Cool Stuff, Food, Holidays, Uncategorized

Mom’s Applesauce Fruitcake

It’s so good that before you think to get a photo, you’ve eaten half of it!

By popular demand, here is Mom’s Applesauce Fruitcake recipe, taken from a long ago edition of the Farm Journal. Note: We like these best baked in cupcake size. If you bake some, let me know in the comments!

3 cups        thick applesauce
1 cup         shortening
2 cups        sugar

1 lb            dates, pitted and chopped
1 lb            raisins
1 lb            walnuts (4 cups), chopped
¾ lb           candied fruit (red and green cherries, pineapple), chopped
Save some whole walnuts and cherries to decorate tops of fruitcakes.

4 ½ cups      flour
4 tsp          baking soda
1 tsp          nutmeg
½ tsp         ground cloves
1 tsp          salt

*Boil applesauce, shortening, and sugar together five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Be careful, it will pop out of pot.  Let stand until cool.

*Line pans with waxed paper or grease and flour.

*Mix fruit and nuts together.  Mix dry ingredients together and mix with fruit and nuts until each piece of fruit is coated.

*Stir in cooled applesauce mixture.  Spoon into pans. 

*Bake at 250˚ in loaf pans for 2 hours (less for small or cupcake pans) until wooden pick comes out clean. 

*Peel off paper while cakes are still warm (or it won’t want to come off at all).  Cool on racks.  Pour glaze over cold cakes (recipe below).  Store in plastic bags for two weeks to mellow. (Or gobble them up right now, they’re just as good either way!)

Fruitcake Glaze
*Bring to a boil:
½ cup   light corn syrup
¼ cup   water

Cool to lukewarm, pour over cold cakes for a shiny glaze.  Decorate immediately with whole candied fruit and whole nuts.

Baffled, Do Not Want, Food, Reviews

Sea Veggies?

So, the other day I was shopping for ingredients to make my own laundry soap (see how to do it on the Sugar Pie Farmhouse blog).  As I was searching all over the store for what I needed, I happened to see these natural Sea Veggies snacks.  They were expensive but sounded interesting, so I thought, “Why not?”

This is what they look like:

20130114_122314

I’m trying to eat more healthfully.  These are full of vitamins and all sorts of wonderful things!  You get 12 of these little sheets of snack in the bag, and all of them together are only 35 calories!  Hooray!

 

 

This is what I looked like after I ate 3 little sheets:

Grumpy-Cat-01

Image from www.grumpycats.com

 

Blargh.  It tastes like you got a mouthful of ocean by accident when you didn’t want to.  And so does the aftertaste, that won’t go away even after half a cup of coffee.  Not nice at all.  I’m sorry, people who make Sea Veggies.  I’m sure you have the best of intentions and all the vitamins and nutrients are super good for me.  If you made them taste like nothing at all, I would seriously gobble them up because the texture is nice and light and crunchy, so you’ve got that going for you.  And I suppose they might go well with sushi for those who like that sort of thing.  But no…no thank you.

Do Not Want, Food, Home and Garden, People, Thursday Things, Want

Thursday Thoughts

Do Not Want:

~Those high barstool-type chairs.  My legs dangle and fall asleep.
~A table at my favorite laptopping place with no electrical outlet nearby.  My laptop battery only lasts 40 minutes, which is not enough time to do anything.
~Ridiculous amounts of traffic at 3:30 in the afternoon.
~Itchiness.  Allergies are so distracting.

Want:

~Fun people at the coffee shop:  A little girl at the table across from me was trying to put her hand in her mom’s water glass.  When Mom told her to stop, she said, “But I just wanted an iceberg!”
Also, a gentleman came in and found I was sitting at his favorite table.  He sat down anyway and we had a nice conversation while he ate his breakfast.  He works for the Oregon Department of Transportation in their IT office and knows someone who used to work in my dad’s office, and he has an Australian Shepherd.
~Nice staff at the coffee shop.  I like being able to leave my table to go to the ladies’ room without worrying about someone running off with my stuff.
~Big Train chai.  It is the best.
~Hilarious vegetables from our garden!
DSC00079

Cool Stuff, Food, Fun, Success!

More Tea, Please

As I was searching for pictures to use for my new blog décor, I found the following interesting tea-related things.

Hidden Animal Teacups!

Hidden Animal Teacups

(My parents have this mug, which used to belong to my grandparents.  It is one of my favorite things ever.  EVER.  The way Mr. Froggie peeks up out of your unsuspecting guest’s coffee is just perfect!)

Frog Cup

And behold, the Green Tea KitKat!

green_tea_kit_kat_1

Have any of you had one of these?  I can’t imagine what it would taste like.   If the KitKat article on Wikipedia is correct, they also come in “Cantaloupe” in Japan.  And “Blueberry”.  And…er…”Apple Vinegar”.  Hmm, I’m thinking stocking stuffers for the person who has everything…

Look at this tea cupcake from Zalita’s Cupcake D’Lights!  Remarkable.  Hand-painted teapot and cup!  Tiny cupcake and jelly roll!  And don’t miss her tea table cake HERE – tiny sandwiches!  And tablecloths!

.tea table cupcake

This one is for Mom:

Tiny Shoe cupcake

TINY SHOES!!!

Baffled, Food, Life, Miscellaneous

Tea…and a Tornado?!

First, I would like to apologize for having only one photo of anything from my interesting day.  But, I’m writing about it anyway!

Today I went to the Gardner House Bed and Breakfast in Stayton for afternoon tea with my mom and two friends.  You can see the Gardner House menu and information here.  We sat in a lovely parlor with a fireplace and had the “Light Tea”, which included a fruit cup, savory tarts, tea-size sandwiches and desserts, and the Gardner House Blend Tea (Ceylon black tea with vanilla, spices, and dried fruit).

The 6-inch savory tarts were marvelous.  The server brought 2 of the “Oregon Smoked Gouda with Caramelized Onions and Prosciutto”, and 1 each of the “Oven Dried Tomato with Goat and Mozzarella Cheeses and Kalamata Olives” and the “Roasted Bell Peppers with Gruyere Cheese in Brown and Wild Rice Crust”.  We each took of quarter of all 3 varieties.  The Smoked Gouda tart was my favorite, and is their most popular.  The fresh fruit cup included melon, grapes, pears, starfruit, and pomegranate seeds.

For sandwiches, we each had a tiny cheesy puff with a tuna mixture, a cucumber mint, and an egg salad.  All of them were absolutely delicious (and I don’t even eat egg salad!)!  For sweets, we had a star-shaped chocolate shortbread cookie, a pretty gingerbread apple cake with a dollop of hard sauce, and a chocolate-dipped English toffee chunk.  These came to our table on one of those adorable tiered china serving plates, which I just love.  I think I love them because they only come out on special occasions and always hold wonderful noms.   The china on the table was in different rose patterns, which I also love.  Happy!

The spiced tea was very nice and Christmas-y and even better with a little bit of sugar, which came in a glass bowl with a silver lid and a tiny silver spoon decorated with a teapot.  We each got our own little teapot full of tea, and mine was pink.  Afternoon tea is so cheerful and festive!  I highly recommend the Gardner House – wonderful food and nice service, and they have pastries you can buy to take home.  I couldn’t resist the Lemon-Glazed Lavender Scone to eat for my breakfast tomorrow, and I got a Pain au Chocolat and a Sugar Bun as well, ostensibly for other members of my family. 

DSC08631

 

 

So, we have had record rains the last few days and a lot of wind.  On the way to Stayton (15-ish miles from my house) we came upon a large tree that had just fallen across the highway.  A few non-official looking men were working at cleaning it up and we had to drive around it on the left shoulder of the road.  An emergency vehicle was coming towards the area and we assumed the tree had just succumbed to the the wind and rain.  We didn’t find out until the middle of our tea-time that a tornado had come through.  A TORNADO.  

The tornado zipped through a little town called Aumsville, near Stayton, and caused a lot of damage.  Thankfully, nobody was hurt.  You can see photos here and an article here.  The photos of the plumbing company/barber shop building are incredible, the tornado just stole the roof and left the rest.  It’s like you’re looking into a doll’s house.  Now, to those of you who live in, say, Kansas this may seem like business as usual.  But we live in Oregon.  We don’t have tornadoes.  I think Ms. Melinda Smith said it best, as quoted in the article noted above:

"Suddenly, it got really dark and really quiet," Smith said. "I noticed a lot of stuff in the air across the street. There were a couple trampolines and sheds flying above the roofs. I told myself, ‘That’s not normal.’"

Well, it certainly isn’t!

Food, Reviews, Success!

COOOOKIEEE!

cookie_monster_answer_2_xlarge

I FINALLY have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that bakes properly in my obviously-factory-second oven!!  The recipe is called “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie” and you can find it here, if you like.  I decided to look online because frankly, I couldn’t remember which of the 37 recipes I had tried had failed before.  My son expressed great interest in chocolate chip cookies when I announced I was going to bake snickerdoodles.

Here is a photo of one of the actual cookies I made:

 

This is the first time since we have lived in this house that I have been able to make a chocolate chip cookie with the proper texture.  I’m not sure what’s wrong with the oven.  Usually the cookies are too puffy, or they spread out and end up wafer-thin and crunchy.  Melted butter is used for this recipe instead of just softened butter, which may be the secret.  Also, the whole batch came out the same instead of the usual way:  first cookies out of the oven = nice; last cookies out of the oven = huh?!

I didn’t make the cookies as big as the recipe suggested (1/4 cup of dough for each cookie) because I didn’t read the recipe carefully at first.  Obviously, though they turned out well a larger-size cookie (or any dessert) is always preferable, and they would have been bigger and fatter and chewier if I had used more dough per cookie. 

The cookies are Yummy.  But, they do give me heartburn a little…I’m sure it’s just from all the sugar and butter and stuff, and nothing serious.  I recommend this recipe!