Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake #Choctoberfest

Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake - Sweet chocolate cake studded with fresh apples and topped with cinnamon sugar... this fall favorite is sure to please! #Choctoberfest #ImperialSugar #sponsored #ad

This post for #Choctoberfest is sponsored by Imperial Sugar. I have received sample products for writing this post. All content and opinions are mine. Sweet chocolate cake studded with fresh apples and topped with cinnamon sugar… this fall favorite is sure to please!  

Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake - Sweet chocolate cake studded with fresh apples and topped with cinnamon sugar... this fall favorite is sure to please! #Choctoberfest #ImperialSugar #sponsored #ad

Yayyy it’s #Choctoberfest, aka a week-long celebration of all things CHOCOLATE! If you haven’t already, please check out the giveaway posted earlier today here. You don’t wanna miss it! #promise 🙂 I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the world’s biggest chocolate fan or anything like that, but I do like a chocolate treat every now and again. Chocolate is my jam when it’s combined with other deliciousness, such as peanut butter, pumpkin, or in this case… apples!

Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake - Sweet chocolate cake studded with fresh apples and topped with cinnamon sugar... this fall favorite is sure to please! #Choctoberfest #ImperialSugar #sponsored #ad

This cake is a riff on one of my favorite fall treats (and one of the most popular recipes on my blog!): Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake. The original cake is a delight… I never can decide what part is best: the cake full of sweet bites of apples or the crunchy cinnamon sugar topping. But guess what guys?? This chocolate-y version might be even better! I made a few changes to the original recipe in order to add cocoa powder to make this incredible cake (using water instead of buttermilk and then adjusting the amount of baking soda and flour) but otherwise this is just a fun twist on the original.

Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake - Sweet chocolate cake studded with fresh apples and topped with cinnamon sugar... this fall favorite is sure to please! #Choctoberfest #ImperialSugar #sponsored #ad

Since this yummy cake has the word “sugar” in the name and uses two types of sugar in the recipe, it’s only fitting that Imperial Sugar has sponsored this post as part of #Choctoberfest. They’re our gold sponsor for the event and are honestly SO great. I’ve been using their sugar exclusively since this event last year. I am not brand-loyal to very many things at ALL and I often buy generic, but when baking, I can tell that the quality of Imperial Sugar far outweighs any other brand I’ve tried. I’m not just saying that because they’re a sponsor… but it is 100% true. Imperial Sugar products are pure cane sugar, not beet sugar, and are GMO-free. I also love the family-friendly focus of their company.

Sweet things happen when families are together in the kitchen. Since 1843, Imperial Sugar has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations. This holiday season, create some lifelong memories when you bake with love and Imperial Sugar.

I know it might sound a bit cheesy, I was thinking about family as I made this cake. I actually made it over the course of a few hours on Saturday morning. Early that morning, I went running with a friend. My toddler stayed home with my husband, and after I got home, Ben went out for a run. He’s training for a half marathon so I knew he’d be gone for awhile. My son played and ate second breakfast while I ate my breakfast and enjoyed some coffee. We read books for a bit and then I thought it was safe to head to the kitchen to bake. I got about halfway through mixing together this cake when my son’s head collided with a kitchen drawer. Baby tears, commence! He just couldn’t be calmed down with any of the normal methods… so we curled up in an armchair and cuddled. Soon he was out like a light. It’s been awhile since he’s napped in my arms (or taken a morning nap!) so this was a treat. Even though my half finished cake batter was hanging out on the kitchen counter and my plan for the day was thrown off. After he woke up, I was able to return to the kitchen and finish mixing up my cake. When it came out of the oven and I took that first bite, I knew I had a winner. And I’ll always remember the first time I made the chocolate version of cinnamon sugar apple cake with my son playing at my feet. ❤ He won’t remember it, but he loved every bite I shared with him. I know I’ll make it for him again in the future. I hope you and YOUR family/loved ones enjoy this cake!

Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake - Sweet chocolate cake studded with fresh apples and topped with cinnamon sugar... this fall favorite is sure to please! #Choctoberfest #ImperialSugar #sponsored #ad

Check out all the other recipes shared for #Choctoberfest at the linky below!
An InLinkz Link-up

P.S. Looking for some sweet treats for Halloween? Imperial Sugar has you covered! Find out more about Imperial Sugar by following them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and YouTube.

one year ago: Old Fashioned Chocolate Cobbler
two years ago: Beef Stroganoff 

three years ago: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer
four years ago: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting
five years ago: Apple Peanut Butter Muffins
six years ago: Pumpkin, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna
seven years ago: Southwestern Pepperjack Baked Penne

Chocolate Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

  • Servings: 20
  • Print

adapted from my Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed (I used Imperial Sugar)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (not dutch-process)
  • 2 cups chopped apples, unpeeled – I like Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Crispin, Jonagold, Winesap, etc.
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (I used Imperial Sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, water, oil, and egg. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Mix in flour and cocoa powder. Beat until smooth, then fold in apples.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon, then drizzle melted butter over top. Mix gently with a fork to combine, then sprinkle over batter. It will not fully cover the batter, but it will bake up fine.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until cake begins pulling away from the edge of the pan and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pairs well with ice cream!

