Friday, September 29, 2017

Nutty Apple Cake with Warm Caramel Sauce

An autumn walk led me to follow my bliss
right into the kitchen for a slice of Nutty Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce.  
And let me tell you each mouthful was pure bliss. Baking at its best filled with fall flavors. Don't skip the sauce it's the piece de resistance!
Recipe adapted from BHG

  •  2 cups white flour 
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1 cup each granulated sugar and brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1 tsp. apple pie spice
  • 1 tsp. Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups finely chopped cooking apples or 3 large apples (I used Granny Smith) 
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 3 TB. butter
  • 3 TB. heavy cream

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Grease and lightly flour the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan; set aside. 
  • In an extra-large bowl whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, apple pie spice, cinnamon and salt. 
  • Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside. 
  • In a medium bowl combine eggs, oil, apple juice, and vanilla; stir in chopped apples and nuts. 
  • Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Pour batter into the prepared springform pan, spreading evenly. 
  • Bake cake for 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  • Cool cake in springform pan on a wire rack about 1 hour to serve warm, or cool completely. Using a small sharp knife, to loosen cake from sides of pan. Remove sides of pan.
  • For sauce, in a saucepan on a medium low heat combine brown sugar, butter, and whipping cream. Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture is bubbly and brown sugar is dissolved. Cool slightly. Spoon warm sauce over warm or cooled cake. Refrigerate leftovers in a screw top jar.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Corn,Tomato and Basil Tart

If life deals you lemons, make lemonade,
if it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys.
Rain and cool temperatures have sent me scurrying recently to salvage the last of my tomato crop. I did not try Bloody Marys as suggested by the quote above but I decided to make a Corn Tomato and Basil Tart recipe. I found the lighter fare for dinner with a salad just perfect. The recipe called for a cornmeal crust but I chose a regular pie crust for this go around.
Fried green tomatoes are next on my agenda since I also have a full bag of green tomatoes that seem to be ripening ever so slowly.
Corn, Tomato and Basil Tart
adapted from a BHG recipe August 2008
use a 10 inch tart pan or a 9 inch pie pan

  • prepared pie crust
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes-red and yellow are a good contrast 
  • 1-1/2 cups cheddar, Gruyere or Swiss cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh basil or 1-1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard or 1/2 tsp. dried mustard
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup fresh corn about 3 cobs or use frozen corn as a substitute
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup diced sweet onions

  • Place chopped tomatoes on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with dried snipped basil. Roast at 375 degrees for 25 minutes. Drain on a paper towel and set aside. 
  • Roll out crust on a floured wax paper circle to make an 11-12 inch circle. Place tart pan on center of the circle and flip over so crust is in the tart pan,. Trim overlapping crust from fluted edges. Prick sides and bottom crust with a fork. 
  • Use two pieces of foil to fit snugly into tart pan pressing firmly up to edges. 
  • Chill the crust in refrigerator 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake 4 minutes longer-set aside to cool slightly. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees, 
  • In a blender add eggs, cream, mustard, parsley flakes and blend for a few seconds. 
  • Sprinkle on crust onions, grated cheese, corn and basil.
  • Take long strips of foil and crimp around outside edges of tart pan to prevent browning.
  • Slowly by cupful pour cream mixture over crust.
  • Bake 35 minutes or until filling is set. Cool 10 minutes and remove sides of pan to serve. Sprinkle with chopped roasted tomatoes and additional basil. 
  • Optional top each slice with a dollop of salsa.
  • Variations: adding green chilies,black olives or diced zucchini
Note: I thought the tart tasted even better the next day. I found reheating a piece on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 5- 8 minutes was better than microwaving which seemed to make the crust soggy.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Zucchini, Chickpea, Corn, Quinoa Salad with a Pesto Lemon Dressing

Looking to add more protein to your diet? This salad has it all with these healthy ingredients. 

½ Cup of cooked quinoa contains about 4g of Protein. Quinoa is not a grain, but it belongs to the same family of the leafy vegetables, like spinach. However, it looks like one and almost has similar uses. Quinoa is a rich source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and above all protein. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich whole Carbs that you can add to your daily diet as it provides all the essential amino acids.
Chickpeas½ cup of cooked chickpeas contains about 5.90g of Protein. They are also known as garbanzo bean, extremely affordable source of protein. They are also loaded with fiber, and help to reduce cholesterol levels and decreases the risk of coronary heart disease.

Zucchini, Chickpea, Corn. Quinoa Salad with a Pesto Lemon Dressing
Cook's Notes: I used Tri-Color Quinoa for this recipe. I found a box at Target (6.75 oz) called Tri-Color Quinoa with Savory Herbs. The salad was served at room temperature. Diced grape tomatoes added more color contrast to the salad. The dish was quite flavorful and easy to prepare. I can safely say most healthy recipe I have ever served. 
Recipe adapted from and serves 4-6 as a side.
  • 2 cups quinoa cooked (substitute vegetable or chicken broth for water) 
  • 1 TB. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 2 cups zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  •  1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  • 1 cup diced grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 TB. jarred basil pesto 
  • 1 TB. lemon juice
  • Keep cooked quinoa warm in a covered pan.
  • Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add garlic and onions and saute 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in zucchini, corn, chickpeas and saute 5 minutes. 
  • Place all ingredients in a bowl with cooked quinoa and mix well. 
  • Add in tomatoes toss with lemon juice and basil pesto. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Fall Has It All: Part Two

