Gluten Free Romesco Sauce

I just realized I've been calling this stuff 'romanesco' sauce.  Ugh.  Silly me.  This romesco sauce is a spanish sauce made from toasted nuts, roasted garlic, tomatoes and red peppers. Typically, toasted bread too, but we're leaving that out so keep things gluten free. I can eat it on anything. Sandwiches instead of mayo, roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, seafood.... so many things are better with a bit of tasty romesco sauce.

Cam and I are thinking about going 100% gluten free for the month of April to see how it goes. I'm hoping it will help me with my late night cracker addiction and keep my appetite focused on more healthy things.  Are you gluten free?  Do you like it and have you noticed any improvements to your health?  

Makes about 1.5 cups..

Romesco Sauce

1/2 cup slivered almonds

2 small tomatoes or 1 large, cut in half, seeds and stems removed

2 garlic cloves, skin on

1 red bell pepper

 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1  1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne 

s + p

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Place almonds on a tray plus tomatoes and garlic on their own tray in oven.  Remove almonds after 10 minutes, let cool.  Roast tomatoes and garlic 20 minutes more.  Set aside to cool.  Remove skins from each.

Place whole red pepper on open flame of gas range.  Turn occasionally until all sides are completely black.  Place on plastic bag and seal.  Let steam in bag 10 minutes.  Blackened skins will wipe off easily.  Discard skins, stem and seeds.  

Chop red pepper, tomatoes and garlic.  Set aside.

In food processor, fitted with a S-blade, process toasted almonds to a fine crumb.  Add pepper, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, paprika and cayenne.  Process until smooth and not gritty, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  

 

 

Tortilla Espanola

The spanish tortilla.  A staple on spanish tapas menus.  It's great for breakfast or a little bite anytime of the day.  

Makes about 8 servings. 

Spanish Tortilla

1/2 cup olive oil

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 baking potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

s + p

pinches of smoked paprika

5 eggs, beaten

Heat an 8 inch skillet over medium low heat.  Add olive oil.  Heat.  Add onions, potatoes and garlic.  Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Stir/flip occasionally to encourage even cooking and avoid browning.   Cook until potatoes and soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.  

Drain oil from pan and reserve.  Transfer cooked potato mixture to bowl and toss with beaten eggs.  Wipe out pan, return to medium low heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of reserved oil back to pan.   Pour in potato egg mixture.  Cook until just set in center, about 20 minutes.  Carefully place a plate over skillet and invert tortilla on to the plate.  Slide tortilla back into skillet to finish cooking remaining, uncooked side.  Cook 5 minutes.  Remove from skillet and let sit 20 minutes before serving.  Serve warm, room temperature or cool.  

Antipasto Salad

Perfect for lunch!  It's always easy to fit a salad into your day when said salad has ham on it.  I prep everything sunday night and toss ingredients together when ready to eat or pack up for lunch.  

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Antipasto Salad

1 head red lettuce, washed, chopped

2 cups shredded red cabbage

2 carrots, peeled, grated

3 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 tin artichoke hearts, drained, chopped

1 tin pitted black olives, drained, chopped

7 oz black forest ham, chopped

4 oz grated cheese (I like asiago or jack)

1/4 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds

splash red wine vinegar

s + p

Toss lettuce, cabbage, carrots and celery.  Top with artichoke hearts, olives, ham, cheese, sunflower seeds.  Drizzle lightly with vinegar, season with salt and pepper.  

 

Kale Sprouts / Kalettes

Kalettes.  Have you hear of them?  They're a new vegetable: a hybrid of brussels sprouts and kale.  That's just what they taste like.  Nutty with a vegetal sweetness.  Also called Kale Sprouts.

Tomato vinegar can be hard to find but I strongly suggest you find some.  I ordered a bottle from amazon and I use it on lots of things.  It makes a great vinaigrette or adds an tomato punch of acid to any dish.  

