Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Farmer's Market

Inspired by Val, I started going to the farmer's market. It's a bit of a drive so I made it worth my while. Heres what I got.....

potatoes - $2
half pint of blueberries and half pint of raspberries - $3
a little over 7 pounds of tomatoes - $8
celery - $2
6 ears of corn - $2

I heart fresh produce :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Apple Pie Filling for Canning

By popular demand.... here is the recipe I used for the apple pie filling I canned.
I used this recipe as a shell and added the spices to taste. Below are the ratios for the spices from the original recipe. Feel free to scale it for more quarts.... that's what I did :)

For 1 quart of apple pie filling:
  • 3-1/2 cups apples (cored, peeled and sliced)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  1. Cut apples and blanch them in boiling water for 5 minutes. This will stop the enzymes from turning the apples. Strain them into a colander but keep them warm
  2. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a large pot with the apple juice and water. Stir constantly while cooking on medium heat until it begins to bubble.
  3. Mix the corn starch and lemon juice into the pot. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken.
  4. When filling the jars, layer liquid, apples, liquid, apples. Since the liquid is thick layering is the best way to get it nicely distributed.
  5. Pack the jars tightly with apples otherwise the bottom will be nothing but syrup. Leave at least 1/2 inch headspace.
  6. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 25 minutes.

Enjoy ^_^

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Apple Pie Jelly!!

I knew I was going to have a lot of apple peels and cores left over from making applesauce. Since I live in an apartment, it's a bit of a hassle to compost. I heard somewhere that the peels are very high in pectin so I :swagbucked: around and found Bethany's post about the same dilemma. Easy solution - APPLE JELLY! Since everyone seems curious about the process - here it is! Her post linked to this recipe which I followed loosely. Here's how I did it (you'll laugh once you see how easy this is ^_^):
  1. Save all your peels, cores and random bits of apples into a large stockpot.
  2. I used a 5 quart stainless steel stock pot and practically filled it.
  3. To the peels cores and bits, I added about 6-7 cups of water/apple juice (I approximated...)
  4. Simmer until everything is soft and mushy, stirring/mushing every so often so nothing scorches. I think I simmered it on a low/medium heat for an hour or so.
  5. After it cools a little, strain out all the large mushy chunks of apple bits.
  6. Pass the remaining liquid mixture through cheesecloth folded 4 times.
  7. I ended up with a little over 7 cups of liquid. Bring this to a simmering boil. Slowly dissolve 2 boxes of pectin as it's heating up.
  8. Using the 5/7 ratio of liquid to sugar from the original instructions, I added about 9 cups of sugar (all at once) to the liquid/pectin mix I had boiling. * I read somewhere that sometimes the jelly will taste flat because it's just peels and cores so I added cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.... BTW - IT TASTES LIKE APPLE PIE!! *
  9. Dissolve sugar well and test the viscosity of the jelly by dipping a cold spoon into the hot mixture and let it chill in the freezer. Keep the heat on until it reaches your desired level of jellyness on the chilled spoon.
  10. Then ladle into jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15-20 minutes.
I ended up with 14 half-pints.

Breakfast the morning after it was cooled - cream cheese and apple pie jelly on toast ^_^

It was around 5am when I took this pic and the lighting in my kitchen is sucky.....

....so here's the real color of the jelly with the bright flash LOL!

The jelly isn't as clear as I'd like it to be but since I added the cinnamon and nutmeg it's a little cloudy. BUT it is the BEST freakin' apple jelly I've ever had!!

If you have a ton of apples, you definitely need to make this stuff. It's the yumminess of an apple pie in jelly form ^_^

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coconut Shrimp

I LOVE coconut shrimp from Outback. I saw Lucy's version so I needed to try it out. I made some modifications and, even though they don't look like much, they tasted wonderful. The BF even gave them a 9 out of 10! The picture below is of the ones that were left on his plate. I snapped a pic as he was devouring them :)

Coconut Shrimp

24-30 raw shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs beaten
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel.
2. In a small bowl combine cornstarch, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and lemon juice.
4. In another bowl, place the coconut.
5. Coat the shrimp with the cornstarch and shake off any excess. Dip into the egg mixture and then press into the coconut to get full coverage.
6. Place shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 375 for 6 minutes. Turn shrimp and continue baking for another 6 minutes, until the coconut is crispy and the shrimp is done.

Enjoy ^_^

Toasted Egg

I saw this cute breakfast idea here and had to try it. Here's how it turned out:

Instructions (as if you need them....)
  • butter both sides of bread
  • cut hole in center slightly larger than an egg yolk
  • place toast on pan on medium heat and wait for it to past a little
  • crack egg into the hole
  • wait till it firms up a bit and then turn carefully
  • cook until you think it's done

I like my eggs runny so I LOVED this!!
Too bad the BF doesn't like eggs.

