Make your own Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Steel Cut Oatmeal
Steel Cut Oatmeal

Everyone knows that eating oatmeal is a great, healthy way to start your day. I really like steel cut oatmeal but it takes a long time to make (about 20-30 minutes I don't have in the morning). So, when I saw Trader Joe's frozen steel cut oatmeal package in the freezer section, I had to give it a try. It's very convenient but the portion size is a little too much for me. The package is under $2 for two, but I knew I could make it for a lot less money - oatmeal is one of the most inexpensive (but good for you) foods!

So, off to make the frozen oatmeal!
And I did make it. (And make it regularly)
And I planned to blog about it.

That was over 2 years ago.

I forgot I took these pictures of the process and never posted it! So, here is a blog post two years in the making. I recently took more photos of the process so this is a combo of two sessions.

Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
Trader Joe's sells these two packs of frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal for under $2.00 Not bad, but I knew I could make them cheaper and smaller (this is a bit too much oatmeal for me as I also eat fruit and yogurt in the morning). It's lightly sweetened with maple syrup and brown sugar. By making it yourself, you can control the sweetness and add other stuff like agave syrup or whatever else you want.

Trader Joe's also has one that combines oatmeal with can always make that too!
Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
The process is simple - just make more oatmeal than you would normally eat in one sitting and freeze the rest in portions.

I used Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats. (As you can see, I've had this photo for a long time...don't worry, the oats weren't expired). The ratio is 1 cup of oats to 3 cups of water. Cook to taste and preferred consistency: 10 - 20 minutes. You need to make sure you are stirring the simmering bowl frequently. I add some maple syrup at the end of the cooking process. You can also add brown sugar, agave or honey too - or leave out all sweeteners and add it when you eat it later.

Lately, I've been purchasing the Steel Cut Oats from the bulk bin at Sprouts market - only 99 cents per pound (gives you over a cup of oats). Can't beat that price!

When the oatmeal is ready, I ladle it into a greased muffin tin. The photo above has a jumbo muffin tin, but I also use a regular muffin tin. Depends on your appetite! If I'm super hungry, I'll nuke two of the "regular muffin tin" pucks. Again, you know what portion you like. Whether you use the jumbo or regular, it WILL have a smaller volume than the Trader Joe's frozen oatmeal. You definitely get enough fiber with the Trader Joe's size oatmeal!

Steel Cut Oatmeal - Making & Freezing
After a chill in the refrig, scoop out the solid masses of oatmeal and individually wrap in plastic wrap. (This is a regular muffin tin batch).

Steel Cut Oatmeal - Making & Freezing
Once they are wrapped, I put them in the freezer. After they are frozen solid (overnight), I take the pucks and put them in a freezer bag. Grab one in the morning, nuke it and boom! Breakfast!

Steel Cut Oatmeal - Making & Freezing
In the first photo, the Steel Cut Oatmeal is topped with Pumpkin Butter and nuts. This one has a bit of maple syrup and diced apple.

Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
On the left: Homemade frozen oatmeal. (Smaller portions, nuke one or two in the morning)
On the right: Trader Joe's vacuumed packed steel cut oatmeal "puck".

Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal
I love, love these toppings for the oatmeal. Trader Joe's cinnamon sugar grinder, Mango butter and the best...Pumpkin Butter!

I hope you give making homemade Steel Cut Oatmeal a try! It's super delicious on cold mornings.


Frozen Steel Cut Oatmeal

1. Cook steel cut oatmeal according to the directions on the package. Or bring 3 cups of water to boil, add 1 cup uncooked oats and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally. Cook for 10-20 minutes - until desired texture.
2. Scoop hot oatmeal into greased muffin tin and allow to cool. Refrigerate until cold.
3. Remove pucks from tin and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze solid in freezer.
4. When you are ready for oatmeal, unwrap one or two pucks and microwave (time depends on how many packets you are heating - I usually start with 1 minute, then stir and nuke again until hot)
5. Top with fruit, fruit butters, maple syrup, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg or anything else you fancy!
6. Get dressed, grab your lunch and head off to work or school! :)

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Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan - Coming Soon!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

baking chez moi

I'm so excited!

You can pre-order Dorie Greenspan's book: Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere.

OMG! I can't wait!

Dorie Greenspan pretty much changed my me into baking, blogging and I met great people on these interwebs because of Dorie.

On September 7, 2008, I opened my email and read this...
My name is Mary and I am in the TWD [Tuesdays with Dorie] baking group with you. I saw that you commented on my blog (thanks, I just started blogging a few weeks ago and it is fun to get feedback) so I checked on your profile. I saw that you live in Los Angeles. I am coming to LA this weekend with my husband to attend a good friend's wedding. I always like to check out local food places.  Do you have any favorites you could email to me so I can check them out?

I can't believe that was 2008. Six years ago. This email started a correspondence and friendship with Mary (we call each other "East Coast Mary" and "West Coast Mary" since we are both blessed with the best name ever :)

(By the way, East Coast Mary went to Father's Office, Pinkberry (hey, it was 2008 and Yogurtland wasn't around yet), and Loteria in the Farmer's Market on Fairfax based on my food recommendations)

Anyway, since that email in 2008, we've been friends. I stayed with her family when I went to the East Coast and when Mary visited Los Angeles last year, her family came to my family's mochi making day!

And this was all thanks to Dorie and the awesome folks who put together Tuesdays with Dorie! Not only did Dorie bless us with delicious recipes (and so many good Bundt recipes!), but friendships were made. Many twitter and Instagram friends came via Dorie as well. Back in 2008, food blogging was a bit different. Less photo staging and more "I can't believe I made a pie with homemade pie crust - yay me!" (Not that there is anything wrong with food blogging was just different with our little Tuesday with Dorie group of bakers).

Speaking of Tuesdays with Dorie, they are at it again! If you wish to bake your way through Dorie's new book, sign up today! I haven't been blogging as much the past couple of years, but I'm tempted to try my hand at baking my way through Dorie's book again...

Tuesdays with Dorie Collage
I made all this and more when Tuesdays with Dorie baked through Dorie's Baking: From My Home to Yours book! If you don't have this one, you really need to add it to your collection as well.

Whenever I bake from Dorie's books, I know I'm in good hands. The recipes are tested and tweaked until they are perfected for the home cook. It's more than a cookbook - the headnotes read like a biography, travel diary, and letter from a best friend. And there are so many recipes! You are getting an encyclopedia's worth of recipe in each book.

Did I mention? BUY HER NEW BOOK! It's 496 pages of goodness. Pre-order it today! Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere

And Dorie? Love you! Thanks so much for filling my life with deliciousness and friendship! Can't wait to see the new book!

West Coast Mary

P.S. Here are some of my Tuesdays with Dorie blog posts.
P.S.S. Full disclosure: If you click the Amazon link and buy something, I'm in the Amazon Affiliate program so I get a few cents (so I can buy more cookbooks...ahhh, the cycle of life).

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Brownie Batter Cookies - Trisha Yearwood recipe

Monday, October 6, 2014

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies - Trisha Yearwood recipe
Brownie Batter Cookies

Every Sunday, I go to my parent's house so I can hang out with my dad while my mom goes to church. I make Dad breakfast, push him in his wheelchair around the block with Cidney the Girl Dog and currently, watch some football or baseball.

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies - Trisha Yearwood recipe
Since the games don't begin til 10 am, we watch the Food Network in the morning. 9 am is The Pioneer Woman and 9:30 am is Trisha Yearwood. On a recent show, she made these Brownie Batter Cookies along with her college girlfriends. It was a sweet show and reminds me of my longtime college friends. Note to self: Need to get together with them and make them cookies!

Whether you are getting together with college friends or hanging out with the family, you can make these brownie cookies! They bake faster than brownies and everyone can have a few.

Brownie Chocolate Chip Cookies - Trisha Yearwood recipe
I made half the recipe and scooped smaller cookies (because I got 2 dozen cookies when it should have only made 1 dozen). Here are my measurements and instructions; you can find the original recipe from The Food Network here.

Brownie Batter Cookies
Adapted from Trisha Yearwood's recipe

Makes 24 small cookies (I mostly halved Trisha Yearwood's recipe)

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons (125 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (75 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Nestle)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
2. Melt the unsweetened baking chocolate bar in the microwave and let cool slightly. Or melt over a double boiler (it isn't much so the microwave is easier).
3. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a bowl or piece of parchment and set aside.
4. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and melted chocolate until smooth.
5. Add egg and mix until fully combined.
6. Add the flour mixture slowly until just mixed. Then add the vanilla extract.
7. Use a spatula and fold in the chocolate chips to the batter. Batter will be thick.
8. Drop cookies onto sheet and bake for 13-16 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your cookies.
See the original recipe on the Food Network's website here.
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Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have you looked at a calendar lately? Can you believe it is almost October? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

Luckily for me, my work has a calendar that extends September. "What?" you ask? Look for yourselves below...

You had one job. How many days in September? #calendar
You had one job. How many days in September?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
The making of the cookies. These are not very sweet, but nicely spiced and pumpkin-y.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I heard Starbucks brought back the Pumpkin Spice Latte a little early this year, Los Angeles was in a heat wave...we ended up with the hottest summer EVER. Like...we were inches from the sun hot. But I turned to my co-workers and said, "You guys okay with me starting the pumpkin stuff now?" They said yes (big shock there ;). But then I even couldn't bake with pumpkin because it was too hot in the kitchen. So finally, I baked these at 4 am with the fan going so I didn't melt along with the butter.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe: Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) - I used Libby's Pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line trays with parchment paper or Silpat.
1. Combine flour, baking soda & powder, spice, and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.
3. Add the pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until well blended. If it looks a bit curdled, that's fine.
4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just about all blended.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Drop cookies onto baking trays and bake for 15-18 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies and your oven) until the edges are firm and bottom is golden. I scooped 12 cookies onto a half-sheet tray.
7. Let sit on tray for a couple minutes and then move to a cooling rack. Enjoy these soft pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!
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Heirloom Bakery's Sour Cream Coffee Cake - Los Angeles Times Culinary SOS

Friday, August 15, 2014

Heirloom Bakery's Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Heirloom Bakery's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This is really, really, really good. Sometimes, I make something and say, "Well, that was a good experience...and I'll probably never make that again." This coffee cake? Totally going to make this again.

This recipe comes from Heirloom Bakery and Cafe in South Pasadena and it's via the Los Angeles Times Food Section. They have a column called Culinary S.O.S. and readers send in requests for recipes from restaurants...and the LA Times begs them for it. The LA Times test kitchen always does a great job of testing and writing easy to follow directions.

Heirloom Bakery's Sour Cream Coffee Cake
This cake starts with a topping of melted butter, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, cinnamon, pecans and brown sugar. This is spread in two layers on the cake - so each slice had some on top and in the middle. Delicious!

Be sure you have an offset spatula to smooth out the layers!

Heirloom Bakery's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I haven't been to the Heirloom Bakery and Cafe yet, but can't wait to visit. If you are in Los Angeles, they can be found in South Pasadena.

Heirloom Bakery's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Recipe: Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Adapted from Los Angeles Times's Culinary SOS (June 24, 2010) of Heirloom Bakery and Cafe in South Pasadena.

1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa (I used Callebaut Dutch-Processed cocoa)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe's Chocolate Chunks)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled

In a large bowl, stir the brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, chocolate chips, pecans and butter together. Set aside.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream (I used full fat)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9-inch square pan by butter and flouring and/or line it with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. If your kosher salt doesn't go through the sieve, add that at the end and whisk to blend the dry ingredients. Set this bowl aside.
3. Using a mixer with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated.
5. Add sour cream and vanilla and blend together.
6. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Don't overmix - stop the mixer before it is completely mixed and finish folding with a spatula until no big lumps remain. You can also fold all the dry ingredients into the batter.
7. Spoon half the batter into the 9-inch square baking pan and smooth out with an offset spatula. Top with half the topping. Add the remaining batter and smooth out. Finally, top with the remaining topping.
8. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.

Heirloom Bakery's Sour Cream Coffee Cake
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Cherry Blueberry Cake

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Cherry Blueberry Cake
Cherry Blueberry Cake

Cherries are no longer available in my farmer's market but I saw them at Trader Joe's. If you are lucky, grab some cherries and make this simple, simple cake. So easy. No Kitchen Aid. Just a bowl and a whisk. And you don't even need dairy products. Did I mention that this is way easy?

Cherry Blueberry Cake
Cake and Fruit. Dude, two of the best combos ever. I brought this into work and we demolished it. Make it for your next meeting!

Cherry Blueberry Cake
One bowl.
Can I tell you how nice that is? You don't even need to bust out the Kitchen Aid. Just grab a whisk.
This would be a good cake for the kids to make too.

My friend sent me a can of Bak-Klene ZT no stick spray. IT IS SO AWESOME. It will be great during Bundt season! (It's not cheap like Pam Spray, but I've not been happy with Pam's new formula. Bak-Klene works much better. You can also get it at Williams Sonoma).

The before. Blueberries, cherries, and cake.
This is my Instagram picture.

Cropped Screenshot - Cherry Blueberry Cake

Dorie Greenspan (yes, THE Dorie Greenspan) commented on the post and I freaked out. Love how my friends on Instagram used the emoji to express their delight too! :)

Cherry Blueberry Cake
Simple to make and the baking really brings out the best in the fresh fruit.

Cherry Blueberry Cake
Topped with Sugar in the Raw (turbinado)!

Cherry Blueberry Cake

Cherry Blueberry Cake
1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 cup blueberries
3/4 cup cherries, pitted, cut in half
2 Tablespoon raw sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 8 or 9-inch cake pan (butter & flour or spray with baking spray) I use this great Bak-Klene ZT's rad.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and sugar.
3. Add eggs, vanilla and oil to the bowl and whisk until just combined. The batter will be a little thick.
4. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Smooth out top with an offset spatula.
5. Spread the fresh fruit on top of the batter.
6. Sprinkle raw sugar all over the fruit.
7. Start checking the cake at 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Can take 45-60 minutes to bake, depending on your size of pan and the type of fruit used.

You can also use other soft fruits such as strawberries or stone fruit such as peeled peaches or apricots.
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Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

You know those bananas in the back of the refrig? The ones you brought home perfectly yellow, but then you forgot to eat them, and then it's so hot in the house that they ripen in a flash, so you put them in the refrig, and they turn brown, and they sit and sit?

Those bananas - get them and make these muffins!

Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins
On Monday, I woke up, remembered we had a meeting at work, threw these together, popped 'em in the oven while listening to NPR, jumped in the shower, dressed, took them out of the oven and threw them in the car for my commute. Whew! It's was a busy Monday.

Hope you are enjoying your summer! Are you participating in your library's Summer Reading Program (some have adult programs!)? I hope you's a good way to stay motivated to read and relax a bit this summer. Read anything good lately? The last book I really enjoyed was The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Recipe: Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Adapted from Food & Wine (The original recipe is for 24 muffins. I cut the recipe in half except for the chocolate - the original uses mini chocolate chips)

3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
3/4 stick butter, melted
1 cup mashed overripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 1/2 eggs (To get 1/2 an egg, break one, lightly beat and use half)
1 1/4 cups plus 2 (192 grams) Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks (I used Trader Joe's chocolate chunks)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prep 12 muffin tins.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, bananas and eggs.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together just until the batter is moistened - don't overmix. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
5. Scoop batter into muffin tin. Bake for 24-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.
6. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before removing to cool.
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Mini M&M Chocolate Cookies

Saturday, July 5, 2014

mini m&m chocolate cookies
Mini M&M Chocolate Cookies

At work, we hit a milestone in a crazy big project so we had to celebrate. We had an ice cream social for the team and one of the ice cream toppings included mini M&Ms. By the way, I was trying to figure out how to transport the sprinkles and toppings from home to work and I used my cupcake tin! Worked perfectly.
This morning as I was pulling out all my sprinkles, I thought...what do I have to hold all these? #cupcaketrayrocks #icecreamsocial

Since we had a lot of mini M&Ms leftover, I made these chocolate cookies - the recipe was easy to's on the back of the package!

mini m&m chocolate cookies

mini m&m chocolate cookies

Mini M&M Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from the recipe on the back of the 12 ounce package

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 (315 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (I used 28 grams of Callebaut dutch processed cocoa powder)
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of kosher salt
1 cup M&M minis (The recipe calls for 1 3/4 cup M&Ms but since I was using leftovers, I only had a little over 1 cup)

Note: You need to chill the dough for an hour or overnight.

1. Cream butter and sugars together in a mixer with paddle attachment.
2. Add eggs and vanilla and blend until combined.
3. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and blend together just until combined.
5. Fold in the mini M&Ms.
6. Chill for an hour or overnight.
7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
8. Scoop out tablespoons of dough and place on cookie sheet. I like to top each cookie with a few M&Ms so I'm guaranteed some m&m on the top. If you use the full amount of M&Ms, you might not need to do this because you'll have enough M&Ms in the batter.
9. Bake 10-13 minutes. (Their instructions say 7-9 minutes for chewy cookies and 10-12 minutes for crispy, but mine were totally not done at 7 minutes)
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Peach Streusel Coffee Cake

Friday, June 13, 2014

Peach Streusel Coffee Cake
Peach Streusel Coffee Cake

It's stone fruit season. I'm in love. 
And I had a presentation to give at a meeting so I brought these. Know your audience :)

It's World Cup time! Looking forward to seeing all the games, the excitement of countries staying up to watch and cheer, lots of passionate tweets, and Cristiano Ronaldo. At work, we've been "researching" restaurants with the best TV placement for our lunches (looks like I'll be eating out for the next few weeks)!

Peach Streusel Coffee Cake
I made this once before with nectarines. This time, I added more vanilla, used peaches (the original is for peaches) and still didn't get the consistency of the liquid ingredients that the recipe calls for - oh well, it all came together.

I love coffee cakes. Not very sweet, lovely topping and, in this case, a fruit surprise.

Peach Streusel Coffee Cake
Peach Streusel Coffee CakeI used two yellow peaches in the cake (sliced thin) but you can use other stone fruit. I'd like to try some cherries and apricots!

I also used Vanilla Bean Paste because it is awesome. Have you used it? It gives you all the flecks of vanilla but it is less expensive than whole vanilla beans.

Peach Streusel Coffee Cake
When I have a meeting at work, I either bring a half-sheet or quarter-sheet pan. I bought plastic covers for them at my local restaurant supply house (similar to these) and they are pretty awesome. My covers are low profile so you can stack about three of them in the refrigerator.

Enjoy the World Cup! Between matches, make this cake! :)

Nectarine Streusel Coffee Cake
Adapted from Williams Sonoma's Peach Streusel Coffee Cake and they adapted it from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Muffins, by Beth Hensperger (2003).

3/4 cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (65 grams)  firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, at room temperature
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup milk (I used whole milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or vanilla extract
Original recipe has 1 tsp. almond extract, but I did not include it
2 firm, ripe nectarines or peaches peeled, pitted and sliced 1/2 inch thick

1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper. (The original recipe calls for a  9-inch round springform pan.)

2. Make the streusel:  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown and granulated sugars and cinnamon. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Place in refrigerator or freezer while assembling the rest of the cake.

3. Prepare the fruit: Peel the peaches (blanch in boiling water for 1 minute, then remove), pit and slice the fruit. I used two yellow peaches, but other stone fruits can be used.

4. Make the cake: Mix together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt and set aside. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wire whisk, beat the egg, melted butter, milk, vanilla and (almond extract, if using) until creamy, about 1 minute. (The recipe calls for "until creamy" but I beat the heck out of the mixture with a wire whisk and never got a "creamy" consistency - see above.) Add to the flour mixture and beat just until evenly moistened. There should be no lumps or dry spots. Do not overmix.

