Fading Fall

 

Snow Covered Fall

 

The beauty of the freshly fallen snow on trees clinging to their fall leaves.

Fall Birdfeeder

 

Emeril’s Apple Coffee Cake

The Banker is not one for big breakfasts.  I gave up even asking if he wanted me to make anything years ago.  Now, Saturday mornings finds him running to the donut shop for the kids while I sleep in my warm, cozy bed.  So really, I’m thankful he doesn’t want me to cook in the morning.  I didn’t need the extra calories from pancakes anyway.

However, there is the occasional event that warrants something a little more special.  Like when you have house guests you want to impress.  Thank you JennyRambles for introducing me to the wonderful world of Apple Coffee Cake a la Emeril Legasse.

I’ll admit that this is a labor of love kind of dish.  It doesn’t exactly throw itself together and I seem to create plenty of dirty dishes in the process.  But a few dishes in the sink isn’t enough to scare me off.  Plus, The Banker normally starts in on those before I’m even putting the dish into the oven.

This wonderful breakfast treat will surely make your kitchen smell heavenly.  Whether you have house guests to impress, an occasion to celebrate or you just want a delicious apple cake, this is the recipe for you.  I promise, you won’t regret it.

Eat.  And enjoy every bite.

sam

Emeril’s Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping

Prep time: 30-60 minutes (depends on how good you are in the kitchen)
Baking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 12 (or 8 really hungry people)

Original Recipe from Food Network

Cake:

  • 1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after the addition of each.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples.
  • Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.
  • For the topping, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl and mix with a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake.
  • Bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

BTS Tip:

I have always skipped the Brown Sugar Glaze found in the original recipe.  I find the cake to be perfect without it and my leftovers aren’t soggy when I heat it up.

Chocolate Chubbies

Recently I was forced to take a day off from work and stay home to nurse Marshmellow’s nasty cold.

[Side note: as a mom, I have the hardest time deciding when a kid should stay home.  I mean…it’s a cold, right?  And the germs were more potent the week before we even knew there was an illness looming.  But the cough that morning sounded kinda nasty and she gave me sad puppy dog eyes.  So I changed back into my pajamas.]

The time at home gave me a chance to catch up on old emails and all of the blogs I like to follow.   Blogs are like a drug.  And they feed into the HGTV syndrome.  You know the one.  The one where you watch other people being creative and awesome and you immediately want to do it yourself, but you know in the long run it will never turn out as good so you don’t even bother.  Yeah, that one.  But baking is something I can do!

“Hey Marshmellow, what feel-better treat would you like mommy to make you?”

“What are my choices?”

“Anything you want!  Cookies, cake, bars, a special lunch.  Anything.”

“I do like cake…but…I like cookies too.  What kind of cookies would you make?”

“That’s up to you sweetie.  What ingredient do you want?”

“CHOCOLATE!”

Back to the computer I went in search of different chocolate cookie recipes.  Marshmellow quickly followed and helped in the selection process.  We eventually came down to two choices: Chocolate Chubbies and Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies, both found on Serious Eats.

We determined that there was TONS of chocolate in the Chocolate Chubbies, so they won.  This time.

After a quick run to the grocery store, I was back in the kitchen.  I sent Marshmellow to the couch for some rest, which allowed me to go about my merry way.  All. By.  Myself.

I find the whole baking process to be very therapeutic.  Especially if I am allowed to do it without kids fighting over which ingredient they get to pour in, who gets to stir, they’ve had the spoon longer, I wanted that one….  I also find the smell of melting chocolate intoxicating.  And who can resist warm cookies?

I never can remember.  Is is starve a cold, feed a fever or feed a cold, starve a fever? Actually, who cares?  I find both of them to be ridiculous.  Who ever thought starving a sick person was a good idea anyway?

Marshmellow and I enjoyed a few warm Chocolate Chubbies and snuggled together on the couch.  I’d say the feel-better treat was a big hit.

Eat.  And enjoy every bite.

sam

Chocolate Chubbies

Makes: 2 dozen cookies

Recipe from Serious Eats

1 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • Preheat over to 350° F
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Melt the butter on the stove using a double-boiler.  Add the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate, stirring often, until all chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Sift the flour, baking powers and salt together in a medium bowl.
  • Whip the eggs using the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the eggs are foamy and lightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, then vanilla.  Whip until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to medium and add the cooled chocolate until incorporated.
  • Place the paddle attachment on the mixer and reduce speed to low.  Slowly add the flour mixture.
  • Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts until well mixed.  The dough will be soft.
  • Scoop batter onto pans about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake immediately if you want your cookies to look shiny.
  • Bake 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.  The cookies will be done with the edges release easily, even if the center seems underdone.

BTS Tip:

My first batch I just dropped the dough on the pans.  The second batch I rolled them.  I personally like the look of the rolled ones better.

Since these were the feel-better treat, I went all out and bought Ghiradelli chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate bars.  This made this little cookies ridiculous expensive.  Next time, I’ll try the store brand chocolate.  I bet they taste just as awesome.

My office raved about these cookies…so I think these are approved to serve at gatherings.

Photo A Day – August 20th through August 27th

August 20th: Wall

A wall of soda saying “Broncos Country”  YES…it’s football season!

August 21st: Shoe

After a two week hiatus, I made it back to the gym.

August 22nd: Friend

Not just any friend, but my best friend of all times and for more than half my life. I love this girl!

August 23rd: Bowl

It may seem like fall is upon us, but the summer watermelon is still delicious.

August 24th: Car

A lone car abandoned on the couch.

August 25th: Inside

My something special for being a good girl while The Banker was away.

August 26th: Funny

Today was a day of sorrow and grief, but I did laugh when I saw this picture.

August 27th: Hook

 

Sadly, my grandmother passed away and my family and I traveled to attend her funeral.  The Photo A Day Challenge was placed on hold.  I thought about taking the remaining pictures after the fact so I had something to post, but honestly, I didn’t feel like.

September is upon us….

have you started your challenge yet?

Photo A Day – September Challenge

Come for the challenge…stay for the blog

Wow!  It’s already September.  The kids are back in school, the weather is starting change and the stores are getting ready pull the Christmas decorations out.

It also means it’s time for you to find your September Photo A Day Challenge.  I hope that you enjoy this version brought to you by Between the Shutters.  I decided a weekly theme might be a fun change.

September

Day 1: Your Tree – This is the only one you need to keep pretty basic since we’re going to be watching the leaves change from summer into fall.

Day 2: Close up – Pick an object, a facial feature, a fabric and get up close and personal with it.

Day 3: Far away – Zoom out from you Day 2 photo, take a long distance shot from your window or a place you wish you were.

Day 4: Black – I’m thinking the color, but do with this what you wish.

Day 5: White – Again, I’m thinking color, but it should be the opposite of Day 4

Day 6: Morning – Your morning ritual, your coffee cup, the sunrise

Day 7: Night – your evening night cap, your dinner, the sunset

Day 8: Your Tree – back to the same tree and the same spot

Day 9: Your Favorite Spot – the place you would hang out all the time if life wasn’t so rude and made you do something else

Day 10: Table – the kitchen table, a side table, the milk box used as a table

Day 11: Door Knob – from the front door, from the back door, from the bedroom

Day 12: Pillow – from your bed, from your couch, the dog’s pillow

Day 13: Shelf – inside the kitchen cabinet, on the wall holding something

Day 14: Entry Way – what people see when they come in to your house

Day 15: Your Tree – back to the same tree and the same spot

Day 16: Pretty – something you find beautiful

Day 17: Unusual – something you find funky

Day 18: Organized – something you organized, an organized store shelf, a book on organizing

Day 19: Happy – a happy person, something that made you happy, Happy the dwarf

Day 20: Symmetrical – something symmetrical

Day 21: Lucky – your lucky penny, your dog Lucky, something your lucky to have

Day 22: Your Tree – back to the same tree and the same spot

Day 23: Something Orange – fall colors are all around us, pick one

Day 24: Apples/Pumpkins – pick the fruit or pick the vegetable

Day 25: Sweet Treat – what’s your favorite fall sweet treat?

Day 26: Something Brown – fall colors are all around us, pick one

Day 27: Fall Foliage – go outside and take another tree picture, take a picture of your fall decorations

Day 28: A Warm Drink – hot toddy anyone?

Day 29: Your Tree – back to the same tree and the same spot

Day 30: Something Red – fall colors are all around us, pick one

Eleven Winery

Here in the Rocky Mountain region, we are all a buzz with the USA Pro Challenge.  We were thrilled to host for the event for the second year in a row and welcomed over 100 cyclists to climb 683 grueling miles and visit 12 of some of our most beautiful Colorado cities and towns. Of course, I use “we” loosely as I honestly don’t follow the sport myself.  But I have made it a habit to watch the five minute special on the days events following the ten o’clock news.  Does that count for anything?  And congratulations to Christian Vande Velde for being the overall winner!  USA…USA…USA!!!

To pay a little tribute, I thought now was as a good as time as any to share with you our experience with Eleven Winery.

Why you ask?  Eleven Winery was started by Matt Albee, a former cyclist himself, and his wife Sarah.  Named after a bicycle racing term, The Eleven, Matt was determined to give it his all and use all eleven teeth of his smallest cog as he switched gears from cycling to wine-making.

Now while cycling isn’t my sport of choice, wine is my drink of choice. Preferably a nice blended white wine, Conundrum and Evolution being some favorites, or a Pinot Grigio.

Washington State is becoming increasingly known for its excellent wineries and their produced wines.  In fact, the small community of Bainbridge Island has eight local wineries alone.  Unfortunately, there are only select weekends that visitors are welcomed to tour the wineries themselves, but they do have tasting rooms that offer samples to passerbys.

We found ourselves in front of the Eleven Winery while walking through Poulsbo.  I particularly enjoyed the modified sign of Kids Welcome “with parents“.  [Apparently some of the local teenagers thought this was an invitation for free booze.  Sorry kids.  Go drink your parents liquor like the rest of us did.]  If this isn’t enough of a welcome for free wine,  I don’t know what is.  

Turns out, kids really are welcome.  There is a whole corner devoted to the young’ins with train tracks and other toys.  This buys parents at least a few minutes to learn about the wines and take a few sips before the kids realize there is other merchandize in the store that is more interesting that Thomas the Tank Engine.

Their white wine selections including everything from the Dolce Grigio, the sweet dessert port, to a roussanne for those who prefer a full body flavor.  Although I did sample their Pinot Grigio and enjoyed it, I fell in love with the La Donella.  This is their current blended vintage, which changes every year to select only the best of the best of grapes.  Three bottles were shipped to my house that day.  I won’t tell you how many are left…

The Banker prefers a red wine and generally sticks with a Shiraz when ordering at a restaurant.  This makes sharing a bottle of wine over dinner impossible.    You see, my palate cannot stand the dry, bitterness of red.  And yes, I have tried many to confirm this.  He too opted for the blend.  And as we presented this to my father as his birthday gift, I realized that Balance is an Oregon wine rather than a Washington wine.  Ooops.  Oh well, I’m told it’s delicious.

It is such a treat to step out of your tasting comfort zone and try something different.  Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a whole new love of your life.  In wines of course.  I don’t recommend turning to wine for love or friendship.

Thank you Eleven Winery for a nice visit.

sam

Ko Olina Surf

Ko Olina, Honolulu, Hawaii

Naughty Bars

Back in June, I spent a nice weekend with my Great Aunt in Minneapolis and came across her Penzeys Spice magazine and catalog.  There I was, mindlessly flipping through the pages when…BAMNaughty Bars appear on the page.  In between pages of spices are cute little stories from their readers and a recipe they like to make.  Well, Monica likes it naughty.

So what do you do when you come across a Midwestern gem like this?  You snap a picture of the recipe with your phone.

Yes, I’m the freak who takes a picture of just about everything.  Pictures aren’t just for cute kids any more.  I take photos of items and price tags at stores.  I capture the plate of food before I eat it.  I send snapshots of a potential outfit to my best friend for approval.  And anything else I need to remember, but know I will forget without photographic evidence.  Which is increasing in frequency.

My mom says one of the joys of getting old is having the benefit of learning something twice.  Skimming my pictures last week, I came across this recipe and got excited all over again.  But this time…I was at home and was able to do something about it.

The great thing about these Naughty Bars (or brown sugar bars as my mom remembers them), is the simple ingredient list.  No running to the store for some obscure ingredient that none of the sales clerks no what isle it might be in.  Just your basics:  butter, eggs, flour and brown sugar.

Also, it takes just a few minutes to pull all the ingredients out, mix them together an get them in the oven.

Morale of this story:  make some Naughty Bars to have a quick, simple, and comforting dessert.

Eat.  And enjoy every bite.

sam

Naughty Bars

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 15

Recipe from Penzeys 

2 sticks butter (1 cup)
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tps vanilla
2 cups flour
2 large eggs

  • Preheat over to 350° F
  • Grease a 9×13 pan with butter
  • In glass bowl, melt butter on high for 30 seconds or until almost completely melted
  • Using a wooden spoon, mix in brown sugar until completed mixed
  • Add baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix well
  • Gradually add the flour and mix well – the batter will be stiff
  • Whisk the eggs well in a small bowl and add them to the batter, mixing well one last time
  • Spread the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden around the edges and the center is still soft, about 30 minutes
  • DO NOT OVER BAKE!
  • Let cool completely before cutting into small squares.

They go together quickly and there are NEVER any left over!

BTS Tip:

Serve a la mode.  Because everything is better with ice cream.

Cell Phone Pic

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