Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baked Apple Crisp

I have now been in Boston for three months to the date. It has been exciting; it has been terrifying; it has been eye-opening. I miss my friends from home terribly, but I've made some great ones here already. I hate not seeing my parents but up here I can see my sister. I left a job that was comfortable and started one that tested new skills. Everything changed but really, everything stayed the same. It's true what they say, you know. Things happen when you least expect it. When you feel like you're about to give up, you usually find a breakthrough. When you think you've had enough, you sometimes get a second wind. In order to get to this point, you have to surrender to discomfort and maybe even failure. But it will turn up. It will, I promise.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. When life is uncertain, ground yourself in the things that fill you up. Friends, family, sport, books, whatever. To me, among other things, the methodical whirl of my mixer is certain. The knowledge that butter and sugar warm is the best combination ever is certain. The happiness that comes out of watching others enjoy my masterpiece is certainty. In a world full of ups and downs and scary dark corners, take comfort in what is for sure. Perhaps this simple apple crisp is just that. It was for me.

Baked Apple Crisp
4 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples (about 5 small/4 medium)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Heat oven to 375ºF. Butter the bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan.
2. Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients except cream until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.
3. Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tende. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownie Bundt Cake

Today is September 21, 2011. Today is a very special day. Thirty-one years ago today, my sister was born. Twenty-four years ago today, my sister was not a very happy camper because her birthday gift was… drumroll please… me!
When we were younger, Vanessa and I fought all the time. I mean all-of-the-time. I thought she was the greatest thing since sliced bread and she loathed my existence. Note to any parents to be: don’t wait seven years to have a second child. It’s just cruel.

But alas, as time has gone on, Vanessa has become my closest friend and one of the few people in life I can trust unconditionally. No one, and I mean no one, can take the place of a sister, and if you have a sister, then you know this to be true. If you don’t have a sister, well, I’m sorry. You will never quite comprehend the bond, the friendship and the love that one can bring.
Happy birthday big sis! I made your favorite.

Peanut Butter Brownie Bundt Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 cups peanut butter chips
Peanut Butter Glaze (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 10 inch Bundt pan. Make sure to have all ingredients at room temperature.
2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix until well combined. Make a well in the center of the powders and pour in eggs, sour cream, oil and water. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Stir in peanut butter chips until well incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before glazing.

Peanut Butter Glaze
4 teaspoons water
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

1. Stir together the water, sugar, and peanut butter until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake and serve.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blog Woes

Eek, I'm a horrible blogger right now.

Good thing even my parents stopped reading this.

I promise I've been cooking more than canned sloppy joe's and hamburger helper. Well... I've been trying.

Alas, I'll be back soon.