Simple & Savory Homemade Applesauce (Recipe)

With the Fall season, comes apple season!  And we all know there are innumerable wonderful and delicious things, that can be made with apples!
They really are a fruit of so many gifts. But some recipes take a lot more ambition, than others!
If you just want to enjoy the simplicity and goodness of apples, while still having a great celebration happening in your mouth, than this applesauce recipe is for you!
Applesauce is also a versatile food, that can be used in so many different ways. We’ll talk about there here, too.

001_simple-homemade-applesauce

 

  • 4-6 pounds Apples, Peeled, Cored, And Cut Into 8 Slices
  • 1 cup Water
  • Juice Of 1 Lemon (or 6 shakes of Lemon Essential Oil)
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon or Cassia, More Or Less To Taste

(*Optional Ingredients: Nutmeg, Maple Syrup, Allspice, Butter)

It’s This Simple:

1. First, we always recommend you begin with washed, organic apples, if possible.
What kind of apples? That’s up to you! But varieties of the sweet and soft kind, are best when making applesauce. In this recipe, we used all McIntosh apples, and so can attest to the goodness of an applesauce made with that variety!  But [Read more…]

Granola Goodness

We love granola around here!  It’s such a good and wholesome snack, handful after handful, with CrUnCh!  (Oh, how I love crunch.)  It’s really a great way to start your day off right too, in the morning!  Throw some in a bowl with a few splashes of cold milk, or load it on top of a serving of yogurt!

Unfortunately, it’s next to impossible to find ‘peanut-safe’ granola at the markets.  Added to the allergies now, is cashews and pistachios. Even small amounts of granola are kind of pricey to buy, ready-made, anyway.  So, if we want granola (and we do!), it’s up to us to make it homemade.  But we don’t mind, because it’s easy and fun to make, and we can make BIG batches.

We have posted another granola recipe here on the blog before, and that one can be found here.  There is so many ways to make granola! Experimenting with different ingredients, is half the fun and surprise!  Here is the granola recipe we’ve been crunching on this week!

Granola Goodness

(Note: All C.(cup) measurements are heaping – not level.)

  • 4C rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 C wheat germ
  • 1 C chopped *unsalted nuts
  • 1/2 C natural bran (We used Fiber One cereal.)
  • 2 C raisins
  • 1/2 C cooking oil
  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

(*For allergy safety, we rinsed and dried whole walnuts by the fire, and then shelled them and chopped up fresh.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small saucepan, combine oil and honey.  Stir over low heat until the honey is melted and it’s warm and blended with the oil enough. (About 5 minutes.)  Stir in vanilla.  Pour oil mixture over dry ingredients, little by little, mixing to blend well.  Spread mixture on two cookie sheets, and bake for for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned, stirring and flipping mixture over about half way through time. Let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes about 12+ cups! 


Josh's Double Chocolate Biscotti

Josh’s Double Chocolate Biscotti

bis·cot·ti

Definition of BISCOTTO: a crisp cookie or biscuit of Italian origin that is flavored usually with anise and filberts or almonds —usually used in plural
A good friend of ours baked our family these biscottis, and we enjoyed them so much, we asked him for the recipe. (So we could have some more!).  He very kindly sent the recipe to us, and he also suggested it as a Vittles post.  We thought it was a great idea!  It’s just not nice not to share, Italian cookies this good.
Recipe

Info:  Prep: 30 minutes     Bake: 35 minutes

Oven: 400 degrees F

Cool: 1 hour     Makes: about 48 cookies.

Or you can cut the recipe in half, for 24 cookies.

 

Participating Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups of sugar
  • ½ of a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of white chocolate pieces
  • ¼ cup milk, semisweet, or dark chocolate pieces

 

Step I. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 2 or more cookie sheets. Beat the softened butter with an electric mixer on medium/high speed for 45 seconds to a minute. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Beat until combined. Beat in the eggs until combined. Beat in flour, “If you can’t beat in all the flour, just stir it in.” Stir in the chocolate pieces.

Step II. Divide the dough in fourths: shape into four loaves and put them on the cookie sheets, adjusting the thickness and length of them to fit in the cookie sheet but not bake into each other.

Step III. Bake for 23 to 28 minutes or until wood toothpicks inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool the loaves on cutting boards for 1 to 4 hours. (They slice easier if you let them cool longer and become more firm.)

** Right about here, we’re going to tell you; the next step is to put the cookies back in the oven to crisp them.   But every time we have made these cookies, they have never made it back into the oven!  They are delicious just as they are, without baking them again cut, to make them crunchy.  Maybe someday, we’ll be strong enough, to try them truly done!  In case you are strong enough, here’s the last step:

Step IV. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use a serrated bread knife to cut each loaf into slices, you may cut them as thick or thin as you like. Bake them for 12 to 15 minutes, turn them over on their side, and bake them for another 12 to 15 minutes.

Cool, and enjoy!

Origin of BISCOTTO

Italian, biscuit, cookie, from (pane) biscotto, literally, bread baked twice  

First Known Use: 1946



Banana-Fanna-Fo-Fanna…Fe-Fi-Fo-Fanna…Banana.(CHIPS!)

Like most recipes, there are always a few variations or different ways to go about preparing a food.  Banana chips can either be fried, or baked.   We try to opt for the healthy options first.

Making baked banana chips really couldn’t be any simpler.

Get this:

Participating Ingredients:

  • Bananas!

Need I say more?   Maybe.  Some may want to know exactly what to do with them.  But I am willing to bet, this is going to go just about how you think it is.

The main thing you need to make banana chips, is a bunch of bananas.

But really, if you want a bunch of banana chips, you might want to go with two bunches of bananas.  Because they shrink up to nothing, and you may find yourself asking in the end, “That’s all we got?  Seriously?”     Much like mushrooms, or onions…..you start out with a big pile, get cooking them, and wonder where it all went!

So, you’ll want to peel and slice the bananas to about 1/8″ thick.  Now…above, is a little thicker than that.   I went thinner after this one.  (And after I already took the photo.)

But either way….if you cut them or like them a little thicker, you’ll just bake them a little longer, and I’ll get to that.

If it’s gardening season, and you garden, remember…..banana peels are a wonderful organic compost ingredient!  They are a great source of potassium for the soil.  That means excellent nutrients for your producing plants.   When burying peels near your rose bushes, you’re bound to get bigger blooms too!

But right….we were talking about banana chips.

Preheat your oven to ~150 degrees for thinner slices, 200 degrees for thicker.

Then, you can lightly grease your pans, or spray oil on them.

Spread your banana slices on the cookie sheets, not touching.

Now, if it’s important to you that the banana slices maintain their color for the most part, and don’t turn too brown, you can spray them with lemon juice.

We didn’t care, and I was afraid I would taste the lemon juice.  (Not a lemon fan.)  So….we skipped that.

How long you bake them, depends on how thick you sliced them:

1/8″ : 2-3 hours, turning over every 30 minutes or so.

(The temp is so low, I used a spatula the first time, but used me fingers after that.)

When they are dried out and nice and a little golden brown, they are done.

Thicker than 1/8: Bake an hour, turn over and check if they are dehydrated yet.  If not, put in a little longer.

Really……when they are chippy, they are done.  You can’t do it wrong,  People. (Unless they are still mushy, or burnt. ; ).  After that, just leave them out to harden a little more.   Then put them in a storage container to keep fresh.

Ours came out crunchy at first bite, and then a little fun and chewy.

They can be eaten alone, or added to a trail mix.

A couple of other Fun Banana Facts!:

1)   Bananas make you HaPpY!!   They contain the natural chemical found in prozac.

2)  Bananas, eaten raw, do not make me happy. Well, they used to make my mouth happy.  But then I found, they do not make my stomach happy.  After several bouts of excruciating stomach pains, on different occasions, I had always asked myself what I had recently eaten.  The common consumption?  A banana.    I’ve come to the conclusion that my stomach can digest anything under the sun, except raw bananas.  Which is a bummer, because I love them.  So I make myself feel better with, banana chips!….banana bread…..banana muffins…..banana pancakes…..banana-fanna-fo-fanna….you get the idea.

Banana chips (baked)  are a healthy, organic snack for the kiddos too!  So be sure to share!



HALLOWTIDE; All Hallows’ Eve – Part I

As many of you know, Hallowtide is the 3 days of All Hallows’ Eve (better known as Halloween), All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, carrying us all from the month of October into November.  These last few days have been full of festivities, fun, and more education for all us!  I’ve mentioned to you all before, just how much our kids love to plan any festivities. I think you’ll truly get the gist of just how much they ‘get into it’, as you visit our blog over the next couple of days.  For any celebration we have coming up, our oldest always loves to plan the menu items (as well as do a lot of the cooking and baking), and the little ones might have a say in that menu, lol, make decorations, plan the games, and stuff like that.  They are all, always, never short on ideas.  They are very enthusiastic party planners, even if it is just for us.  But we sure do have a good time!!  Suffice it to say, I took loads, and loads, of photos. I have been splitting my computer time between processing them all for family history and blogging, and working!  I’ll only be sharing a fraction of them here, but still out of necessity (and sanity), this Hallowtide theme will be split into multiple posts.   I hope you all enjoy our ‘little ways’.

The children woke up on All Hallows’ Eve to Daddy’s artwork on the fridge chalkboard (that still makes me smile,) seen below.   If you can imagine him, he sat on the floor, drawing and coloring like a child, and having as much fun as one.  Just when I thought he was done, he’d pick up another piece of chalk for a little finishing touch here, and then there. Then adding this and that.  Truth was, he didn’t WANT to be done. He’s just so cute about these things, and I’m sure you’ll agree he’s quite the sketch artist.  It didn’t go unappreciated by the kids in the morning either.  No one erased it to do their own thing.

Halloween-chalkboard

But as excited as the kids were to get to all they had worked so hard on planning, it was still a school day, first.  Devotion was dedicated to another more thorough and deeper study of the meaningful and interesting ties of ‘Halloween’ to our Catholic faith.  As committed Catholics raising our children in our faith, it’s our obligation to teach how our faith relates to everything, and there is very interesting history to be learned here. We learn more every year! In addition to this, as we follow the Liturgical Year, we acknowledge all of these holy days, with ‘Halloween’ meaning “Holy Eve’ in reference to the eve of All Saints Day, which in turn leads to the observance of All Souls Day.  (Just talking, in case anyone doesn’t know these things yet. )

At any rate (as my mother would say), All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints Day was pretty much rolled into one broo-ha-ha for us. We stayed up LATE, carrying on with our antics.  Having spent a good amount of time discussing the important meaning of all of the aspects of this seemingly crazy holiday, and how it ALL came about over the course of history, and why,….we then dove right into the silliness of it all.

So here come just some of the photos for Part I of our All Hallows Eve festivities.  As we sat gathered at our table, schooling as the morning turned to afternoon, we started paying more and more attention to this menu {A} had set on the window sill beside us,…..

Hallowtide-menu

as our bellies began to grumble for lunch:

Hallowtide-food-sandwiches

A bit after lunch and awhile of working for me, I had to run out to a client consult.  But when I got home, the kids were all geared up to get the celebration rolling!!  They got out shirts/sweatshirts, as did Michael and I, and we all decided what designs we wanted for them.  Daddy cut our choices out of vinyl and put them on for us. They were ready to ….

Hallowtide-kids

…..eat again of course!

{A}’s Salty Bones!  These were so good with jalapeno cheese dip!

Halloween-food-salty-bones

Bat Wings!

Halloween-food-bat-wings

{S} couldn’t get enough of these things!

eating-bat-wings

And then they made their own ‘Monster Pizzas’.

Hallowtide-party

Hallowtide

Here’s {O} just sitting there looking cute, waiting for her pizza to come out of the toaster oven.

justo

Finally, they were cooled down enough to bite into! {J} was happy about that!

jpizza

It wasn’t long after we ate our ‘main course’ that {A} was in the kitchen again, making us some candy apples.  (Here she’s at the stove, melting chocolate in a double boiler.)

boo-vinyl-sweatshirt

She wanted me to take ‘how-to’ photos for you all.  So go ahead and make some, and enjoy them yourself!

candy-apple-bites

Michael/Daddy started cutting out cookies, too.Take note of the pumpkin on his shirt, which he was all excited about wearing.  (No, I am not being sarcastic. )

bat-cookie-dough

That’s FAR from all. The party just got crazier from there, late into the night.

So stay tuned, if you dare……………
Check out the crazy-fun antics in Part II HERE!