Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Luscious Meyer Lemon Cake with Lemon Glaze

Maria: I am Maria Portokalos, and welcome, welcome to our home

Harriet: (hands bundt cake to Maria)

Maria: Oh. Thank you... What is it?
Harriet: It's a bundt
Maria: Bun?
Harriet: Bundt
Maria: Bun, buh...bonk, bonk, bonk
Harriet: BUNDT
Maria: It's a CAKE! I know! Thank you, thank you very very much.
Maria: ....(aside) There's a hole in this cake...

(We LOVE "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", and my husband insisted I add this dialog!  Hilarious. Now I always think of this scene when I see a bundt cake!!)


We have a big lemon sweet tooth around here, and this lusciously moist cake is my new addition!

Adapted from Nigella Lawson's lemon cake recipe, this is Meyer Lemon Cake with my own lemon glaze!!

Isn't she a gleaming sweet and tart beauty! 

I chose to use Meyer lemons because they are a treat that I look forward to every year around this time.  They are not so bright yellow and not so tart.  Basically, a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon.  They are delicious in desserts or served with sweet tea.  I also made a lemon meringue pie with these last year, scrumptious!

I'm glad that I decided to use a bundt pan for this recipe!  Personally, I think cakes with a glaze look prettier in a pan where it can seep down the sides to show off the lovely curves of the cake. 

Incredibly moist and decadent, this luscious cake is sure to be loved by anyone who loves cake.
Or lemons.
Or dessert, for that matter!!!

It's a cold rainy night here, so I think I'm gonna get cozy in my favorite chair by the fire and help myself to a slice!
Have a wonderful night and stay warm!

Luscious Meyer Lemon Cake

1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks), softened

2 c. sugar

3 eggs

3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. buttermilk (or sour cream)

2 tightly packed Tbsp. grated lemon zest

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice


Lemon Glaze 
I don't go by a strict recipe:

Powdered sugar

Fresh lemon juice


Stir together about 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar and just a few tablespoons of lemon juice together.  (To make a glaze like consistency.)

Add 1 Tbsp. butter and microwave just until the butter nearly melts.

With a whisk, stir everything together until very smooth.

As I say in the directions, whenever I add the "final glaze" I also add more sugar for it to really thicken, so it will very slowly drizzle down and not completely get soaked up by the cake.

You can alter this recipe to suit your taste.  It's a very simple, but delicious glaze for this cake!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 10 in. tube or Bundt pan.

(Here's all the ingredients minus buttermilk)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  

Beat in eggs one at a time, blending well after each one.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.  

Stir in dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

Add lemon zest and juice.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan. 
Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hr. and 5 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and tester pick comes out clean.

(Clean up your mess while it's's just a portion of mine?!!)

Cool cake in the pan and set on rack for 10 minutes. 

Take cake out of pan and using a fork or toothpick, make holes in the top of the cake.  Pour half of the glaze on while it's still hot. 

Let it sit for a bit longer for the glaze to soak in and the cake to cool more.  About 15 minutes. 

(Here's where if you make it the day before, you can loosely wrap the cake plate with foil and refrigerate for the glaze to make the cake extremely moist and delicious.)

Add a little more powdered sugar to make the glaze thicker and drizzle the rest over the cake.


 Eat immediately for warm from the oven taste although if you refrigerate it overnight it will be incredibly moist the next day!

( I had to "clean up" the reminder of the piece I cut.
Everyone knows the gooey goodness on the bottom is the best part! :)

If you are interested in this recipe, you have to check out a semi-homemade lemon cake family recipe that's a favorite of mine!

(Recently I've been having trouble linking up each linksy party icon to every blog, so I put them on the sidebar...but my husband is helping me figure out another way!  Sorry Linsky host friends for the confusion!!)

