Tag Archives: easy baking

Whole Grain Double Apple Breakfast Cake & Parenting

17 Oct

You know you want this.

We have a two snack per day rule in our house (gasp!) and one of those snacks must be fruit (double gasp!).  We started this when the kids were very young and now that 3 of the 4 are old enough to be in charge of their own school or weekend snacks, they don’t protest (most of the time).  As a result, we have lots of seasonal fruit around which means I have more apples than counter space and when the rest of the world was freaking out about melons being the harbingers of disease thus resulting in cheap organic cantaloupes we had them lining the windowsills.

But back to apples.

Normally, I cook and bake with the kids.  When I don’t, I have that foreign feeling that brings back pre-motherhood days.  The biggest change after being a parent is that lack of singularity, isn’t it?  Once I was a person in this world who, while connected at various tether-lengths to family or friends or lovers, was free to snip those cords or wander or root at will.  Now, no matter where on this planet I find myself, I am always attached.  I don’t mean I’m weighted down by my kids or marriage, though certainly I have felt that at times.  I guess I’m talking more about responsibilities and knowing that parenting, like cooking, is a process in which the goal is change.

We start with a list of ingredients – in this case apples – and then make them not look like apples by peeling and coring and chopping them.  We add in powders and rising agents and, since we know the chemical reaction, are sure the dish we’re making will rise.  We know how this cake will taste (well, I do, you haven’t made it yet – get ready!).

Not so with parenting.

There’s some prep, there’s hands-on learning, but the results are ongoing.  The cake is every day and never.

Eat up this delightful whole grain apple breakfast-snack-dinner cake tonight.  And then do it all again tomorrow.

Whole Grain Double Apple Breakfast Cake

I’ll be honest – this is what’s for dinner tonight.  I’m a big fan of protein breakfasts and breakfast dinners.  7 year old Julia loves dinner leftovers first thing in the morning (hummus and avocado, etc) and looks forward to comfort at night.  This is best served warm with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream.  I make a plate of vegetables to shares and a platter of fruit served alongside this 1-bowl meal. The cake is moist and sweet enough to please without being too desserty (though it is a yummy dessert).

1 1/2 cups  yogurt  (Greek is great, all work well)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 whole eggs, 1 additional white

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp olive oil

2/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup maple syrup

2-3 apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

pinch salt

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup spelt flour (or other whole grain)

1/2 cup sorghum flour (or other combination)

scant tsp baking soda

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

dash nutmeg

Oven to 350.  Mix all wet ingredients including apples.  Add flours, baking soda, and baking powder.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan.  Add 1/2 batter.  Sprinkle with part of the brown sugar and some cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add remaining batter.  Top with rest of sugar cinnamon.  Bake for 50 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Savor the passage of time and the passage of the cake from oven into mouth into stomachs.

Oven S’mores & A Hairy Beast

17 Jun

Inevitably, the subject of pets comes up at various points – college, for example, or pre-school parent chit chat or little league chit chat or pediatrician appointments.  “Any pets?”  “Yes, a dog.” “Oh, we want one but my husband’s allergic/my kids won’t take care of it/we don’t have the space/I like cats.”  “We have a puppy.”  “Oh, a puppy and four kids.  You must have had a dog growing up.”

A dog?  No.

Many dogs?  Sure.

We had: multiple chocolate labs, 2 basset hounds, 2 golden retrievers, another basset hound, an Akbash, a terrier, a whippet, a yellow lab, a grande bleu de gascogne.  This is not including the Saint Bernard, other labs, and dalmatian before I was born. We weren’t dog hoarders – these dogs came and went, some stayed long enough to be hit by a car or have fleas or try to kill our friends.  It’s possible we were not meant to have dogs or, in fact, any living creatures.  But we did so love them.  We fed, groomed, checked for ticks, cuddles, rubbed tummies and yet Clover ran four towns away (over 50 miles!) to mate with some dog he hardly knew.  And Woody’s best feature was his immunity to all flea meds.  Stilton served only as a way for me to kiss our neighbor (“Just going to walk the dog, Mom!”).  Some got canine cancers.  Others, a swift kick to the head by the horse in the English countryside.  It was tough to be a dog in our house.  The odds weren’t great: maybe Fido would go off with the Corsicans on their farm when we moved yet again, but it was just as likely that Fido would wind up losing his tail or getting hit by lightning.

In grad school I lived with a pack of dogs (some human, others canine) and they all survived!

So now, we have a dog.  We have A dog.  He is six months and only 1/3 his full size.  He is a hairy, furry beast.  And I adore him.  He is the living, dog equivalent of a s’more.  Sweet, compelling, beautiful, and the cause of much drool.

In the fall, he will be my blanket around the campfire.  Meanwhile, tonight it’s oven s’mores.  And tomorrow?  Frozen s’mores!

Oven S’mores

1 square chocolate per person

1 large marshmallow per person

2 graham cracker squares per person

Oven to 300.  Layer ingredients (graham, then chocolate, then marshmallow, then graham) in deep non-greased baking dish.  Bake for 10 minutes and turn off oven.  Wait until you are ready to eat.  Remove while still warm and pat your dog with your bare feet while you make a mess.

To freeze, wrap individually in parchment paper.  Freeze overnight or longer.  Eat cold.

Chocolate Pudding Cake & A Free Cup of Coffee

13 Jun

I go through phases of buying coffee.  Most of the time, I’m too frugal to treat myself to a 3$ misto and it’s more convenient just to set the pot up the night before at home.  This year, during TYOTS, eating became a real chore for me.  So did making anything, including coffee.  Sometimes I wouldn’t bother and other times I’d find myself at our local coffee chain.  In better times, I would stop and talk with Jocelyn, the manager there.  She’s friendly and must have a filing cabinet brain because she remembers everyone’s orders the minute they walk through the door.

When things got really bad, I stopped going for coffee (or anywhere, really).

But when I happened into the coffee place, Jocelyn would make my order, hand it to me and say something like “It’s good to see you out.”  Or, “I know things are bad.  I’m thinking of you.”  I don’t know her last name.  I don’t know much about her except for the bits and pieces she’s told me over the past couple of years.   When things are slow, she gives my toddler a cup of milky foam.  And this entire shitty year, she hasn’t let me pay for coffee.

A free cup of coffee sounds like such a small thing, doesn’t it?  And yet it meant so much to me.  I brought Jocelyn some homemade jam as a thank you.  This morning on the way to the grocery store, I went in to buy myself a cup.  Jocelyn was there.  “You look great,” she said.  It wasn’t my old t-shirt or my unwashed hair.  “I’m back,” I said and she nodded.  She did not charge me today, either.

Jocelyn, this cake is warm, comforting, delicious, and easy, much like a free cup of coffee.  I solute you and everyone whose small actions make a world of difference each day.  And I’ll bring you some homemade pickles – I remember you told me you like them.

Chocolate Pudding Cake

This cake practically makes itself and reheats easily.  You can make this the day before or throw it together for a crowd or for one person who deserves a thank you.

First:

2 cups flour

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 ¼ c. sugar

4 Tab. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup milk

4 Tab. melted butter

Then:

1 ¾ c. brown sugar

2 c. boiling water

8 Tab. unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix the first seven ingredients and put in a 9 x 13 pan (it will look scant—do not worry). Mix the brown sugar and coco and sprinkle over the top Pour the boiling water on top of the cake batter and put in a 350º oven for 30 minutes. When cake is baked, top will be like a brownie and underneath will be a creamy chocolate pudding. Serve with ice cream.

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