Disclosure:  Though I received products for free as part of my participation in #Choctoberfest, I was not compensated in any other way and was not asked to provide positive feedback.

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Giveaways

Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2017 with Imperial Sugar

Welcome! Read on to learn about #Choctoberfest 2017. Scroll down to enter a GREAT giveaway! 🙂 

Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2017!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year, because it is the official start of #Choctoberfest. This is the third annual food blogger celebration of all things chocolate, made possible thanks to our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar and the other sponsors listed below.

Over 70 bloggers are participating in #Choctoberfest 2017 and will be posting 200+ chocolate recipes over the next week. Keep your eyes peeled, visit any of the blogs listed below, or use the #Choctoberfest hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow along. You can also check out our #Choctoberfest Pinterest board, where we post chocolate recipes all year long.

You can also enter to win our #Choctoberfest prize pack. Thank to our amazing sponsors who are contributing the following items for the prize:

  • $100 gift card to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
  • 1 case of granulated white sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of light brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), and 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds) from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
  • 16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint from our silver sponsor Barlean’s
  • 300-piece Lindt LINDOR Truffles gift bag (you choose the flavors!) from blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen

This prize pack is valued at over $450! To enter, simply follow participating sponsors and bloggers using the below Rafflecopter giveaway link.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay tuned to see the delicious recipes bloggers have cooked up using Imperial Sugar and Barlean’s products. Thank you also to Davis Chocolate and Rodelle for being #Choctoberfest shoutout sponsors! Watch Instagram and Facebook to find out more about about their chocolate products.

Here is a complete list of all the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2017, so you can see the recipes they are posting throughout the week:

The PinterTest KitchenFix Me a Little LunchSavory MomentsCrumbs in my MustachioHouse of Nash EatsBake It With LoveThat RecipeHardly A GoddessCooking With CarleeA Kitchen Hoor’s AdventuresBody RebootedCindy’s Recipes and WritingsThe Redhead BakerFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceSweet CoraliceSeduction in The KitchenCooks&Books&RecipesEveryday EileenUnder My Apple TreeFamily Around The TableBottom Left of the MittenThe Spiffy CookieFairyburgerJoin Us, Pull up a ChairJonesin’ For TasteJane’s Adventures in DinnerTake Two TapasJennifer BakesThe Unlikely BakerHostess At HeartKaren’s Kitchen StoriesKate’s Recipe BoxKelly Lynns Sweets and TreatsWildflour’s Cottage KitchenChocolate SlopesLittle House Big AlaskaMakes, Bakes and Decor2 Cookin MamasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeBooks n’ CooksMildly MeanderingLiving IdeasRestless ChipotleGet the Good Stuff!The Weekday GourmetAn Affair from the HeartWest Via MidwestCookie Dough and Oven MittThe Bitter Side of SweetCookaholic WifeDaily Dish RecipesFor the Love of FoodThe Saucy SouthernerCook’s HideoutBy the PoundsTramplingrose: Cooking, Baking & Ranting in Small-Town South DakotaSarah Cooks the BooksChef Sarah ElizabethFantastical Sharing of RecipesSarah’s Bake StudioThe Pajama ChefFrankly EntertainingLong Distance BakingPalatable PastimeThe Freshman CookThe Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine ♥ A Day in the Life on the FarmWendy PolisiTampa Cake GirlMy Southern Sweet ToothCanning and Cooking at HomeFull Belly SistersSuperSizeGuy.comOur Good LifeThe Life Jolie 

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic–and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole wasn’t something I grew up with. In fact, I had already graduated from college the first time I remember eating it! My husband made it for me when we were dating. 🙂 What a guy, I know. In my recent quest for simplifying the dinner routine, I’ve been putting some easy meals on our menu plan that I can prep on the weekend and stick in the oven after getting home from work. Casseroles are an easy choice for this–but so many have tons of butter, weird gloppy cans of soup, and other things I prefer not to eat (regularly).

