Raw Swiss Chard Salad With Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing

Raw Swiss Chard Salad

Raw Swiss Chard Salad Swiss Chard Salad

This  year hubby and I did not plant a garden like we’ve been doing for the last umpteen years.  Our attempts at gardening over the past few years have proved rather fruitless.  Or should I say vegetable-less…

It has gone something like this; too much sun, too much rain, too many bugs, too many weeds, too much blight, and not enough veggies!  Why bother?

And with all that said, I have a confession.  I MISS OUR GARDEN!

So, you can imagine how happy I was when a new acquaintance of ours offered us an armful of Swiss chard from her beautiful raised vegetable beds.  Pure delight!

To be honest, when I accepted this bounty of fresh leafy greens I didn’t even know if I liked chard, but I figured that hubby and I have enough cooking creativity between the two of us that we could make good use out of this beautiful, rich in vitamin A, C, and K vegetable.

My new acquaintance suggested cooking the chard in a little olive oil and garlic, but once we tasted it, we decided that we’d go raw with our first dish and we were both happy we did.

As hubby went outside to grill a pork tenderloin he left me in charge of the salad making.  Trusting guy isn’t he!

I have to admit that I did not measure a single thing when I made this salad.   I just threw in a little of this and that.  That’s what makes cooking fun!

Chard and Iceberg Lettuce Salad

If your ready to make this healthy and super tasty salad here’s what you’ll need.

Swiss chard, iceberg lettuce, dried cherries, toasted pecans, roasted sunflower seeds, mild blue cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing.

Chop the chard and iceberg lettuce up and put it in a large salad bowl.  Sprinkle some dried cherries, toasted pecans, and roasted sunflower seeds on the greens.  Grate some mild blue cheese into the salad. (I used, and absolutely love, Castello Noble Blue) and toss in your favorite raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  This is not a sponsored post for Castello.  It’s just another love of mine.

This salad is awesome!  It’s light and flavorful and it will leave you wanting just one more bite.  The iceberg is a little sweeter than the Swiss chard so they compliment each other well.  We ate every last morsel in the bowl and I can’t wait to make another salad.

At this rate, I’m not sure we will get around to preparing the Swiss chard any other way, but if we do, I’ll be sure to share that recipe with you too.

Raw Swiss chard salad

A perfect salad with grilled meat

With tasty salads like these who needs dessert?

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The Easiest Blueberry Crisp Recipe on Earth

blueberry crisp collage

Blueberries, Blueberry Crisp, Recipe, Baking

This weekend, on somewhat of a whim, I decided I’d like to pick some fresh blueberries.  I love picking fruit because it settles my busy mind.  Maybe it’s because you’re breathing fresh country air when you pick fruit, you’re under wide open blue skies and sunshine (if you’re lucky), and when you’re all done, you see progress.   I’ve always warned you I’m a simple girl. Black and White Photo, Blueberries, Blueberries in a Bowl

As it turned out, we picked berries at Luce Blueberry Farm on Hall Road in Ovid, NY.  I was super impressed with the simplicity of their berry picking operation, how welcomed the Mrs. Luce (I suspect) made us feel, how well maintained the field with all the blueberry bushes was kept, the fact that they had a porta potti should the need arise, and the spectacular view of Seneca Lake.  The only thing that was missing was a picnic lunch which I should have had with wits about me to pack but didn’t.

The funny thing about picking berries is that when you’ve picked your lot, and you’re headed out to pay,  it’s nearly impossible to leave.  You are continually tempted by one more juicy plump berry that you missed the first time around.  And so, you pick your way back to the beginning and your bucket gets fuller by the minute.  I had to practically drag my husband out of the field because he was clearly addicted at that point.   I had a similar experience a few years ago picking apples with my father in-law, and when you’re paying by the pound,  apples weigh a lot more than blueberries.  YIKES!

Colorful Blueberries, Blue

I had originally thought I would make a blueberry pie with my stash of fresh picked berries.  It’s been eons since I’ve made a pie!  However, when I got home I realized that my vegetable shorting had gone bad.  See, I told you eons.

