Easy Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

American Favorites
Well, forget my last post of not always getting what you want because it looks like we are moving after all; NOT to the US (yet) but we are changing houses here on the island. I am getting really excited for the 1st to hurry up and get here already! We decided after MUCH back and forth finally because sometimes quality of life is worth not having those few extra bucks euros, right? Well, I sure hope so 🙂 
I can’t wait to show you pictures of my new kitchen too, besides going from a 2 room house, we will now have 2 bedrooms (for you to all come visit!), 2 bathrooms, a living room, small office, and a dining room table (have I ever mentioned that we eat holding our plates, usually on the couch?!) We will most definitely feel like a king and queen in our new home, and even though we will not be able to afford any outside luxury – our home is sure to become a place of peace and comfort, not to mention full of SPACE!!!!! 
What better way to celebrate than with a chocolate cake! 
This is a chocolate cake for everyone: easy enough to make, but scrumptious enough to share and show off to family and friends! 
I changed my mind on the frosting last minute, typically it calls for a white chocolate frosting but I tried a more unusual one that I came across from another very well known blogger! 

 This cake is so delectably moist, it can be served without any frosting at all if you choose! (Recipe from Good Housekeeping) 

Easy Chocolate Buttermilk Cake Recipe:
Printable Recipe
2 1/4 cups AP flour
3/4 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup oil (Canola, sunflower, olive, ect)

 3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9″ rounds or a Bundt pan, dust pans with cocoa and/or line with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In medium bowl, with a wire whisk, mix buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla until blended. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mix and whisk until smooth, but careful not to over beat. Divide batter evenly between pans or pour slowly into Bundt pan, spread evenly. Bake until toothpick is inserted and removed clean – about 30 minutes for rounds or 40-45 for Bundt cake. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes, then run knife around rounds and flip gently onto the racks. Or, if using Bundt pan, run tip of knife around to loosen edges and invert until cooled and easily removed from pan.

For the frosting, I wanted to try this vanilla/butter one I came across on the Pioneer Woman’s website. It was actually submitted by someone else, but just got great reviews. Here is the recipe. It turned out pretty good on the cake, but I won’t lie and say it was the BEST frosting ever, in my opinion is wasn’t. I thought it was too soft and whipped, at least for the hot summer; I kept the cake in the refrigerator and it helped it to set up a bit more. The flavor was a nice, smooth vanilla and butter taste, but I guess I was more used to a decoration frosting. In my full opinion, this cake really does NOT need a frosting, at most I think a light glaze would have been perfect! I loved the chocolate cake and it really was so simple to make!!! What do you think, have you tried this frosting before and if so, what did you think?

I am not sure when we will have internet up and running at the new place, but I am eager to show you the then and now pictures! 
Thanks (as always) for dropping bye and I would love to hear from you anytime! 
Kali Orexi, 

Banana Blueberry Muffins

American Favorites
Since I have been in the US, I have taken several trips. I have flown to Virginia and Kentucky, and driven to/through North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Florida!!! Let’s just say I have hardly slowed down long enough to enjoy all the wonderful and endless ingredients around me. But every once in a while I stopped for just enough time to make something delicious, like these banana blueberry muffins with an oatmeal streusel topping!!! 

 After two months, two weddings, two wonderful trips (one with family and one with friends), and still no official news from the Greek government, I am VERY ready to return back to Greece and see my husband! I have come to fully realize that you can be surrounded by lots of people and lots of things, but if you are away from the one you love – life just isn’t as sweet and time goes by twice as slow. I wonder why the grass always seems greener until you step over, then somehow you grow to miss the old, brown grass from where you came:) I am all for changes and challenges in life, but in less than 4 days, I will be back with the Mr., and even though not all will be right in the world, my heart will be back at ease and I will be in the arms of someone who loves me dearly. And maybe the brown grass will even seem a little greener once I get back, but then again, maybe not?! Ha ha. 

Banana Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Recipe: Makes 12 regular muffins
Printable Recipe
1 cup all purpose Flour
1 cup whole wheat
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 – 1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup oil (EVOO or Canola)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk (or almond milk with 1 tsp. lemon juice)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup blueberries (tossed in 1-2 T. flour)
2 small bananas

Streusel Topping:
2 T. cold butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch cinnamon

Line your muffin pan or grease very well. Wash and dry your blueberries and then toss them in a small bowl with your extra flour, set aside. Mash your bananas in another small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl combine brown sugar and oil, whisking or mixing quickly until light in texture. Add buttermilk, egg, and vanilla whisking until uniform. Either combine in a separate bowl all the dry ingredients or use a mesh bowl strainer to sift over the wet mix, stirring slowly using a folding form, careful to only mix until combined. Slowly fold in the bananas and blueberries, careful again not to over stir.

Preheat oven to 375°. In another small bowl mix all of your ingredients together with a fork or your fingers, until crumbly. Sprinkle over the tops of your muffins and put in preheated oven. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and tester stick removes clean. Enjoy warm with a little butter or cold glass of milk!

I took these little guys on one of my trips with me and there were plenty to go around. I loved them as breakfast or as a mid day snack and I hope that you will too. Some people may not be into the combination of banana AND blueberries but feel free to replace with any fruit or nut you like instead. I also prefer the whole grain taste and slight “nutty” hint when using whole wheat flour, but it is also very easy to replace the wheat using 2 cups all purpose flour. Whatever floats your boat 🙂 Make it work for you! 

In another week or two I will be back in my comfort zone and home environment for cooking and taking pictures, believe it or not that has actually become Greece even through my limited options. I promise not only more regular posts but also better pictures and recipes too! Until then though, I truly hope that you are enjoying your summer and making the most of each sun filled (and super hot) day!

Kali Orexi,

Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Strawberries

American Favorites
I have been trying to cut back on sugar and refined carbs these last coupe of weeks because in 32 days I will be standing in a short little dress on the beach while by best friend gets married to a wonderful man! 
I have a problem though. I don’t like being told what to do or what I can and cannot have, even from myself 🙂 Diets do not work for me, only exercise and nutrition do and we all know those take the longest to see results. I like desserts but don’t crave them unless I am trying to avoid them… can anyone else relate or am I just a little crazy?! 
Anyway, of course I made a cake but I wanted to make a healthier option, may I introduce you to this wonderful Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Strawberries (recipe taken from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook). 

All this tall, handsome cake needs is a dusting of powdered sugar and/or some fresh fruit served on the side. The texture is perfect for summer and it will make a cake large enough to share!

Vanilla Chiffon Cake Recipe:
Printable Recipe
2 1/4 cups cake or AP flour
1 + 1/2 cups sugar, separated
1 T. baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup oil of your choice (canola or sunflower)
5 large eggs, separated + 2 extra egg whites
1 T. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar*
confectioners’ sugar

Sliced strawberries mixed with a little sugar and Disaronno or other liqueur of choice adds a wonderful sweet and citrus flavor that compliments the cake very well.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in center; add cold water, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla to well. With a wire whisk, stir until smooth.

In a separate bowl, with a mixer at high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar (* or substitute for a squeeze of fresh lemon juice) until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Sprinkle in remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 2 T. at a time, while continuing to beat whites until the sugar has dissolved and whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then repeat until all whites are incorporated.

Scape batter into an ungreased 9-10″ tube/bunt pan; spread evenly. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Invert cake onto a a large metal funnel or bottle; cool completely. Run the knife around the cake to loosen from side and the center of the tube. Remove cake and place on serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with fruit of choice, but I highly recommend the strawberries!

This makes a perfect summer treat, and can be very light on the calories if you limit yourself to only one piece!

Kali Orexi!

TEXAS Sheet Cake

American Favorites
I am from Texas and I love chocolate cake! That sounds like a Chocoholics confession.
Well, what better of a recipe to share with you other than Texas Sheet Cake. This is a huge, moist, rich chocolate cake with a touch of cinnamon (my favorite) and most of all from the great country state of TEXAS!!!

Now, I like sheet cake but if you ask my mom, aunts, or Nana… they would tell you how much they adore it. It is a very requested and well used recipe in my family, maybe only second to homemade Belgian Waffles! Let’s just say my mom has been known to sneak into people’s houses to steal a couple pieces of cake when no one was looking!

