Ol’Glorious Naptime

Who’s ready to pull their hair out? This girl! Terrible twos have struck in my house and I’ve been dealing with a double dose of attitude for about three years now. I don’t even know why it’s called terrible twos. It should be more like -Terrible One and forever. Both of my girls, who are two and four, contracted it when they started walking and I don’t think they ever got over it. Just my luck. The sad thing is, I thought I didn’t have to deal with attitude problems until the girls hit their bratty, teenage years. Boy was I wrong. Don’t even get me started on the potty training.

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See the sass??

I blame all of my parenting endeavors on my mother. You know that thing your momma used to say that we thought she was insane for even bring up? You know what I’m talking about. We’ve all heard it, “I hope your kids turn out 10 times worse than you!”

Sound familiar? Yea. I heard it a thousand times but I never once thought I would ever see the day where I actually sympathize with her. I’ve been foredoomed (Thanks Mom!)!  The Hell we must have put her through must have been enough to send her over the edge to make say such mean words.

“Get that out of your mouth!”; “Don’t kick the dog!”; “Pick up your toys!” “Eat your-Halynn, DO NOT THRO- Dang it!”. I swear I feel like a broken record as much as I have to repeat myself in this house. Can anyone else relate? Surely I’m not the only one who deals with this craziness.

My favorite part of the day used to be nap time, ol’glorious naptime. Let me tell you a little about the most wonderful part of my day. I’ll start by saying- it wasn’t for me. I would be lucky if my body let me fall asleep at a decent bedtime, let alone take a nap. It’s the only time in my day that I was able to catch up on much needed “me” time.

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Crappy Ipad image but look how sweet she is when she naps!

Like any mother who waits patiently for their kids heads to hit the pillow, those 30 or 40 minutes I had to myself allowed me to breathe and catch my thoughts. I was able to finally wash those dishes that have been in the sink for three days or to restart the wet laundry that’s been sitting for who knows how long. I loved taking advantage of the free time given to reassess myself before hitting a new level of “Crazy Mom Status”.

When the girls would wake, all of us in our good moods, we would do fun things together whether it was watching a movie, coloring, reading or baking. Those are the things I looked forward to after each nap. Little did I know those days were short lived. The naps ceased and there went my sweet, temporary sanity.

A child without a nap is just blasphemy. When my children skip their naps it means ear splitting tantrums and breaking up sibling rivalry. It means listening to Peppa Pig’s stupid snort on repeat ( I despise that cartoon) or Adele’s Hello blaring in the background. It means cleaning the fourth cup of spilled juice that day. No naps for me, means hearing your name 50 times in a two minute time span, answering, and hearing your name some more for the same exact question you just answered. It means floor stomping, couch jumping mouthy kids who refuse to eat anything with any nutritional value unless they find it on the floor from last night’s dinner.

Days like these, I welcome bedtime. I long for those moments when you hear the last big thud from the bedroom after the girls have finally worn themselves down from jumping on their beds. I await the silence that fills the house and the chance to finally sit down with my husband and talk about the boring highlights of being an adult. When my husband and I can actually sit down, our hardest decisions are no longer “should we let her eat that?” or “You can either take on bath-time or Crappy Diaper duty and I’ll get the other”. It’s now, “are you feeling Bates Motel or Dexter?” and “Water or wine?” (Decisions. Decisions.)

I love my kids and I would do anything in the world for them but I have GOT to have my quiet time, too. We mothers (and fathers) do so much for our youngin’s that we deserve that every now and then, right?  I gave birth to them. I’ve wiped snotty noses with my pretty, new shirts because I didn’t have anything else on hand. I’ve been pooped on, peed on, spit on and even colored on. I am a pro at speaking the the language of Toddler- chink shoes (thank you), cutchies (covers), and  pihtah bihtah (peanut butter) on a shoon (spoon). No monster is too big and no boo-boo too small for Momma to tackle.

So when your kids realize how important naps are to you and make the day more interesting by refusing to take them, how do in the world do we handle these situations? My answer? Lots of patience! And I mean LOTS of patience (and plenty of coffee, if you’re into that).

Since nap-time is no longer an option (unless for some crazy minute my kids are lullaby-ed  by songs on Pooh and happen to fall over asleep) I’ve learned to take these things with a grain of salt and to sit back and just let it be. They are only young once and as crazy as today may seem, tomorrow is not promised and one day these little ladies will no longer need me.It will be the other way around, me needing them. For my ladies, I put my sanity aside to be the best parent I can be.

Whether I am ‘Strict Momma’ or ‘Cool Momma’, they can guarantee I will be what they need at that given moment (until they understand what it means to abide by the rules My husband and I have set up, they are getting pretty familiar with Strict Momma 😉 ).

-Side note… The movie, Home, gives me the feels!

Are you a parent who can relate? I know I’m not the only one! I’d love to hear some of your stories.

Naptime

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Buttercream Frosting

 

Hello lovelies!

Raise your hand if you love cake. I’m juuust gonna slowly raise my hand and answer my own question because I LOVE cake. Chocolate. Fruity. Cheesecake. You name it.  I even love them molten, just oozing with chocolaty goodness. I love it in tiers; I love them in sheets. I love them all. But what I love more than cake is the frosting.

AngryOrchardCupcakesblog

There are those who will scrape it off and eat the cake plain… it’s safe to say- I am not one of those people. Sometimes I will only get a piece of cake for that heaping mound on the edges. I could eat it by the spoonfuls. (#guilty #dontjudgeme)
My favorite kind is a good ol’fashioned buttercream! I love its buttery flavor, the fluffy texture and I love how you can work with different consistencies for decorating.

Yesterday, I created a recipe for Angry Orchard Cupcakes (I am dying to post the recipe but I figure I better get the other components first 😉 ). Everything was homemade from the cakes to Fireball Caramel Sauce. No, I was not the first to come up with the idea of adding hard cider to an apple cake batter, but this version of the recipe is completely mine.

When I came up with the idea of recreating my own recipe for the cupcakes, I had caramel apples on my mind. I needed a frosting to top it so I created a Caramel Buttercream. I’m sure there are other bloggers who have made a buttercream recipe that’s the same as mine- it’s kinda hard to come up with an original recipe these days- but this recipe is so good I had to share my version with my foodies.

Honest to goodness- this is the BEST recipe for a basic Buttercream Frosting! You need to try this, like… now! And because I love you all so well, I threw in directions for my awesome Caramel Buttercream, too.

