Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lake Powell Dutch Oven Cake

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today.

I spend way too much of my nonexistent free time looking through pictures spent at Lake Powell in past years. It’s my favorite place on earth if you haven’t picked that up from my past posts.

Today I decided to whip up a Crandall Family Reunion Lake Powell trademark. Every year we eat Dutch oven cobblers after dinner one of the last few nights. They usually consist of a bag of frozen berries and a cake mix. However, my personal favorite is the Dutch Oven Chocolate Cobbler. I don’t even know why it's called a cobbler when it's more like a chocolate lava cake.
Especially when you’ve spent the week camping. There is nothing better than warm, melt in your mouth, fresh chocolate cake.

Since we eat it on the lake, it is obviously super simple and easy. All it requires is three things:
1.  Marshmallows
2.  Chocolate Pudding
3.  Devil's Food Cake Mix

Yup. Super easy. So here is how you can make this yourself at home! If you are making it in an actual dutch oven, you'll want to view the recipe below because it is a little different. But for the domestic, non-camping scenario, you can still enjoy this delicacy.

You start by dumping half of a bag of mini marshmallows into the bottom of a greased 9x13 glass pan. Next, mix up a small (3.9 ounce) package of instant chocolate pudding. Pour that over the marshmallows.

 Next, prepare a Devil's Food cake mix according to package directions. Pour the cake mix over the pudding and marshmallows. Put it in the oven at 350 degrees for anywhere from 30-40 minutes.

Keep in mind that you have a whole package of pudding at the bottom of this. Therefore no matter what, it will be wobbly and not firm like most cakes you make. That’s fine, just make sure the cake is baked on the top.

When it's finished, you might want to wait a little for it to set up, or you can just go at it. You can’t really cut it into pieces because it’s a lava cake, so we just scoop it out into a bowl, dump a whole lot of whipped cream on it, and eat it with a spoon. If that doesn’t sound like heaven to you, no one should trust your opinion.

Dutch Oven Chocolate Cake (in the actual Dutch oven)

2 Devils Food Cake mixes (prepared according to packages)
 large package instant chocolate pudding (prepared according to directions)
*or you can use the equivalent in pudding cups if you don’t have a way to bring milk and prepare it there)
1 bag miniature marshmallows

Follow the directions stated above, however cooking times may vary. Happy Camping(:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I had my first vegan baking experience the other day (': It was really just like any other baking experience I had, no worries you guys it worked out wonderfully!

I have the privilege of nannying the two cutest boys. Not only do they babysit pet alligators, double as ninja turtles, and have an obsession with jumping on air mattresses, but they are quite the pastry chefs.

They insisted on their mom's recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, let me just tell you, it's a gem. They are super healthy and it doesn't come at the expense of losing any of the tasty pumpkin flavor. You won't even be able to tell that they are vegan.

For me, I have quite the sweet tooth and I would recommend adding more maple syrup or sugar to the recipe. However, without they were still worth eating a dozen of them and you won't even feel guilty after!

The recipe goes as follows:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
pinch of allspice
pinch of cloves
1 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
(1/4+ cup sugar, optional)
1/3 cup coconut oil  (melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In liquid measuring cup combine pumpkin, syrup, coconut oil and vanilla. Mix together wet and dry ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop into greased muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Toddler's Favorite Tavern

Ever since I was born we have been going on family vacations to Lake Powell. At some point in these excursions it became tradition to stop at Ray's Tavern on the way home. It's located in Green River, Utah, so after a week spent on the lake, we would always finish the trip with a nice, thick burger. So, since I was in diapers, I have been eating in this tavern that became one of my favorite places.

It may be due to the fact that the memories I have there are linked to Lake Powell, regardless, if I'm ever near Green River I make it a priority to stop. I have yet to eat something there that I don't enjoy.

Ray's may be a hole in the wall.
It's debatable.

But it's still my favorite diner.

This past weekend I went on an overnight trip to Moab and, of course, had the privilege to finish off my excursion with a Ray's burger. I got their cheeseburger and my friend, Ivonne, ordered a bacon burger. One cool thing about their burgers is they give you all the condiments and toppings on the side, so in essence, you build your own burger. It also comes with a huge helping of fries.
I've  tried their burgers, chicken, chicken strips, steaks, and salads. All of which I recommend. You can't go wrong.

Each burger is made to order and fresh. Since it's a small local business, they use fresh potatoes for their fries and their toppings are prepared by hand.

The moment you sink your teeth into that juicy, tender burger, you savor the taste of fresh, hot food you've been deprived of since you started your camping trip. The cheese is delicious.  It is not that fake, plasticky stuff you get from typical fast food joints. I dump about half the bottle of fry sauce on my burger to clearly prove my loyalty to Utah and its fry sauce fanatics.


I always shed a tear of happiness when burger joints have fry sauce available and not just ketchup. All praise to the Fry Sauce Gods.

Ray's tavern is definitely a place to add to your itinerary. Don't drive by Green River without stopping to try it out. You will not be disappointed. Waltz in, sit at the bar, let your hair down, eat a burger and fries, make some jokes, have the time of your life, leave the tavern with your life a million times better and realize you have just had all your dreams come true.  You're welcome!

Also, If you want to see what Ivonne and I were up to in Moab, check out the video we made!