Dutch Apple Cake

This is a simple cake from “Taste of Home 2004 Cookbook” — if you want a bit more pizazz, use the icing recipe for German Apple Cake.

*2-3 medium apples, peeled and sliced about 1/4 inch thick (soak in 3T sugar and 1t cinnamon for 1 hour prior to cooking)
*1 cup sugar (plus the 3T mentioned above)
*2/3 cup softened butter (or about one stick
*4 eggs
*1 t vanilla
*2 cups flour
*1/8 t salt (who measures 1/8 t?  tell me — do you just pinch a bit in or do you measure?)

1. Make apple mixture and let stand for 1 hour.
2. Cream butter and cup of sugar in mixing bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each.  Add vanilla.  Combine flour and salt, gradually adding them to creamed mixture.  Beat until smooth.  (It kind of turns out being a stiff smooth.)
3.  Pour into greased 9X5X3 loaf pan.  Push apple slices vertically into batter, placing them close together. (About half the apple will stick out above it — don’t worry, it’ll look better when finished!)  Bake at 300-320 for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack, serve warm.

**NOTE** The last time I made this, it had to bake for about 2 hours and 15 minutes at 300.. so I’m upping the degrees to lessen the time next time.  Do with that whatever seems appropriate to you. :)

Spiderweb Cookies

Spiderweb Cookies

I found these cookies on the pages of the October Good Housekeeping. I chose to use storebought sugar cookie dough, and plastic spider rings, and then I made the royal icing.

Wilton’s Royal Icing Recipe:

3 Tablespoons Wilton Meringue Powder
1 lb. (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar (about 1lb.)
6 Tablespoons warm water*

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer). Recipe makes 3 cups. NOTE: Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency. * For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

I originally purchased black frosting for easy use. Turns out, I needed to thin both my white royal icing AND the black frosting in order to create the spiderweb look. I added thinned down royal icing (you need to add more water to the original recipe) to the black frosting and VOILA! the spiderweb cookies were a success. Or at least my three year old thinks so.

Halloween Cupcakes

Jason and I decorated these for a friend’s birthday last night.
monster cupcakes
We used:

Red Velvet cake mix (seemed only appropriate)
Swiss Meringue Buttercream* (and food coloring)

Pieces parts:
Big marshmallows
Little marshmallows
Mini chocolate chips
Licorice bridge mix (from the bulk section of Russ’s)
Red rope licorice
Gummy peach rings
Laffy Taffy

The marshmallows and the gummy candy are sticky when you cut them apart.
It helps to poke a small hole before you stick the chocolate chips in (point down).

* I didn’t copy the recipe for the frosting here because (a) obviously, any kind of frosting will do, (b) the recipe was, in my opinion, more work than merited by the (admittedly yummy) end result, (c) the ingredients were kind of expensive (see also the next point), and most important, (d) I don’t know what kind of jumbo-ass cupcakes Martha makes, but the recipe says it makes enough to frost “about 28 cupcakes”; yeah, I frosted 24 liberally, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I have enough leftover for at least 50 more. (The good thing is that we’ll decorate some more for Jason’s work party on Wednesday, but still . . . anyone need some frosting?)

Via Goody Blog via Wisdom of the Moon.

“Oatmeal Crap”

This is a new favorite breakfast option at 1608. Joie originally made/ate it in Switzerland. I’m sure it’s actually pretty healthy, and you get the benefits of live yogurt cultures, oatmeal that lowers cholesterol, and that oh so good fiber.

1 part yogurt (whatever you’d like, we like vanilla)
2 parts oatmeal (the real stuff, not quick oats)
fresh or frozen fruit (I like the blueberry & raspberry combo)

Mix the yogurt and oatmeal together in a bowl, fold in the fruit.
Put it in the fridge overnight and the oatmeal with soak up the yogurt and fruit juices.
Eat cold with a spoon. It’ll stick with you ’til lunch.

Lemony Crisps

“Like eating sunshine in a crisp cookie,” cheeses the Pillsbury box. I didn’t think these cookies were all that crispy, but they were lemony and a bit sunshine-y as well.

1 – 18.25oz pkg Pillsbury Moist Supreme Lemon Premium Cake Mix
1/3 C Crisco oil
2 eggs
1/4 C sugar
1 C powdered sugar
2-3 T lemon juice
yellow colored sugar

1) Heat oven to 375 F. (Oh! That’s why my cookies weren’t crispy. I cooked them at 350 F. Heh.) In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Place sugar in shallow dish. Dip bottom of glass in sugar and flatten cookies to 1/4 inch thickness.

2) Bake at 375 F (yeah, yeah) for 5-7 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.

3) In small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over cookies and sprinkle with colored sugar before icing sets. Yields about 4 dozen cookies.

White Chili

One of my favorite things about fall is the return to fall foods like chilis and soups. Mmmm. So without further ado, I present Lynn Locklear and Taylor Gage’s fabulous White Chili recipe from the Zion Cookbook.

4 C cooked and diced chicken
5 – 1lb cans white northern beans
5 C chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lg white onion, chopped
1 t salt
1 T ground oregano
1 T ground cumin
1/2 t cloves
7 oz green chilies
8 flour tortillas

In a crockpot or large kettle, combine all ingredients. Simmer for at least 3 hours. Line soup bowls with tortilla shells, then spoon in chili. Serve with shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sliced black olives, diced avocado, chunky salsa and sour cream.

**I usually skip the tortilla step entirely and add chips and cheese to the top instead. Also, today I doubled the recipe in order to take freezer meals to new moms in coming weeks. If you plan to double the recipe, be smarter than me and find a VAT for soup prep as a “kettle” might barely do the job.

Hamburger Pasta

Recently I’ve been trying to make-do with what’s in my cupboards and freezer. Here’s an easy and quick meal option for the Tredway household.

Creamy tomato pasta sauce (I like to mix marinara with alfredo)
Ground beef, browned
Whole wheat penne pasta

Be happy.