Category Archives: Recipes

Debby’s Lemon Cake with Chocolate Icing

I have had the same kind of cake every year on my birthday for as long as I can remember. That’s a lot of slices of lemon cake with chocolate icing. Whenever I mention the combination to anyone, they look skeptical. But as soon as they taste it, they love it. I am happy to think of myself as creating this flavor combination and introducing it to many others.

The best cakes are always made from scratch. There are lots of great recipes out there, but I recently made this one and think it’s my new favorite.



  • 1 1/2 sticks (12T) (170g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups (342g) cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) baking soda
  • 1 cup (242 g) milk
  • 1/4 cup (57g) lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (53g) vegetable oil
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon (10g) lemon extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease and flour two 8 inch pans. (I have 9 inch pans, but I think 8 inch would be better.)
  3. In a medium sized bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and zest of 2 lemons. Whisk to blend and set aside.
  4. In another bowl , add the milk, vegetable oil and lemon juice, and lemon extract. Whisk to blend and set aside. If you use a large measuring cup, it will be easier to pour into the bowl later.
  5. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the softened butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and mix on medium speed 3 to 5 minutes until it is lightened in color and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the yellow of the yolk disappears.
  7. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture alternately. Begin and end with the flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Mix until combined and smooth, do not over mix.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pans, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees. If baking three 8 inch pans, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. For two 8 inch pans, bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with only a few crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool in the pans 10 minutes then turn out.

(This recipe makes 7 cups of batter)

Then there’s the icing. The darker the chocolate, the better. I started with a glass bowl so you could see what I was doing in the pictures. But it quickly proved to be too small. So I recommend using the largest bowl you have. It may seem like overkill, but you are going to be adding a lot of powdered sugar and chocolate, and a large bowl will prevent it from blowing all over your counter.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting


  • 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, softened (do not soften butter in the microwave)
  • 6 c. confectioners sugar (690) grams) or more if needed.
  • 1 c. cocoa (the darker, the better), sifted (86 grams) measure then sift
  • 1/3 c. milk (75 grams) more if needed to reach the spreading consistency you like
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (8 grams)


Add butter and beat for approximately 1 min. on medium speed. Add vanilla and blend into the butter. Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

Add most of the milk. Begin beating at low speed so you won’t have a cloud of powdered sugar in your kitchen. Beat at medium speed 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and beat an additional two to three minutes, adding remaining milk as needed.

This recipe makes approximately 4 cups of frosting.

But I am not the only creative person in my house. My husband really wanted in on the decorating. We were having a few people over for a Friendsgiving, so he went all out on the decoration.

Birthday cake?
top detail

Tilapia on a Nest of Vegetables

We went on a low carb diet in our home last year. It made a world of difference in the way we both feel and, in the case of D—, look. One of our repeat recipes is this tilapia. It takes longer to prep than it does to cook, and it really tastes fabulous.

If you have trouble finding xanthan gum, look in the baking aisle near the specialty flours. For the amount you will use in this recipe, it may seem expensive, but believe me, you will find a lot of other recipes to toss it in. Your gravies and sauces with never be the same.

Sautéed Veggies

Sautéed Veggies

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Colleen’s Chocolate Raspberry Truffles

Here’s an easy treat for all you chocoholics out there. I got this from a good friend who added them to a platter of goodies one Christmas. I had to have the recipe. It really is crazy simple to make. You need to allow time for the mixture to chill. And I strongly recommend wearing a pair of vinyl gloves for rolling, so you don’t waste any of the chocolate by having it stick to your hands. Then again, if that’s your thing, don’t let me stop you! Continue reading…

Shrimp Ravioli

I’ll admit it. I got this from another tasty looking blog. But I did a few things differently. Mostly I did one thing differently. I didn’t feel like making pasta this time, so I used spinach won ton wrappers. Absolutely the way to go if you don’t feel like putting in the time for the pasta, or you are really bad at it. I’m not bad at it. I was just lazy.

IMG_0955 Continue reading…

Banana Bran Muffins – Or How to Eat Healthy and Still Have Your Sweets


I know you have some overly ripe bananas in your house. We all do. And there are only so many smoothies you can make before you want do do something else with them. Here’s a recipe I found elsewhere and adjusted a little bit. It does have some sugar but not a whole lot. The really good bits are whole wheat flour, bran cereal, low-fat buttermilk and of course, the bananas. Coninue reading…



I bet this isn’t the first image you expected to see for a post on these wonderfully buttery cookies. The truth is that I haven’t made them for years. We are trying to keep our sugar content lower (like THAT works real well – Not), but I had a special occasion. D— entered a painting in a local exhibit and was expected to bring a finger food for the reception. So I made snickerdoodles. Continue reading…

The Cookbook Tour

Do you like to read cookbooks? Not just peruse them for recipes. I mean actually read them? It depends on the cookbook, sure, but I get a thrill from reading how the author learned the techniques he/she did. Or the family history that caused them to gravitate to the recipes they chose for a particular cookbook.

When we had our kitchen remodeled, it was important for us to have a shelf just for the cookbooks. We had been using a secretary given to me by my uncle many years ago. But as cool as that piece is, there was just no room for it in the new kitchen. We actually overflow the shelves we had built.

Under the Hutch

Under the Hutch

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Pea Soup for a Winter Day



It’s been looking like this in our neighborhood for the last month or so. I expect it has in your neighborhood too, unless you are my insensitive friend in Arizona. He hasn’t been able to stop gloating about the 85° temps there. Humph!

This is perfect weather for a pot of something that you can just dip into all day. A real comfort food. Make sure you have a loaf of crusty bread, and you’re good to go. Continue reading…

Pumpkin Ginger Muffins

Sometimes you just have to add something new to the Thanksgiving repast. This is from the Nantucket Open-House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase. I took them to a family gathering many years ago so that we would have something to nibble while the cook was prepping lunch, which we would all nibble while we were all helping prep dinner. They were such a hit that I have continued to make them regardless of which delegation of family members were are with. I even mailed them to my step-daughter when she couldn’t come home for Thanksgiving. They are easy to make ahead and freeze extremely well.IMG_1081

The only change I have ever made to this recipe is to leave out the crystalized ginger. I’m sure it would be totally tasty with it, but I like the smooth texture of muffins without the extra stuff. I also tend to make minis instead of full sized muffins. It’s easier to deceive yourself into thinking that you’ve eaten less this way. One or two bites, and you’re done. I also use baking spray instead of paper cups. I don’t want to lose a morsel of this tender goodness! Continue reading…