Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Favorite Recipe for Fall: Fresh Apple Cake


It's now officially Fall, and I'm so glad!  I'm happy be joining a group of lovely bloggers for the "Fall in Love with Your Home" tour.

After a long, hot Southern summer, Autumn puts me in the mood to bake. And boy, do I have a wonderful recipe to share with you today.


 

I've long been a fan of Fall baked goods that feature pumpkin, like my favorite pumpkin bread.  This year I wanted to broaden my repertoire, so I searched for the very best apple cake I could find. Hands down, the winner is my friend Sheana's Apple Cake with Maple Glaze.

The recipe is not difficult or complicated.  This is simple, basic baking--with glorious results.  Give it a try--you won't be disappointed!

To start, preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  Yes, you read that right--this cake bakes low and slow. Grease and flour a tube pan.

Next, peel and chop several apples, any variety you like.  I used Fuji, and I chopped them in my food processor to save time and to avoid big chunks, which I dislike in baked goods, but you chop your apples however you like them.  I used three and half apples to end up with three cups of chopped apple.

Then mix together 1 cup oil (I use canola), 2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Combine in mixer until well blended (1-2 minutes).

Blend 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon into batter.

Add 3 cups chopped apples and 3 cups flour.  Mix until well blended.  Batter will be very thick, almost like a dough.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Bake at 300 degrees for 60 minutes, then check for doneness.  Now, this part is important and requires a bit of attention and patience.  You want the cake to be done but not overbaked.  Add 3-5 minutes of cooking time and continue to check for doneness each time.   My oven required about one hour and 10 minutes of baking time, but all ovens are different.  Cake is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Do not, do not, do not overbake.

Remove from oven and cool in pan on a cooling rack. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes.  Use a knife to loosen the edges of the cake before turning out onto a plate.  When completely cool, drizzle with maple glaze.

To make glaze, sift 1 to 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar into a microwave-safe dish.  Add maple syrup plus one teaspoon maple extract to make a paste.  Heat for 30 seconds or so in microwave to make a thin, pourable glaze.  Drizzle or pour immediately on cake to desired thickness.  Glaze will harden as it cools.

As you can see, I like more than just a drizzle of glaze.  The maple flavor complements the apple beautifully.



Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.



Try it!  It's easy and absolutely delicious!

**I'm joining Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesday.**

Fall in Love With Your Home Tour  

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Grace at Home No. 173


Hello, friends!  Welcome to the weekly Grace at Home party.  I'm so glad you're here for our first party of Autumn 2015!

Here are some features from last week's party:

Jody at Southern Seazons shared her front porch bench all decorated for Fall.  I love the way this demonstrates that you can decorate just a small area and yet create a big impact!


Cindy at Dwellings added fragrance to her house with candles, and she shared several tips for how to do that in a beautiful way.


Debbie from Debbie-Dabble was inspired by a magazine photo and made her own autumn topiary, and she shared the complete step-by-step process.  She made it look so easy!


I was grateful that Jenna at 24 Cottonwood Lane shared a whole bunch of slow cooker recipes for Fall.  I love using my crock pot in the autumn!


Rebekah at Ready to Be Offered shared the story of one of my favorite hymns, "Come Down, O Love Divine."  Beautiful!


Those are just a few of my favorites.  A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button (the code is right over in my sidebar).  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Create a welcoming garage entrance


One of the things I most like to do in my home is to create a feeling of welcome.  I especially enjoy making the front porch say "Welcome!" to everyone who visits here.

Unfortunately, those of us who live here seldom use the front door.  We enter through the garage door, which greeted us with dingy paint and not much else.  So I decided to do something about that.



Of course, I knew that whatever I did needed to be extremely practical.  This is not the spot for decor that can get in the way when we're bringing in bags of groceries!

I started by putting a fresh coat of white paint on the door and giving the steps a good scrubbing.  I also bought a plain coir mat for the foot of the steps.

