Oh Snap(ple)!

Day 25: Frozen Green Apple Yogurt

It was probably not smart to make frozen green apple yogurt on the first real cold day of the month, but it looked yummy and I had a few Granny Smith apples that were going to go bad soon.

Breakfast tomorrow will be a little chilly.

FROZEN GREEN APPLE YOGURT

  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • 3/4 cup finely grated unpeeled green apple (I ended up chopping mine because I couldn’t locate my peeler)
  • 16 ounces Greek-style yogurt

Stir honey and juice in a small saucepan over low heat until honey melts; cool syrup 5 minutes.

Combine honey mixture, apple and yogurt in 5 x 9 inch loaf pan. Cover with foil, freeze 3 hours or overnight.

Remove yogurt from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Quick & Easy Recipes With Just 4 Ingredients by ACP Magazines

Day 26: Apple, Brie and Turkey Panini

I received a Panini maker for a Christmas present a few years ago. I don’t use it that often (and yes, I hear about that all the time), but every time I do, I tell myself I need to get it out of the pantry more often. It’s easy, it’s fast – I love it!

A turkey, green apple and brie Panini is one of my favorite sandwiches. Today was a crazy-busy day, so it was the perfect sandwich for dinner.

APPLE, BRIE AND TURKEY PANINI

  • 2 slices of sourdough bread
  • 2 slices smoked turkey breast
  • ½ of a Granny Smith apple, sliced thinly
  • Thin slices of brie
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Using a pastry brush, lightly brush both bread slices with olive oil. Arrange a thin layer of brie on both sides of the bread and then lightly brush with olive oil, and sprinkle freshly ground black pepper according to taste. Place a slice of turkey breast on each of the bread slices. Arrange slices of apple on one side of the bread. Top with the other slice of bread.

Heat Panini maker and lightly brush with leftover olive oil. Place the sandwich on the grill until done. Slice in half and serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of jinkzzkitchen.blogspot.com

Day 27: Apple Nachos

My daughter is having a Halloween party tonight. There are eight 11-year-old girls in our downstairs family room, but it sounds like 50 people, and a herd of buffalo, have taken over that part of our house.

And that was before they consumed sugar.

I love Halloween parties. I love the costumes and I love the food. In years past I have made blood-shot eyeballs (deviled eggs), caterpillar pizza (pizza bread), a Frankenstein’s bride cake and a pumpkin-brownie cheesecake.

My daughter gave me a list two pages long with food suggestions for her party. We narrowed it down considerably to include ghost pizza, boney breadsticks, a jack-o-lantern veggie tray, black cat cupcakes and apple nachos.

Don’t let the name fool you. Apple nachos may be less healthy than regular nachos.

Happy Halloween!

APPLE NACHOS

  • 4 large Granny Smith apples, sliced
  • 35 large marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 35 caramels
  • 1 tablespoon evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet morsels

Slice apples and arrange on platter.

In a saucepan, melt marshmallows and butter until creamy. Set aside.

In a microwave dish, melt caramels with milk (cooking in 30 second intervals, and stirring). Set aside.

Pour marshmallow cream over apple slices, followed by caramel sauce. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home magazine

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A bushel and a peck of apples

I may not be blogging every day, but I’m still making my apple recipe every day. Here are days 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Day 6: Homestlyle Banana Bread with Applesauce and Cinnamon

I used the last of my homemade applesauce making two loaves of Homestyle Banana Bread with Applesauce and Cinnamon. I took one loaf to an Oktoberfest party and the other was given to my sons’ teachers for their parent-teach conferences potluck.

(They like my kid. I have to do what I can to make sure it stays that way.)

I had no idea how much cinnamon I’d use during this apple challenge. My spice cupboard to really getting cleaned out this month.

HOMESTYLE BANANA BREAD WITH APPLESAUCE AND CINNAMON

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Using a blender or electric mixer, mash the bananas. Add the applesauce, egg whites, vanilla and both sugars. Blend until smooth.

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined, then stir in the oil gently until just blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get Everything You Want in Life by Cindi Leive and the Editors of Glamour

Day 7: Caramel Stuffed Cider Apple Cookies

I love caramel apples. When I was a little, caramel apples were fall. I’d always get one when my family would go to the local apple orchard and that first sticky bite meant that my favorite season was finally here.

I still love caramel apples, although I don’t let myself indulge as much as I used to. This is mainly because of all the money I’ve paid my dentist over the years. Caramel is not good for my teeth.

Still, I can’t make an apple recipe a day for 31 days without including caramel apples, right?

My dentist would probably say no, so that’s why I made these caramel stuffed apple cider cookies instead.

CARAMEL STUFFED APPLE CIDER COOKIES

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (7.4 oz.) box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix (10 packets – found next to hot chocolate mix)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 (14 ounce) bag of Kraft chewy caramels

Preheat oven to 350°. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (you need this so that the caramel doesn’t stick to the bottom of your cookie sheet).

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well. Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.

Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut (about 2 tablespoons). Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Shape the dough into a ball, and place on parchment covered cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.

Bake 11-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. They may not look quite done in the center but that is OK. Once the cookies are done, carefully slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter.

Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down on the parchment or on a cookie rack. If they are not upside down while they cool they may drizzle caramel out the bottom.

Eat at room temperature or slightly warmed in the microwave. (Seriously, heat them up in the microwave or risk breaking a tooth on the hard caramel.)

Recipe courtesy of www.thecookingphotographer.com

Day 8: Apple Cinnamon Bread

More bread for my son’s teachers! Also, his middle school football team finished the season undefeated — both A and B squads. I did not expand my knowledge of football one bit attending his games, but the smile on his face after doing well was worth 45 minutes of confusion.

APPLE CINNAMON BREAD

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped apples (about 1½ to 2 apples)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8×4-inch loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper; set the pan aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, allspice and cloves. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add in the oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix until smooth. Next, add the sugar and mix until well-combined.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until the flour is just barely combined. Gently fold in the apples with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

In a small bowl mix together 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the loaf pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the loaf is golden and a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a dull knife around the sides of the loaf and turn it out on a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper and place right-side up. Cool completely before slicing. Wrap leftover loaf in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of www.browneyedbaker.com

Day 9: Dried Apple Rings

It took time for me to build up the enthusiasm to go to my kitchen and make today’s apple recipe. It’s not that I’m getting bored with the challenge, but I am getting tired of washing dishes. With two apple bread recipes almost back-to-back, plus apple cookies and cupcakes, I was ready to make something that didn’t require a lot of dishes.

Dried apple rings was the obvious solution. All you need for this recipe are apples, a cutting board, a sharp knife and lemons. You also need a bowl to soak the apples in, a measuring cup for the lemon juice and water, plus a baking sheet and wire rack for the oven.

OK, this recipe required a lot of dishes, too, but at least most of them could be loaded in the dishwasher. It’s my kids’ job to unload that!

DRIED APPLE RINGS

  • 1 tablespoon citric acid or lemon juice
  • Firm, unblemished apples, cored, peeled or unpeeled, and cut into thin rings

Heat the oven to its lowest setting. Dissolve the citric acid in 1.2 liters cold water or you can make up a solution of one part lemon juice to four parts water. Both are effective but using citric acid will preserve the apples for longer.

Add the apples, ensuring they are completely submerged. Leave to sit for 5 minutes. Do this in batches.

Arrange the apple slices on racks and place in the oven, using a skewer to hold the door ajar. At 170 degrees, they will be read (quite chewy) within two hours.

Recipe adapted from countryliving.co.uk

Day 10: Brown Rice with Apples

Rice is a common side dish at my house. It is one of my favorite foods.

My husband won’t say it — because he’s a nice guy — but he gets tired of rice, so I try to punch it up by adding vegetables, spices, using flavored broth instead of water, etc. Rice is so simple, yet you can do so much with it.

Even add apples.

BROWN RICE WITH APPLES

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 ¼ cups uncooked instant brown rice (can substitute instant wild rice, too)
  • 2 ¼ cups ready-to-serve fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups chopped unpeeled red apple
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oil in large nonstick saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add shallot and garlic; cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in rice, broth, apple and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until rice is tender.

Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Drain and discard any excess liquid. Stir in parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury: Fast and Healthy Cookbook: 350 East Recipes for Everyday by The Pillsbury Company

How do you like those apples?

You know what kind of person I am? I’m the kind of person who has homemade applesauce in her refrigerator.

This month, anyway.

Move days 4 (applesauce) and 5 (applesauce-spice cupcakes) of this month’s apple challenge to the “finished” column of the month-long “to make” list. So far, so good!

10-Minute Applesauce

  • 3 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 3 Fuji apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or brandy
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a sealable microwave-safe container, combine apples with all other ingredients. Close lid, leaving one corner of lid open to allow steam to escape. Microwave on high for 10 minutes.

Using a hand blender or potato masher, blend to desired consistency. Serve hot immediately or chill for later use.

