The Equestrianista’s Best Apple Cake Recipe!

The best apple cake you will ever taste- guaranteed!


Anyone thinking that there might be a last minute visit to a friend or relative and you want to bring something with you that is super easy to make and everyone will rave over?  This is the recipe to use!


 

I had all good intentions of starting to incorporate recipes of my own into this blog a while ago. I have been traveling on a life discovery and consistent internet and time has been hard to come by!

But don’t fret, I have settled now in one spot and have internet!  So let the blogging pick up!


 

 

 

I figure the best time to start recipes is around the holidays.  My cooking style is easy, not precise in measuring or oven watching, and it turns out delicious.  I feel that this is the way most equestrianistas cook? Yes?

Supplies:

Deep dish cake pan, brownie pan, or even an oven safe mixing bowl.

1 Cup of butter- or somewhere close to a cup

1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar(preferred) or Regular Sugar. Again- measurement doesnt have to be exact.

Small bag of apples- Golden Delicious(preferred) -about 6-7 Granny Smith will do just fine- about 8-10.

1 lemon- squeezed

Some Flour & Cinnamon/nutmeg/spices

1 box of vanilla cake mix

 

First Step:


 

- Peel & Cut apples in 1/2 and then into 1/4 inch slices. Or  you can be fancy and cut the whole apple in full slices to decorate the top- up to you.

- Place into a bowl and toss with the juice of 1 fresh lemon

 

Next Step:


 

 

 In the mean time, in a large frying pan add the butter and sugar.  Under low heat, stir the mixture until the butter is melted.  Then place the apples into the pan as well.  You want to cook the apples until their edges are soft but not fully cooked through.  This part you will need to pay attention to the pan, slowly folding the apples around in the butter sugar mix.  Every 2 minutes or so check on the apples and give them a fold over.

The kitchen will start to smell amazing and you may have fans flocking to see what you are cooking!  The butter sugar mix will start to caramelize around the apples as everything cooks.

 

After That:


 

You can multitask and while keeping an eye on the cooking apples, stirring occasionally- mix up the cake mix.

Just get any vanilla cake mix and follow the box directions.

Turn the oven on according to cake mix box and pour your cake mix into the baking vessel of choice. * There was no baking pan available to me recently so I baked the apple cake in a large metal mixing bowl- Again you can choose anything that is oven safe and it turns our gorgeous!

 

Back to the Apples


When the apples are softened, turn the stove top off and place the frying pan away from the heat.  At this stage, you will want to sprinkle your favorite spices over the apples gently- cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg- whatever you like.  Also add 2-4 tablespoons of flour and mix the apples around in the caramel - you will notice everything begins to thicken up!  Stir until the flour and spices are all mixed in.  YUM!

 

Two more steps to go!


Ok so the oven is on according to the cake mix box and the cake batter is sitting in the cooking vessel.  Now place the apples on top of the raw cake mix.  Just the apples- save the juices for later!    

 

You can place the apples in a fancy arrangement or just on top.  Put a good layer of apples on top of the cake- 1-2 inches of soft cooked apples. There maybe be left over apples.  You can enjoy while you wait or put in refrigerator for later over ice cream or something.  REMEMBER TO SAVE THE JUICES and stop yourself from slurping them up!  You will need them in the final step!!!!

Put in oven according to the cake mix’s directions!

 

Final Step:


Pull the cake out of the oven when the sides are golden and the top is slightly browned.  Wait 5 minutes for the cake to start cooling and then drizzle the remaining caramel juice on top of the cake!   Let the juices soak into the cake!

 

 

This recipe is best done the night before going somewhere.  I only suggest this to allow the delicious juices to soak in, the cake to fully cool, and then you get more time to get ready the next day without juggling cooking at  the same time!


 

 

 

 

 

 

Custom Christmas Ideas – Part 1

Do you suffer from racking your brain on a special gift for a special friend for the Holidays?

Why not get them something that they could never get themselves?


