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Whenever I start thinking about favorite fall flavors, my first choice is always apple.  Some people LOVE pumpkin with a capital “L”, but I’m an apple girl.  This recipe from King Arthur Flour Company (also one of my faves) is awesome!  How can you go wrong with a caramel apple in cake form?

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For the topping:

2 medium apples (I used Galas.)

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 tbsp. thawed apple juice concentrate (or boiled cider if you have it)

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup light corn syrup

For the cake:

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

2 tbsp. thawed apple juice concentrate (or boiled cider)

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur.)

1 large apple, peeled & finely chopped (I used gala.)

3/4 cup chopped pecans

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan at least 2 inches deep.  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment or wax paper and spray that as well with non-stick spray.

Slice and peel the top with the stem off one of the apples and set it aside.  Peel and slice 2 apples into 1/4 inch wedges. Place the apple top, stem side down, in the middle of the pan, and overlap the rest of the apple wedges in a ring around that piece.

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Over low heat on your stovetop, melt the butter with the 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp. apple juice concentrate, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup light corn syrup.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Pour 1/2 cup of the syrup mixture over the apple slices and set the rest aside.

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For the cake: Beat the vegetable oil, 1 cup light brown sugar, 2 tbsp. apple juice concentrate, eggs, spices and salt together for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Sift together the flour and baking soda then stir this into the batter.  Add the chopped apples and nuts and mix until just blended.

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The batter will be thick so scoop the batter into the pan over the apple slices then carefully spread it so it completely covers the apples.  Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

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Remove from the oven and run a knife along the outside edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan.  Let the cake cool for 5 minutes then turn it out on to a serving plate.  Make sure and save any of the tasty topping that might stick to the pan.

Reheat the reserved topping and pour it over the cake.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 8-10 servings

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Maybe it is because I am Southern myself, but I feel that certain Southern authors have a way of putting words together that are kind of like the South itself: warm, smooth, and colorful all at the same time.  One of my favorite contemporary Southern authors is Joshilyn Jackson and I highly recommend all of her books.  Today, I am bringing you the first lines of “Someone Else’s Love Story”:

“I fell in love with William Ashe at gunpoint, in a Circle K.  It was on a Friday afternoon at the tail end of a Georgia summer so ungodly hot the air felt like it had all been boiled red.  We were both staring down the barrel of an ancient, creaky .32 that could kill us just as dead as a really nice gun could.”

These are the opening words of Shandi, a 21 year old young woman trying to raise her three year old genius son.  Ms. Jackson has such a special way of developing her story and characters and the characters of this book are no exception.  From Shandi, her son Natty, her mother, her father, her best friend Walcott to William Ashe and his best friend, Paula, all of these people have flaws but care about each other in such special ways.

Please join me at Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings.

Autumn beauty…

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Good Monday morning and happy November, everyone!  Wait a minute…it’s November?   It is so hard to believe that it is holiday time again!  Where did my summer go?  Oh, well, maybe we will have an Indian summer.  Maybe, please?

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween.  We had a great time with all of our trick-or-treaters and I think Ellie enjoyed it as much as any of us.  She loved all of the extra attention she got from the kiddoes and they loved to love on her.

This is a busy work week for me and I desperately need to go to the grocery, so this week’s menu is full of simple, old favorites except for the bubble up apple pie.  That was supposed to get made last week, but I had promised to make C an Oreo pie sometime, so I made that instead. Have a great week!

Bubble up pizza with fresh fruit

Cheesy steak sandwiches with oven fries (2 nights)

Grilled pork chops with butter roasted potatoes and salad

Pizza night

Apple braised pork loin with butter roasted potatoes

Bubble Up Apple Pie

Please join me at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

We love all things taco around here and I always seemed to be running low on taco seasoning.  While browsing Pinterest one day, I found this recipe for homemade taco seasoning and it is delicious.  No more running out for me! 

The recipe below makes enough for one pound of taco meat, but I like to mix up several batches of the seasoning and store it in a glass jar in the pantry. 

The original recipe is at Chef Mommy and the only change I made was to make it salt-free.  Believe me, you don’t even miss the salt with all of the other great flavors.

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1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all of the above ingredients together and add to one pound of cooked ground beef or turkey with one cup of water.  Stir and cook until thickened.  The jar above has about 3 batches of the recipe.

A few late season blossoms:

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