The “New” Age

I’ve noticed over the past decade or so that whenever I near a chronological milestone, that decade becomes the “new” something. ‘40’ was the new ‘30’, now ‘50’ is the new ‘40’. Noticed something else too. These ‘new ages’ have strangely tracked whatever age Oprah was. I think Oprah controls time. I wouldn’t put it past her…she’s one powerful woman. Like the Wizardess of OZ, I picture her behind a curtain with a mass of levers, buttons, flashing lights making that ‘ping’ noise, and when she nears a chrono-crossroads she pulls the big red lever and SHAZAM!!! That age is THE age to be! Hey…it could happen. Or not. Why do we have to have a ‘new 50’? Is 50 so terrible? Judging by those I know and love who’ve already crossed the threshold it looks like a pretty good age to be. Granted, things don’t work the way they did, and you can’t do all the things you used to. However, you probably don’t have the energy to do them anyway…and that’s ok. After all, who said we HAVE to keep 4 balls in the air while spinning two plates on our nose and tap dancing, all at the same time? The world doesn’t end if you drop a plate, juggle only two balls, and maybe just sway a bit to the beat, you know?

I think that just may be the key too. Actually accepting that things have changed, and maybe even embracing it too. Sometimes I find that hard, other times shockingly easy. Take wrinkles for example. I’ve seen my share of lifted, tucked and ‘toxed faces, and that’s fine if you have the funds, inclination, and actually want someone to inject a neurotoxin into your forehead. Me? No thanks. In fact, I actually like my wrinkles. They show I’ve had a lot of laughs, squinted in the bright sunshine, pursed my lips to plant a kiss, and, well, lived! And if I truly practice what I preach, then my “deckel” (Passt ein deckel ) will like them too. Then there’s the sagging. Face it, gravity just sucks. I still wear the same cup size but the girls have gotten longer, and my ass now resides someplace mid-thigh. Know what? When all is said and done, most guys really don’t care. As a very wise woman once told me, “sweetie, a man in the mood is not going to see any of that when you are the naked woman in the room with him.” She has a point, (as does he…) So as the next milestone approaches, I’m thinking I’ll be fine with 50 being the new 50. Just do me a favor…remind me of that next August, ok?

The recipe for this post is based on a family classic from my cousin’s grandmother Emily. The original recipe is wonderful on its own, but I thought I’d try lightening it up a little bit  – sort of like a little culinary botox (without the neurotoxic bacteria that is…) The result is the NEW Emily’s Applesauce Cake.

This cake is wonderful as a dessert with a little whipped cream or creme fraiche on the side, for breakfast (it IS “just fruit” as Oma would say), but I think my favorite time is in the afternoon with great cup of tea.

The NEW Emily’s Applesauce Cake

You can make this in one large pan (9”x13”) or do what I do, and make it in two 8”x8” square pans. It freezes beautifully, so if you are making it in two  pans, you can eat one cake and freeze the other for another time.

Makes 18 squares

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ¾ cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1½ cups soused applesauce (or any kind you like)
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ TBSP lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries, dried orange cranberries or golden raisins.
  • Confectioners sugar for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan, or two 8×8 square pans with non-stick spray.

Sift dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Add lemon zest and mix well. In a large bowl or mixer, add sugar, oil, and ½ cup applesauce and beat on medium speed until incorporated. With the mixer running, add in eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth. (Do not over beat) Mix together the remaining 1 cup of applesauce with the chopped apple, then add to the batter and mix on low or by hand until just incorporated. Fold in walnuts and cranberries by hand until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester in center come out clean. (Note– if the edges get brown before the middle, cover them with foil.) If you are making this in two pans, the timing will be closer to 35 minutes, and longer if you make in one larger pan.

Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.  Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and enjoy. Calories: 265 per square.

First published on by Technorati at http://technorati.com/women/article/the-new-age/

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