Apple Overload

The bee sting has faded away but the fury in which I’m trying to use up these apples is still going strong.

Here’s what I’ve been busy with this week…


Doesn’t everyone start with apple pie? This time around I ditched my normal recipe. Sometimes the pie collapses and tastes gummy. Instead I tried this 5 star recipe: Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie. It was a winner. I’ll never go back.

Next I moved onto a German Apple Cake.


Insanely good. I think I ate half of it to myself. It used a full four cups of apples, which made me very happy.


We gifted apples to 7 different teachers at two schools, as well as doling them out to the babysitter, cleaning lady, and Adam’s office.


Apples made many appearances in lunch boxes and dinners. Simply sliced and, if needed to preserve the color, doused with lemon. On salads with cranberries, walnuts and goats cheese.

I also made Apple sauce in my slow cooker for another side dish.

DSC_0189I then proceeded to use the apple sauce to make these delicious Oats and Applesauce Muffins. Pretty healthy and yet another winner of a recipe.

DSC_0200I dried a few of them for snacking and putting into one of my favorite ways to make oatmeal – slow cooking steel cut oats with dried apples and cinnamon sticks.


I still have a huge bag of them! I’ll welcome any suggestions on how else to use them…

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Granola Bars

I’ve been a slacker when it comes to breakfast lately.

During the school year we have a pretty set regimen. No matter what time each kid wakes up, I start banging around in the kitchen by 7am. I have a rotation of pancakes, waffles, croissants, crepes and variation of egg recipes – scrambled, egg sandwiches, over easy. Quiche, bagels, bacon, sausage, yogurt. All meals morning meals are served with a side of fruit either plain or in a smoothie. Sometimes I feel it’s too much bread, especially the bad white stuff, but at least it’s not processed.

Lately I’ve slipped down another level. The twins seem to wake up with the sun. This morning it was 5:40! And Ben, without the kitchen banging, slept until 8:15.

We try to keep the kitchen quiet until all the kids have woken up, but with such a large spread in time, they are begging to be fed. Seems like there have been way to many mornings with processed pop tarts, fruit bars, and granola bars. 

Even though I assuage my guilt by buying Organic Pop Tarts, Trader Joe’s This Strawbery/Blueberry/Fig walks into a bar, and Organic Granola Bars, stuff with no dyes, no BHT, and not a lot of preservatives, I still feel guilty by the mere fact that they are processed.

Then this week I hit my limit trying to find the organic granola bars with chocolate chips on top but without nuts. I broke down and made my own. They have only FIVE ingredients, are easy to make, contain no secret added sugars or words that I have to look up on the computer to understand. I felt much happier serving these babies to my boys this afternoon.


Do you serve your kids a lot of granola bars? These a great start to the morning, a great afternoon snack and pack well in lunch boxes.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola Bars
Recipe type: Granola Bar
Cuisine: Breakfast, Snack
Five ingredient granola bar great for the morning or an afternoon snack.
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1½ cups cheerios (can substitute crisped rice cereal to make it gluten free)
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  1. Line 8x8 pan with tin foil.
  2. Toast oats in dry skillet for 5 minutes
  3. Combine oats and cheerios in a large bowl.
  4. Heat honey on burner until bubbling, add peanut butter. Once peanut butter is melted take it off the heat.
  5. Working quickly, add honey peanut butter mixture to oat cheerios mixture. Stir to combine.
  6. Press mixture into 8x8 pan. Press hard!
  7. Add mini chocolate chips to the top and press again.
  8. Freeze for 2 hours, slice into bars.


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Fresh Picks (Jun 3, 2015)

DSC_0270I’ve been bad about recording my Fresh Picks lately. But it’s been kinda boring.

Does anyone want to know I roasted, boiled or grilled everything I got one week? Snore.

But this week I was actually really proud of my creativity. Do you want to see what I did with this?

To the left, Pea Vine, Baby White Turnips, Rhubarb, Hon Tsai Tai, Asparagus, and Cilantro.

Summer is such a great time for fruits and vegetables! Instead of more root veggies we get this! Asparagus! And Rhubarb! And some strange thing called Hon Tsai Tai!

First thing I tackled was the Hon Tsai Tai. It’s an Asian vegetable (if that wasn’t obvious by the name). I read online it’s similar to mustard green or broccoli rabe, neither veggie that I use much. So I decided to roast it up with the turnips and some mushrooms I had in the fridge.DSC_0272

Served it next to some risotto and baked salmon. The Hon Tsai Tai cooked up similar to kale chips. It was a great meal, even if Adam and I were the only ones eating the veggies!

The next night I used up all the cilantro. I made a Cilantro Pesto, added it to some ground grass fed beef and shaped them into meatballs. Then I simmered them in marinara until they were cooked. They didn’t hold up as well as I would have liked but they still tasted yummy. I paired it with the asparagus for dinner the next night.DSC_0278

I cooked the rhubarb into a compote with strawberries. I used it all week long. First I added some of the blended compote into a bundt cake for breakfast.


