Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Center and Vanilla Buttercream


I made this cake for my husband’s birthday.  It’s actually his favorite.  Before I knew how to bake, I used to make the Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix and add Reese’s peanut butter chips to the center, then top it with which ever brand of vanilla frosting was available at the grocery store.  He loved it then, but this is now…when I’ve learned how to bake from scratch!  Finally!  It took me a few years….

The recipe for this cake came from  It claims to be the best chocolate cake (ever).  I used almond milk and it actually is one of the better ones I’ve tried.  Tastes almost like, but even better than the Duncan Hines!  Hahaha! I made a peanut butter frosting to spread in the center and then topped it with my own buttercream frosting.

He was not disappointed on his birthday…as he isn’t any other day I give him dessert!  He’s a sweetie!  Happy Birthday my Dear!

For the cake recipe follow this link:

Peanut Butter Filling:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

Combine the peanut butter, and the softened butter in a bowl; whip using a hand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time and then add the whipping cream.  Continue whipping until creamy and smooth.  You may add extra whipping cream if you want it to be creamier.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperaturedsc_0298
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of Kosher salt

Cream the butter using a hand or stand mixer.  Add the sugar a little at a time.  Add a pinch of salt.  Add the whipping cream and the vanilla. Continue to mix until creamy.

  • Add some special sprinkles!  I used white and gold toned sprinkles to match the peanut butter and also added some chocolate shavings.


My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

dsc_0276Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?  They are perfect for a snack with a glass of milk, topped with ice cream and chocolate syrup drizzle as a dessert, or just on it’s own is perfectly fine too! And, of course, you should always make sure they are perfectly    warm : )

This recipe actually came from Neiman Marcus.  As far as I know, they have since changed their cookie recipe, but they were kind enough to included a recipe card in the cookie box when you ordered them.  I actually prefer this recipe, over the new one.

The last few years I had been making the New York Times chocolate chip cookies (which don’t get me wrong…are delicious!). I had kind of put this one aside and out of mind.  Recently my daughter asked me to send her the cookie recipe, so I automatically sent the NYT.  She proceeded to say, “No, the other one…”  I knew right away she was talking about the Neiman’s cookies.  I was so happy to get reacquainted with them!  I follow the recipe exactly, and the only thing I do differently is I top them with flaky sea salt.  Continue reading “My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies”

Yeh’s Valentine’s Day Almond Cake

Let me begin by saying how much I love almonds!  I’ve made several recipes made with almonds; this by far has been my favorite.  Not only was it delicious, but it turned out beautifully.  Molly Yeh is a pro at making cakes and especially very creative when it comes to decorating.  Her Valentine’s Day Almond Cake recipe is very user friendly.

I followed the instructions carefully for the cake.  I didn’t have all the gadgets required, but I made it work with a little creativity and a little help from my sis.  I did make my own raspberry buttercream frosting instead of the whipped cream frosting she uses. I used fresh raspberry syrup in place of food coloring. I also decorated it with my own flare.  This cake was not just yummy, but also a lot of fun to decorate!  Hope you give it a try, it’s well worth the effort! Follow the link for her recipe and if you’d like to try my frosting see below…


Ingredients for frosting and decorations:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 cups (or more if you like it really sweet) confectioners sugar
  • 3 or more Tbsp raspberry syrup, made with 6 oz. fresh strawberries, 1 Tbsp granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp water
  • a couple of pinches of Kosher salt
  • your choice of sprinkles


  1. Leave the butter on your counter to soften; about 45 minutes or so.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the raspberries, granulated sugar and water and heat on medium until the raspberries breakdown and soften and the liquid is nice and pink.  Strain the raspberries and the liquid through a fine sieve into a small bowl and set aside to cool. If you think there are raspberry pieces or seeds in the syrup, strain it twice. You will only be using the syrup, so discard the fruit that remains in the sieve.
  3. Place the butter in a deep bowl and whip with an electric mixer.  Add the confectioners sugar and the heavy whipping cream, alternating between the two, a little at a time. If you add the powdered sugar all at once, you’ll end up with a white cloud of sugar all around you. Add a couple of pinches of Kosher salt.  Continue whisking so it’s smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the raspberry syrup a tablespoon at a time until it’s the perfect pink for you.  I prefer this over food coloring…healthier and tastier! I ended up using about 5 tablespoons, but you can add as much or as little as you want.  I had left over syrup that I placed in a small bowl and served on the side so if anyone wanted to drizzle a little over their piece of cake.
  5. For the decorations, I used 3 different sizes of heart shaped cookie cutters. If you don’t have them, you can make a stencil out of parchment paper and place it over the cake, then remove it carefully once the sprinkles are on.  From Michael’s, I purchased a few Valentine themed sprinkled and combined them with a few others I had, minced some slivered almonds and combined them all in a small bowl to create what I call a “sprinkles extravaganza!”  Once the cake is frosted, carefully placed the cookie cutters on the surface of the frosting and using a 1 tsp measure to add sprinkles to the inside of the heart shapes. Try not to make it too thick vertically, but enough so each heart shape is completely filled edge to edge. Pat the sprinkles down gently so they stick. Carefully remove the cookie cutters and using tweezers (or the edge of a knife or spoon) gently remove or adjust any runaway sprinkles.  Have fun!



