Tammy's Kitchen

Apples, apples, apples!

Fancy Springform Apple Cake recipe

Today's apple recipe is this Fancy Springform Apple Cake! It was fun to make, and didn't last long at our house when I made it last week. :D I really love having apples on hand to bake with!

Since this week was mostly about apples, I decided to make a poll about everyone's favorite variety of apple. You get 10 different choices, so be sure to cast your vote for your most favorite apple. ;)

I'm not sure what I have planned for next week, but I'm thinking of posting more potato recipes. I also need to catch up on blogging about what we've been doing lately! I always have so many ideas of things to post about :)

About Whole Grains -- from Elizabeth

Did you know that whole wheat flour goes rancid within 72 hours of being ground, unless refrigerated? Why, then, do we see it sitting on the shelf right next to the [dead] white flour in most grocery stores?

Did you know that whole grain bread products made without preservatives will go bad within a week, unless frozen or refrigerated? Why, then, do the loaves of bread we buy from the supermarket seem to last for several weeks?

I grew up with a grain mill and I must confess I am spoiled. Whole wheat flour from the store tastes like saw dust to me, and is probably about as nutritious. Even the ‘healthy, organic’ bread products I buy do not even come close to what I remember bread tasting like. And the fact that they do not go bad when they are supposed to just bothers me. I look forward to the day when I can buy my own grain mill [in the not-so-distant future].

It is an investment, yes, of both money and time—but one we would all do well to think seriously about. A grain mill is able to more than pay for itself within the first year when one considers the high cost of bread products these days. And the time invested… well, it just might be years of quality health for you and your children that you end up reaping. Grinding your own grains and making your own breads, muffins, pastas, and desserts certainly requires planning ahead and perhaps a slower-paced life style, but from all the studies and articles that have come out recently about the typical American’s “life on the go”, that actually doesn’t sound like a bad idea health-wise, either.

Whole grains are good for more than just grinding into flour, however. Almost any grain or seed can be sprouted for added nutrients and flavor and mixed right into your bread dough, or sprinkled over salads and sandwiches. Read more about sprouts!

But you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from your midst. There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; and I will fulfill the number of your days. – Exodus 23:25-26

-- From my friend Elizabeth. Many thanks to her for allowing me to re-post it here!

Cooking Tips: How to obtain superior results when cooking

1. Use a good recipe.

You could be the world's best cook, but if you are using a faulty (or simply disgusting!) recipe, you won't like the results. I find that the best recipes are ones that have become family favorites. Few people possess the absolute best recipe for everything, but most people do have a few really great recipes that have become everyone's favorites.

Ask people for their favorites. When retrieving recipes online, look for recipes that have been reviewed by other people and are highly rated. If you eat something that someone else made and you really love it, ask them if you can have their recipe! Most people are delighted to be asked for their recipe! I know I personally consider it to be a high compliment. ;)

2. Use good ingredients.

Always try to use the freshest and highest-quality ingredients possible. (And preferably, the exact ingredients that your recipe calls for!) Sometimes good-quality ingredients are more expensive. Often, if you know what you're looking for, you can purchase something that's better for less money. How?

Well, for example, freshly ground black pepper is much more flavorful than the pre-ground black pepper, and peppercorns are usually the same price as ground pepper (per pound), so all you need is a pepper grinder, and you can have high-quality freshly ground black pepper at the same price.

Hurry, hurry, hurry! ;) 

3. Allow plenty of time.

The "preparation time" listed for recipes tends to be the time required under ideal circumstances (e.g. you have made the recipe before, you know where all the ingredients are and can locate and measure them quickly, etc.). Whenever you are making a new recipe for the first time, start early so you can take the time to follow your recipe accurately and not miss anything. Even if you are a quick and experienced cook, it never hurts to allow extra time.

