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Mrs. Fidler’s Chocolate Cake

This is one of the recipes I mentioned in the Tulsa World article. It is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made, and it freezes really well so you can heat it up when company is coming over.

Makes 12 servings.

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup cocoa

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup hot water


Sift together cocoa, salt, baking soda, and flour.  Cream shortening and sugar in a separate bowl; add eggs to shortening mixture.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Add water and vanilla.  Pour into two 9 inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


1/3 cup of butter

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup of cocoa

2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


Melt butter with water.  Stir in cocoa and powdered sugar. Add vanilla.  Add additional water (or buttermilk) until icing is desired thickness.  Double this recipe for a two layer cake or cupcakes.

Florentine Pot Roast

This is one of the delicious recipes I mentioned is my favorite in the Tulsa World.

Notes: You can pulse the onions, celery, and carrots to 1/8-inch pebbles in a food processor. Keep the onions separate

In Step 4: Save time by asking your butcher to truss the meat

2 large cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary (leaves only), very finely chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups very finely chopped celery (about 1/2 pound)
1 cup very finely chopped carrots (about 6 ounces)
2 cups very finely chopped red onions (about 1 pound)
3 pound rump roast
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 14 1/2-ounce can pureed Italian plum tomatoes (if available, by a can of whole plum tomatoes and puree them)
4 thin slices lemon peal (use a potato peeler)
1 1/2 cups Chianti Classico
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Place garlic and rosemary in a small bowl and stir in 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside
3. Pour 1/2 cup olive oil into a large skillet and add celery and carrots. Turn heat to medium-high, and sautée for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add onions, and sautée for another 10 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally. Turn off heat, and set skillet aside.
4. Truss the rump roast tightly with string to keep its shape. With a sharp knife make 4 cross shaped incisions at even intervals along one side of the rump roast, beginning about an inch from either end. Stick a finger into each incision to dig a hole. Fill each hole with a quarter of the rosemary/garlic mixture.
5. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in Dutch oven. When oil is hot, place rump roast in pot and brown 5 minutes on each side (though it’s round, consider it to have four sides). Do the first side on high heat, then reduce to medium.
6. Remove the roast to a plate. Transfer the sautéed vegetables, pureed tomatoes, lemon peal, Chianti, water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt to the Dutch oven, and stir well. Return the pot roast to the Dutch oven. Cover. and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
7. Turn roast, uncover, and bake for 1/2 hour

The Original Ole’ Mood Pumpkin Bread

Last week marked the official start to Autumn, but someone needs to tell whoever sets the dates for seasonal transition (congress? The UN? Al Roker?) that Autumn really began way back on September 3. No, it wasn’t the reds and oranges of fall foliage that marked the transition and it wasn’t the cool night breeze or the first football game of the season. It was actually almost 100 degrees in good ole’ Tulsa, OK, but I knew Autumn had arrived when I walked into a work meeting at my neighborhood Starbucks coffee shop only to be greeted by a line that snaked through the shop, out the door and half way down the block.

“Did the iphone 5 change its release date and open a pop up shop at Startbucks?” I wondered to myself—and since I’m typically oblivious to any pop culture or technological happening in my vicinity (I literally sat next to Bono IN HIS TRADEMARK SUNGLASSES last time I was in New York and didn’t know it was him until someone told me)—I decided I’d just have to endure the look of shame and disappointment from the Gen-Y hipster in front of me and ask why it was going to take so long to get my Americano. As I anticipated, Gen-Y Hipster looked appalled that I failed to recognize the importance of this day (well, I am appalled you aren’t living up to your beanie wearing stereotype and buying coffee locally so take that) but not visibly shaken like the college girl in the shortest jean shorts I’d ever seen and Ugg boots (did I mention it was almost 100 degrees) in front of him. She jumped in before Gen-Y hipster could answer me:

Sorority Girl (in glass shattering shriek): “WHAT??? YOU DIDN’T KNOW IT WAS PSL DAY AT STARBS?”
Me (silently): Huh?
Me (looking to my former nemesis and now maybe friend Gen-Y Hipster for reassurance that this girl is bat shit crazy): “I have a meeting. I was just trying to get a coffee. Is this the line for Starbucks?”

Apparently Gen-Y Hipster decided he was going to save me from this shriek fest before he put his giant headphones back on his head so he said, “Today is the day Starbucks officially releases the Pumpkin Spice Latte. Everyone gets really excited about it.”

Let me give you some advice, friends, if you’re ever in this Starbucks line on PSL release day. Do NOT say “Why are they releasing it so early? It’s 100 degrees outside and fall is at least a month away” unless you want to risk being overtaken by a mob of Starbucks lovers hopped up on espresso, whipped cream and pumpkin syrup.

Luckily I escaped in time, but I had to endure my early morning meeting without coffee. I thought I might be afraid of all things pumpkin for life, but now that the weather is a little cooler and Halloween (and Thanksgiving!?) decorations are popping up in Target and beyond I find myself mysteriously craving that spunky orange veggie that inspired the latte that has become more of a harbringer of fall than the first signs of foliage.

Our friends “The Ole’ Moods” brought us an amazing loaf of pumpkin bread that my family demolished in about 2 hours and I begged for the recipe immediately after (partly to make sure it didn’t have some kind of crack in it because it was so addictive…just kidding). The Ole’ Moods make extra loaves of this bread and freeze it in case of pumpkin bread emergencies and I almost had to break into their house to get some because the Ole’ Moods were out of town when I asked for the recipe and we needed more bread badly.

I make this bread every fall, but this year I decided to try to make it healthier. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of oil and since I give it to Foodie Baby for breakfast (I put it in a muffin tin and call it a cupcake) I wanted to see if I could add some whole grains and fruit to it. Yes, I realize the recipe still has a full 3 cups of sugar, but it makes two full loaves so it’s not too bad!

I substituted ½ cup of banana and ½ cup of unsweetened apple sauce for the oil and I added flax seed to the top of the loaf instead of “pecan nut dust”. I also subbed walnuts for pecans…mostly because I didn’t have any pecans. Both recipes are below. Enjoy!

The Original Ole’ Mood Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs lightly beaten
16 oz canned, unsweetened pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup pumpkin spice syrup


Grease and flour two loaf pans
Stir in sugar and oil
Stir in eggs and pumpkin
Sift dry ingredients in separate bowl, adding pecans
Add dry ingredients to wet, alternating with water/syrup mixture
Divide batter into two pans
Top with raw sugar and pecan nut dust

Bake in oven at 300 degrees for an hour (generally it takes almost an hour and half – recipe said one hour – I just stick a toothpick in it when it comes out clean it is done)

Lightened Up Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
½ cup mashed banana
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
4 eggs lightly beaten
16 oz canned, unsweetened pumpkin
3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup pumpkin spice syrup

1. Grease and flour one loaf pan and one muffin tin (or use muffin liners)
2. Stir in sugar and oil
3. Stir in eggs and pumpkin
4. Sift dry ingredients in separate bowl, adding pecans
5. Add dry ingredients to wet, alternating with water/syrup mixture
6. Divide batter into two pans
7. Top with raw sugar and ground flax seed
8. Bake in oven at 300 degrees for an hour (generally it takes almost an hour and half – recipe says one hour – I just stick a toothpick in it when it comes out clean it is done)


Superfood smoothie perfect for toddlers

This is a perfect breakfast for a busy morning and if you involve your toddler in “making” the smoothie he will be much more likely to eat it!  Blueberries have tons of antioxidants and protect against heart disease and diabetes, all while improving brain function.  Spinach is rich in iron and bananas pack a powerful dose of antioxidants.  If your kid has seasonal allergies like mine, incorporating local honey into their diet (as long as they are old enough) can help battle runny noses and congestion.  Protein and calcium in milk provide fuel for the brain and body.  And cinnamon?  Some studies show it helps regulate blood sugar which can help prevent the all to common mid morning meltdown.


1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
7 frozen strawberries
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1/2 banana
1/8 cup whole milk
1 Tablespoon ground Flax Seed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon honey
Pre measure the ingredients and let your toddler help you pour them into the blender*.
Add all ingredients to the blender except 4 strawberries.

Allow your toddler to push the button (or flip the switch) to turn the blender on and off.

Open the blender top a few times and allow your toddler to add a strawberry
Get a spoon and ask your toddler to taste the smoothie.  If he approves, pour it into a cup with a lid and straw.
For added fun, rinse your blender and pour a small amount of dish soap in the blender along with about 1 cup of water.  Ask your toddler to turn the blender on again and voila!  You have a bubbly clean blender!
*If you have a kid that will be weirded out by spinach in the smoothie, mix everything but the banana, blueberry and strawberry together before you ask for his help.  Then ask your toddler to help you add the fruit and blend.  Also, you should be warned that this smoothie has a greenish color.  If this will be a problem for your toddler, you can either a) add cocoa to make it brown (make sure it’s at least 70% cocoa and not processed with alkali/dutch processed which removes the flavanoids) or b) pour it into a dark colored cup so your kiddo can’t see it’s green.

Simple pork stir fry for a fun friend dinner

I always want to add dinner with friends every week to my hectic schedule but worry it takes too much preparation—so regretfully I don’t do it as often I as would like.  However, a quick and spur of the moment dinner with friends worked out well this week!  I offered veggies from my garden and pork from the farmers market—and they offered to cook.  The simple but delicious result—a beautiful tomato, basil and  mozzarella salad (tomatoes from my garden) with Steve’s special balsamic and stone ground mustard dressing—rice prepared simply in my rice cooker and pork, peppers, onions and mushrooms from the wok!  Dinner with friends at home—can be simple, delicious, and stress-free—and laughing with friends is the best nourishment.   (I did help with the dishes).

Simple Pork Stir Fry
Making a good stir fry is an easy and essential way to make a quick meal—with most anything you happen to have in the frig.  Substitute celery for peppers, add tomatoes—substitute firm tofu for  pork—it is a process to mix some healthy vegetables together with some great spice—use your creativity.

1 lb. pork tenderloin (a lean cut of pork) sliced in strips
1 red pepper and 1 green pepper—sliced in strips
1 yellow onion- sliced in strips
1 lb. sliced mushrooms (I love mushrooms-if you don’t—you can decrease or not use).
3 cloves of garlic—finely diced
1 lime
1 red chili (spicier the better for me!)
1 tbs sesame oil
1 tbs low sodium soy salt (Yamasa is my favorite)
2 tbs. sweet chili sauce
3 cups jasmine rice

Put thinly sliced pork in a bowl—add juice and zest from the lime, add finely diced garlic, chili and garlic to the bowl.  If you have time, let it stand for 15 minutes in the fridge so the ingredients can get friendly.  Meanwhile, back to slicing—peppers, yellow onion, mushrooms.

Start rice (package directions) in a pan or a rice cooker! Set TIMER!!
Pull out your wok, put the heat high, add the sesame oil—and let it heat up for a minute or two
Add pork (and all those friend that have been chilling with the pork)
Stir a bit until pork starts to brown—add onions and peppers.
When the peppers are losing a bit of crispness and the onions are becoming clearer—add in the mushroom….stirring all the while! Add soy sauce and chili sauce—keep tossing!

Have your friend plate up the rice and serve your stir-fry on the side or on the rice as you prefer.

Condiments—a bottle of Lee Kum Lee Sriracha Chili Sauce!  Enjoy!