Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!!

I hope that you all have a wonderful time ringing in 2010.  It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since we anxiously experienced Y2K.  I'm excited by the potential of the 2010s!  There are so many things to look forward to!
We are ringing in the new year very quietly here.  We had a light, celebratory dinnner that, in a way, incorportated some of our extended family.

Raspberry pie made with raspberries my grandpa gave us from his raspberry patch.  He brought a few bags of frozen berries when he came for Christmas.  Thanks Grandpa!

Bison salami (with crackers and cheese) from a gift box my sister sent for Christmas.  Thanks Sis!

Last, but not least, virgin Strawberry Daquiris made in the Cuisinart Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker my mom gave us for Christmas.  Yummy!  We've had this for less than a week and we've already made the daquiris, rootbeer slushies, and mixed berry frozen yogurt.  We're looking forward to some wonderful cool, healthy, snacks/desserts as we warm to summer.  Thanks Mom!
Once the house is quiet, I'm hoping to pop some popcorn and enjoy a movie.  Have a safe and happy night everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Most Expensive Coffee Cake I Will Ever Make

Certain foods have a history. They remind us of events in our past. They bring back memories and emotions. My mom’s coffee cake is kind of like that. It brings back sense of warmth and hospitality. I love my mom’s coffee cake. Okay, to be fair, it’s Better Homes and Gardens coffee cake, but my mom is the one who made it and taught me how to make it. It has always reminded me of when we had guests for breakfast. Now it has a new story.

I don’t make Mom’s coffee cake very often because, on a daily basis, I prefer something healthier. However, a couple of weeks ago I decided to treat the family and, in the process, see how I could play with the recipe to make it a bit better for us. In an unusual move, I served it from the table. Then we left for a while. I’m usually very careful about food on the table, and clearing it when we’re done. Unfortunately, it was a hectic morning, we were in a rush to get out the door, and I forgot about clearing the table. Well, remember this girl? She was more than happy that I didn’t clear the table. When we returned home, the ½ - 2/3 of the coffee cake that was left was gone and my slim 19 lb beagle was in her recliner looking like someone watching football after Thanksgiving dinner. Ordinarily our only problem would be an extremely stuffed Beagle – except that I had put raisins in the coffee cake.

We had heard how raisins can cause renal failure in dogs. I called the vet and we rushed her right in.  The interesting thing is that at this point it’s completely unpredictable. A dog can eat a ton of raisins and be fine or it can eat a single raisin and die. After the vet induced vomiting (hopefully getting all the raisins, but not sure), we were given the options of taking her home and observing her or putting her on a 48 hour IV flush, including emergency vet service for overnight observation. The problem with taking her home was that by the time we noticed something wrong, it would be too late. The problem with the 48 hour IV flush was that it may not have been needed, and it was a great expense (not that she isn’t worth every penny). We couldn’t go with the observation option because we couldn’t imagine being wrong and losing her, but, after discussing it with the vet, the 48 hour IV flush seemed like too much (esp. since we responded quickly, probably got all the raisins out, and there was no guarantee that it would work). So, we compromised. We did a 30 hour IV flush, one overnight stay with the emergency vet service, and a follow-up renal test a few days later. After an anxious 4 days, and many prayers, she received a clean bill of health.  Someday I will make the coffee cake again, but probably never again with raisins.

For your enjoyment, here is the recipe as printed in Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book (1989). Just please remember that if you decide to add raisins, keep it away from your dog, if you have one.

Streusel Coffee Cake

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
½ cup milk
¼ cup cooking oil
¾ cup raisins or semi-sweet chocolate pieces (optional)

Streusel Topping:
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
½ cup chopped nuts

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together egg, milk, and cooking oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Mix well. If desired, stir in raisins or chocolate pieces. Pour into a greased 9x9x2-inch baking pan.

For streusel topping, combine brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake in 375F oven for about 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Server warm. Serves 9.

Personal Notes:

  1. I used 1 cup all-purpose flour and ½ cup whole wheat flour
  2. I used 2 Tbsp. cooking oil and 2 Tbsp. plain, low-fat yogurt
  3. I added wheat germ to the streusel topping