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cozy Brown Sugar Bars

You may be thinking, another dessert recipe from Leslie!??  Ha, why yes it is.  Contrary to how it appears, I haven't been skipping meals for dessert!  (Only in my dreams:)  I've still been making things like delicious pork loin with balsamic glaze and apples, enchiladas with favorite black beans, chili and cast iron skillet cornbread, marinated chicken fingers with roasted yukon gold potatoes....on and on.  I do still make entrees, but my pictures of most of them are awful since they're prepared at night and pictures are taken with a flash.  Bad excuse, but true!  I promise I'll be better at bringing you some savory recipes soon!!!
My family came over this weekend, and it was great!  I made a big pan homemade lasagna, green salad and garlic toasted whole grain bread with kalamata extra virgin olive oil (Trader Joe's) for dipping!  I have to say that I think bread and e.v. olive oil is one of the best healthy indulgences ever!  So yummy and heart healthy, just don't eat too much!

When they arrived, I had some fresh apple cider with cinnamon sticks and cloves simmering on the stove top!  There's nothing more inviting on a cold day than to come in for something hot to drink.  Warms your body and soul! 

I had just pulled these brown sugar bars out of the oven not long before everyone arrived!  Freshly dusted with powdered sugar, they were waiting with the cider piled high on an eyelet trimmed tea towel on a dainty pedestal.  

These moist and chewy bar cookies are a treat I used to make when we lived in Louisville for cell group at church.  They always seemed to be a hit, because they'd be wiped out in just a few minutes! 

Brown Sugar bars are incredibly simple to make and require only a few ingredients!  Yes, they do contain sugar, but to my surprise there is no butter (or oil) at all in the recipe!  They taste more decadent that they are.

I like to add chopped pecans to them and shower them with powdered sugar to give them a beautiful finish.  This is a Paula Deen recipe from her Just Desserts cookbook, that I love! 

I'm sure you'll find these brown sugar bars the perfect little treat to whip up! Just right on a chilly, wintry day (or stormy one like it is here...) these gooey centered-crispy edged bars are divine with a glass of milk, coffee or hot apple cider! 

Brown Sugar Bars
Makes 16  2-in. squares

1 egg

1 c. brown sugar, lightly packed

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 c. chopped pecans or other nut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8 in. square pan. (I used Pam for baking.)

Stir together egg, sugar and vanilla in a bowl. 

Sift (or whisk) together flour, soda and salt in a smaller bowl.

Quickly stir flour mixture into egg mixture.  Add most of the nuts.

Spread in pan and sprinkle on the rest of the nuts.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.  The batter will puff up and get golden around the edges, but stay very moist inside.  

(This past time I thought I should bake it a few minutes longer, because I thought the inside needed more time.  Well, I kind of over baked them a little!  So unless your oven is not too accurate, 20 minutes should be plenty of time!)

Allow them to cool for at least 25 minutes and carefully cut them up.  I made 16 small squares.
Using a sifter, shower them with as much powdered sugar as you please!!!  
See how pretty they become?

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Warm & Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm feeling under the weather today with a myriad of allergy and sinus problems, in turn swimming in Kleenexs at this point.   I'm disappointed because we were going to have my family come over today (they live away, so it's always an exciting visit), but when I woke up with a pounding headache and trouble breathing I knew today wouldn't be a good day for that.  Unfortunately.  So we're going to try to make the visit happen next weekend!

I so enjoy when we have visitors.  Family or friends!  We love having loved ones over to our house while I fix a big meal or watch a movie with some homemade popcorn...or just whatever!  I have to admit that I'm generally a private person ( I don't just spill my problems to just anyone), but I still want our home to  have an open door!!  One day we hope this also goes for our children's friends.  We want to be the "fun house" to come to! :) 

And you know, sometimes it's nice for a girlfriend, sister or Mom to come over and have deep conversation about what going on in life over some coffee or sweet tea.  I think God wants us to be there for the people in our lives.  I know we're all quite busy these days, but when you know someone may be in need of a hug or a listening ear, they should be able to have someone to lean on.   

That someone may be you or I!

Enter these delicious cookies.

