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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Apple Pound Cake

Hey folks. I haven't been cooking/baking much lately, hence, the lack of posting. However, I thought I'd share another recipe from my grandmother. She made this for Christmas, and, if I'd skipped Christmas lunch, I'd have consumed the entire cake by myself. It's that good. Obviously I'm biased, but this cake is scrumptious, and the almost crunchy exterior provides a nice contrast to the chewy interior. Yum.

1 1/2 c. oil
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
2 c. finely chopped peeled apples
1 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. golden raisins
Apple Cider Glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 325F.

Beat oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well blended. Combine dry ingredients and add to the sugar mixture, beating well. Spoon into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan (she used a square tube pan). Bake for about 1 hour or until the cake tests done. Let it cool 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Prick the top with a fork and drizzle on the glaze.

Apple Cider Glaze

1/2 c. apple juice
1.2 c. brown sugar
1/4 stick butter (2 Tbsp.)

Boil the ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved. (She also notes that you could add 1/3 c. Apple Jack if desired, but she doesn't add it.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blueberry Maple Breakfast Bake

I found this recipe on Simply Recipes a while back, and I finally got the chance to try it. I had to adjust it slightly since I didn't have a 9x9 pan. I thought it was rather tasty (and leftovers make a good quick breakfast before dashing off to work), especially when drizzled with more maple syrup. Elise presents great recipes and photos (almost daily!), so be sure to check out her blog: Simply Recipes.

Blueberry Maple Breakfast Bake (slightly adapted)

3/4 loaf of white bread (I used Sara Lee White Wheat)
4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, divided
6 eggs, beaten
1 cups milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove crusts from bread; cut into one inch cubes. Cut cream cheese in small cubes (makes about 1 cup). Grease a 8x8x2 inch baking dish. Place half of the bread cubes in the dish. Scatter cream cheese cubes and 1 cup of blueberries over the bread. Top with remaining bread cubes and blueberries. In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, maple syrup and butter. Carefully pour over bread mixture. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour, covering with aluminum foil if eges brown too much. To serve, cut into squares. Accompany with additional maple syrup, if desired. Can be prepared the night before, and just baked before serving.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Chateau Morrisette

Chateau Morrisette is one of Virginia's largest wineries, and it is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 171.5). My husband and I stopped at the winery on our honeymoon. When we go to visit my family, we pass within 5 miles of this hidden gem. For those who know me well, the last thing you'd expect me to support would be a winery. However, don't worry! I'm not here to promote their wine. I'm here to recommend that everyone try their vinegars!
The first vinegar we bought from Chateau Morrisette (during our honeymoon) was their Late Harvest Reisling Vinegar. This is a sweeter vinegar that we most often simply used by itself to dress spinach salads with mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, and toasted pecans. I am not a fan of white or cider vinegar (at least, not by itself), but I loved the Reisling vinegar!
This December, five years later, we returned to Chateau Morrisette to get some more of the Reisling. Much to our surprise (and delight), they had expanded their offerings of flavored vinegars! [They also have flavored oils, pesto, and mustards that are also delicious.] I would highly recommend that you try them. How, do you ask? Luckily for you, they sell their products online, too! You can also find out more information about the winery and the events they have throughout the year. They currently offer Blood Orange, D'Anjou Pear, Blueberry, Spicy Pecan, and Strawberry Champagne vinegars in addition to the Reisling. If you visit the winery, you can sample the vinegars before purchasing. We ended up leaving with the Blood Orange, D'Anjou Pear, and Reisling. Like the Reisling, we just sprinkle some over a salad to enjoy. Personally, I think the Blood Orange is better than the D'Anjou Pear, but my husband disagrees. Either way, they're both delicious.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blogging By Mail

I finally received my BBM package in the mail yesterday! Aarika from Aarikavination enclosed a letter explaining her rather extensive run of back luck before/during the holidays. Things finally calmed down enough for her to get my package in the mail this week. Hopefully things will calm down even more for Aarika soon!

But, you're interested in the package contents, aren't you? Well, tada! All sorts of goodies!

Starting from the top left, moving clockwise: Double Apple Muffin Mix, from Aarika's local farmer's market; Milk N Honees (Milk Honey Filled Drops); Honey Pear Tea; Raspberry Ginger Tea. Next is a a mix CD entitled "Calmness: December Megamix"; after her eventful holiday season, I'm sure she could use a little calmness in her life! The CD is resting on a big bag of (homemade) White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Sticks. She said the JELLO Cheesecake Pudding intrigued her when she saw it in the grocery store, and I'm glad she sent it. It's really good with some frozen fruit when you're in a hurry to make a tasty dessert. In front are an Amish Country Postcard and an "Aspens" postcard by Ansel Adams - Excellent choice! I love Ansel Adams' work, and "Aspens" is one of my favorite scenes from his collection. Finally, we have candy canes, (in the middle) Candy Cane Hershey Kisses, and the cute tea towel everything is resting on! Since I don't like milk or dark chocolate, she definitely gave me a reason to smile with all the white chocolate. The Candy Cane Kisses are really yummy; it's hard not to eat the whole bag at once!
I can hardly wait to try the muffin mix; this Saturday morning's breakfast will be the perfect opportunity to do so. The Milk N Honees are wonderful! They remind me of a candy I used to eat when I was growing up. (Wow, was that really 18 years ago?!) I haven't tasted the tea yet, but it certainly smells great. I'll have to have some with my Double Apple Muffins!

Isn't this cute?! Aarika lamented about the tea towel being slightly out of season, but I don't mind a bit. And, like she said, we can all use another tea towel, right? I know I certainly can.

Here's one more cute item from the package, though it was on the outside. Aarika decorated the outside of the package with festive stickers, and I thought these guys were just adorable.
Thank you so much, Aarika, for the package! And, thanks also to Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness for heading up this BBM effort!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I was beginnning to wonder why no one had commented on any of my posts. And, I knew people were visiting this blog. So, what gives? My stupidity, of course. I had comment moderation enabled, but I didn't know there were any comments to moderate. So, I apologize (especially to Brilynn from Jumbo Empanadas). The few comments that have been left are now visible.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Apple Cabbage Raisin Salad

I'm glad to be back from a rather long hiatus! (I tried to update earlier, but Blogger decided that I didn't need to update my blog.) I hope you had a great holiday with your family and friends. Ours was busy, but it was great to see everyone again.

While I was gone, my BBM partner finally received her package from me. [Again, I'm sorry for the delay, but at least you received it before Christmas!] Lisa from La Mia Cucina posted about the package here. I'm so glad that she really liked all the goodies I sent; it's so much fun to gather everything and wait to see/read the recipient's reaction! No word yet on the BBM package I'm supposed to receive; hopefully my BBM partner isn't having too much bad luck these days...especially over the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, I'll share a recipe from my grandmother that she prepared for Christmas lunch: Apple Cabbage Raisin Salad. I haven't actually made it yet, but it's scrumptious. Trust me. I'm sure you could substitute low-fat yogurt for the mayo, but I'd drain it really well to get the right consistency before adding it to the other ingredients. This recipe serves 4, but it can easily be doubled as needed. I'd recommend preparing this dish the day before you'll serve it.

1 red apple, chopped (do not peel)
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup light mayonnaise (or more if needed - just add to taste)

Toss the chopped apples together with the cabbage, raisins, and almonds in a bowl. Stir in mayo and mix well. Store in the refrigerator; serve chilled.