Red Velvet Cake

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A moist, classic Red Velvet Cake!! Made from scratch, And topped with cream cheese frosting

Red Velvet Cake is not just a chocolate cake with red food coloring added. This cake is very soft , “velvet-like”, and the chocolate taste is actually quite mild. It’s more like a cross between a vanilla and chocolate cake with a very delicate hint from buttermilk. And it is generously smothered in a fluffy cream cheese frosting.

The cake tastes buttery and moist, because it has butter in it for flavor, and oil for moisture. Yes, you need both, and It is not the same if you use only one of them.

There is nothing complicated about this cake. All you have to do is make sure you measure the ingredients properly,  As long as you do that, it’s actually easy to make, no more difficult than an ordinary sponge cake.

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Lets get Baking!!!!!!

Ingredients: 

Cake Batter

  • 2 2/3 cups cake flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp  baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup  vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1- 2 oz red food coloring gel

Frosting

  • 17 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Method,

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (180C). Grease with butter and dust with flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. In   a large bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.
  3. In another bowl mix butter with sugar until combined. Incorporate eggs one at a time. Mix in oil, vinegar, vanilla extract and buttermilk. Incorporate flour mixture until well combined.
  4. Gradually add red food coloring until the desired color is reached.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Let pans cool on a cooling rack
  8. Remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool completely.
  9. Prepare the frosting.In a bowl sift the powdered sugar. Beat the cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.

In another bowl whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into the cream cheese mixture until well combined.

  1. Assemble the cake. Cut the tops of the cakes to create flat surfaces. Make crumbs out of the left pieces of cake and set aside.
  2. Place 1 cake layer on your serving plate. Spread evenly with a bit less than half of frosting. Add the second layer of cake. Gradually spread the remaining frosting on top and sides of the cake.
  3. Decorate the cake with remained cake crumbs if desired.

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Almond Milk

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The basic method of modern domestic almond milk production is to grind almonds in a blender with water, then strain out the almond pulp  with a strainer or cheesecloth. Almond milk can also be made by adding water to almond butter.

The process essentially involves soaking almonds in water overnight or for up to two days the longer you soak the almonds, the creamier the milk will be. Drain and rinse the beans from their soaking water and grind them with fresh water. The resulting liquid, drained from the almond meal, is almond milk.

Real, fresh, very tasty almond milk. It’s a world-changing thing.

Ingredients:

1 cup raw almonds, preferably organic
2 cups water, plus more for soaking
Sweeteners (honey, sugar, agave syrup,maple syrup, to taste,)

Equipment
Bowls
Strainer
Measuring cup
Blender or food processor
Fine-mesh nut bag or cheese cloth

Instructions

  1. Combine the almonds and water in a blender. Place the almonds in the blender and cover with 2 cups of water.
  2. Drain the almonds from their soaking water and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water. At this point, the almonds should feel a little squishy if you pinch them. (It’s best to discard the soaking water because it contains phytic acid, which inhibits the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.)
  3. Let stand on the counter, covered with a cloth, overnight, or refrigerate for up to 2 days. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the almond milk.
  4. Soak the almonds overnight or up to 2 days. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with about an inch of water. They will plump as they absorb water.
  5. Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Pulse the blender a few times to break up the almonds, then blend continuously for two minutes. The almonds should be broken down into a very fine meal and the water should be white and opaque.
  6. Strain the almonds. Line the strainer with either the opened nut bag or cheese cloth, and place over a measuring cup. Pour the almond mixture into the strainer.
  7. Press all the almond milk from the almond meal. Gather the nut bag or cheese cloth around the almond meal and twist close. Squeeze and press with clean hands to extract as much almond milk as possible. You should get about 2 cups
  8. Sweeten to taste. Taste the almond milk, and if a sweeter drink is desired, add sweetener to taste.

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Vanilla Butter Cake.

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This made from scratch Vanilla Butter Cake Recipe is a one that must be added to your recipe collection. It’s light and full of vanilla flavor. This Vanilla Cake is what is commonly known as a 1-2-3-4 Cake.

I love baking cakes, especially this butter cake. If you are looking for the best and crucial butter cake recipe, this is it!!!!
I love it because it can bake  at home anytime as the recipe calls for simple and ordinary ingredients that most of us have at home. All you need to do is follow the easy instructions and in less than an hour, the delicious smell of butter cake fills your house.
Ingredients;

  • 3 cups sifted Cake flour, you may use all- purpose flour too
  • 1 tbs Baking Powder
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup  room temperature milk

Method;

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F /180 degrees C

Butter or spray with a non-stick spray, two 9-inch x 2 inch cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper
In the bowl of your electric mixer,  or with a hand mixer beat the butter until soft and creamy

Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined. With the mixer on low speed

alternately add the flour mixture and milk.

Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans, smoothing the tops with the spatula

Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Place the cakes on a wire rack to cool, in their pans,

If you are going to do the frosting Cool completely before frosting.
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Paprika Chicken Baked Rice.

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One-pot meals are the saving grace for busy home cooks everywhere  and when its come to  chicken and rice what’s not to love about.? It’s versatile, inexpensive, and a great source of protein.This Paprika and Chicken baked rice is full with flavors and ideal for busy week night diner. If you are a busy bee like me and still carving for good home made comfort food this one is just for you….

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Here is what you’ll need (for 2 servings)

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried Italian Herbs
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbs ketchup

Method. 

  • Preheat oven to 400˚F/200˚C.
  •  In a large bowl, season chicken thighs with salt, pepper, paprika, and Italian Seasoning.
  •  On high, heat olive oil in a oven-proof pot and place chicken thighs, in the hot oil. Cook 5-6 minutes on each site until the thighs develop brown crispy skin.remove it to another plate.
  • Add the garlic.onions and ketchup to the pot, and cook until the onions are translucent.
  • Pour in the rice and chicken broth to the pot and season with salt ,pepper. Stir well, bringing to a boil.
  • Add the chicken thighs back into the pot,  on top of the rice, bring back to a boil and cover with a lid.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked.
  • Optional: remove chicken thighs and broil for crispy skin.

Happy Cooking!!!!!

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Chicken Lasagna,, Easy peasy :)

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Craving comfort food, Try this easy Chicken Lasagna, I was really excited about how this chicken lasagna turned out. I was afraid  the chicken would be dry, but actually it turned just perfect. The lasagna had the perfect texture and taste. It was not too dry.This  lasagna tastes incredible good. The sauce is very flavorful,  Grated Cheese on top of Lasagna is the best part. It gets such a wonderful taste and color while baking.

To make this much easier you can make the sauce and the chicken a day before, refrigerate and before assembling the lasagna simply warm it up a bit, all you have to do the next day is assemble your lasagna, I hope you will give this a try. I am sure you will love this recipe as much as I do.

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Here is what you need, 

  • 9-12 lasagna noodles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 1 pound  ground chicken(beef lovers can replace with beef :))
  • 28 oz  tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup  tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1 tsp dry basil)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 stick  butter
  • 1/3 cup  flour
  • 2 1/4 cup  milk/ heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan,  grated
  • 1 cup Mozzarella . grated
  • 1 Cup Sharp cheddar, grates

Directions,

In a large pan heat oil over medium high heat. Cook the onion, garlic,  over medium heat until softened, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken and cook until it changes its color. Break up any lumps of meat using a fork.

Add tomato paste, tomato puree, Italian seasoning, basil, salt and pepper to taste. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 hrs. Set aside. You can also make the sauce a day before, and refrigerate after it cools. Before assembling the lasagna, warm the sauce as it needs to be a bit warm.

Prepare the Bechamel sauce.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth, for about 1 minute, until bubbling. Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk or cream, until mixture is smooth.

Return to heat and stir constantly until the sauce boils and begin to thicken.  Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside until ready to use. Give it a stir from time to time so it doesn’t make a skin on the surface.

Preheat the oven to 350 F . Grease a 8 X 12 inch (20x30cm)lasagna dish with olive oil or melted butter. mean while cook your lasagna noodles according to the packet instructions  and drain well before use.

Assemble the lasagna 

Spread a layer of chicken sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Spread a thin layer of Bechamel .and then spread a layer of your cheese mix. Place a single layer of noodles over top and press gently. Repeat spreading half of the remained chicken sauce over the noodles. Spread 1/2 cup Bechamel sauce on top add a layer of cheese. Add a new layer of noodles, pressing gently.

Top the last layer of noodles with the remaining sauces and sprinkle the freshly grated Parmesan  and mozerealla cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil making sure it doesn’t touch the surface.

Cook for about 25 minutes covered with foil, and another 25 minutes without. If necessary, broil for few minutes until the cheese has the desired golden brown look.

Set aside for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve alongside some fresh salad, or even some toasted bread. It is delicious!!!!

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Veg Stir Fry.

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There are so many things to love about this stir-fry recipe – it’s quick, tasty and full of goodness.I used certain veggies i had on hand, but any seasonal veggies may use. Tofu also may be added. serve over a bed of steaming basmati or jasmine rice.

Here is what you need, 

  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1 inch ginger root finely chopped
  • 4 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 1 medium size carrot Julienned
  • baby corns/ mushrooms (half cup each)
  • half cup snow peas
  • 1 tsp corn flour

lets make it, 

  • In a large bowl, blend cornstarch, garlic,  ginger, and 2 tbs vegetable oil until cornstarch is dissolved. Mix in vegetables , tossing to lightly coat.
  • Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large wok over medium heat. Cook vegetables in oil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Stir in soy sauce. Mix in onion, salt. Cook until vegetables are tender but still crisp

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Chicken Spaghetti with Red Sauce

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  • 500g Chicken, boiled and chopped keep broth
  • 2 onions  chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups broth, use from boiled chicken
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1lb Spaghetti uncooked
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  1. Saute Onions, Garlic,  in olive oil until onions are clear.
  2. Bring broth to a boil, add  Bay leaves and boil for  20 minutes.
  3. Cook on low to medium.
  4. Add the cans of Tomato products and hot sauce  boil for another 10 minutes.
  5. Add diced Chicken and cooked noodles, cooking just until noodles have absorbed sauce, add extra broth as needed to keep it moist, not soupy!

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Ghee Rice and Chicken Stew

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Flavorful rice to have with any curries both veg and non veg. But my choice is to have with spicy Chicken stew . Making of this dish is very simple. so let’s make this.

Ingredients for the rice;

  • 2 tbs chopped garlic and ginger
  • one large Onion finely chopped
  • 3 tbs Ghee
  • 500g basmati rice
  • 1 bay leaf/ pandanus leaf/ curry leaves (use whatever you have on hand )
  • 2 pods cardamom
  • few cloves
  • pepper cones
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • chicken stock water or chicken broth to cook the rice

    Method

    1. Heat the ghee in a large pan, add the  cardamom, cloves, ginger and garlic, bay leaf  and saute on a medium flame for a few seconds.
    2. Add the onions and saute on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
    3. Add the rice,  turmeric powder, stock water and salt, mix well and cook until rice is no longer raw.
    4. Separate each grain of rice lightly with a fork.
    5. Serve immediately garnished with fried onions and fried cashews.

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Ingredients for the chicken stew.

  • 500g Sliced Chicken
  • 2 tbs butter
  • one large onion finely chopped
  • few curry leaves
  • 2- 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbs ginger and garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp corn flour
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • chili powder (to taste )
  • black pepper powder
  • Sri lankan curry powder (if you can not find this then grind 1 tsp coriander seed/1 tsp cumin seeds/ 1 tsp mustard seeds/ 1/2 turmeric and your good to go)
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 large carrot sliced
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock water

Method

  • Add butter to the pan and heat for a minute
  • add cinnamon/ cardamom and curry leaves saute for a minute or 2
  • add ginger garlic paste and onions
  • When the onions have become translucent add the flour and stir till none of the flour can be seen.
  • add the chicken / carrots and  all your spice powders
  • let the chicken cook for a few minutes
  • add your chicken stock water and coconut milk
  • add salt to your taste
  • let it simmer for 15- 20 minutes

enjoy with Ghee rice or fried rice

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Classic Banana Split Ice- Cream

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A banana split is an ice cream -based dessert. In its classic form it is served in a long dish called a boat. A banana is cut in half lengthwise and laid in the dish. There are many variations, but the classic banana split is made with scoops of  vanilla, chocolate and  strawberry Ice cream served in a row between the split banana. In no particular order, pineapple, strawberry and chocolate sauces are spooned over the strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla ice cream. It is garnished with crushed nuts, whipped cream and Cherry.

Ingredients:

  • scoop vanilla Ice cream
  • scoop Chocolate Ice cream
  • scoop Strawberry Ice cream
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup/ Pineapple Syrup/ Strawberry syrup (according to your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons Crushed Nuts
  • whipped cream
  • cherries

Method,

  1. Line up ice cream scoops next to each other in an oval deep dish or a small plate.
  2. Cut the ends of the banana off  while still in the peel.
  3. Slice in half longways.
  4. Pop each half of the banana out of the peel onto each side of the ice cream row, pressing down and in a little so it’ll stay put.
  5. Top the vanilla ice cream with syrup.
  6. Drizzle the  crushed nuts over all three scoops of ice cream.
  7. Top each scoop with some whipped cream and a cherry for each.
  8. Enjoy!

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Lemon Chicken

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INGREDIENTS:
500g Chicken Tenders
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 egg

For the sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp Chili Paste
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lemon zest
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 ml) water

Method:
Slice chicken into bite sized pieces and toss in egg and the corn starch.

Then prepare the sauce. In a small bowl combine all ingredients and stir.

Then in a wok or large pan heat the oil until shimmering. Place in chicken in batches browning on all sides, and cooking through.

Add sauce over chicken and simmer until sauce thickens.

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