Monday, July 3, 2017

Chimichurri Steak Home Chef meal #3

Hello everyone,

So today I made the third meal in my Home Chef delivery.  I was not very impressed with this meal, the flavor was good but I ran into some problems, the potatoes had some rotten spots I had to cut out to be able to use, but that can be normal with potatoes so it was not a big deal. Who ever packaged this meal left out the spices which I understand accidents happen. But like I said the flavor was good. I was not very impressed with it and my husband said it was just alright not as good as the last two.
 I am looking forward to my next meals coming this Thursday. So I will be back making my own meals until Thursday once more. Since tomorrow is July 4th I am making BBQ ribs, we are doing low carb so I am replacing my potatoes in my potato salad with cauliflower. Can't wait to try it out tomorrow.
Happy 4th of July everyone, stay safe and have a wonderful day.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Mesquite Chicken Home Chef Meal #2

Meal number two,

I have to say it is really nice to come home from work and have these meal packs ready for me to make. It makes it so less stressful trying to figure out what to make for dinner when you've had a tough day at work. I love how simple it is to prepare everything and I love the recipe cards so I can make the recipes over again.
I got the three day meal plan and tomorrow is my last day until next week, Both meals have been really tasty, my husband told me tonight that these meals are very good.
Well, tonight for dinner was Mesquite Chicken with loaded potato wedges. The chicken was good but I really loved the loaded potato wedges. Crispy baked potato slices, topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, cooked mushrooms and green onions. I cannot say enough good things about the potato wedges.
 The meal was super easy to make and so tasty. So far I have been very impressed with this service.
Tomorrow meal will be Chimichurri Steak.


https://www.homechef.com/invite/jRJmKuzvV6WY   Check it out, you will not regret it.






Friday, June 30, 2017

Grilled Honey-Mustard Steelhead Trout.Home Chef

Hello Everyone,

It has been awhile since I posted on this blog, I do most of my stuff on Facebook, which has not been much since work keeps me so busy.
I am sure I am not the only one who gets stuck in a rut with dinners. When I get home from work I just make whatever is fast and simple. Well I have to be honest, I did not sign up for Home Chef because of the ease of having all the ingredients sent to me. I signed up so I would get out of my rut and and try something new. My box arrived yesterday, I was very impressed with how fresh the ingredients were.
My husband is not a huge seafood person, if it is not deep fried he does not want to eat it. Well I decided since my son is in Switzerland meeting his girlfriends family and touring all over for the next six weeks I figured I would add some seafood for a change.
The first recipe I made today was Grilled Honey-Mustard Steelhead Trout. To say it was delicious would be an understatement. Yes, my husband enjoyed it very much, so much so that he finished what I could not eat of mine.
The trout was so fresh, the produce was fresh and crisp. I loved all of it but I think my favorite part was the relish, but all of it together was so delicious  and so fresh tasting. I cannot wait to make it again.
I thought it would be fun to blog about my experience with Home Chef, I am also thinking about trying a few other meal delivery programs also. So come along with this adventure with me. It will be nice to start blogging again.  I posted some photos below for you to see,
Go on over and check out Home Chef,  https://www.homechef.com/invite/jRJmKuzvV6WY
I think you will really like it, you get $30.00 off your first order. I not only got $30.00 but when I signed up I for a extra $10 so that was $40 off three meals.






https://www.homechef.com/invite/jRJmKuzvV6WY

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pasta

Bavarian Sausage
Asparagus
Squash
Mushrooms
red onion
Pasta
Parmesan cheese
Fresh Basil
Heat oven to 350. Cook sausage until done. Remove Sausage and slice when cool enough to handle, set aside.
Turn oven up to 400, slice all veggies and add to pan and cook until tender.
While veggies are roasting cook pasta.
Drain pasta, add sliced sausage and veggies and juice. Add cheese and chopped fresh basil. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grilled Cheese











Two slices bread,your choice. I like whole wheat.
2 slices Havarti cheese
Fresh basil
2 thin slices tomato
Soft butter.
Butter bread both slices of bread, put a slice of cheese on on the side that does not have butter in it, add tomatoes and to large leaves of fresh basil.Cook until golden brown and cheese is melted.

When you super picky son tells you that you should make these for school lunches then you know they are good. Enjoy.

Grilled Cheese







Two slices bread,your choice. I like whole wheat.
2 slices Havarti cheese
Fresh basil
2 thin slices tomato
Soft butter.
Butter bread both slices of bread, put a slice of cheese on on the side that does not have butter in it, add tomatoes and to large leaves of fresh basil.
Cook until golden brown and cheese is melted.
When you super picky son tells you that you should make these for school lunches then you know they are good. Enjoy.

