Tag Archives: Apple

Spiced Apple Butter (Crock Pot)

What is a girl to do when she has 25 apples to use up and very little free time?

Apple butter–easy, smooth, warmly spiced, sweet, and tangy.  It’s heaven in a crock pot. 

It takes a long time in the crock pot (mine was a full day and night–probably around 20 hours!) but you don’t need to babysit it at all, so it’s a piece of cake.

Apple Butter (makes 3-4 pints)

  • about 10 lbs of apples (I had 20-something small and medium apples, all different varieties)
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 t ground cloves
  • 1 C water
  • sugar to taste (optional)

First off, peel the apples.  I’m proud to report that I peeled 24 or 25 apples in 19 minutes, and several of those apples without breaking the peel.  You know what I mean?  One long spiral of peel for an entire apple.

I know.  I was impressed, too.

Core the apples and roughly slice them (again, I strongly suggest you get those apple corer/slicer deals–it’ll only cost you a few bucks but it’s so helpful! I use mine every day!).  Dump them all in the crock pot, top with the spices and water, cover, and cook on high for an hour or two.

I couldn’t fit all my apples in the crock pot at once, so I let the first half cook down a bit then crammed the rest in there.  The apples will reduce by a lot, so you’ll have room!

Turn the crock pot down to low, and cook (I left it covered) for 8 hours, during which time I went to class.  Once I came back, I put the crock pot down to low again (it turns off automatically), and removed the cinnamon sticks.  We had a lot of young, green apples, so my apple butter needed a little sugar–I added half a cup.  If you have sweeter apples, it may not be necessary at all to add any.  Totally up to you.  I propped the lid open with a knife and went to bed.  In the morning, my every apple butter dream had come true.

Toast magic!

I put some into jars to keep (and maybe give away–we’ll see!), and the rest in the freezer.  You can process these jars to seal and store them, but I think that in order to do this safely, there should probably be a higher sugar content.  You could always do a little more research if you want to go that route.

I also had some in my giant bowl of steel-cut oats this morning, with some wheat germ and ground flaxseed.  I was full for a good four hours, which felt great since I was back at my clinical playing with the cutest kids ever all day.

What can you use apple butter for?  On toast, in oatmeal, in yogurt, mixed in a green monster, with your cereal, in baked goods, scooped up with fruit, and eaten with a spoon.  Since you probably won’t be able to resist (I sure couldn’t!).

How gorgeous is that dark brown apple butter?

The spices were a perfect balance–no overwhelming cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice taste, but just enough to fill me with glee about the continuing fall weather.

Fall…I love you.

Here’s our CSA box for the week!  Another small one, but they should be getting bigger soon.  So sad that week 17 is already here and we only have 9 left–I’m definitely going to miss it. 

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Sauces

Comfort Food: Apple Crisp Edition

Apple crisp isn’t going to change your life.  I can promise you that.

But what it might do is make you feel like everything is all right with your world; that your insides are warm and fuzzy and nothing bad can happen.  And that nothing makes you feel better than ice cream melting into cinnamon and nutmeg with warm apples and crunchy-buttery oats and nuts.

Apple crisp is a comfort food, my friends.  At least in my house it is.  My mom always makes at least one apple crisp every fall, and when I was a freshman at college she drove six hours to visit with a pan of still-warm apple crisp to help me move in the right way.

And that is comforting.

Apple Crisp (makes enough to serve a large crowd, or have lots of leftovers to be warmed up later)

for the filling:

  • 10-12 mixed varieties of apples (Empire, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, Braeburn…), peeled, cored, and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 T lemon or lime juice
  • 1 t cinnamon

for the topping:

  • 1 C whole-wheat flour (I was out, so I used all-purpose)
  • 3/4 C almond meal
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 C whole walnuts
  • 1 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick, chilled)
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • freshly grated nutmeg (about 1/2 t)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The first big step is to peel, core, and chop the apples–and this step is much easier when you have one of those nifty apple corer and slicer things.  I do, thank goodness.  Mix in the sugar, spices, and lemon or lime.  Pour the apple mixture into a large dish–mine is 10′ x 15′.  The apples should come right up to the top (but don’t worry, they’ll cook down later).  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping.  Cut the butter (it’s better if it is a bit chilled) into small pieces into the bowl.  Use your hands for the easiest mixing, blending the flours into the butter until it is the texture of sandy pebbles…if that makes any sense. 

