Showing posts with label thrift finds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thrift finds. Show all posts

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Torta Soffice di Mele {Light Apple Cake}

Hello everyone! Just when I thought I was returning to my blog...my world have seemed to have fallen off a large cliff, and it was not so easy to climb back. Since the first week of last October of 2015, everything have seemed to change...sudden death of my beloved older sister Anna (Aniko) in Cleveland...who I have blogged about one year ago...my weird and bizarre (at home) accident, ripping my upper arm open...(due to falling over my simple little Pilates chair in the middle of the night...goes to show you that if you can't see to go to the bathroom...have a 'night light'...which I do have but did not turn on! (some of those exercise equipment do have sharp edges that can actually, certainly injure you. Got rid of it after having it next to my bed for six years!
Spending two weeks in the hospital, due to allergies to 3 different antibiotics did not help either for the wound to heal, instead...making it worst for infections. I ended up having to be hooked up to a wound vacuum machine, at the hospital, and using a smaller version of it at home...having a nurse come out every day to change bandage! So, October and November of last year was the worst 2 months of my life...I must admit honestly. December was slightly better, and I went back to my beloved home town re-visiting my family and painfully missing my dear sister Aniko who has left this world but her presence is forever there at the house, and in our hearts!
It seems like I have abandoned my blog...which actually I did, in a sense that I did not even want to peak in to see what's going on; not just with my blog, but with others' as well! I owe all of you friends, and followers a huge apology...not visiting, and commenting on your beautiful blogs. To make things worst...I have lost nearly 100 followers, not blaming them for leaving because I was a 'no show'...simple as that! Since then, my photos have show up regularly and 'thrift' blogs...yet, another 'food and thrift' blog...taking away from entering into my blog...which is totally different. I tried to change the name, but will have to really start all over, perhaps and have my own domain?! which will co-host it, not worth the hassle! Besides the familiar name I decided to chose close to the 'food' name is taken by another blogger some time ago...so I will remain with the same title that I chose close to 6 years ago, and that's ...that!
I made this Italian apple cake last September, and was going to post it, and I did not get a chance. Photos are not the best, taken with my cell phone camera, but then again...I was not anticipating to want to post about it, so I did not bother taking better pictures with my camera...and of course, cloudy and dreary day did not help either...although, the sun does peak out just about every day here in S. Florida, even if for an hour or less which is really nice! The cake is light, buttery, and so very moist and delicious!
Since the last few months, I have been quite active on Facebook, keeping up with some of my food blogger friends, and old and new friends, as well. As for family, not so active...for some reason, they don't want to associate with their own...due to 'exposure', I guess, not wanting the world to know 'who belongs to whom'?! My daughter never, ever posts anything about me, and has told me, she wants to keep her Facebook page, and friends private...knowing that her friends know who her family, i.e. (mom) is...I suppose it's better this way!

Now, I have totally gotten off the subject about the Light Apple Cake! I made this amazing cake withe the fresh apples, at my sister's house when I was there last October, and I was so thrilled that she absolutely loved it, and wrote down the recipe...but sadly she passed away one week later!

Torta Soffice Di Mele{Light Apple Cake}
2 1/2 cups flour
2/3 sugar
3 eggs
2/3 melted, unsalted butter
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/3 cup milk
3 apples (golden delicious or granny smith work well)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except the apples. Mix until smooth batter is formed.
Butter and flour a 9″ spring form pan. Pour in the batter. Peal and core apples, then slice thinly and arrange in a circle pattern on top of batter. Apples may sink slightly into the batter.
Bake the cake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove room oven and let cake cool slightly on wire rack. Remove the pan sides and slip the cake onto a serving plate. Serve at room temperature.
The only addition I made, I added 1 teaspoon baking soda, juice of 1 lemon as well, 1 tteaspoon cinnamon powder ( for me, cinnamon goes well with apples, and it's a must have. I also changed it to 1/2 cup of cup of milk, for softer texture!


Our last 'selfie'...together, one week later
on Oct. 7th, 2015
she collapsed and 'died'!
I made the Torta Soffice di Mele the second time a month later in Cleveland, for my sister, and I do think it turned out better than the first time. I added the sliced apples in half of the batter, and added the remaining sliced apples on the top, and also sprinkled it with a mixture of cinnamon, and sugar. The additional added ingredients made it lighter, and not like a pound cake batter, which is also good, but I prefer a light cake. Pound cake is...pound cake, but this recipe is supposed to be a (Light) version, which the title says so, therefore I had to adjust it. Not every recipe is 'true'...so you have to make it 'tried and true'

