Pumpkin Apple Butter

Pumpkin Apple Butter

This is a fall time favorite of mine! The apple sort of fades into the background and sweetens the pumpkins. The combination together is very scrumptious. Try it and see!

What You’ll Need:

2 cups of fresh pumpkin puree (Note: If you don’t have fresh pumpkin or would rather not bother with it you can use 1 – 15 ounce can of pumpkin instead.)
2 peeled and grated apple (Note: Any type of apple will do. I normally use Fujis or Galas.)
1 cup of unsweetened apple juice
1/2 cup of Natural Dark Brown Sugar (Note: Any type of natural brown sugar will do.)
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground cloves
1/2 tsp of nutmeg

In a large pot dump in all ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 hours stirring from time to time. Apples will break down and mixture will thicken slightly.

You can either freeze this mixture if you like or you can store it in the fridge. Once in the fridge it will last 2-3 weeks. Serve on toast, biscuits, etc.

This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. Also it’s very forgiving so a little more of something or a little less won’t matter.

Pumpkin Apple Butter

Notes: You could substitute maple syrup or honey for the brown sugar. Any natural sugar will work.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

What’s better than a nice big bowl of soup? Especially on a lovely Fall evening! For years I had been meaning to come up with a delicious tortilla soup, but never thought about it when I was in the kitchen. I enjoyed it out and about sometimes, but I just never got around to making it at home. This version is just perfect with just the right punch and creaminess. If you like Tortilla Soup try it and see!

What You’ll Need:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 large button mushrooms, chopped
1 pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of black pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (Note: Or more if you want it to have more of a kick.)
1 quart of stewed tomatoes (Note: I used some I had canned, but you could easily use store bought. Look for the low or no salt variety.)
1 container of vegetable broth
1 cup of frozen corn
10 corn tortillas, cut into small strips
1/2 cup of parsley, chopped

Saute onion, garlic and mushrooms until just tender.

Add in all of the seasonings and then add tomatoes, broth and corn.

Bring soup to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.

Cook for at least 30 minutes.

Stir in tortillas and parsley and cook for 20 additional minutes.

Serve with chips, guacamole and/or cheese.

Notes: If you wanted you could use chicken broth instead of vegetable. You can also add some shrimp or chicken if you want to “beef” it up, but it’s equally as good in the vegetarian state above.

Baked Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey

Baked Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey

It’s pear season! You’ve got to love Fall! Goat cheese and honey, meld together with the pears to makes a scrumptious taste combination. This is a simple, quick, delicious dessert that you’ll love!

What You’ll Need Per Person:
1/2 a pear with the core scooped out
1-2 tablespoons of goat cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F.

First you want to scoop out the core of the pear:

Baked Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey

Next stuff the center with goat cheese:

Baked Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey

Bake for 10-15 minutes until pear is soft and goat cheese is slightly golden. Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

Notes: If you want to you could use blue cheese instead of goat cheese, but I’d omit the honey. Chopped pecans or walnuts would also be a good addition to sprinkle on top before baking.

Caramel Apple Brownies

Caramel Apple "Brownies"

It’s treat day again at Jamison’s office! I love trying something new and then sending it with Jamison so I’m not tempted to eat more of it than I should! 😉

Although there is no chocolate in this recipe it’s still very brownie like. With the abundance of apples this time of year it’s fun to come up with new things to do with them. Caramel Apple “Brownies” take the best of two worlds and bring them together. You’ve got your apple and you’ve got your caramel, but in a totally different combination than your basic caramel apple, which I might add are one of my favorite treats! Who says you can’t bring a little fusion to dessert? 😉

Caramel Apple "Brownies"

What You’ll Need for the Brownies:
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of walnuts, chopped
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2 large apples, cored and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream together butter through cinnamon until smooth. Stir in nuts until incorporated into the wet mixture. Slowly add flour and stir until just mixed. Add apples and stir to incorporate throughout the mixture.

Spread apple mixture into a 13 X 9 inch baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown and “brownies” stick done.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Caramel Sauce

What You’ll Need for the Caramel Topping:
1 cup of organic cane sugar or natural brown sugar
1/2 cup of dairy (Note: You can use half and half, fat free half and half or heavy whipping cream.)

While the “brownies” are beginning to cool mix sugar and dairy in a medium sized pot and cook, not stirring, until it turns a golden amber color. If you want you can swirl the pan a few times instead of stirring. (Note: I like to bring the mixture to soft ball stage (235 F) on a candy thermometer, but you don’t have to check the temperature if you don’t want to. When it turns amber it’s ready to go.)

Remove from heat and let sit for about 2-3 minutes and then drizzle over the “brownies”.

Notes: You could add a little nutmeg into the “brownies” if you liked. Any kind of nut will work as well, or you can leave those out entirely. Also any type of apple you have on hand works well too.

Make Your Own: Chicken Broth

Simple Yet Perfect Chicken Broth

Making your own broth can be done many ways, but all of the options are better than anything you’ll get from a box or can. As a child I remember my mom making turkey broth during the holidays with the left over turkey bones. She never really taught me what to do, but I watched and learned.

This version is a very basic, yet very perfect chicken broth that can be used a variety of ways. In the notes we’ll talk about other versions, but for now we’ll just focus on simple, basic and delicious. What’s better than that?

What You’ll Need:
1 whole chicken
1-2 tablespoons of sea salt
Black Peppercorns
4-5 bay leaves
Celery Stalks
1 large onion, chopped in half
1 leek, cut in half and rinsed

Rinse chicken and place in the bottom of a very large stock pot. Add everything but the water. Once everything is in the pot, add water to cover the ingredients. I like to fill the pot up to about an inch and half from the top. Bring to a boil. Be very careful not to over boil.

Once it’s at a rolling boil, reduce heat to low, cover pot and cook for at a few hours until broth is a lovely brown color. Remove pot from heat and let cool uncovered.

Remove chicken from the pot before cooling broth. (Note: The chicken will most likely fall apart. Don’t worry when it does!) and put it in a bowl to cool.

Strain broth into a very large bowl. You may need to strain a few times and then place strained broth into storage containers. (Note: I like to put the broth into quart jars and then freeze them. Be sure not to fill it completely to the top or the jar will break when freezing. Leave at least and inch of empty space so that the broth can expand as it freezes without breakage.) Dispose of all the bits except for the chicken.

Once the chicken is cool remove meat from the bones. The chicken can be used in a casserole, soup, quesadillas, enchiladas, bbq, lasagna, etc. Use your imagination!

The chicken broth itself can be used in any recipe that calls for such. Makes 6-8 quarts depending on the size of your pot, plus 2-4 cups of chicken depending on the size of the chicken used.

Notes: Another way to make broth is to take the left over pieces of a chicken after you’ve roasted it and eaten what you like, throw them into the pot with herbs, salt, pepper and/or veggies. To make vegetable broth use the same method, minus the chicken and substitute carrots, leeks, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes, etc. Any veggie you like will work, along with herbs, salt and pepper. Then strain the broth off of the veggies after cooking and you have a lovely vegetable broth that can be used just as you would chicken broth. This method can also be done on a turkey to make turkey broth.

Homemade Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a big hit at our house, but I worry about the trans fats that come with commercial brands. Most of the big companies have gotten them down to a point where they can list that they are trans fat free, but if the word “hydrogenated” appears on the label, then the trans fats are still there!

Natural nut butters are the way to go and they are extremely easy to make. You just need some roasted nuts and a little honey. Combine the two and you’ve got a fantastic alternative to commercial varieties. Get the kids involved, they’ll love this process! After you’re done grab an apple and smooth on some Homemade Peanut Butter and you’ve got a fantastic snack!

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of dry roasted peanuts (Note: Not salted. You can find plain dry roasted peanuts in most health food stores or natural markets. If you want a salt kick add in 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.)
1/3-1/2 cup of honey (Note: Much like working with flour you might need more or less. When the “butter” starts to form and ends up to the consistency you like stop adding honey.)

In a food processor process peanuts until chopped fine. Start adding honey with the processor still going until “butter” forms to the consistency you like. Store in an air tight container.

Homemade Peanut Butter

Notes: This will work with any roasted nut. Also natural peanut butters tend to separate sometimes so you may need to stir before using. If you want a crunchy variety stir in a 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts.