This Week’s Menu: Not Much of a Baker Anymore

Yellow butter cake with vanilla buttercream

Yellow butter cake with vanilla buttercream

I used to love to bake, but these days, not so much. The main reason is that it’s hot here, and running the oven only heats things up when we’re trying to stay cool. Frosting melts in the heat, and baked goods spoil quickly Besides, there’s no  longer a houseful of people to eat what I bake, even more so now that I cannot have starches and carbs are limited.

Orange bundt cake with orange glaze

Orange bundt cake with orange glaze

I still bake things from time to time though, depending on the weather. We’ve been having cooler weather for the past couple of months, so I’ve been dragging out my mixer more than usual lately. Mostly I’ve been baking cakes, but I’ve also made some fruit crisps, cobblers and brownies. For many of the cakes, I’ve been using a box of cake mix as a base, and then adding to it to make something special. When I can find cake mixes on sale for $1 or $1.25 each (a great price for here; they’re usually $2 – $3) I’ll buy a few to keep on hand. A devil’s food mix becomes a triple chocolate bundt cake, a yellow mix turns into a butter cake or an orange bundt cake with orange glaze. My frostings are always made from scratch – a fresh buttercream is a snap to make.

Triple chocolate bundt cake

Triple chocolate bundt cake

And, I don’t get any of it! Sad!

Here’s what we’re having this week:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches; coleslaw (no sandwich roll for me)
  • Wednesday: Tofu and broccoli with spicy peanut sauce; steamed rice (no rice for me)
  • Thursday: Grilled chicken & apple sausages; couscous; sautéed greens; grilled zucchini
  • Friday: Slow cooker chicken adobo with bok choy; steamed rice (no rice for me)
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Chinese stir-fried tomatoes and eggs; steamed rice; fruit
  • Monday: Lumpia (Filipino-style spring rolls); sautéed bok choy; steamed rice (no rice for me)
Beautiful cauliflower at last week's farmers' market

Beautiful cauliflower at last week’s farmers’ market

Lots of rice this week – YaYu will be very happy! I love that our rice cooker can do as little as a cup of rice. That’s enough for Brett and YaYu, and leaves some leftover for her lunch the next day.

We’ll be picking up lots of bok choy tomorrow at the farmers’ market, as well as greens, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, papaya and bananas. If cauliflower is available again this week, I’ll get some more of that and will fit it in some where.

If anyone would like the recipe for any of the cakes, let me know and I’ll put it in the comments.

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6 thoughts on “This Week’s Menu: Not Much of a Baker Anymore

  1. Jennifer Eldredge says:

    I would love the orange bundt cake with the glaze recipe, if you don’t mind!

    So you really feel better by limiting the starches and carbs, huh? I really should try that for a day or two.

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    • Laura says:

      I honestly can’t get over the difference in how I feel since I’ve stopped eating starches and most carbs. It’s quite dramatic, actually, and because I feel so good so far I’ve had no temptation to eat any of them again.

      The orange cake recipe comes from Ann Byrn, “the cake mix doctor:’

      FRESH ORANGE CAKE

      1 yellow cake mix with pudding
      1 cup fresh orange juice
      1/2 cup vegetable oil
      1/4 cup granulated sugar
      1 tsp vanilla
      4 eggs
      (not in her recipe, but I also add a TBSP of fresh grated orange peel)
      Preheat oven to 350°. Blend together the ingredients for 1 minute on low speed, scrape down the bowl and mix for an additional 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour into well-greased bundt pan, and bake for 45 – 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto cake plate. Cake glaze can be made from 1 cup sifted powdered sugar blended with 3 TBSP orange juice and 1 tsp fresh grated orange peel. Pour glaze over cooled cake and let set a few minutes before slicing.

      The glaze is rather thin and usually ends up puddled on the cake plate, so I either poke holes in the top or just make half of the recipe.

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  2. Laurel says:

    Those cakes all look amazing. And I know if I made any of them, we would eat them in a couple of days. Neither of us can stay away from sugar. 😦

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    • Laura says:

      The orange cake was the last one I enjoyed – I made it around Christmas and with the girls home it disappeared in a couple of days!

      I didn’t have any trouble skipping the other two (I made the chocolate cake for YaYu’s birthday last month) – I knew how I’d feel if I ate any – it was a great deterrent.

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  3. ms. moreless says:

    Have you ever tried riced cauliflower in place of rice for yourself? It’s not bad. It’s about $2.50 a bag here for the plain (no sauce) Green Giant varieties. I’ve also made fried “rice” with the vegetable medley Green Giant variety that has carrots & peas (very minimal amounts, so negligible impact from starchy vegetables). I don’t like cauliflower “mashed potatoes” or cauliflower “tater tots” at all b/c they just seem runny/mushy, but riced cauliflower has a nice firm consistency and really picks up other flavors.

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    • Laura says:

      You’re the second person who’s mentioned rice cauliflower, but cauliflower is a very difficult thing to find out here. I’ve never seen it in the frozen section, but will check a bit more carefully at a couple of stores that might have it. When I’ve seen cauliflower fresh in the stores it’s almost always past it’s ‘sell-by’ date, and if not it’s so expensive that it’s not worth buying. It’s been a treat finding it at the farmers’ market at an more affordable price, but we all like it so I can’t justify buying it for myself.

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