Toubab Cooking – Jewish Apple Cake

cake

Last Saturday I decided it was time to try my hand at some baking…just to make sure my baking skills were the same in Senegal as they were in Minnesota.  As of today I have been in Dakar for three weeks.  The time seems to have simply melted away.  Although it hasn’t been too hot, but it has been windy…so maybe I should say that the time seems to have blown away!

Here in Senegal it is hard to find good sandwich bread like we are familiar with in America and if you can find some it quite expensive…like — for a loaf! So making bread was high on my to-do list.  I was really hoping it would turn out good.  I was worried that the difference in climate and possible difference in ingredients would make it flop.  I used my recipe for Honey Oatmeal Bread and it turned out great!  The only thing I did different was I left out the wheat flour, as I couldn’t find it here.

I also wanted to make something sweet that we had all the ingredients for…so I made a family favorite, Jewish Apple Cake!  My Mom has been making this moist, cinnamon apple cake for as long as I can rem
ember.  But it was my grandma who first found the recipe in a local newspaper in the 1960’s.  The original recipe called for layering the cake batter and apples, but with having a large family and trying to save some time my grandma decided to simple fold the apples in instead!  As a young girl, I always remember my Mom getting complements  when ever she would make this cake for company…so it seemed like the perfect recipe to begin my time in Senegal!

I hope you enjoy making and eating this cake as much as my family and I do!

Jewish Apple Cake

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 Tbsp. baking powder

4 lg. eggs

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

1/3 cup Orange juice (I used mango and pineapple juice)

2 tsp. vanilla

5 apples

4 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup raisins (opt.)

1 cup nuts (opt.)

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1/4 cup sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon – mixed together.  Use for dusting the pan.

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Instructions:

– Grease a 9×13 inch pan and dust with cinnamon/sugar mixture.  This works great on a variety of sweet breads and cakes!  Save any extra to top the cake.

– Peel, core and thinly slice apples…I like to use a variety of apples if I can.  Mix cinnamon (2 tsp.) and sugar (4 Tbsp.). Toss with apples until well coated.

– In a large bowl add flour, sugar and baking powder. Mix.

– In another bowl mix together the eggs, oil, juice and vanilla.  Then add to the dry ingredients.

– Mix until thoroughly combined.

– Gently fold in apples and the nuts or raisins.

– Pour into your greased pan and top with any extra cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour

Enjoy!

Toubab – a Wolof word for white person. (Pronounced: to-bob)

Quick story…so last week I visited a local market for the first time.  There were lots of cute little kids running around many of them would come up to us singing, “Toubab, toubab! Bonjour, toubab!”  Many of them may have only seen a white person a few times in their lives.  They were so cute and polite, some of them wanted to come up and shake our hands!  It made my first time to the market a memorable experience.

 

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Family Time

The last two weeks have been full of fun family times!

Ok, so this isn’t quite what our Thanksgiving dinner looked like…but close!

My brother Mark and his wife Jenny arrived at our house the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and were able to stay until Saturday. What a blessing!!!  We enjoyed a nice visit together and an awesome Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m so thankful they were able to come and stay with us…life gets so busy sometimes that these moments of time are so precious!  

In some ways I feel like my time for special family moments is running out…

God has continued to provide the partners I need to begin ministry in Senegal.  I now have partners for 60% of my monthly support…which is an awesome feeling!  It’s so exciting to see God moving me forward on this journey!

Moving forward is good, but it can also be hard.  Starting this new chapter in the story God is writing with my life means that another chapter is coming to a close.  I have always had a hard time with knowing how to deal with change, so I have to keep reminding myself that God has always been with me and he will see me through these changes too.

So, my Thanksgiving this year was a little bittersweet…it will be three years before I am home to celebrate another Thanksgiving with my family.  But I am confident that God will see me through the times of sadness that I’m sure will come as I celebrate next year in Senegal!

Ok. Picture time!

