Tag Archives: Cinnamon

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. 

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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!

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Filed under Desserts

Cinnamon Streusel Zucchini Bread

I am totally in love with the weekend.  Fritz and I zipped through quite a bit of our (lengthy) to-do list, and I still had time to do some reading, make this bread, and am now making pizza for dinner!

One is a veggie pizza with red sauce (broccoli and green onion from our CSA box) and the other is a white pizza with pesto, ham, and fresh-picked basil.  The pizza dough is resting as we speak and the pizza stone is heating up in the oven.  Sometimes it’s really nice to make dinner and not blog it–I can move quickly, not worry about making a mess, and also not care a whit that it’s raining outside and my light is rapidly disappearing.  Not to mention Fritz will actually get to eat hot food for once!

Today was also Fritz’s first time ever having zucchini bread–and now he is one step closer to being a real American.

Cinnamon Streusel Zucchini Bread (adapted from Oh She Glows) Cinnamon Streusel Zucchini Loaf Printable Card

  • 2 C flour–I used 1 C white and 1 C whole-wheat
  • 2 T wheat germ
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/3 C each raisins and chopped walnuts
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 C shredded zucchini (just wash it, but leave the skin on)
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 C skim milk

For the topping:

  • 2 T flour
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 T butter

This is a quick and easy recipe to throw together, with an impressive taste.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and oil a loaf pan, then line it with parchment paper (makes it much easier to get the dang thing out).

I just love the way a loaf pan looks, all ready to go.  So full of possibility.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, raisins, and walnuts.  Give them a quick stir, then add the rest of the ingredients (except for the stuff for the topping…duh).  Mix until combined and relatively lump-free (I mean, there are raisins in there and stuff), then pour into the loaf pan.

For the topping, use a fork to squish all the ingredients around until they form large crumbs, then drop over the top of the bread batter.

Bake on a middle rack in your oven until an inserted skewer comes out dry and it is a totally gorg deep brown, about an hour.  Remove and cool before slicing (riiiiiight…).  My topping sank down a bit into the loaf while baking, which actually made for a nice suprise during the subsequent consumption.

Serve this baby with butter, and iced coffee left over from the dregs of your husband’s earlier pot.  Yum.  A new and rare indulgence.

I handed a plate with a piece of bread on it to Fritz while he was locked away in our bedroom studying, and he came dashing out of the room looking incredulous.  “Zucchini!”, he cried.  “Such a moist loaf with the glorious textural addition of walnuts!”

Or something like that.  Needless to say, he really liked it.

He’s a real American now.

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Filed under Breads

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Today was such a beautiful day!  Fritz started opening up the pool and we grilled chicken for our dinner salad today–summer’s on its way!  Even finals can’t get me down on a day like today.

Unlike winter midterms, it’s easier to not care about my finals because the weather is just so darn nice.  Which is probably not a good thing (but only three weeks to go ’till I’m a third year!)

I took a nice long study break to make a recipe that I found on FoodGawker (or TasteSpotting…I can’t remember which) for sweet potato cinnamon rolls.  The site is called So Good and Tasty, and there are some beautiful photos on there that you should go check out!

Rejoice with me.  They came out fluffy, sweet, orange, and fluffy.  Did I say fluffy already?  Lightest, finest (is that a word?) cinnamon rolls ever–you would never guess they are made with whole-wheat flour.  Or sweet potatoes, for that matter.

When I say you should make this recipe immediately, I really mean it.  I’m not cryin’ wolf.  Go make them.  This is a “healthy” treat that actually tastes incredibly decadent.  The best part?  It makes enough that I froze two more batches of unbaked cinnamon rolls, all ready for the lucky person that sleeps over next (Eber–that might be you!).

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls (makes 16-24 rolls)

  • 1 C milk, warmed
  • 4 t yeast
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 C mashed cooked sweet potato (hello, microwave!  I used 3 1/2 small sweet potatoes)
  •   2 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
  • 2- 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 1/2 C cinnamon sugar (I didn’t measure how much I used–this is a rough estimate)

Combine the milk, yeast, and maple syrup in a bowl and set it aside until the yeast gets nice and foamy.

