Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Apple Turnovers for the Farmer Boy #CooktheBooks #AppleWeek

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On this, Day 2, of Apple Week I am sharing a recipe inspired by the book Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Image result for Farmer Boy

I first read this book to my children when they were young.  We read several of Wilder's books and we watched the show, Little House on the Prairie, faithfully.

This time, I ordered up the book from audible.com and I listened as the narrator, Cherry Jones, read it to me.   I did not remember this book having so much food in it.  It talks about food continuously mostly as seen by the eyes of Almanzo Wilder when he was a young boy.  

Almonzo was always hungry and lucky for him, his family was very successful and comfortable and his mother was an amazing cook.  Almonzo thought of food constantly and could barely wait to dig in when supper was on the table.  Being the youngest he was served last and only got what was left. Luckily for him there was always an abundance of food as well as special treats that his mother would make especially for him.

Almonzo's favorite treat was his mother's Apple Turnovers and they were described in mouth watering detail.

I listened to this book way back in July, while floating in the pool with my sister in law, Mary.  She enjoyed the book as much as I and we would turn it off and discuss different aspects of the story as they came up.

I knew I wanted to make Apple Tarts and I also knew that Apple Week was going to occur during the time that this book was assigned as our Cook the Books selection.  Deb of Kahaiki Kitchen chose it for the August/September read.  You probably don't have time to read this selection however next  selection is The Patriarch, assigned for October/November and you are welcome to join us.  You can find out how by going to the about and guidelines page of our club.

I'm also sharing this over at Foodies Read 2017 where we share all our books that inspire us to get into the kitchen.

Each blogger participating in Apple Week was given a gorgeous case of HoneyCrisp Apples from Rainier Fruits.  Rainier and our other sponsors are also hosting a tremendous giveaway for our readers.  Please head back to my Welcome Post to enter to win.

Disclaimer: Thank you to #AppleWeek Sponsors: Rodelle, Dreamfarm, Casabella, Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal, Pryex, Chicago Cutlery, Rainier Fruit, and Veggie Wash for providing prizes for #AppleWeek free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #AppleWeek. All opinions are my own.

Now I wouldn't normally use HoneyCrisp apples for baking. They are so good that we eat a couple each day when they are in season.  I did want to showcase Rainier, however, so I used them in these delicious and easy tarts.

Using frozen puff pastry makes these quick to put together.  Brushing them inside and out with egg wash ensures that the edges seal and they turn a beautiful golden brown.

Tender spiced apples enfolded in a flaky, golden crust made for perfect little turnovers that I'm sure Almanzo would be drooling over.

Apple Turnovers
source: Betty Crocker

4 apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 T. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. cinnamon
2 t. cornstarch
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg 

Melt butter in a skillet or sauce pan over med high heat.  Add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch.  Cook and stir until apples are tender and caramelized and the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Roll the pastry into a 15"square.  Cut into quarters so that you have 4 even squares.  

Whisk the egg with 1 T. water.  Brush each square with the egg wash.  Add 1/4 of the apple filling onto each square, fold into a triangle and seal the edges by pressing with a fork.  Brush the top of each turnover with the egg wash.

Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Print Recipe

Now let's take a look at what the other members of Apple Week are cooking up today.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Apple Oatmeal Muffins to welcome you to #AppleWeek #MuffinMonday

Happy Muffin Monday everybody and Welcome to the first day of Apple Week.

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This week long party is being hosted by Carlee of Cooking With Carlee.  She invited a slew of bloggers to join in the fun and she also arranged for some amazing sponsors who, not only supplied us with product to use in the creation of recipes, but also are offering great prize packages to be raffled off to you, our readers.

These sponsors ask for nothing in return except for our complete and honest review of their products. None of us received any monetary compensation and all opinions on this blogsite are always 100% my own.

I decided to start off this week by joining another great group to which I belong, Muffin Monday.  I had received a wonderful gift package from Flahavan's, a company with which I was not familiar before this event.  Flahavan's is a century old company based in Ireland. You can buy their products here in Michigan only by mail order, however they do sell at other locations throughout the USA.

Apples and Oatmeal are a natural so I knew that they would make a terrific muffin to share with everyone from both groups today. 

We were lucky enough to receive a shipment of gorgeous HoneyCrisp apples from Rainier Fruit Company out of Washington that were perfect to match with the oatmeal in today's recipe.

They are perfectly flavored with pure vanilla extract from Rodelle, a French Company that moved to Colorado in the 1930's.

I used these nifty measuring cups and spoons, provided by DreamFarm, while making this recipe. These measuring tools not only stack but snap together at the handles so that they don't get separated. They also level off your dry goods with a squeeze of the handle saving a step during preparation.

