Is there anything better than apple pie?

A simple slice of pie.

I recently went on vacation and returned wanting nothing but apple pie. I’m not really sure where the craving came from but apple pie was on my mind. My first day back from vacation I was doing laundry, putting things back in their places and counting the minutes until I was finished and ready to make my pie.

There’s something comforting about apple pie. Maybe it’s the way it fills my whole house with it’s sweet and homey aroma, or maybe it’s experiencing all the different textures in that first bite, or maybe it’s because I just enjoy damn good pie. Or maybe it’s all of the above!

I began with making the crust. Let me just say that the first try I added too much water to the dough and it wasn’t going to work so I threw it out. I started over with a cup of flour, 2 tablespoons of cold diced butter and about 4 tablespoons of water added slowly and then 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. That was just the right amount of liquid. I removed the dough, patted it down in to a disc and wrapped it up and placed it in the fridge for 30 minutes. During this time I peeled my two and a half Honeycrisp apples. Are there any better apples in the world than Honeycrisp?! These are my most favorite apples, ever!  I bought three at the store the day I returned even though they were $1.99/lb which I think is absurd but I really wanted them.

I peeled and sliced the apples fairly thin, added a squeeze of lemon juice, some cinnamon (to taste), about a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and almond extract for added flavor, a splash of Amaretto Liquor, a dash of Penzey’s Apple Pie Spice and a couple drops of doTerra Wild Orange essential oil. I mixed it all together, added a little bit of flour and let it sit while I rolled out the dough. After placing the rolled dough in the pie pan I filled it with my apples and then mixed some flour, brown sugar and more diced butter together to make a crumb topping.

This pie was perfect! I love it when I can put ingredients together and know that it’s going to turn out the way I want it to. I love that I can put butter and flour, sugar and water together and it makes delicious dough. I love baking applies and breathing in the wonderful smell of them with cinnamon and vanilla. I reluctantly let the pie cool enough so I could cut a piece and enjoy it without burning my mouth, I hate that. That first bite was amazing; the crumbly crumb topping, the warm baked apples with a hint of orange and the perfect crust. It was like heaven….

Apple Pie

The first piece….

Breakfast Pie

And I say again, is there anything better than apple pie?

Go on and make yourself an apple pie, a chocolate cream pie or a pizza pie but get in your kitchen and cook up something you’re in love with and can’t wait to have!

Bon Appétit!

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Three Day Challenge of de-stressing and new recipes.

Turkish Chickpea Cookies

Turkish Chickpea Cookies

With everything going on in life that stresses me out and makes me feel like I’m not doing what I should be, I was given a three day plan to de-stress. I then gave myself a three challenge, and what helps me to unwind and let go of the stresses in my life; running and trying new recipes.

Day One was Friday and seeing a Chickpea Flour Cookie recipe on Pinterest was my first challenge. I already had the chickpea flour from another recipe and the rest of the ingredients. I did not have whole wheat flour so I subbed regular all-purpose flour.  As I was making the cookie dough I did notice that the amount of liquid was not enough to create an actual dough so I had to add probably about 3-4 tablespoons of water to get it to a dough consistency. I took about a tablespoon of dough and rolled them in to balls.  Here’s where it became fun and I just let my mind wander and let go of everything as I dipped each cookie in to lightly whisked egg whites and then in to either powdered sugar, cocoa poster and chia seeds. You can see below what they look like post-dipping and pre-baked.

Chickpea dough cookies

Chickpea dough cookies

After dipping and coating the cookies I placed them in the fridge to chill out for an hour and then in to the oven they went for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. The cookies weren’t that sweet even though they have powdered sugar in them. The best one’s were the powdered sugar and cocoa ones. I think the next time I try these I’ll add more sugar, maybe some honey and see how that works out. Overall this was a good day, I was able to unwind while making the cookies and had dessert all in one!

Baked

Baked

Today’s challenge will be posted later, my assignment: saltwater taffy!

Bon Appétit!

Chia Seed what??? Pudding!

Chia pudding topped with raspberries, gluten free pancakes and a baked peach

Chia pudding topped with raspberries, gluten free pancakes and a baked peach

I know this recipe can be found all over the Interworld but it’s new to me. I came across this recipe when I saw someone on Instagram post that they were making this. I quickly went to Pinterest to find it, cause that’s where you go to find any recipe after all. Pinterest is my Google for recipes, all recipes.  Once I found this I created my shopping list and picked up my ingredients on my next shopping trip.

I measured out my chia seeds, poured them in the bowl and then added an entire can of light coconut milk and some vanilla. After mixing it all up with a whisk I placed it in the fridge for 2 hours to set. Once it had set I added some honey to it just to give it a little sweetness, spooned some pudding into a nice little bowl, added some raspberries on top and voilà! I have come to love, love, love this recipe for many reasons: 1. it is just the easiest thing in the world to make, 2. it tastes great, 3. it’s absolutely healthy for you! and 4. You can jazz it up any way you like.

Here’s a little bit of info about chia seeds and their health benefits:

They increase your energy.They’re high in protein, fiber (1 oz has 11 grams, a third of your RD amount), calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3s.
They can aid in slowing digestion and help prevent blood sugar spikes.
Helps to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.
Contains calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous, folic acid
High in Omega-3, important for brain health.
Helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth, which translates to fewer Dr. visits!
Contains tryptophan, which helps to regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give these awesome little seeds a try! They’re great for all ages, young and old alike! The above photo includes gluten free 2-ingredient pancakes, more on that in another post.

