Applesauce Muffins

Have you ever wanted to cut down on your sugar but not really eliminate your sweet tooth?  I took the applesauce challenge and decided to see how far I could push the envelope substituting it for sugar.  Well….ok rather cutting down the sugar amounts. I have had some major cooking crashes where I substituted or organically adjusted the sugar amounts and it just didn’t cut the cake…… no pun intended. And I can still remember the day my girlfriend Beth read “Sugar Blues” and said you don’t want to know!! ;-)

Went onto my favorite site and found one I just had to tweak! Really, it’s more like what is in the cupboard.

I substituted some raisins for the streusel topping and also changed some other small items (which I *). Then I went around handing them out and will see what my taste testers results are next week. Until then, stay warm and dry and serve with some hot apple cider.

Whole Wheat Applesauce Spice Muffins
(Adapted from: Food for my Life)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour (*1 cup)
3/4 cup whole wheat white flour (*1 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice *
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt *
2 large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (*1/2 cup)
*1 cup buttermilk
1 cup unsweetened applesauce (*1 1/2 cups)

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp cinnamon
*Sprinkle with raisins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with liners.
In a small bowl blend the dry streusel ingredients. Use your fingers to work butter into the flour/sugar mixture. (I eliminated this part)
Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
In a bowl combine the applesauce, butter and brown sugar.
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the wet ingredients.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Fill the muffin liners 3/4 of the way full (about 1/3 of cup per muffin) and top with the streusel mixture.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I got 20 cupcakes out of this recipe, so double if you have a lot of company coming over.

Oh yes, and I wore my Napa Apron……still my favorite.

French Onion Soup

First of all, let’s just say this is hands down the best soup I have made in awhile. And I love making soup all year long. “In Jennie’s Kitchen” blog is where I snagged this recipe, actually the Tastespotting site with her secret ingredient. I had been looking for a vegetarian Onion Soup and….well you see for yourself. Give this a try, you won’t be sorry. The only thing I did different, was after sautéing the onion, let them cook down in the oven on 200˚ for two-something hours before adding the liquid ingredients. (Buried in work so I took the lazy route!) It’s sweeter than most soups, but with a nice salty cheese and some home made French bread, magnificent! A great dry Chardonnay would have been perfect……but I had too much work to do! ;-)


2 tablespoons butter/olive oil or coconut oil
4 large onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups water
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
Four 1-inch thick slices of baguette, toasted
4 ounces shredded Provolone, Swiss, Gruyere, or any melting cheese of your choosing
1. Melt butter in a 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper; stir to coat well. Saute until they begin to soften and become golden, about 15 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until onions are softened, about 20 more minutes.
2. Remove and discard bay leaf. Stir, scraping up browned bits at bottom of pot. Raise heat back to medium-high and slowly pour in the water. Add garlic clove, sherry vinegar and molasses. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
3. Preheat broiler. Evenly ladle soup into 4 oven-safe bowls. Place one slice of toasted baguette on top of each. Evenly sprinkle cheese on top and place on a rimmed baked sheet. Cook under broiler until cheese is golden and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.

And what apron did I wear……my Poupon, of course.

Bon Appétit!

French Bread

I used to bake bread a lot. But I could devour it too quickly when it took a lot to make. So in wanting fresh out of the oven bread, and not happy with my bread machine, decided to look a little harder for a good recommendation. This recipe I found on from
“what megan’s making….” blog site and thought her idea of making this bread instead of buying bread was a winner. Enjoy.

2-¼ cups Warm Water
2 Tablespoons Sugar
4-½ teaspoons Yeast
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
6 cups Flour

In a large mixer, combine water and sugar and yeast. Allow it to soften/proof for about 5 minutes. Add salt, oil, and half the flour; mix well. Add remaining flour and mix well (I used the dough hook on my kitchenaid). Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Stir the dough down and allow to rest 10 more minutes. Repeat until dough has been stirred/rested 5 times.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly 2 or 3 times. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a long loaf and place on baking sheet sprayed with Pam. Cover and allow it to rise 30-60 minutes. With a sharp knife, cut 3 gashes at angle on top of dough. Spray top with water. Bake 400 degrees for 30 min, checking at about 20 minutes.

What to wear?…..A mini apron of course! Throw some pearls on just for fun. There’s a little Aunt Bea in everyone.

