Yellow Cake with Nutella Frosting

Saturday, February 28, 2015

With the recent onslaught of inclement weather, I've taking to baking. It serves two purposes: it gives me something to do AND provides a yummy snack that everyone can enjoy once I've finished. Plus, it's always a fun challenge to see what I can make using only the ingredients I already have in the pantry.

This year, I opted for a homemade yellow cake with Nutella frosting and it was a hit. I'm sharing the details with you and let me tell you it wasn't any more difficult than making a cake from a boxed mix!

Yellow Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 eggs
frosting recipe for two layer cake (Nutella frosting recipe follows plus links to other options)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 9" cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add butter, milk, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. 
  4. Add eggs and beat for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then, loosen the sides of the cakes from the pans and turn out onto cooling racks for another 10 minutes.
  7. Frost with Nutella frosting or frosting of choice.

Nutella Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 1/3 cup Nutella
2 tsp vanilla flavoring
1/8 - 1/4 cup milk

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter with mixer.
  2. Add cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, vanilla flavoring, and 2 Tbsp of milk. Blend on low speed until the sugar is combined.
  3. Add more milk, 2 Tbsp at a time until mixture is smooth and spreadable.
  4. Add Nutella and blend mixture until smooth.
  5. Use frosting to generously frost two layer cake.
I usually use this frosting with a fudge cake, but I only had enough cocoa powder on hand to make the frosting, so I paired it with a yellow cake this time and it was a winner! Moral of the story - don't be afraid to try something new.

This yellow cake makes a great "base cake" and might be equally good dolled up with some of the other frostings we've featured, so make sure give these recipes a looksee:

The Best Time to Plant a Tree Was Twenty Years Ago. The Second Best Time Is Now.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Today's words of wisdom is a Chinese proverb that encourages us, no matter what the endeavor, to start today.

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Don't let the woulda, coulda, shouldas hold you back!


We regularly post Words of Wisdom to our Facebook Page. If you're not a follower, you can find us here Give us a Like for your daily dose of Harris Sisters Wisdom and Inspiration.

You can also find our Friday posts and many others on my Words to Live By Pinterest board so make sure to pop over there and start following for all the latest updates.

Crockpot Mexican Enchilada Orzo

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This was a really tasty recipe and super easy to make. Love sitting down to dinner at the end of the day when the crock pot has done all of the work!

And, a bonus with this recipe is that the leftovers make a really tasty burrito filling. Just pile it into a tortilla with all the fixin's and it was equally as delicious served that way!

Crockpot Mexican Enchilada Orzo

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can corn, drained
1 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
12 oz enchilada sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried cilantro
½ tsp cumin
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
salt and pepper, to taste
16 oz dried orzo pasta, uncooked

  1. Place black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, green chiles, enchilada sauce, vegetable broth, and spices into a crockpot. 
  2. Stir until well combined. Top with cubed cream cheese.
  3. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
  4. Stir to combine cream cheese. Add orzo and stir to incorporate. 
  5. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 15-30 minutes. Add more vegetable broth as needed until the desired consistency is reached.
Hankering for other tried and true Mexican recipes? Give these Harris Sisters favorites a try:

In the Midst of Winter, I Found There Was Within Me an Invincible Summer

Friday, February 20, 2015

Today's quote is perfectly appropriate for the harsh Winter that many parts of the country have been experiencing. This past week, all three Harris Sisters have been hit with some form of inclement weather in the form of snow or ice, so we thought we'd pass along this thought:

In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer.


We regularly post Words of Wisdom to our Facebook Page. If you're not a follower, you can find us here Give us a Like for your daily dose of Harris Sisters Wisdom and Inspiration.

You can also find our Friday posts and many others on my Words to Live By Pinterest board so make sure to pop over there and start following for all the latest updates.

