Contests and WinsCrock-PotRecipesSweets

Crock-Pot® Spiced Apple & Bourbon Upside-Down Cake

Crock-Pot chose my original recipe as a first place win! It’s a warmer and goo-ee-er version of the Rustic Apple cake I’ve been making for years. It’s slow cooked, warm, spicy, and spiked. I’m certain the use of whole wheat flour is what makes this dessert so delicious. I can’t wait for the mailman to arrive with my prize package. 🙂 I hope you will enjoy this steamed in the crock-pot cake!

Crock-Pot® Spiced Apple & Bourbon Upside-Down Cake
Author: Lanie
  • 3 Honey Crisp apples, washed
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1/2 cup plus 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice, divided
  • 1/4 cup fine quality Kentucky bourbon (50 ml bottle)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
  1. Turn slow cooker on high heat. With 1 Tablespoon of the butter, coat inside of crock. Meanwhile; peel, core and dice apples into slices and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the brown sugar over the apples, along with 2 Tablespoons of the flour and 1 teaspoon of the spice. Toss to completely coat apples. Put apples in 3-quart Crock-Pot®. Pour bourbon over the apples.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, with beater, whip the egg, vanilla, 1/2 cup softened butter and remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar for about 3 minutes until pale in color. Continue to mix in the baking soda, salt and then the remaining 3/4 cup flour. Pour batter over apples. Secure lid and DO NOT lift,- cook on high heat for 2 ½-3 hours (when cake is evenly risen. Scoop hot and overturn onto individual serving dishes and top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 4.


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Traditional Kheer (The Rice Pudding from India)


We call it Indian Rice Pudding in American but it’s more like a cold soup. I’m sharing with you a traditional recipe from one of my favorite cook books.

The movie Monsoon Wedding got me thinking about Indian food. It’s about an arranged marriage in India during the monsoon season which is usually in July. What I loved most about the movie was the portrayal of the leading men (the groom and the brides father.) They were handsome and honorable.

I watched it over three nights. It wasn’t a long movie but it was a busy week.

The book I picked from my collection to match this movie was originally published in 1973 by Madhur Jaffrey. This is a copy of the first printing.

I love this book. I’m not selling it in my Etsy shop, it stays with me! But I’m sure you can find a copy out there. The writing is so real and authentic. Look at what she says… Don’t you dare call it rice pudding! Ha! But does “rice pudding” sound so much better than “Cold Cardamom Basmati Soup?” How could our American taste buds relate? Pronounced KEY-EAR or KEEHD or rhymes with HERE if you don’t have a good Indian accent, which I don’t. 🙂

I just stared at the page when I read the recipe. How could this be? One Tablespoon of rice? HUH? When I made this recipe, I made half, just to be sure not to waste too much milk in case this was some type of publishing error. But it wasn’t. Count on the recipe to make 2-3 servings, max. It was difficult to find pistachios that were unsalted. So I bought salted, and then rinsed them in hot water. It worked just fine. I sprinkled some on top like the recipe specifies but really that crunch was too much. If you put them all in when it’s hot, they soften and are so delicious in the kheer by the time it’s chilled and ready to serve. This is really like a cold soup, often it is considered a milky pudding but not thick at all like the pudding we know. Let’s just stop calling it pudding right now! Ha Ha.

This was a simple twist today on the classic recipe below. I pureed some nice ripe mango and swirled it on the top. I also chose to use Basmati rice. Cardamom is a must and Vark is something I can’t seem to get my hands on. I found the closest thing to an earthenware bowl I could find. Whallah!

My Mom and I used to go to an Indian restaurant in Topeka and for dessert I usually got the kheer with a little dollop of mango ice cream. Something about kheer and mango, it’s a harmony of flavor.

A few minutes ago I sat in the kitchen, … relaxed in the dimness of a rainy evening. I’m pondering love and all the ways it evokes and evolves, or dissolves. That Movie, this Recipe….and ENJOYED every spoonful of this classic and flavorful Indian dessert.


Be sure to use Basmati rice and Whole Milk. 🙂 To reduce the cost, you can use some ground Cardamom to taste in place of the pods.



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Contests and Wins

Maple & Banana Sticky Rice with Sesame Wet Nuts on Mango-Maple Coulis

Here is entry #4!  Last, but certainly not least.

When we go out for Thai food, we always share a dessert of sweet sticky rice and mango, it’s called (Khao Niaow Ma Muang.) Usually it is just that, some sticky rice with chunks of mango on top of it. Not very complicated but still one of my favorite desserts for it’s delicious simplicity. I wanted to make a spin on this classic dessert.

I started my recipe thinking all things maple, as we don’t usually think of Asian food when Maple Syrup comes to mind.

Rather than sugar-sweetened coconut, I’ve sweetened the rice with maple syrup which gives it a warm and natural but not overpowering sweetness. I’ve added fresh banana to the rice because I love to eat with chopsticks and little squares of banana are the perfect size for grasping. Not to mention, banana is found in many Asian dishes, but not usually this one.

The second component is the wet nuts. Again the maple syrup is featured in one of my favorite banana split toppings, but here, without any added sugar.

Finally, keeping with the necessary flavor of its roots, I added a mango-maple coulis. All three components star maple syrup for one spectacular dessert!

Usually my husband and I order one dessert about this size and share it. This recipe, makes three desserts, serving a total of six people. It could be divided into six separate portions or smaller if you like!

Re-Purposing Idea for left overs: A Tropical Rice Pudding! Whisk together an egg and regular milk, plus all of your left overs and cook stirring for 10 minutes.

My rounded measuring cups came in handy for this one. I really hope you have enjoyed my recipe creations using Maple Syrup!  whisper…this was my favorite entry 🙂maple_griddle-logo

Maple & Banana Sticky Rice with Sesame Wet Nuts on Mango-Maple Coulis
Author: Lanie
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: six
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cup sweet rice (found at Asian grocery)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 ripe mangoes, peeled, diced (good quality with bright flesh like the ataulfo or champagne mango)
  • 3 small bananas, yellow no brown spots
  1. To make the wet nuts: In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup maple syrup with 1 Tbs. coconut milk until smooth. Heat a 2-quart saucepan on medium heat. Place nuts in pan and toss for a few minutes. Add seeds, toast one more minute, tossing carefully not to scorch. Turn off stove. Pour hot nuts into small bowl mixture. Stir, cover, and chill until serving time. Wipe out pan with paper towel.
  2. To make the rice: In the same saucepan which is now cooled, stir rice, 1 cup coconut milk, salt, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and water. Let soak for 1-2 hours. Meanwhile, make coulis.
  3. To make Mango-Maple Coulis: In a food processor, puree mango and 2 Tbs. maple syrup until completely smooth. You may or may not need to strain this mixture depending on the quality of your mangoes. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  4. Stir rice and turn heat to high. Bring rice to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to low and keep covered. Cook on low for 20-25 minutes. Stir and transfer to a bowl. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
  5. Just before serving, dice the banana and fold into the rice mixture. Press into a rounded measuring cup or small bowl and turn over onto the serving plate. Spoon coulis around the bottom, and top with the wet nuts.


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Mrs. Lund’s Fresh Plum Cake

German Plum Cake Photo


The main ingredients: Plums and Flour


When I think about “brunch”, I think about girls getting together and chatting. I think about friendships. Growing up in Lake Valley, our neighborhood was a bit like The Wonder Years. We were The Gadzia’s, next door were the Wheeler’s, The McKee’s, and the Bemis’, The Wiggins’, The Simmons’, The Zumwalt’s, The Godwin’s, the Todd’s…and Pete on the corner who gave us bare-footed kids Tootsie Roll pops. Then of course, there were The Lund’s. Many of my first food memories and first tastes were at The Lund’s house. Christina was three years older than me, the same age as my brother but we were the good friends. She was more like the big sister I never had- but always wanted.

Christina and "Mel"
Christina and I

Their house was so much more immaculate than ours. Being that Mom owned a pet shop, our house was more like an exotic zoo at times. We had a pet raccoon, a spider monkey, even had a pet prairie dog once. But it was a beautiful home with a pool on the lake, and my childhood Elementary school years are most memorable.

That’s me going down the slide. I hadn’t yet figured out that girls are supposed to wear tops.

Mrs. Lund probably never imagined that I would become a Foodpreneur, and at that time, was mentally cataloging everything I tasted at her house. I had my first cucumber salad there, first homemade wheat rolls, and of course, my very first taste of German plum cake. I remember Mrs. Lund as a gracious, beautiful and sweet lady with a German accent who was also the school librarian. I went back to the old neighborhood a few years ago and Mr. & Mrs. Lund looked exactly the same as they did 30 years ago. Even their lawn was as perfect as it was 30 years ago.

People would find it strange that I remember everything I’ve ever tasted, and everything everybody else tells me, they tasted.

I found an early photo of myself relaxing in our back yard on the hammock, obviously quite curious about a strawberry. 🙂 Food seemed to be as curious to me then as it is now.

Me, my dog Lollipop, & Maude the duck )1979

Now back to the Plum cake. The German name for Plum Cake is “Zwetschgendatschi.” There are two main versions, the easy version with powder for rising or the more time-consuming version with yeast. I’ve made both. The yeast version tastes more like Plum Bread to me. My girls loved it right out of the oven with melted butter.

This is not a sweet cake. I like granulated sugar as opposed to powdered sugar. This is pure cake with real fresh plums. I reduced this recipe to be made in a 8×8 inch square pan…simply because a 9×12 cake is just too much cake for my family. Plus, most of the recipes call for a whole pound of plums or more. I made mine with only three plums. The important thing is to make sure your plums are ripe. They will give when you push on them. I use margarine in this recipe because I don’t think butter improves it. I love butter, don’t get me wrong. 🙂 I will post the yeast version next week.


Plum Cake

Try cutting them into little finger cakes too.
Plum Cake Bites


Mrs. Lund’s Fresh Plum Cake
Recipe Type: easy cakes and breads
Cuisine: German
Author: Lanie Smith (The Vintage Cook)
So simple yet delicious. I like to cut it up into finger bite sizes, one plum wedge per slice to serve on a platter with coffee or tea.
  • 4 Tablespoons, half a stick of margarine
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest and/or pure vanilla extract
  • 3 or 4 ripe plums, seed removed and sliced in wedges
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, gently melt the margarine. Stir in the milk and then the egg. With an electric mixer, begin beating on medium speed. Add sugar, flour, and baking powder. Add zest or extract and continue blending until batter is smooth.
  3. Pour into a greased and floured (or Pam Baking Sprayed) 8×8 inch square or round cake pan.
  4. Place sliced plum wedges into the batter, skin down.
  5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden. Remove and let cool before sprinkling with more sugar.
  6. Serves 4-5


For more exciting Brunch recipes look here:


Watermelon Rosemary Champagne Cocktail by Vanilla Lemonade

Pear Hibiscus Brunch Cocktail by Rachel Cooks

Strawberry Rose Sangria by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen

Mocha Frappuccino by Around My Family Table

Pineapple-Basil Tea by The Kitchen Prep


Tomato and Mozzarella Quiche by Love and Confection

Cherry Tomato and Chorizo Omelette by Katie’s Cucina

Asparagus and Bacon Quicheby Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Meat, Poultry and Fish

Bacon Canapés with Oranges and Maple Yogurt by Cook the Story

Chicken Bacon Ranch Panini by Sweet Remedy

Pancetta Wrapped Chicken by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner

Breads, Grains, Cereals and Pancake-type Yums

Spinach and Goat Cheese Muffins by Culinary Flavors

Overnight Blintz Bake by White Lights on Wednesday

Bananas Foster French Toast by by Cravings of a Lunatic


Cinnamon Raisin Bread by Katie’s Cucina

Chocolate Chip Banana Bundt Cake by Take A Bite Out Of Boca

Strawberry Scones by Kokocooks

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart by Kelly Bakes

Fruits and Veggies

Honey-Watermelon Soup by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

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So EASY Heavenly Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The EASIEST ONE-BOWL Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe that uses part butter and part margarine for a crisp edge and chewy center.

Most recipes on the web, claiming to be the “BEST” are made with ONLY butter. I like to use butter AND margarine. The reason I started using part margarine is that even though the all-butter recipes are divine when they first come out of the oven, by the next day they are crispy like potato chips. Also, I find the all-butter a bit too greasy on the corners of my mouth.

In my mind, The perfect chocolate chip cookie is gently crisp on the edges, but not greasy, and chewy-soft on the inside, even the next day. I’ve been making my Chocolate Chip Cookies this way for about 20 years.

No, no vanilla extract. But add it if you like!

No sifting, no hand-mixer…Just put all of the ingredients in the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. I use no fancy flour and no waiting by the freezer. The only tools are 1) A cookie scoop 2) and a baking mat OR Parchment paper (not waxed paper). If you don’t have either of those, some Pam Baking Spray will be fine too.

Once I started using parchment paper, I was hooked. It makes everything so much easier. CLEANER. Not just cookies, but for meat loaf, baked chicken, you name it. No more scrubbing pans and soaking them in the sink. Then, out came the BAKING MAT. (When I first wrote this blog post over a decade ago, baking mats were just not a thing.)

The cookie scoop isn’t REALLY necessary but it will make all of your cookies the exact same size resulting in a batch of cookies uniform in color and texture. It’s an inexpensive kitchen staple.

*Remember that cookies continue to bake on the sheet from the bottom up for about 2 minutes after you pull them from the oven, so you might want to pull them out right before you think they are golden.

“I LIKE” CHOCOLATE: I like semi-sweet. I like the mini-chips. I like Dove dark chocolate bars chopped up. Anything goes! What do you like? Put it in there! I like equal parts chocolate chips, equal part cookie. But some like chunks of chocolate with just cookie holding it all together. So I will let you decide how much chocolate you like! B

Let’s get the word out that part butter/part margarine chocolate chip cookies are the best! 🙂

So EASY Heavenly Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Author: Lanie

Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 3 to 4 dozen

This One Bowl, part butter–part margarine chocolate chip cookie is sure to please!

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (or if using salted butter, can omit salt in recipe)
  • 6 Tbs. margarine
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 cups of your favorite semi-sweet chocolate chips (depending on how much chocolate to cookie ratio you like!)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place cold butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 15 seconds or until soft. Add margarine to the bowl and heat another 15 seconds until both are soft but not melted.
  3. Add baking soda. Stir.
  4. Add sugars. Stir.
  5. Add egg. Stir.
  6. Add flour. Stir.
  7. Add chocolate. Stir.
  8. Scoop dough and place mounds 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Cool on wire rack.

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