Category: ‘Food And Recipes’

Are You A Bread Baker?

March 22, 2017 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Do you like to bake bread?

I’ve been researching how bread was baked in ancient and historical times. From what I gathered, all bread baked back then was sourdough, using a sourdough starter. Apparently, it took the bread a long time to rise, too. I decided to bake a loaf of bread just using my sourdough starter (without using any commercial yeast to help it along).

Well, the bread had a great texture, and it was sour, highly sour, but edible! Not sure when I’m doing that again without commercial yeast. Reason being, it took a LONG TIME to rise. I have a new oven and it has a bread proof setting. So, I left it in my warm environment for about 24 hours! I kneaded it and added more flour to it a few times too.

To make my bread I used:

King Arthur Bread Flour

King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour


An entire cup of sourdough starter!

Olive Oil



When I make it again, I might add a couple of eggs. It wasn’t hard, just time-consuming!

So, are you a bread baker? What kind(s) of bread to you like to bake?



November 9, 2016 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Traditional dutch speculaas cookies on white background



Don’t these cookies look delicious? Have you ever eaten these before? I was browsing through my King Arthur flour catalog and saw these advertised. I did a little research about these cookies and discovered the following:

  1. It’s a shortcrust-type cookie made with different spices.
  2. Speculaas are eaten on Saint Nicolas Day (December 6th) in the Netherlands and Belgium. They are eaten in Germany around Christmas time.
  3. They usually have some image or figure stamped on the front and the back is flat.
  4. The dough can be stored overnight so that the spices can permeate the dough, giving it a richer spicy flavor.
  5. Sometimes speculaas contain slivered almonds.

I must admit, I’ve never made these before. However, I believe I’ve eaten a store-bought version of this cookie. Perhaps I will make some this Christmas! If I do, I’ll be sure to post a mouth-watering picture!

So, have you ever eaten these cookies? If so, do you enjoy them?

If you like cookies, then you should try my Christmas novella Loving Luke! It’s only 99 cents and mentions lots of sweet Christmas treats for your palate! Winter Background


Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

September 26, 2013 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

This was the easiest chocolate cake I’ve ever made. The frosting tastes sour, but, when you put it on the cake, it tastes good! You can always use another chocolate (or vanilla) frosting recipe instead of this one. What I liked most about this recipe? I loved that all I had to do was dump all the ingredients into a bowl and mix it up! For most scratch recipes, you have to mix most of the dry ingredients first, and then mix the other ingredients, and then mix both mixtures together. This recipe is not like that! So easy! When I melted the chocolate, I used the microwave. I also added a bit of water to the chocolate before melting – to help ensure that it didn’t burn. If you melt the chocolate in the microwave, be sure to check it every ten seconds.


2 c.  flour
2 c. sugar
1 c. water

1 tsp. salt


1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 c. shortening
4 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate (cooled)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 c. dairy sour cream
1/4 tsp. soda
Sour Cream Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pans. Measure
all ingredients except icing in a large mixing bowl. Mix 1/2
minute on low speed, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3
minutes high speed, scraping bowl occasionally.

Pour into pan(s). Bake layers 30-35 minutes or until top
springs back when touched lightly with finger. Bake 40-45 minutes if using a rectangular pan. Cool. Frost
with Sour Cream Frosting.


1/3 c. butter, softened
3 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate (cooled)
3 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 c. dairy sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla

Mix butter and cooled chocolate thoroughly. Blend in sugar.
Stir in sour cream and vanilla. Beat until frosting is
smooth and of spreading consistency.

Blackberry Crunch – A Recipe

June 27, 2013 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at
This recipe is really good and simple. I used fresh blueberries (instead of blackberries), and it was still good. I’d imagine that you could use just about any fresh, pie-type fruit (apples, berries, etc.) and it would still taste good!
Have you ever made a recipe that’s similar (or the same) as this one? If you make this, leave me a comment and let me know if you liked it.
2 cups fresh blackberries (or blueberries)
2/3 cup brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup flour
2/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
5 tablespoons butter softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In 8×8 inch baking pan, combine blackberries and lemon juice together. In a separate bowl blend, flour, oats, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over berries. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
Enjoy! 🙂
Let me know what you think about this recipe!

***My e-book, Milk Money, is only 99 cents! Download it now before the price goes up! :-)


~Cecelia Dowdy~

Using The Five Senses – From The Blog Archives

May 29, 2013 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

How do you describe taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound in your writing?

I attended a local writers’ meeting. We did a free write before we started the meeting. We wrote things that used the five senses. I think it’s important to make your reader feel what you’re writing through taste, touch, smell, etc. It was fun doing the exercise and if you are familiar with my writing, you may guess that I chose to write about food. I described the following three desserts (some of my favorites) in such vivid detail that the other members wanted some: chocolate cake, lemon pound cake, and chocolate chip cookies.