Strawberry Bar








I bought this pan a year ago and have been wanting to making something with it. But work kept me super busy this past year so I never seemed to find the time make anything. Well yesterday I seen the pan in my pantry and figured I would put it to use. I know I wanted something light and not too sweet and fast. So I used a box strawberry cake mix to start it all off.
1 Box Strawberry cake mix
1 large container Strawberries
Blueberries
2- 3 pkg Knox gelatin (the small packages that come five to a box)
2 cups Heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 c powder sugar
1 t vanilla

I am horrible when it comes to making up recipes, I never measure so I pretty much guessed the amounts. You cannot go wrong on the amount. I added more Knox gelatin then I listed above in the one I made I think it was too much in mine so I would suggest 2-3 pkg the most. I would use two next time.
Bake cake as directed on box. Cut while warm and fit into bottom of spring form pan (or you can use any pan)
Mash about 2 cups whole strawberries and add 1/2 cup sugar and knox gelatin and let sit for about 15 minutes while cake is baking. Heat to dissolve gelatin. Cool, when cool whip heavy cream until soft peaks, add powder sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff. When strawberry mix is cool (do not allow to gel) fold in all but one cup of whipped cream. Pour half into pan on top of cooled cake. Remove stems off left over whole berries and arrange in pan along edge. Put blueberries in the center. Fill with remaining strawberry mixture to cover berries. Chill to set. When set decorate top with remaining whipped cream and fruit.

Strawberry Bar








I bought this pan a year ago and have been wanting to making something with it. But work kept me super busy this past year so I never seemed to find the time make anything. Well yesterday I seen the pan in my pantry and figured I would put it to use. I know I wanted something light and not too sweet and fast. So I used a box strawberry cake mix to start it all off.
1 Box Strawberry cake mix
1 large container Strawberries
Blueberries
2- 3 pkg Knox gelatin (the small packages that come five to a box)
2 cups Heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 c powder sugar
1 t vanilla

I am horrible when it comes to making up recipes, I never measure so I pretty much guessed the amounts. You cannot go wrong on the amount. I added more Knox gelatin then I listed above in the one I made I think it was too much in mine so I would suggest 2-3 pkg the most. I would use two next time.
Bake cake as directed on box. Cut while warm and fit into bottom of spring form pan (or you can use any pan)
Mash about 2 cups whole strawberries and add 1/2 cup sugar and knox gelatin and let sit for about 15 minutes while cake is baking. Heat to dissolve gelatin. Cool, when cool whip heavy cream until soft peaks, add powder sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff. When strawberry mix is cool (do not allow to gel) fold in all but one cup of whipped cream. Pour half into pan on top of cooled cake. Remove stems off left over whole berries and arrange in pan along edge. Put blueberries in the center. Fill with remaining strawberry mixture to cover berries. Chill to set. When set decorate top with remaining whipped cream and fruit.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Potica


This is a European delicacy. I have to admit I have looked at this recipe
for years and have wanted to make it but just put it off. It is a pretty
easy bread to make and not overly sweet.
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 cup hot milk
2 pkg. yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups sifted flour

Filling
3 eggs
4 cups ground walnuts or finely chopped
1 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Stir sugar, salt and 1/4 cup butter into hot milk. Cool to lukewarm.
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve.
Stir into lukewarm milk mixture.
Add two eggs and 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes.
With wooden spoon, gradually beat in remaining 2 cups flour;
knead with hand until the dough is stiff enough to leave the sides
of the bowl. Place dough into lightly greased large bowl.
Turn the dough over to bring up greased side. Cover with
a towel and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about one hour.

Make filling.
In a medium bowl beat eggs slightly. Add nuts,
brown sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, the cinnamon
and vanilla. Stir to blend well.
Punch dough down. On a lightly flour surface, turn
out dough; cover with bowl; allow to rest ten minutes.
Roll out to a rectangle 30” longs and 20” wide.
Spread with filling, to 1 inch of edge.
Starting from wide side, roll up tightly, as for a jelly roll.
Seal by pinching edges of dough with fingers. With palms
of hands, roll back and forth so that roll is even all over.
form On a large greased cookie sheet form roll into a large coil,
as in photo, seam side down.
Let rise in a warm place cover with a towel, until double in size
about an hour. Preheat oven to 350. Brush with 2 tablespoon
melted butter. Bake 35-40 minuted, until golden.
Cool on a wire rack. Slice crosswise 1/4” thick.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Throw together chili (Taco Chili)


1 pound ground beef

1 onion

1 package Taco seasoning

½ cup water

2 14oz cans pinto beans drained and rinsed.