I did miss all of you dear blogger friends, and I will try my best to keep blogging, which is a good 'therapy'...and NOT to be occupied with thoughts of sadness...life has to continue, which is proper to say, and most importantly we all have families and loved ones that need us here, right now. Everything in it's earthly, and heavenly order must be decided and done to the best to our ability, and... capability. Heavenly matters are, and will be decided by a 'higher power' at the right time when it is decided by God!
Love, and Peace,
Elisabeth

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bacon-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

As you can see, there are two Bacon-Pineapple Upside-Down cakes on this photo; don't be fooled, on the left, is the page of the Food Network magazine, and on the right is my actual cake! I must say, I have never...well, almost never made a cake the turned out almost identical as the picture from a magazine or book...and I'm also proud to share the 'source' where the recipe comes from originally. Most food blogger...and I do say MOST are not willing to share the source of their recipes even if they adapted it from a source...which is even better because you get to take your own 'twist' on it, and share that as well.

Although in the 1970's we all just wrote down on little index cards recipes that we exchanged with one-another, and who knew where they originated from...some of them were 'hand-me-downs' and some were clippings from magazines, but virtually no one knew the actual source! In the 90's, when I got my first computer in 1995 and had the Windows 95, my neighbor, who was more advanced with computer knowledge even a few years prior, suggested that I should type up all my hand written recipes and create a file where I could easily find them. I spent hours and hours typing (good thing I took typing in high school) ...so I didn't have to peck with my index finger...lol!

Well, since then I got rid of most of my handwritten recipes...and I kind of feel bad about that!
Fast forward, here we are in 2014 with some pretty advanced cameras, and we are not only blogging about food, but taking some amazing food photos, as well! I do admit one thing, the only way we can mention that our recipes are original...and I do mean original creation, is that from memory, remembering a certain 'staple dish' with the ingredients we already kept in our memories; but than, we just have to remember the measurements...that is how our mothers and grandmothers cooked...a pinch here, and a dash, or just 'eyeballing' the liquid measurements. When it came to baking...they would pull out an old ratty cookbook, or a yellowed piece of handwritten paper when it came to baking...am I correct, or not?
All I can tell you that this is the best Pineapple-Upside-Down Cake you've ever had in your life...that is, if you LOVE bacon like most of us do. Forget about the calories, the fat, and cholesterol, just for once, and splurge a little! I got so hooked on the bacon dish and dessert creations just from that Food Network magazine; the bacon issue, that I plan to study it well, to make more recipes from it!

Especially, when you can buy a package of a very good quality bacon, and get the 2nd package for FREE...you certainly have a bargain for sure! Our local Publix Supermarket always, but always has the 'buy one'...and 'get one free' of so many different products every week, that you'd be amazed how much you can save!

Bacon-Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
recipe, courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Ingredients
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp, 9 to 11 minutes; remove to paper towels. Finely chop and set aside.
Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from the skillet. Add 4 tablespoons butter and melt over low heat. Pour into a 9-inch-round cake pan, tilting the pan to coat the bottom. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter mixture.
Place a pineapple ring in the middle of the pan, then arrange the remaining rings around the outside, overlapping them slightly if necessary. Sprinkle about 3 tablespoons of the chopped bacon in the middle of the rings and between them.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat the remaining 1 stick butter and the granulated sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until the batter is smooth, about 15 more seconds. Fold in the remaining chopped bacon.
Spread the batter over the pineapple in the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and let cool 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a platter. Let cool at least 1 hour before serving.

Always use the freshest and ripest pineapple you can find...these were already pre-cut into logs, and I sliced them about 1/2 inch slices.
Fry 6 slices of bacon in a large skillet, on medium heat, and lay them on paper towel to soak up the excess grease.
On top of the stove, add the light brow sugar, the butter, and reserved bacon fat and let the melt down. Swoosh the pan to smooth it out. ( I used a Le Creuset enameled large cast iron skillet..
('thrift find' from Goodwill) a few years ago, for $3.99...don't even try to find one in such perfect brand new condition today...and forget about the old price!
Lay the pineapple slices carefully over the brown sugar mixture...you can overlap them slightly if they don't fit right. (You can use a cast iron skillet, or a heavy duty skillet. Cake pan also works well, but you have to transfer the brown sugar mixture from the skillet that you melted the sugar in)
Chop the bacon really fine...chances are, you may have a small amount left over!
Fill the holes of the pineapple slices, and all the empty spaces around them.
With an electric hand mixer, or stand-up mixer, mix the cake ingredients according to the recipe!
With a rubber spatula, carefully spread the batter on top of the pineapple slices.
The batter should look smooth, and spread all the way to cover the pineapple pieces.
Here's the finished result...perfectly baked, golden brown. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes then with a dull knife loosen around the edges. Place a large platter over the top, and carefully turn it upside-down. Wait at least one hour before cutting it. ( my cake was done in about 50 minutes) May not need 1 hr. to bake according to your oven.
Just to refresh your memory, after one hour of resting the cake...can't wait to cut into it...and share!
Moist, delicious, sweet and savory...hope you will try this! xo



