Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

And I'm back with another great fall recipe! This one not only tastes amazing, but it brings to mind a lot of memories for me. For many years growing up at home, my mom would make this cake. When the fall season started, I knew I could look forward to enjoying this tasty treat after school at some point. It is one of my favorite cakes, and now I look forward to making it each fall. 

First you mix together the following ingredients in a mixer:
4 beaten eggs
1 cup of oil
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 cup of pumpkin 
(I used pumpkin from our garden, but canned works too)
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp of baking soda

Pour the batter into a greased cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

For the Frosting:

Beat 1 (3 oz) pack of cream cheese, 1 tsp of milk, 6 TBSP of butter, and 3/4 pound of 10x sugar. Frost the cake when it is cool.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Apple Cake

While fall is not my favorite season, there are certainly things I love about it. I do love bundling up in the chilly evenings. Soup starts to frequent our dinner menus, and coffee and tea are morning necessities. I love the pumpkin and apple candle scents, as well as the smell of leaves changing colors. (I know that doesn't seem to make sense, but fall really does have a  specific "scent" as you wander through the forest of beautifully colored trees.) I also love fall treats. Apples and pumpkins frequent nearly every dessert, and I get pretty excited about baking these seasonal goods. The other day, I made a really delicious Apple Cake from our local community cookbook.

The recipe was submitted by a neighbor, whom I lived by for many years. She always made tasty desserts, so I knew it would be a great recipe.

I decided to top my cake with a glaze by mixing a little milk into powdered sugar.

It was absolutely wonderful! Perfect start to fall. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Drying Lavender

I'm pretty sure I've mentioned several times before that I love lavender. This year I had planted several plants, and they are finally starting to bloom! It has been exciting watching the stems shoot up and bud. 

Tonight, I was finally able to "harvest" the first of my crop. It was a small amount, but I was still pretty excited. My plan is to dry most of it, and use it for decoration, wreaths, homemade soaps - and maybe use some for culinary purposes!

I found this website How to Dry Lavender that listed several methods of drying lavender. I was pretty surprised to see it was possible to dry it in the microwave. Since I had a small amount, I decided to try the microwave method. I'm amazed at how quick and easy it was! This obviously wouldn't be ideal for large quantities, but it worked perfectly.

Simply lay out the lavender on a paper towel and microwave for 1 minute. If it is still not dry, continue to add 30 seconds on, checking after each interval. It literally took less than 2 minutes for mine. It also smells absolutely amazing in my kitchen right now. 

Within minutes I was able to cut, dry, and use my lavender. We have several floating shelves throughout the house, so I thought it would be a nice touch to add some dried lavender. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fall is Approaching

This summer has flown by. It has been such a mild summer this year, and it almost seems as though we didn't actually have one. Usually by September I'm tired of the heat, and I'm ready to welcome the cool breezes fall brings with it. This year I've been sulking around at the idea of fall approaching. Don't get me wrong, I love fall. I love the campfires, colorful leaves, sweaters, and of course everything pumpkin. But, I know winter comes after fall, and I hate cold winters. I know fall will be gone in a blink too, and a long winter will follow. Depressing to listen to, I know! So this weekend I tried to embrace a little "fall" in preparation for it's official start in a few days. I think this "idea" started with seeing an absolutely beautifully colored mum the other day. I've been holding off on buying my mums, because I feel that way I can hold onto summer a little longer. But I couldn't resist, and they were almost out of this color. So I bought the mums and planted them this weekend.

I also made some soft pretzels... which for some reason I associate them as a fall snack.

And, I indulged in a little caramel and fresh apples from the local orchard.

As much as I hate to say "goodbye" to summer, I will try to fully enjoy the fall season, and all that comes with it! Hopefully winter flies by!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Baked Oatmeal

I've got a sweet tooth, and every morning for breakfast I have to start my day out with something sweet. This morning I was up pretty early, so I made some baked oatmeal. I've had this recipe for quite a few years, and I'm pretty sure I got it from a friend in college. I absolutely love this, and it has been quite a while since I've made it. It was a delicious treat this labor day morning!

Baked Oatmeal

1 egg
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup of oats
1/8 cup of oil
1/2 cup of milk
1 tsp of vanilla
1/4 cup of chocolate chips

First, beat your egg and combine with the butter. Next, add your baking powder, oats, and sugar. Mix in the oil, milk, and vanilla. Lastly add in your chocolate chips. The batter will be thin as you can kind of see in the picture below.

Pour the batter into a greased 8x8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. It should be golden brown on top when you remove it from the oven. 

My husband loves to pour milk over his portion, while I usually eat it as is. If you happen to have fresh berries on hand, omit the chocolate chips, and add 1 tsp of cinnamon before baking it. It is absolutely wonderful with berries!