Tag Archives: favorite cookbook friday

Favorite Cookbook Friday #8 and a FAIL!

28 Apr

The picture of this cupcake is enough reasons to pick up the Magnolia Bakery cookbook and take it home. (Original Picture from Magnolia Bakery Cookbook)


It’s the end of April and I have not met all of my goals for the month……..Sigh. Although I did not write them down or post them anywhere, they were in my head. And, they still are. April has given me challenges while I was thought it would be a breeze being that April is my birth month. Yay!!!…April 3rd was my birthday and I spent it recovering from what I think was food poisoning. I spent the first 3 days of the month at home except for one 8 hour shift of work that turned out to be a blessing because, it was an observation shift. The rest of the time, I sat home with no appetite and no ambition. By the 4th, I was out and about without appetite, taking care of business. I baked my self a birthday cake on April 5th. The finished product was not what I had intended or expected. But, I moved on. I put candles on it and sang happy birthday to me and cut it to have for lunch at work that night.. NOTE: Do not judge my baking skills by the pictures that will be featured here today.) LOL….Actually, it was not the baking or the cake itself that was bad, it was the frosting that did not set up. Ugh. I was not happy…..with the finished cake presentation.

I also had work challenges that I have been dealing with this month but, have since been resolved. I am so grateful for my job, my bosses, and my co-workers. The challenges I experienced almost got the best of me and, may have had me down for a minute, but though communication, honesty and support of my family and bosses, I have regained my footing and feel pretty good about my job again. I’m feeling pretty good again about everything… But, I have to say that this month everything had seemed to give me some type of grief… It distracted me from what my goals were and, what I wanted to work on to become more successful personally. I didn’t realize this was going on for about 3 weeks. I don’t think I cooked more than twice this month, I just felt yucky mentally and physically… Then I realized something was purposely keeping me away and distracted from my plans/goals/tasks I had set for myself to become a better me… As soon as I conscious to it, I knew I had to get right back in focus.  I had to get back to working on my goals, my blog, and me. I was done with the failures/losses for the month of April.

So, I started making wins immediately. I booked airline reservations to Houston to visit my sister next month….I have not flown in 28 years. Yes I’m nervous. But, I’m going. I have never been to see her in all the time she has been there…. (What a bad sister I am. I know.)…By happy accident I wrote out a plan for growing my brand… I entered a contest and it asked all types of questions on my vision and when I answered them I realized I answered a lot of questions I had for myself… It all came together once I started writing. I call that a Win Win!

So, as this month began really bumpy and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, I’m glad it did happen. I got a few “W’s” and a couple of “L’s” (wins and losses mom), and if I keep going I know can certainly get more “W’s”….


This week’s Favorite Cookbook Friday “The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook” is a winner in my book! Written by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey, Magnolia Bakery is probably one of the most famous bakeries in New York if not the whole U.S.A…… Scratch that, the world. I just checked out there website again and they have 9 U.S. locations and 17 international locations!!!! How exciting is that?…This place is on my long list of food spaces to visit. If only for a cupcake or 2….dozen.

The recipes I tried though are a 50/50 half win half loss…. I’ll explain but, first let me tell you why this book is a favorite of mine. Three words: OLD FASHIONED RECIPES. To me old fashioned basically means comfort. It could mean food, recipes, or even a quilt or afghan that was past down from one generation to another.  Old fashioned makes me feel good and secure. You can’t feel that way about everything or everyone. It’s almost like a special nostalgia feeling you can only get from being at home or when you think of your grandparents………I decided to bake myself the Old Fashioned “Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake” with “Traditional Vanilla Buttercream Icing”. I personally don’t usually go for cakes with “birthday cake” icing because the icing tends to be too sweet for me. If I happen to have a cake with the too sweet icing, I generally flip it over and eat it from the bottom up because the cake is the best part anyway for me. Why waste time getting to the best part? Anyway, this cake is very easy to make even if you have never baked a cake before. And, the cake itself is delicious. I liked it. I like cake. It was moist and had good flavor. That was not the problem. I give the cake a ‘W”. It was the icing… It did not set up well. I made the frosting after I put the cake in the oven….I mixed and colored it and kept it completely sealed on the kitchen table until the cake was cooled and ready to be assembled….When i mixed the icing, it seemed to be stable but, when I came back to it hours later it was runny and soupy….I still assembled the cake and frosted it and watched the icing just fall off the cake before I could even make my way around the whole cake. For those reasons I give the icing a “L”…… I to scrape off as much of it as I could and make a “naked” cake. A cake that basically has a crumb coat of icing is a “naked” cake. You can find pictures of naked cakes on the internet…There will be some not so great photos here too. But, please reference the internet for a better interpretation on this one, thank you.