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Hunting for the perfect Christmas tree!
Mimi – Angela – Papa

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Angela – Auntie Kim

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Here’s our perfect tree!!!

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The girls had lots of fun decorating the tree while Papa watched!

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Mimi’s good at reaching the high branches!

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Our puzzle project…didn’t quite finish it. Maybe next time!

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Angela…the little baker girl!

 

World’s Best Homemade Pizza

After many years of trying to perfect our pizza crust my Mom and I finally hit upon a perfect recipe a few years back!  Now, I can’t claim that this crust is healthy but…pizza isn’t suppose to be healthy is it?  In the past we have tried to add in whole wheat, wheat germ, garlic powder, basil, etc.  But keeping it simple seems to be the best option it allows the full flavor of the toppings to shine through.

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Last week I got the chance to have my dear friend Leah and her new husband over for lunch.  It was a great chance to catch up with her and get to know the love of her life better!  She is really quite the woman of God and we always have such a nice time visiting…although our visits can be very few and far between. (If you want to you can check out her photography…a great new undertaking!)

It had been a long time since I had made pizza and I decided it would make a perfect lunch for my guests.  To help the lunch seem special I decided against the traditional pepperoni, sausage, or supreme pizza.  Instead, I opted for an elegant (Can I call pizza elegant?) chicken-bacon-broccoli pizza with an Alfredo sauce and a BBQ beef pizza.

I hope you will give this homemade pizza a try and enjoy it as much as my family and I do!

Ok, ok!  I know you are all saying, “When is she going to stop talking and give us the recipe?”  So, here is it.

Easy Pizza Crust

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp yeast

1 Tbsp sugar (or other sweetener)

1 tsp salt

2 cups of hot water (Hotter than lukewarm, but not too hot…it will kill the yeast.)

1 Tbsp oil (vegetable, olive, whatever)

– Mix together 2 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Then add hot water and thoroughly mix.

– Next add the rest of the flour a 1/2 cup at a time mixing as you go. At the end use your hands to knead in remaining flour, then form into a ball.  Dough may still be sticky, but that’s okay it’s what gives this pizza a nice soft crust.

– Pour the oil on top of your dough, roll to cover.  Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place to rise.

– Let rise for around 20 minutes, in the winter months it may take 30 minutes.

– Punch down dough and split evenly into two balls.  Form dough until it reaches your desired thickness…I use my hands for this part, but my Mom prefers using a rolling-pin.

– Now have fun and top with all your family favorites!

Bake @ 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes

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Isn’t it cute how the yeast made a heart!

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Make sure to mix thoroughly!

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Begin adding in the extra flour.

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Pour oil onto your dough – make sure to coat all the dough and the bowl.

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Here’s the dough split equally.

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All ready for toppings!

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Pizza #1 with Alfredo sauce and parsley.

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Pizza #1 with chicken, bacon, and broccoli added…all it needs now is cheese!

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We each enjoyed a piece of this marvelous pizza!

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Pizza #2 is so simple – I just fried up a pound of ground beef and added barbecue sauce at the end.

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Pizza #2 I topped the meat with cheddar and mozzarella. I was amazing!

This recipe for crust can be used for many great meals!  Try making bread-sticks, pizza pockets, or easy dinner rolls (just remember the baking time may be different)!!

I would love to hear if you try this recipe and what you think of it!

Old-Fashion Strawberry Pie

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I have to start off by saying that I really enjoyed this pie!  I don’t know why I have never made a baked strawberry pie before…but I certainly will be making one again!

We had a great strawberry crop this year, harvesting 21 lbs of berries so far (I’m hoping to pick our last pound or two tomorrow), so I have been fun finding news ways to enjoy our berries.  Most years we  freeze some of the berries for a winter treat, make a strawberry shortcake or two and make some jam.  We did make our traditional strawberry shortcake, but I have also made a few batches of strawberry Italian water ice and most importantly this lovely pie!

When I decided to make a pie I started scouring Pinterest for the perfect recipe.  At first I thought I wanted to make a pie with strawberries topping a chocolate ganache, it sounded really yummy, but not quite what I was looking for.  Then I came across this recipe and realized that it was just what I was looking for!

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Dark Chocolate Strawberry Pie

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Pie Dough

2½ cups flour, plus ½ cup extra for kneading

2 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, chopped into small chunks

2 tsp vinegar

5 tbsp ice-cold water

Filling

5 cups strawberries, rinsed and halved

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar (reserve ¼ cup for sprinkling at the end)

½ tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp quick tapioca

Juice from 1 lemon

¼ cup dark chocolate chips

2 tbsp butter

Instructions –

For the pie dough, combine flour, sugar and salt.  Use your fingers to combine (Or a pastry fork, it’s up to you…I prefer using my hands). Add in butter chunks and continue mixing until small crumbs form. Gradually add in liquid, until a dough forms. Don’t worry if it is too sticky.

Remove dough from bowl and knead on a clean floured counter for about a minute until it is no longer sticky. Divide dough into two even sized balls. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about one hour.

Roll out one batch of pie dough to fit into a greased pie pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the bottom of the pie shell.

Combine berries, brown sugar, ¼ cup white sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and tapioca.

Pour strawberries into the pie shell (You may not want to put all of the juices in with the berries, as it may cause too much spilling out).

Roll out the second pie crust and cut into strips. Form a lattice topping on top of the strawberries with the pie strips.

Cut the 2 tbsp of butter into tiny pieces and dot them in between the opening piece of the lattice-work. Sprinkle the pie with the remaining sugar.

Bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes.

I love this old rolling pie...it was my grandma's!

I love this old rolling pie…it was my grandma’s!

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My not so yummy looking filling.

Here it is with the chocolate chips.

I love a little sugar on top, it makes it look so special!

I love a little sugar on top, it makes it look so special!

The finished product.

The finished product.

Old-fashion Strawberry Pie!  Mmmm!

Old-fashion Strawberry Pie! Mmmm!

 

I did make one small change to the original recipe…I changed the cornstarch to tapioca.  I’m sure cornstarch would work fine too, but I had recently bought the tapioca to make another pie (one that never got made) so I decided I had better put my tapioca to good use.  It didn’t look very pretty before it was cooked, as I’m sure you noticed in the picture, but the pie turned out great so I think I’ll have to try using tapioca again in the future!

Also, I’m not sure if I will use chocolate chips again in the future.  I couldn’t really taste them, so I would like to see what it tastes like without the chocolate.

What are some of your favorite strawberry recipes?  I would love to give them a try!

Homemade Soft Pretzels

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I LOVE SOFT PRETZELS!  This love was passed down to me from my mom, who had her first pretzel on a trip to the mall with her dad when she was young.  My brothers and I have enjoyed soft pretzels with nacho cheese for as long as I can remember and now our love of pretzels has been pass on to my niece.

In the past we bought frozen pretzel from the supermarket.  But in recent years we have been making our own, originally because soft pretzels got expensive, but eating homemade pretzels has spoiled us.  Now when I happen to eat a store-bought soft pretzel, I can’t help but notice the lack of flavor and texture.  So today I want to share my pretzel recipe with you!  They are simple and fun to make.  I like to make a double batch and freeze some, they  reheat very well.

Oh, and you will be proud of me, I took pictures of the process to share with you!

Soft Pretzels

Yield: 12 pretzels

1 Tbsp yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 Tbsp oil
4-5 cups flour
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6 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda

In a large bowl mix together yeast, sugar, salt and 3 cups of the flour. Then mix in the water and oil. Once thourghly combined add more flour to form a smooth soft dough. Knead for 3-5 minutes. Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm, draft free spot and let rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
While your dough is rising bring the water and baking soda to a boil. Then turn down to low until after your pretzels are formed.
Cut dough into 12 equal pieces. On a counter roll pieces into a long rope, then twist into a pretzel shape. Place on a parchment paper lined pan. Continue to roll and shape the rest of your pieces.
This next step is my favorite part! Bring your water back to a boil, I keep the temp between medium and med-high. Gently place pretzels in water, my pot holds 3 pretzels at a time, boil for 30 seconds. Then flip them over and boil for 15 seconds. Remove from water and return to the pan, sprinkle with coarse pretzel salt. Finish boiling and salting pretzels.
Bake @ 475* for 10 minutes. Brush with melted butter and return to oven for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Grab a some family or friends and enjoy!

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I loved the way this last picture turned out! We had a beautiful, sunny winter day here in Northern Minnesota!

Pie Auctions, Candy & Missionaries

I hope you had a nice Saturday and found time to get done some things you been wanting to do! I spent most of my day in the kitchen. It was a nice day I didn’t have to rush to get things done which Made it even better.

Every year on the Monday before Thanksgiving our church has a pie auction. The proceeds from the auction are equally divided between the missionaries we support. Not only is it a lot of fun to attend the pie auction, but it’s such a blessing to be able to do something extra to encourage our missionaries during the holidays!

The past few years I have taken a couple different pies to be auctioned off. But this year I decided to make some homemade candy instead! Salted Caramels and Peppermint Patties, two simple recipes that I’ve made before, so I know they are good! While I was candy making I had on Christmas music and was praying for some of the missionary families that will be so far from their families.

So I now have 4 plates of each to be auctioned off, along with 2 loaves of Honey Oatmeal Bread. My prayer is that God will use my candies and bread to bring joy to our missionaries. It so neat how God can use things that we enjoy to bring himself glory and bless other people!

Here are the recipes that I used today. Both of the candy recipes were found on Pinterest, one of my favorite places for finding new recipes! Let me know if you try any of them. I would love to hear what you think of them!

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Homemade Caramels Recipe:
(Recipe from Food.com)

1 cup butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar , firmly packed
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
1. Melt butter; add brown sugar and salt, mixing well. Stir in corn syrup. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until candy reaches firm ball stage (245 degrees). This will take 12-15 minutes approx. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into greased 9×13 pan. Let cool. Cut into 48 pieces with a sharp knife.
Optional: Wrap each piece in wax paper.

 

Homemade Peppermint Patties
(found at One Ordinary Day)

1 can sweetened condensed milk
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons shortening

Add condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and peppermint extract to a large mixing bowl. Mix everything on medium speed using the paddle attachment until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is stiff but still pliable.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on the palms of your hands. Roll 3/4″ balls of dough between the palms of the hands. Set each ball on waxed paper-covered cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for no longer than 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, prepare the chocolate coating.

In the bottom of a double boilers bring 1″ of water to gentle simmer. Place chocolate chips in the top of the double boiler, add in shortening to thin the chocolate. Remove patties from the freezer. Place a patty on the tines of the fork and dip in the chocolate until completely covered. Quickly tap fork on the pot to remove excess chocolate from the patty before setting each one on top of the parchment paper. Allow the chocolate coated peppermint patties to completely set up. The peppermint patties are ready when they are dry to the touch. Enjoy!

 

Honey Oatmeal Bread

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup butter
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 1/2-5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
2 Tbsp wheat germ
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp active dry yeast (heaping)
2 eggs

Combine water, honey, and butter in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat until liquids are very warm (120* to 130*F), butter will melt.

Place 5 cups of flour, oats, salt, and yeast in bowl. Attach bowl and dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and mix 15 seconds. Gradually add warm liquids to flour mixture. Add eggs and mix an additional minute.

Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on Speed 2 for 2 minutes more.

Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place in a greases loaf pan. Cover; let rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Bake at 375*F for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

Note: This recipe uses a KitchenAid mixer, if you don’t have one don’t worry. Start by mixing in a bowl with a strong spoon, then begin kneading the flour in. Once all the flour is incorporated knead for another 5min. Then follow the rest of the directions as listed.