Gone in two days, one afternoon of snacking and one morning breakfast.

I also used it over ice cream for dessert.


And I mixed the compote into high protein yogurt and froze them into popsicles.


One morning we ate the compote over yogurt for breakfast too.

Finally I used up the pea vine in a salad. I actually used the leftover cilantro pesto meatball sauce in this homemade pizza and served it with the pea vine salad…


The pizza came out delicious, but the pea vines made me feel a bit like a grazing cow. Maybe you are suppose to take the leaves of the stems? I think next time I won’t make them into a salad, but chinese stir fry them instead.

Here is a picture of pizza night. It is an example of how old expressions can take on new meaning once you have kids. Here is a father of four “double fisted”…


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Fresh Picks (Dec 3)

It’s been such a busy few days between getting the flu, volunteering at school, holiday parties, and all the extra work that comes with Hanukkah that I forgot to post this! already another order has come in!

Two weeks ago I received green cabbage, spaghetti squash, yellow onions, parsnips, cranberries, red potatoes, and chard.DSC_0181

I immediately got to work the next day whipping up some soup and cranberry bread. I thought both turned out good enough to share the recipes with you!

I used up half the cabbage, the potatoes, and one parsnip an adaption from Ciao Italia’s Cabbage Potato and Bean Soup. I was able to throw in some of the kidney beans from a few weeks ago that fresh picks delivered too. I really liked the way the parsnip added a sweetness to the soup.DSC_0195

I used all the cranberries in a Cranberry Cake recipe adapted from The Kitchn.


It did have a lot more sugar than I would normally let myself but it was so good people.

Cranberry Cake
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Breakfast, Afternoon Treat, Dessert
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cups sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed and softened at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 Oz cranberries
  • ½ cup crushed candied pecans
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray loaf pan.
  2. With a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar on medium speed for 4 to 7 minutes, using the whip attachment. The egg and sugar mixture will double in volume and turn very pale yellow, leaving ribbons on top of the batter when you lift the beaters.
  3. Beat in the butter and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes or until the butter is smoothly incorporated.
  4. Use a spatula to fold in the flour, salt, and cranberries. The batter will be quite thick. Spread gently into the prepared pan.
  5. Sprinkle crushed pecans on top.
  6. Bake for 60 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool for 20 minutes then run a knife around the inside edge of the pan and remove the cake. Cool for an hour before serving.

So good people, sooo soooo good. Seriously think about it for the holidays.

As for the spaghetti squash I just want to thank Fresh Picks for giving me this gift. I’ve never tried it before and I’m pleased to say it is SO easy to prepare and top with whatever and it comes out delish.DSC_0223

I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, brushed it with olive oil, salt and pepper then roasted it, cut side down on foil at 375° for about 45 minutes. Let it cool enough to handle then ran a fork through it and it made beautiful, spaghetti-like strands. I topped it with the steamed chard from this order, marinara and mozzarella then stuck it back in the oven and let the mozzarella melt. Would definitely make this again, and not just when Fresh Picks delivers it to me.

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Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Has anyone been reading about wheat intolerance in our country? Does anyone know why we have it so bad nowadays?

Some people claim Gluten Intolerance from Roundup Herbicide is the reason. I wasn’t sure, but after reading it all of a sudden I was scared of commercially produced bread.

Enter my sister’s recommendation – Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

I had NO IDEA it was so easy to make bread. And how much more delicious it would be than the stuff you buy at the store.

Jack and I have become professional bakers!

Boule and Dinner Rolls

So far we made a Boule bread and dinner rolls. Then we made Naan bread…

Naan Bread

Which we turned into pizza….

Which we used to make pizza

Next we moved onto Challah bread.

DSC_0206Jack and I made matching braided breads.

DSC_0208At first the other kids were happy to sit on the sidelines, sipping hot chocolate and watching.

DSC_0209But soon we became a full on “baker’s half dozenish”.

Here is all the great shapes we came up with.

DSC_0214Jack made ‘car challahs’. Can you spot them? Ben wanted a braid of his own.

Here are the two braids Jack and I did…


It’s been so much fun to do this with the kids. More than I imagined it would be. And as an added bonus I’m saving money and feeding my kids less preservatives and added sugars. It’s a very satisfying venture all the way around.

Next up we are tackling bagels…

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Fresh Picks (Nov 5 & 19)

For November 5th we received carola potatoes, bunched carrots, baby bok choi, dried beans, arugula, parsley, crimini mushrooms and tomato puree.


Right away I used the tomato puree, carrots, some of the beans, potatoes and parsley in a big pot of soup.


I just chopped and chucked it all in along with whatever else looked interesting in the fridge like cauliflower and celery, added water to cover it, a parmesan rind, some salt and pepper, and simmered it uncovered for about an hour.

I missed out on the bok choy and arugula but managed to stick the mushrooms in Ellie Krieger’s Quesadilla Recipe.

For the past few orders I’ve not focused on using all the ingredients in my order. Sometimes it’s just too hard to be creative! But I came back with a vengeance on November 19th….

DSC_0022Pumpkin, Carrots, Brussels Sprouts, Onions, Celery Root, Potatoes and Spinach above.

The onions got diced up and put into Ina Garten’s Turkey Meatloaf recipe, it’s one of the staple meals that the entire family will eat.

I used some of the pumpkin, brussels sprouts, celery root and potatoes together for a roast vegetable dish. Tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted on high heat until they are both crispy and soft. Delish!


But I still have more of almost everything left over, besides the celery root. And I was determined to stop wasting!

So, I used up the rest of the pumpkin, carrots and potatoes in this gorgeous Pumpkin, Carrot and Potato Soup from Nigella Lawson.DSC_0051

I also had left over brussels sprouts. I found a tasty Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad that even Ben ate!


Brussels sprouts shaved in the food processor with hard boiled egg, pine nuts and grated parmesan doused in a lemon mustard vinaigrette.

And spinach, simply sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Sometimes simple is the best way…


I’m always amazed how much it cooks down!


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Fresh Picks October 2014

I’ve been bad about my fresh picks order lately. I’m not using all the veggies as diligently as I should.

But I have used most of them.

On October 8th we received a pumpkin, fennel, broccoli, arugula, leeks, potato, and red onion.


I made the leeks and potato into a lovely, simple soup. The broccoli was steamed, the fennel was roasted. Red onion was put into a salad or something, I can’t remember. The pumpkin is decorating my house and the arugula was unfortunately wasted.

On October 22,butter lettuce, red peppers, cabbage, onions, spinach, squash, candied turnips, and onions.


Cabbage was shredded into an Asian Style Slaw.

DSC_0839I also used one of the red peppers for that. Squash, turnip, and leftover red peppers were cut up with some cauliflower and roasted another night. In the winter I love roast veg. There a few veggies that don’t taste great roasted with a coat of oil, salt and pepper.DSC_0841

Spinach made a nice salad. Onions in our house always get used but I can’t remember what I did with these. Finally, the butter lettuce died before I could get to it.

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Fresh Picks (Sept 24)


Acorn Squash, Radishes, Potato, Beets, Onions, Kale, Parsley, Romanesco Broccoli.

I was able to use up quite a bit of this delivery in a vegetable soup. Squash, Potatoes, Onions, Kale, and the Broccoli all made it in there. I also added tinned tomatoes, carrots and celery. Simmered it for about an hour and topped with parmesan.


The parsley was shared at a pot luck dinner at my friend Myla’s house. I brought a ratatouille.


Beets, as always were baked soft in the oven for well over an hour. Cooled and drizzled with a reduced balsamic vinegar and some goat’s cheese.

The radishes are looking quite sad in my fridge, but as of this moment I have NO idea what to do with them. Any suggestions would be helpful…

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Fresh Pick (Aug 13)


This week carrots, eggplant, corn, romaine, kale, spinach , cucumber, zucchini, frying peppers.

The first thing I did was boil up those two pieces of corn. Aaron will eat them all himself if we let him so they did not go to waste.

Saturday night we had the Harradines over for dinner.

The romaine went into a chopped salad for dinner. So did the cucumber.DSC_0202

The kale was sauteed into Ellie Krieger’s quesadilla’s. Then more of it was put, along with the spinach, in smoothies. Best way to hide greens in your kids meals! (Husband too!)DSC_0205

The zucchini, peppers, and eggplant all went into a Tunisian Style Grilled Vegetable dish. It was a lot of work, but it was tasty. I think I could find a quicker way to make grilled veggies yummy, in fact I like them with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper best!


Finally the carrots. Braised with celery and served as a side dish. ‘Til next time people!

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Paleo Granola

Last week I was in Mariano’s when they were handing out samples of their Paleo Granola.

I’m not on the Paleo diet, although I like the thought process.

And I’m certainly NOT shelling out $12 for a pouch of granola.

But I tried the sample. It was good. So good I bought the $12 bag.

But I vowed never to do it again.

And now, thanks to America’s Test Kitchen Granola Recipe and my smarts at saving the empty Paleo Granola bag with the list of ingredients, I don’t have to.DSC_0184

Here is my version. It is tastier than any store bought granola I’ve found. And much cheaper too.

Paleo Granola
Cuisine: Breakfast
Gluten Free with no refined sugars.
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 cups old fashion rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup almond slices
  • ⅓ cup sunflower kernels
  • ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ½ raisins
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 325°
  2. Mix all ingredients except raisins and shredded coconut in a large bowl.
  3. Spread out in a thin layer on parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Cool for 1 hour.
  6. Break granola into pieces.
  7. Add raisins and shredded coconut.

I’ve been cutting up a banana adding some paleo granola and dousing it with almond milk. I also like the berry, yogurt, paleo granola combo too.

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