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Chocolate Chip Pound Cake Recipe Original and Gluten Free Versions

imagesOne of the fastest developing areas requiring creativity is the kitchen. Dietary restrictions has replaced the occasional picky eaters. In our family it has been evolving over the past five years. My husband would eat basically anything giving no thought to calorie content, preservatives etc. Then he became health conscious and decided not eat certain foods.

I on the other hand was born with food allergies. My main food allergies are corn, peanut, MSG, wheat, which has now become Celiacs Disease. Corn or a derivative seems to be in everything. Out of necessity I have always been a label reader and now with the Celiac added to my list I have been converting recipes from regular flour to gluten free flour. Since I’m not comfortable with premixed flours I try to make my own or substitute a rice flour.

I have two versions below the first is the regular version, the second is the gluten free recipe. This recipe is delicious and my husband ate the gluten free version and never knew the difference.

CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE – ORIGINAL VERSION

Makes 1 9×5″ loaf

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened (the more softened, the better–leave the stick of butter out overnight to soften if you can)
1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt or you can use sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 Tablespoon half and half
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s DARK unsweetened cocoa powder)
3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips (Nestle® DARK Morsels) If you don’t care for dark use whatever you like but dark makes it decadent.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, Yogurt or sour cream, sugar, and half and half, blending ingredients well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add half the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and blend well; then add the remaining flour mixture and blend everything well. Fold in the mini-chocolate chips, stirring to distribute the chips evenly in the batter.

Pour or spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 70 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (your toothpick may not come out totally clean because of the melty chocolate chips in the loaf; be careful not to overbake or loaf may be a little dry). Cool in loaf pan 10-15 minutes; then remove from pan and cool completely (that is, if you’re planning on frosting it…it’s great unfrosted, too, right out of the oven when the chocolate chips are warm and melty!)

 

cat-1701-300-1CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE – GLUTEN FREE

Makes 1 9×5″ loaf

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened (the more softened, the better–leave the stick of butter out overnight to soften if you can)
1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt or you can use sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 Tablespoon half and half
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour but you can use white rice or store bought gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s DARK unsweetened cocoa powder)
3/4 cup mini-chocolate chips (Nestle® DARK Morsels) If you don’t care for dark use whatever you like but dark makes it decadent.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, Yogurt or sour cream, sugar, and half and half, blending ingredients well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add half the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and blend well; then add the remaining flour mixture and blend everything well. Fold in the mini-chocolate chips, stirring to distribute the chips evenly in the batter.

Pour or spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for 70 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (your toothpick may not come out totally clean because of the melty chocolate chips in the loaf; be careful not to overbake or loaf may be a little dry). Cool in loaf pan 10-15 minutes; then remove from pan and cool completely (that is, if you’re planning on frosting it…it’s great unfrosted, too, right out of the oven when the chocolate chips are warm and melty!)

 

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On The Street Where I Lived.

A few months back I went to see the play My Fair Lady at our local theater. Afterwards, the song On The Street Where You Live was stuck in my head for days. Then yesterday I put on the classical channel on Direct TV. You know the one that just plays elevator music. I wanted to kick back and relax by not listen to any stressful music and that Channel (number 820) if you’re interested really does the trick.

The first home I lived in.
The first home I lived in.

It started me thinking about the street I grew up on in Kenilworth, New Jersey. My town was tiny, only two square miles and everyone knew everyone from church, school, sports or other activities. To this day I can go to the Kenilworth town webpage and see so many familiar names of people who remained in the town and now work for the borough.

I moved to Kenilworth at the age of one. We moved into a house located on No. 8th Street. My parents purchased a two family home. We lived upstairs and my grandparents lived downstairs. Thinking back at the first home I grew up in, I realize the rooms were small. It was really a five room apartment.

I was fortunate enough to grow up with my grandparents so close, and I have many wonderful memories of the time I spent with my grandmother. One of my favorites is making raviolis with her. Another is my grandparents taking us to Hershey’s Deli uptown. Hershey’s Deli had the best ice-cream cones called a sky-high! The sky-high was a thick wedge of ice cream cut from the end of the gallon of ice-cream and placed in a rectangular cone, it sorta was the size and shape of a paintbrush. They were huge for a kid like me who was a picky eater. I was often torn on ordering a neapolitan or the chocolate marshmallow.

Eventually we moved across the street to a larger two family home. My grandparents lived on the other side of the duplex. Kenilworth is the type of town you don’t want to leave. It was a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.

The second home we lived in across the street.
The second home we lived in across the street.
Kenilworth Boulevard shops located uptown from where I lived.
Kenilworth Boulevard shops located uptown from where I lived.

Kenilworth, the town where I lived, is like the one I moved to in St. Cloud, Florida. It helped shape the characters in my first book Irresistibly Delicious, my small-town contemporary romance. These towns instilled in me the sense of community, caring and shaped who I am today. I have so many wonderful friends and relationships from living in the town where I was raised. Where were you raised? City – suburb – country? I’d love to hear from you!

