Apples, apples and more apples!

Hello Friends! It's definitely starting to feel like fall around here. Finally, not seeing any 90 degree temps in the forecast. In fact, the weather has been pretty much perfect for the past week. So good, we decided to go apple picking last Friday. And twenty pounds of apples later, I've got a couple of recipes to share with you. 

Apple Crisp

You'll need:
6-8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup raw sugar (or regular sugar, evaporated cane juice, whatever your sugar preference)
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter either two 8x8 baking dishes or one 9x13 baking dish. 

2. Combine your sliced apples with the lemon juice, the 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp of the cinnamon. Make sure all of the apples are coated, then set aside.

3. Using a food processor, combine the other tbsp of the cinnamon with the remaining ingredients. Pulse the processor until the mixture has a pea-like texture.

4. Spread the apples into the prepared dish (or dishes). The apples will have made some juice at the bottom of your bowl, go ahead and add the juice to the dish. Cover the apples with the crisp mixture.

5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the crisp is golden and the apples are bubbly :)

To top it off, you'll need this...

Apple Cinnamon Ice Cream

You'll need:
2 cups half and half (or milk)
1/2 cup raw sugar
5-6 egg yolks (your preference, I use 5)
1 cup heavy cream
3 apples (Fuji, Gala, Jonathan, Delicious, your choice), peeled, cored and pureed
1 tbsp cinnamon

1. Heat half and half with 1/4 cup of the sugar, stir frequently with a whisk until it steams. About 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar until light in color. You could use a mixer, I just use a whisk and my muscles ;)

3. Take about half a cup of the half and half mixture and slowly mix it into the egg mixture. This will temper the eggs so they don't scramble. Then poor the egg mixture back into the half and half mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. You'll know it's ready when it can thickly coat the back of a spoon and when you draw a line with your finger it stays intact.

4. Cool completely, then stir in the 1 cup of heavy cream. Then follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. About halfway through the ice cream making process, stir in your pureed apples.

My boys loved this dessert! Even more knowing that they picked the apples that went into it. If you have an apple farm near you I highly recommend going out and picking your own apples. I still have about 10 pounds of apples left. I see more apple butter in my future :)


Birthdays + Homecomings

Last week was a big week for our family. My husband returned from a three-month TDY to Virginia. It was a long, hot summer with three boys home from school. After two long days of driving, he finally made it home on August 31st. Which also happens to be my youngest son's birthday. What a birthday present seeing Daddy was for him!

All three boys were so excited to see him. He actually made it home one day before we expected. They were all pretty surprised, especially Nathan when Mike picked him up from school. So we got to celebrate Brendan's 2nd birthday together as a family. All five of us :)

Homemade pizza and chocolate cake were on the menu that night. I have to admit though, even though the cake was homemade, it wasn't exactly "healthy" per se (hello, 1 cup of butter!). I do know, however, that there wasn't a single artificial ingredient or preservative in it. It was really easy to make, too...


Homemade Chocolate Icing

2/3 cups granulated sugar (I used raw sugar)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Melt your chocolate chips, then set aside to cool a bit. In a small saucepan whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk; bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil 1- 3 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and transfer to a small bowl. Coop completely in the fridge.

Beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture until well combined and fluffy, about another minute. Finally, add in the melted chocolate and beat again until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add more cocoa powder to taste if you'd like.

Spread on your cake or cupcakes. Makes enough for 24 cupcakes, or a double layer 8 inch round cake. Store any extras in covered in your fridge.


I'm happy the single parenting is over. It's nice to have our family complete again. We went for a really nice, fifteen mile bike ride this weekend as a family. It's been a while since I had a chance to ride my bike.

While I rode solo, Mike pulled all three boys -- about 115 pounds :) Two boys in the back, Brendan in the front. What a workout! Welcome home, Dad :)