Apple Sauce and Apple Pie Filling

OMG so many apples!! I stayed home from work to help my mom with something but that didn't happen so I worked on my pile of apples. Luckily I have my handy dandy apple peeler/corer/slicer to make the work easy. My first adventure into the world of canning was a success!! And if I wasn't sick for the first part of the day, it probably would have been better lol!

Anywho.... I made 3 quarts of apple pie filling and 8 quarts of cinnamon apple sauce. I saved all the peels and cores and am planning to make apple jelly out of it. Huzzah for being resourceful! Here are some pics of my work :)

We shall see how the apple jelly turns out. I have a full- time job that I have to get back to tomorrow.


Apple Picking in PA

On Sunday, my sister and I met my BFF and her husband and son at Maple Lawn Farms in New Park, PA. I hadn't been there in probably a decade or so. We ended up getting lost a few times but it's ok. Everywhere we stopped we supported the local economy. I came home with a few little squashes, blueberry honey, apple butter, pear butter and a delicious homemade chocolate peanut butter roll cake.... This was all before we made it to the orchard LOL! It was a gorgeous day and we had lots of fun. I picked 1.5 bushels of Gala, Golden Delicious and Johnny Red apples. From the little orchard store I bought another little squash and some local apple cider made on-site ^_^ All in all it was a great day. Here are some pretty pics :)

Me and my precious sister

Me and my BFF

My BFFs son! he's freakin adorable!!

Now I have to go make something with all the apples I picked!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yard Sale Finds

I made out like a bandit at the latest yard sale! Here's what I got:

apple peeler/corer/slicer - new (yes I got another one!): $2
heavy duty metal mini-loaf pan - new: $2
pretty red basket for my freshly picked apples - 50 cents (was technically free but I gave the Boy Scouts 50 cents for it)
grater: $1.25
mortar and pestle - new: $3
3pc. stainless steel bowl set with lids (from Woolworths!!) - new: $2
crab pot/water bath canner with canning rack - $5
metal apple crusher/strainer thingy with wooden stick thing - $3 (someone please tell me what the actual name for this thing is lol!)
giant pink purse - new: $8 (waited till the end of the day - down from $24 ^_^)

Stuff I got for free from my BF's mom that was trying to get clean out the garage:
2 pasta cookers - free!
2 Penn State glasses - free!
pretty little tin with apples and pears on it - free!
2 canning jar type mugs - free!
5 quart stock pot - free!
pretty crackled glass candle holder (not pictured - forgot it in the car) - free!

Total Spent: $26.75 :)

I'm bushed..... resting up for apple picking tomorrow ^_^

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Apple Picking this Sunday!!!

If anyone is in the MD/PA area, Maple Lawn Farms is a great place to pick! I used to go there when I was little. I just called them and they have a half bushel of apples for $10!! Applesauce, apple butter, apple pie filling, apple jelly..... here I come!! ^_^

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

Earlier this week I roasted a chicken just for this recipe. I ended up boiling the bones down with celery bits and carrot peels to give it the broth a good flavor. I had 4 jars of yummy concentrated chicken broth in my freezer. I used one of them for this recipe. I actually doubled this recipe so I could have one pot pie in the freezer for another dinner.

Chicken Pot Pie
1/2 c butter
1/3 c plain flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-1/2 c broth
2/3 c milk
2 c cooked chicken
10 oz. frozen mixed vegetables - I used fresh corn off the cob, peas and carrots.

Put your chicken in just enough water to cover it. Let it cook for about 4 hours on low to get all the flavor out. You can cook it faster, but this makes the broth richer. I add some pepper, salt and a celery stick and onion to it. Strain out and keep 1-1/2 c broth.

Melt butter, stir in flour, garlic, salt and pepper. Then stir in broth, milk and bouillon. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer about 2 minutes. Add chicken and vegetables. Roll dough out for a 9 inch pie crust. Pour in filling and cover with more pie crust dough. Seal edges and cut 2 slits in top to vent steam. Bake at 425 for 35 minutes.

Perfect Pie Crust

I've been wanting to make chicken pot pie from scratch for a long time but I was always intimidated by the crust. Such a flaky thing to be afraid of :) Then I found the perfect easy recipe!! I stole this from Tomato Lady. She has wonderful instructions and perfect pictures to go with them. My next post will be a recipe for chicken pot pie using this crust recipe.

Perfect Pie Crust
2 cups flour, lightly spooned into measuring cup
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup milk

1. Mix together flour and salt.

2. Combine oil and milk in a small bowl. Do not stir.

3. Add oil and milk to flour.

4. Stir it up.

5. Form it into a ball.

6. Divide the ball into two, one slightly larger than the other. The larger (for the bottom crust) is about 8 oz., the smaller (for the top crust) is a little more than 6 oz.