 

So here I am in Australia for the holidays but want to send something special back home to the states for friends.  I figure one of the best ways is to either find some small Aussie type gifts or to find something online that I can order from the states to the states and avoid mailing and exchange rate fees!

 

Here is an idea I came up with from taking a picture of a friend jumping, adding wings to her back in Photoshop and then putting a nice inspiring quote on a pillow I found that I can download on Shutterfly!  If you dont have photoshop, just adding a nice photo is great.  You can always ask friends if they know anything about Photoshop or if some young teenager at the barn knows Photoshop.  Its very easy to add a different filter onto your photo to make it look like a painting or a little abstract.  Shutterly is a photo downloading website.  There are tons and tons of features that they offer as well as gift items and albums that you can make online and then order!

One other thing I really like about Shutterfly and others like them, is that you can order prints and also type comments on the back of them and then ship them out to any address.  It was perfect a few years ago to send my wonderful grandmother photo prints and the writing of what the picture was of was already on there!

 

All and all- a wonderful gift that is totally custom for under $50 in total!

 

WINNER!


 

DIY August! A Horsey Bottle Opener for your house or barn!

I’m always looking for something horsey, clever, and subtle for my DIY Equestrianista Projects.

 

This DIY for August, I can’t take full credit for it. I saw this idea when I was in Calgary, Canada playing and teaching polocrosse the other month.  One of the Calgary Polocrosse Club members thought of it and had it conveniently nailed to the shed outside of the barn for an afternoon, after polocrosse practice beer!

 

What you will need:


 

A horseshoe that has a toe clip or quarter clips on it- a shoe with a clip is important because it gives you the lip you need to open bottles, a hammer, 2 nails(preferably horseshoe nails)  and maybe some metallic spray paint if you’d like.

 

Find a great spot on the barn side, near the beverage refrigerator, outside on the deck or porch, wherever you usually hang out with friends after a good day of riding.

 

Put two nails in the shoe and you’ve got yourself a horsey bottle opener!


 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY June: Signature Cocktail Drinks…Come prepared to parties

During June, July & August there tends to be many events that people host and attend.  Here are two great, easy ideas that can be used as hostess gifts as well as great signature drink items.

 

The Equestrianista’s Two Signature Drink Items:


 It’s a great idea to pick up a pack of Ball Jars.  

1.  The Equestrianista’s Delicious Vanilla Mint Simple Syrup

You will need granulated sugar, fresh mint, a real vanilla bean, and water.

Bring the water to a boil and add a bunch of sugar to the water.(3 cups of water to 2 cups of sugar)

Stir until it dissolves.

You don’t have  to measure.

Add vanilla bean and mint.  I like to cut the vanilla bean in half.

When the sugar water mix comes to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer for 5-10 mins.

 

Next, After 5 mins, pull the vanilla bean out- careful, it will be very hot.

Once cooled, with a knife, slit the bean lengthwise and remove all the vanilla seed goodness.  Place the bean and seeds back into the pot of sugar and mint.

At this point, you can turn the heat off and let the sugar cool down and soak up all the extra vanilla yummy flavors.

You can use a  strainer and funnel to filter and fill the jars if you want.

Ta-Da!


 

 A delicious vanilla mint simple sugar.  You can use this over summer peaches or other fruit.  Over ice cream, or in an adult beverage.  Mojito’s, London Mojito(gin instead of rum), Vodka w/ seltzer…skies the limit!

 

 

 

2. Bacon Infused Vodka for Bloody Mary’s


 

This too is an incredibly simple idea, delicious at a brunch or enjoyed in the early evening out on a deck or porch.  It’s wonderful to have on hand all year round to use at home as well as a hostess gift.  It does look a little strange, but once poured into a glass with your favorite Bloody Mary Mix you will soon be in heaven.  If you enjoy Bloody Mary’s and who doesn’t like bacon, this is a great idea to try.

All you need is a couple of jars, Vodka, and Bacon.

1: Cook the bacon and pat it dry.

2: Place bacon in a jar.

3: Pour Vodka in jar, add fresh ground pepper or a hot pepper if you wish.

I know it looks like a mad man’s jar, but it’s very tasty. 

4: Shake and place in the freezer for a couple of days before using in a drink!

 

YUM!!!! Who doesn’t like bacon or Bloody Mary’s?


 

 

DIY MAY- Hat cover Purse!

My goal is to come up with a DIY project each month… Since I am talking about eventing at the moment, here is May’s project… a helmet cover purse with a running martingale strap!

Materials that I used:

Newspaper, scissors, thread, pen

A helmet cover

A contrasting material to line the helmet

Some ribbon

A running martingale attachment

Steps:


 

First carefully cut the brim off.

 

Next I took newspaper to make a pattern of each panel for the lining to fit. I made a pattern for the center panel as well as the end panel.

 

Then I cut out the lining panels.

 

Next I pinned two panels together and sewed them.

 

I sewed the panels inside out.  Attaching each one to the other just like what the helmet cover looks like.

 

 

 

Next I turned the lining right side in and checks to make sure it fit!

 

I took pins and pinned the edge under to sew and finish.

 

Then sew those edges.  I decided to stitch twice around the top to make sure the lining was smooth inside.

Now that the inside is finished, it’s time to add the strap on.  I found another chevron patter ribbon in red & white that I thought would look cute.  I played around as to how best to attach the strap as well as the length of the strap.

Next I attached the other end.

 

Voile!  A cute little purse, just the perfect size for your wallet, cell phone, and lip gloss!

 

 

 

DIY April- The Derby Hat, Fasinator…5 Looks in one project!

It’s steeplechase and racing season!  The Kentucky Derby is this weekend!  Regardless if you are going to the Kentucky Derby or just a local race, having a beautiful hat to wear is a must!  

 

Gather a couple of supplies and make your own!  Being creative, this DIY project is not only a beautiful derby hat, but it can turn into a fun fastinator or hair band for other occasions!

Introducing the Ultimate Derby Hat – DIY APRIL…

5 Different Looks in one fun DIY project!


 

 

I had a pretty beach hat that I enjoy wearing, but I wanted to be able to spruce it up and make it into a fancy hat to wear to the races!  I still enjoy my beach hat so here’s my creation to have it all!

I love color, so I found a great color combo that will go with any outfit.  A pretty cornflower blue hat, a peach peony silk flower with some lime green hydrangea.  A pretty white on white ribbon, some netting to create a veil and some iridescent peacock feathers.

I think your basic essentials for any hat is feathers, ribbon, good color combos, and a splash of color- whether it’s flowers, the ribbon, or something else. I also had collected a couple of fun left over horsey items that potentially could go in this hat…Those I wanted to play around with first before making a decision.

 

Step 1- Gather your supplies


 

Start with a hat that you like…

 

Then start to think what you want your hat to look like, colors, details, etc….

I had some peacock feathers in the house that I knew I wanted to use.  I went to the craft store and found a pretty peony flower and then picked up some complimenting colored hydrangea.  Because of all this color, I wanted a classic ribbon. I also had at home a cloth flower hair elastic that I thought might be useful for an idea.

I also pulled out some thread to secure things down and I picked up a hair clip for another idea I had for this hat!

 

The glue gun was a key tool in this project!

 

 

Step 2- Start with making a hair band for around the hat, to clip the fascinator on, and to wear alone!


 

Measure around the base of the hat, leave a little extra but not too much.

 

Next you are going to encorporate a flower hairband with the ribbon.  The elastic band will help with any adjusting and add a give to the piece.  This band that fits around your hat will also double up as a hairband that fits around your head if you want another look!

Start with double checking:  place the ribbon around the hat and add the elastic in. Tuck the ends around the elastic band to make sure how much to fold over before you glue it down.

Then the ends down around the elastic band- Like the picture above!

