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Red Velvet Cheesecake

Reviewed: Nov. 21, 2013
Red velvet cake review only. Increased oil to 1c & added 2T cocoa. 'Seems it'd be PINK velvet cake without the cocoa. Moist, but not too moist. This'll be around for a while - the recipe, I mean; not the cake. :) My directions: Combine 2 1/2c flour, 1t salt, 1t soda & 2T cocoa in medium bowl. In large bowl, whisk 2 eggs & 1c oil; add 1 1/2c sugar & 1t vanilla. Beat with mixer till smooth. Slowly stir in 1oz food coloring & 1t vinegar. Alternately add the flour mixture & 1c buttermilk. (No additional water) Along with twice baking, not enough fat/oil in this cake will ensure it to be dry. Again, my review is for cake only; but if I try the cheesecake top, I'll be sure to add 1c oil not the 1/2c given. 'Wonder if it's supposed to read 1 1/2c considering the twice baking. One more note, when making cupcakes, one recipe makes 18 regular (1/4c) cupcakes AND 24 mini (1T) so probably 24 all regular. Regular done in 22 minutes; minis, 15. Next time, I'm trying cooled, melted butter for the oil. The frosting makes it good, but the cake could be better --- with butter, I think. :) Christams 2014: Tried 1/2c butter, 1/2c oil. Better, but still more pretty-impressive than delicious.
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Rich Chocolate Brownies

Reviewed: Nov. 19, 2013
5 stars with frosting,3.5 without.Using a glass 9x13,I doubled the recipe pretty much except 3 eggs,not 4 & increased vanilla to 1 1/2t.Oh,less sugar: 1 3/4c for double recipe. Mine was done by 25 minutes.These didn't come out too gooey (although it wouldn't be me to make a complaint over that! :D) or too cakelike. They're more fudgy than cakelike for sure. I'm not a fan of cakelike brownies - hence,one less egg.If I wanted cake,I'd go for a cake recipe. :o :) 'Might like them a little taller.They're about a half inch,but that's not a flaw.It's more something that may improve clean cutting.For the frosting, used hot coffee instead of water - still added the instant.I accidentally (as in "oh, there's more confectionary sugar in the cup!" after I'd frosted) reduced sugar to 1 1/4c. Very thick, added 1T milk.It's a not-firm, but stays-in-place-once-on the brownies frosting,nice & shiny.'Didn't double the frosting, but did add a pinch of salt to it.Stays shiny, but not hard.It "gives" a little when you bite,forming very slight crinkles.Yummy,I say.'Might need some vanilla in the frosting - just cause I'm a vanilla freak.I'll add all the sugar next time, too.One more comment,using a flat spatula(looks like a pie server but flat & has a straight edge, not pie shape),this cuts beautifully.I mean gorgeous - like those photos where the frosting doesn't spread into the cake.(I secretly think they make those individually.No one could bake or cut a cake so perfectly as shown!)
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Gingerbread Cupcakes

Reviewed: Nov. 12, 2013
I changed a few things: Decreased oil to 1.4c (1/3 isn't too much, but less fat soooo ... & my eggs were kinda small, too. More egg dries.); increased cinnamon to 1 1/2t; added 1/8t cloves & 1/2t vanilla; as listed 1 1/2t ginger & 1/4t nutmeg. Oh, used a yellow mix. Oh, :D, subbed plain yogurt for the buttermilk. Too many changes?! Sorry. I was going for the 24 regular sized, but they would've been pretty low so made 18. The batter's pretty syrupy, understandably with molasses & 4 eggs, so I see the suggestion of plastic bagging it. 'Didn't do it. Just know it's going to be challenging. The directions! What?! Just till combined? What?! Nah. I added the spices to the dry mix. In a measuring cup, measured the oil, added the molasses to the 3/4 level, mixed in the half cup yogurt. Added to bowl. Beat the eggs a little in that measuring cup & added with the vanilla. One minute to moisten, a couple to blend. Anxious to try. Results: I overbaked since the middle was low. 'Just okay. 'Not much ginger bite. 'Feel like I wasted the molasses on this one. :( Surprisingly not too sweet with the sugar in the mix & the molasses.
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French Tourtiere