7. Form the dough into 2 hockey pucks.

8. Sandwich the larger puck between two sheets of waxed paper, about 12 inches square.

9. Using a rolling pin, roll from the center up, gently, taking care not to roll off at the ends (this flattens the edges down to infinity–not good. You want uniform width.)

10. Again starting from the center, roll toward yourself.

11. Roll to the left and the right of center.

12. Then roll from the center to 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock, center to 10 o’clock and 4 o’clock, and repeat, gently expanding the circle.

13. Continue to roll out pastry in this way until it is about a 12-inch circle.

14. Peel off the top layer of waxed paper.

15. Pick up the pastry with the waxed paper still stuck to it and invert the pastry over the empty pie pan, paper side up, centering it over the pan.

16. Carefully peel away the waxed paper.

17. Ease the pastry down into the pan.

18. Add the pie filling and roll out the top crust as the first. Drape it over the filling and remove the waxed paper.

19. Fold the top crust over the bottom crust, tucking them both into the pan.

20. Flute the edge of the crust, angling one finger against the tips of the finger and thumb of the other hand, forming the pastry in between. Repeat all around the edge.

Chocolate Waffles

mmmm.... I read this post last night and I dreamed of these chocolate waffles. I made them this morning. The picture doesn't look too appealing but they were pretty darn good. Definitely a keeper.

Chocolate Waffles
2 cups buttermilk (or milk with a little lemon)
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix buttermilk and oats in a medium bowl; let stand for 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

Stir eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla into the oat mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Do not over-stir!

Enjoy with butter, syrup, powdered sugar or even ice cream :)

~ adapted from Jenna

Monday, September 7, 2009

Glazed Cinnamon Apple Cake

This looked to yummy not to make plus I got to use my new kitchen gadget :) The original recipe called for nuts but I was baking this to take to a party so I left the nuts out and added a yummy glaze. This was the only piece that made it back with me to take a picture.

Cinnamon Apple Cake

4 cups chopped apples (about 4-6 apples)
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 cups flour
3 large eggs
3/4 cups oil
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix sugar, oil, vanilla in a large bowl. Sift in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. My mix seemed really thick so I added in about 3-4 tablespoons of water to thin it out a little to get it to kind of a dipping consistency. Take a moment to taste the mix by dipping a piece of apple in it. Then mix about 3 cups of the apples into the mix. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle the rest of the apples on top and gently press into the mix. Bake for about 40 minutes. Check done-ness with a toothpick.

While the cake is cooling make the glaze. Mix in just enough milk to achieve drizzling consistency. For me it took about 3 tablespoons.

1-1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

After the cake has cooled just a little bit, pour the glaze on top and enjoy. I spooned the glaze into a ziplock bag and cut off a corner to be able to drizzle it nicely. Or you could leave off the glaze and serve with vanilla ice cream :)


~ adapted from Drew's recipe. Check out his site. I LOVE it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer

I absolutely LOVE my latest kitchen gadget. This apple peeler is such a great deal for $20 off of Amazon. The suction cup at the bottom holds it onto the counter very nicely and I can move it around in my tiny kitchen which is great. Also the fact that it peels, cores, and slices the apples in one movement is outstanding.

I'm totally going to go apple picking this month. I'm planning on making apple sauce, apple jelly (from the peels and cores) and maybe apple butter :) This little baby will peel, core, and slice in about 20 seconds or less. I can wait to go apple picking ^_^

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Paradise Breakfast Buns

I get bored with breakfast easily and most days I need something that I can munch on while walking out the door. I saw these beautiful things and decided I had to try them.

Paradise Breakfast Buns

3 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. sugar

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

3 T. lemon juice

1 c. butter, cut into pieces

4 eggs, divided

3/4 c. milk

1 c. raisins

1 7 oz. package shredded coconut

2 T. sugar

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter until crumbly.

2. In a small bowl, beat together 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites) with the milk and lemon juice. Pour into mixing bowl and mix just until combined. Stir in the raisins and coconut just until incorporated. Be careful to not over stir.

3. Using a rounded tablespoon of dough (I used a heaping medium cookie scoop), place on cookie sheets. Slightly beat the reserved egg whites and brush over the dough. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

I was sad because my didn't get golden brown. I was afraid to leave them in longer because I didn't want the bottoms to burn. They still turned out really yummy though. I had to taste test one before breakfast obviously. The lemony flavor went really well with the coconut and raisins :)

~ adapted from Kate's recipe at Cooking During Stolen Moments