Then glue down the ends. Make sure don’t glue the elastic band to the ribbon- you just want to wrap the ribbon around the elastic band.

Here you go!  You have a headband to wear alone, a pretty plain hat, and a fancy base for your Derby Hat!

 

 

Recap so far….


 

 

Look #1- Is just wearing your plain blue beach hat…

Look #2- Is wearing a pretty headband with flower…

Look #3- Is a pretty blue hat with a band and flower on it…


 

 

 

Step 3- Onto making a fascinator that will clip onto the hat or you can wear separately.


 

Wondering what is a fascinator???? You probably do know what it is, just not what’s it’s called!

Wikipedia’s definition:fascinator is a headpiece, a style of millinery. The word originally referred to a fine, lacy head covering akin to a shawland made from wool or lace, but mostly feathers. In the modern usage, it refers to a woman’s alternative to hat for formal attire; it is usually a large hair decoration on a band or clip with elaborate trimmings and decoration like a formal hat and it can incorporate a base to make it a miniature hat.

Start with your centerpiece part of the hat and arrange around it.   I choose a pretty peach peony and some contrasting hydrangea.

Play with it and how you want it to look.

 

Then you are going to start gluing it together and attach the clip as well.  **** Your clip will be clipping vertically to the headband- so make sure before you start gluing that all the flowers and arrangements are placed correctly so when this fascinator is clipped to your hat it looks right!

I used a combo of thread and glue to secure the flower pieces. 

Time to add feathers!  Again- hold the piece up and play with it. Invision it clipped to the hat and make sure the feathers are placed where you want them to be before you glue it!

Then add some netting as a veil on the fascinator.  Again hold the piece up to the hat and at this step also hold it up to your head and make sure the veil is where it needs to go.

Then glue the netting down to the back of the clip and flowers.

 

 

Look #4- A Fascinator to be worn clipped to you hair for special occasions, weddings, horsey events, or a look for the evening after a race. This also gets clipped to your hat to finish the entire look!


 

Last but not least- Put all of it together for the final look!

 

Now you can clip the fascinator to the headband which is placed on the hat!

 

You’re almost done!

 

 

Now you just have to get dressed up, make sure to add some fun horsey accessories, follow Brandy Greenwell’s dressing advice for races, and go to a great horsey race event!

 

When I get to a race, Pictures will be posted!


 

 

DIY MARCH! A little Bling to get you through till Spring!

I ‘m a fan of many different equestrian disciplines- mostly Eventing and Polocrosse.  Both of which I have competed at top levels.  With Polocrosse, I have been exposed to some great western flare which I love just as much as a good tweed!  I had thought of this project a couple months ago and was waiting to find the right materials!  So here it is- put some bling in your wardrobe to get you through till spring!

This project is dedicated to a very dear friend of mine Renee.  She was a western girl at heart and loved her bling!  She was recently killed in a horse related accident.  I beg all of my Equestrianista’s to remember your basic safety rules while working around a horse.  Don’t  ride without helmet, Don’t walk behind or work under a horse and don’t wrap your hand around the lead rope.

 

Introducing DIY March- Western Spur Strap Bling Bracelets!


 

This is one sexy bracelet- you can find a huge variety western spur straps to choose from.  All you need is a chicago screw and a western spur strap!  If you are not familiar of what a chicago screw is, they are very easy to find.  They are mostly used on western tack to secure bridle parts together.   I choose two styles to appeal to the masses.

 

Step 1- Unbuckle the spur strap.


Next put the two ends together and secure them with the chicago screw.


 

Step 3- Tighten the screw!


Voila!  Ready to wear- you’ll be the talk of the town!  Fun bracelet that will put a pep in your step!  Yes its that easy and no I don’t know how I come up with these ideas- it just comes naturally!


 

 

Both cuff bracelets are for sale on The Equestrianista Etsy Shop!  Just click on the right hand side of this blog to purchase!


 

 

 

Bring Spring In!

