Apple Crisp

I recently received some apples from a friend, and wasn’t sure I’d get around to using them since Ryan is typically gone during the week and I got them on a Monday. I figured they’d go bad and it would be a waste of apples. Well, I was pleasantly surprised when they lasted until this last weekend. I told Ryan we had to use them and we agreed that apple crisp would be the perfect treat to make. Thank goodness he didn’t want pie!

I always forget how easy apple crisp is. Slice up the apples, mix a few ingredients in a bowl and viola! You’ve got apple crisp. It’s even easier if you have one of these:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For as long as I can remember, my mom has had one of these and used it when peeling apples. Quick, easy, and minimal cleanup. Ours come from The Pampered Chef, but I’m thinking cooking/baking stores may sell them. It also works on potatoes if you’re looking for a multi-purpose reason to get it.

I ended up making two batches of apple crisp, so Ryan could bring one back to his aunt and uncle’s (I should be the favorite niece by now! 😉 ) house where he stays when he’s been working so they can enjoy the apples we received as well. I absolutely love the smell of apple crisp and how it lingers in the house well after it’s done baking. Completely a fall scent!

We always have apple crisp with either a dollop of whipped topping or ice cream…lots of ice cream!

Apple Crisp

Recipe from Betty Crocker

4 medium tart cooking apples, sliced (4 cups)

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats

1/3 c. butter or margarine, softened

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with shortening.

Spread apples in pan. In medium bowl, stir remaining ingredients until well mixed; sprinkle over apples.

Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tenders when pierced with a form.

Serve warm.

Don’t mind the shadow in the picture….I was being too impatient and wanted to eat my apple crisp before getting a better picture!

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Sweet and Sour Chicken

I don’t like Chinese food. I also don’t like Japanese, Korean, Indian, and any other kind of food that is similar to those I’ve mentioned (Yes, they all vary in tastes and whatnot, but to me, they’re pretty much the same). I never have, and for the most part, probably never will. I grew up with a family that likes stir-fry and rice, and would let me go hungry (the horror!) when I refused to eat it. That kind of food is just not my thing.

That being said, I tried a sweet and sour recipe about 6 months ago when trying to bring in new meals for my monthly menu. Yes, I’m crazy and plan out meals 30 days in advance. Yes, I love every moment of trying to determine which meal goes where and make sure it wasn’t made the month before…it’s quite therapeutic! Yes, Ryan tries his hardest to screw up every menu I make, and laughs when he’s able to. Men. Psh.

Back to the recipe! I was nervous to try this recipe due to the fact that I don’t like Chinese food. I figured I was wasting my time, food, and energy on something I’d hate. Guess what? I LOVE this recipe. So does Ryan, so it’s an added bonus. The flavor is wonderful, and not overwhelming. The chicken itself, paired with rice, is a “stick to your bones” kind of meal. I’ll admit it’s the ONLY meal I like that is Chinese. You can’t make me like anything else! Okay…I might like the cream cheese wontons… 🙂  I will note that I’ve never had the sweet and sour chicken from Chinese restaurants, so I have no idea how the taste compares to restaurant recipes.

I’m not going to lie. This recipe takes a bit of prep work. There’s cornstarch involved. If you’re anything like me, you get goosebumps when having to touch cornstarch, and it’s not the good kind of goosebumps. The texture of cornstarch is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. ICK! I will say though, that the prep work is completely worth it. This sweet and sour chicken is delish!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Chicken:

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 c. cornstarch

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 c. canola oil/olive oil

Sauce:

3/4 c. white sugar

4 Tbsp. ketchup

1/2 c. vinegar

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cut chicken breasts into chunks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dip chicken in cornstarch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and then in egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fry in a little oil until brown but not cooked through (I sometimes fry in batches, since the chicken pieces dipped in egg stick together).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place in a single layer in a baking dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix sauce together and pour over chicken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake for 1 hour, turning chicken every 15 minutes.  If you like extra sauce, make another batch of sauce and bring it to a boil on the stove top. Stir constantly and let cook over medium heat until thickened and reduced 8-10 minutes.

Serve chicken over rice.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

From the first time I saw the recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies, I knew I’d enjoy them. I love brownies, and I love cookies, so the combination of the two was sure to be a hit. Unless you’re a Debbie Downer, and don’t like either. In that case, you might as well stop reading! 🙂

This recipe can be found floating around the blog world, as well as on the box of Betty Crocker Supreme brownie mixes. Where ever I’ve seen it blogged about, it’s always gotten rave reviews, and I can happily say I’ve gotten some fantastic responses from friends who have tried the brownies. They are chocolatey, decadent, and just the right ratio of brownie to cookie dough. Plus, adding the ganache on top seals the deal on how delicious the brownies are.

