Oatmeal Walnut Cake with Broiled Coconut Frosting

The world’s gone mad, it seems. Crazy weather, violence, tragic accidents are all things we cannot control. When I feel as if my world is out of control, I bake something, using a recipe from long ago. Long before we lived in a world where cameras caught our every move and crazies lurked around every corner. No, food can’t soothe our anxious minds or feed our sense of security, but it can bring us back to a calmer place, if even for a few moments.

The scent of this cake will make you think of your grandmother, I’ll bet. The original recipe came from an old church cookbook my Grandma Zola gave me in 1976. I cut out some of the sugar and added a few extra ingredients to give it more fiber and flavor. It’s melt in the mouth goodness that you can easily whip up and enjoy with someone you love.
The cake is wonderful even without the frosting. It’s a moist and dense cake that you can alter by add other nuts, chocolate chips or dried fruit of your choice.

baked cake without frosting

frosting before broiling

gooey after broiling

The frosting is rather thin as you spread it on the cake. After you broil it, it’s still gooey and it will thicken as it cools.

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup quick oats

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 eggs
1 tsp soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped (optional)

Mix boiling water and oats in a saucepan and let them stand for 20 min.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan.
With a mixer, cream the butter and sugars
Add the eggs and beat until well blended.
Add flour, soda, cinnamon and salt.
Finally, add oatmeal and mix just until incorporated.
Fold in the walnuts and dates.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

coconut walnut frosting

Coconut Frosting
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1/4 cup milk or half and half
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (or more, to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup coconut

oatmeal cake slice

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until blended.
Heat just until the frosting starts to boil, then take it off the heat.

When the cake has finished baking, take it out of the oven and pour the frosting evenly over the cake.
Put the cake under the broiler for about a minute until it bubbles all over. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.

It will be gooey, but that’s ok. You can poke a few holes in the cake with a fork after you’ve broiled the frosting to allow some of it to seep into the cake. The caramel frosting is a great pairing with the moist, nutty cake. The dates are optional, but if you love dates, don’t omit them.
Eat it warm or cooled. This cake is a classic, pure and simple.

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Chocolate Cherry “Ice Cream”

Want to live to 200 without losing your keys? Try this dessert.

I took some grief when I posted the high calorie Rocky Road Brownies, so I am going to redeem myself with this non dairy, sugar free, gluten free, artificial sweetener-free dessert. Chocolate Cherry “Ice Cream” is right out of Dr. Fuhrman’s cookbook, “3 Steps to Incredible Health, Relish it.”

Dr. Fuhrman is getting lots of media attention lately for his approach to nutrition which he believes can help us all live to infinity.

Luckily he’s an old med school buddy with Dr. Oz, so he’s now the go-to guest when Oz needs someone who is as thin as he is.

My theory about eating plans is that if they have good desserts they may be worth a second look. This recipe passed the test.

I made it in a blender and I think a food processor would be a better choice because it would blend the ingredients better. But we both loved the taste and saw no need to add any additional sweeteners to make it palatable. It was delicious!

The one change I would make is to leave it in the freezer for more than 20 minutes. I was too eager to try it, so we didn’t leave it in long enough to get really slushy. Ken thought it was a pudding; no complaints.

makes 2 servings

Ingredients for Chocolate Cherry “Ice Cream” – Makes 2 servings

garnish with a frozen cherry

1/2 cup soy, hemp or almond milk
1 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Dark)
4 dates, pitted
1 1/2 cups frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted

Blend together in a high powered blender or food processor until smooth.
Pour into two dishes and freeze about an hour.

Enjoy guilt free!

Naturally, swapping out strawberries or other berries would work well.
Adding a bit of almond extract would also be good.

Or you could skip the almond milk and use Irish Cream, but that would be a whole different dessert.
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Maddy’s Strawberry Sorbet

When I visited my ten year old granddaughter at their home a few weeks ago she said, “Nana would you like to try my Strawberry Sorbet?”

Try it!

“Yes, of course.” Strawberry is one of my “happy” foods, besides, and I’d probably eat snake if one of my grandkids made it.

