Cinnamon-Scented Pound Cake from Home Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, Winter 2013

I will admit it. I giggle when people pass gas, make jokes about passing gas or mention the ‘f’ word that deals with passing gas. I do the same for burps too. It’s the inner Dudette in me.

The outer Dudette is a master at bodily functions. Should you ever meet her in person, please understand that I am not the one teaching her to belch the alphabet. In fact, one of my hardest jobs as a parent is to keep a stoic visage in the face of a five-minute lower-body sound-barrier-piercing rumble during a tender moment in The Princess Bride.

So, I attempt to sidetrack her un-ladylike snicker-causing behavior. One way I do that is by getting her to come up with reasons for foods being named what they are.

Why are eggplants named eggplants if they don’t grow eggs? Were pineapples made from a pine tree that got too close to an apple tree? Are mushrooms named so because they live in rooms and are mushy?

Is pound cake named pound cake because Mommy gains 5 pounds every time she eats a slice?

Boy, I wish the answer to that one was no.

The Process

If you’re at all new to making pound cakes, this is the perfect one to try. As with most, the wet ingredients are mixed in one bowl and the dry in another. Then, the wet is dumped into the dry and they get stirred together, poured into the pan and shoved in the oven.

The recipe says to bake the cake for 45 minutes, tent it with foil, then continue for another 26 to 30 minutes. I found that mine was perfectly baked after 25 minutes post-tenting. It might be good to start checking from that point so it doesn’t get overcooked.

The Verdict

I was a bit afraid that this would be too heavy on the cinnamon, simply because the name is in the title. Once I saw there was only a half teaspoon, I was encouraged, and after one nibble, I was sold. ‘Cinnamon-scented’ is a very appropriate definition. The cinnamon taste is there, but not overpoweringly so, and doesn’t get lost by any other flavor since there’s no vanilla added. I found it to be outstanding.

The cake itself is tender, moist and very light. It is a pound cake, but definitely not the heavy, dense kind. It’s delicious.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Not a thing.

Cinnamon-Scented Pound Cake from Home Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, Winter 2013
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  1. Preheat oven to 325º. Spray a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper, then spray again with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined. Spoon into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes, and loosely tent with aluminum foil. Bake 26 to 30 minutes longer or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.


Watching Top Chef with Sausage Cheese Dip from Home Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, Winter 2013

Here’s a little secret that even Dudette doesn’t know. In fact, Dudette’s the main one from whom I’m keeping this little tidbit of knowledge. Curious?

I watch Bravo’s Top Chef while my little lady’s in school. Shhhhhh

bravo, top chef

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Bravo.

She’d be so mad for several reasons.

First, my kiddo loves watching my cooking shows with me. My love for Mario is being passed down from mother to daughter. She thinks he’s awesome. She’ll curl up next to me to watch two chefs battle it out stadium-style. She asks questions about what’s being cooked, why and how.

Second, I usually make some sort of goodie for us to munch on while we’re watching people cook. It’s only fitting, right? Nothing beats thinking, ‘Wow, that looks good,’ than being able to say, ‘Hey, that tastes good.’

Why doesn’t she know I watch Top Chef? I’m so glad you asked. It’s mainly because while I don’t mind explaining why something’s being cooked a certain way or the reason that a chef is doing what he (or she) is doing, trying to come up with reasons for all the beeps that cover up the cuss words is something I don’t want to do.

[Spoiler alert.]

Of course, now that Stefan’s been told to pack his knives, that will change. Of all the chefs left (including my favorite, Brooke), he was the worst offender, all the way up to his tirade as he walked off the show. Sheesh. good riddance.

I killed two birds with one stone while I watched the show this afternoon. This dip was a perfect snack to eat so I wouldn’t be envious of the folks on the other side of my television who had some amazing dishes put in front of them.

I even shared with Dudette when she got home from school.

The Process

Be ready with a lot of cheese; cream, Mozzarella and Parmesan. It gets dumped on top of cooked sausage and onions. Already sounding good, isn’t it.  It’s easy to throw together and just a matter of a quick bake.

Just so you know, the dip will be very stringy in the skillet, but it ends up nice and scoopable after baking. Also, 30 minutes is a little much and browns the top, as you can see. I’d target 25 minutes next time (and there will be a next time…maybe even as early as Sunday).

The Verdict

Do I even need to bother with this? Sausage, onions and three cheeses. What do you think? Yeah, it’s good. I thought so; Dudette thought so. Put this on the menu for the Super Bowl.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

Maybe a little hot sauce. I used hot Italian sausage, but it could use even more of a kick.

Watching Top Chef with Sausage Cheese Dip from Home Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, Winter 2013
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
  • 1 pound ground pork sausage
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 8-ounce package shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 6-ounce package shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup finely chopped roasted red bell peppers
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • Pretzel rods, bagel chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 1½-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium heat, stirring often, until sausage crumbles and is no longer pink; drain.
  3. Add cream cheese and remaining 5 ingredients, stirring until cheese melts. Spoon mixture into prepared baking dish.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with pretzel rods and bagel chips, if desired.


Honey, Wheat and Rosemary Dinner Rolls from Home Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, Winter 2013

Name a fear, any fear. Just throw out the first one that comes to mind.

Mine include heights, speaking in public and going down the stairs to my parents basement (I blame Stephen King for that one). See, it wasn’t that hard.