To toast the sesame seeds:  place pan over high heat.  Add sesame seeds.  Toast until light golden brown, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.  Takes 1-2 minutes.

Makes 2 large servings. 

Sautéed Kale Sprouts 

1/2 tablespoon neutral high heat oil

6oz kale sprouts, halved lengthwise

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon tomato vinegar

black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted

Heat a 10 inch saute pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, add oil, tilting pan to coat with oil. Add kale sprouts and saute 3 (al dente) to 5 (softer) minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir together soy sauce and tomato vinegar.  Remove kale pan from heat and carefully pour in soy/vinegar.  It will bubble and sizzle.  Toss kale sprouts to coat evenly.  Transfer to serving plate and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.  

 

Gluten Free Almond + Chocolate Chip Cookies

So long gluten!  We don't need you for our cookie making.  Gluten free or not, these are tasty cookies, soft and cakey with nice texture from the almond flour.  

I'm planning on working on more GF and possibly vegan cookie recipes.  Looking forward to sharing (and eating) the results!

About 12 cookies.

Gluten Free Almond + chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup almond flour

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch nutmeg

 pinch salt

1 egg

1/4 cup oil (your choice, I used grape seed)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup chocolate chips or raw cacao nibs

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk almond flour, brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Add egg, oil and vanilla extract.  Mix until well combined.  Mix in chocolate chips/nibs.  Chill dough 10 minutes to firm it up. (You can skip this but you're cookies will spread a bit more.)  

Use a tablespoon to portion dough onto a silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake 12 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on pan, 5 minutes.  Carefully remove from silpat by sweeping an off set spatula underneath each cookie.  

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Yum!  Pretty simple to make and so many possible applications like snacking with veggie sticks or crackers, hummus and vegetable wraps, smeared on toast or tossed with pasta... you have some options.  I'm going to use it as a cheese substitute of vegan quesadillas - i'll let you know how it goes.  

I prefer to use dried beans when I have the forethought (although, I almost never do.)  3/4 cup dried chickpeas ends up being about 1 1/2 cup cooked which is equal to one 14oz tin of chickpeas.  If you use canned chickpeas, just drain and rinse them.  

Makes about 2 cups.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

3/4 cup dried chickpeas or 1 14oz tin chickpeas

1 red bell pepper

1/4 cup tahini

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon cumin

1 garlic clove, peeled

juice of 1 lemon

salt

dash olive oil

Place dried beans in a bowl, cover with 3 inches of water.  Let soak 8 hours.  Drain water.  Place chickpeas in a pot, cover with plenty of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Strain.  

Roast red pepper by placing it directly on a gas burner set on high.  Rotate occasionally to cook each side.  Once all of pepper is charred black and flaky with the pepper itself softened, remove from flame.  Immediately place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand about 10 minutes or more.  Remove charred skin, stem and seeds.  

Place cooked chickpeas, roasted red pepper, tahini, parsley, cumin, garlic clove, lemon juice and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process to desired consistency, adding olive oil to loosen things up as needed.  Season with more salt and lemon juice, to taste. 

Lemongrass Beef Stew + Cabbage "Noodles"

Want to spend 3 hours making dinner?  Who doesn't!  Don't worry, this recipe has easy and minimal prep, otherwise simmering on the stove unattended.  This stew is full of south east asian flavors, rich and spicy.  

When browning the meat, start with a hot pan that is not too full.  If there are too many pieces of meat in the pan they will end up steaming without color.  We are looking for a deep brown, crust to form.  This adds a ton of flavor to the meat.  

We used cabbage instead of my usual preference of rice or noodles to keep the recipe healthier and gluten free.  A quick dip in boiling water milds the flavor and creates a chewy, tender texture making it perfect as a noodle substitute.  

I used a fresno chile but you could use a long green chile, hot cherry or jalapeno.   If you use anything spicier, think about decreasing the sambal oelek which is a popular spicy chile paste, found in grocery stores near the siracha.  

