Recipe: Dirt Cake

Summer is officially here, as you can tell by the heat, and that means lots of summer gatherings! I often volunteer to bring dessert as I love to bake but in the summer who really wants to heat up the house by baking a batch of cupcakes? Another option is to pick up a couple pails of ice cream but then you have to figure out a way for it to stay cold. So then the search is on for a great recipe that is delicious but won’t melt away or heat the house.

Here is where this recipe comes in. Dirt Cake has been a family favorite for my family for many years and it’s not only easy to make but the kids can get involved as well!

Dirt Cake:

One large package of Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Crème Cookies

½ stick margarine or butter                                                                                                                                                       8 oz. package cream cheese                                                                                                                                                  One cup powdered sugar                                                                                                                                                           3 ½ cups milk                                                                                                                                                                         Two small packages pudding (one chocolate and one vanilla)                                                                                              One 12 oz. carton of Cool Whip                                                                                                                                                 New flower pot and spade or a 9X13 pan

Step One: Crush one large package of Glutino Chocolate Vanilla Crème Cookies

Step Two: Cream together ½ stick margarine or butter, an eight oz. package cream cheese and one cup powdered sugar

Step Three: Mix together 3 ½ cups milk, two small packages pudding (one chocolate and one vanilla) and one 12 oz. carton of Cool Whip. Add to step two and mix well.

Place layers of cookies in new flower pot or 9X13” pan, top with a layer of cream mixture. Repeat this (cookies then cream mixture) until all is gone ending in crushed cookies.

Now comes the fun! If you’ve put this recipe into a flower pot, you can decorate with a flower and a small potting spade. I have even put gummy worms into the layers for some extra fun. If you’ve put it into a 9X13 pan, you may want to use frosting or gels to decorate it like it’s a garden. I’ve actually used this recipe at Halloween as well, making it into a graveyard.

I love this recipe because the whole family can jump in on the fun, the kiddos will love to help crush the cookies, do some mixing and decorate this project.

Traveling on…

I just finished up my second trip for work, destination: Minneapolis, MN. I spent one year in Minneapolis in college and was there a few times while I lived in Sioux Falls. So, it was going “back to my roots”, in a way. None of the other three gals from my office had been to Minnesota but when they found out we were near the Mall of America, they were all kinds of excited.

Eating is always a big part of a trip so once we hit the Mall of America, it was on! We did our shopping (they even had a store that was ALL running gear! Can you say heaven?) then headed to Tony Roma’s. They had a great gluten free menu and adult beverages as well.  The service was lacking, our dinner there was almost two hours and we didn’t order anything special, but when it came, it was amazing.  I had the Mojo Chicken which had great flavor and a great pineapple salsa on a bed of rice.  Lesson learned, don’t go there unless you aren’t overly hungry or are in a time crunch!

Before we left Grand Junction, my manager called ahead to the hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn in Eagan, to make sure that there would be gluten free meals for me. While they weren’t sure about the breakfasts, and only confirmed that the eggs were ok, they did amazing with the lunches. The first lunch we had was Chinese and they made me a special plate with sauteed veggies and rice as well as a side salad. The second lunch was a huge bowl of pasta and they went the extra mile by going to the nearby gluten free bakery and getting me desert! More on that in a second…

After we finished up our first day of training, I told my manager that we were going to hoof it the half a mile to the gluten free bakery, Bittersweet Bakery.  Before I left for my trip, I did some research on good gluten free places in Minneapolis and was pleased to find that there was a gluten free bakery so close! There was a kindly gentleman at the counter and he helped me make my breakfast choice for the morning: cinnamon pecan coffee cake. Since I LOVE cupcakes, I couldn’t pass up the marble cupcakes with chocolate frosting and candies on top. I also nabbed a double chocolate chip cookie because, honestly, who doesn’t like cookies. All of those items were under $10 too! I’ve never purchased that much in gluten free items and have it that cheap! I tried the cookie out on the walk back to the hotel…ok, devoured it. It was amazing! I had the coffee cake the next morning and it was equally amazing. It almost didn’t even taste gluten free. The cupcakes, even after a day, were still soft and tasty.

When I returned to the hotel from my trip to the bakery, my workmates were at the hotel bar and I just had to show them the treats I had gotten, minus the cookie:

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake and Marble Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake and Marble Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

The bartender, who I later found out was the assistant general manager, Ronnie, overheard our conversation and told me that his son had a wheat allergy and he had forgotten about the bakery.  He said that they would get me something for lunch the next day from the bakery but I didn’t think much of it.  The next day they delivered:  two double chocolate chip cookies from Bittersweet Bakery!

We decided to stay close for dinner that night and we across the street to Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill.  They had amazing food and were very attentive to my needs, even checking to make sure that the Ooso, the Greek beverage, was gluten free.  When we ordered hummus, they accommodated me and brought celery for me to have with the hummus.  Our server was amazing!  They also had karoke so it was a fun time by all!

Our last night, we decided to stay close as well and Doolittle’s Woodfire Grill was recommended by Ronnie.  I was pleased with the huge selection of gluten free options on their menu, even appetizers, which I find aren’t always on a gluten free menu.  The Balsamic Tenderloin Skewers were a great way to start the meal.  So tasty!  For an entree I had the Spit Roasted Chicken.  It was the most tender chicken I’ve had in a long time and the mashed potatoes were so good too!

It was a great trip, great training, amazing people and amazing food!  I would recommend trying the above places, they won’t disappoint!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or on Facebook!