Monday, September 25, 2017

Fall is... the air...kinda

Last week, fall snuck in on us here in So. Cal and we were treated to brisk mornings, sunny afternoons and went to bed with the windows open and socks on our feet. Ok, I had the socks on...but in any case it was days & days with no A/C. This week? Back to high 90's...possibly triple digits by the weekend. (insert disgusted emoji) 

But the hot, dry conditions give way to perfect growing conditions for our Pomegranate tree.
It has exploded with so many of these bejeweled beauties, I can't pick them them fast enough. I'm scouring Pinterest for the best vinegars, syrups and other recipes to make.

I LOVE the imperfections. What really fascinates me is how all the universe forces ready these beauties just in time for Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year. Which by the way, for three days I was in a food stupor-going from one dinner to the next with such intoxicating holiday foods. We rounded out the celebration with our own Friday night's dinner of holiday deliciousness! 

World events have been sobering lately and they cause a bit of angst with me. When the concern gets to much, I cook and clean...that's healthy right?!  So you can imagine how spotless the house is and there are new and flavorful dishes to eat too. 

I made this apple cake after being inspired by my son, Austin, who just happened to have apple bourbon. He told me that if I was interested in baking something with it I could~coming from him, that's a HUGE hint! Say no more honey! So I found this 
Ultimate Apple Cake

It could not have been easier. The recipe calls for rum, but I think anything to 
compliment the apples would be just fine. I also added a couple of dashes of Saigon cinnamon to the flour mixture. I have a wonky oven and only need a 40 minute bake.

Oh, and I made a boozy whipped cream for the top. But don't worry, it isn't overpowering.

It's definitely a cake you'd want to share with a girlfriend, or dinner guests...

...or not. I'll leave that entirely up to you! (insert winking emoji)

Happy (apple baking) snapping!

Ultimate Apple Cake
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
3/4 tsp baking powder 
pinch salt
4 large apples (any kind you like, mix & match)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3TBS rum 
(or apple schnapps, or Calvados, or apple bourbon whiskey)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted & cooled

Heat the oven to 350 F*.
 Butter a 8-inch springform pan with butter, set aside.
Peel and core the apples, cut them roughly in 1 inch chunks. Reserve in medium sized bowl.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisker until frothy add the sugar and whisk until smooth. Add the rum, vanilla extract and mix well. Add half of the flour mixture, mix until fully incorporated, pour half of the butter and whisk to combine. Repeat with the rest of the flour then the rest of the butter.
Pour the thick batter over the apples, use a silicone or plastic spatula to mix them gently, trying to cover each piece with some of the batter. The mixture will seem too thick and you'll be tempted to use less apples...Don't do it! Trust the recipe! Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Use a fork to level the apples as much as possible, but don't worry to much about it.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden and a cake tester comes out clean when inserted at the center of the cake. Remove the pan to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes before opening the sides.

Boozy Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla 

Chill missing bowl 10-15 minutes, 
Have all ingredients pre-measured
Beat cream, bourbon, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer just until stiff peaks form.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The skinny...

...on gluten

homemade gluten free cookies

It's more than a buzz word now. It is a real thing. It's not a fad or a craze and it's here to stay. I'm not even really sure how we as a society got to this point that has changed millions of people's dietary habits to live a gluten free life...although I have my theory. 
In any case, a gluten free diet is a committed life style change and it's very different for every person that decides to at the very least try it. 
Now, there is huge difference between Celiac disease, wheat allergies & gluten sensitivity and you can read all about those here at
 The site is a wealth of information from getting started, tips to recipes.
 **Disclaimer**A visit with your Dr. is always a good idea if you're planning on making big dietary changes. 

homemade gf peach crisp
Truth be told, I am by no means an expert in this field & my reasons for a gf lifestyle will be very different from yours. I get asked a lot of questions about why I'm gf and friends shudder at the thought of not eating bread-But here's a question for you...if you eat something that causes pain and makes you feel miserable, why would you still want to eat it? (insert curious thinking emoji)

It was after eating at an Israeli restaurant, where all I ate were their salads and laffa bread. Within an hour I was miserable in my own skin & in quite some discomfort. I kept thinking I didn't eat that much & couldn't understand why I hurt. The next morning, still feeling uncomfortable, ate a bowl of Total cereal. Completely healthy right? But 100% whole grain wheat. Almost immediately, the symptoms I felt from the night before made themselves apparent. For me, that was a light bulb moment some 4+ years ago. In hind site, I had been gluten sensitive years before it was a household word.

 I decided to stop eating anything wheat related for three days to see what would change-if anything. 
By the 3rd day, my belly bloat disappeared and the nagging headache that plagued me morning till night disappeared. It was a no brainer at that point and decided that matter what bread, cookies and brownies weren't worth it. In time, other symptoms faded. The hypoglycemia that I was diagnosed with some 25 yrs ago...gone. I started having more energy and I've just never looked back.
That brings me to present day.
 I'm constantly trying new products, I scour Pinterest looking for recipes and I've been tossing the idea around of adding gluten free posts for some time now. A comment that my blogging friend Nicki made on my last post lit a fire under me to just jump in and do it.
Thank you Nicki!
I'm still feeling my way but it's like any other dietary's for life so yeah, I'm constantly looking for more dishes to add into my world.  I can certainly take some guess work out for you to boot.
So, that's my story-
I've got some things on the back burner that I'm excited to be sharing soon.
Of course,
questions and comments are always welcomed. If I don't know, we'll find out together!

Happy (September) shooting!