Blaise the Baker Recommends – Notes on a Banana 

“Notes on a Banana” By: David Leite 

I can not tell you how much I love this book! It really struck a cord with me. I guess I was not expecting this book to hit so close to home but it really did in just about every way imaginable. David is a very talented writer and I am lucky enough to be able to call him one of my “Facebook friends”. I really admire him, his journey and now after reading this – his life. 

This memoir is not to be missed! I was lucky enough to score an advanced copy – and I am recommending everyone to preorder this book today! I have already placed my Amazon order – I can not wait to gift this to some of my friends and family. 

For the last several months – years maybe – I have been reading cookbooks like novels. Between this memoir and “Give A Girl A Knife” it has really opened my eyes to the world of food memoirs – a genre that I am really learning to love and appreciate. 

This memoir covers just about everything you can think of! Sexuality, family dynamics, food, love, lust, mental illness, acceptance, balance and so much more. And there is so many things that relate to me or to the people I have in my life. I love David’s philosophy on butter and cooking and I love his philosophy on love and how to love with all your heart. 

This charming, informative, personal and emotional memoir landed in my lap at just the right time. The depth of what is covered in this memoir can not possibly be covered in this short blog post so trust me when I say – PREORDER this book TODAY! Trust me. You will not be sorry. And buy a copy for your friend too. This is the perfect book for your local club book – so many wonderful discussions can be brought out in the open by this charming and frank memoir that has touched me so much. 

To purchase / preorder click below – 

https://m.harpercollins.com/9780062414373/notes-on-a-banana

Blaise 

Baked Goods!


My “Blaise the Baker” baked goods will be featured at “The First Annual Henry County Church Chili Cook Off” on Saturday April 1st, 2017 from 5pm-7pm at the Memorial Wesleyan Church! Tickets are $5 and the proceeds are going to help send their missions group to Belize! Stop by for the chili cook off – bid on my desserts – and have a great time! What kind of desserts will be there!? I’ll be making my Chocolate chip cookies, Brownie Truffles, Cinnamon Rolls w/frosting, Elvis Brownies… and some other surprises! Hope to see you all there!!! For more information contact blaisethebaker@gmail.com 

Blaise 

Rigatoni Pie

I first discovered this recipe on “The Food Network” Facebook page and I knew immediately I wanted to try it. I was not sure I would have the patience though to individually place all the rigatoni pastas into the cake pan – but you know what? It was really easy. Might have taken 4 minutes total! Super easy and the end result is really impressive! 

This is the perfect recipe for entertaining and the perfect recipe to make with your kids! You can use meat in this recipe – hamburger, sausage, lamb – just make sure it’s precooked and that you add it after the tomato sauce but before the shredded cheese. Fabulous and delicious! 


Rigatoni Pie

1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 large jar pasta sauce, plus seasonings
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Start by spraying an 8-inch springform cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Wrap the bottom with aluminum foil. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water for 8 minutes. Drain.

In a medium saucepan heat the pasta sauce and add in whatever seasonings you desire. I added minced garlic, red pepper flakes, basil and a pinch of sugar to mine. Let come to slight boil. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Arrange rigatoni pasta in springform pan. The easiest way to do this is turn rhe pan sideways – arrange the pasta building it “up” – sideways – until you reach the top of the pan. Not all of the pasta will fit. That is ok!

Carefully pour the pasta sauce over the rigatoni and level out with a spoon. You may not use all the sauce. Be sure the sauce covers a majority of the top.

If you want to use meat – layer on top now.

Evenly sprinkle with both cheeses.

Place pie on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Place aluminum foil on top of the pie, tenting it slightly. Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes remove from the oven and remove aluminum foil. Place back into the oven for 30 more minutes to brown and melt the cheese.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Gently undo the springform pan from the pie.

Cut the pie into pieces and serve.

Enjoy!

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Chew This! Spring Celebration Cookies 

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday!!! As many of you know, I write a food column for “The Courier-Times” on the first and third Sundays of each month called “Chew This!” I absolutely love it and love sharing my family recipes, stories and memories. If you are in the Henry County, Indiana area – pick up a copy of the newspaper today and let me know what you think! If you are not, but would still like to take a look, sign up for an online subscription at http://thecouriertimes.com Need help with the online signing up!? Write to me and I’ll be happy to help! blaisethebaker@gmail.com 

The first day of SPRING is tomorrow and I just can’t believe it! It seems winter lasts SO LONG compared to the spring and summer months. Enjoy every second of the spring and summer because it’s fleeting for sure. Why not start the celebration with my delicious and fabulous “SPRING CELEBRATION COOKIES”!? The cookies are tender inside and stable outside while the frosting on top is thick and flavorful! 