Crumble the mixture over the top of the apples, and dust with freshly grated nutmeg.  Bake on the middle rack until the apples are soft and bubbly and the top is golden brown, about an hour.

Please, please, oh please, serve with ice cream.  Warm.

And when you reheat this, do it in the oven and not the microwave.  Your mother will thank you.  And so will your belly.

One of the best parts of this is the big walnuts–and that’s coming from someone who’s not a big fan of nuts inside desserts.

And if you’ve had a hard day at school, or a long day at work, or a fight with your hubs, or you are feeling down for any reason, really…this is your dessert.

Enjoy!

13 Comments

Filed under Desserts

Quinoa Fruit Salad

Doesn’t the weekend just go way, way too fast?  I’m so bummed that it’s already Sunday night, even though we had a fun-packed weekend and Fritz is outside grilling chicken so I can have a beautiful salad tomorrow like the world’s best husband that he is.

Still.  I wish it was Friday morning again.  But since it’s not, here’s an awesome fruit salad recipe that I promise you will love.  You’ll think it’s gorgeous, you’ll want to kiss it, you’ll want to hug it, you’ll want to love it…(Miss Congeniality, anyone?)

Quinoa Fruit Salad (original recipe from Oh She Glows, serves 4-6) 

Printable Recipe Card

  • 3/4 C dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 apple, rinsed and diced
  • 3 peaches, rinsed and diced
  • 1 pint strawberries, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 t balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T lime juice
  • sprinkle of salt

Cook the quinoa according to package directions, remembering to rinse it first to get rid of that bitter taste.  Meanwhile, slice the fruit (and feel free to adapt the fruit in any way–use whatever you have around the house!) and layer it in a deep bowl.  When the quinoa is cooked and fluffed (it doesn’t need to be cooled), toss that on top, too.

Toss the dressing ingredients over the top and mix, mix, mix.  I found this to be the perfect amount of sweetness (and just a teensy hint of balsamic), but you can always adjust to your own taste.  The lime also keeps the apple from browning, which is nice.

Either serve warm as is (because you probably wont be able to resist it), or cool in the fridge prior to serving.

Angela also added almonds to her salad, which I can imagine would be amazing if you plan on eating it all in one day.  I know we’ll have some leftover for school tomorrow, so I left out what I knew would end up as soggy nuts.  Which is never a good thing to have.

Ahem.  Anyway.  I love, love, love this salad.  Sometimes I forget that quinoa is so yummy in a sweet dish, so I’m glad I had a reminder.

I also got to chat with some lovely people at the farmstand by my house when I went to pick up some strawberries.  I’ll tell you all about that (and the recipe I left with!) on another day.

Because I want to start the week off on the right foot, I’ll leave you with a picture that my mom posted on facebook today.  It’s a throwback to the old days, when my little sister Kristen (who is applying to vet schools as we speak) first discovered her true love for animals:

It makes me laugh every time I look at it.  For, like, ten minutes.

No frogs were harmed (other than possible psychological damage) in the making of this photo.

7 Comments

Filed under Salads

Irish Apple Barley Pudding Parfait

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I wanted to make something to celebrate the holiday, but didn’t want to make Irish soda bread since I have two loaves of multigrain bread in the freezer, and I wanted it to be quicker than corned beef.  So what’s a girl to do?

I looked up some more traditional Irish recipes, and found a winner–apple barley pudding.  To make it a little less traditional, I added green whipped cream and voila! a pudding parfait!

It’s a traditional pudding made by hungry Irish farmers to use up old apples and barley during the winter months.  Luckily for the Irish, it’s very healthy.

Luckily for us, it’s also delicious (and you don’t have to add as much whipped cream as I did).

Irish Apple Barley Pudding Parfait (original recipe here)

  • 1 1/2 lbs tart apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • 4 heaping T barley
  • 1 liter water
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 C heavy whipping cream (with 1 T sugar, if desired)

Add the water and barley together in a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer.

Meanwhile, peel, core, and slice the apples.

