Sunday, October 21, 2012

Apple Dumplings

After several of you recommended that I make apple dumplings with my orchard apples, so I decided to give it a whirl! I've never had apple dumplings other than my own, so I'm not 100% sure that these are traditional. Luckily these turned out tasty and just sweet enough, really there isn't too much that can go wrong with baked apples!

Apple Dumplings (Serves 8)
Time: 10min Prep and 40-45min Bake

- 3 small or 2 large apples ( I used Jonogold and Fuji)
- Cinnamon Roll Dough (Makes 8)
- 1 1/2tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1tsp Cinnamon
- Pinch of Nutmeg
- 1tsp Vanilla
- 2tbsp Butter
- 1 3/4c Apple Cider
  1. Core, peel, and slice your apples. I made them two different ways, sliced and chopped, both worked just fine.
  2. Make cinnamon mixture by adding brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Add a little flour to surface of the board and roll out each cinnamon roll. Add 2-3 slices of apples or 1-2tbsp of chopped apples and carefully pull each side over the apples and pinch them shut. Sprinkle the leftover cinnamon mixture on top of each dumpling.
  5. Oil a 9x13 baking sheet and place the dumplings with the pinched side down. Bake in oven for 10mins.
  6. While the dumplings are in the oven, add cider, butter, and vanilla to a small pot heated to medium/high heat. Keep cider on the stove for about 10-12mins until the liquid begins to reduce slightly.
  7. Pour the liquid into the baking pan and bake for another 30-35mins. Cover with foil during the last 10-15 of bake time to avoid burning the dumplings.
  8. When the dumplings are done, drizzle the cider sauce on top and serve with vanilla ice cream!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Adventures in Key West

We recently traveled to Key West, Fl to celebrate the marriage of two wonderful friends! As someone stated, "Key West is like spring break for adults!" It was a fun time spent with great friends.

Me: How do people get up there?
Husband: Those aren't real people...
We stayed at The Pier House on Duval St. and loved it. It had lush trees and foliage, a private beach, and comfortable rooms. This place definitely embodied the island spirit!


Blue Heaven - Grilled Lobster with Angel Hair Pasta
It is a fun outdoor restaurant with good food. The only thing I didn't like about my dinner was the corn bread, it was too dry for my liking. The lobster and pasta were great!

Better Than Sex - Dessert Restaurant
We stopped by for takeout on our last night in Key West. It's a fun concept with some nice desserts, but I may have had too high of expectations. I've definitely had better desserts. Worth stopping by if you have time though!

Key Lime Pie (One of the best I had on the trip)
Tuna, Crab, and Avocado Stack
We also had a delicious conch ceviche, conch spring rolls (not my favorite), and fantastic mango coconut coladas. I think this place was one of my favorite spots in Key West. We didn't order any entrees, but all of our choices were great.

Louie's Backyard - Salmon Tartare Appetizer
It was pretty good, but my dinner was a tad salty for me. We had a late dinner, but the view from the deck would be amazing during the day or at sunset!

Sarabeth's - Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Cute restaurant, friendly staff, and great brunch!

Key West Wedding:

Beautiful wedding on a fun catamaran that sailed into the sunset! It was one of the most relaxed and fun weddings I've been to. Congratulations to the newlyweds!

If you haven't been to Key West, you may not know that the roosters roam freely around town. They didn't cause any disturbance to us and we really didn't hear them at our resort. Just remember not to bother them, because you can get fined for that!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Smoothie

I figured it was about time to make a new smoothie that was perfect for the season. My current schedule hasn't allowed me to make much of anything these days and my Vitamix has been especially lonely. Not today, today it was filled with fall goodness! Adjust the ingredients as necessary and enjoy!

Fall Smoothie (Serves 2)
Time: 5-7mins

- 1 6oz Vanilla Yogurt
- 1/4c Pure Pumpkin Puree
- 1c Apple Cider (Use your favorite brand, not sparkling)
- Pinch of Cinnamon
- 2-3 Ice Cubes
- 1/2-1 Frozen Banana
- 1/2 Frozen Apple
- Pinch of Nutmeg (Optional)
- Top with Whipped Cream (Optional)
- Top with Crushed Ginger Snaps (Optional)
  1.  Add in all of your ingredients and blend until desired consistency is reached! You may need to stir it around a few times due to the frozen fruit.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Jalapeno and Cheddar Cornbread

A cold and rainy day like today called for a nice warm bowl of chili! In our house, chili also includes a warm side of cornbread. This recipe update isn't anything complicated, but I always like to add a little sparkle to a plain recipe. Sparkle in this case refers to jalapenos, cheddar cheese, and a generous drizzle of honey! Adjust the spice and sweetness to your personal liking.

Jiffy Remix (Makes about 6 servings in an 8x8 baking dish)
Time: 20mins

- 1 Box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
- 1/2-1c of Cheddar
- Honey
- Butter
- 2-4tbsp of Diced Jalapenos (I use a 4oz can)
- 1 Egg
- 1/3c Milk
  1. Grease pan with oil or butter and heat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Prepare batter as directed and add in jalapeno and cheddar to the batter.
  3. Pour the batter into the dish and drizzle honey across the top.
  4. Bake for about 15-17mins and rub butter onto the top of the cornbread once you pull it out.
  5. Let it sit for a few minutes, cut, and enjoy!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pecan Pie Bars

I couldn't be happier that it is finally October! I love all things fall...the changing leaves, cooler weather, pumpkin everything, apples, boots, and of course Thanksgiving! I can't forget to mention that it's also football season and we get to splurge a little on Sundays. With school being quite demanding, I haven't had a chance to cook nearly as much as I like to. This Sunday I wanted to make a dessert for a football party and something I knew that my husband would love, pecan pie bars! Thankfully these were delicious. My version includes a little bourbon, honey instead of corn syrup, and a little sprinkle of sea salt before it's completely cooled. Hope you enjoy these fall-icious bites!

Pecan Pie Bars (9x13 Pan)
Time: 1hr-1.5hrs


- 2c Flour
- 1 1/2 Sticks of Butter (Cold)
- 1/4tsp Salt
- 1/4tsp Cinnamon
- 1/3c Brown Sugar

- 1 Stick of Butter
- 1c Brown Sugar
- 1tbsp Flour
- 1/2c Honey
- 1tsp Vanilla
- 1/2tsp Sea Salt (additional sea salt to sprinkle on top)
- 1 1/2-2tbsp Bourbon
- 2tbsp Heavy Cream
- 2c Chopped Pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, use a food processor to mix together flour, chopped cold butter, and spices. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, pulse until the mixture becomes "crumbly."
  2. Press shortbread mixture onto a lined 9x13 baking pan and bake for about 20mins.
  3. Toast chopped pecans in a medium heated pan for about 5-7mins. Toss frequently and watch the temperature to ensure that the pecans don't burn.
  4. While the shortbread cools, make the filling.
  5. In a pot or saucepan, melt butter and add honey, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, flour, bourbon, and cream. When everything is combined, remove from heat and mix in pecans.
  6. Pour pecan mixture onto cooled shortbread. Place the pan in the middle of the oven for 25-35mins (Depending on oven - bars will harden once cooled). Place foil on top of the bars during the last 10mins of bake time.
  7. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for about 40mins. Sprinkle sea salt on the top of the bars for a nice sweet and savory contrast! The filling should not be firm, if it is it will be hard and dry.
  8. Once the bars have cooled, lift parchment paper and cut into desired pieces. Enjoy!

Store at room temperature