Well, let's try this again… I know what happened that there haven't been any posts: my mother has been in and out of the hospital several times in the last months with heart disease, and I've been dealing with that more than with anything else. Working 80 miles away (=3 hours worth of commuting every day, and – not knowing whether I'd have to come back in an emergency – I was driving, not taking the bus pool), plus having to go over to the hospital regularly to keep Mom from going stark staring nuts doesn't leave much time or energy for blogging or other delights…
But she's home, now, with a pacemaker installed (ie, my mother now has a motherboard!), and she's just soooo much better – let's have a quick cheer for modern medical technology. And for good insurance, thank goodness; my dad was in the motion picture industry all his working life and had Motion Picture Health & Welfare coverage, absolutely the Cadillac of health plans. Mom has it as a legacy from him in addition to her own Medicare and retired teacher's insurance. So she can get whatever she needs, and the pacemaker seems to be exactly that. If she keeps improving, as things heal, she should be able to walk the two blocks to the bus stop again, and won't be trapped in the house when I'm not there anymore, and she's already back going to meetings and church and stuff when I drop her off or people pick her up.
The one casualty of the experience, however, is that I've been doing the cooking since she came home. Modern pacemakers don't have the allergy to microwave ovens that the old ones did (or modern microwaves have better seals to keep the microwaves in), so she can reheat stuff, and she's discovered that she really really likes yogurt for breakfast. But she's finally accepted that her vision makes cooking a questionable proposition. So I've been doing a lot more than I used to, and being sure there are left-overs for her to reheat for lunch, and keeping the fridge stocked with a nice assortment of yogurt.
(I'm not quite caught up on the dishes, though. Somehow, while she was sick, virtually every dish and absolutely every piece of flatware in the house ended up in the sink… Our neighbors gave us a portable dishwasher, but I haven't had a chance to figure it out yet. At least I've got it to the point that the end is in sight – for a while there it looked like the only hope was to throw out the lot of it and start over!)
Anyway, I've been experimenting with some old favorite recipes and some new ones, and maybe I can keep this thing up if I report on (successful) experiments in the kitchen. So, herewith the Apple Thing I did for brunch on Saturday. It was inspired by something broadcast on our local PBS station, but I've messed with it a good deal.
Apple Brunch Thing
1 package refrigerated cinnamon roles (the big kind, 5 to a package)
3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-inch chunks (I use Braeburns for preference)
1 Tbsp chopped crystallized ginger
2 Tbsp raisins
3 Tbsp chopped pecans, divided
3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate (6 oz can or half of a 12 oz can), thawed
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the cinnamon rolls from the package, reserving the cup of frosting. Carefully cut each roll in half across the spiral, so that you have ten pieces, each half the thickness but the same diameter as the original rolls. Place five of the cinnamon roll pieces in the bottom of a pan (I used an old Corelle pan, about 7 inches across, but an 8-inch baking pan will work). Scatter the apple chunks over the dough. Scatter the ginger, raisins and 2 Tbsp of the pecans over the dough. Top with the other five cinnamon roll pieces. Pour the apple juice concentrate over the whole thing. Spray a piece of aluminum foil with cooking spray, and use it to cover the pan, sealing well.
Bake about 35 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake about another 10 minutes, or until the top is Golden Brown and Delicious (GBD…) Let cool a few minutes.
If desired, spread the frosting from the cinnamon roll package over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp of pecans. Serves 4 – 6.
Now, I will be the first to acknowlege that you could throw some ingredients in your bread machine and create your own cinnamon rolls, and I fully intend to go that route one of these days. But even with the Evil Packaged Food Item this is yummy. The bottom part is sort of apple-dumpling-y, and the apples are really good even just by themselves.