The best and easiest coffee cake ever

From Pinterest, of course!

I wasn’t all that jazzed to make this cake because it looked kind of boring. But last night I wanted some dessert and when I asked Mike if he’d rather have brownies, cookies, or cinnamon cake, he chose the cake.

It called for stuff I had on hand and only took about 5 minutes to assemble, so it was great for a last-minute treat.

And it is insanely good. It’s light and soft and just cinnamony enough. It makes about 9 pieces and we scarfed half of it as soon as it came out of the oven. I’m sure we’ll finish it off this morning. It is full of butter, which is probably why it’s so delicious.

The best and easiest coffee cake in the world- cinnamon swirl coffee cake

The best and easiest coffee cake in the world!

Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Cinnamon swirl

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp.  cinnamon

Make the cake by mixing everything together except for the butter. I just used a medium-size bowl and a spoon — no mixer or fancy equipment needed. Then slowly stir in the melted butter (the slower the better according to comments from the original recipe) and pour into a greased 8×8 pan. For the cinnamon swirl, mix all the ingredients together until well-combined. It will be creamy for swirling, not crumbly like a topping. Drop/spread evenly over the batter and swirl it into the cake batter gently with a knife. You just want swirls on top, not to mix it totally into the cake batter. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes — start checking it with a toothpick or knife after 20 minutes and then every few minutes after that. It will not be good if it gets overcooked.

While it’s cooking, make the glaze.

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix it together in a bowl with a fork to dissolve all the powdered sugar.

Then once the cake is done and still warm, drizzle the glaze over the cake.

If you want, you can double the recipe and make it in a 9×13 pan.

Adapted from here, who adapted it from somewhere else.

Salad roundup

I love salads. We’re getting out of salad weather here in Chicago, but I thought I’d post a bunch of them anyway. Maybe you’ll get some ideas for your own salads.

Caprese salad with farmers market tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and fresh mozerella.

Caprese salad with farmers market tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and fresh mozzarella.

Potato arugula salad with mustard dressing.

Potato arugula salad with mustard dressing.

Another caprese salad, with cherry tomatoes.

Another caprese salad, with cherry tomatoes.

Chicken salad with mayo, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Chicken salad with mayo, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Salad with various home grown lettuces, tomatoes, and chives.

Salad with various home grown lettuces, tomatoes, and chives.

Salad with home grown lettuce, cherry and grape tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Salad with home grown lettuce, cherry and grape tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Tossed Greek salad with tomatoes, feta, olives, cucumbers, and dried herbs.

Tossed Greek salad with tomatoes, feta, olives, cucumbers, and dried herbs.

Home grown salad fixins.

Home grown salad fixins.

Tossed salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, and parm.

Tossed salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, and parm.

Home grown cherry tomatoes, feta with olive oil and herbs, and bell peppers with lettuce.

Home grown cherry tomatoes, feta with olive oil and herbs, and bell peppers with lettuce.

Salad with corn, tomatoes, black beans, and parm.

Salad with corn, tomatoes, black beans, and parm.

Butter lettuce with olives, feta, white beans, and a fried egg.

Butter lettuce with olives, feta, white beans, and a fried egg.

Garden fresh salad

Garden fresh salad.

Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers.

Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers.

Lettuce, cucumbers, green beans, chicken and blue cheese dressing.

Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, chicken and blue cheese dressing.

Lettuce, green beans, and parm.

Lettuce, green beans, and parm.

Caprese salad.

Caprese salad.

Pasta salad with arugula, tomatoes, white beans, corn, and chicken.

Pasta salad with arugula, tomatoes, white beans, corn, and chicken.

 

 

Are sweet potatoes good with oatmeal?

Yes! It’s delicious and healthy, too.

I’m always looking for ways to have protein at breakfast. I know you’re going to say sweet potatoes and oatmeal don’t have any protein! By themselves they don’t but together, they’re OK. A serving of oatmeal has about 5 grams, a serving of sweet potatoes has about 4.  Add some nuts (3-4 grams depending on what kind and how much) and some milk (4-8 grams depending on how much) and you’re doing pretty well as far as having some protein for breakfast. Plus sweet potatoes have tons of other vitamins and fiber.

Oatmeal with sweet potatoes and almonds.

Oatmeal with sweet potatoes and almonds.

There’s really no recipe for this. It’s pretty flexible. I made some sweet potatoes specifically for this – just wash them, prick them with a fork, wrap them in aluminum foil, and bake them at 400 degrees. They take at least an hour, depending on how big they are — start checking them after an hour — they’re done when they are soft and easy to squeeze. Of course it would be faster if you already had some leftover sweet potatoes on hand.