I was so disappointed in the finished product, I baked it again later that week and just bought some milk chocolate icing from the store and used it on the new cake. Who does’t love chocolate??  I did not want to be defeated. I do not have pictures to show for it because I was really anxious to cut into this cake and did not think pictures at that moment. I thought only about my belly. Again. LOL.

Here’s the recipe for the cake. Try it out and see for yourself. You have to choose the icing though.


Traditional Vanilla Birthday Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups self rising flour

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour three 9×2 inch round cake pans. Line the cake pan bottoms with wax paper circles.

To make the cake: In a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine and stir together the flours. Combine and stir together the milk and vanilla extract. Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture and then 1/2 of the milk mixture and repeat beginning and ending with the flour.  Mixing each addition just till combined. Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-28 minutes or until a toothpick/cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Cool cake layer in the pan for ten minutes. Remove cake layer from pan and then remove and let cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Assemble and frost with your favorite homemade buttercream or chocolate icing. If your in a pinch. Pick some up at the closest grocery store! (Smile)

Spray your pans with pan spray or grease with shortening and line with wax paper.

Measure everything into separate bowls and combine according to the recipe.

Cream together the butter and the sugar with the mixer on low.

Mix together the butter and sugar until combined and fluffy.

Mix in the room temperature eggs one at a time just till the yellow disappears.

Next, mix in the 1/3 of the flours.

Mix in 1/2 of the milk and repeat with the flour & milk. End with the last 1/3 of the flour.

Your mixture should look like this with all ingredients combined.

Evenly divide cake batter among the prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees 20-28 minutes.

Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire cooling racks.

Choose your favorite cake plate to assemble and frost your cake!

Evenly distribute your desired icing on each layer. Put as much or as little as you like.

Pinks are one of my favorite colors. I had so much hope for my Pink Vanilla Cake. 😦

I couldn’t bare to show you how the icing just fell straight of the cake so I just scraped it off.

That’s ok, I made the best of it anyway. I still had my birthday cake.

What is your favorite Birthday Cake flavor? Let me know in the comments.

If you liked this post or any of the others also let me know.

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Thank you for stopping by mouthfuloffood.com,
















Favorite Cookbook Friday #6 with Simply Sweet (and buttery) Cornbread

24 Mar


Hello everyone!

It has been a few weeks since my last post, it has been very busy at my away from home work place. When the demand for overtime exist we have to step up to the “plate” or step out of employment. There are really no other options when it is a 24 hour 7 day a week operation. Any who, I’ve missed sharing with all of you who take the time to read mouthfuloffood.com. It is really a great delight to be able to express how I feel about food, recipes, cookbooks and my family with you. Thank you for taking the time to be here.

The Get ‘Em Girls’ Guide to the Power of Cuisine: Perfect Recipes for Spicing Up Your Love Life is this week’s choice for Favorite Cookbook Friday. Authored by culinary enthusiast Shakara Bridgers, Jeniece Isley, and Joan A. Davis, this book is second of three books by this trio and is a masterpiece. This second book I believe, is a second edition of the first cookbook that was published by the ladies. Some of the recipes are the same, some have been omitted and there has been some new additions to the newer version. All the while the purchase was still worth the duplication in my culinary information center.


I first read of the “Get Em’ Girls” in a Houston Texas newspaper several years ago. My mom brought the article home to me in Flint, Michigan after her visit with my sister.  I remember reading the article at my desk at work and being excited for these ladies becoming cookbook authors. Immediately after I was off the clock I was ordering their first cookbook on Amazon. I was not disappointed and, have not been with those Get Em’ Girls. Filled with tips for spicing up your love life, cooking for your love, reasons to cook for him, and, preparing you to do so even if you have no idea what to do in the kitchen arena. Then there are the RECIPES!!!!….

  • “Grown ‘n’ Sexy” desserts meant for sharing
  •  “Morning After” Breakfast
  • “Bring Him Back” Chicken Soup
  • “Meet the Parents” Carrot cake …and today’s recipe:
  • “Simply Sweet” Cornbread

This cornbread is delicious plain and simple.uj Yummy yummy to my tummy. If you like a sweet cornbread such as a box of Jiffy corn muffins, you will L.O.V.E. this one. And it take no time to make. The wait time is all in the oven. Sweet yellow cornbread hot out the oven with butter and/or honey. There are no words….. Except two…… MORE PLEASE. And when you taste this one you will understand why…..

img_1089I first made this recipe way back in April 2010!!


If you happen to be a novice baker, this is a good place to start. Basically, you only need 2 bowls, a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and a round cake pan. Measure all dry ingredients  into one bowl for the dry. Then measure all the wet ingredients and place into the bowl for the wet. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir just till combined. Pour into the prepared greased and bake. Easy Peasy. You are a success. This can be your first dish to take to a pot luck. Congratulations!!!!


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup vegetable oil 

4 tablespoons butter, melted*

Butter, for serving

Honey, for serving (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenhiet. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with your preferred pan spray.
  2. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, lightly death the eggs. Stir in the milk, vegetable oil, and butter until well mixed. Slowly stir in the egg mixture into the cornmeal mixture and mix until just combined. Pour the batter into prepared skillet.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. 
  5. Serve with additional butter and honey if using.

Serves 8 generously.

img_1031-1Measure the dry ingredients into one bowl.


img_1049Measure the wet ingredients into a separate bowl or large measuring cup.

img_1050Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir till combined.

img_1053This should how the combination should look when totally combined.

img_1061Pour the cornbread mixture into the prepared pan and place into the preheated oven.

img_1063Bake for 20-25 minutes till done. Test with a clean toothpick.

img_1064-1See, even the cornbread itself knows how good it is. It’s smiling!!!

img_1068Turn the cornbread out onto a serving plate and cut 8 ways. Serve hot with butter and/or honey.

If you happen to be a novice baker, this is a good place to start. Basically, you only need 2 bowls, a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and a round cake pan. Measure all dry ingredients into one bowl for the dry. Then measure all the wet ingredients and place into the bowl for the wet. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and stir just till combined. Pour into the prepared greased and bake. Easy Peasy. You are a success. This can be your first dish to take to a pot luck. Congratulations!!!!


How’d it turn out?! Great, I hope!

What do you prefer savory or sweet cornbread?

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time,


Favorite Cookbook Friday #5 with Spicy Chicken Salad

11 Feb

My 5th selection for Favorite Cookbook Friday is LaBelle Cuisine (Recipes to Sing About) by Patti LaBelle with Laura B. Randolph. I received this book as a Christmas gift from my mother many years ago. This is how my collection began. Although this wasn’t the first book in my collection, it was a very early entry to my catalog. 

LaBelle Cuisine was Ms. Patti’s first cookbook, first published in 1999. On the book jacket Ms. Patti writes: “From the time I was a little girl, I knew there were two things in the world I was born to do: sing and cook.” Well, if you were born on planet Earth you know Patti LaBelle can S.I.N.G. Period…. And we also learned she can burn in the kitchen too. In her book she highlights all memories of cooking for loved ones, close friends and family…. Which is what probably let to the cookbooks. And now, for more than a year everyone has been talking about her Sweet Potato Pies and her other bakery items now being sold in grocery stores. Although I haven’t tried one myself, I do know that at one point the stores could not keep the pies on the shelves. I think that is a good sign. She knows what she’s doing when it comes to satisfying the belly.

As I was looking through this book millionth time, I could not help but to get excited to try the recipes that I had not tried before. Recipes I did not think I was interested in because my palate had not known those tastes. Now I’m ready for more. I’m so glad that my taste buds have matured with me! 

Some of my favorites from LaBelle Cuisine.

