Weekend Cat Blogging #130 Monday, Dec 3 2007 

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Today is December 2nd, and I’ve been excited for Christmas since before Thanksgiving.  You see, my boyfriend and I got our first apartment together in October.  Shortly after, we adopted Felix, our little kitten.  He has been such a joy, and really completed our little family.  Thanksgiving was busy and full of traveling to see our families, and of course eating.  Now, it’s time for our first Christmas together in our little “home”.  We bought our first tree, and our own ornaments and decorated it together the day after Thanksgiving.  We played Christmas music and drank wine and had lots of fun. 

Since then, Felix has made our tree his own personal jungle gym.  He loves running and diving in it, climbing half way up and getting stuck, tapping and playing with our shatterproof colored balls, and laying in the tree skirt.  He also gathers up all his mice and toys under the tree.  

So far, the holiday season has been an interesting one with my two boys.  I’m so happy, and I’m so glad I get to spend my Christmas with them :) 

For all other WCB entries, please visit Life From a Cat’s Perspective

Jewish Apple Cake Monday, Dec 3 2007 

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I made this Jewish Apple Cake for Thanksgiving to take to my boyfriend’s parents house.  I was really happy with the way it turned out, and despite the long bake time (1.5 hours), and having to core/peel 8 apples, it was a pretty easy cake.

A few weeks ago, we had a bake sale at work and the first thing to go was the Jewish Apple Cake.  It looked and smelled so good that I had to take a stab at it.  I loved this cake, and on top of eating lots of turkey, I ate two slices of this cake.  It reminds me of a pound cake, but with cinnamon apples in it.  It was de-lish!!

I found the recipe on RoadFood.com, who originally got the recipe from a restaurant called Dutch Kitchen in Frackville, PA.

Recipe Source: Dutch KitchenPreparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 12One of the curious specialties that we’ve seen in a couple of places in Pennsylvania coal country, but nowhere else, is Jewish apple cake. It’s a dense coffee cake with a top that is laced with slivers of sweet, soft-cooked apple. A glorious coffee companion!

Ingredients:

3 cups unsifted flour
1/2 cup orange juice
2-1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 apples
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Beat eggs.
  2. Mix in oil, orange juice.
  3. Add flour, 2 cups sugar, baking powder. Add vanilla.
  4. Peel & core apples. Cut in slices & mix with cinnamon & 1/2 cup of sugar.
  5. Pour 1/2 batter into greased bundt pan. Put apple mixture on top of batter & top with remaining batter.
  6. Bake at 350 for 1-1/2 hours

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Hodgson Mill Gingerbread Monday, Nov 19 2007 

This past weekend I made a boxed gingerbread mix by Hodgson Mill.  There are a few pieces left, so I will post pictures when I get home from work this afternoon.  I’m not really sure what to make of this product, as there were both pros/cons to it.  The pros were that it’s a mix, and all you needed to add to it were milk and eggwhites.  This is a nice little snack cake for breakfast.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t had gingerbread in a while, so I didn’t know what to expect…  but the end result was definitley cakey and breadlike, and wasn’t all too gingery either.  Maybe it was because it’s “whole wheat gingerbread”, and maybe it was supposed to be breadlike.  However, I was definitley let down because I was hoping for something more remniscient of the gingerbread my grandmother made me as a child. 

I think when it comes to a fall favorite, you should go all out or don’t go at all.  This gingerbread definitley wasn’t all out and definitley not something to get excited about.  After making this bread, I have more motivation to find a quality gingerbread recipe to make and satisfy my craving…  because this certainly didn’t come close.

 I’ll be baking later in the week for Thanksgiving….  I’m definitley making a carrot cake for my mom, and possibly some kind of tart for Bob’s parents…  I can’t wait to get started!!

Weekend Cat Blogging Monday, Nov 12 2007 

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Meet Felix.  He is 12 weeks old and the newest addition to our family.  He is a little devil.  His favorite past times include swatting at drapes, batting at his toy mice, chewing on potted plants, attacking hubbie and my limbs, eating, and napping.  He also loves darting into our kitchen cabinets and not coming out.  We like to call him Mufasa because he looks like a lion(he’s long haired).