When you write, think about how things feel, smell, taste. If you have a garden with flowers, sit in the garden and sniff – describe the smell. Be sure to sit out there with your laptop or pen and paper so that you can record your smell descriptions. You can do the same exercise with taste. The next time you enjoy your favorite meal or dessert, eat it slowly, think, describe it so that when others read it, they’ll be salivating, wanting some of the food which you’ve described.

Do you have any tips to share about writing about how to tap into our five senses? Leave a comment!


~Cecelia Dowdy~


Simple Pleasures! – From The Blog Archives

March 29, 2013 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

What’s your favorite dessert?

When I write my stories, I notice that I habitually tap into the senses of smell and taste – especially taste! I’ve had a number of readers to say that they get hungry while reading my stories. I love writing about different foods, but I’m very passionate about sweets. I love eating them, describing them, making others crave a nice piece of buttery pound cake, or a dense slice of cherry-coated cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes with you today. I’ve had at least two people tell me that this is the best pound cake they’ve ever eaten. It’s simple and it’s oh-so-good! When you bite into this pound cake, the tart lemon glaze is a stark contrast to the buttery lemony pound cake, and it’ll just make you close your eyes and enjoy bite after bite! 🙂

If you try this pound cake, let me know if you enjoyed it. I know I shared this recipe with one of my former co-workers and she said when she made it, it didn’t taste as good as mine…not sure why?

So, what’s your favorite dessert? Leave a comment and feel free to share the recipe with us!

~Cecelia Dowdy~


1 ½ cups butter (3 sticks)
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Fresh lemon juice from one lemon (I use one of those bulb-shaped, cheap plastic juicers that people use for orange juice in order to juice my lemon. You get more juice that way. Be sure to remove any seeds. )
Grated lemon rind from one lemon
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup evaporated milk

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 10-inch tube pan. Beat butter in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add sugar ½ cup at a time, creaming well after each addition. Stir in vanilla, lemon extract, juice and rind. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir thoroughly after each addition. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes. If cake is not done after 70-80 minutes, bake longer, until wooden pick comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes; remove from pan.

Sift one cup of confectioners’ sugar into a bowl. Squeeze juice (or use a a juicer – mentioned above) of one lemon into a separate bowl. Remove seeds from the lemon juice. Mix lemon juice with confectioners’ sugar and drizzle over cooled cake.

Enjoy! 🙂

Cake Mix Banana Bread! :-)

March 11, 2013 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

I discovered this recipe yesterday and thought it was WONDERFUL! We had some ripe bananas and I wanted to bake some banana bread for my family for breakfast. I was tired, and didn’t feel like measuring out all of the ingredients. Recalling the yellow cake mix I had in the cupboard, I wondered if I could use the cake mix to make banana bread, and I could! Using Google, I found the following recipe.

Cake Mix Banana Bread

1 (18 1/4 ounce) box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
3 -5 mashed bananas
1 cup chopped pecans (I eliminated the pecans because I didn’t have any on hand, but, the bread was still delicious!)


1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2 Grease and flour 2 loaf pans or 1 large bundt pan.
3 Mix all ingredients together until well blended and pour into pan(s).
4 Bake for 30-35 minutes (45 minutes, approximately for the bundt pan) or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I had to bake my loaves for MUCH LONGER than 35 minutes!)
5 Remove from oven to cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
6 Cool completely on wire rack.

***Download a free copy of my novel, Raspberry Kisses!

Justin Won!

July 25, 2012 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Needless to say, I was not surprised. He’s so unique – that’s why I think so many people voted for him. He makes weird/unusual food. In one clip, I saw him making an octopus! It’ll be interesting to see his show. I’m still kinda confused as to when his show airs. I went to the Food Network website and couldn’t find an air date.

Are you surprised that Justin won?

~Cecelia Dowdy~


Who Will Be The Next Food Network Star?

July 20, 2012 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Who do you think will be The Next Food Network Star: Martie, Yvan, Michele or Justin? Did you go online and vote?

I’ve been watching this show from the very first episode. After seeing all four test pilots last Sunday, it’s hard for me to decide who would win. Out of all of the food that was fixed last Sunday, I liked Michele’s dish the best. I’m not a big mac and cheese fan, which is why I wasn’t too crazy about Yvan’s dish. Although I do love shrimp, I didn’t like the way Martie tossed her shrimp with all of that stuff for her dish. I did think it was interesting that she’d baked her shrimp – gives me another option for making shrimp. Justin made an aspic? This is something that I’d never heard of or seen until I’d seen Justin use it? Any of you ever use/make an aspic(?sp) before?

I wish that Leekie (sp?) had not been voted off! I loved that she made desserts and I enjoyed hearing her South African accent! I’d love to see another dessert maker have a show on the Food Network because desserts are my most favorite food to make.