Reviewed: Nov. 3, 2013
In the process ... having to sub spices: allspice for mace, marjoram for savory, (used sage). Olive oil for the bacon fat. I added a stalk of celery & more garlic, probably 2 cloves. I'm combining w another recipe here that adds unseasoned, mashed potatoes with the meat mixture, less than 2c mashed. 'Not so sure I'd like "meat pie" - & it'll be more filling with a little potato action. My ground pork was only 1#. I "repinched" the spices - meaning allspice, sage & marjoram. It filled a deepdish pie plate. 'Kinda reminds me of Shepard's pie mixed together. 'Thinking the "good"-ness of the pie depends on the chicken broth since it's the predominant flavor added. Mine's homemade so it'll probably be good. 'Baking at 375 like I would a regular pie since it isn't all that wet - to need a higher temp...Done in 45. Still reminds me of Shepard's pie. 'Not a bad thing, just meaty - & with potato addition - a bit potatoey. :? :D 'Think this is a "man food". I'd like more spices & ingredients, but that'd be an entirely different recipe then.
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Detroit Hot Honey Wings

Reviewed: Nov. 1, 2013
In the oven, but review so far: Yes, wings; but not really hot - as in spicy - wings. With review suggestion, I only used half cup honey. It's plenty sweet enough. Twice that would be way too much. I'm not a firebreather & these are just a little spicier than mild. The "add more if you can stand it" made me think these were going to be hot. They aren't. After tasting, I added 2T more Frank's. 'Still not all that hot, but I'm using it. I thickened w 1T cornstarch - could've used 1 1/2 - 2T. I simmered the wings 8 minutes to help with baking time. Baked plain for 20 & sauced then 20 more. Taste: Reminds me of those you'd get in a chinese restaurant. More sweet than hot - so good for that purpose - but for hot wings, not so much. Good kid wing recipe, I guess. One more thing: I totally agree with one of the fewer star reviews that said too much butter. The ratio of one to one, hot sauce & butter is off. I wasn't thinking & just went along with it. It's too greasy & dilutes any flavor with their being so much of it. I try to healthup dishes & I'm almost embarassed to look at the pan they baked in. The first thing my taster said was "Did you put honey in this?" No, not overly sweet; but yes, sweet. Sweet more than hot - & the hot isn't so hot. "Hot" should be removed from the name. All wings aren't "hot wings".
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Delicious Stroganoff

Reviewed: Oct. 31, 2013
Pretty much followed the recipe except for skipping the milk. Even without it, I thickened with an additional 2T flour. For the record, 8 ounces egg noodles (uncooked) is too much for 4 servings (which this recipe is for as well). This was home-y, comfort food tasting; somewhat velveeta-ish even with real cheese (blaming the canned soup). It's an inexpensive & pretty easy dish to make, but I don't think I'll make it again. More notes: Cook the pork with the onions till almost done, then add the garlic. No need to take 20 minutes for that part. The boiling & reboiling isn't necessasary either - just boil after adding the flour so it cooks. The taco seasoning flavor doesn't come through well until leftovers so probably need to simmer this 15 minutes before adding the cheese.
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Sour Cream Cupcakes

Reviewed: Oct. 30, 2013
I've already started this in the bowl,but I'm going to make changes& while I am usually certain about changes being for the better,I'm not so sure about this.'Think I'd not make it now that I've read&compared to tried recipes.I'm going for 24,not 16 cupcakes,so am halving more the recipe.These amounts: 2 1/4c flour;1T bpowder;1/4 + 1/8t bsoda;ADDING 1/2t salt;SUBBING 1/2c BUTTER;INCREASING sugar to 1 1/4c;ONLY using 2 eggs (eggs'll do that. A fudgy 2 egg brownie recipe becomes cakelike with one more egg); 2/3c mostly sour cream w remainder plain yogurt;ADDED 1/3c milk;1 1/2t vanilla.I usually don't feel guilt with changes.This one's different. I don't know why, maybe the severe changes; but not that much considering I'm just increasing, right?!Please forgive.I'll get back with results.(Crossing fingers!) Not done yet,in the oven,but more to say: Only 18 muffins w increased amount. With 15 to 20 minute bake time,submitter MUST HAVE been using a lessthan standardsize pans to get 16.Batter seems seeet enough.'Thicker than most cake batters even with adding milk.'Still crossing fingers.Out of the oven in 18.Very light in weight.Hope that doesn't mean very dry.TASTE TEST:'Tastes like a cake mix.Not a bad cake mix.Light like they are.'Not very moist,but moist enough to say not dry.'Stuck to the wrappers a little. Just okay.I give myself a cheer for decreasing to 2 eggs.'Woulda been dry with three for sure.
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Pear and Cheddar Crisp

