4. Once chicken is lightly cooked, add 1 small can of diced up mushrooms, and add 2 Tbsp Italian dressing. Stir and cook until mushrooms are hot.
  5. Add 4 cups water, 3 chicken bouillon cubes, 1 Tbsp red pepper flakes, and 1 Tbsp mustard powder. Bring to a boil and stir in cubes til dissolved. Add 1 1/2 cup of your pasta of choice. Stir and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes until noodles are cooked to al dente and there is only a little liquid left, you may have to adjust your heat while cooking.
  6. Once noodles are cooked, add 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup Italian dressing, 3 tsp white wine vinegar, and a splash of milk. Add any diced up fresh veggies if desired. Stir together and cook until just below simmer. Remove from heat, and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with a side salad.

Grilled Cheese with Mayo on Homemade Bread

Bon Appetite published a video on YouTube very recently where each person made their own favorite version of the grilled cheese. Since I watched that video, I’ve been dying for a grilled cheese. One thing I had never done was make the grilled cheese with mayo on the outside instead of butter. Many of the chefs in the video used mayo, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Many said mayo is the way to go, because mayo is made with eggs, they argued it would help with browning and is easier to spread. I found it was easier to spread and the browning was good, it also didn’t leave the bread with a greasy fried exterior like butter would, however, these were still very greasy. I also used homemade bread, which is why my bread broke easier than store-bought.

  1. Heat a large frying pan to medium heat.
  2. Add mayo to the one side of your bread and place it faced down in the pan. Add a slice of cheese and any other fillings. Mayo one side of your second piece of bread, them place mayo side up.
  3. Cook the first side about 3-5 minutes until brown. Flip prematurely if nervous. Cook on the second side for the same amount of time.

Planting My Garden, May 2020

It’s finally time for me to plant. I spent hours researching plants, finding out what can and cannot work together, researching gardening techniques and styles. I’ve watched days worth of YouTube videos by different gardeners, and I was waiting for now. Memorial day weekend is plating time where I’m from. Before then, there is a constant risk of frost or even snow. I planted my onions, some Parris island lettuce, and my radishes about 2 weeks ago, and they got snow and frost. But, after Wednesday night, we are out of the frost zone! I planted another 1/3 of my lettuce row with seeds, I planted 4 Swiss chard seeds, I planted 5 indeterminate tomato vines, and Josh and I made stakes that are 1 in x 1 in x 6 1/2 foot for my tomatoes. We plated 5 clusters of cucumbers, and added cages around them, because we hope to grow them vertically, and finally, Josh made a trellis for me using chicken wire, and I plated green bean pole beans along the front of that. Our beds are 8 ft by 4 ft.

I did a lot of research leading up to this. Different staking methods, high density spacing, harvest conditions and seeding conditions. I grew some plants from seeds, however, I also purchased many plants. I’ve never really gardened before. Josh grew up with a garden, but I’ve only grown the occasional cherry tomato. I have house plants, but even they are hard for me to manage all winter. I’m hopeful. I put lots of time into this project and I’ve learned so much about these plants. I know I will be disappointed when something doesn’t work, but I’m hopeful, and I hope to share lots of canning posts this summer on here and Instagram.

Things I did differently

According to my plans, it says beets, but it was always radishes. I just say beets sometimes, I don’t know why. The other thing I’ve done differently was how I planted the beans. I wasn’t sure if I was getting a trellis, so I planned for a teepee. Instead I planted the beans 4 inches from the edge of the bed with about 6 inch spacing between them. I still fit 12 plants along the 6 foot of trellis Josh put up. Finally, I haven’t planted my carrots yet. I am currently using their pots to hold a few other plants I still have. I plant to plant my decorative plants soon. I also am thinking of keeping my early crop of Romaine in the pot. The white hanging pot has changed from onions to cat grass, and the 2 other pots in that photo are large cucumbers. Of which, the reason I didn’t plant the carrots is we need for dirt for out fabric pots, and I plan to fill 2 more for my 2 large cucumber plants. This will mean 4 fabric bags of plants.

If I could do things different

I guess I would make the raised beds slightly narrower. Because, I get quite the ab workout leaning into the center of the bed from the side. I would also plant all my onions together, and plant them at the outer edge of the beds. On my cucumber bed, I planted a row of radishes against the edge of the bed. They are doing fine, but I won’t be able to plant anything in it’s spot when I harvest in less than a month. I would also actually follow spacing for the radishes, instead of planning to plant high density like the lettuce.

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