Here’s how I make mine:

Basic Buttercream Frosting

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened_MG_0543 copy
  • 2 lbs. powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • Heavy whipping cream

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl, with a hand or stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter on low speed. Mix until well blended. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

2. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for desired spreading/piping consistency.

3. Scoop into a piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread onto cupcakes as desired.

Caramel Buttercream

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Buttercream recipe from above
  • 1 cup of Caramel Sauce, cooled (store bought or HOMEMADE)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix ingredients as you would for the Basic Buttercream, omitting the cream until after adding the caramel. 
  2. Add in the Caramel sauce and mix on medium speed. 
  3. If needed, add cream for desired consistency. 
  4. Scoop into piping bag and pipe decoratively onto cupcakes, or spread as desired. 

NOTES
  • This recipe is very versatile. You can change the flavor by adding in desired flavored extracts and flavorings. You can also double and triple this recipe with ease.
  • Do not skimp on the butter- it’s a must! If you use shortening or margarine, you are drastically altering it’s flavor and consistency. Trust me, I’ve been there and nothing compares to the good stuff!
  • If you add in color, I suggest using gel coloring. The liquid color may thin your frosting too much by the time you get your desired color.
  • If you have too much frosting, freeze it 😉 Put the leftover buttercream in an airtight box and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. If frozen then thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

See? Simple. Delicious. Versatile. I hope this recipe is enough to make you wanna bake a cake and whip up a batch of frosting! Or maybe skip the cake altogether and just grab some spoons and go to town. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.

Got a recipe you wanna share? Send it to me and I will give it a try and even feature it on my blog. Wanna be Blogger-Buddies? Shoot me a message and let’s chat!

Don’t forget to Follow me!

I hate you but I love you

 

 

It sounds contradictory to confess one’s hate and love for another but that’s exactly what I’m doing. No! I do not hate my husband (well, not always). Mainly just the quirky, little things he does to constantly annoy me (all of which he admits to doing). That man literally drives me insane on a daily basis and I can’t help but to still love him at the end of the day. Isn’t that how marriage is supposed work? Despite my annoyance, he is the poster boy for imperfectly perfect husbands. A couple days ago, I was reminded of just how lucky I am to have found myself such a man.

For the past month and a half I have been struggling to gain control over my kids. Fighting, screaming, mess after mess, attitudes and now the stress of potty training my two year old has got me pulling my hair out; Add all of that to the homework I’ve got piling up and my lack of transportation (crazy mom status hits a new meaning). I feel like I have mastered the art of talking to walls and I can honestly say I get more of out them then my own children. Sometime’s I feel like giving up. It’s those moments that make hiding out in my bedroom, buried under a blanket fort with a glass of Moscato and my favorite tunes blaring loudly in my ears, hard to pass up. Trust me, the thought’s crossed my mind a time or two.

It was Tuesday that I really found a new appreciation for my husband. With Rasputia (my jeep) down, I’ve had no way to school so he switched his schedule to let me take the car while he stayed home with the girls. He made no mention of his plans for the day. Leaving the house looking disastrous, I came home to a spotless living room and kitchen and the kids sitting quietly on the couch with sweet smiles stretched across their faces (knowing they had just made Mommy happy) watching their daddy play the Xbox.  My heart literally melted at the sight of a clean floor.

You wouldn’t believe how the little things can turn a person’s world upside down. Heck, you wouldn’t believe how it’s the little things that make a crazy Momma a little less insane. To me, it’s little things- like a clean room that I didn’t have to scream at top of my lungs just to get movement from my sassy little ladies- that bring the most joy to my soul. That Tuesday, my husband’s spontaneity showed me just how much he cares for me and that he hears my crying pleas.

As if spending hours cleaning (yes, at my house to clean just two rooms it literally takes hours) wasn’t enough, he even agreed to cook for me. He told me the day before about his plan to cook me a dinner,  but you wouldn’t believe how hard it was to get him to stick to his plan. He begged me to take over and cook (after already spending a work day at school on my feet in the kitchen). The excuses he threw to sway my descision, “I can’t cook”; “I don’t even know what to cook”; and my favorite… “But we don’t have anything in there to make” after just going to the grocery store two days prior. His confidence was lacking.

I wasn’t having it. I was sticking to my guns. I wanted that homecooked meal I was promised and I was getting it! Plus, I was curious to see what he threw at me. Sure, he’s cooked me dinner before, always chili because it’s his go-to that he knew how to make (and it’s delicious), but I wanted to see what else he can do. “Mase, you got this. Do what I do when I can’t think of what to make. Find a cookbook and if that doesn’t scream out to you, search Pinterest!”

With a little huff and puff, he finally marched his happy butt in the kitchen and threw down- Mase style! He made us an awesome Creamy Cajun Pasta! I wasn’t the least bit shocked he produced something so delicious, I knew he had it in him the whole time. Besides, anyone can follow a recipe. 😉

Sometimes I feel like I forget to tell him just how much I appreciate him, which is the whole point of this post. While I am sure it’s his daily intent to drive me absolutely berserk to the point that I hate him (if you are a married person, you would be lying to yourself to say that you’ve never hated your spouse at one point in your marriage), he’s someone I can count on at the end of the day to continually love me through all of my meanness.

Marriage is hard. Like- really, REALLY hard. Maintaining a happy relationship throughout the years requires a lot of love and patience and a mix of emotions and nuttiness. Mase and I learn this everyday. We are not your perfect couple. We don’t kiss in public (if we have time to do that), We don’t hang all over each other. We make each other mad. We make each other kooky. And I would even go as far as to say we’ve made each other cry but we also make each other laugh and smile and even fall back in love with one another. At the end of the day, we are back in each other’s arms going over what the day has been for us and how we can make tomorrow better. We laugh at the funny things Hadleigh said or how Halynn reminds us of his Granny Dean by the way she throws her hands behind her back as she paces the living room. We reconnect and build on the struggles that have brought us dark times.

