Saturday, September 30, 2017

Good Bye Apples, Hello Pumpkins and the Weekly Menu

Wow, what a great celebration we had with #AppleWeek.  We shared over 100 apple recipes all week long!  I love this event and am looking forward to it, once again, next year.

We aren't letting any grass grow under our feet though....we are going right into #PumpkinWeek and will be sharing 5 glorious, wonderful days of Pumpkin recipes.  I am starting with donuts, followed by a savory lasagna on Tuesday.  Wednesday look forward to a cheesecake recipe, followed by some cookies and I will finish up with a wonderful stew that I think you are going to love.

So that is what will be going on with the blog but what about life itself?  Well, tonight we are invited to have dinner with the Case's (Tingting's friend, Charlie's parents). I am bringing dessert.

Tomorrow, we are hosting a dinner party for some of our friends, before the Green's take off  for warmer climates.

Other than that, it will be a typical week.  We are finally going to have to close up the pool.  It looks like Fall officially arrived along with October.

I am still trying to clear out the freezer and pantry so our Weekly menu will reflect that.  I pulled out some leftover Sloppy Joes that were in the freezer from a summer party.  It will be featured in the tacos that I am sharing tomorrow for Sunday Supper.

We are going to continue to get our daily walks in.  I am excited that the weather has cooled down a bit for this.  Other than that, no plans at all......I love when that happens!!

Please stop by and visit during the week.  I promise you are going to be loving all the Pumpkin recipes you will find.

The Weekly Menu

Dinner at the Case's

Sunday-Dinner Party
Charcuterie Board
White Fish Bisque
Roasted Pear and Cranberry Salad
City Chicken
Meatballs in Mushroom Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Buttered Corn
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Pumpkin Praline Cheese Cake

Meatless Monday
Pumpkin Lasagna

Toddler Tuesday
Baked Coconut Chicken Strips
Tater Tots

Pot Roast

Hot Beef Sandwiches (with leftover Pot Roast)

Pumpkin and Fish Stew

Friday, September 29, 2017

Apple and Onion Cornbread Skillet #AppleWeek #FoodnFlix

Today is the final day of Apple Week.  All week long we have been sharing our favorite apple recipes and giving our readers an opportunity to win some great prize packages provided by our sponsors.

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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.

You haven't entered the raffle yet?  What are you waiting for?!  This is your last chance.....go, right now, and take care of this over at my Welcome Post.  I will be right here waiting for you when you are done.

Welcome back.  I am so glad you took care of that.  I am really hoping that one or more of my readers are lucky enough to win one of these great sponsor gifts.

I hope you have been enjoying this week as much as I.  I found some great recipes to put on my to make list.  I also loved creating recipes to share with you and to make life even better I was able to combine groups to which I belong on several of the days.

Monday, I incorporated apples and oats into these wonderful muffins for Muffin Monday.  Tuesday I was able to share my thoughts on our Cook the Books selection with these amazing apple turnovers.

Today I am sharing this month's movie selection from FoodnFlix.  I was so happy when Debra of Eliot's Eats chose To Kill a Mockingbird this month.  It is one of my favorite movies and I was happy to watch it again with foodie glasses on.  You can learn more at Debra's announcement post.

Image result for to kill a mockingbird movie dinner table

I am sure that even if you haven't read the book or watched the film, you know pretty much the premise of the story.  Atticus Finch, a well respected, small town, southern lawyer during the great depression who is given the task of defending a black man accused of raping a white female.  This story is told as seen through the eyes of 6 year old, Scout, his daughter.

There is not a lot of food in this movie but there is a fair amount.  These are the foods that caught my eye.
  • Hickory Nuts for payment when Walter needed some legal work provided.
  • Atticus accepts the nuts saying the "Collards last week were delicious". 
  • Hot biscuits for breakfast 
  • Apple being eaten by Jeb 
  • Cabbage patch when they met Dill 
  • Cookies? when coming out of the house 
  • Coffee, Milk Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Biscuits for breakfast on the first day of school
  • Roast, Cornbread, Collard Greens, Beans during dinner and speech about Mockingbirds 
  • Squirrels and Rabbits that Walter hunts for dinner 
  • Syrup (Molasses) for Walter to put on his food 
  • Lemonade, Cookies, Canned Goods in kitchen cupboard 
  • Ham (Scout's costume) 
  • Angel Food Cakes (brought to Boo's door)
I took my inspiration from that southern staple, cornbread, and, since it is Apple Week, the apple that Jem was enjoying at the beginning of the film.

I made this amazing Apple and Onion Cornbread Skillet that I found at Bon Appétit.  Caramelized onions and delicious fresh apples are sprinkled over homemade cornbread batter and baked to a beautiful golden brown.  

