Tag Archives: Apple

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup

30 Sep

Do y’all know how much I am loving soup? I never thought of soup as a main dish, except for chili. But after last winter’s CSA, I found myself really enjoying soups, not least because soups are an easy way of sneaking in more veggies into your diet. I’m not a fan of simple vegetables — I like lots of added flavor and spices. The BF is happy eating steamed veggies with salt and butter, but I prefer something a little more than that, so spiced soups are awesome. Plus, I love cooking up a soup and then having bowls and bowls of it leftover for meals throughout the week. As I’ve mentioned before, I eat weird things for breakfast, and soup is one of my favorites to have in the morning.

Squash Soup's On!

When I was researching recipes to use up the 4 dozen apples I had after the Apple Fest, I found this amazing recipe for Apple Cheddar Squash Soup. Even after ABC sandwiches and Honey Apple Cake, I still had apples from the festival. I also happened to get a butternut squash in my CSA that week too, so it seemed like fate. I finally got around to making this soup and have been enjoying it since.

This soup is super tasty with subtle flavors. I thought that the soup tasted better and better with each passing day — the flavors built over a few days in the fridge and were stronger by the time I finished the last bowl around day 5. It is a pureed soup — I love eating pureed soup but I don’t love preparing it. After transferring multiple batches of soup into my semi-functioning food processor, I am feeling the need to invest in an immersion blender soon. The lid on my food processor keeps getting stuck on, and I’m certain that if I keep wrestling with it, this will eventually mean a lot of soup spilled all over my kitchen, and I really don’t want to have to clean that up. How long is it until Christmas again?

Delicious Fall in a Bowl

Apple Cheddar Squash Soup adapted from Food Network

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium apples, thinly sliced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped peeled butternut squash
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup apple juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup milk
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
Chives for garnish (optional)
Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Melt butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion, apples, sweet potato, and squash. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes.

Stir in the sage and flour. Add the apple juice and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth and milk. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the potato is soft, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the cheese to the soup and stir over medium-low heat until melted.

Puree in a food processor or blender in batches until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If necessary, transfer back to the pot and cook uncovered over low heat until soup reaches desired consistency.

Garnish with crumbled bacon, chives, and more cheese, if using. Serve with bread.

Linking up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from I Should Be Mopping the FloorTwelve O EightRedhead Can Decorate, and Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Melt In Your Mouth Monday from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

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ABC (Apple-Bacon-Cheddar) Sandwiches

16 Sep

OMG these sandwiches are so good. The BF and I have enjoyed them multiple times in the past few weeks, as we’ve tried to use up all the apples from the Apple Festival. This was actually the first apple recipe we made.

I’ve mentioned before how much I love grilled cheese. It’s a life-long love affair. Cheese is essentially a food group for me.

Cheesy & Appley

My favorite cheese sandwiches right now:

  • The BAM (Bacon, apple, mushroom + gruyere on sourdough) from Sandwhich, one of my favorite lunch spots in Chapel Hill.
  • The Orchard (apple, ham, cheddar, and rosemary on country white) from American Meltdown, my favorite grilled cheese food truck. The BF and I regularly track down the big orange truck in Durham and elsewhere around the Triangle.
  • The Guacamole Grilled Cheese I posted a couple months ago.
  • The ABC (apple, bacon, cheddar on country white), recipe below.

Served up on a super thick slice of country loaf from Bread & Butter and soaked in butter, this may not have been the most healthy dinner, but it sure was tasty. Need a grilled cheese fix? Try this out. You won’t regret it.

Here’s a recipe. I didn’t really use amounts because sandwiches are one of those things where you should just put however much you want to on the bread.

ABC... easy as 123

ABC Sandwich

2 slices of bread
thin slices of apple (Granny Smith if you like tart; Gala if you like sweet)
bacon slices
cheddar slices
butter

Slice everything up. Arrange slices of cheddar cheese on the surface of both slices of bread. Broil or toast until the cheese is melted and the bread is slightly crispy.

While the bread is toasting, fry up a couple slices of bacon in a skillet. When finished, rest bacon on a paper towel.

Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in a pan over medium heat. Transfer a slice of cheesy bread to the pan, layer on the apple and bacon. Sandwich the other slice of cheesy bread on top. Flip the sandwich when the bread is golden brown, only a couple minutes on each side.

ABC with Sweet Potato Fries

Linking up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Honey Apple Cake with Vanilla Glaze

9 Sep

Shanah Tovah! I guess I’m a little late with my new year’s greetings, but the sentiment still stands.

The BF and I had been planning a trip with friends to Gordonsville, Virginia, for months. One minute I was thinking about the trip, and the next I was baking a cake and wishing the BF a happy new year. He was confused. Maybe you are too. To illuminate, here was my thought process:

  • I should bake a dessert to take with us
  • I have a ton of leftover apples from the Apple Festival
  • Why are there so many Jewish blogs coming up when I search for apple cake recipes?
  • It’s Rosh Hashanah! My friends celebrate Rosh Hashanah!
  • What’s Rosh Hashanah?
  • Google says apples with honey are a traditional Rosh Hashanah food item
  • Apple honey cake!
  • Happy New Year!

I don’t always vocalize all those steps in between the first and last point, so sometimes people are confused what I’m talking about. At any rate, I was excited that so many pieces came together for this dessert to fit perfectly into our weekend trip.

Apple Honey Cake

Even if you or your friends don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah, this cake is amazing. And its delicious spice, honey, and apple flavors are really getting me in the mood for fall. I used the most delicious local wildflower honey for this, and the honey flavor was super intense. Apparently wildflower honey is stronger than clover honey, which is what most honey is in the States.

Shanah Tovah!

A small note on the recipe: the original recipe said to bake it for 75-90 minutes because the batter is so wet. I did not find this to be the case. I baked it for closer to 65-75 minutes, and I thought it turned out a little dry. I imagine it might depend on the quantity/type of apples you use, and maybe even on the type of honey you use, I’m not sure. So my warning to you is to just keep checking your cake with the toothpick test, and don’t freak out if it takes way shorter or way longer than the recipe says.

Honey Apple Cake adapted from The Shiksa in the Kitchen 

3 eggs
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 Granny Smith apples — peeled, cored, and shredded

Apple Honey BatterPeel, core, and shred your apples. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they are frothy. Whisk in the honey, white sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla.

In a separate medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Incorporate the flour mixture into the liquid, and stir to blend. Fold in the shredded apples.

Grease a bundt pan, and pour the batter into the pan. Bake cake in preheated oven for 60-90 minutes. Check repeatedly with the toothpick test — when a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, it’s done.

Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

If you want to get super fancy, here’s how to decorate it: Place foil or pan on the counter, and then place the cake – still on wire rack – overtop the foil. Use a fine-mesh sieve or sifter to sprinkle a few tablespoons of powdered sugar overtop the cake. Fill a plastic baggie with the vanilla glaze and cut a tiny corner of the bag off. Drizzle the glaze in a zig-zag pattern over the top of the cake. Let stand at room temperature until glaze sets, about 15 minutes.

Vanilla Glaze from Bon Appetit

2/3 cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons (or more) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add milk and vanilla, and whisk to blend.

Add more milk by 1/4 teaspoons to thicken glaze if necessary.

Linking up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Homemade Caramel Sauce

14 Jan

I usually am a chocolate person, but lately, I’ve been really excited about caramel. I’ve liked it more and more as I’ve gotten older, but I think this particular obsession started with this year’s apples with caramel dip.

(While you’re here, like W&P on Facebook!)

My grandma lives in Hendersonville, home of the North Carolina Apple Festival. It’s an amazing little mountain arts & crafts festival held every year on Labor Day. We always go up, stay with the family, and spend hours walking through the festival. Grandma lives only a couple blocks from downtown, so we can walk up to Main Street whenever we get bored or need a snack. The apple theme pops up everywhere, from the food to the crafts for sale.

This year, as every year, we had apple slices with hot caramel dip. We also had apple pie, a frozen apple slushie, and apple cider. And we took a bag of apples home. Seriously, there’s no end to the apple shenanigans.

Since then, I’ve been all about apples and caramel, though not necessarily together. And when my BFF Lauren told me about the “best caramel sauce ever,” I had to check it out. And really, this is the best caramel sauce ever. It never hardens into that chewy or hard caramel, even when it cools. It’s always perfectly smooth. And it’s super easy!

Caramelly

When I first made this, I just whipped up a chocolate cake from a box mix to go with it. I’ve made it a couple times since then, including a big batch I jarred for my mom and gave her for Christmas. So far, I’ve had it on chocolate cake, as a dip for apples, as a dip for brownies, and as ice cream topping.

Caramel on Chocolate... doesn't get any better than that

My mom was super excited about Christmas this year. She received both a huge jar of caramel sauce and a cotton candy machine. By 7am, she was eating caramel by the spoonful and adding dollops of it to her breakfast oatmeal. And by 8am, she was handing out cones of fluffy pink cotton candy. That’s Christmas!

A jar of caramel sauce is way better than a jar of jam, IMHO

By the way, the sauce tends to absorb into the cake. If you decide to top a cake with it, wait till just before you serve it to drizzle the caramel sauce on top. You could put your caramel in a gravy boat or some such dish and get all fancy with your presentation.

Drizzle

Homemade Caramel Sauce from My Fabulous Recipes

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Heat all except vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, reduce to low and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved and it has a caramel color. Stir in the vanilla and remove from heat. Can be served warm or chilled.

Beautiful

Linking up for:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

3 Dec

Whew! I am exhausted. Last night was our huge annual fundraiser at work — our Holiday Auction. As the fundraising person, I’m in charge of planning and executing the whole thing. With 250 people, 250 items, dinner, and more, it’s quite a task. With mostly 10- and 12-hour workdays for the past couple weeks, let’s just say that things at home have been a little… neglected.

My closet is about two feet deep in clothes and random detritus right now. (I wish I were exaggerating.) The dirty clothes basket has been re-appropriated to serve as a second clean clothes basket, with those and another load in the dryer waiting to be folded and put away. The kitchen and fridge are full of take-out boxes that need to be thrown away and the trash taken out. And I think the BF misses me, since I’ve mostly been working or sleeping.

So… hello, December! The month for me to get back into the swing of things. I’m planning on doing a little less working, which will leave a more time for other verbs, like celebrating, relaxing, cooking, cleaning, and yoga-ing. And with the holidays coming up, I’m of course looking forward to baking. I’m already brainstorming what I can make!

One thing I’ve decided: I’m definitely making this apple cinnamon baked oatmeal for Christmas morning. In hindsight, since I’ve eaten take-out and fast food at my desk for the majority of my meals the past two weeks, I really wish I had made up a batch of this last weekend to munch throughout the week.

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

This baked oatmeal is amazing. I’m not a big fan of goopy, thick oatmeal — the texture grosses me out. So instant, microwaveable oatmeal really isn’t for me. But this bakes into a more cake-like texture, a little more solid. Much more my speed. And the apples are the best part — cooked in cinnamon sugar before baking, they are so sweet and delicious. But the oatmeal is pretty healthy, so overall, is comes out to a pretty balanced breakfast.

The best part? It’s just as delicious re-heated. So you can bake some up on the weekend and then have breakfast ready for those busy work mornings. Or… I can bake some up a couple days early, and then warm it in the oven on Christmas morning. Mmm… I’m already looking forward to it.

Mmm... Breakfast!


Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod and Annie’s Eats

For the cooked apples:
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
5 small or 3 large apples, peeled and diced into small 1/4″ pieces
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the oatmeal:
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk*
1/2 cup skim milk*
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 by 8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the apples with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar for about 15 min or until soft. Layer in bottom of greased pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, butter, egg whites, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir until combined. Pour oatmeal mixture over top apples.

Bake for 20 minutes or until oatmeal is golden brown and set. Remove from oven and serve warm. Add additional toppings to baked oatmeal, if desired.

* You can use any milk you want to reach 1 1/2 cups total. I used a mix of the two since that’s what I had in the fridge. You could use skim, 1%, 2%, whole, or any mix of those. I’d imagine soy or rice alternatives would also be successful, but I don’t know for sure. If you try those, let me know how it goes!

Linking up for:
YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Linky Party with Fine Craft Guild

Secret Recipe Apple Pie

19 Nov

You should feel so honored right now. I’m about to share my secret recipe with you. Once you make this apple pie, all other pie will pale in comparison. You may be tempted to make other pies, and when you do, you’ll just be disappointed that it’s not this pie. That’s how good this pie is.

Mmm... Apple pie

The BF likes it so much that even he will roll up his sleeves and help. Which is awesome, because peeling and grating apples is a pain. And yes, I said grating. That’s the first secret: don’t slice or dice your apples, grate them. With a cheese grater. Be careful not to grate your knuckles. When you slice or dice apples, you get random textures and tastes with each bite. When you grate the apple, you get a nice, uniform taste and texture throughout the pie. No weird mush surprises.

a la mode-y

Photo credit to Emily of Voila! with Emily

The other secret… using the right apple. I like sweet, and I’m not the biggest fan of tart. So I use my favorite apple: gala. Preferably organic, and if you’re lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood, go there. They always have excellent organic gala apples.

The third secret: When you get a handful of grated apple, squeeze out the extra juice before adding it to the bowl. You’ll end up with a thicker, heartier pie instead of a sloppy, runny pie. And you’ll also end up with a glass of the most delicious apple juice you’ll ever drink.

I guess the last secret is the recipe, so here you go. Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Secret Recipe Apple Pie

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

6 medium-sized Gala apples
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust: Mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, oil, milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, and salt. Blend evenly. Spread mixture into a 9″ pie pan, pushing dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides.

Prepare the apples: Peel each apple. Grate the apples. Squeeze a handful of grated apple to reduce the amount of liquid. (Reserve juice if desired.) Add grated apple to a large bowl.

For the filling: To the apples, add 3/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to coat evenly. Spread in unbaked pie shell.

For the topping: In a shallow bowl or pan, add 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and cold butter. Use a pastry cutter or pizza slicer to mix until evenly distributed and crumbly. (The butter should not melt or spread evenly, but will look like small balls or pearls mixed in among the flour and sugar.) Sprinkle mixture evenly over the apple mixture.

If desired, cover edges of pie with foil to prevent browning. Place pie in the oven on top of a cookie sheet to catch any juices that may spill over. Bake 45 minutes.

Classic

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