tipsy tuesday {amazing applesauce bread}

I recently had a bushel of apples in my house and spent the better part of 3 days making gobs of applesauce. While we are doing a pretty darn good job of going through these jars of sauce I had a hankering to make some applesauce cake.

I don’t have too many cookbooks that I’ve hung onto since I was first married almost 18 years ago, but I do have one: The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. It was gifted to me by a family that I had babysat for years at a shower and I’ve treasured it for the memory of that family and also because it’s just a great baking cookbook. I have started altering some of her recipes a bit (mostly becase I don’t use vegetable shortning) and this is one of the recipes I played around with a little. It turned out amazing and was even better 3-4 days later. So enjoy!

Applesauce Cake
adpated from the Fannie Farmer Baking Book
makes 2 loafs

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil, but you could use whatever)
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat (or you could use 2 1/2 cups all purpose)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups hot applesauce
1 cup raisins
1-2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease two 8.5×4.5 loaf pans.
Mix together the butter, oil and sugar, beating until smooth. Add the eggs and mix well. Mix together the flour, salt, soda, and spices and add to the creamed mixture along with the applesauce, raisins and walnuts. Beat until the batter is well blended.
Spread evenly in the pans and bake loaf cakes for about 1 hours (check after 45 min) until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool in pans.

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from my kitchen: spiced chai

I have a habit of needing a cup of tea in the afternoon. I absolutely love Yogi tea’s black chai. But it’s not convenient for me to buy and it can get pricey if I drink it every day. I’ve been pinning different spiced chai concentrate recipes the last year and ventured the last couple of weeks to try out a few of them.

The first one I tried was from my new cookbook:

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I ordered this cookbook after having it in my amazon wish list for.ever for my birthday last April. I’ve made a few of the other recipes in there and honestly the jury is still out on whether I love it or not. Some recipes have been a hit and others not so much. Her chai recipe is a mix of fresh ginger, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, peppercorns and an orange. She sweetens it to taste with honey and then adds milk. I thought it was good, but was missing something. I tried adding some nutmeg, but even then it still wasn’t what I was looking for.

 

The second recipe was from Tasty Kitchen.

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And at first cup, I wasn’t too sure about it either. But, after having my third cup of it today I think this is the winner with a few more tweaks. I left out the star anise (because I didn’t have any) and didn’t use as much fresh ginger as it called for either. I used a slice of orange, instead of the zest (mostly because I’m lazy) and I used less brown sugar than it called for too. I loved that this one was already sweetened so all I had to do when I made a cup was mix the milk and concentrate and heat it up. Overall, this trumped the first recipe. The plan is to get my hands on some anise the next time I’m at our local co-op (where I can buy just the amount of spices I need in bulk) and see how much that changes the flavor.

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fruit snacks…yum yum!

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I interrupt these regularly scheduled programming to share a recipe success today!
I’m on a mission these days to slowly find replacement recipes for all the processed stuff we buy…organic and not organic. Mostly for frugality reasons. This fruit snack recipe has been stashed for a while and today I finally got up the nerve to try it.

I’m sad to say I can’t give credit where it came from. I pinned it a while ago and deleted the pin once I printed it. Just know that I didn’t make this up…some other smarter person did!

100% juice fruit snacks

1/3 cup 100% frozen fruit juice concentrate (thawed)
2-3 .25 envelopes unflavored gelatin
silicone/bendable molds

Pour the juice into a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the juice and let it sit for a few minutes. (watch it…it moves and squirms like something alive. It’s weird) Put the pan over medium heat and stir until all the gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into a measuring cup with a spout so you can easily fill your molds. Fill the molds and allow to set at least 20 minutes. You can speed up the process a bit by putting them in the fridge.

My notes..

1. I used cranberry juice which after it was cooked started to kind of smell funny. I’m pretty sure this was the juice. They taste like cranberry juice but honestly don’t smell great.
2. I used a silicone ice tray from Ikea. There is no way you could get these out without using a flexible mold of some sort.
3. I used 2 packages of gelatin and it was the perfect consistency. I think 3 would make them crazy tough.
4. This recipe is tiny and I can’t remember how much unflavored gelatine is so I really don’t know how frugal these are. I would have to research that a little bit.

Overall these were super easy and I’ll definitely try it again with a different kind of juice.

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best. sugar cookie. ever

sugar cookie

Looking for a versatile, easy sugar cookie for your holiday baking? Look no further!
I’ve had this recipe in my stash for 15+ years and it’s been a holiday staple for making cookies to enjoy and share.
This recipe is great for rolling into balls and cooking right away, refrigerating and then rolling out to cut with cookie cutters and it also is awesome for using with a cookie press.

I think this came originally from a Cooking Light magazine and really the only changes I’ve made to the original recipe is the use of real unsalted butter instead of margarine and using raw sugar.

Sugar Cookies

3 T unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 2 T raw sugar (divided)
1 egg
1 T lemon juice
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t nutmeg

Cream butter and gradually add 2/3 cup sugar. Beat at medium speed with a mixer until well blended.
Add egg and lemon juice; beat well.
Combine flour, baking soda and nutmeg; gradually add to the creamed mixture, beating well.
**there are times I’ve made this and it’s come out a little dry so I add water by the teaspoon until I can see it starting to come together.
Shape dough into balls, roll in remaining 2 T sugar OR colored sugar for a holiday gift.
Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.
Yield: 26 cookies

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a birthday post

Today is my chick’s 6th birthday. In many ways I think I’m in denial that my baby is now 6, but I won’t go there because today is a day to celebrate.
Here she is at about 3 months.

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She is all about horses so we did a horse theme for our family gathering tonight. I convinced her to have cupcakes pretty much so I can make my favorite cupcakes ever…cookies and cream! I’ll have to share the recipe later.

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I made a little banner out of scrapbook paper, stitched it together and hung it off these lollipop sticks I grabbed at Michael’s. I also found a tube of little horses that were perfect for grazing in their green sprinkled field!

 

And the big birthday gift was something that I hinted at a few days ago…this awesome bunk bed for her dolls that my oh so talented husband made. The plans are based off this bed by Ana White and I had seen where people had taken that bed and turned it into bunks. I counted my blessings being married to a handyman and he went at it!

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As you can see, my quilts ended up being a little short and honestly so are the mattresses. I’m thinking that I’ll go back and redo the mattresses at some point, but the quilts are short to stay!

Happy 6th Birthday to my chickadee!

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