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

SO I decided to make-over this lovely little dish, healthify it per se. There are tons of recipes online–I didn’t use one in particular, just my memory and the plethora of versions on Allrecipes. Usually they call for some cooked chicken, sour cream, a can of condensed cream of chicken soup, poppy seeds, Ritz crackers, and butter. Good and all, but lots of sodium, MSG, and fat. Okay once in awhile but not all the time, please. Especially since I’ll be serving this to my cute little boy (and his daddy)! I know this isn’t the healthiest dinner–but it’s better than the original! And still pretty easy: I made a quick homemade condensed cream of chicken soup using simple pantry ingredients: butter, flour, chicken broth, milk, and seasoning… then I subbed some of the sour cream for greek yogurt, added herbs for color and flavor, and a bed of rice to bulk it up. We eat so many dinners with rice that this addition was only natural! I think quinoa, farro, or some other grain would be equally tasty.

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

Since this casserole doesn’t include any veggies, be sure to add some on the side. I steamed some frozen broccoli in the microwave, tbh. Part of me didn’t want to take pictures of this dish with my frozen broccoli since it’s pretty obvious (and do you see my leftover naan too? Had to fill up the plate somehow, ha!). BUT guys… this is #reallife. And there’s nothing wrong with frozen veggies! 🙂 Better frozen, than none at all, I say. Green beans, broccoli, carrots… all would be great here! Salad–whether fresh or bagged–would be great too. These days, making a salad from scratch is the last thing I want to do after work. I can’t tell you how many heads of lettuce I’ve tossed (and I hate that). I didn’t mean to digress into this–and this is for ME TOO–get your veggies as you can… frozen, fresh, canned. Enjoy! 🙂

Comforting and homey, poppy seed chicken casserole is a classic--and for good reason! This makeover recipe is a *little* healthier thanks to a (simple) homemade cream of chicken soup and the addition of greek yogurt instead of all that sour cream.

one year ago: Kale and Brown Rice Gratin
two years ago: Crockpot Barbacoa 
three years ago: Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts
four years ago: Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup
five years ago: Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
six years ago: Pumpkin Spread
seven years ago: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

Ingredients:

for homemade condensed cream of chicken soup from A Pinch of Healthy

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk, slightly warmed or at room temperature if possible (I’ve used anything from whole to skim – it thickens best with whole but anything is fine, really!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • dried herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, etc. if desired

for casserole

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • 3 cups liquid – I used half chicken broth and half water
  • 2 cups chopped or shredded chicken – use leftover chicken, rotisserie chicken, or just bake/poach/cook some chicken
  • 10 ounces greek yogurt
  • 6 ounces sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • fresh or dried herbs, like rosemary, oregano, basil, etc. if desired
  • 1 sleeve buttery crackers – like Ritz, approximately 32 crackers
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Begin by preparing rice according to package directions. I like to make rice with half chicken broth and half water for extra flavor.

Then, start making the homemade condensed cream of chicken soup. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute, stirring continually. Slowly pour in chicken broth and milk, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, cooking until mixture begins to thicken – about 3-4 minutes. Stir in garlic powder, pepper, and herbs. Remove from heat and set aside.

Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish, or any similar size casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine chicken, sour cream, greek yogurt, and prepared homemade cream of chicken soup. Stir together then mix in poppy seeds and herbs, if desired. I like to use a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and some oregano.

When rice is cooked, spread in the bottom of prepared baking dish. Top with chicken mixture.

In a small bowl, mix together cracker crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over casserole.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until bubbly and brown. Enjoy!

Note:

Casserole can be prepared in advance. Just wait until you’re ready to bake to add the cracker topping.

Do you know how to make rest a reality? For Christians, Sabbath rest is what God calls us to and what He wants for us... but it's hard. This book is a great read on Sabbath rest--it is practical, encouraging, and challenging all in one! I highly recommend it! Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller
Reviews

Book Review: Rhythms of Rest

Do you know how to make rest a reality? For Christians, Sabbath rest is what God calls us to and what He wants for us… but it’s hard. This book, Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller, is a great read on Sabbath rest–it is practical, encouraging, and challenging all in one! I highly recommend it!

Do you know how to make rest a reality? For Christians, Sabbath rest is what God calls us to and what He wants for us... but it's hard. This book is a great read on Sabbath rest--it is practical, encouraging, and challenging all in one! I highly recommend it! Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller

description of the book from the publisher:

“This book breaks all your preconceived notions about Sabbath.”–Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker

This book is for anyone who is weary–who longs for rest but doesn’t know how to make it a reality. Shelly Miller, a sought-after mentor on Sabbath-keeping, shows how even busy people can implement a rhythm of rest into their lives–from small windows of time to a whole morning or day. With encouraging stories from people in different stages in life, Miller shares practical advice for not only finding physical refreshment but also restoring your soul. You will learn:

· Simple ways to be intentional about rest
· Ideas for tuning out distractions and tuning in to God
· How meals and other times with friends and family can be Sabbath experiences

Sabbath is a gift from God to be embraced, not a spiritual hoop to jump through. Discover how genuine rest is possible today.