  • Bodacious Barbecue Sauce
  • Zuri’s Favorite Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip
  • Home Fried Potatoes 
  • Heavenly Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Anna’s Irresistible Pound Cake
  • Peanut Butter Cookies
  • Company’s Coming Chicken Salad

…. and there are many more in this gold mine I can’t wait to taste!Can you see my handwritten notes on Chicken Salad?

You will understand my enthusiasm when you try today’s recipe, Company’s Coming Chicken Salad.  A recipe so tasty that you won’t want to share with company. (Laughing but very serious).
    Company’s Coming Chicken Salad 

Serve on bread for sandwiches at lunch or with crackers for a snack.

Raw chicken never looks good but, this is where the magic begins for this palate pleaser. 

Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper on both sides before placing in the stock pot.

Cover the chicken with the large pieces of celery, onion, green pepper and bay leaf. Put enough water in the pot to cover the chicken.

To prepare the chicken:

  • 4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (3-4 pounds)
  • 1/2 onion cut into large chunks
  • 2-3 celery tops and bottoms cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 green bell pepper cut into large chunks
  • 3-4 bay leaf
  • salt
  • ground black pepper 

enough water to cover the seasoned chicken in a large stock pot (6-8 cups)Place the top on the pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for at least 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking go ahead and cut up the veggies.

When the chicken is ready….

Shred each chicken breast using 2 forks.

Transfer the shredded chicken to a bowl large enough to mix all the ingredients together.

Throw in all the vegetables!

Next, add in the mayo and the salad dressing.

Give it a thorough stir.

Cover and refrigerate, if you can. I have to have some now. (My belly will be happy)

    For the salad:

    • shredded chicken, from 4 chicken breast halves
    • 1/2 large red onion, cut into a small dice
    • 2 medium celery ribs, cut into small dice
    • 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tablespoon dill relish
    • 1 tablespoon sweet relish
    • 1 tablespoon diced jalapeño 
    • 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/2-1 teaspoon poppy seed
    • 1/2-3/4 cup real mayonnaise
    • 1/2-3/4 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
    • paprika (for garnish)
    • leaf lettuce leaves (for garnish)

    Place the seasoned chicken, large pieces of onion, celery, green bell pepper and bay leaf in a large stock pot. Add just enoug cold water to cover the chicken. Place a top on the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer the chicken for at least 20 minutes or until there are no signs of pink when pierced at the thickest part of the breast. Take the chicken breast one at a time from the pot. Remove and discard the skin and bones Shred the chicken using two forks until there are no large pieces.  Transfer all the shredded chicken into a very large bowl.

    In the same large bowl combine the chicken with the diced onion, green bell pepper, celery, minced garlic, relishes, jalapeño, crushed red pepper flakes and, poppy seed. Stir in 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and 1/2 cup Miracle Whip. If more is needed, add in a little at a time of each in equal amounts to desired consistency is reached. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or, even better over night. 

    *When ready to serve place a whole lettuce leaf on a small salad plate as a garnish. Next using a serving scoop place the nicely formed chicken salad on top of the leaf lettuce. Sprinkle with paprika and serve with your favorite crackers.

    Favorite Cookbook Friday #4

    3 Feb

    Hard Copies. That’s what I like. Everything now days can be found, downloaded, uploaded,  listened to, viewed on or, read on the internet. For me nothing feels better than a book in hand when it comes to reading. When it comes to reading recipes I want to understand the ideas of the writer by reading other recipes by the same author. I read and browse the internet almost everyday always looking for new ideas. But, nothing beats a real book. I’m even more passionate about my cookbooks. I don’t know how many I have. I might not ever know because they are everywhere. I know exactly where each one is when I need or want it too; in case you were wondering.  I sometimes fall asleep with 3 or 4 in the bed with me. My books, next to my family and friends are the most valuable to me. My love for my culinary library brought me to the idea of sharing with you my favorites of the bunch. Which is how I came up with Favorite Cookbook Friday!!!  Every week I will share a cookbook and a recipe from my personal library that I declare a favorite. And look! We are already at number four!!

    This weeks book is not a cookbook per se’. It is a lexicon for the lover of cuisine, for the novice cook, the culinary student, and the home grown gourmet. From A-Z there are over 16,000 words and definitions in these pages. They all relate to food, cooking,service, nutrition, cooking methods, sanitation and food safety.