I was very excited to be able to introduce you to so many of our sponsors in this first recipe. You will find information about all of our sponsors, what gifts they are offering to our readers and be given the opportunity to enter the raffle, at the bottom of this post.  I really hope one of my readers is a lucky winner!!

Oatmeal Apple Muffins

1 1/2 c. flour
2 pkgs, single serving 3 minute oats, or 1 c. quick cooking oats
2 1/2 t. baking powder
large pinch kosher salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1 Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored and diced

Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Create a well in the dry ingredients and set aside.

Whisk together the sugar, butter, eggs, milk and vanilla.  Empty into well of dry ingredients.  Mix just until moistened. Fold in the apples.

Divide between 12 muffin cups that have been lined with paper cups or treated with baking spray.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.  Print Recipe

More Amazing Apple Recipes

More Magnificent Muffin Recipes

Don't Forget to Enter the Giveaway!!

Prize Pack #1 from Rodelle:

A baker's dream come true! This delicious prize pack includes premium vanilla products, gourmet dutch-processed cocoa and specialty extracts.

Items include:

Pure Vanilla Extract
Gourmet Dutch-Processed Baking Cocoa
Gourmet Vanilla Extract
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans
Organic Vanilla Extract
Organic Chocolate Extract
Almond Extract
Vanilla Paste
And some fun baking supplies to whip up your next batch of goodies with!

Prize Pack #2 from Dreamfarm and Casabella:

Items include:

a 2 'n 1 veggie brush
a clip n strip shears
a set up levups
a set of levoons

Prize Pack #3 from Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal:

Prize Pack #4 from Pyrex and Chicago Cutlery:

Prize Pack #5 from Rainier Fruit:

A prize pack from Rainier Fruit including a box of freshly farvested Rainier Fruit apples, a stainless steel apple slicer, apple corer, "Baked with Love" ceramic pie pan, copper apple loaf pan and a $25 Williams Sonoma gift card!

Prize Pack #5 from Veggie Wash:

A prize pack from Veggie Wash

Disclaimer: Thank you to #AppleWeek Sponsors: Rodelle, Dreamfarm, Casabella, Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal, Pryex, Chicago Cutlery, Rainier Fruit, and Veggie Wash for providing prizes for #AppleWeek free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #AppleWeek. All opinions are my own.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Soup #SundaySupper

I love harvest season.  I love the smells, the flavors, the crispness in the air.....say what???  Well, it is 85 and humid the day that I am writing this post but I can imagine how much I am going to love the crispness in the air when it finally arrives.

That is why I was excited when the folks over at Sunday Supper asked us to share our favorite Easy Pumpkin Recipes.  Pumpkins are the epitome of Fall Fruits and Veggies.  In fact, we are going to spend an entire week celebrating the Pumpkin starting October 2nd, so this was a great kick off for that event.

This delicious, creamy, savory pumpkin soup is perfect for the season.  You can enjoy it with a sandwich for lunch, as we did, but it really shines as an elegant first course at a harvest dinner party. Perhaps garnished with some fried sage leaves or garlicky croutons.  

This recipe serves four but can easily be doubled to serve more.  I flavored mine with some Pumpkin Spice Liqueur that I had on my shelf but you can also use a dry marsala or vermouth if you'd like or omit the alcohol completely...it's your soup.

I used homemade pumpkin puree but you can use canned puree if that is easier for you.  I also had some good olive oil that I had infused with garlic that I used to sauté up the onion and sage, if you don't have the infused olive oil, add a clove of minced garlic along with the onion.

Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Soup

2 t. garlic infused good olive oil (or 2 t. evoo + 1 garlic clove, minced)
1/2 of a small onion, diced
3 fresh sage leaves, minced
2 c. chicken broth
1 lb. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. pumpkin spice liqueur
1 T. flour
1/4 c. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over med high heat.  Add the onion (and garlic, if needed) and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add sage leaves and cook a minute or two, until fragrant.

Add the liqueur and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan for a minute or two, then add the broth and pumpkin to the pot.  Cook  for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Combine the flour and cream, stirring to completely dissolve the flour.  Reduce heat under the soup to a simmer.  Stir in the cream mixture.  Continue cooking and stirring until the soup is silky and thickened.  Do not allow to boil.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  Print Recipe

More Simple Pumpkin Recipes

Meals, Sides, and Snacks

Delectable Desserts

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, September 22, 2017

The First Day of Fall?? and the Weekly Menu

Happy Fall everyone....here in Michigan we are still in the midst of summer weather.  The temps have been in the 80's and the sun has been shining.  Not that I am complaining, mind you, it is just that it's hard to want to stand in a kitchen, preserving food for the winter months, when the swimming pool is beckoning.