This takes cornbread to a whole new level.  It was amazingly scrumptious.  I couldn't get enough of it.  I served it with dinner one evening when we had guests over and was happy to have a slice leftover to enjoy for breakfast the next day.

I adapted this recipe very slightly and I used thinly sliced Honeycrisp apples from one of our sponsors, Rainier Fruits. I didn't have any buttermilk on hand so I made my own by using fresh milk soured with lemon juice.  The ratio for this is 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for each cup of fresh milk.  Mix together and let rest for about 5 minutes before using.

I love using a cast iron skillet when making cornbread but you could also use an 8" square baking pan for this recipe.

I want to give a huge shout out of thanks to Carlee of Cooking with Carlee for all of her hard work on this event.  It was a great success and I truly appreciate all of her efforts: organizing, seeking out sponsors, making graphics, spending each day for months checking and double checking all of the components that go into making an event successful. 

You will find all the other final Apple Week offerings directly below this recipe.

Apple and Onion Cornbread Skillet
slightly adapted from Bon Appétit

1 stick butter
1/2 of a large sweet onion, thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 medium red skinned apples, thinly sliced
5 T. sugar, divided
5 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves reserved, stems discarded
1 1/2 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. buttermilk

Melt 2 T. of the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onion, season with salt, pepper and 2 T. of the sugar.  Cook and stir until onions soften and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

Add the apples and thyme leaves.  Cook another 5 minutes, until apples are softened. Transfer mixture to a plate and set aside.

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour and baking powder with a pinch of salt and the remaining 3 T. of sugar.  Make a well and add the eggs, buttermilk and 6 T. of butter, melted and cooled.  Whisk together until batter is smooth with no lumps remaining.  Fold in half of the reserved apple/onion mixture and pour batter into the cast iron skillet used earlier.  Sprinkle the remaining apple/onion mixture over the top of the batter.

Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer, inserted into the middle of the bread, removes cleanly.  Print Recipe

More Amazing Apple Recipes for this Final Day of Apple Week

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Easiest Ever Apple Sauce #AppleWeek

Wow, where did this week go?!  Apple Week is nearly over.  Only two more days of fabulous recipes, over 100 recipes will be shared in all.   That is huge!!  Thanks so much Carlee of Cooking with Carlee, for all of your hard work.

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Yesterday, I recapped what I had made up until today.   I have been having so much fun and have loved seeing all the great recipes at the bottom of each post.  I have been spending a lot of time, reading posts, marking and pinning recipes that I want to put on my dining table in the future.

Speaking of the future.....your opportunity to win one of the great prizes offered by our sponsors is nearly gone.  Only today and you better head right over to my Welcome Post and enter to win, right now.

I want to take this opportunity to say 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.

Today we are getting down to basics.  You cannot have apple week without celebrating the most common way of eating them off season. Yep, today we are making applesauce and the recipe I am giving you is so easy peasy that you may never buy applesauce again.

I like to use a variety of apples in my sauce.  For this batch I used the Honeycrisp apples provided by Rainier Fruit  along with some tart apples that I had picked up when I went to an orchard here in Michigan. 

One of the reasons this sauce is so easy to make is because you don't have to spend time peeling all those apples.  Since they aren't peeled, it is even more important that they be well cleaned before cooking.  I used Veggie Wash and the fruit/vegetable brush provided by Casabella.

Simply core and quarter your apples.  Place them into a large pot with some apple juice.  I do not put any sugar in with my apples, but I do add a whole cinnamon stick to the pot.

I don't use ground cinnamon in my applesauce as I find that it can sometimes lend a bitter flavor to the sauce. I also add lemon juice to my apples as they cook.  This allows for water bath canning if I am not going to use the applesauce in the next couple of weeks.

It only takes about 15 minutes for the apples to be tender enough to run through the food mill.

A few short moments of turning the handle and the apple has turned to sauce leaving behind all of the skins to be discarded fed to the chickens.

Now is the time to taste and add sugar if you want.  I found that using honeycrisp apples and apple juice is plenty enough sweetness especially if you intend to use it as a side for meats or in your baking where you will be adding additional sugar.

4 pounds of apples provided me with 5 cups of applesauce.  I used 1 1/2 cups immediately in this coffee cake that I baked up in this gorgeous baking dish from Pyrex in their new watercolor collection.  I will be sharing this recipe with you in a couple of weeks so stay tuned for that as well as other recipe using this easy peasy and delicious sauce.

In less time than it would take you to run to the grocers you can have homemade applesauce.  You know exactly what is in the food that you are feeding your family.  You control how much sweetener is included. 

