Apple Picking = Apple Baking!

A few weeks ago, B and I went apple picking! Growing up in Upstate New York, apple picking is something I remember doing every fall. We’d go to my favorite Indian Ladder farms, pick a bunch of apples, buy some cider donuts and call it a day. My dad would make my Grandma’s apple sauce recipe, and that’s when I knew fall was really here.

I haven’t lived in NY for quite a few years, but I’ve been working to bring the tradition with me. So this year, B and I went apple picking at Patterson’s. While it’s no Indian Ladder, it will certainly do while I’m in Cleveland 🙂 We picked mostly Golden Delicious and Jonathans and brought home two bags!

After making apple muffins, eating an apple (or two) a day, it was time to get rid of the 6+ apples we still had left, two weeks later.

Luckily, I still happened to have a recipe laying around from last year, given to me from my coworker, Gail. Gail had brought in a delicious, moist apple cake and I HAD to try it out – with my own twists* of course! The result? A delicious, sweet, moist gooey cake. I’ll definitely be making it again!

Ooey Gooey Apple Cake With Vanilla Glaze

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 diced apples

For the icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Combine eggs with oil and sugar. Slowly mix in flour mixture.
  • Fold in diced apples. (*i didn’t do this, but Gail also folded in 1 c chopped nuts)
  • Pour mixture (it will be sticky) into 13x9x2 pan and bake 350 for 35 min or until done.
  • While the cake is baking, blend together ingredients for glaze. Add in powdered sugar slowly so that it doesn’t become too thick.
  • When cake is cool, drip glaze over cake.

Enjoy! Try not to eat the whole cake at once 🙂

*To make Gail’s recipe as is, add 1 c chopped nuts to the batter and ditch the glaze. If you can!

Just In Time for Halloween … Candy Corn COOKIES

Candy corn is like cilantro — you either love it or you don’t. Me? I’m a semi fan. I can eat probably about 6 pieces before feeling a sugar high, crashing and then feeling sick. My husband isn’t a fan at all. So, to get in the spirit of Halloween, I decided to make some candy corn cookies — without any candy corn involved!

I found the recipe online, pinned it, and have been looking for the perfect day to make it (you need to set aside a decent chunk of time – you need to refrigerate the dough for at least a few hours or overnight, plus the actual forming of the dough into candy corn-like cookies takes time as well).

So, get ready and get baking! This week is the perfect time to get yor candy corn cookies baking:

Candy Corn Cookies

(Adapted from Land O Lakes website)

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (I just squeezed my own from about a half an orange)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Orange food color (I mixed yellow with red because I didn’t have orange at home)
  • Yellow food color
  •  1/2 cup sugar

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Line the inside of a 9×5-inch breadloaf pan with waxed plastic wrap.
  • Mix butter with 1 cup sugar, beat until creamy.
  • Add egg, orange juice, orange zest and salt to butter/sugar mixture. Continue beating until well mixed.
  • Mix together flour and baking soda. Add by 1/2 c portions to the wet ingredients. Beat until fully mixed.
  • Divide dough into thirds. Press one-third of white dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan.
  • Place another third of dough back into the bowl and add yellow food color. Mix until blended and set the dough aside.
  • Place the final third of dough back into the bowl and add the yellow and red food coloring (or orange, if you have it). I used probably a ratio of 8:1 drops of yellow to red coloring to create an orange ball of dough.
  • Press the orange dough evenly over white dough in pan. Press yellow dough evenly over orange dough in pan.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until hard(at least 2 hours or overnight).
  • Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl and set aside.
  • Heat oven to 375°F. Invert loaf pan to remove dough. Peel off plastic wrap and place layered dough onto cutting surface.
  • Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut each slice into 6 candy corn shaped wedges. Dip wedges in sugar and then place onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for about 9 – 10 minutes, until edges are firm and bottoms just turning light brown.
  • Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Immediately place warm cookies sugar bowl again; roll in sugar to coat.
  • Cool cookies completely on wire cooling rack.


Before: the dough out of the pan, ready to be sliced.


Easy Weeknight Meal – Crock Pot Chicken Santa Fe

Fall is definitely here in Cleveland. Cooler mornings, apple picking, the smell of crisp leaves falling – yup, it’s definitely here. AND with Fall comes one of my favorite things – CROCK POT MEALS! I got a crock pot for a wedding shower gift back in March last year and haven’t used it more than 2-3 times, mainly because B believes that soup, chili (and other crock pot goodness) should only be cooked in the fall/winter. So this past week, I plugged in the slow cooker, opened some canned goodness and spent ten minutes putting together what became a fantastic meal waiting for me that night!

Do you want to enjoy a delicious AND nutritious (each serving is about 200 calories and low fat) meal this week? Then I suggest you try this out:

Crock Pot Chicken Santa Fe

(Adapted from Skinny Taste)

  • 6 chicken tenderloins (or 3 chicken breast halves)
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 1 c canned corn
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 14.4 oz can chicken broth
  • 1/2 c chopped onions
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • jalapeño slices (optional)
  • shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


Combine tomatoes, black beans, corn, tomatoes, chicken broth, onion, garlic powder, garlic, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and place on top of the mixture.

Cook in your slow cooker on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in.

Serve topped with jalapeño slices, cheddar cheese and over rice. Sorry the picture looks so horrible! I’m no photographer, but a bad photo is better than none, right?

What’s your favorite crock pot recipe? I’m looking for more! Plus, check out a few more I’ve bookedmarked, here.

How I Changed my Mind About Pinterest

There’s been a lot of buzz flying around about Pinterest over the past few weeks, and I hate to contribute to it – but I’m in love.

It wasn’t always the case. I got my invite to join in February (8 months ago, which as you know, in social media years might as well be 8 year ago) and really didn’t see the point. I logged in, visited some other boards, and logged out. I really didn’t see its purpose in MY life and didn’t think I needed it. Here’s why:

  • I was feeling social media fatigue. Doesn’t it seem like we’re getting invites for all the newest, greatest social media sites all the time? Take Google+ for example. I’m still working on using it – I understand its value and check in every so often, but for me, most of my friends/connections/etc. are on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, so that’s where I spend most of my time right now.
  • I already have a bookmarking site! Why would I need ANOTHER site to keep track of my favorite blogs, recipes, news articles, etc. when I’m already such an avid user and fan of delicious? Why would I need another site to keep track of my favorite blogs/rss feeds when I’m such an avid user and fan of netvibes?
  • I already have a site where I keep track of things I love/want/that inspire me. It’s called my blog or my tumblr site! To me, tumblr seemed to have everything I wanted and could ever get out of Pinterest.
  • Nobody I cared about was using it. Back in February, the people whose ideas/opinions/styles/etc. I cared about were simply not on Pinterest. And as a social site, I wanted to try out the social aspect – if I couldn’t find any users or boards to follow, what was the point?

Well, I’ve been swayed. I joined Pinterest in the essence of seeing what it was about, connecting with others, getting smarter about social media, etc. And now I’m hooked. Why did I change my mind? Well, I learned that it’s NOT the same thing. What do I like about Pinterest that the other sites don’t have?

  • It’s pretty! It may sound superficial, but I love the clean way it looks. Yes, tumblr is pretty but Pinterest lets me see my bookmarks at a glance (like netvibes) but is visual (unlike netvibes). And it’s so much easier to find my favorite recipes by just looking at the pictures, as opposed to just searching my delicious keywords (which I’m horrible about keeping consistent). So what does this mean? It’s NOT the same as all my other favorite sites – it’s got aspects of all the sites that I love.
  • I was wrong ... my friends ARE on it! Okay, not all of my friends are on it (most of my real-life friends aren’t social media users) … my coworkers, social media friends and some of my favorite bloggers are there, which means every time I log in, there’s something new and cool for me to see.
  • There are so many ways to use it! Not using it yet? Still on the fence? Well, here are just some of the awesome ways I’ve seen people use it: Crafting/DIY inspiration; Fashion and style trends; Cool products you want to remember / inspiration for the upcoming holiday season; Virtual recipe book; Home décor inspiration; Inspirational quotes, photographs, sayings, and so on; collaborating with others on any of the above – you can change your settings so your boards can accept pins from multiple contributors

Once you join, be sure to check out my ever-growing collection of boards and pins: