Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Cake

I have to admit, there is nothing healthy about this delicious cake but I sure love the ease at which this recipe falls together and it’s not difficult to make a healthier version, if you’re so inclined.

One can easily substitute the white flour for a mix of whole wheat or oat flour,  cutting the sugar really wouldn’t be a problem for the integrity of the end product, and substituting the sugary topping for a honey glaze or adding a sprinkle of whole oats would certainly satisfy most.

I found three golden apples at the bottom of the produce drawer this morning.  Usually  I bake on Saturday mornings, but I was out of town yesterday reading to a group of young children, as we were promoting the importance of literacy and introducing young parents to some really great children’s books.

So… Today is my baking day.  I am crafting this post as this delicious cake continues to rise and brown in the oven.  The smell of the cinnamon-sugar and vanilla mixed with the golden apples is simply irresistible.  After chopping the apples, I realized that I had prepared enough for two cakes so I will keep one and share one.  I’m sure the lucky recipient will be happy to take one of these sweet treats off of my hands (#care-package)!

Cinnamon-Sugar Apple Cake

Batter:

1½ cups brown sugar

⅓ cup oil

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2½ cups flour

1½ cups chopped apples

Topping:

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray with cooking spray, a 9X13″ baking pan.  Mix batter ingredients in the order listed.  In a small bowl, mix topping ingredients, cutting butter into sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Evenly sprinkle topping over batter.  Bake for 45 minutes or until center is set.

A few quick pics of the cake baked in a slightly different pan…

To top each of these cakes, I used a combination of whole oats and a honey glaze.  Cheers!

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Pineapple Angel Food Cake

After vacationing this past week, I wanted to share a great recipe that I often make when I’m traveling. As I’ve mentioned before, my family frequently travels to our Disney Vacation Club time share to rest and relax.  I often pack a bag full of munchies, packaged mixes, peanut butter and jelly and a tin of homemade cookies for the road.  This year I put a box of angel food cake mix and a can of crushed pineapple in the food bag, along with all of the other essentials needed for a week’s worth of meals.   I was anxious to whip up this tasty treat for a late night dessert with the family. You’ll find this cake to be light and airy and full of flavor.  The tiny bits of pineapple are barely seen in the finished product but they pack a flavorful punch.  Unbelievably, the recipe includes only two ingredients (with the exception of an optional sprinkle of powdered sugar for a bit of pizzaz). Pair the cake with a handful of sweet berries and you’ve got a winner!

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

1 (16 ounce) package angel food cake mix

1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray with cooking spray a 13X9″ baking pan. Simply combine cake mix and entire can of pineapple in a large bowl.  Mix until well blended.  Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let cool before topping with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or whipped cream.

Creamy Chicken Lasagna



This is an adaptation of a recipe that I found in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine many years ago.  I had received the magazine as a “free trial” but I rarely had time to read it as my 3 children were young and my life was busy.  I did, however, make it a point to visit the recipe contest page to see what recipes had been selected as “winners” for each monthly issue.  

One month, a recipe for a white chicken lasagna was chosen.  It was a bit more complicated than the adaptation I have submitted below. The white sauce was elaborate…starting with a classic roux.  Managing a busy household, I had no time for that so I decided to use a purchased sauce.  This eliminated a few time consuming steps and made for a quick and tasty alternative.  It was a big hit in my household so I’ve been making it this way ever since.

Creamy Chicken Lasagna

1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles

1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli

3 boneless chicken breasts, poached and diced

2 (16 ounce) jars Alfredo-style pasta sauce

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1 (16 oz) container cottage cheese

1 egg

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9X13″ baking dish.  Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. Cook broccoli according to package directions; drain well.  In a medium bowl, combine cooked chicken, broccoli and one jar of Alfredo sauce, garlic powder, and pepper; stir together. In a separate bowl, beat egg into cottage cheese.  Add Italian seasonings; stir well.  Pour 1/3 of the jar of remaining Alfredo sauce in bottom of the pan, spread evenly.  Place one layer of lasagna noodles, edges overlapping, into the baking dish.  Pour 1/3 chicken, broccoli, and Alfredo sauce mixture over the noodle layer and spread evenly. Spread 1/3 cottage cheese mixture over chicken, broccoli, and Alfredo sauce mixture.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella over chicken mixture.  Continue to layer two more times, ending with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. Tightly cover with foil.   Bake 30-35 minutes.   Remove foil and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes until top is brown and bubbly.



Homemade Triple Berry Jam



Our family loves the taste of homemade jam.  In fact, store bought jam or jelly products just don’t cut it in our household anymore.  While it might seem a chore to cook and carefully process the product, new tools and techniques have truly made canning your own food quite easy.  Making freezer jam is also a great option for those wanting to assemble their own recipe in far less time.  

While I’d love to tell you that this is a secret family recipe, home food preservation involves a careful balance of ingredients and it’s something that I never fool around with.  I always choose and carefully follow a reputable recipe when I’m canning foods for my family.  The reason…these recipes have been well tested for food safety.  Processing times, ingredient quantity, and acidity levels have all been checked and rechecked to eliminate the possibility of food borne illness in the products we hope to safely store on our shelves.



Our favorite way to enjoy this scrumptious treat would be to have the jam slathered all over a great big slice of Irish Soda Bread. While  I’m fond of butter and jam, others in the family love the peanut butter and jam combination.  You can find the recipes for my Irish Soda Bread/Scones here and here



Getting back to the homemade jam, this delicious recipe is one that was carefully tested by Sure Jell, which is a fruit pectin company that makes a product to be used to thicken jams or jellies. You can find the recipe here.

I’ve always had great success with this low sugar recipe and the large fruit pieces in the jam make for a lovely texture and add to the delicious fresh flavor of the product.  



Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

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Spring is in the air and I’m happy to report that the temperatures are on the rise. We are finally beginning to see pavement and green grass through the mounds of melting snow. It seems the topic of conversation with family and friends frequently focuses on the hope for sunny skies and mild temperatures as we usher in the start of one of my favorite seasons.
Saturday is baking day so I am up bright and early chopping apples for the muffin recipe that I have selected. This batter produces a wonderfully moist muffin that is topped with a crunchy streusel mix. The combination of pumpkin, apples, and walnuts with a delicious cinnamon streusel topping make the muffins a favorite in our house.

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Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a muffin pan with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients and set aside. In medium bowl, combine eggs, pumpkin, and oil. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Stir in apples and nuts. Spoon the batter into muffin cups; sprinkle streusel topping over batter.

For streusel topping:

2 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon old fashioned oats
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbsp. butter

In small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until done.

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