Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

When we started this blog a little over a year ago, we hoped to build an online archive of new and old recipes for our family as well as make memories along the way. We’ve done just that, and this recipe is one that has been passed down through the generations in our family. You’ll even see from the directions that you just kind of need to know it to make it. From this Christmas forward, we hope to carry on the tradition of handing out these delicious Chocolate Applesauce Cakes to our dear friends and family.

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Decked out in her Christmas red, The Cub helps scoop the flour.

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“Grandma, you scoop and I’ll level,” proclaims The Cub.

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Next they added the cocoa. The Cub added, “Like the movie Coco!”

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This recipe includes all the yummy spices that make up the season. Together they sniffed the allspice.

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In goes the applesauce with a plop!

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Th cub uses her William Sonoma Lil’ Bear spatula to taste test the batter! Cub approved!

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Stir, stir, stir!

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The cub then adds in the raisins. We had half a bag left so we just let her dump them in.

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Working on her knife skills, The Cub helped chop some walnuts. She’s getting so good at chopping and enjoys it too!

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After the batter is mixed well, The Cub and Grandma DiDi added the batter to the greased mini loaf pans. The Cub is careful not to spill any.

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Cooked to perfection! With a hint of chocolate and a whole lot of Christmas spice! We hope you share our favorite holiday recipe for your loved ones! And if you do, we would love to see your finished product. Tag us #thekitchencub.

 

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 TBSP cocoa
  • 1 tsp salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • ½ cup shortening (canola oil)
  • 1 cup raisins, golden or regular
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

These are the directions that were passed down… 

  1. Mix all together and pour into greased loaf pan and bake in 350 oven for approximately 1 hour. 

 

Directions we actually used: 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cornstarch, baking soda, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, clove, allspice and nutmeg.
  3. Add applesauce and oil and mix until batter is well blended.
  4. Add raisin and walnuts.
  5. Grease each pan with cooking oil. Pour batter into loaf pan making sure not to overfill as the bread will rise.
  6. For mini loaf tins bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick runs clean.  If using whole loaf pan, bake for approximately 1 hour.
  7. Cool for 20 mins and serve! Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for a week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Grandma’s Cranberry Relish

Grandma’s Cranberry Relish

I’m sure you can imagine the holidays in our house always meant delicious food. Grandma DiDi always grew up with her mom creating in the kitchen and had many family traditions that were handed down generation to generation.

Old family recipes take on a life of their own. “Great grandma told me this” and “Grandma always did this” are common words spoken in the kitchen. Often recipe cards have no specific amounts and vague instructions that leave the cook to decide. Most recipes are learned by watching Grandma in the kitchen year after year.

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One of those recipes is Grandma’s cranberry relish. It’s the easiest recipe on the planet. The cub begins by adding fresh cranberries and oranges.

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While Grandma DiDi blends the mixture, the cub sneaks a slice of orange for herself.

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Grandma DiDi blends the mixture it in the processor. The cub still doesn’t like the sound it makes.

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After the mixture is blended, the cub helps add her favorite part…Sugar! Grandma DiDi blends it for a little longer than transfers it to a Tupperware dish and stores it in the refrigerator.

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You’ll notice that our recipe has ranges for the ingredient amounts. Find what works best for your taste buds and enjoy our family recipe.

Grandma’s Cranberry Relish

Ingredients

  • 1 bag (12-16 oz) of fresh cranberries 
  • 1-2 whole oranges, chopped
  • 1-2 cups sugar
  • approximately 1 tsp salt (plus more to taste)

Directions

  1. Grind, crush, or finely chop cranberries and oranges (start with one orange. Add more if it seems like it needs more orange) We used a one and a half.
  2. Add 1 cup sugar (And more to taste – cranberries and oranges vary on sweetness).
  3. Add at least 1 tsp of salt.
  4. Mix all together and let sit for a day or so in refrigerator. It can also be frozen.

Note: You can also make a variation with added jalapeño and cilantro.

Making Baby Food

Making Baby Food

If you haven’t heard, The Cub was recently promoted to big sister and she’s taking the role very seriously. Among helping with her baths and changing her diaper, the cub loves to feed her a bottle and more recently, solid food.

This week the cub helped prep her little sisters food and she had a friend over to help.