4 cans 14oz Mexican chili beans

1 14oz can chopped tomatoes

1 7oz can chopped green chili

1 teaspoon Cajun spice mix

1 package ranch dressing

Corn chips

Cheddar cheese

Sour cream

Cook ground beef with onion, drain. Add taco seasoning and water stir, add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 40 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, chips and cheese.

The Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

Cook Time:30 min

 


 

2 dozen cookies
 8 ounces unsalted butter
12 ounces bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces granulated sugar
8 ounces light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ounce whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

 

Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda onto a paper plate. Pour the butter into your stand mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the whole egg, the egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup. Reduce the mixer speed and slowly add the egg mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

Using the paper plate as a slide, gradually integrate the dry ingredients, stopping a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once the flour is worked in, drop the speed to "stir" and add the chocolate chips. Chill the dough for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place racks in the top third and bottom third of the oven.

Scoop the dough into 1 1/2-ounce portions onto parchment-lined half sheet pans, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake 2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Remove from the oven, slide the parchment with the cookies onto a cooling rack and wait at least 5 minutes before devouring.

Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and well drained.
2 cups unsweetend almond milk
2 T honey
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 t vanilla
In a small sauce pan, cook and stir quinoa over medium heat until lightly toasted. Stir in almond milk, honey and cinnamon. bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until quinoa is tender 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat, stir in blueberries and vanilla. Put into serving bowls and sprinkle with toasted nuts and honey is desired.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pecan CranberryTart

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 orange, zested and juiced 
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 15 (2 inch) sweetened pastry tart shells
  • 15 pecan halves
  • 15 fresh cranberries



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  2. Mix brown sugar, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, butter, orange zest, orange juice,and egg together in a bowl.
  3. Arrange tart shells on a baking sheet and spoon pecan-cranberry filling into each shell about 2/3 full. Add 1 pecan half and 1 fresh cranberry to each tart.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until tart shells are lightly browned and filling is bubbling, 18 to 20 minutes.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/234673/pecan-cranberry-butter-tarts/print/?servings=15

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pumpkin Sheet Cake



It is nice having a few days off work. The weather is like late Fall here today, which has me thinking of Autumn recipes. It has been a long time since I made this cake. I won second place in our Farmers Market pumpkin cooking contest many years ago with this recipe
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
     Frosting 
    1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
    5 tablespoons butter, softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
    3 to 4 teaspoons milk
    Chopped nuts
    Directions
    In a large bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil until blended. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture, beating until well blended.
     Pour into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
     For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Add milk until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frost cake. Sprinkle with nuts. 

Kung Pao Chicken


Rice

10 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into chunks
4 t soy sauce
1 T minced garlic
2 t corn starch 
2 T chicken broth
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t red chili paste, such as sambal oelek
1 T oil
6-8 whole dried red, chilies 
2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4" pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 small red pepper, cut into 1/4" pieces
4 green onions, thinly sliced.
3 T chopped unsalted peanuts.

Cook rice.
In a medium bow, combine chicken, 1 t soy sauce, garlic, corn starch and set aside for 10 minutes. Ina small bowl, combine remaining 3 t soy sauce, broth, vinegar and chili paste. set aside.
In a large wok or large pan on medium high, heat 1 1/2 tsp oil. Add dried chilies and stir fry until chilies begin to brown but not burn. 45 seconds. Add chicken and stir-fry until cooked through and edges of chicken begin to turn golden brown, about 2 minutes. Push to the side and add remaining oil and veggies and stir-fry until veggies are crisp tender about 2 minutes. Add soy-broth mixture, toss all ingredients together and cook until sauce is thick and bubbly, about 1 minute. Add green onion, remove chilies just before serving. Serve with rice and top with peanuts.

Orzo Salad



1 large bunch of basil (about 2 cups packed)
3/4 cups olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 medium garlic cloves
a small hand full of pine nuts. (I used pecans)
salt and pepper to taste.

Chop basil and mince garlic.
In a blender or food processor, combine the basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic and nuts, adding the oil last, and blend.
Season with salt and pepper.



Set a side 1/4 cup pesto. refrigerate the unused pesto in a well sealed glass container and use within seven days.

For the dish...
2 cups Orzo
2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half.
1 large bell pepper (red, orange or green)
1 cup feta crumbled
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup pesto
Crushed pepper flakes, to taste.
Set aside some feta for garnish. Combine all ingredients and toss well. Sprinkle with remaining feta and serve.