Add the sliced apple to the pot with the barley and simmer until the barley and apples are softened, at least half an hour.  It’s okay if the apples fall apart.

While that’s cooking, make your whipped cream.  Beat the cream in the mixer with the whisk attachment for a few minutes, until it stands in peaks.  Add some sugar if you want (I added a T) and a bit of green food coloring.

You can’t see how green the whipped cream is in all the pictures, but in real life it is pretty green.  Refrigerate until you are ready for it!

Anyway, once the barley is softened, add the lemon juice and put the entire mixture into a blender and puree until smooth.  Pour back into the bowl and boil for a few minutes, then refrigerate until cool.

To build your parfait, just layer in a glass and enjoy!

These came out to be so much more delicious than I anticipated.  I’ll even admit to you that I ate two of them immediately.  The apple layer is tangy and sweet and contrasts perfectly with the cool whipped cream.

Since today’s theme was stripes (is that a far leap from layers?), Henry decided to play along:

World’s stripey-est cat.

Now go have a Guinness!

2 Comments

Filed under Desserts

Apple Pumpkin Pancakes and Rum Spiced Apple Cider

Sick of fall inspired foods yet?  Me neither.

I did really well on my two practicals this week (thanks for asking), and am now preparing for a test on Monday and one on Tuesday.  And by preparing I mean Fritz and I made a scrumptious breakfast, did laundry, cleaned the house, I’m blogging, and making a yummy navel orange, avocado, and shrimp salad for when our good friends Bre and Zev come to visit this weekend!  So not really preparing for my tests at all.

But back to the food.  I had some pumpkin puree left over from the muffins I made, and I got to thinking about how I can transform my favorite fall squash into a breakfast food: pancakes!  I also decided to toss in some apple for a sweet twist.  And I hate to admit it, but because it was 8:00 on a Saturday morning I cheated and used Bisquick for the pancakes–but next time, I’d definitely make them myself and go whole wheat.

Apple Pumpkin Pancakes 

  • Pancake mix (for two), made according to directions
  • 1 empire apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 C pumpkin puree
  • cinnamon sugar and maple syrup to top

 

Prepare the pancake mix as directed according to package and set aside (I used half skim milk and half water for my mix).  Next, peel and dice the apple.

Add the chopped apple to the pancake mix, then stir in the pumpkin puree.  At first I planned on leaving it swirled,  but I thought it would cook better (and look prettier) thoroughly mixed in.

 

When it came to cooking the pancakes, the first one I tried had a really irregular shape due to the apples, so I pulled out some of Fritz’s egg shapers (?! what are those things called?), which made perfectly shaped small pancakes.

 

Because of the pumpkin and the apple, these pancakes come out very moist and sweet and need very little butter and syrup to finish them off.  I just put a tiny pat of butter on Fritz’s, then sprinkled with some cinnamon sugar and a dash of maple syrup.  So good!

You really should make these.  I love finding delicious ways to use up leftovers!

On a completely different fall inspired note, when I was deep in the midst of studying this past week I made some spiced rum apple cider drink to keep me from collapsing into a orthopedics-induced stupor.  This was mostly inspired by my friends Angie (all the way from South Korea!) and Drew, who jokingly but seriously encouraged me to add alcohol to my favorite warm beverage.  What an excellent idea.

Rum Spiced Apple Cider (serves two)

  • 3 C apple cider
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 oz rum
  • 1/2 T butter

 

Combine the apple cider, sugar, and spices in a saucepan over medium heat until hot.  Divide the rum and butter between two mugs while waiting for the cider to heat.  The butter (even though it seems weird) gives the cider a caramelly buttery taste that is perfect for cold weather.  It also made me feel a little bit like I was drinking butterbeer with Harry Potter.  Pour the cider over the rum and butter, and put one cinnamon stick into each mug.  Enjoy!

Thanks Ange and Drew–this helped me make it through those two tests! Now I need a new drink for the next two…

Today Fritz and I put our dual-control heat blanket on the bed, and actually set the thermostat to turn on at 5:00 in the morning so we no longer need to wake up in 55 degree weather.  Nothing like a heat blanket to make reading on a weekend feel like the most. amazing. thing. ever.  I might go do that right now!

4 Comments

Filed under Beverages, Breakfast