Apple Yogurt Cake + 5 Quick Cake Links!

ayc1252An apple a day keeps whatever ails you away.  A good red wine, chocolate anything, salty something, cold beer and cupcakes also help..me.  Apples are abundant now and I can’t get enough of them.  I eat one everyday after lunch, as well as, whatever slices the kids leave behind.  In an effort to consume as many apples as possible before they go out of season, I added them to a traditional yogurt cake.

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I tore the original cake recipe out of a Bon Appétit magazine almost 4 years ago and taped it inside my little black book recipe book.  (Before Pinterest or this blog I used a pen, a real pen, and wrote down recipes in a little black notebook. Crazy, I know.)  I made the original cake a few times, mainly because my daughter requested it.  She calls it the plain cake which is a perfect description.  Plain and simple.  Perfectly moist and the just right kind of sweet.  So, why mess with a good thing?

The damn apples were begging me to use them.  On this cake…with some raw sugar sprinkled on top.  A little cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and lemon zest season the deliciously basic batter.  Oh and lets not forget about the Greek yogurt.  I couldn’t taste it, but knowing it’s in there made me feel healthy.  Really, it’s ok to have a third piece of cake.  The 3/4 cups of whole milk Greek yogurt, that’s protein girl!  Eat up!

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So I did.  Or we did.  Either way, the cake was gone in less than 48 hours.  I call that a hit.  Enjoy!

Apple Yogurt Cake

serves 8

recipe adapted from Bon Appétit June 2012

Ingredients:

1+ 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup sugar  (The original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar.  If you prefer a sweeter cake add 1 cup of sugar.  The 3/4 cup of sugar made the cake plenty sweet.  It’s really up to you!)

1 tablespoon lemon zest

3/4 cup whole milk Greek yogurt

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 baking apple of your choice, sliced thin

1/4 cup raw sugar to sprinkle on sliced apples

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Spray a standard loaf pan with non-stick vegetable oil spray.  Dust with flour and tap out the excess.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, kosher salt.  Set aside.  In a large bowl rub sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers until the sugar feels like damp sand.  Add Greek yogurt, canola oil, eggs and vanilla extract.  Whisk until well blended.  Fold in dry ingredients until just combined.  Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth over the top.  Add sliced apples, pushing them just slightly into the batter so they will stick.  Arrange apple in a pattern or something pretty.  Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing the cake.  Remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Slice and serve.  Cake will last stored in an air-tight container or covered in plastic wrap, at room temperature,  for up to 3 days.  Enjoy!

5 Quick Cake Links!

Looking for an easy lemon cake recipe? Head to Willow Bird Baking for Julie’s quick lemon-iced yellow cake.  I really wish this cake would just appear on my kitchen counter.  Magic!

Chocolate cake in the less than an hour? Sounds great.  NYT has the recipe for you.

Apple cider doughnut cake? Yes, it exists! Katie at the Kitchen Door has the mouth-watering recipe for you.

Cake or quick bread? Why decide? Make one that tastes like both!  Head to Not Without Salt for Ashley’s chopped apple cake recipe.

Cranberry season is on the way.  Check out my cranberry maple breakfast cake: a cake that is delicious anytime of day.

Pear + Apple Breakfast Granola Crisp + 5 Feel Good Fall Breakfast Recipes!

 

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I can see my breath in the cold, fall air.  The field is dark except for a small area in the east where the sun just begins to warm the dew covered grass.  I walk slowly over to the light and turn my face to the sun, bright spots dance underneath my eye lids.  The sun feels warm, but the wind is brisk and unrelenting.  My running shoes are wet, my toes numb.  The numbness creeps up to my thighs and settles in.  When I open my eyes I see the others undressing, shoving warm layers into clear plastic bags.  They nervously eat Power Bars, set their watches and stretch.  I stare blankly at the grass, not fully present.

“Time to head over.” Who said that? I remove my jacket, shove it into my bag and re-tie my running shoes.  I follow the crowd to the starting line.  I’m not ready.

“Oh c’mon, Kel.”  I hear you Papa.  Three long years later and I still hear you on my runs.

The blow horn sounds, ready or not, my legs are moving.  I feel ok. The numbness is subsiding.  Suddenly I feel great, I am cruising…then I hit mile 5 and I feel a stabbing pain in my knee; my thoughts snowball, my mind takes over.  I can’t do this.  This is too painful.  What am I trying to prove?  Stop!

