Tag Archives: fall

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

27 Nov

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Sorry for delay.  It took me a while to recover from our gigantic meal.  The pie put me over the edge. No really.  Over. The. Edge.

We changed it up a bit this year in our family.  Okay, I changed it up.  I felt we were all old enough (the youngest is now nine) to have one table, to have an actual table setting and to eat at the same time.  With such a crowd and such an age range, we used to sit in various rooms – wherever you could find a seat – rush through a quick grace and eat at lighting speed.  And Grandma ate after we were all nearly finished (by her own choosing, but still).  Well, no longer.

This year I started the change, keeping it simple and organic.

These small flower arrangements were spaced along the table.  I forget where I first saw this idea, but I LOVED it and so did everyone else.  It’s simple, fall-colored flowers in empty pumpkin cans.  Love.

For the place mats, Mom and I cut natural and chocolate brown burlap, which you can find at any fabric store.  We then stamped “Thanksgiving” words along the edge.  For the brown burlap we used gold ink and for the natural burlap we used dark brown.

The last touch was using my leaf cookies as place cards.  The top one is for me and the bottom is for my youngest cousin Michael.  Oldest and youngest grandchildren.  Awww.  Didn’t even mean to do that.

Anyway,  the cookie place cards were actually the only contribution I made to dessert.  Odd, right?!

In any event, I wish you the happiest (belated) Thanksgiving from our table to yours!

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Grandma’s Apple Cake – Fresh Baked Friday!

19 Nov

I know I probably say this a lot, but I’m really serious this time… this is my favorite cake.  Hands down.

My Grandma has been making it for years and I used to ask for it as soon as the air turned crisp and the leaves started to show the slightest bit of color.  Now, I make it as dessert for fall dinners or as a hostess gift around Thanksgiving.

The best part?  It’s comes together super fast.  It does take a bit of time to bake (low and slow), but the batter itself is very easy.  Oh!  AND it gets better after it sits for a day or two.  That means you can make it on Sunday and it will be PERFECT for Thanksgiving dinner!

Start by preparing your bundt pan.  I use baking spray, but you could also use butter and flour.  Your choice.

Peel and cut the apples.  Use whatever kind of baking apple you like.  I used Honeycrisp.  They are my newest apple obsession (although we are on year 3 or 4 so this one might stick).  I’ve used Granny Smith in the past.  It’s really up to you.

As for shape, cut the apples either into thin slices (about 1/4 of an inch thick) or into chunks (again, about 1/4 inch).  It’s really up to you, although I prefer the chunks.  Both are good, just a slight preference.

You want a total of 3 cups of apples (about 3 medium apples)… less but NOT more.  This is very important.  Since apples have so much moisture, more than 3 cups could alter the cake i.e. make the cake fall or not fill out.  So stick to 3 cups or less.

What’s that?  Where can you find this snazzy giant plastic measuring cup?  Pretty sure they don’t make this baby anymore.  Vintage.

Where was I?  Dry ingredients.  Right.  Now mix the dry ingredients.

Sprinkle a little of the flour mixture onto the apples.  This will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.

On to the wet ingredients.  Mix the oil, sugar and eggs.  Add the vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just blended.  The batter will be thick, really thick.  Almost like a dough.  Don’t freak like I do every time I make this.  It’s suppose to be this way.  I promise.

Fold in the apples.

Put everything into the bundt pan.

And bake.

And voila!

I promise, you won’t be disappointed.  It has this AMAZING crust and then a really moist center, with apples running throughout.  It’s delicious.  Seriously delicious.  Might go grab a second piece delicious.

Grandma’s Apple Cake
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3 cups apples (1/4 inch slices or cubes, any baking variety)
3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 ⅓ cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions…

Preheat the oven to 325℉.  Spray or butter and flour bundt pan.

Peel and cut apples.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Sprinkle about ⅛ – ¼ cup of flour onto the apples.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil.  Add the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.  Mix until the ingredients just come together.  Fold in the apples.  Pour into prepared bundt pan.

Bake for 1 ½ hours or until a toothpick is inserted and come out clean.

Source:  Grandma’s kitchen

Custom Cuts: Thank You Cookies Trump Thank You Flowers

2 Nov

A friend of mine – one of my college roommates, in fact – recently contacted me to see if I could help her office out with a thank you basket.  They normally send flowers, but Cait thought “Who wants flowers?  Cookies are so much better!”

After showing a couple of people my blog, it was a go.

Cait and I discussed colors and cookie shapes (is it still “discussed” if it’s through email?  Well, you get the point).  I suggested fall colors.  I know, I’m big on that these days.  But, have you looked outside?  If you live in the mid-Atlantic we are in prime fall leave season, people.  Sorry to my readers in California.  Perpetually green.  Bummer.

Where was I?  Oh, fall colors.  Right.

Then I sent Cait a couple of options for the cookies.  She decided on…

Some fall leaves.  She was obviously looking out her window!

A few houses.  Very appropriate since the basket was for an attorney who helped with the closing of a real estate deal.

And, finally, a couple of large medallions.  To be sure the there was no confusion as to why, to whom or from whom.

Voila!

I will say, I now understand why cookie basket companies use sticks.  There is clearly not a lot of height differential in my little basket here.  That said, I still think it turned out pretty darn cute.  And I love how the basket mimics the fall feel.

Hopefully they were the perfect thank you.  And who needs flowers when we have these leaves?!?

Gobble, Gobble

27 Oct

Do you have a vegetarian in your family?  Someone who doesn’t like poultry?  Yeah, me too (hi Mom!).  Well, Kristina’s Confections has a solution – sugar cookie turkeys.  Everyone can eat them!

I think they are pretty cute.  Well, as cute as turkeys can be.  I love the little polka dot tails.

Speaking of, as I’m sure you noticed, the design for the 2010 Thanksgiving collection is polka dots.  Yes, I know, I use polka dots a lot.  But I think these designs are fun and festive.  Hopefully you agree.

So there you go.  You have now seen the Thanksgiving collection.  What to do with them?  Well, there are a ton of options – place cards for dinner, favors for guests, a dessert platter addition, “thank you” for a teacher, surprise for family far away.  The possibilities are endless!

Be sure to get those orders in early… and no later than November 17!

It’s Acorn-y Kind of Day

26 Oct

Okay, I couldn’t come up with a title for this post… so my mom did.  Wordsmith she is not.

On Friday, I posted about the first Thanksgiving cookies for 2010 – leaves.  And where there are leaves, there are… acorns!  And so you have cookie number two in this year’s fall holiday collection.

I actually searched and searched for this cookie cutter after seeing some cute designs on other blogs.  But, as it goes, some were too small, others oddly shaped.

Then, when I was in Vermont earlier this year, I found it.  The perfect acorn cookie cutter.

I think it was meant to be.

Pile of Leaves

22 Oct

I know.  You have been waiting since September 14 to see the final product.  The torture.  The agony.

But guess what?  It’s here!

Since you have waited so patiently for weeks and weeks and weeks.  Oh, sorry.  Here you go!

This is the first of my 2010 Thanksgiving collection.  Although, these leaves clearly can work for any fall occasion.  Be sure to check back to see the rest of the collection.  I promise, I won’t make you wait weeks and weeks this time!

Custom Cuts: Fall Birthday Boy

20 Oct

Dee, graphic designer extraordinaire and co-conspirator in the Kristina’s Confections origination, needed birthday cookies for a party this weekend.

As a graphic designer, when Dee needs custom cut cookies, she comes to me with a vision – which I love. Don’t get me wrong, I love coming up with my own designs.  But, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s nice when someone does a little of the work for you!

Anyway, the vision was simple – fall colors…

on leaves…

to say “Happy birthday!”…

and to say congratulations too. (There was a lot to celebrate at this one party!)

When they were put all together I thought they looked great and really embodied the essence of fall.

Hopefully the birthday boy agreed!

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