recipe: Grandma Olga’s Apple Cake (with gluten free option!)

hans and alicia apple picking

Go apple picking. Decide what recipes to make. And on my mom’s side of the family, we don’t make apple pies — we make apple cake.

Since going gluten free five years ago, my baking hobby wained. But as GF options started to improve, I started to dabble. And with the cool temperatures of Fall upon us, I dug out an old family recipe, make some easy breezy substitutions and have been enjoying one of my childhood favorites for breakfast (and lunch and snack time) all week long…

apple cake

Grandma Olga’s Apple Cake

Makes 12 servings

  • 6 medium sized apples (any variety good for baking works), peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider (if available)
  • 2 cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill “All Purpose” Gluten Free Flour for gluten free eating)
  • 1/2 cup oil (I used vegetable)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract (use GF if needed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Combine apples and sugar in bowl. Let sit for one hour, stirring occasionally. Towards end of hour, pour in apple cider.

Preheat oven to 350*.

In a separate bowl, combine the other wet ingredients: oil, eggs and vanilla. Pour into apple/sugar mixture and stir.

In another separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt

Combine the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing by hand to incorporate until batter is smooth.

In a 9 x 13 greased baking pan, pour the batter, evenly distributing the apples. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until dark golden brown (in cinnamon will make it darker than you expect) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

**p.s. this goes EXCELLENTLY with Pope’s Kitchen‘s Fig and Cocoa spread that I purchased at the Cleveland Garlic Festival this past weekend!

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recipe: “Zoodles” with Grape Tomatoes (℅ Door To Door Organics)

***Disclosure: Door to Door Organics approached me with an opportunity to share information about their products and services. In return, I received an account credit and the opportunity to share a recipe using their organic ingredients. All thoughts and opinions are my own.***

It’s hard to believe it’s already been three months that we’ve been receiving our Door to Door Organics deliveries. Once a week since mid-May, a shipment of organic produce (and other groceries when I remember to place the additional order) appear on our doorstep like clockwork. There’s nothing to do but to remember to put our cooler out on our front porch — and even when I forget that, the DTDO crew has my back, placing our groceries with a cold pack in a reusable box. It’s cut down on my grocery store visits, which means more time for me in the kitchen.

Another new-to-me thing I’ve been enjoying this summer is my spiralizer. I purchased mine on Amazon for less than $8 and have been spiralizing veggies since. Good thing we’ve gotten plenty of zucchini in our boxes the past month or so!  My new found love for delivered organic produce + my new kitchen toy lead to the inspiration for this dish.

zoodles collage

“Zoodles” with Grape Tomatoes

Serves two hungry Hansens — or four servings as sides

  • 2 small zucchini*, spiralized
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (enough to coat your pan)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic*, diced
  • 1 small onion*, diced
  • 1/2 a pint grape tomatoes*, halved
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Cheese for garnish (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan at  medium to high heat. Add the onion and garlic once the oil is hot. Cook until garlic and onion are gold in color (to allow some caramelization to occur.)  Add the zucchini and season with salt, pepper and oregano — be generous with the seasonings! Combine all ingredients to coat evenly with the olive oil/onion/garlic “sauce”. Reduce the heat to low, and add the tomatoes. Cover the pan with a lid, then let simmer on low until the tomatoes are soft. Serve as is or garnish with your favorite hard, white cheese — a Parmigiano-Reggiano would be excellent with this!

* indicates products used from my Door To Door Organics delivery

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recipe: slow cooker turkey chili

Last week, my sorority little Danielle reached out to her friends via Facebook requesting easy yet healthy meal ideas.  She needed something easy for busy weeknights when trying to find time for the gym, taking care of her little one and feeding herself and her hubby good food. My suggestion: “Soups, chilis and stews only get better in the days after you make them.”  The slow cooker comes to the rescue again!

This conversation must have been stored in my brain the rest of that week because I found a defrosted pound of ground turkey awaiting me Saturday morning.  By 8AM, I had all the ingredients for one heck of a post-yoga Saturday lunch in the slow cooker.  Normally I curse my internal alarm clock for having me up by 7AM on a weekend – not this time!

Photo Mar 02, 12 32 09 PM

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
Serves approximately 6 or so hearty bowls


  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of  petite diced tomatoes with chipotle
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (29 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • a hearty shake of Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning
  • a hearty shake of onion powder (because I didn’t have a real onion)
  • a minimal shake of cinnamon
  • a shake of sea salt
  • shake of black pepper


  • Turn on your slow cooker to high.
  • Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker. Do your best to equally distribute everything.
  • Put the lid on the slow cooker and step away from it for four hours (or until the turkey is cooked through). Don’t lift the lid!
  • When chili is ready, scoop desired servings into bowls.
  • Serve with whatever moves you: rice, tortillas, corn chips, sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, Oyster crackers, hot sauce…

Help my sorority sister out: what’s your go-to tip for healthy weeknight dinners?

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