Monday, November 1, 2010

Autumn Applesauce

Fragrant. Crisp. Juicy. Delicious. 

If you've never had a fresh-picked apple -- oh man! 
You don't know what you are missing!  

Each October, the little Mountain community of Springville, California hosts an Apple Festival.  For two days, the streets are filled to the brim with locals and tourists alike. The local service clubs of Springville began the festival in the early 1980's as a way of supporting and giving back to the town. The aroma of apple-laden goodies permeates the air- a creative array including caramel apples, deep fried apple pies and apple burritos! This year, they expected a crowd of 25,000 plus! If you're in the area, check it out next year :) 

Homemade Applesauce! 
Smooth or Chunky? Cinnamon or Brown Sugar? 
Granny Smith or Red Delicious?

My beautiful friend, Laine & her husband, Brandon are gracious hosts and wonderful cooks. Really!  I've always put off making my own applesauce and she kept bragging about how wonderfully easy it really was. So today, with my paper bag o' Springville apples, I set out on my own applesauce adventure using Laine & Brandon's super simple recipe.

  • 16 medium apples: Cored, Peeled, and Quartered
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1 Cup of Sugar (I used 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. white sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon ( I used a bit more) 

I believe that Laine and Brandon cook their applesauce on the stove top but I was feeling a bit rebellious so I chose to use the slow cooker instead. I combined all of the ingredients in the removable dish, and snapped on the lid. It cooked in about 4 hours on high. As the apple begin to soften and breakdown, use a potato masher to make the sauce chunky or smooth (your preference).  The scent wafting through the house was absolutely incredible! If you'd like to make it in a much more time efficient fashion, here ya go: 

Simmer apples and water in large pot for 10 minutes. Add sugar and spice, continue simmer on a little higher heat, 1-4 minutes. As apples break down begin mashing them with potato masher in the pot. Let it cool, then place in jars or tupperware. Serve warm over vanilla bean ice cream (my favorite!) or chilled as the perfect Autumn meal companion. 

Simple, right?  :-) 

Keep on smiling,

"Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, 
my lips will praise You." -- Psalm 63:3

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cookies!

Simply Divine.

"Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it. " - Bubba 

Every Autumn, I think of this movie when I contemplate the million possibilities of cooking & baking with pumpkin!  There are savory treats (like soups & stews), then the sweet stuff (cheesecakes, brownies) and the usual (PIE!) but one of my favorites are these almost-too-simple tender spice cookies. I've tried other recipes that include way too many ingredients for my liking - and then I found these! 

It's just 2 ingredients. 

Whaaat?! Yeah. That's why I like them!  If you want more than just a basic cookie - the  world is your treasure chest. Add whatever your lil' heart desires  -- Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate Chips, Honey Roasted Sunflower Seeds, Toasted Walnuts...

Ooh, or maybe a Praline Pecan Topping. Now that would be fabulous! 

Here we go...

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Combine one 15 oz. can of Pure Pumpkin ( not Pumpkin Pie Mix!) with one box of Spice Cake mix thoroughly until not a bit of cake mix remains. The dough will be very thick! ( Add any additional ingredients at this point.)
  • Scoop portions of dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. I prefer using an ice cream scoop for BIG cookies. Remember that these will not spread when baked. 
  • Pop in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they spring back lightly to your touch.

That's it! No oil, sugar, eggs or butter. Fantastic, right?  Without any added ingredients, you save on calories but not on flavor!

If you're looking for something a bit more decadent, I would recommend a basic cream cheese frosting with about a Tablespoon of cinnamon mixed in with the powdered sugar.  

Let me know what you think! :) I hope you have a wonderful day and that you are blessed beyond belief!

In His Hands,

"I want to be a Nobody who tells Everybody about a Somebody who can save Anybody." 

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