Here in Greece though, it is taken with hesitant looks because when anyone here says “sheet” or “sheets” it sounds a lot like you are saying something that should never be in a brown cake!

All that aside, this really is a classic recipe to have for a big party or family gathering, and it gets really easy to make after a time or two of practicing.

TEXAS Sheet Cake Recipe:
printable recipe

1 cup (real) butter
1 cup boiling water
4 + T. good quality cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, whisk in the cocoa and steadily stream in the water to make a smooth mixture. Bring to a slight boil for 30 seconds. Set aside. 
2 cups AP flour
2 cups sugar
1 – 2 T. cinnamon 
dash of salt
Sift all together and whisk into the chocolate in your saucepan. 
1/2 cup buttermilk* (I use milk with a little yogurt)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 – 2 T. vanilla (depending on quality and strength)
1 tsp. baking soda
Gently mix all together in saucepan, making sure there are not clumps and it is silky smooth, do not over beat though. Pour into a lightly buttered sheet pan, large baking dish and spread evenly. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your cake. You want a clean toothpick or knife when inserted in the middle. 
3/4 cup butter 
4 + T. good cocoa
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped, optional

Melt your butter in a saucepan and whisk in the cocoa until smooth, add the nuts and bubble for a good 30 seconds. Set aside to cool. 
1 lb. + powdered sugar, sifted to remove clumps
6 T. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Whisk together the sugar, vanilla, and milk until you have a thick icing. Add the chocolate nut butter to your frosting and mix until very smooth. Once your cake has baked and slightly cooled, pour the icing over a warm cake and continue to let set. 
(*Buttermilk can also be made by adding a little vinegar, lemon, or cream of tarter to your milk too)

This is a wonderful treat served with vanilla ice cream and/or a mug of ice cold milk! Any chocolate lovers will not be disappointed! This cake is a great hit for parties because it makes so much and is easy to serve!

I hope that you will make this for your family and friends and let me know what you thought.

Kali Orexi.

Cookies + Brownies

American Favorites
= The perfect bite!

Maybe they should even be called “Cow Cookies”! This is perfect for a party or just a friendly gathering. 

For me, this truly is the best of two of the dessert worlds coming together! Chocolate chip cookie meets rich, chewy brownie . . . their union is a harmonious one! The only thing that could possibly make these better would be ICE CREAM!!! My personal favorite is coffee ice cream scooped on top just as it comes hot out of the oven!!!!! I imagine that Blue Bell’s homestyle vanilla would be pretty spectacular too though. Too bad for me there was no ice cream sold on the island in winter a few weeks back when I made these. I would have loved taking pictures with different ice cream flavors on each slice! Which flavor floats your boat?

You can make this completely homemade or if you prefer the ease of preparation but still the satisfaction, then you could always use prepackaged mixes. Cookie dough from the tube and brownie mix from the box, easy as 1-2-3. Here is a simple homemade version though if you prefer or just don’t have the availability of the box.  

Cookie AND Brownie Cake Recipe: Makes one large cookie cake
Basic Ghirardelli Cookie Recipe

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

You will have some left over cookie dough if you use the whole recipe, either make plan for extra cookies or just cut the recipe in half. 
1 package Ghiradelli chocolate chips
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup nuts, totally optional

Heat oven to 375oF. Stir flour with baking soda and salt; set aside. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at meduim speed until creamy and lightened in color. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Shape into rope like logs about 1/2″ thick and place in a large round pie, pizza, or cookie sheet. Create a maze in any design you prefer. 

Basic Brownie Recipe
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional,
again I do not use myself)

Microwave or melt the butter in a pan or microwave safe bowl until just melted. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the cocoa; beat well until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder and salt; beat well. Stir in the nuts if desired. Pour or spoon the batter into the open spaces left in the cookie cake sheet. You want to fill the batter to as high as the cookie dough, or slightly below. Place in preheated oven and cookie 45-60 minutes, watching carefully to check for doneness. When your knife or toothpick removes clean from both, you have your cake and can eat it too! I gently drop the pan onto the oven to release the air pockets from the cookies, this makes them slightly chewier!!! 