Savory Ground Turkey (Turkey Picadillo)

dsc_0199Growing up, my mother always made picadillo, which is ground beef seasoned with Cuban style seasonings.  I guess the American dish that reminds me most of it, I think, is Sloppy Joe, but without the bun,  We always had it with white rice, fried plantains. and on occasion her famous black beans… there any other way?  Yes…fast forward to 2019, made with ground turkey and served with brown rice and roasted vegetables!  Even though we still occasionally enjoy “picadillo” the way my mom used to make it, this version is a delicious, easy to make healthy option. Continue reading “Savory Ground Turkey (Turkey Picadillo)”

Almond Cookies

I came up with this recipe after I baked an almond cake from a recipe a friend shared.  The nice thing about almond flour is that it’s gluten free and you do not need as much butter as you would using all purpose flour.  The texture is chewy and cakey.  If you want a little crunch, try adding a few chopped almonds! They are easy to make and nice enough to  be served  as a dessert with ice cream or fresh fruit.  Or try them as an afternoon snack with a cold glass of milk, hot chocolate or some hot tea.  We had ours with ice cream and a little dulce de leche. Yum!

dsc_0168Makes about 20-24 cookies


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Cointreau (or other orange liquor)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Heat oven to 350º F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat with an electric mixture until it looks like cake crumbs,  about 2 – 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each time until blended and smooth.  Add the almond and vanilla extracts, the Cointreau (or orange liquor) and the lemon zest.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the almond flour and all-purpose flour.  Add the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, whisk to mix.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend gently but thoroughly.
  5. Scoop the cookie dough using a 2 Tbsp measure or a soup spoon, making mounds that are about 2 1/2″ in circumference (like the size of small meatballs).  I use a small ice cream scoop I have, that is a bit larger than a melon baller.
  6. Place the mounds of cookie dough on the parchment lined sheets and bake for 12-17 minutes, until the edges are golden to your liking.
  7. Once removed from the oven, allow them to sit on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. Place the cookies on a cooling rack, leaving the cookie sheet under the rack, and dust them with powdered sugar.  They’ll keep covered for up to 5 days.


Note:    Almond flour keeps well in the freezer; store it in an air tight container.  Also, it’s gluten free, so these are very easy to make GF!  King Arthur has a gluten free all purpose flour that can be substituted for the all-purpose.  I have not tried it, since we’re not sensitive at my house, but it’s an option for those of you who are.

Sunday Morning Scrambled Eggs (with parsley and goat cheese)

dsc_0170Scrambled eggs are perfect any day, but I especially love to make them on the weekends. When I have goat cheese left over from pasta or salad that I’ve made, I put it in the scrambled eggs with parsley, which I usually have right on my counter.  It seems like a fancy breakfast, it’s delicious and it’s so simple to prepare. Also, you can add other things to this scrambled egg recipe instead of parsley and goat cheese. Try combining different ingredients:  onion and peppers, mushrooms and Gruyere , tomatoes and spinach, cheddar and ham, Swiss cheese or other veggies…be creative!  My youngest son loves onions, green pepper, red peppers, Mexican Blend shredded cheese from Organic Valley, cilantro, and his favorite hot sauce.cilantro

And speaking of cilantro, do you ever buy a bunch and it’s wilted the next day?  Keep it fresh for days and even up to two weeks in a mason jar.  Wash it thoroughly, allow it to air dry on several layers of clean paper towel or a dish towel. I usually pat it with paper towel again before storing it, just to make sure no water droplets remain.  Also, I like to cut the large stems off so I only have the tops.  Simply place the cilantro in the mason jar, close the lid tightly and keep it in the fridge.  It will be fresh and available when you need it!  And, if you want to keep your parsley fresh for up to a week, also wash it thoroughly, cut the stems evenly and place it in a glass or small vase filled with fresh water, making sure that only the stems and not the leaves are in the water.  Change the water in the glass every day and keep it on your counter top.  It should stay green and fresh for up to a week.


  • 6-7 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half (you can use milk)
  • about a tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
  • about 2-3 tablespoons, crumbled goat cheese
  • salt and pepper


  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the half and half.  Mix thoroughly using an electric mixer, blender or whisk.
  2. Heat a pan (preferably non-stick) on medium/high heat.  Melt a pad of butter in the pan and add the egg mixture.  Lower the heat to medium/low.
  3. Stir frequently until the eggs are done to your liking.   Turn the heat off and add the parsley and the goat cheese.  Add salt and pepper.  Serve.
  4. If you are adding other ingredients such as onions, peppers, mushrooms, ham or vegetables, you should cook these ingredients first and then add the eggs, then add whatever cheese you choose.  Keep in mind that ham and bacon are salty, so be aware not to add too much extra salt…taste first.

Serves 3-4

scrambled eggs with oniion and peppers



dsc_0142Quiche is versatile.  It’s what I love best about making it!  You can conveniently use the ingredients you have on hand plus it’s great for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

I made two quiches.  A broccoli and cheese (this time I used Sargento Shredded 6 Italian Style Cheese; I usually pair broccoli with cheddar, but this was just as good) and a second quiche with Organic Girl Baby Spinach…which I had left over from a salad I made earlier in the the week.


As far as the pie shell goes, you can make your own if you know how, and have the time.  Or you can buy a ready made brand that you like. This time I used a pie shell I found at my local Whole Foods; Wholly Wholesome brand organic frozen pie shell.  I usually buy organic, especially the things we have everyday or eat often.  Pie, we don’t have very often, so I have used the Pillsbury brand and it’s good too.  Conveniently, the frozen pie shells come with two in the package.  If you’re planning on making two of the same or two different types of quiche, please double the ingredients below, as they are for one quiche.dsc_0125

I made these for a quick Sunday brunch. I also served fresh fruit with a yogurt dipping sauce on the side and of course…fresh brewed coffee.


Continue reading “Quiche”