Apple Butter

apple-butter

Autumn, the years last loveliest smile. Were already half way through the season but it really hasn’t felt much like fall here in N.E Ohio in the last month with the unusually warmer weather we’ve been having, hey I’m not complaining though!Β  This week, the temperature finally started to dip back into the lower 60s with heavy clouds and even a little rain fall here and there. The crisp air is comforting as I warm up around a fire pit with a hot hazelnut latte from Starbucks in my hand and watch as the wind throws the leaves onto the ground. The sound of leaves crushing beneath my brown leather boots is a lovely reminder that its okay to let things go and to just breathe and have patience for whats to come in the near future.

I didn’t have much opportunity this fall to work with the seasonal produce. I finally made time to swing by my favorite fruit stand up near my Grandparents home in Port Clinton and grabbed a heavy bag of the best looking Gala apples a girl could pick. The first thing that came to my mind that I haven’t made before in the past was Apple butter. Of course I made apple pie as well, however that recipe is one everyone should already have.

This smooth, puree that spreads better than butter is super easy to make and goes great on pancakes or even a piece of toast. Heck, it’s even good enough to eat it off a spoon like peanut butter! However you choose to enjoy it, this recipe is worth making. If you’re looking for gift ideas to your friends and family for the holidays, which are just around the corner, why not make a large batch and can it up in a fun gift basket with pancake mix and other breakfast essentials; Just a fun idea!

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Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Yield: Makes 4, 8oz Jars

Mise en place:

-8 Gala Apples, peeled, cut in medium chunks, seeds removed

-1 Cup Apple Cider

-1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar, divided

-3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

-1/4 Teaspoon Allspice

Method of Prep:

-Bring apples, cider and 1/2 cup sugar to a boil in a dutch oven over high heat. Cover leaving lid slightly ajar, and boil 20 minutes or until apples are tender and most of the liquid had evaporated; Stir every 5 minutes.

-Process cooked apples and cooking liquid in a blender until smooth. Return mixture to dutch oven. Stir in cinnamon, allspice and remaining 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

-Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered stirring often, 15 minutes or until thickened.

-Cool about 45 minutes. Spoon into airtight containers and refrigerate up to 2 months or freeze up to 6 months.

**Mix in 3 Tablespoons of Pumpkin puree to make a pumpkin apple butter!

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{Homemade} Pumpkin Spiced Latte

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Back in early September when Starbucks released their crowd pleasing seasonal favorite hot beverage of the pumpkin spiced latte, all females went crazy. Facebook and other social media sites were blowing up with pictures and statuses of how this beverage was finally back!Β  There’s many memes floating around on the internet of the yoga pants and uggs wearing white girls who the pumpkin spiced latte supposedly markets too; It’s funny because it’s true.

I had never before had this drink and very rarely go to Starbucks because I believe they are extremely over priced and all their drinks are made from highly processed syrups and God knows what else. I would rather spend my dollar else where at a local coffee shop who practices sustainability and puts forth effort into making a refined cup of coffee or cold beverage. It was a brisk early fall afternoon and my best girlfriend and I were getting ready to go for a walk around a local park. I wanted to grab a cup of something hot to keep me awake and moving for the walk. I decided I wanted to try this latte and see what all the hype was about. Result: disgusting. I didn’t like this drink one bit. I thought it was a waste of $7.00 and I was so disappointed that I couldn’t even finish the drink. Which brings me to this question: What is wrong with you women who obsess over this drink? Its awful!

About 2 years ago I shared a recipe for a refined sugar free and real food alternative to the store brought pumpkin flavored creamer in my post of Pumpkin spiced creamer to add into your coffee for extra flavor. I basically took the recipe for that creamer and reheated it back on the stove and added it to my morning cup of coffee.

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Mise en Place:

Pumpkin Spiced Creamer (This can be made in advance)

-Fresh pot of freshly brewed coffee

-Ground Cinnamon

 

Additional Tools:

-Immersion stick blender (or vitamix/other powerful blender will work as well)

-Sauce pot

-Large Spoon (basting spoons work the best)

 

Method of Prep:

-Brew your coffee as you normally would (In my fresh coffee grounds, I added 1 Teaspoon of ground Allspice pre brewing for additional flavor just for this beverage!)

-In a small sauce pot, heat up about 1 Cups worth of the creamer over medium heat until cream begins to boil.

-Once boiling remove from heat.

-Using an immersion stick or blender of choice, quickly blend the hot milk until it begins to foam. Blend approximately 1 minute or until very frothy.

-Pour yourself a cup of coffee. Using a large spoon, push back the foam/froth and try to get only the hot liquid poured into your cup. Fill to just under the rim.

-Now take your spoon and carefully spoon the foam on top, about 2 spoonfuls.

-Garnish with ground cinnamon.

Enjoy!

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**Store your made ahead creamer in a tightly sealed mason jar for a few week in the fridge.

