Apple Crisp for Breakfast, That’s a Thing, Right?

…asking for a friend. 🤔

A few weeks back, the city once again sent out an alert: the apples in the city apple orchard were ready to be picked. So for the love of all that is holy, come and relieve them of these apples. Branches break, people get zonked by falling apples, the ground gets covered, so they seriously encourage people to “come and get it.” They are as organic as they come – other than some pruning, the city does nothing to them.

Photo from City of Longmont

Roger’s Grove Nature Area consists of 54.9 acres adjacent to the St. Vrain Greenway and includes Fairgrounds Lake, trails, a shelter, outdoor amphitheater, restrooms, native landscaping, demonstration gardens and an apple grove with fruit free for your harvest! Design and construction of the nature area was primarily funded by the Roger and Roberta Jones Foundation. Roger Jones (1915-1995), enjoyed walking along the river with his wife Roberta (1913-1992). Both educators in the St. Vrain Valley School system, the Jones’ wanted to contribute an environment for children and adults to visit, learn and enjoy. Roger’s Grove was developed as a nature area, arboretum and outdoor learning center.

…there are about 50 apple trees, of eight varieties, planted at Roger’s Grove, and they have not been sprayed with pesticides.

With all my apples, I made my Perfect Apple Crisp, recipe here, with a bit of twist. I came away with quite a few apples, and while a few are good to eat, most are better for baking. They sat in my fruit drawer for a week, and I decided I needed to do something with them, especially since I didn’t know if any of them were buggy – I didn’t want the bugs to multiply.

So I dumped them all in the sink, washed them and then sliced them up. I put them in my Multi-Pot (Instant Pot twin) and threw in about 1/2 cup of brown sugar, a dash of salt and just enough water to keep it from burning before the apples let go their juice. I set it for three minutes, assuming much of the cooking would take place while it pressurized. It was a good call.

I did the fast-release method, and the apples were perfect. Still had some shape and I thought would be great for baking. I had planned to freeze some, but best-laid plans and all, I instead went on an apple crisp spree. I’ve baked three in the last two weeks. Mmm–mmmm.

Oh, and those chicken thighs – I’ll put that recipe up later. Until then…



 

Advertisements

Ice Cream Stuffed Donut

Now that I have your attention.

Sorry to be MIA for so long. I do have garden photos, animal updates and hey, even a couple of recipes lined up. But I’m not sure I’ll have time to post them this weekend.

I am in the last stages of editing a novel that (fingers-crossed) should be published in June. I’ll let you know more details as it gets closer.

Then on top of that I had a little minor oral surgery this week to remove a fractured tooth and repair a bit of bone damage. Not as scary as it sounds – just the remnants of an old car accident that needed to be addressed. But it did throw my week  a curve ball…my to-do list was a fractured as my jaw. LOL

Now about that donut…

I had seen a recipe for ice cream stuffed donuts and I thought, wow, that sounds awesome, so I set about recreating it. The recipe, of course, included making your own donuts – yeah, right, like I have time for that. I’m surprised it didn’t also say the ice cream had to be homemade, too.

So I purchased the best quality donuts I could find and my favorite vanilla ice cream (Blue Bell) and put it together. The idea is to take a warm donut and hard frozen ice cream and combine them. You slice the donut, warm it in the oven or microwave (warm, not hot), add ice cream to one half, top, drizzle a bit of chocolate syrup and top with fruit (I chose raspberries).

And let me tell you….it was AWFUL.

I know it sounds like it should be good, but the problem is the texture. Donuts are basically sugar and fat held together with a bit of flour. Ice cream is basically fat. So when you combine the two, you lose what makes each of them so very good. The creamy fat texture overwhelms any flavor. Instead of enhancing both the donut and the ice cream, it diminishes both. YMMV

I wouldn’t do it again. As a matter of fact, I had bought six donuts to practice with, and I ate the other five plain. Much better.

That’s it for now. I will be sending the book back to the editor by the end of the weekend and while she has it, maybe we can catch up. Until then…



 

Coconut Lemon Cake Revisited

I visited family for Easter and it seemed like a good time to make my Coconut Lemon Cake. It was a hit – though my niece would have preferred a less tangy lemon curd. I will admit, I made it super lemony because my brother and I both love lemon.

Here’s the original recipe.

I made a few changes.

For the cake, I substituted coconut oil for both the oil and butter. When I originally made the cake, I didn’t keep coconut oil in the house, now it’s a staple. This upped the coconut flavor in the cake itself.

For the lemon curd, I flipped the water/lemon juice amounts. Using 1 cup of lemon juice and only 1/2 cup water. This upped the tartness substantially, so be prepared!