Reviewed: Oct. 28, 2013
Four large bartlett pears equalled 6 cups. I like spices, but with fruit I want to taste the fruit more so I reduced cinnamon to 1/2t & cloves to 1/16t. Instead of buttering the dish, I put a T of butter in the dish & let it melt in the oven. Swirled it around & continued. I used 3T, not 4, unsalted butter in the topping. 'Cheese flavor isn't very noticeable, but it can be seen a bit. I partially peeled the pears. Something left an odd feel. I couldn't tell if it was the peel or the cheese. I'd try mild vs sharp since it's easier to melt & not get too firm. Good, but I don't think I'll make again; but if I do, I'm peeling completely.
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True Blue Custard Crunch Pie

Reviewed: Oct. 28, 2013
Amounts seemed too much of vanilla & salt for a pie. I reduced to 1 1/2t & 1/8t. I combined the flour & sugar with the berries. The sour cream, egg & vanilla; then added it to the berry bowl. I used frozen berries & baked 40 minutes before adding the topping; then, 20 since 15 didn't do much. After 20, still no "crunch," but I'll get over it. Nut allergy so no nuts. Warm taste test: Yum. 'Thought it might be blueberry yogurtish, but it's more blueberry CHEESECAKEISH! Oh, my! :) Cinnamon isn't noticeable. It's enough to enhance flavor without your knowing what it is. 'May try with more since cinnamon's good for ya, but I wouldn't go for a cinnamony blueberry pie myself. If I make again with the topping, I'll go for 30 then 30; but, honestly, it's good enough to not have the extra sugar topping. If the berries are juicy, I don't know that it'd crisp anyway. No, not the prettiest pie, but make pie crust leaves or a regular top crust! PS "What cinnamon?" you ask? Sorry, my usual pie, I add half t. 'Don't remember if I added that or less. :? :( Christmas 2013: The topping isn't necessasary. It doesn't improve the flavor or look. It's an unattractive, but delicious pie. I'm thinking of renaming it "Pie with a good personality!" :D
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Blueberry Ricotta Squares

Reviewed: Oct. 22, 2013
'Read lots of reviews & only changed one thing - one less egg with the ricotta. That's unusual for this girl. :) This was good. I'm not an "Ooooh, lemon!" or an "I hate lemon" person, but I had the extract & added the half teaspoon listed. It wasn't overpowering, but not so subtle as I thought it would be. It's so lemony that I think it should be in the name. If I make again, I'll reduce it or replace with vanilla. With the one egg with the ricotta, I'm thinking two would make it quite dry - the ricotta part. It's not creamy at all with just one. I've played with ricotta & eggs before. :D It isn't a "looker" for sure, but a little sifted confectionary sugar does wonders for this lessthanattractive dish - & a little more sweet doesn't make it too sweet either. Next day: Sprinkle w confectionary sugar just before serving or realize that overnight the sugar will disappear on the unbrowned surface & look like mold on the browned parts. :o 'Not caring for this one. It's not flavorless, just not so good - at least to this reviewer. It sounded so good. :(
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Zucchini Herb Casserole

Reviewed: Oct. 22, 2013
I kinda streamlined the recipe. Diced the squash into half inch pieces & put it in the same pot on top of the chicken broth & uncooked rice. 'Done in 20. :) I had 2c homemade chicken broth so I used 1c uncooked rice. Put half cup chopped onion & the garlic in there, too - actually the onion first - to be sure it was cooked - then the squash & garlic. I subbed diced tomatoes & not until then did I remember that I'm not so big on rice with tomatoes, fresh or not. 'Tried it before the tomatoes (after adding double the spices) & it was pretty good just like that. If I try again, might go for buttered bread cubes on top & skip the cheese & tomatoes. 'Definately a recipe worth playing with! :D The 1c uncooked rice makes 3c so, although I did enjoy it, it was more rice-y than squash-y. 'Would reduce to 1/2 - 3/4c uncooked. I know I increased the rice, but I think a better name for this would be Squash-Rice Casserole since it isn't very herb-y, just has herbs added - & yellow or zucchini can be used in it. I used both - three total, fyi, is about 1 1/2#. :)
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Bright Blue Monday Cake

