Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Challenge Accepted: 7 Days, 7 Colors #7Days7ColorsChallenge

photo courtesy Melissa's Produce
When I saw Melissa's Produce post about 7-day challenge to focus on different colors of food, I was intrigued. Read all about the challenge: here

Do you remember the first time you said or did something – maybe with pride, maybe with horror – and you saw your parents? Last week, as we were cooking through our CSA box, D, my Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf, looked at his plate and observed, “Mommy, there are a lot of colors on this plate.” Out of my mouth came, “It’s always good to eat a rainbow.” Oh, my! I have become my mother. 

All in all, my mom is pretty cool. I don't think I would have said that when I was a teenager, but as I hit my mid-40s, I think she rocks. Here she is - taking a swimming lesson from the boys, at a ukulele flashmob with R, and with my dad and boys on their 40th anniversary celebration cruise to Alaska several years ago.



But I digress. This is about food. Our plates were always colorful when I was growing up. Though I am not a nutritionist, my mom’s explanation – when I asked why it’s always good to eat a rainbow – makes a lot of sense to me. She explained that different colors in food indicate different nutrients. For example…

Many RED fruits and veggies are loaded with lycopene and anthocyanins that may combat heart disease and decrease the risk and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people aged 60 and older.

The best-known nutrient in ORANGE foods is beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that is good for eye health and can also help protect your skin from sun damage. YELLOW fruits and vegetables also teem with carotenoids and have an abundance of vitamin C.

Thinking green should be a way of eating as well as a way of living. GREEN leafy vegetables are a rich source of minerals – iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium – and vitamins – K, C, E, and many of the B. Go green!

BLUE, INDIGO, and VIOLET fruits and vegetables are extremely high in antioxidants. The nutrients in these foods seem to protect your blood vessels, cartilage, tendons and ligaments from damage. The vitamins and minerals in these foods can also help with memory function and urinary tract health.

My mom would tell me: You don’t have to have all of the colors on each plate. Just make a concerted effort to include several colors throughout the day.

That makes perfect sense. So, I am embracing this challenge from Melissa's Produce to focus on 7 colors for 7 days. This weekend I'll kick off with all things red. Stay tuned!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Autumn Apple Sipper #Sponsored #AppleWeek

This post written by me on behalf of the sponsors of #AppleWeek. 
Products for recipe development and review were provided; prizes were donated for the giveaway, 
and this page may contain affiliate links. 
This recipe is intended for readers 21 years and older. Please drink responsibly.

#AppleWeek continues! Carlee of Cooking with Carlee arranged this amazing event for you. Click to read about the giveaway prizes and to enter for a chance to win: here

And today, day two of #AppleWeek, here's what we have in store for you.

Autumn Apple Sipper

Today is Johnny Appleseed's birthday! Did you know that Johnny Appleseed (his actual name is John Chapman) didn't plant eating apples? He cultivated apples suitable for making hard cider. So, in his honor, I decided to share an alcoholic apple libation. While I didn't make my own hard cider, I did fresh-press some apple juice and I used it in a tasty beverage for adults!


Tart, slightly sweet and smooth with a fruity apple forward taste, this drink is filled to the brim with warm autumn flavors. It's perfect for the season! Quick note: while gin, or bourbon, are my spirits of choice, my husband prefers rum. So, I made a version for him that just swapped out the gin for rum. It worked just as well, so feel free to substitute for whatever you prefer. Cheers!

Ingredients makes 1 cocktail
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces apple juice (click for my Fresh-Pressed Apple Juice)
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract (I used Rodelle's pure vanilla extract)
  • sparkling water
  • cubed, peeled, and diced apples (I used Rainier Fruit Honeycrisps)
  • Also needed: ice, cocktail shaker
  • Optional Garnishes: organic fresh thyme sprigs; organic chamomile blossoms
Procedure
Combine gin, apple juice, and vanilla extract in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled. Strain into your serving glass. Top with sparkling water.



Float diced apples in the cocktail and garnish with sprigs of thyme and chamomile blossoms, if using. Enjoy!

Find Rodelle
on the web
on Twitter
on Instagram

Find Rainier
on the web
on Twitter
on Instagram

*Disclosure: I received products for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers of this product or the organizers of #AppleWeek.

Applesauce Cake #AppleWeek #Sponsored

This post written by me on behalf of the sponsors of #AppleWeek. 
Products for recipe development and review were provided; prizes were donated for the giveaway, 
and this page may contain affiliate links.

Carlee of Cooking with Carlee arranged this amazing event for you. She wrangled over two dozen bloggers who will be posting over one hundred recipes this week. Wow. You should have oodles of apple inspiration. And you can click to read about the giveaway prizes and to enter for a chance to win: here



This is a bonus #AppleWeek post because I didn't fit in a pie into this week...but I wanted to be sure and share my thoughts on the beautiful pie pan I received from one of the sponsors!  Thanks, Pyrex.


This is the 9-1/2" pie plate from Pyrex's Watercolor Collection. I have pie pans that are metal and pie pans that are ceramic, but I love using glass pie pans. I have two smaller ones, but this one is deep and perfect for piling in lots of filling. I can't wait to use it more as we get into baking season. 

Anyway, my oven isn't working right now, so I drove over to my parents' house to use theirs. When my mom saw the plate, she said, "I think I'm going to have to take that!" Ummmm...nope. It's mine. All mine.


Whenever I have a tons of apples, I make jars of applesauce to use throughout the winter in my baking adventures. While I love homemade applesauce so I can control the amount of sugar, use whatever you have on-hand.

Applesauce Cake

Ingredients
  • 1 C (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 C organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 C chunky applesauce
  • 3 C flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground cardamom
  • 1/2 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground all-spice
  • 1/2 t ground ginger


Procedure

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and spices. Butter your pie pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and honey until lightened and fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat again. Stir in the applesauce.

Fold the dry ingredients into the applesauce mixture to form a thick batter. Spoon the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, approximately 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for, at least, 10 minutes before slicing. 


You can serve this with a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of ice cream. We ate it just like this!


Find Pyrex
on the web
on Twitter

*Disclosure: I received products for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers of this product or the organizers of #AppleWeek.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Creamy Maple Gouda Apple Soup with Pecan-Oat Granola #AppleWeek #Sponsored

This post written by me on behalf of the sponsors of #AppleWeek. 
Products for recipe development and review were provided; prizes were donated for the giveaway, 
and this page may contain affiliate links.

Welcome to #AppleWeek! Carlee of Cooking with Carlee arranged this amazing event for you. Click to read about the giveaway prizes and to enter for a chance to win: here



And today, day one of #AppleWeek, here's what we have in store for you.

Creamy Maple Gouda Apple Soup 
with Pecan-Oat Granola

For my first #AppleWeek recipe, I'm sharing a creamy, sweet and savory apple soup with maple and gouda, garnished with a crunchy pecan-oat granola!

Ingredients

Soup
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 t thyme, destemmed + more for garnish
  • 4 C chicken broth (I used homemade, but use whatever you have on-hand)
  • 2 C apple juice (I made my own Fresh-Pressed Apple Juice)
  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 4 large red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 t vanilla extract (I used Rodelle's Pure Vanilla Extract)
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1-1/2 C gouda, shredded
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste


Granola
  • 2 C rolled oats (I used Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal)
  • 1 C raw pecans
  • ½ C raw pumpkin seeds
  • ½ C raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 T fennel seeds
  • 1 T white sesame seeds
  • 1 T black sesame seeds
  • 1 t chia seeds
  • 1 t  freshly ground salt
  • ½ t freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg white, beaten
  • ¼ C olive oil
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t garlic paste
  • 2 T ketchup
Procedure
Granola
Preheat oven to 350° F. Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until well-coated.


Transfer mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring once, until toasted and golden, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool. The granola will crisp as it cools.

Soup
Pour broth and juice into a large soup pot. Add in the onions, garlic, apples, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, approximately 20 minutes. Add in vanilla and maple syrup.

Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to the pot and stir in shredded cheese. Heat until the cheese is melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Ladle soup into individual bowls. Top with savory granola and garnish with more fresh thyme leaves.


Find Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal
on the web
on Instagram

Find Rodelle
on the web

*Disclosure: I received products for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers of this product or the organizers of #AppleWeek.

The Great BIG #AppleWeek #Sponsors, Prize Packages, and #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the sponsors of #AppleWeek 
Products for recipe development and review were provided, prizes were donated for the giveaway, 
and this page may contain affiliate links.

The wonderful, generous, and talented Carlee of Cooking with Carlee wrangled a big group of foodie bloggers to post and share recipes featuring apples. All. Week. Long. So, this coming week, we launch #AppleWeek. But I wanted to share a little bit about our sponsors, the prize packages that some lucky readers will win, and information about the giveaway (at the bottom).


My family and I are fortunate to live near some wonderful, organic apple orchards. So, each Fall, we go and pick a ton. We haven't gone this year, but here are some shots from years past...


And, if you're ever lucky enough, to get your hands on some Pink Pearl apples, do! They are my personal favorite. Not only are they princess-pink, but they are the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I love them. Aren't they pretty?!?


But, now, on to the real reason you're reading this: Look at what our event sponsors have contributed as prizes for our lucky readers.

Prize Pack #1 from Rodelle

A baker's dream come true! This delicious prize pack includes premium vanilla products, gourmet dutch-processed cocoa and specialty extracts. Items include: Pure Vanilla Extract, Gourmet Dutch-Processed Baking Cocoa, Gourmet Vanilla Extract, Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Chocolate Extract, Almond Extract, Vanilla Paste, and some fun baking supplies to whip up your next batch of goodies with! 



 Prize Pack #2 from Dreamfarm and Casabella

Prize items include: a 2 'n 1 veggie brush, a clip n strip shears, a set up levups, and  a set of levoons.


Prize Pack #3 from Flahavan's Irish Oatmeal


Winner will receive a generous goodie basket of Flahavan's items.

Prize Pack #4 from Pyrex and Chicago Cutlery



Prize Pack #5 from Rainier Fruit


A prize pack from Rainier Fruit will include a box of freshly harvested Rainier Fruit apples, a stainless steel apple slicer, apple corer, "Baked with Love" ceramic pie pan, copper apple loaf pan and a $25 Williams Sonoma gift card!

Prize Pack #6 from Veggie Wash


One winner will receive a prize pack from Veggie Wash

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I received complimentary products for the purpose of recipe development, review, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the event sponsors.

Fresh-Pressed Apple Juice #AppleWeek #sponsored

This post written by me on behalf of the sponsors of #AppleWeek. 
Products for recipe development and review were provided; prizes were donated for the giveaway, 
and this page may contain affiliate links.

We are gearing up for #AppleWeek! Carlee of Cooking with Carlee arranged this amazing event for you and wrangled a group of bloggers to celebrate all things apple. Click to read about the giveaway prizes and to enter for a chance to win: here



One of our sponsors shipped us a box of voluptuous, organic Honeycrisp apples. Thanks, Rainier Fruit Company.


And while I did use some of apples themselves, I wanted to try my hand at fresh-pressed apple juice. I don't have a fancy juicer, but I have a blender and a food processor. Turns out that that's all I needed. You'll see this fresh-pressed juice in several of my #AppleWeek creations.

Fresh-Pressed Apple Juice 

Ingredients
  • apples (I used organic Rainier Honeycrisps)
  • Also needed: a food processor, cheesecloth, colander, mesh strainer


Procedure
Quarter the apples and place them in the bowl of the food processor. I put them in there peel, seeds, and all.

Process until you have a puree. Line your colander with cheesecloth and place the entire thing over a large bowl to catch the juice. You can do this in batches to make it easier to press. Bring the edges of the cheesecloth together so you have all the edges in your hand. 


Begin to turn the cloth, forming a ball. As you tighten the ball, the juice will being to extract from the pulp. Keep going until you have gotten as much of the juice from the pulp as you can.


Strain the juice through the mesh strainer into a lidded glass jar. Refrigerate until ready to use. Compost the pulp.

Find Rainier
on the web
on Twitter

*Disclosure: I received products for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers of this product or the organizers of #AppleWeek.

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