Serves 4.

Lemongrass Beef Stew + Cabbage Noodles

3 tablespoons high heat oil

2 lbs stew beef chunks, 2 " pieces

s + p

4 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, chopped

2" ginger root, peeled, chopped

1 fresno chile, seeded, chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped, divided

2 star anise pods

2 cinnamon sticks

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons sambal oelek

3 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce

32 oz beef stock

1 lb daikon radish, peeled, halved lengthwise, 1/2" slices

8oz carrots, peeled, 1 1/2" slices

lime juice, to taste

1/2 head cabbage, cored, thinly sliced

Heat a heavy pot, like a dutch oven, over medium high heat.  Add oil.  Season beef with salt and pepper.  Add to pot in 3 or 4 batches, careful not to over crowd the pan or the meat will not brown, only steam.  Brown meat well on all sides.  Transfer to plate, set aside.  

Add a splash more oil to the pot, if needed.  Add lemongrass, ginger, chile, garlic, 1/4 of the onion, star anise and cinnamon.  Cook until lightly browned, stirring often to avoid burning.  Add browned beef and all juices, tomato paste, sambal oelek, tamari, fish sauce and beef stock plus 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer.  Let simmer, covered, 2 1/2 hours.  

Remove beef.  Strain cooking liquid.  Discard solids.  Return beef and stained liquid to pot.  Add daikon, carrots and remaining 3/4 of onion.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer partially covered until daikon is tender, about 45 minutes.  

While stew is simmering, blanche cabbage:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add cabbage.  Cook about 1 minute or until cabbage is crisp tender.  Strain.  When stew is done, ladle over portions of cabbage.  

 

 

 

Hot + Sour Soup

Here's one for all you people with a cold.  (Seriously, everyone around me is sniffling.)  What's better than hot, spicy, tangy soup when you're sick?  Missing the traditional lilly buds and wood ear mushrooms of more traditional chinese hot and sour soups, all the ingredients for this one can be found in most well stocked grocery stores.  Szechuan peppercorns are toasted by placing in a hot pan on the stove, tossing occasionally and cooking until fragrant.  Grind with a spice grinder, clean coffee grinder or crush under a heavy pan or rolling pin.  

I recommend cutting and slicing everything small, so it fits on a spoon.  

Serves 4.

Hot + Sour Soup

2 oz prosciutto, julienned

8 oz firm tofu, julienned

4 shiitake mushroom caps, sliced

2.5 oz bamboo shoots, julienned

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground szechuan peppercorns 

32 oz chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water, optional

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon hot chile oil

scallion greens, thinly sliced, for garnish

In a small saucepan, bring prosciutto, tofu, shiitakes, bamboo shoots, pepper and stock to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add soy sauce and rice vinegar.  Whisk in cornstarch slurry, simmer until thickened.  

Remove from heat, stir soup in one direction to create a current and slowly pour in beaten egg.  It will turn into cooked, eggy ribbons.  Add hot chile oil and adjust seasoning with additional soy for salt, chile oil for heat or rice vinegar for sour.  

Garnish with scallions and serve with rice.  

 

 

Siracha Honey Roasted Cashews

I'm nuts for these!  (Haha - sorry.)  Sweet, spicy, salty.  The perfect snack that couldn't be easier and quicker to make.  Just toss the nuts with the marinade ingredients, pop them in the oven and try not to eat the entire tray while they're cooling.  For only a hint of spice, use 3 teaspoons of siracha.  

Siracha Honey Roasted Cashews

2 tablespoons honey

5 teaspoons siracha

1 teaspoon grape seed oil

1 teaspoon tamari

10 oz raw cashews

salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk together honey, siracha, oil and tamari.  Toss with cashews until evenly coated.  Arrange on a parchment paper or silpat lined tray.  Roast 5 minutes, stir nuts, roast 5 minutes more.  Remove from oven and cool.  

