Borrowed dance shoes

Dan and I go to our ballroom dance class just about every Friday night. It’s definitely become part of our routine. So you’d think I wouldn’t even have to think about what I need to bring with me when we go, right? Well, last night we were halfway to Arthur Murray when I realized I had forgotten my dance shoes. And there wasn’t enough time to go back and get them. I felt so stupid. The last time this happened was years ago and I happened to be wearing flats which I could still sort of dance in, not flip-flops like last night. I thought it was a disaster. My only hope was to ask whether I could borrow a pair of shoes from one of the instructors for the evening. As luck would have it one of the ladies dug up an old, discarded pair of shoes that would work. They were a half size too small, the heels were at least half an inch higher than on my usual shoes which made me a bit unsteady, AND they were completely covered with glitter, but I figured I could wear anything for an hour and a half of dancing. Turns out I was right about that, but I got a very unexpected reaction from the other folks at Arthur Murray when I stepped onto the dance floot. They were a big hit. I blame the glitter. One girl even grabbed my arm to tell me how much she loved my new shoes! Sadly I had to inform her they were borrowed. Apparently my innate fashion sense is so boring that the shoes I actually own aren’t even worth noticing. They are plain, granted, but I like them. Don’t get me wrong, none of this really bothers me because I don’t put much stock is what other people think, but I still thought it was pretty funny. Next week I’m going to double, no, triple check that I have my shoes before we leave for dance class!

Foodie Friday – Applesauce bundt cake

I apologize for the lack of content in my posts this week. I have been seriously lacking in inspiration even though there are several topics I’d like to write about. (Isn’t that always the case?) Hopefully this weekend I’ll have some time to relax and actually write something, but that’s unlikely because I have to work on Sunday. This means that I’m going to try and make the most out of my Saturday. And this means that I probably won’t be sitting in front of my computer for too long on my single day off. But anyway, on to this week’s recipe. I made the absolutely incredible applesauce bundt cake for my co-workers a couple of weeks ago. It was a big hit. Usually I’m fairly critical of my own baked goods (and let’s be honest, everyone else’s too – I’m not proud of that), but this cake was the bomb. It’s easy to make and insanely delicious. I will definitely be making this cake again – probably in the fall with some homemade applesauce (which I need to learn how to make). It’s just amazing!

3 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 c butter, softened
2 c light brown sugar
1/4 c honey
2 large eggs
2 c chunky applesauce

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and honey until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Then beat in the applesauce. Pour the batter into a 10 cup bundt pan coated with cooking spray and smooth the top. Bake at 350 deg F for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack in the pan for 10 minutes before turning the cake out to cool completely. Enjoy!

Based on Salt and Chocolate’s Raspberry Applesauce Cake.

Foodie Friday – Blackberry jam cake

Thursday, May 31st started like any other day…it just started much, much earlier. Arriving at work at 2:30 AM is never fun, but the looks on my co-workers’ faces when I unveiled this gorgeous blackberry jam cake made it all worthwhile. I figured if I was going to bring a cake to work in the insanely early hours of the morning, a fruit cake would work best because it could easily be interpreted as breakfast. It had nothing at all to do with the fact that I’ve been looking for an excuse to make this cake for years. I think I’ve had this recipe bookmarked since 2008 and it was worth the wait! This cake was really good. Moist and fruity. Rather than measure the blackberry preserves too faithfully, I just dumped a whole 10 oz jar into the batter. The more the merrier, I figured, and it worked well. The cake itself was scrumptious and it disappeared quickly into the bellies of my sleep-deprived co-workers. And while the purple glaze was really pretty to look at, I thought it was just a little too much. Too sweet or something. If I make this cake again I’ll either use a different glaze or just leave it unfrosted. Anyway, here’s the recipe.

1 tsp baking soda
3 c cake flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 c sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c sour cream
1 1/2 c blackberry preserves (do not use jelly), divided
1 1/2 c powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, combine the baking soda, cake flour (I used all purpose flour and cornstarch), cinnamon, and salt and set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Slowly add the flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream, beating after each addition. Fold in 1 cup of the blackberry preserves (I used a whole 10 oz jar). Pour the batter into a 12 cup bundt pan (don’t use a smaller one!) coated with cooking spray (preferably a variety with flour that’s made for baking) and bake at 300 deg F for 15 minutes. Then increase the temperature to 350 deg F and bake for another 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick insterted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake is completely cooled, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup of blackberry preserves and the powdered sugar. You can melt the preserves in the microwave first if that makes it easier, but I didn’t. Drizzle the glaze over the cake as best you can (I obviously made a mess). Enjoy!

Based on Salt and Chocolate’s Blackberry Jam Cake.

If only I had time to write

Every night this week I’ve planned to sit down and write a lengthy post (ok, maybe just a list of random thoughts, but it was going to be a long list), but inevitably I end up doing chores while watching old episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” on my iPad until bedtime. I swear iPads were made solely for Netflix Instant, but that’s beside the point. After I got home from work today I had to take a walk to reach my 10,000 steps goal so I took the long way to the grocery store. Then I made a couple of spinach and strawberry salads for dinner. Then I unloaded the dishwasher. Then I washed a load of laundry. And that brings me to now – sitting on the couch, writing this pathetic post, and watching episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” on my iPad. I have to get up early to go to spinning in the morning so it’s almost time for me to get ready for bed. Here’s hoping I have a little more free time this weekend!

Fitness revisited

Boeing on the Move has started again! This means it’s time for me to get up off the couch and rededicate myself to fitness! Just so you know, this has nothing at all to do with the fact that I had to admit to my doctor on Monday that I hadn’t worked out in six months. Luckily my doctor is cool and didn’t scold me about that…or the sharp rise in my weight since last year. I appreciate that. In my defense I already had my gym bag in my car ready to go to spinning that afternoon. But anyway, last year I used Boeing on the Move to kick start my workout regime, and it worked…for about six months. As usual the holidays ruined my established fitness habits and the beginning of this year was really rough for me, so that means that I’ve been supremely lazy since sometime in December. But now that Boeing on the Move has starting again I have vowed to change my evil ways. Again. And this time it’s going to stick. For real. So far this week I’ve gone to spinning twice (Ouch. And double ouch.) and upheld my goal of walking 10,000 steps per day. I know it’s only been three days, but I think I’m doing pretty well so far! The trick is going to be keeping it up, but I’ll work on that one day at a time.