Pumpkin Granola

The long weekend for me at work has finally come to an end. The printers in the kitchen stopped shoveling out tickets, the hot line begins to cool down as I turn off the grill, flat top and fryers, and the breakdown of my mise en place on my station is in place. I tightly wrap my prep with plastic wrap, cut a small piece of blue tape and begin to write “Diced Tomatoes, 11-04” All of a sudden I realize the 11 on the tape stands for the month of November. Where did this year fly by?? It didn’t phase me that we were already in the end of the year until two days ago. What started out as a slow year for me as I unpacked my belongings and got settled into my new South Florida residence and began a new job, slowly picked up once summer came to an end.

Now that fall is halfway over, the holidays are quickly approaching in less than 4 weeks with Thanksgiving kicking it off. The change in climate has fallen which means most folks will be turning to comfort food to keep warm this winter. As I gear up my kitchen in preparation to make soups, stocks, stews, cookies, breads along with other hearty and seasonal favorites, I want to share with you one last fall recipe that I know you will enjoy. This recipe is great for the winter as well if you have access to fresh or canned pumpkin. This granola is fantastic with fruit for breakfast, yogurt for lunch, and dessert for dinner. At the end of this recipe, you will find an awesome suggestion for the granola.

 

Active Time: 15 Minutes

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Recipe Credit: Girlcooksworld

Ingredients:

-6 Tablespoons Butter

-2 1/2 Cups Oats

-1 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

-1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

-1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg

-1/2 Teaspoon Salt

-1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree

-1/2 Cup Honey

-1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

-1 Teaspoon Vanilla

-1/2 Cup Pumpkin seeds (optional)

Additional Tools:

-Parchment paper

-1 Sheet tray

-1 Medium sauce pot

-1 Mixing bowl

Method of Prep:

-Set oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

-Melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the oats and stir to coat

-Pour oats into a bowl. Add spices and salt.

-Cook remaining butter, pumpkin puree, honey, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Stir in vanilla and remove from the heat.

-Pour hot mixture over the oats and mix well. Mix in pumpkin seeds and spread on a lined baking sheet.

-Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until desired granola texture (crunchy vs soft).

-Remove from oven and let cool. crumble granola in your fingers until it is all broken down into granola consistency.

 

Recipe Recommendation:

Bourbon Peaches, Pumpkin Granola, Apple/cinnamon yogurt, pomegranate.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

-1 Cup Pumpkin Granola

-8 ounces Apple Cinnamon Greek yogurt (Chobani)

-1 Cup Frozen Peaches

-2 Ounces Jack Daniels or other Bourbon of choice

-1/4 Cup Pomegranate seeds

-1 Tablespoon Butter

Method of Prep:

-In a large sauce pot, heat up bourbon and peaches until peaches are soft.

-If granola is soft, place in the oven to dry out and make crunchy for 10 minutes on 300 degrees.

-Once peaches are soft, place in a serving bowl. Leaving bourbon in the pan, place back on the stove, add in butter and cook over medium low heat until slightly reduced into a syrup consistency, approximately 5 minutes.

-Sprinkle granola and pomegranate seeds over the peaches. Add a dollop or more of yogurt of top.

-Pour bourbon syrup over granola, mix up and eat!

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Chips

I have been beyond busy, which would indicate my lack of blogging. I just got back from what started out as a wonderful and much needed vacation back home to Ohio to visit family, and see a dear friend of mine get married. This fun time away from work ended terribly due to the hurricane making her move though the east coast and pounding states on that side very hard with heavy wind and rain. Although I was supposed to arrive back to Florida on Monday, my flight got canceled twice, and Delta put me through hell in getting new flights, and delaying others causing me to miss more flights and so on. The last 3 days were quite an adventure for me in fighting for a way back south. I have safely arrived and my family up north is doing fine now that the power is back up and running (after being out for almost 3 days!) and most of the damage from large trees falling down and power lines all over the place is about cleaned up.

With that said, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Unfortunately I am staying in for the holiday. My vacation got extended which isn’t a bad thing, but having to go back to work after being off for a week means it’s early to bed and rise once again. While most folks are gorging themselves in the many chocolate variety packs and sweet candies that are going on sale tomorrow, I am pushing the candy to the side this year. For my Halloween treat, I’ve decided to make apples chips! Its a very simple, yummy, and healthy snack. If your not into dried fruits or haven’t had the opportunity to eat them, this is your time to take the fruit of your choice and dehydrate it in your oven. I absolutely love adding dried fruit into salads, oatmeal, yogurt and granola, or eating them solo. Apples are your best choice right now in terms of seasonal fruit, however, you may choose to do any fruit you like. I also prefer: bananas, mango, pineapple, and kiwi.

Active Time: 10 Minutes

Total Time: 1.5 – 2 Hours

Ingredients:

-2 Large Apples (I used Gala)

-2 Tablespoons Sugar

-1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

 

Method of Prep:

-Slice apples thin using a sharp knife or mandolin (if you have one)

-Heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

-In a large bowl, add sugar and cinnamon to the sliced apples and toss until evenly coated.

-Layer a sheet pan with parchment paper, Spread apple slices onto paper, keeping an even distance in between each.

-Place in the oven and bake for up to 2 hours until dry. The texture should be fragile and lightly crunchy.

-Let cool for 10 minutes after removing from the oven.

Enjoy!