With that being said, my imperfectly perfect husband is perfect enough for me. Mason, as if you didn’t know this already…. I hate you but I love you! Mwah!

a housewife confession

Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls

Ah… snow days. With each falling snowflake, I feel all motivation to do anything productive slipping from my body. I was supposed to have class today but thanks to the 3 or more inches of snow coming to Eastern Kentucky and Rasputia- my ’93 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo (What? Don’t tell my you’ve never named your vehicle), I’m taking it easy at home with my ladyloves. On my way to school yesterday, she decided she was going to break down on me. As old as my jeep is, she’s been faithful to me for going on 5 years, so I can’t be too upset. Just glad I hadn’t made it too far into my destination. That could have been bad! 

What does a student and momma of two do on a snow day? Catch up on homework while my girls flip back and forth between these crazy Baby Alive and Suprise Egg youtube videos! How the crap my kids found these videos and why they’ve taken such a strong interest in them is beyond me, but they drive me CRAZY. 

I feel I must confess… I’m not really doing my homework. I’m supposed to be and I do have everything pulled up for Interpersonal Communications, but I just can’t bring myself to focus on anything other than Cinnamon rolls. Yea, I said it. I’m thinking of a piping hot, big, ol’fat, Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon roll just oozing with a sticky glaze! _MG_0450 copy

I got that lazy girl status going on today and the only thing I want to do is whip up a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls, cuddle up with my ladies underneath no less than 3 layers of blankets and binge watch Harry Potter movies in honor of Professor Snape (so sad to learn on Alan Rickman’s passing).  Is that too much for a girl to ask? 

 It’s no secret, I’ve got a sweet tooth. What better way to calm it down than to make cinnamon rolls? When I was younger I wasn’t brave enough to try making them homemade. Anything with yeast intimidated me.  That all changed when I took an interest in bread making and our class went over the Yeast Bread section in our On Cooking textbook. The recipe we used was so simple with perfect results. Since then, I keep a jar of yeast on hand at all times and I try to bake bread any chance I get. _MG_0464 copy

Some time after making them in the test kitchens, I lost my recipe. A sad day that was when I finally realized it.  I looked everywhere. Eventually I gave up and tried a handful I found on Pinterest. Some were fails while others were good but they just didn’t hold up to the recipe we used. Sometime later I randomly found the one we used hiding in my old backpack. (Boy was I thrilled). This recipe gives Cinnabun a run for it’s money. 

I have no doubt that once you try this recipe you’ll never go back to store bought again. Here is how I make them…

 

Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS:

For the Rolls:_MG_0428 copy

  • 3 1/2 -4 C. All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tsp. salt
  • 4 1/2 Tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 C. milk
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • 1 egg

For the Filling:

  • 3/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 5 Tbs. butter melted
  • 1/3 C. finely chopped pecans, optional but encouraged 😉 

For the Glaze:

  • 1 C. powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 2 Tbs. butter, room temperature
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1-2 Tbs. milk

DIRECTIONS: 

For the rolls and filling:

  1. In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. 
  2. In a quart sized sauce pan, heat milk over low heat until very warm or a thermometer reads 120-125ºF. Add the warm milk, butter and egg to flour mixture. 
  3. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, stopping frequently to scrap the sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Do this until flour mixture is moistened. 
  4. Crank mixer to medium speed and beat for an additional minute. Lower speed and add in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time just until dough is soft, pulls away from the bowl and is easy enough to handle. ( You may not use all 4 cups of flour. Do not force it) Once flour is incorporated, crank speed to medium and let mix for 1 minute. 
  5. Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough out. Knead for about 5 minutes until dough is smooth and springy. If dough starts to stick, sprinkle extra flour as needed but be careful not to incorporate too much as the dough will be be tough. 
  6. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, spray a little more cooking spray over top and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm, draft free place for 1 hour or until dough has doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  7. In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Grease  or add parchment paper to a sheet pan. When dough is ready, sprinkle work surface with flour. Punch dough down and turn out onto floured surface. With a rolling pin (or your hands) roll dough to about 15×10 inch rectangle. 
  8. Spread melted butter over dough to 1/2 inch from edges. Sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar mixture and nuts. 
  9. Beginning at the longest side, roll the dough tightly. Using a sharp/serrated knife, cut into 15- 1 inch slices (or 12- 1 1/2 inch slices for colossal sized rolls). Place slightly apart on prepared sheet pan; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place and addition 30 minutes or until rolls have doubled in size.
  10. Remove plastic wrap and brush rolls with melted butter. Bake in preheated over for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before adding glaze.

For the Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, mix in all the glaze ingredients until smooth; adding enough milk so glaze is thing enough to drizzle. 

Notes

  • I know this seems like a lot of steps, but please don’t let that discourage you from trying it out. I promise- It’s worth the extra work!!! You really can’t mess this up unless you kill your yeast. 
  • It is very important that you do not scald your milk. Yeast are live organisms. When you add milk that is too hot, it will kill them. You need the yeast to get a good height and texture. I like to use a thermometer so if you do the same, keep the temperature between 110-125. A nice happy medium 🙂 
  • I must mention, the icing on the rolls in my pictures have a cream cheese icing. I like to flip flop between the two but they are equally delicious!

 

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I really hope you liked this recipe for Melt-In-Ya-Mouth Cinnamon Rolls as much as I do. Be warned that once you make them for friends or family, someone is going to start expecting them at every meeting. Take it from me- I can’t go to my mother in-laws house without bringing her a batch all to herself. 

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how it turned out. I’d love to hear all about it! 

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Cookbook Finds & Favorites-1

Hey, all you wonderful foodies! I hope your new year is off to a great start. Mine has consisted of just taking  some much needed time to myself and my family while squeezing in as many hours (and I mean hours) of binge-watching every season of Survivor before I start back to school this week (thank you, Amazon Instant Video, for making this possible). I have watched so many season’s so far that it has, legit, convinced me to audition as soon as I can. Hey, everyone can use a million dollars, right?

What in the world does Survivor have to do with food? Absolutely nothing. Unless you want to talk about their poor clam, rice and coconut diets but that’s not what I’m going to do today. Instead, I want to share with all of you my cookbook favorites and finds. I love cookbooks. I collect them. It’s the only kind of book I find myself returning to time and time again. I’m sure all foodies can relate.

My Cookbook Finds_MG_0391

The other day, my husband and I actually found time to get out of our house- KID FREE. Best part? We actually went out to eat with another couple. Those days are far and few between, nowadays. It’s sort of relaxing to have a conversation with someone older than two and four. Before the fun started, we made use of our night out by stopping at my new favorite store, Target, for some Valentine’s photo props that I’ll be using in an upcoming mini-session I am working on putting together. After, we made a stop for Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. If you have this store in your area and you have not been there, OMG! What are you waiting for? This place is amazeballs!

It’s my one-stop-shop for cookbooks. What’s awesome is that I pay only a fraction of retail price of other stores. Sometimes I can go in and they will have books I’ve already scoured over but with a little extra digging, I can find the gem of cookbooks. Unfortunately, the cookbooks vary with each store, so what I found in mine you may not be able to find in yours.

Here are my finds from this trip:

Bourbon & Baco_MG_0380n: The Ultimate Guide To The South’s Favorite Food Groups by Morgan Murphy.  I snagged this one up for $3.99 (original price: $22.95)! Would you believe I actually put it back once before committing to buying? I’m glad the words “bourbon and bacon” floated on my conscience. After I got this baby home I immediately got to looking through it. It didn’t take long for me to get lost in it. This book is more than just a cookbook. Murphy wrote it in a way that when you finish, you will be a connoisseur of Bourbon and bacon. When a cookbook starts off with a warning, you know it’s gonna be a good one.

 

What I liked about the book: Besides snagging it up for an awesome low price, I really liked how, for some of his recipes,  Murphy was able to incorporate both ingredients in a way that they compliment each other in a recipe. He also gives great descriptions about the different kinds of whiskeys and bourbons you will find. One thing I’ve learned after reading this was that “All Bourbons are whiskeys but not all whiskey is Bourbon”. Wanna know why that is? Get the book and read why he stands behind this!

 

The 4-Hour CHEF by Timothy Ferriss. Valued at $35.00, I _MG_0424got this one for $4.99 (see? I told you that Ollie’s is the place to go).  I admit, when I first picked up this book I thought it was going to be made up of mostly recipes and a few tips and techniques that make you a chef. After skimming through (haven’t had a chance to actually sit and read) I realized that theory was only half correct. Yes. It does have recipes but this book offers so much more. Ferriss compresses 6 months of culinary school into 641 pages. His book is a “choose-your-own-adventure guide in a world of rapid learning”. He unearths secrets from some of the world’s fastest learners and greatest chefs and incorporates them in this book. While the main focus is becoming a chef or bringing your cooking skills up a notch, the great knowledge that you will obtain from reading this book is not limited to the kitchen. Ferriss admits right away that you can use what you learn from The 4-Hour CHEF  to conquer anything at a quick pace.

 

I hope you liked my awesome finds. If you see them at one of your stores, I strongly encourage you pick them up. Especially the Bourbon & Bacon book. We could all use some bourbon and bacon in our lives.

Find some awesome cookbooks you want to share? Let me know about them in the comments. I’d love to add them to my ever-growing cookbook collection.

 

Want your own copies? Click the images below to get yours!

 

Thanks For a Great Year

Alas, it’s that time again. We are three days away from saying goodbye to 2015 and I feel this year has went so fast. Didn’t it just start like three days ago? No? Ok, maybe not but it does feel that way. 

Before ringing in the new year, I want to end 2015 with a thank you to all my clients that I gained in my first year of photography. You all have, legit, made it worthwhile and super enjoyable. Next to culinary, I have found love in something that I can see myself doing in all my life.

 Since getting my camera as a gift from my husband last January, it’s been one heck of an new adventure. So much I had to learn; between figuring out my camera and learning how to properly edit images to scoping out the perfect location. From beginning to end I would spend countless hours thinking up posing ideas, finding a location, setting up whatever props were needed (if any) and after the session was over, I would stay up into the next morning editing.  As with any photographer, a lot of love and time went in to each session.

From family sessions to Seniors, each client brought their own personality to their session. I couldn’t count how many times I left with my “abs” (ha, yea we’ll call them that) hurting from laughing so hard. Because of my clients, I was able to grow so much in the past few months and I hope to grow even more in 2016. 

So, to all you awesome people, who have given me the opportunity to photograph you,

Thank you and have a Happy New Year!

 

Bake It Best

 

Baking cookies has become a favorite in almost every kitchen, especially in mine. One childhood tradition that I managed to successfully pass down to my own kids is baking a wide assortment of cookies to leave out for Santa. Creating the perfect cookie isn’t always as easy as it looks. Because I’m sure we aren’t the only family to carry on this tradition, I want to pass on some of my most helpful tips to make sure your baking goes smoothly and more enjoyable this Holiday season.


All about the Cookie

Types of Cookies:

  • Drop- Made from a soft dough that is spooned or scooped (my favorite way) into mounds for baking. Example: Chocolate Chip.
  • Icebox- Made from dough that is shaped into logs or rectan
    _MG_0238 copy
    Christmas Sugar Cookies

    gles, chilled thoroughly and then sliced into individual pieces and baked as needed.

  • Bar- Made from a stiff dough that is rolled into a log  and then baked. Biscotti is a good example. 
  • Sheet- Made from dough or batter that is pressed, poured or layered in shallow pans and cut into portions after baking. 
  • Cut-Outs– Made from a firm dough that is rolled out into a sheet and then cut into shapes before baking. Example: Sugar cookies.
  • Spritz- Made with a soft dough that is forced through a pastry tip or cookie press. 
  • Wafer- Made with a thin batter that is poured or spread onto a baking sheet and baked. When still hot, the wafers are molded into a variety of shapes. 

Chilling Out:

Most cookie recipes call for chilling the dough before baking. This step is recommended because it helps stiffen the butter and makes the dough more manageable. 

  • Chill all cookie doughs made with butter or shortening in the fridge for the time recommended in the recipe. 
  • If using margarine- you may benefit from quick chilling dough in the freezer for one third of the recommended refrigeration time. (It’s not advised to do this with butter or shortening as it will get too firm). 
  • For rolled cookies with Margarine, refrigerate for at least 5 hours or freeze for 2 hours before rolling. 

Choosing the right Cookie Sheet:

  • Opt for heavy- gauge aluminum with low sides or none at all.
  • Invest in lighter-colored cookies sheets. Darker sheets may cause cookies to overbrown.
  • Selecting sheets with a dull finish will allows cookie bottoms to brown more evenly.
  • Use shiny sheets for cookies that should not brown on bottoms, such as shortbreads. 

Baking Gadgets:
I can not stress enough at how helpful these gadgets are in the kitchen. They make life easier for every baker by speeding up production and keeping the work-space cleaner. If you do not already own these, you might want to consider purchasing them. 

  • Cookie/Ice-cream portion scoops- These can be found in many size (I have about 4 different sizes). They guarantee your drop cookies will come out the same size and shape every time. 
  • Cookie Press- used when making spritz cookies. The dough is added to a tube and then forced through a shape template. These allow you to make cookies in various shapes. 
  • Offset spatula- This is great for not only cakes, but cookies too. You can use them to spread frosting on bars or brownies keeping your hands above the frosting. They allow you to get into the corners and keep your Hands clean. 
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Cookie cutters

  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper- while this isn’t technically a “gadget”,  it is a necessity. I’ve only just started keeping this around my house. I always thought it was easier to keep the Non-stick spray handy but what I got was a sticky mess when it baked onto my sheet-pans. The parchment keeps my cookies from sticking and my sheet-pans clean. I also don’t have to change the paper every time I pull a batch of cookies out like when I have to keep adding spray after each batch. 

Storage:

  • Most cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer in a airtight freezer container.
  • Do not store crispy cookies and soft cookies in the same container– the crispy cookies will absorb the moisture from the soft cookies and ruin the texture of both
  • Do not store strong flavored cookies with milder flavored cookies.

Extra Know-Hows:

  • Always read your recipe before starting! This will help you have an idea about chilling time and preparation before diving in.
  • Use room temperature eggs and butter. Eggs and butter blend together better at room temperature. I like to make sure I put the butter out an hour before baking. If I am short on time or forget to bring out my butter, I like to cut it into smaller pieces before starting the rest of my mise en place. For eggs, I like to put them out about 30 minutes before I start cooking or I will cover them with hot tap water before starting. 
  • Use fresh baking soda and baking powder. These stay good up 6 months to a year so if you have had yours for that long or longer, it’s probably best that you replace them. Having fresh baking soda/powder will ensure your cookies don’t come out flat and lifeless. 
  • Underbake your cookies. Like chewy cookies? Then you will not want to skip this step. I’m a big chewy cookie fan, I actually can’t stand a cookie that has a hard, dry texture. I found that slightly underbaking my cookies by a minute or two than their bake-time gives me that perfect chewy texture. 

These are some of my favorite baking tips that I found to be most helpful throughout my years of baking.  I hope you found these tips equally as helpful to you. 

What are some tips that you help you in the kitchen?

Sister Sister

Any momma’s out there love taking pictures of their kids ? If you answered yes, I’m sure you have tried to do you’re own set up with them at home or your favorite place at the park at least one time since they were born. I’ll bet your adventure went a little like this…

…You start by going all out on getting them the perfect outfits. You scavenge the house for the perfect props to accent your perfect little set up with grand ideas for those cute little Pinterest-perfect poses. When it’s time to finally get the kids ready, they seem super pumped to be getting their 15 minutes in the “spotlight” (let’s face it- kids are not camera shy. Those vain little munchkins). You pose them perfectly, pullout your camera and just bring it to your face when… Boom! All heck breaks loose. One looks away, the other wonders off. Next, their pulling each other’s hair or rubbing dirt on their clothes. You yell and threaten them with stripping them of their T.V. rights or taking their favorite toy from them. That doesn’t work so you start with the bribing of candy and all things sweet. “Just. One. Picture. Pa-leeaassee!” Still no cooperation. Instead, you get looks from them like you’re stuck on stupid. After an hour of pulling you’re hair out, you finally decide to just go with it. It is what it is.

That’s pretty much how it is anytime I want to do a little practice session with my girls. It’s rare I ever get photos of them and even more rare that I get some of them together. This past October I was really hoping I could get just a few of them to hang on my wall. That evening I grabbed all the pumpkins I had around the house, a wooden basket, and an old kitchen chair. I pretty much just shot whatever they wanted to dish out at me, hoping I got at least one good shot of them. Alas, I successfully managed to pull it off but I felt defeated by the time we went in the house.

After this session I have learned these few things:

  • My Little Red (the youngest) is a diva.
  • My Big Girl’s go-to camera face is the “mean mugger”.
  • These two do NOT like posing together.
  • There is a reason I don’t normally photograph my own kids.

Ah the life of a mother with girls. They have a never ending supply of attitude, whether it be to my advantage or not. I guess we gotta love’em anyway, right? Totally kidding! I love my kids without question, even when they are at their most rotten.  😉 

Here, it’s mid-December and I am finally getting around to editing them (Hooray For Christmas Break!). I started off editing them in a way that it just screams “Autumn!” but being as though it’s nearly winter I wanted some of the images to have a wintery feel. So with lots of Youtube tutorials, here is what I came up with. Please enjoy some of my favorites from their little mini session.

I hope you loved these as much as I did! Let me know what you think in the comments! 

Remember to Like, Subscribe and Share The Hungary Pollock for more updates on Food, My photography, and a little of my everyday life. 😉 

Still Not Offended

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were talking about his job. While he may not enjoy the job or better yet, the expectations of the job, he is particularly fond of all of the people he works with. I’ve never seen him light up the way he does when he talks about the friends he’s made since he started. He brought up that one of the ladies he works with has taken an interest in my blog and how it’s “The Hungary Pollock“. It’s my understanding that there is another lady that works with him who is also Polish. As Mason and his friend were conversing about my blog, the other lady took offense to my blog name to which he replied, “Um my wife is Polish and she’s Hungarian. Hint the name The Hungary Pollock!?” and she turned away. It’s weighed heavily on my mind since our little trip to the store when he revealed all of this. I’m sure the girl didn’t mean anything by expressing how she felt. After all, we are entitled to our opinions, right? But it occurred to me that there may be other’s who aren’t fond of my choice of words used to name my blog. So, here is me, explaining the name behind my blog.

It’s no secret that I have “Pollock” as the title of my name, but why would anyone think it is “offensive”? Growing up in a politically correct world, it seems like people take offense to anything these days. If you’re not a Pole (person of polish origin or decent), most likely you wouldn’t understand. A Pollock (Polak; Polack; Pollack- I’ve seen it spelled many ways, including Pollock) is meant to be offensive to a polish person. The term was first used in 19th century as a non-offensive way to describe the Poles. Later down the line the tables have turned and it was used as a way to reflect the Pole’s intelligence. Poles became the butt of many jokes, so maybe that’s why some take offense?

If you’re a fan of my blog, heck… if you’re around me enough, you would know I am really proud of my heritage as everyone should be. I’ve let it be known from the beginning of The Hungary Pollock that I am of Hungarian and Polish decent. The Hungarian side is from my mother’s and the Polish is from my father’s side. While my mother was proud to be Hungarian and she let us know, it was when visiting my dad that I would be “forced” (and I use that lightly- I may have secretly enjoyed it) to appreciate the festive sounds of polka blaring in the kitchen as he bobbed his body up and down to the rhythm while doing what he loves-cooking (would you imagine that?).The smell of tomato sauce that smothers the Golabki (cabbage rolls) weaved its way from room to room in my grandma’s house. I can remember him hanging the Polish flag from my grandmother’s porch for all to see. I haven’t been to his new place, but I can imagine that same flag hanging tightly from his new porch. Can you say, “Polish Proud!”?

Lorain, Ohio, the town I first lived in and where all of my family resides, is very ethnically diverse. In fact, Lorain has been recognized as one of Ohio’s most ethnically diverse regions.I mean, they host an International Festival with people of all ethnic backgrounds coming together to offer their foods and traditions to the public. In fact,  two of my dad’s girlfriend’s nieces won the Hungarian queen for the International pageant. Sometimes, I wish I could say that I grew up in this community that takes pride in their ethnic background but I finished growing up in a little town in the Appalachians, where less people take an interest in their background and more of an interest in how country they can be. This isn’t a knock toward anyone, just stating that I’ve been on both sides of the fence and these are my experiences.

So how does where I lived pertain to the offensiveness of the term “Pollock”? Well, because it’s the people who surrounded me that made me who I am. I grew up visiting my dad during my summer breaks and being around my Polish grandma who, along with her siblings, is the true Pole of the family. I often heard the term “pollock” being thrown around a lot and it was never offensively. The most I’ve ever heard it being used for was to say he or she was polish. Shoot, I’ve been described as a pollock by many . I never once thought my intelligence was being challenged… but then again,  I have never been one to take offense to much. Most of the time, if something bothers me, I grit my teeth and move on. It wasn’t until recently that I heard of “Pollock” being derogatory slur. Listen, guys, here is my thought on the matter and I won’t say too much more, “Life is too short to worry about the little things!” A word is what you make it. You do you, and I will do me. While I won’t just walk up to someone and call them a “Pollock”, I also won’t stop myself from using the term for my own enjoyment. The Hungary Pollock was meant to be witty and fun, in hopes of creating a brand that others will remember when they think of me or my cooking. It’s been my dream to have my own cooking show, food truck or restaurant. Wonder what it’s name would be? That’s day gone right! The Hungary Pollock!

So, I am sorry if my blog’s name, The Hungary Pollock, was offensive to you but am I a bad person to say that I don’t really care? (wow, that sounded harsh and not exactly what I’m trying to say). I don’t have time to care. (Better?) Ok, let me explain  what I mean. I’m polish and the name means nothing to me other than I’m polish and that’s who I am! I don’t have time to care about what bothers you or the person next to you. I have my own life that I live and I have children to raise. I won’t get worked up with the rest of the world when someone says something I don’t agree on. The most I can do is carry on and promise to not teach my kids to get worked up over other people’s opinions and “harsh” words.

Sorry for the long post, but I felt compelled to defend the name behind my blog. Much love to all! 

Starting My Break Off Right

Christmas is nearly here and I am finally on a much needed break from all that schooling I’ve whined and complained about the past few months. No more long hours writing lengthy essays for English 101 and best of all, no more wasted valuable time watching videos and doing simulations in MyIT Lab for DLC 100. I despised my computer class. Loved the teacher as a person, but the class made me feel like I was computer illiterate. All of my classmates were reluctant when we finished our final and didn’t have to step foot in the classroom again.

I figure I better start my break off right with some posts throughout the next month. Since it began, I’ve already started catching up on editing pictures of my daughters that I was reluctant to take in October (I know, I’m a procrastinator). I’ll be posting a blog in the next few days about that adventure. Between editing and parenting, I’ve been scouring cookbooks, Pinterest and racking through my pantry shelf for odd ball ingredients to put together and “hopefully” pull off a dish or two that might actually “Wow!” some foodies out there. I don’t do a whole lot of recipe developing, mainly because I lack the time and convince myself I’m not creative enough to pull it off. I mean, there are tons of amazing chefs out there who have probably put together every flavor combination you can think of. How is little ol’me supposed to top that? How am I supposed to come up with something that hasn’t already been made? If it’s edible, you can bet your hind-end someone has made it. See what I mean? I lack confidence in that area.

That’s when I started deliberating, “I need to break away from that kind of thinking and just go for it.” I’ve browsed Pinterest and google for ways to dabble in recipe development. Let me tell you, this isn’t a broad subject. However, what I did find in a few articles is that I need to just “try, try, and try”. Experimenting with a recipe that you put together is the only way you are going to get anywhere. With that thinking in mind, while I am on this short break,  I am making it my goal to come up with at least three new, tested and delicious recipes that are completely mine to share with all of you!

Why in the world did I just make a post about this random thought? I honestly don’t know. It could be because of the Christmas gifts I received from my awesome classmates. 😉12347876_1228758050484493_1905622119368435196_n.jpg

I am a big Pioneer Woman fan. Something about her show makes me relate to her. It might be her down to earth personality or the country feel she brings to the kitchen, maybe that she started her career with blogging now holds a post on foodnetwork (something, I’ve only dreamed of doing). My classmates know it, too. Thanks to Ruth, I was gifted with some  The Pioneer Woman ramekins (oh the possibilities- creme bruleé, cheese and chocolate souffles. See?) and a creamer cow from her daughter (ain’t it cute?). Drake gifted three different sized portion scoops (otherwise known as ice-cream scoops) that will be coming in handy for my drop cookies my girls and I will be making for Christmas. And Basil got each of us a recipe binder for our most beloved recipes. I was super stoked to be taking home all of these.These gifts meant the world to me and they are something all foodies can appreciate. So yea,  I guess that’s where the inspiration for this post came from. Think of this post as a break down of the next few weeks to come. I have this dying urge to put these apparatus’ to good use and look forward to sharing my kitchen “wins” with all of you.

