Archive | November, 2013

German Apple Cake

18 Nov
German Apple Cake is a recipe I loved, growing up.

German Apple Cake is a recipe I loved, growing up.

ORIGINALLY POSTED OCTOBER 17, 2011

**I decided to re-post this today, November 18, 2013 because I made it this weekend for our friends who came for dinner. Making it reminded me of this post, so I thought I’d run it again for my newer followers who may have missed it.**

Growing up, this was one of my favorite recipes that my mom made. I have one specific memory also, of a time (the ONE time) when my mom was sick and my dad helped us make this recipe for her. I still think of that each time I see the recipe or eat this cake.

As with all of my recipes it’s super easy and of course, super delicious.

What’s your favorite apple recipe for fall?

Ingredients:

3 c. chopped or shredded apples

1 c. oil

2 c. flour

1/2 c. choc. chips (or a few more if you love ‘em as much as I do!)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together by hand in large bowl.

Grease and flour bundt pan.

Pour batter into pan.

Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool 1/2 hr. before removing from the pan.

*Photo of chocolate chips from Google Images Editor at Large

Fun Friday: My fun new Pampered Chef toy: The microwave egg cooker

15 Nov
This could possibly be one of my top favorite Pampered Chef purchases ever.

This could possibly be one of my top favorite Pampered Chef purchases ever.

I have a new toy from Pampered Chef. I got it at a recent party I went to this fall and it’s made my life so much easier.

When I went to the party in September, the stoneware microwave egg cooker was a special that month, so my consultant had it on hand, cooking an egg in it (which I ate) to show us how easy it was to use.

It was SO easy.

I was sold, instantly.

In this egg cooker, you can make fried eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, little egg omelets, and over hard eggs.

I use ours often to make egg sandwiches for breakfast, for lunches. I also make open-faced ham and egg on english muffin breakfasts.

I.Love.It.

One of our new favorite breakfast and lunch menu items, since acquiring the microwave egg cooker.

One of our new favorite breakfast and lunch menu items, since acquiring the microwave egg cooker.

The microwave egg cooker was affordable. It’s not huge, so it’s easy to store, which is key in my small kitchen. And it’s SO easy to use. SO easy.

To make the eggs above, I melted a little pat of butter in each well in the microwave, cracked my eggs in the wells, poked the yokes with a fork and cooked them for one minute and ten seconds.

Done.

Breakfast. On a week day.

I was recently asked to give a list of some of my “must haves” and this was definitely at the top of my list. It got me thinking though, what are some of my top favorites besides this?

1) My two scoops. I use one small one for scooping cookie batter and one medium sized scoop for scooping cupcake and muffin batter.

2) My large scraper

3) My micro scraper. I use the large one when I cook and this one to clean out the last of my Nutella from the jar.

4) My weighted whisk. This has taken the place of a hand-mixer when I mix cake batter, brownie mix and scrambled eggs.

5) My mini food chopper. I’ve chopped onions, celery, carrots and more in this little chopper. For a small tool it does a big job!

6) My stoneware mini loaf pan. I’ll be pulling this out next week when I make my mini cranberry breads for Thanksgiving.

7) My stoneware large bar pan and my stoneware pizza stones (I have large rectangle and small round and use them both for pizzas, for cookies, for crescent rolls; and I use the large bar pan for my granola bars, for cookies, and for nachos on a Friday night.

8) My Deep Covered Baker in which I can cook a whole chicken in the microwave in 40 minutes.

I think the things I like best about Pampered Chef tools is that they last, they’re good quality and they seem to always know exactly what I need, before I know I need it.

Like my microwave egg cooker.

I’m hosting an online party this month, so I’ve linked over all of my top faves to their spot in the online catalog in case you want to take a look!

At the moment, all I know is that I can’t wait until Pampered Chef comes out with their newest product that I didn’t know I needed!!

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

13 Nov
Lunch or dinner, this was a great new recipe!

Lunch or dinner, this was a great new recipe!

Things are constantly getting lost in our house.

“Have you seen…”

“Does anyone know where…..”

“I can’t find my……”

This recipe is one of those lost items. I’d ripped it out of a magazine over the summer. It’s from the June 2013 Woman’s Day magazine. I thought it sounded great.

My husband’s family is Lebanese, he loves Lebanese food, especially tabbouleh, and so does Elizabeth. I love it as well. I thought for sure it’d be a hit.

If I could find it.

Once I ripped it out and showed him, he agreed it sounded great, and then I never saw the page again.

Until last week.

We happened to move the couch away from the wall to get something one of the kids had seen fall back there, and lo and behold…my Woman’s Day recipe!

It just so happened that we’d made quinoa the night before as a side dish for our dinner. We had leftovers and it was in the fridge already.

With the quinoa cooked and cooled previously, this was a super-easy lunch to throw together in the morning before school for Don and Elizabeth’s lunchboxes. I even had sliced cucumbers leftover from the day before too, so I was really already on my way.