Recipe courtesy of Good Eats: The Early Years by Alton Brown

APPLESAUCE-SPICE CUPCAKES

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • Brown-Sugar Cream-Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

With an electric mixture on medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add applesauce and then flour mixture, beating until just combined after each. Stir in pecans by hand.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Frosted cupcakes can be refrigerated up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

BROWN-SUGAR CREAM-CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar

With an electric mixture on medium-high speed, beat butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar until smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to a room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone’s Favorite Treat by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

An apple a day over and over again

Did you know October is National Apple Month?

Apples are wonderful. You can cook with them, bake with them, sauté ’em, use them a garnish, eat straight off the tree and make yummy drinks with them.

I am all about the apples. They are my favorite fruit, so to celebrate them, I will one apple dish for every day of National Apple Month.

Here’s what I’ve made so far:

Day 1 — PEANUT BUTTER, APPLE AND GRANOLA WRAP

  • 2 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 large apple, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup granola

Spread peanut butter on tortillas.

Add apples and sprinkle granola.

Tightly roll tortilla and attach toothpick (optional).

Recipe courtesy of “What Are You Doing For Lunch?” by Mona Meighan (This is a very cool cookbook. It breaks down the nutritional value of each recipe, plus estimates what you save making one of these recipes instead of going out for lunch.)

Day 2 — SAUSAGE AND APPLE STUFFING

  • 2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 (14 to 16-ounce) bags of your favorite dried cornbread stuffing mix
  • 1 pound pork sausage (not links)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 medium apples, cored,  sliced
  • 2 to 3 cups homemade giblet      stock or low sodium canned chicken broth

In a large pot melt 2 sticks butter in water. When melted add dry cornbread stuffing stirring to incorporate liquid, set aside.

In a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat melt 1 tablespoon butter and add sausage. With a wooden spoon break up sausage and sauté until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. In the same pan melt remaining butter and sauté onions with the garlic, celery, thyme, and sage until onions are translucent and celery is crisp tender. Add walnuts and sauté for 1 minute. Add apples and sauté for one minute more. Remove from heat.

Combine cornbread stuffing with sautéed ingredients and stuff turkey. Roast turkey as usual, or fill a 10 by 15 by 2 inch pan with the stuffing, moisten with the giblet stock, and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven, covered with foil for 1/2 hour. Remove foil and bake until top is lightly browned, about 15 minutes more.

Source: Food Network Kitchens (www.foodnetwork.com)

Day 3 — INSTANT ENERGY FRUIT CUP

  • ½ apple
  • ½ pear
  • ½ cup red, seedless grapes (I used green grapes)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Sliced kiwi
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Cut apple and pear into bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl. Add grapes, along with honey and lemon juice. Throw in sliced kiwi or pomegranate seeds, if you have them.

Toss, and voila: a 5-minute fruit cup, loaded with juiciness and fiber.

Source: 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know: Engagement Chicken and 99 Other Fabulous Dishes to Get Everything You Want in Life by Cindi Leive and the Editors of Glamour (Hyperion; April 5, 2011)

So far in this challenge, I have:

  • Used six apples
  • Burned one arm (I look like I have one of those barbed-wire tattoos on my forearm)
  • Used the honey sent to be my by July Foodie Pen Pal
  • Learned how to navigate my kitchen when it is filled with two bookshelves, one entertainment center and a couch. (We had our carpets cleaned, so we had to clear the living room, but I still needed to make an apple recipe, hence the easy fruit cup. I have my kitchen back, though, so tonight I am tackling apple butter and applesauce!)

La vida loca

I started a new job in January.

Well, a kind of, sort of new job.

I’m still a reporter for my current newspaper, but I changed beats, moving from K-12 education to food and features. I have wanted this beat for years, so I am thrilled to have it. However, because I write and blog and Facebook about food for my paying job, this blog has suffered.

I can only think of so many food puns in one day.

I’m not quitting this blog, but I wanted to explain why I’m not here as often. I’m still cooking up a storm, but the people who pay me get first dibs. The minute I win the lottery, though, that will change!

For now, enjoy this yummy Spanish Rice recipe. Super simple, super good and good for you, too. Win-win-win!

SPANISH RICE

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes
  • 11/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onion is translucent and tender. Add the rice and saute for 3 to 4 minutes to coat with the oil and slightly brown.

Pour in the tomatoes, chicken broth and seasonings. Stir.

Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork before serving. (I added some fresh cilantro to mine — that’s the green stuff you see in the picture.)

Recipe courtesy of Eat What You Love