Breathe.

One foot in front of the other. Finish what you started. “C’mon you old donkey.” Papa…again.

Mile 10.

Almost there. 3 miles is nothing compared to the 10 I just ran.  One foot in front of the other…Bubba and the kids stand near the finish line.  I smile, relieved to see their sweet, familiar faces cheering me on.  The gnawing pain in my knee remains, but my mind is stronger.  I keep going.

Finish line. 

I hear Papa laugh, a proud laugh and then he is gone…again.

The race is over and I have a medal to show for it, a medal and some dam strong determination.  I hobble past the Gatorade and food stations.  Bagels, bananas and Power bars are everywhere. I don’t want any of it.  Anxious to head home, I stop and look for my favorites.

“Mama! Good job Mama!” Bubba gives me a kiss.  I hug the kids.  We head home. The race is over, one foot in front of the other, and I finished.

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I took a few days off from running and attempted to make caramel apples. I failed.  My first attempt the caramel tasted like sugar soup.  Gross!  My second attempt I overcooked the caramel, but coated the apples anyway.  I thought for sure caramel would pull out C’s slightly loose tooth. “Mama this tastes good, but I can’t eat it. It is too hard!” Failed again.

My thoughts snowball: Why am I keeping this blog? Who cares? There are too many food blogs out there! What do I have to say that is fresh? Nothing! 

Breathe.

I move on and attempt to make a whole grain cookie.  I fail. The cookie is flavorful, but way to moist; it’s texture like a dense, squat muffin.

Try something else. Don’t give up!

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I find a recipe for a breakfast granola crisp and feel inspired.  I see perfectly ripe pears and apples sitting in our fruit bowl.  I make the crisp, adapting it slightly: maple syrup instead of honey, brown sugar in place of white sugar and white whole wheat flour and oats for the topping.  I pull the crisp from the oven, the juices still bubbling.  The granola topping is golden brown and crisp.  The ambrosial smell of baked apples, pears and cinnamon fill the kitchen.

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After the crisp has cooled a bit, I take a bite.  Success!  The granola topping is crisp and subtly sweet with hints of maple.  The fruit is warm and syrupy.  I add some Greek yogurt for protein, but could have just as easily eaten straight from the pan.  I feel satisfied with the recipe and ready to share it.  I’m so glad didn’t give up! One foot in front of the other…

Pear + Apple Breakfast Granola Crisp

A slightly sweet fall fruit crisp with a crunchy granola topping makes breakfast feel like a treat.  

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

serves 6-8               

1 1/2 pounds of apples, (apples you like to bake with) peeled, cored and cut into medium size chunks

1 1/2 pounds of Bartlett pears cored and cut into medium size chunks

2 tablespoons  lemon juice

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

A pinch of kosher salt

1 stick/8 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

2 cups oats ( I used Bob’s 7 grain hot cereal mix.)
optional: ( I did not use the ingredients listed below because we have a nut-allergy in our family, but I bet they are a delicious addition.)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.

Using a large bowl mix together apple and pear chunks with lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and pinch of salt until evenly coated. Scoop the fruit into an 8×8 metal baking pan and set aside.

In a small bowl combine the flour and oats (almonds and coconut too, if using). Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the maple syrup.

Stir the dry ingredients into the melted butter and maple syrup, add a pinch of salt and continue to stir until clumps form. Sprinkle granola evenly over the apple and pear mixture.

Bake in the oven for about 45 to 50 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and soft.***Check the granola topping at 40 minutes. If the granola browns too fast, place a piece of aluminum foil over the dish.  Remove the foil the last few minutes of baking to allow the granola to crisp.***

Allow to cool to room temperature. Serve with yogurt and a bit of honey or agave nectar. Enjoy!

The crisp will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days.

5 Feel Good Fall Breakfast Links

Looking for a healthy, slightly sweet pumpkin bread?  Head to Sprouted Kitchen for Sarah’s recipe: pumpkin bread with toasted walnuts and cinnamon swirl.  I can’t wait to make this!

I love pears and I have a container of steel cut oats sitting in my pantry.  Minimalist Baker’s recipe for caramelized pear steel cut oats is on my must make list this week!

If eggs is more your thing at breakfast, try an apple omelet with cheddar and thyme. Be sure to check out What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today? other recipes too!

