Monday, November 28, 2011

Peanut Butter Caramel Apple Cobbler

I didn't measure the ingredients, so feel free to splurge a little if you like cinnamon a little more, or want to add ginger or vanilla.  It's an easy recipe to play with and hard to go wrong.  

3lbs. apples, peeled/cored/sliced*
2 Tbl. cornstarch
2 Tbl. lemon juice
1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup(maple, agave, or brown rice would also work)

1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
2 cups brown sugar
1 stick(1/2 cup) cold butter
1/3-1/2 cup chopped dry roasted salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350'.  Spray the bottom and sides of a deep 9x13" baking pan with non-stick spray.  In a large bowl, coat apples evenly with lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, salt, & sugar.  Spread apples evenly in baking pan.  Spray a small microwave proof bowl or measuring cup with non-stick spray.  Pour in Golden Syrup and peanut butter.  Microwave on high 30 seconds and stir until smooth.  Drizzle evenly over apple slices.  In a large bowl combine flour, oats, brown sugar, peanuts, and cold butter cut into small pieces.  Use a pastry blender to cut butter into the mixture until resembling fine crumbs.  Spread evenly over apples and peanut butter mixture.  Bake 45 minutes.  Then cover loosely with foil and bake another 15 minutes.

Let cool and serve over vanilla ice cream or with whipping cream.

* I used a mix of Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples, yum!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breaking Dawn Part 1

You're safe, no spoilers, I don't want to ruin all the fun.  And that's exactly what it is, FUN!  I've gone to the midnight showing of all four Twilight movies now because it is SO fun.  The books became a great way to find something common with my oldest daughter.  And then the youngest, well, she refused to read them.  However she  did manipulate me somehow to pay her $1 per chapter for Twilight, which was the exact amount she needed saving up for something she wanted.  It had no everlasting psychological effects though, she hasn't read the other ones, yet.  She is however hooked on seeing the movies.  Last night was no exception, it was a blast watching it in a movie theater filled with all the energy and excitement.

I bought my tickets the first part of November and we were supposed to be in Stadium 10.  At that time the cashier told us there were 60 seats sold in 1 and 45 in 10, but last night they had to open up more and it just gets busier and busier with every showing.  So, we ended up being in Stadium 8 with mostly high school/college kids.  Just a few of us moms.  Along with extra showings came extra boys.  When Twilight came out I noticed a handful of men, not teenage boys(they're kind of dumb that way).  The men were also googly eyed over the women they were with.  Smart.  (Hoping the hubby gets a hint before the BD.2 comes out)  But last night, the boys were out to be goofballs.  It's no biggie, it's expected, they're in school with the girls all day anyways, and it's kind of a party atmosphere.  However, I really could have done without the loud fart sound at the end of the movie while we're all hushed in anticipation of something we all knew was coming.  I giggled at the fart last night with the rest of the audience, but this morning I'm irritated, maybe it's because I'm still tired.  Girls, leave your "boys" at home.  Women, your mature dates are welcome.  

Now, having visually wet noodle slapped those boys, did I take this movie seriously?  No.  I thought it was a big can of cheese whiz, but so was the book!  It was fun, I wondered how these scenes would play out.  Taylor has uh, well, he's gotten older and I don't feel as bad now getting a few pitter pats when he's walking around with a tight shirt on.  He was more covered up this time, and it didn't matter, the kid is still going to rule the screens, watch.  Kind of the same way Benjamin Bratt took off.  Oh, yeah, I told myself I wasn't going to even bother with Private Practice this year, but then I decided I really need to watch the Bratt every week.  The acting did get MUCH better with this film.  Forget Team Jacob or Team Edward, I'm Team Charlie now that I've seen him in a tux.  ;)  Besides, Jacob and Edward are definitely taken.

I can't wait for Part 2.  Bella is supposed to come back and kick some...."booty".  And I will be there at midnight with bags under my eyes and $ store candy in my purse(I forgot it last night though!).  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Home Canned Apple Pie Filling

18 cups(about 6 lbs.) peeled, cored, sliced apples
3 cups white granulated sugar
1-1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup corn starch
1 Tbl. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground all spice
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 64 oz. bottle unsweetened apple juice or cider
2 cups water
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract(or 1 tsp. double strength)
1 drop doTerra Ginger Essential Oil
1 drop doTerra Wild Orange Essential Oil
7 Quart Sized Jars with disks and rings for canning

Peel apples.  Segment peeled apples using an apple corer/wedger* and place in a large bowl with water and lemon juice(1/4 cup per 4 cups cool water), set aside.  Bring a large pot of water to boil to blanch apple wedges for one minute, 6 cups at a time.  Set aside apples in another large bowl and keep warm(I just covered with a towel).  In a very large pot combine sugars, cornstarch, dry spices, and whisk.  Add apple juice or apple cider, lemon juice, and water and bring to a boil.  When it starts to thicken add apple wedges and cook another 5-10 minutes until thick and apples are heated through.  Turn off heat and stir in vanilla, and essential oils.  Ladle apples and syrup into sterilized hot jars, leaving 1" head space.  Run a chopstick or canning tool through to remove bubbles.  Wipe rims and add disks and rings.  Process 25 minutes, or as recommended based on your altitude.  Remove and let cool overnight.  If any have not sealed within one hour, refrigerate and use within 2 weeks.

Recipe yields 6-7 quart jars.  One quart for a 9" pie plate.

Do not use if seal breaks, if lid is bulging, or it smells.  A few of my jars oozed pie  filling a little while processing, but my canning expert friend assures me this is okay so long as they seal properly.  Just wipe down any residue being careful not to break any seals.  All but one sealed properly.  Oh darn, if we MUST make a pie.

Whisk sugar, corn starch, and dry spices before adding apple juice/cider, lemon, and water.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Healthy Cherries Gracias Frozen Yogurt

I love Greek Yogurt, specifically plain Greek Yogurt.  It's rich in flavor and tastes so good with just an add-in or two.  I had quite a bit, forgetting I had already stocked up so I needed to do something with it.  I decided to try make Frozen Yogurt and this is what I came up with.

2 cups Frozen Dark Cherries
1/2 cup Apple Juice(not cocktail)
1/4 cup sugar(optional, you can also try your favorite non-calorie sweetener or honey)

1/2 cup each White & Dark Chocolate Chips, finely chopped
2 tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste
3 cups Plain Greek Yogurt

In a small saucepan combine cherries, apple juice, and sugar(optional).  Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring and smashing frequently until it is reduced about 1/2.  Let cool slightly and process in small food processor or blender until almost smooth.  You're just trying to make sure there are no large pieces of skin.  Allow to cool, refrigerate to speed this along.  In a large mixing bowl, combine yogurt, chocolate chips, vanilla, and cooled mixture.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to overnight.  Add to ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions.  Optional:  Add toasted slivered almonds, additional dark chocolate chunks, or brownie pieces the last 5 minutes of mixing ice cream.