Friday, November 11, 2016

Crockpot Apple Cider

Sooooo, today I have a multi-tasking recipe for you just in time for all these happy holidays that are on their way!

Not only is this recipe delicious, incredibly easy, and accidentally pink (!!!!), it will make your home smell AMAZING! Who doesn't want a holiday home that smells like delicious homemade cider and spices? I don't want to meet whoever that person is.

Now, I know these next few months are going to be bonkers insane for you with all the shopping and hosting and traveling, but all the effort this recipe requires is a few minutes cutting fruit into quarters and a little patience straining the cider once it's done. Between those two tasks all you have to do is let the fruits do their thing and fill your home with the best scent of all time! Truly, it's so good. 

The other really wonderful thing about this recipe is, next to the sugars in the fruit, we aren't adding any extra sugar. Personally, I love a tangy cider, but if you want a little extra sweetness the original recipe calls for a few tablespoons of maple syrup. Additionally, if you want to make any other changes DO IT! Add the fruits you like. Omit the fruits you don't. It's really that easy. 

My apples came from Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville, VA. The orchard is a pick-your-own fruit place right off I-64 with sweeping views of the city. It's gorgeous and I'm obsessed. While I picked my apples I sipped on an apple cider slushy (OBSESSED) and bought two dozen apple cider donuts that were still warm despite being in their container. I was a happy gal. 

Crockpot Apple Cider

very slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest

11 apples, quartered (I used Jonagold & Honeycrisp apples freshly picked from Carter Mountain Orchard)
1 pomegranate, quartered 
1 navel orange, quartered 
3 cinnamon sticks

Add all ingredients to your crockpot with 5 - 6 cups of filtered water. Cover with lid and let cook on high for 4-5 hours. Intermittently during cooking time, mash softened fruit to help it break down. 

Strain liquid into a pitcher (I strained mine 3 times and used cheesecloth during the final strain to remove most of the pulp) and discard pulp, fruit, and cinnamon sticks. 


  • Add in 2 - 6 tablespoons of maple syrup, depending on your preference, during cooking for a sweeter cider. Taste cider at the end and add more, if desired. 
  • Alternatively, you can simmer this on your stovetop until the apples begin to break down. 
  • This recipe would be perfect for my Caramel Apple Pie Floats. Do it friends!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Rainy Day Cake

Today I'm sharing a chocolate cake! Not just any cake though. A cake with lavender honey tea in it. It's simple, but delicious and perfect for this rainy, gray, cold weather we've been having. 

Have you been having uncharacteristically cold weather where you live this spring? We certainly have! However, even though it's been rainy and cool, the light has been so beautiful lately! I love the way these gray days make the green of the trees look extra pretty. 

Anyway, back to CAKE. This cake in particular turned out much better than I expected. It's dense, moist (sorry about that word), and very chocolatey but the addition of tea pushes this cake over the edge. It's got a simple but extra special flavor. So, so good!

The original recipe for this cake (found on Shutterbean) calls for the addition of Earl Grey tea. I've made this cake multiple times with Earl Grey and it's perfection. However, on this particular day, I didn't have enough Earl Grey so I used Lavender Honey tea and found it to be a perfect addition as well. This recipe is so simple that you could easily sub out different teas depending on your specific tastes. Don't be afraid to experiment! 

Rainy Day Cake

adapted from Shutterbean

8 Honey Lavender Tea Bags (I used these)
1 cup boiling water
1 stick unsalted butter, softened 
3/4 cup egg whites
2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (not Greek)

For Topping
Powdered sugar
Freshly Whipped Cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray, set aside. 

In a large glass measuring cup steep tea bags in water for 5 - 7 minutes. Once steeped, remove tea bags. Set brewed tea aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, egg whites, and sugar until fluffy. Blend in melted, cooled chocolate. 

Add in flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and yogurt. Slowly pour brewed tea into the cake batter mixture on low speed until incorporated. 

Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 - 50 minutes.

Let cake completely cool before removing from pan and sprinkling with powdered sugar. 

I hope you enjoy this cake along with conversation with family and friends!