Depending on where you live- there might be some easy “Bring Spring In” ideas around you.  If you have access to bulbs, forcing them open is an easy way to get some color in your house and make it smell great!  Tulips, Paperwhites, Hyacyenes are easy.  Take a container- a clear glass one is pretty.  Place the bulbs at the bottom and leave enough water so that the root area is submerged.  Keep watering and watch the bulbs grow!  Pretty soon you’ll have a windowsill just like this.

Another idea- look for an apple tree, blooming pear tree or a forsythia bush.  Cut some branches off and place in a vase and watch spring pop up!  I Love this idea I found on Pinterest- Use an old pair of Hunter Wellies as a vase!

 

DIY February- Stylish Sweater Riding Mittens

 

By this point of winter, I’m over it!  I have counted down the weeks till the first big competition and want to get going on getting my horse fit for spring!  My horse, Maggie is usually fresh and naughty in the beginning, but thankfully, easily worn out cause she’s not fit yet.  My dogs tend to love this time of year because they get to tag along.

 

There are glimpses of glorious spring at times and when those days come you can finally be fashionably functional and horsey! I thought for a change in riding gear, when the weather isn’t too brutal, a pair of fun sweater riding mittens was a great idea!  I saw this idea on Pinterest – taking an old wool sweater and turning it into a pair of mittens.

I’m putting my own equestrian flair to the Sweater Mittens so you can ride in them!  I had a pair of leather ones when I was a kid. They always look funny because of the pinky finger being left alone so you can hold the reins, but they keep you warm while riding.

 

First- you will need a wool sweater that you can spare- a thrift store is a good place to look for one if you don’t have any. Then wash the wool sweater and dry it in the dryer! Yes it’s going to shrink- you may have done this in the past by accident. This will tighten up the wool to increase sturdiness and warmth.

 

Next- Place your hand on the sweater and trace a line at least 2 inches away from your hand. Remember leave the pinky separate.

Then cut the sweater and pin the two pieces together. * If there is a certain side you want showing, double check before you cut the fabric.

Then you’re going to sew around the edges.

Trim any excess edges and turn right side in.   I have an old clincher browband that I decided to re-purpose as an embellishment on these mittens.  I wasn’t sure how to cut into the browband, so I just tried cutting it with a bread knife and it worked quite well!

I took a needle and thread and sewed the clincher browband on by wrapping it with thread- my sewer friend said the technique is called couching.  I was worried that the material wouldn’t work well with reins- but the mittens turned out to be comfortable, warm and easy to grip on the reins!

Voila!  Fun sweater mittens that you can ride in and look great at the same time!

 

The extra bling around the wrist really make them flashy looking when you’re riding!  

 

What do you think?  Does anyone have any other clever warm gear ideas?

 

 

DIY January- Horseshoe Nail Necklace

You can never have enough jewelry accessories. Valentines Day will be here before you know it, why not start loving your new Horseshoe Nail Heart Necklace now?

 

DIY Heart Horseshoe Nail Necklace


Materials that you will need:  Horseshoe Nails (ask your farrier nicely for a handful), Two pliers- small hand pliers.  If you can get your hands on 1 pair of needle nose, that may be useful and thin decorative wire.

 I already had some gold and copper colored wire.  I thought the multi-colored wire would look nice against the shiny horseshoe nails. You can use whatever works for you.

Remember, you can make any shape you want.  A Circle would be very pretty.  You can even make a free form shape if you desire.


  Next step is to start shaping and figuring out different bends and techniques to get the desired shape.  This is a trial and error stage that will be different for each equestrianista making one.  So just give it a try and see what works for you.  I used both pliers at the same time like hands to shape the nails.  You may have a flashback of pulling a loose nail or shoe out while doing this step!

 

Once the shape is complete, then start wiring the ends to secure the pieces.

 


  I had to play around with the wire and ended up changing my first idea.

 

Voila!  A Horseshoe Nail Heart Necklace!

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