Skip to content

Celebrate Fall with Apple Desserts

September 19, 2014
apple desserts collage

Next week marks the official start of fall, my favorite season filled with apples, pumpkin, falling leaves, sweaters, boots, and warm scented candles. Okay, maybe San Diego isn’t always known for those seasonal hallmarks, but every year I hope!

Speaking of autumnal traditions, Thursday is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It’s a Rosh Hashanah tradition to dip apple slices in honey to symbolize a sweet new year. So in the spirit of fall, Rosh Hashanah and apples, I’ve rounded up my favorite apple dessert recipes for you to enjoy.

apple desserts collage

Apple Butter Jam apple butter jam1

My Grandmother’s Apple Cake apple cake1

Honey Apple Cake apple cake with writing

Do you have a favorite apple dessert recipe? 

Other Posts You May Like:

Fall Bookapalooza: Spotlight on “To See the Moon Again” (and Giveaway)

September 16, 2014
see the moon again

It’s week two in the Fall Bookapalooza! This week I’m excited to spotlight To See the World Again by Jamie Langston Turner. Another great story about family, secrets, redemption and forgiveness.

see the moon againFrom the publisher:

Every day of her life Julia Rich lives with the memory of a horrible accident she caused long ago. In the years since, she has tried to hide her guilt in the quiet routine of teaching at a small South Carolina college, avoiding close relationships with family and would-be friends. But one day a phone call from Carmen, a niece she has never met, disrupts her carefully controlled world.

Carmen is a study in contrasts—comical yet wise, sunny yet contemplative, soft yet assertive. As she sets about gently drawing Julia from her self-imposed solitude into a place of hope, she also seeks her own peace for past mistakes.

Together, the two women embark on a journey that takes Julia far from the familiar comfort of home and gives Carmen the courage to open her heart. Together, their sightseeing trip turns into a discovery of truth, grace, redemption, and, finally, love.

GIVEAWAY: I have one copy of To See the World Again to give to one lucky reader. To be entered to win, simply leave a comment about any topic you’d like. The giveaway closes Sunday, September 21 at 5 pm Pacific time. 

And don’t forget to check back next week for the next novel and giveaway in the Fall Bookapalooza event!

Other Posts You May Like:

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of To See the Moon Again to review for this blog post.  All opinions are my own and I only endorse books that I am proud to recommend to others.

Fall Bookapalooza: Spotlight on “House of Wonder” (and Giveaway)

September 9, 2014

Congratulations Julia Munroe Martin as the giveaway winner!

In celebration of fall and back-to-school, I have an exciting series of posts for all of you book enthusiasts! For the next five weeks, I’ll be spotlighting a new book and offering a giveaway too. There are so many awesome new novels and memoirs coming out and I’m eager to share them with you. First up: House of Wonders by Sarah Healy

house of wonderFrom the publisher:

Theirs wasn’t always the misfit family in the neighborhood. Jenna Parsons’s childhood was one of block parties and barbecues, where her mother, a former beauty queen, continued her reign and her twin brother, Warren, was viewed as just another oddball kid.

But as her mother’s shopaholic habits intensified, and her brother’s behavior became viewed as more strange than quirky, Jenna sought to distance herself from them. She is devoted to her career and her four-year-old daughter, Rose. But now, in his peculiar way, Warren summons her back to 62 Royal Court.

What she finds there—a house in disrepair, a neighborhood on tenterhooks over a rash of petty thefts, and evidence of past traumas her mother has kept hidden—will challenge Jenna as never before. But as she stands by her family, she also begins to find beauty in unexpected places, strength in unlikely people, and a future she couldn’t have imagined.

Books about family mysteries always intrigue me and this book was no different. Sarah’s tale is engaging and there were several passages she wrote that I feel like I could have written myself. A good sign when the story is that relatable to the reader.

GIVEAWAY: I have one copy of House of Wonders to give to one lucky reader. To be entered to win, leave a comment telling me what you’re currently reading. The giveaway closes Sunday, September 14 at 5 pm Pacific time. 

And don’t forget to check back next week for the next novel and giveaway in the Fall Bookapalooza event!

Other Posts You May Like:

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of House of Wonders to review for this blog post.  All opinions are my own and I only endorse books that I am proud to recommend to others.