Want to eat waffles, but need an easy gluten-free option?  Cookie + Kate has the recipe for you!

Check out my pumpkin streusel millet muffins! They are sure to be a crowd pleaser!

 

 

A Dose of Fall Comfort Food: Butternut Squash + Apple Soup plus 5 Must Try Fall Desserts

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Last week I was sick. I felt awful, really awful. Luckily, Bubba was able to work from home for a day to help deal with the kids. It was the first time in I don’t know how long I had an actual sick day. I napped, I didn’t make any meals or clean any dishes, Bubba did the laundry and took the kids to the park and I watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa. Yes, an entire episode not recorded, in the middle of the day! That never happens.

After my fever broke I felt better, but I needed something comforting to eat. A couple of days before I got sick, we went apple picking. So on my counter I had a bunch of apples and a butternut squash from our CSA staring at me. “Make something with me!” they seemed to scream. Ok fine, but what? My mind felt hazy and my body still ached a bit. I grabbed my new favorite cookbook, Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach, and looked up butternut squash. This was not the time for creativity, I just needed a good recipe for something soothing. (All of her recipes are good. If you are looking to buy a new cookbook, buy her book. You’ll love it!) I found Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. Perfect, just what my body needs now.

The soup has a bit of spice to it which I love. The apples add a subtle sweetness which works well with the butternut squash, and a pinch of cayenne gives a little heat. The combination of the apples, squash and thyme simmering together made our house smell like fall. I served the soup with crusty bread and chopped chives sprinkled on top. G tried the soup and wasn’t impressed. C refused to try the soup but she did dip a piece of bread in it and said it tasted “ok.” I’ll keep working on her and G. Bubba loved the soup. At least one other person in our family loved the soup.

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The apples are a mix of Macintosh and Honey Crisp. Honey Crisp is my favorite.

_KH10032One two-pound butternut squash, two apples, two small onions or one medium and a sprig of thyme are the main ingredients.

_KH10036Peel the squash. I love the golden orange color on the inside.

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Scrape out the seeds and chop into 1 inch cubes.

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Bring the apples, onions, squash, broth and seasonings to a boil and then allow to simmer for about a half hour. Check every ten minutes while simmering and add more broth if necessary.

_KH10061Serve with crusty bread and top with chopped chives, walnuts and crème fraiche. Use all toppings or just one! Take a big bite and feel better.

Butternut Squash + Apple Soup

Recipe from Dinner: A Love Story

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 small or 1 medium onion

A large glug of olive oil

Leaves from one sprig of fresh thyme

1 Tbsp. curry powder (optional but I used it)

1/8 tsp. cayenne

1 2 lb butternut squash, peeled, cut in half, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 apples peeled, cored and cut into any size chunks (Macintosh or Fuji work well here. I used Macs. Do not use Red Delicious.)

31/2 cups or more of chicken broth. (If you are not using homemade chicken broth, buy low sodium so you can add the amount of salt you want. Store bought chicken broth tends to be too salty for me.)

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Toppings: chopped chives, chopped walnuts or sour cream. Try crème fraiche instead of sour cream for a topping even creamier.

Directions: 

Brown the onion in a large dutch oven or stock pot for about 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, thyme, curry powder and cayenne and stir. Add squash and apples and chicken broth. Be sure the broth covers the ingredients by about 1/2 inch.

Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Check the soup every 10 minutes and make sure it stays at the same level. If it doesn’t, add more broth. After 30 minutes, check to see if the squash is tender. Continue to cook until tender if it is not. Remove soup from the heat and puree it using a blender or immersion blender. If you using a traditional blender be sure to puree the soup in batches and keep the lid slightly open so it doesn’t explode. Serve hot with as many suggested toppings as desired. Enjoy!

5 Must Try Fall Desserts

I love to bake. When the seasons change I get excited to try new recipes. I plan on trying the recipes list below and I’ll let you know how they turn out.

I spotted these pumpkin bars on Two Peas and Their Pod and I must try them very soon.

Caramel apples are a must eat in the fall but what about adding bacon to them? Check out the recipe here.

I love cupcakes. This cupcake will satisfy your need for anything pumpkin.

Apple pie with caramel? Yes! Get the recipe here.

A fall dessert that won’t pack on the pounds? It exists here.