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What’s Your Favorite Color? Mine’s Green!

imagesLately I have been playing around on Facebook taking a few personality quizzes. You may have seen them, Which biblical character are you? Which Star Wars Character are you? What were you in a past life? Things like that have been popping up in my feed.

I’ll admit I should be writing, but I file this under personal research. One thing I did notice is a lot of the time they asked you to select a color. I always pick green. I love the color. I don’t know why exactly but I do love almost every shade of green too.

I decided to Google what picking green as a favorite color meant. I was so surprised what I read. The description could have been written about me. Here are a few things on the list.

People who like green love nature and animals. I agree with this since I have four dogs, a cat, eleven birds, and like to paint trees and landscapes.IMG_0574

They are stable and well balanced. I hope so but you’d have to ask my family and I’m not sure they would agree!

IMG_0578They are kind and generous and compassionate, and at times tend to neglect themselves to help others. I tend to overextend myself and volunteer so I agree with that too.

They are intelligent and love to learn, tend to wear their heart on their sleeve, a loyal friend and strong willed. True, true, and true. The strong willed part isn’t one of my best traits. I can be quite stubborn.

People who like green are frank. I often say, “You might not like what I said, but at least you know where you stand.” I don’t care for people who pretend or are fake, or just tell you what you want to hear.

They are good listeners and can view problems from all angles. I have always been this way, it helps me make what I hope is the best decisions for the current situation.

UnknownIt’s amazing when you do a little research what you can discover about yourself. So what’s your favorite color? Google it and I bet you’ll be surprised at what you rediscover about yourself. Leave me a comment and tell me what’s your color and why.

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If You Could Live Anywhere In The World, Where Would It Be?

I love scrolling through the pictures I have stored in my computer. Several years ago I was fortunate enough to go to Italy. It had always been a dream of mine and when I walked the streets of Florence I felt at home. I realized I could very easily pick up and move to Italy.006_06

My trip took me to Rome, Florence and Venice. Each city has it’s beauty, history and uniqueness I fell in love with, but something about Florence resinated with me. Maybe it was all the gold at the Ponte Vecchio in florence. Most of the shops that line the arched bridge carry beautiful jewelry and exquisite gold.

italy-ponte-vecchio

There was also an overwhelming abundance of art, especially religious art, which is an interest of mine.

I have a small collection of it scattered throughout my home, but to see the art in the museums, churches and architecture on the streets had me in heaven for the ten days I was there.

005_05

Oh course no trip would be complete without visiting the coliseum in Rome. At the time, my son had watched Gladiator more times than I could count in preparation for our trip. I have to admit standing in the center of the ring was an overwhelming and emotional experience. I took this picture standing at one end of it at the top. You can see some people on a level below overlooking the main ring. You can get a sense of the size.010_10

So if you could pick anywhere in the world to live, would you choose another country, where you are now, a mountain, island or city? I’d love to know! Leave a message on this post. One lucky person to leave a comment will go into a drawing for a copy of my book Irresistibly Delicious.

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What’s Your Opinion Of Valentine’s Day?

I have never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. Maybe it started as a child when in class I passed out Valentine’s. I remember the first time I noticed not everyone gave a Valentine to all the other kids in the class. This bothered me. At home and in Sunday school I was taught to include everyone. I remember the look on the faces of the children who were excluded. Then I’m also the child that didn’t really care for chocolate. I never have been. Give me something sour any day!

As as adult I don’t really care for the commercialization of the entire holiday. I feel for people who are alone or had a recent breakup. Plus, each year my wonderful husband sends me overpriced but gorgeous flowers. APRIL-MAY2009 030I have a beautiful rose garden which blooms continually all year long here in Florida. Here are a few of my pretty roses. So it pains me that he pay so much. I would prefer a nice dinner together at one of out favorite restaurants. However, it’s difficult with him away a lot.APRIL-MAY2009 049

I can’t remember how many Valentine’s Days we have actually spent  together, since he has been in medical school, but not that many. I have baked him cookies, bought a few cards, send him some special notes. I mean what do you really get a man? Chocolate? Nah.IMG_2975

I’m in the process of sending my children and my nephews a little something. I like to spoil the kids. To them its another holiday and a chance for something sweet. I love to dip strawberries in chocolate and make chocolate covered strawberries too. What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Are you a fan or not?

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Writing About A Tropical Paradise Takes the Winter Blues Away.

Well I’m back to the land of the living. I’ve had some sort of head and chest cold for the past week but thankfully it’s gone now.IMG_2484 The cooler damp weather here in Florida wasn’t helping me to feel any better, causing the lag in my recovery. Most of you probably think I’m a bit of a whiner, when you compare the temperatures and snow the rest of the country has been forced to endure this winter, but I’ve lived in Florida for twenty-four years and this winter for us was the coldest we’ve had in  long while.

Since I lost so much time last week, I have thrown myself into my writing to try to catch up. I’m so excited about book two in my Cozy Cove series. It takes place in tropical Florida but centers more around the ocean and beach. 13_11AFor inspiration during the colder climate, I turned to pictures from a trip taken a few years ago in Grand Cayman.