Grandma's Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

Monday, February 16, 2015

Did you ever have a recipe that immediately takes you back to your childhood?  the good old days? For me this is that recipe.  It is comfort food at it's finest.  This recipe was created by our Grandma Elizabeth and Mama made it often when we were growing up.  Now it's still one of my favorites, and a seriously easy peasy recipe to pull off.  If you are hunkering down for this week's winter storm, here's the chicken soup that will do the trick.

Grandma's Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

3 or 4 chicken breasts
6 medium potatoes
2 medium onions
2 cans pork and beans
1 can white corn
3 cans tomato soup
1 tsp sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper. to taste
  1. Boil chicken breasts until tender, reserve broth.
  2. Shred chicken and set aside. 
  3. Chop potatoes and onions and then boil in reserved chicken broth, cooking until tender.
  4. Add chicken, pork and beans, tomato soup, and white corn, and simmer on low heat until thoroughly heated through.  
  5. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.

There Are Far Better Things Ahead Than Any We Leave Behind

Friday, February 13, 2015

Today's quote comes from author of one of the Harris Sisters' favorites, Alice in Wonderland, C. S. Lewis:

There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind. A good reminder to not spend too much time dwelling in the past! We've got rabbits to chase!

We regularly post Words of Wisdom to our Facebook Page. If you're not a follower, you can find us here Give us a Like for your daily dose of Harris Sisters Wisdom.

You can also find our Friday posts and many others on my Words to Live By Pinterest board so make sure to pop over there and start following for all the latest updates.

McDonald's: I'm Lovin' It

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Well, it's been just over a week now since the Super Bowl, and thus the kickoff of McDonald's latest promotional campaign, "Pay with Lovin".  And with just a few more days until Valentine's Day left, there aren't too many days left to potentially score your McDonald's meal in exchange for a smile, a high five, a compliment, or some other form of "lovin".  

Tell me, have you or anyone you know actually been selected to take part in this latest form of tender accepted by McDonald's?  Leave your comments below or on our Facebook page.  I sure would love to hear your stories of "lovin".   

After a bit of research, it seems that customers can only "pay with lovin" in the dining room, not the drive through, which pretty much destroys any chance I would have to earn a free meal.   These days, if I stop by McDonald's it is always via the drive through as Babydoll naps in her car seat.  Oh well, next time, next time.  

Like them or not, it's pretty tough to find fault with this campaign.  Well done, McDonald's.  As if your McCafe coffee and Filet o' Fish weren't enough to win my love, this promotion certainly puts it over the top.  So yes, McDonald's, I AM lovin' it! 

OMG Brownie Cookie Layer Bars

Monday, February 9, 2015

This is a recipe that I've been making for a while now. It's a favorite in our house. It's a layer of chocolate chip cookies, followed by a layer of Oreo cookies, followed by a layer of brownies. So really, what's not to love?

One of the very first recipes I ever pinned on Pinterest was this recipe, which I have then subsequently tweaked to get the recipe I've listed here. Let's let that sink in . . . one of the FIRST recipes I EVER posted on PINTEREST . . . 

Taylor gets it.

Anyhoot, here are the fantastic Brownie Cookie Layer Bars that are sooooo good that they make you say Oh My Goodness (hence the OMG).

OMG Brownie Cookie Layer Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1, 3.4 oz. packages instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 package, flavor of your choice

Brownie Ingredients
2 sticks butter, softened
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside to mix cookie dough.
  2. Mix Cookie Dough:  Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the pudding mix until blended. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture in small increments until all of it is incorporated. Finally, use a spoon to stir in the chocolate chips. 
  3. Press cookie dough into bottom of prepared pan. Top with a layer of Oreos.
  4. Mix Brownie Batter:  Combine butter and chocolate in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave in 1 minute intervals until chocolate is melted. Stir to combine. Whisk eggs together in a large bowl, then whisk in salt, sugars, and vanilla. Stir in chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in flour.
  5. Pour batter over Oreo layer. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove foil and continue baking for an additional 20 minutes.
  7. Let bars cool completely before cutting. Bars will be a perfect fudge-like consistency.
To make cookies from cookie dough:
  1. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated 350 degree oven. Edges should be golden brown.
  3. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheets before moving to cooling racks.
To make brownies from brownie batter:
  1. Pour batter into sprayed 9 x 13 pan and spread evenly. 
  2. Bake for about 45 minutes in preheated 350 degree oven, until top has formed a shiny crust and batter is moderately firm.
  3. Cool in pan on rack.
The original recipe that I pinned all those years ago suggests that you can create this same bar with store-bought cookie dough and boxed brownie mix. That would certainly speed up the process, but I don't know if the flavor would be anywhere near as good!