You also don't want to be rushing through the preparation of your foods, having to turn up the heat to boil things quickly or cook them faster. Some things can be hurried, yes, but many meals are ruined from haste. "Quick cooking" should be the result of either a simple recipe or experience in the kitchen, and not result in burned foods. ;)

4. Think ahead.

If you're making a new recipe, be sure to read through the recipe to see if you have all the ingredients. Your recipe might also call for something at room temperature that you need to thaw or set out ahead of time. If you have a microwave, you might be able to soften cream cheese at the last minute, but it saves time and hassle (and produces better results overall!) if you just think ahead and just set it on the counter to soften.


5. Use enough salt or other seasonings.

If your mexican foods are tasting bland, try adding some hot sauce; even if you don't like extremely hot foods, a little hot sauce (we like Tapatio!) will add some flavor. If your gravy needs some more flavor, try adding black pepper or some (MGS-free, hopefully!) bouillon. For heavy tomato-based foods like chili or tomato soup, we like a little white or brown sugar added.

However, the main "seasoning" that is sometimes overlooked (or simply forgotten!) is salt. Having the perfect amount of salt is essential to producing great-tasting meals. It's best if you are able to actually sample your food as you are cooking to determine what the perfect amount of salt is. If you have had a lot of experience in the kitchen, you might know how to estimate how much salt various things need. For example, we tend to like extra salt in things like gravies or white sauces and potato soups. Still, it's good to taste your food to be sure it's seasoned correctly.

If you taste your soup or gravy and it seems to be missing something, try adding a little salt and tasting again. Often an "only okay" meal can be transformed into a "great" meal with a little table salt!

6. Follow recipes exactly.

Yes, I know, I don't do this. But my food doesn't always turn out great. My lasagna gets watery, or my bread dough is too sticky (since I use the bread machine to knead it ;D). My food might still taste good, but when I take the time to follow a recipe accurately, the results are even better.

If you're like me, and you hate measuring everything and following every little instruction, then you may just have to go through some trial and error to discover what's okay to "fudge" and what's not. ;) When you've done a lot of cooking, eventually you learn that melted butter won't always work when a recipe says "softened butter", and that it's not always okay to just mix the ingredients in whatever order you feel like mixing them. And if it doesn't say to use an electric mixer, yet you beat it on HI for 5 minutes (because you hate stirring ;D), depending on what you're making, it just might not turn out like it should. ;)

7. And lastly, good technique.

I put this one last, because it really isn't essential to cooking. We all started out as beginners at some time, and learning good technique is a result of years of practice.

Being experienced at, say, rolling out pie crust, will produce better pies. But don't ever be discouraged by your inexperience. If you need some cooking help, find someone who has had experience at making bread, canning, making pies, or whatever you wish to learn, and spend an afternoon learning from them. There are some great online videos and tutorials, if you have the time to study them, but I think the easiest way to learn cooking techniques is from hands-on, in-person help. If you're learning by yourself, start small (bake homemade muffins rather than homemade pies!) and gradually learn to make new things!

Another great apple recipe: Apple Brownies!

  Here's another wonderful autumn dessert: Apple Brownies. Now, before you start imagining chewy chocolate brownies with apples inside, relax! These aren't chocolate at all, but they have a wonderful brownie-like texture! You can see a picture of them at the recipe. They taste even better than they look!

My mom has made these apple brownies for years, and often gets asked for her recipe. They're a great lunchbox treat or afternoon snack. We like ours well-browned, so they're not extremely chewy, but you can bake them to whatever texture you like. If you want an easy and delicious apple dessert recipe, try Apple Brownies!

First apple recipe of the week: Quick Apple Coffee Cake!

Quick Apple Coffee Cake recipe

Today's apple recipe is a delicious quick apple coffee cake! I made this a couple weeks ago, and we all really enjoyed it. It's a soft, cinnamon-y quick-cake with apples on top, and it's easy to make, too! We were given some flavorful cooking apples and this was one of the things I made which used them. If you want a fast dessert or an afternoon snack, this coffee cake is great served warm or cold!

