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!!

9/22/15 Vanilla Ice Cream Cups

Happy Birthday Boho Dad! ❤ ❤

Today I made Ice Cream cups. The other day I was thinking of making them and now that most of the berry curd-meringue treats are eaten, I decided to make another dessert for the family. That and its my husbands birthday tomorrow, so I wanted to have something special to snack on anyways.

I had the idea from a recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s show, she made cookies and cream cups in the freezer easy to eat for her boys before she took her girls on a college trip. It was such a great idea; to have already made, ready to eat ice cream cups. I decided to make my own version with what I had.

I did not have Oreo cookies, or anything like them. But I did have leftover pulsed animal crackers from the other day when I made curd bars. So I used that with some melted butter and a bit of shortening and I crumbled in the fat with a pastry cutter. It was a good consistency then I put it into cupcake liners into a cupcake pan. It filled up about 2/3 of each cup. Then here was the fun part.

I took a round ice cream scooper, an old fashioned one, as a presser to mold my cups. I pressed the crumble into the foil liners and made walls with the round edges of the scooper in each one. I thought I did pretty well, and I had some really smooth looking cups here. I wish I would have taken pictures of this step.

Then I froze the cups until they were set. Then I took the giant vanilla ice cream bucket we got from schwans out and I used the nice round ice cream scooper to put a scoop into each cup. Then I smoothed the ice cream down with a bit of finesse and pressure from the scooper and made each top smooth. I made sure to try and make the ice cream touch all sides of the cups in this step.

I also had defrosted and slightly heated up some raspberry and blackberries from my schwans frozen bag of them and then I scooped 2 berries unto each cup and some leftover berry juice. Then I froze them until they set again.

Here are some pictures of how they turned out.

ice cream cups in molds
ice cream cups in molds
topped with berrys
topped with berrys

Aviary Photo_130874464224515040

6/26/15 Food Bank Day!

June 26th, 2015

I went to the food bank today. I got lots of local produce, fresh washed and diverse. I got a whole bunch of broccoli rabe, red bell pepper, white corn on the cob, cucumber, apples, onions, fresh beets with greens, leeks and fresh carrots. I got radishes yesterday and found some zucchini in the back of the health food store this morning. I was pretty excited to get so much produce.

I processed the broccoli rabe first and steamed it in the rice cooker, I saved it in a freezer bag and put it into the freezer for future use. Next I separated the beets, and washed them with the carrots and radishes. I took an awesome picture of them here.

beets carrots and radish
beets carrots and radish

I am thinking about making a yummy carrot-beet cake with them. I will probably make a steamed radish salad with the red radish.

I also cut all the corn off the cob, my husband loves it, but it still getting dental work done, so he cant eat it on the cob. I diced all the zucchini, and one of the red bell peppers. I mixed it all together in a casserole pan and topped with some foil and baked until all was hot and steamed. It turned out really yummy, for a side to dinner.

I also made a homemade version of sloppy joes, this time with ground beef and some diced bacon. I made this last week and my husband was really happy with it. I used Schwan’s meatballs for it, this time without meatballs, we shall see if he likes it, he’s not home yet. I seasoned it with paprika and salt and pepper and a little dash of marjoram. Reducing some tomato paste and ketchup with it, it turned out ok at least for me and the boy.

sloppy joes and corn mix
sloppy joes and corn mix

But since I also had some leftover carnitas that no one wants to eat but me, I heated them up in the oven. I made a carnitas bowl with an avocado and some of my corn casserole, and salsa and sour cream , for myself and it was really yummy.

carnitas bowl
carnitas bowl

I also made peach pie out of the gluten free pie crust I made yesterday and some drained canned peaches. I cannot wait to cut into that, maybe make some homemade whipped cream.

peach pie
peach pie

This morning I made scrambled eggs in the cast iron with some of the half and half. It was really yummy also. I mixed it up with the cream in a cup before cooking it, it was an Alton brown trick I saw on the egg files.

So that’s another day in the house of Boho mom. I hope you enjoy my blog a day challenge as much as I am starting to.

6/25/15 Handmade Oat Flour Baking Fun

Today my cooking and baking adventures were extensive. Although I may be the only one in the house who truly appreciates my work, I am going to share it anyways.

I started today by taking inventory of the pantry. I wanted to make yeast bread and at least one batch of cookies and I only had a ¾ cup of white flour, and about a ½ a cup of bread flour. That’s not ENOUGH!

But, I found I had a ¾ full jar of oatmeal and I found a jar of steel cut oats.

So that is how I will make up for running out of flour.

I decided to blend-process in my high speed blender all the oats. I started with the regular oatmeal and sifted it into a bowl as I went. I pureed all but a handful. I then did the steel cut oats. I blended them all up. I made 3-4 bowls of oat flour to start my projects.

The first bowl was about 2 ½ cups of oat flour. I sprinkled some salt, and a few tablespoons of corn starch. I then cut in about 2/3 of cold butter straight from the fridge, until my hands were killing me. Then added a little bit of water and rolled into a ball, shaped into a disk, wrapped in plastic wrap and saved it in the fridge for a future gluten free pie crust.

The second bowl I added the last of my bread flour and some sugar and salt and about 2 ½ teaspoons of yeast, I then added about a cup and 1 ½ cup of warm half and half and worked into a dough. I let it rise while melting some butter, like 1/3 of a cup of butter. Once the loaf doubled in size, I folded in the butter, put it into a oiled pan and stuck it into the hot oven.

I had a very flat, oat-like buttery loaf that resulted and I love the flavor. I have been yeast experimenting in the last month and out of about 10 breads I have tried to make, only 2 have come out the consistency that I want in a bread; pillow soft and moist and crunchy on the outside. Pillow soft bread comes from the correct proof and I know my flour-yeast ratio was a little off today and it could have proofed more. So I have frequently come up with very dense breads, that taste fine, but are not pillow soft. I guess I will have to try try again.

oat flour loaf
oat flour loaf

I also made some gluten free oatmeal thumbprint jam cookies with the oat flour. I used some of the oat flour with the last handful of oats, and added some baking powder and salt to it. I then creamed some shortening and sugar together, I added about a ½ cup of sour cream,an egg and a dash of vanilla and creamed that with the sugar mix, I then added it to the dry, mixed well and drop style scooped them unto a baking sheet. I thumb printed each one and added some strawberry preserve to the thumb print and baked in the oven on 350 until golden brown.

gluten free jam cookies
gluten free jam cookies

They turned out ok, but I think they could have used more sugar, or maybe some apple sauce to sweeten the dough. The sour cream made them moist and chewy, but took away from the sweetness. I just got 5 lbs of sour cream delivered to me for free, so I am trying to think of creative ways to use it. And that’s not the only way I creatively used some of my Tub o’ cream tonight. Next way in a few.

OK, now here’s where I decided to use the real flour. I wanted another batch of snicker doodles. I really like snicker doodle cookies. That was the cookie my mom made most frequently when I was growing up and her recipe is the BEST!! They are huge. When my mother makes cookies, apparently she uses a 1/3 cup scoop each time or bigger she says,.. now that’s a huge cookie.

Anyways, I wanted to make some. So I did. My cookie tale here is not about the recipe, its about storage. I made a refrigerator snicker doodle cookie dough, with the last of my white flour. Even added a dash of cinnamon into the dough, and I do not normally do that. Anyways, I divided the dough in half and wrapped it in plastic wrap to put into the fridge.

Now you shape refrigerator cookies into cylinders before you store them, right?! Well, how is it supposed to keep that shape without a mold? Its sometimes hard, I have gotten cookies that have an indent in them from the freezer rack from storing them in the freezer just on the rack. So here is a great cookie hack and a household recycling tip. Use an empty tolit paper roll to keep them in, it keeps them round! I used this hack and I am storing those cookies in the freezer until I want to make them.

Now on to dinner, I checked in the fridge and I had a bag of leftover homemade baked stuffing that I had to resurrect to eat, before it entered the land of no return,the back of the fridge..lol j/k the garbage. And a new found tub of sour cream. It was a match made in heaven.

Super over baked and crunchy dried cubes of bread that needed a liquid but not too liquid pick me up.. so I herbed some sour cream and whipped it up with the electric mixer, I then folded it into my stuffing mix, and poured it into a cast iron. I topped the whole mix with cheese and I baked it until I almost forgot about it. It was amazing and almost a bread pudding but savory, it cut like a scone.. lol I am really odd when it comes to making up leftover inventions, so bare with me, it was edible in my book.

stuffing casserole
stuffing casserole

I made meatballs with diced onions and paprika and marjoram for the boys, and Elijah found the onions in his third meatball and decided he wasn’t eating anymore. He doesn’t like onions at all. He will scream at me cooking “ Those onions are not going into MY FOOD, RIGHT MOM?!” Its crazy, I love cooking with onions. Anyways, I also made my lil family some baked potatos, yes cause I have unlimited sour cream.. duh.

Funny thing is, my husband said my meatballs were too dry, my bread looked too dense and only ate baked potato for dinner. My son only ate some cleverly disguised meatballs, and some veggies, which, thank god, I decided to make on the side, just in case no one liked my food. I finely diced a sweet potato with some carrots and roasted it with some cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top, who wouldn’t love that.. gosh darn it.

Earlier in the day, I tried my oatmeal jam cookies and told my husband that my oat flour consistency has to get better, that its like eating really good sand with jam on top, and he has not tried one since.. I think I should keep my critic reviews to myself, Elijah has eaten like 6 of them since this morning.

Hey, you win some days, you lose some days. At least now I am completely out of all my flour and my oats..

NOT.. =(

I do not get food stamps until the 10th of every month and I will get paid sometime before that, but I have lots of bills and laundry to do, so I am unsure if I can afford flour. Well until tomorrow, have a good day and I hope you had a better baking day then I did.

6/25/15 -Carnitas in the Crock pot

Today is one of my favorite days of the month. I made Carnitas tacos today homemade for dinner. I think that my favorite meals are in the Mexican spice profile.

I bought two chuck roasts to make this month and I have been looking forward to making this all month. I used the larger of the two chuck roasts, about 2 lb package. I took it out of the freezer before we went to bed last night, so it would be defrosted to cook by this morning. I woke up this morning, excited to start the crock pot. I had the chuck roast in the crock pot before I had coffee served today.

Here’s how to make the best Carnitas in the crock pot.

Carnitas tacos (aka pulled beef)

2-5 lb Chuck Roast

Chili seasonings

Place chuck roast into crock pot, on high covered in chili seasonings. Cook for about 4-5 hrs covered until the chuck roast pulls apart. Pull apart completely and cook on low shredded with more seasonings. When you are able to pull apart, its done.

carnitas tacos
carnitas tacos

We use corn tortillas, heated them up and put a spoonful of Carnitas into each one. I also made a radish-cabbage slaw steamed on the side, it tasted great on top of the Carnitas. We had some limes to garnish and it was incredible. I am sure that I will have a helping of thirds, I already had some seconds.

slaw with radish
slaw with radish

We took a walk while the Carnitas were cooking today and I when we got home it was already done. Its so nice to come home to a house that smells like chili seasonings and good meat cooking.

I also got a drop off of homemade butter and some half and half delivered to me, from my old landlord. She gets a whole lot of dairy and makes butter every once in a while. I am excited to bake tomorrow with it, as I now have a whole lot of butter to cream into yummy things like cookies and cakes.. cant wait!

6/22/2015- Mexican Dirty Rice

 

Today not everything I made worked out. Not every day do I have fantastic baking days. I did have a success or two today while cooking, but sometimes the mistakes weigh harder then the successes and I will admit, I don’t feel so good about making mistakes. But that is one reason why I am making this commitment to blog, because even I make mistakes,.. in fact I make a lot of mistakes.

Good thing about my day were finally showing my husband my blog page. I know I said I wouldn’t blog about anything but food, but this is a huge step for me. Sharing with my life partner what I do, and he was actually interested in the development and growth of my Boho Mom brand. I love my husband, sharing this now with him feels like coming out of a turtle shell and being alive.

Now to get back to the food. I made krusteaz waffles again for breakfast, again in a rage. I don’t know whats been wrong with me lately but mornings have been hell. About after having about 3-4 cups of coffee, I finally got to my senses and started cooking. I realized that my “wannabe spanish rice” leftovers were in the fridge, needing some help, or they would face the garbage.( I say “wanna-be” ’cause I didn’t add enough taco seasonings to it the other day,) I grabbed some chorizo and half an onion, a bag of shredded cheese and went to work.

Mexican “Dirty” Rice:

1/3 cup cooked chorizo

half of a diced onion caramelized with the chorizo

2 cups leftover rice

1 cup shredded cheese (save ½ for top)

Salsa to taste

Combine Cooked chorizo with onion with leftover rice, mix thoroughly, add 1/2 cup of cheese mix well.

Pour into casserole dish, top with ½ cup cheese left and dallops of salsa. Bake until the rice is heated and cheese is melted, about 20-30 min on 350.

Mexican dirty rice in the pan
Mexican dirty rice in the pan
bowl of rice
bowl of rice

I fed my family and a guest and everyone was happy with the made-up recipe. I am sure not going to always have a cookbook on hand to tell me what to do, but it sure as hell works to have some cooking instinct. And I am just happy that I didn’t use any eggs, normally when I make chorizo I use 4-5 eggs to go with it. I did end up suggesting breakfast for dinner, so I did end up using some eggs with dinner anyways.

So here goes my first failure confessions and for this one I am a little mad.

I decided to make some fudge, and thinking that my homemade sweetened condensed milk was going to work, I flavored it with some cocoa and poured it into a lined pan. I also made a batch of caramel to add to the top. I poured the caramel onto the condensed milk to try to make a chocolate-caramel fudge. I wish that I knew that my condensed milk wasn’t condensed enough, because I wasted my good caramel on it. Anyways, after setting for a few hrs, my fudge is still jiggly and wobbly, so I think I may just end up with some yummy fudge-caramel Popsicles instead..

Here is the easy recipe I tried to use. It will probably work for you.

http://chocolatechocolateandmore.com/easy-chocolate-fudge/

Not that I don’t like popsicles, but I really wanted to learn how to make fudge. Next time I will just buy some condensed milk. Apparently my homemade batch was thick enough for ice cream, but not for fudge.

Now for confession #2.

I made breakfast for dinner. Since I didn’t want to dirty much dishes, I decided to make bacon in the oven, and hash browns-baked. And then make bisquick waffles with peppered bacon gravy. I made the bacon on a cooling rack over a tinfoil wrapped cookie sheet, much like I made my short ribs a few days ago. I use a cooling rack so the heat is distributed to all sides of the meat. I baked the hash browns and bacon at about the same tempurature. I pulled the bacon out first, and it was done perfect, and I turned off the oven. I made the waffles and made bacon pepper gravy. I even made some eggs on the side. I served the plates with bisquick waffles topped with bacon, topped with flat eggs and topped with gravy. Everyone loved it.

But I forgot about the hash browns!!!

When I finally remembered, that I forgot to take them out of the still cooling down oven, they were so crispy and done that they were only fit for charlie.

Charlie is our dog.

And that is how I learn from my messing up today.. ta..da.. how did your day of cooking go?

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