Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Apple ~ Any Way You Slice It!

Apple season is upon us...and there's nothing quite like enjoying a crisp, fresh apple right off the tree.

Here's a simple way of slicing the apple without an apple corer...perfect for including in a lunch bag.

  • Set apple with stem side down on a cutting board..
  • Slice apple in a tic-tac-toe pattern, holding the pieces together firmly as you slice through. (#1)
  • Snap an elastic band around the apple to hold the pieces together. (#2)
  • Many hours later...the apple slices have stayed almost totally white.  
  • Discard core section and enjoy eight slices of crisp, white apple. (#3)

There are many wonderful recipes that feature apples...and it seems the perfect time of the year to highlight a few of those.

 Caramel Apple Cake is a favorite over here....and has often doubled as a birthday cake at this time of year.  We enjoyed it around the table with friends this past week.

How about Apple Fritter Rings for brunch?

Or Apple Muffins...for breakfast, lunch or coffee break.

Apple Pie Squares...a crowd-sized version of apple pie!

Here's a perfect accompaniment for an apple tray...Caramel Apple Dip.

Apple Pancakes...always a treat!

If you still haven't found the apple recipe you are looking for...try entering the word 'apple' in the recipe search on the sidebar of this blog and you will be overwhelmed with apple everything!   Don't you just feel like cooking with apples?

As for me...I'm slicing up apples every which way over here!  We have one wee tree...which bears several varieties of apples. The one variety (on the left) grew to be the size of small pumpkins this year. The apple pictured here weighed well over a compared to the average sized McIntosh apple on the right.  Enjoy these 'apple days' of autumn!


Friday, September 25, 2015

Tomato Corn Chowder

Fall is in the air...and soups are on the menu! For this week's Flashback Friday recipe, I'm featuring one of our favorite fall soups. This tomato-corn chowder is based on a recipe that I clipped from a paper many years ago. It has a south-of-the-border flavour to it and was first posted here in August of 2008 as Mexican Tomato Chowder.  Fresh herbs are wonderful...but dried oregano and basil are fine as well.  It's a great way to use those end-of-the-season tomatoes.
Mexican Tomato Chowder
  • 2 pounds field tomatoes 
  • 1 large onion 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 3 cups chicken broth 
  • 1 large can black beans, drained (19 oz.) 
  • 1 can beans in tomato sauce 
  • 2 cups sweet corn kernels (fresh, canned or frozen) 
  • 1 tsp. each of salt, oregano and basil (more if using fresh herbs)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (make that a generous pinch...if you like a little zip)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Scald tomatoes to remove skins and chop coarsely. 
  2. In large saucepan, cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat until softened (about 3 minutes). 
  3. Stir in stock, chopped tomatoes, corn, beans, salt, oregano, basil and cayenne. 
  4. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. 
  5. Stir in cilantro and serve. 
  6. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Loaded Granola Cookies

Loaded Granola Cookies


Hearty, chewy and crunchy at the same time...and Oh So Good!  Our favorite lunchtime treat has always been an oatmeal raisin cookie. But for some time now, that cookie has been upgraded to a 'loaded granola cookie'. I add homemade cinnamon spice granola along with assorted dried fruits to come up with a wholesome and flavourful gourmet cookie. And here's how we like them best...right out of the freezer!

  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened (but not melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats 
  • 3 cups granola (your favorite or mine)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruits (cranberries, blueberries, apricots, raisins, etc.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar.  
  3. Add vanilla and eggs and blend well.
  4. Add flour, baking soda and salt and blend. 
  5. Add all remaining ingredients and stir just to combine. 
  6. Drop from a large cookie scoop (1/4 cup mounds) onto a cookie sheet...leaving several inches between mounds.  Flatten slightly.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several minutes on cookie sheet before moving to cooling rack.
Yield: 30 large cookies.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cinnamon Spice Granola

Here is a basic granola recipe that is easy to switch up to include the seeds and nuts of your choice.   Who knew granola could taste so good?  We love it with fruit and yogurt for breakfast or even as a salad topper.  I'll be sharing our favorite granola cookie recipe here next week.

  • 4 cups large flake oats (not quick oats)
  • 3 cups of nuts and seeds of your choice (1 cup sliced almonds, 1 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 cup sunflower seeds)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F (300°F for convection oven).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts and seeds. 
  3. Combine the oil, honey, brown sugar (or maple syrup) and spices in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly so that everything is moistened.
  5. Spread on two ungreased large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool.
  6. Store granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to several weeks....or store in freezer.

  •  Breakfast parfait.
  • Topping for baked apples.
  • Salad topping (great on kale salad or any salad with fruit).
  • Eat it with various fruits, nuts and seeds as add-ins.   (i.e. raisins, craisins, cashews, dried apricots, dried apples, dried cherries).
  • Makes a great neighbor gift.  Pour granola in cellophane bag and tie with ribbon...or fill a glass jar.
  • Add to cookies along with dried fruits.