Easy Apple Chips

I don’t make resolutions. I  only make goals. This year, I’ve set the goal to be a happier, healthier me- mind, body, soul.

Food would be a big part of living healthier. I tend to go to lighter fare, but can find myself seeking sweets. All. the. time. Cold fruits get slightly monotonous for me, so I’m always seeking something healthy, easy to pack, and delicious. Finding myself without a dehydrator (would use too much counter space, I have to improvise.  Baked Apple Chips. Recipe/DIY at bottom.

You’ll need:

2 of your favorite apples

1 cup of apple juice

Cinnamon (for taste)

Tools: Mandoline Slicer, cookie sheets, cooling racks (parchment paper)

shareabitofloveapplechips1 shareabitofloveapplechips2 shareabitofloveapplechips3 shareabitofloveapplechips4 shareabitofloveapplechips5 shareabitofloveapplechips7 shareabitofloveapplechips6 shareabitofloveapplechips8 shareabitofloveapplechips9

1. Slice your apples into the thinnest slices your cutter allows.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper (trust me, this will save sticky scrubbing later)

3. Soak in apple juice with cinnamon in a bowl for 20 minutes

4. Line apples onto cooling racks without overlapping.

5. Put cooling rack onto cookie sheet.

6. Bake for 25 Minutes at 350 degrees.

7. Turn heat off, open oven to cool it a bit, and keep an eye on the apples.

8. When apples are dry, take off racks and enjoy or put in seal-able container for fresh keeping.

A twist on an old tradition

Every holiday season, my Grandma makes the same delicious meals. It is tradition after all.  Every year, I drool over the smell of of her version of “Pigs in Blankets”. Don’t let them get confused with the hotdog/pancake imposters, but rather the zesty, hearty cabbage rolls made of magic and covered in Sauerkraut.  Now, there is one giant problem for me. I don’t eat pork. Its like I am missing out on a pot of gold every year.  So instead of stuffing myself with her traditional creamed potatoes and appetizers in regret of my no-pork diet, I took matters into my own hands to make a new version “Birds in Blankets”. Recipe Below of course.

shareabitofloverecipe1 shareabitofloverecipe2 shareabitofloverecipe3 shareabitofloverecipe4 shareabitofloverecipe5 shareabitofloverecipe6 shareabitofloverecipe7 shareabitofloverecipe8 shareabitofloverecipe11 shareabitofloverecipe9 shareabitofloverecipe10

Here is what I used:

1 lb of Italian Seasoned Ground Turkey

2 cups of Brown Rice

2 tbsp of seasonings (I used generic Italian, Garlic and Onion Powder)

1 Jar Homemade Sauerkraut (equivalent of 3 cans store bought)

1 Package of Italian Chicken Sausage (precooked)

Instructions:

1. Steam your Cabbage until soft and plyable (this may take a couple steams after the first few peels)

2. Peel into large petals and set aside

3. Mix ground turkey, rice, and seasonings together in a big bowl

4 Lay the cabbage out flat, and spoon 1/4 cup of the ground turkey mixture in the middle of the leaf

5. Roll the cabbage from the bottom and sides, and carefully place into a casserole dish

6. When the casserole dish is full (about 14 rolls), slice your sausages in half, line the edge of the dish

7. Cover the entire dish with the Sauerkraut and cover with foil.

8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook for 90 minutes.

9. Serve and Enjoy

Tastes of Fall

Figs. Why is it, the fall calls for figs? I searched my local stores for these delicious little delicacies without success, until my brain finally calculated the most likely location to find these little sweets.  The Olympia Co-Op to the rescue! Even as a member of the co-op, I still forget to go there first. While on my search, I stopped by another favorite produce and local food stop- Spud’s Produce Market, and found persimmons.  I can’t say that I have ever cooked with persimmons, but hey, there is a first time for everything and they just stood out in all of their golden orange beauty.  I have my usual produce haul in the fridge, and had some pears that begged to be used.  So enter my first attempt at a baked fruit tart. Beautiful, not so much. Delicious, absolutely.  Recipe at bottom (excuse the blurry photos as the recipe goes on… wine may have been involved…)

