Saturday, February 20, 2010

Jewish Apple Cake ~ A Classic

This recipe is, as my mom would say, as old as the hills. I got it from my mom and she probably got it from her mom. And you probably have a
Jewish Apple Cake recipe in your file box.
It's a moist, dense yet tender cake full of apple goodness.
 Here is my handed-down recipe:
Jewish Apple Cake 
5 or 6 Apples, pared, cored & sliced
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
5 tablespoons Sugar
3 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 cup salad Oil
4 Eggs
¼ cup Orange Juice
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
2½ teaspoons Vanilla
1 teaspoon salt

Sprinkle apples w/ 2 tsp. cinnamon mixed w/ sugar. Combine all other ingredients and beat to make smooth batter. Pour half into greased and sugared angel food cake pan. Arrange half of the apples over batter and cover with remaining batter. Top with the rest of the apples. Bake 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Turn out and stand to cool on rack.
Note:  To make mini-loaf cakes, I used 6 5 x 3-inch pans and baked 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes.

Shadow Shot Sunday ~ A Snooze in A Sunbeam

  1. It is a myth that dogs are color blind. They can actually see in color, just not as vividly as humans. It is akin to our vision at dusk.
  2. Dogs DO have better low-light vision than humans because of a special light-reflecting layer behind their retinas
  3. A German Shepherd guide dog led her blind companion the entire 2100 mile Appalachian Trail
  4. If never spayed or neutered, a female dog, her mate, and their puppies could product over 66,000 dogs in 6 years!
  5. Dogs' only sweat glands are between their paw pads
  6. Like human babies, Chihuahuas are born with a soft spot in their skull which closes with age
  7. The breed Lundehune has 6 toes and can close its ears
  8. Teddy Roosevelt's dog, Pete, ripped a French ambassador's pants off at the White House
  9. President Lyndon Johnson had two beagles named Him and Her
  10. Franklin Roosevelt spent $15,000 for a destroyer to pick up his Scottie in the Aleutian Islands
  11. In Roman times, mastiffs donned light armor and were sent after mounted knights
  12. The Russians trained dogs during WWII to run suicide missions with mines strapped to their backs
  13. A dog's mouth exerts 150-200 pounds of pressure per square inch
  14. ... with some dogs exerting up to 450 pounds per square inch.
  15. A one year old dog is as mature, physically, as a 15 year old human
  16. The U.S. has the highest dog population in the world
  17. France has the 2nd highest
  18. The average city dog lives 3 years longer than a country dog
  19. 87% of dog owners say their dog curls up beside them or at their feet while they watch T.V.
  20. Dogs can be trained to detect epileptic seizures
  21. 15 people die in the U.S. every year from dog bites
  22. In 2002 alone, more people in the U.S. were killed by dogs than by sharks in the past 100 years
  23. Gidget is the name of the Taco Bell dog
  24. Newfoundlands are great swimmers because of their webbed feet
  25. Basset Hounds cannot swim
  26. Greyhounds are the fastest dogs on earth, with speeds of up to 45 miles per hour
  27. Bingo is the name of the dog on the side of the Cracker Jack box
  28. The bible mentions dogs 14 times
  29. Three dogs survived the sinking of the Titanic - a Newfoundland, a Pomeranian, and a Pekingese
  30. The Labrador Retriever is the #1 favorite breed in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
  31. Obesity is the #1 health problem among dogs
  32. An estimated 1,000,000 dogs in the U.S. have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owner's will
  33. An American Animal Hospital Assoc. poll found that 33% of dog owners admit to talking to their dogs on the phone and leaving answering machine messages for them while away
  34. Dog's nose prints are as unique as a human's finger prints and can be used to accurately identify them
  35. At the end of the Beatles' song "A Day in the Life", a high-pitched dog whistle was recorded by Paul McCartney for his sheepdog
  36. 70% of people sign their pet's name on greeting and holiday cards
  37. 58% put pets in family and holiday portraits
  38. There are only 350 Cisky Terriers in the world - perhaps the rarest breed
  39. The phrase "raining cats and dogs" originated in 17th century England when it is believed that many cats and dogs drowned during heavy periods of rain.

Just a few of the movies featuring dogs... my favorite are the first two.

Visit Hey Harriet for more Shadow Shot Sunday!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sepia Scenes

Guess who spent way too much time on Picnic yesterday afternoon. I should have taken a nap. I was really sleepy. See what happens when I am really sleepy?
Add to the mix
a little cabin fever,
a sunless day,
a boredom with snow pictures.

Just Raider and I.
Since he will be the subject for Shadow Shot Sunday,
that leaves me for Sepia Scenes.

I do like the way the camera is reflected in the beveled edge of the mirror

Click button above to visit Sepia Scenes and view pictures taken by people who are fully awake.

Pretty Baby and Continental Knitting

I don't know this little one in person but her momma gave me permission to post photos she had done by a professional photographer of baby Casey's 1st Birthday. I am honored that Casey is wearing one of my beanies!
She has the softest, sweetest little face with beautiful eyes!
I love this expression.
I have closed my Etsy shop and put my crochet hooks aside for awhile. I have a pinky finger that is following the path my parents fingers have taken. It seems twisted and crocked fingers with bumpy knuckles just might run in the family and after a year of intense crocheting, I have seen a significant change in shape and discomfort.

But I can still knit and have a couple of projects in the works.
The scarf above is simply done in all knits which seems to suit this Soft Boucle nicely.
The pattern in the scarf above is one of my favorites. It is worked in an easy 2x3 Rib Stitch making it so warm and snugly. There are many variations of the Rib Stitch and in a few days I'll share a couple of patterns with you.

My mom is of German descent and she learned Continental Knitting (also called German or European Knitting). We do not throw the yarn as many people do.
Here is a terrific video demonstrating this method of knitting. If you are a crocheter, you will take easily to knitting this way. It is the way I knit and cast on.

Continental Knitting Demo:
The Long-Tail Cast On

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken Francese

I visited a blog recently that featured this Chicken Francese. I knew this was a dish my husband would love so I proceeded even though I didn't have lemons. I followed the recipe to the letter except that I substituted oranges. It was very good. I plan making it again with the lemons soon.Thank you Ramblings of a Bored Cook, for posting this great recipe and clear directions for preparing! I will be visiting you often! Here is her recipe:
Serves 4 – 6 (*See Note)
4 Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 14.5 oz. Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth
3 Large Eggs
1 Cup Flour (or more if needed for breading)
1/4 Olive Oil
3 Lemons
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
3 Tbsp. Butter
1/4 Chopped Fresh Parsley

Trim chicken breasts of any fat. Take each breast and flatten it out with a mallet. If the breasts are very thick, you will want to filet them before pounding them out thin. I had four thick breasts, which I had to filet and then pound out thin.

Set the chicken to the side and then prepare your work station for dipping and flouring. Crack the eggs into a shallow bowl and beat together well. You can add a teaspoon of cool water to the eggs to help thin them out a bit. In a separate shallow bowl add your flour and season with your salt and pepper. Stir to combine.

Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, then the egg, and then the flour again, pressing to make sure you get a nice even coat. Set each breast on a plate until you finish dipping and breading each one.

Set the oven to 350 degrees.

In a non-stick skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set the heat to medium. Once hot, add two chicken breasts at a time and cook until just done on each side. You want them to be a very light golden brown. We are not looking for a deep brown color to these. Cook each breast until just about done. Remove to a casserole dish and continue browning each chicken breast, continuing to add oil 2 tablespoons at a time as needed. Once you are done, place the casserole dish with the chicken in the oven uncovered and allow to cook for 10 – 12 minutes.

Meanwhile wipe out the skillet with some paper towels. You don’t want to clean the pan completely, but you do want to remove all that flour that has browned in the bottom. You won’t remove the flavor by doing this, but you will allow yourself to have a nice lemon colored sauce.

Set burner to medium heat and pour in your chicken broth. Add some salt and pepper if you feel it needs it. Squeeze in the juice of two lemons. Bring to a boil and then quickly whisk in about 1 teaspoon of flour. Add in the 3 tablespoons of butter and whisk again. Turn the heat down to simmer and allow to reduce to almost half.

Once the sauce is done, add the chopped fresh parsley and stir. Set the chicken breasts out on a rimmed platter or baking dish, and pour the sauce all over the top of each breast.

Take your last lemon and slice it thin, with the skin on. Place pieces of sliced lemon across the whole dish and serve.

Note: If you are using 4 thin chicken breasts, even before pounding them thin, you will serve about 4 with this dish. If you are using 4 thick cut breasts like I used, you should filet them into 8 breasts and then pound each thin.

TWD ~ Dorie's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kait of Kait’s Plate selected My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies, page 68, for this weeks Tuesdays with Dorie.
Since I have my own favorite Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe, I decided to follow Dories Playing Around suggestion by substituting 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter for 1/2 cup butter. I also added 1 1/2 Tablespoons instant espresso just to see how the flavor would be enhanced.
They tasted good but we still prefer the flavor and texture of our old cookie recipe.
Dorie says she has "made these cookie with just about every kind of chocolate known to mankind with universally satisfying results". She prefers chopped up premium chocolate as do I, but chocolate chips were in the pantry.
I baked most of the dough and froze a few scoops to be enjoyed when a hankering arises for a cookie warm-from-the-oven .
After dough freezes, pop into a freezer safe container, labeled and store your treasure. Dorie says there is no need to thaw before baking... just add a couple more minutes to baking time.
My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
From pg. 68 of Baking From My Home to Yours
Makes 45 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional) or pecans (optional)


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts. (The dough can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen. If you'd like, you can freeze rounded tablespoons of dough, ready for baking. Freeze the mounds on a lined baking sheet, then bag them when they're solid. There's no need to defrost the dough before baking - just add another minute or two to the baking time.)

Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.

Bake the cookies - one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point - for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that's just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.

Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

The cooking can be kept in a cookie jar or sealed container for about four days, or wrapped airtight and frozen for up to two months.

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Cookies: use 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.
Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies: add 1 1/2 tbsp instant espresso powder after you add the vanilla extract.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: use 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) of unsalted butter and a 1/2 cup peanut butter (you can use chunky or smooth, but it's best not to use natural peanut butter, which will not give you the right texture). Beat them together before adding the sugars. Use salted peanuts instead of walnuts or pecans.
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies: Add 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted or not, to the dough when you add the chocolate chips and nuts. Why not go all the way and add some raisins or bits of dried apricots?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

With a Grateful Prayer...

...and a Thankful Heart. Yes, that is the name of my blog and it is also how we are feeling as an answer to a long awaited prayer has come. We are most grateful and thankful to the One whose promises never fail.
God... acts on behalf of those who wait for him
Isaiah 64:4

I so resonate with this song by Tenth Avenue North. I have had many moments with the same plea as we waited.
Even when it didn't feel like it, He continued to

Hold My Heart

"There are times when things look very dark to me -- so dark that I have to wait even for hope. A long-deferred fulfillment carries its own pain, but to wait for hope, to see no glimmer of a prospect & yet refuse to despair; to have nothing but night before the casement & yet to keep the casement open for possible stars; to have a vacant place in my heart & yet to allow that place to be filled by no inferior presence -- that is the grandest patience in the universe.
George Matheson
March 27, 1842 - August 28, 1906
Joining Mary @Little Red House for Mosaic Monday!
(The pretty hydrangea in the mosaic above was a Valentine's Day gift from my husband)


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