Saturday, March 06, 2021

2016 Still Blogging

Although 2016 was a watershed year politically, and even though there were dozens and dozens of great recipes, the main takeaway for me this year is the sort of journal I did on the blog of our trip to Europe in the fall. I have wanted to visit France for many, many years and it didn't disappoint. In addition, I had the pleasure of seeing our Irish relatives again and of sharing a bit of Ireland with our daughter. Turns out that she shares a slew of facial features with our cousin. I'd often thought her good looks were inherited from her father's side but clearly the Mangan genes are strong.

We hope to return to Ireland again to see more of that beautiful country and have more fun with Shayne and Barbara and our other relatives. Returning to France is another goal and we have Naomi to visit there and more goodies to eat.

In 2016 I'm still baking with the Cake Slice Bakers. There were a number of Cake Slice Baker challenges this year that I enjoyed. Even though I couldn't eat the finished product because of too much dairy, the top recipe was probably the Brownie Cheesecake, a rich decadent cheesecake filled with delicious, dark chocolate brownie bites. It was like making two desserts since the brownies are made from scratch, too, but well worth the effort. Even if you just make the brownies you'll be in dessert heaven. 

Another one you really want to make is the classic Queen Mother Cake, a dense, super-chocolate flourless European style cake, made even more decadent with Ganache (chocolate melted and mixed with cream) on top. 

If you have a yen for a cake with apples, try the Danish Apple Cake. Since it's made with self-rising flour, your prep time is devoted to preparing the apples. Beyond that it's a very quick to make cake with a delightful moist, not too sweet cake and the tang of apples. 

Perhaps my favorite for looking at was the Tie Dye Cake we baked in August. The swirls of color when you cut a slice are fun for a party and the cake is delicious.

Still baking with the Bread Baking Babes, too. There were a lot of bread recipes that I enjoyed making. Hard to choose! The most colorful was probably the Beet Bread, which I made into rolls. The fresh beets give the exterior a magenta color and the inside is a salmon color. There isn't a huge beet flavor, but these are eye catching!

If you love onions, you can't miss with caramelized onions and those are the star in Caramelized Onion Bread. Part of the making of this bread includes baking it to a dark brown color. Both contribute to the intense and delightful flavor. 

In August, for fun, we made Beignets, those powdered-sugar coated puff balls of New Orleans delight. Since I can't eat the ones made by others due to the dairy, I really enjoyed making these...and eating them. Cinnamon and sugar make a nice coating, too.

Some years the Babes do almost all breads from other countries, but not so much in 2016. My favorite two from this year are the Georgian Bread Boats from Russia, also known as Acharuli Khachapuri, a cheesed filled bread often topped with an egg and eaten hot, 

and the Auberge Walnut Bread from Italy, an artisan loaf which boasts walnuts in every bite. 

Probably the bread that looked the most like it should be on a magazine cover was the Spring Focaccia. You can really have fun decorating this bread with edible garnishes to welcome spring.

Losing my Mom in 2014 has also turned my attention even more to family recipes. One of those is the Classic Oatmeal Meat Loaf she used to make (dolled up a bit by me with mustard and sautéed mushrooms). It might seem strange to put oatmeal in a meat loaf, but it adds bulk and moisture and helps the loaf hold together when you slice it. 

Mom's recipe for Clear Lemon Sauce is also one I used to go with the Gingerbread the Cake Slice Bakers made in December. I love gingerbread but I love this lemon sauce even more and it can be used with other desserts, too. 

Of course Toll House Cookie are the chocolate chip cookie of my childhood, and still my favorite. These French ones have some almond flour and are pretty good cookies, too. 

Probably right behind chocolate chip cookies comes Lemon Bars with their shortbread crust and zingy lemon flavor. I recently made some using this recipe and they were as delicious as I remember!

NoHandle continues to guest blog some really delicious recipes, including Traditional Curry with all the garnishes. 

There are also some memorable recipes that don't really fit a category. Christmas Crack isn't what you might think. It's actually a snack mix that my daughter likes to bring to parties that uses popcorn, pretzels, M&Ms, and white candy coating to create a seasonal treat that is highly addictive (hence the Crack title). 

Another fun recipe is the Raspberry Baby, a breakfast treat that puffs up in the oven, made even better with fresh raspberries. 

In the same vein, the Crisped Fingerlings are another addictive recipe, this time savory. The cooked potatoes are partially mashed in clumps on a baking sheet, doused with olive oil, then roasted until crisped and delicious.

Pickled Beans are another recipe you should try. I used home grown beans, but you can purchase them to pickle. It's fun.

Last, but not least, is a recipe that I created that is dairy free, gluten free and vegan, but still a totally delicious Pumpkin Cookie.

There are dozens and dozens of other great recipes, so feel free to wander around the blog and find your favorites.


  1. This year we're growing white and golden beets... we'll have to try making beet bread with those! The beautiful red color is great - but I'm not sure beet flavor would have added much to bread anyway but a rather flat sweetness. Maybe if one roasted them first it would be different, but I've always enjoyed beets for what goes with them - feta or butter and salt, or pickling brine!

  2. Tanita, Imagine the rolls with golden beets, cheese and pickles!