So, enough about my boring life and how I intend to throw some of this and a little that in a bowl and expect a culinary masterpiece straight out of the oven. Be on the look out for my kitchen “wins”… or “fails”. Do you like making your own dishes? What are some fun ways you’ve dressed up dinner or a dessert? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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Early American Pumpkin Pie

Yesterday, I gave you my recipe for a Golden, Flaky Pie Dough, but what’s a pie dough without its filling? One thing my momma would always let me bake for our holiday dinners was a pumpkin pie. I’ve tried many pumpkin pie recipes in my day but none could hold up to the one I found in the “America’s Favorite Brand Name Baking” book. I’m oober happy to share this one with all of you, lovelies. It’s a keeper and one I plan to pass along to my little ladies.

I really love how this recipe has an old fashioned taste and brings back warm memories of family gatherings the moment this spiced, pumpkiny custard hits my mouth. It has all the flavors of fall in one, round dessert.

If you love pumpkin flavored desserts as much as I do, you must give this recipe for Pumpkin Pie a try. I’ve tweaked it up a little to my liking (like, um, adding a little vanilla… and I think I added a touch of maple syrup, once) and the flavor is amazing! Here’s how I make it:

 

Early American Pumpkin Pie

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-9″ unbaked pie shell
  • 1 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 1 c. milk
    Pumpkin Pie
    Please excuse the cell phone pic, this was all I had handy. I’ll post better soon 😉 

    1 c. sugar

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbs. butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425° F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except pie shell in a large bowl; blend well.
  3. Poor into pie shell.
  4. Bake 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted into filling comes out clean.
  5. Allow to cool completely before cutting into.
  6. Serve with a pumpkin spiced Creme Chantilly (whipped cream) and enjoy the wonderful flavors of fall! 🙂

I hope you liked this recipe for Early American Pumpkin Pie. I’m sure it will win favorite with your guests
. We love it here!

Oh, and because I love pumpkin so much, here are a few Fun Facts about Pumpkin Pie:

  • Pumpkin pie was not served at the first Thanksgiving, though pumpkins were used in other recipes at the time.
  • The American colonists used pumpkin in pie crusts, but not in the filling.
  • In 1929, Libby’s canned pumpkin was introduced to America. Libby’s is not actually pumpkin but another kind of squash called a Dickinson that also has orange flesh. (I feel like I’ve been living a lie when I found this one out!!)
  • The world’s largest pumpkin pie weighed over 350 pounds and was made with 80 pounds of pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, and 144 eggs
  • Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites. (ok, it’s not about the pie but it is about the pumpkin)

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Golden, Flaky Pie Dough

Ahh. The holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is about four days away and I can already smell the turkey being pulled from the oven! Thanksgiving is my absolute, all-time favorite holiday (Halloween being a close second). It’s the only holiday that folks don’t “expect”gifts or fancy things. This holiday’s only requirement is good food and good fun with the people you love.

Every year,  my sweet husband and myself host a Turkey Dinner- with all the fixings of a traditional thanksgiving dinner- the Saturday directly following Thanksgiving. This year makes our fifth dinner (wow!) and each year we have a great turn out. I don’t dare host it on the actual holiday. It’s too much on everyone between all the competition of family time. If you’re like my husband and I, you probably do a lot of bouncing around between family dinners on each side of your families (Stressful, isn’t it?).

To start the holiday off right (this year) I decided I wasn’t going to slave away the night before and day of my dinner. I figured a little planning ahead and pre-prepping food that can be made ahead would save so much time and I MIGHT actually get to get myself ready in time for guests to arrive. So far it’s working out perfectly. I managed to make and freeze my pie dough, an apple pie, punch and today I’m going to make a pumpkin roll (recipes to follow).

What’s a thanksgiving dinner without pie?  And what’s a pie without pie dough? We all have our favorite pie dough recipes, some that may have even got passed down through the years from a beloved family member. Me? I never really found a dough recipe that stood the test of time (at least, not yet). However, last year in the test kitchens we were introduced to a dough recipe that they used all the time and still use to this day! It’s a great dough that delivers a beautiful golden, flaky crust when baked. Oh, and best of all… this dough can be used for savory meals like pot pies, too! 😉

So here is how we make it 🙂

Flaky Pie Dough

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c. Flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2/3 c. shortening
  • 5-6 tbs. Cold Water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sift flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. With a pastry blender or fork, cut shortening into the flour until particles are about the size of small peas.
  3. Gradually add in a couple tablespoons of water at a time until the flour mixture is moist enough come together. (Do not add too much water or dough will be sticky).
  4. Divide dough into 2 balls.
  5. Lightly dust board or cleaned table with flour and roll dough into about 1/8″ thickness about 2″ larger than your pie plate.

NOTES:

  • Follow your pie recipe for further instructions on baking your dough. Some recipes, like cream pies,  may require you to dock (prick your dough with a fork) and blind bake (adding some form of weight, like a layer of parchment paper with dried beans, to your dough to keep the dough from bubbling up) before adding the filling. Other recipes, like custard pies, require a raw dough before baking.
  • When preparing your dough, be careful not to over work it. Overworking will cause your dough to be tough and hard to work with.
  • This dough actually freezes really well, so if you’re like me and can use all the extra time you’re thrown, make a double batch of dough ahead of time, separate into individual balls, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for about 2 months.

Like my recipe for a Flaky Pie Dough? Let me know in the comments. If you have a favorite dough recipe you would like to share, send it to me and I’ll give it a try!

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Lasagna Roll-ups- a fun way to eat lasagna

It was Italian dinner night at the Holbrook Homestead yesterday. For a while now, I’ve been craving lasagna but I cringe at the thought of putting it together. The time it takes to assemble each layer of noodles, filling, and sauce (that I make completely from scratch) is almost time consuming when you really just want to dig right in. Let’s not forget the bake time. We’ve all been there, right? No? Maybe it’s just me. However, those thoughts quickly cease when I pull the heavy, piping hot dish from the oven. The slightly browned cheese bubbling on the surface and the savory aroma of Italian herbs dancing around my nostrils is mouthwatering. I know my efforts are well rewarded when my husband takes his first bite and there is silence the rest of our dinner time.

Last night, I found an unopened container of ricotta cheese just hanging out on the refrigerator door. It was nearing it’s expiration so I knew that I needed to just give in to my laziness. I wanted to try a new way of putting together my lasagna. I remembered seeing all kinds of pins and posts about “rolling” your lasagna noodles with the ricotta filling and then pouring the sauce over top of that. Seems simple enough. Right?  Well, I am here to tell you it was that simple. The best part of all…it was perfectly portioned and it kept it’s shape, unlike cutting into and trying to plate those of the layered recipes.