The votes came back with big thumbs up for the new salad. I sent wheat pita pockets on the side. Elizabeth scooped hers up with the bread, Don put his right inside the bread.

We had a little bit leftover and they used it as a side dish one night with dinner.

This is a great, quick tabbouleh and if you like Middle Eastern foods, give this a try!

QUINOA TABBOULEH SALAD

Woman’s Day June 2013

In a medium bowl, whisk together:
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon olive oil
a pinch each of salt and pepper

Add:
3/4 cup cooked quinoa1/2 cup canned chickpeas
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 seedless cucumber, chopped

Toss to combine.

Monday Musings: Keeping it all in perspective

11 Nov

This time of year is so busy for me.

The October/November/December and April/May/June months keep me running, covering several stories a day most days, some of them at night, and then typing them too, but it pays off in the summertime because I get lots of time off to be with my family.

When you mix in all the other “stuff” that takes place during a week: sports, scouting, church, and work-related or school-related meetings, it gets crazy. Sometimes at the end of a day, my body is sore and my legs hurt, as if I’ve run a marathon, even though it’s just daily running around.

I’m sure you can all relate. I know I’m not the only one running ragged.

This past week was one of those weeks. Everyone seemed to have everything. There were nighttime meetings and unexpected doctor appointments mixed in. By midweek I was exhausted already, and we had a big weekend ahead.

I happened to be looking at my calendar for the end of the week and noticed that somehow I’d written two meetings at the same time for Thursday night at 7:00. I looked and looked at the calendar page (yes, I still use a paper “planner” type of calendar) and I tried to figure out which meeting I should attend.

One of them I’d skipped last month to be able to attend the other, so maybe I’d go to the one I’d skipped. But then one of them had a pressing event coming up that we needed to talk about. Maybe I should go to that one.

All of a sudden I noticed that at the top of that day’s block, I had written “Grandma Rose’s Birthday” in big letters as well. Mixed in with interviewing the mayor, seeing a student council sworn in, Girl Scouts, and two meetings, my Grandma Rose, the kids’ Great-Grandma Rose, was turning 93 years old.

That doesn’t happen every day.

She’s had a rough time lately, recovering from a recent stroke, moving from her home.

I decided that instead of picking another meeting to attend, instead of dragging myself to one more “thing,” I would attend neither meeting and instead, pay a visit to Grandma Rose that evening after dinner to help her celebrate her birthday.

That night, I was running behind in my day by the time Don called after work to check in. I had no card, no flowers, nothing I’d envisioned in my head had gone the way I’d planned. But I told him that I still wanted to make this work. I still wanted to make her day with our visit.

He came up with a great idea: rather than flowers, we could bring a party to her: cake, coffee, paper goods, and celebrate for real, right there with her. When I called her that evening, just to make sure she’d be home, she was so happy to hear that we’d be coming for a visit. I didn’t tell her about our “party in a bag” that we were bringing to her.

She was so happy to hear the news. She couldn’t wait.

We arrived at the same time as my parents, my dad is her oldest son, so it really was a big party, with eight of us in her apartment eating cake and drinking coffee, just hanging out all together. We stayed quite a while, but eventually it was time to leave.

It made me happy as we were walking out the door, to hear her say to my dad, “I had a good birthday,” when we left. I knew then that I’d made the right decision, that I’d made the right decision by putting my family first. When we got in the car, one of the kids said, “That was really fun.”

The meetings will always be there, but Grandma Rose is now 93. No one knows what the future will hold.

This week’s events put things into perspective for me. Sometimes we need to remember to slow down, to stop and remember what is truly important to us and make sure that we’re keeping our priorities in order. I cringe to think of Grandma Rose’s night had we not gone. Her apartment was so alive and full of life with all of us there.

I’m glad that her birthday memories will be full of those memories and I’m glad that we too, will have the memory of how we were able to make her night, to make her birthday just a little bit more special, just by choosing her.

Sometimes your presence alone, is the gift.

Sometimes your presence alone, is the gift.

What’s for Dinner Wednesday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs

6 Nov
This week's recipe is definitely a keeper at our house!

This week’s recipe is definitely a keeper at our house!

When I was in the midst of my crock pot cooking frenzy of eight weeks, I came across a crock pot recipe for Sweet and Sour Meatballs that the kids wanted me to try.

I never got the chance to try them out, the recipe was still on my list of things to make in the future, but I did not like that the “sweet and sour” part of the recipe was a jar of sweet and sour sauce. I like to make things on my own when I can, so that I know exactly what I’m putting into the recipe and I can modify if I need to.

In the meantime, I follow Six Sisters’ Stuff on Facebook, and this week I clicked on a link of theirs that came through for ground beef recipes, and somehow I kept clicking until I ended up at a recipe from one of the sisters, Mel, on her site, Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for sweet and sour meatballs with a homemade sauce. The Six Sisters often have some good stuff on their sites!

