Cookbook Club – Mexican Night

I’ve had the best time participating in a group called Lancaster County Cookbook Club.  Each month we rotate themes/cookbooks and hostesses, and try out several different recipes.  Back in September, we did a Mexican Night which produced some A-MAZING food.  Pics below.

Some other themes we’ve done…Breakfast for Dinner, Favorite Spice/Herb, Pioneer Woman, Martha Stewart, Tapas, Meatless, and more.













Tiramisu Napoletana


This is my new favorite dessert!

I made this recipe for this month’s Facebook Cookbook Club’s theme – Italian dishes.  I was so excited for this theme because of my love for all things Italian – well, most things. 😉

In the summer of 2006, I was blessed with the chance to intern at a University in Naples, Italy.  While I was there I took a cooking class where we made this Tiramisu recipe.  I remember thinking how the chef made everything look so simple – simple ingredients, simple methods.  Well, when I got the cookbook from the class and opened it up back in the US, it didn’t look quite as simple.  The measurements were all in grams (what?!?) and espresso is tricky to locate in American grocery stores let alone make in this foreign coffee maker I now owned (see above).


Well, finally in 2013, I decided it was time I tackle this recipe.  Thanks to google and a scale, I was able to make quick work of converting and measuring out the ingredients.  When the recipe was all said and done, the only thing that didn’t feel “simple” was the part where I had to brew espresso in my little espresso maker 6 times in order to have enough for the recipe….need a bigger espresso maker!  Does anyone know if you can use the keurig for espresso? If so, I’m an idiot.

Here’s a photo of the sponge cake…it blows my mind that it just used eggs, flour, and sugar! See…so simple.



Brandon tried some of the espresso in the little cups I brought back from Italy.  He was very dainty about it. 🙂



Assembling the layers of sponge cake and cream filling…



YUM…we totally had passive aggressive discussions about who got the last piece.



(Adapted from Mami Camilla’s La Cucina Napoletana cookbook by Chef Longo Biagio)

 Active Work Time 45 minutes; Total Prep Time 1 hour, 30 minutes (Serves 8)


  • 5 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups (500 grams) white sugar
  • 4 cups (500 grams) flour, plus extra
  • Butter
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
  2. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar together on high speed 20 minutes or until creamy and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add flour to mixture, continuing to beat, until batter is completely mixed.
  4. Butter and flour 9×13 pan (or 10” round pan or 2 small round pans). Pour batter into pan.
  5. Bake 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
  6. Turn out of pan.  Using a large knife, cut cake into two layers.  Then, cut cake into smaller rectangular pieces.


  • 1 cup (250 grams) whipping cream
  • 1 cup (250 grams) mascarpone cheese
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 5 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 4 ½ tsp. (25 grams) vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp. San Marzano liqueur – I used a coffee liqueur bc I couldn’t find San Marzano
  1. Using electric mixer, beat cream on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  2. Beat eggs and sugar on high speed until well blended.
  3. Add mascarpone cheese and whipped cream; continue to blend.
  4. Add vanilla and liqueur; mix well.


  • Sponge Cake
  • 2 cups brewed coffee, black – I used espresso
  • Cream filling
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  1. Spread a thin layer of cream filling.
  2. Soak cake pieces in coffee until saturated, but still hold together.
  3. Put down a cake layer.  Top with 1/3 of remaining cream filling. Repeat until three layers have been used.  Top final layer with remaining cream.
  4. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.  Sprinkle with cocoa powder before serving.

Linking to…

Blissfully Ever After

Apple Crisp Recipe

God Bless my Grandmother.  She always has the best recipes. 🙂

This one was, of course, awesome too.  I made this for our Lancaster County Cookbook Club April meeting.  Like our Facebook Cookbook Club, our theme was to make a dish with your favorite spice.  Again, I chose nutmeg (like I did for this Sweet Potato Pie recipe). The beauty of our Lancaster County Cookbook Club is that we actually get together and taste test all the recipes.  It is a beautiful thing, people.  I highly recommend it.


The filling

**The filling amounts on the original recipe actually gave me enough filling to do two apple crisps with the sizes of pans I was using! One for cookbook club and one for us to eat at home…yay!


The topping

**From the original recipe, I doubled the topping because of the extra surface area from doing two pans.



This is how you wrap the foil around the edges.  Take a long piece of foil, fold it in half, and wrap it around the edge of the pans.  Fold it down around the edges of the pan to prevent crisping.


Served with a scoop of Butter Pecan ice cream or Vanilla Bean ice cream.



Makes a Deep 9”x13”x 2” Stoneware Dish (or (2) 3 Qt. Pans**)

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Using softened Butter generously grease deep 9”x13”x 2” Stoneware Dish (or Two 3 Qt. Pans**).

10 Cups Peeled Cored, Sliced, Rome or McIntosh (slice Apples  into thick slices) (about 11 big Apples)

  • 1 ½ Tbs. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Combine Apples and Lemon Juice in a large bowl; set aside.

  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ Tsp. Salt
  • 1 ½ Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Using a whisk, combine Sugar, Flour, Salt, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg; mix with Apples, to evenly coat. Spread Apples evenly in bottom of Dish; set aside.

TOPPING: (Double topping if using two 3 Qt. pans**)

  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour                             
  • 1 Cup Medium Brown Sugar                     
  • ½ Tsp. Ground Cinnamon                        
  • ¼ Tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg              
  • ¼ Tsp. Salt                                                         
  • ¼ Tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ Tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Quick Rolled Oats
  • 10 Tbs. Unsalted Butter (melted)
  • ½ Cup + 2 Tbs. Coarsely Chopped Pecans, Optional
  • ½ Cup + 2 Tbs. Hot Water

Combine Flour, Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Salt, Baking Powder, and Baking Soda in a large mixing Bowl; add Oats. Add melted Butter and mix, using a fork, till all is moistened with Butter.

Sprinkle the Topping evenly over the Apples; pressing and smoothing it down gently with a spoon; sprinkle Pecans over top.

Pour the ½ Cup plus 2 Tbs. Hot Water over all.

Make a collar with the foil (dull side out) bending top over somewhat (leave an opening) to almost cover top of Apple Crisp, to keep edges and top of Apple Crisp from over browning.

Bake Dish on center Oven Rack for 53 minutes (48 minutes for McIntosh Apples); remove foil and bake 17 more minutes (15 minutes for McIntosh Apples).

Remove Dish to Wire Rack to cool for about 2 hours.

Serve with Vanilla Bean or Butter Pecan Ice Cream, if desired.

Unsolicited Advice – Measuring Flour


Let me just begin by saying that I am not at all an authority on flour-measuring or any form of cooking whatsoever.  I was just making up some Zucchini Bread the other day and thought, “I wonder if everyone else measures flour like I do? If not, how do they do it? Would they like to know how I do it?”

This is the kind of self-talk that comes from writing a blog now.  Thanks, blog.

So, if you are interested, here are two ways that I measure flour…without putting it through the sifter. 

Grandma, am I doing this right? 🙂

Method #1:  Three Dirty Dishes

I leave this little whisk in my flour container permanently.  Never gets washed.  Then, when I’m ready to take out some flour, I whisk all the flour in the container so it is nice and airy, rather than tightly packed or compacted as it is after storage and handling.


Next, I use a large spoon to gently scoop flour into the measuring cup.  Again, the goal is to keep the flour as airy as possible.


Finally, I use the side of the whisk to level off the flour.  That’s it!


Method #2:  One to Two Dirty Dishes

This method definitely cuts down on the number of dishes that are dirtied while cooking, but it requires a handy little kitchen scale.  It also requires this nice little measurement converter from the  King Arthur Flour website.  It’s really awesome.

So, all you have to do here is set your bowl on the scale.


Zero out the scale.


Use the King Arthur Master Weight Chart to determine how much flour you will need.  For All-Purpose flour in my example here, 1 cup = 4-1/4 oz. weight.  My recipe calls for 3 cups flour, so…

4-1/4 oz. x 3 = 12-3/4 oz. weight

I can either spoon the flour into the bowl or just dump it in from the container to achieve this weight.


Here’s a picture of my scale…


Hope this helps someone or at least cuts down on dishes!

How do you measure flour? Is there a better way that I’m missing out on? Please let me know in the comments below!

April Kids Cookbook Club


Mini Corn Dog Muffin Bites (click picture for recipe)

A few months back, through our Moms & Kids Meetup group, we started a fun little event called Kids Cookbook Club.  It was inspired by our Cookbook Club that meets locally.

How it works: Each month we pick a kids-geared website/cookbook from which to cook.  Moms and their kids will choose a recipe from that website/cookbook and make it for the next Kids Cookbook Club meeting.  The idea here is to try to get the little ones involved in the cooking. 🙂 Little B (also known as “B The Destroyer” – said in a Hulk Hogan voice, of course) is a little young for many kitchen tasks, but I try to involve him every once in a while by stirring or sprinkling cheese.

At the meetings, we spread out the food on the table, take pictures, say what we made, and dig in.  Side note: many of our recipes incorporate hidden vegetables. Bonus!


Pizza Balls (click picture for recipe)

These photos are form the first meeting where the theme was the website


Pasta with Corn and Ricotta (click picture for recipe)


Homemade Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream (click picture for recipe)

Would you like to join us in our Kids Cooking Club and blog about it?

This month we’re cooking from…

Click on picture for ordering information or borrow from your local library.

Linking to…

Five Little Chefs


Link up your recipes below:

April Cookbook Club

One of my new favorite clubs I’ve recently joined is a local Cookbook Club.  We meet once a month at someone’s house and bring all the recipes we’ve made to share with everyone.  Then, we talk a little about that month’s cookbook/theme/website and do a lot of “mmm…this is good!” and “mmm…what is in this?”

