Yabluchnyk (Apple Cake)

Each week we filled out a report on Sweet Tea and sent it to the hosting agency. One of the questions was current weight and height. When I told Sweet Tea that I needed to weigh her, she looked skeptical. I explained that the hosting agency needed to make sure she was eating. She nodded and stepped on the scale. I quickly explained that the numbers were in pounds, not kilograms! (There are 2.2 pounds per kilogram…no one wants to see double their usual weight staring back at them from the scale!)

Despite all the yummy foods we cooked and ate and all the frozen yogurt runs, Sweet Tea left our house weighing exactly, to the pound, the same as when she arrived. She did grow an inch taller though. 🙂

Speaking of yummy foods…

One day when we didn’t have specific plans, I asked Sweet Tea to help me make an Eastern European dessert.

She translated, “Who is it for?”

I told her it was for all of us. We would eat it. She shrugged.

Maybe she isn’t used to making special desserts for herself?

I told her that we would make the cake for Grandma and she liked that idea. Big smile.

Dave’s mom was happy to come over and eat cake, so we were all set. A friend of mine recently went to some Truffle Nation Baking Classes and she taught me this recipe. I’m not the best baker in the world but this tasted amazing! Perhaps I should go to a baking class so I can learn some new recipes!


Yabluchnyk (Apple Cake)

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 large apples – peeled, cored and thinly sliced

Streusel Topping

  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter an 8 inch square baking dish.
  2. Sift together 1 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in 1/2 cup of butter until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Stir together the egg with the cream and gently mix into the flour until a soft dough has formed.
  4. Press into prepared baking dish.
  5. Layer the apples into the dish overlapping, in neat rows.
  6. Prepare streusel by mixing the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake in preheated oven until apples have softened, and topping has browned, about 25 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.

This cake is definitely better the following day as the crust is somewhat dry but left overnight gets moister.


By |2021-07-08T21:45:00-07:00March 11th, 2016|Lana's Journal, Recipes|428 Comments

Chicken Meatballs, Potatoes and Tomatoes with Almond Sauce

A while back I wrote a blog post about our favorite sauce in the whole world, Bitchin’ Sauce made right here in Carlsbad. We eat it so often that I decided to try to recreate it at home rather than continue paying $4 per container. I googled for ideas on almond based sauces and was thrilled to find that someone else had already recreated the sauce! Thank you Fauxmartha!

Fauxmartha’s Bitchin’ Sauce recipe is for the original style sauce and we like the chipotle best so I still need to experiment to get the right flavor/heat but I can find lots of things to do with the regular stuff!

Here’s a recent dinner I made using the sauce:

Chicken Meatballs, Potatoes and Tomatoes with Almond Sauce

6 or 7 Yukon Gold potatoes
Pint of grape or cherry tomatoes
Chicken meatballs (I used Aidell’s chicken meatballs)
Sauce (See below)
Salt and pepper

Prepare sauce (see recipe below).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut potatoes into large cubes. Place in large pot of cold water, heat and boil for 10 minutes or until soft but not mushy. Drain and reserve liquid. Place tomatoes in a bowl and pour the boiling potato water on the tomatoes and let sit for several minutes so the skins will peel off easily. Remove tomato skins. Put potatoes and tomatoes in greased casserole dish.

Put meatballs on top of potatoes and tomatoes. Spoon sauce on top (my best guess is that I used 6 or 7 spoonfuls). Generously salt and pepper.

Bake for 30 minutes or until meatballs are heated through.

Fauxmartha’s Bitchin’ Sauce Recipe:

3/4 c. + 2 tbsp. water
1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1/2 c. raw almonds
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh
3 tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. bragg liquid aminos
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. paprika

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Store in the refrigerator. Stir if sauce separates. This recipe makes a lot of sauce so you will have opportunity to use it many different ways. 🙂

By |2021-07-08T21:45:04-07:00July 30th, 2014|Lana's Journal, Recipes|162 Comments

Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

When I was a kid, my mom often made peanut butter balls: 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup honey and 1 cup powdered milk mixed together, formed into balls and refrigerated. I LOVED peanut butter balls, emphasis on the past tense because Lauren is allergic to peanuts so we do not keep peanut butter in our home. Recently, I have been wishing for peanut butter balls so I searched online for a soy butter or almond butter recipe that would satisfy my craving. Apparently the peanut butter ball has morphed into something much more sophisticated! Enter flax seeds, chia seeds, protein powder, etc.

I found a few recipes and used what I had on hand to make Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Oatmeal Balls

1 1/2 cups oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients, refrigerate and when cool form into balls. If you have trouble getting the balls to form, you can change up the ingredients to get the desired consistency. Keep refrigerated.

By |2014-04-09T08:09:19-07:00April 9th, 2014|Lana's Journal, Recipes|211 Comments

Side O’ Beans

Recently we found a fantastic taco hut called Haggo’s Organic Taco in Leucadia, CA. In addition to the wonderful chicken, fish and veggie tacos, we loved the side of beans. OK, maybe just me. But, I loved the beans so much that I got inspired to find a good pinto bean recipe and make my own. Cheap, wholesome, filling and yummy!

I found a few recipes and tweaked them a bit. The main recipe I pulled from was a vegetarian Texas pinto bean recipe. Funny considering that every bean dish I ever ate in Texas most definitely had bacon or a ham hock in it. These seem far too…Californian???

Side O’ Beans

1 pound dry pinto beans (rinsed and soaked overnight)
1 (32 ounce) box of chicken broth
2 cups water
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 fresh jalapeño, diced and seeds removed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red salsa (I used mild but next time will use medium to add more kick)
1 tsp. cumin
black pepper to taste

Place the pinto beans in a large pot, and pour in the chicken broth and water. Stir in onion, jalapeno, garlic, salsa, cumin, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and continue cooking 2 1/2 hours, stirring often, until beans are tender.

Sooooooo good! And even better with cornbread. Add chopped tomatoes, avocado slices and a squeeze of lime on top and voila! Yum.

This post is dedicated to my brother Kevin who loves beans with a fierce passion. 

By |2014-03-22T15:13:35-07:00March 22nd, 2014|Lana's Journal, Recipes|104 Comments

Sweet and Tangy Chicken

I LOVE this chicken marinade recipe. LOVE it. Enjoy!

Sweet and Tangy Chicken

1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons prepared coarse-ground mustard
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders

In a bowl, mix the cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, lime juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Place chicken in the mixture. Cover, and marinate 8 hours, or overnight. Grill. Yum.

By |2021-07-08T21:45:06-07:00January 14th, 2014|Lana's Journal, Recipes|255 Comments