Apple Cake with Strawberries and Walnuts

Some recipes come into your life for no reason at all, at the moment you need them. I’d been trying to find a way to vary our bagel habit, wherein I keep trying to get us to eat something other than bagels with cream cheese for breakfast but we always return to it. So when the recipe for “the best apple cake ever” came up on the internet while I was searching around for food blogs, per usual… it just seemed right.

It has apples, which made me think “sustanence! good for you!” and it has cake, which screams “we’ll actually eat it all!” and it truly delivered. The directions aren’t so difficult to follow, and when I saw that I didn’t have enough raisins, I threw in some slightly-thawed frozen strawberries and it ended up a wonderful combination. The proportions of fruit are good, such that every single bite will have fruit pieces in it and you won’t have to worry about feeling like you are just a person eating cake for breakfast… even though you totally are.

We’ve now eaten much of the cake and the think I like best is that the crustiness of the top has held up – cooking it so long but not at super-high heat allowed it to get really golden and caramelized, but it hasn’t gone soggy in the fridge this week. I bet this same cake structure would hold other fruits… maybe peaches? Regardless, let me know if you have had any luck with easy, quick breakfast foods that you make ahead of time!

The recipe: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/7474-teddies-apple-cake – I will definitely be writing this one out on a card as soon as the crazy beginning-of-school is over and I have a few minutes to do so. 🙂

Fresh fruits and veggies taste better by the lake

We didn’t have plans, for once, on a Sunday. I figured we’d do what we always do – some puttering around the house, some cooking, some home repair and lawn maintenance. But it was perfect outside: breezy and sunny after a week and a half of nearly constant rain.

We knew there was a state park less than an hour away that we have been meaning to visit for a camping trip, and I figured we’d be more likely to get there and actually budget time for a trip if we saw how nice it was on a day like today. So we threw whatever food seemed reasonable at the time into the car, along with swim gear and headed down to the park.

We swam for what must have only been an hour but which felt like so much more; the bottom of the lake was delightfully sandy and no creatures touched my legs, which made me quite happy. We dried off in the sun and turned to snacks, and realized we’d only brought two apples, two purple peppers, and a whole, enormous cantaloupe. Well, also some bratwurst to cook on a mini grill, but those took a little time.

Sometimes I think that the reason kids don’t grow up learning to love fruits and veggies is because they eat them indoors; if you sit down at a picnic shelter and hack a cantaloupe in half, then spend the afternoon digging bits of it out with a spoon and drinking the accumulated juice straight out of the cantaloupe bowl… you just can’t help but love it. The purple peppers had been an impulse purchase at the farmer’s market, and they were a bit more bitter than most bell peppers, but they were a nice contrast to the cantaloupe. Slices of crisp granny smith apples added another texture, a tart flavor.

I’m facing down a real doozy of a week, and we came home to more work and a few chores that still need doing, but today, like that wide cantaloupe half, was very sweet indeed. Though eating the bratwurst was far more filling, the fruits and veggies eaten in the late summer sun were the highlight of my day.