Ohhhhh Fall baking!

There’s something just so cozy about Fall baking…apples, cinnamon, pumpkin…sigh.  It’s this Fall baking that makes a house (or in my case, an apartment), smell like a home!  (Cue, cheeeeez)!  Anyways, living in a small apartment with limited space and limited funds doesn’t stop me from enjoying some delightful seasonal treats, especially when my mom hooks me up with some home-grown apples!

And the search for an appropriate and doable recipe began.  If you recall, I have some pretty strict criteria for recipes I choose to prepare.  Now of course, this recipe isn’t required to involve corn and potatoes.  That would be weird.  So hows abouts we sub the corn and potatoes for apples and cinnamon?  Mmmmmkay?  Mmmmkay.

Betty Crocker came to my rescue yet again with her delightful (and doable and inexpensive) sounding Apple-Cinnamon cake.  Thinking back to my criteria, the recipe DEFINITELY sounded good, it involved apples and cinnamon, and with only 5 (FIVE!!) ingredients (4 of which I had in my cupboard), it would be quite affordable.  Score!  So I picked up the one and only ingredient I needed and set to work.

Now, I stuck pretty close to the recipe this time, with one major exception.  The recipe calls for canned apple pie filling, but I can SO do better than that.  So I made my own!  I followed the Mini Apple Crumble recipe for the filling.

Here are my lovely, home-grown apples, courtesy of my mom and dad!

I cooked up the apple pie filling, then let it cool for a bit before moving on with the rest of the recipe.  Good thing the filling had a disguise in it’s future, ’cause boiling it too hot makes it look a little bit funny and bubbly…so don’t boil it too hot!!  🙂

If we call apples ingredient #1, then here are ingredients #2-#5!  We have cinnamon, eggs, brown sugar and a spice cake mix.  Easy as pie!  …or cake…

Gooey, cinammon-y apple pie filling and eggs are mixed with the oh-so-simple spice cake mix.  Just a warning: it smells REALLY good.  And I think it’s okay to sample the batter…but don’t tell my mom I ate raw eggs! 😉

After the batter is all mixed up (and the beaters are safely put in the sink to remove temptation), simply pour half the mixture into a cake pan.

The reason you’re pouring only half of the batter into the pan right now is because you’ve got some cinnamon-sugar mixture to layer in there!  Just sprinkle about half of it on, then evenly pour in the rest of the batter.

And here’s the lovely cake all ready to go in the oven!  Go ahead and top the cake with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture.

If all goes well, you ought to have something resembling this!  Doesn’t it just look tasty?  And let me tell you about the smell…heavenly!  Seriously, it smelled like the quintessential grandma’s kitchen!

And look at those little clumps of sugary goodness…I had to restrain myself from just picking them off……

How cute!  The spice was perfect, and the amount of apples was just right.  Warm apple-cinnamon cake just can’t be beat!  Serve it up with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, or if you want to be like me, a glass of vanilla soy milk pairs quite nicely 🙂

Apple Cinnamon Cake

Adapted from Betty Crocker

The Goods

1 box spice cake mix

1 recipe apple pie filling (click for the link!), about 21 oz

3 eggs

3 tbsp brown sugar

desired amount of cinnamon (about 1 tsp)

The Plan

1. Heat oven to 350*; grease the bottom only of a 13×9 pan.

2. In a large bowl, beat cake mix, pie filling and eggs with a mixer on low for 2 minutes.  The batter will be thick.

3. Spread half of the batter in the pan; mix the sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle half of the mix over the batter in the pan.

4. Evenly spread the remaining batter in the pan, then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mix.

4. Bake 32-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool a bit, serve with whipped topping, ice cream or milk.

Well folks, I’m off to enjoy  the rest of my Sunday by watching Chopped and reading while sipping hot coco doing homework.  Hooray for college! 🙂  When I feel bogged down in homework and school shtuff, I read the verses taped to my wall and often linger on this one:

I am still confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Wait for the Lord;

Be strong, take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14

Take it for what you will 🙂

Have a blessed week!



It’s Not a Party Until You Add the Pasta

Guys, I really like Fall.  That feeling of slowly transitioning from warm, carefree summery days to cool and crisp, autumnal evenings, all cozy-ed up with homework a book and a cup of hot coco…seriously.  And then you add to all of that loveliness the pumpkin and apple themed goodies, the GORGEOUS leaves, not to mention the anticipation of CHRISTMAS (!!!).  This time of year is truly special.

A few weeks ago, my roommate, Marisa, posted this note on our apartment bulletin board:

Holy smokes…we’re having a pasta party!!  And I don’t just mean a box-of-spaghetti-plus-sauce kind of pasta party.  I mean a from-scratch, flour-up-to-your-elbows, homemade-sauce kind of party.  Count me in!

Finally, after much anticipation…the blessed afternoon arrived!  What a perfect day – sunny, mild, a few clouds…that, combined with the amazing fall colors and fabulous company made for a most enjoyable drive to Marisa’s home.

Are you ready for an onslaught of photos?  Good!  ‘Cause that’s what your gonna get 🙂  More pictures, less words shall be the nature of this post.

The kitchen stood ready…

…and the table…BEAUTIFUL!

And here stands 5 roommates, ready, and completely unaware of how much work, and how much FUN is involved in making fresh, homemade pasta.

Let the fun begin!!

Gotta wash up!

Nikki set to work on the ravioli filling.

The dough is quite tough to mix…and this is why Mandi held the bowl down whilst Marisa mixed…and mixed and mixed!

When mixing utensils are no longer suitable…

Before anything, and I mean ANYTHING touches the dough, it must be floured.  Hands, surfaces, tools…ANYTHING!  Elizabeth did a rockin’ job making sure the flour reached every inch of that board!  And Mandi did excellent work kneading the dough after Marisa had her share of the fun 😀

Here’s a sneak peak of dessert….MMMMMM!

Our lovely hostess and executive chef!

Here’s the key step in the process…watch and be amazed!  (Click to enlarge the pictures)

The final(ish) product – ready for ravioli or noodle-making!

Ravioli, ready for a hot bath 🙂

Elizabeth and I made quite the dough-rolling team.

And here, we have our PRO ravioli making team!

Now it should come as no surprise to you that I forgot to take some photos that would have been quite nice to have…such as the final product!  But alas, in our great hunger and excitement to dive fork-first into the fruits of our labor, I completely forgot to take pictures of the actual meal until after….sooooo uh yeah.  You’ll get an idea 🙂

This kinda sorta gives you an idea of what the ravioli looked like…and if nothing else, you’ll know that they were thoroughly enjoyed!

Remember the sneak-peak of dessert?  Well…here it is in all it’s glory!  Let me tell you about this dessert.

Jocelyn, Marisa’s mom, makes the BEST chocolate pudding cake I’ve ever had (okay, maybe it’s the only chocolate pudding cake I’ve ever had, but there’s a VERY high standard set!)  Dense, gooey, with melty chocolate chips…and ‘lots of love 🙂  Top it with fresh whipped cream and raspberries and you’ve got it made (if you’re sitting at our table, that is).  Man-oh-man, this cake is amazing!

And there you have our pasta party in a nutshell!  After dinner, we were tired but satisfied and happy.  How can you not be happy after spending a lovely afternoon with dear friends creating delicious food?  I cannot give an answer.

What a blessed afternoon, celebrating the creation of food – good food – culminating with the joyful consumption of said food.  Thank you, Lord!

Have a great week!