Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cake

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Back in college, my friend’s mom would send us care packages of cake.  We were 20 at the time, we didn’t bake(or cook much) and free food was always appreciated, especially to eat at 2am.  Here is the recipe she gave us when we graduated, something that I can now serve at parties rather than in the middle of the night!

Chocolate Chip Cake


  • 1 box Duncan Hines Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 small package instant vanilla pudding
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • mixture of cinnamon and sugar
  • 6 oz package of chocolate chips


  • Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.
  • Combine cake mix, pudding, sour cream, oil and eggs and mix until well-blended.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture and chocolate chips in a greased pan.
  • Spread batter into pan and layer with cinnamon/sugar mixture and chips.
  • Sprinkle mixture and chips onto top layer.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.


Recipe: Homemade Apple Tart

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I can bake for one reason and one reason only….I can follow a recipe.  But I have no idea how to make a pie crust, cookie dough or any kind of special baked goods if no recipe is available.  For Thanksgiving this year I wanted a homemade apple pie.  So I searched Bon Appetit, Epicurious, Food TV, Pinterest and then realized I was in way over my head.  So I looked up apple tarts and found something a bit more, shall I say, manageable. I printed out three Pinterest recipes, took part of each and made my own Apple Tart.  And I must say, I was pretty impressed.  So was my husband.

imageHomemade Apple Tart


  • Frozen Puff Pastry
  • Two apples(I used Gala and Granny Smith)
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon


  • Peel and core the apples
  • Cut them in half, and then cut them into thin slices(half circles)
  • After slicing them thin, put them in a bowl of water with lemon juice just enough so they do not brown.
  • Microwave them for 1 minute so they are partially cooked, drain them if water remains and add brown sugar and cinnamon(use enough so they will have a nice flavor)
  • Unfold the puff pastry once thawed and cut into either two or three sections.
  • Leave a border around the edges and start layering the apples(as seen above) covered with all the sugar and cinnamon.
  • Add extra brown sugar and cinnamon after layered, before you put in the oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are puffed.
  • Serve with vanilla bean or salted caramel ice cream.

You can add more flavors with dried fruit at the end or drizzle it with caramel!  Its super easy and perfect for a quick dessert.



Recipe: The 20-Minute Semi-Homemade Dessert

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imageYears back I was reading through the local paper and they recommended a boxed dessert from Tom Thumb(Safeway) to keep in the freezer for a semi-homemade dessert option.

Let’s see:

  • Quick dessert with little fuss- 
  • Can add toppings to make it a bit different each time or keep it plain and simple- 
  • Kid friendly AND adult friendly- 

Since then I always keep two boxes of the dessert(one in each flavor) for a quick way to end a meal.  Simply preheat the oven while making dinner, heat while eating the main course, and serve 20 minutes later topped with ice cream, caramel, fresh fruit…lots of options!


My Daughter and the Barefoot Contessa

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Last week we had two “snow” days in Dallas – and when I say snow, I don’t mean to insult those in the North.  But for us, they shut down schools and told us to stay off the roads. My daughter decided Barefoot Contessa on Food TV was a very exciting way to spend part of the first afternoon(as did I) and Ina taught us how to make an Ice Cream Bomb.  So of course, when school was closed for the second day, we got creative.

I immediately remembered the homemade strawberry frozen yogurt recipe I saved on Pinterest so I grabbed out my Ninja, frozen strawberries(a must have to make smoothies in the AM) and a few other ingredients.

We looked through the freezer and decided to use Lemon Frozen Yogurt and Vanilla Ice Cream(both Jeni’s) to make the center of the “bomb”.  Next time, we will use different colors as the lemon and vanilla look the same.

So, if you are looking for a new idea for a lazy afternoon, and want a fun dessert for dinner, try this!  Hopefully yours comes out better than ours did.

Step 1:  Freeze your large bowl, get all of your ingredients and let the ice creams soften before using.(We made our strawberry frozen yogurt so this was step 1 for us.)
Step 2:  Fill the large bowl with your first flavor and insert the medium bowl to shape the dome(be careful to leave ice cream/yogurt at the bottom-see pic below since I messed up!) Freeze.
image imageimage

Step 3:  Remove the medium bowl once the first layer is frozen, fill with the next flavor, cover with the smallest bowl and freeze.
Step 4:  Remove the small bowl once the second layer is frozen, fill with the next flavor, smooth the top and freeze.


Step 5:  Using a knife, separate the outer layer from the bowl(you can also run hot water over the sides to loosen it).  Then invert onto a plate.

This is a great recipe because you spend 20 minutes doing and 45 minutes or so waiting for the freeze so there is plenty of time to do other activities and cooking doesn’t get boring!  During the breaks, we did Lego Friends, Leapfrog reading and cleaned up the playroom!

image image image

And the result, my “bomb” bombed– it looked messy and the center didn’t freeze enough(maybe it was the fact I used frozen yogurt instead of all ice cream) BUT, it tasted good!

My next “snow” day dessert is going to be an Ice Cream Sandwich cake….looks even easier and then I can invite over some friends in the neighborhood so everyone can enjoy!!