Monday, October 25, 2010

Apple-Cinnamon Granola

Apple Cinnamon Granola
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup apple juice
¼ tsp. salt
8 cups rolled oats
2 tsp. apple pie spice
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter. Blog Stuff 003
Add the sugar, spice,salt and juice; stir well.Blog Stuff 005
Bring to a boil.
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Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Add oats and stir well.
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Spread granola evenly over two baking sheets. (I line mine with parchment…I’m lazy that way.)
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Bake at 250˚ for 45- 60 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom and stirring oats every 10 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow granola to cool completely before removing from baking sheets. Store in an air-tight container.
* During the last 15 minutes of baking, add chopped pecans or walnuts.
* Once granola is cooled, add dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apple bits, etc.)
Obviously, you can serve this in a bowl with milk; but I like it mixed into vanilla Greek yogurt or just plain as a quick snack.
Need a quick dessert? For each serving: peel, core and cut 1 apple. Saute in 2 tbsp. butter. As it begins to soften add about 2 tbsp. sugar (or a couple packs of Truvia). Cook until apple is done to your preference. (I like mine to keep its shape…not too mushy.) Serve in a bowl, topped with 1/4 cup of granola and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Friday, October 22, 2010

‘Tis That Time of Year

The supplies needed:
  • Your hot beverage of choice. Mine vary…today it is hot cocoa.
  • A good book or a journal and pen.
  • Cardigan, shawl or warm throw.
  • Biscotti, optional. Who am I kidding? That is not optional!

Why do we need those supplies? Because it is this kind of a day:
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Yes, it is the first snow of the season for our area of Upstate NY.  Only a light dusting…and it is suppose to rain this afternoon. Either way, it is a kick back on the sofa and relax kind of day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong…

I love my hubby; but for the life of me, I cannot figure out why he thinks it is okay to put his new heater (for ice fishing and hunting) in this location:
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Maybe it is just me….but wouldn’t this look better in his workshop? Obviously we have different priorities. I’m off to move it….and perhaps drop the leaf on the table. Then he won’t have a “drop-off” point. Nevermind…I just envisioned the heater sitting on my apples.
This is just one small example of why the journey toward a well-kept home is a never-ending one.
Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Changing Seasons…and Pantry

It was a bit chilly when I went out to do my errands today (although the hot flash that I was apparently experiencing caused me not to realize it when I first left the house). Anyway….when I walked into the produce section of the grocery store, I saw a pkg. of mango wedges. I really like mango, but when I picked them up to put in the cart I thought, “It’s not mango season. It is apple season.” So back on the shelf they went. Tomorrow I’m going to the store run by a local Amish family (yes, the Yoders) to pick up a 1/2 bushel of apples for $4.
Wow…I’m easily sidetracked…back to the grocery store…. As I walked through the produce department, I grabbed some cabbage, 15 lbs of russet potatoes, and LEEKS. All those items just scream “AUTUMN” to me. Cabbage for unrolled cabbage rolls. A huge bag of potatoes for baked potato soup and stews and chowder… me some homemade chowder. As I continued my shopping, I realized that I had been transitioning my pantry over the past few weeks. I have stocked up on boxed stocks (no pun intended), steel-cut oats, apple pie spice (throw a generous pinch in with you ground coffee when you brew it in the morning for a little something different), different flours for baking, dried beans for chili and soups, spiced teas, espresso….just to name a few items. Today I also bought biscotti. I love biscotti; but for some reason, I only buy it during autumn and winter. During the spring and summer, my cookie jar is filled with homemade cookies; but during autumn and winter the cookie jar is filled with biscotti (unless it is close to shopping day…then it’s a little more iffy).  I have recipes for biscotti. It would not be difficult to make them. I’m not sure why I’ve never tried doing so…..except maybe it would be a little too convenient…and therefore DANGEROUS to my already overly abundant waistline.
Does your pantry change with the season? What are your favorite autumn foods?

And now….a recipe:

Baked Potato Soup

First of all….I ALWAYS at least DOUBLE this recipe….It is even better the next day for a quick, filling lunch!
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups milk (I use 1%)
  • 2 cups peeled, cubed russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup minced leeks—white part only (can also use a regular onion or shallot…your preference)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Garnish: chives, shredded cheddar cheese, REAL bacon bits (either store-bought or homemade), fresh ground black pepper
Melt butter in heavy-bottom stock pot over low heat. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook, CONSTANTLY stirring for 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk (I use a whisk). Stir in potatoes, leeks, and salt. Cook over medium heat, STIRRING FREQUENTLY, 30 minutes or until thick and potato is done. Serve with choice of garnishes. Makes 5 cups.

***This recipe is SIMPLE, SIMPLE, SIMPLE. However, do not get distracted and forget to stir it. It burns easily, and burnt potato soup is not good. I once gave this recipe to one of my NON-cooking family members thinking that there was absolutely NO WAY that she could mess this up. Let’s just say that she REALLY needs one of those self-stirring gadgets that you’ve probably seen in some catalog or infomercial.
This is also a great recipe for potluck dinners. Just make as directed, doubling or tripling or even quadrupling the recipe. Then transfer to a crockpot and keep on the warm setting…just be sure to stir occasionally.


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