Tag Archives: 30 before 31

Apple Pecan Cake

This past weekend I finally crossed of #8 on my 30 before 31 list! I completed my 12th recipe from cookbooks I already owned. It actually turned out to be a more difficult challenge than I’d anticipated: I am much more inclined to check out what is in my pantry then bake accordingly than I am to go buy all of the ingredients and then have a set bake day. Regardless, I did it, going¬†out on one of my favorite recipes of this whole thing, a quick and easy Apple Pecan Cake.

Notes:

  • I made a couple of changes to the basic recipe to really bring this cake home. First of all, I used brown sugar instead of white for that rich molasses-y taste that pairs so well with apples. Next I cut out the allspice (since I don’t really care for it) and doubled the cinnamon. I also added a tablespoon of vanilla extract, I don’t know that it made much of a difference, but…..it’s what I did.
  • The mix was a bit unusual, so much apple! You couldn’t really pour it into the plan, you had to plop it out in chunks and press it as level as a possible so that it can bake evenly.
  • I bake pretty regularly, but this recipe got the most enthusiastic response out of Andy that I’ve seen in a while. He ate four pieces the day I baked it. Clearly I need to add this to my regular rotation.

I am putting in a little extra effort these days to get as many items crossed off as I can, although there will be a couple that I know I won’t be achieving. Keep your fingers crossed for me!


Chocolate Quick & Easy: English Chocolate Tea Bread

In pursuit of getting one step closer to crossing off #8 off of my 30 before 31, I pulled out a cookbook I received for Christmas from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. It’s chock full of chocolaty perfection, and I was eager to make something Andy and I could quickly grab as a snack in between running errands and our household chores.B1
After perusing the book for a few minutes, I landed on this tea bread. It was pretty simple to whip up, and I thought with a couple of tweaks it would be pretty perfect for us.

Bread1

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs lightly beaten
  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each. If the mixture starts to curdle beat in 1-2 tablespoons of the four.
  4. Mix in the chocolate, the crasins, the pecans, the vanilla and the orange zest. Sift the flour and gently fold into the mixture.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan and create a small well down in the center with the back of a spoon.
  6. Place loaf pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50 minutes to an hour.
  7. Leave to cool in pan for 5 minutes then carefully turn our to finish cooling.
  8. Serve in thin slices.

Notes:

  • At first glance, it looks like I changed a lot of this recipe, and to a certain extent ,that is true. I replaced three of the ingredients because of Andy’s food allergies and my absolute disdain of raisins, but I¬† tried to stay close to the original recipe by swapping them for items that wouldn’t alter the integrity. There was still chocolate, dehydrated fruit, and nuts, so I think it all came out pretty true in the end.
  • I left my bread in the full hour, and it came out a little drier than I like, which isn’t a problem if you are actually serving this with tea, but I think next time I’ll cut 5-10 minutes off the cook time.

30 before 31

To Do

It’s resolution time, people. I am now in the first bright and shiny year of my thirties, and boy howdy, do I have plans. Here, for your reading pleasure, is my list of 30 things I would like to accomplish before I turn 31.

  1. Go somewhere I’ve never been.
  2. Take 1 class a month.
    Intuitive Painting – May
    Intuitive Painting – June
    Sea Glass Painting – August
    Intuitive Painting – August
    Glass Fusing – January
  3. Visit the west coast.
  4. 30 days of minimalism challenge.
  5. Have high tea in another state.
  6. Have a girls only mini vacation.
  7. Try 10 new restaurants.
    Blaze
    Salt Water Seafood Co
    Grain
    Liberty Bar & Restaurant
    Thai Basil
    Brick & Spoon
    Sugar

    The Edison
    Mayuri
    Green Truck Pub
    Sentient Bean
    Gnome
    Dellz

    26 Devine
    Southern Public House
  8. Make 12 recipes from cookbooks I already own.
    Chocolate Toffee Coffee Cake
    Orange Spice Cookies
    Everyone’s Favorite Birthday Cake
    Blood Orange Tiramisu
    English Chocolate Tea Bread
    Dark Chocolate Fudge
    A Very Vanilla Sprinkle Cake
    Cinnamon Streusel Cider Muffins

    Dolly’s Doughnut Cake
    Cranberry Maple Muffins
    Irish Tea Bread

    Apple Pecan Cake
  9. Make 5 projects off of my Pinterest “Craft” board
    Sharpie Mug
    Scrabble Ornament
    Jingle Bell Wreath
    T-shirt Vest

    Filled Ornaments
  10. Finally, finally, FINALLY open my Etsy shop.
  11. Go to a blogger meet-up.
  12. Read 30 new books.
    City of the Lost – Kelly Armstrong
    Dark Places – Gillian Flynn

    Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs
    The Mermaid’s Sister – Carrie Anne Noble

    Redemption Song – Craig Schaefer
    The Living End – Craig Schaefer
    Plain Dealing Villain – Craig Schaefer
    The Killing Floor Blues – Craig Schaefer
    The Spirit Class Charade – Colleen Gleason
    The Clockwork Scarab – Colleen Gleason
    The Butterfly Garden – Dot Hutchison
    The Paper Magician – Charlie N. Homberg

    The Glass Magician – Charlie N. Homberg
    The Master Magician – Charlie N. Homberg
    Play Dead – Anne Frasier
    Stay Dead – Anne Fraiser
    Pretty Dead – Anne Fraiser
    The Body Reader – Anne Fraiser
    Shes Not There – PJ Parrish
    The Moonlit Garden – Connie Bomann
    The Beaufort Bride: The Life of Margaret Beaufort – Judith Arnopp

    Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet – Charlie N. Holmberg
    The Bloodletter’s Daughter – Linda Lafferty
    The Crying Girl – Glen Ebisch
    The Storied Life of AJ Fikry – Gabrielle Zevin
    Weightless – Kandi Steiner
    The Room – Emma Donoghue
    The Heir of Linn Haug – Karen Charlton
    The Sans Pareil Mystery – Karen Charlton
    Betrayals – Kelly Armnstrong
  13. Wear fake eyelashes.
  14. Try to do 3 creative projects a week.
  15. Walk on the beach and collect sea shells.
  16. Get my makeup professionally done.
  17. Try purple lipstick.
  18. Get a tattoo.
  19. Formulate a five year plan.
  20. More original content for the blog.
  21. Work on my photography skills.
  22. Collaborate on projects with other creatives.
  23. Host a Sunday brunch.
  24. Get better at participating in social media.
  25. Finish the gallery wall in the master bedroom.
  26. Paint and decorate the guestroom.
  27. Paint the guest bathroom.
  28. TBD – Complete an entire puzzle
  29. Make something that I can wear.
  30. Get my home office to the point where I can actually work in it.

I left 28 as sort of a swing goal. Every year I run into something challenging or interesting and what better way to force myself into action than to add it to this list where I have you guys to follow along and keep me accountable. Last year I did pretty well if I do say so myself. You can check out my 29 before 30 here and see how I did.

Image from here.