Apple Spice Cake with an Adventure in Apple Flour

So I have not blogged anything in a really long time. I have a surface pro tablet and broke my keyboard and have not been blogging since. But since breaking my keyboard I have become more fluent with my on screen keyboard typing..its very awkward and odd but I am trying to get used to it. I am trying to stay ergonomic with it, and not finger type, but its still really slow and not effective.

But I am going to blog for the sake of blogging anyways. Just to be fresh, just to let you know what my favorite holiday recipe is so far. Because its so versatile and yummy. I have so far tried it with a few variables and yesterday even gluten free, and it still worked out fine.

The original recipe is a food network sponsored ‘giada’ recipe, here is the link for it.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/spiced-apple-walnut-cake-with-cream-cheese-icing-recipe.html

I was sitting at home bored one day, and turned the food network on and it was Giada’s holiday special for thanksgiving; I had to watch it for the cake she showed in the previews, looked and sounded divine.

Apple spice walnut cake, I mean just the first 2 adjectives got me. I love spicing my apples and I always seem to have a ungodly amount of them so, I knew upon hearing its title, that I had to see it made and see how easy it was to execute.

I had to wait a minute for the cake part of the show, but finally she was making the cake. She was chopping some apples from the transition from commercial and had a good bowl full of them, when she added the wet ingredients one by one. Maple syrup, eggs, oil, wait I have all these things, like all the time too. It was getting me excited. She put the ‘wet’ bowl aside and made a ‘dry’ bowl of flour, baking soda, baking powder and a nice splash of my favorite spices; cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The pure simpleness of this recipe and the fact that it did not use butter, got me hooked.

Then she grabbed the wet bowl and ‘Gradually’ added the dry mix into it. If there is two things you really learn the definition of while baking its “gradually” and “patience.” If you add your dry too fast you can get lumps. I have learned the term gradually whilst baking many things; meringue, you cannot add the sugar too fast or you can deflate the peaks of the egg whites.

Anyways seeing her create the cake so easily, in only 2 bowls with just a wooden spoon to mix, well that made me try making it later that day.

I made that cake so fast and so easy, even subbing a few things; like not having a bundt pan for one, but for 2, I only had generic maple not organic. I mean maple flavored corn syrup, so instead of the called for 1 ½ cups I used less than a cup of maple syrup, just for the flavor. I also did not have walnuts, so my recipe was without them. Also I almost forgot, I subbed some applesauce for oil, I hate using a lot of oil.

The first time that I made the cake I used all fuji apples. Everyone loved the cake so much that I was more then impressed. I prematurely cut into one cake and iced each slice with swirls and then iced the other one with one large swirl.

Here is a picture of the first attempt. It made two rounds which I iced with buttercream icing homemade.

my creations
my creations
glamour shot by my husband
glamour shot by my husband

Upon trying this loverly creation of mines, I realized that apples were not the only fruit that melded well with this spice mix, so the next attempt at this recipe for cake I used zuchinni and raisins instead of apples and walnuts. That one, was an even better hit I believe and I had way more taste testers who all loved it a lot.

Here is the best picture of the zuchinni version of this cake.

zuchinni version
zuchinni version

Also yesterday, I made the most inventive version of this cake recipe that I have tried thus far, and the picture will not do it justice, so I must indulge. I made this cake recipe gluten free. I had some oatmeal on hand from the food bank and some dehydrated granny smith apples.

Don’t ask me how but my first and foremost thought getting dehydrated apples is making them into apple flour. I know I am a little crazy. But I have been researching flavoring baked goods with fruit powder and finally I had the opportunity to make some. I have been looking for some cheap freeze dried fruit to do this with food stamps, but running into this bag of dried apple chips at the food bank was the next best thing.

So I did what any good mom would do and saved 4 snack bags of apple chips for the boy…then I pulsed the rest. I made about a cup of very fine and sour tasting pure granny smith apple flour, I was very pleased with myself. Then I figured I would stay gluten free and pulse some oats for some oat flour as a base and bake with the apple flour as a flavor and a binder. I added the usual apple cake ingredients but used the gluten free apple and oat flour and even chopped up a whole bunch of mini golden delicious apples from the food bank as well. Actually I added too much apple this time, and I cut the oil by using ½ a cup of applesauce. The cake still comes out very moist.