I made some of these for Mr. Cozy's parents, who came over for a really nice visit yesterday.  His dad brought his truck over so we could load up some firewood a neighbor-friend was giving us.  While they were doing all the hard work (thanks guys!!) my mother-in-love and I had a cookie with some hot cocoa and a good talk!  It was a good time! 

I decided I wanted to make some cozy oatmeal cookies!  Is it just me, or is there something almost comforting about eating a warm oatmeal cookie?

 I love them with raisins or dried cranberries or nuts, but this time we agreed that chocolate chips sounded the best!  It a perfect combo of the classic oatmeal cookie and favorite chocolate chip cookie!  I decided to add a tinge of cinnamon in these to give it the warmth I'm crazy about this time of year.  This recipe turned out great!  I have to say though, I made just a few yesterday (the ones in the pics) and refrigerated the rest of the dough, and just made a couple more today after the dough been in the fridge 24 hours.  They are better today!  They turned out a little thicker with a richer flavor!!!  So I highly recommend refrigerating the dough before baking...if you can wait that long, that is!

I wanted to show ya'll a bit of my "winter kitchen" nook with my new snowman tea towel Mom gave me for Christmas and my Cookies platter with snowflakes, that I love!  There in front of that is our pretty little red and white hot chocolate maker that was a Christmas gift from my dear friend, Shareen, and her husband.  (Check out her blog if you haven't already!  She is a lovely person all around with some delicious recipes!)  We love to make real hot chocolate on an occasional cold winter's night!  I'll have to feature it sometime. :)

I hope that you oatmeal cookie fans out there get the chance to make a batch of these scrumptious, chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies on a chilly afternoon.  I know that you'll love them, too!

Warm & Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
  • 1 c. butter, softened

  • 1 c. packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 c. white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)

  • 1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

  • 3 c. old fashioned oats

  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1 c. walnuts or pecan, chopped (optional)


In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth.

Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
 Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the
creamed mixture until just blended. 

Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips.
Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
They will spread some, so allow ample room!

Bake for 12 minutes in a 325 degree preheated oven.
Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before
transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Addicting Nutella Puppy Chow & Christmas Memories to Share!

Happy New Year!
Sorry I've been neglecting my blog through the Christmas festivities.  I've really missed sharing all of the fun memories that have been made and recipes that we love!  So here I go trying to rewind and catch you up, my Friends!!!

I wanted to start off by sharing a new recipe I just made on New Years Eve!

How can you improve upon that famously delicious, snow dusted treat of puppy chow?   Well, I have a different version for you that I believe many will think is just as good, if not better!  Nutella puppy chow! I wish I thought of this confection myself, but I didn't.  I saw it on Pinterest and a couple of other food blogs that I love. 

I did tweak it a bit.  I used Nutella and chocolate chips for the base and kept the hazelnuts chopped instead of grinding them, for I like an extra crunch!  Also, I wanted to add a splash of vanilla extract because we're huge vanilla fans.  It only adds an undertone of warmth.  I revised the recipe on here to be like the one I used, and it is sooo good! 

I have it in a large tin I kept out from Christmas, so that we can nosh on it anytime we want a little sweet!  What a perfect frosted snack to start off the new year!  Now, all we need is some real snow!  (Come on, 60 degrees in January?  Eww.)  I'm sure it'll some soon enough, but until then I'm going to be here in my cozy, snowman decorated home!

Nutella Puppy Chow

1 12 oz. box wheat/corn/rice cereal like Chex or Crispix

3/4 c. butter

1 1/4 c. Nutella

1 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla

2/3 c. chopped hazelnuts, toasted

4 c. powdered sugar (may want more or less, to taste)


In a 350 degree oven, roast hazelnuts until fragrant, about 7-8 minutes

Here you can grind up hazelnuts finely if you want (I chose to keep them chopped)

Put cereal in a large bowl and set aside
In a pan over med-low heat, melt chocolate chips and butter, stirring constantly

When all is melted, remove from heat and stir in Nutella and vanilla until all is mixed in

Add hazelnuts and stir well

Pour over cereal

 I used my hands to stir.  I think it's easier than a spoon, but be sure and not burn yourself!  The consistency will be very thick and take a few minutes to incorporate altogether.  Takes time, but it well worth it!

