birthdays

My adaptation of the Caramel Apple Poke Cake

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I tried making this Caramel Apple Poke Cake  from Delish.com (a recipe by Lindsay Funston). It was definitely delish!

According to Delish.com, here are the ingredients that this recipe requires:

2 tbsp. butter, plus more for pan
All-purpose flour, for pan
1 box spice cake mix, plus ingredients needed for batter
5 Granny Smith apples, finely chopped (peeled if desired)
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/4 c. jarred caramel, plus more for drizzling

FOR THE FROSTING
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 tbsp. butter, softened
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

My dilemma? I couldn’t find spice cake. My other dilemma? I didn’t want to make the frosting from scratch. So I bought a yellow cake mix, added some spices to make it a spice cake and I bought ready made cream cheese frosting.

So here is my adapted list of ingredients for the caramel apple poke cake that I made:

CARAMEL APPLE POKE CAKE- Sweet Monday style

1 box of yellow cake mix, plus ingredients needed for batter (which in my case was 3 eggs, water and vegetable oil)
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp. of ground ginger
1/4 tsp. of ground cloves
1 tsp. of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of nutmeg
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. corn starch
Juice of 1/2 lemon
one jar of Smucker’s caramel flavored topping (12.25 oz.)

-Butter a 9-x-13″ baking pan or dish.
-Mix the yellow cake mix, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg together.
-Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions (i.e. add eggs, water and oil) and pour into the prepared pan. Bake according to package directions. Let cool, about 20 minutes.
-Prepare the apple layer: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the apples and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add the brown sugar and white sugar, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg and stir until combined. Add the corn starch and lemon juice and stir until combined. Remove from heat.
-When cake is cooled, poke holes using a thick straw or the end of a wooden spoon, all over the cake.
-Pour the caramel all over the cake, especially over the poked holes.
-Spread the apple mixture on top.
-Spread the cream cheese frosting over apple layer.
-Dust the top of the cake with cinnamon.

I have a great idea on how to adapt this recipe into cupcakes. After the cupcake has cooled,  poke one big hole in each cupcake and fill it with caramel. Instead of spreading a layer of apples and then spreading the cream cheese frosting on top of that, mix the apple mixture and cream cheese frosting together to make it an apple pie cream cheese frosting. Sounds pretty good, right?!

I must admit that I was a little hesitant about this recipe. It sounded like it would be too sweet with all the spices, the caramel, the cream cheese frosting and the sweet apples. But actually, it was the perfect combination together. The spices blended well together with all of the other ingredients and it was the perfect amount of sweetness. It reminded me of an apple pie with caramel on top.

 

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Cristy’s Pride

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My family and I attended the First Annual Cristy’s Pride Fundraiser on October 15, 2016. Cristy’s Pride is an organization which provides tutoring and nutrition to impoverished countries and communities. Below is the speech that was written for this event. It was written and given by Sabrina Shahawi, Cristy’s sister. 

Hi Everyone,

First I would like to start off by saying thank you so much for coming to our first ever annual fundraiser for Cristy’s Pride. As many of you may know, today is Cristy’s birthday and she would have been 28 years old. What a great way to celebrate her life by holding this fundraiser which was started in her honor.

I would like to start off by talking about Cristina. She was a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a friend and a very special person who made a positive impact on every person she touched while she was present on this earth. For those of you who weren’t able to meet her, know that she had a heart of gold. She sincerely cared about everyone. It was her mission to make someone’s day, week, minute and life better.  Just this past weekend, her college sorority held their annual walk in her memory. They held this walk to raise money for the scholarship that they created in her honor. It is truly amazing to see how her memory continues to live on even when she is no longer with us in the physical world.

We first founded Cristy’s Pride in 2013, the year that she passed away. Prior to her passing, she was working towards a career as a teacher. Specifically, she wanted to work as a teacher to low income areas and to offer free tutoring to her students who wished to advance their knowledge, but whose families did not have the means to do so.