 

Healthy Vegan Dinner Bowl

We weren't totally sure what to call these but they are vegan, full of healthy things and served in a bowl.  Lately I've been eating a lot of kale, lentils and whole grains.  I decided to mix things up with some roasted beets, crunchy raw carrots, sunflower seeds and a citrusy vinaigrette.  I think these would also be good with a splash of rice vinegar and tamari if you're not in the mood to make a vinaigrette.   

Serves 4. 

Healthy Vegan Dinner Bowl + Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

for the bowls

1 cup brown lentils

2 cloves garlic, smashed

2 bay leaves

1 cup farro (or freekeh)

2 red beets

1 tablespoon white vinegar 

1 bunch kale

3 carrots, cut into matchsticks

sunflower seeds

for the vinaigrette

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

6 tablespoons oil (your choice olive, canola, grape seed)

s + p

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Remove stems and wash beets.  (Greens can be washed, chopped and steamed with the kale.)  Place beets in oven proof dish, cover with foil and roast 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.  Remove from oven.  Carefully, rub off skin and chop.  Toss with a splash of vinegar, salt and pepper.  

Cook farro or freekeh in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, then simmer for 35 minutes or until soft.  Drain, set aside. 

Bring a pot of water with the smashed garlic cloves and bay leaves to a boil.  Add lentils, return to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.  Drain well. Discard garlic ad bay leaves.  Season with salt and pepper, set aside. 

Steam or saute kale. Season with s +p.  

For the vinaigrette,  whisk together lemon juice and red wine vinegar.  Slowly whisk in oil.  Add herbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  

Assemble the bowls!  It's not as pretty, but I think the best way to form bowls is to toss some of the farro, beets, lentils, kale, carrots, sunflower seeds and as much of the vinaigrette as needed.  Otherwise, layer farro, lentils, kale, beets, carrots, seeds and drizzle with vinaigrette.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Socca

A socca is a thin pancake crepe type thing from italy, made from chickpea flour, olive oil and water.  Easy, dairy and gluten free.  I decided to make a slightly sweet chocolate socca that could be eaten for breakfast or dessert.  I don't have a name for it yet.  Suggestions?  

These aren't very sweet.  You can add more sugar if you like but I think these are really all about the fillings.  Fruit and plain yogurt (pictured) if you're being good.  Whipped cream, chocolate shavings and nutella if you're being bad.  It really depends if you're having these as dessert or breakfast.  I suspect nutella, banana, strawberries and whipped cream would be a winning combination.    

Makes 4.

Chocolate Socca 

1/2 cup chickpea flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon agave

1/2 cup water

pinch salt

Whisk together all ingredients.   Set aside for a few minutes while you get your fillings together.  Heat a lightly oiled 8 inch non stick skillet over medium low heat.  Pour 1/4 of the batter onto skillet, tilting skillet so batter evenly coats the surface.  Cook about 3 minutes on each side. Turn down heat as needed.  Repeat 3 more times with remaining batter.  Serve warm with fillings.  

Some filling ideas:  jam, chocolate syrup, fresh fruit, stewed fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, nutella, whipped cream, yogurt, banana...

 

 

Red Grape Fruit Leathers

If you've been following Meats + Sweets you've probably noticed I like my fruit leathers.  I've always had a sweet tooth and fruit roll ups, fruit leather, gummies and fruit by the foot are all favorites I still crave.  I like making them at home as it allows me to adjust the amount of added sugar, which in most cases, is zero.  I find that if ripe fruit is used then no extra sweetener is needed.  

I haven't tried it but I think green grapes would be a tasty substitute.  

Red Grape Fruit Leathers

20 oz organic seedless red grapes, stems discarded

Heat oven to 170 degrees.  Wash and dry grapes.  Blend until a smooth puree has formed.  Spread evenly over a silpat or parchment paper lined half sheet tray.  I like to use a large offset spatula, making sure the center is not thicker than the edges.  Place in oven and bake until surface is no longer sticky but fruit leather hasn't become brittle.  This will take about 4 hours.  

Remove from oven and cool.  Peel away from liner and cut into strips.  Store in an airtight container.  

 

 

Healthy Kale + White Bean Soup

I know, I know.  My last post was a soup too.  I don't know about you, but I really enjoyed eating everything and anything I wanted to over the holidays.  But it's 2015 and time to get back to healthier habits.   On my agenda for January are getting back to the gym, maybe a run here or there, avoiding alcohol and treats that are obviously bad for me (sorry french fries), getting enough rest, generally being a healthy person and eating lots and lots of vegetables.  And I'm starting with this soup!  I served it over red quinoa and it was great.  Nothing like a little kale and quinoa.  

Makes about 8 servings.  

Kale + White Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 bulb fennel, quartered, sliced

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped

leaves of several sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

2 quarts vegetable stock

28 oz tim cannellini beans 

4 cups chopped kale (curly or lacinato)

S + p, to taste

lemon juice, to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium low heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Add fennel, tomato, thyme and chile powder, cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Stir in beans and kale.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, additional chile powder and lemon juice.  (We used a whole lemon.)  

 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

We make a lot of soups around here but especially in the winter.  It's so satisfying.  Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites. We roasted a chicken and used it for this and a potpie that I will be posting in a bit. 

Consider serving this soup with some toppings.  I like shredded cheese (jack or munster are good), lime wedges, avocado, fresh cilantro leaves, slices of radishes... 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 dried pasilla chile

2 tablespoons grape seed oil (plus more for cooking the tortilla strips)

1 white onion, diced

1 14oz tin fire roasted tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon dried mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon chile powder

4 cups chicken stock

4 corn tortillas

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place whole chile directly on oven rack.  When it puffs up, remove it, about 4 minutes.  Be sure not to let it burn.  Discard stem and pulverize chile into a powder. (or as close to a powder as you can get.)

In a large pot, over medium to medium low heat, sweat onion in grape seed oil until soft and transparent.  Add tomatoes, bay, oregano, cumin, paprika, chile powder, stock and crushed pasilla chile.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 10 minutes.  

While soup is simmering, make the tortilla strips.  Slice soft corn tortillas into thin strips.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add about 2 tablespoons of oil.  Once oil it hot, add tortilla pieces, cook, stirring and flipping until strips are crisp and golden.  Transfer to paper towel to drain.  Work in batches if needed.  Set aside.

Add chicken and corn to the soup.  Cook until warmed.  Serve with tortilla strips and desired toppings. 

 

Meatballs!

meatballs03.JPG

Last weekend I had a serious craving for spaghetti and meatballs in a simple tomato sauce.  These are quick to make and delicious.  We had extras and used them for meatball subs the next day.  (Add a little provolone or mozzarella and bread to your shopping list!)

Serves 4.

Simple Beef Meatballs

1 lb grass fed ground beef

1 egg

1 grated shallot

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

s + p

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Gently combine all ingredients, avoid over mixing.  Use a heaping tablespoon to help portion and form into balls.  Place of tray and bake about 4 minutes.  Stir meatballs and bake 4 minutes more.  

Serve with tomato sauce and pasta or with bread and cheese for subs.  

Basic Indian Curry

I love curry when it's cold.  Warm, aromatic and full of flavorful spices:  it really is the best thing.  Here's a simple one you can whip up for a delicious vegetarian dinner on the fly.  

Garam masala is an indian spice blend.  I use one from Simply Organics brand.  It's a blend of peppers, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves...  

Ghee is a nutty, aromatic clarified butter commonly used in indian cooking.  It's great for cooking because of its high smoke point and buttery taste.  It can be found in well stocked grocery stores or substituted with a high heat oil.  

serves 2.

Basic Indian Curry

 bit of ghee or splash high heat oil, like grape seed, safflower, canola

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, peeled, minced

1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/4 cup water

1 14 oz tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

10 oz diced, canned tomatoes

salt, to taste

lime juice, to taste

Heat a saute pan over medium to medium high heat.  Add oil.  Add onion and saute until browned.  Add ginger, garlic, toasted cumin seeds and garam masala.  Cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add water and cook off.  Add chickpeas and tomatoes.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Season with salt and lime before serving.  

 

Palmiers

Got a holiday party to go to?  Good.  Whatcha bringing?  Bring these!  Palmiers, a darling little puff pastry based cookie.  Also sometimes called elephant ears or palm leaves.  Because there's only three ingredients, one of which is pre-made puff pastry, they are one of the quickest and most economical treats one could make.  I really can't get enough of these little things.  

Palmiers

1 lb puff pastry dough, thawed if frozen

flour for dusting rolling surface

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine cinnamon and sugar.  Set aside.  On on lightly floured surface, roll puff pastry dough into a 18" x 14" rectangle.  Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.  Usea rolling pin to press sugar into dough.  Flip dough, sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar, press sugar into dough with rolling pin.  Fold left and right edges in so they meet at the center.  Fold edges into center again and fold in half like a book.  Chill about 15 minutes to firm dough - this makes it easier to cut.  Then slice into 1 centimeter wide slices. Press each slice into cinnamon sugar.  Arrange on a parchment or silpat lined sheet tray, leaving 2 inches between each slice with each slice sightly pinched out.   Bake 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip each individual palmier to caramelize the sugar on the other side.  Return to oven and bake 6 minutes more or until golden brown.  

Baked Stuffed Apple

Like super easy mini apple pies.  Perfect for a healthier thanksgiving dessert.  Serve with caramel sauce to make things extra delicious.  (Everything's better with a sauce or condiment, yes?)  Recipe is per apple.  I used granny smith.  I like them best for baking but if you're feeling crazy try  crispin, honey crisp or pink lady.  

Makes 1.  

Stuffed Baked Apple

1 apple

1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped pecans

1 1/2 teaspoon oats

1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar, plus a pinch more

cinnamon, to taste

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 sheet phyllo dough

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Peel apple halfway, leaving peel of bottom for apple with peel.  Carefully, remove core from the bottom.  Save the blossom/end piece.  Mix pecans, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and about 1 teaspoon of the melted butter.  Spoon into apple.  Replace end bit.   Rub apple with brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon.   

Brush one half of the phyllo dough with melted butter, fold in half and wrap apple.  Brush with butter.  Place baking dish and bake for 35 minutes.  

For the  apple cider sauce:  boil 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons apple cider and a pinch of salt.  Carefully, stir in a teaspoon of butter and a splash of milk.  Serve warm.  

 

Pumpkin Health Cookies

Remember the healthy cookies I made months ago?  These are pretty much the same deal only with pumpkin.  Perfect for Fall, right?  Add whatever you like to them: nuts, coconut flakes, dried fruit, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips.  

Pumpkin Health Cookies

1/2 banana, peeled

1/3 pumpkin puree

pinch salt

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice blend

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

any additions you like   (I say pecans and chocolate chips!)

Heat oven to 350.  In a bowl, mash banana and mix well with pumkin puree, salt, spices and maple syrup.  Fold in oats.  Form spoonfuls into desired cookie shape and size.  (I like to use a tablespoon and then press them flat with a fork.)  They don't rise or spread during baking.  

Arrange on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking tray.  Bake 15 minutes.  Cool and eat.  

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Here's something sweet just in time for halloween!  Garnish these with pieces of candy corn or bake them in festive papers and you're all set!  Can you give trick or treaters baked treats instead of candy?   

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake tin with papers or grease well if not using paper liners.  

Whisk together flour, pumpkin spice blend, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until light and smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Once well combined, add flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the milk.  Don't over mix.

Fill cupcake wells halfway with batter.  Bake 20 minutes.  Remove from baking pan and cool completely. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting.