Valentines Day Cupcakes 

We found an interesting chocolate cake recipe in a new book that Becky bought called “Sheet Pan Suppers”. It also has some desserts including one for a sheet cake “the size of Texas”. We modified it to make 10 cupcakes. Heat 1/4 pound butter, 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat until bubbling and combined. Leave to cool. 

Mix 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda and we added 1/4 tsp baking powder. Add 1 egg and 1/2 cup sour cream to the chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and combine completely. Pour into prepared baking tins and bake at 350F for 20-23 minutes.  Cool on wire racks. 

For the icing mix 1 heaped tbsp peanut butter, 1 heaped tbsp butter, 1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder and 1 cup icing sugar. Add milk by spoonfuls until you have a smooth consistency. Add salt if needed. This iced 7 cupcakes. 

These were really good! The cake is light and moist, the icing sweet and salty. I think we would make these again. You can also make it as a sheet or bar cake. It would probably fit a 8″ or 9″ square tin. We left out several ingredients because we didn’t have them, but we think the cupcakes turned out just fine. 

Happy Valentines Day!

Cheryl and Becky 

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Southern Shortbread 

We managed to complete a Bake Off challenge recipe this week. Becky wanted to bake biscuits so we decided to make shortbread with a southern twist. This recipe is based on an Epicurious recipe I found online. I think it’s fairly standard. 

Mix 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl. Rub in 1/2 cup of chilled butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. At this point we stirred in 1/4 cup chopped pecans, which were not in the recipe. Bring it altogether to make a dough. Flatten into a 9″ round pan. We had a square tin so it didn’t quite fit. It also was a bit messy so I put it in the fridge for 10 minutes. That really helped. When you have it shaped, prick all over with a fork. Bake at 300F for about 30 minutes or until lightly golden. The recipe said 45 minutes. Ours was maybe 35 minutes. Cut into shapes with a sharp knife and sprinkle with sugar. Let it cool in the baking tin. 

I love shortbread and this was pretty darn good. It was nice and crunchy and we both liked the addition of pecans. Shortbread keeps really well in the freezer so you can always make some extra for another time. 

On the same day we went to Tempe Town Lake to watch the sunset. 

So beautiful! One of the many reasons we love Arizona. It was a good day 🙂

Happy baking!

Cheryl and Becky 

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California Pizza Kitchen 

This post is in two parts. First was our amazing dinner at California Pizza Kitchen in Tempe. For starters Becky ordered the dumplings. 

Delicious! Then she ordered the crunchy Mac and Cheese. 

I ordered the Spicy Chipotle Chicken Pizza with Lime Coriander Crema. 

There’s so much flavour! We love the food here, and the amazing service, so we were excited to see they have produced a cookbook. Naturally, we had to buy it. Pizza, cookbook and crema to go.

The second part of the post is baking a pizza from the book. I won’t reproduce the recipe here, but the dough is a little different from other pizza dough recipes. The topping was supposed to be pepperoni, mushroom and sausage. I had made some pasta sauce earlier in the week with sausage, mushroom and red peppers. I just spread that on instead and then grated cheddar and gruyere cheese on top. It cooked in 10 minutes. 

This was so good! The dough is soft and light, no hard pieces of crust. It puffed up considerably in the oven, so I would make it thinner next time. As for the all-in-one topping, it turned out rather well. I might start keeping some pasta sauce aside to use on pizza  in a hurry. 

We will be making this again and are looking forward to making lots of the recipes in the book. It’s not just pizza, there’s salads and some great desserts too. 

We are off traveling for a few days, so till next time…Happy baking!

Cheryl and Becky 

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Blueberry Yogurt Muffins 

This recipe is from “Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2012”. It is easy, low fat and only makes 6 muffins. 

Mix 1 cup all-purpose flour, 6 tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda and a pinch of salt. 

In another bowl mix 1 egg, 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, 3 tbsp canola oil and 2 tbsp milk. We had peach yogurt and used that. 

Stir into the dry ingredients until just mixed. Fold in 1/2 cup blueberries. Fill greased muffin tin 3/4 full. Bake at 350F for 20-22 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. 


Happy baking!

Cheryl and Becky 

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Classic America 

Becky and I drove to north Arizona, and I’ll be posting pictures from there soon, but on the way back, we decided to go to the famous Wigwam Motel on Historic Route 66. 

We were completely surprised. It is preserved beautifully. We wandered around with our mouths open. We had stepped back in time. 

Can you imagine pulling up in a Studebaker in the sixties and renting a wigwam for the night?What fun! 🙂 We would definitely recommend a visit if you are in Holbrook, Arizona. 

Happy travels!

Cheryl and Becky

Posted in Arizona, Photography, Travel, winter | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Not Chicken Pot Pie

I grew up thinking everyone rolled out pastry with a milk bottle. We didn’t own a rolling pin and I didn’t know they existed for a long time. Today I used that childhood skill to roll out the pastry for a Ham, Broccoli and Corn Pot Pie, but instead of a milk bottle, I used the grown-up version…a wine bottle. 

We are still traveling and using whatever meagre baking utensils we can find. The recipe came from a Southern Living magazine from March 2014. 

Place a 10 oz freezer package thawed chopped broccoli into a greased 11″ x 7″ baking dish, or a 9″ pie dish. Add a 11 oz can sweet corn, drained, 10 1/2 oz can cream of mushroom soup, 2 cups diced ham, 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, 8 oz sour cream, and 1/2 tsp dried mustard. Stir. Roll and cut a refrigerated pie crust to shape and place over filling. Crimp edges, cut slits in the top and bake at 200C/400F for 35 minutes. 

We adapted this as we don’t use canned soup. I made a white sauce instead with some added chicken stock. We used fresh broccoli but steamed it for a couple of minutes. Let them both cool. I can’t imagine using 2 cups of cheese in anything so that was cut to 1 cup, ditto with the ham, and we used Southwest Spicy Mustard. Yum! 

We made our own pastry with 1 cup all purpose flour and 1/2 cup butter. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Roll out with whatever you have. 


This turned out really well and we both enjoyed it. The pastry was light and crumbly even though it wouldn’t win any beauty contests. There was lots of flavour and different textures. We will be making this again possibly without the meat. I like the idea that you can use pre-made ingredients if you don’t have time or experience, but still have a home-baked pie. You don’t have to make everything from scratch to have a home-made pie. Whatever works best for you. 

Happy baking!

Cheryl and Becky 

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South of the Border Buns

As you know we are away from home with limited baking equipment, recipes and ingredients. This isn’t technically baking but it is baked. It is Heuvos Rancheros in a bun. I found it in a Taste of Home cookbook from 1996. 

Chop 2 hard boiled eggs. Add 1/3 cup of salsa, 1 cup grated cheese, 1 chopped green onion, 2 tbsp sliced olives and pinch of cumin if you like, and stir everything together. Cut 4 buns almost in half and divide the filling between them. Wrap in foil and bake at 350F/180C for 20 minutes. 

They were easy and delicious. A great idea for breakfast, brunch or lunch.  I’m thinking that the filling could also be a pizza topping. 

Canyon Lake, Arizona 

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix 

A quick snapshot of some of the beautiful places we’ve been. 

Have a great week!

Cheryl and Becky 

Posted in Arizona, Baking, Food, Gardens, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments