Applesauce Spice Bread

Sorry for my sporadic posting recently.  This was finals week and I was BEYOND busy.  I feel like I have spent zero time at home, but it is all finally over.  Hello Christmas break!  Time for baking, spending time with family, and relaxing!

I actually made this bread a while back, but haven’t had a chance to post about it.  As part of my fall baking, I made some homemade slow cooker applesauce.  We ate some of it, but the recipe made a lot, so I decided to use it for baking.

I shared this bread with my dad and other coworkers and they seemed to like it.  The spices make it such a great fall bread (but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until next fall to try it out!).

I LOOOVVE bread! 🙂

Applesauce Spice Bread

– 1 stick butter

– 1/2 c white sugar

– 3/4 c light brown sugar, packed

– 2 eggs at room temperature

– a mix of 1 cup applesauce with 1 1/2 t baking soda

– 2 c cake flour or all purpose flour

– 1/2 t salt

– 2 t ground cardamom or cinnamon

– 1/2 t grated nutmeg

– 1/2 t ground ginger

– 1/4 t ground cloves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly butter a bread pan.  Line it with wax paper or parchment paper, then butter and flour it.

Cream the butter with the 2 sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides in between additions, then stir in the applesauce mix.  Stir the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then add them to the butter mix and stir just enough to combine well.

Turn into the pan and bake in the top third of the oven until firm and a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  Let cool in the pan 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

Pumpkin Roll

For those of you that know me personally, this post is probably going to blow your mind.  For those of you that don’t, let me explain.  I’ve had a STRONG aversion to pumpkin food since first grade.  Why, you ask?  Well, in first grade, my class roasted pumpkin seeds.  The smell was so aversive to me that I threw up in class.  Yeah…embarrassing.

Since then, I have refused any and all pumpkin foods…never even tried any.  After being bombarded this fall season with pumpkin desserts, dishes, and everything in between, I decided that enough was enough and it was time to try making something pumpkin.

I searched around and came across a recipe for a pumpkin roll.  It sounded easy and I had most of the ingredients on hand, so it wouldn’t have been any real loss if I had to throw it away.

 

I put off making it for a week or so, because I was so worried that I was going to get sick.  Then one day, I decided to be brave and just do it.  THANK GOODNESS that I did.  As soon as that delicious smell came wafting through the house, I knew I had been crazy for missing out on this deliciousness.

I could hardly contain my excitement to try it long enough to let it cool.  Somehow I managed to wait for it to cool enough to add the filling (and then endured the long wait until after dinner…).  It is delicious.  It has such a great combo of spices that perfectly accent the pumpkin.  Plus don’t get me started on that amazing filling.  Even Zack really liked it and he was kind of apprehensive about pumpkin food, too.  Since then, I’ve made pumpkin pie fudge (equally delicious).

Sign me up for the pumpkin fan club, because this stuff is amazing!

Pumpkin Roll

Prep: 20 minutes.  Cooling: 60 minutes.  Cooking: 13 minutes.  Yields: 10 servings.

Cake:

– 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)

– 3/4 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 3 large eggs

– 1 c cup granulated sugar

– 2/3 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin

– 1 cup walnuts (optional)

FILLING:

– 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature

– 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

– 6 tablespoons butter, softened

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– powdered sugar (optional, for decoration)

For cake:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 15×10 inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper.  Grease and flour paper.  Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.  Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel so that when rolling it up, the cake will not stick.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl.  Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick.  Beat in pumpkin.  Stir in flour mixture.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.  If using a dark colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.  Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel.  Carefully peel off waxed paper.

Roll up cake and towel together, starting with 10″ end.  Cool completely on wire rack.

For filling:

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth.  Carefully unroll cake.  Spread cream cheese mixture over cake.  Reroll cake.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole


One of my favorite things about fall is definitely sweet potato dishes.  Up until last year, I was avidly against sweet potatoes.  I thought they were weirdly colored and refused to even try them.

However, one wonderful day I tried a sweet potato fry and was instantly hooked.  Those things are delicious.  Since then, I’ve tried various sweet potato dishes and have not found one that I didn’t love.  I still have a strong aversion to pumpkin food, but I am trying to be brave and try a pumpkin dish.  Maybe one day.

The recipe says that it makes 10 servings, but I find that very hard to believe, so keep that in mind.

I had a handful of large marshmallows left over from a pie I made a while back, so I stuck those on there, too.  It gave the dish a cool 3D effect.

This dish really couldn’t be any easier to make, either.  Saying it took 10 minutes to prep is a stretching it.  Maybe 5 minutes.

Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole

Prep: 10 minutes.  Total: 30 minutes.  Makes 10 servings, 1/2 cup each.

– 3 cans (15 oz each) sweet potatoes, drained

– 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

– 1 tsp. ground ginger

– 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

– 3 cups mini marshmallows

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat potatoes, butter, and spices with mixer until well blended.

Spoon into lightly greased 1 qt casserole dish; top with marshmallows.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until potato mixture is heated through and marshmallows are lightly browned.

Fall Cake

Last night I was supposed to have my final cake decorating class.  We were instructed to make a cake and ice it so it would be ready for decorating in class as a type of final project.

After I spent almost two hours making the cake and the icing, I got a phone call saying that my teacher had gone into labor and that class was cancelled and wouldn’t be rescheduled for a few weeks.

I went ahead and iced the cake really quickly, not bothering to make it look perfect.  I didn’t want the whole thing to go to waste.

I bought a big thing of fall sprinkles and saw a great opportunity to use them.  I quickly sprinkled them on top of cake and TA-DA! a cute and easy fall cake.

Zack took it to work with him this morning for his employees.

I wish I had a picture of the inside.  It is a white cake that I marbled with green gel coloring.

To make the inside of the cake look marbled, reserve about a cup of the batter in a separate bowl and pour the remainder into the cake pan.  I used a 3″ deep 8-inch round pan.  Color the reserved cup of batter whatever color you want your cake to be marbled with.

Then, pour that cup of batter on the top of the batter in the pan in a spiral fashion.  After pouring all of it on top of the batter, take a knife and cut through the spiral several times.  Make sure you cut all the way to the bottom of the pan.

I made the mistake of only cutting halfway into the cake, so only the top half of the cake is marbled.  Oops.  Oh well, it was only my first time every trying how to do it.

Then, just bake as your normally would.  This should give it a cool effect when it is finished!

Slow Cooker Firehouse Chili

Yesterday was a chilly, dreary day.  What better to do then break out the crock pot and cook up a pot of chili?  Chili goes hand in hand with fall…for good reason.  It warms your tummy and makes the fall weather tolerable.

I especially like this chili, because it was spicy.  Not too spicy where it was intolerable, but it still had a nice little kick to it.

Zack isn’t a big fan of chili that is really soupy with beans in it, so this kind was perfect for him.  It was just meat and sauce.  I really liked it, too.

It also couldn’t be any easier to make.  All you have to do is throw everything into the crock pot!  Plus, it makes your house smell so good all day long.

I sprinkled cheese on mine and added some diced jalapenos.  I love spicy food!

Slow Cooker Firehouse Chili

– 3 lbs ground turkey

– 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce

– 2 tablespoons garlic powder

– 1/4 cup chili powder

– 2 tablespoons ground cumin

– 1 tablespoon paprika

– 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano

– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

– 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high 1 hour.  Reduce heat and cook on low 4-6 hours.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Nutty Popcorn Snack Mix with Candy Corn

This year I am very into the fall season.  I’ve been really looking forward to October so I can start making Halloween and fall themed goodies.  I made this snack mix for Zack’s company picnic.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it.

It made our house smell like the holidays.  I loved it!

The recipe says to use a candy thermometer, but I don’t have one so I used the water method.  Read how to tell candy is done here: How to Tell When Hard Candy is Done.

Be on the lookout for lots more holiday/fall themed goodies throughout the next few months, because I have lots of recipes 🙂

Nutty Popcorn Snack Mix

– 12 cups popped popcorn

– 5 cups mini pretzel twists

– 2 cups brown sugar, packed

– 1 cup butter

– 1/2 cup dark corn syrup

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 teaspoon soda

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1 cup dry roasted peanuts

– 2 cups candy corn

Combine pretzels and popcorn in a large roasting pan; set aside.  Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in a heavy medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat 12-14 minutes, stirring occasionally until mix comes to a full boil.

Continue cooking and stirring 4-6 minutes until mix reaches soft-ball stage, or 234-243 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla.  Pour over popcorn and pretzels in pan; add peanuts.  Stir until mix is coated well.  Bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes; stir and add candy corn.

Bake an additional 20 minutes.  Immediately spoon onto wax paper; let cool completely and break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.

Yay for fall goodies 🙂

Happy Fall!

Today is the first day of fall! Normally I dread the fall, because it means temperatures are dropping, but this year I’m really looking forward to it.  I’ve had the house decorated for fall for weeks.  We have fall wreaths on the doors and decorations throughout the house.

At the beginning of the week, we did our fall display.  I think it turned out very cute. We had a female scarecrow on the other side of the hay bale but her head broke off.  Oops.  We’re supposed to be sent another one.

To celebrate the beginning of fall effectively, Mom and I went to an orchard in Bedford, VA called Johnson’s Orchards to get some apples.  We had gotten a Groupon a few weeks back that let us get 10 pounds of apples for only $5!

They had tons of huge bins full of apples that we could pick from.

They also let you sample the apples before you bought them.  As you can see, Mom took advantage of this 🙂 I did, too.  They were delicious.

These are the kind of apples we ended up getting.  They’re golden delicious apples.  I already have my recipes all lined up for what I am going to make with them.

On the way back to Mom’s house, all the apples spilled.  Oops.  Mom felt this needed to be photographed.

Here I am with my bag of apples.  The smile shows how excited I am to bake!

Mom’s pretty fall backyard.
I hope everyone has had a great first day of fall.  Stay tuned for lots of apple goodies in the next couple of days! I cannot wait to start baking them 🙂

Owl Cake!

For our second week of cake decorating class, we had to bring an un-iced and un-decorated cake to class with us to decorate.  I made a chocolate cake and, of course, decided to put an owl on it.  Owls are my absolute favorite!


I know the photo quality of these pictures really isn’t the best, but Zack wasn’t with me to take pretty pictures and all I had with me was my cell phone.

This cake also has a strawberry filling.  I wish I had taken a picture of it once it was cut.

I think it’s a cute, fall cake.