Friday, March 8, 2013

apple cake

I come home today from Syracuse! Yay!
But I will be returning on Sunday - another short weekend. Sigh.

This apple cake makes it a little easier and makes the weekend a bit more enjoyable.

My mom has been making this apple cake for a while now and she finally gave me the recipe. I am so happy to share it with all of you.
It is absolutely delicious and I like to think it's a bit healthier with the apples in it.

I only make half the recipe at a time because, well, there's only two of us and I like to use my small springform pan instead of the larger one.

Below is the full recipe. It is very easy to cut in half if, like me, you are only feeding a few people.


My Mom's Apple Cake
serves 8 or 12 - small or larger pieces, nutritional information below is for 8 smaller pieces

1c + 1/4c sugar, divided
1/2c margarine, softened
1t vanilla extract
6oz low fat cream cheese, softened
2 eggs (I use flax eggs)
1.5c all purpose flour
1.5t baking powder
1/4t salt
2t cinnamon
3c apples (I usually use a Granny Smith or a combination of what I have on hand i.e. Granny Smith with Gala)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a standing mixer, beat together 1c sugar, margarine, vanilla and cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs or flax egg, beat until combined. 
  • Combine flour, baking powder and salt and add to cream cheese mixture.
  • Peel and chop apples. I cut into slices.
  • In a separate bowl, combine remaining 1/4c sugar and cinnamon and combine 2T with apples. Toss until all apples are coated with mixture.
  • Mix apples into batter.
  • Pour batter into 8in. greased springform pan and sprinkle top with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Bake for about 1hr 15minutes or until cake pulls away from side of pan. (When baking half, I check at about 40min).
Nutritional information (per serving of small springform, 8 servings): Calories 203, Fat 8.1g, Protein 2.4g, Fiber 1.7g, Carbs 29.8g

The original recipe my mom gave me called for more sugar but I omitted some. I figured it would be sweet enough with the apples inside and the sprinkle of sugar on top. But feel free to add a little extra sugar if you like it extra sweet! Enjoy with a cup of coffee, tea, or my favorite, milk!

This is a nice change of pace from a regular cake. 
What are some of your favorite cakes?

Linking up for Townsend House

Thursday, March 7, 2013

wedding sign-in box

This is my second installment of saw it, pinned it, did it!

Similar to my last post, this is also a project I did for my wedding. My husband and I needed something for our guests to sign. I wanted to do something a little different than just have a guest book open for people to sign or not sign. Enter the box!

Once again, I didn't pin a particular box. I was planning on winging it.
I bought a wooden box from Michaels and some paint. I applied both colors and blended them together to try to accomplish a dark wood color. I saw on a different kind of pin that someone used a brown and a red to accomplish a wooden color so I decided to try it out on this.


I used some paper towel to wipe away color and add more to really just blend the colors together. I am very happy with the end results.
Then I made two felt flower rosettes. Making a rosette is very easy. Get a piece of felt and cut a giant, squiggly circle. The larger the circle the larger the rose. You'll end up with a long strand of felt. Begin rolling from the end and you'll end up with a flower! Take the flat end and hot glue to the back. Ta-da!!

To make it even better - I tied a yellow ribbon around the center of the box and glued the flowers where the seams met so you couldn't see them.

I got scrapbook paper from the Dollar Store, and cut the paper to the proper size to fit inside the box. I made sure the color of Sharpie pens I had for people to sign with would show up on the color paper that I bought.

The paper sat nicely inside the box with the Sharpie pens next to it on the table at our wedding. We also made up a sign and put it in a clear frame next to the box that directed people to sign the paper in the box.

I love that we made the box instead of just using a book. We now have it on display in our family room, on our bookshelf next to a wedding photo book we made and a wedding figurine. 

The total overall cost of the project: $6.00
Now that's what I call a deal!!!
What have you recreated from pinterest lately?
Linking up with Beautiful Mess & Keep Calm & Carry On

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

pinning along

I'm surviving here in Buffalo! I'll be here one more day and then heading to Rochester.
I thought today I would share some of the things I have been pinning recently. I really need to start that list of what I actually want to recreate. Does anyone have one of those??
So here are some of my favorite pins from the past week!!

I need to make these for Easter this year. I think my husband will flip!

This cupcake looks awesome! Miss me some s'mores!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

DIY heating pads 

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

edible glitter!

Vegan chocolate chip cookie dough "blizzard"

What have you guys been pinning recently?!
You can also follow me on pinterest!

Monday, March 4, 2013

movies movies movies

I travel a lot for my job. More so in the fall than in the spring but I am out this whole week traveling. My office mate was out traveling last week in beautiful Florida. She had 80 degree days, feet in the water, butt in the sand. Me? I'm going to Buffalo. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind going to Buffalo. I just wish I could go somewhere that wasn't colder than here.

I hope to have good internet access from my hotels and still get all my posts up. Here's hoping, right.

I mentioned in a few posts that I have had work the past three Sundays. While working on Sundays wouldn't be my first choice, a part of Sunday work involves going to the movies. (A small part but, hey, I take what I can get). Since the last movie I saw in the theatres before these past weekends was The Hunger Games, I thought it might be fun to recap what I saw and see what any of you have seen lately at the movies!

First off, I saw Identity Thief.

This was number one at the box office (actually, I think it still is) and I really like Jason Bateman from Arrested Development. I had high hopes.
It was funny. But it also felt like 3 movies rolled into one. There was comedy, drama, action... at parts I did find myself saying "what the..."
Am I glad I saw it? Yes. I would have always wondered what it was like.
Am I glad I didn't have to pay to see it? Yes. I would not have gone to see it if it weren't for work and would have just rented it from Redbox. Then proceed to say, "I'm glad we only paid $1 for that."

I wanted to see Silver Linings Playbook my second week but there were no seats left in the theatre. So I ended up seeing A Good Day to Die Hard.

Now, I am a very big Die Hard fan. I didn't go in with high expectations just thought it would be another Die Hard movie. I had no idea what the plot was for this movie. It didn't get great reviews from critics but got better reviews from fans. I also love Bruce Willis, he makes me laugh.
Am I glad I saw it? I'm actually very happy I saw this because I saw it in IMAX.
Am I glad I didn't have to pay to see it? This would have also been a movie I would have rented from Redbox but I know that a large part of my enjoyment from this movie was seeing it in IMAX. This was also my first IMAX movie. I could feel the movie in my chest and the screen. was. huge. I would recommend seeing Die Hard in IMAX if you are a Die Hard person. Plus, Jai Courtney isn't too bad on the eyes.

My final week. At this point I decided to wait and see Silver Linings with my husband so there were slim pickings of what to see. I ended up convincing some people to go and see Escape From Planet Earth in 3D with me.


Am I glad I saw it? I could have gone either way on this one. I love animated movies. I'll admit it. It was a cute, somewhat funny movie. So it got the job done.
Am I glad I didn't have to pay to see it? Of course. I'm not a huge 3D person. I think this was the second 3D movie I've seen in my life. (There were previews for Jurassic Park 3D - now that seems like it would be good in 3D). I'd also probably not rent this movie from Redbox unless my husband was working late or had class and I needed a silly movie to entertain me and everything else on my list to see was sold out.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that my husband and I don't pay to see a lot of movies. I know the next movie we will go see is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. That being said, it was nice to get out and see some recent movies.

Has anyone gone to the theatres lately? What have you seen? What do you want to see?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Creamy Quinoa Primavera

I didn't do my usual meal preparation for the week this past weekend. Working the weekend really got in the way of my productivity. I managed to make a lot of one meal (baked pasta) so when mid-week came and I needed to make something, I turned to Pinterest.

This recipe is something I had pinned a while ago and, shock, never got around to making. I really need to create something where I list pins I want to actually recreate so I can cross them off one by one.

I really love quinoa but don't have many go-to quinoa recipes (besides quinoa bake - which I hope to share with you very soon). This recipe has a lot of what I love. quinoa. vegetables. cheese. For another yummy quinoa recipe, be sure to check out House of Hoff's recent post!

I didn't tweak this recipe too, too much as it was my first time actually making it. I rearranged the cooking order of some things and I think it turned out pretty well!
I am a huge fan of dirtying as few dishes as possible so I tried to just combine everything into one pot here instead of mixing stuff in a separate bowl before combining.
I'm not gonna lie with you guys, when I was mixing in the cream cheese, I was thinking to myself, "oh crap, what else can I whip up for dinner.."
but it tastes very, very good!! Don't let it scare you.

Creamy Quinoa Primavera
from Let's Dish
serves 6 dinner sized portions

1.5c uncooked quinoa
3c water + 1 bouillon cube
4oz cream cheese
1T fresh basil chopped or 1t dried
1T butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5c thinly sliced vegetables (I used onions, peppers, carrots, broccoli)
3T grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

  • Start by rinsing and cooking your quinoa. I make my quinoa in my rice cooker. It makes my life so much easier. Just pour ingredients, flip switch, walk away until the button pops and it's done. Water to quinoa ratio is 2:1 so in this case 3c water, 1.5c quinoa. I whisked in a bouillon cube before turning on the rice cooker.
  • While the rice cooker does its job, start prepping your vegetables. I cut up some onion, peppers, and steamed some carrots and broccoli (leaving some bite to them), then cut into similar sized pieces. 
  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Depending on the veggies used will depend on this part. I began by cooking the onions and peppers in the butter for a few minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more. Now add veggies. Cook for about 5 minutes until heated back through (make sure to leave them still crisp, you don't want a bowl full of mush).
  • Toss in cooked quinoa. 
  • Stir in cream cheese and basil.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories 190, Fat 7.6g, Protein 6.4g, Fiber 3.3g, Carbs 25.7g

I was pleasantly surprised with this recipe. I was a bit iffy because of the cream cheese but it does NOT taste like cream cheese at all. I mixed in some Parmesan in the quinoa as well as a sprinkle on top before serving. 

What's a recipe you make where there's an "iffy" ingredient but it ends up working?

Linking up to Townsend House

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