    Webster’s New World Dictionary of Culinary Arts, by Steven Labensky, Gaye G. Ingram and  Sarah Labensky is a wealth of information. Before looking everything up on the internet. I had this book. It’s been by my bed in the stacks of books whenever I have a question. From what a particular dish is or what’s the difference between heavy cream, half and half and plain old whole milk.  I’ve had this book for almost 20 years. I still use it. I may not ever know ever word that is in it. But, I know that if I need to know a word in regards to the kitchen or cooking it’s going to be in this book. 

    Who knew there were so many nationalities of mustards? Have you ever wondered what does al dente’ mean?What is a brine? Or what is brining? Emulisify? How do you do that?… The answers are all in the culinary dictionary. 

    What is one of your favorite resources of knowledge for all things food? 

    Do you have a question or comment for me? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for stopping by mouthfuloffood.com. 

    Until next time,


    Favorite Cookbook Friday #3 with Muffins of Blueberries!

    27 Jan

    What can I say about blueberry muffins? Oh, I know! “I LOVE THEM!”….. But let me be honest, my favorite recipe for Blueberry muffins comes from a box of Betty Cocker blueberry muffin mix with the can of “blueberries”inside…  Yes, it’s true. That is a box of absolute goodness. When the makers of Betty Crocker developed that recipe they created magic. Later, they decided to sell a mix with twice the berries and that made breakfast at my house double delicious. Fast forward some years and now we discard the can of syrup and “blueberries” and add in a pint of fresh ones. 

    Still, I have insisted on making muffins from scratch. To see if I can find a recipe just as satisfying to me as Betty Crocker. My search for a good recipe has brought out a few of my favorite cookbooks off the shelves and on the kitchen table for experimentations.  This week I have made 100 muffins. Yes that is correct, 100. I baked and gave away several dozen muffins this week and most recipients thanked me with eyes of excitement. I’m still holding on to my original favorite recipe (the box). This recipe will be the second place winner. 

    This weeks recipe and cookbook selection comes from a book titled “The Muffin Lady” written by Linda Fisher with Andrew Marton. The booked is loaded with recipe after recipe of muffins. Included in the pages are recipes of cupcakes, quick breads, and cookies, and icings. My favorite recipes in her book are the pancakes, chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies and, today’s feature BLUEBERRY MUFFINS. From beginning to end this book is amazing. She shares her recipes,why she was baking muffins in a fire station kitchen and, some of her life story. I connected with her on so many things, baking and selling food products to make ends meet, single parenting and, the obstacles from or for both but, I digress.

    Let me go ahead a share this recipe:

    Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl. Combine both in the large bowl. 

    Stir until just combined.

    Add in the freshness of blueberries!

    Gently fold them in. Be careful not to overmix.Divide the batter evenly in the muffin pans.

            Bake till done. 20-25 minutes.

             Blueberry Blueberry Muffins 


       4 cups rounded all purpose flour 

      2 cups granulated sugar  

       2 tablespoons baking powder

       2 teaspoons salt

       4 large eggs

       1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

      1 stick butter melted

       1 1/2 cups whole milk

       2 teaspoons vanilla extract

       2 pints fresh blueberries *at least*                  


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Rinse and drain the blueberries in a colander or mesh strainer.
    3. In a very large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and, salt. 
    4. Make a well in the center.
    5. Beat the lightly beat the eggs just to break them down.
    6. To the dry mix add in the wet ingredients: milk, eggs, oil, butter and vanilla.
    7. Hand mix the wet and dry ingredients just till combined. The batter will be lumpy. Don’t over mix. Be sure to reach the bottom when combining. 
    8. Fold in the blueberries.
    9. Place muffin paper liners in standard size muffin pans. 
    10. Evenly distribute the muffin batter among the pans using a muffin/cupcake size portion scoop.
    11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, till the edges are browned and tops are just browned and firm to the touch.

    Serve warm with butter or cool to room temperature and share later.

    *recipe makes at least 30 muffins*

    What’s your favorite muffin recipe? Does your favorite start in a box too? Let me know in the comments.

    Questions or comments let me know!

    Thank you for stopping by.

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