Norwalk resident Alisa Schaffer enjoys cooking with apples and cinnamon.
"In our home, apples and cinnamon could be considered aphrodisiacs, as well as chocolate," she said.
That's likely why she chose apple crisp and sweet rolls, used for cinnamon rolls as her featured recipes.
"I bring apple crisp a lot to the office," said Schaffer, who works at the Huron Soil and Water Conservation District office in Norwalk. "It's quick and easy and is the boss' favorite," she added.
"I spent five hours making the cinnamon rolls," she said. "They are special for my family. I will freeze five of them."
She grew up in Greenwich and is a South Central graduate, but has lived in Norwalk since 1984.
She said cinnamon can have an extra benefit, besides taste. "Some medical articles promote that a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon will lower blood glucose.
"Robin's (Schaffer's husband) mother used to make the cinnamon rolls," she said. "Robin was fond of them so I began making them. It is a special treat that I make for my family during the holidays or when it snows.
"I love to bake when it snows," she added. "I remember apple crisp as a school lunch dessert. I guess I found the recipe and began making it. It is a simple and quick recipe for home or office. If I don't make it on Bosses Day, Cary (Brickner) will let me know."
The mother of Jeremy, 25, Melissa, 21, and Ashley, 19, said her cooking has changed over the years.
"The last 21 years, I would consider my cooking more traditional beef and potatoes because that is what Robin prefers," he said. "I don't really experiment, except with Splenda, a sugar substitute. I do not like it in bread, but it is OK in pies or slaws. I follow recipes from cookbooks or food packaging labels like manicotti and irresistible peanut butter cookies. If somebody has a recipe I like, I will ask for the recipe."
She has a 6-year-old granddaughter and a grandson due in May.
She always has potatoes, brown sugar, cinnamon, apples and flour on hand while cooking.
Schaffer knew instantly what the worst thing she ever made was.
"An under-cooked turkey," she said. "The thermometer had popped and I thought the turkey was done. We were waiting for everyone to come over and the turkey was not done."
She commented again about how her cooking has changed.
"When I was a stay-at-home domestic engineer, I used to think everything had to be made from scratch and that hamburgers and hot dogs were not dinner material," she said. "Since 1999, when I began working full-time outside the home, I started letting go a little. Now, that I have an empty nest, I will make a quick box of brownies or use Pillsbury pie crust for a board-meeting-night pie."