Saturday, February 8, 2014

Spicy Chickpea Soup with Egg Noodles

Homemade Spicy Chickpea Soup, from 'scratch'...you bet!
It's been almost a week now, since I last photographed the beautiful beach 'sunrise'. I just did not have the desire to even photograph anything I have cooked or baked. It takes time, effort, and either the proper light for food photos, you should not even waste your time. Both of my children and I have started to have dinner once or twice a week since a year ago...a new 'tradition'... (just us, and the four grandchildren, on a weeknight... it's really a special event for us. to have this time and reminisce about the past when they were little...sharing stories for my grand kids!
Unfortunately, some Nostalgic stories, and memories do 'pull my heartstrings'...seeing them as adults with their young children; watching the years passing by before our eyes. You have to keep in mind that the past no longer has a 'life force'...IT IS OVER~...it's the current situation that is in your hands. You can reminisce all you want about the past...regret the things that went wrong...it is the only part of your life that you cannot change!

 I realized that Nostalgia does not...has not make us happier...dwelling on the past Our life is like 'chapters' in a novel...a 'never ending novel' learning from that long journey we took...leaving the past behind...greeting each morning as we awaken. Learning lessons of the past...being who you are today, and not who you were 'yesterday'! Our past should not define us who we were yesterday!


I felt the need to make a soup, today... I'm so glad I had all the ingredients in pantry, fridge, freezer, and cupboard...just had to make the decision...bake, or cook something comforting...so soup is always the right choice, with a sandwich!

Homemade soup of any kind is so easy to make...just have either homemade broth, canned, or in a carton...chicken, or vegetable broth, onion, garlic, celery, parsley, carrots, tomatoes, and canned beans, or frozen vegetables of your choice.
Here's my easy method:

Saute chopped onion, 2 cloves sliced, or chopped garlic, along with chopped celery in reg. olive, or vegetable oil.(also, a few scraped and sliced carrots) Add crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, cumin powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper to taste...

 (I didn't have fresh parsley) 1 Tbsp. of paprika paste, (tomato paste works well, or 1 Tbsp. of  paprika powder) 1 bay leaf...saute until onion is translucent, add a small amount of broth (32 ozs. in total broth)..Also, you can add frozen sliced carrots, abt 12 ozs. (I added frozen crinkle sliced carrots)....let the vegetable cook for another 15 min.

Add fresh chopped tomatoes...or canned diced tomatoes...tomato sauce works well,
You can add 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce in place of the (canned, or fresh diced tomato...I used Italian POMI strained tomatoes, about 1/2 container.

 Bring it to a boil, and now, add 2 cans of chickpeas, or garbanzo (same thing)...let it boil again, and add about 1/4 pkg of a 1lb. bag of egg, (or no yolk noodles)...let the noodles cook right in the soup for about 12 min. and it will be perfectly cooked...and delicious! When soup cools down, you can save them in plastic containers...even better re-heated~

I'm sharing with some really awesome 'thrift' finds with you...which I haven't in a while. I have a friend that does not approve of  buying someone's 'used' things...but the reality of it, and the most fun of it is that the majority of these wonderful useful things are donated by people who have paid 'good money' for the stuff, and most of the items are almost...if not 'new'...or barely used.
Every item has a 'story' behind it...where it came from, and why?...it was donated!

Just look at the bottom of this adorable little saucepan...LE CREUSET...made in France~
I love, love, Le Creuset pots, and pans. I bought a lasagna pan, and a skillet in the past few years (gave it to my daughter, she loves it)
The quality of this brand is 'unmatched'...cost 'an arm and a leg'...so expensive. very heavy cast iron, coated with super heavy enamel...food just tastes better, in Le Creuset. This particular little saucepan is an 'oldie, but goodie'...cost @ Goodwill, $6.99


I posted about these whimsical waiters, carrying bottles of champagne...by artist; Guy Bulut


I have this awesome and 'conversation' print hanging on my dining room wall for at least 3yrs now. Very well mounted, and framed, even with the wire hanger on the back. ($24.99)





So, what are the chances of finding another 'Bulut' print...3yrs later?...waiters in apron...in a Paris Café...I love this matching print...so well mounted and framed....couldn't just hang it simply...had to have it drilled with 'heavy duty hanger'...what a superb find...($29.99) ...worth so much more, and in great condition.










 A close up of this amazing print...such a 'conversation peace'...makes you feel like you're sitting in that French Café...just where I would love to be someday...soon!










 
Well, enough posting for now...I'll be watching the Winter Olympics from Russia ...and all day tomorrow!
Have a wonderful weekend! xo