Pumpkin Sheet Cake



It is nice having a few days off work. The weather is like late Fall here today, which has me thinking of Autumn recipes. It has been a long time since I made this cake. I won second place in our Farmers Market pumpkin cooking contest many years ago with this recipe
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon salt
     Frosting 
    1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
    5 tablespoons butter, softened
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
    3 to 4 teaspoons milk
    Chopped nuts
    Directions
    In a large bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil until blended. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to pumpkin mixture, beating until well blended.
     Pour into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
     For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar until smooth. Add milk until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frost cake. Sprinkle with nuts. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Super easy Pulled Pork


















I came on here to post a recipe then I found all these cute cake ideas. I make a really super easy pulled pork recipe. I wanted to smoke my pork in my smoker this time but with the hours I work I just did not have the time so I threw it in the crock pot again. This is my easy go to way to make pulled pork.


Pork butt, I like to use one with a bone in it.
Brown Sugar rub I got this from Costco and figured it was time to use it. 
bottle of brown sugar BQ sauce.

Believe me when I tell you this is a super easy recipe. I came home at 6:00 am from work and headed to bed. As I was laying there I remembered I need to make my pulled pork. So I got up and threw the pork in the crock-pot and sprinkled the brown sugar rub I had over the pork. I set it to high and went to bed. When I got up about 5 hours later I checked it, once it fell apart easily when stirred I turned it to low. Poured in some brown sugar BQ sauce and let it cook for another hour, then turned to warm.

Bag of coleslaw. 
bottle Marie Calendar coleslaw dressing
Hamburger buns.

Mix bag of coleslaw with dressing and chill. Toast hamburger buns and add pulled pork and coleslaw.  Enjoy. 

Hope you give i


t a try and come back and let me know what you think.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Butter Cookies















Every time I think about making cutout cookies I go looking for the perfect recipe. I never find one I like. Now I have to tell you something funny. I have the perfect recipe, I have used it maybe 20 times over the past 30 years. I have no idea why I feel I need to find a better one. I think it is because I really don't like to make cookies, "Oh my, did I say that out loud!" yes, cookie making is my least favorite thing to do. But my goal is to get over it and just start doing it. So today I am going to go make my cookie dough so it will be ready for me to make some Easter cookies this weekend. I am going to try to talk my husband into either doing a hike up to Berry Creek Falls tomorrow or a 40 mile bike ride from Morgan Hill into San Jose and back. We have a trail we love to take, well I like the Morgan Hill one and he likes the Vasona Creek trail. Mine is about 10 miles longer and it is a beautiful peaceful ride, you might see a few more bikers on the path as with Vasona there are a lot of people walking and a lot more bike riders.  
Have a wonderful Easter everyone.


2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups powder sugar
1 cup butter, soften
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp almond extract
Frosting....I will admit I do not frost mine, I don't like really sweet cookies.
4 cups powder sugar
1/2 cup butter
3-4 tbsp. milk
2 tsp vanilla
Food coloring
In large mixer bowl combine all cookie ingredients, beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until mixed well ( 3-4 minutes. If necessary chill the dough about 2 hours. Heat the oven to 375. Roll out dough 1/2 at a time on well-floured surface ( I use powder sugar)
Roll 1/4" thickness, cut with cookie cutters. Place 1" apart on cookies sheets. Bake for 6-10 minutes until the edges are slightly browned.
In mixing bowl combine all of frosting ingredients, beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until fluffy. If desire add food coloring to your icing mix. Decorate cookies.
If you would like to hang these on your tree at Christmas then while still warm use a straw to put a hole in the cookie.
 I do not use the icing recipe I like to use fondant and I just cut it out
in with the same cookie cutter, but I am going to use royal icing this time.
 Now to find the perfect Royal Icing recipe

Well this is not the perfect cookie icing, it is way too sweet. If I were a diabetic I would be in the hospital with one bite of the recipe I used. 





Magic Shell
















I had to give this a try, it is pretty good. Just two ingredients is all it takes and about 90 seconds in the microwave. This recipe is from Chef in Training. http://www.chef-in-training.com/2015/02/homemade-magic-shell/


2 cups chocolate chips. I used milk chocolate but any chip would work. Maybe a mixture of peanut butter and chocolate chips next time
1/4 cup coconut oil (the solid one)

Put in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds then stir. Repeat until melted. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Quinoa Tabouli Salad



 1 c quinoa 

1 1/2 c water

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 fresh lemon, juiced

1 tomato, finely chopped.