Jump start on DIY Halloween pumpkin carving with these very creative ideas and more at
Bake an irresistible apple dish
Maple Walnut Apple Cobbler
Fresh Apple Cake
more apple recipes at 
or try a pumpkin treat from Ever Ready
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Cranberry Nut Bread 
Cinnamon Spiced Pumpkin Risotto
For more Ever Ready pumpkin recipes go to right hand side of blog to search this blog box 
type in pumpkin.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Shel Silverstein

“There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.”
― Shel Silverstein "Where the Sidewalk Ends"

"Where The Sidewalk Ends", "Light in the Attic" and "The Giving Tree" were staple books in my classroom. My students never tired of hearing and reading Shel Silverstein's poems with his witty, playful words and zany drawings. Today is Shel Silverstein's birthday. He was 68 when he died in 1999. He left a huge legacy of over 1,500 poems to his family. His most recent book "This is It" published in 2011 was a culmination of over a year's work. A team of family members whittled down the poems to 145 for publication. They worked hard to stay true to his format used in previously published books. 

Shel Silverstein also wrote songs. It may surprise you that his most popular one was "A Boy Named Sue" made famous when Johnny Cash sang it at his San Quentin State Prison concert.
Today I enjoyed a bowl of comfort food White Cheddar Soup while looking back over some of his books. The following poem has remained one of my favorites

I have a band-aid on my finger,
One on my knee, and one on my nose,
One on my heel, and two on my shoulder,
Three on my elbow, and nine on my toes.
Two on my wrist, and one on my ankle,
One on my chin, and one on my thigh,
Four on my belly, and five on my bottom,
One on my forehead, and one on my eye.
One on my neck, and in case I might need' em
I have a box full of thirty-five more.
But oh! I do think it's sort of a pity
I don't have a cut or sore!
White Cheddar Cheese Soup
Cook's Notes: It's smooth, creamy and rich. The taste is amazing. Garnish with a few tomatoes, seeded and diced, chopped fresh parsley or croutons.  Two cups of diced broccoli florets during the cooking simmering time would be a flavorful healthy addition. Soup served in small bowls would be a great first course for a dinner party. 
Recipe adapted from  and serves 4-6 depending on bowl size.
Cooking Tips: Make sure cheese is grated before adding to soup broth at the end and the soup does not boil. 
  • 1 TB. butter
  • 1 cup sweet onions, diced
  • 3/4 cup celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp.dry mustard
  • 1/2-1 tsp. sea salt grind
  • 1/2- 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry wine wine (note wine does boil down into a reduction)
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups white Cheddar cheese
  • Add to food processor diced onions, celery and garlic cloves. Pulse 4 times.
  • Melt butter in large soup pot and saute onions,celery and garlic.
  • Cook on medium low heat 10 minutes.
  • Stir in flour to coat vegetables.
  • Add dry mustard, salt and pepper stirring constantly to prevent  scorching.
  • Whisk in wine, (mixture will be clumpy but that's okay).
  • Whisk in broth, milk and cream, scraping the bottom of the pot.
  • Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  • Stir in cheese. Remove from heat continue to stir mixture until completely melted.
  • To reheat next day thin with a little chicken broth uncovered.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Weekend Round-Up

Bachman's Florist and Greenhouse in Minneapolis, MN invites the public to their Idea House three times a year. The house is located at their Lyndale store right near the parking lot. Call ahead for tickets if you are in the area. 
Each season, the designers transform this 1920's bungalow, by repainting, refurnishing, and redecorating the house with their signature mix of new trend items, repurposed pieces and a touch of vintage/ shabby chic. This season the home makeover was titled "Autumn Gathering" and runs September 7-Oct. 1. Nearly every item is priced for sale and most can be found in their main store or arranged for purchase after the event closes. Perhaps some  of these ideas would be just that project to recharge your batteries and give your home a bit of a makeover.  
The outside landscaping is colorful and eye catching.
Each room had its own unique theme and story.
I was quite impressed with nursery and its theme woodland animals.

Birch poles used as wall decor, accents and children'
s play tent. 

Wood slabs with hooks for clothing storage.  
One of the guest bedrooms was turned into a spa room with a  
Turkish soaking tub used here as a plant holder. 

Repurposed arches used for robe display on the wall. Slippers placed on landscape rock in metal baskets. This sign says it all.  
Even the bathroom lent itself to some creative ideas. Birch slabs with rope ties used as shelves for towels and toilet paper.
Bella would have loved the back hall entrance which was devoted to their favorite pooch.

Puzzled over the use of this small fire hydrant? It is more useful than you think as a poop bag dispenser.

Wouldn't it be nice to be pampered with a tray of goodies in the morning!

Creative ways to hang scarves with decorative hooks and necklaces with a piece of wood. 
I conclude you could go back several times for a visit and see many things overlooked the first time. 

Three days in a row the cities temperatures rose well into the 90's. A cool down is expected so Monday will post one of the best comfort soups I have ever had.  It's creamy, rich and delicious and reminiscent of our fondue days long past.   
Next to multiple hand mixers received for wedding gifts fondue pots ran a close second with 7. This is the one we kept.   

It came from Target- a bargain at $9.97 
 and 6 forks for $1.07.
I guess you might say this is an antique. 

Cinnamon Apple Muffins

GET TO KNOW YOUR APPLES Pink Lady , great balance of sweet and tart. Granny Smith , maybe the most popular baking apple. A little more tart ...