You will be done with this recipe so quickly that you will have tons of time to take a look at the other apple recipes on the bottom of this post!

Easiest Ever Apple Sauce

4 lbs of asst. apples, cored and quartered
1 c. apple juice
1 T. lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick

Place all ingredients into a large pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes until apples are very tender.

Place a food mill over a bowl.  Run the apples through the food mill, allowing the sauce to drop into the bowl and discarding all the peels.  Taste and season with additional sugar, if needed. Print Recipe

More Amazing Apple Recipes

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Braised Pork Roast with Apples, Sweet Potatoes and Parsnips #AppleWeek

Welcome to Day 3 of Apple Week.  I hope you have been having as much fun as I, perusing all the amazing recipes being offered.  My stomach starts growling just thinking about it.

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If this is your first day joining us in this celebration you need to go to my Welcome Post.  There you will learn all about this great party being hosted by Carlee of Cooking with Carlee.  You will also meet our sponsors and be able to enter into an amazing giveaway.

That very first day I shared these moist and delicious muffins that are great to have on hand now that school is back into full swing.  Sometimes the mornings can get away from you and these tasty morsels are perfect to hand your child as they are running out the door saying they don't have time to eat.

Yesterday we enjoyed some tasty apple turnovers that were inspired by the book, Farmer Boy, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In fact, we are going to enjoy them again tonight for dessert after this fabulous pork roast I'm sharing today.

This recipe transforms an inexpensive pork shoulder roast into a masterpiece.  Filled with garlic and sage and browned before braising imparting great flavor into the meat itself.

I had received a pair of clip n snip shears from Casabella , one of our sponsors for this event.  They quickly and efficiently chopped the sage for insertion into the roast along with the garlic slices.  

This pork roast screams autumn to me.  Slow braised until tender, flavorful and juicy.  Surrounded by veggies and whole apples it is an elegant presentation.

The photos do not do it justice but trust me when I say your family and any guests you may have over will be duly impressed.  Our friend, Chris, joined us for dinner when I served this and exclaimed "Wow, this is a restaurant worthy presentation".

Did you know that we are in the midst of Family Meals Month?  It's true.  You can learn more about it over at the Food Marketing Institute.  This would be a great meal with which to lure your family around the table during this time.

I served this over buttered egg noodles but mashed potatoes would also make a great side or if you are watching your starch intake it is perfect just as is but I'm afraid, at the very least, I would still need some good bread to sop up that delicious sauce.

This recipe was very slightly adapted from one I found in Cuisine at Home.  I received no monetary compensation for the writing of this post and all opinions written are exclusively mine.  I hope you enjoy this wonderful dinner as much as we.  I was very proud to serve it to our guest.

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.

Braised Pork Roast
with Apples, Sweet Potatoes ad Parsnips
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #79

1 pork shoulder roast
10 sage leaves, 3 set aside, remaining chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. olive oil
9 small tart apples, 6 left whole and set aside, 3 cored, peeled and diced
1 lg. vidalia onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 T. tomato paste
1/4 c. flour
1 c. dry white wine
2 c. apple cider
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced

Trim exterior fat from the roast and tie with twine by wrapping it around the roast, crossing the twine and bringing it around the roast in the other direction.

Pat pork dry and cut 1" deep slits all over the roast.  Combine the chopped sage leaves with the salt and pepper.  Insert a slice of garlic and some of the seasoned sage into each of the slits.

Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over med high heat.  Add the pork and sear until browned, about 10 minutes per side.  Remove the roast to a plate and set aside.

Add the chopped apples, onion and celery to the dutch oven and cook in the pan drippings until onion softens, stirring frequently.  Stir in tomato paste and then mix in the flour.  Pour in the wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.  Add the cider and reserved sage, bring to a boil.  Return the roast and any collected juices to the pot, cover and place in a preheated 325*oven for 2 hours.

Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the roast to a plate.  Strain the sauce from the dutch oven into a large bowl, discarding the apples, onions and sage leaves.  Return the strained sauce to the dutch oven along with the roast and any juices collected.  Cover, return to oven and braise another 1-1 1/2 hrs.

While roast is braising prepare the apples by scoring them around the middle.  Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and parsnips.  Add the apples and vegetables to the pot with the roast, cover and cook for another 30-45 minutes, until the pork and veggies are fork tender.

Transfer the apples, vegetables and pork to a large shallow bowl or platter with raised edges.  Remove twine and break the meat into pieces with a fork.  Pour the sauce over the meat and veggies and serve.  Print Recipe

Let's see what the others are sharing today!

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 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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