Sunday, November 20, 2011

Caramel Apple Cake

Nom nom nom!!  This cake is sooo good.  And it is ....*a cheater cake*!!!  Normally I bake my cakes from scratch, but this recipe uses a box mix and let me tell ya, it was so nice how quickly I had this ready to go into the oven!  I don't think there's anything wrong with "cheating" sometimes, especially because I added other yummy ingredients to it.

This cake is great for any occasion, because seriously, who doesn't like apples and caramel together?!  It's one of my personal favorite combinations, along with chocolate & peanut butter, chocolate & mint, chocolate & cherry, wavy lays & french onion dip...

Sorry about that.  Excuse my rambling.  : )  Anyway, my hubby LOOOVED this cake.  He was actually surprised at how much he loved it.   It's moist & delicious, PRETTY, and has great flavors perfect for fall or even your Thanksgiving dessert table!  

Hello delicious cake!  Do you see all that gooey caramel on the outside??  Heaven.  Someone couldn't control themselves from eating a bunch of the melted caramel before it even made it on the cake, but I won't mention my any names.  ; )  I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but there are nice chunks of tender apple throughout the cake.  This really is an awesome treat! 

Caramel Apple Cake
adapted from Kraft Foods

1 yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
1 package (3.4 oz) JELL-O Vanilla Instant Pudding
1 cup water
4 eggs
1/3 cup oil
Dash of nutmeg
Cinnamon (as much as you want)
3 Gala apples (or 3 of any apple you like) peeled, and coarsely chopped
20 Kraft Caramels, unwrapped
3 TB milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Beat the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with mixer until well blended.  I then added 1 dash of nutmeg and many sprinkles of cinnamon (sorry I don't have a exact measurement, I just sprinkled the cinnamon all over the top of the mixed batter, stirred it in, tested it, and loved it!).  Add as much nutmeg/cinnamon as you'd like and stir into the batter.  Stir in chopped apples.  Pour into a well-greased  fluted tube pan (mine was a Wilton silicone fluted tube pan). 
Bake 50 mins. to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan 15 mins.  Loosen cake from side pf pan; invert onto wire rack.  Gently remove pan.  Cool cake completely.  Transfer to plate.
Microwave caramels and milk in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 min., or until caramels are completely melted and sauce is smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.  Cool 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Drizzle over cake.  (If you make the cake ahead of time before you want to serve it, I would wait to put the caramel on until the day of, or right before serving it.  It tends to soak in a little bit as it stays on.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sausage Balls

It's true, I'm still alive.  I didn't cancel my blog.  I didn't fall off the face of the earth.  What did happen?  My laptop died.  : (   It's pretty old, so I was afraid this would happen one day soon, and sure enough, it did.  I had to get a different hard drive put in, cloned with all my info, and I've been instructed to "free" some memory or it will permanently crash.  :'( 

For the meantime, I can blog again!  Oh, how I've missed it!

Mmmmmm, sausage balls.  I'm sure you've had them.  They've long been one of my favorite snacks, and they definitely fall into the "once you pop, you just can't stop" category.  Especially when they first come out of the oven...Lord help me!!  Do you see all that yummy sausage and swirls of cheesy goodness??  Oh yeah, and my other favorite part...the crispy bottoms!

I brought this large container full of sausage balls to work.  This is what I brought back home.  Seems like they were a hit! 

Sausage balls can taste different, depending on who is making them.  Some people like to make them with hot, spicy sausage.  Others like to use sharp cheddar cheese.  Some like them more dry.  Me?  Not so much.  You can see what I do like below.

Sausage Balls

1 lb. regular sausage
3 cups Bisquick
1 lb. shredded mild cheddar cheese
Enough milk to moisten

Combine sausage, Bisquick, and cheese (I use my clean hands to combine all of this).  Adding small amounts of milk will help all the ingredients come together.  You don't want the mixture to be too wet, juuuust enough milk to allow you to combine the ingredients.  This will also prevent the sausage balls from being dry.  Roll mixture loosely into balls and place onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until golden. (Mine took 15 minutes to bake).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mama's Birthday: The Big 5-0!

TODAY is my Mama's birthday!!!  And not just any's her 50th birthday!!  WOO-HOO!  Jordan and I spent this weekend making a surprise visit back to NC for her special birthday weekend.  We walked into the house during her lunch break, and needless to say, she was SHOCKED!  Yesssss, we pulled this thing off for months without letting the cat out of the bag.  : ) 

Saturday was her birthday party, which lots of family attended.  Everyone had a great time, especially when the waiters came to sing "Happy Birthday" to mom and made her sit on a saddle and wave her napkin around...priceless

It's really hard for me to always be away from my mom since I got married and moved out here.  This trip will never be forgotten, and I wouldn't have missed this blessing of a birthday for anything!

I hope I will be as great of a mom to my (future) kids as my mom is to me and my brother.  She has always been there for us (NO. MATTER. WHAT.), been supportive, shown interest in our interests, gave helpful advice, took us to do fun things, and so much more.  She is a PRANKSTER, no doubt.  I could write a whole blog post dedicated to the pranks she's pulled on us.  But that's part of why she's so fun.  : )  Most of all, I don't think you could ever find someone as loving as my mom is.  On top of all that, she is a woman of GOD and she has been such a testimony to others because of her steadfast faith.

I love you mama!  I wish you a Happy Birthday and 50 more to come!  : )