1/2 large seedless cucumber, diced
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
12 mint leaves, finely chopped.
Cilantro (I seen a little leftover in the fridge so I threw it in. 1/8 cup) fiinely chopped.
1/2 t cumin
salt to taste
pepper

Place the water and quinoa  in sauce pan and bring to boil. One it starts to boil cover with lid and bring to a low simmer and cook until all the water is gone and the quina is cooked. Fluff with a fork and let cool.
Mix olive oil, lemon, salt and cumin together and set aside. Once the quinoa is cooled add cucumber, tomatoes and herbs and stir to blend. Add lemon/oil mixture and stir. Chill.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Coconut Pumpkin Chicken Curry


The flavors in this dish are really good. I served it with rice for the boys and kept it more in line with a Paleo dish for my husband and myself. My 15 year old is even enjoying it.










2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into small
chunks
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
salt, I just added some to the chicken with the poultry seasoning.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups  sugar pumpkin -- peeled, seeded and cubed
1 yam or sweet potato peeled and cubed  I used a yam, I like the color and flavor but either would work
2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped.
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ginger (I use the one out of the squeeze tube) You can use fresh our store was out of ginger and I had the tube.
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tsp curry
1 can canned coconut milk
1 cups chicken broth
salt to taste


 Season the chicken pieces with poultry seasoning and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken to the skillet; cook and stir until browned on the outside and cooked through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Melt the butter in a separate skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, jalapeno and ginger; cook and stir until onion is transparent. Season with coriander, cumin and curry. Continue to cook and stir until spices are fragrant. Add pumpkin, cooked  chicken, coconut milk and chicken broth. Season with salt to taste. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until pumpkin and yams are soft over medium heat.



Monday, October 20, 2014

The Best Carrot Cake Ever!!

 I cannot remember where I got this recipe from and I feel horrible because they really need the credit. This has got to be one of the best carrot cake recipes ever.
    3 cups finely grated carrots (not pre-shredded)
      2 cups cake flour
        1 tsp baking powder
          1/2 tsp salt
            2 tsp baking soda
              2 cups granulated sugar
                1 tsp ground cinnamon
                  4 eggs, well beaten
                    1 3/4 cups canola oil
                      1 tsp good quality vanilla
                        1/2 cup crushed pineapple,  semi-drained
                          1/2 cup shredded coconut
                            Cream Cheese Frosting
                              1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
                                3/4 cup butter (12 Tbsp) butter, softened
                                  1 (16 oz) pkg + 1 1/2 cup extra confectioners' sugar
                                    1 tsp good quality vanilla
                                      1/2 tsp almond extract
                                        1 cup chopped pecan pieces (optional for garnish)
                                          Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare two, 9" cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and  flour to cover.  Next cut out parchment paper circles (for extra insurance), and fit the circles in the bottom of the pans.  This will ensure that the cakes will not stick to the pans. 
                                          Go ahead and take the 4 eggs out so they can come to room temperature. Let's start grating those carrots.  You do NOT want to use pre-grated carrots.  They are too heavy, too dense, and too dry for this recipe.  They will just fall to the bottom of the batter.  You also do not want to put them in the food processor, as this will make them too wet.  For this, my friends, you need to go old school and pull out the hand grater.  Now I'm sure you are aware that hand graters come in various sizes for the actual grating.  We want finely grated carrots for this recipe.  That means, use your fine grater.  Yes, I'm aware that one takes longer.  But these will just about melt into the batter and be so tender that you will thank me!
                                          Combine the first 7 ingredients.  I suggest doing this in a stand mixer, as this makes a pretty stiff batter at the beginning.  Combine all those ingredients first.  It may seem pretty stiff with all the carrots.  Next, stir in the beaten eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Mixing well.  Now load it up with the extra goodies - the coconut and semi-drained pineapple.  Mix well to incorporate, then pour the batter into the 3 prepared (greased and floured) 9-inch round cake pans that we fit the parchment rounds into.
                                          Bake at 350 degrees  for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.  You should also see the cake pulling away from the sides of the pan slightly.  Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10 minutes on wire cooling racks.  Then run a knife around the edges, invert onto a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely before you try to frost them. 
                                          Make the cream cheese frosting while you wait for the cake layers to cool.  Combine the cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and beat until light and fluffy.  This will take a WHILE!  The cream cheese has to soften and heat up before it will allow itself to aerate and get fluffy and expand.  It will like.... double... but only if you give it ample TIME... like about TEN MINUTES in the stand mixer! 
                                          Spread frosting between each other layers, then the top, then the sides.  Add about a cup or so of pecan pieces to the frosting. If you don't like nuts, or if someone has a nut allergy, leave them off.