PersimmonPearFigTart-1 PersimmonPearFigTart-5 PersimmonPearFigTart-8 PersimmonPearFigTart-9 PersimmonPearFigTart-12 PersimmonPearFigTart-14 PersimmonPearFigTart-15 PersimmonPearFigTart-16 PersimmonPearFigTart-17 PersimmonPearFigTart-19 PersimmonPearFigTart-20 PersimmonPearFigTart-21

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Flour

1 Stick of Butter

2 Pears

1 Persimmon

4 Figs

A drizzle of Honey

How To:

Start by slicing your chilled butter into the flour, taking time to pinch it in on a cool surface.  This keeps the “dough” cold.  Keep combining using your fingers, until all flour and butter are together.  Roll into a ball, place between wax or parchment paper and roll out.  Place in the fridge to keep cool.

Slice your fruit into thin, long strips.  I chose to use more pears and persimmons to keep a texture that is more firm. Slice figs in half. Set aside.

Take dough from the fridge, press into a tart pan. I chose my porcelain version, but it might be better to get a removable bottom tart pan if you’re feeling fancy.  Once dough is flattened to bottom and partially up the sides, place the fruit on in a pretty pattern.  I used extra figs and honey to create a glaze in a pan on medium heat. Preheat your oven to 425. I drizzled honey mixture on top and placed it into the oven.  Baked for about 40 minutes.  Cool, serve, eat.

Suburban Homesteading

Although I’ve grown fond of my current home, I don’t quite belong in the suburban area of Olympia. I am naturally drawn to the extremes of a big city or small town.  Lately, it’s definitely been on the smaller side of things. This is best demonstrated when I use my spare time to do a little homesteading. This can be anywhere from using local flora for decor, or making preserves from local bounties.

After a trip to my Gram’s orchard, I found myself with two large crates of our family pears amongst apples and Italian prunes.  In hopes of avoiding waste (and fruit flies), I took to the kitchen with mason jars and some patience. Pears were 1st.

The method is so simple:

Wash & Rinse

Cut pears in half

Remove the core

Peel and chunk

Add a squeeze of local honey and lemon juice in the bottom of each jar

Add the pears with some hot water

And finish in a water bath to seal

No unnatural additives, just pure, sweet home pears.

Pears-9a Pears-7a Pears-18a Pears-11a Pears-14a Pears-1a Pears-2a Pears-3a

 

Garden Pesto Pasta

Our garden is overflowing this year, but of only with a few things at a time.  Each week has brought a new bounty from the containers.  I had a lot of basil this week. Basil=Pesto in my mind (that is, when I don’t have fresh mozzarella cheese).

Our tomatoes aren’t quite ready, so I opted for the local baby heirlooms around.

With these ingredients, my stomach was begging for pasta. Recipe is included below:
Garden Pesto Pasta-8 Garden Pesto Pasta-9 Garden Pesto Pasta-10 Garden Pesto Pasta-12 Garden Pesto Pasta-4 Garden Pesto Pasta-6 Garden Pesto Pasta-7 Garden Pesto Pasta-2 Garden Pesto Pasta-13 Garden Pesto Pasta-14 Garden Pesto Pasta-19 Garden Pesto Pasta-21

Here is what you’ll need:

2 handfuls of basil

About a 1/4 olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

veggies of any kind, I chose tomatoes and zucchini

a little of the “shaky parmesan cheese”

 

Here is the Garden Pesto Pasta Recipe- it is super scientific:

Add basil, garlic, cheese, and olive oil to the food processor, or blender in my case, and blend until only small flecks of basil are floating around in there.

Next, cut your veggies, I used about 12 baby tomatoes and a few large slices of zucchini. Place on a cooking sheet, drizzle a little olive oil and salt, roast in the oven for a few minutes.  In that time, cook about two cups of pasta. I like firm pasta, so I chose bowtie.

First layer pasta, then veggies, then pesto, and a little more cheese.

This is a perfect meal or a great side dish in the summer if you have an incredible amount of basil, tomatoes, and zucchini.