Carrot Cake in an Instant

I understand the irony of this week’s post, given Hilary’s inspiring post about her weight loss last week. But, I think a little treat every now and then is good … and I was excited to try baking a cake in my Instant Pot. 

My husband’s favorite is carrot cake, so I decided to try my hand at a fast carrot cake. This was easy and quick, and while it was shorter than I expected, it was delicious. Now, when I’m crunched for time and need to make a cake in a pinch, this will be my go to.

Trying Something New in the Kitchen: Instant Pot Carrot Parsnip Soup

Everyone is talking about the Instant Pot. A pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and vegetable steamer all in one, this was evidently one of Amazon’s best selling items this holiday season … and it’s the best-selling kitchen item in the U.S. and worldwide! 

As you know, I love to cook, so after hearing all the talk, I was intrigued. I gave one to PLANK editor Mandy for Christmas, and crossed my fingers that Santa would have one for me under the tree. Thankfully, he read my list!

Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

Pie isn’t the only way I use apples …

There aren’t many cold days here in Southern California, but when we are lucky enough to have an appropriately cold holiday or special occasion, I love to make a warm bread pudding. And this is one of my favorite recipes. It’s long and looks harder than it is … but give it a try, it’s relatively easy and it is so amazing!

A Date with Gratitude

I’m sure I have mentioned this along the way, but when I first met my husband, all I knew how to make was quiche. Because I became interested, I started making recipes from magazines and took some cooking classes. Tackling the holidays, however, is a WHOLE  other story!

Over the years, with lots of trials and errors, not to mention many phone calls to my mother or mother in law, I can crank out the holiday bird and, as my granny would say, all the fixins. But, I know how daunting it can be, especially to not have your turkey be DRY!

So I applaud Mandy, our PLANK editor, for her first foray into this … not only for her leap of faith, but also for doing it all so beautifully! Thank goodness she photographed the process and results so we can share the ride. I do think she should have added her friends’ food coma shot!!


A Date with Gratitude

by Mandy Denaux

Last Thursday, I had a first date with Tom. Now before you go and get excited (Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m looking at you), it wasn’t the kind of date you’re thinking. No, I had a date with Tom … my very first turkey.

When I decided to host my first Thanksgiving festivity, it was with the idea that I would not be cooking the turkey – I’m not much of a turkey eater, much less cooker, and the thought of cooking an entire bird was intimidating.

Instead, I placed an order with my local grocer and began plotting all the delicious sides and trimmings. But as the day got closer, the less excited I was about my store-cooked turkey. After all, this was my first time hosting a holiday dinner, and I’d planned everything else so carefully … why would I leave the main dish up to some random cook in the Gelson’s deli? And also, and more importantly, what would my grandmother think?

You Asked … Mary Beth Answers Your Questions (Part 2)

We’re back for more of your questions! I love these video blogs because I have so much fun reading your questions and hearing your feedback. I hope you enjoy watching as much as I did filming. 

We couldn’t get to all of the questions, but we’ll definitely be back for more of these in the future, so keep you eyes on my Instagram account … I’ll post a call for questions there. 

As always, thanks for your continued support!!

Celebrating 30 years with Banana Cake

My son, Danny, has never liked sweets, including cake (how did that happen?). So this past weekend, as we celebrated his 30th birthday, I made this banana cake recipe.

I make this in round cake pans, and this year I doubled the recipe and did four layers, with frosting and sliced bananas in between each layer. Then, I chopped walnuts and, using my hands, I covered the side of the cake.

Weddings, Rosie Memories and Sharing Recipes

I was at a wedding last week, sitting next to a nice couple who I had never met. So to make introductory conversation, I asked the woman if they have kids (often a good place for me to find common ground) and the flood gates opened. We talked all about her FOUR teenagers and my now adult children. I could relate to so many tales she shared about their successes and struggles. 

It is funny how life works, or maybe it’s MY brain … but now, as I look back on those years, I have these rosie memories and think it was a breeze. Haha, I know that is not exactly the reality, but it seems to be a nice way to remember it.  And what I have found to be true is that you realize, in hindsight, that many of the things we angst over as parents were really not that big a deal.