I decided to try it out this week, and I’m glad I did! All but my little non-meat-eater, Alex, liked this recipe. LOVED this recipe. Even Alex ate one meatball. She just didn’t like it.  I got so many compliments on it other than from her though, that it was well worth it!

We also decided that this would be great for a party. We often do traditional meatballs in sauce, but this would be a nice change. When I made them this time, I used my larger of the two Pampered Chef scoops, the same one I use to scoop my muffin batter into my tins. If I did this recipe for a party, I’d use the smaller of the two scoops, which is the same one I use for cookie batter.

I did, in fact, modify this recipe just a bit:

* It called for 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef but I used 2 lbs of ground turkey instead.

* It said it wasn’t a particularly saucy recipe and that you could double the sauce. Since I prefer saucier than not and since I was using more meat than it called for, I did opt to double it.

*The directions called for making the meatballs and baking them right in the sauce for 30 minutes. I wasn’t all that comfortable with putting the raw meat into the sauce, so I baked them for 15 minutes first, added in the sauce and then baked them the rest of the time in the sauce.

*I left about 12 out of sauce for those who wanted plain. I’m glad I did. We all tried both and we all liked both.

I made sure to bake these in a deeper casserole dish rather than on a baking sheet, so that there’d  be plenty of space for the sauce.

Below is Mel’s recipe, just as she has it here on her site. I encourage you to try it out and take a look at some of the other recipes on her site as well!

Ingredients

Meatballs:
    • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (you don’t want the beef to be too high in fat because the fat will all pool at the bottom of the baking dish after baking – big time grody-ness in my book)
    • 3/4 cup quick oats
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. For the meatballs: Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Form into about 12 balls, eacha bout 2 inches in diameter. Place in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce (below). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
  2. For the sauce: Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly. Heat in a small saucepan until combined and sugar is dissolved and pour over meatballs. (This dish is not overly abundant on sauce so if you enjoy things a bit saucier, double the sauce ingredients.)

Notes

Freezable Meal: After covering the meatballs with sauce, cover the pan with two layers of aluminum foil and freeze. To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake covered without thawing for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 20-30 minutes more, until meatballs are cooked through.

Monday Musings: Practice what you preach AND a recipe!

4 Nov
My hot cider was a hit this past weekend!

My hot cider was a hit this past weekend!

This past weekend we had company over for dinner, drinks and dessert. We hadn’t seen them in some time, and we were really looking forward to it.

As I was getting my menu together and getting my house together, I started pulling out the things I’d need for setting my table.

I opened a new tablecloth we’d received from my mother-in-law for our anniversary, perfect for the fall season which is upon us.

I started to get out my dishes and silverware, my everyday stuff, and I remembered back to a post I’d written this past spring. It got me thinking, and I put away my everyday items, some of which didn’t match each other, replacing them with my “good” dishes and silverware.

Just as in the spring, I thought to myself, “If not today, then when?”

And once again, “If not today, why not?”

What are we waiting for?

So, in practicing what I preach, we used the good stuff on Saturday night, and I was glad we did. It’s nice to take it out and put it to use, and make the meal with friends that much more special, at least to me. I didn’t make a point of telling anyone or making mention of it. I just enjoyed knowing it myself.

I also thought I’d share a quick recipe with you today, since I was absent on Friday. It was just too busy a week for me last week and although I had fun on Friday, I couldn’t muster up a Fun Friday post.

Today I’ll make up for it, sharing the Hot Spiced Cider recipe I’ve used the past couple of occasions we’ve hosted. Everyone has loved it, and Elizabeth has called it “The best cider I’ve ever had.”

It’s from my Better Homes and Gardens “New Cookbook,” which is quite old, and one of my favorites.

I do, however, modify their recipe, so I’m putting it here as I make it, not as they say to do it. You just need a crock pot and the ingredients listed below.

The cider photo above is not one of my own, I cannot take credit for it. We were having so much fun, I didn’t think to take a photo.

Here is the recipe, perfect for fall. I throw it all in my crock pot and turn it on low for at least 4-6 hrs. before serving. The original recipe calls for a saucepan and putting the whole ingredients into a cheesecloth and cooking it that way, but that’s not how I do it.

Hot Spiced Cider

8 cups apple cider (I double this recipe and use a gallon for a crowd.)

1/4 to 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

6 inch stick cinnamon

1 tsp. whole allspice (I use ground allspice)

1 tsp. whole cloves (I use ground cloves)

8 orange wedges or slices (I slice)

8 whole cloves (optional and I skip them)

That’s it! I put the ingredients in, in order and turn it on. Six hours or so later, it’s hot and I guarantee it’ll warm your soul.
Enjoy!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 641 other followers