For the layers – this time I cut down from 4 to 3, using pie pans for the cake pans. This made for a much sturdier cake without losing any of the flavor – especially with the super tart curd.

Nom-nom. I really could have eaten the entire cake myself.

I’m off to do more prep on the vegetable garden. I have a hoop and 6 wall of water, so I’m hoping to get a head start later this month.

Depending on how the harvest goes, I’m definitely going to get a vacuum sealer to make freezing veggies easier. I. Do. Not. Can.

Are you planning your garden, yet?



Thanksgiving Files: Blueberry Pie A Must

This was my very first (!) pie attempt.

Blueberry pie is a must at my house for Thanksgiving. This recipe is my go-to. The key is to add fresh blueberries to the cooked blueberries for the most blueberry flavor.  From 2012:

Blueberry Pie

Filling:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on your sweetness preference, I used 1/2 cup)
  • 2-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen (and thawed) blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

In a saucepan, add sugar, cornstarch, water and 1 cup blueberries. Bring to a rapid boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, add 3 cups of blueberries, lemon juice and lemon zest, fold in completely. Cool in refrigerator until time to put the pie together. I also chilled the bowl I mixed everything in, as well.

Crust:

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, very cold
  • 1/2 cup ice water

Cut butter into small pieces (I actually cut frozen butter, it was easier) and place in the freezer to chill it completely. Whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until it is crumbly. Drizzle in the water and mix together until it forms a loose ball (do not over mix, you want visible butter pieces). Turn out onto a floured surface, knead gently, divide into two equal pieces (I weighed them), form each into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour. While I was at it, I refrigerated my marble rolling pin and marble pastry board.

To assemble pie: roll out one of the balls until it’s about 12-13 inches (depending on your pie plate size) and about 3/16” thick. To move to your pie plate, flour your rolling pin again and fold the dough over it, transfer to the plate and it should fall into place. Gently form it to the plate and let excess dough overhang the edge – you can brush the edge with water before adding the top pastry. With all the butter, this step really isn’t necessary, it quickly seals itself. Add blueberry filling. Roll out second ball to the same size and thickness. Move to the plate and adjust over the pie plate. Now you can trim the excess dough, or you can tuck it under and then pinch to flute it. Next time I’m sure I’ll experience one of those, but this time, it was pretty skimpy for me to flute.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 375 and continue until golden brown (I had to bake another 40 minutes). You’ll probably have to tent the edges with foil to keep them from burning. I did that at the 25 minute mark. Let cool until just warm to touch for the blueberries to set if you want to serve warm.



 

In This Together

As is her way, Emma has taken it upon herself to take care of Bixby and me. Here she is keeping the big guy company in the afternoon sun. Bixby still spends a lot of time looking out the window and sighing. Loudly. I wish I was kidding.

Today he began to brighten up, wanting to play non-stop with Bad Horse, so we are making progress.

Lots of cooking going on here. Bad Horse has felt like taking on some new recipes. This one was a winner:

It’s a Pear Crisp. Using the Perfect Apple Crisp recipe, found here, and substituting pears for the apples. It also uses gluten free flour quite successfully in the crisp.

We had an abundance of pears because my local grocer is selling “misfit” fruits and veggies – or what I like to call, “ugly fruit and veggies”. They are misshapen, bruised or otherwise not “A” quality. But I will let you in on a little secret, most of them are much  tastier. Especially the lemons – thin skinned and full of juice – which makes them bruise easily. Ugly, but yummy.

That’s it for now…I’ll try to get back to regular blogging soon. Until then…


 


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Pretty good cookies!  From this Kraft recipe, Splenda subbed for the white sugar.  We had crunchy peanut butter and it worked perfectly.  Mrs J had too many to fit on one pan, she opted to test drive the first tray rather than load two.  She thought she needed to mash the second batch a little bit flatter and add minutes to the bake.It’s finally cooled down outside enough to cool the cookies, thanks to a front that brought us some rain early this morning and sun this afternoon. The smeared look to the chips is due to her mashing that first batch while they were still mid-bake.

It added a bit of an interesting look to the batch.  Top was mashed during the bake, the bottom cookie is from the second batch.  The longer baking time added a little more crunch to the texture, as you would expect.  I ate some from both batches and can’t pick the winner.

Chanting Is Always Iffy

I will be MIA for a week or so. I’m traveling. Hopefully I’ll return with some great photos and recipes ideas. I know I’ve slacked on the last week (and next) week of menus. But been putting in very long days in order to clear my schedule for this trip (no vacation days when you have your own business, I’m afraid).

We’ll pick up when I get back with some fun and favorite fall recipes. Until then….