Foodie Pen Pal – September Edition

This month we followed a different format.  Instead of being paired up with two people (one who bought and sent to me and the other I bought for and then sent the box), we were paired with one other person.  We bought and sent to each other.  

This month, I was paired with Jessica who lives in Mississippi.  She had never been to Ohio and I have never been to Mississippi.  I sent her a box of my usual goodies,  One of which is the Triple Treat Granola.  All 3 times that I’ve sent that granola, the recipient loved it.  

Okay onto what Jessica sent me:

Thank you Jessica for the great box!

Homemade Applesauce

I’m so proud of myself.  Today we were given a chance to go apple picking at one of our fellow church member’s houses.  We could take as much as we wanted which is totally cool.  The Imaginative One is a fussy eater but loves his apples and applesauce.  So I jumped at the chance.

We picked a lot of apples and made memories with the boys.  The Imaginative One ended up getting stung by a bee but was happy because the apples were absolutely delicious.  That made up for his finger being stung.

Once we got home, I washed some of the less attractive ones.  Then I peeled and cut them into smaller pieces.  I placed into one of my bigger pots, covered the apples with water, and cooked them for half and hour.  The boys then helped me puree the apples in the blender for a smoother applesauce.  The end result was a delicious applesauce.

So why am I proud of myself.  I made homemade applesauce that I know the boys will eat.  I made memories with the boys.  We picked the apples and within 2.5 hours I had applesauce.  That is why I’m proud of myself.

Homemade Applesauce

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 3 to 4 pounds of apples, peeled and quartered (or cut smaller)
  • cinnamon to taste or cinnamon sticks
  • water
  • sugar to taste (1/4 to 3/4 c.)

Steps:

  1. Wash, peel, and cut apples.
  2. Place in a big pot and then cover with water.  Sprinkle with cinnamon or put in the cinnamon sticks.
  3. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat on to high.
  4. Allow the water to boil and then turn to medium low.
  5. Cook until apples are tender.
  6. Either use a food mill or a blender to puree the apples.  (We used the blender.  When we did, we used the apples and some of the cooking water.)
  7. Place in a bowl.  Sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar to taste.
  8. Enjoy warm or cooled down.

Printable Recipe

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

The Imaginative One hates zucchini so much when I asked him to pick one up at the local farmer’s market, he refused to even touch.  He also refused to taste this cake because he had a feeling I put zucchini in it.  He forgot there was a possibility later on in the week and ended up trying it.  He still didn’t like.

Don’t let his dislike of the cake and zucchini discourage you from trying this delicious cake.  He is such a fussy eater.

I really enjoyed this cake.  In fact I took pieces of it as a lunchtime treat.  It is so yummy!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

adapted from Finding Joy in My Kitchen

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/6 c. oil (I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk (I used 1/2 c. milk + 1 Tbsp. vinegar)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves (Instead of cinnamon and cloves, I used Chinese 5 spice.)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 – 1/3 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 2 C. shredded zucchini (I patted it dry with a paper towel to remove some of the liquid.)
  • 1 c. chocolate chips

Steps:

  1. Cream together, applesauce, oil, and sugars.  (If you don’t have buttermilk, make the milk and vinegar mixture.  Allow it to curdle.)
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Add the eggs and sour milk or buttermilk to the sugar applesauce mixture.
  4. Then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.  Stir to combine.
  5. Add the zucchini.  And then stir it until incorporated.
  6. Pour into a greased 9 by 13 pan and then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Homemade Pumpkin Butter

We love to eat different jams, jellies, and even fruit butters around here.  It’s usually just Hubby and I that do that.  Sometimes the Wee One will also try a new flavor of jelly.  The Imaginative One loves only grape jelly and don’t you dare try to get him to eat something different.  He’s not adventurous with his eating.

I had bookmarked this recipe last year and refound it today.  Since I was going to the grocery store, I got all the ingredients and and made a batch.  Yum!   And easy!!!

Homemade Pumpkin Butter

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Adapted from Skinny Taste

Stars of the recipe:

  • 29 oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie blend)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (omitted it and it was fine)
  • 3/4 c. apple juice or cider (I used cider.)
  • 2 – 3 cinnamon sticks (I used Chinese 5 spice so I omitted this.)
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 -2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, to taste (I used Chinese 5 spice instead.)

Steps:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a med. to lrg.  size saucepan.  Stir well.
  2. Turn the heat onto high and bring the mixture to boil.
  3. Turn the heat to medium low and let it cook down for 30 to 45 minutes.  Stirring frequently.
  4. If needed, add more spices.
  5. Enjoy on your favorite bread, biscuit, or even oatmeal!  (I’ll share what I did with mine later.)

Printable Recipe

I froze 1/2 of the pumpkin butter and the other I put in the fridge to eat on my fav. ciabatta bread.

Individual Five Spice Apple Crisp

Last November my foodie pen pal introduced me to Chinese five spice and suggested I use it in some of my fall time recipes instead of pumpkin pie spice blend.  The five spice really does take it up a notch.  If you didn’t know, Chinese five spice is a spice blend of cinnamon, star anise, white pepper, cloves, and fennel.  It’s primarily used in Chinese cooking but is found in other cuisines.

With fall around the corner and the pumpkin spice latte already at Starbucks, it’s time to start my favorite flavor season.  I love fall flavors!  Apples, cranberries, and pumpkins, oh my goodness deliciousness.  Cinnamon is my favorite spice.  So if asked, my favorite seasons are the transition seasons – fall for it’s bold flavors and spring for it’s beauty.

I got some apples from one of our local produce stands so I decided to make myself an apple crisp.  Since the boys do not eat apple crisp, I decided to make myself my own individual apple crisp.  Instead of using cinnamon, I used the Chinese Five Spice.

Individual Five Spice Apple Crisp

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Before cooking the crisp
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Before cooking the crisp
Stars of the recipe:

  • 2 c. glass dish
  • 1 med. apple seeded and diced (peeled if you want to)
  • 2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice (1 tsp. and 1 tsp.)
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 Tbsp. butter, cut into fourths or halves
  • Optional:  2 Tbsp. pecan or walnuts for topping

Steps:

  1. Spray your glass dish with cooking spray.
  2. Add the apples to the dish.  Sprinkle the apples with 1 tsp. of  Chinese five spice.
  3. In another dish, mix the oats, brown sugar, and the other tsp. of Chinese five spice.
  4. Evenly distribute the oat mixture over the apples.
  5. If you are using nuts on the top, sprinkle those on top of the oat mixture.
  6. Place the pats of butter over the oat mixture.
  7. Microwave for 2.5 to 3 minutes.  Careful it will be hot.
  8. Top with ice cream or whipped cream if desired.
  9. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Yogurt Parfait

A few weeks ago, I posted about 6 easy breakfasts.  One of the breakfasts, I talked about was fruit and yogurt parfaits.  It is so simple and quick to prepare.  Plus it’s delicious to eat and the flavors can be changed up depending on your mood.

Yogurt Parfait

yogurt parfait

Gold rush granola

without granola

Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 c. yogurt (flavored or plain – I eat Greek Gods nonfat plain Greek yogurt.)
  • 1/4 c. of your favorite cut up fruit (I’ve been using my stone fruit fruit salad.)
  • 1/4 c, of your favorite granola (Store bought or homemade)

Steps:

  1. In a bowl or Mason jar put the yogurt in the jar or bowl.
  2. Place the fruit on top of the yogurt.
  3. if you are not eating the parfait right away, pack the granola and put it on top of the yogurt and fruit right before you eat.  If you are going to eat it right away, top with granola.
  4. Enjoy!

Printable Recipe