Applesauce Cake

I just love apples.  Growing up, my mom made an applesauce cake that was just perfect for teaching us how to cook. It was simple and healthy. Recently I had  a craving for something sweet but wanted it to be very healthy. So, I took the recipe and tweaked it a bit for Sugar’s sake. You can go back to the original which has 2 cups of sugar, water and shortening, but I substituted the shortening for butter, and let the additional applesauce cover the water ingredient.
Simply enjoy. It is much more moist, a little paler in color and incredibly chewy on the sides. It was a great match. More apple recipes on the way.
2.5 cups Flour
1.5 cups sugar
½ t baking soda
1 ¼ t salt
1 t cinnamon
½ t allspice
½ cup butter softened
3 cups applesauce
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350˚ and grease a 13”x 9” glass pan with butter or shortening.
Mix dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar together, then mix in the eggs, and applesauce. Mix in dry ingredients in 3 small batches, mixing thoroughly between each.  Bake for 1.5 hours or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack.
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Or top with some vanilla ice cream, dusted with cinnamon sugar.

What to wear…….your dressy apron of course! I wear my Napa Dressy, it’s so perky!

Almond Thumbprints

I made these recently but I substituted the peanut butter for almond butter. Ohhhhhh!  These were supposed to be a gift, but I could NOT stop eating these. I highly recommend using some of the different kinds of nut butters you may have in your pantry. I used a seeded raspberry jam which gave them a magnificent look as well. My camera, however wasn’t as happy and the photos weren’t uploadable. This recipe is taken from Martha Stewart, which I of course snagged from and was written in a different language. Have fun.

1 – 1 / 4 teaspoons flour (they definitely meant cups)
1 / 2 teaspoon baking powder
1 / 2 teaspoon baking soda
1 / 2 teaspoon salt
3 / 4 cup peanut butter (I used 1 cup Almond Butter)
100 gr. butter, soft
1 / 3 cup brown sugar
1 / 3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 / 2 cup jam / raspberry jam
sugar for rolling

1. Heat oven to 350º. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir peanut butter and butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat until pale color and puhkavost (don’t you love the translator!!) Add the egg and vanilla, stirring until combined. Then reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients and mix until unification. (So spiritual for a cookie!;-)
2. Scooping of the dough as 1 level tablespoons, and forming balls. Ovargalyame each ball in granulated sugar and place on baking paper pergamentna, a distance of about 3.5 cm apart. Your Call………..there.
3. Bake until puffed sweet, about 5-10 minutes / me in about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and press with a handle – the end of a wooden spoon. Return to oven and bake until the edges become golden, about 6 to 7 minutes.   Premestete on the grid and allow to cool completely.
Heat jam in small saucepan, stirring until it starts to loosen or become liquid, about 30 seconds.  Put 1 / 2 teaspoon into each indentation. Sweet can be stored up to 1 week.

What to wear…….your dressy apron of course! I wear my Napa Dressy, it’s so perky!

Sunday Scramble

Lazy Sunday Eggs and Potatoes

This Sunday I was really craving scrambled eggs and something hearty to go along with them.  However, just never have gotten the finesse of hash browns down. Nor their cravings.  So I decided to tweak the standard breakfast fare with my super easy, hands down delicious tater fries and scrambled eggs. It was a simple and sumptuous substitute and I highly recommend it. Why hadn’t I introduced these two before? I have no idea. But it’s a great match, especially piping hot! You can even see the steam, and the warm fries made it a perfect one dish day. The only thing missing, a perfect Latte.

Depending on how many you are serving, choose about 2 Potatoes per person and 2-3 Eggs per person. Modify for more.

Olive Oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
Onion -diced 1/3 cup per person
Red Bell Pepper slices 1/3 cup per person
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400˚.  Slice potatoes into 1/4” slices and place in bowl with olive oil and salt and toss until all of the potatoes are covered. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Melt butter and saute onions until translucent. Add bell pepper and saute for a minute or so. Pour in scrambled eggs and cook until your desired texture. Dress accordingly! ;-)

What to wear…….your half apron of course! I wear my Paris Mini. All you need for brunch.

Cinnamon Rolls

One fine morning while visiting the dog park, I found a new and very special friend. I have just moved to a new city and don’t know very many folks. If it’s been awhile since you have moved, things do get lost and somehow never seem to be found. (Still looking for my remote!) That wasn’t exactly the case with my car keys, as they eventually did manage to be found, but not without meeting a most unique and kind friend.

After a morning of frolicking with the boys, I had headed back to my car to get my day into high gear. But I had no keys to be found, in any pocket. After retracing my steps for about 20 minutes, it was clear I  was not going to be getting home soon. At that time this wonderful pack of humans and dogs were also coming in from their rompings and noticed my search. As I explained my dilemma, there was a silence that fell over the entire crowd. Hmmmm…………. Awkward!! Then this tiny little voice chimed in “Hey I have a free morning I can help you!” I hadn’t figured what I was going to do yet, but had a new partner in crime to solve the key scenario. 

Debbie took her dogs home and then was so kind to drive me home to find my back up set up of keys (slight miracle due to the new move I had a spare house key in my pocket-go figure). We both agreed, things always happen for a reason. I found a  great new girlfriend who I, of course, was not only going to pay it forward, but respond directly with a big plate of warm Cinnamon rolls!

I got this recipe from  and did some tweaking that I wanted to share. It has some unique steps which are worth it. I found the butter quantities over the top. By the time you put it in the oven, it melts to the bottom of the pan taking a lot of the cinnamon with it. Upon taking it out of the pan, only the baker gets the ooey-gooey candy bottom. But you might find it different, so I left for your discretion. Oh, and made one batch with pecans. YEssssssssss!

What to wear…….your crocheted mini apron of course! This was a gift from a friend, the flour just shakes right off!

For the rolls:
1 quart whole milk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 packages dry active yeast
8 cups, plus 1 cup extra (separated) flour
1 heaping tsp. baking powder
1 scant tsp. baking soda
1 heaping T. salt
3 – 4 cups melted butter
2 cups sugar
Generous sprinkling of cinnamon

For the frosting:

1 bag powdered sugar
2 tsp. maple flavoring
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup brewed coffee
1/8 tsp. salt

the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat
just before boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool for 45
minutes to 1 hour. When mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot,
sprinkle in both packages of yeast. Let sit for a minute, then add 8
cups of flour, stir mixture together, cover and let rise for at least
an hour.

After rising, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and
salt. Stir mixture together. At this point you could cover the dough
and refrigerate until you need it, overnight or even a day or two, if
necessary. Just keep your eye one it and if it starts to overflow out
of the pan, just punch it down. When ready to prepare the rolls,
sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and
form into a rectangle. Roll the dough thin, maintaining a general
rectangular shape. Drizzle 1 1/2 to 2 cups of melted butter over the
dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup sugar over the butter followed by a generous
sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line
toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go, next pinch the
seam of the roll to seal it. Spread 1 T. melted butter in a seven
inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls about 3/4
to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans. Repeat with the
other half of the dough, let rolls rise for 20 – 30 minutes, then bake
at 375 F until light golden brown, about 15 – 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until
smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed.
Generously drizzle over the warm rolls, don’t skimp on the frosting!

SEE Photos:

Chile Hot Chocolate

You must try this one, though I only used the whole milk. Enjoy this with a great movie or a good book.

Happy Polka Dots

Why are polka dots so darn happy??? While working on the Valentine collection for 2010 I remembered one of the original fabrics that got me started with my first handbags. I, being an itty bitty petite thingy, generally steer away from prints of any kind and anything even remotely large. BUT, designing hand bags and market bags have a no holds barred like lottery effect for my fabric choices!

Once the bags got into production, I realized how happy the dots not only turned out, but the effect on those customers who gravitated towards them. They were bubbly gals and guys and definitely children! Hmmm, kinda saying a lot, with a dot!

Why is a circle so happy? Does it remind us of something……solar, jewelry, or maybe even halo-ish? Hmmm, who cares when it puts a smile on faces!  And it is sooo guaranteed.

Hence, I can’t make them fast enough. Oh and hey,  last year, one of my aprons became the treasure hunt hiding places for a wedding proposal. You bet. Some lovely young man gave his girlfriend who loved to cook one of my aprons, and hid the ring in the apron pocket!! Loved the very unsuspecting and safe hiding place!!

So, not only are they happy, those little dots, but they can also be very romantic!!!

See more photos at

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