Food, Recipes

Some Things Are Just “Pretty Good”.

As a relatively new baker (especially in the gluten-free world of cooking), I so want everything to be A+ amazing. I want every bite Adam takes to be heaven-on-earth and every portion I make to be devoured with the intensity Adam puts into everything he does.

Sometimes that’s not the case.

Sometimes, things are pretty nasty, as if someone wrote the recipe with their eyes closed and without any experience with the ingredients.  Other times, things are not awful.  They’re just not the eyes-rolling-back-in-head good.  They’re just “pretty good”.

I hate that phrase.  I guess I’m realizing I’m a perfectionist when it comes to cooking.  Is it that? Maybe not.  I guess there are different taste buds too.

This morning while I listened to a chapel message from The Master’s Seminary, I made applesauce spice bars. They’re pretty easy, and even after converting them to gluten-free, I was pleased with the result! 🙂  They’re super-moist and topped with a homemade caramel glaze that is to die for!

Okay, now that I’m drooling all over my keyboard (and you probably are too), here’s the recipe:

(I’ve copy and pasted the directions — with a few notes of my own added — from SomethingSweetByKaren.)

Applesauce Spice Bars


Picture courtesy of SomethingSweetbyKaren



For the Bars
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

(Since I was making this gluten-free, I just used a generous 1 1/4 cup of Pamela pancake mix.)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 baking apple, such as Rome or Cortland, peeled, cored and finely diced or chopped

(I left the following two ingredients out ’cause Adam’s not a fan, but I think they would be a great addition.)

1/2 cup plump, moist raisins (dark or golden)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the Glaze
2-1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon light corn syrup (I just used honey)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-13 inch baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust the inside of the pan with flour. Tap out the excess flour and put the pan on a baking sheet.

THE BARS: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Still working in the saucepan, whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing until they are well blended. Add the applesauce and vanilla to it, and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is once again smooth. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear, then mix in the apple, raisins and nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, or until the cake just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and let the cake cool while you make the glaze.

THE GLAZE: In a small saucepan, whisk together the cream, sugar, butter and corn syrup. Put the pan over medium heat and bring the mixture to the boil, whisking frequently. Adjust the heat so that the glaze simmers, and cook, whisking frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Turn the bars out onto a rack, remove the paper and invert the bars onto another rack, so they are right side up. Slide the parchment paper under the rack to serve as a drip catcher, grab a long metal icing spatula and pour the hot glaze over the bars, using the spatula to spread it evenly over the cake. Let cool to room temperature before cutting.
Cut into 32 rectangles, each about 2-1/4 x 1-1/2 inches.

Storing: In a covered container, the bars will keep for about 3 days at room temperature. Because of the glaze, they cannot be frozen.


Some recipes are always a hit around our house. 🙂  It doesn’t have to be the fall season, but since  I have a ton of apples, I made this last week, and Adam has been eating it for breakfast, a snack, and of course, dessert.

This is one of Mom Bowman’s recipes, so the credit goes to her. 🙂

Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

First of all, this is one of the easiest of all the tasty recipes I’ve ever made!! I’ll be making this again!

Apple Mixture:


Picture courtesy of Julia Zurbrugg, Akron Budget Meals Examiner



6 cups apples

1 tsp cinnamon

dash salt

Crumble Topping:

1 C. oatmeal

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. gluten-free flour (I think I just used rice flour)

1/3 c. butter (that’s 6 TBSP for those of you confused)

1/2 tsp. nutmeg


Mix up apple mixture. Pour into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

Mix up topping and pour over apple mixture in pan.

Bake at 375 for 45 minutes.



Well, my next attempt will be at apple dumplings.  They actually call for a can of Mountain Dew in them, so I’ll let you know how that goes. 🙂

On a non-dessert note, this week I’m made a chicken, cheese, broccoli casserole that was just “pretty good”.  It didn’t have enough chicken in it (and I put in double the chicken it called for!!!), and it didn’t call for me to cook the broccoli before putting it in the casserole (which both Adam and I agree is a must, so it’s not so crunchy).  Hmm.. oh, well.  It was “pretty good”.

This week’s new attempt for dinner will be chicken cordon bleu. Mmmmm…. Actually, to be honest, I’ve never had it, and I’ve heard it’s a lot of work.  hehe… that’s never stopped me before. 🙂

I’ll keep you updated.

1 thought on “Some Things Are Just “Pretty Good”.”

  1. That looks good!! I’ll have to try that. Have you ever tried an upside-down apple gingerbread cake? We have a recipe for that, and if you want it I can send it to you. 🙂

    We also have a “just pretty good” 😉 chicken, cheese and broccoli casserole recipe. It’s made with a white sauce which has parmesan cheese in it, I believe, and it calls for basil leaves which I suppose you probably wouldn’t have. I like it, myself, but other people in the family think it’s just okay.

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