Thursday, April 26, 2012

Coffee Cup Cakes

The Columbian keeps publishing odd little recipes that attract my interest. This week it was these recipes for little coffee cup cakes. The idea is to make little one-serving cakes that you can bake in the microwave. I know,  it may not count as true baking, but it certainly sounds fun, doesn't it? Here's some documentation of the experiment, done in more of a true food-blogger style with some shots of the steps involved.

I decided to try the coffee cup upside-down cake. 

As with 'real' upside-down cakes, this one has fruit at the bottom of the baking dish.

Chopped apples 

The apples are mixed with butter and brown sugar and "baked" in the microwave.

Then it's time to whip up a single-serving of the batter.

Poured into the mug over the apples.

A minute in the microwave does the trick, and voila!--a single serving of upside-down cake.

Flipped out of the cup, with the apples on top. Yum! 

Christina decided to try the coffee cup coffee cake (wait, isn't that kind of redundant?).
Hers had a yummy streusel topping.

Whipping up her batter, which was fairly similar to mine.

Hers puffed quite a bit in the microwave. We giggled as we watched the streusel start sliding down the cup as it 'baked.' 

And there you have it--a single serving coffee cake.


It was interesting making a recipe with such small proportions (1/4 cup of flour, a few drops of vanilla, a couple tablespoons of butter). It made me realize, though, why we usually make recipes in larger quantities (other than, of course, the need to feed more people). Making tiny recipes doesn't eliminate the steps required to make something, just the amount of finished product. By the time you're finished, it's nice to have enough to last for several servings. It makes the whole process seem more worthwhile. 
All the same, it was a fun experiment. We'll probably do it again sometime.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Tulips and Other Signs of Spring

I feel like I take tulip pictures almost every year. But they're kind of hard to resist, aren't they? It's so beautiful the way they glow in the sun. Today I took my annual tulip shots and then ran around in the yard taking pictures of other things that caught my eye.

This tulip below is a "magic tulip"--it changes color over time.

More spring bulbs.

I know moss doesn't really fit the spring category, but it has its own kind of beauty!

 My golden raspberry plants are sending out new buds--I can't wait till they start producing berries!

These pansies are survivors from last year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More adventures in the kitchen

 This time, I was not the cook, but a recipe that requires a butane torch seems like it ought to be blogged about.
While our family doesn't really have any particular Easter traditions, we usually get a ham from the Honey-Baked store. Quite simply, they taste the best. This year, Mom wondered whether we couldn't avoid the hassle of going to the Honey-Baked store and save some money by finding a copy-cat recipe and doing it ourselves. I think she did a great job. It may not have tasted exactly like the hams from Honey-Baked, but it was quite good in its own right. So here was the process.

First, cook it in the oven while basting it...

Then glaze it...

Now for the exciting part! Mom and Dad fired up the butane torch, and Mom ran it over the ham to set up the glaze. It was a little bit like the process for melting the sugar on creme brulee.

The finished product.

If you're interested in giving a recipe like this a try, you can find lots of versions of it by doing a simple Google search. The particular one Mom used is here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

NANC Conference

Sorry, no pictures for this post... only this logo. "Alright, Ashley, then what's with the logo?" This is who I spent my weekend with! NANC is a biblical counseling organization. They do wonderful conferences, and I have the opportunity to attend one that is being held in the Hillsboro area. The training that these conferences provide is meant to enable individuals to better apply the teaching of the Bible to their own lives and also to teach them how to help others find the answers the Bible offers for life's difficult problems. It's not just a conference for those who've already got it's for people looking for change in their own lives, and who want to pass on what they learn to others.
I can't recommend it highly enough. If you're interested in coming, it's not too late. There's two more weekends coming up in April and May, and NANC would like some more people to register. They'll send CD's of the first weekend so that you can catch up. They're only taking registrations this week, so if you're interested, go ahead and call the number on this website.