Dump the mixture into a large paper bag or a gallon sized storage bag and pour in the powdered sugar, starting with a little at a time.  Add more sugar until it's coated enough for you.  I like it to be amost white myself....very frosty looking!

This will keep for a week if stored well sealed.

Enjoy. Every. Clumpy. Morsel!


I want to share with you some highlights of our Christmas 2011.  We were very blessed this year, being able to go home and visit all of our family!  We received more wonderful gifts than I could ask for or imagine!  God helped Mr. Cozy and I to give some great little gifts ourselves. :) *Fun*

 In our home, Christmas is truly about the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ!  I cannot thank God enough for sending His Son down to earth to literally DIE for our sins (all my sins) and redeem us!!!  Jesus is risen and I can't wait to see Him in my Heavenly home one day with my baby girl and other loved ones!

That's really what "Merry Christmas" is all about!

I have to show you the dessert table at my parents house.  Mom had all of these incredible desserts!  Well, I made the Christmas tree linzer cookies.

There was fresh coconut cake, fudge, pecan pie, Mom's famous chocolate peanut butter balls and chocolate cupcakes!
(Not seen)  Also, wassail and creamy boiled custard.

(Mind you, this is a dinner for just 6!)

There was so much goodness going around in our tummies!
  Mom's table was set beautifully.  It was an elegant candlelit dinner, complete with a little nutcracker for everyone!

The big Christmas tree at my parents.  Stuffed with oodles of memories.  And candy canes.  And lights!!

"Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go!"

It was a beautiful Christmas Eve!  I had to take a picture of the wispy, paint brushed clouds floating in the crisp winter sky!

Grandmother always sets an incredibly elegant table!  It's always candlelit and sparkly.  I love going over there for dinner on Christmas Eve! 

This next one is on Christmas morning after we've opened all of our gifts at my parents.  We've already showered and changed here. 

Christmas morning starts off waking up to my parents singing "We wish you a merry Christmas" outside the door (instead of an alarm.  No joke.  This is a long-standing tradition)!  Then enjoying a homemade peppermint mocha--thanks to my sweet mom!--wearing our new Christmas pj's (of course!) and an exciting couple of hours of opening each present one by one!   

I still LOVE waking up to Christmas morning!  I have to say it's my favorite day of the year! 

I am such a kid.

We've just arrived at my In-Love's house.  Mr. Cozy is tackling the gifts to take inside! 
(Thanks, Handsome!)

The beautiful Christmas table scape at my mother-in-love's house.  I want her eggplant walls!

I'm a happy girl!


I have to rewind a few more days, and share with you just a few of the highlights of my family's Smoky Mountain Christmas vacation!  It was a dream vacation for all of us to get together and stay in a cabin in the mountains right before Christmas!  I can't thank my parents enough for this trip!!!   It's one we'll never of the best!!!

We very much enjoyed our huge, yet incredibly cozy cabin!

One night required a Christmas movie and some peppermint hot cocoa! 
Complete in a cute snowman mug!!

Day of shopping at my favorite, The Village.  Here I am with my mom and sister!  We're so excited!

My favorite coffee place in a little nook at The Village.  I felt as though I was in a quaint corner somewhere in Bavaria!  Or in a little gingerbread town. :)  Either way, it's my kind of place!

The beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

I love this one!

My happy parents on our little hiking adventure! I love them!
 It was so beautiful and serene there by the creek. 

Look at this amazing fireplace at Flapjacks!  We ate a big breakfast here one morning.

The Village that I loved to shop at. 

Drinking snicker doodle coffee at my favorite place!

Well, that was just a very tiny glimpse of what fun we had!  It was a trip for the decades, and a Christmas we'll never forget!