Monday, September 23, 2019

Grandpa Julio's Simple Vanilla Cake

Grandpa Julio was my dad's father.  He was this amazing man with a killer sense of humor and full of stories to tell.

He used to love singing us random little tunes that he had no doubt learned from his own parents.  It never dawned on me why he knew so many Brazilian songs, and it wasn't until I was old enough to realize and know that his father and his father's parents and ancestors, were all from Brazil.

He was the fun grandpa, we would go to the coast on vacation and would watch him swimming in the ocean, he was like a fish, in and out, gracefully swimming, but also coming to stand by us and holding us tight when a big wave would threaten to go over our heads.  We don't swim, our parents don't know how to swim, and my brothers and I don't either.

I have the best memories about my time with him, and I'm glad that I was able to enjoy so much of it because unfortunately he would be taken from us in 1991.  I'm still not completely sure exactly what happened, it seemed to come out of nowhere, one minute he was fine and then next we had a gentleman at our door letting us know that my grandfather had passed out in his car and it had rolled down to hit this man's car.

From that moment, he would have sudden fainting spells, a brain hemorrhage resulting in two holes being drained into his skull to relieve the pressure.  Then while in hospital his heart stopped beating numerous times and he had to be brought back over and over again.

He finally passed away at home, I was there for the last moment and it's an image that will forever stay in my mind.

That was really the only sad memory that I have associated with him, the rest was nothing but good times.  By far the biggest and fondest memory I have is of our childhood, and the times he would just walk into the kitchen and whip up a quick simple vanilla cake for us to enjoy.

He didn't care that it was midnight, he only cared that his grandchildren had requested a cake and so he obliged.

This cake right here, is the one he used to make and no matter how many times I have it, or where I am at the time, I am immediately back in that kitchen, and I can see that handsome smile across the table, gosh I loved my grandfather and miss him so much.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and really hope your family will too.  Let me know if you make it and what you think :)

Grandpa Julio's Simple Vanilla Cake

3 eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil
2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 cup of milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour

In a bowl, mix together the eggs, oil and sugar, until well combined, about 2 minutes or so.  Next add in the baking powder, cornstarch, milk and flour and beat for another 2 or 3 minutes until smooth.

Grease a bundt cake pan with butter and flour, pour in the cake mix and bake at 350 degrees.  Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then invert into onto a plate.  Sprinkle on some powdered sugar and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

One of the reasons I love this cake so much, aside from the memories tied to my grandfather, is that I am not much into very rich cakes and frosting and all that jazz, I much prefer a simple cake that is not overly sweet.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Two Week Meal Plan

We are halfway through September, Fall is officially upon us, even if Texas is not exactly letting go of it's summer temperatures.

Today I bring you my meal plan for the next two weeks, some of the things coming up may sound a bit strange but my kids suggested some meals from video games that they play.  I know, crazy but I promise there's nothing out of this world.  You should know by now that I don't make anything that requires a lot of time, strange ingredients or things that you wouldn't readily have available in your fridge or pantry.

As always, links are provided for the recipes already on the blog, any unlinked recipes have not yet been posted.  I've pulled out some of my cookbooks and got inspiration for some of the meals, so those recipes will not yet be available for you all.  They will however show up here, soon.

Saturday 09/21 - Bowties and Blush

Sunday 09/22 - Homemade Pizza

Monday 09/23 - Sour Cream Taco Bake

Tuesday 09/24 - Chicken in Cream Sauce, Mash, Salad

Wednesday 09/25 - Durotar Warrior's Pie

Thursday 09/26 - Slow Cooked Easy Cheesy Ravioli Casserole

Friday 09/27 - Ham Steaks, Scalloped Potatoes

Saturday 09/28 - Ogri'la Chicken Fingers, Onion Rings

Sunday 09/29 - Leftovers

Monday 09/30 - Chicken and Sausage Ragu, Salad

Tuesday 10/01 - Korean Beef Bowl

Wednesday 10/02 - Skewered Peanut Chicken, Sesame Noodles

Thursday 10/03 - Pork Schnitzel, Potato Salad, Best Beans

Monday, September 16, 2019

Tarte de Leite e Canela - Portuguese Milk and Cinnamon Tart

Tarte de Leite e Canela is a delicious, creamy tart made with the simplest of ingredients.  

Tarte de Leite e Canela

Tarte de Leite e Canela

I love a good milk tart, I find that it is one the simplest desserts to put together, and it always seems that you've spent hours on it.

It is very much like a custard tart in that it's filling is creamy, creates it's own sweet pastry like crust and that sprinkling of cinnamon on the top just take this tart to the next level.

Other tarts you may like:
Almond and Orange Tart
Melktert (South African Milk Tart)

Tarte de Leite e Canela

This is such a quick dessert to make, and it is sure to impress your family and friends.  I've made this one a little different in that I substituted normal Vitamin D milk for Lactose Free Milk so that my daughter could enjoy it too, as she is Lactose intolerant.
Tarte de Leite e Canela - Portuguese Milk and Cinnamon Tart

1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1/4 cup of melted butter
4 eggs
1 cup of flour
2 cups of milk (I used Lactose Free Milk)
Cinnamon (to taste)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease a round cake pan with butter and dust with flour.

In a stand mixer, mix the sugar and butter, then add in the eggs, flour and mix well.

Add the milk, stir well and then let stand for ten minutes.

Pour the prepared batter into the pan, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center, comes out clean.

Remove from oven, let cool slightly and then remove from pan. 

Tarte de Leite e Canela

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Lasanha de Pao - Bread Lasagna

Lasanha de Pao is your typical lasagna but using bread slices instead of lasagna noodles.  The slices are nestled between spoonfuls of delicious meat sauce and homemade bechamel sauce.

Lasanha de Pao

Lasanha de Pao - Bread Lasagna

I love a good lasagna and I learned how to make it the traditional way, which is using lasagna noodles.  I'm not saying that I don't still do that, but when I have leftover bread that has gone stale and needs to be used, the last thing I want to do is be wasteful.

This is a great way to make a much loved family favorite, but also use what you have on hand.  The rest of the recipe remains the same, use your favorite meat sauce, use white sauce or ricotta or whatever you wish, but I'm going to show you how I make mine by kicking it up just a little notch.

Other lasagna recipes you may enjoy:

Zucchini and Bacon 3 Cheese Lasagna
Skillet Lasagna
Hot and Spicy Lasagna
Meat Lovers Lasagna

Lasanha de Pao

I'm not going to show you all the steps to this lasagna because there are so many different ways, and people have their favorite meat sauces or fillings.  I'll just basically show you how I made mine.  I make my own meat sauce from scratch, as well as the white bechamel sauce, and you can find the steps to those in my previous lasagna recipes above. 
Lasanha de Pao - Bread Lasagna

1 and half pound meat sauce (use your favorite, homemade or store bought, your choice)
White Bechamel Sauce
Sliced Ham
Sliced Cheese
Sliced Bread (I used my homemade bread)
Shredded Cheese

In a baking dish, add a little of the meat sauce to the bottom of the dish.  Cover with bread slices, then spoon half of the leftover meat sauce, half of the white sauce, cover with sliced ham, sliced cheese and add another layer of bread slices.

Top with the remaining meat, remaining white sauce and cover with shredded cheese.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until bubbly and cheese is melted and brown.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Lasanha de Pao