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Just a girl that loves cooking in the great state of Texas!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Almond Joy Texas Sheet Cake

We're big chocolate fans. Add in some coconut and boy, we're in pure bliss! Here's a recipe for a sheet cake i came up with this weekend after hubby bought me a lovely bouquet of flowers, for no certain reason, just because. I had to return the sweet gesture = Happy Marriage! 

This recipe was inspired by one from the Pioneer Woman, she really has some nice recipes! A link to the original can be found here- The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever It really is the best chocolate sheet cake ever! Kicking it up a notch here with a sweet coconut layer and sliced almonds to top it all off.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


For the cake:

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
4 Heaping Tablespoons Cocoa
2 Sticks of Butter
1 Cup Boiling Water
1/2 Cup Buttermilk
2 Eggs Beaten
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

For the coconut layer:

2 Tablespoons Butter Room Temperature
2/3 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
2 1/4 Cups Coconut Flakes

For the icing:

1 3/4 Sticks of Butter
4 Heaping Tablespoons Cocoa
6 Tablespoons of Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Generous Cups of Powdered Sugar

For the topping:

1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds

First off set out all of the ingredients, it will make the process much easier.

For the cake you'll need a jelly roll pan, i'm not sure what the measurements of my pan are but on the original recipe she uses a 18 x 13 pan. I did have to increase my bake time by about a few minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour your jelly roll pan or spray with a cooking spray thats made for baking.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. Stir and set aside.

In a small sauce pan melt butter on medium heat. Add cocoa and stir well. Add boiling water, allow to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mix and stir lightly to cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl or cup measure out buttermilk, if you don't have buttermilk on hand you can fill a measuring cup to just under 1/2 cup and add vinegar to make it a half cup.

To the buttermilk, add beaten eggs, baking soda and vanilla extract. Stir well and add to chocolate mixture. Stirring until well incorporated. Pour into prepared jelly roll pan and bake 20-25 minutes.

While your cake is baking, prepare coconut layer and icing.

For the coconut layer, in a medium size bowl combine butter, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla extract. Stir. Add in powdered sugar stirring until well combined. Add coconut. Stir well and set aside, do not refrigerate.

For the icing, melt butter in medium size saucepan on medium heat.
Add cocoa stir well, remove from heat. Add milk and vanilla. Stir until well incorporated. Add powdered sugar and stir until combined. Set aside.

Cake is done when toothpick inserted into middle is clean. Once cake is done remove from oven and immediately pour the coconut mix over the top of cake spreading gently covering the whole cake. Pour icing as evenly as you can over the top of cake. Top with sliced almonds. Let cool and serve. 

Mix flour, sugar and salt

Melt butter

Add cocoa and boiling water, stir well

Add cocoa mixture to flour mixture

Stir well

Until it looks like this

Stir eggs, baking soda and vanilla into buttermilk 

Add buttermilk egg mixture to chocolate batter

Mix well

Making sure everything is well incorporated

Pour into prepared jelly roll pan

For coconut layer add butter, vanilla and sweetened condensed milk to bowl and stir

Add powdered sugar mixing well


Add coconut, mix and set aside

For icing, melt butter in medium pan


Add cocoa

Stir well and remove from heat

Add milk and vanilla stirring well

Add powdered sugar stir until well combined

After cake is done add coconut layer immediately and spreading gently

Cover whole cake

Pour icing on top as evenly as you can

Top with sliced almonds

Let cool and serve

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Greek Chicken and Potatoes Slow Cooker

 This is one of my sons favorite dishes that i make. Quick, easy and very tasty! You can always use a whole chicken cut up instead of chicken breasts. Converted for the slow cooker.


6 Chicken Breasts Cut into Pieces

6-8 Red Potatoes

6 Garlic Cloves Cut into Slices Lengthwise

3/4 Cup Chicken Broth

1/2 Cup Olive Oil

1/4-1/3 Cup Lemon Juice (We use 1/3 Cup)

3 Tablespoons Mediterranean Oregano

Salt & Pepper

In medium bowl add chicken broth, olive oil, lemon juice and oregano. Whisk together until incorporated. Set aside.

Clean and peel potatoes, i like to leave some with skins on. Cut into quarters. Place into large bowl, add cut up chicken and sliced garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Whisk oil lemon broth mixture and pour over chicken and potatoes. Carefully stir and coat until well mixed.

Place into 5 quart or larger crock pot and cook 6-7 hours on low.

Whisk together  oil, lemon juice, chicken broth and oregano

Add chicken, potatoes and garlic to large bowl

Pour oil lemon mix on chicken and potatoes coating well

Add to crock pot, cook on low 6-7 hours

Served with green peas

Sunday, July 7, 2013

24 Hour Fruit Salad

One of the pleasant memories i have growing up is going to the local grocery store with my mom and looking forward to visiting the deli and getting a delicious Ambrosia Fruit Salad. If i was really good i would get a large container, and boy, would i be in heaven! It was the best fruit salad my mouth had ever devoured! My mom ended up acquiring a recipe that in the most part, was the same, but it was called 24 Hour Fruit Salad. Talk about a happy kid! Of course, when i grew up i had to have the recipe! Here it is in all its glory, yellowed and stained from all the times making this wonderful recipe!

Now, i have altered a few things, but one thing i would never change is the custard you make, this is the secret ingredient. I've googled this recipe and found this step of the recipe has been altered, i beg you keep the original. I promise, you might love me for it!


For Custard:
3 Egg Yolks
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1/4- 1/3 Cup of Reserved Pineapple Juice
3 Tablespoons Vinegar

For Salad:
1 Small Bag Mini Marshmallows
1 Can Fruit Cocktail Drained
1 Can Crushed Pineapple (Reserve Juice for Custard)
1 Can Mandarin Oranges Drained
1 Small Jar Maraschino Cherries Cut in Half
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1 Cup Flaked Coconut
 1/2 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream

 First off, add the bowl and the beaters for whipping the cream into the freezer to chill.

For Custard- add all four ingredients into either a double boiler or a small saucepan. For the small saucepan you will need to nestle this pan into a larger saucepan filled about halfway with water. 

Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until custard thickens. You want it the consistency of pudding. If water in bottom pot starts to boil turn the heat down. Once thickened remove from heat and let cool.

While custard cools start assembling fruit salad. In a large bowl add all of the canned fruits and cherries, make sure their drained. Mix well. Add coconut and pecans. Mix well. Add marshmallows. Mix well.

After custard has cooled add about half of the mixture into fruit salad, stir gently. Add remaining custard and stir gently.

Remove bowl and beaters from freezer and add whipping cream to bowl and beat until stiff peaks form, refer to pictures if needed.

Add whipped cream to fruit salad and fold in gently until well mixed.

After mixed, place plastic wrap over top and refrigerate overnight.

Serve cold.
Note: This recipe doesn't call for very much sugar. Don't be tempted to add more, the marshmallows add plenty of sweetness to salad.

Add bowl and beaters to freezer

Add ingredients for custard to double boiler
Stirring constantly

Almost ready

It will look like pudding when thickened, let cool

Add fruits into bowl
 Add coconut and pecans

Stir well
Add half of cooled custard mixture, stir gently, repeat
Stir well but gently
Beat whipping cream in chilled bowl with chilled beaters
Until stiff peaks form
Whipped cream is ready
Add to fruit salad
Fold gently until well mixed
Ready for fridge

Ready to eat!


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