I made the oatmeal as usual, and added some dried cranberries (optional) while it was cooking. Then once it was cooked I added the cooked sweet potatoes to it. I put it in two bowls, added a pat of butter, some brown sugar, some chopped almonds, and some milk to each bowl. Next time I’ll add some cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, which would be really good.

Sweet potato oatmeal with almonds, cranberries, and brown sugar.

Sweet potato oatmeal with almonds, cranberries, and brown sugar.

Lincoln Park, Chicago Apartment One

We like to move. I’m not sure if “like” is the right word, but we move a lot. When we moved to Chicago we weren’t able to come out here first to find a place to live. We had to do it online so we wanted to get something short term so that we could get ourselves and our stuff here and look for something long term in person. So we got a small sublet in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood I had heard about but didn’t know much about.

We stored 75% of our stuff in Colorado Springs, along with our travel trailer. We brought just the basics but somehow we really don’t miss what we left behind.

Our first little sublet was a 400 sq foot one bedroom on the ground floor in the back of the building on the alley by the dumpsters. Glad it was only a two month sublet! Still, the management company that owns it has recently remodeled all the units. They did a nice job and stuck to the original old feel of the building.

On the way from Colorado we stopped in Dallas and cleaned out a storage space from when I had a studio there. The bed and all the bedding came from there.

On the way from Colorado we stopped in Dallas and cleaned out a storage space from when I had a studio there. The bed and all the bedding came from there. The little cabinet was dumpster adjacent. Living by the dumpsters had it's perks.

400 sq ft sublet in Lincoln Park, Chicago

400 sq ft sublet in Lincoln Park, Chicago

Renovated bathroom in our Lincoln Park sublet.

Renovated bathroom in our Lincoln Park sublet.

The renovated kitchen- plus dishwasher!

The renovated kitchen- plus dishwasher!

I only brought about 20% of my kitchen stuff and it was still a lot! There are a bunch of boxes behind the curtain.

I only brought about 20% of my kitchen stuff and it was still a lot! There are a bunch of boxes behind the curtain.

I liked this poster in the COS kitchen so wanted to recreate the look in Chicago.

I liked this poster in the COS kitchen so wanted to recreate the look in Chicago.

We recently moved again- to an even smaller place. Still in Lincoln Park because we found out we really like it! I’ll post about that soon!

IndustrialEx Colorado Springs Powder Coating

Ok, I said that the powder room post was the last home improvement post. But I forgot I wanted to tell you about IndustrialEx in Colorado Springs (there’s also one in Denver).

We had some vintage metal cabinets in our kitchen and wanted to fix them up and reuse them in our renovation. There is lots of info online about how to deal with old metal cabinets, from stripping and painting them yourself, to taking them to an auto body place to be painted, to powder coating.

I was more familiar with powder coating than with any of the other options, so even tho some people said that the blasting they need to do to strip them (the metal has to be completely bare, raw metal for powder coating to work unlike other kinds of coating) might warp or dent the metal, we decided to try it. IndustrialEx used a gentle material in the blasting process (bead blasting?) and we did not have any problem with warping. We did have a few small dings in the metal, but I’m not sure if that was from the blasting or if they were there before. Later someone told me that we should have looked at them once they were stripped and had the dings filled and repaired before the powder coating. I don’t know if they really could have done that, tho because the repair material would have also had to be metal. But the dings weren’t huge and we were selling the house so I just ignored them.

There are lots of powder coating colors and several different finishes, we chose a simple white in a semi-gloss finish. If we were staying in the house I would have picked something fun like red in a high gloss finish. But with powder coating, since it’s baked on, it’s permanent, it can’t be blasted off or removed or re-powder coated (altho it can probably be painted), so we figured white was pretty safe.

There are some good pages online discussing what powder coating is and how it’s done. Check out the ehow article and the wikipedia.

We had to take the cabinets out and take all the hardware off (including the little rubber wheels on the drawers, which we were very careful not to misplace!) before the powder coating, then put everything back on after.

Beauty Queen vintage metal cabinets before stripping and powder coating

Beauty Queen vintage metal cabinets before stripping and powder coating

Vintage Beauty Queen cabinets after stripping and powder coating.

Vintage Beauty Queen cabinets after stripping and powder coating.

Powder coating coats every surface, making the cabinets look brand new.

Powder coating coats every surface, making the cabinets look brand new.

We were so happy with how the cabinets turned out that we took all our heater vents to be done, too.

Heater vents with multiple coats of paint before stripping and powder coating.

Heater vents with multiple coats of paint before stripping and powder coating.

Heater vents after stripping and powder coating.

Heater vents after stripping and powder coating.

We were really happy with the powder coating and are looking around for more stuff to do it to!