5. Spread batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly using an offset spatula. If using a springform pan, arrange the peach slices in concentric circles from the pan sides to the center. If using a square pan, arrange the slices in rows. Gently press the slices into the batter. Sprinkle evenly with the streusel.

6. Bake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Can be served warm or at room temperature.
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How to Read & Watch your iPad or Tablet While Lying in Bed - LEVO Deluxe iPad Floor Stand!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My New Crazy Awesome iPad Stand

This post has a ridiculous title: How to Read & Watch your iPad or Tablet While Lying in Bed - LEVO Deluxe iPad Floor Stand!

But this thing I bought is the freaking answer.

First, this is not a sponsored post. I paid money for this thing and just love it. I know there are others who might want something like this too so I'm blogging about it. In fact, I already told a co-worker about it and she bought one for her husband who LOVES it!

However, I need to disclose that I'm part of Amazon Affiliates so if you click on the link and buy one, I get a itty bitty percent of the purchase (you aren't charged anything extra and I'll never know who bought it - but if you do click on the link and buy anything on Amazon, I appreciate it! It helps me buy Bundt pans and iPad Stands!)

Okay, last year I bought the iPad Air and LOVE IT. Seriously the best one they've made (I've used the older editions). Screen is awesome and the speakers are so much better than previous iPads (you can't DJ a wedding with the speakers, but they are totally fine to watch a movie, YouTube videos and listen to NPR in bed when you should be doing other stuff...)

But I was always kinda annoyed because it wasn't easy to read in bed. My arms would get tired if I was on my back holding up the iPad. Although it's the iPad Air and totally light, I have it in a case and that added weight. Sometimes I would prop it up with a pillow and lie on my side to read. Anyway, it wasn't the best solution.

After a bunch of searching and reading too many reviews, I decided to try the LEVO iPad & Tablet Stand, Deluxe Edition.

Oh my goodness.
Changed my life.
This is awesome.

My iPad Air (excuse the dust) is attached with the bungee-type cords, and you can angle it upside down
The unit is adjustable in height and the arm is adjustable at two points. The pad that holds the tablet or iPad can adjust 180 degrees (you can make it go completely flat or tilted up - so you can lie flat on your back and look up at the screen, or sit up and tilt it to the best angle. See the photos on Amazon for more positions)

It's versatile because you get four cords that hold in your device - so you can put an eReader in it, tablet or iPad.

The base is stable because it is so heavy. When the package comes from Amazon, it was in a big box. Then you tried to lift it and thought, "What's in this box? Weights?" Well, turns out there are weights in it! The base has a heavy weight so the thing doesn't tip over on you. Yeah, that's a good thing. (It could leave those furniture indentations on carpet because it's heavy so I move mine around every couple of days)

I think the unit is well made. It comes on four wheels so you can wheel is out of the room when you have a special guest (wink, wink) or you can move it in front of a chair or table too. You can wheel it into the kitchen and use it to "hold" your recipes on the iPad. Haven't done that yet...but I just might!

Photo from Amazon - not me and my dog 
My unit cost $189.99 and I bought it in May 2014. It has free shipping on Amazon but it isn't Prime so you have to wait a few days for it (Prime people know what I'm talking about...that long, long wait for things that don't come in 1 or 2 days!) There are only a few pieces to assemble, but the box is heavy because of the base. Also, this is the DELUXE version. The reviewers say it is better than the original. Having never seen the original, I spent a couple more bucks because the reviewers made it sound much improved. I believe Brookstone sells this in-store if you want to try it out...I just pressed "buy now" on Amazon and crossed my fingers that I like it. :)

Gotta go. I have to a couple books to read and YouTube videos to watch! (Oh dear, that's another post where I admit that I'm 43 but have the YouTube viewing preferences of a 14-17 year old teenage girl who watches Tyler Oakley videos. And Sup3rfruit - but they are really hella funny. Really, I tried to watch TED Talks and the like but... ;)

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