4th of July Jello and Cookie Treats

Monday, June 29, 2015

4th of July Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Happy Almost Independence Day! Here are some 4th of July worthy treats:

4th of July Patriotic Broken Glass Jell-O

Recipe and Instructions: 4th of July Jello

4th of July Pioneer Woman Spreads Cookies

4th of July Pioneer Woman Spreads Cookies

Recipe and Instructions: Spreads Cookies

Happy Birthday America!
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Raspberry Ricotta Cake from Bon Appetit

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
Raspberry Ricotta Cake from Bon Appetit

Whole Milk Ricotta
Melted Butter

All these combine into one incredible cake. It has a rich flavor, but not heavy. It is really, really good.

You should make this. Serious. Really. How do I know? Well, I made this at 4 am this morning, then brought it into work. I share treats with my office mates first, then put it out for the rest of the staff. This morning, the guys got their piece and within 15 minutes my co-worker asks, "How long do I have to leave it out there for the others until I can get a second piece?" We agreed that an hour was good enough (you snooze, you lose) and 62 minutes later, he got the last piece left on the cake stand! 

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
This is a super easy, two bowls, no Kitchenaid cake. You always need to have some no Kitchenaid recipes in your recipe box. And sometimes you buy the large Raspberry container at Costco and have a few raspberries to use up.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
It's super easy. The wet mixture is ricotta cheese, eggs and vanilla. This combines with the dry ingredients then a stick of melted butter is folded into the mix. See, I told you it was easy peasy.

I used a 9" by 3" round pan (instead of the usual 9" x 2" round). I think this will rise to very top of a 9" x 2" round pan so don't try to make it in an 8" pan.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
The recipe uses FROZEN raspberries or blackberries, but I used FRESH raspberries only. I used one 6 ounce square package of raspberries. Next time, I might add some lemon zest.

Raspberry Ricotta Cake
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit (March 2015), also found on Epicurious

1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ricotta (I used whole milk ricotta)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces (little more than 1 cup raspberries) fresh raspberries (one package)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan. I used a 9"x3" cake pan. It may rise to the top of a 9"x2" pan. 
2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
3. Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.
4. Pour egg/ricotta mixture onto dry ingredients and fold together until almost all blended.
5. Fold in the melted butter and then add 75% of the raspberries and fold those into the mix. Don't overmix.
6. Put batter into the pan and smooth with an offset spatula.
7. Scatter the remaining raspberries on top of the cake.
8. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes (mine took 50 minutes, I used fresh raspberries). Let cool at least 20 minutes before unmolding.
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What's Mary Been Reading? Heartbreaking Nonfiction & Funny YA

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hi! I have several recipes to post, but first wanted to tell you about some books I read and can't stop talking about. Since it's summer, I thought you might want some reading suggestions (well, some of my books are heartbreaking so maybe they aren't the best beach reads).

I'm not a very good reviewer of books. My colleagues have a gift for recommendations, while I just find myself saying "OMG. You have to read this. It's so good." with no elegance (mind you, I do yell out my recommendation enthusiastically, so there's that.)

Here are a few that I read or listened to recently...

Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones
OMG. You have to read this. It's so good. (see that I mean?)

No, really, this book is crazy good. Enthralling book about America's opiate to heroin addiction. Weaves stories of big pharm, Mexican immigrants with a retail model of selling heroin via delivery cars (with follow-up quality assurance calls to customers asking "What it good?" "Was the driver rude?"), the origin of pill mills, and the pain families are left with after the overdose death of young people in the prime of their lives. Well researched, narrative journalism. I listened to it on on audiobook via Audible and the reader is very good except one small regional pronunciation slip...he calls the Los Angeles street "Se pul VEE da". Sam Quinones is a former LA Times reporter.

Find it on Amazon or your library

OMG. You have to read this. It's so good. But it also has some utterly heartbreaking scenes. I listened to it on Audiobook (yes, I was going through an audiobook kick, and I got this via OverDrive at my cool public library) and found myself weeping in the kitchen while baking cookies. The author is a former LA Times reporter (see a theme here?) and the book is beautifully written. She was embedded with detectives of the LAPD and describes personalities and scenes with detail. Because it focuses on Los Angeles and places I know, it was actually hard to get through, and I had to break up my listening...it is heavy but should be read by everyone.

Find it on Amazon or your library

Very heavy topic...college rape at the University of Montana, Missoula. I listened on Audiobook via OverDrive. You shake your head many times reading this and get totally pissed off...not light reading. Although it is well researched and written, it didn't captivate me as much as his Under The Banner of Heaven; perhaps because that subject was so outside my realm it was almost like a fictional story, and this book reminds me of the tragedy of sexual assault and those who don't believe it really happens.

Find it on Amazon or your library

 Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Finally, I'll leave on a light note! This is a YA book that is getting outstanding reviews. It is super funny! About a teenager who is gay secretly corresponding with another closeted teen in his school. It's freakin' adorkable. I really fell for all the characters, and stayed up until 2 am finishing it. And it's perfect for LGBTQ Pride Month!

Let me tell you, I love reading books that have letters... Remember Griffin and Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence with the folded letters? Yeah, I'm all about those. (I also liked I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella with lots of text messages.)

If you have recommendations for more heartbreaking nonfiction (just bought a new box of kleenex) or lighter fare with correspondence, let me know in the comments!

See you next time. I'll have a recipe for a great sour cream coffee cake...

Happy Reading! - mary the food librarian (yah, putting the Librarian in Food Librarian today!)

p.s. I am in the Amazon Affiliate program so if you buy something by following my links to Amazon, I need to tell you that I get a few cents. I won't know who or what people bought, but it helps me buy stuff on Amazon like cookbooks and gifts for my friends! Thanks! :)
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