So instead of making a pie I decided a nice blueberry crisp would suffice.  And boy did it!

This recipe is for the Easiest Blueberry Crisp Recipe on Earth.  I found it in The Blueberry Cookbook which was compiled by area residents of the Michigan Blueberry Growers Association and the North American Blueberry Council.  The only thing I did to this recipe was change the title of the recipe which was simply Blueberry Crisp.

Here is what you’ll need, and the instructions.

Serves 6

4 c. fresh blueberries

1/3 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. lemon juice

4 tbsp. butter

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/3 c. all-purpose flour (sifted if you prefer – I didn’t)

3/4 c. quick cooking oats ( I used old-fashioned oats)

Place blueberries in a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle the white sugar and lemon juice over the berries.  In a separate bowl, mix butter and brown sugar together.  Blend in flour and oats.  Spread topping over blueberries.  Bake in 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

Fresh Blueberries with sugar on top

Now this blueberry crisp might be the easiest on earth, but the taste is out of this world!

Homemade Blueberry Crisp made with fresh picked berries

Oh, and don’t forget the vanilla ice cream…

The Country Cook Weekend

One Rise Cinnamon Roll Recipe – Perfect for Sunday Breakfast

Frosted Cinnamon Rolls








Nothing is more inviting than fresh baked cinnamon rolls for breakfast on a Sunday morning.

Anything that involves something other than a half of bagel, a yogurt, or a bowl of oatmeal qualifies as a special breakfast treat to me, and these are definitely a treat!

This recipe produces delicious soft rolls that only require one rise.  Meaning, that you will probably able to produce them in a little over an hour if you get busy and have limited distractions.

Frosted Cinnamon Rolls







And what’s better, these rolls can be mixed up by hand and the dough is easy to handle.

One Rise Cinnamon Rolls (adapted from Gimme Me Some Oven)

Spray a 7″x9″ rectangle baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.


1 c. milk (I used skim)

3 tbsp. butter, plus 3 tbsp. softened butter set aside

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

2 1/4 tsp. yeast

1/2 tsp. salt

1 egg, beaten

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, set 1/2 c. aside

Cinnamon & Sugar Mixture

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix together and set aside.

Frosting (can be made while the rolls are baking)

Confectioners sugar

Half & half cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tbsp. butter, softened

To make the dough, melt 3 tbsp. butter in a small sauce pan; add milk and heat on low until just luke warm.  Pour into a large mixing bowl: add sugar, salt, and yeast.  Mix in egg and flour.  Stir until completely mixed and dough doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

Knead dough on a lightly floured surface using the 1/2 c. of remaining flour.  Roll dough into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Brush softened butter on top of the dough. Sprinkle prepared cinnamon & sugar mixture over top.

Starting with the shortest side of the dough roll into a log.  Using a sharp knife cut rolls about 1 1/4″ thick.  Place in prepared pan and cover with dish towel. Let rolls rise for about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees while rolls are rising.   Bake for about 15-17 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool.

Prepare the frosting.   I never measure the sugar or cream.  Put the softened butter and vanilla in a bowl and start alternating and mixing the sugar and cream  until the frosting is the consistency you are looking for.  In the case of these rolls, I wanted the frosting to be a little thicker so I could slather it on them.

Cinnamon Rolls - Just Frosted







Can you think of a better treat for Sunday mornings?

The Country Cook Weekend Potluck

Is Anyone Out There?

I’m here and still fussing with this new blog.  And no, I’m not saying this with bubbling enthusiasm.  I never dreamed that there would be so many things to learn, think about, and make sure are working properly.

And to make matters worse – after all this time-consuming, mind-boggling work, I feel as if I’ve lost something very important – my loyal readers.  What I’m noticing since I’ve switched from WP.com to WP.org is a major reduction in the daily traffic to my site.

I feel like I’m out here all alone.  Flying just above the tree tops.  Just like this crop dusting plane I snapped a picture of last week.Airplane, Crop Dusting







I have worked with my host who has helped me make a few adjustments but it almost seems like they were temporary.   I can see my followers listed on my new site but I’m not sure they are actually receiving notification of my new posts.  ARE YOU?  I MISS YOU!