Maddy pulled out a glass dish with crimson slushy stuff. We got two spoons and dug in! Delicious! Great strawberry flavor, sweet, but not too sweet and an icy texture. Perfect sorbet. I asked her how she made it.

sexy sorbet

“Well you start with a simple syrup,” Maddy explained. As if all ten year olds make simple syrup. Or even all grandmothers!

“And I add a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavor and a dash of salt.” Now she was starting to talk like a true foodie.

She promised to make some for me the next time she came to my house. Lucky for me I didn’t have long to wait.

Alhough I did supervise her with the boiling liquid, she was very comfortable in the kitchen and the result was wonderful.


Ingredients for Strawberry Sorbet1 quart strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
dash of salt
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

use half of a lemon

DirectionsWash and stem berries. Add the lemon and salt.
Put the berries in the food processor or blender.
Pulse until they form a thick mush.

For the simple syrup:
In a small saucepan, pour in the water and sugar.
Heat on medium-high until it reaches a boil.
Boil 5 minutes, stirring continuously. The water will reduce and make the simple syrup.
Add the simple syrup to the blender and mix until incorporated.
Pour into a clean container and put in the freezer.

lemon brightens the flavor

blender or food processor

make a simple syrup

Maddy in her cool hat

Strawberry sorbet

That’s it! Maddy says you can use any fruit. And you can easily cut the recipe in half or double it!

Maddy’s Strawberry Sorbet is so simple and the flavor is true and natural. I felt as if I was in Italy eating one of their famous ices.
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Dr. Oz Energy Bars with Dried Tart Cherries

You know I love to try the items offered up on Dr. Oz, right? Recently he did a show focusing on ideas to help our afternoon – or all day – energy slumps. Several women (who looked wide awake to me) told him about their energy crisis. As usual, Dr. Oz suggested supplements no one has ever heard of. (Oat straw? seriously?) But the final idea made his last not-so-sleepy guest sit up and take notice. A treat! Something made from food we know about, not another capsule or esoteric tea.

energy bars

Naturally, I went to his website for further instructions, but all I found was the ingredient list. Nothing about the number of servings, or the pan size to put the bars into. But I forged ahead.

There was one tricky ingredient – dried tart cherries. Not something hanging around my pantry waiting to come to the party. So I trudged to my grocery store which also has a large “health food section” of items sold in bulk.

dried tart cherries

Among the regular dried fruits, I found cherries, so I tossed a small bag into my cart. ($3.59 for 5 oz – not cheap.) Next I checked the health food section and found tart dried cherries in bulk….for $15.99 per pound. That’s $1.00 per ounce…more expensive than regular dried cherries. I bought just enough to try the recipe which was still more than $2.00 for 1/3 cup of this magic fruit.

press into a bread pan


When I got home, I opened both the regular dried cherries and the dried tart cherries and the tart babies had more flavor, for sure. Then I made the recipe (below) and put them in the fridge for several hours. I don’t know if they help with an afternoon slump, because while waiting for these goodies to firm up, I took a little nap. Sorry. Not very scientific.

If you follow my blog, you will notice that the ingredients for these are very similar to about half a dozen other recipes for energy balls…except for the dried tart cherries. Personally, I think dark chocolate chips are a better fit, but see what you think.

Ingredients for Dr. Oz Energy Bars with Dried Tart Cherries
3 TBS honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup quick oats
1 tsp vanilla

Stir in a bowl until blended. (No mixer needed.)
Grease a bread pan (approximately 4″ x 8″ pan) or line with wax paper.
Spread the batter into the pan and press down until even.
Refrigerate for two hours.
Cut into about 8 bars.

As always, the oats give fiber and keep you full for longer. The peanut butter provides great protein, so it’s a great choice. And it’s easy enough for kids over ten to make themselves.
Consider this for breakfast, an after school snack or as a dessert for dinner. I liked the tart cherries, but I suspect the recipe would also work with dried cranberries, blueberries or, my favorite, dark chocolate chips.
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