Speaking of food, I’ve been using this cookbook a lot! Somebody on Facebook told me about it and I was hooked! I’ve been using this book for months and it makes baking bread SO EASY!! You make the dough and keep it in the refrigerator and use it whenever you need it. I’ve made sticky buns a few times and I’ve also made the pizza dough countless times.

I’m trying to watch my salt intake, as explained in this blog post. I still eat fast food and we still eat takeout pizza, but, I’ve found a somewhat low-sodium way to make pizza! I make the pizza dough recipe in this book, but, I don’t put any salt in the dough. I also make my own sauce using no-salt-added tomato sauce (I add onions and garlic to the sauce and let it simmer on the stove). When I make my pizza, I roll out my pizza dough, put the sauce on top, then mozzarella cheese, and then on top of that, I place pre-cooked crumbled sausage, pepperoni, and fresh mushrooms.

Granted, the sausage and pepperoni are full of sodium, but, since the other parts of the pizza (sauce and crust) have no salt, there’s not as much salt in this pizza as in the takeout/pizza parlor pizzas. When you eat my version, you don’t really miss the salt, you get enough salt when you taste that pepperoni and sausage! Yum!

Do you have any low-sodium recipes to share? Leave a comment!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Too Much Butter! :-(

December 11, 2011 Posted by Cecelia Dowdy

Do you think there are typos in the recipe below? Leave a comment!

Publisher: Oxmoor House
Page 241 – Beef Stroganoff – I think this recipe has a typo in it! Usually I don’t use this blog to vent, but, this has been on my mind for awhile! Since this is food-related, I feel comfortable blogging about my experience with this recipe since I do talk about food and recipes occasionally.

I tried the Beef Stroganoff recipe on Sunday (12-4-11). I even got an expensive cut of meat because I didn’t want the meat to be tough. When I started making the recipe, I got kind of suspicious. You’re supposed to coat the two pounds of cut-up meat in flour – one and a half cups of flour! Also, before cooking the meat, you have to melt ONE AND A HALF CUPS OF BUTTER – THAT’S THE EQUIVALENT OF THREE STICKS OF BUTTER!!

I stopped when I saw that amount. Before starting the recipe, I’d just skimmed it and looked at the ingredients. I stopped and asked my husband if I should make the recipe – it didn’t sound right. He said to go ahead and make it and we could alter it later once it was done. So, I agreed, took his advice and made the recipe.

So, I melted the butter. That was the first time I can remember EVER melting 3 sticks of butter in a pan. The smell made me ill. Don’t get me wrong, I love butter, but, that was the first time I’d used so much for a main course. The only time I’ve used that much butter was when I make my yummy lemon pound cake. When I was melting the butter, both my husband and my son said, “What’s that smell?” The scent filled the air, and it wasn’t pleasant.

Anyway, after I melted the butter, I ended up dumping the floured meat into the butter. The butter and the flour together made this yucky brown sludge – the smell made me ill, seriously. My stomach curdled while I was cooking. I couldn’t stand the scent. I finished making the recipe and when I tried it, it was awful! The smell and the taste just made me sick because of all that butter. I took the entire pan of hot stroganoff and dumped it into the trash! 🙁 I think that’s why this bothers me so much! I wasted so much butter and meat – we didn’t even get one meal out of it! Butter is expensive! I rarely use margarine because butter is much healthier for you! We ended up eating sandwiches for dinner that evening.

I think the recipe was supposed to call for one and a half TABLESPOONS OF BUTTER AND ONE AND A HALF TABLESPOONS OF FLOUR. Don’t get me wrong. I like this cookbook and I’ve used several of the recipes in it. I’ve even blogged about a few of them, but, this recipe was just all wrong.

Here’s the recipe – DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!! 🙁
Do you think there are typos in this recipe? Have you ever tried a recipe and thought that it was a mistake? Leave a comment!

~Cecelia Dowdy~

Beef Stroganoff
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour – I THINK THAT’S TOO MUCH FLOUR – I THINK THIS IS A TYPO!
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds of sirloin steak cut into one-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups of butter or margarine melted – THAT’S 3 STICKS OF BUTTER!! I THINK THAT’S TOO MUCH BUTTER – I THINK THIS IS A TYPO!
3 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 1/2 cups sour cream
7 1/2 cups hot cooked noodles

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large zip-lock plastic bag; add steak. Seal bag and shake until meat is coated.

Brown meat in butter in a large skillet, stirring occasionally. Remove meat from skillet; cover and keep warm. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic to drippings in skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until tender. Remove from pan, keep warm.

Add wine to skillet; cook over high heat, deglazing skillet by scraping particles that cling to bottom. Cook until wine is reduced by half.

Add beef broth and tomato paste, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add meat and mushroom mixture; cook until thorougly heated. Stir in sour cream; cook just until mixture is hot, stirring constantly. Serve over noodles. Yield: 10 servings.