We snorkeled around the coral reef. The colors of the fish couldn’t really be captured with my disposable underwater camera. The highlight of my snorkeling adventure was seeing a baby sea turtle and snapping his picture on film.

I’m a beach or pool person. The best form of relaxation for me is to stretch out by the pool or surf side in the sun. These days I use an umbrella to defuse the harmful rays. My characters in this story, will enjoy the beach and fall in love, while discovering their life long dreams and achieving their goals, all the while as danger lurks to tear them apart.24_22A

Looking back at these pictures and the wonderful memories, makes me want to hop on a plane and take a flight to the islands right now. What’s your favorite way to relax? Do you like the beach, mountain climbing, snowboarding? I’d love to hear from you.

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My Etsy Store Is Opened!

Watermelon soap
Watermelon soap

If you haven’t read my post on why I began making soaps and lotions, I will give you the shortened version. Several years ago, a friend of mine had a breast cancer scar when she had a cyst removed. When the lab did the biopsy, they discovered it consisted of paragons and other toxic ingredients found in soaps and body lotions.

When I learned of this I did a little research on the subject. I immediately check all of the products I used. Everyone of them contained toxic chemicals. I decided to do research on how to make all natural products. I mean after all the skin is the largest organ of the body and we’re washing and spreading toxic chemical all over it. Every thing placed on the skin is absorbed into the bloodstream in someway.

Body Butter - any fragrance
Body Butter – any fragrance

I researched an found only the finest purest ingredients – all natural and organic to use in my soaps and lotions. I use shea, cocoa, and mango butter and essential oils for fragrances. I also make sure they are fair trade!

I started to give out a few bars here and there to family and friends, especially the bamboo charcoal soap. The black bar is from all natural bamboo charcoal which aids in acne, eczema, psoriasis and other types of skin conditions. I have customers who purchase fifty to one hundred bars at a time.  I have also created beautiful wedding, bridal and baby shower party favors for several customers.

Incidentally, Hot Doc had very dry skin all the time from bar soap no matter what type we used. Now he never has dry skin and will only use the soap I make. If you have a minute, check out my etsy store. https://www.etsy.com/shop/NaturesOwnSoapsnsuch

If you don’t see something there you might like, I can be reached at Debbiesoaps@198.46.81.208gmail.com

Sugar Scrub - any fragrance
Sugar Scrub – any fragrance
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Cover Impact – How Do You Choose?

Lets face it, the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover,” is pretty hard not to do. When you walk into a book store or scroll online to purchase an ebook, the cover gives off a first impression. 1558801_577475915669507_1029084596_nI’ll be the first to admit, if the cover art catches my eye I’m half way sold. Then I glance at the blurb, read the beginning few paragraphs and decide if this is a book for me.embracingherdesires-200x280

Do you read a variety of books or stick to one genre? Up until a few years ago the majority of what I read was historical romance. Then I was given a paranormal romance by Lori Handeland. That book opened a new reading world for me. I branched out to contemporary romance, sci fi, young adult, and again I looked for the amazing cover art to guide me.

My Soul For You Front CoverIt was the cover art that first attracted me to author Airicka Phoenix. Her cover caught my attention and when I read the first few pages, I discovered what a talented author she is. Now I race to read anything she releases. What an impact that one cover had on me.

Of course the moment I set my eyes on my cover, I fell in love with it.daf-cc-id3

So I wonder do you choose a book by the cover, blurb, reviews, or recommendations from a friend? I’d love to hear from you.

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Making Soap Eases Anxiety

IMAG0423These past few weeks have been extremely busy for me. I’ve been working on book two in my series, making soap, painting and looking at all of my accumulated things in my home.

As the intern match process draws closer, I find myself going through closets and curios. (For those of you who may not have read my earlier posts, my husband is finishing up medical school.) Each time I pick something up and say, “When we move will I take this with me?” If the answer is “no” it’s moved to the goodwill pile or giveaway.

3-556-IMAG1599All of this kazoo leaves me feeling overwhelmed. One way for me to relieve my anxiety about this hellacious process is to use my creative outlets. Hellacious you might ask? Well, the way the medical intern residency match works these days is you interview in several locations and a computer generates where you will move to. So we have no idea what state we could end up in.

I’m happy I have the ability to paint, write and create soap. The soap ingredients I use are all natural and organic. Making soap is very therapeutic. The scent of the essential oils and fragrances have a calming effect to ease my nerves. I love when people tell me how much they have enjoyed my products. My neighbor and I trade soap for her herbs from her garden. It’s a wonderful deal for me. One day she asked if I wanted some fresh basil, rosemary etc, and I offered her rose scented soap. We’ve been trading ever since.

Right now I am busy created and etsy store for my soap called Natures own soaps n such.https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/NaturesOwnSoapsnsuch/preview

I hope to have some products listed today. Until today I have basically been receiving orders by word of mouth. One of the main items ordered  a lot is the Bamboo Charcoal soap which works wonders on skin conditions. If you have a moment later on today check out my store on etsy or like my page on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natures-Own-Soaps/145307198834785.