Keep an eye on it, though.  Don’t be like me.

In the mixer, combine the sweet potato, olive oil, salt, egg and 1 C of flour (I started with the wheat flour).  Mix until fluffy (see?  this is where the airiness begins!).

Add the yeast combination to the mixer bowl and mix on low until it’s all blended.  Starting with the rest of the whole-wheat flour and finishing with the all-purpose, add the flour slowly until the dough forms a ball and cleans the side of the bowl–it’ll still be sticky.  Switch to the dough hook.

Let the dough knead for 8-10 minutes until it’s smooth, adding more flour if you need.  Cover the bowl and let sit for an hour or so until it has doubled in size.

Divide the dough in half.

One at a time, roll the dough out to a rectangle that’s about 16 inches by 10 inches.  Spread the softened butter over the top and cover with cinnamon sugar.  Starting at the long side, roll it up tightly and press the seam together.  Cut gently into sections–8 if you want giant rolls or 12 if you want smaller ones.  I did both–12 big ones and 6 small ones.

Arrange in an oiled baking dish (I put 6 large ones in a pie pan, and 6 small ones in a muffin tin), leaving space in between each one.

Cover, and allow them to rise until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown–be sure not to overbake, because they’ll dry out fast.

While they are cooling, mix together some icing by combining a little milk, vanilla extract, and confectioners’ sugar until it’s nice and thick.  Drizzle over the top and serve warm.

SO GOOD!

So good, they needed capslock to properly describe them.

One last thing–how can I get any studying done when there’s a cat sleeping on my orthopedics notebook?

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Filed under Breads, Breakfast

Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies

I made these cookies two days ago when I got that late night urge for a whole-wheat sweet (ooh! a rhyme!).  The next day we were back on the road headed to Long Island, and I packed all the leftover cookies–and they were perfect energizers for the second half of the trip.  I promised my sister Kristen that I would post the recipe for her, and since I had some browning bananas to use up, I doubled the recipe and froze half of them for next week.

It has been a gray, rainy day, and these cookies perfectly fit the mood.  I wasn’t sure what to call them, because there are so many delicious ingredients that I wanted to highlight–but I thought that “Banana Walnut Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal Maple Whole Wheat Cookies” was a bit too much…so I settled on the most important players.

Banana Nut Oatmeal Cookies  (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1 C old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 T ground chia or flaxseed
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 C raisins or craisins
  • 1/2 C to 1 C walnuts (I was heavy-handed with the nuts)
  • 1 banana, roughly mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 C maple syrup (I used 1/2 C Indian or maple sugar, and mixed in 1/8 C water)
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Toast the walnuts for six to eight minutes, and cool. 

In your mixer, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, oats, salt, soda, powder, cinnamon, chia).  Add the wet ingredients (syrup, eggs, vanilla, lemon) and mix just until it forms a ball.  Add the banana, raisins, and walnuts, and blend in.  I mixed until everything was combined–I loved finding chunks of banana in the cookies, so don’t overmix.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and space the dough close together–the cookies don’t spread out much, so you can cram ’em all in there.  Press down the dough a little, and place in the oven in the middle rack for about 10 minutes, or until golden on the bottom.

Cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then place on a cooling rack.  Since I doubled the recipe, I froze half of them in freezer bags for later–but it wont be too much later, since Fritz just got home from class and ate four already.

These cookies are just too darn good.

I wanted to call them “energy bites” because they really are energizing little crunch bites, but I was afraid that would make me forget they are cookies and think that I could eat more than two at a time.  Don’t want that!

Fritz and I are headed off to the gym in a few minutes–I am taking a Total Body Conditioning class, and then either doing some cardio afterwards or going to my old Hatha yoga class–not sure which one I’m in the mood for, but I’m leaning towards cardio.  Might be all those cookies I ate today…

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Filed under Desserts

Garlic and Sage Bread and Cinnamon Lamb Stew

I’m so sad to see the weekend leave, but Fritz and I had a great day–a lot of cooking and finishing the third season of LOST.  It was a perfect day for it, because it was gray but not rainy so the windows were open and  the cool air made making fall food finally feel appropriate.  Which you know makes me happy.

