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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Velvety Squash Soup

Two types of squash offer a fuller, more rounded flavor, but you could just use one type if you prefer.

1 (3 lb) butternut squash
1 (3lb) acorn squash
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
2 teaspoons canola oil
5 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2/3 cup half and half

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2.  Cut each squash in half lengthwise, discard seeds and membranes.  Place squash, cut sides down, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.
3.  Combine onion and oil in a bowl tossing to coat.  Spread onion mixture on pan around the squash.  Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes or until squash and onion are tender.  Cool slightly.  Scoop out squash pulp from skins; discard skins.
4.  Place onion and squash pulp in a heavy soup pot.  Stir in broth.  Add cider, molasses, curry powder, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.
5.  Place half of squash mixture in a blender.  Remover center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure lid on blender .  Place a clean towel over opening in lid (to avoid splatters).  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl.  Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture.  Return pureed mixture to pan; stir in half-and-half.  Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Garnish with thyme, if desired.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Green Drink

2 cups milk
2 large bananas
4 cups packed fresh spinach
1 T honey or agave

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix well.

Note:  The super green color of this drink makes it fun to serve at Halloween.  You can call it witch's brew or serve it up in a spooky cup.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Amazing Apple Dumplings

This will be a new MUST at every fall apple party.  The perfectly soft apples wrapped in the most heavenly buttery sweet crust.    Adapted from All of Our Twists who took it from The Pioneer Woman. 

2 whole apples (I use whatever firm apple I have on hand--granny smith, golden delicious, empire, cortland, or ginger golds)
2 cans (8 oz. Cans) crescent rolls,  (Pillsbury seem to taste significantly better then generic for this recipe)
2 sticks real butter (trust me, margarine just isn't the same for this one).
1-½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon, to taste
1 can (12 oz.) Sprite soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9x13 glass pan.

Peel and core apples. Cut each apple into 8 slices each. Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll. Place in two rows filling the pan. 

In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter, then add sugar and barely stir. Add vanilla, stir, and pour entire mixture over apples. Pour about 10oz of sprite around the edges and down the middle of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Let stand about 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with ice cream, and spoon some of the sweet sauces from the pan over the top.

Carolyn’s Danish Apple Fritters

Time: 30 minutes prep time, 5 minutes frying
Serves 8

· 2 c flour
· ¼ c sugar
· 1 t salt
· 1 t nutmeg
· 3 t baking powder
· ¼ c oil
· 1 egg
· ¾ cup milk
- 4-6 apples, peeled, and diced into small pieces
- frying oil

1. Heat frying oil to 350˚F.
2. Mix together all the ingredients. Stir in apples. Dough will be sticky.
3. Drop teaspoon size pieces of dough into oil when oil is ready. (You will know it’s ready if the oil fizzes with a drop of water).
4. Around the dough the oil will start to form small bubbles after a few minutes, turn over and fry the other size. They should be golden brown.
5. Let cool on paper bags or paper towels (to absorb oil). Serve warm.

Initially  Kevin and I make these fall conference weekend. The girls would together and make them while the guys go to Priesthood session. When they came back we enjoyed the fritters and talked about what they learned.  But lately we make them in conjunction with our fall apple party, usually in mid to late September.

Cheese-Buttermilk Fondue

This is one of our favorite fondue recipes.  The buttermilk adds a great tang and helps the cheese melt beautifully.

·          2 T cornstarch

·          ½ t salt

·          Freshly ground pepper to taste

·          1 1b. swiss cheese, grated

·          2 cups buttermilk

·          1 loaf crusty French bread, cut into bit-size pieces (each with some crust)

Toss grated cheese with cornstarch, salt, and pepper.  Over medium to medium-high heat, heat buttermilk and gradually add cheese.  Stir constantly until mixture boils and become smooth.  Put cheese mixture in fondue pot and serve with bread pieces.  (Kevin and I both really liked this fondue with apples and veggies too).  

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Jammers

I seem to make these every fall during back to school time.  Yummy!

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup peanut butter (better to avoid natural peanut butter for this recipe)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unsifted flour
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup jam, any flavor  (we like peach)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  In medium size bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter; set aside.
2.  With mixer, beat butter in large bowl 30 seconds.  Add brown sugar and baking soda; beat until combined.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour and oats adding a little at a time.
3.  Press two-thirds (about 3 1/3 cups) of the oat mixture on the bottom of an ungread 15x10 baking pan.  Carefully spread the peanut butter mixture over.  Drop jelly in small dollops (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each) evenly over peanut butter.  Dot the top with the remaining oat mixture.
4.  Bake 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned.  Cool.  Cut into bars.  Store covered at room temperature.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blueberry Banana Spinach Smoothie

The blueberries help hide the spinach color, so even the pickiest eaters love this smoothie.

1-2 ripe bananas
1/4-1/2 cup of blueberries (frozen work great)
1/2 cup yougurt (if using plain add about 1 T honey or agave nectar)
1 1/2 cups of liquid (you can use milk, juice, and/or water and ice-cubes)
1 cup of fresh baby spinach (I usually just put in a big handful but you can adapt to taste)

Put all the ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth (ideally until you no longer see little green flecks from the spinach and everything is well incoprated) about 2 minutes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bacon, egg, and toast cups

This is our latest favorite breakfast-for-dinner food (okay, let's be honest we've eaten this at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks).  I think it would also be perfect to serve at a brunch--because it's so self-contained and tasty.  I think it would also work well for serving breakfast to a crowd...just double or triple the amounts.  And tomorrow I have an early meeting, but I'm excited to take my little bacon, egg, and toast cup for my on-the-go breakfast.

3 T butter, softened
8 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 slices bacon
6 large eggs
coarse salt and ground pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter 6-8 muffin cups (I use a standard size dark non-stick cupcake pan, and I can always get 8 egg cups with this recipe).
2.  Cook the bacon in the microwave until almost crisp since it will finish cooking in the oven.  (Alternatively you can cook it in a large skillet on medium heat for about 4 minutes, turning it over once).
3.  While the bacon is cooking, using a rolling pin flatten the bread slices.  Then taking a knife cut the bread into a rough circle removing the crusts.  (You can also use a 4.5 inch cookie cutter).  Cut each round in half.  Press the the 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to the edge of the cup.  Use any extra bread from the scraps to patch any gaps.
4.  Tear bacon into rough size pieces and sprinkle half of the bacon into the muffin cups.  Then crack one egg into each.  Sprinkle with the remaining bacon and salt and pepper.  (The original recipe had you lay a whole slice of bacon in each up, with it  hanging over the edges.  This makes for a beautiful presentation.  But we preferred the more consistent bacon-in-each-bite option.  Also by cutting cup the bacon, you can get by with using less bacon which means saving money and calories.)
5.  Bake until eggs whites are just set 20-25 minutes.  Run a knife around cups to loosen toasts.  Serve immediately.

adapted from Everyday Food, September 2010