We took this picture when he was napping, but he awoke to the flash of the camera and posed for me.  Enjoy!!!

To see the rest of the entries for this WCB, please go to What Did You Eat?

Whole wheat Fettucine with Mozzarella Cheese and Crabmeat Monday, Nov 12 2007 

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 I made this dish for dinner one night after a long day of work and a good workout at the gym.  I decided to treat myself without going overboard.  I used whole wheat fettucine pasta, a can of white crabmeat, which is naturally low in fat and calories.  I threw some fat free shredded mozzarella on there, and some marinated mushrooms that I bought from Trader Joe’s.  This meal was fabulous and I ate every bite.  Very easy to throw together, and it was a lot of fun I might add.  I’m not the best cook, but I’m learning to experiment with different things.  This dish was easy for me, because I love crab and I love pasta… usually when I eat out thats the type of dish I order.  However, my version is probably much healthier😉

It may not seem appealing to the eye, but the combination of pasta/crab/mozzarella was amazing.

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Low Fat Lemon Cheesecake Monday, Nov 5 2007 

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My parent’s anniversary was last week, on Mischief Night to be exact.  They were celebrating by going out to dinner this past Saturday night.  I offered to bake them a dessert, and my mom suggested a low fat cheesecake.  My mom loves chocolate cake, and I was hoping to try out a Mexican Chocolate Cake, or the Devil’s Food White Out Cake…  but I’m always happy to cater to my mom when she wants to eat healthy. 

So after researching some recipes online, I came across Joanne’s Almost Fat-Free Lemon Cheesecake.  The cheesecake is not completely fat free due to the butter included in the crust, and the egg yolk/butter in the lemon curd.  Overall, it is much healthier than the original rich cheesecake, and the taste is still there! 

My mom and dad loved this cake, as did my grandmother and my aunt, and my boyfriend :)  My mom kept raving about the lemon curd, how it reminded her of the lemon curd they used in her father’s bakery when she was growing up.  They bought their lemon curd, so this home made curd was pretty damn good!

 I had no problems making the cake, it all came together quite nicely and the lemon curd was very easy to make.  The cake is very fragrant with the lemon, and the taste was perfect.

You can follow the link above for the recipe, or I’ve included it below.  Enjoy!

Crust:
Cooking spray
1 3/4 cups fat-free vanilla wafer cookie crumbs, or any fat-free cookie crumbs of your choice
1/4 cup unsalted butter, meltedFilling:
3 (8-ounce) packages fat-free cream cheese
1 cup fat-free sour cream
2 cups sugar or sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
3 large eggs or 3/4 cup egg substitute
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juiceLemon Curd:
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, or any fat-free butter substitute
Make crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.Lightly spray a (9-inch) springform pan with cooking spray. Mix crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side of pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and crust is set. Cool on rack.Make filling: In large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high, beat cream cheese and sour cream for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar or sugar substitute. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until incorporated. Beat in zest and juice. Pour into crust. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until center is almost set, but still slightly jiggly. (Do not overbake, as it will firm as it cools). Let cool completely.Make lemon curd: In the top of a double boiler, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, egg, egg yolk, and sugar or sugar substitute over gently simmering water. Whisk until hot and frothy, about 5 minutes. Gradually whisk in butter and continue whisking for 7 minutes or until thickened and coats back of spoon. Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes.Run a thin blade around the edge of the springform pan and remove sides. Transfer to a serving plate. Spread lemon curd over top. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Garnish with raspberries and zest, if desired. Cool cheesecake in refrigerator several hours or overnight before serving.

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I’ve tagged myself… Friday, Nov 2 2007 

A meme since I’m bored at work…  maybe one day I’ll have some readers to tag! :) 

5 Things in my room:

  • A cookbook I was reading in bed a few nights ago..
  • An overflowing hamper that needs to get washed this weekend.
  • Two bedspreads I sleep with since we haven’t decided to turn our heat on yet…
  • My 10 week old kitten, Felix, who is too young to be left along in a big apartment while I’m at work.
  • A great big pile of shoes that are falling out of my closet.. 

5 things in my bag:

  • Makeup (I’m too much in a rush to do make up at home, usually do it after I get to work and have woken up a bit).
  • Cell Phone..
  • A few receipts I’m too lazy to get rid of
  • Loose change, which collects until my bag is feeling too heavy to carry😉
  • My Vera Bradley wallet with not as much money in it as I wish it did!

5 things in my wallet:

  • My license that will expire next year.
  • Credit Cards/ATM card
  • A $20 bill
  • library cards
  • A ton of Acme/ShopRite/SuperFresh/CVS/BJ’s club cards..

5 things I’ve always wanted to do:

  • Cross country road trip just for the fun and adventure of it…
  • Be a model…  if only I lost that 40 lbs when I was 18 instead of 22! 
  • Travel to the Greek Islands..
  • Shop on Robertson Blvd in LA…
  • Learn to make good pastries

5 things I’m currently into:

  • Making my new apartment with my boyfriend feel more like home.
  • Working out..  I’m a gym nut.
  • Baking with the flavors of the Fall!!🙂
  • Looking for a new job…
  • Getting ready for the holidays!!

World Peace Cookies Friday, Nov 2 2007 

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I have been reading food blogs for almost a year now.  The one consistent cookie that I seem to find in everyone’s blog is Dorie Greenspan’s “World Peace Cookies”, or originally called “Korova Cookies”.  Supposedly, these cookies are so good that if everyone were to eat them, there would be world peace.

Well, since these cookies seemed to be a staple to some talented bloggers, I had to try my hand at them.  I had many people who tried these cookies, my boyfriend, his friends, my family, and my grandmother who owned 3 bakeries in her day.  Everyone loved them, they were extremely chocolatey and the quality chocolate is what takes these cookies up a notch.

Korova Cookies

adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Paris Sweets

makes about 36 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2/3 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into little bits

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together in a bowl. Beat the butter in a mixer until it is soft and creamy. Add in the sugars, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for a few more minutes to combine. Add in the flour and combine on low speed just until the flour is combined. This is probably the trickiest part because the texture of the cookie depends on as little mixing as possible. The dough will be very crumbly; resist the urge to keep mixing until it all comes together because then the cookies will be too tough when baked. Add in the chocolate bits and mix just to distribute them.

If you have a scale, the easiest thing to do next is to divide the dough in half by weighing. If you don’t, just turn the dough out onto a flat surface, press together into a ball and roughly divide in two. With each half, press the dough together gently and form into a log about 1 1/2-in in diameter. In the past, for fear of overworking the dough, I would simply form rough cylinders, wrap in plastic, and chill. The cookies would not be perfect rounds but they tasted good! (There is actually opportunity to reshape the cookies when you’re getting ready to bake them). Now, I use the trick of rolling the dough into a log on a piece of parchment paper, folding the parchment in half over the log, and using a ruler to compact the log and smooth out its shape. Wrap the logs in plastic and chill for at least an hour; the logs will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or you can freeze them for a month.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Take out the logs and let them sit for a little while to soften up, otherwise they shatter into pieces when sliced. Greenspan does not seem to be bothered by this and suggests you can just press the pieces back together. I have done this before and it does not appear to affect the result.

Slice the logs into rounds about 1/2-in thick.  Place the cookies on the sheets with about an inch between them. Bake them one sheet at a time in the oven for 12 minutes. They will not look done but that’s ok – again, overbaking will give them a crispy texture instead. Let them cool on wire racks until just warm.

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Melting Chocolate Failure Monday, Oct 29 2007 

For a trip over the weekend, I had attempted to make chocolate covered pretzel rods.  I had bought Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, and that melted fine.  I used the microwave to melt the chocolate.  I dipped the pretzel rods into the melted chocolate.  I had bought peanut butter chips, and white chocolate chips, figuring I could use the microwave to melt these as well.

Well, they melted fine…  but then hardened right up and faintly gave off a burnt smell (especially the peanut butter chips!)  I know theres different ways of melting chocolate, using a double boiler.  I tried the double boiler after the microwave failure, and it the chips still hardened up quickly.  Am I supposed to add butter and water to these chips to keep them melted and unburned?  Does anyone have a reference to melting chocolate?  I would love to attempt these chocolate covered pretzel rods again for the Christmas season… 

Weekend Cat Blogging Monday, Oct 29 2007 

Felix taking a nap with his daddy….🙂

sleeping boys

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