A cookbook club is similar to a book club in that we choose a cookbook/theme/type of food each month from which we try new/old recipes.  I thought it would be fun to offer the opportunity for those in the blog world to join in on some cookbook club adventures.

Each month, I will post a theme and discussion questions.  Then, participants can link up to a blog post with photos, recipes, and answer discussion questions to share their experience.

If you’d like to join the fun, here’s what to do:

  1. Check out the cookbook/theme/website we will be cooking from below.
  2. Pick out your recipe and make it for yourself, family, or friends.
  3. Take photos of your recipe.
  4. Create a blog post with your recipe, photos, and answers to the discussion questions below.
  5. Include a link in your post back to this post.
  6. Link your blog post below.
  7. Check out and comment on other Cookbook Club posts.
  8. You’re Done!

march cookbook club

Theme: Make a recipe using your favorite spice.

Q1: What is your favorite spice and what recipe did you make with it?

Q2: Where did your recipe come from?

Q3: Did you like/dislike your recipe? What about it did you like/dislike? Did your family like/dislike?

Q4: Did you learn any new cooking techniques while making this recipe?

Q5: Anything interesting about your favorite spice? Feel free to Google a fact to share!

Q6: Would you make this recipe again?

Sweet Potato Pie – Facebook Cookbook Club


Sweet Potato Pie

I have recently started a Facebook Cookbook Club to unite all those who like to try new recipes/cookbooks/types of food and share their experience with others.  It has been really fun so far to see what everyone is making.  The Club is similar to your typical book club. We choose a different book/theme/blog/website to cook from each month and members post their photos, recipes, and answers to discussion questions on Facebook.

If you’d like to be a part of our Facebook Cookbook Club, just comment below with your name as it appears on Facebook and I’ll add you to the group!

April’s Theme – Cook a recipe with your favorite spice

My favorite spice to use is freshly grated nutmeg.  My Grandma Louise taught me to do this and it really makes a difference in recipes with nutmeg.  Here’s what it looks like…


Freshly Grated Nutmeg

How to: Use the whole nut and a small grater.  I never even wash my grater since the only thing I do with it is grate nutmeg.  Just keep it in a ziploc bag in your pantry and grab it when you need it.  Also, Grandma Louise says to store the nutmeg in the freezer so it stays fresh longer.

Here’s the recipe that I made for April’s Facebook Cookbook Club.  It was soooooo good! My toddler even liked it if that says anything!

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Note: The recipe calls for nuts in the topping, but since we didn’t have nuts we went without.  The pie may have looked better with the nuts but it still tasted great!


Make in a 10 ½ or 11 inch Stoneware Pie Plate

  • About 3 Lbs. Sweet Potatoes (I like the Garnet or Jewel Variety) (do not peel)

Pierce Sweet Potatoes with fork all over.  Place Potatoes on a Baking Sheet and bake in a 350 degree Oven, about 40 to 50 minutes or until very soft. Remove from Oven and let cool.  Peel Sweet Potatoes and run thru food processor or ricer.

Measure 4 ½ Cups Mashed Sweet Potatoes, reserving the extra for later use.

  • ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Tsp. Freshly Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ Tsp. Salt                                             
  • 3 Eggs (lightly beaten)                                        
  • 2 ¼ Tsp. Vanilla Extract                     
  • ¾ Cup Whole Milk
  • 6 Tbs. Unsalted Butter (melted)
  • 1 (10 ½ or 11 inch) Unbaked Pie Shell

Half bake the Pie Crust in a 10 ½ or 11 inch Stoneware Pie Plate; place Pie Crust in Pie Plate, line with Foil or Parchment Paper and place Pie Crust Weights on top of the Foil or Parchment Paper; bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes; remove from Oven and remove Pie Weights. Turn Oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Using a whisk, combine Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Salt in Small Bowl.

Combine mashed Sweet Potatoes, beaten Egg Yolks, Vanilla, Milk and melted Butter; mix in sugar/spice mixture. Pour mixture into Pie Shell.

Combine the topping ingredients, with a fork and sprinkle over top Sweet Potato mixture.


  • ¾ Cup (6  1/8 oz.) Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup (2  1/8 oz.) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ Cups (5  5/8 oz.) Coarsely Chopped Pecans
  • 8 Tbs. Unsalted Butter (melted)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Cover top edges of Pie with Foil to keep crust and top of Pie from over browning.  Place Pie on Rack in lower half of Oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until almost set in center.

Cool on Wire Rack for 3 hours; chill in refrigerator if desired.

Little B really liked the Cool Whip.

Little B really liked the Cool Whip.

Linking this post to…

Fantastic Thursday #40 – Five Little Chefs

Showcase Your Talent Thursday #55 – What’s Cooking, Love?

Chic and Crafty Party – The Frugal Girls

Thriving on Thursdays – Domesblissity

Inspire Me Please – Blissfully Ever After