Saturday, January 25, 2014

i need me my äppelkaka, people!

OK...  it's late January and today I'm officially cold!  COLD!!!... IN TEXAS!!!  Time to pull out my super-mega warm sweaters from those fond Chicago wintery days past.  Time to talk Chuck into bringing more firewood in from our backyard.  B, to the R, to the RRR...  BRRRR!!!  My toes are like little pink-painted ice cubes!  Thank goodness for warm blankets, knitted socks, and my snuggly Benny Beagleman.  (LOL - he is like a little snoring space heater.  Ha ha...  Patting that chunky tummy right now.)

Anyway, across the United States I think everyone would agree that it has been a very, VERY cold winter.  That being said, it is easy to forget that seasonal vernalization and climate changes are important and vital to all of us.  For without such cold periods of rest it would be impossible for us to enjoy many of the fruits and nuts we so easily take for granted in our daily lives... apples being just one.  NO!  Not apples!  That would mean no apple pie, no apple turnovers, no apple cobbler, no apple tarts, no apple butter, no apple sauce, no apple strudel, no Swedish äppelkaka (apple cake)... YIKES!  I don't know about you, but that would certainly be more distressing to me than having to put up with a few months of cold weather.  I need me my äppelkaka, people!!!

Just like plants, we humans also require scheduled times of winter.  We need stillness and dormancy alone with God... resting in solidarity with His Spirit so that later the Savior's yummy fruit can bloom generously out from us, and we can be used to feed and bless others spiritually.  In the plant world, most seeds require periods of cold and stillness in order to germinate.  In fact, without this crucial downtime, most will eventually rot out and fare useless.  The same is true for us.  Many well-intended Christians can easily "rot out" and fall away from intimacy with Jesus because they don't take the necessary time to rest in the stillness of His Divine.  Simply put, we each need time to break away from the many distractions and noise outside us and just let the snow fall.  Just be alone with Jesus.  Studying the Savior in pure calm.  Meditate on His truths, commands, words, peace.  Being mute before God's throne while resting, sleeping, snuggling, and burrowing close to His heart.  Truly, there is a time when our inactivity is the best activity of all.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Yes, to everything there is a season.  A time for action and a time for pause.  So, to those well-intended believers of the Most High who have not paused in a long, long time... this blog is for you.  Take time out.  Do it today!  Embrace His season to stop.  Turn off the television. Close the front door.  Silence your cell phones.  Rest.  Simply rest and retreat to be alone in His Word.  For God promises to make everything beautiful in His time.  But you cannot become beautiful or useful in God's kingdom without first pausing and hibernating close to His heart.  As Samuel so correctly instructs at the end of 1 Samuel 9, "... stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God."

Take the time, folks.  It's important.  It's meaningful.  It's crucial and essential.  For we all need God's holy äppelkaka, people!  There is nothing sweeter than enjoying Jesus!

L, to the O, to the V, to the E (times three!)...  LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!


Victoria's Swedish Apple Cake (Äppelkaka)

3 tablespoons biscotti crumbs
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4-6 apples, pared and sliced into thin wedges
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped (optional)
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch spring-form pan or cake pan. Sprinkle the crumbs in the pan, being sure to coat the bottom and sides as evenly as possible.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar with butter. Add one egg at a time until all are incorporated.

Sift together the flour and baking powder. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the bowl until a smooth batter is formed. Pour batter into pan.

Toss the apple slices in the cinnamon and 3 tablespoons remaining sugar, then press each one lightly into the batter to form a decorative pattern (pinwheel pattern is the prettiest). If desired, scatter chopped almonds across the top.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Dust with powdered sugar on top. (optional)

Bonus: Vanilla Sauce Topping (for Äppelkaka Med Vaniljsås)

1 egg
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon potato flour or cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1-2 tablespoons vanilla sugar or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Heavy whipping cream (optional)

Combine egg, sugar, potato flour or cornstarch, and milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Be careful not to let it boil. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Important note: Avoid using a steel whisk as it can turn the sauce a grayish color. (I always use wooden-made utensils when cooking.)  Once cool, you can serve the sauce as is, or fold in some homemade fresh whipped cream to thicken.  Mmmmmmmm.

Älskar det!

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