We spent last evening on a sailboat cruising the St. Clair River with a wonderful group of people including John and Kirsten, pictured here with us.  Our friends, the Bendas, had won this wonderful cruise and had generously included us in the group with whom they shared it.  We started off at the River Crab Restaurant for cocktails and appetizers.  The we cruised for an hour before returning to the restaurant for dinner.  It was a perfect evening.

Tomorrow we are celebrating Melody's 3rd birthday.  Three!  She is three!!  How did that happen? I asked.  Melody looked at me as if I were very slow...."I had a birthday, Grammy".

She is having a Moana themed party at her Aunt Amy's house.  Thankfully the weather is going to continue to be beautiful and sunny so it will be an outdoor party.  Aunt Amy and Uncle Doug live right on the Clinton River so it is a beautiful setting for a Moana party.  

Frank will be heading over there today to set up the tent and drop of tables and chairs.  I will be hitting the grocery store and spending the day cooking "Hawaiian Style" food.

Nothing else special going on this week in the household. However, we are celebrating #AppleWeek on the blog so I have a slew of apple recipes that I will be sharing with you each day.

I'm hoping to get some more canning and preserving completed and I will be cooking and baking my heart out because immediately after Apple Week we are celebrating #PumpkinWeek.

Here's what we're having for dinner each day, please stop in and visit each day.  I love seeing you.

Saturday- Moana Party
Kalua Pork
Pineapple Chicken Fingers
Rice Mingle Salad
Hawaiian Cole Slaw
Crockpot Kid Friendly Mac and Cheese

Chicken in a Crock
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Steamed Brocolli

Meatless Monday
Pumpkin Lasagna

Toddler Tuesday
Chicken Noodle Soup
Homemade Bread

Out for Dinner

Chicken Pot Pie

Fish Friday
Fish and Pumpkin Stew

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Enchiladas #FoodBloggers4FL

While we were in the middle of sending out an SOS for our Texan neighbors suffering the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, that witch Irma started beating up on our friends in Florida and the Caribbean!!

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So we immediately knew that we also wanted to send out our support to them as well.  We decided to blog a recipe inspired by those areas impacted, Florida, Southeast United States and the Caribbean.

We again are providing you, our readers, with the names and websites of reputable charities to which you can donate if you are in a position to help.

As many of you know, my husband and I are scuba divers.  We spend nearly every vacation in the Keys or on Caribbean Islands.  We love the people that we have met and spent time with over the years and our hearts bleed for them.  

I am holding them all in my thoughts and prayers and I hope that this small effort by our group results in some relief for them.

Our friend, Kate of Kate's Recipe Box, provided us with some websites for recipes, including the Florida Department of Agriculture, from which I adapted this recipe.

These enchiladas are chock full of sweet corn, bell peppers and black beans.  Flavored with onions, garlic and cumin they are savory and delicious.  The addition of my homemade salsa added a little bit of kick.

The recipe called for this to make 10 enchiladas but I had enough filling to make 15 of them.  I made a large casserole full for dinner one night and lunch the following day and a smaller casserole to put in the freezer for another time.

Place the some filling and cheese into each of the tortillas and roll them up so that the seam side is on the bottom.  Pour over some enchilada sauce (you will need extra sauce for the second pan) and sprinkle with additional cheese.

Place them in a preheated oven for about half an hour, until it is hot, bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.  These made a perfect Meatless Monday meal.  While I put these together, Frank made up some of his Fantastic Margaritas.  We said an extra blessing upon all of those affected by these horrible storms along with grace and then toasted to their health and quick recovery.

The whole idea behind this event is to give as much exposure as possible to this cause so please stop by and take a look at what the others have cooked up.  Sharing on any social media platforms using the #FoodBloggers4FL label would be very much appreciated.  Thanks.

Sweet Corn and Black Bean Enchiladas
adapted from Florida Dept of Agriculture

1 T. olive oil, infused with garlic
1 small onion, diced
Kernels from 1 ear of sweet corn
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 t. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup salsa of choice
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
corn tortillas
2-3 c. Colby Jack cheese, shredded
1 (14 oz) can red enchilada sauce

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med high heat.  Add the onions, corn, bell pepper and black beans.  Cook and stir for a few minutes.  Add salsa and season with cumin, salt and pepper.  Cook for a minute or two more.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Divide the filling between 10-15 tortillas and sprinkle filling with 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Roll the tortillas around the filling and place, seam side down, in a baking pan that has been treated with cooking spray.

Pour the enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for half an hour, until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.  Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.  Print Recipe

More Florida Inspired Recipes

Twinkie Bundt Cake #BundtBakers

Welcome to Bundt Bakers.  I am hosting this month and I chose the theme "Back to School Bundts".

I suggested a cake that was easy to slice and freeze so that it could be easily packed into a lunch box. Then, while thinking about what I used to put into my kids lunch boxes, I remembered Twinkies.

Don't judge....my children were products of the 70's.....we all gave our kids Twinkies......we had no idea that they were made of indestructible preservatives.

So I went in search of a homemade Twinkie and found this recipe from Fine Cooking. I adapted it slightly with ingredients only because I had no cake flour or buttermilk on hand so I made my own.  The recipe is written with the substitutions in parenthesis.  I also adapted the method of place the cream into the cake because I had no patience to try to tunnel and squirt when I can just cut and fill.

Did it slice up nicely.....absolutely.  Did it freeze well.....who knows?  There was none left to freeze after the guests left.

Twinkie Bundt Cake
adapted from Fine Cooking

3 c. cake flour (3 c. A.P. flour - 6 T. flour + 6 T. cornstarch)
1 T. baking powder
pinch of salt
6 T. butter, room temperature
1 T. vanilla
2 c. sugar
1/2 c. canola oil
3 eggs + 4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 c. buttermilk (1 c. milk +1 T. lemon juice), room temperature
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow cream
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 t. vanilla

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the butter and vanilla, using medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Add sugar and beat until incorporated.  Add oil and continue to beat until light and fluffy.  Add whole eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Turn speed to low and add 1/3 of the flour, mixing until incorporated.  Add 1/3 of the buttermilk and combine.  Do this twice more beating after last addition of buttermilk until batter is completely smooth.

Pour into a bundt pan that has been liberally coated with baking spray.  Bake in a preheated 325* oven for an hour, until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.

Let cool, in pan, on wire rack for at least 2 hours.

Prepare the filling by beating the marshmallow cream, butter and vanilla in the small bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy.

When cake is completely cool, cut around the circumference of the cake about 1/2" from the edge of the pan and another cut about 1/2" from the inner ring of the bundt pan, angling the knife so that the inside cake is severed about 2" deep.  Carefully remove the cut portions in sections as large as possible.  Scoop out any remaining cake in the depression and trim the cake from the bottom crusts. Save any scraps not eaten for toppings on parfaits.  I, of course, had no scraps remaining.

Fill the depression with the cream filling.  Place the trimmed pieces of cake back onto the filling and turn the entire cake from the pan onto a serving plate.  Print Recipe

More Back to School Bundt Cakes


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. 

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sweet and Sour Pork #FantasticalFoodFight #CrazyIngredientChallenge

I'm very excited today.  I love when the stars align and I am able to complete 2 cooking challenges with just 1 recipe.  Today is such a day.

Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes assigned honey as our ingredient for our Fantastical Food Fight this month.

Kelly of Passion Kneaded chose the theme Sweet Potatoes and Pineapple for our Crazy Ingredient Challenge.

These are wonderful ingredients and I knew that I could combine them to make a winner of a dinner.

Earlier in the week, I had trimmed a pork tenderloin into medallions for dinner one night.  I had set aside the trimmings knowing that I could cut them into bite size pieces for this dinner.  The recipe I am sharing was just the perfect amount for the two of us.  You can easily double or triple the recipe according to your needs.

Sweet and Sour Pork

1/2 lb. Pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces
Peanut oil
1/4 c. flour
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water
pinch of salt
1 egg white
1/2 can (5 slices) of sliced pineapple, cut into chunks
1/2 c. of the pineapple juice from the canned pineapple
1/2 c. water
2 T. honey
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 t. soy sauce
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 small, sweet onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. cornstarch mixed with 1 T. water
5 mini sweet peppers, stemmed and halved (or 1 lg. bell pepper, cut into chunks)

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, water, salt and egg white in small bowl.  Add the pork and toss to coat evenly.  

Heat about an inch of peanut oil in the bottom of a wok or large skillet.  When hot, add the pork in batches, cooking until golden brown.  Set aside on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Discard the oil and wipe the wok clean.   Combine the juice, water, honey, brown sugar, vinegar and soy sauce.  Pour into the wok and bring to a boil.  Add the onion, sweet potatoes and garlic.  Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 8-10 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Stir in the cornstarch/water mixture to the sauce.  Bring to a boil, cooking and stirring until sauce is thickened and glossy.  

Return the pork to the pan, along with the pineapple and peppers.  Cook and stir until heated through. Print Recipe

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