I made it out alive - all of my papers and presentations are in, and I'm home for winter break, woo!  Expect many cookie recipes to follow :).  In the meantime, I will be sleeping and leaving you with two things: 


First, an excellent all-purpose holiday cake recipe that's extremely versatile, lasts for quite awhile (useful for making ahead of time!), and is absolutely delicious.

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Second, my boyfriend Chris just started a Beer of the Week blog - go check it out!  He'll be reviewing beers, posting about food (we make such a great pair :D), and beer/food combinations.  Sweet!


By the way, I got this amazing Bundt pan from Goodwill for $1.  How awesome is that??



All-Purpose Holiday Cake

adapted from Joy the Baker


3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup apple sauce

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 tablespoon rum

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 apples, cut into chunks

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/3 cup chocolate chips (a mix of chocolate and white chocolate chips would also be yummy!)

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

Whisk together apple sauce, pumpkin, eggs, sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, rum and vanilla in a large bowl until just combined. Fold in flour mixture until just combined, then fold in apples, cranberries, and chocolate chips. Spoon the batter into the Bundt pan.

Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 30 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.


winter has begun...


I woke up to this icy winter wonderland yesterday, and this morning was greeted with snow piled on top of all of this ice.  Crazy!  Apparently we're making some news here.  I think this was my favorite quote of the day:

"This is pathetic," said Bob Cott of Portland, Maine, who lost power for the first time in 10 years. "I'm already sick of winter and we have nine days to go before it officially begins."


Lol.  I went out to clean my car off late in the day, but I was afraid to venture out any earlier.


Again, sorry for the cell phone quality pictures...


Anyway, even though it was cold and awful out, I wanted a lighter lunch/brunch - I woke up at noon.  I've been waiting for the right time to make this absolutely amazing looking tuna salad, but sadly I am out of beans, onions, AND fresh herbs.  So instead I created my own recipe - not bad, I have to say!

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Quick, Easy Tuna Salad (without mayo!)


1 can chunk light tuna packed in water

1/4 cup diced tomatoes (I used from a can)

1 tsp olive oil (I used garlic-infused olive oil)

1 tsp honey mustard

1 tbsp Parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp Mexican chili powder

garlic powder to taste

salt and pepper to taste


Drain the tuna, then combine all ingredients and mix.  That's it!  This is especially good on top of a toasted English muffin, or on whole wheat bread in a sandwich.

stress stress, more finals, done monday finally

The next few posts will be mostly cell phone pictures, my camera was full for awhile and I wasn't at my computer long enough to upload them/my computer wasn't working well enough to upload them...sorry!

Not necessarily food related, but there's coffee involved!


Coffee cup sleeve that made me smile the other day :).


Dinner that night - freshly made varenyky from the church, pan fried and eaten with sour cream and a salad.  Ohmygoddeliciousness.


Bundled up for the weather.


probably the most delicious thing you will ever ingest


So, I have a friend, Leah, who makes an absolutely AMAZING cranberry sauce.  She was gracious enough to share some tips with me (as well as the whole recipe, but my memory is so awful I was forced to Google for cranberry sauce and adjust according to what I remembered!).  And let me tell you...I will never nay say cranberry sauce again!

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I did NOT used to be a fan of cranberry sauce - I had tried the canned version on turkey one year for Thanksgiving, and was sorely disappointed.  The concept sounded delicious, but I did not like the way the flavors played out in the canned version.  This recipe has SO restored my faith in cranberry sauce though!


Leah's tips included adding zest of lemon and orange, as well as nutmeg, cinnamon, and a little less sugar that is usually called for.  This stuff is so good, I guarantee that you'll be eating it straight from the fridge with a spoon...not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything ;). 


My interpretation on Leah's Amazing Cranberry Sauce

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
12 ounces of fresh cranberries 
zest of one orange 
zest of 1/2 lemon 
1/2 tsp nutmeg 
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine juices, water, sugar and salt to a large sauce pan.  Stir pan on medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add in the cranberries,  spices, and zest and stir to combine.

Put a lid on the sauce pan, with a tiny gap at one edge for steam to escape.

Cook for 10 to 12 minutes. The longer the cranberry sauce is cooked, the less the cranberries will be a uniform texture.  So, if you want a more uniform texture, cook longer.  Personally, I like mine to be rougher and have some whole cranberries in it, so I took mine off on the earlier side.

The sauce is ready to eat warm, but tastes even better if you refrigerate it overnight.  Enjoy!

my meals today, since i didn't get anything else done!

Although I did shrink wrap my window this afternoon...





Lunch (Trader Joe's Brown Rice California Sushi, toasted English muffin with cheese, clementine/grapefruit/mango fruit salad with fig balsamic vinegar)



Dinner (Turkey soup/stew with wild rice, recipe coming soon!)