Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The first pie of the season. fail.

Our apartment is officially filled to the brim with Apples . Although I eat at least one a day, right after our picking I had to head to Chicago for work. When I returned i knew an apple pie was on the agenda. We just couldn't wait until Thanksgiving.
Enter my mother's famous Pie. Now its not my mother's because she made up the recipe or anything, she is just so perfect at executing it (Betty Crocker's Better Homes and Gardens). Honestly no one else compares. I would NEVER buy a store made crust or a store pie for that matter!! Not that I judge anyone who does (I have had my fair share of delicious store bought deserts) it was just a homemade crust/pie has been ingrained in my cooking brain for as long as I can remember.

Now if you read my blog you know that i cook "healthy" and those ingredients that aren't healthy or I don't particularly care for tend to get omitted or substituted with something else.
For example:
Oil - omitted or applesauce in baked goods
Butter - i like to use brumble and brown (a yogurt based spread)

Normally when it comes to crust I stick with the old tried and true recipe. No substitutions here, however I don't have Crisco in my house normally and i assumed that using brumel would suffice...the crust rolled out beautifully! the best it EVER has! I even placed a phone call to my mom letting her know that this would be my "best pie yet...". I really should have known better...
Now I know you are thinking, "that pie looks great" and it does! But the flavor in the crust just was not there. It never fully browned and honestly the crust tasted like cardboard...

A few weeks later, with the hard lesson learned, I purchased some Crisco and tried again...

Look at the brown on that crust!
Erin actually didn't mind the taste of my first attempt however after tasting this one...she understood my feelings.Even I can admit...sometimes substitutions just do not work!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spaghetti Squash Sesame Stir-fry

I purchased a spaghetti squash the other day in anticipation of making one of erin's fall favorites: Spaghetti Squash & Pork Stir-fry. I made this awhile back and since then I haven't been eating meat, other than fish...so I decided to try a little change up and omit the pork and add shrimp!

I started by cutting the large squash in half and then carving out the middle, keeping the seeds. Then I place both sides face down on a cookie sheet and roast the spaghetti squash for about 40 mins at 400 degrees. The good thing about this step is you can even do this the night before and shred the squash for the next day.

As you can see by the last photo that the cooked squash resembles spagetti strands!

Then i went to prepping all the "add ins". The nice thing about Eatingwell is although some of the ingrediants/sauces you might not have on hand, you don't have to use that much and they last forever!!while the squash is cooking I prepped all the "add ins" and got all the sauces out of the cupboard!

All together now:

Of course I didn't miss the pork at all...but the real test...neither did erin!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Supporting local Farms, and local apples

On our MUST DO list for New England Fall activities we can now cross off Apple Picking. Not only do I enjoy apples year round, but when I get the chance to pick them myself...im in heaven.

This year, while researching where we should pick, I was overwhelmed with all the choices. erin and i probably have at least five orchards within a five mile radius of our apartment...probably more than that! We both decided that we wanted to pick one that was a bit off the beaten path, a little less crowded, and definitely local! After all the hemming and hawing we literally just drove around until we found a cute sign pointing us up a steep hill. There we found Nicewicz Family Farm.

It was definitely local with a great little farm stand out front, pumpkins, and of course a tractor for erin's photo pleasure!
We paid for our big bag and made our way across the street to trees! We passed some great pear trees on the way and finally found my favorites: Cortland, Macs and Macons! The owner steered us in the right directions and ordered us to make sure we sampled the goods while picking. we obeyed!!

I sure made use of every inch of our bag.

Erin made use of our new camera:
stay tuned for apple recipes galore...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Apple of My Eye

Autumn is in full force up here in New England and sticking with the Fall theme I decided to try HG's Apple Cobbler again. If you are a frequent reader (um...hi Dad!) then you may recall me trying this dish last year to mixed reviews...take one.

I loved it, but in a "this is a healthy desert" way. And if I recall erin stuck with Halloween candy at this point, so I didn't have super high hopes. But hey, apples/oats and fiber one...sign me up!

As noted before you also get a HUGE portion of apple crisp for not alot of calories, which is always a plus.

Apples peeled (I used mac's even though the recipe calls for sweet...i like my apples tart!)

Crumble prepped (oats added)
and into the oven it went! 10 mins later...warm appleness was delivered. topped with whipped cream.
Now as mentioned I was highly prepared to have leftovers for myself because this is just not an erin desert...
BUT, she LOVED it! I don't know what it was this year but she said it was really really good!
We recently stumbled across the highly loved Edy's Pumpkin Ice Cream and I dare say it would be an unstoppable desert!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin burgers

Tis the season for Pumpkin recipes and as I thought about my late eats I opted to combine by food group...this one we shall call Pumpkin!
I love fall and I love all the cooking that comes with it. I love squash (all types), apples, cider, soups....and on and on. Harvest time brings out so many new foods to cook with that it doesn't make me miss the heat at all! Well maybe sometimes.

I will start with my latest batch of Pumpkin cookies! I stumbled upon this recipe last year and it is so healthy, yet delicious that I knew it would be making more appearances. These are Eating Well's Pumpkin Cookies. The ingredients are quite simple and so is the execution. I used applesauce in lieu of the oil (didn't have any).

Combine the dry, combine the wet. Then put them together:

and stir. They are great little treats to try and quite spicy in flavor...meaning allspice, nutmeg
and cinnamon Oh MY!

I couldn't wait to share these with our friends Scott and Terra! But what they shared with us was rather amazing as well!I apparently am not alone in my love of cooking with pumpkins as erin and I so happily discovered on our latest trip to Peekskill! Our friends terra and scott had an amazing recipe in mind for breakfast one morning:
These were incredible!! I really can't blog about how they were made because I went for a run and when i returned the house smelled of pancakes, pumpkin and warm apples...I couldn't wait to try these!
(um...yes that is a fresh piece of apple in the pumpkin pancake. heaven)
As I was eating them I exclaimed: "It's like fall in my mouth"!! Thanks Terra...YUM
Of course with desert and breakfast I had to include a great "pumpkin themed dinner". Again these are a repeat as erin and I are both huge fans. SOUTHWESTERN PUMPKIN BURGERS!
I made these last fall and the fall before and frankly they are a must try. I don't think you would even know there is pumpkin in the recipe by taste, so it's perfect to make even if someone is not a pumpkin fan! The southwestern flavors (hello cumin) really pair nicely with the pumpkin and the corn(the corn is erin's favorite part).
Sadly...the camera enjoyed the burgers just as much as we did.
To add to that we finally have a NEW camera who I'm told is not a big eater. We took it apple picking this weekend and it didn't eat a single one!