Welcome to 1st Grade!

September 8, 2014

Sophie started first grade last week. I’m in awe of how much she’s grown, just over the summer months. She stopped sucking her thumb completely (more on that later). She got her ears pierced. She can now read entire books by herself, road signs, and so many words. She is so much more confident at her school and knowing more kids. I’m so proud of the little person she’s becoming.

What I learned in just the first few days of school is how first grade is quite different from kindergarten. The expectations are higher. The classroom is completely learning focused; there is no “free choice” playtime anymore. The kids have text books. They are treated as responsible little people. I like that. And Sophie is definitely ready for it too.

I can already feel that this school year is going to be a great one for Sophie. I’m excited to see how she grows. Bring on first grade!

My 1st grader.first day of 1st grade

A few photos from the week (walking to school). sophie walking to school

School supplies! school dask

At her “big kid” desk with an “under pocket” (under the desk tray for books). She’s very excited about this because kindergarteners don’t use under pockets! sophie at desk

And of course, a look back at previous first days of school.first-days-of-school_collage

Other Posts You May Like:


Snapshots: Thinking, Reading, Doing, Snapping and Eating (August)

August 25, 2014

Thanks for all your positive comments about my debut “Snapshots” post. Here’s the latest roundup-esque post with a glimpse of things I’ve been doing, thinking, writing, reading, photographing, and eating during the last week.

Thinking …
I’ve certainly been doing my share of thinking. But I’m not going to write a lot at this moment. I woke up Saturday morning having pulled a muscle in my neck and it’s been so painful all weekend. I suspect typing until all-hours on this computer won’t help. So I’ll catch you up with my thoughts in future posts.

books_aug 24

Reading …
I’m continuing my summer binge-reading with some great books. I already told you about Good Chinese Wife, which was a wonderful read. I went on to read The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard. This book was sitting on my “to read” pile for months and I finally picked it up, and proceeded to finish it within a few days. I love it when you find a hidden gem of a book waiting for you all along.

This is a great story about a Midwestern family that is torn apart after the girlfriend of one of the son goes missing. It was beautifully written, heartbreaking, yet not depressing either. It was a really great reminder how something like what this family went through could really happen to any one of us. And the cover’s beautiful image of fireflies in a jar is just gorgeous too.

I just started Under the Jeweled Sky by Alison McQueen. This story takes place under the backdrop of India’s transformation and follows a woman who must confront her past in order to fight for her future. I just started this one, so I’m not ready to give it a full review. But it’s definitely help my interest so far.


Eating …
The best thing I ate (and baked) in the last few weeks was a Finnish marble cake from the Apples for Jam cookbook. This book is gorgeous, chocked full of colorful photos, family stories, and simple recipes that are organized by color (love this idea). This cake was absolutely mouth-watering and so simple. The recipe is below. Make it today! You’re welcome!

2 1/4 sticks softened butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 1/4 cups plain flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9 1/2″ spring-form cake pan. I used a 9″ cake pan.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until pale. Gradually add the eggs. Sieve in the flour and the baking powder. If the mixtures looks curd-ly before, add some flour. Beat well, then beat in the cream.
  • Divide the batter into two bowls, adding more batter to one bowl. In the bigger batter add the vanilla extract, and mix well. Sieve the cocoa into the second bowl, whisking in completely.
  • Dollop most of the vanilla mixture in the pan. Then add spoonfuls of the chocolate mixture, here and there. Then add the remainder of the vanilla mixture. Use a skewer or a tsp to make a few swirls. Do not blend in the two batters.
  • Bake 50 – 60 minutes until skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pan before serving. I added a dollop of fresh whipped cream and fresh raspberries to mine.

Snapping …
This month, Sophie enjoyed her first baseball game. Go San Diego Padres!


We’ve been spending time in our backyard watching the sunflowers. sunflowers

Sophie’s been keeping busy coloring her cardboard castle.castle

Tess and Casey are hanging around.Tess


And we only have one more week of peaceful sleeping in and leisurely days until school starts next week! sleeping sophie
So how was your August? What are you reading, eating, cooking and doing? 

%d bloggers like this: