Cookbook Challenge #1 – Ida’s Apple Cake

Posted by Julie on January 4, 2009 under Uncategorized | Read the First Comment


I set myself a challenge for 2009 – to cook (and blog) something new from each of my cookbooks.  Then I counted them and realized that would mean cooking Real Food at least every other day…  so the Cookbook Challenge has been extended through oh, 2015 or so.   Weekly is a good goal, every two weeks is a realistic goal.

I decided to start with my absolute favorite cookbook, the Radzvilowicz Family Cookbook.  When I was in high school my mom, inspired by her sister Pam’s family newsletter "The Radzvilowicz Reader," collected recipes and anecdotes from her extended family and published about 200 copies of this cookbook. Now we have all our favorite "growing up foods" in one place, as well as the traditional dishes we would share at the annual Christmas party and Summer Picnic.  (And a couple oddities – you don’t often see Pickled Herring on the same page as Toasted Corn Flake Sandwiches.) The design on the cover includes a traditional Polish good luck symbol and a pair of pysanki, or decorated eggs.

Ida’s Apple Cake actually comes from the other side of the family, but my mom included it in the cookbook anyway.  It’s not strictly a new recipe since I ate it nine bajillion times growing up, but I was in the baking aisle the other day and saw the apple pie filling and realized I hadn’t ever made it for Paul.  As kids, we used to eat this for breakfast when we’d have friends sleep over (no wonder we were so popular!)  Ida was my dad’s mother, and at her house we ate cake as dessert.  She lived on a cattle ranch, and to my granddad breakfast was strictly steak, eggs, and toast with homemade jam.  (Though I do remember one time he and I split a container of Braum’s Butter Pecan Ice Cream for breakfast, under strict orders not to tell my parents!)

Ida’s Apple Cake

1 pkg white or yellow cake mix

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

1 can apple pie filling (you can use cherry instead, but I prefer apple)


Preheat oven to 350°. Pour oil into 13×9 cake pan, covering the bottom.  Add cake mix, eggs and water to pan.  Stir until blended (it will still be lumpy, just get the big cake mix chunks broken up but don’t stress about the little ones.)  Scrape sides of pan and spread evenly.

Spoon pie filling onto batter, and fold in enough to marble.  Sprinkle sugar liberally on top to make a crunchy crust (you can also mix cinnamon into the sugar first.)

Bake for 40-50 minutes.  The cake should still be soft but not doughy.  Good hot or cold.

Porridge Bread Fail

Posted by Julie on May 19, 2008 under Food, Funny Stuff | 2 Comments to Read


So, I was going to post a cool variation on my Porridge Bread recipe, but now I’m thinking a little more experimentation is warranted. Paul says that about a half hour before it was done it was very puffy and beautiful.

Still miss you, darling….

Posted by Julie on April 21, 2008 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

…always will!PAD-10D-041205-8825

Fun Senior Shoot

Posted by Julie on March 30, 2008 under Seniors | Be the First to Comment

Paul and I got to shoot Senior Portraits of some good friends of ours yesterday, wonderful boys who we’ve known since they were about ten. We went over to the high school theatre and had a blast playing with all the leftover props from the recently closed Peter Pan (in which the twins played Pan and Hook!)

I was especially excited because since Paul was primary photographer, I got to play with my Lensbaby when he didn’t need me to hold the reflector. Basically, it’s a lens mounted on a rubber tube that you move and compress to focus. It can be extremely challenging hitting the sweet spot of focus in just the right place, and since I can’t zoom or change aperture it forced me to really pay attention to shutter speed and my own physical location. It’s such a challenge that out of 200 photos, I told myself I would be thrilled to get one really good one – I was so lucky to get at least three, one of each of my boys!


Shawn, showing off his fencing skills. He had very definite ideas about what he was looking for in his photos, and we had a blast bringing his visions to life. I think we did them justice!

















Casey, so laid back and easygoing! His "Whatever!" attitude is such a perfect compliment to Shawn’s energy.

I love "sneaky" shots like these, when the attention is focused on the other photographer and I can catch the unguarded truth of pose and expression.












And of course, my wonderful Paul! I think it was too dark out in the auditorium for him to tell if I was really shooting him or not.


Today’s installment…

Posted by Julie on March 27, 2008 under Funny Stuff | Be the First to Comment


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More Princess Bride lolcats

Posted by Julie on March 24, 2008 under Funny Stuff | 5 Comments to Read


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Princess Bride LOLcats

Posted by Julie on March 23, 2008 under Funny Stuff | 9 Comments to Read

Okay, I’ve been planning this for a while, and I think I finally have enough to start. As far as I can tell, at least viewing the first 4 pages on Google, no one else has done this yet. My next step is giving them their own page; submissions are extremely welcome! (So far pretty much all of it is thanks to


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Missing my babycat…

Posted by Julie on February 22, 2008 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Dickens loved to sing – sometimes along with music, but usually acappella.   He would just m’rowl away, just for the sheer joy of it.  Sometimes he would even go stand in the shower to hear the echo.  I would hear him in there just meowing me an opera.

I heard Rocky meowing just now and thought for a second it was Dickens.  This is just so very hard.

We loved you so much, darlin.

I Can Has Marriage?

Posted by Julie on February 15, 2008 under Uncategorized | 3 Comments to Read

Ok, this is the second coolest marriage proposal I’ve ever seen. (Click on the picture for the rest of the story.)

I Can Has Marriage?

We’re number one!

Posted by Julie on February 13, 2008 under Uncategorized | Be the First to Comment

Woohoo!  The very first Google entry for “eel cutlets” is yours truly!  I never thought life could be so thrilling…  I’m on the first page for “leftover porridge” and “princess bride party” as well.   There go my fifteen minutes…