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(post, Annie Witkamp)
A few thoughts and words of advice: Should I be worried that my husband laughed and said “I’m going to shake your head like a Polaroid picture” while watching tv the other night? I jokingly told him one more time means divorce. He cracks me up because I don’t expect him to say something motivated by the entertainment/celebrity/mainstream music world. He doesn’t keep up with those things; I don’t really either, it just gets stuck in my head sometimes due to the bombarding commercials and basically everything else you encounter when you walk out your front (or back) door. I enjoy more music not played on the radio. (Shake it like a Polaroid picture is from a song for those completely baffled.) I mean what’s cooler than being cool? Now my word of advice: Don’t workout in your slippers. Take a moment to picture yourself doing this to a workout dvd like Turbo Jam or another intense cardio dvd. I finally got rid of my Nikes last year. I sent them back to Nike to be recycled and placed on a playground. I had them since I was in 7th grade (I have been the same height and have worn the same shoe size since then-size 6. Weight is a different issue.) I haven’t replaced them and my “athletic-inspired” shoes aren’t cutting it but I can’t afford a new pair any time soon. But please, I’m telling you, slippers are not the answer. Another thought: I bought two chicken breasts from a local vendor at the farmer’s market in town last weekend. I didn’t look at the price until she was totaling the eggs and chicken…then I saw that two breasts were over $7. (A cheap boob job but not so cheap for dinner.) My first thought was surprise that Greg went with it (he actually wanted an entire chicken and to blow the market budget) and my next thought was that I could get a large bag of chicken breasts for that price at the grocery store. I have to admit that I was also thinking about my support for locally grown products. Don’t get me wrong, I love to support local growers but the reality is that I still have to be budget-minded. There will be a time in my life where this will not be an issue and when that comes, I intend to fully support those persons, markets and stands. I do what I can now. I myself want to have a stand when I have land to harvest. I want to have a home where I can live off of what Greg and I create or help to create rather, something sustainable and to be shared. That’s the goal: move to Oregon, get some land closer to the coast than inland, have a woodshop, grow our own food, make our own beer and wine, be around like-minded people to share what we grow and perhaps create a microbrewery or restaurant. I would love an outdoor clay oven to make my own pizza and cook it in less than 3 minutes. “Dreams, I have dreams when I’m awake when I’m asleep,” as Brandi Carlile sings. That dream is on hold for a while…according to the student loan companies I pay every month; I will be paying until my retirement age. Cheery thought. I decided to try a recipe that I’m considering serving for Thanksgiving: Chai-Apple Coffee Cake that I came across at Ezra Pound Cake adapted from an Oregon Chai recipe. If I were you, I might double the ingredients for the batter if you want a thicker bottom (in more than one way). I know I had some requests to post this and I highly recommend it-oh so good! Chai-Apple Coffee Cake Serves 6 (it’s hard to share) Ingredients: Batter 1 ¼ cup flour ½ cup sugar 1 tsp baking powder ¼ tsp baking soda ¼ tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon ½ cup butter 1/3 cup chai tea latte concentrate (Oregon Chai works well) 1 egg 1 tsp vanilla Streusel ½ cup flour ½ cup brown sugar 3 tbsp butter Apple Topping 2 cups of apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced 2 tbsp butter ¼ cup chai tea latter concentrate 2 tbsp brown sugar Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 7 to 9-inch baking dish, 7 to 9-inch cake pan or a small bundt pan. I used a 9-inch round pan but I think a smaller one would work better. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add slightly melted butter and mix until crumbly, with your fingers or a pastry blender. In another bowl, mix chai concentrate, egg and vanilla. Blend into flour mixture, spoon the mixture into the pan, and spread it. Again, I recommend doubling the batter ingredients for a thicker bottom. For the streusel, place 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3 tablespoons butter in a small bowl. Pinch together with your fingers until crumbly. Place over the batter. For the apple topping, sauté apples in 2 tablespoons butter for a few minutes in a small saucepan. Add chai concentrate, cover and continue to cook for 2 more minutes to thicken sauce. Spoon apples over the streusel (my sauce wasn’t very thick so I only used the apples over the top but if you doubled the batter, I would add some or all of the sauce), and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. I had to cover the cake with foil because the sides were cooking much faster after about 30 minutes so keep an eye on that. Cool cake a little, I think it’s better slightly warm. A cinnamon whipped cream would be nice to top it off.