Baby1The cub began by peeling the sweet potatoes. Her friend stood by to watch.

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The cub then chops the sweet potato. Once chopped Grandma DiDi cooked them in small amount of water until they are very soft to the touch.

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After the sweet potatoes had boiled and softened, the cub’s friend took a turn at pureeing the food in a blender.

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Then we poured the mixture into ice cub trays to freeze. Once frozen, pop them out for the perfect portioned meal for your baby.

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Next up, the cub’s little sister gobbled up all the yummy food she helped make for her. Bib not included.

 

Sweet Potato Baby Food

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped sweet potato
  • 2+ Tbsp water until you find the right consistency

Directions

  1. Wash sweet potatoes well
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into small chunks
  3. Place chunks into a pan with just enough water to cover potato
  4. Bring to boil and cook until tender, be sure to check on the water level.
  5. Reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the sweet potatoes
  6. Place sweet potato into your blender (we use vitamix) for pureeing and blend.
  7. Add the reserved water or formula/breastmilk as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin consistency

We do this with all veggies and fruit that she can eat.  Just be sure produce is all washed well prior to cooking.

First foods include: Sweet potato, banana, pear, avocado, apple, peas, carrots, butternut squash and oatmeal. As she grows, we will get more creative with her meals and be sure to post our creations.

 

 

Farm Days

Farm Days

Have you visited your local farm lately? We took a trip to ours and learned about veggies, giving back and kindness.

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We danced our way in and were greeted by a wonderful quote.

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“I would like to go to the fields and glean among the ears of grain behind someone who may show me kindness.”

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The greatest part about our local farm is this – they only take pay-what-you-can donations for what you buy. Hard not to want to support such a great cause.

Grandma DiDi shops at this farm weekly and always gives a little extra. She takes the cub from time to time. I hope the cub learns to be as generous as her Grandmother who gives so much to others. And not just with monetary contributions, but with her time. She’s the greatest example of kindness to others.

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“What are these?”, Grandma DiDi asked.  The Cub explained that they were carrots hiding in the dirt!

Teaching youngsters where food comes from gives them greater appreciation and understanding for what they are eating!

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The Cub headed to the chickens to see what they were eating. The farm feeds the chickens all their own produce. On the menu today – eggplant.

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Grandma DiDi explained the difference between curly kale and dinosaur kale. The cub couldn’t wait to try some.

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Fresh produce and sunshine!

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Heading back to the farm stand to buy some produce.

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Grandma DiDi and the cub decide on some dinosaur kale. The cub gets to pick her favorite bunch.

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The Kitchen Cub was here… Get out and support your local farmers. Take your kids along   for a fun adventure.

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And guess what??? She ate the dinosaur kale raw when we got home. 😋

 

 

 

 

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Savory Pumpkin Bread

Fall has arrived and that means everything Pumpkin! Grandma DiDi has been experimenting in the kitchen and whipped up this savory pumpkin bread!

The cub is at an age where not every morning is created equal. As she navigates her big emotions, we often invite her toys to join in on the cooking process to keep her engaged. Whatever it takes! 🙂

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The cub began by cutting the chives. She followed Grandma DiDi’s lead.

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Next up, they mixed all the wet ingredients together starting with the pumpkin.

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Followed by the yogurt. The cub is at an age where she wants to do everything by herself. We guide her with assistance when needed.

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Stir, whip, mix! The cub loves this part!

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Now the cub helps add the dry ingredients.  In goes the flour.

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Nothing better than the smell of spices! Even ones that aren’t sweet.

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A new fun activity is grinding the pepper. She can do it all be herself!

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In go the chopped chives! Sprinkle them everywhere!

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The cub takes her stirring duties seriously. With all that flour, the dough is getting really thick! “Look how strong I am,” the cub explains!

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Again, the cub is not always willing to participate. And she does want to do everything herself. Grandma DiDi has to offer help in this scenario. The cub does not approve.

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Once the dough is added to the bread pan, the cub gets to sprinkle hemp and chia seeds to the top. Now it’s time to bake!

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Ding! The bread is cooked to perfection. Perfect for a sandwich or just warm with butter or a cheese spread! Dig in!

Savory Pumpkin Bread
(Adapted from chefdehome.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • ¼ cup oil (canola, olive or oil of choice)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP fresh chives or thyme (or both if you’d like)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (more for top)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds (more for top)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 350. Grease a 5 X 9 inch pan
  2. In a medium bowl, add wet ingredients: eggs, oil, and yogurt. Whisk to break eggs and mix in yogurt. Add pumpkin puree and combine well. set aside
  3. In a large bowl, add dry ingredients: flour, spices and sugar. Mix well with fork to distribute evenly. Add wet ingredients in 3 batches and fold in until flour is moist and well blended. Add seeds and herbs.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes then loosen sides and turn out of pan.
  5. Slice thin and toast with butter or make sandwiches. Suggested ideas are cream cheese and olive, turkey and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly actually works, too!

Lunch Box Ideas

Lunch Box Ideas

It’s that time of year! Kids are back in school and the lunch boxes are pulled out and dusted off ready to take on the school year.

The cub started 3 Day Preschool last week and it’s her first year eating lunch at school. We purchased a Planet Box and a friend from school gifted us the Omie. Both are fabulous lunch boxes!

We prepared two fun and healthy lunch box ideas that incorporate some of our old recipes! Scroll down for links to the recipes!

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Omie lunch box:

  • New savory pumpkin bread (Recipe to come) to make a sunbutter and apple sandwich
  • Roasted seaweed
  • Watermelon balls
  • Grapes
  • Brown Butter Pumpkin Cookies

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Planet Box

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Artichoke and Dip Dip

The ancients considered the artichoke full of health benefits, including uses like a diuretic, a breath freshener, and even a deodorant. Thankfully we’ve developed different forms of deodorant over time.

Grandma DiDi grew up a few miles away from the artichoke capital – Castroville – and recalls it being a staple at the dinner table when she was growing up. We hope to pass the same memories onto the cub. And this veggie is a good source of folate, dietary fiber, and vitamins C and K. Artichokes are also packed with antioxidants; they’re number 7 on the USDA’s top 20 antioxidant-rich foods list.

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The cub begins by seasoning the water, that we used to steam the artichoke, with herbs, garlic and oil.

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While the cub takes an apple juice break, she watches Grandma DiDi carefully cut and trim the artichoke outer leaves.

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The cub can’t wait to use the scissors to help trim the leaves.

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While the artichoke steams on the stove, the cub helps prepare the dip dip.

The base of ours is greek yogurt. You can also use plain melted butter or mayonnaise as a dip.

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The cub added mustard to the yogurt.

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Then curry for added flavor. She mixed it up and waited for the artichoke to finish cooking.

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Once the artichoke was complete, the cub dug in with a big munch! She loves artichokes!

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Enjoy! What kind of dip do you like to use when eating an artichoke?

Artichoke and Dip Dip

Ingredients

  • Fresh artichokes (as many as you would like)
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried Herbs de Provence or oregano
  • Enough water to cover half of the artichokes

Dip Dip

  • 1/2 cup good plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp curry powder (depending on your taste – start light)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Wash the artichokes well under running water; pulling leaves out a bit to rinse away any dirt or residue
  2. Trim top off with serrated knife and pull outer smaller leaves. If you want, snip all leave tops off with scissors (this removes little stickers on tips of artichoke leaves).
  3. Place right side up in saucepan that will comfortably hold the number of artichokes you are cooking. Fill with water to about half way up artichokes.
  4. Add oil, herbs, and chopped garlic to water.
  5. Place artichokes on stove over medium heat and cover.
  6. Cook for 30 – 45 minutes or until artichokes are tender when heart is pierced with a knife or fork. When the artichokes are done, drain all of water off and turn them upside down to make sure all water is out. (keep an eye on water level – it can evaporate so you may need to add more hot water during cooking time)
  7. To make dip, blend yogurt, curry, garlic powder and mustard together. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for an hour.
  8. Artichokes can be eaten hot, warm, room temp or cold and hold for days in refrigerator after being cooked.

Notes:

  • When choosing artichokes at the market, look for those with leaves that are tightly closed and when the leaves are squeezed gently there is a squeaking sound. These are the freshest!
  • Artichokes can also be placed on a steamer plate to cook.