The cookie recipe that I've used is one I've posted about before. It's Ryan's favorite cookie recipe! Here are pictures of the finished product from that recipe.

Mexican Street Corn Dip

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I recently made this dip for Super Bowl Sunday, and I'm just now getting around to posting it. It's a real winner. It's a spicy dip, but you have the ability to adjust the level of spiciness to your tastes by adjusting the amount of Sriracha and/or omitting the jalapeno.

Because it has mayo and sour cream as the base to calm down the spicy components, it's easy to customize this recipe to suit your family's tastes.  

Mexican Street Corn Dip

15.25 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
15.25 oz can fiesta whole kernel corn (or Southwest corn), drained
4 oz can fire roasted green chiles
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup sour cream
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
6 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp cilantro
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp cumin
2 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha 
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine corn, green chiles, mayonnaise, sour cream. Stir until combined.
  2. Add feta cheese, green onion, cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Mix well.
  3. Add Sriracha and jalapeno to desired heat level. Mix well.
  4. Chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

Kitchen Tips at Your Fingertips

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Today I bring you a handy tip that I've used for many years. Many moons ago, I received a promotional calendar in the mail for my local insurance company.

It was a very small magnetic calendar that you're supposed to hang on your refrigerator and fondly recall all the good times you've had with your insurance person. What? Huh???

Anyhoot, as I was walking it over to the trash can, I noticed that it had kitchen measurement conversions printed on the cardboard backing. So, I cut off the back part and taped it to the inside of my kitchen cabinet. :-) Now that's good times!

Since I can't personally send each one of you an magnetic insurance calendar circa 2010, but because I love you from the bottom of my heart, I've rounded up a few kitchen tips that would be equally as helpful for you to print and tape to the inside of your kitchen cabinet for easy reference.

Kitchen Measurement and Volume Conversions:

Baking and Cooking Substitutions:


How to Cut a Recipe in Half:


Slow Cooker Conversions:


You might be asking yourself did she REALLY just TAPE these into her cabinet? I did. 

With Scotch tape? Yep. 

You mean you didn't frame them in an upcycled vintage frame that had been meticulously painted with Annie Sloan Chalk paint, or put a bird on them, or hand write the information onto a chalkboard using your best and swirliest calligraphy handwriting, or sprinkle glitter on them, or print them on burlap and meticulously fray the edges? Nope.

You see, because these will be on the INSIDE of your cabinet, it doesn't really matter all that much how schmancy they look. You will benefit from having the information at your fingertips and not having to Google it every time you start making a recipe. If YOU want to do any of the aforementioned things to these, hey knock yourself out! But sometimes the simplest solution is the best one.

Now that your kitchen is FULLY prepared for maximum cooking and baking possibilities, please make sure to swing by our recipes section to pick out some new recipes to try. You'll be glad you did!

I Want to Be Loved By You

Friday, February 6, 2015

In honor of Valentine's Day, today's quote is from Betty Boop herself!

I want to be loved by you (just you and nobody else but you).


Not EXACTLY our typical Words of Wisdom, but a nice sentiment nonetheless. And great nostalgia for those of you who remember Betty! ;-)

We regularly post Words of Wisdom to our Facebook Page. If you're not a follower, you can find us here Give us a Like for your daily dose of Harris Sisters Wisdom.

You can also find our Friday posts and many others on my Words to Live By Pinterest board so make sure to pop over there and start following for all the latest updates.