We founded this organization in her honor to continue the work that she was doing here on earth. I am so happy to say that we are now serving over 400 students, across 6 different schools in our tutoring centers located in Barranquilla, Colombia. Our organization aims to prevent children from dropping out of school by using innovative teaching strategies to tutor them in mathematics, reading and writing. We work towards empowering them to reach their highest potential and to raise their self esteem in order for them to achieve their goals and dreams.

The children whom we are serving live in very poor conditions. Many of them do not have shoes and have to share their shoes with their siblings. In Colombia, schools are separated by morning and afternoon sessions. So some children go to the morning session for school and then run back home to give their shoes to their sibling so that they can attend the afternoon session of school. Since they need to go home to give their shoes to their sibling, they cannot attend our morning tutoring sessions. Today, your donations will go towards new shoes so that these children can go to school and go to tutoring. They will also go towards backpacks, school supplies and tutor funding.

We are hoping to expand our organization in either Tijuana or San Diego this upcoming year. It fills me with such happiness to see all the support present here tonight. From the bottom of my heart, I truly appreciate everyone for coming out and supporting an organization that means so much to me and my family.

To learn more about Cristy’s Pride, please visit the Cristy’s Pride website at http://www.cristyspride.com/. You can also visit the Cristy’s Pride Facebook page at Facebook/Cristy’s Pride or the Cristy’s Pride at Twitter.com/CristysPride

Today I am grateful for helpful people and the ability to help others.

Today and everyday… I am grateful for FAMILY

Oh, Sweet Monday: October life lessons and love

I love October. It’s my favorite month. This was a great October. However, I must admit that there was a rough week in there. A really rough week. It was the week before my birthday. I allowed some drama into my life and I let a couple of incidents bring me down. 

But sometimes the only way up is down. I certainly learned alot of hard lessons this month. It was a real eye opener. Lessons that open your eyes are always good. Lessons that open your heart are even better. After my anger subsided, I learned alot about compassion, respect and understanding.

And another good part is…after you are down, the only way is up! That’s the best part. So on this Sweet Monday, I am grateful for life lessons and love. I will continue to learn and grow. I know that there will be ups and there will be downs. Today, I will focus on the ups.

So at the end of this Sweet October, I am grateful for birthdays:

I am grateful for thoughtful people and nice surprises.bday-decorations-at-work-1

I arrived to work the Thursday before my birthday to a decorated cubicle courtesy of my co-worker, Adriana. She decorates all of our cubicles at work. She is so thoughtful. I loved it. It lifted my spirits and lifted my mood. It was a great way to start a birthday.

I am grateful for my aunts. I am grateful for my daughter. I am grateful for thoughtful and loving people. I am grateful for people who want to make you happy, even if it means going out of their way. I am grateful for Tea Time.

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My aunt took me to a tea house for my birthday. She invited my daughter (who came all the way from San Diego just to be there) and another aunt. We had such a good time. We went to the tea house on my actual birthday. It was nice to have a birthday this year on a Saturday.  It was a fun and relaxing way to start the day and weekend. Afterwards, we went to a boutique and my aunt surprised me with a candle that I was planning to purchase myself. I was waiting in line to buy the candle which was waiting for me at the counter. The storeowner wrapped up my gift quickly so that I wouldn’t see and my aunt presented it to me at the store. 

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I am grateful for my husband and son. I am grateful for fun, spontaneous and thoughtful birthday surprises like birthday pinatas and light up balloons.

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After the tea house, I arrived home and my husband and son surprised me with birthday cards, birthday flowers, a birthday sign and light up balloons and even a birthday pinata. My first birthday pinata ever. 

I am grateful for my sister and niece. I am grateful for birthday cakes and birthday breakfasts.

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The next day, my sister and niece prepared a delicious birthday breakfast for me. My sister asked me what kind of cake I wanted and I told her that I wanted a chocolate chip cake. It’s not my favorite flavor but she made it for me for my birthday a few years ago and it was such a special memory. I wanted it again. 

Aw, memories…

2012 birthday cake

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Goodbye October! Until next year…