Easy Chia Seed Pudding

Ingredients
1 cup or can of light of full coconut milk
1/4 of chia seeds
1 teaspoon of vanilla
honey to taste (after it’s set, optional)
toppings (fruit, nuts, coconut milk whipped cream)

A New Year, A New Chocolate Cake

Julia's Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

Julia’s Reine de Saba Chocolate Almond Cake

There’s nothing like a Jewish New Year to get you in the mood for resolutions and trying new things. Last week was the Jewish New Year and among other resolutions I committed to trying new recipes and especially the one’s that scared me just a little. I made an apple pie for Rosh Hashana dinner, that post will come later. My friend Molly was having a few people over to celebrate her new house that she and her husband just bought.

Immediately after being invited I knew I wanted to make something to bring for everyone. I originally wanted to make these quinoa chocolate drops being that they were on the healthier side but since I really wanted a challenge, and given that I had just rewatched “Julie and Julia” again I decided to tackle Julia Child’s Reine de Saba! This was perfect, it was sweet which in Jewish tradition you bring something sweet for an occasion like this, and it was a Julia recipe I had on my list of recipes to make. I wanted to bring something I made and put effort and love into.

I began with the cake, and found the recipe on Pinterest which went to the full recipe here. I followed the full recipe which was a little bit of a process but fun. While making the batter and adding the butter and the cake flour I just sort of got lost in all of it really enjoyed the whole experience. I buttered my cake pan and poured the batter in and put it in the oven to bake. When it came out I was a little surprised at how thin it was, but I let it cool and went off to do something else. Later that night I decided to make a second cake and have a two layer cake. The second cake took much less time since I already knew what I was doing and somewhere during the making of that second cake I realized, ‘Hey, this isn’t so hard, it’s actually pretty enjoyable and relaxing.”

The next day I made the frosting which turned out to be amazing, who doesn’t love chocolate and butter and Rum? Well, as you can see the final result above the cake turned out amazing and everyone loved it! This recipe is definitely a keeper and one to be made again. It was absolutely sababa!

A new year has begun. A new challenge conquered! As Julia said, “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” I will continue to learn and do and challenge myself with the recipes I make. I want each and every recipe I cook to be filled with as much love and heart as I put in to that incredible cake.

Bon Appetit!

A Cuppa Yummy Protein Bars

So I’ve been focusing on having a healthier mindset this summer, something about running and knowing what I’m putting in my body makes me feel better. When doing any kind of exercise it’s important to always stay hydrated and to put the right amount of energy, or calories, into your body to stay energized. I was searching Pinterest for a protein bar recipe and found this super easy recipe that I now like to call the ‘Cuppa Yummy Protein Bars.’ Why do I call it that you ask? Because all you need is a cup of this, and a cup of that. See? Easy peasy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds (walnuts etc. based on preference)
  • 1 cup whole pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried cherry flavored cranberries
  • 1 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions:

1.  In a food processor add, all ingredients and process until they form a dough-ish consistency. You’ll know it when you see it. Keep processing until you see clumps form. Process another minute or two until it forms one big dough ball.

2. Take out all of the dough and place on a baking sheet that is covered with parchment paper or saran wrap. Flatten out the ball of dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick in the form of a square, for easy cutting purposes.

3. Cover with saran wrap and chill in the refridgerator for at least an hour or overnight if you prefer. I left mine in for a little over an hour and they were perfect.

4. Remove from fridge and cut it to bars. Wrap with wax paper or saran wrap and place in zip lock bags to maintain freshness. You can store the bars in the fridge for a few weeks or in the freezer for longer.

protein bar ingredients

protein bar ingredients

protein bars

protein bars

 

On a side note, feel free to add whichever nuts or dried fruits you want, just make sure they’re all even amounts. Bon Appetit!

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups – The Healthy Way

Wanting to try something completely different, and healthy, I attempted to make my own fruit roll ups. I loved fruit roll ups as a kid, I couldn’t get enough of them! I mean, really, what’s not to like to about a roll of fruity chewy goodness? Now as an adult I can see what’s not to like about them and that’s the sugar content, high, high, high. So out on a mission to find healthy, good-for-you fruit roll ups I successfully found a not too difficult recipe here a la Pinterest!

This recipe was kind of a process. You have to cook the fruit, mash it, cool it etc. Then bake it, wait for it to cool etc. But at the end of this process you get these awesome and amazingly healthy and homemade fruit roll ups and you know exactly what you put in to them and therefore what you are putting in your body. I don’t know about you but I’m really beginning to like knowing what is in my food and what is going in my body to sustain me. I highly recommend making these and you can use tons of different fruits. I used dried apricots for mine and they came out great. I cut them up, rolled them and bagged them and took them to work with me for an easy healthy snack during the day. I gave one to a coworker and she agreed, they’re great! So go and get cooking and as Julia always said, Bon Appetit!

Fruit Roll Ups!

Fruit Roll Ups!

A Caramel Concoction

I’ve decided to experiment with making caramels. I saw a recipe, oh about a year ago and never got around to trying it. So I finally went for it. I thought it would be more difficult to make caramels, it just sounded hard. You have to watch the candy thermometer and stir but not stir and add this at a certain point but not too soon. It wasn’t that bad. The hardest thing I think was actually wrapping all the caramels!! It took me two hours to cut and wrap each caramel. By the time I got to the end, I had about two strips left and said ‘forget it.’ I rolled it up and stuck it in a mason jar to have later as caramel sauce, salted caramel sauce.

So from start to finish it took probably 4 hours, and that includes the cutting and wrapping. Whew!

But boy are they delicious! Next caramel concoction: Salted Chocolate Caramels!