A New Cupcake Recipe

Okay, so tomorrow night is Oldest Daughter’s first band banquet and each family is to bring a dessert to share.  I saw this recipe on Nigella Feasts this morning and thought I would try it out.  There is a great little shop in Newport, KY called Fantasy in Frosting where I might check for some pretty sugar flowers to put on them.

I’ll let you know how they turns out ;)!

Pre-Made Home-Made Pancake Mix

I love weekend mornings!  As a family, we never get to eat breakfast together during the week.  So once a weekend I try to make a nice breakfast for the family. Today’s  menu included poached eggs, bacon and buttermilk banana pancakes.

Watching Nigella one weekend, we saw her recipe for Homemade Instant Pancake Mix. I always make up a big batch of this and have it on hand.  I usually substitute whole wheat flour for white.  You can also control how much sugar and salt go into your pancake mix when you make it yourself.

Here is my take on Nigella’s recipe.

Make up a big batch of this and have a pancake mix ready to go:

4 cups of whole wheat flour (AP is ok but not as healthy)
3 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs + 2 tsp of sugar (we sometimes substitute Splenda)

Put this into an airtight container and shake.  Put in the cupboard until you want pancakes.

To make the pancakes

Combine one cup of the above mix, 1 cup of milk, 1 egg, 1 tbs melted butter.

You can also toss in a mashed ripe bananas, blueberries, whatever floats your boat.  Sometimes, I drizzle in a small amount of vanilla extract.  Today, I used some buttermilk I had on had instead of milk.

Just mix until ingredients are combined and wet. A few lumps are okay.  Then put them on a griddle pan that’s been sprayed with cooking spray and cook em’ up!

A little tip: you know the pancakes are ready to flip when the edges look dry.



It’s upon us again, the monthly McEwen cocktail party at the Cincinnati Athletic Club.  This month’s cocktail, the Margarita! I know, I know, the Mint Julep was the obvious choice for this month given the Kentucky Derby and us living in the Bluegrass state, but mint juleps aren’t my favorite and Margarita’s seem like much more fun! Besides,  Cinco de Mayo was  this month and who doesn’t prefer a tasty taco over something called burgoo?

Anyway, margaritas it is!  So for starters, here  is the recipe for a margarita made from scratch.

So good and so authentic.  No mix at all.

We set up a taco bar with this including a few different kinds of salsa: pineappple , avocado mango, and some simple pico de gallo and guacamole.  A side dish of black bean and corn salad and cheddar cheese corn bread with pepitas to round out the menu.  Finally to top it off tradiitonal Tres Leches Cake topped with whipped cream and strawberries.

Mmm so good!! Enjoy!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I love food, I love to try new foods, I love to cook and bake.  For this I thank/blame my parents.  They always encouraged my to try new things.  Every Friday we would go out to eat.  Growing up in Fort Wayne, IN, you would think that there wouldn’t be many culinary choices, but you would be wrong.  In the Fort Wayne of my youth there were two industries of which there were an abundance: Churches (particularly Lutheran, there is a Missouri Synod Seminary there after all), and restaurants (you have to have some place to go after church right?).  But back to Friday night.  Those dinners with my parents let my young Hoosier palate grow.  Whatever I wanted to try, they indulged me (it’s good to be an only child).

My parents were foodies too, and loved to cook.  However, they were very different kinds of cooks.  My mother was a baker.  She was truly gifted.  She was also very precise.  She would follow recipes to a “t”.  Never any guesstimates, substitutions or deviations.  Since baking,  in my opinion, is much like the science of chemistry, it was probably her precision that made her such a great baker.

One of my most prized possessions is a cookbook my mother gave to me about 10 years ago.  In it, she had handwritten all of her recipes that I loved.  Many of them were for cookies which she made every Christmas (more about those at a later date).  Ho0wever, one recipe has particular sentiment for me.  It is a recipe for rum cake.  While she didn’t start making this until I was a teenager, she made it many times during the rest of her lifetime.  It was a recipe she would take to work for her friends, to church for potlucks and every year she would make for me for my birthday.   So,  in honor of my mom, I think I will be making one of these for Mother’s Day.  Why not make one for a mom in your life?

Rum Cake


1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 pkg of yellow cake mix (regular or *pudding cake mix)

1 3/4 pkg vanilla instant pudding

4 eggs

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup dark rum

*If you are using cake mix with pudding already in the mix, use 3 eggs instead of 4, and 1/3 cup of oil instead of 1/2 cup


1/4 lb of butter

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup rum


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts over bottom of the pan.  Mix the rest of the cake ingredients together.  Pour batter over nuts.  Bake 1 hour.  Cool and invert on serving plate.


Melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in water and sugar.  Boil 5 minutes stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in rum.


Prick the top of the cake.  Spoon and brush on glaze evenly over top and sides.  Allow cake to absorb glaze.  Repeat until glaze is all used up.

Today’s Dinner Menu

Before Dinner Drinks: Pomegranate Manhattan with three cherries (Buffalo Trace Bourbon made right here in KY makes it extra smooth! Definitely worth the splurge!)

Grilled Steaks from Kroger’s  “buy-it-today” bin, with sauteed onions and bleu cheese

Tomato, Cucumber and Vidalia Onion Salad with Olive oil and Oregano Vinaigrette (herbs from the herb garden)

Rosemary Yellow Squash and Zucchini (herbs from the herb garden)

Green Beans with Canadian Bacon

Dessert, Root Beer Floats or Vanilla Ice Cream with Fresh Peaches (Ice Cream and Peaches on sale at Kroger)

Wine Selection: Yellow Tail Shiraz-Grenache