Then I used my word processing software to create lettering for the front door.  I simply printed off the words I wanted it in the fonts I liked, flipped the pieces of paper over, scribbled on the back of the lettering with a lead pencil, and then taped the papers to the door and traced the outline of the words onto the door.  (Click here to read all about that process.)  Here's how the lettering appeared on the door:



If I had a craft cutter, I would have cut vinyl letters for the door.  Or I could have ordered custom vinyl lettering.  But I like this process because it allows me to choose any fonts I like and to print them in any size I like--the options are endless!--and it's free!

I'm afraid that I'm not very good with a small paintbrush, so I colored in the letters with a black Sharpie marker.

Then to give the steps a little pizazz, I found a tan craft paint that was about the color of the coir mat I'd purchased.  I painted a "runner" on the steps with the tan paint (the dark brown on the sides is the original color of the steps).  I used three of the tiny bottles of craft paint, which was my only expenditure for this project other than the coir mat.  When the tan was completely dry, I used painter's tape to mark off 1 1/2 stripes on each side of the tan runner and painted those with black craft paint. This process was painstaking but easy.  Here's a close-up:


Since I had simply painted the steps with craft paint, I figured it wouldn't be very durable.  So when the paint was completely dry, I sprayed the steps with clear urethane.  

It's not perfect, as you can plainly see, but it doesn't have to be perfect to be great, does it?  Here are the steps with the coir mat in place:

The mat is great for wiping our feet, and I love the way our humble steps look with their painted runner!  

Now when we get out of our cars to come inside the house, here's our entrance:


Not bad for less than $20 and a few hours' work, I think.  Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!

Do you do anything to make your garage door a welcoming entrance?  I'd love to hear!

I'm joining these parties:
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Your Turn to Shine at Bless 'Er House
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Grace at Home No. 172


Happy Thursday, friends!  The weeks are flying by, and it's time for the Grace at Home party.  I'm glad you're here!

Here are some posts that caught my eye last week:

Pam from Everyday Living inspired us to be hospitable--and suggested a beautiful way to make it easy!

Kim from Hunt and Host gave some good advice for making holiday decorating easy and enjoyable.


Bernadette from Barefoot Hippie Girl shared a recipe for Grilled Salmon--a simple recipe, which is just what I need!


Another recipe caught my eye: Holy Moly Chicken from Best of Long Island and Central Florida. I'm always looking for good chicken recipes.


The events of September 11, 2001 were on many of our minds last week.  Cheryl from the blog Of Ruffles and Rifles wrote a poignant memoir of her own experience.


Those are just a few of my favorites.  A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button (the code is right over in my sidebar).  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Grace at Home No. 171


Welcome to the weekly Grace at Home party!  I'm so glad you're here.

Here are some posts from last week that caught my eye:

Jamie from Anderson + Grant created these beautiful pumpkins from inexpensive plastic pumpkins. A great, totally DIY technique!


Carolyn from Our Gilded Abode showed us how to make these beautiful re-usable candle sleeves.


Michelle from Dandelion Patina shared her technique for making decorative acorns from sweaters and coconuts!


Laura from Harvest Lane Cottage encouraged us with her post about living in reduced circumstances.


As for me, I've been reflecting on what a whirlwind these past few months have been, and how my husband and I are now empty nesters.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Those are just a few of my favorites.  A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button (the code is right over in my sidebar).  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!




Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Empty nest, full heart


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Grace at Home No. 170


Welcome, friends!  It's time for our weekly Grace at Home party, and can you believe it's already September?!

Last week's party was a great one, and I have several features to share with you.

First, some Fall decor.  Carolyn from Our Gilded Abode created these cones for Fall.  I really like these!


Tara from Lehman Lane made these beautiful velvet pumpkins--for less than $2.00 each!


Patti from Pandora's Box shared how she dries herbs from her garden for great little gifts.  It's much easier than I would have thought!


Shelia from Note Songs created the perfect sewing room for her sweet personality.


Suzanne from Simply Suzanne's shared a recipe for Angel Lush cake.  Doesn't this look delicious?


And Debbie from Blogger Loves the King offers some great suggestions for finding time with God. Very helpful!


Those are just a few of my favorites.  A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button (the code is right over in my sidebar).  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!