Here is how I make mine. Enjoy 🙂

Lasagna Roll-Ups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. prepared Sam’s Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
  • 12 Lasagna Noodles, cooked 
  • 1- 30 oz. Container of Ricotta cheese
  • 14 oz. feta cheese crumbles (yes, feta cheese. It’s amazing in this)
  • 1 c. fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. Basil
  • 2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Rosemary
  • 1 tsp. Thyme 
  • 1 tsp. Fennel seed
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set the first 2 ingredients (noodles and sauce) aside. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix together the next 10 ingredients. 
  3. Starting with one noodle at a time, spread an even layer of the ricotta filling over the top of the noodle. Take one end and begin to roll to the other end. 
  4. Place rolls neatly in the pan and ladle sauce evenly smother the top of noodles with the sauce. 
  5. Sprinkle Mozzarella evenly over the top and place (uncovered) in the oven. 
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the cheese just begins to brown and is melted all over. 
  7. Grab a plate, a fork and get ready to dig in to some of the best lasagna ya ever tasted!

NOTES:

  • Although I would rather you used mine, you can use your own favorite spaghetti sauce. Mine had meat in it so if you like your protein like me, you will have to add about 1/2 lb (or more) of meat to your sauce. (if you want the recipe for my sauce click HERE)
  • I also added some fennel seeds to my sauce this time. I haven’t added it before, but after using it last night, It was a good addition. 
  • When making the roll-ups, I had enough filling for 12 decent sized rolls. I was also able to comfortably fit 12 in the pan. If you wanted to spread the filling out a little more, you will need to make more noodles. 

I hope you are brave enough to give this recipe a go. It was a big hit in my home. So much that I had to fight my husband off to get seconds. Wow your guests with this yum-diddly dinner!

Like this recipe for Lasagna Roll-ups? Tell me all about it in the comments. Have a favorite Italian dish or way to make your lasagna? Share the recipe with me and I will give it a try.

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The Leep Grandkid’s fall family Photos

Let me just say, I absolutely love getting the opportunity to photograph this family. They are an absolute joy to be around and we usually share a lot of laughs throughout the whole session (like when we put all four kids on the hay bales and it tips over with them all on top or when we all had to chase the pumpkins from rolling down the hills in the woods where we were shooting).

I’ve only got the chance to shoot them (with my camera, silly) on separate occasions with their own little families. Since I’ve started this semester, I haven’t taken on any new sessions or clients. I honestly haven’t even had the time.So I was really happy when Katie contacted me about putting together a little session of just the grand-kids and her oldest brother and his daughter (whom I didn’t have the opportunity to photograph, yet) for her mother and grandma! It felt great to be behind the camera again and it was fun getting to see the difference in these four little one’s personalities. 

Here are some of my favorites from their session! Please enjoy!

If you’d like to see more from this session click HERE.  

A special thanks to Angie Leep and her family for reaching out to me and being such awesome clients! ❤

Fresh Apple Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

Fresh Apple Cake
Please overlook the crappy cell phone shot. I took this at school before digging in and devouring every crumb!

Autumn is here and apple season is in full swing. I could go on and on about all the sweet and savory meals you can make with these delicious fruits but there’s just not enough time in the day. Not to mention, all of the mouthwatering drink options you can concoct (like my apple cider sangria I made the other day)!

This semester at school, we were assigned three reports on other international cuisines- Jamaica, China and Germany! The week each report was due, we would make a full meal (packed with tons of flavor) in honor of the selected report to serve the whole cafeteria. This past week it was Germany (my favorite of the three). I learned so much about this country and its cuisine (like, asparagus was once part of a woman’s dowry…weird, huh?).

So, what was on our menu? Chef Rob (our head chef) and Chef Jason (Rob’s assistant chef) came up with Pork Schnitzel with a homemade smokey gravy, Au gratin Potatoes, Sauteed Green and White Asparagus, Rolls, and Fresh Apple Cake. Buddy, this meal was one of the best we served, so far. If you were on campus that day, you did not want to miss out on it.

The way our kitchen runs, we are assigned a station (bread, grill, salad and dessert) for a two week rotation. Rotating positions helps us to learn different things that go on in a kitchen. You eventually realize that you may go into that kitchen thinking that the savory side is your strong suit, but when you’re put on the bakery side, you find that you actually love and enjoy it better. That’s just what happens. I happen to be on bread (one of my favorites) so I was in charge of making over 100 rolls.

Chef Rob is big on doing pre-prep the day before, which is great because it helps us speed up production for the next day. He asked me to make four Fresh Apple Cakes for our German inspired dinner. I have never made this cake before Wednesday, so I was surprised at how thick the batter was. I was almost doubtful it would be a moist cake. Actually, I think I was more bothered by the fact that it didn’t call for vanilla (like, why the crap not? Vanilla is everything!). My fellow classmate and one of my best friends, Sarah, finished out the cake by making a buttermilk sauce to pour over the top of it. This cake was Amaze-balls! The fresh apples in the cake made up for the moisture and the buttermilk sauce oozing down the sides was enough to make your mouth water just looking at it.

Got tons of apples you need to use up before they go bad? Try this recipe out, you don’t want to pass this one up!

Fresh Apple Cake

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • 2 sticks of margarine
  • 2 c sugarred-apples
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups chopped apples

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cream the margarine and sugar together.
  2. Add eggs and mix well.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the creamed mixture.
  4. Add buttermilk and blend.
  5. Add apples.
  6. Pour into greased 9×13 pan. Bake approximately 1 hour (or until cake pulls away from sides and toothpick comes out clean) at 350°F.

Buttermilk Glaze 

INGREDIENTS:

  • ¾ C. sugar
  • ½ c. margarine
  • ¼ c. buttermilk
  • 1 tbs. light corn syrup
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Blend sugar and margarine together.
  2. Add buttermilk and corn syrup.
  3. Cook to a rolling boil.
  4. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Pour over cake while hot.
  5. Grab a big slice of Fresh Apple Cake, sit back and enjoy 🙂 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe for Fresh Apple Cake with a Buttermilk Glaze! If you give this one a try, post about it in the comments! Got an apple recipe you wanna share? Share them with me and I’ll give it a shot. 

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