Cranberry Applesauce

This recipe was inspired by Cranberry Applesauce at Simply Recipes (a wonderful website).

For more information about what apple(s) to use, the U.S. Apple Association offers a lovely Apple Usage Chart. I think the most important element is that the apples are fresh, as a recent artile in Saveur was kind enough to point out.

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Continue reading “Cranberry Applesauce”

No Fuss Applesauce

[donotprint]When the apples are fresh, a little water to get things going is all you need. I used Millinium and Jonagold that we picked a week ago.

America’s Test Kitchen likes to use a few different varieties of apple in order to round out the flavor. According to my notes, they are fans of Jonagold, Jonathan, Pink Lady, and Macoun. Their second choices are Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Empire, and Rome. For more guidence on apple varities and their uses, the U.S. Apple Association offers a lovely Apple Usage Chart.

Once you’ve made this simple applesauce, adding a dollop of butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt is more than okay. The butter makes the applesauce so rich and lovely (especially if you add a few dollops).

I’m sharing this simple recipe today because, oddly enough, it was a bit of a revelation to me. I think so many cookbook authors are busy reinterpreting a classic that a simple recipe like this doesn’t appear very often. And like I said, if you have the right apples, this is really all you need.[/donotprint] 

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6-8 fresh apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
1/4 cup water

In a medium saucepan, bring apples and water to a low boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes or until apples are extremely soft. Remove from heat, puree apples and liquid with a hand blender or in a standing blender. Serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Yield: approximately 3 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

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Frozen Yogurt with Warm Apples

True, more of a dessert than a snack. How about a treat? Anyway, the kids loved it + it took no time at all to make + a serving of fruit = winner.

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2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
Vanilla frozen yogurt

In a small bowl, mix together the maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if desired). Set aside.

Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add butter to pan and allow to melt. When butter starts to sizzle, add apples and stir to coat. Then add the maple syrup mixture and stir again. Cook the apples until they turn soft (approximately 5 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces).

Allow the apples to cool until they are warm instead of hot. Scoop frozen yogurt into small bowls, top with one quarter of the apples, and serve.

Note: In the picture above, I used pumpkin ice cream as my children selfishly ate all of the frozen yogurt before I had a chance to take a picture. Guess who got to eat the pumpkin ice cream version after the photo shoot? Yum.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep-time: 10 minutes

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Halloween Mush

I used some sweet and juicy Garnet Spy apples for this recipe today. Try to use fresh apples as I can see a mealy grocery store apple really ruining the party.

Adapted from “Apple and Sweet Potato Puree” in the Apple Cookbook by Olwen Woodier.

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1 small sweet potato (yields approximately 1 cup of cooked potato)
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground ginger (optional)
Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
1/4 cup plain yogurt

With a knife or fork puncture the skin of the sweet potato a few times. Microwave on high for approximately 4 minutes or until soft throughout. Test by inserting a knife into the potato. If there is little resistance, it is cooked. Set aside and allow to cool.

Microwave apples in a small bowl for 3 minutes or until well cooked. Transfer apples to a blender along with any juices that were released while cooking. Slice the sweet potato in half lengthwise and remove most of the skin. Put the potato plup in the blender along with the apples.

Put the remaining ingredients in the blender (butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and yogurt) and puree until smooth. Allow to cool 2 minutes and serve in small bowls. If you feel like pulling out all the stops top with chocolate sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Yield: 4 servings (approximately 2 cups)
Prep time: 15 minutes

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Sweet Potato Fries

Ahh, glorious sweet potato, how I love thee.  You are an inexpensive and highly nutritious veggie whose day job is being a carb. What could be better?

Honestly, these appear as a side dish more often than a snack at my house. But why not make these instead of slaving over a batch of cookies?

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2 medium organic sweet potatoes or yams
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Scrub sweet potatoes clean. Cut into sticks approximately 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Place sweet potato sticks in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil and salt over sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

Spread sweet potatoes out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until soft and browning where in contact with the pan.

Allow to cool a few minutes on the pan. Serve with ranch dressing.

Yield: 5 cups (6-7 servings)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Baking time: 35-45 minutes

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Pepitas and dried cranberries

This snack idea is from Gastrokids. I’m just starting to warm up to snack mixes for kids as my youngest recently turned three and is supposedly clear to eat popcorn, whole nuts and the like.  More importantly, she is extremely likely to pick all the sweet bits out and leave the rest. But, in this case, at least it’s cranberries and not chocolates. Pepitas are a new favorite thing of mine too.

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1/2 cup pepitas
1/4 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Mix and serve.

Yield: 3/4 cup
Prep time: 2 minutes

Apple Pie Yogurt

[donotprint]The only problem I’m having with yogurt these days is that I’m not sure whether to give it to my kids for breakfast, lunch, dinner or all of the above. Apparently the live cultures found in yogurt are all the rage for fighting off the flu. But I also just read an article that encouraged yogurt consumption close to bedtime because it is relatively high in the amino acid L-tryptophan.

More importantly, don’t you just love the kitty bowl? Sur La Table.[/donotprint]DSC02704

1 cup plain greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped apple (plus more for garnish)

In a small mixing bowl stir together yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add chopped apple and stir again. Serve garnished with extra chopped apples.

Yield: 2-3 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes

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Cheesy Sweet Potato Balls

I used up some leftover Sweet Potato Fries to make these.

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½ cup cooked sweet potato (with skin)
1 cup cooked brown rice
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place sweet potato, rice, Monterey Jack cheese, cottage cheese, wheat germ and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 45 – 60 seconds or until smooth and a ball starts to form.

Roll sweet potato mixture into tablespoon-sized balls with your hands. Place balls on baking sheet and bake on the center rack of the oven for 15-17 minutes or until the bottoms are golden.

Allow balls to cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes. Gently remove balls with thin metal spatula and serve. Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Yield: 20 balls
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes

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Apple Crisp “Cookies”

[donotprint]I need to make these again sometime soon because I might have eaten most of them myself and my kids might not have really gotten a chance to taste them. Poor little souls.

The key with these, unless you enjoy running the oven all day, is to create a uniform and consistant thickness as best you can. One little fat blob of apple can take up to an extra hour to dry out. Either that or you’ll be forced to eat it immediately because it won’t keep well if it’s not totally dried out.[/donotprint]

4 apples, coarsely grated (approximately 1 1/2 cup lightly packed)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional, especially if you have some sweet apples to work with)
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 250 F.

In a medium bowl mix together the apple, brown sugar, wheat germ, butter, cinnamon, and salt. Place heaping tablespoon-sized scoops of the apple mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets. Make sure the scoops are 2- inches apart. With the back of a spoon, flatten the scoops until they are 1/4-inch (or less) thick. Pay careful attention to achieving a uniform thickness as the cookies will require more time in the oven if they are too thick.

Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until the cookies are dry yet pliable. Allow to cool before serving. Once cool, the cookies should crisp up considerably. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 20 cookies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 1 1/2 hours

Note: These “cookies” will cook differently depending how thinly they are spread out on the baking sheets. So after an hour and a half, check in on them every ten minutes or so. They may brown a bit and that’s fine. They dry quite a bit after they cool down so if they’ve been in the oven for two hours and no longer feel squishy, they are most likely done.

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