I also realized that I took a major hit when a lot of my popular pins  on Pinterest are linked and sending interested readers to the dead end page of my old WP blog. My request for help from the Pinterest  (in a nutshell) was a waste of time as well.

If anyone out there has any advise on this issue then PLEASE shoot me an email.  Just fill out the contact form on my blog to reach me.  Believe me when I say this, I can use all the help I can get.

Until then, I’ll continue flying by the seat of my pants.

Road Trip Cookies

Soft & Chewy Cookies

Okay, I proclaim today as the hottest day of the year!   And while most people were attempting to stay cool, I, like a fool, fired up the oven.  Call me crazy, but I have been hard at work getting my new website in order all week and much of that involved sitting on my (you know what) so I really felt like I needed to do something productive today.  And, I can’t think of anything more productive than making a batch of delicious soft and chewy cookies for an up coming road trip.  Okay, maybe I can, but I vacuumed yesterday!

To start this project I made a mad dash to the store for a bag of M&M’s.  Who doesn’t like an M&M cookie with peanut butter? Please raise your hand. Just as I thought.

M&M Candy

My goal was to create a small batch of cookies that would outshine every other peanut butter cookie I’ve ever made before.  Did I succeed?  You bet I did!

The only problem is how do you name a cookie that is soft and chewy, has peanut butter in it, along with M&M’s, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips?  Now that’s a mouthful.   In other words, Road Trip Cookies was the best alternative name I could come up with at the time.

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

I am still trying to decide on a recipe plugin for WordPress.  If you have any suggestions would you please let me know via email?

Notice the moisture on the side of this dish?  It was so hot out that I put the dish in the fridge to pre-cool it so these little morsels wouldn’t melt as I took pictures.

Mini Chocolat Chips, White Chocolate Chips and M&M's

Enough babbling…

Road Trip Cookies

(Makes about 1 1/2 dozen)

1/4 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. peanut butter

1 stick of  margarine, or butter ( I used margarine)

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 /2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 c. M&M’s

1/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 c. white chocolate chips

In a large bowl mix sugars, peanut butter, margarine, vanilla, and egg.  Beat with electric mixer just until all ingredients are combined, but don’t over mix.  Beat in baking soda, salt, and flour.  Fold in M&M’s and chips.  Place in refrigerator, preheat oven to 325 degrees, and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Once oven is preheated, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll into balls and place on lined cookie sheet.  (I used a serving teaspoon to measure the dough.)  Bake for 9-10 minutes, being careful not to over bake.  The cookies will look slightly undercooked and have a light golden color when they are done.

Now, let’s hit the road! And please share the love for these cookies on your favorite social media hangout.

Peanut Butter Chip with M&M's Cookie

It’s a Done Deal! And the Recipe for Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

If I had to describe myself, I’d start with the words determined and persistent, both qualities that came into play when I (a non-techy gal) recently switched my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.

After five years of blogging I made the decision to switch to a self-hosted blog because I want to run with the big dogs.  I am hoping that what started as a hobby will now help supplement my income as I crank things up a bit her at TJOC.

So, this wasn’t an extremely difficult transaction, but it also didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected either.  What made it easier on me was the great customer service I got from Bluehost.  I had trouble on the import end of migrating my old blog content to my new blog’s location.  I kept getting an error that I couldn’t seem to work through.  With the help of some very patient folks at Bluehost, and later on, an extra $13.00 paid to WordPress.com (I hadn’t anticipated) I managed to get my new site up and running and yes, get all of you here safely!  Yay!!

I’m still experimenting with plugins and looking for lost stats from my WPC blog but I am confident I’ll get everything situated soon.  Remember – determination and persistence.  Hopefully I’ll also settle on a recipe plugin sooner than later.  In the meantime, I wanted to share this Mini Blueberry Cupcake recipe with you as I promised you in my last post.

