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Saturday, October 30

As American As...

I got to thinking about it, and realized something.  I've covered alot of things, but I have completely ignored what is probably the most iconic food of America...Apple Pie.  I should be ashamed of myself, really.  Oh well...no time like the present to correct that.

Today, I'm going to offer you 3 pleasing pies to choose from.  First, of course, we'll have the Traditional Apple Pie, the all-time crowd pleaser.  Second, we'll add a little twist, creating a Caramel Apple Pie.  Finally we'll have what, to some, is the epitome of apple pie...Dutch Apple Pie.  Of course, there are dozens more out there on the web just waiting for your perusal, but I think these 3 are most definitely TOP of the list!!

Friday, October 29

Off The Wall...for 35 YEARS!!

Today isn't gonna be about food...it's going to be about a "right of passage", so to speak.  I would imagine that most of my readers have already had SOME interaction with today's subject.  After all...it's been around now for 35 years, and has become something of a legend to many.  Today, we're going to address something that is probably the MOST fun you can have in public...going to a LIVE presentation of Rocky Horror Picture Show!!

Rocky Horror (or RHPS) came out in 1975.  At the time, it was...well, it was a FLOP!!  Considered FAR too risque' for most, it didn't get much play time, and was removed from most theaters within 3 weeks of it's opening.  It really wasn't until 1976, when it was put back into theaters as a "Midnight Movie", that it started gathering it's popularity. 

Thursday, October 28

Scone, Anyone?

I have a slight fascination with scones.  They can be savory or sweet, which means there are a variety of ways to work them into your weekly menu.  They are quite simple to make, too...ALWAYS a bonus!!

I love sweet potatoes, too.  I can make a meal from just baking one, tossing on a little butter and cinnamon.  There are soooo many things you can do with them...from pie to muffins.  Well, today we're going to make scones with them, which would be a great addition to ANY Thanksgiving table!!  Sweet potato gives these scones a pale orange color, and they are meltingly soft in the center, just waiting for a dab of butter...YUM!!

Oops, I Did It Again!!

Apparently, I tend to get sidetracked.  That's really the only explanation I can give for not having done my blog yesterday, even though it's not a valid excuse.  But, at any rate, I'm going to try to make it up to you all...again.  Just please be patient with me.

So what shall we cover today?  Perhaps something comforting, or should we try to do something a wee bit more daring?  How about both?  Have you ever tried Mashed Potato...Dumplings?

Tuesday, October 26

Peanut Butter Bread

I just found something new, and had to share it!!  As some of you know, my roomie suffers from Crohns, and is limited on what she can eat.  Well, when researching Crohns, I found a great cookbook for free!!  I ordered it, of course, and it arrived over the weekend.  I immediately started reading.

I found the most MARVELOUS recipe for a quick bread made with peanut butter in there!!  For those who don't know...the difference between quick bread and regular bread is fairly simple.  Quick breads are made with baking powder, so don't require a rise time, and regular bread uses yeast, which does.  So, for those who want a FAST loaf of bread that is as yummy as it gets, you have GOT to try this!!! 

Monday, October 25

Building an Emergency Kit

It's 3:30 in the morning here, and I got a rather rude wake up call.  When I went to bed, I knew there were storms moving into our area, but all the warnings were just for severe thunderstorms...no big deal.  At least, that's what they were until about 20 minutes ago...when the tornado warnings went off.

We have 2 weather radios in the house.  One sits in our kitchen, which we can hear from the living room and dining room, and the other is in my bedroom, which we can hear from all 3 bedrooms as well as the bathroom.  Great thing to have, btw...I recommend that EVERYONE have at least one in their home.  Of course, here in Alabama, tornados are almost inevitable...it's just the terrain, I suppose, but we get some REALLY nasty tornados on a regular basis. 

Sunday, October 24

An Apple A Day...

We've all heard it..."an apple a day keeps the doctor away".  Have you ever wondered why that saying is so popular?  It's actually very simple...apples are absolutely fantastic for you.  Low calorie, satisfying, and rich in fiber.  The saying originated in 19th century Wales, but the health benefits of apples have a history dating back to the CAVEMEN!!  Seriously, there are actually cave paintings of apple trees and people eating them.

So, how to add more to your diet, without having to tote an apple everywhere you go?  How about applesauce...it's actually VERY easy to make, tastes how YOU want it to (just spice it how you like it), and if you use the RIGHT type of apples, there's very little added sugar. 

Now, for applesauce, you want to go with a sweeter apple.  No Granny Smiths for this, no sir.  While Granny Smith apples are the tops for cooking, they are rather sour, and require rather copious amounts of sugar to counter it.  No, for this, you want some of the sweeter varieties...and trust me, there are PLENTY to choose from.  Fuji, Jonagold, Gala, Red or Gold Delicious, Winesap, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady are some of the top choices.  Of these, the Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp, and Jonagold are also the perfect texture.  For my recipe, I'm using Fuji...but that's just a personal choice.  Try different varieties, and find the one that just DOES it for you!!

You're next trick to remember is very simple...let the apples age just a little before using.  Put them in a bowl on the counter, and let them stand, room temp, for about 3-4 days before using.  This does 2 things.  First, it allows them to mature a little more, making them even sweeter, and second, it actually makes them slightly easier to peel.

So, do I have you all fired up to make some homemade goodness?  Let's go!!

HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE

4 large apples (I highly recommend Fuji or Honeycrisp), peeled, cored, and chunked
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup or less sugar (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Place the prepared apples into a good size saucepot (at least 3 quart).  Add the water, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You want to cook them until they are quite soft, and easy to mash.

Remove from heat, and add sugar, a little at a time, until it's the sweetness you want.  When you have it just right, add the cinnamon, and blend well.  Using a potato masher, mash the apples until they are how you like them...you can leave a few chunks, or smash away until it's completely smooth...the choice is yours!!  Makes 4 servings, or 2 cups of applesauce.

Now, for those who are priviledged to live close to apple country (or a local farmers market), apples are at the height of their season right now, and if you're like me, you plan for it...which means canning and preserving.  Making applesauce for canning is REALLY simple!!  All you do is this:

1) Choose how many jars you want to make (the recipe makes 1 pint, so simply)
2) Prepare your jars (check my link under Instructional)
3) Fill the jars to 1/2 inch of the top, and put on the 2-part lids, sealing to finger tightness.
4) Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes (that's for pints...30 minutes for quart jars)
5) Remove, allow to cool, and check for your seal (centers of lids are depressed)

That's it folks!!  I'll have more apple recipes coming, but right now, I have 1/2 bushel of Fuji apples I need to get started on.  ENJOY!!





Roll...Pumpkin Roll

I goofed.  I forgot ALL about my blog yesterday.  I'm SOOO sorry, folks...but I'm gonna make up for it today, by doing 2 good posts!!  This first one is specifically aimed at those who are getting a tad tired of the same old desserts on Thanksgiving, but don't want to give up on flavors they know and love.  This post is about Pumpkin Rolls.

I tried making these for the first time last year.  It was a request from Trac, my roomie, and was SOOO worth it!!  These provide the traditional pumpkin flavor, but are a VAST change from the status quo.  The rolls are actually quite light in taste.  They're also fairly easy to make, and are sure to become a favorite if you'll just try them!!