Feel free to leave the frosting off these cookies and serve as is – but part of the fun and celebration is the colorful frosting! Use any food color you desire – and any color that you want to match your mood. Experiment and enjoy!

Also in this column is my “Ask and Answer” feature about how you can make “steak house style” baked potatoes at home! No wrapping them in foil, poking the outsides – just follow my recipe and you’ll love it! The skins are flavorful and crispy and the inside is fluffy and tender. 


Spring Celebration Cookies

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_43048498-019b-5792-99f0-575ac046db52.html

Enjoy!

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Blaise the Baker Recommends – My Life To Live

“My Life To Live” By: Agnes Nixon

As soon as I got this book I knew immediately who I was going to let read it next – my Grandma Barbra. This book is not really an “explosive” tell-all as much as it is a heartwarming look into Agnes Nixon’s life and career. I always feel oddly about reviewing books other than cookbooks because I am always worried I will give too much away. If you are a fan of soap operas and reading about TV icons and history you will want to read this book! Agnes was the creator of “All My Children” as well as “One Life To Live”. Behind the scenes stories, personal charm and witty writing are all inside plus so much more. Sadly, Agnes passed away last September but she lived and loved her full life to the limits. Read this book in her memory and find out what made one of TV’s first female icons tick from the inside out. A fascinating read. 

To buy “My Life To Live” click here…

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. Shout out and special thanks to Blogging for Books for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise 

Cookbook Corner – Cupcakes Forever 

I’ve often thought about going over my blog and deleting old posts (giveaways and giveaway winners) and updating the spelling and English in some of my earlier posts (some of my earlier posts were just not well spell checked) but I got to thinking – why? I would not change anything that has lead me to the current spot on the journey I am on – so leave them alone. So what if some sentences “run on and on” and who cares if some of my old giveaway posts are still visible? All the actual RECIPES are error-free and are 110% promised to work. That is what matters. The heart of my blog. The recipes. 

I have also thought about pulling back on my cookbook reviews – my “Cookbook Corner” features. But why? I love it and enjoy it. It is something that makes my blog different than the rest. There are thousands (probably millions) of people who are reviewing cookbooks online (and otherwise) and everyone is valued to express themselves and their opinions. Some of the cookbooks friends of mine review may not interest me (vegetarian, International, gourmet) and some of mine may not interest them. That is fine! There should be a wide variety of opinions and reviews for each cookbook. Not just one opinion, post or voice. 

On that note I would like to thank everyone for joining me here (there are SO MANY of you followers and subscribers – THANK YOU) and introduce you to my newest cookbook love…


“Cupcakes Forever: Delicious Recipes For Cupcakes With Love From Lola’s” 

This cookbook is fabulous! It is pocket size – about 1/4th the side of your typical cookbook but do not let the size fool you! This book is packed with delicious recipes for cupcakes and frostings. I have made several of the recipes from this book and easily one of my favorites is the cupcakes that are featured in the photos above. Their “Vanilla Cupcake” (page 24) and their “Basic Vanilla Buttercream” (page 20) are neither one “basic”. I have tried so many vanilla cupcake recipes and most of them fall flat. These, however, are flavorful, moist and deliciously vanilla.

The recipes are straightforward and easy to follow and the variety of flavors and flavor combinations are well welcomed. Just some of my favorites are…

“Red Velvet Cupcake” (page 35), “White Chocolate Cupcake” (page 44), “Blueberry Cupcake” (page 54), “Maple Syrup Cupcake” (page 73), “Rainbow Swirl Cupcake” (page 101), “High Hat Marshmallow Cupcake” (page 111), “Sticky Toffee Pudding Cupcake” (page 122) and “Banoffee Cupcake” (page 131). And those are just a FEW of the amazing and sometimes over the top cupcakes featured throughout. 

I have marked so many more recipes to try and I can not wait to share with everyone my results! If you love cupcakes you NEED THIS BOOK in your life! Trust me. It is filled with delicious recipes, mouthwatering flavor combinations, smooth and flowing writing and photographs. Truly a treasure of a book. 

To buy “Cupcakes Forever” click here –

https://www.amazon.com/Cupcakes-Forever-Delicious-recipes-cupcakes/dp/1849757666

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. Shout out and special thanks to Ryland Peters and Small for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise 

Chew This! Lunch Lady Brownies 

Happy “Chew This!” Sunday! Just to catch up those who may not already know – I write a food column in “The Courier-Times” that appears on the first and third Sundays of each month. You can pick up a copy of the paper if you are in the Henry County, Indiana area OR view it online (with a paid subscription) at http://thecouriertimes.com. I love doing this and it gives me such an incredible opportunity to share with everyone my love for family, food, memories and recipes. 

Today’s column is for “Lunch Lady Brownies”. Food trends come and go and most recently the food trend of “Cafeteria Classics” has started – and does not look to be going anywhere anytime soon – thankfully! I love memories of school cafeteria food, cafeteria classics – all so nostalgic. These brownies are delicious – and so easy! They are the perfect mix of cake and fudge and the frosting has to be put on while the brownies are still warm! Trust me on this. Highly recommend you try this! 

ALSO – in my “Ask and Answer” section – I talk about riced cauliflower and give a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust! 

What’s your favorite “Cafeteria Classic”? Have a favorite food or favorite food memory (or recipe) to share with me? Email me! blaisethebaker@gmail.com 


Lunch Lady Brownies

http://www.thecouriertimes.com/neighbors/neighbors_features/article_c3289943-51f2-518a-8a20-e7b50ac868f0.html

Enjoy! 

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Any Flavor Fruit Upside-Down Cake

I love pineapple upside down cakes! Recently I got to thinking about experimenting with other types of fruit for the “upside down cake” idea and thought – “why can’t there be a recipe that is versatile enough for all fruits?” After much trail and error, I’ve developed this recipe – one that can literally be made with any type of fruit! My favorite fruit to use for this is fresh peaches. This recipe makes one 9-inch round cake.

Any Flavor Fruit Upside-Down Cake

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups diced fresh fruit of choice
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 4 tablespoons of the unsalted butter and pour into a 9-inch round baking pan. Sprinkle the light brown sugar evenly over the melted butter. Next, sprinkle evenly, in a single layer, the prepared fresh fruit.

In a large bowl beat together the remaining unsalted butter and light brown sugar until light in color and creamy in texture. Beat in the large egg.

In a seperate bowl combine the white all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk.

Add the dry ingredients with the creamed butter and sugar mixture alternately with the milk. Beat well after each addition.

Pour finished batter evenly into the cake pan and spread out the top.

Place in preheated oven for 50 minutes.

Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate.

Enjoy!

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Recipe Testing Cookbooks

Part of my job as “cookbook reviewer” is to not only look over the recipes to see if they sound and read correctly, but to prepare several of them to make sure the recipes actually work! The cookbook I’ve been focusing on lately is “Cupcakes Forever – Delicious Recipes for Cupcakes with Love from LOLA’S”. It’s a fabulous book and my review will be coming soon! Their recipe for “Vanilla Cupcakes” (page 24) and “Basic Vanilla Buttercream” (page 20) are seriously the best vanilla cupcakes I’ve ever had! Can’t wait to share my review of this cookbook with everyone! Stay tuned!

Blaise

Cookbook Corner – Harvest

I am in love with this cookbook…


“Harvest” By: Stefani Bittner and Alethea Harampolis 

This beautiful hardcover cookbook covers anything and everything that you may find yourself harvesting in your local garden. The photographs are beautiful and the pages stunning. This is not just a cookbook in terms of food but a cookbook that extends itself to venture into the realms of facial beauty, beauty products, household items and tips and tricks. Some of the “recipes” include –

“Poppyseed Dressing” (page 14), “Artichoke Arrangement” (page 34), “Edible Flower-Pressed Cheese” (page 38), “Lavendar and Mint Tea” (page 70), “Lemongrass Salt Scrub” (page 98), “Herb and Hive Honey Lip Balm” (page 126), “Tumeric Dye” (page 174) and “Bay Laurel Kitchen Wreath” (page 186). 

The book is divided into sections which really brings out the “seasonal” aspect of this book. I highly recommend this for people who love gardening, love nature, love unexpected projects and love harvesting. A beautiful book with such a simple and beautiful meaning. So fun! 

The personal views and reviews of this blog are mine and mine alone. Any opinion or thought expressed are strictly my own. Shout out and special thanks to Blogging for Books for this opportunity. More information can be found by emailing me your questions.

Blaise