full

I think I’m still stuffed from Thanksgiving meals.  Both Scott and I have family close to us, so we have two rounds of food on Thanksgiving every year.  Turkey, stuffing (or “dressing” here in the south), mashed potatoes, corn, squash, green bean casserole, brussel sprouts, cabbage, homemade mac and cheese, collard greens, sweet potato soufflé, deviled eggs, rolls, and too many desserts to count.  I’m not kidding, people.  All of that food in my body this week.

I didn’t take one single posed and planned photo with a real camera.  But life is full these days – in every sense of that word.  Spare hands are rare and spare moments even more so.

I did manage to catch Jude cooking in his underwear on Thanksgiving morning, mimicing me as I baked an apple cake.

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And I snapped a quick photo of Norah and I together before we headed out for family meal number one. I was trying to make her smile on cue, and you can see a glimmer of a grin.  Our hair is the exact same shade right now, and I love it.

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And Black Friday? You shoppers are nuts. I spent half the day in pajamas and had an extra cup of coffee and snuggled with family.

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I have so much to be thankful for this year. My health and that of my family members first and foremost. I feel like 2012 has been a rough year for so many people I know with health-related difficulties for themselves or loved ones.  To be here and healthy and able to live each day unencumbered with worry for my own body or those of my husband and children is a gift I don’t recognize enough.

So I am saying it now. For my health, the food on my table, my home, my friends old and new, and my tight family.  I am thankful this week and always.

I’m also thankful for this apple cake recipe which tastes even better for breakfast the next day.  (Cake for breakfast.  That’s okay at Thanksgiving, right!?)

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Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze  (from The Gift of Southern Cooking, by Scott Peacock)

For the cake:
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 apples, preferably organic peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

For the glaze:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour an 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

In a mixing bowl, beat sugars, oil and vanilla until well-blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and gradually add to the sugar and eggs, mixing just until well-blended.

Fold in the apples and pecans. Pour into the pan.

Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours (begin to check after 50 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan while preparing the glaze.  (I poke holes in the cake with a toothpick or butter knife so the glaze and run throughout.)

To make the glaze,in a medium pan, melt the butter. Add sugar, salt. and cream. Stir until blended and cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Increase heat and boil for about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool slightly until glaze begins to thicken. Spoon over cake.

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