Reviewed: Oct. 10, 2013
So, with all the berries I have, I doubled this using a 9.5 x 13.5. The cup each, doubled amount, seemed too much for the topping; but I'd already started to went with it - except only used 1t cinnamon. 'Still cooling. 'Smells great. So much topping though, you can't tell it's blueberry. Used frozen berries & it was done in an hour. Taste: Good, not very good or better - only because I'm comparing it to Blueberry Buttermilk Coffeecake by BATA, which is awesome. 'Not sure if it's needing some butter (for flavor) or more sugar in the batter. Some of that topping sugar should go in it I think. It's light & good, but kinda eh. 'Doesn't wow ya into getting a second piece.
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Haunting Hot Chocolate

Reviewed: Oct. 10, 2013
Another good review for Suzanne's Haunting Hot Chocolate! 'Used 1/3c mix w 1/2c hot water to dissolve, added 1/2c milk & heated. 'Didn't add the cinnamon since I'm not very partial to drinking spices. Eating them is fine. :D Definately more creamy-tasting & looking than any others I've tried. That's surprising w no creamer, but still true. :) Subtle chocolate flavor. 'Think more serious chocolate lovers would want to add more cocoa. The 2:3 ration seems right, to me, for cocoa & sugar. And, although I enjoyed this, K & I liked my adjusted version of Hot Chocolate I better. It's more chocolatey, K said - & it is. :D
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Simple White Cake

Reviewed: Oct. 7, 2013
This recipe is very similar to Four Egg Yellow Cake. It, of course, is bigger/double. This one is good, too; but not quite as good. Neither is good for cupcakes unless you're using stiff frosting - to make up for the flatness.
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Stuffed Pepper Soup IV

Reviewed: Oct. 3, 2013
Pretty good, but lacking zip. Like a very, very good canned soup.
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Yummy Lemon Salmon Burgers

Reviewed: Oct. 3, 2013
Finished, but no one ate leftovers.
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Gooey Brownies with Shortbread Crust

Reviewed: Oct. 3, 2013
'Not as good as it sounds. Missing something. Chocolate chips? White glaze? Good idea. I'll try other shortbread & brownie recipes together. Gave to MH one year.
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Apple, Cranberry, and Pear Crisp

Reviewed: Sep. 5, 2013
It's in the oven (so more to come), but here's how it went: Subbed 2 Grannys & used canned pears (purpose of this recipe was to use them up so there! ;D). 'Used a large can, 29oz?, except for 2 halves. 'Went with the suggestion of 2/3c topping ingredients - without the nuts. 'Didn't feel like digging out the crystallized honey so subbed with molasses. Wild thing, I know. 'Only had 1/3c dried cranberries. Since the pears were canned/wet, I increased flour to 2T. Beautiful before the topping!Results: 'Think the recommended amount of topping would've been fine. This is one of those recipes that "needs" ice cream - or less sugar maybe. The molasses gave it a somewhat spice taste, in a positive way. Incidentally, molasses has less sugar per T than honey so keep that in mind if you don't want it too sweet. 'Can't distinguish between the apples & pears so I may just have a secret fiber source here & use only pears! :O :D This is good, but not amazing.
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Chocolate Applesauce Cake III

Reviewed: Aug. 28, 2013
'Seems I go for applesauce cake when I'm having to use up applesauce. 'Not too creative. :D Well, I thought 2c applesauce was too much so only used 1 1/2c. The batter was pretty fluffy/light & not as thick as usual cake batter. It, the batter, tasted more like a light chocolate fluffy frosting than cake batter. 'Only had about 2/3c chips so saved a little for on top & mixed the rest in. They were minis so they give more chocolate flavor than larger ones. Mine took 45 minutes in glass. 'Think a lot has to do with the thickness of the applesauce. I used Mott's so I'm kinda surprised. The batter tasted fluffy. The cake reminds me of a mix. 'Not a bad mix, but a mix. 'Similar in texture & flavor to commercial baked goods - like devil dogs, on the dark side. It has a slightly shiny surface. K, 14, liked - & didn't know about the applesauce factor. :o :D Notsuchachocolatelover E, 16, did, too.
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Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Reviewed: Aug. 23, 2013
So I used cooked frozen sprouts & 1/2 & 1/2 - only 1/3c. Tossed the sprouts w slightly heated 1/2 & 1/2 & maybe 1T plain breadcrumbs; then, added to the dish. Topped w remaining breadcrumbs & the parmesan. I thought I'd like & I did, but no one else was as happy. :/
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