I love apples. I think most people do! They're so fun to cook with. Perfect Homemade Apple Pie is probably my favorite way to eat apples, followed by apple crisp. We also like to add fresh chopped apples to our morning oatmeal. There are so many ways to serve apples. If I had more time I'd make more apple recipes and take pictures to share with everyone! ;)

New Ebook from Crystal at BiblicalWomanhood.com!

Simply Centsible Breakfasts ebook by Crystal Paine 

 My friend Crystal just released a new ebook of easy and inexpensive breakfast recipes and tips! This ebook includes 14 pages of all their family favorites, and she even has two recipes in there that I gave her before she was married! :D 

Currently this ebook is available for just $2.97! You can read more details and purchase a copy at Crystal's website, Biblical Womanhood!

If you link to Tammysrecipes.com

Okay friends, I need your help! I'm terribly behind in many different things, and one of them is getting my links page set up. I figured out how to do it, and I'm all excited about getting it filled out! I can't believe it's taken me so long!

I know a number of you link to this website on the sidebars of your blogs, or on your journals. If you link to me, will you please contact me with your blog or website's address so I can link back to you? Thank you so much!!

Runaways!

We took a walk a few days ago, and Yehoshua insisted on pushing the stroller. They went in the ditch a couple times before I took over. 

Yehoshua and Eliyahu try to escape during our walk...

Yehoshua is his same old mischievous self these days, and more and more we catch him involving Eliyahu in his mischief. Yesterday we caught them BOTH going up the stairs. Eliyahu was only on the second step, thankfully! I guess our baby gates aren't going down anytime soon!!

Eliyahu wanted to drive their getaway vehicle, but had to taste the steering wheel first.

Yehoshua talked to Eliyahu and explained that drivers can't eat the steering wheel. Eliyahu decided to eat his drawstring pants instead.

Eliyahu figured out how to eat while driving, and Yehoshua kindly allowed him to keep one hand on the steering wheel.

This is as far as the door would go shut with them both inside there. Eliyahu sure does have a blast with Yehoshua. Thinks he's one of the "big boys" now. :D

Washing Machine Woes

Okay, so, I loaded in the diapers, added some soap, and started the washer. I went back upstairs to take care of the children, leaving the washer to run as usual. (Have I ever mentioned how thankful I am for modern washing machines? I love all the work mine does did for me!)

Not long after, we heard a very loud grinding noise. At first I thought it was from the factory across the street, since they're occasionally loud when a truck unloads. This was different than normal, though, so I looked out the window... nope, no truck... as I walked past the basement door, I realised that the sound was coming from the basement. Oh no!!

I rushed down and turned off the washer. I felt around to be sure nothing was caught in the agitator, and subsequently tried running the washer on just about any and every setting I could use, and nothing would work: just the loud grinding noise.

So, I fished out all the diapers and wrung them out. I kind of swished and cleaned them while I was at it. It was fun. I think I could do this by hand. I'll have to try it tomorrow. I'll at least be saving electricity by washing them by hand and hanging them outside to dry! :D

And the children and I spent the afternoon at my mom's house, visiting with her, my sisters, and my grandma, and washing laundry (and we even hung it out there!).

We're hoping it's nothing serious, but if it is, oh well! Washer problems are sure better than car problems, at least in my book! ;)

New poll and energy bar idea

Our current poll question is: How frequently do you try a new recipe? If you haven't already done so, please go vote! :)

Thank you to everyone who has been leaving recipe reviews... they're always so fun to read!

I made energy bars yesterday, and tried an idea left from Lisa_iowa in a review at the bottom of the recipe, which was to put the bars in one pan instead of two. My jelly roll pans are about 10.5" x 15", which isn't exactly huge, and so an entire recipe of energy bars was difficult to squeeze into the pan.

I might have just put it on two pans after all, except that I had gotten the bright idea to make a double batch of the energy bars, and use both sheets. I get tired of making energy bars every week or two, so I figured these extra-thick bars would be my solution! ;)

So, I pressed them in, and it worked! I did have to increase the cooking time by about 10 minutes, but they turned out wonderfully! Yay! I may just do that again! :) Thanks, Lisa! ;)

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