About budgiesntiels


Crofton’s Mini Cast Iron Bakeware

If you are still trying to find a Christmas gift for the small batch cook or baker in your life check out Crofton’s mini cast iron bake ware. It’s at Aldi’s grocery store for a limited time.

There are 4 pieces available, a 6″ skillet, a 6″ griddle, an 8 oz mini casserole and an 11 oz loaf pan. Each piece is reasonably priced at $3.99 and they are pre seasoned.

If you are interested in what you can do with this mini cast iron bake ware, check out this post for skillet ginger bread cookies at Dessert For Two.

I am not being compensated for this post in any way. I am just excited to share some new stuff I have in my kitchen and am looking forward to using.


Christmas Treat #2 Angel Food Cake With Variations

Okay, angel food cake is known as more of a summer treat then a Christmas treat but I would like to change that. I love Angel food cake. It makes a nice change of pace from the more traditionally heavy treats of Christmas. I am also obsessed with making Angel food cakes at the moment. A few summers ago, I spent the whole summer perfecting my angel food cake technique. I made cake after cake until they came out perfect every time. Eventually, I had to stop and only make them upon request. My friends were overwhelmed with Angel food cake. At the beginning of November, I found a 7 inch Angel food cake pan and I have been making Angel food cake ever since. The initial recipe was a bit of a challenge. You would think that the recipe on the label of a 7 inch Angel food cake pan would be for a 7 inch Angel food cake. It wasn’t the recipe was for some kind of mojito bundt cake.  Thank goodness for Christina Lane at Dessert For Two. She had the perfect Angel food cake recipe for a 7 inch pan on her site. Since I didn’t have to do any of the work of cutting down the actual recipe for cake,  I decided to play around with some flavor variations. If you don’t have a 7 inch Angel cake pan head over to Dessert For Two for directions on how to make Angel food cake in a loaf pan.

7 Inch  Angel Food Cake

  • Difficulty: Intermediate
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Recipe Used With Permission From Dessert For Two Variations Are By Me

3/4 cup sugar, divided

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 TBS corn starch

7 egg whites

2 tsp vanilla

3/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt; set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, add egg whites, vanilla, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat on medium speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while the mixer is running. Continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down with nothing falling out when you reach the stiff peak stage. Seriously, this best way to tell if your whites are whipped enough. Just do it.

Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and gentilely fold it in until combined. Repeat twice more.

Spread the batter into the pan. Gently tap on the counter to make sure you get the batter into all the spaces. Bake at 325 degrees for 38-42 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn upside down. Cool for at least one hour before cutting.

Chocolate variation: reduce flour to 6 tablespoons and add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Proceed with recipe as written.

Lemon variation: sprinkle the whipped egg white with 1 tablespoon of lemon zest before adding the flour/sugar mixture. Proceed with recipe as written.

Pressure Cooker Indian Basmati Pilau

My friend, P, is proud of the fact she has never had her knives sharpened in all the years she has been cooking. This probably explains why she doesn’t cook much anymore. It takes forever to do the simplest chore, not to mention, the chances of getting hurt increase because you have to push so hard on whatever you are attempting to cut when your knives are dull.

I have taken to carrying one of my knives with me when go to her house because I usually end up cooking for us. I am okay with that as long as I don’t have to use her awful knives.

Just random thoughts from my random brain today.

Indian Basmati Pilau

Adapted From Two Sleevers

1 1/2 tsp ghee

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp salt


1-2 green cardamom pods

3-4 peppercorns

2 whole cloves

1 inch cinnamon sticks

1/2 cup Basmati rice. rinsed

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

Rinse your rice and let it sit until you get ready for it. Put the whole spices in an muslin bag or tea infuser and crush slightly. Set your pot to saute, when it is hot add the ghee and let it melt. Add the cumin seeds and lightly toast. Add the sliced onions and salt. Cook until the edges are brown and crisp, but not burned. Add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with ghee. Add the water. Lock the lid and cook, for 6 minutes. Let natural release for 10 minutes then quick release the rest of the pressure.

Tostones (Fried Green Plaintains) (Whole 30)

WordPress has introduced a new editior and it’s taking me a while to learn how to use it so I apologize for any errors I may not catch while concentrating on learning how to use this new system. In the mean time, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite recipe. Fried green plaintains.

I tried this recipe because I really miss having something crunchy with my meals when I am doing the Whole 30. I will have to be careful, though. Fried green plantains could easily be a food without brakes for me. I will limit them to no more than twice a week. For those of you familiar with the program, commercially made plantain chips were removed from the list of compliant Whole 30 foods in 2017.  However, homemade plantains are still compliant as long as you don’t deep fry them.

Fried Green Plaintains

1 plantain

Salt to taste

6 tbsp of oil

Cut the tips off the green plaintain.  Using a sharp paring knife, score the peel and remove it.  Make sure to get all the peel off the plaintain. Cut the plaintain into 1/2 inch chunks; set aside.

Put the oil in a large frying pan.  Heat until the oil shimmers.  Add the plaintain slices and fry for 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes.   Remove the plaintain slices to a cutting board. Using the bottom of a glass, smash the plaintain chunks to 1/4 inch.  Place the smashed slices back in the frying pan and cook until golden, 3-4 minutes.  Flip and fry 3-4 minutes more. 

Sprinkle the golden, fried plaintains with salt or other seasonings.  Enjoy.

On the

Date Pinwheel Cookies

People who love to bake seldom love to cook and people who love to cook seldom love to bake. I, however, love to do both equally. I try to keep the baking half of my heart under control most of the time because no one needs sweets lying around all the time, not even small batches of sweets.

The one time of year I can indulge my love of baking is the Christmas season. The next few weeks I will posting my adaptions of traditional, at least in my family, Christmas treats. Let’s get started with one of my favorite cookies, date pinwheels. You can use any kind of date for this cookie but fresh Medjool dates will take it to another level. Cliché but true.

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Adapted from my Mom’s recipe

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 TBS lightly beaten egg

1/4 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

Date Filling:

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

In a medium bowl, cream the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a seperate medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda; mix well. Add the flour mixture into the creamed butter mixture. Mix well. Bring the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, bring the dates, sugar and water to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until the mixture is thickened, 10 -15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.

When filling is cool, pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. When ready to make your cookies, place your dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll out until a 1/4 inch thick. Spread the filling evenly over the dough until 1/4 inch from the edge. Starting from the long edge, roll the dough up jelly roll style. Wrap the rolled up dough in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. When ready to bake the cookies, unwrap. Using a serated knife, cut the dough in 1/4 inch slices. Place slices on a sheet pan. Bake 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit 2 minutes before removing cookies to a wire rack to cool.