Autumn Glory – Jewish Apple Cake

It is a rainy fall Saturday morning…  the leaves are really coming down now. What a perfect day to bake something warm and cozy.Something that will go nicely with a hot cup of coffee. You can just imagine it now, right?

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I’m always thinking about pumpkin and apple recipes at this time of year. Since I’ve already made a batch of  Grandma’s Pumpkin cookies for my niece’s baby shower, and pumpkin breads for our church. It was now time to make something with apples. I was thinking about apple pie because it is getting very close to that time of year… you know… turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and PIES!! However, my memory took me back to a cake my husband brought home for us after a client meeting at a local diner. The client insisted he take one home and try it. Well, let me tell you it was one of the most delicious cakes I ever ate! Incredibly moist and flavorful and soft apples coated with cinnamon. It was like an apple pie in a cake =DELICIOUS!!! It was called a Jewish Apple Cake – have you ever heard of it?? I had read about a diner that was known for their Jewish Apple Cake but never saw one for sale anywhere. I found a recipe and wanted to give it a try. Please try this recipe! You will NOT be disappointed! Neither will those you share it with. It is guaranteed to please!

This recipe prompted me to dig out my old gadget friend the “apple, peeler, corer” device. You don’t need this gadget to make the recipe – the old fashioned way of peeling, coring, and slicing with a paring knife does the trick too! But I thought it would be fun to play with it. When my boys were little, they used to love the “apple spaghetti” it made. I miss those days!

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It slices them so evenly and thin. I used MacIntosh apples for this recipe. They have a good flavor and are softer than some of the other kinds of apples.

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Usually when I’m baking or cooking, I love to listen to music. It just lifts my mood! My favorite genre of music is contemporary christian. MercyMe is one of my favorite groups! One particular song is sticking in my head right now. The song is “I am” by MercyMe. One of the verses is “Alleluia He lives in me”! It makes me feel so praiseworthy! He does live in me, because He created me!

“In Him we live and move and have our being” Acts 17:28

This verse is a key reference in the book Sudden Glory by Sharon Jaynes. It is written to remind us how to recognize God’s presence throughout our busy days. I tend to recognize God in the music I listen to everytime I’m in the car, sometimes at work, and when I’m at home. The lyrics constantly remind me of Him. God’s presence surrounds us – whether it is through prayer, or music, or what we read, what we see, what we hear, and certainly through what we taste!! God is with us and lives in us!

God’s glory is ready to be revealed to you today. Are you recognizing it?

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Enjoy the recipe!

Peace and Blessings to you all!

~Lori

Jewish Apple Cake

6 cups peeled thinly sliced cored and peeled apples (about 3 large apples or 6 small apples)

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons cinnamon

3 cups flour, sifted

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 cup oil

1/2 cup orange juice

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts  or pecans (optional) I didn’t use in this recipe.

Directions 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan.

Mix apple slices with cinnamon and 1 cup sugar, set aside

Beat eggs with 1 1/2 cups sugar and light brown sugar. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the oil to the wet ingredients, then add the orange juice and lastly the vanilla. Beat for 1 minute.

Pour 1/3rd of the batter into a greased and floured tube pan. Layer 1/3 of the apple slices (and nuts) over the batter. Repeat with another layer of batter, apple, (and nuts). Then a final layer of batter, apples, (and nuts). Drizzle the cake with the remaining cinnamon-sugar syrup.

Bake for 1 1/4 hours or until tester comes clean. (check at least 10-15 minutes sooner for varying oven temperatures and baking pans).

Cool cake in pan for 30 minutes. Invert pan onto cooling rack to remove and cool completely.

Enjoy!

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Chicken Tortilla Casserole with Black Beans and Tomatoes

What’s for dinner??? I had no idea what to make for dinner this evening. So I had to scan the pantry and refrigerator to see what I could pull together. This is what I had in my refrigerator- cooked chicken breasts, Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, sour cream, and 1/2 can of Rotel tomatoes, (the other half I added to my guacamole dip on Sunday), cilantro, and red chili peppers, which were graciously donated from my friend. In my pantry I had cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, cream of tomato soups, and black, red and white beans, barely any noodles, and a few opened bags of tortilla chips. Hmmm… I’m thinking something with a Mexican flare… soooo I grabbed the chicken, cheese, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, beans, and tomatoes, cilantro and chili peppers and turned it into this yummy casserole!

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I love it when things aren’t planned yet they still come together. I don’t mean that I always like it when things are unplanned, but when they aren’t planned and they come together – that’s a good thing! It is soo much easier to come home from a day at work and prepare a planned meal. But that was not the case tonight. These ingredients were not purchased to make this particular dish, but with an open mind the recipe idea presented itself.

As I was gathering the ingredients, it made me think about how many things in life aren’t always planned, but they work out unknowingly, by the grace of God. We like our lives to be planned, predictable, and orderly –  we get a sense of security and trust from this. When unplanned events happen to us, it can shake our faith. That is when we need to remember this verse and let God work in our lives.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” Proverbs 3:5-6

Last night, my bible study group discussed the verse above because the topic was about trusting God. It can be very difficult to trust God when we can’t see where he is leading us. Many unplanned and unexpected things happen in this life. But if we can be patient and trust in the Lord, the pieces will eventually come together. There isn’t always a set “recipe” in life, in fact most of our lives are much like that of a thrown together casserole! A concoction of many different people and unplanned circumstances, which in time becomes a unique and beloved story!

I would love to hear about some of the unplanned dinners you created, or unplanned events that came together for you! Please share!

If you make this recipe, let me know how it turned out!

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Chicken Tortilla Casserole With Black Beans and Tomatoes

1/2 bag of tortilla chips

2 1/2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded

2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 can of Original Rotel tomatoes with Green Chilis (the Original can be spicy – there is a Mild if you prefer or 1/2 can of diced tomatoes would work too!)

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup sour cream

8oz of shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalepenos (Cheddar or plain Monterey Jack would be good too!)

Cilantro and Red Chili Peppers (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. Break up the tortilla chips into small pieces in the casserole dish as the bottom layer. In a mixing bowl, mix together the chicken, cream of chicken soup, black beans, tomatoes, milk, and sour cream. Spread on top of the chips. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered until bubbly and slightly browned. Remove from oven. Sprinkle the cilantro and peppers on top.

Enjoy!

Blessings,

Lori

 

Soul Warming

It is that time of year again! Soup time!

Just like a warm bowl of soup feels on a cool fall day – warming our soul, so does the Word of God! It fills us up and warms us on the inside.

Some days I need something to warm my soul – soup does that for me. It is comforting. I love ALL kinds of soup! Not only do I enjoy eating them, but I enjoy making them too. Chopping all kinds of vegetables and adding special spices and seasonings, this blending and simmering in anticipation of a savory delight!

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Psalm 34:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good! How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

When my heart feels restless and I’m not feeling quite content with life, I need to feed my soul with God’s word, His truths, and His promises. His is my rock and my salvation in which I take refuge in. By reading His Word, I am reassured, because everything in this life is temporary – all situations and circumstances will not last forever… BUT the love of our Lord will last for eternity! Now that is soul warming!

Lentil Soup with Spicy Sausage

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

tablespoon of olive oil

2 cans (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes with garlic, onion, and oregano

1 can (14.5 oz) of beef broth

1/2 bag of lentils

1 link of cooked spicy italian sausage – chopped small

Saute the carrots, celery, and onions in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add tomatoes and lentils, beef broth, and chopped sausage. Bring to a boil for about 30 minutes, until lentils get soft. Simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add extra water or broth, if necessary, to get the right soup consistency.

Enjoy the soup!

 

Heavenly Little Gems

Pumpkin Cookies

These are heavenly little gems!

My grandmother used to make these cookies every Christmas and they were always everyone’s most favorite! I haven’t met a person that doesn’t like them! So the tradition carries on with these soft cookies topped with brown sugar icing. 008

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Grandma’s Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Icing – (prepare ahead of cookie baking)
Cook on low 3 tbsp. butter, 4 tsp milk, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar in a medium sauce pan, stir until sugar has dissolved. Cool. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla. Mix well. It should be thinner than regular icing. Add milk by the tsp to get to a glaze-like consistency.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin and mix gently.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix well.
Drop by small teaspoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until set – will be soft and cake-like. Spread icing on warm cookies.

Enjoy! Blessings to all in this Thanksgiving season!

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“Give thanks in all circumstances. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

As we gathered around the Thanksgiving table this year, we each shared what we were thankful for. It was unanimous that we were all thankful for our loved ones! Indeed! They are such a blessing in our lives! Reflecting back over the past 11 months, soon another year has passed, I have so much to be thankful for! The year has gone by without incidents or challenges, and we were blessed with a second beautiful, healthy grandson! I feel particularly blessed for a year like this, considering the year before my father had passed away and years prior were filled with challenges with my husbands health, my son’s health, and issues with the weakening economy and the effect it had on our business, and other challenges life throws our way. But the Lord pulled us through, and because of these challenges my faith has strengthened and my relationship with the Lord has grown immensely! I feel so blessed! As St. Paul states in his letter to the Thessalonians, we should give thanks in ALL circumstances -not just the good ones, but the difficult ones too, because it is His will for us. We don’t know why the unfortunate things happen in life but we must have faith that it is God’s plan and if we stay close in faith, hope, prayer, and thanksgiving we will experience the joy of a loving and faithful Father. I certainly can testify this! I’m so thankful for a loving a faithful Father!

As we end this season of Thanksgiving, may we go into the Advent season  remembering all the blessings in our life, and ready to accept our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, who the father sent to save us. Knowing there is so much more to Christmas then shopping, endless lists, and stress, we can find Peace in believing in the true meaning of Christmas! Continue to thank Him everyday as we prepare for the birth of our Savior!

Peace and Joy to you all,

Lori

Welcome Fall!

The air is turning brisk, days are shorter, and the leaves are starting to change! My favorite time of year! It is time for comfort food and crockpots, soups and stews, breads and baked goods!

It is always a challenge not to overindulge in all the goodness of these foods…

Being mindful of healthy and satisfying meals, I created this tasty, spicy dish to help warm you up!

Spicy Sausage with Beans and Veggies

1 lb Italian sausage – hot or mild, pork or turkey

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 onion sliced

1 red pepper, slice

1 green pepper, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced

1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

salt and pepper to season

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Start with cooking the sausage in a large skillet, when sausage is no longer pink in the middle and is nice and brown on the outside, remove it from the skillet. Slice into 1/2 inch slices. Set aside. In the same pan, add a little oil and sauté onions, green peppers, red peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and any other vegetable you prefer! When vegetables are just crisp, not too soft, add a rinsed and drained can of cannellini beans and the sliced sausage back to the skillet. Gently toss together. Season with salt and pepper and you have a healthy, delicious, easy, and SPICY dinner! Of course if you don’t like the spicy sausage you can substitute it with the mild! Serve this with bread (I like the ciabatta bread with lots of sweet cream butter! oops there goes the healthy!) rice, or your favorite pasta. However, it really is satisfying without anything else!

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Tasteful Blessings is meant to not only create a physical appetite, but a spiritual one as well – so that we may feel satisfied and have something to nourish our body and souls. It’s all wonderfully connected, thanks to our amazing creator!

I hope you will join me as we journey together enjoying good food and the good Word!

In the book of John chapter 6 verse 35, Jesus declares “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (NIV)

Just as bread sustains us, Jesus and the Word of God sustains us as well!

Blessings to you all!

~Lori