“Shelly Miller writes from her soul–one that has been seekingrest in the midst of heavy transition and the busyness of life. What you learn will help you love God more deeply.”–Margaret Feinberg, author of Live Loved and Fight Back With Joy

As usual, my five point review:

  • When you think about the concept of Sabbath, what are your initial reactions? I don’t think American Christians practice Sabbath very well. I know I don’t–though I have tried to change routines of my week so that things like grocery shopping and cleaning don’t get pushed to Sundays after church. When I’ve talked to my friends about Sabbath, words that come up often include legalistic, difficult, rigid. What I love about Rhythms of Rest is that Shelly Miller encourages us, as Christians, to push back against these notions and embrace the rest of Sabbath through grace.
  • What exactly does that mean, embracing the rest of Sabbath through grace? Miller encourages flexibility and grace with the hows of Sabbath in your life. She doesn’t read the Bible as saying that we need to do x, y, and z to experience and practice Sabbath rest. As I am rereading that, I realize that could look to some as a misinterpretation of scripture… but I don’t think it is. The timing of your Sabbath can vary depending on your profession, family life, and weekly schedule. God isn’t legalistic and His call to rest may vary depending on your stage of life: caring for babies can’t stop on Sundays, after all. Those in ministry work on Sundays, so their day of rest should be a different day. The author gives lots of great examples of how you can rest in Sabbath, and also encourages you to seek God to see how He is calling you to do so.
  • The examples are one of the best parts of this book. Each chapter includes various stories and situations (many gleaned from the author’s Sabbath Society) about Sabbath rest, challenges, and suggestions. The suggestions are simple (move your chores to Saturday, make soup on Saturday to eat on Sunday, etc.) but they are powerful: great illustrations of how one act can set the stage for rest.
  • The end of the book has a section with questions for each chapter. I think these questions could be used in a variety of ways: a Bible study or small group (maybe even read some of the scripture passages in each chapter to enhance your discussion), personal journaling, family conversation… lots of options! Though Miller provides simple suggestions for change, these questions are not simple–many are deep and thought-provoking.
  • My one caution with the book has to do with how the author interprets the hows and whys of hard life situations, like miscarriage and illness. She shares so many personal stories from her own life (like her desire to move to London) and from her friends, acquaintances, and participants in her Sabbath Society. Her understanding and explanation of the situations can be a little harsh and perhaps(!) not entirely Biblical. At the very least, her views, to me, are not theologically sound and could be discouraging, triggering, or offensive to some people. I’m not saying she’s right or wrong–it’s hard to know without more information. But putting them in print seems a little iffy to me, and was my one hang up with the book. Overall though, I found Rhyhms of Rest to be encouraging and challenging. I would definitely recommend it to others.

To sum it up…

Following God’s call to Sabbath has become something I have felt more convicted about in recent years, especially since the birth of my son. My husband and I work full time so it’s hard to get everything done around the house AND spend quality time as a family on the weekend AND carve out space for the Lord. I’ve especially been thinking about how I want to model my faith for my son. I think practicing Sabbath and teaching rest is so important.

Recently I read an article about Sabbath that has GREAT suggestions for celebrating the Sabbath with kids. Many of them will have to wait until my son is older, but some are still doable now. I’m going to close with a quote included in that article that has really stuck with me.

“Did it ever occur to you, as a parent that between the birth and the age of twenty-one years there are three solid years of Sundays — an amount of time almost equal to the number of years given to an entire course of college training? The Creator has not laid upon parents the responsibilities of parenthood without giving them ample time and opportunity to discharge these obligations to Him, to themselves, and to their children.” 

— Sylvanus Stall, D.D.

Things to think about! Even though the reality of implementing rest is challenging, it is so important! I’d love to hear your thoughts about Sabbath in the comments.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!

Menu Plans

Halloween Recipes for October!

Wow, it’s almost October! Do you celebrate Halloween? I have to admit, I’m not very into the holiday… just not my thing. I’m sure when my little man is old enough for trick or treating, I’ll be a little more interested in it. But for now, no thanks. Nevertheless, this month’s recipe roundup is full of yummy Halloween treats. So creative! Enjoy!

October recipes for Halloween

All The Desserts

October recipes for Halloween

October recipes for Halloween

October recipes for Halloween

October recipes for Halloween

October recipes for Halloween

October recipes for Halloween

October recipes for Halloween

This month’s recipe round up was brought to you by:

Kelly Lynn’s Sweets & Treats | Savory Moments | The Pajama ChefThe Cooking Actress | Pies and Plots | The Spiffy Cookie | Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck

Pin this to your meal planning board for easy access all month long!

October recipes for Halloween October recipes for Halloween