F Simple and Serene Living: January 2012 09 10
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Honey Applesauce Cake

I don't make New Year's resolutions. I hate to do what someone tells me to do, even if that someone is me. Just plainly too stubborn. However, I have gained back the weight I lost last year and I don't really like the way refined sugar makes me feel, so I have pulled out my old honey cookbook and I am going to make some of my favorites. 

I remember when I was a little girl, my grandmother made delicious applesauce cake. She used her own homemade applesauce, which of course, only added to its goodness. Apple sauce is really quite simple to make, but there are sugar free brands in the grocery, so those work well, too. 

I love these old recipes. This one is from a cookbook called "Nature's Golden Treasure Honey Cookbook". My copy has lots of stains on it, from many years of happy cooking.

Honey-Applesauce Cake

1/2 cup shortening
1 cup honey
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp. cloves
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts

Cream the shortening. Add the honey in a fine stream and cream until well mixed. Beat eggs into creamed mixture one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Sift dry ingredients together. Add to creamed mixture alternately with the applesauce. Add raisins and nuts. Pour batter into a well-greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 minutes or until cake tests done. 

Although, this recipe doesn't call for a frosting, here is an easy cream cheese frosting that I use for my carrot cakes and feel sure it would be equally as good on this cake.

Easy Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add honey in a fine stream. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread over top of cake.

If you add the frosting, be sure to store your cake in the refrigerator.


This is the perfect cake for an afternoon tea party with your best friend. So bring out your best tea set and settle in for a cozy chat.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

French Country Kitchen and crepes

When I woke up this morning, the sun was shining in a brilliant blue sky and the birds were singing.

 It gave me a feeling of spring in the country. That started me thinking of how I have always wanted to visit the French countryside in spring. I imagine it to be a place of blue skies and beautiful flowers set among old historical buildings and rolling hills.


How wonderful it would be to bring that feeling into your kitchen. French country decorating embodies elegance with a bit of country and nature mixed in. The look involves bringing in the elements of the French country side; the blues of the sky, 

Source: bhg.com via Anna on Pinterest

the yellow of the sun,


Flowers from the garden showcased in a simple antique pot,


and rustic elements to add that old world feel.

Or, if you prefer,  all of the elements can be combined to give you a more modern feel.

We must  have  a French Country breakfast in our perfect kitchen. I always think of crepes and these sound delicious.

Crepes with Salted Butter caramel Recipe

Crepes with salted butter caramel is a classic Breton dessert. Salted caramel has a tangy, rich taste that has garnered a cult following. The best thing is that it’s so easy to make. Add vanilla Chantilly cream and sautéed apples to your finished crepes for a truly impressive dessert.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 70 minutes


1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For Salted Butter Caramel:
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/16 teaspoon sea salt

To make the crepes: Process all the ingredients in a blender until the mixture is smooth. Allow the batter to rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before making into crepes.

Melt a little butter in a crepe pan or large skillet over low-medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of batter to the pan and swirl until the bottom of the pan is covered with batter. Cook the crepe for 1 minute, or until the crepe is slightly moist on top and golden underneath. Loosen the edges of the crepe, slide the spatula under it, and then gently flip it upside down into the pan. Cook for 1 minute and transfer the cooked crepe to a plate to keep warm.

To make the salted butter caramel: In a saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter in the heavy cream. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the sugar in a separate saucepan set over medium heat. Sprinkle the water over the sugar and allow it to dissolve over the heat without stirring. As the sugar begins to caramelize, occasionally shake and swirl the pan to evenly distribute the color.

When the caramel is a rich golden color, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the hot cream and melted butter to the caramel. Take care to stand back during this process; the hot caramel will bubble up the sides of the pan.

Return the caramel to the lowest heat setting, whisking constantly. Cook and stir the salted butter caramel for 2 minutes over the low heat. Remove from the heat and season the sauce with the 1/16 teaspoon sea salt; stir until it is dissolved completely.

To assemble the crepes: Spoon 2 teaspoons of the caramel sauce down the center of a warm crepe and roll into a cylinder. Alternately, spoon 2 teaspoons of the caramel sauce onto the center of a warm crepe and then fold it into quarters. Garnish with vanilla Chantilly cream and sautéed apples. Drizzle the crepes with additional caramel sauce, if desired.

This crepes with salted butter caramel recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.

I will definitely be adding all of these to my wish journal

Linking today with:

Celebrating Family

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

I'll take one of those please

I'm feeling the squeeze. I think the walls are starting to close in. It's winter, and now that the cold and snow have arrived, I'm ready for spring and MORE SPACE. This has put me on a quest of "dreaming" about a studio to work in. Notice the emphasis on dreaming. Here's some ideas I am going to keep in mind for when my ship comes sailing in.

This stone spring house looks pretty perfect.


This is pretty cute, tucked away at the back of the garden. 


I like all the light this one provides. I would put a comfy chair on the little deck so I could sit out and commune with the birds.


This is adorable. (Can a building be adorable?)

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Wow, this would make me feel like I was up in the trees.


Okay, okay, I know that I am procrastinating. I am supposed to be sewing. I did turn my sewing machine on this morning. Does that count? In all fairness, I just want to be prepared in case I should actually spring for a lottery ticket one of these days and should happen to win. 

I'm getting off the computer now and getting to work..............lunch, did someone say lunch?.....

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

a little space to work

I am trying to come up with a plan to turn a small corner into an office space. As you know, I am currently with my 87 year old mother and trying to make do with living and running my business in a small area. That means I sit with my laptop wherever is convenient, my copier and scale etc. are on top of a dresser, and my files are on shelves in another area. 

So, I am looking for ideas to turn a small area into a comfortable working space for myself. 

I do have an extra closet in my room. Maybe I could do something like this?


Then again, it is a pretty small closet so I guess it would have to be something more like this and since there are no plugs or a light in there I would have to figure that out.


I like the idea of a rustic vintage table, but if I am going to have to get rid of the big shelf unit that is there now, I think I need a better storage option.


There are a lot of great ready made office armoires, but since I have taken the simple living pledge and really like and want to use a vintage piece, this may not be the right way for me to go.


Maybe I could move my reading corner 

from in front of the window and put a desk there. I sure do like my little reading nest, though, but I do have a chest of drawers on the other side of the window that I could possibly move and put a desk there.


The only problem with that, is I take the photos for my shop there and I would have to be able to utilize it for both purposes. Since I use a laptop, that might not be too much of a problem and I could gaze longingly out the window while I work.

Maybe a drop leaf desk like this would work. I could close it up and still use the top for photos.


I can tell that this is going to take a lot more thought and probably there will be an aha moment when I am out at a thrift store or sitting at an auction and the perfect piece pops up. In the meantime, I would love to hear your suggestions. I'm sure you all have some great ideas and may have made your own small work space. I could really use the input.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Laura's Hoppin John Recipe

Here in the south, it is traditional to eat black eyed peas for good luck on New Years day. For me, there is no better way to eat them than in a traditional dish called Hoppin John. There are many different ways to make this dish, but I have my own version. 

Laura's Hoppin John

olive oil cooking spray
1 can vegetarian black eyed peas (drained)
1 large green pepper chopped
1 cup chopped onion
brown rice (I use the quick cooking kind, because I am impatient)
shredded cheddar cheese
fresh tomatoes cut into bite size chunks

This will generally feed four people

cook enough brown rice to serve four people (I generally double what it says on the box) set aside.
saute the onion and green pepper in olive oil until fork tender. add the black eye peas and cook until heated through
spoon black eye pea mixture on top of rice on individual plates. 
top with shredded cheese and fresh tomatoes to taste.
Very easy peasy, but extremely tasty

Enjoy your day. Can't wait to share this year with you.

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