The other day I made Overnight Oats, with a recipe I borrowed from this website (it’s a healthy eating blog that I recently started reading as I needed some inspiration for this blog…add it to your favorites! It’s a good one!).  Anyway, I loved the idea of cold oatmeal in the morning (I add uncooked oatmeal to my Grape-nuts  in the morning ’cause I like the texture), but I didn’t exactly love the way it turned out.  Definitely good, very filling, but not perfect…yet.  But it will be!  And when I perfect a recipe, I’ll put it up.  But in the meantime, I’d love some suggestions if you guys try your own versions.

On another note, I got two new cookbooks recently.  Now, if you know me, you know I love cookbooks and kitchen gadgets, ever since I got some wooden spoons as a Christmas gift when I was seven(ish).  So full of new possibilities!  The next two recipes are from my two new books, One Pot and 100 Best Health Foods.

First, I decided to make Garlic and Sage Bread, mostly because I felt like using my mixer and I’ve been baking too many sweet things lately.  I have sage in my herb garden and I rarely use it, but who would’ve known it’s one of 1oo best health foods.  Sage, among other things, has strong antioxidant, antibacterial, and preservative effects. Cool.  Also helps with symptoms of arthritis (Mom!).

Garlic and Sage Bread

  • 1 3/4 C whole wheat bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast
  • 3 T chopped fresh sage
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 t honey
  • 2/3 C lukewarm water

 

Set aside 1 t of the garlic, and the first four ingredients and the remaining garlic into a mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center and pour in the honey and the water.  Stir until the dough begins to come together, and then knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until elastic (or, use your mixer until smooth and elastic).  Brush a bowl with oil and shape the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size (cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel to prevent drying out). 

Brush a baking sheet with oil, punch down the dough, and shape into a ring.  Place on the baking sheet, and place an oiled bowl in the center to prevent the circle from closing in while rising.  Leave to rise for half an hour.

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the bowl from the center of the loaf, and sprinkle with the reserved garlic (I opted out of this part) and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when the base is tapped.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool, and spread slices with cream cheese (or not–tastes great without it!).

This bread was quick and easy to make, didn’t rise a huge amount, and makes the cutest little slices.  It perfectly accompanied the next recipe, Cinnamon Lamb Stew.

Cinnamon Lamb Stew

  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lbs lean boneless lamb (I actually used bone-in stew meat, which I cooked whole and then cubed later)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 lg onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/4 C red wine
  • 2 T red wine vinegar
  • 12 0z canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 C seedless raisins
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • pinch sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • plain greek yogurt and paprika to garnish

 

Season the lamb with salt and pepper to taste, and flour the lamb (shake it up in a plastic bag!) and set aside.  Heat the oil in a large pot and cook the onions and garlic until soft, about five minutes.  Add the lamb and cook over high heat until browned on all sides.  Stir in the wine, vinegar, and tomatoes and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Reduce the heat to low and add the raisins, cinnamon, sugar, and bay leaf.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the lamb is tender. 

I served with barley and topped with a generous spoonful of plain greek yogurt (the recipe suggests adding garlic and salt to the yogurt, but I’m not a huge garlic fan so I stuck with plain).  Discard the bay leaf and serve hot, dusted with paprika (like any good part-Hungarian would).

 

Now snuggle up with a movie and a blanket, and eat the first of many fall stews I hope you make!

Tomorrow Fritz is going on a fun adventure called “Looking At And Possibly Buying A Car”, which is an operation we’ve tried several times and have yet to call a success.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better–a 2003 Nissan Sentra with 94,000 miles for $4,000.  Sounds good, right?  I’ll let you know how that goes…and don’t forget to try overnight oats!

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Filed under Breads, Soups/Stews