I don’t mind these fears because I’ve dealt with them. For the most part.

Some 25 years ago, I signed up for a wilderness backpacking trip knowing that rock climbing and rappelling would be a part of the course. True, I considered breaking an arm or leg more and more seriously as we hiked closer and closer to the cliff face, but in the end I did it. I rappelled down a 200-foot rock and climbed back up it. I cried the whole way and crawled on hands and knees until I was about 20 yards away from the edge once I got to the top, but I did it.

I’ve just about lost my lunch when I’ve been put in a position to speak in front of people, but I’ve done it. Since I work in Internet technology and have managed projects with USA Today and The White House, I’ve not had much of a choice. Most recently, the bar was raised when I went to the Kenmore Bloggers’ Summit and they shot video. Of me. I had to sit through a personal Q&A session as well as take part in an ‘Iron Chef’ type competition, all videoed. Just thinking about it makes me queasy, but I did it.

As far as my parents basement stairs go, you try telling a red-headed Belgian mom that you’re too scared to go down them to get her the can of beans she wants. Weighing the two options, I’ll take the scary monster under the stairs grabbing my ankles every day.

See, I don’t mind having fears as long as I don’t let them control me. Today’s recipe is an example as well. Yeast dough scares me. If I gave in, I wouldn’t ever make a yeast product.

But then my fear would win and I can’t let that happen. Even if it means being embarrassed at showing you less than spectacular results that have nothing to do with the recipe itself.

So please, be kind. The yeast won this round.

The Process

As far as I can tell, everything went the way it was supposed to with the making of these rolls, which seem to be a basic yeast bread recipe. The dough rose beautifully during the first hour.

I noticed a problem when I divided it into 24 portions and formed the balls. The dough wasn’t springy like it should have been. It didn’t feel like it was going to end up being a tender bread at all.

At that point I didn’t know what else to do but proceed, so I made the balls, dropped them in the muffin tin and let them rise again, which they did….somewhat.

The Verdict

As far as flavor goes, these honey wheat rolls were delicious, especially warm out of the oven (what bread isn’t). Dudette raved (she didn’t even notice the little green rosemary bits), Hubby had several, as did I. We all enjoyed them and I’m probably the only one that was aware that the texture wasn’t what it should have been. They were dense, good but dense.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I wonder if the temperature had something to do with the bread’s texture. Even though I let it rise in the oven where it was warm, the house was pretty darn cool that day since we were in one of the arctic waves of winter.

Honey, Wheat and Rosemary Dinner Rolls from Home Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, Winter 2013
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2 dozen
  • 1 cup warm half-and-half (105º to 110º)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 7 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 2½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
  1. In a medium bowl, combine half-and-half, honey, and yeast. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture is foamy.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine yeast mixture, 5 tablespoons butter, and egg. Beat at low speed until combined. Add flours, salt, and rosemary; beat at medium speed until a smooth and elastic dough forms (dough will be slightly sticky).
  3. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Form dough into a ball, and place in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let stand in a warm place (85º), free from drafts, for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Spray 24-cup muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray. Divide dough into 24 equal portions. Form each portion into a ball, and place in muffin cups. Spray tops with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 35 to 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Brush evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Remove from pans, and cool on wire racks.


Orange Muffins from Home Cooking With Paula Deen Magazine, January 2013

In general, I tend to be a glass-is-half-full kind of person. Which is a good thing since I live with a man who runs along the Eeyore-esque way of seeing life.

Winter tries my positive attitude though. As we wade through week after cold week, it’s harder to look at a 27-degree temperature and think good things. Having to pull on extra clothing so I can go out and pour more hot water in the chickens’ frozen-over dish several times a day doesn’t help.

I don’t want to see my breath. I don’t like shrugging on a coat when I go out. I’m not fond of the words ‘below freezing.’

But, in the midst of that line of thinking, I get an e-mail from my mother which reads,

“Today the temp dropped below zero for the first time and it will be very cold the rest of the week.”

You know, at least it’s sunny. And the sky is a gorgeous shade of blue. And it’s not below zero.

The Process

I had a friend over for coffee this morning and decided I wanted something fresh-baked to go along with our nice steaming mugs. I landed on these muffins because the prep was so easy and the baking time was under 20 minutes.

Mix the wet stuff. Mix the dry stuff. Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff; combine it. Throw it in muffin tins and bake. It’s that simple.

The Verdict

As far as flavor, both my friend and I thought these were good, light on the citrus, but still tasty. The consistency was a bit of a disappointment, however. The muffins are on the spongy side, not tender. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but not what I expected.

I would guess it was the full tablespoon of baking powder that give the muffins that texture. I don’t think I’ve ever used that much in a batch of cake-type baked goods before.

What I’d Do Different Next Time

I’d use just two teaspoons of baking powder and add a quarter teaspoon of baking soda.

Orange Muffins from Home Cooking With Paula Deen Magazine, January 2013
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
from Home Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine, January 2013
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
Orange Glaze
  • ½ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick baking spray with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour and next 4 ingredients. Make a well in dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together milk and next 4 ingredients. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. To make Orange Glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon orange juice.
  6. Pour Orange Glaze over hot muffins. Let cool in pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm.
I'd use just two teaspoons of baking powder and add a quarter teaspoon of baking soda.