The wind is howling and I can hear the leaves rustling in the tree outside my window.
A warm slice of Mom’s apple cake, fresh out of the oven would be so so good.
Then reality hits. It’s almost 1am
and I’m wide awake.
The house is quiet and Daisy’s sleeping peacefully next to me.
Shawn’s out cold on the couch with Milou, not watching the last few minutes of Duck Dynasty.
This is our night-time routine.
Most hours of the day,
I’m invisible to Daisy.
But by around 8 o’clock at night, she’ll put her head on my lap and make silly snoring sounds.
And, if I pretend to ignore her hints, she’ll take my hand and pull me to her room, declaring “Ma-ma, seeeeep.”
So, as the dutiful mother, I must go to bed, too.
We read Coco Counts for the 8,323rd time (I still love it),
we hum the theme from Pippi Longstocking
or we watch videos of Daisy doing the things that Daisy does captured on my cell phone.
Some nights, at this point, she suddenly changes her mind about “seeping” and calls for Shawn….
then off she goes, into the den to watch TV.
She’ll snuggle up with him for a bit, then it’s off to bed again.
Finally, we agree to sleep and she tumbles around, back & forth, left and right, onto her stomach with her tushy in the air until she finally wears herself out and crashes.
No matter how big the bed, I end up teetering at the edge.
How much room does such a li’l person need, anyway?
Right around 1 am, I wake up and waddle to the pantry for some cereal.
Tonight, though, when I opened the pantry door, a box of vanilla cake started waving “Hello!“
Ok, now, shortcuts in baking are usually a bad idea.
It’s kinda like when you go to the restroom at the mall and no one’s there.
So you quickly sneak into the big stall and pee as fast as you can.
You’re in such a hurry to get out before a disabled person comes in that a buttonhole on your jacket gets caught around the door latch and yanks you back while the door swings and smacks you right in the nose!
But, how would I know?
What I do know is that when it comes to baking, you have to take your time, follow the recipe directions carefully…
unless, of course,
you’re desperate for cake,
there’s a boxed mix in the pantry and
you’re brave enough to experiment in a half-conscious state.
it’s ok to cheat. You’re up. You might as well do something useful.
Morning came and frost had settled over the green grass in our front yard.
I’d been busy in the kitchen, baking when I
sound coming from the living room.
There she was, Li’l Miss Daisy, bag-in-hand, wearing
my mom’s shoes,
stomping all over the hardwood floors.
“Goo morning, Ma-ma.“
and with that cute little finger pointing to the oven, demanded, “Ma-ma, kehk!“
I wish your computer was
scratch ‘n’ sniff
so you could smell this stuff!
Cheat’s Apple Cake
A faster take on Mom’s apple cake
Cake mixes have come a long way since I was a kid. Back then, the chemical taste of the first bite was a dead giveaway that the cake was an “instant” mix and not from scratch.
Nowadays, they’ll never know you cheated.
1 box vanilla cake mix
1 Tb cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 cup water
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 Granny Smith apples
1 lemon, zest & juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Zest and juice a lemon.
Peel and chop apples. Add them to a small pot.
Top with lemon juice & zest.
Cover and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, til apples are soft and fragrant.
While apples are cooking, prepare the streusel. Toss everything into a food procesor and give it a whirl or two, just until the mixture looks like coarse sand.
Take the apples off the stove and transfer them from the pot into a bowl to cool.
The cake batter is next.
Snip the corner of the cake mix packet. Add the tablespoon of cinnamon and grate a teaspoon of nutmeg.
Melt the butter and add to a bowl. Add the water, then eggs, mix gently until well incorporated. Add dry ingredients and stir until just blended.
Butter an ovenproof 13×9 pan.Pour cake batter into it,
top with the apples,
sprinkle the streusel
bake @ 350*F for 25-30 minutes.
Once you can smell the cinnamon and apples, the cake is almost ready.
Do a toothpick-test to be sure the cake is fully baked.
Serve warm with ice cream for breakfast.
Weekend mornings, are the best. We all gather in our fav li’l breakfast nook to practice the fine art of laziness.
Daisy normally likes to roam around, surveying the premises, returning only for a bite to eat, then taking off again.
As long as Milou’s lying on the ground, everything’s fine.
Sometimes, there’s fierce competition over who gets to sit on Daddy’s lap.
This is our time to slow down clock and enjoy spending time together.
Breakfast is usually something decadent, something “bad for you,”
This one tastes so good, no one will guess you cheated the clock!