I used to make this much more frequently when the packaged products were so easily available, unlike here in Greece currently. It wasn’t too much trouble this time since I enjoy baking so much, but I would probably rather skip all the dish washing if I had the chance. Whether you decide to make them from scratch, take the shortcut, or even change it up to meet certain dietary restrictions, I hope that at some point you will indulge in this sweet treat for kids and adults! 
It would be really easy to even decorate it yourself with colored icing… maybe for someone special, a birthday, a surprise, a good report card, or really any excuse you can find to bake is great in my opinion! And if available, always add ice cream! 

Kali Orexi. 

Banana Cake . . . TWO WAYS!!!

American Favorites
Do you like bananas? Do you love banana bread but sometimes get tired of the same old recipe? Well, I have two wonderful recipes to share with you! Whether you are a simple banana crumb cake lover or if you crave for something a little darker and richer, a chocolate banana cake! Both are incredibly delightful 🙂
Simple Banana Crumb Cake Recipe:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour (simple ground oats)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar (1/3 brown; 1/3 white)
2 eggs
1 cup bananas, mashed
1/2 cup yogurt
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts, optional
1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips, optional

Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup sugar (light brown) 
1/2 -1 tsp. cinnamon
dash of salt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup nuts, chopped, optional

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix all of the dry ingredients together, I prefer to use a fine hand colander. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy, then slowly add eggs one at a time. Scrape the bowl well and sift 1/2 of the dry mix and fold until moistened. Slowly keep folding in the bananas, yogurt, and vanilla.  Add the remaining dry mix and gently fold until just well mixed, finally add the nuts and/or chips if you choose to do so. Pour into a cake round/square pan that has been either buttered well or parchment added.

Mix the topping in a separate bowl and lightly spread over cake.  Take a knife and slowly draw random designs into the cake, helping the crumb to slightly mix into the batter. Bake for 35-45 minutes depending on your pan, you will know when a toothpick or knife removes clean. Cool for a good 25 minutes and serve warm.

This is even excellent without the crumb topping if that isn’t your thing!

And wait . . . there is another recipe for those who adore chocolate! The recipe is the same as above with an addition of the bolded/underlined ingredients and exemption of the crumb topping.  
Chocolate Banana Cake Recipe

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour (simple ground oatmeal)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. regular or dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar (1/3 brown; 1/3 white)
2 eggs
1 cup bananas, mashed
1/2 cup yogurt
1-2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts, optional
1/2 – 1 cup chocolate chips, optional

Follow the same directions for making the previous cake! 

For the chocolate cake, I added a creamy caramel topping that I was desperately trying to find a way eat had left over. The combination of banana, chocolate, and warm caramel topping was grandeur! Maybe ice cream would have pushed this dessert over the top, but I was also not so secretly imagining it! 

So, whether you go for the simple or the incredibly indulgent, I hope you will let me know what you think. I found this recipe from my wonderful King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook – it is full of delicacies that I will try to share more often. But I guess if you are going to add caramel and ice cream there really isn’t a need for whole grains, or is there? 

Also, if you have never used oat flour, you should try it very soon. It is simple enough to even make yourself. All you have to do is blend or process 1+ cup oats until they are a powder/flour-like consistency and you’ve made it!!!

Kali Orexi.

Potato Bread with Poppy Seeds

American Favorites
Do you ever have left over mashed potatoes or do you just sometimes prefer a kinda tangy bread? 
Potato bread is really wonderful and really easy to make. Next time you are making mashed potatoes, throw in an extra potato or two to whip together some bread. The yeast just loves the potato starches. 
This bread is phenomenal toasted too, excellent for breakfast or mid day sandwich!
Potato Bread Recipe: Makes 2 loaves

2 cups warm water (~110° F) 
5 1/2 cups (570 g.) strong bread flour
1 cup All Purpose or Whole Wheat flour
2 T. dry active, instant yeast
1 1/4 cups (225 g.) potatoes, mashed
1 T. butter or olive oil, melted
dash of salt (if none was already added to potatoes)

Sift all dry together and make a small well to add the oil/butter and slowly add the water, stirring until forming a ball. Don’t add all the water unless necessary, you want your dough to pull off the sides and form a ball. Rest for 15 minutes and then knead for 5-10 minutes by hand. If making two loaves, divide evenly and shape into logs, placing in your greased bread loaf pans. Let rise for 1 hour or until double in size. If topping with poppy or sesame seeds, brush with an egg. milk, or butter and lightly top. Preheat your oven to 375°/175° and bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of your loaves. You want a beautiful golden brown color. Cool completely to let the bread set and crust to form, then serve and enjoy!!!

Simple. Delicious. And something a little out of the everyday routine. 
I only made half a loaf because I used left over potatoes and there were only enough for one loaf. But next time I will make both loaves and freeze the extra for a rainy day! 

Oreo Cheesecake with Strawberry Topping

American Favorites
This is one of those desserts that I made a few weeks ago but was saving to share with you until just the right moment. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t realize how tempting it would be posting pictures of dairy while still trying to stay on my Lent fast. I am just thankful that they are only pictures and not leftovers, I wouldn’t be able to resist so easily. 
Personally, I didn’t even use to like cheesecake very much, but over the years something must have changed because I devoured this cake like a little kid tasting sugar for the first time, something is just addictive about it. Oreo cookies just sounded good for the crust. The combination of the two was delicious, the addition of a strawberry topping was perfect. The hardest thing about this recipe is that you should make it the day before you actually want to eat it, waiting was torture but worth every second.
Oreo Crumb Cheesecake Recipe:

For the crust-
1 1/2 cups of processed Oreos
2 T. butter, melted
9″ springform pan
Simply process the cookies (with or without cream center) and stir in the butter. Press the crust into the pan and on the sides.

For the filling- 
~ 1 1/2 lbs. (800g) Cream cheese
1 cup sugar
5 lg. eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4-1/8 cup flour
8 oz. yogurt* or sour cream
Extra Oreos for topping

* I used a Greek yogurt

Begin with all of your ingredients at room temperature. Preheat your oven to 375°. Beat the cream cheese and until fluffy, add sugar slowly while continuing to mix. Add a slow stream of the eggs or add one by one, continuing to mix everything nicely together. Slowly, add the flour and salt until combined. Stir or slowly mix in the yogurt (or sour cream) and the vanilla. Pour evenly into your prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and about 15 minutes, you want the cake set and pulling away from the sides. Turn off oven and leave the door open (with cheesecake inside) for an hour. Remove from oven and cool on counter until room temperature, then place in fridge and rest for 24 hours. Serve plain for with your choice of toppings: strawberries, melted chocolate, crumbled cookies…

I only made half the cheesecake this time, and it was perfect for a few friends. Overall, it was super thick and incredibly creamy. I still remember eating the last piece for breakfast with my morning latte, mmmm sigh, 40 days is a long time. I am very impressed with anyone who is vegan, and I hope that they live somewhere they can find alternative and nutritious foods for substituting animal products like rice milk and syrup, egg substitutes, soy cheese… because here on the island we are just S.O.L.. Thankfully though, this is not a lifestyle change yet, only 40 days, but it is something I would consider once living back in the States. I understand the health benefits and fully support anyone who protects the livelihood of animals! 
Anyway, cheese or not, I have to recommend this cheesecake because hands down it is one of the best ones I have ever made or tasted homemade. I hope you will enjoy it and remember to let me know what you think?
Kali Orexi.

Monkey Bread Muffins with Homemade Caramel Sauce

American Favorites
These mouth watering, cinnamon and sugar infused, pull apart monkey bread muffins might just be the most amazing thing I have ever tasted. It definitely ranks up there in the top 10 for sure. This is not my recipe, I came across it on another wonderful food blog, but it was like love at first sight and right then I knew I would be making it very soon for my own lips to indulge. 
The recipe was easy to follow and quite simple to make, even the homemade caramel went very smooth for my first time. I only made half the recipe, knowing that with only two of us sharing (and me one of us obsessed with cinnamon) that they would go quickly and instead of tempting my self control, I opted to just not have more than 12 muffins – 6 for me and 6 for him, the math is not completely true… and you will soon see why.

Monkey Bread Muffins with Homemade Caramel Sauce Recipe: (Makes about 24 muffins)
1 T. (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups All Purpose flour*
1 1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
2 T. honey
1/2 -1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, white or brown
1-2 T. cinnamon
Caramel Sauce Drizzle (recipe below)

Add flour yeast, salt, honey, oil, and water to a large bowl and mix well, follow by kneading for 10 minutes by hand or bread machine. Don’t be nervous to knead your own dough, just keep at it for 8-10 minutes and you will feel it really change texture and come together. Clean bowl and place dough back in, slightly oiled, and let rise 30 minutes. Roll dough into a long rope, butter the rope, and then cut into small ping pong sized balls. Mix your cinnamon and sugar into a small bowl and drop the balls in and cover, add 3-4 per muffin. Let rise again in a warm place until slightly fuller. Generously butter muffin tins (to ensure the gooey kind) and preheat oven to 350° F. Bake 18-20 minutes of until the muffins are set and the ooey-gooey is bubbling up around the muffin. Remove from man upside down and drizzle with homemade caramel topping, enjoy with cold milk or hot coffee! You will not regret one single calorie, I promise!

*I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour for a more nutty flavor, I mean I wish I could tell you that it helped make these healthier but that would be a little white lie. You can choose to believe whatever you want, which ever one helps you sleep better at night 🙂

I have never made my own caramel, and after I am not sure why I had never tried it. The taste was outstanding and the process was rather simple, as long as you pay attention while cooking (sometimes harder done than said)! I highly recommend the combination of these monkey bread muffins and this homemade caramel, although BOTH are very easily edible on their own too! My only warning is to make these expecting to eat more than 1-2, unless you have just perfect self-control, at which point I would like to know your secrets, seriously. V and I enjoyed a beautiful 2 hour hike from one monastery to another after our enjoyment of each bite.

Homemade Caramel Sauce: Makes a little more than a cup
3/4 heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp. butter
Mix the cream and vanilla and set aside. In a medium to large saucepan add your sugar and warm water, DO NOT STIR. It is very important to not stir, but you may swirl the sugar in the pan to help dissolve; the stirring will break down and we do not want that. Wait patiently and watch carefully for the sugar mix to turn to a cinnamon amber color, you DO NOT want to wait for it to turn any darker because it will taste burnt. Immediately remove from heat, carefully whisk in butter and then the cream mixture. It is necessary to whisk quickly to avoid sugar rocks forming at the bottom. Return to a low heat and continue stirring until creamy and smooth. Cool slightly but serve warm, add remaining caramel to a jar and keep in the fridge, hiding if you want it to last longer than one day; Keep up to one week-ish.  

 All I could think of after tasting the caramel sauce was what else I could put it on?! I dreamt of so many options but I think tomorrow I will start with a nice simple sliced apple! Enjoy one more picture before you rush to your own kitchen and make these for someone you love (including yourself!).

I admire so many more experienced food bloggers out there, and I must give all gratitude and thanks to this sophisticated mom whom I follow on my blog feed: Sophistimom. She was the one who unknowingly introduced me, I sincerely enjoy, admire, and appreciate it.  

Hope you will enjoy these as much as we did, let me know what you think? 
Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon. 
Kali orexi. 

Old Fashioned Pancakes…

American Favorites
…with Greek yogurt!

So, these are Greek-American since I have added Greek yogurt, right? Well, I think so at least 🙂

This is my go to recipe for quick, delicious pancakes. I always love topping my cakes with sliced bananas and cinnamon, and I usually opt for a honey drizzle instead of sugar loaded syrup, that is unless I find 100% natural syrup (but here on the island it costs about $15-18 for a very small bottle)!

Old Fashioned Wheat Pancakes:  Makes about 5-6 big pancakes (enough for 4, perfect for 3 or even a greedy two!)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup AP flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. raw sugar
1 1/2 cups milk yogurt (1/4 – 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, then fill remaining with milk)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 T. EVOO or butter*

*I use extra virgin olive oil for just about everything, even in baking recipes, but you can always sub a different oil or even butter.

Whisk the egg and sugar together until blended, slowly add milk/yogurt while continuing to whisk. Sift all the dry ingredients over the batter mix and stir until just moist, but be sure there are no flour pockets! Heat griddle to MH and brush oil or butter before each pour to ensure excellent cooking. I use my cup measure to pour batter to pan, probably using about 1/2 cup each time.

Top pancakes with your favorite toppings and enjoy to your health, kali orexi to each of you!