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

1/2 c. margarine (or butter)

3/4 c. sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c. milk (I use skim)

3 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. blueberries

Line 3 dozen mini cupcake tins with paper liners.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, add margarine, sugar, and eggs.  Beat with electric mixer until blended.  Add milk, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and flour.  Mix completely.  Fold in berries.  Fill paper liners about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 12 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.  Cool before removing from tins.

These are so tasty.  I frosted some with buttercream icing but I actually preferred them naked.  I think a dollop of homemade whipped cream would taste great on them so  I’ll try that next time around.

Please feel free to share this post with the world and let’s run with the big dogs!

Coming Soon! Mini Blueberry Cupcake Recipe and a New Website

Okay folks, I have breaking news here at the Joy of Caking!

After years of procrastinating. I have finally purchased the web domain www.thejoyofcaking.com.  Yay – happy dance!  And soon (if all goes as planned) I will be moving my site from Wordpress.com to WordPress.org.

I hope (more like pray) that in the process I don’t lose all of you great people.  I have a philosophy about this transition which I’ll share with you, along with this great recipe for these delicious Mini Blueberry Cupcakes as soon as I get settled.

Mini Blueberry Cupcakes

Wish me luck!

Pizza Focaccia Bread – Ready in 1 Hour

This is a new favorite in our house.  A fresh and flavorful pizza bread that can be made and ready to serve in an hour.  Yes, you heard me correctly, 1 hour!   And if you’re intimidated by making bread have no fear…  Seriously, this recipe is great for beginner bread makers.

Pizza Focaccia Bread

3/4 c. warm water

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. yeast

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour


1/4 c. pizza sauce

1/2 c. mozzarella cheese

8 slices pepperoni, cut into small pieces

2 dashes of Italian seasoning

Spray a 9” pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add water, sugar, salt, and yeast.  Let sit for a couple minutes.  Add oil and flour; mix thoroughly.  On a lightly floured surface knead dough for about 1-2 minutes.  Place dough in the prepared pie plate and press out.  Poke holes in the dough (as shown below).

Top dough with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese (as shown below).  Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 20 minutes;  bake for 20 minutes.  Serve warm.

I like to dip this bread in fresh pizza sauce.  It makes a great appetizer, compliments a fresh salad, and can be served with a meal.

Either way, it won’t last long – I guarantee it!

Seedless Black Raspberry Sauce

Last week I shared a post for homemade black raspberry jelly.  We have berries are out behind our house that are free for the picking – and boy are they plentiful this year.  I think all of the rain we had this spring has helped them grow.   It’s hard for me to rationalize leaving these  berries unpicked because they are loaded with healthy antioxidants and are super delicious.  My only problem is that my stomach doesn’t tolerate seeds well so I have to be a little crafty and work around them.

I’m not sure why I didn’t get around to making seedless preserves and sauces before now but all I can say is better late than never.

Seedless Black Raspberry Sauce

3 c. of berries

1 1/2 c. water

Put berries and water in a large saucepan and bring a full boil for 5 minutes over medium heat – stirring often.  Mash the berries in the pan as they soften while cooking them.  (This will yield about 2 cups of juice).

Once the berries have boiled for 5 minutes remove from heat.  Strain the juice through a doubled piece of cheese cloth and discard the seeds and pulp.

2 c. juice

2 tbsp. butter

3/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. corn starch, plus 1 tbsp. water (mixed together)

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a clean saucepan, melt the butter.  Add juice, sugar, salt, and cornstarch; bring to a boil on slow heat – stirring constantly.  Cook until liquid thickens.  Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into container. Makes 1 pint.  Serve warm or cool.   Store in the refrigerator (stir thoroughly before serving, or warm for a few seconds in the microwave).

Use this as a topping on ICE CREAM, MILKSHAKES, PANCAKES, or vanilla YOGURT (like pictured).  One of these days I’m going to experiment and make a homemade black raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing using this sauce and when I do, I’ll share the recipe.

Imagine how happy you’d make a friend, neighbor, or co-worker if you presented them with a small jar of this.  Think Christmas…  I have froze bags of these berries so I can make fresh batches of sauce and jam throughout the cold winter months when ripe berries are hard to come by.

Pick berries and get into the sauce!