Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Harold's Chocolate Cake.

We celebrated a family birthday this past weekend {my father-in-law!}, which gave me an opportunity to bake a cake for the first time in I don't know how long. I love to bake but don't do it often enough - except for a special occasion. This is because having cake around on a regular basis is dangerous for my willpower on a Monday night {not that last night would be an example or anything...}

This is my Grandma K's chocolate cake recipe, named after my grandpa Harold as it was his favorite dessert. This is the only chocolate cake recipe Grandma ever made. Grandpa Harold loved it with chocolate frosting and he used to spread butter on each slice like you would on bread. A Midwestern delicacy? My grandparents have since passed away, but this photo was displayed at our wedding last summer in memory. So sweet and young!

This recipe for homemade chocolate cake has been tucked away on my cookbook shelf for a few years, originally published in a local church cookbook from my hometown in Iowa in 2001. Grandma submitted Harold's Favorite Chocolate Cake recipe as a "tried and true" dessert. She was right - it is.

The recipe calls for the addition of 1 cup of cold water to the batter. For an extra special ingredient, I used cherry juice instead. The juice was leftover in my freezer from making Raw Chocolate Cherry Brownie Bars, after cooking down the cherries on the stove. If you're looking for a subtle flavor to go along with chocolate, you can sub any other type of liquid for the cold water in this recipe.

Instead of Grandpa's favorite chocolate frosting, I used a whipped frosting recipe from Basically Yummy Baking. {I used 2 Tablespoons of tart cherry juice and skipped the maraschino cherries}. This was my first attempt making whipped cream frosting and it was incredibly easy and light. Covered with sprinkles of course.

Harold's Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 sticks butter
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa {unsweetened}
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons baking soda + 1/2 cup hot water

How to~
*Cream together the sugar, eggs, and butter.
*Add flour, cocoa, and cold water - mix well.
*Add 2 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 1/2 cup hot water - add and mix well.
*Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes {9x13 inch pan}.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oatworks Smoothies {A review}.

A few weeks ago, I received my first package in our new house - a box with Oatworks smoothies to try. These guys were one of the first things to go in the new kitchen! I'm generally skeptical of bottled smoothies and prefer making my own at home, hiding as many greens as possible into the mix. If you have been reading here for long, you'll know I am a huge smoothie fan {recipe evidence: Healthy Peach Pie Smoothie; Green Tropics Smoothie; Green Smoothie Base Recipe; Cherry Chocolate Protein Smoothie; Strawberry-PB2 Chocolate Smoothie; "Green" Banana Cherry Smoothie; Green Strawberry Smoothie; Secret PB&J Smoothie; Pumpkin Pie Smoothie}.

However, I was excited to give Oatworks a shot and the smoothies did not disappoint. I realize it's not always possible to make your own smoothie at home on a whim, or you may be missing key ingredients for your favorite combo. These drinks are perfect to fill in, especially when you're on the go. Oatworks smoothies are dairy-free, friendly to vegans, and gluten free {if that's your jam}. Each bottle is 170 calories without any added sugar {besides the fruit already included!} and contains 100% juice. The bottles are also free of scary additives {this is a big win in my book}.

Each smoothie contains the equivalent of two bowls of oatmeal - in soluble fiber. You can tell in drinking them, as they're thicker than most bottled smoothie drinks I've tried, and kept me going much longer. I tried these smoothies three ways - as breakfast for a very early morning road trip for work; half a bottle as pre-run fuel; and as a snack on a busy afternoon.

The smoothies come in three flavors, including:
*Peach mango --> a perfect summer smoothie combo. You can't go wrong with these fruits!
*Strawberry banana --> this classic smoothie combo was my favorite of the three.
*Pomegranate blueberry --> this one is on the sweeter side, with a very strong blueberry flavor.

The smoothies are currently available on Amazon {not an affiliate link} and Whole Foods stores in New York City. 

{I was not compensated for this post and opinions are 100% my own. I received free samples of Oatworks to taste + review.}