Here is a picture of that attempt. Very moist, very interesting medley of flavors, you can taste the spice blend, you can taste the granny smith, you can taste a hint of maple, and certainly you get a mouthful of apple chunks.

apple flour cake
apple flour cake

Conclusion is I love this apple cake recipe and I will be making fruit powder aka dried fruit flour again asap!!

7/27/15 Kitchen Essentials

Yesterday I did not cook much. I ended up making leftovers and fried pork chops for dinner that were very ordinary and average and I did not even have time to snap a picture of them. Since I made a commitment to blog each day for 90 days, and I did not cook much, I have been trying to figure out what to post about since yesterday. I tried to think of other recipes to share for the day, but I think that actually deviates from the point of having a blog a day challenge. My blog a day challenge was to prove to myself that I always had something to blog about each day, and of course now I have come across a day where I have to be very creative with what I choose to write about, because I did not cook much. I could skip a day, but that would also defeat the point of having and doing a blog a day challenge.

After much thinking and a few Facebook news feed inspirations I have decided to write about my kitchen inventory of food and where I am at on the 27th of the month. It may be the end of the month, but technically we have 14 more days till we get our food stamps again, so I call it the end of the second week of food. We will have our 3rd week which gets hard in the beginning of the month, then our really hard week that leads up to the 10th. Usually we cave a bit and spend our hard earned money on food by that week, and can’t bare to just not have the essentials.

I read an article yesterday on my news feed, about what essentials you worry about always having in the house, and it inspired me to make a inventory-kitchen essentials post for yesterday.

Some of our basic essentials that I worry about every month is the following:

  • Fresh Bread and or Bread Flour: I have just recently figured out how to make our own loafs of bread by scratch with some awesome bread flour. I have been trying to budget more than 5 pounds of it into the month, but this month we only had a 5 pound bag and I just ran out of it a few days ago. Don’t you know those gluten exo-toxins are addictive. I did however recently make sure with my sons doctor, to see if gluten is OK, and she said its fine.
  • Eggs: I buy a 60 count of eggs each month, a double flat, and my price is climbing at our local Safeway. If we had a house, or friends that had chickens or I could afford 6$ or more a dozen for organic at the farmers market I would certainly do it. But I do get on occasion food bank eggs that are donated locally from our local farmers, in fact right now I am going through a local multicolored dozen from the food bank. I have been debating for months on buying 120 eggs instead of 60, but I never seem to save enough food stamps or room in the fridge for 4 flats instead of 2.
  • Dairy: I do not buy a whole lot of milk, but I do buy it on occasion for my husband’s cereal bowls. I tend to purchase a ½ gallon at the beginning of the month, and unless we have an abundance of cereal I do not buy much more after that. My ex-landlord lives by a Hopper Dairy facility and also drops off milk products that they cannot deliver, and they put out for people to take for free. Yesterday I just got a drop off of half and half, for coffee, and I few weeks ago she delivered some milk, butter and homemade butter that she makes from the heavy cream that she gets for free. At the beginning of this month, we had 3 pounds of regular salted butter, and 5 pounds of homemade sweet cream butter in the fridge. Now I am down to a pound and a half of salted and 2 pounds of homemade. We also get a whole lot of dairy free milk from the food bank, last time I went I got oat milk, rice drink and even some more almond milk. I really like having dairy free stuff to cook with in the house, so I can save the milk for my husband.
  • Pantry Carbs and Pantry Protein: Another thing that I have less anxiety when I have more of it in the house is pantry essentials, mainly carbs and Protein when I need it. Essentially our family rotates carbs all the time between jasmine rice, potatoes any way, angel hair pasta, and pizza dough. I make my pizza dough from scratch now, but the rest of these carbs I need to have stocked in the pantry to feel better. I get the rice on food stamps, pasta on food stamps and potatoes from the food bank. I also like to have a supply of pantry proteins, like canned and dry beans, and lentils. I rely on these when I run out of fresh proteins from the fridge or freezer. Most of the time, I do not have to use these proteins except for foodie emergencies, like running out of my bulk freezer meat.
  • Meat: My family needs meat. I not sure if I were all alone, if I still would have meat every night like I do with my family, but I spoil them. I stock my freezer up with fresh butchered meat from our local store here called “Purity”. I buy about 75-100$ worth of bulk meat on food stamps every month. Sometimes we run out before we get our food stamps, but then I rely on my pantry proteins from the last section.
  • Fresh and Frozen Veggies and Fruit: My 5 year old son loves snacking on fresh fruit. I do not ever buy any, I get it fresh from the food bank each week. I am extremely lucky to get enough fruit and veggies fresh each week that I do not have to spend food stamps on them at all. They can get really expensive when they are not in season. Getting produce from the food bank, actually keeps us with the local seasonal fruit and its completely free. I get so much that listing the abundance would take up too many words, again I am blessed. I also try and stock up through my monthly Schwans frozen food delivery on frozen veggies and fruit. We just ran out of the veggie medley that I buy each month and we still have frozen strawberries and cherries from my last delivery.
  • COFFEE: I do not get the best sleep ever, I am trying to find a holistic remedy to treat my insomnia but I have not found one yet. All I know is no matter what kind of night I had before having my 4 pound bulk supply of “Double French Roast”, gets me through each and every morning of the month.

Having these basic essentials gets me through each month, of course I buy a few specialty items on food stamps, like raw sugar for coffee and waffle mix for our waffle maker. But the essentials of my ‘Kitchen mommy anxiety’ lies with the bulk items above. I will try and find the article I based this off of and I will share it if I can find it. * could not find it* Most of the above items are on it, I just expanded it to fit my needs in my kitchen. Again I will remind ya’ll that I survive on only 350$ of food stamps per month, and manage to shop and budget all in the same day that I receive them to eliminate monthly shopping. I do not plan meals every night, that would be a nightmare.

I may not plan meals for every night but I do plan for the month. I get meat to fit the month of the year, like seasonal things. In the winter you can find me buying more stew meats and making soups and such. In the summer like now I bought more larger cuts of meat to make, like more short rib stacks to BBQ. I essentially plan meat for the month, and just as easy as 1,2,3; I pair a carb and a veggie with the meat that I choose for the day. Sometimes I even ask the boys for help, mostly on the first week of food will I ask them what they want first.

This month we have already gone through all my Schwans supply of meat, just from making them out of convenience. And we already made one of the short ribs BBQ in the oven. We still have an alright supply of meat right now, but I wish I would have bought more chicken from Schwans. I changed up my cut this month, and it ended up being less portion size so we went through it faster. Its so easy to defrost and make their frozen breasts or fillets into anything, from baked chicken, enchiladas, and even chicken pot pie. So I am disappointed to be stuck with pork and beef for the rest of the month. We do have a variety of pork and beef, but I like to have all three meats in the freezer.

So there ya go, another food stamp post, and food bank fabulous essay. Thanks for reading and I hope this may help you budget your kitchen essentials better.

Food Blog Challenge

I am going to start a challenge for myself and others. Finding creative things to blog about can be hard sometimes. So for this challenge, I am going to try to blog everyday for at least 90 days. Everyday I will blog 300-500 words about what I made to eat that day. that is it.

Catch is, I cook and bake a whole lot. So I will have some interesting food experiences to share and most likely more failures than successes. But that is what learning is all about, sharing our mistakes and learning from them. I invite you to join me on this challenge. Every night, starting tonight I will blog about what I cooked and baked that day. I will show you how to cook low income and on food stamps and more importantly, I will show you how easy it is to eat well without much money.

Today is Fathers day 2015. Tonight I will blog about:

Fathers day cupcakes

No churn Vanilla ice cream (without a machine)

Fathers day BBQ dinner

#foodblogchallenge #bohomomsfoodfun #foodstampchallenge #foodbankfabulous