Enjoy with a glass of milk or a scoop of ice cream!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Recipe from Betty Crocker

1 box Betty Crocker Supreme brownie mix with syrup

1 pouch Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie mix, OR, 1/2 batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I preferred making my own dough, as I found the pouch mix to be quite dry

12 oz. Baker’s Semi-Sweet squares

3/4 c. heavy cream

6 Tbsp. butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom only of a 9 x 13 pan. Prepare the brownie mix as directed. Pour into pan. Set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepare cookie dough as directed.

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the brownie batter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press down slightly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ganache:

Chop the chocolate and place in a bowl. Heat the cream and butter just until it begins to simmer. Pour over the chopped chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour the ganache over the cooled brownies, spread, and let stand until the ganache has set.

Baby Shower! { Recipes for Oreo Cheesecake, Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake, & Homemade Hostess Cupcakes}

This past weekend, I co-hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law Amber and baby S. It was well attended by many loving friends and family members of Amber’s. Larissa, Amber’s sister, entertained us all with some great baby shower games that had guests laughing and competing to win prizes. Here’s a picture of some of the Play-doh babies guests were asked to make in a short time frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amber received so many wonderful and thoughtful gifts, and I’m sure she’s ready to start using them soon! Baby S isn’t scheduled to arrive until early December, so we’re all waiting anxiously for his arrival!

We started planning the shower a while back with Larissa so it was great to see everything come together as planned! There was a candy bar with Laffy Taffy , Fruities, and gummy bears, as well as bubble gum cigars. We also had a table full of Oreo cheesecakes, raspberry cheesecakes, homemade Hostess cupcakes, a fruit bouquet, and lemonade. If people left hungry, it was not due to the fact that we didn’t have enough food!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I prepared the cheesecakes and Hostess cupcakes, and Larissa created the fruit bouquet. Instead of writing every recipe on the blog, I’ve decided to link them to the blogs I found the recipes at. This makes it easier for you to just click and go instead of scrolling through this whole post if you want a certain recipe. I made a few modifications on the recipes, and I’ll note them by their links.

Oreo Cheesecakes: Recipe is great just the way it is!

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes: I wasn’t able to find a fine mesh strainer, so I kept the raspberry seeds in. No complaints about them in the cheesecakes! I added a little whipped cream and a raspberry to dress the cheesecakes up a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes: The recipe stated around 25 minutes for baking. I baked mine only 12 minutes, and they were completely done. I recommend checking at 12 minutes, and then every few minutes after that to see if a toothpick comes out clean. Each oven has different baking times! I also wrote baby, love, and boy on the tops of the cupcakes. I never knew how hard it was to write on cupcakes until I made these! The writing isn’t perfect, but I think you can read them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my fantastic sis Amber and bro Adam, congratulations on the upcoming arrival of baby S! I’m beyond elated for you on this new chapter in your lives! Baby S is such a lucky little man to have you as parents!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s the second, most wonderful time of the year! Leaves are changing color and falling to the ground, pumpkin is the most popular flavor for drinks, food, scents, etc., it’s not so blasted hot ( Well, I take that back. This week is supposed to be in the 80’s! Holy cannoli!), and the air has a great crisp to it that just makes me smile. I always feel that in the fall I need to make pumpkin-flavored muffins, breads, cupcakes, cakes, etc., because it’s “the time” to make all of that. The rest of the year, pumpkin doesn’t seem as well liked for treats. Don’t get me wrong, I could eat most pumpkin treats everyday! It’s everybody else that claims pumpkin as only Fall appropriate. 😦

When I saw the recipe for these pumpkin cupcakes, I immediately flagged the page as a “must make” recipe. Anybody else out there do that with magazines/recipe books? I probably flag 6-8 recipes every time I get a food magazine. Don’t ask how many of those I’ve actually been able to make! Any who, the recipe boasts some serious pumpkin flavor due to key ingredients of spice cake mix and pumpkin puree. This is more dense than your typical cupcake, but still has the cupcake attitude and charm people love.

This cupcake is paired with a yummy cinnamon cream cheese frosting, which I feel just adds to the deliciousness of the cupcake. The cupcake is great by itself, but topped with the frosting, these two were certainly meant to be together! Just like Ryan and me, right?! Okay, okay… not exactly the same, but you know what I mean!

Grab some apple cider or coffee, and enjoy a pumpkin cupcake or two!

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe from Kraft Food and Family

1 pkg. (2-layer size) spice cake mix

1 c. sour cream

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin

1/4 c. oil

1 pkg ( 8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

1 pkg (16 oz) powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat first 5 ingredients with mixer until well blended; spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups.

Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely.

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Gradually beat in sugar. Blend in cinnamon.  Spread over cupcakes.

*Store frosted cupcakes in refrigerator*


By the way, how cute is this dessert plate?! I got a set of 4 on clearance at Macy’s, and couldn’t be happier! I also have a large dessert platter with the same theme and love it!